Vishal Bharadwaj's 'Khufiya' - A Weekend Matinee You Won't Regret

A slow burner espionage drama with the early 2000's as its backdrop; Vishal Bharadwaj's Khufiya premiered directly on Netflix this weekend and despite its sluggish pace, kept me in an engaging mode right till the end. It's a tad long at near two hours forty minutes but still worth the time invested. I vouch!! The plot ain't that complicated: RAW officer KM (Tabu) is assigned the task of spying on a suspected fellow agent (Ali Fazal) and his family, who has evidently sold his soul to the CIA. But, has he really? There is also a parallel track of a Bangladeshi minister, who is conspiring something sinister. KM lays her trust on a new recruit Heena (Azmeri Haque Badhon) but can she pull off the seemingly impossible task??!!! Don't expect a high octane actioner or a screen scorcher as Khufiya takes its own time to build its core characters, involve you in the proceedings and then moves to its climax...which may make it a tedious watch for the impatient but then a Baby (2015) or Pathaan (2023), it ain't or expected to be!! Surprisingly, the espionage movie belongs to its ladies who truly impress big time. Tabu, the superlative actor that she is, leaves a mark though her role isn't entirely meaty. Wamiqa Gabbi as Charu, Ali Fazal's wifey delivers a knockout act especially in the film's second half. Bangladeshi star Azmeri Haque Badhon is outstanding in her complex role. Here's an actor to watch out for in future and hope Bollywood gives her more roles!! Overall, Khufiya has the trademark Vishal Bharadwaj touch though I personally feel the director gives his best when adapting Shakespeare. Who can forget Maqbool (2003), Omkara (2006) and of course Haider (2014), my personal favorite of the trio. Khufiya isn't as great as them but still makes the cut to a watch. Make it your weekend matinee!! Ratings on some key aspects* : 1. Acting : 4/5 2. Direction : 3.5/53. Music : 3/5 4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 3.5/55. Cinematography : 3/56. Editing : 2.5/5 7. Costume Design : 3.5/58. Special Effects and VFX : NA9. Action : NA10. Production Quality : 3.5/5 #SNRating for #Khufiya : 3 & 1/2 stars out of 5. - Sumeet Nadkarni Liked the review? Click on the link below and like the #SNRatings page to subscribe to honest and unbiased reviews of all latest movies :

Ossiano appoints Julien Gardin as GM and Thomas Domingues as Head Sommelier

Ossiano at Atlantis, The Palm, announces the appointment of Julien Gardin (pictured above), as General Manager and Thomas Domingues as Head Sommelier.In the wake of a remarkable year for the one Michelin-star restaurant, the two notable talents are set to elevate the award-winning dining experience even further as it enters a new era of excellence. Julien, with over two decades of experience in prestigious fine-dining restaurants around the world, now oversees Ossiano. He leads a high-performing team, and enhances service and operational performance, all while sharing his passion for exceptional guest experiences.Before joining Ossiano, Julien held various leadership positions. Most recently, he served as the General Manager at And? in Hong Kong, guiding the restaurant to Michelin-star status, securing a coveted spot on Asia's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2023 as well as a diamond on Black Pearl restaurant Guide. Prior to this, Julien led The Tasting Room in Macau, a distinguished two-Michelin-star restaurant in City Of Dreams. His earlier experience includes serving as a Restaurant Manager at the acclaimed three-Michelin-star Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, London. Before joining Alain Ducasse, Julien spent eight incredible years at three Michelin-starred restaurant, The Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal in the UK, serving in various roles.Another notable addition to Ossiano is Thomas Domingues, who has joined the team as the Head Sommelier. With a unique approach to wine, he emphasises storytelling as the essence of his philosophy. Hailing from the scenic south coast of Portugal, Thomas’s French heritage has provided his palate with a deep appreciation for exquisite flavours and refined techniques. He has worked in Michelin-star restaurants, including AOC in Denmark, Loco in Portugal, and Belcanto by José Avillez in Portugal which is no.25 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. With four years of experience at Vila Joya Hotel & Spa in the Algarve which was ranked at no.37 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Thomas has learnt the art of crafting a sensory experience for guests by weaving stories through every wine pairing, leaving an indelible mark on diners.2023, to date, has been an extraordinary year for Ossiano. As well as a debut ranking of 87th best restaurant in the world in The World's 50 Best Restaurants 2023, Ossiano also ranked 4th and highest new entry in the 2023 Middle East and Africa's 50 Best Restaurants list. In June 2023, Ossiano also retained its Michelin star in Dubai's 2023 Michelin guide, and in April 2023, Ossiano was awarded the most highly rated restaurant at the world-leading restaurant guide Gault&Millau, where it took a four-toque status, as well as Restaurant of the Year.

Expo City Dubai unveils calendar of new experiences

Expo City Dubai has revealed a rich calendar of events as it announced that Al Wasl Plaza – the beating heart of the community – has set the Guinness World Records™ title for the largest interactive immersive dome.The upcoming diary, which spans high-tech experiences to cultural festivals, exciting new dining options and a raft of sports and wellness initiatives, reinforces Expo City’s position as the home of creativity, global innovation and wellbeing. Among its latest offerings is a new, groundbreaking augmented reality (AR) experience, with visitors soon able to interact with Al Wasl dome through their mobile phones. The venue for Expo 2020’s spectacular Opening and Closing Ceremonies as well as multi-sensory performances by local and international stars such as Nancy Ajram and Coldplay, Al Wasl Plaza can now count the Guinness World Records™ title among its many achievements. Alwaleed Osman, Official Adjudicator at Guinness World Records™ said: “Al Wasl Plaza stands as a testament to architectural excellence and a distinguished structure that resonates with those who have had the privilege of experiencing it. Its recognition in Guinness World Records™ underscores the commitment of Expo 2020, and the subsequent Expo City Dubai, to innovation and excellence.”Amna Abulhoul, Executive Creative Director, Events & Entertainment, Expo City Dubai, said: “Al Wasl, which means ‘connection’ in Arabic, continues to bring people together, and we are thrilled to share details of our new experiences at the same time as our iconic interactive dome has received this prestigious recognition. From interactive augmented reality and a tribute to legendary explorer Ibn Battuta, to the launch of a sustainable café and the return of our popular Winter City and Hai Ramadan festivities, our upcoming offerings cement our city as a hub of creativity, innovation and wellbeing.” A hive of creativity and innovationThe calendar reveal coincides with the grand opening of the new Al Wasl Plaza Café, a homegrown brand offering Arabic fusion cuisine that prides itself on its sustainability credentials, including the use of recycled fabrics for its uniforms created by textile tech company Pangaia. The café is one of many new F&B outlets setting up in the city, from plant-based cuisine to high-class dining, and including brand new concepts as well as the return of some Expo 2020 Dubai favourites.Upcoming events include -22.7°C by Molécule, an artistic musical adventure on 27 and 28 October that highlights Greenland’s rapidly melting ice, and the Dubai Calligraphy Biennale – the first of a series of collaborations with the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority – taking place on 21 and 28 October and featuring Japanese VR/NFT artist Aimi Sekiguchi and Emirati painter, photographer and sculptor Mattar Bin Lahej. The inaugural Artificial Intelligence Film Festival (AIFF) – the first of its kind in the region – continues, and Expo City is also looking forward to Winter City from 8 December 2023 to 7 January 2024, celebrating the magic of the festive season for the second consecutive year. Next year, Expo City will host Break the Block – a music, food and arts festival that pays homage to the spirit of young urbanites – in January; the Middle East debut of electronic dance music festival Untold from 15-18 February; and the return of Hai Ramadan, expected to run from 11 March to 10 April, showcasing the true spirit of the Holy Month.The high-octane destination is also keeping up with its commitment to promoting physical activity as a way of life by bringing people of all ages and abilities together with an inspiring array of sports and fitness activities, including the Dubai Half Marathon on 4 February and the Spinneys Dubai 92 Cycle Challenge on 24 and 25 February, both of which will set out from Expo City Dubai.

