Maximum technology utilized by Saudi authorities to ensure safety of pilgrims

In the 2019 Hajj season, the Ministry of Health introduced a robot that remotely provided consultations and checks with the use of artificial intelligence. (SPA)
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In the 2019 Hajj season, the Ministry of Health introduced a robot that remotely provided consultations and checks with the use of artificial intelligence. (SPA)
Maximum technology utilized by Saudi authorities to ensure safety of pilgrims
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Maximum technology utilized by Saudi authorities to ensure safety of pilgrims
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Maximum technology utilized by Saudi authorities to ensure safety of pilgrims
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Updated 21 July 2021

Maximum technology utilized by Saudi authorities to ensure safety of pilgrims

In the 2019 Hajj season, the Ministry of Health introduced a robot that remotely provided consultations and checks with the use of artificial intelligence. (SPA)
  • Hajis at holy sites have direct access to smart card service, smart bracelets, and smart robots to ‘enrich their experience’

MAKKAH/JEDDAH: To ensure safety during the Hajj season and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), Saudi authorities are utilizing technology to help pilgrims perform their rituals in peace and comfort.

The yearly pilgrimage to Makkah is considered the world’s largest human gathering, with almost 2.5 million pilgrims in 2019. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Hajj is restricted to 60,000 pilgrims, all coming from within the Kingdom.  
When Saudi pilgrims arrived, they had direct access to smart cards, smart bracelets, and a smart robot service — all intended to make Hajj a more convenient experience.
The features of the smart cards, introduced by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, include near-field communication (NFC) and barcodes that will hold personal, medical, and residence information. They will also guide pilgrims to their residences in the holy sites.
According to Hamad Al-Eshiwan, director of the media center at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the smart cards were manufactured locally and were given to this year’s pilgrims and will be available for Umrah performers in the future.
“We will be also providing this technology to other international Hajj companies for future Hajj and Umrah clients,” he said.
Al-Eshiwan also said each card is color-coded as the different colors link the cardholders to their respective housing at the holy sites. They also allow access to smart doors and entrances to campsites in the holy sites.
In addition to pilgrims’ vital information, the cards also allow the pilgrims to check their pre-planned journey routes and schedules for Hajj. Through these cards, pilgrims can choose their daily meals, which will help avoid crowded places.




Built locally, smart cards are color-coded as the different colors link the cardholders to their respective housing at the holy sites. (SPA)

Explaining the need for these cards, Amr Al-Maddah, deputy minister for Hajj and Umrah Services, said the smart cards were launched to put the pilgrims’ safety and convenience as top priorities and to “enrich their experience.”
He added that pilgrims can fill out a service evaluation questionnaire of their experiences as their feedback will help improve services and meet pilgrims’ highest expectations.
The smart cards can also be linked and read through the “Sha’ir” application, which will also assist authorities in providing any requested service.
The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) launched its smart bracelet service in cooperation with the Guests of God Service Program, in partnership with the Saudi Telecom Company Group (STC).
Some 5,000 bracelets were distributed among this year’s pilgrims as the bracelet, which comes in the form of a wristwatch, is equipped with GPS and uses the data for Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
The bracelet provides integrated services that include all personal data of a pilgrim, including his or her health status related to COVID-19.




Fully automatic robots have been deployed to sanitize Makkah’s Grand Mosque and keep it free from bacteria in the wake of the pandemic. (SPA)

Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, SDAIA president, described the initiative as an important step to serve the pilgrims.
“Pilgrims wearing these bracelets can check their heartbeats and oxygen level,” Al-Ghamdi said. “They can also review their health status as these bracelets are connected with the Tawakkalna app.” Pilgrims with bracelets can report a security issue or seek assistance from their control center, which includes representatives from various health, security, and Hajj authorities.
“This center monitors everything happening to the pilgrims, whether it is a security or health issue, or even an accident,” Al-Ghamdi said. “These bracelets can also help authorities take action when needed.”
The General Presidency of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque launched its smart robot service last month as 10 robots joined the Grand Mosque’s disinfection team.
To help thwart the spread of COVID-19, the robots are helping in the Grand Mosque’s disinfection routine. The robots are equipped with a special program to analyze the disinfection requirements of assigned areas. They can operate between five and eight hours without human intervention.
In the 2019 Hajj season, the Ministry of Health introduced the first Hajj robot that remotely provided medical consultations and checks with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
AI assistant professor at Umm Al-Qura University, Tahani Al-Subait, told Arab News that a physician in Riyadh, for instance, can provide medical assistance through a robot to a patient in the holy sites. “The physician can remotely monitor the robot and give it an order to take the patient’s temperature and check their pulse with a stethoscope,” she said.


