Haris Munif unveils the AI avatar revolution in UAE marketing

AI-driven avatars and virtual influencers are taking center stage in the UAE at a time when technology and innovation continually redefine marketing norms. Adgully sat down with Haris Munif, an Advisory Board Member of CMO Council Middle East and Co-founder of SPRK Digital, to gain insights into how these digital entities are reshaping the advertising and marketing industry in the UAE. Haris delves into their unique opportunities, successful campaigns, cultural sensitivities, ethical considerations, and future trends, offering a comprehensive view of this transformative landscape. A prominent figure in the UAE’s marketing landscape, Haris Munif says that marketers and brands should keep in mind the cultural nuances and diversity of the UAE, which is a confluence of various cultures. “It’s best to ensure that your AI avatar is culturally sensitive and to steer clear of cultural stereotypes. Embrace diversity and represent it authentically in your campaigns,” he says. Excerpts:How do you see virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars reshaping the advertising and marketing landscape in the UAE? What unique opportunities do they offer compared to traditional marketing approaches?The UAE has developed a reputation for always being a step ahead of the curve, so virtual influencers and AI avatars fit perfectly into this landscape. They have the potential to reshape the local advertising and marketing scene by adding a level of personalization and engagement that traditional approaches can rarely match.Traditional marketing is not enough in today's rapidly evolving digital world. Virtual influencers and AI avatars allow brands to create highly personalised and engaging experiences. Imagine an AI avatar speaking multiple languages to engage with the diverse population in the UAE. That's a game changer right there for the customer service industry.But, let's not forget, authenticity is still king. Even with AI and virtual influencers, authenticity and genuine connections matter in the UAE, just like everywhere else. It's about striking that balance between innovation and staying true to your brand and values.Can you share examples of successful campaigns or initiatives that have leveraged virtual influencers or AI-driven avatars in the UAE? What were the key factors contributing to their success?One such example is the NooNouri Virtual Influencer Burj Khalifa Virtual Shoot. The virtual influencer wore a stunning made-to-measure dress by Zuhair Murad for a virtual shoot in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, with the city’s stunning skyline in the background. The digital avatar, with more than 400,000 followers on Instagram, was created by CGI influencer Joerg Zuber and has also been featured in campaigns for big-name brands including Balenciaga, Dior, Miu Miu, Valentino and Versace. The key to success is always to put the audience first and leverage technology to enhance their interactions with your brand or product.In a region known for its diverse culture and values, how do virtual influencers and AI avatars adapt to local sensitivities and preferences? What strategies should marketers employ to ensure cultural relevance and authenticity?Cultural sensitivity is absolutely vital. Before launching any such experiment, it's essential to thoroughly research and understand the local culture, values, and traditions. The UAE is a melting pot of various cultures; so it’s best to ensure that your AI avatar is culturally sensitive and to steer clear of cultural stereotypes. Embrace diversity and represent it authentically in your campaigns. When done right, this approach can create a genuine connection with your audience and lead to long-term brand loyalty.What are the key challenges and ethical considerations associated with using virtual influencers and AI avatars in advertising and marketing, and how are these being addressed in the UAE?Maintaining authenticity is the primary challenge. It's imperative to be transparent about the virtual nature of influencers and avatars. Addressing this issue is crucial to foster trust and credibility among consumers, ensuring that audiences are well aware when they are interacting with virtual entities.As the UAE continues to embrace technological innovation, it remains committed to upholding ethical standards in advertising and marketing, safeguarding consumer interests, and fostering a thriving and responsible marketing ecosystem.With the rapid advancements in AI and technology, what trends do you anticipate in the evolution of virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars in the UAE's advertising and marketing industry over the next few years? How should businesses prepare for these changes?The future of virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars in the UAE's advertising and marketing industry is incredibly promising. A few such anticipated trends are:Enhanced personalization: AI avatars will become even better at understanding individual preferences and delivering highly personalized marketing experiences. Businesses could invest in data analytics and AI technology to gather customer insights and offer tailored content and products.Multilingual avatars: Given the diverse population in the UAE, we can expect to see AI avatars speaking multiple languages. To prepare, businesses should ensure that their AI avatars are capable of engaging with a wide range of cultural backgrounds.Virtual retail assistants: AI avatars will play a more prominent role in e-commerce, acting as virtual retail assistants. They'll help customers browse, recommend products, and answer questions. Businesses could consider integrating these avatars into their online stores.Interactive content: Virtual influencers and avatars will be used in more interactive content formats, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Businesses should explore opportunities for such immersive experiences.Integration with social media: Virtual influencers will continue to proliferate within social media platforms. Businesses should consider collaborations with virtual influencers to reach wider and more engaged audiences. Miquela is perhaps the most prominent virtual influencer in existence, partnering with brands like Samsung, Calvin Klein, and Prada.

BeIN SPORTS scores exclusive media rights for Qatar Classic Squash Championship

BeIN SPORTS, one of the world’s leading sports broadcasters, has secured the media rights to the Professional Squash Association (PSA) QTerminals Qatar Classic set to take place at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex in Doha from 9-16 September. For the first time since 2015, the annual squash championship will also feature a women’s draw.beIN SPORTS will broadcast 14 matches live across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) , the USA and Canada, as well as event highlights, news and views from around the week-long tournament. This year’s men’s draw will be headed up by World No.1 Ali Farag, a four-time World Champion and two-time winner in Doha. The Egyptian triumphed in the Qatari capital in 2018 and 2020 but was surprisingly eliminated last year in the third round. He will face compatriots Mohamed Abouelghar, Fares Dessouky, and 2019 World Champion Tarek Momen in his first three matches.In the women’s tournament, World No.1 Nouran Gohar will make her debut at the QTerminals Qatar Classic, headlining the 48-player female draw of what is the second PSA World Tour Platinum event of the 2023-24 season. Gohar, a 25-year-old Egyptian, has received a bye to the second round, where she will face either Wales’ Emily Whitlock or Latvia’s Ineta Mackevica. “The QTerminals Qatar Classic is one of the oldest annual international events on the Qatari sports calendar having been first held in 2001,” said Mohammad Al-Subaie, CEO of beIN – MENA. “We are delighted to be able to showcase this fantastic, fast-paced event once again on beIN SPORTS, especially with the return of the women’s draw following an eight-year absence. Since 2019, our beINSPIRED campaign has been giving a global platform to events and talent that haven’t, historically, been given the exposure they deserve, so to be able to promote squash – and women’s squash – to our audiences is one more important addition to our portfolio.”  In MENA, coverage will be available on beIN SPORTS’ free to air channel starting at midday MECCA on 13 September, with the women’s quarterfinals broadcast live with Arabic and English commentary. The following day’s coverage starts with a 30-minute pre-studio before two of the men’s quarterfinals get underway at 14.30 MECCA. Coverage of the first women’s semifinal starts at 15.45 MECCA followed by studio analysis. The afternoon’s coverage of the two remaining men’s quarterfinals and the other women’s semi-final concludes with a post-studio segment at approximately 19:45 MECCA.On 15 September, coverage of the men’s semifinals will start with a pre-studio at 15.30 MECCA, followed by studio coverage until the end of the women’s final, with a post-studio segment expected to continue until approximately 19.30 MECCA. Finally, on 16 September, the men’s final will have a pre-studio and post-studio, with coverage starting at 17.30 MECCA.

24 startups join Flat6Labs’ StartMashreq Growth Track Program

 Flat6Labs, the MENA region’s leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, announced the selection of 24 startups for its StartMashreq Growth Track program.The startups - founded in Jordan, Lebanon & Iraq - operate in diverse sectors such as fintech, healthtech, e-commerce, and agritech, also including 5 startups cofounded by female entrepreneurs, operating in Edtech, Energy Tech, and Proptech.The startups collectively generate a total annual recurring revenue of USD 20.8 million and have raised a total of USD 38.5 million along with creating around 700 direct job opportunities across the three countries. By joining the StartMashreq Growth Track program, they have the ability to access new markets, scale their operations, provide more job opportunities and increase their impact on their respective economies.“We are delighted to partner with Flat6Labs to support these promising startups from the Mashreq region, especially those founded by women,” said Abeer Shalan, Senior Operations Officer at the International Financial Corporation (IFC). “Mashreq startups can demonstrate resilience and innovation in the face of challenging circumstances and prove their ability to create value for their stakeholders by venturing into new markets. By providing them with funding and resources, we hope to help them reach their full potential and contribute to the development of the regional startup ecosystem.”Ragia Amr, Program Director of StartMashreq at Flat6Labs, said: “We are very excited to welcome the 24 startups to our Growth Track program. We have been impressed by the quality and diversity of the applications we received and we are confident that they have what it takes to succeed in their markets. Through our program, we will offer them tailored support and guidance to help them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals. We look forward to working with them over the next six months and beyond.”The StartMashreq Growth Track program kicked off in June 2023 and will run until December 2024. The program is part of StartMashreq's broader vision to inspire and support displaced entrepreneurs, empower female-led startups in the Mashreq Region, create more investment-ready businesses, and integrate the regional startup ecosystem. This will be fulfilled through a myriad of activities, exposure, and legal support. The activities will include workshops and mentorship by international experts, business networking events, investor mixers, and participation in international events and roadshows.The 24 startups, who joined StartMashreq’s Growth Track program, are:LebanonCompost BaladiEcomzKamKalimaMoodfitPresentailPurplShelvzIraqKESKLezzooMidient/PadashOrderiiToolmartJordanAlgebra IntelligenceArab TherapyDinarakHello World KidsInvoiceQJordilightKonn TechnologiesLittle Thinking MindsNestromPalmearRepzoShop4Me

Puma, and us and BlackBox join hands for new campaign for Al Hilal

Football fever is gripping Saudi Arabia with the world’s greatest players being selected to play for the most indomitable club: Al Hilal Football Club. Seeing this as a perfect opportunity to make an enchanting campaign, and us Agency and BlackBox Studio in partnership with Puma have launched a campaign for Al Hilal Saudi Football Club. Saudi Arabia’s most popular club will now include global players like Neymar, Mitrovi?, Malcom, Koulibaly, Rúben Neves, and Milinkovi?-Savi?.The core idea of this powerful campaign drew its inspiration from the club's name, "Al Hilal," which in Arabic translates to "the crescent," symbolizing the club’s relentless strive for progress, unity, and resilience.Ricardo Amaral, Team Head, Marketing GCC at PUMA, remarks, “Introducing Al Hilal’s striking new 3rd kit in bold black, the campaign heralds a new lunar phase, symbolizing the club's adaptability and readiness for fresh beginnings and challenges.”Fadi Yaish, CEO and Creative Chairman, And Us Group, said, “We wanted to create a body of work that reflects the new energy and vibes in the world of sport and entertainment today, anchored in Saudi Arabia through the great opportunity Puma and Al Hilal have introduced to us. The result marks a new and exceptional standard of work, that we hope attracts more interest in elevating the marketing and communication of sport and entertainment to higher ground, in parallel to the ambition of Saudi Arabia.” With the club’s remarkable transformation over the summer, highlighted by the notable international signings and a record-setting number of titles and trophies within Saudi Arabia and Asia, it's evident that this campaign marks the beginning of a new chapter, building upon the club's iconic history, leading into the next, unparalleled streak of triumph.Saymon Medeiros, Creative Director of ? and us, adds, “The accompanying film for this campaign mirrors the indomitable spirit of Al Hilal Saudi Football Club, urging everyone to raise their heads and open their eyes to the journey ahead. Al Hilal is the crescent moon, creating ripples that drives the club forward, casting darkness over rivals, while illuminating the sky for the fans.”

Stc Group presents its digital fintech solutions during Seamless Saudi Arabia 23

stc Group, the engine of digital transformation in the region, took part in the "Seamless Saudi Arabia 2023" exhibition and conference held in Riyadh. Over 500 exhibiting companies, both local and international, along with 2000 company representatives and 300 speakers, convened at the conference. The group's primary focus revolved around its position as a digital transformation engine for fintech, e-commerce, retail, and payments industries, achieved via avant-garde digital Group exhibited its digital and technical offerings, including implementing Standard and Soft POS through smart devices and payment systems. Additionally, stc provided ATM monitoring services and utilized VR technologies within the Metaverse. Notably, stc leveraged AI technologies for geographical analysis, fraud detection, Anti-Money Laundering, and contact points, among other applications.Channels by stc expanded its offerings by leveraging its logistics arm, dal, to provide last-mile solutions. The company also entered into strategic agreements with key players in the market, including Jahez Company, Alinma Bank, and Basalah e-commerce platform, to solidify its position and ensure sustainability in the market. The services and products offered by myStore were also part of this expansion.During the conference, stc Group entered two MOUs with Saudi Bright Ware, a company specializing in Software Development and System Integration as well as payment solutions. The MOU will facilitate financial and payment services for stc's business sector clients.In addition, stc has entered a second MOU with Paytabs, a company that specializes in providing payment solutions for business transactions between corporations and organizations. The MOU encompasses the exploration of ways to enable financial services and the discussion of payment system development. Moreover, the MOU aims to enhance the innovation prospects in fintech and provide a payment gateway service designed explicitly for stc within the business's participation in the "Seamless Saudi Arabia 2023" conference and exhibition is a testament to its dedication to revolutionizing the fintech, e-commerce, retail, and payments landscape. The group is channelling its resources towards developing cutting-edge payment solutions that optimize digital payment platforms for individuals and the corporate sector across diverse industries. stc remains committed to empowering various sectors digitally and advancing progress by providing state-of-the-art solutions.

Extreme Networks launches regional data center in UAE

Extreme Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXTR), a leader in cloud networking, today announced the launch of a new regional data centre (RDC) in the UAE, to meet growing business needs for faster data transmissions, easy access to cloud solutions and heightened data security. Through AI and machine learning functionality with the ExtremeCloud IQ platform, the RDC enables both government and enterprise customers to run their operations more efficiently while in accordance with local data laws.The new RDC is one of 18 regional data centres established by Extreme Networks and is expanding the company’s cloud footprint globally. It includes the company’s industry-leading cloud management platform ExtremeCloudIQ, which provides network insights and analytics that help organizations streamline operations, gain visibility into network performance and troubleshoot issues.The need for data centres in the region continues to grow as local and global companies face added demand for cloud computing, smart services, next generation e-commerce experiences and remote work capabilities. The UAE also recently announced a landmark federal data protection law in 2022, that requires stricter data protection and storage efforts and also has a “Cloud First” policy, which requires government entities to prioritise cloud solutions when procuring IT services. Extreme’s RDC is crucial to ensuring reliable and low latency services and greater data security and sovereignty.Here is a sampling of what Extreme Networks customers are saying:Abdulrahman Khaiwi- Head of IT - Emirates National Schools.“The wireless network is the central nervous system of our operations, educational platform and communications. By deploying Extreme solutions, we've been able to establish a high performing, highly available network which becomes the foundation for us to offer advanced curriculum. More importantly, it’s easy to manage and gain visibility into the Wireless infrastructure. We can easily add new devices, manage applications and users and leverage insights that allow us to continually optimize performance and identify anomalies before they become bigger issues. Knowing that our data to be hosted within the new UAE Data Center provides us with additional peace of mind that we’ll benefit from increased speed, performance, and security.”Executive PerspectiveMaan Al-Shakarchi, Regional Director, Extreme Networks, META."The launch of our new regional data center in the UAE is proof of our investment in the Middle East’s digital acceleration and our commitment to responding to present and future business needs for large enterprises, schools, government agencies and hospitals, among others. Our solutions provide a digital foundation for businesses to thrive and evolve in an ever-changing technological landscape and with the regional RDC our customers will benefit from increased performance and security. Extreme makes networking simple and flexible and we help our customers make their network a strategic asset to their organization.”

