No, this is not a cheering article. This is a critical review after 100 days of the Corona-Warn-App - but one that is noteworthy.
SAP and Deutsche Telekom programmed the Corona-Warn-App in only 50 days. In the first 24 hours after the app's launch alone, there were six million downloads, a total of over 18.4 million downloads in 100 days. So everything is good then? But then why are people still bitching? Let's take it one step at a time.
- Distribution: With currently more than 18.4 million downloads, the German Corona-Warn-App has more downloads than its counterparts in all European countries combined. Critics say: Downloads are not users. That is true. We currently assume 15 million active users. This figure is also a strong number and is quite impressive.
- Functionality: The App is a double premiere. First, we have integrated the new Exposure Notification Framework from Google and Apple, a special interface for Corona Warning Apps. Secondly, we have shown that Bluetooth functions as a means of determining distances, thus enabling important basic research on the basis of which further improvements are possible. This is digital pioneering work by SAP and Telekom.
- Errors: Errors? Yes, there have been. We had problems with the interaction with the operating systems of Google and Apple, confusing screen displays and error messages. With partnership, fast updates and hotfixes, we got most of it under control again after 24 hours. As a consequence, we test even more intensively. In our own test center in Dresden, the Corona-Warn-App is being tested around the clock on various smartphone models with Argus eyes. Nevertheless, it cannot be ruled out that the complex interaction of the app, the exposure notification framework and the respective operating system may cause jerkiness in the future. Because, see above, digital pioneering work is required! But the SAP Telecom team continues to work on making the app more robust. This is how agile software development works. There is no finished product, and then you just sit back and do the work. A little better every day, so to speak.
- Warnings: Well, this is the point where some people get stuck. How many users have been warned about the app, nobody can say. But this is not a fault of the app, but the consequence of the built-in privacy protection. The app was designed to reliably protect the identity of the users and their personal data, as broad sections of the population wanted it. This is the case, and the German Federal Association for Consumer Protection has just stated once again that the Corona-Warn-App is a "showcase project in data protection". As a consequence, there is no way to look inside the system and count on how many smartphones the app's algorithm has triggered a risk warning. But we are seeing more and more reports on social media and in local newspapers that app users have been warned. So no one needs to worry - the warning via app works.
In the sum of these points, my conclusion 100 days after launch is clearly positive. The app is working for us - and hopefully for many more new users. Don't be irritated by teething troubles. You too can help fight the pandemic and use the Corona-Warning-App!