Saudi Arabia registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 59 new cases

Saudi Arabia registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 59 new cases
Updated 43 sec ago

Saudi Arabia registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 59 new cases

Saudi Arabia registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 59 new cases
  • The Kingdom says 78 patients had recovered from the virus in the past 24 hours
  • Over 41.7 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered to date across KSA

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia confirmed five new COVID-19 related deaths on Monday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,704.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 59 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 546,985 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 244 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh and Jeddah with 10 cases each, followed by Hafar Al-Batin with four, and Madinah and Makkah confirmed three cases each.
The health ministry also announced that 78 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 536,028.


Over 41.7 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date through 587 centers.
The ministry renewed its call on the public to register with the Sehhaty app to receive the vaccine, and adhere to the measures and abide by instructions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs reopened one mosque after temporarily evacuating and sterilizing it in Al-Jawf after one person tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of mosques closed and reopened after being sterilized to 2,031 within 230 days.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected over 232 million people globally and the death toll has reached around 4.76 million.


Ambitious plans unveiled for luxury new Saudi mountain resort

Ambitious plans unveiled for luxury new Saudi mountain resort
Updated 13 min 22 sec ago

Ambitious plans unveiled for luxury new Saudi mountain resort

Ambitious plans unveiled for luxury new Saudi mountain resort
  • Oppenheim Architecture has created 48 villas and 12 hotel rooms for the site designed to protect and preserve the environment and highlight the region’s cultural heritage

JEDDAH: Ambitious plans have been unveiled for a new resort in the Saudi mountains designed to blend modern architecture into the natural landscape.

The Red Sea Development Co. project, one of the Kingdom’s most ambitious regenerative tourism schemes to date, will see luxury accommodation built into rocky outcrops commanding stunning valley views.

Developers behind the Desert Rock resort adopted a design philosophy of building with the land, not on the land.

John Pagano, chief executive officer at TRSDC, said: “We wanted to create a destination that allows guests to experience Saudi Arabia’s untouched beauty. Desert Rock will provide guests with uninterrupted spectacular views while preserving the natural landscape for future generations to enjoy.”

Oppenheim Architecture has created 48 villas and 12 hotel rooms for the site designed to protect and preserve the environment and highlight the region’s cultural heritage.

“We have drawn inspiration from the surrounding environment, while providing unparalleled luxury, allowing guests to connect with nature and create memorable experiences,” added Pagano.

Materials excavated from the site will be used to create the infrastructure, with stone going into interior and exterior walls and floors, and sand and gravel being used for concrete aggregate.

Construction began in July, and the resort has been designed to reduce energy consumption and regenerate native flora. Water retention and distribution systems will be used throughout the site, with harvested rainwater creating a more green, flourishing wadi. The first hotel guests are due to check in at the end of next year.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Red Sea Project in July 2017. Elements of the first phase of the flagship scheme are set to open in 2022. Upon full completion in 2030, the project will comprise 50 hotels offering up to 8,000 rooms and 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.

The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment and leisure facilities, and an international airport.


Biden’s national security adviser Sullivan travels to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Biden’s national security adviser Sullivan travels to Saudi Arabia, UAE
Updated 27 September 2021

Biden’s national security adviser Sullivan travels to Saudi Arabia, UAE

Biden’s national security adviser Sullivan travels to Saudi Arabia, UAE

RIYADH: US President Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is traveling to Saudi Arabia on Monday to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to the Associated Press. 

