Netflix Launches Creative Producer Training Program in Saudi Arabia

Netflix has launched a Creative Producer Training program that will help upskill 15 professional Saudi television creative producers. The seven  week program will be available exclusively through the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts (SCA)  and will take participants through the process of creating, forming, and executing a TV pitch, pilot script, and writer’s room and is led by SCA alumni and award winning film/television writer & producer, Jason Shuman.Netflix worked with USC to design the program, which aims to develop the talent pipeline in the Kingdom, and generate a qualified network of talent for the regional and global film industry. The training will provide the necessary skills and opportunities to Saudi producers to break new ground and advance their career in film and television.The program kicked off with an intensive 3-day, in-person training in Riyadh covering the full range of skills required to develop quality TV shows. Participants deep-dived into the qualitiesof a good writer and producer, the development process for different formats, going from pitch to script and script to series, and finally, producing the pilot and series. A series of online workshops are currently underway, covering the development and production process, followed by pitches and a hands on writer’s room experience.Speaking of the launch, SCA alumni and award winning film/television writer & producer, Jason Shuman, said, “The entire program was beautifully put together. I was thoroughly impressed with the passion and professionalism of both the Netflix and SCA team. The students in attendance may have been born and raised far from Hollywood, but their love and appreciation for the arts, especially in the medium of television, was as genuine as I’ve ever seen. I am excited for the future of storytelling in Saudi Arabia.”  Nuha El Tayeb is the Content Director Middle East, Turkey, and Africa at Netflix, “The booming entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia presents an incredible opportunity for aspiring creatives to grow, learn, and advance their careers. Knowledge transfer is critical to building this thriving creative community, and partnerships like the one with USC, allow us to expose promising talent to the tools and industry insight needed to create best in class content. Some of the producers participating in this training program have worked on shows and films currently streaming on Netflix, and we hope that through continued industry collaboration and initiatives such as this will help amplify their work further and create more avenues for Arab talent to shine on the global stage.”Through training programs, Netflix is committed to adding value to creative communities in the Arab world, regularly working with industry partners to catalyze skills advancement and provide creators with the tools they need to tell the best version of their stories. In October 2022, Netflix signed a partnership with SPT in Saudi Arabia to help train and upskill 15 young talents in Saudi through on set training and workshops focused on art department and production roles.

Sarah Maina joins Appsflyer as partner development manager

Sarah Maina has been appointed as Appsflyer’s Middle East partner development manager.As part of her new role, Maina will be responsible for developing the company’s agency and media partner ecosystem, growing AppsFlyer’s partnerships in the region, and unlocking opportunities for its partners.In most organisations’ multi-channel marketing mix, mobile apps have become a cornerstone. Many marketers, however, struggle to accurately correlate marketing spend and app engagement with revenue. Maina’s collaboration with key regional partners, like Meta, Google and TikTok, will empower the company’s customers with the solutions they need to accurately calculate ROI across the marketing journey as they maximize their own media channels.Maina will be based in Dubai. She has more than 12 years of experience in the AdTech industry. Having held leadership roles at prominent organisations such as Millennial Media, AOL, Tempr, and Singular, she has extensive experience developing and managing partnership ecosystems.

3rd annual MENA Conversational AI summit 2023

Conversational AI encompasses a multitude of technologies that work cohesively to encourage efficient, automated communication via text, speech, or other mediums in order to decipher consumer intent, decipher language context, and respond using humane mannerisms. It has been successfully used in marketing, retail, and even banking in order to enhance the customer experience.With this momentum, Verve Management is proud to present the 3rd Annual Conversational AI Summit on the 14th and 15th of March, at the Swissotel Al Murooj Dubai, UAE. The summit will be a gathering of digital strategy and consumer experience professionals, with the event featuring a diverse line-up of speakers who will delve into the latest challenges, developments, and opportunities the world of Conversational AI has to offer.The 3rd Annual Conversational AI Summit will bring together top industry, leaders, experts, and innovators to share their insights and experiences on the current state of Conversational AI and its expected future trajectory. Attendees will have the chance to hear from keynote speakers, and participate in networking with the leading professionals of the industry and other like-minded individuals.The event will range in a variety of topics, including Conversational AI and its impact and collaboration with the Metaverse, the reach of AI into the arena of banking and automated consumer experiences, with the inclusion of Conversational AI and blockchain technologies and its impact on the consumer experience. The concept of Conversational AI’s reach today in improving our consumer interaction, problem-solving, and service delivery is also a focus of what the summit has to offer. Immerse yourself into the world of Conversational AI and learn more about its role in shaping the world, and how it can be leveraged into pioneering a positive shift in society.A brief mention of only some of the speakers set to speak at the summit, to lead worldly discussions of our new reality are:Srinivasan Sampath - Acting Chief Technology Officer, First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB)Sachin Gadoya - Co-founder & CEO, & Musafir BusinessWael Khaleel AbuRizq - AI & Advanced Analytics Advisor, Abu Dhabi Digital AuthorityRob Beswick - Managing Director, Virgin Mobile UAELubna Salah Zaitouni - Senior Specialist - Economics, Ministry of Economy“As we accelerate into the future of banking, we need to leverage the latest innovations to underpin our ongoing digital transformation efforts to meet our customers’ increasing digital needs,” said Srinivasan Sampath - Acting Chief Technology Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank. This showcases our objective for this event: a world where Conversational AI is recognized, utilized and innovated for the seamless integration and provision of the most refined consumer experience in the dynamic arena of consumer satisfaction.Join us for the 3rd Annual Conversational AI Summit and delve deeper into the minds of some of the leading professionals of today and absorb what they, and the discussions yet to come, have to offer.

DMCC Crypto Centre and DWF Labs collaborate to attract a new stream

DMCC – the world’s flagship free zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise – has partnered with DWF Labs, a global digital asset market maker and multi-stage web3 investment firm, to offer a new USD 5 million growth platform for web3 and blockchain businesses at the DMCC Crypto Centre.As a new ecosystem partner, DWF Labs will establish the DWF Ventures Studio, which will support nascent web3 and blockchain businesses using the DMCC Crypto Centre and Dubai as a hub from which they can scale their operations locally, regionally and globally. The partnership was announced during the “Sunset Meet and Greet” event organised by DWF Labs on 24 February 2023 in Dubai.Building on the Crypto Centre’s wide offering, the DWF Venture Studio will provide multiple benefits for early-stage startups based in DMCC, including consultancy services, increased connection to global venture capital, market making services on tier one and two exchanges, a range of workshops and direct capital investments.DWF aims to invest in 50 startups operating in the web3 space, with multiple additional investments for best performing companies, and a USD 500,000 investment for the cohort’s most prominent business.Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC, said: “Dubai’s leading position as a hub for web3 technologies is known the world over. The DMCC Crypto Centre has been a fundamental part of the emirate’s successful crypto journey, housing the largest concentration of web3 and blockchain businesses in the region. Partnering with one of the top names in the global industry further exemplifies the maturity of the crypto business community that we have built, as well as the significant commercial opportunities that Dubai presents.”DWF Labs is part of the broader Digital Wave Finance (DWF) platform, which is one of the world’s largest high-frequency cryptocurrency trading entities. By trading volume, DWF is one of the top five trading entities that trade on the top 40 exchanges, trading over 2000 different types of the digital asset.Andrei Grachev, Managing Partner, DWF Labs, added: “DWF Labs’ core goal is to invest in and support innovative entrepreneurs within the web3 space. For this reason, partnering with DMCC and its Crypto Centre is the right step as we expand our footprint both in Dubai and globally. The ecosystem that DMCC has built offers a strong pool of crypto talent that we are looking forward to being part of, building upon, and ultimately further facilitating its success.”The DMCC Crypto Centre is a comprehensive ecosystem for companies that develop web3 and blockchain technologies, and associated value-added services, providing everything that crypto businesses and entrepreneurs need to set up and scale their operations. Home to over 550 businesses operating in the web3 and blockchain space, the DMCC Crypto Centre represents the highest concentration of crypto firms in the region.

SME conference hosts final round of Entrepreneurship World Cup

Biban, Saudi Arabia’s largest start-up, SME, and entrepreneurship conference, takes place between March 9 and March 13, 2023, at the Riyadh Front Exhibition & Conference Center.Biban held its first edition in 2017, and is organized by Monsha’at, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.This year, international audiences will benefit from more highlights than ever before, with the forum strongly positioned to foster tangible opportunities.Biban 2023 will host the Global Finals of the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC), one of the biggest and most diverse start-up pitch competitions and support programs of its kind. Since its inception, over 400,000 entrepreneurs from 200 countries have registered. This year, the finalists will compete for up to $1 million in cash prizes.At Biban 2023, international guests can network and collaborate with government authorities, entrepreneurs, and investors - from the Kingdom and beyond. Additionally, the forum provides access to growing markets, including E-Commerce, FinTech, F&B, and others.Attendees can also learn about the support - financial and other kinds - that are available to foreigners starting a business in Saudi Arabia.Making up the engaging themed areas at the forum are nine “Doors”, which include:Start-up Door: Featuring incubators, business accelerators and start-upsEnablement Door: Hosting agencies that enable entrepreneurial business ownersFunding Door: Providing start-ups and SMEs with information on where to secure funding and how to overcome financial challengesGrowth Door: Educating SME owners on areas that help grow their businesses - marketing, strategy, innovation, and much moreBiban 2023 also welcomes a roster of over 350 speakers from the Kingdom and across the world, which include:HE Lee Young: Minister of SMEs and Start-ups, Republic of KoreaSteve Chen: CTO and Co-Founder of YouTubeJeff Hoffman: Chairman of the Board, Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN)Chris Barton: Founder and Creator of ShazamSaudi Arabia is emerging as a key player in the global start-up scene. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s (GEM) 2022 National Entrepreneurship Context Index reported that the Kingdom is now the second-best economy in the world to start a business, reflecting a rapidly advancing start-up ecosystem, and a wealth of business opportunities for local and international entrepreneurs.

ADIB appoints Bushra Al Shehhi as Chief Human Resources Officer

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), a leading financial institution, announced today the appointment of Bushra Al-Shehhi as the new Chief Human Resources Officer. Bushra will now oversee the management of human resources affairs, operations, and related strategies for the entire Group, including branches and institutions outside the country that support the bank's business plan and strategic directions for the next phase of ADIB’s growth plan 2025.Commenting on the appointment, Nasser Al Awadhi, Group CEO of ADIB, said: "We are pleased to appoint Bushra to this important role. Her vast experience in the field of human resources makes her the ideal person to lead our team and support the continued growth and success of our bank. Her appointment is a testament to our commitment to promoting Emirati leadership and women, and we hope that Bushra's appointment will inspire others to pursue leadership roles and contribute to the success of their organizations."Bushra is a seasoned professional and a master’s degree holder in human resources management. Having worked in the Human Resources field for over 20 years working in both the public and private sectors, and during her tenure at ADIB, she has contributed significantly to creating a positive and productive work environment for the bank's employees by launching various initiatives. She helped advance the bank’s Emiratisation efforts, providing UAE nationals with the tools and skills to flourish within the financial services industry.Commenting on her new role, Bushra Al Shehhi, Group Chief Human Resources Officer, said: “I am deeply honoured to lead the human resources team at ADIB and excited to work alongside such a talented group of individuals. My goal is to build upon the already impressive work that has been accomplished, and to make ADIB an exceptional workplace for all employees. A strong human resources function is integral to the success of any organization, and I am committed to facilitating employee learning and development, improving hiring practices, and promoting a thriving company culture. I am thrilled to be a part of ADIB's ongoing achievements."ADIB is dedicated to fostering local talents within the UAE, with approximately 45% of its workforce comprised of Emirati nationals. In line with the National Employability Agenda, ADIB’s leadership development programs, Tamkeen and Qiyadat, serve to further develop ADIB’s diverse talent pool.

