Digital case study

Designing an app to combat COVID-19 in Germany

Designing an app to combat COVID-19 in Germany
  • Case Study
  • 5 minute read
  • May 06, 2020

The app aims to track the spread of the virus

The German government urgently sought the help of the country’s digital community to help contain the spread of COVID-19, setting up a two-day hackathon to uncover potential technology-led solutions as fast as possible.


Public Sector, Healthcare, Technology, Media and Telecoms



Client territory


Chapter 1 Our role

A team from PwC, Strategy&, IXDS and the crowd-management technology company SIS Software designed the “CoronaManager” smartphone app to help combat COVID-19 in Germany.

Chapter 2 Setting the scene

During the weekend of 21-22 March, the German government and co-organizers from the country’s digital community hosted the #WirVsVirus (#UsVersusVirus) hackathon, the German federal government and co-organizers challenged participants to develop digital programs and projects to assist in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Almost 23,000 individuals participated in the hackathon, ranging from programmers and designers to socially committed citizens. In total, almost 3,000 COVID-19 “challenges” were presented to the participants, including more than 100 submissions from national ministries, the Federal Office of Civil Protection, the Federal Police and other public bodies. 

PwC’s “CoronaManager” app was highlighted as one of the most technically sophisticated and ready-to-use contributions. We are currently in discussions with the German Ministry of Health and other public bodies about the app’s potential use in a national digital anti-COVID-19 strategy.

“CoronaManager is an amazing solution and definitely one of the most mature contributions to the hackathon”

Tom Rauhe,Member of the hackathon jury

Chapter 3 How we helped

The “CoronaManager” app project brought together the distinctive skills of PwC, Strategy&, IXDS and the crowd-management technology company SIS Software to produce a fully-functional prototype in less than 48 hours. 

PwC and Strategy& developed a high-level concept for the app, including defined requirements, selected functionalities and a mock-up design. The PwC digital incubator was responsible for the user experience (UX) design, technical development of the prototype and the creation of targeted marketing material for the hackathon and beyond, including a video clip. IXDS took charge of graphic design and a video tour through the app. SIS Software delivered its proven and readily available technical crowd-management solution. 

Several factors enabled the rapid development of the prototype and progression towards the roll-out phase of the app. We worked in a highly integrated team with clearly defined responsibilities, from concept development to design and technical development. Critically, we based the app on an existing technical solution that has been proven in similar contexts in the public sector. This gave us a head start over similar initiatives and helped us focus on putting together feasible requirements. Lastly, we kept the team together after development of the prototype to capture shared learnings.

Chapter 4 Impact and potential

Across Germany, public and private institutions recognize the immense potential of using location and mobility data to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, while enabling the gradual lifting of lockdown measures that are hurting the economy. German federal and state ministries have already expressed interest in the “CoronaManager” app, as have public health organizations, such as the German Red Cross, and some private sector clients. There has also been interest in use of the app in other countries. 

The app can be rolled out rapidly because it is based on an existing and proven technological platform. It has strong export potential outside Germany because it can be customised to work with existing smartphone technology and is easy to translate into other languages. 

Developed in less than 48 hours, the app is a powerful communication and information tool based on location-based targeted information to better protect the users and others. The app is fully operational and adapted for contact tracing using Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (PEPP-PT), Apple and Google privacy standards.

“In the current pandemic, both the government and the public require rapid assistance. By combining the distinctive capabilities of the PwC network and its external partners, we were able to create a fully functional and innovative technical solution in less than 48 hours that can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19”

Germar SchröderStrategy& Germany

Let us be part of your success story

Reach out to start a conversation

Dr. Germar Schröder

Partner, PwC Strategy&, Frankfurt am Main, PwC Germany


Manuel Meske

Director, PwC Germany


Albert Zimmermann

Director, München, PwC Germany

+49 89 54525-657


Michael Birlbauer

Senior Manager, München, PwC Germany

+89 5790-6809


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