In Malaysia, consumers can turn to websites to locate restaurants that own halal certification from the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM). Advanced technology has made the search even easier through a mobile application that has anytime-anywhere access and consumers don’t need to rely on a desktop computer. Finding halal-certified restaurants can be done in just a few taps on a smartphone – thanks to a halal mobile application (halal app) made available to consumers free of charge by the country’s Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC).
I’ve recently got acquainted with the halal app downloaded onto my iPod Touch and here’s what I learned.
What’s on halal app?
Overall, I was impressed with its user-friendly interface that featured three modules – Premises, Directory, and, News & Knowledge.
Once the radar icon in the middle of the screen was tapped, the GPS-enabled app started to identify my presence at The Mines shopping mall which location recognized on the halal app as Sungai Besi Highway & E18 & E9 at Seri Kembangan — not precise, but close enough I thought.
The Premises module automatically populated a list of premises certified halal by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (JAKIM).
I quit counting the premises after I hit 100. Seeing the list successfully loaded was sufficient to convince me of the app’s capability.
The system actually covered quite a bit of a distance from the mall area as the last premise shown on that list was 19.97 km away.
When a premise on the list was tapped, the system then displayed its distance from where I was and showed buttons for a map and a direction. On this same screen, the system would let users make a premise a “favorite” and/or rate it. How cool is that?
Meanwhile, the Directory module caught my attention as being worthy of access. It’s where users would find local and international companies and products that have halal certification from JAKIM. The three search criteria of Text, Industry Size, and State were simple enough to use.
There was also Statistic which provided industry statistics such as Total Applications by State and Total Slaughterhouse Applications by Industry, presented in colored pie charts and tables.
Through this Directory, users can quickly obtain, among other things, a telephone number and an email address of the company that they are curious about. Navigating it wasn’t difficult as buttons displayed were easy to identify.
I ran a quick test by typing a query for Starbucks and the Directory system quickly found it. On the company’s profile screen, there was a Product button at the top which brought me to a list of items already certified halal including their “JAKIM certificate expiry date.”
There was also a Share button to allow me to email company information via my iPod Touch. Well, sharing is caring as some say isn’t it?
I also browsed the third module of the halal app, News & Knowledge, which was loaded with neat features of News, Events, Fatwa, and E Number – a shortcut where consumers can access the info within the halal app itself and no need to open a separate web browser for it on their devices.
If I end up in an unfamiliar area and have trouble looking for a halal restaurant, the Premises module could serve me conveniently and that is as long as the iPod Touch would get an Internet connection.
I think this English-medium app could also give a hand to newcomers and international tourists who are concerned about finding halal food during their stay.
The halal app from HDC has been around for a while as the first of its kind was posted on iTunes Store in March 2010. It is now already on version 3.1 for iOS (Source: HDC page on iTunes Store).
It is available for iOS (iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad), Symbian (Nokia), and Android.
I am curious to see what a halal app would look like and entail on a BlackBerry device I own.
Update: The first paragraph has been revised and published on January 10, 2013 to better serve readers.
By Kam Hashim
Note: The author is not an employee of any of the companies mentioned in this article. He does not own any stocks or bonds in any of them at the time the article is published. This article was written based on personal experiences and observations.