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi inaugurates its first route to Erbil

Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, the ultra-low-fare national airline of the UAE and the second largest airline in Abu Dhabi by seat capacity, is celebrating the inauguration of its first flight from Abu Dhabi to Erbil. The new route provides affordable, hassle-free, point-to-point travel for tourists and residents in the UAE, Iraq and across the region. Tickets are on sale on and the airline’s mobile app with fares starting as low as AED 269 *.The flights from Abu Dhabi to Erbil operate on a convenient schedule, flying on Monday and Friday, with the national airline flying to more than 40 destinations from Abu Dhabi.Erbil is a modern metropolis with a rich history, warm hospitality, and stunning landscapes. With a vibrant culture and incredible historical sites, including the ancient Citadel, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, travellers of all ages can immerse themselves in multiple historical civilizations. Some of the must-see historical and natural attractions include the Sami Abdul Rahman Park, Jalil Khayat Mosque and Kurdish textile museum with memorable and enriching travel experiences awaiting.Basking in glorious year round sunshine, Abu Dhabi is a world-renowned family friendly destination with incredible art, culture, tradition and hospitality offerings. The UAE capital, blessed with stunning beach resorts, excellent cultural offerings and exciting attractions offers visitors a warm welcome and breath taking natural and built beauty. The city offers an enriching historical experience and a bustling culture to explore with a plethora of both relaxation and adventure options to suit all ages.Johan Eidhagen, Managing Director of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, said: “We are delighted to inaugurate our first flight to Erbil, a city of spectacular historical beauty, as we reaffirm our commitment to growing our ever-expanding network throughout the region. With the recent arrival of the 11th aircraft to our fleet, we are further bolstering our ambitious expansion plans and are ready to unlock further low-fares and exciting travel options to must-see destinations. We look forward to sharing our love of travel and welcoming you on board our aircraft soon.”Passengers can book tickets with confidence, thanks to WIZZ Flex. With WIZZ Flex, passengers can cancel their flight up to three hours before departure without any fee and receive 100% of the fare immediately reimbursed in airline credit.Strategically located in the UAE, Wizz Air Abu Dhabi provides cost-effective and efficient travel options to Alexandria (Egypt), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Amman (Jordan), Ankara (Turkey), Aqaba (Jordan), Athens (Greece), Baku (Azerbaijan), Belgrade (Serbia), Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan), Cairo (Egypt) and Dammam (Saudi Arabia). As well as routes to Erbil (Iraq) Kuwait City (Kuwait), Kutaisi (Georgia), Larnaca (Cyprus), Manama (Bahrain), Male (Maldives), Madinah (Saudi Arabia), Muscat (Oman), Nur Sultan (Kazakhstan), Salalah (Oman), Santorini (Grece), Samarkand (Uzbekistan), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Sohag (Egypt), Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Tel-Aviv (Israel), Tirana (Albania) and Yerevan (Armenia) among others.

Astra Tech's Botim exceeds AED 1.3bln transactions in four months

Astra Tech, MENA’s leading consumer technology holding group, now leads the UAE’s remittance industry through Botim. Botim’s fintech PayBy has witnessed an exceptional increase in remittances, processing 1.3 billion transactions and growing by 41x since its launch in January 2023. Botim has rapidly positioned itself as a financial powerhouse, equalling the capabilities of traditional banks. This transformation is underpinned by an expansion in its user base, now exceeding 150 million users, demonstrating a remarkable surge in user adoption.Since January, the PayBy-powered Ultra app witnessed a 75% increase in the number of transactions quarter-on-quarter across its fintech offerings. The most substantial remittance corridors are from the UAE market to India, followed by Pakistan, and the Philippines. The platform recorded a 98% success rate on all processed transactions to date. Botim’s milestone is a result of its strategic acquisitions and partnerships that have been instrumental in underpinning this growth, including a recent collaboration with Fawry in Egypt and the acquisition of Y Finance in the Philippines.To facilitate cross-border financial transactions, Botim strategically allied with MoneyGram at the start of the year to establish itself as a pivotal player in the remittance industry. Further enhancing its capabilities, Astra Tech recently partnered with Mastercard to introduce Botim-branded multi-currency prepaid cards. This initiative is part of Astratech’s ongoing mission to enable transactions for billions of users worldwide through a network of strategic partnerships and integrations.Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Co-founder of Astra Tech and CEO of Botim, said: “In just a few months, we have already emerged as the UAE's foremost player in remittances. Our Ultra app vision is rapidly coming to fruition, showcasing our strength and innovative fintech products. Botim has seamlessly evolved into an extensive platform, offering a wide range of financial services, including peer-to-peer transactions, international money transfers, and cards. The platform's inclusive approach empowers individuals without traditional banking access to conduct seamless global transactions, benefiting both users and merchants.”Astra Tech's strategic acquisitions and innovative solutions, reaffirm the platform's commitment to revolutionizing the remittance landscape and pioneering transformative financial services for users worldwide. In the UAE, where over five million migrants are sending $42 billion every year back to their respective home countries, this significant milestone represents a transformative leap toward a digital-first UAE economy, seamlessly combining innovation and inclusivity. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the company remains dedicated to reshaping fintech accessibility and experiences while championing a more connected and empowered future.

Barracuda showcases cloud application security, SASE solutions at GITEX

Barracuda Networks, Inc., a trusted partner and leading provider of cloud-first security solutions, is once again set to participate at GITEX Global, where it will focus on demonstrating to regional businesses how they can protect their cloud applications and enable seamless access to users, irrespective of location and device. At its stand (C50 in Hall 24) at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the vendor will showcase the latest advancements to its Cloud Application Protection and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions.  IDC forecasts that digital transformation spending in the Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa (META) will top $48.8 billion this year. "To deliver the differentiated digital experiences that employees and customers demand, organisations are increasingly turning to the cloud. The rapid time to market, incredible scalability, and cost effectiveness that cloud applications afford these businesses make them a foundational element of this ongoing transformation in the region," said Toni El Inati - RVP Sales, META & CEE, Barracuda Networks. “At Barracuda, we are here to empower our customers to innovate at pace, and embrace modern computing paradigms with the confidence in the security of their applications and data. This is what we intend to highlight to visitors to our GITEX stand.” Barracuda has regularly participated at GITEX for over a decade. As with previous editions of the trade show, the company will host live solution demos at its stand. This year, these include:·      Secure Access Service Edge (SASE): Barracuda’s cloud-first SASE platform enables businesses to control access to data from any device, anytime, anywhere, and allows security inspection and policy enforcement in the cloud, at the branch, or on the device. Barracuda SecureEdge delivers enterprise-grade security including Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), Firewall-as-a-Service, web security, and fully integrated office connectivity with Secure SD-WAN.·      Cloud to Cloud Backup: This platform delivers a fast search and restore experience for Office 365 data, including Teams, Exchange Online, SharePoint, and OneDrive. The solution offers complete, granular protection of an organisation's data with point-in-time retrieval, and both scheduled and on-demand backup. In addition, data is deduplicated and compressed to maximize storage efficiency and minimise the backup window.·      Web Application Firewall-as-a-Service: Deployed in minutes, Barracuda WAF-as-a-Service is a full-featured, cloud-delivered application security service that ensures complete protection of all apps. This service includes a containerised deployment mode so organisations can deploy the same protections between their microservices and thus protect them from intra-app attacks. In addition to customers engagements at the stand, through its participation at GITEX, Barracuda intends to strengthen its ties with existing channel partners, while potentially identifying new channel partners to support its ongoing expansion across the region. “At Barracuda, we highly value in-person interactions and will have our regional team present in full strength. We encourage channel organisations to visit our stand and gain an understanding of how through our comprehensive product portfolio and dedicated local support, we can empower them to build a profitable, and sustainable practice with Barracuda. I have no doubt that the power and simplicity of our solutions will enable them to not only achieve this outcome, but do so in a highly rapid and cost-effective manner,” said El Inati.

