A Malaysian-based company, in cooperation with a development agency, has invented a smartphone application with two different versions for consumers to find halal food vendors and confirm halal certification status.

The “Halal Square” and “Halal Inside” applications are the result of a collaboration between the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM) and Malaysia Microelectronic Solutions Sdn Bhd (My-MS).

Using near field communication (NFC) technology and geo-location technology, consumers will be alerted whenever halal food vendors that have embedded NFC chips that verify they are halal certified are in the area. Another feature of the applications is the ability of smartphone users to communicate with others in real-time to give feedback and comments on halal food vendors.

The technology was revealed at the recently held International Halal and Healthy Food Fair held at the İstanbul Fair Center (CNR Expo). My-MS Chief Executive Officer Shafiq Akmal Ismail told Today’s Zaman that the technology of the NFC halal certificate has been implemented in Malaysia and has received positive feedback from both consumers and halal vendors.

“However, we are hoping that other countries with sizeable Muslim populations will adapt this technology as it can increase cooperation in the halal food business,” he added. Ismail said the aim of the technology is to promote cooperation between countries in halal industries by issuing a world-standardized NFC halal certification.

“We believe Turkey could be the starting point for this technology to develop globally as it sits between Europe and Asia and would be able to promote [the technology] to other Western countries,” he said. “Moving into the 21st century, smartphone usage is becoming more of a necessity. One-fifth of Turkish people use smartphone, therefore it will be beneficial for consumers to penetrate this area,” he added, especially since not all food products and vendors in Turkey are halal certified. The application will be compatible with Android, Windows 8 and iOS 7 users.

Another Malaysian company, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is expecting to work hand-in-hand with Turkey in order to improve trade in the halal sector.

The director of MATRADE in İstanbul, Idzham Abdul Hamid, said that their participation in the expo — which was through a promotional booth — is aimed at promoting Malaysian halal products and services to Turkey. Turkey has been an important trading partner with Malaysia for many years. For the first half of 2013, the total trade between Turkey and Malaysia grew by 8.5 percent to $646.6 million from $591.7 million in the same period of 2012.

Malaysia’s exports to Turkey increased by 10.8 percent to $523.7 million last year.

Halal is one of the sectors where both Turkey and Malaysia could establish strengths, as both countries are member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and there is great potential for increased trade and cooperation. Malaysia and Turkey can provide advantages to each other as Malaysia has a strategic location within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) while Turkey is a member of the EU Customs Union.

source: todayszaman