How Dice is changing the game for multinationals in the region

Amid the global distress in today's markets and the lingering financial threats caused by the economic shifts in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is leading its way. Under the progressive leadership of Saudi Arabia, the international monetary fund reported in 2022 that the new Kingdom is now considered to be one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Reports are forecasting a rise in the country's GDP by 7.6 percent, the fastest growth in almost a decade, according to the IMF Article IV consultation report.From investing billions of dollars in healthcare, hospitality, digital economy and other sectors, the authorities are evidently committed to implement Saudi's Vision 2030. Heading towards this direction, the country is diversifying and liberalizing the economy and thus is paving the way to more stable growth, improving the business environment, attracting foreign investments, and reforming the private sector scene for endless opportunities of development across all sectors.In line with the massive expansion of the Kingdom's economy, Saudi startups, small-sized businesses, and marketing agencies are also leading their way. With the colossal amount of registered Saudi businesses, one cannot overlook the series of successes that Dice, a Saudi-born fully fledged marketing agency, has achieved in almost a decade.Founded in 2013, Dice has shifted the game for agencies and businesses in the Saudi market. The agency kicked off its business journey from a small office in Riyadh with a team of four, and despite its initial size, Dice won its pitch to a renowned multinational IT company, Hewlett Packard (HP).Today, heading towards its 10th anniversary, the agency has a team of almost 60 profound creative professionals, executed projects beyond the Saudi borders, and opened two other offices in Lebanon and Egypt. Notably, the agency has witnessed a peak in its growth odyssey during the pandemic as it now works with above 50 large Saudi corporations, governmental entities, and multinationals to prepare brands for the new Saudi Arabia's market standards and support their alignment with the upcoming scene of the country's economy.Setting the Benchmark For a good measure, corporations and multinationals in Saudi are increasingly realizing the importance of working with local agencies. The strategic demand is rooted from the local agencies' awareness of Saudi's consumer behavior, the Kingdom's culture and traditions, and the diversity of the 13.5 million expats living in the country. Consequently, the market competition in this industry is high and there is pressure on local agencies to abide by the highest standards of service."Our goal from the get-go was to set a benchmark to the quality of work we provide. In 2013, we faced some hesitancy from multinational and large corporations to hire local small agencies. They worked with international agencies for years so trusting the capacity of startup agencies in promptly delivering large projects was on the horns of a dilemma. At the time, the digital age was emerging, and marketing strategies were shifting. We had to take a leap of faith and hustle to compete with other agencies in the quality and practicality of services we provide," explained Sari Kazma, Managing Director of Dice.Mr. Kazma added that Dice identified a market gap in Saudi's marketing industry. The agency realized that there was a very limited number of 360, fully fledged marketing agencies in the country. Accordingly, Dice established a comprehensive set of services to corporations through a unified interconnected team including: creative and strategy, experimental experiences, social and digital, and content creation."We realized the hassle that companies go through when working with different agencies on a marketing campaign. The lack of communication between agencies, confusion in deliverables, and the set of problems that companies face when they are trying to execute one project through different entities. Quickly responding to the evident market need, we designed a fully-fledged set of services that could make our clients' marketing odyssey easier. So, we started off on low-cap projects and focused all our efforts to not only deliver the projects in the highest form of quality but to set a unique benchmark for the agency's name in the market," stated Mr. Kazma.           Market Positioning"Our first project was our very first branding opportunity to uniquely position Dice in the market. At that point, our goal was to create a brand identity for Dice through its quality of service and impact of work," stated Mr. Kazma.Two business values shaped Dice in the Saudi market: quality and impact. Dice's branding happened through a result-driven approach that led the agency to reportedly close off its first year wining a pitch to a multinational company for a project worth USD 1.3 Million (SAR 4.8 Million), notably after starting off the same year executing a project worth USD 10,000 (SAR 37,500).In the span of soon-to-be ten years, Dice has worked on key projects in the Saudi market that provided room for the agency to not only grow in the market and get more clients but to also be selective on the types of projects the agency works on. Explicitly, it all started with branding Dice through its results and positioning the agency in the market for its quality and impact.Dice worked with international tech companies such as Motorola, Cisco, Schneider Electric, and Xiaomi and established a diverse pool of clients in other fields. Notably, the agency was the kitchen behind various large campaigns and projects that happened in Saudi Arabia. The agency was recently selected by Marafiq to work on its brand revamp. Another key project that Dice managed was the inauguration of Deloitte Digital Academy in Saudi Arabia in 2019, which was attended by the c-suites of Deloitte Global and Saudi's Minister of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), His Excellency Eng. Abdullah Bin Amer Al Swaha."One of the other factors that contributed to the agency's success is that we are not financially driven. We have a huge appetite for interesting and meaningful projects and our agency culture thrives to unleash the maximum potential of our team members to come up with a completely new form of success. For example, the campaign we've executed for HPI to promote its sprocket printer in 2017. The campaign didn't only promote the printer in an unusual manner but it also led the company to make a Guinness World Record for the HP product. And, that's the type of marketing we do. Completely out of the box, high-quality, and impactful," added Mr. Kazma. (HP Campaign link)As the agency positioned itself strongly in the market, Dice gradually changed the game for multinationals in the country. Companies started to witness the impact of Dice's glocalized campaigns that can be easily received by the locals."We glocalize the ideas, visions, and language of multinationals in a way that would influence the behavior of the Saudi customer. For example, we executed a campaign for Novo Nordisk on the International Women Day in 2020. The produced multimedia content for the campaign had the Saudi ingredient in many ways, yet it was also appealing for the global audience. The campaign was so successful that the brand published it on its international page," explained Mr. Kazma. (Campaign link)Market Adaptability"There is no doubt that the role of agencies today is shifting, and agencies need to therefore be very flexible to cope with the volatility of the digital market and its demands. There are no theories and a set of strategies anymore. Customers, market trends, and interests of the audience change so fast. Saudi's culture and market is also changing very fast. Agencies therefore need to establish a dynamic business model that would swiftly adapt to those changes while offering creative, practical, and cost-effective solutions. A hard formula but doable," said Mr. Kazma.In the golden age of marketing, agencies were the brains of the most powerful brands in the pre-pandemic era. However, it has been depicted that the concept of marketing itself is changing and brand building has become a vexing challenge.Numerous business articles highlighted the matter and the Marketing Week, a forty years old prominent marketing weekly journal, also tackled the apparent issue. After surveying 50 agency CEOs and 50 brand CMOs about the changing role of agencies, it was found that 'agency structures, processes and pace of delivery' are not developing at the same rate of the emerging markets, new media, and brands given the old-school management and market approach.Given that Dice is owned and operated by millennials, there is no doubt that the agency's higher management are able to understand the untraditional shifts of the emerging market. Accordingly, the higher management anticipated the digital era ahead of time and established a cost-effective business model to rapidly grow while maintaining its top-notch quality of service.To cut operational costs, Dice inaugurated its first office outside the Saudi borders in 2017. The small office was established in Lebanon and has a team of ten digital marketing gurus and tech savvy professionals supporting clients based in Saudi Arabia remotely. Gradually, Dice Lebanon became a standalone agency serving clients in Beirut, Kuwait, London, and Africa in addition to its back-office support to Dice KSA, specifically to Saudi clients who are on a limited budget."During the pandemic, our portfolio of clients has widely increased given Dice's signature work in the digital sphere throughout the past years. The pandemic happened as we were organizing a crucial event for Saudi's Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. Luckily, our team was able to find effective solutions and organized the ministry's virtual closing ceremony and award ceremony, which were viewed by more than 7,000 users and gathered Saudi's tech champs," reported Mr. Kazma.He added that the agency launched its third office in Egypt to increase the team capacity, expand its presence in the region, and quickly adapt to the market demands. Mr. Kazma underscored that the new office came as part of Dice's commitment towards expanding a Saudi-born agency in different markets to align with the Kingdom's economic vision (Saudi Vision 2030) and foster economic and foreign investments in the local market. He explained that the agency enjoys a diverse culture bringing together a team of different nationalities, age groups and backgrounds, while maintaining a fair percentage of Saudi personnel to integrate the Kingdom's culture in the work developed and executed in the market. Mr. Sari also stressed on the importance of exposing all team members to markets beyond Saudi Arabia in order to enrich their expertise and support their professional growth.  Though the industry of advertising and marketing agencies has significantly transformed in the past few years due to numerous factors, Dice has demonstrated a leading example of strategically capitalizing on challenging situations and turning them into opportunities of growth and evolution. Setting the benchmark for its work in the market, positioning itself through a result-oriented approach, and swiftly adapting to the volatile market conditions has played a huge role in Dice's successful business journey.

Zain KSA signs MoU with Cisco to boost digital transformation in the Kingdom

Zain KSA, the leading digital service provider, announced signing a Memorandum of Understanding (“MoU”) with Cisco to collaborate on the development of network automation and service orchestration to improve network service outcomes. The MoU was signed during its participation at Mobile World Congress (MWC23), which was held in Barcelona from February 27 until March 3.Through this MoU, Zain KSA and Cisco plan to work together to develop an automation blueprint that is aimed at simplifying day-to-day network operations, including maintaining, monitoring, and optimizing the system, with sophisticated automation tools, with the aim of supporting the Kingdom’s digital transformation, and enabling the community to enjoy a smarter mobile lifestyle, using advanced technologies so that Zain KSA will be the preferred digital partner for its clients, including individuals, and the business sector.Commenting on the MoU, Zain KSA’s Chief Technology Officer, Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Mufadda, said: “The expansion of the use of 5G technologies, the significant increase in networked devices, and the increasing consumption of content services have led to increasing pressure on networks, and our cooperation with Cisco is an important step to keep pace with this development and accelerate the digital transformation journey.” He added: “This MoU is in line with our strategy to innovate, deliver integrated digital experiences to our customers, and enhance their experiences across the Kingdom, accelerating the realization of Saudi Vision 2030’ goals.”Adam MacHale, Vice President, Service Provider EMEA, at Cisco, commented: “Cisco's model-driven approach to network automation with open API’s and service orchestration will help Zain KSA simplify operations and deliver services more quickly across the entire lifecycle. This will enable Zain KSA to improve the quality of its services and continue to deliver a superior customer experience over broadband through reliable and high-speed connectivity.”

Nokia selected by Ooredoo Group to deploy 5G-ready network in Algeria & Tunisia

Nokia today announced that it has been selected by Ooredoo Group to upgrade its existing radio access networks (RAN), as well as deploy new sites in Algeria and Tunisia. This will improve the network performance and help Ooredoo Group to prepare for a launch of 5G services in the future. In addition, Nokia will modernize Ooredoo’s IP network, and modernize and extend its Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) network in Tunisia. These initiatives will transform Ooredoo Group’s networks by enhancing the mobile user experience thanks to better data speeds and capacity. Nokia will deploy its latest, energy-efficient AirScale portfolio including base stations supporting multiple generations of radio technology from 2G, 3G and 4G to 5G; massive MIMO Adaptive Antennas for urban and wide-area coverage; dual-band Remote Radio Heads (RRH); as well as AirScale indoor Radio (ASiR) small cell solution for seamless indoor coverage. These solutions will deliver an enhanced mobile user experience with high bandwidth, ultra-fast speeds and low latency.Under the deal, Nokia will replace the existing radio network for Ooredoo Tunisia, as well as expand the network with the addition of new radio sites. Nokia will increase its share in Ooredoo Algeria’s network to almost 50 percent, and in Ooredoo Tunisia’s network to around 40 percent.Nokia will also provide its AirFrame and CloudBand Application Manager (CBAM) solution for the network upgrade and deployment in Algeria and Tunisia. In addition, in Tunisia, Nokia will deploy its 7750 Service Router for the modernization of Ooredoo’s IP network and its GPON fiber broadband solution to upgrade the existing FTTH network, increasing its share in these domains to 100 percent in Ooredoo Tunisia’s network. Ahmad Al Neama, Group Regional CEO at Ooredoo Group, said: “Nokia has been our technology partner for many years and has been a part of our network evolution. Under this renewed partnership, we are taking our network to a new level of transformation to further improve our network performance and service experience for our customers. This will further empower our customers in Algeria and Tunisia for knowledge, business, entertainment and make competitive for a whole new lifestyle in the digital age.”Amr K. El Leithy, SVP, Middle East and Africa Market, Nokia, said: “Our vision is to create technology that helps the world act together. To realize this vision, we deliver secure, reliable and sustainable networks today – and work with valued operators such as Ooredoo Group to create the digital services and applications of the future. We are proud to be part of these large-scale network modernization and expansion projects with Ooredoo in Algeria and in Tunisia to unleash rich digital experiences and new value creation opportunities.”

Kitopi announces the acquisition of leading F&B group AWJ

Kitopi, the world’s leading tech-powered, multi-brand restaurant, announced today that it has acquired leading F&B group - AWJ, in one of the largest F&B transactions of the GCC region. A highly successful Dubai-founded F&B group, AWJ is the holding company behind hugely popular delivery and dine-in brands such as Operation Falafel, Catch 22, Awani, Sushi Do and more. AWJ’s unique concepts were created and developed by Co-Founding Director Mr Manhal Naser, who since incorporation acted as the Group’s CEO. Co-Founding Director Mr Tamer Bazzari chaired the corporate vehicle of the fund and the Investment Manager. The group opened its first outlet in Dubai in 2014, and has since expanded its portfolio to more than 10 brands (delivery and dine-in), and 32+ outlets across the UAE and KSA. Today, Operation Falafel serves over 2 million customers globally, per year. AWJ also has franchises in New York and London, and is headquartered in Dubai, UAE with over 1300 employees.The acquisition announcement comes as part of Kitopi’s continued strategy to invest in and grow, much-loved regional brands and take them global, as it continues to dominate the F&B space. Primarily known as a cloud kitchen, today Kitopi defines itself as a tech-powered, multi-brand restaurant with over 100 brands, operated in 200+ locations across 5 markets.The deal which occurred for an undisclosed amount, will see the AWJ group of brands eye expansion in new markets where Kitopi has a solidified presence and a vast network of locations, unlocking new opportunities and access to more customers. AWJ will also benefit from Kitopi’s pioneering tech SKOS (Smart Kitchen Operating System), one of the founding factors for the company’s early success. On the acquisition, Manhal Naser, Group CEO and Co-Founding Director said, “It has been an honour to establish, lead and work so closely with the AWJ team whom I consider as family. We have built on our core fundamentals, raising the bar and setting the business up for a sustainable future - thanks to our 1300+ team champions, our supporting shareholders, the unique brands we have created, and the millions of consumers we serve. It is now time for a new chapter and having worked closely with Kitopi and Mohamed Ballout, the co-founder and CEO, I believe they are best positioned to take AWJ to the next level.” Mohamad Ballout, CEO and Co-founder of Kitopi commented, “With a purpose to satisfy the world’s appetite to create joy, we always strive to bring the best to our customers. To this end, we are incredibly proud to have acquired AWJ and its portfolio of brands. The co-founders and leaders of AWJ have done a remarkable job in building its iconic brands and bringing them across borders. AWJ have built some of the region’s much-loved brands, and it is going to be a privilege to continue to innovate, elevate and expand its success.” While AWJ will welcome a new CEO, AWJ will retain their original team that led to its success, and operate as a separate vertical to Kitopi’s on-demand business. Founded in Dubai, UAE, in January 2018, Kitopi has 5000+ employees, and has offices in KSA, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain. It also operates its engineering hub in Krakow, Poland, its global customer experience center in Dubai, UAE, and its Robotics Hub in Odense, Denmark.

Etisalat by e& launches the MENA region's first enhanced 5G Standalone network

etisalat by e& today announced the first commercial deployment of comprehensive 5G Stand-Alone (SA) network in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for consumers and businesses. This marks a significant improvement over the previous generation of 5G Non Stand Alone (NSA) currently available in the market. etisalat by e& first launched the previous generation of 5G NSA commercially in 2018, which was the first of its kind in the region. With this deployment, etisalat by e& has transitioned from using a 5G radio access network on an existing 4G LTE network to a more advanced 5G network.The latest version of the 5G network will provide customers with access to a dependable nationwide standalone network that can support a wide range of applications. These applications include massive machine-to-machine communication solutions, real-time device-to-device networking, ultra-reliable, low-latency functionality for autonomous devices and next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Standalone 5G technology offers additional capacity and significantly lower latency, making it essential for innovative use cases such as Industry 4.0, industrial IoT, commercial augmented and virtual reality, and large-scale digital sensing.The etisalat by E& 5G Stand Alone (SA) service is designed to offer a more satisfying and productive user experience. Users can enjoy high-speed broadband connectivity comparable to fibre-optic connections, which provides an enhanced experience for high-demand applications such as 4K video streaming, high-quality music streaming, and cloud gaming. In addition to providing individuals with a more efficient broadband experience, the service can also serve as an alternative broadband option for businesses. By leveraging the advantages of 5G SA Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), companies can improve their operations and customer experience.Khalid Murshed, Chief Technology & Information Officer of etisalat by e&, said: "We are pleased to announce our successful investment in 5G Standalone technology. This is a significant milestone as we look to deliver end-to-end 5G solutions in UAE, providing our customers with the latest digital innovations and superior experience and laying the foundation for new revenue streams. The 5G Standalone network will allow us to offer our customers the latest in high-speed and low-latency connectivity. Our recent collaborations have enabled us to increase the quality of our services, while creating a more reliable and cost-effective experience for our customers. We are proud to be leading the way in 5G technology and are committed to continuing our efforts to provide the best services in the industry."This commercial deployment of a comprehensive 5G Stand-Alone network is based on Service Based Architecture (SBA), including the capability of edge computing, network slicing, 3GPP SA (defining standard for 5G) guided network orchestration and service-based architecture. Launching the 5G Stand-Alone Fixed Wireless Access (5G SA FWA) as the first service will open a new era of commercial use cases with a multi-vendor 5G Dual Mode network to enhance the broadband offering to customers.The technology of 5G SA will enable subscribers to enjoy higher uplink bandwidth with special case scenarios for enterprise applications where uplink throughput is equally important as downlink. In other cases, requiring lower user-traffic latency, it will address critical gaming issues and experience futuristic technologies like Virtual Reality (VR) and cloud gaming. The technology also has high-security levels that utilise best industry practices to maintain a robust network.The solution is further enriched with network exposure, slicing, edge computing and orchestration. Network slicing is a way of virtualising the 5G network, allowing it to be partitioned into multiple, logically isolated networks for different customers based on their needs. It allows for greater efficiency and flexibility in the deployment of 5G networks. Edge computing is a way of bringing computing resources closer to the users, reducing latency and improving the performance of applications. The 5G SA will co-exist efficiently with existing networks using dual-mode 5G core technology.