Etihad Airways empowers the UAE aviation industry with key national experts

Etihad Airways today announced the appointment of three accomplished UAE nationals to executive roles in flight operations, sustainability, and revenue management. These promotions reflect the airline's commitment to nurturing Emirati talent and highlight its long-term Emiratisation strategy as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.The new positions: Vice President of Flight Operations, Director of Sustainability, and Director of Revenue Enhancement, are vital and highly specialised positions requiring exceptional knowledge, skills and leadership experience. Selecting internal talent with proven track records in their respective fields, Etihad has demonstrated its commitment to developing and rewarding Emirati employees who excel.Commenting on the appointments, Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Airways, said: “As we proudly celebrate Etihad’s 20th anniversary and joins the celebrations for UAE Civil Aviation Day, we are witnessing the culmination of our long-term strategy to nurture and develop UAE national talent. Dr. Nadia Bastaki, Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer at Etihad, said: "The remarkable achievements of our appointees speak for themselves, underscoring their invaluable contributions to our organisation. Their capabilities are not just beneficial; they are essential. I trust that their inspiring successes will ignite the ambitions of many young Emiratis, motivating them to embark on their own journeys within the aviation industry throughout all various sectors of society.”Captain Mohamed Anwahi – Vice President of Flight Operations, EtihadEtihad has promoted Captain Mohamed Anwahi to the role of Vice President of Flight Operations, a strategic position that oversees the airline’s entire aircraft fleet, flight operations, flight and cabin crew personnel, fuel efficiency and flight operations support. The role also bears the responsibility of being a registered post holder of the General Civil Aviation Authority.Captain Anwahi joined Etihad in 2006 as a First Officer and graduated as a Captain in 2011. Over the last 17 years, he has fulfilled several roles in Etihad such as Head of Fleet for Airbus, Head of Cargo Fleet, Head of Fleet Technical and Director of Flight Operations.In his capacity as Director of Flight Operations, Captain Anwahi spearheaded several key initiatives that delivered cost savings, improved operational efficiency, and played a major role in Etihad’s transformation programme. He also represented the airline in the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) during the covid-19 pandemic.Captain Mohamed holds an MBA in Aerospace Management from the Toulouse Business School.Mariam Al Qubaisi – Director of Sustainability, Etihad AirwaysMariam Al Qubaisi has been promoted to the position of Director of Sustainability, having joined Etihad in 2019 as the first Emirati leader of sustainability. During her tenure, Mariam has played an instrumental role in driving Etihad’s industry-leading sustainability efforts, resulting in the airline being named Environmental Airline of the Year by Airline Ratings in 2022 and 2023.During her four years at Etihad, Al Qubaisi strengthened the airline’s sustainability credentials and has been the driving force behind Etihad’s partnerships with industry giants including Airbus, Boeing, GE and Rolls Royce to form the Greenliner and Sustainable50 research programmes. As well as spearheading eco-flights to test and improve the impact of flying on the environment, Al Qubaisi also led a partnership with Satavia to research the effect of contrails and identify contrail avoidance techniques to further reduce the carbon footprint of flying, not just for Etihad but for the benefit of the entire industry.Al Qubaisi is a trailblazer for Emirati women in the field of environmental sustainability, having graduated from the UK’s Cambridge University with a masters in environmental engineering, and then joining the esteemed academia at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed University, before her time with Etihad.The role is Etihad’s first Director of Sustainability position, which is a testament to the UAE national airline’s commitment to sustainability. As Director of Sustainability, Al Qubaisi’s role continues to support the UAE’s Year of Sustainability under the theme ‘Today for Tomorrow’.Aysha Al Kaabi - Director of Revenue Enhancement and Strategic Pricing, Etihad Airways.Etihad has promoted Aysha Al Kaabi to the role of Director of Revenue Enhancement and Strategic Pricing. The business portfolio is responsible for revenue systems including solutions and innovation, pricing distribution, data analytics, revenue integrity as well as staff travel functions.Al Kaabi’s promotion is a home-grown success story as she joined Etihad in 2014 as part of the airline’s respected graduate trainee programme, following the completion of her bachelor’s in mathematics from the UAE University.Through Etihad’s highly regarded graduate trainee programme, Al Kaabi gained valuable experience in cross-departmental rotations, including Demand and Pricing and Market Manager, before taking on a Head of Revenue Management role.At the age of 33, Al Kaabi is Etihad’s youngest Director, and is also the first female Emirati Director of Revenue, paving the way for further growth of Emirati women in the aviation industry.Al Qubaisi and Al Kaabi’s promotions follow a long history of success stories for UAE nationals at Etihad. In 2021, Dr Nadia Bastaki became the first female Emirati Chief at the airline, now holding the position of Chief People and Corporate Affairs Officer. In 2022, Captain Aisha Al Mansoori, became the first female Emirati to become a Captain in a commercial airline, having joined the airline’s cadet pilot programme in 2007. Fatma Al Mehairi, now Regional General Manager in the UAE, and the first Emirati female to lead the UAE sales team, was also the first female Emirati country manager in Canada in 2016.

YouTube unveils new monetization tools for MENA creators

YouTube has introduced a new feature aimed at attracting more content creators and enabling them to earn money by pursuing their passion for creating and sharing content. This latest feature is an expansion of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) and allows eligible creators from seven MENA countries, including Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Oman, to monetize their content.The YPP expansion brings fan-funding features such as Super Chat, Super Thanks, Super Stickers, and channel memberships to creators in the Middle East and North African regions, specifically in Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Kuwait, Lebanon, and Oman. Furthermore, YouTube plans to extend access to these features to more creators from other countries in the region in the near future.To qualify for fan funding in Saudi Arabia, creators need to meet certain criteria, including having at least 500 subscribers, posting a minimum of three public uploads in the last 90 days, and accumulating a total of 3,000 watch hours within the last 365 days.Tarek Amin, YouTube's Director in the MENA region, said: “Creators are the lifeblood of YouTube and we’re committed to making it the most rewarding place for them — creatively, emotionally, and financially. We hope that this lower eligibility criteria will help support creators who are early in their YouTube journey, paving the way for a new generation of content creators.”

Delinea to enable Middle East organisations to meet cybersecurity challenges

Delinea, a leading provider of solutions that seamlessly extend Privileged Access Management (PAM), today announced its participation at GITEX Global 2023 under the theme ‘Empowering Businesses for Secure Digital Future’. Aligning with its mission of enabling organisations to meet an increasingly complex cybersecurity landscape and stringent requirements from cyber insurance providers, the company will use its GITEX participation to showcase its complete product portfolio and recent innovations, including enhancements to Secret Server, its award-winning vault solution. and to DevOps Secrets Vault. As the volume and sophistication of cyberattacks continues to soar, organisations are increasingly looking for a safety net and in the Middle East, 63% of companies have purchased some form of cyber insurance. However, due to a growing number of claims, insurance providers are becoming more risk averse, introducing more stringent requirements to qualify for cyber insurance while reducing the policy coverage. A recent Delinea survey report found that 47% of US respondents needed to purchase an MFA enforcement solution to meet cyber insurance requirements. “Companies in the Middle East are faced with a double-edge sword,” said Mohammad Ismail, VP Middle East, Africa & Türkiye at Delinea. “They need to protect their digital assets from increasingly sophisticated attacks and demonstrate the maturity and effectiveness of their cybersecurity strategy and infrastructure to insurance providers. At GITEX we will show attendees how the right PAM solutions can help increase their defences against bad actors and negotiate better insurance premiums and coverage.”  Among others, Delinea will present the recently announced enhancements to Secret Server which introduced a new layer of security for highly sensitive accounts with MFA on credentials. Separate from the one at login, this second MFA is extremely flexible in its enforcement and organisations can continue to use their existing authenticator solutions such as the Delinea Mobile App, Yubikey, and other devices using FIDO2 protocols. It will also present the newly updated policy editor to its DevOps Secret Vault which improves the ability for administrators to set more granular access controls for secrets used in code, greatly reducing the time and complexity of setting up secrets management across multiple DevOps teams and ensuring secrets only have the permissions needed for their intended use.  Delinea will also demonstrate how it is extending PAM access across the entire enterprise hybrid infrastructure according to zero-trust and least-privilege best practices with the Delinea Platform.  As it employs a 100% channel-centric strategy in the Middle East, Delinea regards GITEX Global as the optimal platform for emphasising its unwavering dedication to the regional channel ecosystem. “Our partners assume a pivotal role as trusted consultants to our customers, adding immense value with precise solutions to the challenges these businesses face. In keeping with our commitment to our channel, Delinea is making substantial investments in training and empowerment initiatives designed to facilitate partner certification, address deficiencies in cyber skills, and broaden their horizons for business growth. We look forward to welcoming and engaging with both existing and new channel partners at GITEX 2023,” concluded Ismail. Delinea will be present at stand B55 in Hall23.