Multiply Group secures 55% majority stake in Media 247 strengthening its profile

Multiply Group (ADX: MULTIPLY), an Abu Dhabi-based investment holding company, confirmed today the completion of its acquisition of a 55% majority stake in Media 247, a leading outdoor advertising firm in the UAE, for AED 225 million. This strategic move follows Multiply Group’s announcement in April 2023 regarding its intent to invest, subject to regulatory approvals, which has since been secured. The acquisition price has been adjusted as a result of the Company’s strong financial performance during the first half of 2023, where it overachieved its revenue and profitability targets by about 10% and 37%, respectively.Media 247, known for its extensive portfolio of over 45 exclusive outdoor premium hoardings, unipoles, and 3D structures across Dubai’s most prominent locations, further solidifies Multiply Group’s position in the media and advertising sector. The company’s diverse service offerings, ranging from media management and printing services to transit media solutions across Dubai’s largest taxi fleet, have made it a preferred partner for many top-tier advertisers and agencies both locally and internationally.Media 247's resilience, especially during challenging times such as the pandemic, further underscores its value proposition and the soundness of Multiply Group's investment decision.Samia Bouazza, Group CEO and Managing Director at Multiply Group, commented on the acquisition, stating: “Our investment in Media 247 underscores our strategic commitment to grow our verticals through the addition of high-value assets that yield sustainable recurring returns. The global media and communications industry, valued at US$ 2 trillion, is undergoing a seismic shift due to rapid digital transformation, immediate content dissemination, and heightened user engagement, presenting unprecedented growth avenues. By integrating a majority stake in Media 247, one of the largest in Dubai, into our portfolio – Multiply Media is poised to emerge as a leading integrated multi-brand media powerhouse in the UAE.”“Our vision is clear. We are committed to making continued value accretive investments in this vertical, with the overarching goal of propelling Multiply Media to the appropriate valuation to list on the local stock exchange,” she added.The acquisition of Media 247 aligns with Multiply Group’s ‘buy and build’ strategy, which focusses on acquiring profitable companies, fostering portfolio-wide synergies, driving bolt-on investments, and enhancing scalability and margins.Multiply Group, with its dual investment arms: Multiply and Multiply+, continues to showcase its financial acumen by targeting high-yield opportunities across diverse asset classes, reinforcing its reputation as a leading investment entity in the region. Multiply operates and invests in four current verticals - Mobility, Energy and Utilities, Media and Communications, and Beauty and Wellness, while Multiply+, its sector-agnostic and opportunistic investment arm, looks to target double-digit returns across asset classes.

Qashio and Carasti join forces to transform leasing and corporate expense in UAE

Qashio, a pioneering Dubai-based Fintech company offering an Award-Winning Corporate Card and Expense Management Solution, is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with Carasti, a leading car subscription service in Dubai. This collaboration aims to redefine the leasing landscape and enhance the corporate expense experience for organizations across the UAE.As organizations increasingly embrace alternative approaches to vehicle ownership, Qashio and Carasti have come together to offer an innovative solution that not only streamlines the leasing process but also provides immediate benefits for businesses. Through this partnership, any sign-up for a vehicle leasing agreement with Carasti using Qashio's Corporate Cards will receive an instant cashback, demonstrating the commitment of both organizations to offer tangible value to their clients.Armin Moradi, Co-Founder & CEO of Qashio, expressed his enthusiasm about this collaboration: "At Qashio, we are dedicated to transforming financial processes for organizations by offering cutting-edge solutions that enhance efficiency and convenience. Teaming up with Carasti aligns perfectly with our mission to simplify processes and provide real benefits to our clients."Mr. Claudio Esposito-Aiardo, Co-Founder & CEO of Carasti, shared his insights on the partnership: "Carasti is proud to partner with Qashio to deliver a unique proposition to our corporate clients with our more flexible leasing solution in the form of Car Subscriptions. We’re seeing huge demand from the corporate world as car subscription is a great way to lower the overall cost of ownership and minimise upfront costs for businesses needing vehicles. The instant cashback is a testament to our commitment to making Car Subscription not only accessible but also rewarding for businesses.” We're excited to work together with Qashio in providing added value to our clients' vehicle leasing experience."With a growing trend among orgaizations to incorporate leasing as part of their employee benefits packages, this partnership aims to streamline the leasing process, empower businesses to manage their fleets efficiently, and ultimately make vehicle leasing more accessible and cost-effective through Carasti’s Car Subscription program. Moreover, the collaboration between Qashio and Carasti extends beyond immediate benefits. Both organizations share a vision of a more sustainable future. Qashio is driving a shift towards cashless and paperless financial processes, while Carasti is leading the way by offering Electric Vehicles to the market. Mr. Esposito-Aiardo noted, "We have observed a rising demand for electric cars from businesses seeking to embrace environmentally friendly alternatives in their leasing choices."The Qashio-Carasti partnership signifies a significant step forward in reshaping leasing and corporate expenses in the UAE. Together, these innovative companies are working towards a future where business solutions are not only efficient but also environmentally conscious.

ATM 2024 to explore how entrepreneurship is empowering innovation in the ME

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the Middle East’s leading event for inbound and outbound travel and tourism professionals, has unveiled its next theme: ‘Empowering Innovation: Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship.’ The 31st edition of the show will take place at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from Monday 6 to Thursday 9 May 2024.Over the last 15 years, the travel and tourism industry has secured only 1 percent of total funding for startups across all industries, according to analysis from McKinsey. This is despite the fact that the sector accounted for more than 10 percent of global GDP in 2019. With exhibitors from the fields of aviation, accommodation, hospitality, attractions, technology and more, ATM 2024 will explore how innovators in the travel and tourism space are working to attract greater levels of funding to further increase the sector’s overall contribution to global GDP.The 31st edition of ATM will once again host policymakers, industry leaders and travel professionals from across the Middle East and beyond, encouraging them to forge new relationships, exchange knowledge and identify innovations with the potential to reshape the future of global travel and tourism. From startups to established brands, the upcoming show will highlight how innovators are enhancing customer experiences, driving efficiencies and accelerating progress towards a net-zero future for the industry.Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director, Arabian Travel Market, said: “The Middle East’s travel and tourism sector has demonstrated impressive resilience and growth in recent years, but we must continue to innovate and adapt in order to achieve the industry’s long-term goals. Thanks to ATM 2024’s theme, ‘Transforming Travel Through Entrepreneurship’, we have a golden opportunity to showcase expert insights, cutting-edge technologies and commercial opportunities with the potential to completely reshape the sector.”Building on ATM 2023’s theme of ‘Working Towards Net Zero’, environmentally responsible travel will represent a key focus during the show’s upcoming edition. Informed by the UAE’s Year of Sustainability and the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will take place in Dubai later this year, ATM 2024 will explore how innovation can be leveraged to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by building a greener travel and tourism sector for future generations.More than 40,000 travel trade professionals, including 30,000 visitors, attended the 30th edition of ATM in May 2023, setting a new show record. The exhibition attracted more than 2,100 exhibitors and representatives from over 155 countries, providing a global platform for the unveiling of ATM’s net-zero pledge.ATM 2024 will empower the global travel and tourism community to harness entrepreneurism, helping to catalyse innovation, increase revenues and maximise sustainability over the long term. The UAE aims to attract $150 billion in foreign investment by 2030, making it the perfect environment for these activities. With an emphasis on technological innovation, the nation plans to strengthen its position as an international hub for start-ups – a focus that looks set to benefit entrepreneurs operating in the region’s travel and tourism sector. By exploring the ways in which an entrepreneurial mindset can lead to positive change within the industry, ATM 2024 will enable attendees to identify strategies for growth across a range of key industry verticals.“As a global leader in innovation, the UAE offers the perfect environment in which to explore these trends and identify new avenues for growth,” Curtis added. “Following the record-breaking levels of attendance witnessed during ATM 2023, my colleagues and I cannot wait to welcome the global travel community to Dubai once again next year.”Held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre, ATM 2024’s strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Destination Partner; Emirates, Official Airline Partner; IHG Hotels & Resorts, Official Hotel Partner; and Al Rais Travel, Official DMC Partner.

Gulf Air group holding strengthens management team to elevate aviation

Manama: Gulf Air Group Holding (GFG) has strengthened its senior management team to support the growth of Bahrain’s aviation.Bringing on board a wealth of diverse experiences in their respective fields, the management team is poised to drive the company’s strategic vision of advancing Bahrain’s economic agenda whilst bolstering its position as a global aviation industry leader. The management team is led by Dr. Jeffrey Goh, Gulf Air Group Holding Chief Executive Officer.Ahmed Naeemi will join the group as Chief Technology Officer in September 2023, Ahmed is a veteran in IT and Digital Management, who is set to spearhead technological advancements and cutting-edge solutions in line with the Group’s business ambitions. He joins the group from the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance.The appointment of Ahmed Naeemi follows the appointment of Adnan Hashim as Chief Financial Officer, exceptional financial leader with a proven track record, who will be playing a pivotal role in driving the Group’s financial strategy, business planning and operational growth, and the appointment of Sawsan AlMutawa as Acting Chief People Officer, a proven track record of HR across diverse companies, will be instrumental in nurturing leadership, improving productivity, and optimizing efficiency within the Group.This strategic move comes in line with the Gulf Air Group Holding’s increased focus on accelerating its business growth by implementing cutting-edge solutions and creating customer satisfaction and advocacy to align with the company’s aspirations.Commenting on their appointments, Jeffrey Goh, Gulf Air Group Holding Chief Executive Officer said: “We are delighted to announce our exceptional senior management team, who will be instrumental in driving our future growth while enabling us to adapt to the ever evolving aviation landscape. Each of the leaders are highly capable, having extensive knowledge of their domain and understanding of the Group's vision. I look forward to collaborating with them in our transformative journey to shape Bahrain's aviation future with the Kingdom's economic visionWith an ambitious new team at the helm, the Group aims to synergize its core departments in order to strengthen Bahrain’s aviation sector and go above and beyond for the Kingdom’s economy.

Nearly three in five global board members view generative AI as security risk

Dubai: Proofpoint, Inc., a leading cybersecurity and compliance company, today released its second annual Cybersecurity: The 2023 Board Perspective report, which explores board of directors’ views on the global threat landscape, cybersecurity priorities, and relationships with CISOs. The findings reveal that nearly three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed feel at risk of a material cyber-attack, a notable increase from 65% in 2022. Likewise, 53% feel unprepared to cope with a targeted attack, up from 47% the previous year. Interestingly, recent research from Proofpoint illustrates similar sentiments are shared by CISOs in the Middle East, with 55% of KSA CISOs and 75% of UAE CISOs admitting they feel at risk of experiencing a material cyber-attack in the next 12 months. Half of CISOs in the Middle East believe their organization is unprepared to cope with a targeted cyber-attack. This year-over-year change may reflect the ongoing volatility of the threat landscape, including lingering geopolitical tensions and rises in disruptive ransomware and supply chain attacks. The emerging risk of artificial intelligence (AI) tools such as ChatGPT may also be contributing to these sentiments: 59% of board members believe generative AI is a security risk for their organization.Global board members have those concerns even though 73% view cybersecurity as a priority, 72% believe their board clearly understands the cyber risks they face, and 70% believe they have adequately invested in cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity: The 2023 Board Perspective report examines global, third-party survey responses from 659 board members at organizations with 5,000 or more employees across different industries. In June 2023, more than 50 board directors were surveyed in each market in each of the following 12 countries: the U.S., Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Brazil, and Mexico.The report explores three key areas: the cyber threats and risks boardrooms face, their level of preparedness to defend against those threats, and their alignment with CISOs based on the sentiments Proofpoint uncovered in our 2023 Voice of the CISO report. We found a similar year-over-year increase in the number of CISOs who feel at risk and unprepared, and a closer alignment than before between board directors and security leaders.“The newfound alignment between board members and their CISOs on cyber risk and preparedness is a positive sign that the two sides are working closer together and making progress. However, this growing alliance hasn’t yet delivered significant changes in cybersecurity posture, despite boards feeling good about the time and resources they’re investing to combat this risk,” said Ryan Kalember, executive vice president of cybersecurity strategy at Proofpoint. “Our findings show that it remains a challenge to translate increased awareness into effective cybersecurity strategies that protect people and data. Growing even stronger board-CISO relationships will be instrumental in the months ahead so directors and security leaders can have more meaningful conversations and ensure they’re investing in the right priorities.”Key global findings from Proofpoint’s Cybersecurity: The 2023 Board Perspective report include:? Generative AI has the boardroom’s attention: with tools such as ChatGPT getting much of the spotlight in recent months, 59% of those surveyed view this emerging technology as a security risk to their organization.? Year-over-year comparison shows board members’ increasing concerns about cyber risk: 73% of those surveyed feel their organization is at risk of a material cyber attack, compared to 65% in 2022.? Awareness and funding do not translate into preparedness: 73% of directors agree that cybersecurity is a priority for their board, 72% believe their board clearly understands the cyber risks they face, 70% think they have adequately invested in cybersecurity, and 84% believe their cybersecurity budget will increase over the next 12 months; however, these efforts are not leading to better preparedness—53% still view their organization as unprepared to cope with a cyber attack in the next 12 months.? Board members and CISOs have similar concerns about their biggest threats: board members ranked malware as their top concern (40%), followed by insider threat (36%) and cloud account compromise (36%). This is only slightly different from CISOs’ top concerns of email fraud/BEC (33%), insider threat (30%), and cloud account compromise (29%).? Directors are not completely aligned with CISOs in the areas of people risk and data protection: while most directors (63%) and CISOs (60%) agree that human error is their biggest risk, board members are much more confident in their organization’s ability to protect data 75% of directors share this view, compared to only 60% of CISOs.? Bigger budgets, additional cyber resources, and better threat intelligence top boardrooms’ wish lists: 37% of board directors said their organization’s cybersecurity would benefit from a bigger budget, 35% would like to see more cyber resources, and 35% would like better threat intelligence.? Board-CISO interactions and relationships are gradually improving: 53% of directors say they interact with security leaders regularly. While an increase from last year’s 47%, it still leaves nearly half of all boardrooms without strong CISO-C-suite relationships. Board members and CISOs are generally closely aligned when they do interact, however, with 65% of board members saying they see eye-to-eye with their CISO and 62% of CISOs agreeing. From a regional lens, previous Proofpoint research shows that 63% of CISOs in the UAE and 45% of CISOs in KSA agree that board members saw eye-to-eye with them on cybersecurity issues. ? Personal liability is a concern for boards and CISOs alike: 72% of board directors expressed concern about personal liability in the wake of a cybersecurity incident at their own organization and 62% of CISOs agree.“Board members are taking cybersecurity matters seriously, demonstrating they have no illusions about human risk and the impact cyber threats pose to an organization’s bottom line. They are making strides in their relationships with security leaders, understanding that strong board-CISO partnerships are more critical than ever,” said Kalember. “But this is not a time to grow complacent. Boards must continue to invest heavily in improving preparedness and organizational resilience. This means pushing for even deeper, more productive conversations with CISOs to ensure directors are making informed, strategic decisions that drive positive outcomes.”