Vodafone Oman signs agreement with digital virgo

 Making waves at this year’s MWC Barcelona, Vodafone Oman signed strategic partnership with Digital Virgo that will revolutionise the company’s digital services, paving the way for Vodafone Oman to offers even more exclusive content tailored for today’s young customer needs and lifestyles.  Capitalizing on Digital Virgo global expertise, Vodafone will unlock a myriad of instant trendy, premium value-added content including video streaming, gaming, entertainment and more, all available through its award-winning My Vodafone App.At the signing ceremony in Barcelona, Bader Al Zidi, CEO, Vodafone Oman, said: “We have gained valuable insight from our customers during our first year of operations. Most importantly is that the value-add of yesterday is the basic of today and we need to bring a new dimension to the table. Catering to a digital savvy young population, our agreement with Digital Virgo is key to allowing us to offer enhanced, cutting-edge digital services, beyond voice and data and we look forward to seeing the fruit of this agreement come to life in the next few months.”Guillaume Briche, CEO, Digital Virgo, said: “We are very excited to be partnering with Vodafone, which is one of the most innovative telco operators in the Middle East. Through this agreement, we are keen to deploy our expertise in supporting the company further enhance its digital services in Oman, giving customers fast easy and secure access to quality content.”At MWC Barcelona, Vodafone’s delegation will also be attending key sessions and meetings, exploring new technologies and partnerships with industry leaders. Since its launch, Vodafone has been committed to building a digital business model, from its fully digital onboarding and eStores; to highly customised digital solutions, fully integrated IT and networks and subscription-based services. Today, Vodafone in Oman is 100% digital with a network that was constructed as one of the only fully cloud-based networks in the region.

Marketplace & D2C Conference 2023 will be held in Dubai in March

The Marketplace & D2C Conference will be held in Dubai on 7th March, 2023. The event will promote exchanges of experience between global and regional experts working in marketplaces and D2C e-commerce in the MENA region. The Marketplace & D2C Conference will be organised by e-commerce analytics tools Sellematics & and held in partnership with the Dubai-based grocery delivery YallaMarket, quick-commerce-as-a-service solution, YallaHub.The event will connect 350+ leaders and professionals across MENA’s e-commerce industry with international expertise and the latest ideas and innovations in foodtech. The main speakers of the summit are: Ishneet Kaur, Head of E-commerce in Lenovo; Ali Shah Bukhari, top-seller on and with with revenues of more than $10 million, Leo Dovbenko, CEO and Co-Founder of YallaMarket & YallaHub; Daria Tkachenko, CEO & Co-founder of Sellematics and, Anshuman Anand, Vice President of Apparel Group; Jonathan Flender, Digital & Ecommerce General Manager at Al-Futtaim.Attendees will learn more about the analytics, advertising and promotion on marketplaces and D2C channels in the MENA region, and the main challenges in the industry in 2023. They will have the opportunity to learn from case studies of YallaMarket & YallaHub, one of the key foodtech players in the area, lecture-discussions from successful brand representatives and well-known marketers, and analysis of cases in groups with experts in the field of e-commerce.“It's an honour for us to participate in and be a partner of the the Marketplace & D2C Conference 2023, in which will unlock new possibilities for startups, investors and everybody who has passion for marketplaces and D2C e-commerce in the MENA region,” said Leo Dovbenko, CEO and Co-Founder of YallaMarket and YallaHub. “The MENA Marketplace & D2C Conference comes at a challenging time as the global economy stands in the face of ongoing challenges. We believe that together we could gain and discuss insights on key trends influencing e-commerce not only in MENA, but all around the globe.”

Makadi Heights & Stryx Sports Dubai collaborate to reshape town’s sports scene

Makadi Heights, one of Orascom Developments' fully integrated towns in the Red Sea Governorate, and Stryx Sports, Dubai's leading sports services provider, have signed a cooperation protocol to provide unparalleled sports programs to support Egypt’s emerging national athletes.The agreement was signed by Tamer Dewidar, CEO of Makadi Heights and Byoum El Fayoum and interim CEO of O West, and Seif Tawfik, CEO of Stryx Sports. The agreement entails Stryx Sports managing Makadi Heights' sports facilities, such as the football, tennis, padel courts, and swimming pools. In addition, Stryx Sports will introduce and manage multi-sport camps for kids ages 3 to 12. This agreement paves the way to further expansion plans introducing academies, after-school activities, sports events and competitions in Makadi Heights.Tamer Dewidar, CEO Of Makadi Heights said, “Our partnership with Stryx Sports represents yet another significant milestone in Makadi Heights’ progression plan. This strategic collaboration aims to provide premium services and facilities that offer an array of unforgettable experiences for residents, visitors, and tourists alike. Makadi Heights is committed to create special moments for homeowners and residents that will last a lifetime at this ultimate family destination at the Red Sea Governorate.”Seif Tawfik, CEO of Stryx Sports, “We are pleased to be expanding our services to Egypt specifically in Makadi Heights. We have been firm believers that sports are an essential component of any society’s well-being. Thus, we are keen to see our seeds sprout and reap the benefits of our efforts to manage world-class sports facilities and create the most engaging sports camps and programs for the Red Sea community.”He added: “For 15 years, Stryx Sports has been using the power of sports to drive positive change in young people. Our mission is two-fold: we aim not only to develop their athletic skills but also to build character and resilience – qualities through running multi sports camps to keep kids active and to learn core values that will stay with them long after they leave our program. We're proud that our efforts have made us a key player across the Middle East, as this region boasts huge potential for sports talent development.”Makadi Heights is a proud supporter of Egyptian sports, having been actively involved for a long period, Makadi Heights’ organized a football tournament that witnessed an impressive total of 410 players competing - consisting of 30 male and 10 female teams with contestants ranging from 18 years old upwards.Stryx Sports has been operating in Dubai since 2008. It established the Barca Academy, bringing FC Barcelona coaches to the country to ensure excellent training. Moreover, Stryx Sports has also established NBA Basketball School in the UAE in 2019.It is worth noting that Makadi Heights is known for its strategic location 15 minutes from Hurghada and 20 minutes from the airport. It is also an unbeatable family destination, with events and activities suitable for all family members — bringing everyone together in one community with its premium experiences and facilities. Makadi Heights started its first phase's delivery, in which 248 units were delivered. The town managed to deliver 126 units ahead of schedule, and 122 as per promised delivery dates. In addition, Makadi Heights delivered “Bayou lagoon” in 2022 two years ahead of its planned date.

Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr impact in retail sales and consumer spending

According to a study conducted by Toluna, a leading provider of market research and consumer insights, the United Arab Emirates market has projected higher expenditure estimates for the Holy Month of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr in 2023 compared to 2022.As per the study, consumer shopping intention in the UAE for the upcoming period will increase by 33% this year compared to last year. The increase can be seen across all sectors, including entertainment (up by 25% from last year), and groceries (up by 23%), socializing (up by 24%), traveling abroad (up by 21%), staycation (up by 28%), food delivery (up by 28%), and cosmetics (up by 28%).The survey shows that the majority of respondents, 91%, plan to give Eid presents this year, with children (64%), parents (52%), and friends (45%) being the primary recipients. Specifically, 39% of respondents plan to increase their spending on Eid gifts, 48% aim to make the occasion more special this year to compensate for the pandemic years and to treat themselves and their loved ones. 41% noted that prices are higher this year, and as a consequence they plan on spending more on gifts, and 33% intend to give gifts to more people this year.Sweets, toys, cash, and perfumes ranked high on the list of most popular Eid gifts for family members: sweets, dates, and chocolates (57%), cash money (Al Ayadi-48%), toys and games (37%), and perfumes (48%), followed by cosmetics and beauty products (28%), and fashion clothing (42%).Additionally, the poll found that purchasing for fashion, toys, and games is migrating to e-commerce, with 100% planning to do more shopping for these items online during the Holy Month this year; 36% of respondents shop online multiple times each week, mostly for fashion, toys, and games.Consumer expectations regarding brands during RamadanWhen asked which factors influenced their decision to purchase during Ramadan, 53% chose deals and promotions above price (56%). According to the study, consumers would like to see brands be more generous during the Holy Month, with 49% wanting to see better promotions and special deals; for example, (67%) would like to receive product discounts when purchasing car insurance, and (56%) are interested in free gift vouchers. Although 59% anticipate banks to give discounts on shopping during Ramadan, 49% expect discounts on dining out and 43% on delivery.Moreover, 42% preferred brand advertising to be inspired by the spirit of the month and focused on charity and donations, while 41% preferred brand marketing to be centered on positive values. "We saw a considerable rise in plans to spend, with customers prioritizing purchases connected to food, apparel, and gifts for their loved ones," said George Akkaoui Enterprise Account Director, Toluna MEA , commenting on the survey’s findings. “During Ramadan, brands must understand the cultural importance of the month and customize their marketing activities accordingly. By giving unique discounts, promotions, and producing content that is aligned with the spirit of the season content, organizations may engage with customers on a deeper level and embed brands in the community, since the impact they make during this Holy Month can have a long-term influence on customer loyalty".

CNN debuts all-new hi-tech hub in Abu Dhabi

 CNN will go live from its brand-new state-of-the-art broadcast facility in Abu Dhabi today, marking a new chapter in the network’s commitment to the Middle East.Situated in twofour54’s Yas Creative Hub, the home of media, entertainment and gaming in Abu Dhabi, the new CNN bureau increases the scale and scope of its operation in the UAE. As one of the network’s key international production hubs, alongside Atlanta, New York, London, and Hong Kong, it also marks the latest of several major investments in technology and editorial production for CNN.Mike McCarthy, EVP and General Manager, CNN International, added: “CNN Abu Dhabi is a vital part of our global newsgathering and programming operation. This new investment underscores that importance, and we are excited to share what it will bring to our audiences around the world.”The new multi-million-dollar Abu Dhabi hub incorporates the very latest broadcast technology. Its 80 square metre studio, which will be home to CNN International’s flagship current affairs programme, Connect the World with Becky Anderson, incorporates 10 million pixels of video wall and a suite of fully robotic cameras. The facility also has four dedicated craft edit suites and utilises hybrid digital and IP video/audio workflows to enable the highest quality, fully integrated production.Becky Anderson, Anchor & Managing Editor, CNN Abu Dhabi, said: “This new facility really supercharges our operation in Abu Dhabi. Everything we have built here enhances our ability to tell stories from this region and beyond, from the state-of-the-art studio and production facilities, through to the workspace itself, which is geared towards collaborative, multi-platform content creation. We’re also very happy to be part of the new creative community developing here in the Yas Creative Hub.”Abu Dhabi has been a key hub in CNN’s global operation since 2009, when the network first opened its bureau in the Emirate, at twofour54’s previous campus. It has been the base for Connect the World with Becky Anderson since 2014 and is also home to some of CNN’s best-known feature programming, including Decoded, and Marketplace Middle East, as well as key CNN Digital properties, such as the network’s Meanwhile in the Middle East newsletter.It is also home to CNN Academy Abu Dhabi, which recently welcomed its second cohort of academicians. In 2022, the hub welcomed 88 budding journalists from 12 countries, giving them a grounding in a range of newsgathering techniques and principles, and challenging them to investigate and report on a fictional breaking news story in a realistic, fast-paced setting via a hi-tech newsroom simulation.The new Abu Dhabi bureau is the latest new facility for CNN in recent years. The network began broadcasting from its new studios in New York in 2019, followed closely by its hi-tech facilities in London in 2020, and will soon broadcast from brand new studios in Atlanta.

Intigral selects ThinkAnalytics to enhance its streaming services

ThinkAnalytics today announced that Intigral, the media arm of stc Group, the Saudi Arabian Telco Conglomerate, and the leading provider of digital entertainment and sports content in MENA, has selected the Think360 personalized content discovery and viewer engagement platform for its stc tv and Jawwy TV streaming services. As well as launching personalized user experiences that increase engagement on these services, Think360 will underpin Intigral’s Master Aggregation strategy to provide all the top entertainment to its users, in one destination.Using Think360, Intigral will offer its subscribers across the region a frictionless and innovative way to discover content across services. Intigral’s deep entertainment library will be aggregated with content from regional and international partners for a seamless experience across all devices in multiple languages.With a significant increase in standalone OTT video offerings, Intigral looks to take advantage of its Master Aggregator business model to offer its users an intuitive browsing and viewing experience (content discovery, personalized recommendations, etc). Intigral chose to partner with ThinkAnalytics because of Think360’s proven success with major TV operators worldwide resulting in enhanced user experiences, and its success delivering advanced functionality including super-aggregation and contextual engagement.ThinkAnalytics is providing a fully managed service running on AWS for Intigral, delivering personalized live TV, on-demand entertainment and sports content across multiple platforms and devices. The premium stc tv service features over 200 live channels as well as a very large SVoD and TVoD library. It runs on platforms including mobile, Android TV, set-top boxes, Samsung and LG smart TVs, Xbox, and Apple TV in stc Group territories (KSA, Kuwait and Bahrain). The Jawwy TV streaming service is available for consumers across the wider MENA region, outside of stc Group footprint.Intigral will deploy the full suite of Think360 products available in the portfolio for both stc tv and Jawwy TV, including search and discovery, ThinkEditorial campaign management system, ThinkUX and ThinkInsight. With ThinkUX, the Intigral editorial team can select use cases to dynamically change the user experience across all devices. Intigral will use ThinkInsight to analyze large, complex data sets about viewing and content, and A/B testing, to better meet its business KPIs.William Sharp, Chief Technology Officer at Intigral, said, “We are constantly looking for ways to improve our service in order to provide the best streaming experiences possible. With Think360 we will achieve these goals by giving subscribers a personalized user experience with seamless search and discovery across our own content and third party services.”Samuel Sweet, CEO EMEA & APAC at ThinkAnalytics, commented, “One of the reasons for our roaring success in the MENA region is the quality and quantity of our multi-lingual capabilities including metadata in Arabic, which makes it easy for users to find content with a unified, personalized experience across all screens. We look forward to a long partnership with Intigral as we bring the most comprehensive and engaging experiences to its subscribers.”

6 in 10 UAE drivers looking to buy a car this Ramadan

60% of UAE residents are looking to purchase a new or used car during the Holy Month of Ramadan according to a survey commissioned by Audi Abu Dhabi. The survey explored consumer sentiment towards new car purchases and electric vehicle (EV) adoption ahead of what is considered a peak season for car purchases.Of the 60% looking to purchase a vehicle, petrol cars dominated the demand at 33% while 13% are considering an EV and 14% are still undecided.While the immediate prospect of EV purchasing is still niche, the survey revealed a growing number of consumers (52%) in the UAE are eager to buy an EV as their next car or in the coming three years. Almost half of the respondents also reported that they would purchase an EV if certain concerns related to EV ownership are addressed, such as improved charging infrastructure (28%) and understanding how much EVs total cost of ownership is (24%).Commenting on the findings, Audi Abu Dhabi General Manager, Mark Austin, said, "The rapid increase in the adoption of EVs in the region aligns with the country’s plans for sustainability. Audi is proud to play its part in the UAE government’s vision by having an ever-expanding range of e-trons. The potential customers looking to buy EVs in the near future is significant, with their adoption helping to fast-track and contribute to the UAE’s Net Zero 2050 initiative.”The Audi Abu Dhabi dealership offers a range of electric models under the Audi e-tron umbrella, reflecting the brand’s commitment to advancing electrification and finding sustainable ways to strive forward. The latest to join the line-up this year will be the new Audi Q8 e-tron, Audi’s top-of-the line electric SUV model. The new e-tron will offer the best in luxury comfort, an optimised drive concept, improved aerodynamics as well as better charging performance and battery capacity.The survey was conducted in conjunction with YouGov and polled over 1,000 UAE residents aged 18-50 years old.

