The Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten said on his Twitter account that the smart card will contain the pilgrim’s information and documentation instead of them having to carry official documents, like their passport.
He added that the cards have already come into force and will be distributed among all Hajj pilgrims starting next year, adding that the new system was used by 150 pilgrims during this year’s Hajj.
He pointed out that the new smart card is powered by a battery that runs for up to two years, noting that it also stores each pilgrim’s health information.
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah also developed a smartphone app for smart ID services. These include guiding pilgrims to different holy sites in Mecca and identifying crowd behaviour in their current location, said Tariq al-Jabri, an information technology consultant at the Ministry.
In addition to the app, he added that there are approximately 3,000 screens at holy sites in Mecca to help pilgrims with directions as well.
The system was put to test this year and managed by a control room located in Mina.
More than 2.5 million people performed the Islamic pilgrimage this year in Mecca. The Kingdom issued more than 1.8 million electronic visas for the 2019 Hajj season, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced earlier.
The hajj pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam which every Muslim is required to complete at least once in their lifetime, if they are healthy enough and have the means to do so.
All capable Muslims are required to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, once in their lifetime.
Saudi authorities said more than 2.37 million Muslims from around the world took part in last year’s pilgrimage.