A smartphone app to verify halal products

Apr 10, 2013 by Kuah Guan Oo
A smartphone app to verify halal products
Credit: Marina Ismail

A group of Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) lecturers and researchers are burning the midnight oil not because of any exams but because they are racing against time to perfect their innovation of using the smartphone mobile device to verify a product's halal status.

Hailing from the Faculty of Engineering, these scientists and researchers had a first taste of the vast possibilities of their work when their app development was among the five finalists shortlisted for the Celcom App Developer Challenge 2012.

Their work dubbed MyHalal App was among the 57 registered ideas and 22 apps submitted for the Celcom challenge which is a platform for mobile app developers to showcase and commercialise their innovations.

Led by Dr Wan Azizun Wan Adnan, the UPM team from the Computer and Communication Systems Department of the faculty designed and developed a software to be installed in Android- based mobile devices, like smartphones or tablets, which can be used as a scanner to scan the barcode of a product to verify of its halal status from a database.

Additionally, information of the product, such as names of the manufacturers and its halal certificate expiry date, will also be shown.

The other members of the team are Dr Shaiful Jahari Hashim, Dr Sharifah Mumtazah Syed Ahmad, and Puan Siti Mariam Shafie@Musa and research assistant Puan Syazwani Mohd Hatta.

Dr Wan Azizun said she was working on a related project when they chanced upon the idea of having a fast way of making sure the halal status of a product.

It took them about three months to come with the app for the Celcom competition from the time they first mooted the idea of using a smartphone to check if the product is listed halal as approved by JAKIM ( the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia).

Team member Dr Shaiful said they found out that JAKIM has more than 100,000 products certified as halal in its record.

"So, our programmer used the barcodes of these products at JAKIM to transcribe and create a database that can be downloaded to any Android based smartphone or tablet that will allow for offline halal verification anywhere, without the need for any external device," he said.

For minimal fees, the database can be downloaded to the mobile devices and can be updated through the Internet as JAKIM builds up its record of products certified to be halal.

Dr Shaiful said while the halal logo could be unscrupulously used without the endorsement of JAKIM, the barcodes were like the "fingerprints" of the products which cannot be altered or fake.

Business opportunities

But what is keeping Dr Wan Azizun, Dr Shaiful and the other team members really excited about the app is the interest shown by Celcom, JAKIM and HDC, the Halal Industry Development Corporation that was set up under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) to coordinate the development of the halal industry.

Dr Wan Azizun said from the initial discussions with the industry players, she and her team members were now working on additional features of the app where users only need to send a SMS (Short Messaging System) to find out the product's halal status.

"MyHalal App is a simple and flexible concept that can be ported to any mobile platform other than Android, for example, like Apple iOS or Microsoft Windows Phone," said Dr Shaiful.

He said they have put in the paperworks to patent and copyright their works and they are now looking at how their apps can function across borders.

Dr Shaiful said he was thinking of how they could work with the foreign counterpart of JAKIM, like the Islamic Affairs Council of Singapore (MUIS) for incorporating Singapore Halal Product database into MyHalal app.

According to newspaper reports, Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir was quoted as saying that the Government had set an export of RM37 billion of halal for 2012 as compared to RM35 billion for 2011.

The country's halal industry, he said, was able to attract investments worth RM1.2 billion during the first 7 months of 2012.

Coupled with the fact that there are 2.1 Muslims across the globe, the potential for the halal industry is enormous.

What then could be the business potential of MyHalal ?

Explore further: Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Yahoo! helps find smartphone 'apps'

Jun 16, 2011

Yahoo! has begun helping people navigate the sea of applications available for Apple iPhones or mobile gadgets powered by Google-backed Android software.

Android mug shots have no lock and key

Mar 04, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- If Google loyalists will persist that this Internet Goliath can do no evil, they at least need to admit, based on new evidence this week, that Google can do a lot of mindless harm. A security ...

Recommended for you

Android gains in US, basic phones almost extinct

Apr 18, 2014

The Google Android platform grabbed the majority of mobile phones in the US market in early 2014, as consumers all but abandoned non-smartphone handsets, a survey showed Friday.

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

Apr 17, 2014

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...