Regional experts to share best practices and insights on immersive marketing

Organizer NordStella today announced the details of the upcoming MENA Effie Thought Leadership Program (TLP) Dubai, scheduled for 3rd March 2023, at the Conference Hall, Dubai Knowledge Park. Part of the long-running MENA Effie Awards, the prestigious event revolves around the theme, ‘Leveraging the Full Potential of Immersive Marketing: Challenges and Opportunities’, and is designed to help marketers communicate and differentiate, using the power of marketing. “MENA Effie TLP Dubai’s central theme for this year, immersive marketing, can be likened to a fork in the road, where marketers have to make choices that will have far-reaching implications for the industry. This juncture calls for scholarly deliberations, a merging of varied perspectives, effective knowledge flows, and a coming together as a community — which is the key objective of the event,” said Sahar Rafique, Managing Director of NordStella, a company specializing in hosting and publishing meaningful, insight-rich, and in-depth-yet-entertaining content.The latest edition of MENA Effie TLP Dubai boasts over 15 speakers who are leading some of the marquee brands in the region: Tahaab Rais, Chief Strategy Officer at Publicis Groupe, and Vishal Badiani, Head of Creative Strategy at Snap, will feature in the long line-up of speakers. NordStella has planned an exciting repertoire of keynotes, panel sessions, and deep-dive discussions pertaining to immersive marketing. Entering its third year, the TLP series has garnered immense interest and admiration from the marketing community for its proven ability to not only delve deep into marketing niches and emerging technologies but also give it a strong regional context. The TLP series builds on the 13-year pedigree of the MENA Effie Awards, one of the region’s biggest and most-celebrated marketing events. After the Dubai edition, the series is set for a KSA debut on 6th March 2023, in Riyadh, owing to popular demand and requests from local marketing professionals. “The meteoric traction of the TLP series in a short span reflects the need for domain-specific knowledge-sharing, community building, and networking. And we are committed to delivering even more value to serve this need-gap,” explained Rafique.

Rana Almaeeli appointed as new CE of Sinnad company

 Bahrain-based SINNAD Company, a leading Card Processing Payment Solutions and Digital Payments in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region is pleased to announce the appointment of Mrs. Rana Almaeeli as its Chief Executive, effective February 2023. This appointment comes as part of SINNAD’s efforts to drive its digital strategic vision and scale their business offerings across the GCC and the African market.Mrs. Rana Almaeeli has held a range of senior managerial positions at SINNAD and has a long history of excellence in the Card Processing, Payment Solutions, and digital payments realm. Rana has also worked as a General Manager at SINNAD for over 11 years, where she leveraged her extensive expertise in digital payments and Payment Solutions.It is also worth noting that Rana received the HRH Princess Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa award in December 2015, under the theme “Women in the Financial and Banking Sector,” for the youngest General Manager in the banking sector.SINNAD, a subsidiary of The BENEFIT Company, was founded with the aim of supporting banks in growing their business with high efficiency, low operating cost and increased profitability by outsourcing their services. Through best-in-class technology and know-how, it provides banks with reliable, efficient and easy-to-use card issuings, ATM and Merchant Acquiring complete solutions from systems outsourcing to full operations. Over the years, SINNAD has established itself as one of the leaders in digital payments and Card processing in the MEA region.Commenting on the appointment, Mohamed Ebrahim AlBastaki, Chairman of SINNAD said, “I would like to congratulate Rana on her new role as CE and express my best wishes for her. Rana has been a valuable asset at SINNAD for over a decade now and has consistently shown her commitment and dedication to the firm through her work experience and invaluable contributions. She played an integral role in shaping SINNAD and helped to set many of the foundational cornerstones that it was built upon. We are confident in her ability to lead SINNAD’s further growth and evolution.”Addressing the promotion, Mrs. Rana Almaeeli commented, “I would like to express my sincerest gratitude towards the Board of Directors , senior management and my colleagues for their unwavering support throughout the years. I am honored to have been a part of SINNAD since the beginning of its journey. We have achieved incredible growth and reached countless milestones over the years, and I look forward to leading our future endeavors as CE.”“I am certain that my extensive knowledge and skills in fostering a progressive, strong financial services environment equips me to lead SINNAD into its next phase, and it is a great privilege to contribute to its success story in the Middle East and Africa regions.”

Digital-media veteran Sadia Akhter joins leading marketing company YAAP

YAAP, a Dubai-based specialized influencer marketing company, today announced the appointment of seasoned media professional Sadia Akhter as a Partner. In a career spanning over 19 years across key verticals such as digital media, programmatic and influencer marketing, and advertising, Akhter has helmed successful campaigns for reputable brands, fostered and led multiple teams, and delivered measurable results. “Sadia Akhter joins us at a watershed moment characterized by growing partnerships with local and global agencies, expansion pan-GCC, and a foray into emerging avenues such as Web 3.0. Her stellar track record and wealth of experience accrued through an evolutionary period in digital media complement YAAP’s ambition of becoming synonymous with influencer marketing in the region,” commented Arshad Zaheer, Senior Partner, YAAP. Before joining YAAP, Sadia Akhter was leading Sociallyz, a data-driven influencer marketing company she co-founded. She was instrumental in driving the company’s influencer-marketing efforts for household names such as Microsoft and Pizza Hut. Her cross-cultural experience was shaped by stints across the UK and MENA, where she worked for organizations such as Monster, Vibrant Media, Ikoo, Addictive Mobility, and FreakOut Pte. Ltd.Commenting on her new role, Sadia Akhter said: “YAAP’s roadmap in the region and beyond aligns with my professional aspirations, especially in terms of my vision for influencer marketing and its prospects. My focus in the short term is to build an effective and agile influencer vertical through effective technology adoption, talent recruitment, and client onboarding. Over the long haul, I intend to support influencers become better subject-matter experts while positioning YAAP as a market leader.”YAAP’s pursuit of excellence saw it acquire Crayons Communications, a reputable advertising agency in the Middle East, last year after it posted an impressive top-line growth of 97% and a 5X jump in profitability for FY21-22. Its client portfolio includes Coca-Cola, Visit Dubai, Lufthansa, RuPay, American Express, Disney, Amazon, and Square Enix, among other leading brands in the Middle East and beyond. Sadia Akhter will work closely with Senior Partner Arshad Zaheer and Founder Atul Hegde as the company continues to enhance its full-suite services and blaze a new trail in data-driven influencer marketing in the region.

BFL Group strengthens presence in KSA as retail activities increase in country

Brands For Less (BFL) Group, one of the leading off-price and multi-brand retailers of the region, expanded its footprint in Saudi Arabia with the launch of a new store in Othaim Mall Rabwa, Riyadh; in light with the increasing retail activities across the country. The new store was inaugurated on February 22, 2023, as part of BFL Group’s plan to strengthen its market presence across the country.Retail activities in major cities across the Kingdom have been witnessing exponential growth within the past months. This expansion is in line with the country’s National Transformation Programme that prioritises the development of the retail sector. Moreover, the country’s retail market has been creating robust business opportunities for both international and regional players. The new BFL store aims to leverage new opportunities presented by the retail sector and embark on catering to the local needs of the Saudi market. According to reports, Saudi Arabia’s retail industry is forecasted to witness exponential growth leading to the year 2030. The catalyst to this growth is expected to be driven by the entry of new competitors to the market, future acquisitions and the advancement of the e-commerce platforms.  Toufic Kredieh, CEO and Co-Founder of BFL Group, said: “Opening our new store in Saudi Arabia is a notable achievement for us. Saudi Arabia’s economy is currently witnessing remarkable developments and several reports indicate that the country’s apparel and accessories sales have nearly topped among other products during 2022. The apparel and accessories market – in KSA is expected to continue this growth during the coming months, due to the evolving needs of the consumer base. We are optimistic that the high footfall at the mall will help us reach new sales records. We are committed to further expand our quality offerings to meet customer demands.” The new store, which is located on the second floor of the mall, combines BFL’s diverse brand offerings. Attributing to its strategic location, the new store is anticipated to welcome a high number of shoppers, maximising the overall growth of the group.Othaim Mall offers BFL the perfect opportunity to deliver a distinct shopping experience to its customers. The mall, which expects an increased footfall in 2023 amidst the vastly improving market conditions and the strong retail landscape of the country, will enable the company to further its business growth.

Media Mix Advertising acquires SZR with Ferrari World

Ferrari, a UAE themed Park, dominated a 30-km stretch on Sheikh Zayed Road. along with Media Mix Advertising’s 21 unipoles.You can find Ferrari while you’re cruising on Sheikh Zayed Road (SZR) as the theme park.Media Mix implemented its unique strategy :a total takeover of 21 SZR Unipoles from Jebel Ali to Abu Dhabi.Media Mix previously attained 21 unipoles in July 2022 after which it coined the special execution “Total Takeover”.Media Mix has been successful in executing four takeover campaigns that featured Etisalat, Warner Bros, Hayatna and now Ferrari.

myco, partners with MoEngage to enhance viewer and creator engagement

myco, a web3 video streaming, funding, production, and distribution platform, announced a partnership with MoEngage, a leading customer engagement platform. The partnership aims to enhance myco's viewer and creator engagement by leveraging MoEngage's insights-led platform, which includes push notifications as a channel.myco empowers viewers and creators in a fully decentralized video ecosystem with live monetization, crowdfunding, gating NFTs and fractional ownership of content. myco also pioneers an elevated content experience through the creation of the Cineverse (cinema in the metaverse). In the past year, myco has seeded, funded, and curated more than 40 film & TV productions through its self-sustaining ecosystem."myco's mission is to empower viewers by providing them with a decentralized and fair ecosystem for content creation and consumption. Our partnership with MoEngage allows us to take this mission to the next level by enabling first-party data and providing a level of personalization that is unmatched in the industry." said Tariq Jaser - Digital Marketing Manager at myco.MoEngage's insights-led customer engagement platform will allow myco to better understand its audience, their preferences and behavior and deliver tailored content that meets their needs. This not only enhances the viewer and creator experience but also allows myco to continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible in the video streaming industry.“myco is revolutionizing the content industry by providing power to the viewers and creators alike through their decentralized and fair ecosystem for content creation and consumption. Their innovative use of blockchain technology to empower all stakeholders in the ecosystem is truly groundbreaking. We are excited to partner with myco and be a part of this revolution, helping them to enhance viewer and creator engagement through our platform and continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in the content industry.” said Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success, at MoEngage.myco joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Landmark Group, Apparel Group, Airtel, Jazeera Airways, GMG, Mashreq Bank, Alamar Foods, and many more, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.

‘Proudly from Dubai Market’ highlights Dubai’s exciting entrepreneurial story

Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), has partnered with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), to showcase the unique culinary concepts and delicious creations of homegrown businesses from the ‘Proudly from Dubai’ network at the Sikka Art and Design Festival 2023.The 11th edition of the Festival is being held under the patronage of H. H. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Member of the Dubai Council at Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood from 24th February to 5th March, 2023.As part of the collaboration, 28 of Dubai’s most-loved homegrown food outlets and cafes have brought a range of their best-selling and mouth-watering dishes, desserts and popular coffee blends to the ‘Proudly from Dubai Market’ at the Festival.Visitors to the Festival can savour a range of delectable food and beverages (F&B) and experience a diverse range of cuisines at the F&B space dedicated to the outlets.The Sikka Art and Design Festival is a pillar event of the #DubaiArtSeason that began on 1st February and runs until 20th March 2023.The Festival is a unique arts celebration held annually in Al Fahidi Historical Neighbourhood, a key attraction highlighted in the #DubaiDestinations campaign.Fatma Almulla, City Branding Executive at Brand Dubai, said: “Brand Dubai has once again partnered with Dubai Culture to shine the spotlight on the entrepreneurial success stories of innovative F&B businesses that have emerged from Dubai. We believe the Sikka Art and Design Festival provides an ideal platform to introduce Dubai’s community to the unique blends, authentic flavours and original concepts of promising startups from our ‘Proudly from Dubai’ network. The latest participation of our members supports Brand Dubai and Dubai Culture’s shared vision to celebrate homegrown creative talent and further raise their visibility among various audiences.”Noor Khalfan Al Roumi, Sikka Art & Design Festival Project Manager at Dubai Culture, affirmed the important role of the partnership between Dubai Culture and Brand Dubai in promoting homegrown F&B concepts. “The festival is an important platform for attracting creative talent, innovative projects and members of the creative community in Dubai. The event is aligned with Dubai Culture's commitment to create a sustainable environment that can stimulate the growth of Dubai’s cultural and creative industries. The festival, through its rich programme of events and activities, gives the public the opportunity to explore Dubai's art scene, and learn about the creativity of our artists, as well as local and international trends in the art sector,” she said.The ‘Proudly from Dubai Market’ at the event shines the spotlight on the gastronomic creations of 28 Dubai-born outlets: Odd Job; The Grotto; Three By Eva; Mirzam; Al Khayma HEritage Restaurant; 21 Grams; Ugly Noodles; Mamarama; Maxzi The Good Food Shop; The Juice Merchant; Rascals Deli; Fifth Flavor; Must; Pinza; Go Nuts; Camellia Station; Iykyk; Yi-Fang; Sweet On Wheels; Blu Matcha; Mini Bbq; XVA; Birria Tacos; Haya's Kitchen; Hangerbur; Sage; Karak Inc; And Moreish By K.Sikka Art and Design Festival is a contemporary art event dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging Emirati and UAE & GCC-based artists.Hosted annually at Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, the 11th edition of the Festival provides a blank canvas to a new generation of artists to display their talent and creativity.Weaved through a well-curated 10-day programme, the festival, held under the theme ‘New Creativity, Same Path,’ showcases a diverse range of art forms such as exhibitions, art installations, murals, workshops, talks, photo walks, film screenings, musical performances and more.‘Proudly from Dubai’An initiative launched by Brand Dubai to highlight the success stories of businesses born and initiated in Dubai, ‘Proudly from Dubai’ aims to tell the story of innovation and creativity shaping Dubai’s emerging business and entrepreneurial culture

DigiGlass by Redington announces partnership with indusface

 DigiGlass by Redington, managed security services brand of Redington Value – the leading technology aggregator in the Middle East and Africa, has announced a strategic Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) partnership with Indusface, a leading application security SaaS company trusted by 5000+ global companies to detect, protect , and monitor against security risks on websites, mobile and API applications.Indusface’s award-winning fully managed platform AppTrana integrates web application scanner (DAST), cloud WAAP (WAF), DDoS & BOT Mitigation, secure CDN, and threat intelligence engine. With this collaboration, DigiGlass by Redington customers can integrate Indusface’s award winning offerings, including AppTrana, to create powerful security strategies that ensure threat actors are kept at bay.Cybercriminals have become more sophisticated and the range of attacks that they execute are increasingly complex, more integrated, and veiled. This partnership enables Redington’s customers to take advantage of Induface’s robust security solutions that will help them defend against new-age threats.According to a recent study done by Indusface titled ‘The State of Application Security’, the company analyzed 800M+ attacks. One of the key findings was that almost 60% of attacks were blocked using custom rules. While the core rules are comparable to most WAAP providers, the ability to act as an extended SOC team to write, test and manage custom rules while promising a zero false positive guarantee is the value that Indusface provides.Boasting more than 40 world-class cybersecurity vendors, DigiGlass by Redington covers applications, networks, endpoints, data, infrastructure, clouds, perimeters, and more, all with a range of service levels. The services include monitoring networks to help detect, identify, and respond to a multitude of known and unknown threats, enabling tech teams to prevent attacks from succeeding.Now with the capability to integrate Indusface along with its powerful services, DigiGlass is a compelling offering for customers to effortlessly secure their infrastructure and digital operations while being able to prioritize core business.Jayesh Warier, VP, Sales at Indusface, said, “Applications and data are at the heart of any digital business and Indusface offers strong security solutions to guard these prized components. We are excited to partner with a specialist like DigiGlass by Redington, with whom we can provide a holistic offering, including analytics and SIEM, for our growing customer base in the region. Customers can rely on the strength of our partnership for their end-to-end cybersecurity requirements.”Sayantan Dev, President, Redington Value, said, “In today's growing digital world, cybersecurity has become an essential requirement and the most important priority for organizations across all industries to protect their mission-critical corporate data. As businesses rely significantly on digital infrastructure, there is an urgent need for robust security solutions and services that offer continuous monitoring and protection of networks and applications.“At DigiGlass by Redington, we recognize the critical importance of cybersecurity, and we are proud to announce our partnership with Indusface, a pioneering leader in the field. Together, we will provide comprehensive security solutions and services that enable our customers to protect their applications and data with unparalleled effectiveness.”Dev added, “Our collaboration with Indusface will empower our ecosystem with cutting-edge security technologies that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. By combining the power of Indusface's web application firewall (WAF) with DigiGlass managed security services (MSSP) expertise, we will deliver best-in-class network and application security solutions to our partners and customers.“We are committed to deepening our collaboration with Indusface to offer unique value and innovative security solutions to our customers. With this partnership, we are confident that we can help businesses of all sizes safeguard their digital assets against the constantly evolving threat landscape.”