Khaled Alshehi wins gold in jiu-jitsu at Asian Games

The UAE National Jiu-Jitsu Team, sponsored by Mubadala Investment Company, delivered impressive performances at the ongoing 19th edition of the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, securing four medals, including one gold and three silver, on Thursday, the first day of the jiu-jitsu competitions. During the heated competitions held at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium JJI, UAE athlete Khaled Alshehi gave a strong start to the team with a gold, while Balqees Abdulla, Mohamed Alsuwaidi, and Khalid Alblooshi took home silver. His Excellency Mohamed Salem Al Dhaheri, Deputy Chairman of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation and Head of the Mission to China, dedicated the team’s achievement to the UAE’s wise leadership, the people of the Emirates, and all the partners and sponsors of the Federation. He said, “The people of the UAE had high expectations for the team on the first day, and the team put in great effort, especially since the UAE participated with six athletes. The team performed exceptionally well, with four of them reaching the podium in this competitive tournament featuring participation from champions from all across the continent.” Mubarak Al Menhali, Director of the Technical Department at the UAEJJF, expressed that the competitions were as strong as expected. He noted that having four athletes advance to the final matches in three different weight categories indicates that he anticipates the team’s medal count to increase in the next two days.  He added, “the team spared no effort in their preparation for this tournament. We always hold great expectations because we have immense confidence in our players. Regardless of the achievements we attain, we believe there is always room for improvement, and we maintain strong confidence in their ability to earn more medals in the upcoming days.” The Men -62Kg division saw an all-Emirati final where Khaled Alshehi and Khalid Alblooshi faced off, with Alshehi winning the gold. “After securing the gold at the Asian Championship this year, I made a promise that I would win the gold at the Asian Games. I am glad to have fulfilled my promise, and I will not cease training or rest until I achieve gold at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship next November.” “It is truly an unforgettable moment in my life, filled with overwhelming joy. Tears welled up in my eyes because I had longed for this moment for a long time. I thank God that I have finally reached it. We must always cherish this moment, representing the flag of the country that has given us so much, placing it above all else,” he said. Khalid Alblooshi, the silver medalist in the 62 kg weight category, also credited the UAEJJF for his performance today. He said, “The programmes initiated by the Federation for spreading and developing the sport and creating champions have led to the results we witnessed today. I am proud of today’s achievement, especially since in the final, I competed against my own teammate, Khaled Al Shehhi. When it’s an all-Emirati final, the UAE is the biggest winner.” The fourth medal, a silver, was earned by Balqees Abdulla, who faced Filipino Margarita Ochoa in the 48 kg final. She said, “I had hoped to win the gold, but it was a tough fight, and my opponent was a black belt holder with far more experience on the mat. Nevertheless, it was a valuable experience and has provided me with many lessons that I can carry forward and apply to my performance in upcoming tournaments.”

Emarat, PYXIS sign agreement to transform digital signage advertising in Emarat

Emirates General Petroleum Corporation – Emarat, a prominent provider of high-quality fuel and services to millions of customers in Dubai and the Northern Emirates, has announced an innovative partnership with PYXIS EVENTS LLC, a dynamic 360-degree events and brand management company headquartered in Abu Dhabi and a subsidiary of Palms Sports PJSC. This strategic collaboration represents a significant industry milestone, with PYXIS taking charge of media planning and operation of an extensive network of digital screens situated at Emarat Stations throughout the Emarat network of service stations.Ali Bin Zayed Al Falasi, Senior Manager of Corporate Loyalty – Emarat, said: "We are excited to welcome PYXIS as our media partner for our ambitious digital signage project. In today's digital age, businesses are embracing technological solutions to enhance their operations and services, driving efficiency and productivity. We look forward to collaborating closely with PYXIS to unlock the full potential of Emarat's service stations reach, generating new revenue streams for all stakeholders.”For over 40 years, Emarat has evolved to provide a comprehensive array of products and services. Guided by an unwavering commitment to enhancing customer experiences, Emarat seamlessly combines top-quality offerings with outstanding customer service and robust social and environmental initiatives.Mukhles Odeh, General Manager of PYXIS, expressed his pleasure about the alliance, stating,"This strategic partnership with Emarat will not only expand PYXIS' product portfolio but also empower us to offer comprehensive solutions to our clients. This encompasses resilient and effective digital solutions that invigorate their brands and amplify their strengths."Renowned for its prowess in conceiving and executing creative events across various sectors, PYXIS now adds a contemporary dimension to its portfolio, catering to diverse marketing needs through customized digital solutions. Their expertise spans government, education, medical, retail, and hospitality sectors.This transformative partnership not only promises to redefine advertising but also revolutionizes the way businesses connect with their target audiences.

Saudi Airlines Catering Company is now CATRION

Saudi Airlines Catering Company, a leading Saudi Arabian conglomerate, has announced the unveiling of its new brand identity, CATRION, reflecting its renewed vision of purpose and growth in line with the forward-looking goals of Saudi Vision 2030. The new brand identity marks a significant milestone in the company’s 40-year legacy as CATRION embarks on a new era of expansion on a global level and beyond its core competencies in aviation catering, which currently accounts for 76 percent of its revenues. The company will also embrace new opportunities in retail, healthcare, railways, and integrated facilities management.CATRION's new balanced business approach targets 50 percent revenue contribution from non-aviation activities. This strategic objective will be achieved by seizing growth prospects presented by Vision 2030's Giga projects, as well as actively pursuing mergers and acquisitions.As a key player in the Saudi hospitality and catering sector, Saudi Airlines Catering Company, now CATRION, has evolved over the past four decades to offer an integrated range of services that cater to the specific needs of each Giga project.Under its aviation operations, the company enhanced its capacity to serve 72 million in-flight meals annually and can cater to 320,000 flights as of 2023. Today, CATRION operates 37 airport lounges across Saudi Arabia and served 2 million guests in 2022. CATRION’s transformation as a steadfast partner in the Kingdom’s economic growth led to the expansion of the Catering & Facilities (C&F) division, which generated 21 percent of its revenues in 2022. The company’s non-aviation operations encompass laundry services, religious tourism hospitality, corporate hospitality, and sports/entertainment catering.Mohammed Abdulaziz Al Sarhan, Chairman, CATRION, said: “Our unwavering commitment to innovation has been the hallmark of the continued growth and success of CATRION. The new brand positioning signifies the bold direction we are taking and reflects the company’s energy and dynamism at this exciting point in our evolution. Looking ahead, we aspire to make significant inroads into new sectors to fulfil the mandate of Vision 2030 and contribute to the diversification of the Kingdom’s economy.”Commenting on the new brand identity, Wajdy M. Al-Ghabban, Chief Executive Officer of CATRION, said: "For over 40 years, CATRION has been elevating customer experiences through its commitment to excellence, quality, and attention to detail while continuously diversifying its operations into the Kingdom’s new growth industries. The new identity will further expedite this growth trajectory and accelerate the company’s movement into the future as a proud Saudi brand for the world.”Going forward, CATRION’s core values of reliability, sustainability, and innovation and its commitment to people and all stakeholders across the value chain will continue to power its growth as the company continuously innovates to meet evolving customer needs. Leveraging automation and digitalisation, it aims to increase operational efficiency, strengthen cybersecurity protections, rapidly scale non-aviation offerings, and build competencies of employees to nurture future Saudi leaders.CATRION will also deepen its commitment to sustainability practices and ESG principles and continue expanding its core in-flight catering services and airport lounge network while forging new partnerships and contracts in aviation and non-aviation sectors. CATRION’s new brand identity was unveiled at a launch held on October 4, in the presence of more than 250 guests and industry professionals.