Amazon is consumers’ preferred ad platform for a second year in a row

Dubai: Kantar, the world's leading marketing insights and analytics company, today reveals Amazon has once again taken the title of consumers’ most preferred ad platform. According to Kantar Media Reactions 2023, most consumers consider ads on Amazon to be relevant and useful, with few negative qualities. Despite not being one of the top five favourite platforms for marketers globally, Amazon is building trust among this group – with a 10% year-on-year rise in trust scores. The e-commerce giant also tops the charts in Brazil, Germany and Mexico, three of the 23 markets included in the study.Kantar Media Reactions 2023 report uncovers the attitudes of consumers and marketers to ad platforms and channels. The annual study, now in its fourth year, is based on interviews with around 16,000 consumers in 23 markets and 900 senior marketers globally.Among marketers, YouTube has leapfrogged to the top of the charts, improving trust by 6% compared with last year. The rise of YouTube demonstrates marketers’ preference for established, brands, even if it does not register in consumers’ top five platforms.The study shows there’s significant contrast between marketers’ and consumers’ most preferred channels, with marketers inclined towards newer channels while consumers prefer channels that cause the least interruption to their lives.TV or not TV?Notably, TV, the traditional lynchpin of ad campaigns, is absent from the ranking of marketers’ preferred ad channels this year. While TV has never been rated highly among consumers, it has historically performed strongly among marketers. However, it has fallen from 3rd place in marketers’ preferred channels last year to 12th place in 2023, and TV sponsorship has fallen from 12th place to 20th. Just 6% of marketers say they will increase TV spend in 2024. “While TV as a preferred channel is losing steam amongst global marketers, it remains a key channel in the Middle East and the lynchpin of ad campaigns for marketers in the region. So while online gains traction, traditional channels are here to stay. Marketers also need to understand that the Middle East is not an homogenous region - one size does not fit all, and different media mixes are needed to cater to a wider melting pot of people in the UAE and KSA,” comments Sagar Dhal, Media Lead, Middle East, Kantar.The marketers’ mindsetThe Kantar Media Reactions 2023 survey of around 900 marketers around the world also quantifies how trends and changes in the media landscape shape their attitudes. Key highlights include:The Metaverse continues to be an unfulfilled promise – In 2022, a net 61% of marketers claimed they would increase spend in the metaverse, but only a net of 12% actually did. In the 2023 study, only one in five (22%) state they will raise their budget for Metaverse advertising next year.Twitter, the end of an era – X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, has suffered reputational damage among marketers, the research shows. X, the latest incarnation of the platform, does not feature in the list on marketers’ top 5 preferred ad platforms. A decline in perceptions of innovation (now 16%, down from 28% in 2021) and trustworthiness (now 7%, down from 11% in 2021), is accompanied by a net 14% of marketers saying they will reduce their ad investment on the platform in 2024.The race for attention – Marketers continue to invest in channels that consumers don’t think are attention-grabbing. For marketers, influencer content is king in terms of delivering attention, but it doesn’t make the top 5 for consumers. Furthermore, a staggering 50% of marketers do not see attention as important as brand or sales outcomes, despite the evidence that it helps build brands and drives sales. According to the study, cinema ads, sponsored events and digital out-of-home are among the few channels that both consumers and marketers believe are attention-grabbing. Both groups are in agreement that TikTok is the most attention-grabbing media brand.Gonca Bubani, Global Thought Leadership Director - Media, Kantar, concludes “Successful advertising today seamlessly integrates into consumers’ lives: in their scrolling, viewing or simply while they go about their days. This year, consumers have spoken up and said they strongly prefer advertising that they see out-of-home, like at sponsored events or the cinema. So why is there such a huge mismatch between the advertising consumers enjoy and what marketers are spending their precious budgets on? We know advertising campaigns are seven times as impactful among receptive audiences, so for marketers, it’s crucial to understand the strengths and weaknesses of different ad platforms and invest their money where it will make an impact.”Download a copy of the Media Reactions 2023 study and register to watch the webinar “Kantar Media Reactions 2023: Braving the battleground” on demand at

Guy Marks appointed CEO of PHD Worldwide; Succeeds Philippa Brown

Omnicom Media Group (OMG), the media services division of Omnicom Group, has appointed OMG EMEA CEO Guy Marks as the CEO of PHD Worldwide. He will be succeeding Philippa Brown, who will step down from the role after almost five years. In his new role effective October 1, Marks will be headquartered in London and will be reporting to OMG global CEO Florian Adamski. His successor as leader of OMG EMEA is expected to be named in the following week.Marks joined OMG in 2014 following Omnicom’s acquisition of Mobile5, the global UX, design and tech consultancy service that he co-founded. As CEO of OMG EMEA, he helped establish Omnicom’s Transact connected commerce and retail media consultancy in the region, and co-architected the expansion of OMG’s TRKKN analytics and cloud consultancy from five European countries to 20 markets across APAC, EMEA and North America.Guy Marks said, “As the CEO of PHD – an agency that was born from a transformative concept of media as a strategic tool, my priority will be assuring that every PHD account team around the world have the talent, tools, technology and collective commitment to excellence they need to deliver the transformative ideas, solutions and service that drive growth for our clients, our agency, and our people.”Florian Adamski commented, “Guy is one of our industry’s most entrepreneurial leaders, with an approach that transformed first OMD’s and subsequently Omnicom Media Group’s offering in EMEA over the past six years. The fact that, at the same time, he was also one of the network’s key people coordinating Omnicom’s boots-on-the-ground Ukrainian relief and rescue efforts tells you everything you need to know about both his character and his leadership skills.”

Brands For Less Group is set to open first logistics distribution centre in SA

 Brands For Less Group announces the forthcoming launch of its first Brands For Less Group Logistics Distribution Centre, located at Sudair City for Industry and Businesses in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The state-of-the-art facility will manage the Group’s strategic executions and assist in managing retail operations. This will mark a significant leap in its mission to provide top-notch products and services to meet the evolving demands of the Saudi market.A significant milestone in the company's expansion strategy, the establishment of this the Logistics Distribution Centre has been marked by a momentous signing ceremony between Majed Al Argoubi, CEO of MODON, and Toufic Kreidieh, Executive Chairman & Group CEO of Brands For Less Group on 5 September, 2023 at the MODON Head Office.The centre will feature a fully-automated technology system to help streamline operations and optimize processes by handling inventory management and logistics precision and speed. This will minimize human error and overall elevate customer experiences. Boasting 38,000 square meters, the facility will employ around 350 skilled professionals and showcase prominent storage capabilities for up to 3 million products.This step underlines Brands For Less Group's unwavering commitment to catering to the ever-evolving needs and preferences of consumers in the dynamic Saudi market. Encompassing a network of over 20 stores across Saudi Arabia and more than 100 stores worldwide, BFL Group has been on an aggressive expansion strategy while still committing to maintaining the highest standards of service and operational excellence.Expressing his anticipation regarding the launch, Toufic Kreidieh, Executive Chairman & CEO of Brands For Less Group said, "We are thrilled to collaborate with MODON in launching BFL Group's first Logistics Distribution Centre in KSA with an investment of over SAR 60 Million. This step is a testament to our ongoing commitment to the Saudi market and our relentless pursuit of innovative solutions igniting a new era of retail excellence. With offerings catering to all ages, occasions, seasons, and styles, we will continue to redefine the shopping experience, ensuring that quality products are accessible to all.”Majed Al Argoubi, CEO of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) commented, "We are excited to partner with Brands For Less Group in shaping the retail industry and commerce in KSA. This collaboration exemplifies our commitment to fostering the ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ towards a future where technology and commerce converge seamlessly to serve our nation's dynamic needs.”The ceremony not only symbolizes the partnership between Brands For Less Group and MODON but also underscores the unity in their vision to contribute to the evolution and transformation of retail developments in the region.

Deliveroo UAE reveals new top-up feature

Deliveroo UAE has just unveiled a new in-app feature designed to help customers create their perfect delivery in a single order. The newest feature grants customers the ability to seamlessly top-up their takeaway orders with additional grocery items from Deliveroo’s rapid grocery HOP sites. Deliveroo is kicking off the new feature with HOP with plans to extend the service to include other groceries in the future as well. Whether it’s elevating game-night takeaway with a pack of crisps or enhancing a lunch order with some fruit for a healthy afternoon snack, or ordering that extra milk because you know you will need a refill soon, Deliveroo customers now have the flexibility of adding grocery items to their takeaway without having to place a new order. The new feature allows for customers to satisfy all their food cravings and stock up on necessities all in one go.Developed in response to customer demand, Deliveroo’s in-app top-up feature was designed based on the observation that numerous customers often initiate a second order within minutes of placing their first. Through this newly introduced functionality, once a customer initiates an order with a restaurant, the order tracker page seamlessly facilitates the capability for them to top-up their order from the nearest Deliveroo HOP site. The brand new feature remains accessible for up to 10 minutes following the placement of the original order. Takeaway top-ups have been made possible through the latest innovations in Deliveroo’s tech capabilities. The company remains committed to investing in world-class technology to ensure that customers receive an unparalleled delivery service that seamlessly connects them with Deliveroo’s delivery-only grocery service, HOP. Following a successful trial in the UK, the feature is being rolled out across the UAE and will ensure that thousands of customers within HOP catchment across Dubai can benefit from this innovative offering.  Ziad Zein, Growth and Commercial Director at Deliveroo UAE, said “At Deliveroo we are committed to becoming the definitive on-demand food delivery company by creating the ultimate experience for our customers. With our state-of-the-art technology, we’ve empowered our customers to tailor their perfect takeaway basket. Whether it’s merging their preferred restaurant dishes with a head start on tomorrow’s breakfast, or ensuring they’re prepared for an eventful evening, Deliveroo’s new top-up feature allows us to provide a seamless delivery experience.” Deliveroo is dedicated to helping customers discover a world of food at their doorstep. The top-up feature is now live for customers to effortlessly place orders on the Deliveroo app.

73% of users in Saudi Arabia do not post photos with spouses and partners

According to the Digital Superstitions survey by Kaspersky, more than half of the respondents in Saudi Arabia (73%) do not post photos with their partners or spouses on social networks. Kaspersky is shedding light on how users feel about posting photos with their loved ones.Posting personal photos on social media can have certain negative consequences. Due to data breaches, photos can get accessible to unintended audiences, risking personal information exposure. Cybercriminals might use photos to gather information for identity theft or phishing attacks. Location data embedded in photos can even compromise physical security by revealing a user's whereabouts.Users provide different reasons for refraining from posting photos with their loved ones. In most cases (61%) people do not want anyone to know about their personal life. Every eighth (16%) respondent does not like how they look on the photos. 24% of respondents said that their partner does not want the joint photos shared publicly (men voiced this opinion more often than women). Apart from that, 25% of people surveyed are afraid that they or their relationships may get jinxed if photos are shared publicly.“In some cases, photos on social networks can become a source of information for intruders and cybercriminals – especially if they are accompanied by explicit captions or geotags. One of the possible risks is to face doxing. This is a phenomenon in which ill-wishers publicly post information about a person in order to harm their reputation or cause persecution. Doxers use, for example, personal photos or videos that can put a person in an awkward position, fragments of personal correspondence - usually taken out of context, home address, phone number, information about the place of work, etc. Therefore, before posting a photo with a description – personal or shared with another person – it is important to think about whether such a publication can do harm, and ask permission to post a post," says Emad Haffar, Head of Technical Experts at Kaspersky.To ensure that posting photos on social networks brings only joy, Kaspersky recommends:do not upload photos with confidential data, such as scans of documents;do not share information about your friends and family members on social networks if the account is public;check your privacy settings on social networks: it is better to keep your profile private and add people you know personally as friends;use strong and different passwords for each account, change them periodically, and use password managers to create and store them;set up two-factor authentication in those services that allow it;do not transfer data about other people without their consent to third parties.

GoDaddy Studio adds AI-powered instant video capabilities

 Ask any entrepreneur and they will tell you that running a small business is time-consuming, but of all the things owners do, posting to social media and creating content is one of the hardest. That’s why GoDaddy (NYSE: GDDY) is introducing Instant Video to help small business owners become confident content creators. Instant Video is a new AI-powered feature within the GoDaddy Studio app that can quickly and easily meet the growing need for video-based digital marketing and social commerce, all at no additional cost. GoDaddy Studio already provides all of the resources entrepreneurs need to create beautifully designed content for websites, social media, marketing and more. With thousands of templates to choose from, small business owners can create branded and professional assets for use across their social platforms, website, and email marketing to drive customer engagement and sales. “Branded video marketing is key to standing out online and GoDaddy Studio’s AI-powered Instant Video makes it easy for small business owners to create social media and video content quickly, without the need to be tech-savvy,” said Laka Sriram, Vice President of Product Management for GoDaddy. “By using the latest technology, entrepreneurs will now be better equipped to maximize social media platforms’ algorithms, which favors videos, and increase engagement to grow their business.” With the addition of AI, GoDaddy Studio customers will now be able to choose the most relevant video style and create and post watermark-free, influencer-quality videos, acting as the perfect companion for social media promotion, product demos, tutorial videos, and more. The app also uses AI to auto-generate slogans based on the video clips or images users upload. No prior design experience is required, with tools available for seamless plug-in of both entrepreneur-owned video and photos, along with content available in GoDaddy Studio’s built-in library. Exporting the video is simple and can be done directly from the Instant Video editor. Creators can produce videos that convey their unique brand personality by using royalty-free music through a partnership with Melodie – meaning all music available within GoDaddy Studio is created by small, independent artists and supports musicians around the world. Also new within GoDaddy Studio: Entrepreneurs looking to expand their online presence can now purchase a domain name directly within the app and add a free version of Website Builder, and have the ability to upgrade to a matching email address. GoDaddy Studio PRO users will have additional access to stock photos and videos within the GoDaddy Studio library. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to experiment with included licensed music and pre-designed transitions, adding brand logos, colors, and fonts alongside millions of available graphics and stickers to heighten social media engagement.

New report unveils initiative for digital transformation of SMEs in Saudi Arabia

The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution- in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (C4IR-KSA) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have jointly with the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM) and the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON) and Arthur D. Little (ADL), launched a report titled "Modernizing Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia." It is a comprehensive guide for policymakers, industry leaders, and stakeholders – offering a roadmap to support industrial SMEs to adopt the Fourth Industrial Revolution, drive their growth and enhance their competitiveness.Empowering SMEs in the Digital AgeWith the aim of building a regional industrial hub and creating a diversified economy, the Kingdom's National Industry Strategy (NIS) emphasizes that the application of advanced digital technologies is a key enabler in achieving Vision 2030 objectives for KSA’s industrial sector. The report, led by the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution- in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (C4IR-KSA) as part of the Centre’s project (Accelerating the Impact of Industrial Internet of Things for Small & Medium Enterprises), Co-branded with the World Economic Forum (WEF), and Co-authored by the Saudi Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources (MIM), the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities (MODON), and Arthur D. Little (ADL), focuses on the key efforts currently in place to promote the digital transformation of SMEs in the Kingdom. It highlights the pivotal role of technology in transforming industries and enabling them to be more efficient, productive, and resilient.Eng. Albadr Adil Foudeh, Deputy Minister for Industrial Development at the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia (MIM), said: "The digital transformation of SMEs is crucial for the economic growth and competitiveness of Saudi Arabia. This report provides valuable insights and recommendations on how to leverage Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies to enhance productivity, innovation, and competitiveness among SMEs."The analysis finds that advanced manufacturing technologies powered by cutting-edge digital tools are transforming industries by paving the way for connectivity, automation, and artificial intelligence to bolster manufacturing production efficiency, increase productivity, and improve resilience for businesses.Dr. Basma AlBuhairan, Managing Director of the Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in affiliation with the World Economic Forum, emphasized the importance of supporting SMEs in their digital transformation journey. She said, "SMEs play a vital role in the national economy, and it is crucial that they are empowered to adopt and benefit from digital technologies. This report showcases successful case studies and offers valuable insights on how to overcome challenges and bridge the technology gap in SMEs."The public and private sectors play a crucial role in overcoming challenges while industrial policies, investment in infrastructure, and technical support are among the key factors that can bridge the technology gap and drive wider adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies.Successful Case Studies Showcase Transformative Power of Digital TechnologiesThe report features three compelling case studies from Saudi Arabia, showcasing initiatives and strategies that have facilitated the digital transformation of SMEs. These case studies include Future Factories Program (FFP), the Knowledge-based Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Network (KAMIN) program, and the National Productivity Program (NPP), brought in consecutively by Dr. Majid Algwaiz (MIM), Dr. Ibrahim AlShunaifi (C4IR-KSA), and Eng. Abdulrhman Alaskar (MODON).Each case study highlights the transformative power of digital and advanced manufacturing technologies in enhancing productivity, competitiveness, and innovation among SMEs. As Saudi Arabia continues on its digitalization journey towards achieving Vision 2030, these successful case studies provide valuable insights and lessons that can be applied globally.Key Enablers for Digital Transformation of SMEsSMEs play a critical role in economies and impact larger enterprises; it is essential to ensure that they are not left behind. However, smaller enterprises face resource, technical know-how, and technological readiness constraints. By nurturing a set of key enablers, including a skilled workforce, access to finance, and Fourth Industrial Revolution awareness, SMEs can reap the benefits of digital technology.Amer Hage Chahine, Senior Principal at Arthur D. Little, Middle East, highlighted the transformative power of digital technologies on industrial SMEs. He stated, "Digital technology is fundamentally altering the way industries operate, and SMEs should not be left behind. By embracing key enablers such as creating a skilled workforce, increasing access to finance, and upgrading infrastructure, SMEs can overcome challenges and reap the benefits of the digital revolution."Governments and private sector entities can help SMEs overcome challenges, by upgrading infrastructure, strengthening supply chains, and leveraging targeted support for digital technology adoption.

