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‘Shlonik’ wins Salem Al-Ali Informatics Award 2020

KUWAIT: Zain, the leading digital service provider in Kuwait, proudly announced that ‘Shlonik’ App received His Highness Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award 2020. The app was developed by Zain early this year in joint collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) to fight the spread of COVID-19 in Kuwait.

This prestigious award has had immense patronage from His Highness the late Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and continues to receive generous support from its founder His Highness Chief of the Kuwait National Guard Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah. The fact that ‘Shlonik’ has received this award reflects the fruitful unified efforts of Kuwait’s public and private sectors.

‘Shlonik’ was developed by Zain’s team in joint collaboration with the Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT) and under direct supervision from the Ministry of Health. The app’s development and launch came in a relatively short period of time that coincided with the beginning of the country’s evacuation plan to return thousands of Kuwaiti citizens back home at the beginning of the pandemic.

During April, specifically during the beginning of the evacuation plan’s first phase, Zain developed ‘Shlonik’ (which translates to ‘how are you’ in the Kuwaiti dialect) app for smartphones to support the enormous efforts exerted by the authorities to tackle the pandemic. The app was designed with world-class standards in mind, with direct and continuous supervision from the Ministry of Health’s team.

‘Shlonik’ utilizes the latest tech solutions to monitor the compliance of citizens who returned to Kuwait as part of the government’s evacuation plan in home quarantine instructions. The app is also an essential tool to pair with the smart wrist bracelet that was distributed at Kuwait International Airport to anyone who underwent home quarantine.

As of today, ‘Shlonik’ was downloaded over 623,000 times, where the Ministry of Health’s teams monitored over 390,000 home-quarantined users via the app. Over 114,000 COVID-positive cases were recorded via the app, where they were successfully prevented from coming into contact with others. In addition, the app is currently monitoring over 42,000 active users who are undergoing home quarantine.

‘Shlonik’ can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store, Google’s Play Store, and Huawei’s App Gallery, and is available in five different languages: Arabic, English, Urdu, Tagalog, and Bengali. Users can sign up via their phone and civil ID numbers. The app features an interactive COVID-19 assessment agent to help each user know what to do next.

When home quarantined individuals first arrive home from Kuwait International Airport, they are required to complete the first check-in process via the app to notify MOH’s team of their arrival and the commencement of their home quarantine period. They then enter their home quarantine location on the map, record a voice note, and take a picture of themselves that clearly shows their face. The app will use this data to verify their identity during future check-ups using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

‘Shlonik’ is the main communication method between quarantined individuals and the Ministry of Health’s team responsible for monitoring their commitment in home quarantine instructions. The team will reach out to the user at least two times daily, and request some vitals like their body temperature and overall health. The app also allows audio and visual communication if needed.

The Qualification Committee and Judging Panel of HH Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award held various virtual sessions to study a total of 308 projects from Kuwait and the Arab World. The sessions have resulted in the nomination of 25 projects to the judging panel, which consisted of many specialists and experts from eight different Arab countries to select the winners. 9 tech projects won the award for their creativity and innovation.

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