Digital addressing technology is a system that helps to Convert GPS coordinates to a more simplified format. According to Wikipedia, Global Positioning System (GPS) is a global navigation satellite system that provides geolocation and time information to a GPS receiver anywhere on or near the earth where there is an obstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites.
In the recent past in Ghana, addressing was a big challenge due to the poor nature of planning in certain parts of rural and urban communities. Getting directions to a business location or a residence was quiet challenging. In 2013, the government began efforts to solve this problem by naming streets to help in that direction. This was also followed by the introduction of the digital addressing system by the current government on October 18, 2017, called the Ghana Post GPS.
Ghana’s SME Space
SME is also known as Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. SMEs have been the backbone of Ghana’s Economic and social development for the past decades. They are the major drivers of job creation, revenue generation and business development in the country. The Ghanaian SME sector can be categorized in these divisions namely; manufacturing, agribusiness, ecommerce, food and beverage, retail, financial services, handy businesses just to mention a few. According to the Registrar General department of Ghana 90% of registered business are SMEs. According to a research report by Ghana Web SMEscontribute an estimated 70% to Ghana’s GDP and also account to 85% of Employment in the Ghanaian manufacturing sector. It is therefore imperative that policies been formulated by government to enhance the growth of SMEs should take into consideration inculcating the use of digital addressing systems since SMEs are a major pillar to catapult the economic growth of Ghana.
Digital addressing Systems
Besides the Ghana Post GPS, there are other digital addressing systems available that are also very useful: Google Maps, What3words, Snoocode are among some of the numerous digital addressing systems that can be accessed on the web and downloaded from Google Play store or Apple App Store. What3words is a geocoding system for the communication of locations with a resolution of three metres,for example Pizarea.com office located in Madina will be called (slurred.circulate.address). Ghana Post GPS is the official digital property addressing system which covers every inch of the country and ensure that all locations in the country are addressed. This allows every location to have a unique code. A location can bear an address like GH-GM012-1048 with the Ghana Post GPS.
Social Media platforms such as Whatsapp and Telegram also allow people and businesses to share their locations by the use of Google Maps.
Benefits of Digital Addressing to SME’s
The benefits of digital addressing are numerous especially to SMEs and startups in Ghana. The kenkey seller, the tailor shop, the provision seller, the hairdresser can use the digital addressing system to generate their unique addresses so their customers can locate them easily. This reduces the hustle that comes with finding locations. Courier services can use digital address given to them by these service providers to pick wares for their clients. The mechanic can locate his client’s vehicles broken down on the road and service them easily. The handy man can visit clients who need services at home just by the use of digital addressing systems.
It also ensures effective time management on the side of business managers or sales personnel who need to close deals with new clients. They will be able to arrive at their meeting location on time.
Ecommerce businesses in Ghana can also integrate digital addressing systems on their platforms so that wares or products are delivered to their clients on time. According to a research by What3Words the last mile of a parcel’s journey reaches or exceeds about 50% cost of the total delivery cost. The longer it takes for the delivery to reach the customer, the more difficult it is to reach that target. In 2015/16 consumers experienced 4.8 million delivery problems, spending 11.8 million hours trying to sort them out. Embracing digital addressing systems by these firms will optimize their operations and improve customer satisfaction. In Ghana pizarea.com is currently using digital addressing systems to deliver meals to their clients. Hundreds of riders are currently been trained on the usage of digital addressing system. This has cut down the start-up’s operation cost significantly.
Global Trends in Digital Addressing usage
Digital addressing Systems have been adopted by countries including: Mongolia, Cote D’Ivoire, South Africa, and Brazil among others. This has helped to unlock the economic potential of these countries and also improve national infrastructure. According to what3words For example in Brazil – Rochina, the largest Favela is a maze of thousands of tiny roads and alleys. The local post company is using what3words to offer 3 word addresses to residents. Residents are able to get their mail and online shopping delivered directly to their homes. In South Africa, a courier service startup is leveraging on digital addressing system to collect essential medicines from hospitals and clinics, then locate patients too sick to make journey themselves.
As we continue to integrate new technologies into our daily lives, the role of precise and reliable addressing systems becomes even more essential. Better addressing enhances the customer experience, delivers business efficiency, and drives growth and supports social and economic development of countries.
Government should also put in place measures to help educate and sensitize the public on the usage of digital addressing systems. I suggest that digital addressing should be a required course in our basic, secondary and tertiary institutions. Also, even as it has already been started by the government, all private and public institutions should have digital addresses at their entrance.