A TEESSIDE businesses has created an app that tells people how busy shops are before they head out – a useful development as stringent social distancing measures are reintroduced and cold weather sets in.

Stockton-based Sapere Software, which builds bespoke software to help businesses digitally transform, has launched a mobile app that uses location services shows people how full a shop or business.

Quevel, available on each app store, is free to use and uses colours to indicate how busy a place is.

Operations director Paul Drake said: "Knowledge is power, so being able to see how busy a venue is before setting off will reduce people’s exposure to crowded spaces and help reduce the spread of Covid-19.

"This is going to be more important as winter months set in. Right now, no one really minds queuing outside, but they will when it rains.

"This would be useful everywhere but particularly with barbers and gyms where you can't make appointments. The proof is in the pudding.

"No one wants to be stood in the cold and rain. People will just stop going to shops and then the local economy will stop turning.

"This is really going to impact businesses going forward."

The Northern Echo:

The app, which took three months and a small team to build, was created during one of Sapere’s monthly innovation sessions, where each member of the team works on their own projects.

The firm, which has taken on one new client and an intern during lockdown, says Quevel will continue to be updated and additional features will be introduced.

Director Shaun Merifield, who founded Sapere with Mr Drake in 2007 after the pair worked together at a company in Redcar, added: “Quevel highlights the importance of our innovation sessions. We don’t have an research and development department so we’re reliant on the team to think of new ideas. We figured the best way was to allow them to work on something they have a real passion for.

“The beauty of this is it allows us to create simple solutions quickly that can improve the wellbeing of local and national communities.”

The Northern Echo:

The software company already works with a range of businesses but is keen to collaborate with others in the region.

For example, it is currently working with a hardware firm to create printed electronic boards that will help catch rats for a pest control client.

Mr Drake said: "I'm constantly told that there's little innovation in the North-East but I'm passionate about the region and emerging technology. We are keen to collaborate and solve challenges that businesses face but don't know how to tackle.

"It is quite exciting working with a hardware provider. This is the way it's going to work for the North-East. We need to bring expertise together, from different fields and sectors, to make the region prosper."

The boss, originally from Guisborough, is interested in Internet of Things, 5G, big data and other emerging technologies and urges anyone with an idea to come forward and see how they can work together.