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.


The Saudi content creator ‘decluttering’ our feeds

Amani Abudawood
Updated 7 min 30 sec ago

The Saudi content creator ‘decluttering’ our feeds

  • I care about the impact more than the number of viewers, says Amani Abudawood

JEDDAH: The University of Business and Technology hosted the In:AD — Innovation in Advertising event on Tuesday. The event aims to bring together practitioners and academics to discuss trends and innovation in advertising in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East and beyond.
Amani Abudawood, the 35-year-old founder of Instagram blog Tabseet and content development service Wojood, shared her experiences with Arab News.
“Every post on Tabseet reflects my experience. There’s no book I posted and haven’t read, and no product I post about without trying it myself. It’s a personal blog, but it’s different,” she said.
“Wojood focuses on the work I’ve done with clients and how to enrich Arabic content. The goal of Wojood is to empower smaller companies. Clients come to content developers because they don’t have the tools and don’t know where to start.
“They might go to an agency for them to take care of their content, but what happens after three months? They stop posting because they worry about sabotaging their own content. What I do at Wojood is allow the client to write the content themselves, but I will guide them every step of the way.”
During her speech, Abudawood shared her perspective on working in the media.
“I care about the impact more than the number of viewers. No one knows how far one can reach, I want to impact as many people as possible. I see it as my responsibility to share my knowledge and see who it impacts.”
One of her posts had a 30-day decluttering exercise, starting with one’s room and ending with the mind.
“Tabseet means minimalism. Unfortunately some people take it to the extreme and sell everything — this happens abroad — and keep only the things they need. When I thought about this, Zuhd (the act of detachment) came to mind,” she said.
“The idea we have about Zuhd is usually an old man who has very little and is content with what he has. I started researching and found a quote by Ali ibn Abi Talib: ‘Detachment is not that you should own nothing, but that nothing should own you.’ This means that I don’t have to own so little, it means that nothing is supposed to have any power over me.”
Decluttering is important because it helps one differentiate between what they want and what they need, she said.
“Minimalism plays a role in all aspects of life. From a social perspective, I exited many WhatsApp groups that I don’t need. Another example is zero waste, we don’t need straws to drink anything. It’s harmful for the environment and I don’t need it. Detachment is needed in all areas of life, from objects to money to relationships.”