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New Belgian app aids socially distant shopping

Credit: Belga

A Belgian mobile application to check the number of people in nearby grocery stores to avoid queues and groups when shopping was made available on Monday.

The app, Shop Safe, indicates whether a shop is “quiet”, “normal”, “busy” or “too busy”, based on its users’ location data and that of Belgian telecom operators. It also provides information about the supply of particular products.

“Every five minutes, a telecom operator gives us the number of active phones near the supermarket. So we can already estimate whether the situation is normal or not, even without user updates,” explained Bart Muskala, CEO of Accurat, the company behind the project.

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“Social distancing is the way to keep ourselves safe, according to the experts. In other words, this means keeping a (safe) distance. We will have to work together to achieve this. With this app, you can do your bit, and inform other people about the crowds in your local stores,” the app description reads.

The app, which is currently only available on the Play Store, is based on the same technology as the Waze navigation system.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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