Omantel and OOMCO sign agreement to launch Middle East’s first smart Ahlain store

Omantel, the Sultanate’s first and leading integrated telecommunications services provider, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Oman Oil Marketing Company (OOMCO) to accelerate digital transformation across Oman.

The agreement will enable the first Artificial Intelligence and IoT-powered Smart Store in Oman and the Middle East, with an enhanced queue-free, cashless, and grab-and-go shopping experience.

The MoU outlines the strategic partnership between the two industry leaders. Omantel will supply the necessary smart technologies. OOMCO will bring a new mix of products compatible with the store’s technologies, leading the retail and convenience store industry towards an enhanced, intelligent and cost-effective future.

Commenting on the partnership, Talal Said Al Mamari, CEO Omantel said, “Innovation forms the core of all Omantel operations and services. Oman is on a fast track to digitalisation on every front. For this to happen, superior connectivity, a solid infrastructure and technological know-how are imperative and Omantel boasts all these assets and more. The company is optimally harnessing the potential of emerging technologies like AI and IoT and is an enabler and an important catalyst in the metamorphosis of important economic sectors into thriving, digitally interconnected ecosystems fueling overall economic growth. This MoU with OOMCO for the Smart Ahlain Store is one more step towards meeting Oman’s long-term digital transformation goals. We are proud to be the first service provider to introduce this concept and invest in such technology in Oman and the Middle East as we continue our journey of innovations.”

Retail IoT is revolutionising the way people shop, adding more ease to their experience as they do not have to wait at the billing counter or use cash or a card to check out. Combining Artificial Intelligence, smart shelf sensors, cameras and an app linked to a mobile wallet, the Ahlain Store concept is expected to become operational in the second half of this year.

Hussain Jama Bait Ishaq, OOMCO’s Acting CEO, said, “Our goal is to add value to all our customers’ lives and enrich their shopping experiences across all our services. Being the first smart store of its kind in the Middle East, the Smart Ahlain store provides a unique shopping experience where customers can pick up items off the shelves to be added to their virtual carts. Once they’re done, they can pay as they leave from their mobile devices and receive the payment receipt shortly after leaving. No queues, no waiting, only the ultimate ‘grab and go’ experience.

Located at the Omantel headquarters in Madinat Al Irfan, the store will be equipped with in-store cameras that capture shoppers’ movements in the aisles, while the smart shelf sensors will track products that shoppers put in their baskets. Items chosen by shoppers will keep getting added to their virtual cart through an app, which Omantel is developing. Customers’ mobile wallets will be debited for the items purchased as they walk out of the store and a receipt sent to them electronically.

Omantel is helping virtualise the retail sector through its services expanding offerings to enable a digital economy functioning on the efficiency of smart technologies and improve user experiences. Powered by Omantel’s tech capabilities, this project underscores OOMCO’s values of innovation, customer-centricity, and mutual support, as well as its commitment to providing top-tier services and products to all its customer base. This move also shows the oil marketing company’s efforts to offer a safe one-stop shopping experience and build long-term partnerships with various industry leaders to support the country’s economic diversification.

Omantel is the Sultanate’s first and leading integrated telecommunications services provider, enabling the digital society to flourish, allowing new ways of doing business and delivering a world of information, news and entertainment. While striving to ensure optimum customer satisfaction, Omantel plays a key social role in providing the required support and subsidy to all sectors of the Omani society.