High-tech ‘smart’ cards to keep Hajj pilgrims safe and secure

Up to 25,000 Hajj pilgrims will be issued with wearable high-tech smart cards this year in a pilot program being launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. (AN file photo)
Updated 12 July 2019

High-tech ‘smart’ cards to keep Hajj pilgrims safe and secure

  • The smart cards will be fitted with a location tracker to follow individual pilgrims’ movements, managed by a control room in Mina
  • These cards are scannable, allowing Hajj service providers to quickly identify pilgrims, access their medical history and establish what assistance they may need

JEDDAH: Up to 25,000 Hajj pilgrims in Mina this year will be issued wearable high-tech smart cards in a pilot program being launched by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

The cards will store the pilgrims’ personal information, health status, residence and Hajj tour details.

They will also be fitted with a location tracker to follow individual pilgrims’ movements, managed by a control room in Mina.

“It is the experimental stage of a smart Hajj initiative we are working on, and we will study to what extent it might be advantageous to the pilgrims.”

Dr. Amr Al-Maddah Chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

“It is the experimental stage of a smart Hajj initiative we are working on, and we will study to what extent it might be advantageous to the pilgrims,” Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, the chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah told Arab News.

“The numbers will increase in the coming years to include more pilgrims in the other areas.” The ministry is also issuing up to 200,000 pilgrims ID cards, which will have the same information storage technology but without the location tracking feature.

These cards are scannable, allowing Hajj service providers to quickly identify pilgrims, access their medical history and establish what assistance they may need.

The cards will be complemented this year by a Smart Hajj ID app, Al-Maddah said. “It will offer the same features as the smart ID card, including tracking location, identifying crowded spots on the map, and the transport schedule.”

The smart card and mobile app also enable the ministry to simulate and predict crowd behavior during Hajj. “This new technology will help us collect data through the cards, cameras, and sensors distributed around the pilgrimage sites,” said Al-Maddah.


King Salman appoints new Saudi central bank deputy governor

Updated 17 October 2019

King Salman appoints new Saudi central bank deputy governor

RIYADH: King Salman appointed Ayman bin Mohammed Al-Sayari as deputy governor for the Kingdom’s central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

Al-Sayari was previously SAMA's deputy governor for investment.

He thanked King Salman for the appointment and the confidence placed in him.