Ooredoo Group to join industry experts, tech giants at Mobile World Congress

Ooredoo Group has announced its participation at Mobile World Congress (MWC) for the 2023 edition of the event in Barcelona, Spain.This year’s Mobile World Congress, the largest and most influential connectivity event in the world, is set to be held from 27 February - 2 March 2023 at the Fira Gran Via, Barcelona. This year’s key themes are 5G Acceleration; Reality+; OpenNet; Fintech; and Digital Everything.A delegation of Ooredoo representatives will travel to Barcelona for MWC 2023. At the event, Ooredoo Group and operating companies across the world will share insights into the many exciting developments within these key themes, including new partnerships, products, services and solutions, as well as providing updates on recent ventures and achievements.Ooredoo's participation at the Mobile World Congress 2023 underscores the company's longstanding commitment to innovation and technology leadership within the telecommunications industry.The delegation of senior Ooredoo representatives attending the event will meet with their industry counterparts and many world-leading partners for top-level dialogue on issues affecting the industry and its stakeholders, as well as exploring new partnerships and business relationships opportunities.

Middle East and North Africa OTT TV and Video Market Report 2023

The "Middle East and North Africa OTT TV and Video Forecasts 2023" report has been added to's offering.Middle East & North Africa OTT TV episodes and movies will generate $5.69 billion by 2028; double from $2.83 billion in 2022Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia together will account for 55% of the region's revenues by 2028. The 13 Arabic-speaking countries will generate $2.47 billion in 2028; up from $1.28 billion in 2022.AVOD will bring in $1.55 billion by 2028 - up by $1 billion on 2022. Turkey will supply 62% of the 2028 total, with Israel bringing in another 11% and Saudi Arabia 10%.SVOD is the revenue driver for OTT TV and video. SVOD revenues will reach $3.82 billion in 2028; up by $1.8 billion from $2.03 billion in 2022.Simon Murray, Principal Analyst, commented: "We forecast 42 million SVOD subscriptions by 2028, double from 21 million at end-2022. Netflix will have 11 million subscribers by 2028. Disney+ started in the Arabic countries, Israel and Turkey in 2022 - with 7.22 million subscribers expected by 2028."Key Topics Covered:Published in February 2023, this 126-page PDF and excel report comes in two parts:Insight: Detailed country-by-country analysis in a 65-page PDF document.A 62-page Excel workbook covering each year from 2015 to 2028 for 20 countries by household penetration, by SVOD subscribers and by OTT revenues for movies and TV episodes. As well as summary tables by country and by platform. NEW FOR 2023: Filter worksheet - every row on one spreadsheet, allowing for easy comparisons.Companies MentionedAmazon Prime VideoAmediatekaApple TV+beIN ConnectBlu TVCellcom TVDisney+HBOIviJawwyMegogoNetflixOSNParamount+Shahid VIPStarzPlaySting TVTivibuTurkcellVIPVodafone TVYes+

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy hosts gaming sector workshop

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has hosted the seventh episode of a series of digital industry workshops – this time focusing on the gaming sector. This sector-specific workshop saw leading players in the gaming sector gather to discuss the opportunities and challenges the sector faces. The workshop series provides a platform for key players, start-ups, investors and interested parties to discuss the state of the sector and help create a framework for future success. During the event, H.E. Ahmad Bin Byat, Vice Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, said: “With an affluent, youthful and gaming savvy population, the opportunities for local, global and regional game developers is incredible. We need to work fast, decisively and intelligently to create the right environment for all gaming sector companies to thrive. There’s no reason why Dubai cannot become a regional – if not global – gaming industry hub.”“We need to gain a holistic understanding of the gaming sector, working closely together to ensure that current government policies, initiatives and strategies promote innovation and business friendliness for gaming companies,” he added.The Vice Chairman told attendees that the Chamber is working to create a business environment supportive of the gaming sector, emphasising that the role of the Chamber is purely to act in support of digital industries, to help promote a well-organized, well-regulated and professional work environment for the ever-growing digital sector – of which gaming is a key part.“Dubai enjoys the market, infrastructure and investment that qualifies it to become a global leader in gaming, especially given the sector’s overlaps with emerging Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies including AR, VR and blockchain,” H.E. bin Byat concluded. Meanwhile, pundits suggest the GCC's gaming industry will increase in value from US$1.3 billion in 2019 to US$4.5 billion in 2025. Nine out of ten adults in the UAE currently play video games, according to data from Statista. The UAE’s extensive gaming audience is boosted by the rising popularity of mobile gaming and a blazing 5G network.Another topic during the workshop was the challenge of greater localization in gaming, especially given that Arabic is the fifth most spoken language globally.Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy will hold regular workshops in the future with key gaming industry players, to ensure gaming plays a valuable role in the emerging digital economy, and to track progress of the discussions, ideas and initiatives raised at the workshop. The Chamber is committed to involving all relevant parties in building a clear sector roadmap and assisting in finding solutions to any challenges discussed. Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy plays a prominent role in engaging stakeholders from various digital sectors to promote an environment conducive to growth of the digital economy.

From saving millions to saving the planet, AI is transforming the oil and gas in

Artificial Intelligence, more commonly referred to as AI, has already begun saving oil and gas companies millions of dollars a year by improving operational efficiency, the Al-Attiyah Foundation explains in its latest Energy Industry report.Although AI is generally associated with science fiction movies and visions of the future, machine intelligence that can identify patterns, learn from experience and solve problems has been in the making for decades.In 1966, SHAKEY, the world’s first “mobile intelligent robot,” complete with a television camera and bump detector, was unveiled. SHAKEY “could perceive its surroundings, infer implicit facts from explicit ones, create plans, recover from errors in plan execution, and communicate using ordinary English.”Thirty years later, AI had reached another milestone when it came up against Russian Grandmaster Garry Kasparov in an unprecedented and enduring battle of wits. Deep Blue, a machine designed by IBM and capable of computing 100 million positions per second, beat Kasparov in its first ever chess match but eventually lost the six-game series.After some amendments from IBM scientists, Deep Blue and Kasparov met for a replay a year later. In a darkened television studio in New York, global audiences watched in suspense as the world champion sat opposite the machine’s human surrogate.After a tense five match struggle, man and computer were level heading in the last round of the seminal encounter. In just 19 moves, Deep Blue defeated the human grandmaster to steal a historic victory.Since Deep Blue chess exploits, several AI applications have emerged across all segments of the oil and gas industry and are leaving an indelible mark.According to a recent survey by Ernst & Young, 92% of the global oil and gas companies are either currently investing in AI - or plan to - over the next five years. And, it is already beginning to have an impact, as 50% of the oil & gas executives (in the same survey) have already begun using AI to solve various challenges across their respective organisation.Its most common current application is predictive maintenance and machinery inspection. Here, AI technology analyses operational data such as drill maintenance or downtime, in addition to real-time decision-making and developing models that can predict equipment malfunction. This is crucial in running uninterrupted operations and avoiding costly downtimes and project overruns.Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) has already enhanced its operations with such technology. In 2021, the Malaysian company deployed AVEVA Predictive Analytics in the Microsoft Azure cloud to accurately predict and resolve equipment failures before they happen.Over 200 models were deployed in the first year – at a greater scale than would have been possible with human analysts – and the solution correctly identified 51 major early warnings. In the process, it delivered a value of $17.4M, with 14x return on investment (ROI). From the 51 warnings, 12 were high impact incident.AI technologies can optimise field development from exploration to production, allowing effective and efficient interpretation of seismic data to identify hydrocarbon deposits, in addition to identifying optimal locations for drilling operations.In September 2020, the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) discovered a new AI-based technique that helps analyse data from seismic waves (natural or induced by explosive material) to determine the geological features beneath the surface, thereby helping in discovering hydrocarbons, like oil and natural gas, in less time with high efficiency.ExxonMobil aims to use the deep-sea AI robot to enhance its natural seep detection capabilities. The corporation’s AI-powered robots are capable enough to detect these oil seeps, which will eventually reduce exploration risk and cause less harm to marine life.The AI revolution could also help major players like Saudi Aramco, BP, and Royal Dutch Shell in their quest to be carbon neutral by 2050. In 2022, engineers at Texas A&M University’s campus in Qatar announced they had partnered with Qatargas and Schlumberger to use machine learning to detect underground leaks of carbon dioxide and other gasses and fluids related to oil and gas production, helping reduce environmental and economic impacts.Elsewhere, BP turned to Silicon Valley to help reduce methane leakage, and with vendor Kelvin Inc. they’ve outfitted hundreds of its Wamsutter wells with cheap sensors that gather and transmit data into supercomputers where AI-driven algorithms crunch endless optimisation simulations.BP estimates that within six months of use, methane leakage from the wells declined by 74%. Along with cutting operational costs, such technology will help BP rapidly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in its oil and gas operations.The potential applications of AI are near-endless in the oil and gas sector. The application of AI goes beyond “better” or “faster” operational processes, it has the potential to unlock efficiencies across the entire value chain from exploration to sales.To download the full report on how AI is transforming oil and gas operations and for more expert insights on the energy industry,

New country healthcare appoints Nour Koudsi as Co-CEO

New Country Healthcare (NCH), a leading healthcare distributor in the UAE announced today the appointment of Nour Koudsi as Co-CEO alongside Co-CEO Dr. Nael Al Koudsi.With 19 years of professional experience, Nour brings with him a wealth of knowledge and a unique set of skills that will be of great benefit to NCH.Nour Koudsi started his career at New Country Healthcare in 2004, where he focused on enhancing business development and optimizing operational performance. He then embarked on a 13 year tenure across a few corporations where he honed his critical thinking, strategic planning, business development and leadership skills. His journey led him to tech giant Google, where he spent over a decade engaging in numerous roles and advanced to the position of Regional Lead of Android Partnerships covering EMEA’s Emerging Markets, leading Google’s Android business across a cluster of 27 countries.Dr. Ghazi Al Koudsi, Chairman of New Country Healthcare, said: "We are thrilled to have Nour back onboard as Co-CEO. He is a visionary leader with a strong strategic mindset, and is highly committed to enhancing the organization's long-term success, and I am confident that his knowledge and expertise will bring tremendous value to NCH. It is an exciting time for Nour to join and I am looking forward to seeing what he and Nael, Co-CEO, will accomplish together."Founded in 1978 as Country Pharmacy, New Country Healthcare was established in 1990 with a mission to provide local communities with high quality, innovative healthcare products through fast and efficient services.NCH is a leader in the healthcare sector with a UAE & regional footprint, 260 employees and a rich portfolio that includes over 1500 products manufactured in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Middle East.“Alongside NCH’s remarkable leadership, I am excited to be exploring opportunities that will expand NCH’s value proposition across numerous fronts, specifically vertical integration, new business ventures, healthtech and digitalization” Nour said aboutjoining New Country Healthcare. “With our partner centric approach and our drive to innovate and serve communities locally, regionally and globally, NCH will be an unstoppable force of positive impact. The world is our oyster and we look forward to achieving the impossible.”Nour is a graduate of the University of Toronto, where he completed an HonorsBachelor of Science, with a double major in Human Physiology and Human Biology. He then went on to earn his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from INSEAD, one of the world's leading business schools.New Country Healthcare's leadership is excited to have Nour rejoin and looks forward to the contributions he will make in driving NCH's mission and vision forward.

DISH Wireless launches Virtual Open RAN 5G Network With Samsung

Samsung Electronics and DISH Network Corporation launched Samsung-supported sites for the DISH Wireless 5G network, marking the beginning of Samsung’s role in the operator’s nation-wide rollout. With Samsung supplying an initial shipment of 24,000 Open RAN-compliant radios1 and 5G virtualized RAN (vRAN) software solutions, the companies are accelerating the DISH network deployment across the U.S., which is poised to provide reliable and fast nationwide coverage to DISH Wireless network users. “Samsung is a key player in the DISH Wireless Open RAN ecosystem, created in collaboration with additional Open RAN leaders like Dell, VMware, AWS and others,” said Marc Rouanne, EVP and Chief Network Officer, DISH Wireless. “Samsung’s 5G vRAN solutions and our shared innovation process allow DISH Wireless to continue the DISH 5G multi-vendor, open and interoperable cloud-native network buildout, as we progress to covering 70 percent of the U.S. population.”Since the announcement of their multi-year agreement in May 2022, DISH Wireless and Samsung advanced their collaboration — progressing from field tests to successfully activating the first live Samsung sites within the DISH Wireless 5G network. For this rollout, Samsung provided its comprehensive portfolio of 5G solutions, including its virtualized distributed unit (vDU), virtualized central unit (vCU) and Open RAN-compliant 5G radios, which support the DISH spectrum bands. Samsung also built new dual-band and tri-band Open RAN-compliant radios specific for this deployment. “DISH Wireless is an innovator in mobile technologies and we are thrilled to reach new heights of connectivity together, validating the immense potential that virtualization and openness can bring to the industry,” said Junehee Lee, Executive Vice President, Head of Global Sales & Marketing, Networks Business, Samsung Electronics. “This milestone advances the wide-scale deployment of Samsung’s vRAN in the U.S. and we look forward to continuing our work with DISH Wireless to accelerate 5G expansion and lead the delivery of next-generation connectivity across the country.” DISH Wireless and Samsung will continue to innovate within the DISH Open RAN architecture to provide their customers with reliable fast service and set the stage for DISH Wireless to offer enterprises a broad range of new services and enhanced capabilities.

Empyre Communications wins the St. Regis Downtown, Dubai and Delta Hotel, DIP

 Empyre Communications, Dubai’s leading Public Relations and Marketing agency, which oversees a rich portfolio of luxury, hospitality, beauty, fashion, corporate and tech brands, has been appointed as the agency of choice by both The St. Regis Downtown, Dubai, and Delta Hotel, DIP, under Marriott International.The agency has been commissioned to handle all aspects of the St. Regis Downtown, Dubai property, from the hotel’s F&B outlets, including BASTA!, Hayal, The Library and the St. Regis Spa, down to the amenities which include the St. Regis Spa.A world-renowned luxury hotel brand, The St. Regis Downtown, Dubai features the celebrated traditions, cherished rituals, and bespoke service born at New York’s finest address of 55th and Fifth. The Downtown Dubai property seamlessly blends the brand’s storied history and heritage with the vibrancy of the destination. Delta Hotel, a North-American born premium chain, has appointed the agency to handle all internal communication as it expands its footprint across the GCC with its 100th property in DIP.Commenting on the agency's latest project win, Stephanie Farah, Managing Director & Founder of Empyre Communications, said: “This is an incredible milestone for the agency. To be representing such prestigious brands is a true testament and reflection of the exceptional work we have delivered over the years across the industry. The St. Regis and Delta Hotel add to our many recent acquisitions, kicking off the new season on a strong note. We’re thrilled to add these iconic properties to our ever-growing portfolio, and are proud to represent the brands across the GCC.”

