Wireless Stars are building location-based apps to grow check-in culture in Cairo and Alexandria.
Wireless Stars is a six-person team based in California and Egypt. Most of them are former employees of large tech companies like Google, AdMob, and Yahoo. It includes by Dr. Maged Ghoneima, Dr. Adel Youssef (a former Google employee on Location services), and then there’s Dr. Mohamed Abdelhafiz, Ahmed El Helw, Wael Nafee and Hisham Said. In a post on The Next Web, Wael Nafee is quoted:
There’s a lot of potential for services that can be delivered to customers – social, business, discounts. But people just don’t check in, and part of it is because the check-in culture doesn’t exist in the Arab world. If you look at the majority of people here, they don’t have smart phones [many don't even have GPS on their phone and data plans are expensive]. So we thought how do we solve that? IntaFeen has been released for most major mobile operating systems – Symbian, Blackberry, iPhone and Android – in order to reach the largest possible user base.
Returning to Egypt, Wireless Stars have developed two mobile applications IntaFeen (which means ‘where are you?’) and Amaken (which means ‘places’). Their website describes Amaken as:
Fully equipped with Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology that smartly maps and consolidates different English spelling variants of Arabic venue name into one entry. Additionally, points of interest search supports full transliteration, ‘sounds-like’ and other language processing algorithms to serve users high quality points of interest that best fit their customer base.
As is the case with search and Facebook, language processing innovations are paramount to successful digital platforms in the Middle East, Arabization of the app includes more than just an Arabic interface. The expressions used in the Arabic version are exclusive to the Egyptian culture. Rather than become a mayor of a venue you regularly visit, you become its ‘omda,‘ the Arabic expression for Mayor, which has far more tribal connotations to it. Moreover, the team has built an AI system which scans for geo-tags and registers them ‘in a semi-automated way.’
Follow IntaFeen on Twitter.