Mar 1, 2024

Mar 1, 2024

“Where Are You?” Answering with Sthaan's Innovative Addressing Platform

Written by:

Sep 1, 2023

Sreeram Sridhar & Sonia Rebecca Menezes

Sreeram Sridhar & Sonia Rebecca Menezes

“448 Chaoth Mata Temple, Shivpuri, Kota Town. Please reach the temple and call me, I will come to pick this up.”

In a world driven by precision, what happens when phrases like that are the closest thing you can get to an actual address? Although this seems like a significant logistical hurdle, it is a daily reality for over half of the world's urban population, particularly in rapidly urbanizing regions like India.

Here, the absence of a reliable addressing system isn't just a matter of inconvenience; it translates into significant economic losses—upwards of $10-14 billion annually. [Source]

This challenge doesn’t just hamper the delivery of goods and services but also restricts access to essential amenities like healthcare and banking for millions.

We’re thinking of a way to fix this problem. That’s where Sthaan comes in. By reimagining the very concept of addresses, Sthaan offers a digital-first solution that promises to not only navigate but also streamline the complexities of urban geography.

If you'd like to be a part of this project, fill up this form. Let's work together to shape the future of addressing and logistics.

Why India needs a platform like Sthaan

Increased population, urbanization and e-commerce services played a pivotal role in transforming the need for accurate addresses in India. A lack of standardized addressing system led to each of these e-commerce players and location services providing companies solve the problem of poor addressing system in their own ways.

Solutions like Google Plus Codes provide an 11-digit code to identify the physical location. Similarly, What3words uses 3 random words to describe every location in the world. Companies like Zippr enroll door-to-door by actually assigning every door a 9-digit number.

The major drawbacks of these are lack of human-centricity and no interoperability within these fragmented solutions. Ultimately, this is leading to a low adoption rate and attracting very limited user traction.

Why do unstructured addresses make the last mile costlier?

Image Source: Learning to Decode Unstructured Indian Addresses by Kabir Rustogi

Introducing Sthaan: A unified addressing solution

Sthaan is a virtual address platform that simplifies locating a person or a physical space. It is a digital native way of answering “Where are you?” in the most human-centric, and simplified way which also makes it easier to share rather instead of relying on complex coordinates or traditional addresses, which can be cumbersome or inaccurate.

At its core, a Sthaan address takes on a simple and intuitive format: entity@provider. Here's what that means:

  • Entity: This refers to the individual, business, or specific location you're trying to find. It could be anything with a physical presence that needs to be located, like a home, office, retail store, or even a temporary event space.

  • Provider: The provider is the service or platform that hosts or manages the Sthaan address. This could be a digital payment platform, a unique application promoting privacy, or any organization that participates in the Sthaan ecosystem as a Location Service Provider (LSP).

When someone shares their Sthaan address, the system behind it handles the task of mapping this digital identifier to the actual physical space they occupy. This could be as broad as a city for less precise needs or as specific as a particular apartment within a building for more detailed requirements.

Here are the core features of Sthaan

Privacy by design

Sthaan allows any entity to make two critical choices:  

  1. First, it allows the entity to choose their Sthaan address. This offers a personalised and human-centric way of naming the user ID, unlike the machine-generated codes that are assigned in other Location Encoding Systems.

  2. Second, it follows a privacy-by-design approach where the user can assert control over who gets to see what part of their physical address and for how long. Each Sthaan address can resolve to multiple attributes depending on the context of the request.

This simplifies how a user answers 

  • Where are you?

  • Are you allowed to know? If yes, how detailed is it?

  • How long can you know this information?

User-centric addresses, not geo-centric

Unlike the traditional or digital addressing systems that often use complex codes or coordinates, Sthaan allows users to create addresses that are easy to remember and share. For example, a user could set their address as sita@paytm, making it not just simple but also personal.

This approach eliminates the need to navigate through confusing codes, making the process of sharing locations more intuitive.

Profiles & Live Locations

Sthaan understands that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to addresses. Users can create multiple profiles to represent different locations, such as home and work. For example, sita@paytm/home might direct to Sita's home address, while sita@paytm/work points to her office.

Sthaan supports live location sharing through a reserved 'Live' profile, enabling real-time location updates, which can be particularly useful for sharing your current whereabouts with friends or family.