Emirates, Lulu among top UAE brands for exceptional CX in KPMG CEE report

The UAE’s top brands accelerated their digital transformation to improve engagement with customers during and after the pandemic, with Emirates, IKEA and Lulu Hypermarket overtaking a majority of retail brands with stellar customer experience. This is according to KPMG’s 2022 Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) report, which captured the views of more than 89,000 customers on their experiences with brands across the UAE.Emirates has retained the top spot for upholding its legacy of outstanding service and customer engagement. Leading in all six CEE pillars, Emirates demonstrated a well-executed end-to-end CX. IKEA earned a CX top ranking for its wide range of product categories available at a one stop-shop, as well as its home delivery service featuring real time updates on the status and progress of orders.Meanwhile, many companies steadily improved their CX rankings since 2017 as a result of accessibility of stores, high-quality of customer service and loyalty apps. Services such as digital solutions and immersive guest experiences, including upgrading their visual communications platforms to enhance scheduling flexibility and adding professional video syncing capabilities, earned companies a top spot with consumers.Goncalo Traquina, Partner in Management Consulting and Head of the Customer Advisory at KPMG Lower Gulf said: “The findings from the latest edition of the KPMG CEE report show that customers value brands that offer an interconnected experience across multiple channels. Many are leveraging AI-driven tools like predictive analytics to deliver a hyper-personalized experience that resolve issues before customers are even aware that they exist. From customizing website-based customer activity to intelligently recommending products, reaching out to customers with individualized offers and rewards at the right moment, UAE brands are going the extra mile to capture consumers. As they navigate the road ahead, they will need to remain agile as consumers seek out a blend of online and offline retail experiences.”

TIME awards TheMediaVantage its advertising and sponsorship rights

The MediaVantage, a media representation company based in the UAE, has bagged the media advertising and sponsorship rights for TIME magazine throughout the MENA area. The MediaVantage will represent TIME magazine, TIME's social media channels,, its signature events, newsletters, and its branded content studio Red Border. The MediaVantage will support local customers and agencies with their digital and content initiatives for TIME.The MediaVantage draws upon over a decade of media sales presence in the Middle East region, representing newspapers, travel magazines, inflight media, websites, airport advertising, and out-of-home city media. The range of media it represents in key markets around the world enables Middle East-based clients to communicate globally to some of the most influential and important audiences in the world. Time is an American weekly news magazine that has been published since 1923. It was founded by Henry Luce, and its first issue appeared on March 3, 1923. Time magazine covers current events, including politics, business, technology, entertainment, and world news. It has a reputation for in-depth reporting, analysis, and opinion pieces, and has won numerous awards for journalism.

NVIDIA and twofour54 to host NVIDIA Studio Nights in Abu Dhabi

NVIDIA, in partnership with twofour54, has announced NVIDIA Studio Nights – a regional event specially curated to showcase and elevate the talent of content creators who are harnessing the power of the NVIDIA Studio platform and RTX GPUs in their designs. The inaugural Studio Nights will be held on March 15th, 2023, at twofour54’s Community Hub in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, and will feature a competition across three creative categories – 3D, Digital Art, and Videography/Photography.The competition will showcase original content created using advanced technologies of the NVIDIA Studio platform. By submitting their work in one of the categories prior to the event, the best creators will get the chance to walk away with prizes and trophies courtesy of NVIDIA Middle East. The free-to-attend event will also provide networking opportunities with NVIDIA spokespeople and interactive presentations on editing tips and streamlining content workflows.“NVIDIA Studio Nights is the perfect platform to acknowledge outstanding forms of art and imagination, and we are thrilled to have our first Studio Night with twofour54, where we will welcome incredible content creators and talent from the Middle East,” commented Chantelle Tavid – Head of Marketing, NVIDIA MENAT. “We wanted a space where content creators can pick up tips from each other and NVIDIA experts in person, and the Yas Creative Hub campus is the best location for them to experience supercharged creativity together.”NVIDIA Studio is much more than just a GPU. With over 75 creative apps that are accelerated by AI on RTX GPUs, including top apps for photography, videography, rendering, and broadcasting, such as Adobe Premier Pro, DaVinci Resolve, Blender, and Adobe Photoshop, artists can create faster and better on the NVIDIA Studio platform.Visitors attending Studio Nights have the opportunity to immerse themselves in multiple experiential demos and gain insight into how the industry-leading RTX GPUs paired with NVIDIA Studio drivers can dramatically improve challenging tasks in leading design applications. From AI-driven object removal to smoother 4K video playback, NVIDIA Studio drivers are designed to create at the speed of your imagination.Those who would like to attend the event or participate in any of the competition categories can visit for registration details and more information. The competition is open until March 5th 2023, and winners will be announced on March 9th.

Nathan & Nathan announce expansion into Saudi Arabia

Nathan & Nathan Group, a leading provider of outsourced professional services and technology in the UAE have announced their expansion into Saudi Arabia with the opening of their first office located in the capital Riyadh. The professional services giant, which has grown rapidly in the UAE over the last decade now employs over 4,500 employees in the UAE and operates across 80 industries and multiple business lines.Their Joint venture partner for KSA, Fawaz Abdulaziz Al Hokair & Sons, is one of the most successful business groups in the kingdom, owning stakes in multiple public listed companies and a large portfolio of private businesses across mall operations, retail, healthcare, financial services, e-commerce and more.This partnership has launched Nathan & Nathan KSA, which will bring together the expertise and resources of both companies, accelerate the growth of both groups’ active customer bases, and support the development of future opportunities together to provide unparalleled professional services to clients throughout the kingdom.Nathan & Nathan are confident that this joint venture will be a success as it will help them service their customers in KSA and will help to further strengthen the business ties between the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Dubai Chamber of Commerce launches six new food business groups

Dubai Chamber of Commerce, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has launched six business groups within the F&B industry for HORECA traders, meat and poultry, bakeries, organic food, groceries as well as hypermarkets and supermarkets sectors.“We are on track to reach our goal of setting up 100 business groups by March 2023. These six new business groups will help boost the dynamism of Dubai’s F&B industry where UAE consumer foodservice outlets sales are expected to reach AED86.4 billion by 2027," said Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President & CEO of Dubai Chambers.“Business groups are imperative in ensuring representation of all the business and economic sectors in Dubai. They help facilitate mutual dialogue between stakeholders and government entities and are key to addressing policy matters and enhancing the competitiveness of their respective sectors,” he added.According to Euromonitor, UAE consumer foodservice sales value reached AED58.4 billion in 2022. This figure was driven by the rapid response and recovery from the pandemic as well as strong economic growth.Fresh food sales are anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 4.9 per cent between 2022 and 2027, while packaged food will see a predicted growth of about 3.9 per cent between the same period. Food manufacturers across the Middle East are predicted to grow profits by a CAGR of 3.6 per cent up to 2026.Positive outlookAccording to Euromonitor International, retail sales of traditional groceries are set to rise at a current value CAGR of 3% over the forecast period (2021-2026) to reach AED11.4 billion. Retail sales of supermarkets in the UAE are set to rise at a current value CAGR of 4% over the forecast period (2021-2026) to reach AED19.7 billion. Foodservice value sales of full-service restaurants in the UAE rose by 24% in current terms in 2022 to reach AED32.5 billion. The retail value sales of organic packaged food grew by 6% in current terms in 2021 to AED120 million. Dubai’s total trade of meat and edible meat offal reached AED32.4 billion during the period 2015-2021, whereas Dubai’s total trade of bread, pastry, cakes and biscuits reached AED11.3 billion during the same period.The food industry in Dubai and the wider UAE is set for a positive future. As integral parts of the industry, the business groups will focus on promoting the development of food companies, raising the profile of Dubai’s F&B industry in the international business community. By providing a forum that facilitates mutual dialogue between the sector’s stakeholders and government entities, the business groups will tackle industry-level challenges and address policy matters related to the industry, amongst others.

Australia’s leading EQ expert launches new leadership programme in the Gulf

With leadership skills and talent retention being hot business topics to stimulate and maintain growth, especially globally, Ush Dhanak of EQ Academy has created a new ‘Corporate EQ Programme’ for launch in the Gulf and worldwide.Following success of earlier programmes with corporate clients in Australia, both in the public and private sectors, Ush wanted to create a flexible programme that included the very latest ways of understanding and using emotional intelligence(EQ) to improve performance of employees at all levels.Ush said “ the aim of the programme is for leaders to discover and use techniques that will not only improve their own performance, but also enable them to develop first class teams that perform at high levels.”She added “ It is clear that talent retention in many sectors is also a real problem and our programme includes methods of getting teams and individuals to remain loyal and committed to organisations”The programme is delivered through a mix of online and in-person training and is typically done on an individual client basis, though group sessions involving several companies can be available too. Steve Parker, part of the EQ Academy global team added “the flexibility and convenience of the programme means clients can access at their convenience and when most needed and there are always opportunities for Gulf leaders and specialists to contribute and help to deliver locally.”

IDC explores the rise of the digital economy

 International Data Corporation (IDC) today launched the 16th edition of its annual IDC Middle East CIO Summit at Dubai's Atlantis, The Palm. With more than 500 of the region's most influential ICT decision makers in attendance, the two-day event — which this year runs under the theme 'Enabling the Digital Economy's Leaders' — was opened by IDC's global president, Crawford Del Prete, as he presented the summit's keynote, 'Strategies for the CIO and Enterprise Innovation'."As storms of disruption continue to gather, it is crucial that CIOs are clear on what they need to do now — and in the future — to create an environment for long-term sustainable innovation," said Del Prete. "Central to this is the need to build a culture of trust across the entire organization and its broader ecosystem of partners and customers. We are increasingly seeing a move toward greater industry ecosystem-led innovation, and it is important that CIOs fully understand the implications of this ongoing decentralization. At the same time, enterprise leaders must view increased line-of-business investment as a springboard to greater innovation and not an end state in itself."The IDC Middle East CIO Summit has been a staple of the region's ICT calendar for 16 years, serving as the ICT community's premier source of learning about the industry's latest developments. As well as informative presentations, in-depth discussions, and expert-led panel sessions, this year's edition incorporates five different 'Transformation Zones' demonstrating pioneering use cases and technological advances in the areas of the metaverse, DevOps, customer experience, sustainability, and Industry 4.0.The rise of the digital economy was central to discussions on Day 1 of the summit, with IDC's group vice president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa, Jyoti Lalchandani, explaining that it is one of the hottest tech trends shaping investment in 2023. "We are seeing a growing focus across the region on developing the infrastructure, innovation platforms, and skills required to support the expansion of digital businesses," said Lalchandani. "To set themselves apart in an increasingly competitive market, organizations need to leverage infrastructure, data, and skills alongside critical technology enablers such as 5G, the cloud, and AI. Only then will they be able to successfully re-invent their business models, create new customer experiences, and drive innovation with their partners."The Day 1 agenda also included a series of fascinating 'For the CIO by the CIO' panel discussions, with expert insights from some of the region's most respected end-user tech leaders on topics such as:Talent Development and the Demand for New Skills: How to Optimally Structure Your TeamSustainable Strategies and Technologies: Operationalization, Impact Measurability, and Business Value CreationVendor Selection and Management: Best Practices and What to Look Out ForDay 2 of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2023 commences at 9:00 am tomorrow and will include an exclusive keynote from His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, head of cybersecurity for the UAE government. There will also be a show-stopping performance from contemporary artist Neil Harbisson, the world's first officially recognized human cyborg, while IDC's senior vice president and regional managing director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Steven Frantzen, will take to the stage to examine the unprecedented rate of disruption that is being caused by the emergence of a thriving digital economy."Digital-native firms, equipped with new business models and armed with substantial venture capital funding, have disrupted supply chains in numerous industries, fueling growth in areas such as ecommerce, direct-to-consumer services, digital payments, and cloud kitchens," says Frantzen. "With the metaverse and Web3 paradigms on the horizon, further disruption is expected to individual, enterprise, and industrial digital experiences."The agenda for Day 2 of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2023 will also incorporate a series of expert-led technology track sessions focusing on the following key themes:Cyber Protection for Today and Tomorrow: Dynamic Security Strategies to Minimize RiskConnecting the Distributed Cloud: From the Edge to the Core     Enabling the Data-Driven Enterprise      AI and Analytics: How to Win in the Intelligent Economy The event will conclude with the IDC Excellence Awards 2023, which will recognize the efforts of the Middle East's leading technology executives across three categories: CIO of the Year; CISO of the Year; and Women in Technology & Business.To learn more about the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2023, please click here or contact Sheila Manek at / +971 4 446 3154.The IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2023 is supported by the UAE's Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology, the UAE's Cyber Security Council, Kuwait's Central Agency for Information Technology, and Dubai Municipality. IDC is also honored to have a wide range of partners on board for the event, including:Host Partner: Gulf Business Machines (GBM); Strategic Partner: Microsoft; Smart ICT Partner: Red Hat; Digital Solutions Partner: MDS System Integration; Trailblazer Partners: VMware, Huco; Sustainability Partner: Cisco; DX Partner: Tech Mahindra; Innovation Partner: HCL Tech; Summit Partners: Google Cloud / Mandiant, Zero&One, Riverbed, AWS, UiPath; Platinum Partners: eMudhra, Fortinet, SentinelOne, Denodo, f5, Snowflake, ServiceNow, Micro Focus, Boomi, HUMAN Security, Tenable, Recorded Future; Technology Focus Group Partners: Crayon, Equinix, Veeam, OpenText, Hyland, SquareOne, Kaspersky, Manage Engine, RiCSOC / Sahara Watira, Kyndryl, Swimlane, Advanced Technology Consultancy / Huawei, Pure Storage, Mendix, NetApp / Ingram Micro; Sustainability Transformation Zone Partner: Microsoft; Industry 4.0 Transformation Zone Partner: Infor; Exhibit Partners: SER Group, Rimini Street, Freshworks, Truspeq, Infinidat, SymphonyAI Summit, New Smart Office Automation, BMC; Associate Partners: Emirates Digital Association for Women, UAE Banks Federation, Women in AI, Women in Cyber Security Middle East; Media Partners: Tech Magazine, IE Industry Events, AI Time Journal, DX Talks, GCC Business News, Security Middle East Magazine, Global Business Magazine, CoinPedia, Coinspeaker, U.Today, International Business Magazine, TechX, Media 7, DigitalsetGo.

