Saudi Arabia applies technology at Hajj for a safe pilgrimage

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Hajj Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has utilized the “smart card” service for the second year to provide qualitative services to pilgrims, and to take advantage of technology to facilitate the journey of pilgrims while performing the rituals of Hajj.

Supervisor General of the Planning and Development Agency at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, said that this move is part of the ministry’s strategy for digital transformation by creating virtual platforms to facilitate and reduce procedures, keep pace with the technological developments and achieve the goals of the Vision 2030 Executive Program called “Serving Pilgrims”, which is a confirmation of the Commitment to developing and expanding smart services being provided to pilgrims.

Dr. Al-Maddah has considered the “Smart Card” as an extension of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah’s “Smart Hajj” platform, which serves as a digital identity for a pilgrim, indicating that with the requirements of this year’s Hajj season 2020, a number of services related to the card that includes the pilgrim’s personal, medical and residential information were developed.

The “smart card” assists in guiding pilgrims to their residence in holy sites, controlling entry, and to the various facilities, in addition to its role in reducing illegal Hajj.

The Smart Card has vital features designed according to 5 basic colors of program services, pilgrim grouping and transportation, and it also includes technology for the near field contact (NFC) to read the Hajj data through the self-service machines as well as on a “barcode” that is read by the personnel working in Hajj to know all the information of a pilgrim.

It is worth mentioning that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah provided the “smart card” service during last year’s Hajj 1440 AH (2019) at a limited scale, however, it expanded the service this year to include all pilgrims and participants.