PIF-owned TAQNIA ETS plans 30% rise in workforce with focus on Saudis

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RIYADH: PIF-owned geospatial technology firm TAQNIA ETS plans to increase workforce by 30 percent by the end of 2022 with focus on Saudization as it looks to align with the Kingdom’s goal of localizing the defense sector under Vision 2030.

The company currently has over 300 employees, 90 percent of them being young Saudis.

“We plan to increase our workforce by 30 percent by the end of the year,” said Hassan Aljohani, vice president for business development at TAQNIA ETS.

By 2030, he said they envision to be the Middle East’s largest geospatial company and the most specialized.

A specialist in providing innovative geospatial solutions, TAQNIA ETS signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with Chinese firm Star Vision during the World Defense Show in Riyadh on Mar. 9.

The partnership will explore how artificial intelligence can be further embedded in remote sensing technology in order to be adopted within the context of Saudi terrain topography.

It also signed an MoU with ISE, an offset company of BAE focused on business collaboration and support.

“Our role is to add value. TAQNIA, as a holding company and its subsidiaries, has the mandate to localize technology, bridge the gap between what’s happening in different industries and markets and what the Saudi market needs,” said Aljohani.

He said the company bridges that gap by ensuring that “what we do is localized through Saudi resources, Saudi assets, and Saudi know-how.”

TAQNIA’s recruits will be working in different areas of specialty, geospatial, geographic information systems, remote sensing technologies, artificial intelligence and smart systems.

As part of the training process, he said the company holds several geospatial summits where the industry experts gather in one hub to transfer knowledge and expertise.

Aljohani revealed that the company also plans to introduce two new products to the Saudi market while entering other regional markets by the end of this year.

In operation for seven years, TAQNIA ETS has delivered over 130 projects amounting to SR1.5 billion, with many government entities, including the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Agriculture.

Aljohani said the company’s objective is to make sure their clients are fully operationally independent by the completion of the project, “which will significantly decrease the country’s spending on outsourcing of services.”

“That is the true value of TAQNIA ETS services; localizing technology and building capabilities,” he said.

The company’s advanced services cover many solutions, from geospatial data collection and extraction to data analysis and visualization of GEO datasets.

One of its technologies currently being used by the Ministry of Agriculture includes helping them identify who is growing what and at what rate, “which increases food security in the Kingdom.”

“They manage to do so fully remotely, without the need to send someone out on the field,” explained Aljohani.

“So you just imagine the cost, time efficiency and effort that have been saved through using innovative, smart remote-sensing technologies.”

Aljohani pointed out that geographic information systems and geospatial technologies actually have come from the military sector.

“Therefore, it’s no secret that the military industry is heavily dependent on the availability of highly accurate and effective geospatial data for which it is used in multiple applications.”

These include the use of advanced satellite imagery and LADAR systems to show the movement of troops, enhance telecommunications, pinpoint locations and analyze topography — technology for which special services are heavily reliant while conducting military operations.

Aljohani said this demonstrates how the level of accuracy in geospatial mapping has evolved over the years with new technology.

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