Nokia deploys new tech to help Umrah and Hajj pilgrims better navigate their journey

Thursday, May 4, 2017

NEW DELHI: Finnish telecom gear maker Nokia said that it has deployed its Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) platform for Zain Saudi Arabia for the delivery of smart applications to subscribers in the vicinity of Mecca. The deployment will allow the telco to navigate the crowds and ensure the best mobile experience during the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage.

The gear maker said that busy events can create challenges for operators as many people attempt to access the mobile network at the same time. With millions making the Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage each year, this challenge is elevated.

Following the successful trial during the last Hajj, both the companies deployed the platform together with Edge Video Orchestration over the network using both macro and small cell base stations to enhance the experience for the telco's subscribers.

For the deployment, Nokia also employed network implementation, system integration and network planning and optimization services.

The Nokia MEC allows applications to be hosted closer to the edge of the network, therefore closer to subscribers, to efficiently use network resources and open up new opportunities for the delivery of compelling, tailored services in high-traffic locations, the gear vendor said in a statement.

By combining MEC with Edge Video Orchestration, video feeds can be efficiently broadcast to multiple subscribers' devices simultaneously with millisecond latency. Massive data processing is performed by deploying the Nokia AirFrame Data Center technology.

"Umarah and Hajj is the most important events in the region and we pride ourselves on offering exceptional services to the pilgrims. In keeping with our commitment to offer the best possible services to our subscribers, we have invested in modernizing our network in the Hajj area. The deployment of the Nokia MEC platform and two smart Hajj applications on this network is yet another milestone in our evolution toward building smart cities in the kingdom," Sultan AlDeghaither, Chief Technology Officer of Zain Saudi Arabia, said in a statement.

During the Umrah and Hajj, subscribers are able to download and use two site-specific applications over the MEC-enabled network. The Zain People Finder helps them to easily navigate the crowds and locate and meet up with friends and family. Furthermore, the Live Hajj application allows them to view video streams from the Al Rahmah Mountain in Arafat and the Jamarat area, to identify the best and quietest time of day to perform the 'flinging of the pebbles' ritual.

"By moving processing capabilities closer to people and their devices, the Nokia MEC telco cloud platform has great potential to be used for smart city deployments and will enable operators like Zain to launch compelling new services for consumers and enterprises," Ali Al Jitawi, head of the Zain Saudi Arabia Customer Team at Nokia, said in a joint statement.