Nutridor expands regional footprint of dairy brand Abevia

Dubai: Nutridor, a leading food and beverage (F&B) company under TGI Group, has launched its first state-of-the-art dairy production facility in the UAE at Dubai Industrial City, part of TECOM Group PJSC.The newly launched facility represents an investment of AED 75 million and will serve demand for Nutridor’s high-quality dairy products under the ‘Abevia’ brand. The new dairy facility has a total built-up area of 100,000 sq.ft. and was developed in less than a year, including the installation of the latest technologies and innovations in dairy manufacturing to ensure that Abevia continues to deliver high-quality products to its customers. The commencement of commercial operations from the factory will double Abevia’s production capacity to 120,000 litres of milk a day.The factory’s inauguration ceremony was attended by distinguished guests including His Excellency Mohammed Mousa Alameeri, Assistant Undersecretary for the Food Diversity Sector at the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE; His Excellency Helal Al Marri, Director-General of Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (Dubai DET); His Excellency Eng. Dawood Abdulrahman Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality; and His Excellency Mohammed Dansanta Rimi, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Embassy of Nigeria in UAE.Also in attendance were Mohammed Al Kamali, COO of Manufacturing & Export Development at Dubai Economic Development Corporation (DEDC); Abdulla Belhoul, CEO of TECOM Group PJSC; Saud Abu Alshawareb, Executive Vice President of Industrial at TECOM Group PJSC; Abdelrahman Al Hosani, Director of Export Service at Dubai DET; Saleh Lootah, Chairman of UAE Food & Beverage Manufacturers (FBMG); and Sankha Biswas, CEO of Nutridor.Commenting at the launch, Mohammed Al Kamali, COO of Manufacturing & Export Development at DEDC, said: “The inauguration of Nutridor’s facility underscores the steadfast support of TECOM Group PJSC and Dubai Industrial City in their commitment to fostering a conducive environment for new ventures, which contributes directly to Dubai’s economic diversification, in line with the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33. As Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism strives to harness the collective support of its stakeholders and partners to drive forward this visionary Agenda to enhance the competitiveness of the emirate’s manufacturing sector, the newly launched state-of-the-art dairy production facility represents a significant initiative and investment, creating an environment that nurtures entrepreneurship, embraces innovation, and catalyses economic expansion. We are committed to supporting similar growth and investment as they are instrumental in shaping Dubai's economic progress and contributing to the sustainable growth of the emirate."The factory will help to deliver value-added dairy products, supporting Nutridor’s goal of reducing import reliance and enhancing its position in the regional F&B sector. Nutridor estimates revenues of AED 110 million from the factory’s operations.Commenting on the new factory on behalf of Dubai Industrial City, Saud Abu Alshawareb, Executive Vice President of Industrial at TECOM Group PJSC, said: “Localising manufacturing activity in the F&B sector is paramount as economic and ecological conditions evolve around the world. It is a critical lever to unlock enhanced food security, economic growth, and positive environmental impact at a global scale.“Nutridor’s factory at Dubai Industrial City is a strategic move towards self-sufficiency in the F&B sector and its geographically strategic location within our district will help to unlock greater nutrition security for local and regional populations, aligning with the goals of the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy 2051. The factory also reiterates Dubai Industrial City’s contribution to government strategies aimed at elevating the manufacturing sector’s GDP contribution, such as Operation 300bn, Make it in the Emirates, and Dubai Economic Agenda ‘D33’. A collaborative and business-friendly ecosystem must be championed to leverage local competencies and export the ‘Made in UAE’ brandmark to new geographies, and Dubai Industrial City remains committed to nurturing this environment.”Local competenciesNutridor has a vast network of operations in the Middle East and Africa region, with customers in over 15 countries, including the GCC nations, Jordan, Lebanon, Angola, Gambia, Ghana, and Senegal. The new Abevia factory at Dubai Industrial City will create over 200 new direct and indirect jobs, underscoring the commitment to nurturing Emirati talent and contributing to D33’s overarching objectives of economic expansion and diversification by Nutridor, which aims to secure In-Country Value (ICV) certification in the UAE in 2023.Commenting on the factory’s launch, Sankha Biswas, CEO of Nutridor said: “This facility represents a pivotal juncture for Nutridor and Abevia that will allow us to manufacture our products locally and fulfil the region’s burgeoning demand for high-quality dairy products.“We are committed to contributing to the food security goals of the UAE. The UAE also has a growing population with an increasing demand for high-quality food products, and we stand as flag bearers for the Make it in Emirates initiative. Abevia is dedicated to meeting the highest standards of quality and safety for its products, adhering to the rigorous standards set by Nutridor, the Dubai Municipality, and the UAE government. We will seek to continually grow and expand our product offerings.”In line with the UAE Net-Zero 2050 strategy, the facility has been designed to ensure zero waste and will use solar power to meet 100,000 kilowatt-hours’ worth of its energy requirements. Its strategic location within Dubai Industrial City – close to Al Maktoum International Airport, Jebel Ali Port, key national highways, and soon, an Etihad Rail freight terminal – will provide greater access to new markets for Abevia. Nutridor is avoiding 8,144 tonnes of carbon emissions – equivalent to removing 1,759 cars from the roads or planting 135,735 trees over a decade – by moving its manufacturing base to the district.Abevia was awarded ‘Superbrands’ status in the UAE in 2022 and 2023 in recognition of its excellence in quality by an independent panel of experts and consumers, making it one of the youngest brands to achieve the recognition. Furthermore, in its pursuit of achieving the highest international standards in the industry, Nutridor also recently received the coveted Food Safety System Certification FSSC 22000, a benchmarked standard of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GMSI).Established in 2004, Dubai Industrial City is one of the region’s largest industrial manufacturing and logistics hubs. It is home to more than 800 customers and 300 operational factories and has been a catalyst for the expansion of the UAE’s industrial sector with a world-class masterplan divided into strategic sector-focused zones, including F&B, that mitigate supply chain inefficiencies and wastage.Dubai Industrial City is part of TECOM Group’s portfolio of 10 business districts, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Production City, Dubai Science Park, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai International Academic City, and Dubai Design District (D3).

Indian actor Allu Arjun to be immortalised at Madame Tussauds Dubai

Dubai: A new wax figure is on the way to Madame Tussauds Dubai later this year, and this news is a red-carpet showstopper! Madame Tussauds Dubai, the world-famous wax attraction, is thrilled to announce the upcoming reveal of the highly anticipated wax figure of Indian cinema’s beloved icon, Allu Arjun.The six-time Filmfare Award winner, three-time Nandi Award winner and recently National Award winner; the first Telugu Actor in 69 years to win this award will be revealing his wax figure at an event at Madame Tussauds Dubai later this year, where the overwhelmingly popular actor will meet his likeness face to face!On getting the news that he had been selected for a wax figure at Madame Tussauds Dubai, Allu Arjun said, “I visited Madame Tussauds in Los Angeles and was blown away by the experience! I can’t believe that now I’ll have a wax figure, I never would have believed it!”Sanaz Kollsrud, General Manager of Madame Tussauds Dubai said,” Allu Arjun is without a doubt the biggest actor from the south of India. What better way to mark his incredible success than by giving the fans what they want – his first ever wax figure! Our artists have been working with Allu on his likeness and we can’t wait to unveil the figure later this year!”Andre Timmins, Director of IIFA (International Film Academy) said, “IIFA as a brand is all about taking Indian Cinema to the world and we are so proud of the addition to this journey we have shared with Madame Tussauds to bring the Indian Cinema stars closer to the fans. As we embark on getting ready to relaunch IIFA Utsavam – A celebration of South Indian Cinema, it is exciting to have one of the biggest and most respected Superstars of the millennium from this industry Allu Arjun, deservedly be the forthcoming star addition to Madame Tussauds Dubai.This legendary Indian actor is known as the ‘King of Dance’ and hails from the south of India. His figure will wear an iconic red jacket which he wore in the iconic boardroom dance scene of his movie Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo. Known for his dynamic performances and unparalleled dance moves, Allu Arjun has captured the hearts of millions of fans across the world, making him the perfect addition to the iconic Madame Tussauds Museum.A ’sitting’, that is a meeting between the celebrity and the artists at Madame Tussauds, took place in Dubai earlier this year. Over 200 measurements were taken, being the normal, detailed process needed to create one of the amazing wax figures.The figure will be placed in the beautiful and interactive Bollywood Zone inside the attraction located on Bluewaters.Follow Madame Tussauds Dubai on social media to keep up to date with the latest news and updates in this exciting reveal!

Dragon Boat Race Series makes its debut at Hudayriyat Island

Are you ready for a wave of excitement? Make a splash at the action-packed Hudayriyat Dragon Boat Race Weekend on Hudayriyat Island, Abu Dhabi’s premier sports and leisure hub developed by Modon Properties. Join the ultimate clash of paddles, set against the stunning backdrop of Marsana’s shores. The 200-meter water races will span six categories: Open, Mixed, Women, Corporate, Community, and Schools/Universities. Within each category, teams will compete in heats, semi-finals, and ultimately the finals. Spectators are welcome.The Hudayriyat Dragon Boat Race Series is one of the signature events of Hudayriyat Sports that reinforces the emirate’s reputation as an international sporting hub and adds yet another unique experience to Hudayriyat Island’s sports calendar. Dragon boat racing, an ancient tradition hailing from China, exemplifies the beauty of embracing diverse cultures, fosters team spirit, and promotes a healthy and active lifestyle. The sport has a well-established presence in the region with a dedicated community of enthusiasts from diverse nationalities, who have cultivated strong connections through numerous national and international events over the years.

Starzplay to showcase Cricket World Cup in MENA region

From October 5 to November 19, Starzplay, the streaming service serving the MENA region, will broadcast the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023. This tournament, in its 13th edition, will feature ten teams, engaging in a round-robin format. The top four teams, including the 2019 champions, England, will advance to the Semi-Finals. Notably, this World Cup is unique as it's the first time India hosts it individually since their last co-hosting in 1987, 1996, and 2011. Furthermore, this is the final time ten teams will compete, as the 2027 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup will expand to include fourteen teams.Evision, the media division of e&, has secured the rights for its CricLife channels, making them the primary cricket broadcast platform in the MENA region. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 will be showcased on CricLife Max and CricLife Max 2, both available for streaming on Starzplay.Starzplay's Chief Operations Officer, Danny Bates, expressed enthusiasm, stating: “The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 is the biggest event of the year, and we are excited to bring this prestigious tournament to fans across MENA. At Starzplay, we are committed to providing our subscribers with a diverse range of world-class sport, and bringing the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup to Starzplay re-enforces that commitment. Our platform has witnessed remarkable viewership with previous ICC tournaments, and we are confident that this year’s Cricket World Cup will be no exception.”Olivier Bramly, CEO at evision, said: “We are committed to delivering the pinnacle of sports and entertainment content, sourced both locally and globally. Our very own CricLife brand that is now the Home of Cricket in MENA region is proud to be the Official Broadcaster for ICC Men’s World Cup and we are elated to bring this to the customers through Starzplay.”

