Saudi Arabia leverages data, AI technologies to enhance Hajj pilgrims experience

Saudi Arabia leverages data, AI technologies to enhance Hajj pilgrims experience


Innovations are being implemented with a commitment to responsible AI practices and applications.

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MAKKAH (APP) - The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made significant advancements in enhancing the pilgrims experience during this Hajj season by employing data and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

These innovations are being implemented with a commitment to responsible AI practices and applications.

This year, the Route to Makkah initiative has seen these advanced technologies deployed across 11 airports in seven countries and at 14 entry points for pilgrims arriving in the Kingdom.

Each entry point is equipped with 1,092 workstations featuring the latest biometric capture and registration devices, managed by a dedicated team of national technical staff working around the clock to ensure uninterrupted service.

President of the Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA), Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al Ghamdi highlighted that the use of AI systems has significantly enhanced the management of Hajj operations, improving productivity, efficiency, and security.

This collaboration with various government entities involved in Hajj affairs ensures optimal service delivery to pilgrims.

Dr. Al Ghamdi emphasized SDAIA’s continuous efforts to develop its services during Hajj, aligning these with year-round initiatives to facilitate pilgrims’ entry into the Kingdom through the digitization of airport and border crossing services.

These initiatives contribute to a smoother, more organized, and effective pilgrim experience.

During this Hajj season, the Kingdom, under SDAIA’s guidance, introduced several advanced technological services aligned with directives from the nation’s leadership. These services include the smart platforms Basier and Sawaher.

Basier, the Kingdom’s first real-time computer vision system, is one of the largest crowd management systems in the Middle East.

It employs national algorithms to monitor and manage crowds in the Grand Mosque, regulate movements, and facilitate vehicle flow, ensuring a safe and orderly environment.

SDAIA’s initiatives reflect the continuous support from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who serves as Prime Minister and Chairman of SDAIA’s Board of Directors.

This backing is crucial for achieving the objectives of the Pilgrim Experience Programme, a key component of Saudi Vision 2030.

The Sawaher platform, developed and operated by SDAIA, uses data analytics and AI to analyze live and recorded video feeds and thermal camera imagery.

This technology enhances security measures at Hajj sites, ensuring the comfort and smooth movement of pilgrims.

This year, Sawaher’s coverage has expanded to include a wider range of areas around the Grand Mosque, major roads in Makkah, tunnels, holy sites, and the land routes leading to these areas.

In addition to these platforms, SDAIA introduced over 315 digital services through the Tawakkalna app to enhance the pilgrim experience. Services include Weather Gate, Holy Quran recitation, Qibla direction, viewing the digital pilgrim card (Nusuk), entry permits for vehicles and Hajj workers, ambulance requests, and SOS services.

Furthermore, the Ehsan platform provides various services, such as sponsoring Hajj for first-time pilgrims, providing food and water, and facilitating the performance of rituals (Nusuk) through digital Adahi requests and distributions via the Adahi programme.

These technological advancements underscore Saudi Arabia’s commitment to leveraging data and AI to improve the Hajj experience, ensuring that pilgrims can perform their religious duties with greater ease and comfort.