Sullivan will also visit the United Arab Emirates as part of his regional trip. 

 

 


Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you
Updated 27 September 2021

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you

Riyadh Season 2021 coming to a desert near you
  • The Riyadh Season is expected to provide a mixture of exclusivity and modernity, turning the Saudi capital into a preferred destination for visitors

JEDDAH: Under the slogan #Imagine_more, Riyadh Season 2021 begins in less than a month and offers events and activities for all.

Turki Al-Sheikh, chairman of the board of directors of the General Entertainment Authority, on Saturday announced the launch of the 2021 Riyadh Season on Oct. 20. It will cover an area of 5.4 million square meters across 14 districts in the capital city.

Al-Sheikh said that after the success of Riyadh Season 2019, this year’s events would be organized by Saudi teams.

The season will host 7,500 events, including 70 Arab concerts, six international concerts, 10 international exhibitions, 350 theater performances, 18 Arab plays and six international plays, in addition to one free-wrestling championship, two international matches, 100 interactive experiences, 200 restaurants and 70 cafes, all catering to a range of tastes and age groups.

Nour Fahed, who visited Riyadh’s last season in 2019, told Arab News how excited she was to be attending this year’s events. “I went to the Riyadh Season twice and I was overwhelmed with the things that I saw,” she said. “I could not believe my eyes and I was proud that my country is making international events like this.” 

Hams Nabeel, who went to Riyadh for a business trip during the season, said: “I tried some of the exotic pop-up restaurants in the season, but my favorite activity was going to the Winter Wonderland theme park. I liked how I saw and met so many foreigners and I am aiming for another adventure this year.”

Another guest, Majid Al Assiri, said that he made the most of the activities on offer during the last Riyadh Season, visiting Winter Wonderland, the boulevard, Diriyah festivals, MDLBEAST. “It will be a fantastic season, especially now that people already have an idea of what to expect from last season,” he said.

“Not to mention the second season of MDLBEAST: 2019 was a blast, it was cold because but the experience itself is unique and the first of its kind,” Assiri said. 

The Riyadh Season is expected to provide a mixture of exclusivity and modernity, turning the Saudi capital into a preferred destination for visitors. It will also contribute to achieving national goals such as raising the level of the entertainment-sector industry, creating job opportunities, growing economic returns and attracting foreign investment.

More details will be announced at a press conference on Oct. 4.

Decoder

RIYADH SEASON

Riyadh Season is the biggest part of Saudi Seasons, a series of themed entertainment, artistic, sporting and cultural events held throughout the Kingdom to boost tourism and business opportunities, and providing jobs for Saudi nationals. Riyadh Season 2021 alone will host 7,500 events, according to the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA).


Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services
Updated 27 September 2021

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Who’s Who: Loay Mashabi, deputy minister at Saudi Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services

Loay Mashabi has been the deputy minister for logistic services at the Ministry of Transport and Logistic Services since April 2021.

He has also been a board member of Saudia Cargo from August 2021 and a board member of Saudi Exports from June 2021.

Prior to his current position, Mashabi was the deputy governor for planning and development at Saudi Customs from September 2019 to March 2021.

He served as the chief operating officer of the Al-Soudah Development project, later known as Al-Soudah Development Co., at the Public Investment Fund, the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia, from February 2019 to August 2019.

From January 2017 to December 2018 Mashabi was general manager at LogiPoint Services, previously known as Isnad, the operator of the largest bonded and re-export zone in Saudi Arabia located at Jeddah Islamic Port.

From September of 2013 to December 2016, he worked as general manager at Petroleum and Energy Logistics and Services Co.

His professional career began in September 2006 at Saudi Aramco as a petroleum production engineer, and he continued to work as a senior production engineer at the oil giant until April 2013. This strong foundation in a well-governed giga-company helped to shape his career and he later moved to PETROGISTIX.

Mashabi received his master’s degree in business administration from the London Business School, a constituent college of the University of London, UK (2016-17).

He has a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia (2002-2006).

Mashabi was issued a petroleum engineering certification from the Society of Petroleum Engineers in December 2012.