Former Samsung Executive Details Google's Pushback in Antitrust Case

In a significant antitrust trial against Google, a former executive from Samsung Electronics' venture capital arm revealed that pressure from Google hindered the expansion of mobile app developer Branch Metrics' software on Samsung smartphones.Patrick Chang, who formerly worked at Samsung Next, advocated for the integration of Branch Metrics' software into Samsung's Android smartphones. However, he encountered resistance due to concerns raised by Google. Branch Metrics had to limit some of its software functions to address Google's complaints, ensuring that its in-app searches did not link to the web.Chang also highlighted opposition from wireless carriers like AT&T, which sell Android phones and were influenced by Google's dominance.The U.S. Justice Department presented evidence suggesting that Google pays substantial sums, around $10 billion annually, to smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers in exchange for making its software the default option, thereby maintaining its search monopoly.During cross-examination, Google's attorney questioned Chang about whether Samsung's reluctance to adopt Branch's software might also be attributed to its perceived inefficiency, with few users clicking on the links offered by Branch.This testimony occurred during the fourth week of a lengthy trial, during which the Justice Department sought to demonstrate that Google engaged in anticompetitive practices to maintain its search and advertising monopoly. Google contends that its business practices comply with the law.

Yango to showcase cutting-edge innovations and business achievements at GITEX

Yango, an international tech company, is gearing up toparticipate in one of the largest annual technology events globally, GITEX 2023. Beingcommitted to leveraging the power of technology to improve the lives of the customers,Yango will present a brand new service and insights tailored to the MENA region's evolvingdemands.Ride-hailing solutions and global expansionIn the UAE, projections show a significant rise in ride-hailing users, expected to reach 3.25million by 2027. This aligns with the Dubai Urban Plan 2040’s aim to reduce congestion andcreate a ‘20-minute city’. The UAE's commitment to sustainability is evident with 2023 being theYear of Sustainability, and the nation’s ambition to reduce emissions by 40% this year. ForYango, this represents a unique opportunity to support and contribute to the country's goals byoptimising urban mobility, particularly as transportation holds a substantial 24% share of globalcarbon emissions.In just a year, the number of active Yango users globally has tripled, marking a 200% growth andover 150 million rides. These figures emphasise the increasing demand for Yango's innovativeplatform, showcasing its monumental success in over 20 countries, including 12 new marketslaunched within the past year.The GCC region is very important for Yango. The results of successful business in the UAE will bedemonstrated at the exhibition, as well as global plans for further expansion of the company inthe region will be announced. Attendees will also gain insights from panel discussions and aspecial Tech Talk hosted by Adeniyi Adebayo, CBDO, Yango who will deep dive into thetechnology that sets the company apart at “Mobility as a Service x Global Pioneers” panel on 17October 2023.Islam Abdul Karim, General Manager, Yango GCC remarked, "Our presence at GITEX showsYango's commitment to reshaping urban transportation to support this and providing smart citysolutions. We're not merely providing rides; we're integrating advanced technology to craft asafer, more streamlined, and interconnected urban transportation ecosystem. Our globalgrowth, with a tripling of rides and users within a year, underlines our dedication to innovationand our larger vision for the region"A brand new serviceYango, as a tech company that transforms global technologies into everyday services for localenrichment, is planning to demonstrate its strong commitment to innovation in various fieldsand bring to GITEX a brand new service. The new service is designed to open up newopportunities in people's daily lives, bringing-cutting edge technologies to every user.Visit Yango at Hall 14, Stand F40 at GITEX 2023 to experience the cutting-edge solutions thatpower Yango’s model. Visitors can look forward to exclusive giveaways, enticing promo codes,and interactive demos of the brand’s latest devices.

True Color Films' Tom Howell: Pioneering in Middle East production

True Color Films, a prominent Production House based in Switzerland, is renowned worldwide, and it has gained recognition in the Middle East as well. Tom Howell, the Head of Development and Co-owner at True Color Films, has been increasingly focused on the Middle East for many of his commercial projects. In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Tom Howell, Head of development at True Color Films, expressed his fondness for the UAE as an ideal location for shooting and post-production. He also shared his insights on the buzz around Augmented Reality (AR) and whether it's more than just a passing trend. Here are the excerpts:True Color Films has recently shot ads for Red Bull and Discovery in the UAE. Why does the UAE interest you so much?The UAE boasts a highly active media landscape, and it's evident that the industry's power dynamics may increasingly shift towards the region in the years to come. Many talented producers and directors prefer filming in the Middle East due to its reliability in terms of locations and production. It's a vibrant and emerging market that exhibits a willingness to explore new production technologies.What makes the Middle East a perfect destination for production houses?The Middle East offers a significant advantage over many established filming locations: consistent sunshine. The near-guarantee of good weather simplifies shooting schedules and budgeting. As the entertainment industry deals with financial constraints, the trend is to minimize variables by either shooting indoors in studios or in locations that can promise excellent natural light.What campaigns have you undertaken in the UAE?Currently, we haven't executed any global campaigns in the Middle East. However, we often consider shooting commercials in the region due to its abundant and appealing backdrops. We have a network of reliable contacts in the UAE and anticipate filming there in the near future.Does the UAE pose any problems in terms of language, culture, etc.? How do you deal with that?Thus far, we haven't encountered any significant issues when filming in the Middle East. Like in any media market, it's important to consider filming permits and account for cultural and societal differences during pre-production planning. Filming in the UAE might require more complex and time-consuming preparations, but with precise planning, the production generally proceeds smoothly. Submitting storyboards and scripts ensures adherence to the creative direction. Overall, the process is quite manageable.What are the latest trends, such as remote production, you have witnessed? How will technologies like Augmented Reality change the dynamics of the industry?We must wait and assess the global adoption of Augmented Reality (AR) to determine whether it's more than just a fleeting trend in the industry. In the past, the excitement around technologies like 3D quickly faded. The real transformative shift may emerge from LED virtual production studios, which can offer virtually any background a rendering engine can create. This could significantly reduce costs and maximize shooting time on set.What are your future plans, and what are your growth projections for the next two years?True Color Films is in the early stages of its journey. We have a dedicated team that values creativity and storytelling above all. In addition to our production team, we offer post-production services, including editing, colour grading, sound design, and a 3D artist with an Academy Award. Our goal for the next few years is to expand our client network and freelancer base. If you'd like to see our latest work,

Amsaan Accessible Tours to Showcase Inclusive Travel Tech with Dubai Tourism

In a step to foster inclusive global travel, Amsaan Accessible Tours (AAT)has announced its participation in AccessAbilities Expo 2023, the largest event in the MENASA regionthat amplifies the voices, needs, and aspirations of People of Determination. This expo, supported byregional Government Authorities, is held from October 9 to 11 at the Dubai World Trade Centre andhighlights the UAE's commitment to becoming the world’s most inclusive and accessible destination.AccessAbilities Expo 2023 champions inclusivity for the 50 million-plus People of Determination in theMiddle East, promoting learning, networking, and emerging as a hub for accessibility technologies. Beingan active participant alongside the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) in Dubai, AAT is utilisingthis platform to raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by Deaf travellers – fromcommunication barriers to safety concerns – and how these challenges can be transformed intoinclusive travel experiences.Visitors will see informative videos, featuring content in both International and Arabic Sign Language,offering a vivid, visual exposition of Amsaan's offerings accessible to all. With a dedicated Deafrepresentative stationed at the booth, the company aims to directly engage with the Deaf communityand their families to customise their technological solutions in tourism, form networks for collaborationand forge accessibility advocacy. This endeavour aligns with the vision of the UAE government and H.H.Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of DubaiAirports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, to make the UAE one of themost inclusive destinations in the world.The UAE government''s active involvement in AccessAbilities Expo 2023 emphasizes its resolve to makethe nation a beacon for accessibility and inclusiveness. Consistently ranked among the top 10 globaltourist destinations, the UAE aims to inject AED 450 bn into its GDP through the National TourismStrategy 2031, showing the need to prioritise inclusion to reach this goal.Vitalii Mykhalchuk, Director of IT solutions for DEAF at AAT stated: "In the spirit of seamless,uninhibited travel for all, we are here to demonstrate that the world can be explored without limitations,even the 1.5 billion people worldwide whose daily life is affected by hearing loss. Our participation in theAccessAbilities Expo 2023 not only embodies our unwavering commitment to this mission but also standsas a testament to our innovative approach to uplifting and empowering the Deaf community in theirglobal explorations.”Laura Sapega, a Deaf partner of AAT from the UK, attests to the transformational impact of AAT’sservices, “Traveling with Amsaan has not just been a journey through destinations but throughexperiences, cultures, and unbridled adventures, unmarred by the traditional barriers we, the Deafcommunity, have faced. It’s a liberating and empathic stride towards global exploration that speaks ourlanguage – Sign Language.”Visit the Dubai Tourism stand, 6000, at AccessAbilities Expo 2023 to find out more about theirpioneering efforts in inclusive travel.