Furwee: the next generation of AI-powered interactive education for kids

Dubai: Animatic Media is excited to bring to the Arabic-speaking world its groundbreaking AI innovation: Furwee. Embracing the essence of technology and education, Furwee now offers an animated, talking, and listening AI chatbot interface that not only engages in real conversations but also mirrors emotions based on a child’s input.As children converse with Furwee, they watch words form right on their screens, introducing them to phonetics, spelling, and reading comprehension, while simultaneously expanding their vocabulary.Furwee is much more than just an educational tool. Its design is rooted in blending the best of AI technology and pedagogy. Children can chat with Furwee about a plethora of subjects, including pop culture, education, and even languages. Each interaction with Furwee is a step towards a tailored learning experience, thanks to the chatbot’s capability to learn and adapt from every conversation.Introducing Furwee to the Arabic-speaking community is not just about linguistic inclusion. It's about bringing a tech-forward educational companion to millions of children. Furwee is not only a teacher but also a friend - its amicable persona makes it the ideal conversational buddy for kids aged four and beyond.Currently, Furwee is available for free in its beta version. However, future prospects shine bright with plans to evolve into a subscription model, garnished with in-app purchasing options and varied advertising prospects. Regular updates are in the pipeline to expand Furwee's offerings, which will soon include educational games centered on reading, writing, math, health, social development, and more.Scott Ownbey, CEO of Animatic Media, commented, "The interactive paradigm that Furwee introduces, especially now in Arabic, promises a unique blend of fun and learning. We envision Furwee becoming a cornerstone in ed-tech, creating personalized experiences that help children assimilate knowledge while also exploring the vastness of the world around them."With the education technology sector poised to soar, touching a staggering value of USD 123.40 billion in 2022, Furwee is right at the forefront, signaling a future enriched by AI-driven interactive learning.For a closer look at Furwee and its innovative features tailored to the modern learner, visit

Zoho becomes the first bootstrapped SaaS company to reach 100mln users

 Zoho Corporation, a leading global technology company, today announced that it is serving 100 million users across its 55+ business applications. Zoho is the first bootstrapped SaaS company to reach this milestone and has done so without any external funding.This growth comes on the heels of the company reaching 1 billion USD in annual revenue last year. Zoho now has more than 700,000 customers across 150+ countries. The company has steadily increased its traction from one million users in 2008 to 100 million—with the last 50 million users added within the past five years. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is one of Zoho's fastest-growing regions with UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt being top markets.“I want to thank all of our customers for trusting us with their business and helping us reach 100 million users worldwide," said Sridhar Vembu, Co-founder and CEO of Zoho Corp. "This is an impressive milestone for any organization, but it's particularly sweet for us as a bootstrapped company that has never raised external capital. And we are not done yet. We have an impressive innovation pipeline covering the next 10 years, investing in deep technologies to serve billions of users around the world. We're working towards it, and we want to thank all of you for your continued support."In the UAE, the company revealed earlier this year that it had grown 10 times in the country over the last five years, with a 5-year CAGR of 60%, and announced plans for investing AED 100 million into expansion in the UAE.Zoho's growth has been driven by an unwavering commitment to its 'transnational localism' strategy over the years, where it remained anchored to its roots all whilst continuing to evolve and tailor its offerings to meet local market needs across the world. In the MENA region, Zoho has achieved this through product localization, opening new offices, hiring local talent, and partnering with leading public and private entities to support governments' digitalization agendas.In recent years, Zoho has partnered with various organizations such as the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) and Dubai Culture in order to make enterprise technology available to businesses of all sizes. It has also partnered with educational institutes like the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) and Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management (EAHM) to offer upskilling courses. Since 2020, Zoho has helped over 3,500 SMEs gain access to its cloud technology through various partnerships, investing AED 20 million in wallet credits. It also invested AED 4.5 million in upskilling initiatives for imparting digital literacy to over 200+ students and 300+ companies.The company has continued to diversify and innovate its product portfolio to meet the changing market and customer demands. This year, Zoho launched a free privacy-centered browser, Ulaa, which enables a secure browsing experience for individuals and organizations. It has also unveiled new features and capabilities in 13 apps powered by generative AI and ChatGPT that further improve businesses' productivity and efficiency.Over the past years, Zoho launched nine products with an Arabic User Interface (UI) which included top-selling products such as Zoho Books (VAT-compliant accounting software) and Zoho CRM (customer relationship management software) as well as other leading apps such as Zoho SalesIQ (live chat and website tracking app), Zoho Inventory (inventory management software), Zoho People (HRMS platform), Zoho Bigin (pipeline-centric CRM for small businesses), Zoho Desk (helpdesk software) and Zoho Creator (low-code platform). In addition, the company's commerce platform Zoho Commerce is one of the few applications to support Right-to-Left (RTL) as well as offer retailers both international and regional payment gateway options.Zoho maintains an uncompromising, privacy-centered approach where it respects user privacy and does not have an ad-revenue model in any part of its business, including its free products. The company owns and operates its data centers, ensuring complete oversight of customer data, privacy, and security. More than 100 million users around the world, across hundreds of thousands of companies, rely on Zoho every day to run their businesses, including Zoho itself.

Alamar Foods PJSC onboards MoEngage for customer lifecycle management

KSA: Alamar Foods, a Saudi-based leading Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) operator has partnered with MoEngage, a marketing automation and customer engagement platform to drive personalized communication with its customers.Alamar is pursuing an omnichannel strategy with a customer centric approach “In our endeavor towards direct marketing, engaging, and rewarding our customers based on their individual preferences, we have tied up with MoEngage. Through this program we aim to positively influence our customers' loyalty with the brands we operate in the Region”, said Shobhit Tandon, Group Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Alamar Foods. To achieve this and analyze the impact of personalized communication, Alamar Foods will leverage MoEngage’s capabilities as a centralized customer engagement system for all communications. Furthermore, the brand will also leverage MoEngage’s capabilities to identify key customer segments that require dedicated action.“We are ecstatic to partner with Alamar Foods and help them in their efforts to drive customer engagement with personalization. In today’s day and age, customer engagement and personalization has become a must-have attribute and Alamar Foods has been focusing on it from day zero”, said Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success, MoEngage.

DIFC completes first metaverse accelerator programme

Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading global financial centre in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, today announced its first cohort of 10 regional and global start-ups as part of its ‘DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme’ (‘The Programme’), aligned with the Dubai Higher Committee for Future Technology and Digital Economy Goals.The news follows the launch of DIFC’s Metaverse Platform earlier this year, in line with the Dubai Metaverse Strategy, which aims to add USD 4bn to Dubai's GDP, support 40,000 virtual jobs by 2030, and attract 1,000 companies specialised in blockchain and metaverse technologies.The inaugural ‘DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme’ was the first initiative announced under the ‘DIFC Metaverse Platform’ umbrella, and attracted over 160 applicants from the UAE, UK, US, India and France, with a focus on primarily Metaverse, AI, Web3, AR/VR and Blockchain sectors.The ‘DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme’, backed by programme partners Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC), DP World, and Daoverse Capital, onboarded 10 promising start-ups on 5 June 2023 with 3 months of intense bootcamp workshops to follow.Further supported by a network of over 60 DIFC Innovation Hub ecosystem partners, the ‘DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme’ also aims to stimulate investment opportunities by building a creator community equipped with technical and intrapersonal skills of the metaverse.Mohammad Alblooshi, CEO of the DIFC Innovation Hub, said, “Earlier this year, Dubai’s Higher Committee for Future Technology and Digital Economy endorsed the DIFC Metaverse Platform, positioning DIFC as the first government entity globally to champion an integrated Metaverse hub. To see the DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme come to fruition as part of that initiative with over 160 international applicants, a network of over 60 ecosystem partners, and 10 talented start-ups graduating already is encouraging and will no doubt inspire others to join us as we together embark on our next phase of growth.”The graduation of the first cohort was held as part of the programme’s Demo Day at the DIFC Innovation Hub, which saw talented entrepreneurs pitch and showcase the next wave of innovation to the region’s top venture capitalists, angel investors and industry leaders. The first cohort of graduates are:Artichoke Labs, a spatial computing company specialising in creating city-scale augmented reality applications; Cognitive Technologies, experts in establishing Internet-of-Things (IoT) networks to enable both hardware and software automation; Daoversal, an expansive blockchain-based Web3 social ecosystem platform; and DoDocs, which is building a service to generate legal documents in any language for any country or jurisdiction for both individuals and businesses.Duverse, a start-up involved in developing and implementing advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions; Evometa, a boutique digital studio providing Metaverse-as-a-service solutions for enterprises in real estate, hospitality, industrial and automotive markets; and Flan, engaged in creating micro communities for clients and creative workers to meet, network, and discuss ideas were also part of the inaugural DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme. The debut edition of the programme also included Intelligent Assist and ShopDoc, two digital healthcare delivery platforms, and GoPal, a revolutionary Metaverse-based EdTech Platform.Targeting a broad spectrum of Metaverse, Web3, AI, and AR/VR start-ups both locally and internationally, as well as potential Web3 investors and organisations, the DIFC Metaverse Accelerator Programme is poised to be a game-changer in this era of digital transformation in Dubai and beyond.

Qatar Tourism launches first of its kind production, Through the Eyes of Falcon

Qatar Tourism has released, "Qatar: Through the Eyes of a Falcon," an innovative production that presents a thrilling perspective of Qatar’s beautiful terrains, as seen from the viewpoint of the country’s esteemed national bird, the falcon.A first-of-its-kind in Qatar, viewers will see sweeping views of Qatar’s diverse landscapes as they embark on a captivating visual journey with this time-honoured bird. “We chose the falcon's point of view to provide a profound and authentic perspective for viewers to explore Qatar,” stated Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism. “A symbol of endurance and valour, the falcon takes us on an unparalleled adventure through the country’s beautiful natural, historic and modern structures that form Qatar’s unique hospitality offering.”As the falcon effortlessly glides across the skies, viewers are transported through the breath-taking landscapes of Qatar. From the enchanting dunes of the Arabian desert to the gleaming skyscrapers of Doha, viewers will witness the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity that can only be found in this year’s Arab Tourism Capital.Falcons have been owned and bred in the desert for over 5,000 years. Today, the solitary bird is celebrated as the national bird of Qatar and is an important part of the country’s heritage.Known for its astonishing flight capabilities, the falcon can reach altitudes of up to 3,000 feet (approximately 914 meters) and cover vast distances exceeding 300 kilometres in a single day. Its exceptional vantage point over Qatar can be watched on Qatar Tourism’s Visit Qatar’s

The rise of AI-powered cybercriminals: Identifying threats and opportunities

 The past decade has seen a massive adoption in machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), and an increasing number of organizations have been leveraging such technologies to automate their operations to make their products and services better.Despite the extensive use of ML and AI by organizations for some time now, many individual users only had their first interactions over the past few months, and mostly in the form of generative AI like ChatGPT, which has brought AI to the front of the public’s mind, fueling an intensive race for AI development.As with any innovation, the use of AI is expected to have both positive and negative effects on global culture. It’s expected that few will benefit quite so handsomely as cybercrime, though. We live in a digitized age when cyber-attacks are becoming increasingly common, and AI can help streamline criminals' operations, making them more efficient, sophisticated, and scalable while allowing them to evade detection and attribution.According to Fady Younes, Cybersecurity Director, EMEA Service Providers and MEA, Cisco, “Today’s cyberattacks are more sophisticated and relentless than ever before, and they are using the latest technologies to gain grounds. To counter it, there is currently a tremendous amount of innovation in cybersecurity, driven by automation, AI, machine learning, proactive detection and remediation and prevention. That is the goal of security – prevent threats, but when you can’t prevent them, detect them immediately to respond, remediate, and record in real time or near-real time.”Empowering cybercrimeA major area of impact of AI tools in cybercrime is the reduced need for human involvement in certain aspects of cybercriminal organizations, such as software development, scamming, extortions, etc., which in turn will decrease the need to recruit new members and lower operational costs due to a lower headcount.AI presents another avenue for cybercriminals to exploit by utilizing it to analyze enormous amounts of information, including leaked data. This analysis empowers them to identify vulnerabilities or high-value targets, enabling more precise and effective attacks that could potentially yield greater financial gains.Another area of criminal activity that can thrive with AI is the development of more sophisticated phishing and social engineering attacks. This includes the creation of remarkably realistic deepfakes, deceitful websites, disinformation campaigns, fraudulent social media profiles, and AI-powered scam bots.Counteracting cybercrimeOn the other side, cybersecurity professionals, defenders, and law enforcement agencies can harness the power of AI to counteract the advancements made in cybercrime. They can utilize AI to develop innovative tools, tactics, and strategies in their fight against malicious activities.Areas such as threat detection and prevention will be at the forefront of AI security research. Many existing security tools, heavily rely solely on malicious signatures and user input, which render them ineffective for detecting advanced attacks. Consequently, an increasing number of vendors are turning to machine learning (ML) and AI technologies to achieve more precise and effective threat detection. Prominent examples include Cisco Secure Endpoint and Cisco Umbrella utilizing advanced machine learning to detect and mitigate suspicious behavior in an automated manner on end hosts and networks respectively.Cisco Talos, too has been leveraging AI for several years to automate threat intelligence operations such as the classification of similarly rendered web pages, identifying spoofing attempts through logo analysis, phishing email classification based on text analytics, and binary similarities analysis.The rise of AI presents new challenges and great opportunities as its user base and applications continue to expand. The effective and targeted utilization of AI-related technologies will play a pivotal role for cybersecurity experts and law enforcement agencies in detecting, defending against, and attributing digital criminal behavior.By harnessing the power of AI themselves, however, these entities can enhance their capabilities in combating evolving threats and ensuring the security of digital ecosystems. As the landscape of cybercrime evolves, embracing AI will be instrumental in staying ahead of adversaries.

Kia Middle East & Africa bolsters regional team with Vice President appointments

Kia Middle East and Africa proudly announces the strategic elevation of its Middle East leadership team with the appointment of two new Vice Presidents, effective from September 2023. Mr. Yaser Shabsogh assumes the role of VP, Commercial Operations, and Mr. Ahmed Soudodi takes on the position of VP, Product Marketing. These appointments exemplify Kia’s steadfast dedication to fostering business excellence and elevating customer experiences. More crucially, they underscore the brand’s commitment to advancing regional and global business transformation, promoting innovation and ensuring sustainable expansion across the MEA region.Commenting on Kia’s ongoing transformation, SooHang Chang, President, Kia Middle East & Africa, said: “As a sustainable mobility solutions provider, innovation is at the heart of what we do. To drive formidable change across the region and globally, we are employing newer ways for our markets to fully utilise sustainable mobility solutions. It is critical for us to foster the right people behind this transformation that will shape Kia’s position in the wider Middle East & Africa region. The newly appointed leaders will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to build on this mandate by driving Kia's business growth, amplifying its brand prominence, and prioritising customer engagement.”Mr. Yaser Shabsogh, newly appointed VP of Commercial Operations, brings extensive industry and automotive experience to his new role. Having previously held the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Kia Middle East & Africa in 2018, Mr. Shabsogh played a pivotal role in driving operational excellence, growth, and impactful change across markets.Now, Mr Shabsogh is positioned to orchestrate strategic sales initiatives that align with Kia’s regional and global aspirations, playing an important role in meeting the growing business needs. He will develop and implement comprehensive sales strategies to maximize revenue and market penetration, lead the sales team in achieving targets, and ensure seamless customer experiences through efficient service delivery and maintenance.Mr. Ahmed Soudodi, drawing from extensive experience within the Middle East automotive market, is taking on the role of leading Kia's Product and Marketing functions. His focus is on elevating Kia's brand valuation, enhancing the customer experience, and driving positive commercial impact in the MEA region. In this capacity, he will devise and execute strategic product and marketing initiatives to boost brand awareness, customer engagement, and revenue growth. Mr. Soudodi will also oversee competitive analysis, product positioning, and the development of comprehensive marketing campaigns to promote Kia's innovative vehicle line-up. Additionally, his collaborative efforts with dealerships intend to enhance customer journeys and ensure a unified brand experience.In alignment with Kia's regional business growth plans, the newly appointed VPs’ expertise and leadership will enable Kia Middle East and Africa to solidify its position as a frontrunner in the automotive industry, while ensuring sustainable business continuity and exceptional experiences for customers and partners alike.

