Muscat: A group of young Omanis has spent the last year developing a mobile application that could solve the confusion many in the Sultanate have when finding the correct address to go to.
Titled ‘Anawen’ (Arabic for ‘Addresses’), the app aims to provide delivery companies, restaurants and commercial stores in Oman the accurate location of the customers they delivers their products to – with their consent, of course.
“Due to the fact that there isn’t a unified postal system in Oman yet, and the struggle we face when we order anything to be delivered, we decided its time for us to work on a fix!” said Faris Al Juma, one of the co-founders of the app, in an exclusive interview with Times of Oman.
Anawen is the brainchild of Faris’ final-year project at Cardiff Metropolitan University, where his project won the best final year project and he was also awarded the Software Engineering Student of the year.
“Rather than depending on a post code or some random word, we thought a customer will always use their phone to make an order so lets link their phone number to their address.” Faris went further on to say “What makes Anawen special is that a business can find out the customers GPS location only by knowing their phone number.”
Faris and his team, which consists of his twin brother Alharith Al Juma and siblings Saif and Hamood Al Essai – went all the way to the finals of the AIM Start Up competition in Dubai earlier this year, in addition to being the winners of the Upgrade programme in the Sultanate.
“The app is currently available on iOS and Android, in both English and Arabic,” he said. “We are also planning to bring out other languages knowing that there are nearly two and a half million expats in Oman and some of them has limited understanding of the English language, we strive to make this app accessible for everyone in Oman.”
“Anawen allows the user to add multiple addresses while identifying it as a house, apartment or a office, a user might want to order lunch at their office but expects a furniture delivery to arrive at their house the same day, this way Anawen is flexible to the user’s needs” added Faris.
“In addition in Anawen we take privacy very seriously, by default none of the companies are able to access the user’s information unless the user allows it through the permission tab.”
“We meet with companies in Oman and explain and sit with them to showcase Anawen, this isn’t an automated process and we take extra care to choose well known and trusted brands in Oman” added Faris.
“We understand that some customers are not comfortable with sharing their addresses, Anawen is a privacy centric company, we enabled our users to see when a company access their information - after they already gave permission to them - and in case the user suspects abuse they can report the request to us, where Anawen team will start an investigation” he said.
Rolling out the app is only phase one of Anawen, with phase two aiming to make the system a lot smoother.
“We are currently working on phase two which includes special version of the app to drivers,” said Faris. “Today, people just don’t order consumer goods like electronics, but they also order food and groceries, and they expect accuracy when it comes to time estimation. We are currently developing a system that will be intelligent that if a driver has to go to multiple locations to drop off things, it will be able to optimise the driver’s route and find the shortest one. While the government of Sultanate of Oman is working on a new postal code we in Anawen believe that we will always add value to our customers”
Faris also said that young entrepreneurs in Oman needed to create services that would help meet society’s needs.
“If you are looking to make a space for yourself in this market and grow, then you need to look at areas which are lacking and grow your business to fill that area,” Faris advised.
“You need to look at new areas of business to see how you can help solve problems, and once that is done, you will grow.”
“With us, it was a case of teamwork,” he added. “No one person can do everything on his own, and it is because we worked together that this app is becoming a success today.”