Snap shuts down its Augmented Reality services

Snap Inc., a prominent technology company, has announced the closure of its ARES (AR Enterprise Service) unit, a division dedicated to developing augmented reality (AR) services tailored for businesses. ARES, inaugurated in March of this year, offered a variety of tools for brands, including a Shopping Suite that provided AR try-on features, a 3D viewer for examining products from different angles, fit and sizing recommendation technologies, and an enterprise manager for hosting and managing all digital assets.This closure was divulged through an internal memo from Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, wherein he cited the proliferation of AI tools that influenced Snap’s competitive edge. Spiegel highlighted the emergence of generative AI, which has simplified the creation of try-on experiences for companies of all sizes, thereby challenging Snap’s ability to distinguish its offerings. He also emphasized the strategic shift towards a heavier investment in web tools over mobile technology, referring to the latter as “technically complex and less engaging for our customers.”The shutdown will unfortunately leave 170 employees without jobs, with only a select few potentially being rehired for other roles in different departments, such as CameraKit and Sponsored AR advertising. Despite this setback, Snap maintains a robust user engagement in its AR experiences, with 250 million people interacting with them daily.This decision arrives amidst a period of declining revenue for Snap. The company witnessed its first revenue dip as a public company in Q1. Nevertheless, Snap has seen growth in its daily active users, with a 14% year-over-year increase to 397 million in the second quarter and recently celebrated surpassing 5 million subscribers for Snapchat.In the memo, Spiegel expressed his gratitude towards the AR Enterprise team: “Creating a new business is a monumental challenge, and while shutting it down is incredibly painful, it’s the willingness to take risks and innovate that propels the world forward. The bravery and resilience of our AR Enterprise team embody much of what I adore about Snap, and it is regrettable that this venture did not unfold as we anticipated. Leading in augmented reality occasionally means encountering failure, but I am proud of our team's daring spirit to build this business, even if success eluded us.”

Visit Dubai and Real Madrid announce landmark global partnership

Visit Dubai and Real Madrid Club de Fútbol, two leading brands with joint values, ambitions and a dedication to excellence and innovation, have kicked-off a landmark collaboration. The multi-year agreement promises a range of exciting activations, special fan moments and unique experiences for Dubai and Real Madrid fans. The newly formed alliance will equally serve as a powerhouse platform to create new growth opportunities for both institutions, and support Dubai’s ambitious plans as part of its recently announced Dubai Economic Agenda – D33. Being at the forefront of global sports entertainment with the world’s greatest club aligns perfectly with Dubai’s ambitious plans to consolidate its position among the top three global cities. Launching this October, the partnership encompasses both Real Madrid's First Men and Women Football Teams, and brings a taste of Dubai to Santiago Bernabéu, offering fans unforgettable experiences and services of the highest standards. Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), and Florentino Perez, President of Real Madrid Club de Fútbol formalised the partnership during an official ceremony at the legendary Sala de Juntas in Ciudad Real Madrid, in the presence of Jose Angel Sanchez, Chief Executive Officer of the club, and Emilio Butragueño, Real Madrid legend and Director of Institutional Relations. Emilio Butragueño, Director of Institutional Relations of Real Madrid, commented: "We are very proud of this new partnership with Visit Dubai as the Club's first Official Destination Partner. Dubai is a destination that strives for excellence in all its entertainment offerings, which is a value shared by the Club. We are delighted to bring this exciting tourist destination to our millions of Madridistas around the world." Issam Kazim, CEO of DCTCM, commented: “We are excited to begin our journey with Real Madrid as a global partner. This game-changing collaboration between Dubai and the greatest club in the world is built upon a shared vision and values, where every achievement serves as motivation to pursue new heights. With our aim to consolidate Dubai’s position among the top three global cities, this strategic alliance will harness the strengths of a leading destination and the world’s most celebrated team, to reaffirm Dubai globally as the best city to visit, live, and work in.” Dubai’s strong public and private sector relations are at the heart of its success, and this new collaboration with Real Madrid further builds on a longstanding partnership that Emirates has cemented since 2011. It is also perfectly timed for the upcoming Real Madrid themed-park, at Dubai Parks and Resorts, the largest theme park destination in the Middle East, which will further expand the city’s diverse destination proposition. The park, which will be the world’s first Real Madrid themed-park, will feature a number of Real Madrid-related attractions, such as a museum, amusement rides and football skill games, as well as food and beverage outlets, and retail spaces selling official Real Madrid products. Kazim added: “Driven by our mutual dedication to excellence, leadership, talent, and innovation, we look forward to enjoy great success together, and showcasing Dubai and Real Madrid’s winning spirit to the world.”

Radix Media adds M&S and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank to its portfolio

Radix Media, a leading digital marketing agency in Dubai, has added Marks & Spencer and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) as its new clients to its portfolio. Adding such prominent brands to its roster is surely a key moment in the company’s growth, highlighting its dedication to innovative solutions and bespoke brand strategies that connect with a diverse audience.Marks & Spencer, a well known retail brand, has a strong presence in the Middle East. Katherine Dempsey, Marketing Head at Marks & Spencer, said: “The Radix team has brought a revived energy and passion to the Marks & Spencer account across the Middle East. Offering insightful knowledge and understanding of the landscape across the regions, new ideas and different ways to bring the brand to life and reach our customers.” She further added: “We look forward to continuing to work with the team and deliver more impactful and innovative campaigns.” Forming a partnership with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) marks another important step for Radix Media. Inas Abou Salem, Global Head of Marketing Communications and Branding at ADIB, said: “One of the key success factors was the ability of Radix to listen, to learn, to advise, and to share new ideas that work for the ADIB brand ensuring authenticity.”Additionally, Mohan Nambiar, CEO at Radix Media, said: “Our collaborations with such distinguished brands as Marks & Spencer and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank mark a significant milestone in our journey. At Radix, we strive to create a synergy of innovation and authenticity, crafting tailored digital narratives that resonate with diverse audiences. These partnerships are a testament to our commitment to pushing the boundaries of digital communication and marketing, and we are excited about the boundless possibilities ahead.”

Warner Music invests in Dubai talent agency HuManagement

Warner Music has made a strategic investment in HuManagement, the Dubai-based talent management agency which operates across various creative domains, such as music, film, television, sports, digital media, and marketing.  This new partnership entails a comprehensive A&R scouting agreement, as well as opportunities for marketing and branding.This arrangement enables Warner Music to identify and promote promising artists, potentially integrating them into its vast global network. HuManagement, known for its proficiency in marketing, public relations, tailored social media strategies, and branding, will offer its expertise to enhance the development and promotion of artists within Warner Music's roster.The agency's extensive portfolio includes over 300 creators and houses the most in-demand artists in the region.The two companies have already enjoyed successful collaborations, notably with Saudi sensation Dalia Mubarak and the iconic Lebanese singer and TV personality, Maya Diab. These artists were initially discovered through HuManagement's curation process and subsequently joined the Warner Music family.In 2022, Warner Music acquired Dubai-based distributor Qanawat Music. Furthermore, they launched a joint-venture label in early 2023 in collaboration with Five Hotel and Resorts, another Dubai-based entity.“As we continue to grow our operations in the Middle East and establish ourselves as market leaders, it’s imperative that we offer our artists an unrivalled service. By partnering with HuManagement, we are further enhancing the value we can provide to our roster and can guarantee them rounded end-to-end support, for the likes of live shows, sponsorships and brand developments,” said Alfonso Perez-Soto, President, Emerging Markets, Warner Music. Humanagement co-founder Hady Hajjar said: “We believe this collaboration will usher in a new wave of innovation, creativity, and unprecedented opportunities for the music and talent industry in the MENA region”.Ahmed Nureni, General Manager, Warner Music Middle East, said: “HuManagement has an incredible relationship with the Middle East’s most exciting artists and through this partnership we will have access to them early on in their careers.”Humanagement co-founder Tarek Abou Jaoude said: “Together with Warner Music, we are poised to amplify the voices of our region’s exceptional artists and creators, setting the stage for a transformative era of cultural exchange and artistic excellence.”