Snapchat unveils AI selfie feature ‘Dreams’

Snapchat has launched its new generative AI feature called ‘Dreams’. This feature will allow users to make fantastical pictures of themselves in as many scenarios they want. This new feature is located in the camera roll section called Memories of mobile users. Dreams are Snapchat’s own take on the generative AI selfies that apps like Lensa have already popularized. Lensa climbed the App Store charts after its “magic avatars” went viral late last year. Remini, another popular app, gained success when TikTok users realised they could upload their selfies in order to receive professional-looking headshots for LinkedIn without having to pay for a pro-photo shoot. After uploading a series of real-life selfies in the app specifically for Dreams, Snapchat displays a series of eight-photo packs to choose from in different themes like doppelgangers or back-to-school.The first pack of Dreams is kept free for users. However, additional would cost $1 as in-app purchase. Dreams has already been used by snapchat users in Australia and New Zealand and is now coming to all users globally. The addition of Dreams further expands Snapchat’s generative AI features. Earlier this year, the company launched its AI-powered chatbot My AI.

RSA Middle East and NLGIC to rebrand as Liva

Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance (Middle East)(RSA Midde East) and National Life & General Insurance Company SAOG (NLGIC) have come together to form a new brand – Liva – with the aim of revolutionizing the insurance landscape. These two dynamic and award-winning companies started their integration journey in July 2022 with an ambition to build the region’s leading multi-line insurer that delivers value to its customers while generating sustainable and profitable earnings for its shareholders. Liva aims to deliver on this mission.The rebranding will apply to companies within the NLGIC Group, including NLGIC, RSA Middle East, and Al Ahlia Insurance Co. SAOC in the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait. In the coming weeks, the products, branches, and offices of all four companies will undergo a rebranding exercise to embrace Liva’s new visual identity, dominated by vibrant orange and white.Commenting on the new brand, Martin Rueegg, Group CEO of NLGIC Group (to rebrand as Liva), said: “I am thrilled to announce the birth of our new brand – Liva. It builds on the legacy of NLGIC and RSA Middle East to redefine insurance for today’s realities. Liva is not just the combination of two well-established insurance players. We are the evolution, the next generation of insurance, enhancing the lives of a multi-faceted and globally connected community.”He added: “‘Liva’ means ‘protection’ or ‘life’, symbolizing exactly what we provide to our customers – protection for their lives so they can live them to the fullest. We’ve leveraged our complementary strengths to create a strong brand identity that will serve as a springboard for us to realize our growth ambitions.”Liva builds on the strong brand equity of RSA Middle East and NLGIC, taking it to the next level by diversifying its offering and expanding its reach even further. Liva will provide a holistic portfolio of innovative, smart, and reliable solutions that blend local knowledge with global expertise to safeguard all aspects of people’s lives. The new brand reinforces the company’s purpose of instilling confidence in people to live the lives they want, well prepared for the unexpected, by creating an ecosystem beyond insurance that has its customers’ needs at its core.Services to all customers will continue as normal, and all existing policies with RSA Middle East and NLGIC will remain unchanged. Existing contracts and agreements with suppliers, business partners, brokers, intermediaries, and service providers will continue to be honored as before.NLGIC specializes in health and life insurance products, being a market leader in Oman and playing a significant role as one of the major insurers in the UAE. Its expansion is gaining momentum in new markets, such as Kuwait and soon Qatar, facilitated by its wide network of sales and service touchpoints. RSA Middle East, a prominent international insurer, delivers best-in-class and award-winning general insurance solutions. With its headquarters in Bahrain and operations spanning the UAE, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, RSA Middle East's influence has been foundational in insurance across the region. The integration of these two companies' portfolios under the new brand, Liva, solidifies its standing as a robust multi-line insurer.

Al-Futtaim Technologies signs a strategic partnership with SecurityHQ

 The leading provider of holistic and 360-degree technology solutions in the building industry, Al-Futtaim Technologies, is excited to announce its strategic collaboration with SecurityHQ, a global leader as a Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP). The partnership will enable Al-Futtaim Technologies and SecurityHQ to offer more efficient, cost-effective, and competitive cybersecurity solutions to Gulf customers.Al-Futtaim Technologies provides superior reliable products and services, including Digital Transformation and Technology Infrastructure. The new partner, SecurityHQ will now be giving cybersecurity services to Al-Futtaim’s Technology customers. SecurityHQ’s multiple global security operation centres are designed to rapidly identify and limit the impact of security incidents via 24/7/365 threat monitoring, detection, and targeted response.With the continued growth of Al-Futtaim Technologies, and the demand of UAE-based customers in a variety of sectors, including telecommunications, hospitality, and financial services, partnering with SecurityHQ to provide their cyber security capabilities boosts Al-Futtaim Technologies’ cybersecurity offerings to customers across the UAE.Razi Hamada, General Manager of Digital Transformation at Al-Futtaim Technologies, stated, "At Al-Futtaim Technologies, the security of our clients is of the utmost importance. Partnering with forward-thinking companies such as SecurityHQ, renowned for their cybersecurity expertise, enables us to fortify the digital landscapes of our clients. This strengthened partnership with SecurityHQ reinforces our dedication to providing top-tier, dependable cybersecurity solutions that protect our clients and business partners' digital assets and reputation.”“SecurityHQ are very excited to strengthen our partnership with an extremely respected brand like Al-Futtaim Technologies. We are very well aligned in terms of providing continued excellence. SecurityHQ already have multiple customers in the UAE and expanding our offerings to Al-Futtaim Technologies, and enhancing the security of their customers, is a very natural progression for us.”, said Aaron Hambleton, Director for Middle East and Africa, SecurityHQ.Al-Futtaim Technologies, under Al-Futtaim Engineering & Technologies, is a pioneer in converged systems integration and provides complete business solutions to large, medium, and small customers that include networking solutions, IP telephony, infrastructure, contact centre solutions, business applications, ELV systems, professional audio visual solutions, and managed services.These solutions are further complemented by services that include project management, installation, testing, commissioning, and after-sales maintenance contracts. Al-Futtaim Technologies partners with best-in-class vendors such as Panasonic, Alcatel-Lucent, Eutech and Microsoft Business Solutions amongst others to deliver a full spectrum of solutions to customers.

Epson creates new regional operation

Seiko Epson Corporation established a new sales company, Epson Middle East FZCO (EME), reflecting the tremendous potential to accelerate expansion in key markets including Africa, Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East, Moldova, Türkiye, and Ukraine, centrally managed from a regional office in Dubai, UAE.Epson's newly established EME sales company has set forth an ambitious goal to accelerate its revenue growth and footprint over the next five years. It plans to achieve this goal by expanding its presence in the core domains of printing, scanning, and visual display solutions.Neil Colquhoun has been appointed as President, Epson EME, after more than a decade with the company. “Establishing Epson EME demonstrates our commitment to customers and partners in the region, that we will continue to invest and grow our presence in all key markets, from Africa to the Middle East to Central Asia, while centralising operations in our Dubai-based office. This investment will give us the agility and ability to address the changing needs of customers in these dynamic, fast-growing markets with our key areas of printing, scanning, and visual display solutions.”The company's progress is expected to gain momentum in line with the wider region's adoption of sustainable technologies, with particular emphasis on Epson's business inkjet and ink tank printing systems, a cornerstone of Epson’s business globally. These solutions boast advantages such as lower power consumption, reduced CO2 and plastic waste, compared to laser printers, and heightened efficiency thanks to Heat-Free technology.Colquhoun added: “Epson product portfolio provides businesses and consumers with the opportunity to switch to sustainable technology solutions.”Epson reported sales increases of more than 40% in the Middle East and Turkey, almost a third in Africa, and around 10% in Central Asia, Caucasus and Ukraine for FY2022. The company anticipates a huge demand for Epson technology solutions such as the increased scanning and automation needs for digitised workflows in various business sectors. The continued expansion of world-class professional sports and entertainment events, taking place across the GCC, Africa and into Central Asia is also introducing greater demand for projection technologies and immersive retail experiences.With more than 250 Epson employees currently in place, Epson forecasts an increase of 45% in new hires, as the EME entity becomes operational in April 2024. The recruitment drive will focus on nationalisation, diversity and inclusivity, with women already accounting for up to 40% of the workforce. The largest Epson offices will be in the UAE, South Africa, and Türkiye, complemented by operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kenya, Nigeria, Israel, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. There are also plans to expand and enhance Epson’s network of resellers and distributors in the region.

Mashreq announces appointment of Norman Tambach as Group Chief Financial Officer

Mashreq, one of the leading financial institutions in the MENA region, is delighted to announce the appointment of Norman Tambach as its new Group Chief Financial Officer. In this pivotal role, Norman will play a crucial part in supporting the future vision of the bank in terms of developing and executing financial strategies that support the bank's strategic objectives, driving innovative and technology adoption, and process improvements within the finance and corporate affairs functions across the group.With an illustrious international career in banking and finance, Mr. Tambach brings a wealth of expertise encompassing an array of critical domains including strategic financial engineering, M&A, financial operations, regulatory governance, risk management, capital management and corporate tax planning. This is in addition to in-depth understanding of financial technologies, data analytics, and digital transformation.His distinguished background comprises several senior financial leadership roles, including his time at the publicly listed global bank ING, which he joined in 2013 as Group Controller and Head of Finance. Norman became the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Board Member of ING Germany in 2019. Previously he held significant positions at KPMG in Belgium and the Netherlands.Commenting on the appointment, Ahmed Abdelaal, Group CEO of Mashreq, said: "It is with great pleasure that we welcome Norman to the Mashreq family. His extensive experience as a financial leader across multiple markets demonstrates a broad and deep knowledge of international challenges, opportunities, and the nature of a rapidly evolving financial landscape. His leadership will provide Mashreq with a clear direction in achieving its fundamental objectives of sustainable growth, fiscal stability, and robust protection for the bank and its shareholders.”Norman will take a leading role in the oversight of the Bank’s balance sheet, its financial reporting structure, and its interaction with multiple regulatory and tax jurisdictions. He will also play a central role in the continued digitization of the Bank’s financial operations, the efficacy of its reporting functions, and the professional development of a highly experienced finance team.Norman Tambach added: "I am excited to join Mashreq during such an exciting moment in its trajectory as a digital challenger bank with a fast-growing international presence. During a period of significant global geopolitical and economic uncertainty, I look forward to helping the Bank navigate challenges, exploit emerging opportunities, and maximize the Bank’s innate strengths as a leading player in the digital economy. I am committed to leveraging my expertise to provide robust leadership in the fiscal probity of the Bank’s operations, to protect the interests of its shareholders, clients, customers, and its wider impact on the economy.”A Dutch national, Norman holds a Master of Science in Accountancy from the Nyenrode Business University in the Netherlands and is a Certified Public Accountant.Mashreq welcomes Mr. Tambach to its leadership team, confident in his ability to steer the bank towards an even more robust and sustainable financial future.

US-based ‘Reputation House’ announces Saudi expansion at Seamless Saudi Arabia

 Following establishing offices in the USA, Hong Kong, Moldova and Dubai, the US-headquartered ‘Reputation House’ today announced its plans to enter the Saudi market by mid-2024. The firm made this announcement while speaking at the Digital Marketing Zone at Seamless Saudi Arabia.Mr. Nikita Prokhorov, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Reputation House, said: “Following our foray into the MENA region with our first office in Dubai last year, we have witnessed a robust and promising growth of both Saudi Arabia and UAE. At the back of liberal economic and social reforms, it gives foreign firms an excellent opportunity to tap the potential of the two markets. In our second leg of MENA expansion, we have plans in place to set up a fully functional office in Riyadh by the middle of 2024.”   While addressing the event, Nikita described Online Reputation Management, and shared his insights and the current status of the online reputation of Saudi Arabia in particular, and of the world in general. He commended the bold reforms launched by the HRH Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, which paves the way for specialised firms like us to play a part in the national economy.He added: “Based on our market analysis of the larger MENA market through our innovative AI-based online reputation tools and 10 years track record of managing the reputation of governments and individuals, we see the need for reputation is growing in Saudi Arabia. The confluence of the pandemic and digitalization in Saudi Arabia has further fueled the surge in interest towards online reputation management services. The online reputation management market is predicted to stand at staggering SAR12.754 billion (USD3.4 billion) by 2030 globally.”The firm specializes in detecting issues and fixing online performance: Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM), online mentions monitoring, online reputation analytics, lead generation, deleting information from websites and search engines, and evaluating digital engagement and press coverage.SERM – Search Engine Reputation Management includes: regional and international data processing, search suggestions optimization, islands of content creation, creating social network community, creating channels and playlists on video hosting, starting discussion threads on online forums, publishing articles on news portals, cataloguing platform pages, contextual advertising, creating blog accounts, official website optimization, wiki pages.To prove its prowess with the help of its online systems, Reputation House displayed real-time analytics of the Seamless Saudi Arabia 2023 event in a month’s time, from August 2, 2023, to September 4, 2023.The live analysis stunned the audience and received a resounding applause. The results showed on the live screen provided audience reach, sources of data and the regions it was accessed. The analytics showed it reached 96.43 billion audiences in total, 26,704 engagements, and 3,547 mentions.The deep analytics revealed that the key markets where the Seamless event was accessed are the USA (47%), Saudi Arabia (32%), India (8%), UAE (7%), and the UK (3%).The real-time data was sourced from the social media (66%), mass media (20%), blogs (8%), forums (4%), messengers (1%), and reviews (1%).

Hilton appoints two Saudi nationals to its KSA-based senior leadership team

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) has announced the appointment of two senior Saudi nationals to its Saudi Arabia based senior regional leadership team.Fawaz Moumina, formerly Senior Director, Human Resources for Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Levant (EKSAL) at Hilton, has assumed the position of Country Manager and Senior Director, Operations for Saudi Arabia. He is joined by Marwan Fadel, newly appointed as Regional Director of HR for Saudi Arabia and the Levant.HiltonIn his role as KSA Country Manager, Fawaz will partner with Hilton’s general managers and ownership community in Saudi Arabia to drive best in class operations and performance across its portfolio of 16 hotels in the Kingdom, as well as deliver on Hilton’s ambitious growth plans in KSA, which features the company’s largest development pipeline in the Europe, Middle East & Africa region. With a Hilton career history spanning over a decade, Fawaz brings with him a wealth of hotel operations expertise and has implemented Hilton’s HR led people and culture strategy in Saudi Arabia.Meanwhile, as Hilton’s Regional Director of HR for KSA and the Levant, Marwan brings to the role over 20 years of HR experience from a variety of regional and international industries and organisations, including the likes of Jotun, LogiPoint, and Wataniya Insurance. Marwan holds a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from Griffith University in Australia, and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD).Commenting on the appointments, Kamel Ajami, Vice President, Operations – EKSAL, Hilton, said: “Fawaz and Marwan are well placed to deliver on Hilton’s operations and HR strategy in Saudi Arabia, leveraging their extensive knowledge and experience in their respective roles. As two Saudi nationals, their appointments signal an important step forward in Hilton’s ongoing efforts to identify and nurture Saudi talent as we realise our growth in the Kingdom.”Hilton recently announced plans to open over 50 new hotels across 10 of its brands in Saudi Arabia as it works towards its goal of increasing its portfolio to more than 75 trading properties operating in the Kingdom over the coming years. The company continues to support Saudisation efforts, with plans to hire 5,000 Saudi nationals by 2030.?