Veeam appoints Dustin Driggs as Chief Financial Officer

Veeam® Software, the leader in Modern Data Protection, today announced the appointment of Dustin Driggs as the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Driggs will lead Veeam’s global financial function including strategy and reporting as Veeam continues to gain market share and provide best-in-class secure backup and fast, reliable recovery that keeps businesses running.Driggs is an accomplished finance leader with more than 30 years’ experience in successfully building and managing large multinational businesses. He joins Veeam from Barracuda Networks where he worked for over 16 years, most recently as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President leading the finance and accounting function. Prior to Barracuda Networks, Driggs held senior leadership roles at Cisco Systems and PwC.“Veeam is helping to keep businesses running when the unexpected happens, whether it’s ransomware, natural disasters, human error, outages, or a cyber-attack. That’s an incredible value proposition that in turn creates huge opportunity in a fast-growing market,” said Dustin Driggs, CFO at Veeam. “I’m excited to join such a talented and innovative team and look forward to the opportunity to contribute to Veeam’s continued global success.”“Dustin brings great experience, insights and skills to Veeam,” said Anand Eswaran, CEO at Veeam. “With more than 5,000 employees, 450,000 customers and well over $1B in ARR, it’s an exciting time in our development and evolution; we’re growing rapidly by keeping businesses running. In a digital world, our value proposition of proactively protecting data across every type of environment and helping companies rapidly recover from unexpected events is incredibly critical to every organization. Dustin is a valuable addition to our strong leadership team at Veeam, and I’m confident his expertise and experience will make a great impact here.”Driggs succeeds Chuck Garner who is leaving Veeam after successfully leading the company’s finance, strategy, and operations functions and having completed its $5 billion sale to Insight Partners in 2020. Garner said, "I have enjoyed partnering with our leadership team and investors over the last four years as Veeam has achieved record growth and extended its market leadership position."Eswaran added, "I want to thank Chuck for his leadership and dedication at Veeam. He's made valuable contributions to the company, and I wish him much continued success."Veeam recently announced the NEW Veeam Data Platform, a single platform delivering more advanced data security, recovery, and hybrid cloud capabilities than ever before. The Veeam Data Platform, which includes Veeam Backup & Replication (VBR) v12, provides best-in-class secure backup and fast reliable recovery that keeps business running. It brings together the latest features offered from Veeam into a robust solution that is offered in three enterprise-grade editions for protecting Cloud, Virtual, Physical, SaaS, and Kubernetes applications across complex and expanding IT environments and the increasing set of challenges facing every organization from outages to errors and ransomware. Veeam will highlight the New Veeam Data Platform during VeeamON 2023, the community event for data recovery experts, which will take place May 22 – 24 in Miami, FL and online. Designed by and built for the backup and recovery professional, attendees will expand their skills, celebrate with the community, and share industry knowledge with special content from Amazon Web Services, (AWS), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and more. Registration for the in-person event is now open.

Empyre Communications wins Ultrahuman

Empyre Communications, Dubai’s leading Public Relations and Marketing agency which oversees a rich portfolio of tech, hospitality, luxury, beauty, fashion, and corporate brands, has been appointed as the agency of choice by Ultrahuman, the world's most advanced metabolic fitness platform.The UAE-based, digital health powerhouse, Ultrahuman, is a unique interplay of hardware and software that seamlessly monitors important biomarkers in the body. Ultrahuman’s innovative products include the Ultrahuman M1, a continuous glucose monitoring platform, and the Ultrahuman Ring, a metabolic health-tracking wearable, which are set to propel health and longevity in the region.Commenting on the agency's latest project win, Stephanie Farah, Managing Director & Founder of Empyre Communications, said: “We are proud to be adding such an innovative, digital-health brand to our tech and wellness portfolio. We look forward to representing the brand and its innovative products in the UAE.

Publicis Groupe picks Nadim Ghrayeb as business lead for Studio M

Publicis Groupe has announced the appointment Nadim Ghrayeb as business lead for Studio M, which is a part of Leo Burnett and the bespoke agency solution meant for McDonald’s GCC region. Studio M has been envisaged as an entity for consolidating the Groupe’s capabilities into a seamless offering for delivering end-to-end solutions for the brand.“It's been just over a month since joining as the business lead of STUDIOm Leo Burnett MEA (Middle East & Africa) and working on such an iconic brand as #McDonalds. The team at STUDIOm had wrapped up a great campaign prior to my joining and really excited and happy to see the hard work go live and get to share it! I'm looking forward to learning and working closely with both my team and the great teams at McDonald's here in the GCC,” Nadim wrote on his LinkedIn page. Nadim Ghrayeb will take the brand’s position to a greater heights while identifying new growth opportunities under the Groupe’s Power of One model. “Nadim’s credentials and collaborative approach made him a natural fit to lead Studio M which was borne out of the Power of One. His multi-disciplinary experience in the region will be an asset in unlocking further growth opportunities for McDonald’s GCC while scaling solutions across the Groupe’s capabilities,” said Nathalie Gevresse, CEO of Publicis Communications UAE, the creative communications division of Publicis Groupe.Nadim Ghrayeb is a marketing maverick having worked on integrated campaigns across all disciplines for iconic brands such as Cadillac, BMW, Audi, Nike, Red Bull, Absolut, etc.

FIFA World Cup tops YouGov’s Global Sport Rankings 2023 in UAE

FIFA dominated YouGov’s Global Sport Rankings 2023 in UAE, with FIFA World Cup leading the table with a Buzz score of 61.2 points. Following it in second was the FIFA Club World Cup, with a score of 40.3.YouGov SportsIndex measures the public’s perception of sports brands on a daily basis across a range of metrics. YouGov’s Global Sport Rankings 2023 are based on the Buzz scores, which measures whether respondents have heard something positive or negative about a brand recently. Football dominated the rankings, with five events making the top ten list. Along with the top two events, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League and La Liga also appeared in the list, in third (24.9), seventh (22.8) and ninth (18.8), respectively.Cricket based sporting events also featured prominently, with the ICC Cricket World Cup ranking fourth (24.0) and the ICC World Twenty20 taking the sixth place (23.6).Formula One was the only non-football or non-cricket event in the top five, ranked in fifth (24.0).Finally, Dubai Marathon and UAE Tour- the only domestic events to feature in the list- completed the rankings in eighth (19.8) and tenth (16.3), respectively.  MethodologySportsIndex is one of YouGov Sport’s signature tools. It operates in 35 markets around the world, tracking 200 key domestic and international competitions across more than 30 sports. A core of 21 properties is tracked in every market, allowing for international comparison. Many other events, leagues and tournaments appear in multiple markets; while some competitions are tracked only in the country which hosts them. The 2023 Buzz Report provides insight into all the sports events we monitor against just one of the 16 metrics we measure – ‘Buzz’.Every day, we ask 100 people these questions...“Over the past two weeks, which of the following sports events/leagues have you heard something positive about?” and “Now which of the following sports/events leagues have you heard something negative about over the past two weeks?” From the answers we collect, we derive a Buzz score for each event, or the difference between the percentage of respondents hearing positive news and the percentage hearing negative news about an event in the previous two weeks. So, depending on what is going on, an event’s Buzz score can reveal whether conversations around a property are positive or negative at a point in time.Buzz scores can range from +100 (where everyone we asked has heard something positive) to -100 (where everyone we asked has heard something negative). A completely neutral score, therefore, would be zero. A score of 45 would show positive sentiment towards a property, by a margin of 45 percentage-points.For our Buzz rankings here, we look at the highest average Buzz score each property has scored each calendar month. Then we take the highest of those twelve scores and compare them with highest monthly scores of every other property we track in that market. We track up to 80 properties in each country but for the sake of this report, we display only the top ten in each market overall (typically a mix of domestic and international). In addition, we show a top five or top ten ranking for each market for those competitions hosted or held (in part or in their entirety) in each market over the year.

Spacee's President nominated among 50 innovators in AI

 Spacee, which provides the best computer vision and AI solutions for retailers and consumer brands, is proud to announce that its President, COO and Secretary of the Board, Mirna Abyad Baloul, has been nominated among 50 of the most innovative leaders in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry.Mirna's nomination is a testament to her leadership and expertise in driving Spacee's mission of delivering solutions that make a meaningful impact on the retail industry. Under her direction, Spacee has developed Hovertouch, a unique solution that brings products to life using computer vision and requires no screen or customer device. In addition, the company has also introduced Deming, a mini-robot supply chain solution that provides retailers with accurate, near-real-time visibility on inventory levels, helping them improve efficiency and reduce costs and waste while ensuring Planogram compliance."I am honoured to be recognised among 50 innovators in AI and to be part of a team that is shaping the future of the retail industry," said Mirna Abyad Baloul. "At Spacee, we are committed to delivering progressive solutions that positively impact retailers and consumers alike. Our solutions are designed to help retailers optimise their operations, increase efficiency and reduce waste while providing an engaging and convenient shopping experience for customers.""Mirna's nomination is a testament to her leadership and expertise and reflects the innovative spirit of our entire team," said Skip Howard, founder and CEO of Spacee. "Our expansion to the UAE is a consolidation of our progressive journey, and I am confident that with Mirna at the helm, we will continue to drive growth and success for Spacee and our customers."Mirna is responsible for global operations at Spacee and holds a Juris Doctor, MBA with an emphasis on IT, and a Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering. She is a seasoned executive with a wealth of experience in both the private and public sectors. Before joining Spacee, during her time at Texas Instruments, Mirna led a global team of analogue patent attorneys and developed and executed intellectual property processes, systems, and practices based on business strategy, changing laws, market data, licensing interests, potential adverse cases, and senior management goals. She also successfully negotiated multimillion-dollar agreements with international, external customer companies and presented annual strategies and reviews to Sr. Vice Presidents in all technical areas of analogue business. Before that, at Motorola, Mirna designed and ran automated test scripts using Micrographics, TTCN, PTK, and Visual C++ and developed systems for BlueTooth and GSM platforms. Her expertise in IP protection and extensive technical knowledge have been invaluable in her role as President, COO, Board Member & Secretary at SPACEE, where she brings strategic leadership and operational excellence to the forefront

Dubai’s Museum of the Future attracts 1 million visitors from 163 countries

 His Excellency Mohammad Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Museum of the Future, announced today that the museum has received more than one million visitors from 163 countries in the year since its official opening, which was in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on February 22, 2022. The one-million mark constitutes a milestone in Dubai and the UAE’s path to imagine, inspire and design the future. Commenting on the landmark visitor count, His Excellency said: "We pledged that the museum of the Future would host one million visitors in its first year, and today we celebrate the achievement of this target and the launch of a new year for the museum, during which we will continue to design the future for a better world for all in the coming years and decades.”His Excellency added: “Since opening, the Museum of the Future has contributed to bringing about a clear shift in the traditional view of museums, and has proven the importance of harnessing future foresight, in line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to transform the designing and creation of the future into a complete institutional framework. Imagining the future and implementing its changes and advancements is a pivotal pillar towards the success of governments and societies.“Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision has allowed the Museum of the Future to become home to the world’s top experts, scientists, great minds and architects of the future and the most prominent international institutions foreseeing the future. Meanwhile, humanity is becoming more assured that the future can be designed and that the changes to our environment should not be ignored. The Museum of the Future, with its unique architectural design, has become a global symbol of the future and a key regional and international hub for the advancement of science and knowledge-sharing.”His Excellency stated that the Museum of the Future has reinforced Dubai's global position as one of the top cities of the future, while embodying a successful global model that proves that cities of the future can employ and implement technological transformations to serve their societies. He added that the museum sends an important message from the UAE to the world, that the future requires more positive collaboration and action for the benefit of our future generations.Landmark achievementsSince opening, the museum – an initiative by the Dubai Future Foundation – has hosted more than 180 local, regional and global activations, events, conferences and forums that cover technology, entrepreneurship, economy, space, tourism, culture and varied futurist-specific sectors, all while receiving more than 200 media delegations from around the world.More than 1,000 international dignitaries, ministers, officials and experts visited the museum throughout the past year, including around 20 heads of government and official delegations from South Korea, Estonia, Luxembourg, China, Greece, Hong Kong, Thailand and Rwanda and Mauritius, among others.International awardsSince its inauguration, the Museum of the Future has won ten international awards from global institutions and specialized industry magazines for its museum content quality, future sciences, and architectural design, in addition to attaining the LEED Platinum status certification – the ultimate certificate of recognition a building can obtain for sustainable and environmentally friendly design, construction, and operation. International institutions and organisationsDuring the past year, the Museum of the Future hosted many heads and representatives of international institutions and organizations, including Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Gerd Müller, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Maimunah Sharif, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Arturo Brice, Director of the World Competitiveness Centre of the International Institute for Management Development, and Dr Samira Asma, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization.Future TalksThe museum also led global discussions through the ‘Future Talks’ series, with each session highlighting, discussing and exploring humanity’s latest discoveries as well as those yet to come. ‘Future Talks’ hosted some of the most prominent visionaries and thought leaders in the world, including Professor Greg Clark, Global Head of Future Cities and New Industries at HSBC Group. Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow and Vice President of Microsoft Technologies, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality, Professor Osama Al-Khatib, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Robotics Lab at Stanford University, also partook in a Future Talks session, in addition to actor and IFAD Goodwill Ambassador, Idris Elba, yoga instructor and environmental activist Sadguru Jagadish Vasudev, and global leader in the field of mind-body medicine and motivational speaker, Deepak Chopra.Global partnershipsAs the Museum of the Future sought to enhance its role as a global headquarters for future-shaping institutions around the world, while enhancing collaboration and knowledge exchange between them, during the 2022 edition of the Dubai Future Forum, the Dubai Future Foundation signed cooperation agreements with the World Futures Studies Federation, The Millennium Project and the Public Sector Foresight Network, among other entities.The Dubai Future Forum was hosted by the Museum of the Future under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation. More than 400 prominent international personalities, government officials and futurist experts and specialists from around the world participated in the Forum, in addition to more than 45 international organizations and institutions, in the largest global gathering of its kind for future experts. The next edition of the Dubai Future Forum will be held on November 27 and 28, 2023.Centre for Arab brillianceThe Museum of the Future is now recognised as centre for futurists across various sectors in the region and the world, becoming a comprehensive testbed for testing and developing emerging technologies and ideas. During the past year, the museum has established its keenness to invest in the creative minds of the Arab region – embracing ideas, projects, initiatives, research and studies that bring added value to products and services of the future. The aim is for these creative energies to accelerate Arab scientific development and create a better future for the people of the region.Future ExperienceIn its first year, the Museum of the Future gave visitors from across the world the unique opportunity to witness fundamental experiences that show potential future scenarios for humanity. Across its several floors, the museum uses advanced technologies to depict the future. A distinguishing feature, the museum’s elevator, is a crucial part of the museum’s journey-based narrative, with a simulation of OSS Hope – the museum’s very own spaceship – to help guests learn about potential life aboard a space station. The experience introduces visitors to the exciting concept of visiting space in the near future, as well as a reimagined landscape of Dubai and the world in the year 2071 through efforts made in restoring the natural ecosystem and sustainability of the planet's resources. The journey then continues to unravel an array of different scenarios and adventures that encourages visitors to take charge of their own future.Future TechnologiesThe museum employs the latest technologies of the future, such as artificial intelligence, and interaction between humans and machines, to launch meaningful dialogues that motivate visitors to draw their own perceptions about the future.The museum, standing at 77 metres high and extending over an area of 30,000 square metres was designed to be an engineering marvel that connects the past to the future, with an architectural style that differs entirely from the concept of traditional museums to appeal to innovative thinkers and future-curious visitors from around the world.

