Bader Al-Kharafi: Zain changes network name to ‘Shlonik’

KUWAIT: Zain, the leading digital service provider in Kuwait, announced changing its network’s name to ‘Shlonik’ in line with the Ministry of Health and the country’s efforts to launch the ‘Shlonik’ app, which coincides with the inauguration of the government’s plan to evacuate citizens stranded abroad. ‘Shlonik’ translates to ‘how are you’ in the Kuwaiti dialect.

‘Shlonik’ app was developed by Zain’s team in joint collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the Central Agency for Information Technology (CAIT). Zain’s development of the app comes as an initiative on the company’s part to support the country’s efforts in fighting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Zain recently changed its network’s name to STAY HOME in line with the directives of the Council of Ministers to remind its customers to commit to staying at home as much as possible and contribute to ending this pandemic together.

Zain Vice Chairman and Group CEO Bader Nasser Al-Kharafi said: “Changing the name of Zain’s network to ‘Shlonik’ came to coincide with the launch of the app that holds the same name. This also comes in line with the start of the government’s evacuation plan to bring back citizens who are stranded abroad, where we contribute to support these efforts and take part in comprehensive awareness campaigns conducted by the country’s various institutions”.

Kharafi continued: “the exceptional circumstances our country is going through because of the coronavirus outbreak forced everyone to take their part and unify their efforts to face this pandemic. On its part, Zain was keen on being a major part of these national efforts by making its tech capabilities available to contribute in enforcing the health and safety precautionary measures instructed by MoH and other entities”.

Kharafi explained that ‘Shlonik’ app was developed by Zain’s team in collaboration with CAIT and under the supervision and direction of MoH’s teams. The app was designed as per the latest and most advanced standards.

Kharafi further added that the new app mainly aims at utilizing the latest tech solutions to monitor the commitment of citizens who recently 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 being distributed at Kuwait International Airport to anyone taking part in home quarantine”.

Kharafi noted that changing the name of Zain’s network to ‘Shlonik’ came to remind customers of the importance of downloading the app on their smartphones and contribute to minimizing contact as much as possible, as well as making sure that everyone is committing to home quarantine instructions and MoH’s directives. This goes for people who are under home quarantine, family members residing with them at home, or members of the community.

Kharafi concluded: “We hope that these unified efforts between the private and public sectors help in raising awareness in how dangerous it is not to follow the instructions of health authorities, as well as contribute to invite everyone to abide by precautionary directives and control the spread of this disease”.

‘Shlonik’ can be downloaded on devices that support iOS and Android operating systems, 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 home quarantined individuals and the Ministry of Health’s team responsible for monitoring their commitment to 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.

As part of its national commitment during this crisis, Zain recently offered nearly 30,000 meals in collaboration with the Kuwait Food Bank, where a large number of the meals was distributed during the week dedicated by the Ministry of Health at Kuwait International Fairgrounds in Mishref to conduct tests for residents who recently entered the country. The meals were a contribution by the company to ease the long waiting times while waiting in line. Many meals are also being continuously distributed at Kuwait International Airport’s gates dedicated for residents who are returning to their countries because of this crisis.

Zain also offers many smartphone charging stations at Kuwait International Airport to serve Kuwaiti citizens who are returning home as part of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ evacuation plan to bring Kuwaitis back home from all over the world during this crisis. This contribution aimed at facilitating communication between returning Kuwaitis and their families as soon as they arrive to Kuwait. Zain is also continuously distributing a large number of meals to them in collaboration with the Kuwait Food Bank and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

As part of its commitment to the nation during this crisis, Zain also announced offering free Internet caps and local voice calls for a period of one month in collaboration with the Communication and Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA). The initiative came as part of the company’s commitment towards its customers during these exceptional circumstances.

The company also launched a social media campaign entitled “This is Your Time” to send positive messages to the public about the importance of being a responsible citizen in this time of crisis, not listen to rumors nor spread them, take part in volunteer efforts, commit to staying at home, as well as abiding by the authorities directives.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Zain collaborated with the Ministry of Health to offer its customers FREE calls to any of MoH’s three hotlines: 24970967, 96049698, and 99048619 in order to enable them to inquire about any health or medical information related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) directly from the ministry’s specialized team and ensure taking the correct information from the official and certified sources.

As part of its continuous collaboration with the various ministries, Zain also provided the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior with FREE bulk SMS messages to send medical and awareness content to the community during this period. In addition, the company sent a number of awareness messages in collaboration with MoH’s team through its official social media channels. Zain also broadcasted official MoH awareness videos on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in seven languages: Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Farsi, Filipino, Bengali and Santhali.

Zain affirmed its utmost commitment in all the instructions and precautionary measures outlined by the Ministry of Health to contribute to fighting the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kuwait. Zain supplied all its branches that are operational during the official break, as well as all its kiosks and self-service machines in all of Kuwait’s areas with sanitizers, and the company’s team continuously and periodically sanitizes all operational branches and all machines and products to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

Zain also notified all sales staff to wear medical gloves, stop the use of biometric devices, and more. Zain also launched an internal awareness campaign for the safety of its employees, through which the company distributed precautionary items and sanitizers to all staff and sent periodic awareness content.