Saudi applies Smart Makkah for holistic hajj services

Saudi applies Smart Makkah for holistic hajj services
Hajj pilgrims were walking towards the place of stoning in Mina, Makkah during the Hajj season in 1439 Hijr/2018. (Indonesia Window)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Government of Saudi Arabia is adopting a technology called Smart Makkah to serve pilgrims from all over the world during worship in the Holy Land, Director General at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah of Saudi Arabia Marwan Al-Sulaimani has said.

A report from Arab News quoted by Indonesia Window here on Wednesday mentioned that the technology will help smooth pilgrims’ journey from the time they arrive in the kingdom until gather in Mount Arafat.

Smart Makkah was introduced on the opening day of the Saudi Smart Cities Summit and Expo.

The two-day forum highlights the role of sustainable technologies in Smart Makkah, an ambitious plan to incorporate advanced tech in many of the country’s major cities.

More than 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide dream of experiencing Hajj and Umrah, Al-Sulaimani said, adding that, “the ministry is looking at the hajj and umrah experience as a holistic picture because it is an emotional and religious journey.

“Pilgrims think about this experience years before they arrive. It takes a lot out of them emotionally and financially to come here,” he said.

“They dedicate themselves to it. We are trying to share with these guys from the moment they make the ‘niya’ (intention) until we send them back, and we want them to go back and share the story of their experience with their relatives, and excite everyone else to come.”

Earlier, the ministry said that it hoped to increase the number of pilgrims to 15 million by 2022 and 30 million by 2030 in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Al-Sulaimani said the ministry is working with all stakeholders to ease pilgrims’ experience and improve services every year.

“Hajj is very complex because it is served by the traffic department, Civil Defense, hospitals and the immigration department. The whole country comes together to serve in Hajji. So, in one way or another, the pilgrims have their own experience with the health ministry because they have to go to the hospital, go through immigration, and deal with our customs, the traffic department, the private sector and bus companies.”

“It is a holistic experience that has to be designed in teams and then linked together,” he noted.

“Before you design the smart city and smart system, you have to design the smart process and incorporate the stakeholders smartly because in a city there will be a municipality, a health department and so on,” Al-Sulaimani said.

“We have to collaborate across one view, one process, to make life easier,” he asserted, saying that a smart system has to be reviewed frequently as a part of a complete journey.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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