It is three years since Eircode was introduced to Ireland, the seven character code that was assigned to every address to digitally identify every location. The company responsible for designing the Eircode format is Autoaddress and the company helps its business customers capture addresses and validate them quickly and accurately online.

Autoaddress today said it had won new business worth €2.3m over the past 18 months and it predicted that its revenue is set to grow a further 33% in 2018 to €2m. Since the establishment of the Eircode system, Autoaddress has gone from strength to strength and now verifies over two million addresses every week.

One of the criticisms of Eircode in the beginning was that the seven characters in Eircode are random. Pat Donnelly, Managing Director of Autoaddress, explained that in rural Ireland lots of houses share the same address in a townland, and if you make a mistake in an Eircode, you don't accidentally come up with another local address. If you make one character change in an Eircode, you will always get a very different address. "It allows for verification for the ambulance service and so on, because you don't want someone to arrive two kilometres away to a similar address," Mr Donnelly said.

Eircode was a bit of a slow burner in the beginning but the National Ambulance Service use it and encourage people to have their Eircode to hand in case of an emergency. Google Maps also use it.

Autoaddress provides a tool where its customers can place a field on their website or mobile app to help their customers enter their address quickly and accurately and capture the Eircode. When a person fills in their Eircode, Autoaddress autofills their full address which speeds up the process, and helps its customers to get on with their business.

Many industries have adopted Eircode enthusiastically, including the courier industry, insurance, local government, and e-commerce websites. "We have high penetration across all those areas," Pat Donnelly said. "Previously if insurance companies had a vague address, they would have had to exclude a large number of homes which would mean a large premium on a large area for say flood insurance. Now they are able to pinpoint exactly where the location is. They are able to reduce that premium for the ones they know are outside a flood area," he explained. 

The General Data Protection Regulation came into effect at the end of May and Autoaddress was able to use Eircode to ensure its business customers were GDPR compliant. "One advantage that Eircode provides is we are able to analyse people's addresses, and determine if there is any other information. People often might store mobile phone numbers, dates of birth, someone's name in the address field. We're able to identify that and, alert the company so that they can remove that personal information from their address fields."

Autoaddress processed 100 million Eircode address look-ups on behalf of its customers last year, which is up from 35 million on the previous year. "We are really happy with how things are going," Mr Donnelly said.

E-commerce is the largest area for potential growth for the firm, especially in rural areas. "Consumers are demanding that people use the Eircode that they provide because they see the benefits, they see couriers arriving without having to call and ask for directions and maybe get lost along the way. So that's the biggest area of growth for us," he added.

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