Hyperpay taps Paymentology’s payment processing platform in Saudi Arabia

Hyperpay, the fastest growing online payment service provider in the MENAP region, founded by Muhannad Ebwini, is delighted to announce a strategic partnership with Paymentology, the global leading issuer-processor. The collaboration marks a significant milestone in Hyperpay's mission to become a one-stop payment solution for businesses, governments, and SMEs across the Middle East. Hyperpay and Paymentology are committed to delivering innovative payment solutions that align with the evolving needs of businesses and consumers. The Fintech industry in the MENAP region is expected to increase from $1.5 billion in 2022 to $4.5 billion in 2025, demonstrating the region's transition towards digital financial services. Hyperpay already offers a wide range of products and services to its customers, including payment processing, risk and fraud management, monitoring systems, instalments, and invoicing solutions, among others. With Paymentology's next-generation payments platform, Hyperpay will effortlessly connect to payment rails, create new payment products for its clients and leverage granular payment data to enhance its offerings.Muhannad Ebwini, Founder and CEO of HyperPay, shared his view: "Hyperpay's pivotal role aligns seamlessly with Saudi Arabia Vision 2030, driving the nation toward a digital-first era. Our strategic vision to become a one-stop shop for all payment services is a direct response to the pressing needs of businesses and government agencies, who demand instant, user-friendly payments accessible from anywhere, anytime. Embracing a global outlook, we're proud to introduce a versatile offering tailored to both our regional dynamics and the stimulation of cross-border trade. Thus, our choice to partner with Paymentology, a leading global technology player, becomes paramount in this transformative journey."Nauman Hassan, Regional Director at Paymentology, commented: "Paymentology is proud to be associated with Hyperpay's Saudi Arabia launch. With a strong foothold in the Middle East, particularly in the kingdom, where numerous fintechs and neobanks have sought our expertise in next-generation payments platforms, we're well-equipped to facilitate Hyperpay’s rapid business growth. We firmly believe that Hyperpay's introduction of advanced payment services aligns perfectly with the market's needs, and we eagerly anticipate a successful partnership."Hyperpay is among the top-five payment providers in the MENA region, actively contributing to the shift towards cashless societies. The company recently secured $36.7 million (SAR 138 million) in funding through a round led by Mastercard, with investments from Amwal Capital Partners and AB Ventures. Hyperpay is only at the beginning of its journey and has ambitious plans to go public through an IPO in Saudi Arabia within the next two years. With a strong presence in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, Hyperpay is also set to expand its operations to Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq, and Oman as part of its ambitious growth plan.

PRCA MENA and The Work Crowd join forces in new partnership

PRCA MENA, a leading association for PR and communications professionals, is excited to announce a strategic partnership with The Work Crowd, an innovative tech platform designed to connect organisations and specialist independents. This collaboration opens doors for businesses to tap into a local and global community of pre-vetted consultants and freelancers specialising in PR and Marketing.The benefits of this partnership extend to both PR agencies seeking talented freelancers and independent professionals seeking engaging projects. The platform stands apart as a curated space, accessible to carefully vetted individuals and project-based work both locally in the region and beyond. The Work Crowd have been operating in the UK and Europe for the last five years and are delighted to have launched in the UAE to support growing businesses and the freelance community.Alice Weightman, Co-Founder of The Work Crowd, expressed enthusiasm for the new venture, stating, " Our platform enables members to access a wide range of local and global projects while fostering connections with fellow professionals through our extensive network and dynamic events. Each profile in our network is verified, ensuring a seamless and trustworthy experience for all”.Monika Fourneaux, Head of PRCA EMEA, highlighted the surge in freelancer memberships over the past six months. "We have consistently witnessed a growing demand for freelancers from our member PR agencies," Monika stated. "This partnership with The Work Crowd significantly enriches our membership benefits. PRCA MENA members can enjoy exclusive discounts on The Work Crowd's fees."This strategic partnership between PRCA MENA and The Work Crowd is set to transform the landscape of PR agency-freelancer collaborations, enabling greater accessibility and efficacy within the industry.

Yiannis Vafeas exits from Golin MENA

Yiannis Vafeas, a change specialist with extensive experience across the disciplines of communication, has brought his journey with Horizon Group to an end. It was announced in his Linkedin page in a post. Yiannis had been the Vice-President of Golin MENA, after serving in the organisation for more than 15 years. In his post Yiannis begins by saying that it is a common practice to use social platforms to announce and celebrate new roles but contrary to that, he would like to honour a 15+ years journey at Golin, that has just been completed.He writes: “Navigating the concept of "Change" has been a focal point of both my professional and academic interests. The time had come to apply this principle to my own life and embark on the gradual transition to the next phase of my career.” However, Yiannis Vafeas has not shared any details of his future plans in the region.  Yiannis had joined Golin MENA as the Senior Director – Public Relations, Business Development and Planning, before being promoted and moving up the ladder as the Joint Managing Director, followed by Managing Director and finally, Vice President.In his post, Yiannis further says: “Transition without expressing my deep gratitude for the Golin chapter is unthinkable. Golin and Horizon Group provided me with a transformative opportunity to evolve professionally, make decisions, learn from mistakes, lead, take ownership, and so much more. I've had the privilege to collaborate with immensely talented professionals across the MENA region and work alongside Goliners in every corner of the world.”  He also thanks the clients for their support during his journey in Golin.   He says: “Nonetheless, success is impossible without the trust and appreciation of our "clients". My sincere GRATITUDE goes out to the professionals from global, regional, local, private, and governmental organizations who granted us the opportunity to collaborate, construct robust strategic communications, develop memorable campaigns, and bring about "change that matters."

DWTC to conclude 2023 events calendar with strong line-up of MICE events

 Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) continues to connect global business communities by organising and hosting internationally recognised meetings, exhibitions and conferences, as it gears up for what is anticipated to be one of the city’s busiest events seasons, reinforcing Dubai’s position as a global hub for business tourism. DWTC today announced the events line-up for the last quarter with over 100 business and consumer events spanning vital sectors including technology, sustainability, food and beverage, healthcare, green economy, among others.Mahir Abdulkarim Julfar, Executive Vice President at DWTC, said: “DWTC plays a crucial role in furthering the emirate’s position as the global Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) capital. We are witnessing substantial growth of flagship events like GITEX Global, ArabLab+, Big 5 Global, World Radiocommunication Conference among others and are equally excited to host new events at the venue. The upcoming events season will offer an unrivalled opportunity for exhibiting companies, participants, and the business communities at large to network and collaborate, provide access to global markets, while facilitating foreign investments into the emirate and contributing to the ongoing growth of Dubai as a business tourism destination in line with Dubai's Economic Agenda (D33)”.September opens with Plastics Recycling Show ME, Sleep Expo, ME Foam & Polyurethane Expo, Adhesives Sealants, and Bonding Expo ME from (5 – 7 September), followed by Gulf Bride Show (13 – 17 September), Frozen Musical Celebrations (16 September), Sign and Graphic Imaging ME Exhibition, Connecting Trade Worldwide (18 – 20 September), the Annual Dermatology Conference and Exhibition MEIDAM (22 – 24 September) and the Forex Exhibition (26 - 27 September).The leading platform for the laboratory and analytical industry ArabLab+ will take place between (19-21 September) and is set to host more than 10,000 delegates and 850 exhibitors over three days.Ru’ya (Careers UAE Redefined), the key Emirati youth empowerment event, organised by DWTC will take place between (19 - 21 September). Serving as a recruitment, skills development, and networking forum, it aids companies in meeting their Emiratisation goals.The largest international trade show for the automotive aftermarket in the Middle East and beyond, Automechanika Dubai will take place between (2 – 4 October), where exhibitors from over 55 countries will present more than 2,000 products.The region’s largest agricultural trade show, Agra Middle East (9 – 10 October) will showcase everything from crop farming to aquaculture, horticulture, and animal farming.The 43rd edition of the much anticipated DWTC-owned flagship tech showcase GITEX Global will be organised between (16 – 20 October). Following last year’s record-breaking edition, which drew 170,000 attendees - 40% of whom were international - and generated AED 2.6 billion in economic output, the world’s largest and most inclusive tech event will return for yet another edition, gathering the world’s most advanced companies and best minds to elevate business, economy, society and culture through the power of innovation. Beautyworld Middle East, the region’s largest international trade fair for the beauty industry returns to Dubai for its 27th edition (30 October – 1 November). Building on 2022's triumph with notable speakers like Jo Malone, this year's event will highlight ‘Next in Beauty’, where industry leaders will discuss global trends.Education takes spotlight in October with the UAE Ministry of Education-partnered Global Educational Supplies and Solutions (GESS) Dubai exhibition returning from (30 October - 1 November). This event will present cutting-edge educational products and solutions while hosting a CPD-accredited conference with seminars, workshops, and panel discussions for regional educators.In early November, healthcare experts will convene for the International Family Medicine (IFM) Conference & Exhibition, Annual Radiology Meeting (ARM), and Dubai Otology Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery (31 October – 2 November). The Middle East's premier family medicine event anticipates 2,500 attendees, featuring around 50 expert speakers discussing diverse topics like mental health, obesity and diabetes management, urgent care innovations, and the future of family-led healthcare.AccessAbilities Expo will be organised between (9 – 11 October), with the aim to enhance the lives of people of determination, some 50 million of whom live in the Middle East region.Gulfood Manufacturing, MEASA's largest F&B machinery and ingredients innovation event, will be held between (7 – 9 November) with a focus on sustainable food production. The 2023 edition will boast over 1,600 exhibitors from more than 60 countries.The HR Summit & Expo (HRSE) is the premier meeting point for professionals looking to celebrate and transform HR, and will take place between (24 - 25 October).The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) will be held at DWTC from (6 November - 19 December). The event is a decision-making forum for governments and other bodies to review and revise international regulations and treaties, and debate key issues that have a global impact on radio, radiocommunications, satellites and other connected fields.Organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), WETEX and Dubai Solar Show make up the region’s largest sustainability and clean energy technology exhibition. These twin events will take place between (15 - 17 November).Other calendar events in November include Gulf Traffic, Paper World ME (21-23 November), Dubai Muscle Show (24 - 26 November), World Tobacco ME (27 - 28 November), International Apparel & Textile Fair, and Brands of India (27 -29 November).Celebrating 43 years of excellence, the Big 5 Global will be held between (4 - 7 December). A construction mainstay for over 4 decades, this premier event covering MEASA region anticipates more than 68,000 attendees from 150+ countries and over 2,200 exhibitors.The premium international trade show for the plastics, petrochemicals, packaging and rubber industries, ArabPlast will take place between (13 – 15 December).???????The China Home Life (19 – 21 December) is an extensive event connecting buyers and suppliers from the Far East and the Middle East, enabling visitors to source goods of all kinds from thousands of leading Chinese manufacturers. The Middle East Organic and Natural Products Expo will be held from (12 - 14 December).“We consider it an honour to be at the forefront of Dubai’s unprecedented business events season, which features international conferences like COP 28 as well as our own industry leading events. We are ready for yet another impactful season, marking the culmination of a remarkable 2023, even as we look forward to an action-packed 2024”, concluded Julfar.

Check Point Software Introduces Infinity Portal in the UAE

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (NASDAQ: CHKP), a leading provider of cybersecurity solutions globally, announces the launch of its Unified Security Management Platform, the Check Point Infinity Portal, exclusively tailored to businesses operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This advanced cloud-based platform equips UAE organizations with cutting-edge tools for advanced threat prevention and comprehensive security management, all while fully adhering to the UAE’s data privacy regulations and ensuring the secure retention of data within the nation’s borders. The Check Point Infinity Portal consolidates all the capabilities of the Check Point Infinity architecture into a single pane of glass, uniting Check Point Quantum for network security, Check Point CloudGuard for comprehensive cloud protection, Check Point Harmony for secure remote users and cross-platform access, and Check Point Horizon for innovative prevention-first security operations and unified management It offers businesses in the UAE an unparalleled security solution that covers a broad spectrum from networks, cloud services, to IoT devices, endpoints, and mobile entities. Through this platform, organizations can efficiently monitor their entire IT infrastructure with enhanced visibility, control, and insight into their security posture.Ram Narayanan, Country Manager at Check Point Software Technologies, Middle East, stated, "In an era where the UAE is rapidly establishing itself as a digital frontrunner, the imperatives of data privacy and robust cybersecurity cannot be overlooked. Through our strategic collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), we are bringing forth the Check Point Infinity Portal. It is meticulously crafted to align with the nation's data privacy norms, ensuring the utmost security and data retention within the UAE."The initial rollout of the Check Point Infinity Portal in the UAE will include standout features like:Check Point Harmony Email & Collaboration (HEC) – comprehensive protection for cloud-based email services, setting a new benchmark in proactive threat prevention.Check Point Harmony Endpoint – Superior endpoint security focused on mitigating security breaches and ensuring data integrity.ThreatCloud AI– A foundational algorithm, driving the intelligence behind all Check Point solutions.Furthermore, as the year unfolds, enhancements such as the Check Point Harmony Mobile and Check Point Threat Hunting will be integratedThe Check Point Infinity Portal offers a comprehensive security management platform for entire organizations, covering all aspects from networks and cloud to mobile and IoT devices. It provides a centralized view of activities, bolstered by insights from Check Point ThreatCloud AI and over 60 AI engines. The portal ensures unified security management across various solutions like Quantum, CloudGuard, and Harmony, and uses AI to craft dynamic security policies. All logs and security events are stored in its cloud-based big data platform. Moreover, the Infinity Portal emphasizes agility and simplicity, allowing organizations to quickly and securely onboard and manage their security infrastructure, backed by streamlined reports, event management, and a rich API library for swift threat response.General availability of the Infinity Portal in the UAE is set for end of Q3 2023.

Equativ & Adelaide partner for enhanced campaign attention metrics

Equativ, the global leading independent ad platform,today announced a partnership with Adelaide, the leader in attention-based mediaquality measurement, to incorporate attention measurement and optimization tools intoits suite of ad tech solutions for end-to-end campaign management.By deploying Adelaide’s attention measurement solution across campaigns, Equativclients can now gain deeper insights into the quality of targeted media down to thedomain level, as well as drive positive advertising outcomes. Measurement is conductedvia Adelaide’s omnichannel AU metric, which — unlike viewability and other standardmetrics — correlates to full-funnel KPIs. A meta-analysis of 38 case studies publishedby Adelaide last year revealed the impressive impact of investing in AU, demonstratingan average of 31% upper-funnel lift and 56% lower-funnel lift.AU is calculated by a machine learning model routinely trained using campaignoutcome data. In addition to full-funnel outcomes, the model considers numerous datapoints indicative of a placement’s probablity of attention and impact, including mediacharacteristics like placement size, ad clutter, and page geometry, passive reportingingestion, and lab-based eye-tracking.Accurate measurement of media quality and value, enabled by the Equativ andAdelaide partnership, benefits all parties in the digital advertising supply chain: using AUand cost per AU, advertisers can further optimize campaigns to maximize performanceand reduce ad waste; publishers can build fair pricing models, justifying higher CPMsfor high-attention inventory; and users can enjoy ad experiences that favor quality overquantity.AU measurement is fully compatible with cookieless environments and privacyregulations, as it is derived from non-identifiable behavioral signals and dataextrapolated from consented eye-tracking studies. In the future, Equativ intends toexpand this partnership to include attention-based pre-bid targeting. A second step inthe company’s attention journey, this would offer buyers an easy and effective way totarget high-attention placements, driving both upper- and lower-funnel outcomes viacurated cross-publisher deals.“Attention is here to stay – especially with third-party cookies on the way out”,comments Romain Job, Chief Strategy Officer at Equativ. “We’ve therefore made aweighted decision to enter the attention market through our first partnership withAdelaide, offering agencies and advertisers diversified solutions for measuring the trueeffectiveness of their digital ad campaigns on our platform. We are convinced it willbetter value the quality of the publishers we work with. With the number of attentionvendors on the rise – not to mention various measurement methodologies – it’ll be crucial for the industry to drive support for the standardization of attention as a currency.At Equativ, we’re committed to this, joining the IAB’s task force to spotlight the challengeand encourage wider adoption of, and consistency for, attention measurement.”Marc Guldimann, CEO & Co-Founder at Adelaide, says, "Partnering with Equativ marksa significant step forward in our pursuit to deliver meaningful and precise metrics to theadvertising ecosystem. This partnership presents an opportunity for Adelaide tobroaden the application of attention metrics and shape the future of measurement in apost-cookie world.”

