Over 1.5 million Muslims across the globe have arrived at Mecca for performing Hajj, an annual pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam. The five day pilgrimage starts on September 10th 2016. The attendees come from more than 150 countries across the world.
In 2015, a massive stampede occurred during Hajj, which consumed over 750 lives. Majority of the dead were Iranian citizens, which led to direct confrontation between Saudi Arabian and Iranian Government. Iran is not sending it’s citizens to Hajj 2016 after failing to reach an agreement with Saudi Arabian government regarding it’s citizen’s security.
In order to improve the safety and security of the pilgrims, Saudi government has introduced number of measures including increase of surveillance.
Technology at Hajj
Saudi Arabian government is making use of several new technologies for the benefit and security of the pilgrims. Some of the key technology initiatives this year are:
- Electronic bracelets fitted with GPS to track the movement and guide the pilgrims. The bracelet will also store the personal information of pilgrim such as medical information, which can be extremely useful during emergencies.
- Smart Hajj App is launched by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)’s GIS Technology Innovation Center is being endorsed officially by government. Smart Hajj app provides the information about Hajj, the checklist of various activities to be done at Hajj and also allows users to connect with the local authorities in case of emergencies. The App is available on both Apple and Google platforms.