DXC Tech, MRDA improve safety and security of pilgrims

DXC Tech, MRDA improve safety and security of pilgrims

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DXC Technology-enabled system gathers and analyzes 23 million data points into actionable insights to create a seamless and safe experience for pilgrims
DXC Technology-enabled system gathers and analyzes 23 million data points into actionable insights to create a seamless and safe experience for pilgrims

JEDDAH – Nearly two million pilgrims who attended last September’s Haj 2016 in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, realized a safer and more secure experience with the presence of a world-class safety, security, and crowd control system. The Makkah Region Development Authority (MRDA) and DXC Technology, the world’s leading independent, end-to-end IT services company, worked in partnership to successfully implement the first phase of a multi-year initiative to better schedule pilgrim visitations and reduce the risk of overcrowding at the stations and platforms along the Al Mashaaer Al Mugaddassah Metro Southern Line (MMMSL).

The MMMSL, which has one of the world’s highest metro capacities, shuttles approximately 72,000 passengers per hour at peak periods between holy sites such as Makkah, Mount Arafat and Mina during the Haj. In addition to keeping the crowds moving and free from obstruction to ensure their safety and security, MRDA also needed to monitor the deployment of 7,500 employees who oversee the operations at their stations and platforms.

After careful study and assessment, DXC Technology designed and implemented a suite of multi-user technology solutions including a dual-language application in English and Arabic to support staff management, along with a pilgrim dispatch system. DXC Technology conducted comprehensive training for all staff, and a 24/7 Crowd Control Command Centre (CCCC) was established to monitor all aspects of the event and to provide real-time data and analytics updates to MRDA and its staff. In all, the DXC Technology-enabled system gathered and analyzed 23 million data points into actionable insights to create a seamless and safe experience for the 1.8 million Haj pilgrims.

MRDA deployed thousands of civil servants, security personnel and medical professionals to strengthen crowd management throughout the pilgrimage season. Additional personnel were also contracted to manage equipment and the safe transfer of pilgrims using the metro system on the MMMSL. DXC Technology’s next-generation capabilities helped to determine the best locations to deploy staff members and to facilitate communication between them in order to ensure smooth, prompt and secure operations.

Abdelmoula Benabida, chairman of the managing team at the Al Mashaaer Metro Project, MRDA, said: “It was an honor and privilege to facilitate this pilgrimage for millions from around the world, and we believe that as technology evolves, there are always new systems that we can adopt. Last year we guaranteed safety by implementing technologies that allowed for the efficient movement of 1.8 million pilgrims. For the first time — through facilities such as the Crowd Control Command Centre, advanced analytics and mobile applications — MRDA management could easily track movement schedules and staffing levels, and issue timely notifications for critical changes or incidents.”

Maruf Majed, vice president and general manager, AMEA, DXC Technology, said: “Applying solutions-oriented thinking and innovative technology to enhance a traditional experience calls for a delicate balance, and we are proud to have partnered with the MRDA to provide the benefits of cloud, big data intelligence and analytics to help ensure the safety of millions of pilgrims visiting Mecca. DXC Technology teams in Malaysia, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and UAE worked around the clock for eight weeks to complete the implementation of this high-magnitude project, including early phase of infrastructure set-up through implementation and delivery. This highly flexible, scalable and robust system is now being enhanced with added functionality to meet projected MRDA needs for the decade ahead.”

A new mobile app for pilgrims called ‘iHajj’ has also just been launched for iOS and Android, providing Haj and Umrah pilgrims an end-to-end experience. Key features include detailed schedules, access to the Holy Quran, prayer timing alerts, Kaaba directions, a pilgrimage journey tracker, receiving Du’a requests from family and friends as well as finding nearby activities though augmented reality. — SG

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