QF’s Stars of Science celebrates milestone year with season 15

 Seven science innovators from the Arab world will compete to win the title of top Arab innovator in the latest season of Stars of Science, premiering on 8 September 2023. Commemorating its milestone 15th season this year, the TV show has come a long way in promoting STEM innovation in the Arab world and aspiring a new generation of scientists and entrepreneurs.Hosted at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), the show’s continued success is also a testament to QF’s ethos of always being at the forefront in catalyzing social progress and change in the Arab world.Looking back at the 15-year journey of Stars of Science, Yosouf Al Salehi, Executive Director, QSTP, said: “We are proud to have played our part in creating history with SOS. Hosting the program is a testament to our ongoing commitment to advancing science and technology, propelling the region towards a sustainable and prosperous future.“The show has not only created a great impact in the media industry within the region, but its strong record of empowering talented entrepreneurs has resulted in economic value and in the expansion of networks within academia, industry, and governments, which is crucial in supporting the upcoming generations of Arab innovators.”In addition to long-time juror Prof. Fouad Mrad, Season 15 is also proud to welcome Dr. Sara Buhmaid as a new jury member. A practicing Qatari obstetrician and gynecologist at Sidra Medicine, a women’s and children’s hospital, Dr. Buhmaid is thrilled to be a part of the upcoming season: “I have been a keen follower of the show all these years, and it’s an honor for me to be part of the Stars of Science jury. What impresses me the most about Stars of Science is its mission to foster Arab innovators and its ecosystem of ground-breaking technologies and expertise. I strongly believe the next big thing will be Arab-made.”The STEM field has long been prone to a worldwide gender imbalance, and Stars of Science has worked consciously to give equal opportunities to women. Sumaya Al Siyabi, an Omani scientist and a mother of three, was the first female winner of Stars of Science, representing the immense talent and potential of Arab women. Participating in season 14, Al Siyabi presented a floating device for the remediation and disposal of microplastics polluting our oceans and seas.Starting out in 2009, the show first premiered on 17 national channels around the Arab region. It became available online in 2013, and its last season reached a total of over 24M views. With an alumni community of 161 members from 18 Arab countries, the innovators on Stars of Science demonstrate how they are guided by a strong urge to find tangible solutions to the most pressing demands our world faces, be it in food security, environmental protection, healthcare, animal life, and even heritage. In this regard, the program counts many success stories that are worth recounting, as well as many products on the market that emerged from it.Waddah Malaeb, winner of Season 12, is a Lebanese biomedical engineer and a “Forbes under 30” nominee. His breakthrough technology in tissue engineering – organ-on-chip – aims to fully replace animal testing. After filing patents for his innovation in 12 districts, he started selling his lab testing services for clinical trials.Dr. Ahmad Nabeel, a finalist from Season 9, is a Kuwaiti physician and a guest jury on the program. He continues to refine his innovation, Klens, a virtual beam and self-cleaning laparoscope, bringing the innovative medical device closer to widespread use in the healthcare industry.Abdulrahman Saleh Khamis, a finalist from Season 11, innovated a smart educational prayer rug, also known as Sajdah, aimed at helping young and newly converted Muslims perform their daily prayers. The Qatari innovator was recently awarded a gold medal at the 48th Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions and ITEX- Malaysia.Stars of Science will air every Friday and Saturday from 8 September, 2023, to 20 October, 2023, on 5 channels in the region and online.

Saudi Esports Federation partners KFC to empower local e-sports talent

The Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) and Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) have officially unveiled a transformative three-year partnership dedicated to advancing local talent onto the global esports stage, including a groundbreaking initiative for women gamers.The collaboration will introduce a series of events and challenge-based initiatives, especially designed to nurture fresh Saudi esports talent. These initiatives will offer aspiring gamers a direct pathway into SEF's renowned esports development programs, propelling their journey towards professional excellence.As part of this alliance, SEF and KFC will also team up to enhance the gaming landscape through high-quality streamed content. This will be facilitated through SEF's streaming program, Voices of Saudi Esports. KFC's involvement will play a pivotal role in elevating the platform by delivering engaging and entertaining gaming content. Audiences will be treated to branded streamed gameplay content featuring exciting KFC discounts and promotions.Ahmed Albishri, Deputy CEO at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: “By nurturing emerging talents, promoting gender equality in gaming, and providing engaging content, this collaboration marks a significant stride towards building a robust gaming ecosystem in the Kingdom. The Saudi Esports Federation and PLAY KFC are set to reshape the esports landscape in Saudi Arabia through this dynamic partnership”. A major highlight of this collaboration is the launch of the ‘First Female Saudi E-League’, dedicated to champion and empower female gamers in the Kingdom. The top-performing team will enter the KFC X SEF accelerator program, providing them with direct training from professional esports teams and trainers. This unique initiative is set to elevate female gamers to the forefront of the gaming industry and provide them with a coveted spot at Gamers8, the biggest gaming and esports festival worldwide, in 2024.The second edition of Gamers8, an eight-week long entertainment extravaganza hosted at Boulevard Riyadh City featuring elite esports tournaments, live music concerts, and numerous attractions and activities, has just concluded. Throughout the upcoming period, KFC will document the journey of these pioneering female gamers through an engaging content series, celebrating their growth, determination, and triumphs in the world of esports.Ozge Zoralioglu, Chief Marketing Officer, KFC, Yum! Brands, said: “At KFC, we've always believed in the magic that esports brings to the table; hence we created PLAY KFC as the ultimate platform to unite communities, ignite passions, and unveil talents. But what truly sets PLAY KFC apart is the 'First Female Saudi E-League,' a realm that echoes our unwavering commitment to inclusivity and empowerment as we champion the growth of female gamers. Like our world-famous chicken, our partnership with the Saudi Esports Federation promises an experience that lingers, an impact that resonates, and a legacy that's nothing short of extraordinary.”

Huawei Cloud launches services in Saudi Arabia

Huawei Cloud today announced the launch of the Huawei Cloud Riyadh Region, going live immediately. Unveiled at the Huawei Cloud Summit Saudi Arabia 2023, the new Riyadh region will help promote digital-led economic growth in the country.The launch of the Huawei Cloud Riyadh Region announced that Saudi Arabia Region will be Huawei Cloud’s focus in serving the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, providing innovative, reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services. This achievement underscores Huawei CLOUD's unwavering dedication to supporting Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, aligned with the nation's ambitious technological advancement, leadership, and innovation goals.H.E. Eng. Haitham bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ohali, Vice Minister at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in Saudi Arabia, shared his perspective on this monumental achievement: "Huawei is a proud partner in our country's technological progress having worked with the Ministry, service providers, enterprises and universities in various collective efforts towards digital transformation. We look forward to the transformative impact the HUAWEI CLOUD Riyadh Region will have on our digital ecosystem, creating new avenues for innovation and growth."The Riyadh Region provides several benefits to customers. First, this region translates our global expertise on digital transformation into industries’ excellence, making innovation easier and faster. Huawei Cloud Saudi Region is located in Riyadh and through a 3AZ (availability zone) architecture, it will provide highly available and secure cloud services, ensuring the stable operations of various services. In addition, the Region can provide full stack cloud services, including infrastructure, databases, containers, big data and AI services to meet the requirements of various industries.Based on the 3-AZ high-reliability architecture, the Riyadh region provides a low latency, covering all existing carriers' networks powered by STC, Zain, and Mobily. The local data center will store data locally in line with local data regulations. The company will also launch of 68 cloud services in three categories – data, AI, and cloud-native.Steven Yi, Senior Vice President of Huawei, and President of Huawei Middle East and Central Asia Region, said: “I’ve cherished numerous unforgettable moments in this extraordinary country. Just yesterday, walking through the newly renovated Diriyah evoked my deep emotions. It brought to mind an old Chinese saying: "Build the right nest, and a Phoenix will come." The essence is clear: create an inviting environment, and you'll attract the best. This is undeniably true for Saudi, a nation that consistently attracts top investors."The company revealed that Huawei Cloud will utilize a number of industry-leading technologies to advance Intelligence for Saudi Arabia, including the Pangu 3.0 model, which addresses AI adoption challenges, leveraging industry insights to enhance AI capabilities across sectors like finance, government, manufacturing, and more. Pangu 3.0 AI model will usher a new era of innovation in the Kingdom while accelerating economic diversification.At the Huawei Cloud Summit Saudi Arabia 2023, the company also released the ‘Saudi Arabia Go Cloud Go Global’ plan to connect Chinese and Saudi enterprises internationally, fostering growth and innovation. The company will leverage is strong experience of working in more than 170 countries and regions, various industries, advanced technologies, and solutions to help Chinese enterprises enter Saudi Arabia and enhance partnerships with local stakeholders.Jacqueline Shi, President of Huawei Cloud Global Marketing and Sales Service said, “Huawei Cloud aims high, aims global and aims here in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia Region will be our focus in serving the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, providing innovative, reliable, secure, and sustainable cloud services. We hope to create a better choice for advancing intelligence. This cloud gives you more choices to stay innovative, inclusive, and open. This cloud will help you succeed in the digital and intelligent era. This cloud is for everyone.”At the event, the company also announced that Huawei Cloud will train 200,000 developers in Saudi Arabia in the next five years. It will also build joint solutions with 1,000 local partners and launch the Huawei Cloud Entrepreneurship Program to help 2,000 startups grow.Eric Yang, CEO of Huawei Saudi Arabia, said: "We are proudly launching Huawei Cloud Riyadh Region today. It has been a great journey for us in Saudi Arabia for the last 20+ years. Huawei is constructor for intelligent society, contributor for thriving economy and cultivator for prosperous talent ecosystem. Towards 2030, we will dedicated to continuously providing ubiquitous connectivity?green energy, pervasive cloud computing and AI capabilities for Saudi Arabia to unlock unlimited opportunities of the new digital era."Huawei Saudi Arabia was founded in 2002 and has played a pivotal role in the digital transformation in Saudi Arabia. Over the course of 19 years, Huawei has collaborated with regional communication service providers (CSPs) to provide reliable network assurance for the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia without incident. The company also supported the roll-out of 5G in the Kingdom, enabling the country to become one of the world’s pioneer 5G markets. Huawei has helped connect 3.5 million people in rural areas, created 20,000 local jobs and cultivated 10,000 ICT talents for Saudi Arabia.Under its “Everything as a Service” strategy, HUAWEI CLOUD is focused on becoming the cloud foundation and enabler of industry digitalization, providing services for customers in more than 170 countries and regions worldwide.

MENA's mobile revolution: An interview with Mobmio CEO Aleksandr Kryvosheiev

In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Aleksandr Kryvosheiev, the CEO of Mobmio, a rapidly expanding global mobile performance network specializing in user acquisition for mobile apps and monetization services for publishers, delves into the evolving landscape of mobile usage, affiliate marketing, and data-driven strategies that Mobmio employs to navigate the dynamic world of mobile apps and affiliate marketing. Excerpts:The MENA region is often described as "mobile-first." How have you seen mobile usage and behavior evolve in this region over the past few years, and what unique opportunities does this present for companies like Mobmio?Over the past few years, mobile usage in the MENA region has experienced remarkable growth. As we all know, the UAE is the world leader in innovations, which resulted in double engagement on apps. This surge is attributed to the widespread adoption of smartphones and the introduction of 5G technology, contributing to higher mobile internet usage and shifts in user behavior. Notably, consumer engagement with apps in the region now surpasses that of Europe and North America by 1.6 times.According to Mitgo's data, the number of mobile sales in MENA grew by 20% in H1 of 2023 YoY, their GMV grew by 18,3%, over half of all orders in the region are made through mobile phones.Taking into account the results of July and August, the growth of sales through mobile traffic sources has increased even further, reaching 30% year over year.This shift has created unique opportunities for companies like Mobmio. With our focus on user acquisition and monetization services for mobile apps, we're well-positioned to tap into the region's mobile-first culture. As the MENA market embraces mobile apps for everything from shopping to entertainment, Mobmio can help local brands leverage this trend for rapid app growth to keep up with users' habits and trends. Launched as a stand-alone business in 2023, Mobmio has already reached 500+ million mobile users, generated 50+ million interactions and acquired 15+ million new users for its customers worldwide. Could you share some insights into the most significant mobile trends globally? How does Mobmio stay ahead of these trends to better serve its clients?Globally, mobile trends have seen a shift towards personalized experiences, augmented reality, and mobile commerce. Mobmio stays ahead of these trends through continuous market research, staying updated with technology advancements, and fostering partnerships with innovative app developers and mobile publishers. By understanding evolving user preferences, we tailor our strategies to align with these trends, ensuring our clients' apps reach their target audiences. With your extensive experience in affiliate marketing, how has the landscape of mobile affiliate marketing evolved since you started in the industry in 2013, and how is Mobmio adapting to these changes?Since 2013, mobile affiliate marketing has evolved from being a supplementary channel to a primary revenue driver for many businesses. Nowadays, we even see businesses emerging exclusively for mobile platforms, completely bypassing the traditional desktop format. This shift is hardly surprising given that tasks like hailing a taxi or finding a date are now predominantly carried out on mobile devices rather than desktops.The rise of mobile apps and social media platforms has transformed how affiliates reach and engage audiences. It's crucial to recognize that user behavior has undergone a notable transformation during this period. The generations of Millennials, Gen Z, and even the emerging Alpha generation tend to gravitate towards convenience, often seeking services that require minimal additional communication or effort. Our experience allows us to navigate this evolving landscape effectively, ensuring maximum results for our clients.User acquisition is a critical aspect of mobile app success. Could you elaborate on some of the key strategies that Mobmio employs to help its clients acquire and retain users effectively?Mobmio excels in user acquisition by seamlessly blending affiliate marketing strategies with cutting-edge mobile app dynamics. We connect apps with their ideal audience segments by leveraging our extensive network of mobile-first publishers. This dynamic partnership with diverse publisher types empowers us to tap into various user behaviors and preferences. Moreover, our personalized success managers collaborate closely with clients, optimizing strategies for long-term user acquisition and retention. Through these synergistic approaches, we secure high-quality installs, enhance user engagement, and ultimately drive user retention. We prioritize meeting our clients' specific needs and objectives, ensuring the success of their businesses by maintaining a strong focus on their goals and long-term partnerships. In a crowded app marketplace, what role does data-driven marketing play in ensuring a mobile app's visibility and growth? How does Mobmio leverage data to optimize user acquisition campaigns?Amid the bustling app marketplace, data-driven marketing is the compass guiding an app's trajectory. Mobmio capitalizes on data analytics by strategically partnering with diverse publishers, aligning offers with user preferences in specific segments like Ecommerce, Utilities, Finance, Services, Travel, Telecom, and Entertainment. Our data-driven approach goes beyond user segmentation; it permeates every campaign phase. By meticulously analyzing user behavior and engagement metrics, we continually refine targeting and creative optimization. This iterative process ensures that our user acquisition campaigns adapt to real-time trends, resonating with users and fueling app visibility and growth.Could you share a specific case study where Mobmio's approach to user acquisition resulted in remarkable growth for a mobile app? What were the key factors that contributed to that success?Certainly, we worked with an e-commerce app that was struggling to expand its user base. By implementing a comprehensive data analysis, refining their ad creatives for specific audience segments, and employing re-engagement campaigns, Mobmio significantly increased their installs and user engagement. The key factors were our precise targeting, creative optimization, and continuous campaign adjustments based on real-time performance data.Mobile apps have become integral to various industries, including affiliate marketing. How has the role of mobile apps evolved within the affiliate industry, and how does Mobmio leverage this trend?Mobile apps have transformed the affiliate industry by offering a more seamless and personalized user experience. Affiliates can now leverage in-app placements, push notifications, and native advertising for higher engagement. Mobmio harnesses this trend by collaborating with app developers and publishers, creating tailored affiliate strategies that blend seamlessly into the app's experience, enhancing both user engagement and conversion rates.As the CEO of Mobmio, how do you see the synergy between mobile apps and affiliate marketing evolving in the future? What opportunities do you foresee for companies operating in this intersection?The synergy between mobile apps and affiliate marketing will deepen as technology advances. We'll witness more sophisticated tracking, AI-driven optimization, and immersive experiences. This will open opportunities for innovative partnerships where affiliates collaborate closely with app developers to create value-driven experiences. Companies like Mobmio can facilitate these collaborations, driving mutually beneficial outcomes and redefining how affiliates engage with mobile audiences.Can you provide insights into the challenges and opportunities of monetizing mobile audiences, especially in markets like MENA? How does Mobmio address these challenges?Monetizing mobile audiences in markets like MENA requires balancing cultural nuances and user preferences with revenue generation. It's crucial to respect user privacy and avoid intrusive ads. Mobmio addresses these challenges by tailoring ad content to match local preferences, partnering with culturally relevant brands, and leveraging our deep understanding of the market to deliver ads that resonate with users, ultimately maximizing revenue potential.Could you share a success story of how Mobmio effectively helped a publisher optimize their monetization strategy and achieve substantial revenue growth?I'd be glad to share our recent success story with Facemoji, a publisher we work with. In just six months, we helped them double their earnings by implementing the following strategy. Firstly, we advised the publisher to promote offers simultaneously on two models: namely CPI and CPA. By trying both methods, they could figure out which one was more profitable. After identifying the best option, we also customized rates specifically for them. Additionally, we promptly provided them with all the necessary statistics to optimize their advertising efforts effectively. This partnership showcases how strategic planning and data-driven decision-making can significantly boost revenue within a short timeframe.

