Digital Tech Will Help Saudi Arabia Host 30 Million Pilgrims By 2030
For the last two decades, the Hajj pilgrimage has been typically attended by 2 to 3 millions of pilgrims.
This year’s Hajj pilgrimage was open to 1 million pilgrims from Saudi Arabia. By 2030, Saudi Arabia would like to host as many as 30 million pilgrims. To make this ambitious goal possible, the Kingdom is betting on digital technology.
One tech initiative that was launched by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah earlier this year is Hajj Smart ID, a smart ID card with barcodes containing pilgrim’s personal information and documentation. The card frees pilgrims from having to carry official documents, and it also helps guide pilgrims to their residences, among other things.
Last year, Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) and Doyof Al Rahman Program (DARP) launched the Pilgrim’s Smart Bracelet (NUSK) project. The bracelet is intended to help organizers track pilgrim’s health information and vaccination records.
Tech initiatives like Hajj Smart ID and the smart bracelet project are guided by the Pilgrim Experience Program, a core component of Saudi Vision 2030. The program strives to give as many Muslims as possible the opportunity to perform Hajj and Umrah to the fullest extent while working on enhancing their experience.
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“These technological solutions can help attract more Muslims to the two holy mosques, ultimately achieving the Kingdom’s goals in the Saudi Vision 2030 to welcome millions of pilgrims and help them with high-quality services and enrich their experience in the kingdom,” said Amr Al-Madah, Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah.
For the last two decades, the Hajj pilgrimage has been typically attended by 2 to 3 millions of pilgrims. The last three years were exceptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, with the year 2020 seeing a record low attendance of just 1,000 pilgrims. It will be interesting to see how this new digital technology will be able to effectively handle almost 30x the amount of pilgrims by the end of the decade.
A Line-Up Of Over 100 Shows Comes To Snapchat This Ramadan
Snapchatters can watch a wide range of content, including entertainment, drama, and comedy.
As people across the Middle East celebrate the beginning of Ramadan this week, Snapchat has announced a new line-up of over 100 Ramadan shows to be added to the Discover platform, bringing drama, comedy, and more for the holy month. Snapchatters can also browse Spotlight to discover fresh creators and content from across the MENA region and beyond.
Snapchat partners on the Discover line-up include the Saudi Broadcasting Authority, Augustus Media, MBC Group, Rotana Media Group, Dubai Media Inc, 7awi Group, Alfan Group, and more. Snap Inc. has revealed that shows will include “Netflorex, THAT, and Marahel, as well as MBC’s highly anticipated show Tash Returns, Studio 23, and prank show Ramez Never End”.
Snapchat’s Discover and Spotlight will also feature creator content from Saudi legacy Creator Bader Saleh, Ahmad Alzahabi’s cooking show “The Golden Balance”, and Muslim Girl, a US-based award-winning creator empowering Muslim women worldwide.
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“This Ramadan, we are partnering with some of the region’s most trusted media partners and fan-favorite creators to showcase engaging content on Discover and Spotlight. Snapchatters spent 31 percent more time watching Ramadan content than the year prior. We are excited to help our community discover new creators and content in a personalized way, allowing them to watch and share their favorite content that captures the spirit of the holy month,” says Hussein Freijeh, General Manager at Snap Inc. in MENA.
To view Snapchat’s Discover shows, simply swipe right on the app, search for the show you want to watch, and then subscribe!