Red Sea Global launches new water sports and diving brands

Red Sea Global (RSG), the multi-project developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism destinations, The Red Sea and Amaala, has revealed two new brands, WAMA and Galaxea, set to deliver incredible guest experiences at RSG destinations.Last year the developer rebranded as Red Sea Global, promising the establishment of a series of RSG-owned subsidiary businesses that prioritized stringent sustainability standards while continuing to support the evolution of RSG developments into destinations that will play a critical role in the Saudi tourism sector.WAMA and Galaxea are the first two subsidiary businesses to be announced since then, ahead of The Red Sea welcoming its first guests this year.“Creating experiences is just as important as building hotels, and WAMA and Galaxea are sure to deliver unforgettable adventures for our guests. Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, foiling, kite surfing, sailing, or exploring the Red Sea’s incredible submarine world, WAMA and Galaxea will create extraordinary moments and beautiful memories that last a lifetime,” said John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global.“What’s more, these brands have been created with sustainability at their core and will continue to build on our ambition to deliver a regenerative approach to tourism development and operations. It is our hope that eventually they will become standalone brands operating at destinations around the world.”In line with this approach, Galaxea is working closely with Saudi Water Sports & Diving Federation, alongside PADI International to ensure that all diving facilities operated by Galaxea lead in regenerative tourism standards and set the blueprint for future diving development around the world.WAMA, named from combining the word ‘water’ in English and Arabic, is responsible for creating invigorating water sport adventures, from Stand-up Paddleboarding through the destination’s mangrove forests, to sailing the Red Sea’s soft swells.Galaxea is named after a bold and vibrant coral prevalent in the Red Sea and will offer diving experiences that let guests explore life below the water.Last year, an eleven-month long research study of the Al Wajh lagoon revealed an exceptionally rich diversity of habitats, flora, and fauna. These include a significant number of endangered and critically endangered species such as the Halavi Guitarfish, Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Sooty Falcon, as well as a thriving, eight-meter-high single coral colony estimated to be around 600 years old.It is hoped that future divers will also be able to explore an 18th century ‘merchantman’ shipwreck which is currently the most intact and best-preserved wooden shipwreck in the Red Sea. The site boasts a spectacular cargo of jars, porcelain and spices, a testament to the history of trading activities the region.Rosanna Chopra, ED of Destination Development explained, “When we consider people, planet, product, and process alongside visitors, community, and marine life, we must look to how we protect these best while ensuring our environment can still flourish. By owning and operating water sports and diving activities we can grow in line with the strategy defined by RSG and implemented across all our destinations.”“Through the creation of strong brands, we will enjoy dynamic relationships with industry partners, federations, brand partners, activity specific groups and event IP’s. We will continuously look to the latest innovations both in natural power and hydro and electric powered equipment and hope to become a hub and a home for sport to grow.”RSG is currently hiring for roles across WAMA and Galaxea and expects to employ more than 250 people by 2026. This includes Sailing and Water Sports Instructors, Divemaster’s, technicians and Dive Boat Captains, plus roles for those entering the industry for the first time wishing to discover a new career at the highest level of service and standard. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to live at Turtle Bay, the brand-new sustainable community RSG created for employees and their families.“When we first announced The Red Sea, we promised exciting career opportunities in new industries for Saudi Arabia. WAMA and Galaxea mark a new phase in delivering on that promise, and already we’re seeing huge interest from international talent as well as young Saudis looking to start their careers in this sector”, added Mr. Pagano.RSG recently revealed an exciting partnership with The Ocean Race, born of a shared commitment to ocean health and vision to drive regeneration of life above and below water.The Ocean Race has provided the ultimate test for sailing teams since 1973. Known as ‘sailing's greatest round-the-world challenge’, it is widely recognized as the pinnacle of achievement for sailors across the world and has created legends of the sport throughout the years.The partnership is intended to not only drive benefits for the natural environment, but to help inspire the next generation of Saudi sailors, promoting a new sport to a Kingdom that has enjoyed a crucial and historic relationship with the sea for over 4,000 years.Three resorts at The Red Sea will open this year along with the first phase of the Red Sea International airport. A further 13 hotels will open in 2024, and upon full completion in 2030, the destination will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, F&B, and leisure facilities.

Jon Whyte and Jon Vint become partners at PMKConsult

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Regional Project and Commercial Management Consultancy firm, PMKConsult strengthens its ownership structure with the partnership of two senior team members. The consultancy celebrates the new alliance of Jon Whyte and John Vint, both of whom have senior leadership roles within the commercial and cost management business stream.“The addition of Jon Whyte and John Vint as partners reiterates our commitment as a company to elevating our team and growing from within. This partnership demonstrates that commitment. Our recent company annual event had many leadership announcements and several of the team have had their growth trajectory mapped within the business. There is a lot of excitement and positive momentum in our offices around the region,” commented Kevin Woolley, CEO of PMKConsult.  Jon Whyte has been a team member of PMKConsult for the past several years and leads the Commercial Management discipline for the consultancy. His vast portfolio of commercial management clients ranges from multi-platform real estate projects to hospitality, leisure, residential in addition to many other sectors. Jon Whyte’s notable assignments include the completion of a high-end residential neighbourhood in Abu Dhabi, the QE2 upper deck, and a commercial real estate project delivering over 50,000 sqm meters of floor area. He has also delivered commercial management services for major infrastructure projects in the UAE and the UK.  John Vint joined PMKConsult through the acquisition of his previous entity, ACS Cost Consulting. Since the acquisition John Vint has grown the commercial management business stream for PMKConsult and guides a 20-member team along with Jon Whyte. Key wins for the business include commercial new-build and fitting-out, healthcare, hospitality, engineering, and airport related schemes. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a qualified Expert Witness who has recently contributed his expertise on cases that have all ruled in favour of his clients. He is actively growing this service within the business and has been throughout his career involved in many high-profile arbitration cases.Keenan Grote, Chief Operating Officer of PMKConsult added: “Both Jon Whyte and John Vint have played an integral role in elevating PMKConsult’s business in particular the commercial management practice. Jon Whyte is taking leadership of the cost management delivery stream ensuring that our distinct and elevated client services are maintained throughout the business across regions while John Vint is building the specialist services offering within the commercial management practice area. On the whole, the business stream has grown considerably under their guidance. This move strengthens the foundation of our organization and I believe that the team and our collaborators and clients will benefit.”PMKConsult’s Commercial Management business has recently grown to include assignments in KSA and the UK with the addition of considerable key remits ongoing within the UAE including hospitality, residential, offices, medical, infrastructure and retail.

Dubai SME & Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development participates in 28th Gulfood

Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME), one of the agencies of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), in cooperation with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, is participating in the 28th edition of Gulfood, taking place from 20 to 24 February at Dubai World Trade Centre.Dubai SME will showcase Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a focus on the F&B sector; highlight its projects and local emerging enterprises and their products; and help SMEs to connect and network with international vendors to help them gain access to new markets and opportunities. This will contribute to the growth of SMEs in the emirate, which represent 99% of private-sector companies operating in Dubai.His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said: “At Dubai SME, we are keen to provide our members with the most prominent opportunities to participate and promote their products and communicate with the business community and consumers to develop their businesses. The Gulfood 2023 exhibition is one of the most prominent platforms in which we regularly participate due to its importance in the F&B sector. Bringing rings together thousands of companies from all over the world under one roof, along with the most renowned global chefs and intellectual leaders in this sector, the forum is capable of bringing about change in the culture and orientation of small and medium-sized companies, providing them with more opportunities for growth and expansion.”Al Janahi added: “2023 is set to become an exceptional year, following the launch of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which seeks to double the size of Dubai’s economy and position the emirate among the top three global cities in the world. This encourages us to further motivate small and medium-sized companies in the F&B sector to contribute and participate actively in this strategic journey to further enhance our city’s international standing, taking advantage of the opportunities, infrastructure and incentives provided by Dubai to reach their goals of achieving excellence, creativity and innovation in their diverse businesses and projects.”Her Excellency Alia Al Mazrouei. CEO, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, said: “We are delighted to participate in Gulfood exhibition for the seventh year in a row with nine funded Emirati projects supported by the Khalifa Fund. We are excited to see the outstanding opportunities that are available for these projects at this event. By presenting their products to well-known suppliers from all over the world, small and medium-sized enterprises will be empowered and can have better access to new markets. With Gulfood 2023 allowing enterprises to explore unique business deals, we look forward to supporting the success of these projects through this exhibition.”Dubai SME is being represented at the event, the largest of its kind in the world, by 10 companies including Liwa Dates, Health Way General Trading, Health Choice General Trading, Ibubble Tea House for food & beverages trading L.L.C, Special foodz zone foodstuff trading, Prog Tech Solutions, Mayamen Trading, Albarni foodstuff trading, Twenty Eight Coffee Trading, Fab Trading One Person Company L.C.C Proprietorship LLC.The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development represents Khairat Al Yemen Honey & Natural Herbs, P&P Cups, Al Diyafa Hotel & Catering Supplies, Felix & Norton Cookies, SIMPIOZ (Confectionery Factory), Soil Store Foodstuff Trading, Iconic Solutions General Trading, Al Thiqa Foodstuff Trading, Emirates Dates Factory, F&B Innovation Lab.Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME) is keen to maintain a competitive business environment for SMEs and to provide innovative support and financing solutions in line with the directives of the visionary leadership to support business continuity, especially SMEs in the F&B sector.

AD Gaming partners with SAWA Group to develop Abu Dhabi’s gaming ecosystem

AD Gaming, the entity driving Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing gaming industry, has signed a partnership agreement with SAWA Group, a leading game publishing and esports company, to facilitate expansion of publishers in the MENA region.SAWA Group is a pioneer in the localisation of global video games, largely developed in China, and esports content, making SAWA’s established game library more accessible to Arabic speakers across the MENA region. In relocating to Abu Dhabi, SAWA group will be positioned in the heart of the region’s largest community of game developers. With SAWA Group’s game development expertise and access to content from the Asian continent, the local industry will continue to see unprecedented growth in the coming years.The partnership agreement will bring together two leaders of industry in the gaming world, helping to facilitate the international expansion of Chinese gaming and esports companies through Abu Dhabi and providing the local industry with access to reach new content hungry audiences. Simultaneously, SAWA Group will benefit from being part of the largest cluster of gaming companies in the region, with opportunities to work alongside the ever-growing AD Gaming community on new and exciting projects.Sultan Al Riyami, Head of Gaming & Esports at AD Gaming, said: “Demand for high-quality gaming content across the Arabic-speaking world has never been higher. The opportunity to tap into this market from Abu Dhabi is substantial, and SAWA’s expertise in the localisation of gaming esports content addresses this head on. Since its inception, AD Gaming has succeeded in building an ecosystem that supports all segments of the gaming and esports sector. Bringing SAWA into the fold both diversifies and expands our community as we continue to advance Abu Dhabi’s gaming industry.”Jing Wang, CEO of SAWA Group, said: “Aligned with AD Gaming, SAWA Group is dedicated to enhancing the gaming and esports ecosystem in the UAE, creating more opportunities for the country’s passionate gamers to experience global content in their native language. By supporting its thriving community, we are confident that Abu Dhabi will become a premier global destination for gaming and esports. “Through the collaboration and partnership with AD Gaming, SAWA Group hopes to balance game publishing and esport exposure to make Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE one of the world’s top centres for the gaming industry.”SAWA Group newly published the deep localised SLG game, Infinity Kingdom, which has been downloaded millions times across different app stores. Along with its own multi-channel network, SAWA Group also has partnerships with top tier TV channels in the MENA region, including MBC Group, through which SAWA try to build up the deep connection of game developer globally and the core of Arabic culture and all age’s players and users in MENA area.

Brands upbeat about smart marketing platforms in MEA

Authored By Raviteja Dodda, CEO & Co-Founder, MoEngageConsumers across the MEA region effortlessly converted into digital shoppers during the pandemic buying groceries, personal care and household supplies from the comfort of their homes. Reports say that around 91% of customers in the Middle East and North Africa region have become digital converts and the trend is expected to continue. Predictions say that MEA’s e-commerce sales was $50bn in 2022, up from $32 billion in 2021. Latest estimates from Redseer say that the total MEA e-commerce market size will be worth US$100 billion in 2023. Good news all around for digital marketers in the MEA region. But sheathed inside are hitches like prevailing complexities related to integration of data and insights into consumer behavior. Because what started as a comfort has become a convenience for customers and a requisite for successful businesses. The dynamics of online business are changing drastically and marketing teams are keeping pace to keep a steady handle on the transforming customer, their demands and the competitive landscape. Marketers have to move away from making business decisions based on current campaigns and instead take an analytics-driven approach. This automatically routes them on a better engagement course with their customer throughout the purchase journeys. For this, they need to get the right information at the right time from colossal mines of data, which can only be done with an advanced high-quality marketing platform. Recognizing the big data flawAlthough marketers are flooded with several marketing platforms, most of them come with limitations, like failure to measure current campaigns or working in siloes. They merely skim through huge amounts of data, lack in analytics-based insights; completely missing out on catching consumer shopping behavior in real time. The result is that brands are stuck with not-so-clean data like outdated buyer information and preferences. What they actually need to do is create campaigns based on data and not create data based on campaigns. Digital marketing platforms should not limit themselves to measuring digital marketing campaigns. They should provide brands with accurate insights and profitable recommendations. The need of the hour is an all-in-one digital marketing platform that can help them analyze and plan for marketing campaigns across all mediums to gain the greatest marketing efficiency and effectiveness.  The reason for this is simple: customers now want to be met where they are and they will not move to meet the brand. So there should as many different engagement strategies as there are customers. All this is possible only with an integrated marketing technology stack that comes with a bag of tools that fosters personalized engagement.Getting proactive about insights and analyticsMarketing analytics platforms serve as customer experience report cards for brands as they indicate which marketing campaigns are getting the maximum results and how to go about with course correction. Analytics also ensure that consumers get to see a greater number of targeted and personalized ads that fulfil their specific needs and interests, rather than a one-size-fits-all communication that tends to annoy.With the use of a marketing analytics platform, for example, businesses can track the engagement rates on all channels and identify the exact time when there is a drop off or a sudden customer interest in their brands. Insights based on these analytics tells businesses how customers are responding to the content put out by businesses. It educates brands on what type of content attract customers, when do they get interested in brands and when do they drop out and leave for a competitor. All this information should guide marketers toward future marketing and content strategies, increase efficiency of their ad spends and test the viability of new products, channels and markets. They can get this from platforms that can leverage unified marketing data from across various channels and campaigns and simplify analysis. Get a tech stack where platforms talk to one anotherA smart marketing tech stack is an integrated tool that gives marketers insights not just from a single team or function, but offers a holistic approach to customer engagement. It doesn’t just answer the what of the customer behaviour, but also how, when, where and why. This information supports marketers in deciding which plans work for them and which do not, and more important, switch to Plan B or C before any mishaps occur.Consistency across channelsAnalytics and insights built into a smart platform help brands give a consistent narrative across all channels. For example, a brand recall is reinforced if the same message is beamed across social media, TV or websites giving an omni-channel experience to the customer. Unique customer experiencesIntegrated tech stacks offer customer experiences that are unique; whether it’s through an app notification, website messaging, emails or SMS. They start conversations that convert to sales.  Engagement with analytics is the new way forwardCustomer data doesn’t do much when it’s siloed in different locations. Smart marketing platforms unify data from different channels to build a 360-degree view of every single customer. Teams are therefore looking for an integrated martech stack so they do not waste time hopping between tools or wasting time seeking information from other functions or teams. These tech stacks inherently enable all platforms to talk to one another and lead the customer through the channel they want. Smart martech platforms do not just give huge amounts of data that make marketers busy. Instead, they free up marketers’ time as they make efficient use of marketing data. They understand their customers better and create and target campaigns based on the insights that come from the platforms, thus leading to more leads and converts for their brands.