Sharjah Promotions 2023 Concludes in Style, Delighting Participants with reward

 The 20th edition of the "Sharjah Summer Promotions 2023" has concluded with a grand celebration at City Al Zahia Centre in Sharjah, marking the successful culmination of more than two months of vibrant activities organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI).The event was held under the captivating theme "Ya Hala Bsaifna in Sharjah" (Welcome Summer in Sharjah), and it truly lived up to its promise of delivering excitement and rewards to participants.The highlight of the closing ceremony was the eagerly anticipated grand draw, which brought smiles of joy to lucky winners. One fortunate individual drove away with a brand-new Nissan Petrol 2023 car, while 20 other winners were awarded vouchers worth AED 5,000 each. In addition, cash prizes worth AED 2,500 and five tourist tickets were also distributed among the thrilled winners.The impact of the Sharjah Summer Promotions extended far beyond the winners' circle. The event played a pivotal role in invigorating retail and various other economic sectors. The impressive results were exemplified by total revenues and sales surpassing the AED 500 million mark.Furthermore, the rest of the prize winners, tracked by the Sharjah Chamber in collaboration with participating shopping centers, exceeded 100 individuals over a span of two months, collectively amassing prizes worth over AED 3 million.Throughout its duration, the Sharjah Summer Promotions drew the attention of thousands of shoppers from across the UAE. It also lured tourists to explore the captivating destinations within the Emirate of Sharjah and its bustling markets. Attendees were treated to a diverse range of entertainment events, complemented by substantial offers and discounts reaching up to 75% on globally recognized brands.HE Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director-General of the SCCI, emphasized the vital role played by the 20th Sharjah Summer Promotions in enhancing various economic sectors, notably retail and tourism.Al Awadi noted that the staggering success of the initiative fortified its reputation as a premier marketing and entertainment event not only in the country but also in the region. The event has undoubtedly carved out a significant spot in the annual calendar of events in the Emirate of Sharjah, setting a benchmark in fostering innovation and creativity through the promotional strategies implemented by shopping malls, thus significantly boosting sales.For his part, Ibrahim Rashid Al Jarwan, Director of Economic Relations and Marketing at the SCCI, lauded the event as a cornerstone in promoting tourism in the emirate. It actively instigated a surge in marketing activities, fostering innovation and creativity through various promotional avenues unveiled by shopping complexes and crafting enticing ideas that elevated sales trajectories.Meanwhile, Jamal Bouzanjal, Director of the Corporate Communication Department, stressed that the resounding success of the "Sharjah Summer Promotions" reaffirms Sharjah's standing as a significant regional hub and a globally sought-after destination for families. The festive atmosphere, coupled with an array of entertainment events and unparalleled marketing offerings, contributed to the event's immense popularity.The "Sharjah Summer Promotions" featured a multitude of marketing campaigns, with the "Back to School Offers" campaign emerging as a standout success. This initiative captivated a wide audience, attracting shoppers eager to seize the substantial discounts, valuable offers, and significant price reductions available at shopping malls, libraries, and stationery stores throughout the Emirate of Sharjah.

gamma appoints Larry Gaaga and Dany Neville to executive positions

gamma, the artist-first multimedia platform providing creative and business services across all artistic and commercial formats, today announced an expansion of its commitment to Africa and the Middle East with the addition of two impactful music industry pioneers to the region’s executive team.The executive appointments include legendary Nigerian songwriter and recording artist Larry Gaaga joining as Vice President/General Manager of Africa, and pioneering Arab artist and DJ, Dany Neville taking the role of Vice President, A&R, Middle East. Gaaga will be based in Lagos and Neville in Dubai.Historically, international labels have headquartered their African operations solely in South Africa, with Nigeria often having satellite presence. gamma. is rewriting this narrative by investing its largest resource focus in Nigeria, recognizing its position as the leading country in terms of the global export of music.Taken together, these actions amplify the foundation that gamma. and its digital distribution arm Vydia have built in the region, increasing the company’s capabilities and resources and ensuring a two-way exchange of culture and opportunity for artists worldwide.“gamma.’s mission is to both nurture talent local to Africa and the Middle East into global superstars, as well as to open the continent for Western artists to reach new fans and opportunities,” said Sipho Dlamini, President Africa & Middle East, gamma. “Both Larry and Dany have the historical background and cultural fluency critical to establishing the relationships and resources necessary for us to succeed.”Most recently, Gaaga was Vice President of Def Jam Africa, where he led the label’s A&R division. In his new role, Gaaga will oversee gamma.'s operations across the entire African continent. His visionary leadership and guidance to the teams in both Nigeria and South Africa will drive the company’s growth, development, and ultimate success across the region.“Larry and Dany’s extensive experience, deep understanding of the local music landscapes, and relentless passion for nurturing talent are welcome additions to the gamma. family,” said gamma. Co-founder & CEO Larry Jackson. “Together, they will strengthen our market presence and drive significant growth across Africa and the Middle East.”Gaaga's primary focus will be on providing strategic direction for long-term success, driving revenue growth, and expanding market reach across Africa. He will spearhead initiatives to develop local talent, ensuring their success both domestically and on the global stage through collaborations and partnerships with the wider group.Naomi Campbell, a prominent figure in the global entertainment community and Special Advisor to gamma., played a crucial role in fostering the partnership between Gaaga and the company. “Artistic brilliance knows no bounds,” says Campbell. “Larry’s appointment exemplifies the spirit of artistic empowerment. I am thrilled to have played a part in bringing his visionary talents to this artist-first platform.”“I am honored and excited to take on the role of Vice President/General Manager of Africa,” said Gaaga. “This presents a unique opportunity to contribute to the growth of the entertainment industry across the continent, promoting local talent and showcasing the incredible creativity and diversity of our artists to the world.”Pioneering Arab artist and DJ, Dany Neville has joined gamma. as Vice President of A&R, Middle East. From launching the regions’ first urban radio show in 2000 to collaborating with iconic artists like Snoop Dogg, T Pain, Kymani Marley, Kid Ink and DJ Snake among others, his journey has been replete with groundbreaking milestones. Dany’s achievements include performing at the MTV Music Awards, winning prestigious awards such as Time Out’s Best UAE DJ, and becoming the first UAE-born DJ to play at Tomorrowland. He’s known for transcending borders and uniting culture, leaving an indelible mark on the global music scene.“This is a unique opportunity to showcase the talent and culture of the Middle East to the world,” said Neville. “gamma. is a unique company with the right tools and people needed to elevate this region to even greater heights in the world of music and entertainment.”

Boomerang rebranded as ‘Cartoonito’ in MENA

Boomerang, the kids channel by Warner Bros. Discovery, has been rebranded as Cartoonito in the Middle East and North Africa region. This rebranding is done with the main aim of catering to the pre-school range of kids.Cartoonito will include all cherished Boomerang classics like Tom & Jerry, Mr. Bean, Grizzy & the Lemmings, and Looney Tunes Cartoons, alongside fresh additions like Dino Ranch, Thomas and Friends: All Engines Go, and Lucas the Spider. Moreover, Cartoonito is all set to launch a range of new shows such as Batwheels, Bugs Bunny Builders, and Interstellar Ella, providing entertainment to the whole family.The rebranding is done with the aim of promoting creativity, collaboration, and inclusivity to develop kids by encouraging empathy, respect, and fairness in their interactions with others.Earlier in July, WBD rebranded Boomerang channel as Cartoonito in Southeast Asia, Taiwan and Hong Kong.                               Vanessa Brookman, Senior Vice President, Kids & Family EMEA, Warner Bros. Discovery, said: “Celebrating individuality and originality, Cartoonito offers a safe space where kids and their families can laugh and learn alongside beloved characters. I am very proud that in the year we celebrate 100 years of Warner Bros., we are showing our commitment to our youngest audience by launching our preschool offering Cartoonito across EMEA.”

7awi Media Group and Inc. Magazine to launch IncArabia

7awi Media Group, a digital media platform, is set to launch its new website,, in collaboration with the American business magazine Inc. The anticipated launch date for is by the end of this year. This digital magazine will focus on content related to digital advancements, events, and the future of technology and business. Notably, it will be available in both English and Arabic languages to cater to a diverse Middle Eastern audience.In January of this year, 7awi Media Group introduced two English-language digital content platforms, Kuwait Moments and Oman Moments. These additions joined 7awi's existing "Moments" portfolio of websites, which deliver the latest local and regional news, entertainment, events, lifestyle, and trending topics to English-speaking expatriates in the GCC region. This portfolio includes UAE Moments, Saudi Moments, Qatar Moments, and Bahrain Moments.Through its partnership with American Business magazine Inc., 7awi Media Group aims to provide digital content that highlights the latest trends and insights in business, innovation, and technology across the Middle East. IncArabia will offer in-depth analysis, exclusive interviews, and original reporting covering entrepreneurs, executives, and decision-makers in the region.Scott Omelianuk, Editor-in-Chief of Inc. Business Media, expressed his enthusiasm for collaborating with 7awi Media Group. He believes that this partnership will allow them to provide valuable information addressing key business solutions in the rapidly growing small business sector of the Middle East.Anas Abbar, CEO of 7awi Media Group, also shared his excitement about bringing Inc to the Middle East. He anticipates that this merger will result in compelling stories, tips, and case studies on IncArabia, adding significant value to startups in the MENA region. In addition to showcasing global stories, IncArabia will spotlight regional success stories for a global audience.án-brings-made-in-italy-childrens-luxury-to-dubai

Nanán brings made in Italy children’s luxury to Dubai

With the UAE’s retail market continuing on a strong growth trajectory, Nanán—an international brand of children’s furniture, clothing & accessories—has entered the country with its inaugural store now open in Dubai Mall. The Nanán brand, owned by Nicola Bulgari, is being represented in the UAE by Al Khayyat Investments (AKI).Nanàn's exemplary range of products are distinguished by the unrivalled Italian style and excellence of materials. Sweetness, quality, and luxury are the basis of the made in Italy Nanán concept. The flagship store at Dubai Mall, designed by creative agency Thirtyone Design + Management, caters to children from infancy to 12 years old. It presents a unique range of fashion and furniture to jewelry and beauty products, faithful to the Nanán philosophy of offering parents and children both comfort and elegance."The decision to inaugurate our exclusive store within the UAE was a strategic endeavor, supporting Nanán's growth while catering to the distinctive tastes of UAE audiences," shared Claudio Pizzolato, General Manager of the Nanán brand in Italy. "We are confident that parents and children in the UAE will resonate with the Nanán philosophy and its transformative impact on childhood. Moreover, this milestone aligns with our overarching expansion strategy, further solidifying our partnership with AKI as the perfect collaboration to propel us toward realizing our goals."The store in Dubai Mall, materializes the brand's concept in a luxury environment that is warm and enveloping—like a tender embrace symbolized by the brand’s pampering bears Tato and Puccio. The large rooms and round arches, VIP areas draped in velvet fabrics, and soft carpets echo the atmosphere of early childhood, while reflecting the quality and prestige of the brand. The new Nanán brand identity, whose common thread is a curved line symbolising the folds in a mother's embrace, was the starting point for Thirtyone Design + Management studio to define the layout of the boutique's display elements. The result is a sumptuous atmosphere in which all the refined Nanán collections excel.The latest opening is part of a larger international expansion for Nanán that began in 2022. Today, Nanán is present in 15 countries from Italy to Japan, and now the UAE.Speaking on the opening, Emad Husein, General Manager of AKI Fashion, said: “We are proud to welcome Nanán to the AKI family and to open our first store in the UAE at Dubai Mall. Nanan is known for offering exclusive collections that capture the essence of sophistication and innocence. Our store will be a destination for discerning families seeking elegance and refinement for their young fashion enthusiasts, stepping into a world where luxury intertwines with the joy of childhood.”Further discussing business plans, he adds, “we are poised to further expand our presence within the UAE in the coming months, while also preparing for the strategic scaling of our business operations in the MENA region.”In the UAE, the Nanán concept will benefit from AKI’s longstanding expertise in premium products and services across industries such as retail, healthcare, consumer goods, fitness & lifestyle, contracting, and automotive. The addition of Nanán to AKI’s portfolio reflects the company’s growth strategy to foster international brand partnerships while also developing its own homegrown brand concepts.

GELLIFY appoints Enrique Ortega as CEO, ushering in a new era of innovation

GELLIFY Middle East, a prominent player in the innovation and digital transformation landscape, proudly unveils a transformative chapter with the appointment of Enrique Ortega as its new CEO. This strategic move aligns with the launch of groundbreaking initiatives such as the 'Innovators Guild' and the 'Purple Podcast' series, elevating GELLIFY's stature in innovation advisory, venture building, and data strategy and transformation.With over 18 years of deep Strategy, Innovation, Digital, and Technology Consulting experience and insights, Enrique brings a wealth of expertise to steer GELLIFY's journey towards becoming the region's leading innovation powerhouse. Before assuming his role as CEO, Enrique helmed the Business Innovation Consulting Practice of GELLIFY in the Middle East where he played a pivotal role in increasing the company’s market share and brand awareness. Prior to that, he was part of Accenture's Technology Strategy Leadership team in the Middle East.A significant part of Enrique's objective, there's a renewed commitment to elevate venture building, innovation advisory, and data & analytics offerings to unprecedented levels, marking a new chapter in GELLIFY's regional prominence.As part of his appointment, Enrique has launched two strategic initiatives for GELLIFY to continue contributing to the region’s innovation ecosystem.The new initiative, 'Innovators Guild' is an interactive platform meticulously crafted for innovators to delve into a myriad of diverse topics and experiences. This guild aims to foster a collaborative environment where creative minds can share insights, exchange ideas, and collectively shape the future of innovation.Further enhancing GELLIFY's commitment to knowledge exchange and thought leadership, the 'Purple Podcast' series, through engaging conversations, delves into the latest trends, disruptive technologies, and emerging opportunities that are reshaping the innovation landscape. This series is set to inspire, inform, and empower individuals across sectors to harness the transformative potential of innovation.Commenting, Enrique Ortega said, “We have been preparing these two initiatives with care over the past couple of months and I’m very excited to launch them now. They will bring together different ways of thinking, different ways of understanding and executing innovation and hopefully spark new ideas in a continuous effort to contribute to the region’s innovation journey.”On his appointment, he added: "I am thrilled to lead the exceptional team at GELLIFY Middle East. We will continue the path that we initiated some time back and that differentiates us from others: being close to our clients, always value-driven, with pragmatic and actionable advice, tailor-made solutions and collaborative partnerships.”Short and medium term priorities under Enrique's leadership include bolstering client support, diversifying the brand portfolio, and doubling down on innovation advisory and data strategy services aligned to the needs expressed by clients.Massimo Cannizzo, Co-Founder and Chairman of GELLIFY Middle East, expressing unwavering faith in Enrique's leadership, he stated, "Having collaborated closely with Enrique for almost a decade now, I am confident in his vision and prowess to guide GELLIFY Middle East into the next level of growth. His great expertise, combined with a profound understanding of the region, its dynamics and the needs of corporates and governments, positions GELLIFY for even greater regional success."Amidst these transformative undertakings, GELLIFY's performance remains strong. Strategic investments during Q1 and Q2 have propelled the expansion of innovation advisory and data strategy practices. GELLIFY's pivotal advisory engagements with prominent private and government entities in the UAE reiterate its role as a committed transformation partner.