Islamic Lifestyle

Indonesia-Oman JV Salam Tech investing $2 mln to develop AR and AI for cultural features

JAKARTA – Salam Tech, a joint venture between Emerging Technology Company Oman and Awadah Group Indonesia, is investing $2 million to develop augmented reality and artificial intelligence capabilities.

The JV has appointed Indonesia-based WIR Group as technology partner to create a “linguistic platform” using AR and AI, Daniel Surya, WIR Group chairperson said at a virtual press conference on February 1.

“Super apps” will be launched gradually, starting in the first quarter with the lite version that will have features such as news and prayer guidance. The end goal is to launch the super apps ecosystem beyond the linguistic platform with full features in the third quarter.

One of the features will make use of AR technology to style or visualize Arabic calligraphy fonts into 3D effects. Users will  be able to make memes or emoticons by directly copy-pasting from the app. The goal is to make this linguistic aspect of Omani culture accessible to Indonesians.

"There are many potential uses for AR, such as for education where we can interact with historical figures, or for example Indonesian presidents, past and present. We hope this application can become a medium of learning and cultural exchange between the younger generations of Indonesia and Oman, who are now more tech-savvy,” said Surya in a statement.

WIR will also support ETCO in user acquisition from sister companies Minar and Toko Awadah. Minar is a free-to-play location-based mobile gaming app that uses AR technology and GPS features. Toko Awadah is an app that allows users to set up their own virtual shops.

In return, ETCO will help WIR promote its AR technology in the Middle East and Gulf countries. WIR currently has partners in North Africa such as Algeria and Morocco.

“By combining our expertise in AR, AI and Blockchain technology, we can provide a more immersive experience by allowing users to see objects (products, conceptual forms, calligraphy) in 3D format. We will also use features to collect virtual rocks in the Minar apps (like Pokemon Go) where users can get rewards or points that can be used in the Awadah marketplace,  for instance,” said Surya.

The ETCO-WIR partnership is expected to show the way for more Omani companies to invest in Indonesia.

Oman has typically been a small investor in Indonesia. The Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board noted that with investment worth $211,000, the Sultanate is outside the top 100 FDI contributors to the country for the period 2010-2016. Investments from the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council increased by 26% from 2016 to 2018, from $60.3 million to $76.1 million.

Indonesia’s government signed an MoU in August 2019 for a Joint Plan of Action with the GCC General Secretary to strengthen investment from less active countries of the bloc. Still, over the last two years of 2019 -2020, Oman remains out of the top 100 FDI contributors to Indonesia. UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are in the top 100 list. 

In 2019, UAE invested $69.7 million (ranked 24), followed by Saudi Arabia with $5.4 million (ranked 42) and Kuwait invested $0.1 million (ranked 75).

Last year, UAE invested $21.6 million (ranked 25), followed by Qatar $6.9 million (ranked 34), Saudi Arabia on $5.7 million (ranked 35) and Kuwait with $0.1 million (ranked 68).

(Reporting by Yosi Winosa; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim

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