x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Emirati BlackBerry app grabs attention both at home and abroad

A BlackBerry app developed by two Emirati women to capture and catalogue images of the UAE will soon be available on iPhones and Android systems.

Fatima Al Ghaith, left, and Meera Al Siri have designed an application that allows users to upload photos and rate places throughout the UAE.
Fatima Al Ghaith, left, and Meera Al Siri have designed an application that allows users to upload photos and rate places throughout the UAE.

DUBAI // A BlackBerry app created by two Emirati women has been picked up by a Canadian mobile marketing company for development and will soon be available for download on iPhone and Android systems.

Boum, meaning "dhow" in Arabic, enables users to upload their photos of the UAE to a website that is creating a visual archive of the country. Mohamed El Salawy, a co-founder of the Toronto-based ZeroWire Labs, met the creators during a trip to Zayed University.

"They were very passionate about the application so we believed in it as well and we supported them," he said. "We wanted to help develop the local community."

The masterminds behind Boum, Fatima Al Ghaith and Meera Al Siri, both 21, have since graduated from university and plan to focus on developing the app full-time.

"We want Boum to be our job because we want to focus on it in its first stages. We want to make it one of the best applications in the UAE," Ms Al Ghaith said.

Ms Al Siri added: "The idea is to get people to know more about the UAE and its different destinations, hidden gems and hot spots."

They held the official launch of their app at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition in Dubai two weeks ago, and it was downloaded more than 500 times in the first two days of the exhibition. Their stand also attracted the attention of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who stopped by along with his sons, Sheikh Majid and Sheikh Mansour.

"They wanted to know more about the application and about us and what we are doing," Ms Al Ghaith said.

ZeroWire Labs is now in the final testing stages of an iPhone and Android phone version of the app. Mr El Salawy said it would be available for download within two months.

In the meantime, said Ms Al Ghaith: "We are open to criticism of the application because we want to make it better."

aalhaddad@thenational.ae