One of Sthaan's standout features is its ability to unify various addressing schemes under one umbrella, ensuring seamless interoperability. Whether it's a Zippr code or a Google Plus Code, Sthaan can encapsulate these within its addressing format, such as 111123456@zippr for a Zippr code or 7WGF7PRQ+W34G@plus for a Plus Code.

This feature simplifies the addressing landscape and encourages widespread adoption by eliminating the confusion of multiple systems.

For location streams, having multiple live location streams available can create all sorts of wonderful use cases. Friends and families can create a real-time “Weasley Clock” to know where they are.

Users can track their hyperlocal deliveries - whether from Swiggy, Zomato, or Amazon - all in one place. But also provides a simpler way for mass transit systems and smart cities to publish their data in a manner that users can use easily. 

Want to know if the bus #333 is running on time? Just add 333N@bmtc/live to your Google Maps and start tracking it.

The market incentives of Sthaan

The market incentive flow within the Sthaan ecosystem is designed to keep address datasets up-to-date and relevant. Here's how it works:

Address creation: Users create their Sthaan addresses with the help of LSPs. This step is crucial for building the foundational data layer of the ecosystem.

Address resolution: When an LSU, such as an e-commerce platform, needs to deliver a product, it requests the resolution of a user's Sthaan address to a physical location. The LSP managing the user's address resolves it and may charge the LSU a fee for this service, incentivizing the LSP to maintain accurate and accessible address data.

Address updation: If a delivery agent or service user finds an address to be inaccurate or outdated, they can update the address information. This update can be incentivized by the LSP, which might pay for accurate and timely updates to the address data, ensuring the system remains reliable and efficient.

Through this structured ecosystem and incentivized market flow, Sthaan ensures that all stakeholders are motivated to maintain accurate, up-to-date address information, fostering a reliable and efficient addressing system for various applications.

Join the Sthaan initiative

As we continue to develop and refine Sthaan, we recognize the importance of collaboration and community input. The success of Sthaan hinges not only on its technical robustness but also on its adoption by a wide array of stakeholders, from logistics companies to everyday users.

To achieve this, we're inviting passionate volunteers to contribute their skills and insights to various aspects of the project:

Business case development

We're looking for individuals who can delve into the challenges and needs of different players in the logistics and e-commerce ecosystems. Your role would involve identifying the critical pain points of logistics operators, sellers, and buyers and mapping out how Sthaan can address these issues effectively.

By understanding these dynamics, you'll help pinpoint potential early adopters and use cases for Sthaan, laying the groundwork for its successful implementation.

Technical architecture

For those with a knack for system design and a passion for creating seamless user experiences, this is your call to action. Contributing to the technical architecture of Sthaan means you'll be at the heart of building a solution that's not only functional but also intuitive and user-friendly.

Your expertise will help ensure that Sthaan is robust, scalable, and capable of meeting the diverse needs of its users.

Feedback and ideas

The evolution of Sthaan is an ongoing process, one that thrives on fresh perspectives and innovative ideas. Whether you're a potential user, a tech enthusiast, or someone with valuable insights into addressing and logistics, your feedback is invaluable.

Join the conversation, share your thoughts, and help us refine and enhance Sthaan to serve communities around the globe better.

Your Contribution Matters

The journey of Sthaan from concept to reality is a collaborative effort. Whether you have expertise in business, technology, or simply a keen interest in improving how we navigate and connect in our increasingly digital world, your contribution can make a significant difference.

Together, we can ensure that Sthaan achieves its full potential as a universally adopted solution, making addressing more efficient, inclusive, and accessible for all.

If you'd like to be a part of this project, fill up this form. Let's work together to shape the future of addressing and logistics.

*The VPA handle sita@paytm is just for representational purposes. It signifies no affiliation with Paytm

Join the Community

People+ai is a non-profit, housed within the EkStep Foundation. Our work is designed around the belief that technology, especially ai, will cause paradigm shifts that can help India & its people reach their potential.

Join the Community

People+ai is a non-profit, housed within the EkStep Foundation. Our work is designed around the belief that technology, especially ai, will cause paradigm shifts that can help India & its people reach their potential.