Thursday, 25 July 2024

Saudi Arabia Utilizes AI Systems to Enhance the Management of Hajj Operations

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The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has employed data and AI technologies to enhance the pilgrim experience during this Hajj season, while ensuring responsible AI practices and applications. These technologies have been implemented across 11 airports in seven countries this year through the Makkah Route Initiative, and at 14 entry points for pilgrims arriving in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These entry points have been equipped with 1092 workstations fitted with the latest biometric capture and registration devices, operated by a team of national technical staff around the clock to ensure service continuity.
The President of the Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA), Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Alghamdi, stated that SDAIA’s utilization of AI systems has contributed to enhancing the management of Hajj operations with the highest levels of productivity, efficiency, and security, ensuring the delivery of optimal services to pilgrims in collaboration with the government entities concerned with Hajj affairs.
Dr. Alghamdi further emphasized that SDAIA continuously strives to develop its services during the Hajj season in parallel with its year-round efforts aimed at facilitating the entry of pilgrims into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through the digitization of airport and border crossing services. These efforts contribute to optimizing performance and providing an organized, easy, and effective experience.
During this year’s Hajj season, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through SDAIA, provided a range of advanced technological services that contributed to serving the pilgrims, in line with the directives of the wise leadership. These services included the smart platforms Basier and Sawaher. Basier is the first real-time computer vision system in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and one of the largest crowd management systems in the Middle East. It is a Saudi smart platform that relies on multiple technological systems operating with national algorithms to monitor and manage crowds in the Grand Mosque, regulate their movements, and facilitate the flow of vehicles.
He clarified that SDAIA’s efforts reflect the continuous and unlimited support it receives from His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and Chairman of SDAIA’s Board of Directors, to fulfill its role in achieving optimal utilization of data and AI technologies. This includes serving pilgrims to achieve the objectives of the Pilgrim Experience Program, one of the programs outlined in Saudi Vision 2030.
Sawaher platform, developed and operated by SDAIA, leverages data analytics and AI to analyze live and recorded video feeds and thermal camera imagery. This advanced analysis and recognition technology enables enhanced security measures for Hajj sites, ensuring the comfort and smooth movement of pilgrims. This year, the platform’s geographical coverage has been expanded to encompass a wider range of areas, including the vicinity of the Grand Mosque, major roads in Makkah, tunnels, holy sites, and the land routes leading to these areas.
During this Hajj season, SDAIA introduced numerous digital services to enhance the pilgrim’s experience. This includes over 315 services on Tawakkalna app, which pilgrims have benefited from, including Weather Gate, Holy Quran recitation, Qibla Direction, viewing the digital pilgrim card (Nusuk), entry permits for vehicles and Hajj workers into holy sites, Ambulance Request, and SOS services. Moreover, Ehsan platform provides services such as sponsoring Hajj for first-time pilgrims, providing food and water to pilgrims, and facilitating the performance of Ritual (Nusuk) by undertaking Adahi requests digitally and distributing them to those in need through Adahi program.

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