Thales to secure Saudi oasis city Al-‘Ula

  • November 7, 2023
  • William Payne

Saudi Arabia has picked Thales to provide security for the historic oasis city of Al-‘Ula in the country’s Medina province. Thales will provide the Saudi Royal Commission for Al-‘Ula (RCU) with an integrated security system based on an AI enabled smart digital platform and secured communications that will span a number of major sites that make up one of the most important archaeological areas in the Middle East.

Located in the Hejaz, a region key to the history of Islam as well as a series of pre-Islamic civilisations, Al-‘Ula has been a site of human settlement for 7,000 years. The city was a key location on the Incense Road that linked India, Arabia, Egypt and the Mediterranean. Mentioned in the Old Testament, the city was an ancient kingdom that fought the Babylonian Empire before becoming a key centre in the Nabataean Kingdom whose capital was Petra. The city thrived from the 13th Century as it stood on a key trade route, and grew further in importance in the 20th Century as a key point on the Hejaz Railway.

The security system for Al-‘Ula will include technologies in secured communications, computer vision, early detection, access and video management. The Thales Smart Digital Platform will integrate equipment and support the Integrated Smart Operations Centre in Al-‘Ula. An embedded video and audio analytics engine will provide augmented situational awareness of major sites including the RCU Campus, the Old Town and the Museum.