Press Release and Press Kit

April 2020

A UK-based social enterprise Lanterne, has developed, and is soon to launch, a free app that will help us observe ‘social distancing’ more effectively in our collective effort to break the transmission rate of the coronavirus.

Lanterne’s ‘Keep Your Distance’ platform provides real-time data on how crowded essential places such as supermarkets and pharmacies are so that people can choose the least busy place and best time to visit.

The platform uses a combination of existing data sources, such as Google Maps and Google Places data, in combination with crowdsourced data.

Lanterne developed the first version of ‘Keep Your Distance’ in just three days and developed four further prototypes in the next four weeks. They’re now about to enter their beta-testing phase, and are looking to launch more widely in mid-April.

The app is the brainchild of Lanterne co-founders Sebastian Mueller, Alex Barnes and Yohan Iddawela, who have been developing technology to help people in conflict zones to navigate safely.

Yohan Iddawela said: “The mission of our social enterprise, Lanterne, is to use data to improve safety and promote economic development. As a result, we wanted to see what we could do with our skillset to help people out at such a trying time. Our CTO, Sebastian, came up with the idea of building a free platform to help people with social distancing.

“Keep Your Distance provides live data on the crowdedness of places so that you can choose the best place and the best time to visit while maintaining social distance. This includes supermarkets and pharmacies. Our hope is that this can help people observe social distancing more effectively, stay safe, and play a part in slowing down the infection rate of COVID-19. We’re also committed to ensuring that this remains 100% free for everyone to use.

“We were able to go from idea to working prototype in the space of three days and we’re now preparing to launch. We wouldn’t be where we are without the support we’ve received from the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre UK, the London School of Economics (LSE) Generate, Oxford University’s Oxford Foundry, and Santander Universities UK.”

Alex Barnes said, “‘Our plans to roll out our core product — an app to help people navigate safely in conflict areas — were heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak. We were keen to see what we could do to help in the current circumstances, and our Chief Technology Officer Sebastian came up with “Keep Your Distance”. We think it will be extremely useful for people who need to travel to shops and grocery stores, but are trying to do social distancing effectively to protect themselves and the wider population.’


Additional information for journalists

With a mission to improve global public safety and reduce the spread of the coronavirus, Lanterne is eager to chat further about ways to draw attention to this free platform. They are currently testing the product with as many people as possible. Journalists who would like to try the app out for themselves in advance of its imminent launch are invited to get in touch (


About Lanterne

Lanterne is an award-winning social enterprise that uses data to improve safety and promote economic development. They’ve received support and funding from the European Space Agency’s Business Incubation Centre UK managed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (part of UK Research and Innovation), the University of Oxford’s Oxford Foundry, the London School of Economics (LSE) Generate, Santander Universities and Yoti’s Humanitarian Tech Support Program.


Previous media coverage for Keep Your Distance

The Guardian

Science and Technology Facilities Council UK

Oxford University’s Department of International Development

The London School of Economics and Political Science


Contact details and press enquiries:

Visit for more information. Twitter: @keepyourdistapp

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Sample Image 2: Supermarket Wireframe
Sample Image 3: Crowdsourcing Wireframe

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