Saudi Jisr closes a $30mln investment round by Merak Capital

Jisr, the largest platform for digitizing human resources operations in Saudi Arabia, has closed an investment round worth 30 million US dollars (112.5 million SR). This marks the largest Series A investment round for a Software as a Service (SaaS) company in the Middle East. The deal was done by Merak Capital, a leading investment firm focused on technology opportunities across multiple stages and industries.This investment underscores the investors' high level of confidence in Jisr's growth and its commitment to advancing modern HR technology, expanding its product offerings, and supporting organizations in optimizing their human capital.Jisr, founded in 2016, stands as the first Saudi human resources management platform, supporting over 3,000 clients with 350,000 registered employees. Jisr caters to 16 sectors and operates from its offices in Riyadh and Hadhramaut.Jisr's HR technology system is a game-changer in the Middle East and North Africa. It combines all HR operations into one platform, helping organizations grow and innovate by providing the necessary tools to make the most of HR technology.Abdullah Altamami, the Partner and CEO of Merak Capital, shared his thoughts on this investment round, saying, "We at Merak Capital are delighted to invest 112.5 million Saudi Riyal (30 million US dollars) in Jisr, which is one of the largest SaaS companies that has truly evolved within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Today, Jisr serves over 3,000 clients and manages payroll transactions exceeding 10 billion Riyals across various industries, including government, semi-government, or private sectors."He continued, "With the deep expertise and strong vision of the founder Mohammed Akkar Al-Johi and his executive management team, Jisr has established itself as the leader of its market, and we believe it is in the process of creating a major leap in the digitization of human resources in Saudi Arabia by creating the definitive workforce management platform with expanding robust local integrations."Mohammed Akkar Al-Johi, Founder and CEO of Jisr, stated, "At Jisr, we are dedicated to helping organizations manage their most valuable assets through digital transformation. With a track record of supporting over 3,000 organizations in managing their human capital. Today, many organizations use multiple platforms for HR management. Our vision from the start has been to bring all these systems together into one unified platform."He continued, "Through Merak's investment in Jisr, our goal is to advance the modern HR technology system. We aim to achieve this by developing products that enhance every aspect of HR operations, from recruitment and management to payroll processing, all seamlessly integrated with various platforms. This partnership with Merak will enable us to build this advanced HR technology system. Our main goal is to make it simpler for organizations to recruit, develop their workforce, ensure wage protection, and beyond.”Jisr has positioned itself in a rapidly changing world as a trusted partner for leading companies in the Kingdom aspiring to digitize human resources. They aim to evolve the concept from merely a workforce management system to a modern technical platform that seeks to bring about a revolutionary change in human resources operations.

Steve Madden announces first online store in the Middle East

Apparel Group, a leading fashion and lifestyle retail powerhouse, in fashion and lifestyle industry, is proud to announce that Steve Madden, one of America’s most popular Fashion Lifestyle Brands, enhanced its omnichannel experience in UAE by unveiling its new e-commerce website,, earlier this year. With the launch of this exciting retail platform, consumers can shop for more than 800 Steve Madden products – including shoes, bags, and accessories – available online, anywhere, anytime. This launch marks a significant milestone for the GCC market: The new will be a vital extension of the brand’s retail presence in the region. There are currently 29 Steve Madden brick-and-mortar stores in the market. The platform serves the UAE and will roll out to other GCC countries by Q4 of 2023. As a critical player in the fashion industry, Apparel Group and Steve Madden are committed to bringing the latest trends and fashion-forward designs to its consumers worldwide through its physical stores and online platforms, offering a first-class digital retail experience. With the launch of the UAE e-commerce platform, consumers can also look forward to exclusive online-only styles. “We are proud to continue Steve Madden’s expansion in the Middle East,” said Steve Madden, Founder, Creative & Design Chief. “Witnessing the launch of our website is a testament to not only our growth and success but commitment to the international markets. We are excited to bring our vision and brand to consumers in the UAE via a new avenue for them to shop.”Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group, commented, “Our strategic partnership with Steve Madden stems from a shared vision of innovation and market leadership. The platform is more than just an e-commerce platform; it's a carefully crafted digital strategy designed to meet the sophisticated demands of Middle Eastern consumers. As we move forward, our integrated approach ensures that we are not only responsive but also proactive in shaping the retail landscape of the region. The synergy between Apparel Group and Steve Madden will undeniably set new industry benchmarks and pave the way for transformative growth."Most recently, the brand launched its Fall ’23 collection in the region. More than anyone, Steve Madden understands the art of a seasonal refresh. The campaign’s all-inclusive assortment was spotlighted by the art of simplicity, creating a showcase for the objects of our desire, defined by mesmerizing moments with unconventional styling. Effortless beauty meets authentic grit through a collection of shoes and apparel that make your mood easy to complete. By evolving with its creative strategy, the brand has met consumer demands across the board and expanded its footwear, handbags, and accessory categories.The online store will offer current best sellers such as Recoupe, Protégé, Possession, Decore sneakers, and Bonkers and Throwback sandals. With the new website, UAE has joined the more than 80 countries worldwide where Steve Madden is available.

Zain KSA achieves business continuity and information security ISO certification

Zain KSA has achieved ISO 22301 certification for Business Continuity Management Systems and ISO/IEC 27001 certification for Information Security. These dual ISO certifications underscore Zain KSA's unwavering commitment to implementing robust risk management and information security practices in line with the standards and governance mechanisms set by the National Cybersecurity Authority, and the international standards ISO 22301:2019 and ISO/IEC 27001:2013. By meeting these benchmarks, Zain KSA demonstrates its dedication to meticulously tracking and mitigating material risks, aiming to uphold the highest standards of information security while bolstering its commitment to seamless business continuity.Commenting on this milestone, Eng. Fawaz Al-Homoud, Zain KSA’s Vice President of Enterprise Risk and Information Security, stated: “At Zain KSA, we are dedicated to safeguarding our innovations, fostering growth, and maintaining a cutting-edge technical infrastructure. To this end, we integrate world-class security standards and protections to ensure seamless business continuity, eliminating threats or potential risks while ensuring the highest level of preparedness. Our recent achievement of securing double ISO certificates underscores our steadfast commitment to maintaining a robust Information Security Management System (ISMS). We consistently implement, monitor, and maintain the ISMS, encompassing cybersecurity, IT operations, personnel affairs, and procurement. This comprehensive approach is designed to systematically and effectively safeguard the company's data and minimize information security risks. By adhering to a defined set of best practices, Zain KSA is committed to keeping pace with the Kingdom's rapid advancements under Saudi Vision 2030, championing and safeguarding the nationwide digital transformation to ensure long-term sustainability and resilience against various cyber threats.”Zain KSA has previously obtained ISO 27017 and ISO 27018, part of the ISO 27001 ISMS set of certificates that focus on security management for cloud computing service providers.

Calibrate Commerce launches 'Calibrate Labs' to fuel next generation of business

Calibrate Commerce, driven by its mission to foster and grow the digital commerce ecosystem, today marks a pivotal moment in the e-commerce sector as it unveils Calibrate Labs, a forward-looking incubator to actively shape and propel the future of digital commerce. The initiative invites entrepreneurs to join hands with Calibrate Commerce to not only witness a meticulous assessment of their ideas' feasibility but will be guided through the journey of building a minimum viable product, launching it into the market, finding the product-market fit, and scaling it successfully.Calibrate Commerce was founded on the principle of enabling emerging brands to seize the full potential of the digital landscape. Currently, 70% of the new entrants in the e-commerce landscape are individual sellers, and emerging SMBs that require end-to-end solutions from go-to-market to customer activation. According to market research, around 90% of SMEs in Dubai that deploy e-commerce for business, have a revenue contribution of less than 25% stemming from e-commerce sales, which is much lower than the benchmark average of 40% that SMEs in the APAC region can derive.Nagham Akileh, GM at Calibrate Commerce pointed out that the company was set up because they recognised that the power to change and influence the digital commerce space lies in end-to-end solutions and investment in next-gen technologies.She said, "There is a wide gap in access to industry knowledge, best practices and forward-looking yet pragmatic solutions for emerging brands. Not every entrepreneur can afford a full in-house team with extensive experience to cut through the complexity of growing their brand and sales revenue. This expertise is so critical to their success, and it's where we come in. Our specialist teams have decades of collective experience across e-commerce, marketing, creative, and technology that emerging brands can tap into and amplify their growth."Calibrate Commerce is already working with eight D2C (direct-to-consumer) brands across various categories to amplify their growth, with the most recent wins being TyresOnline, MADrewards, Nabataty and Doozy Insurance.Akileh pointed out that Calibrate Labs is the company’s way of growing the e-commerce ecosystem by bringing niche startup ideas to fruition with a hands-on approach. “We enable entrepreneurs through our expertise while alleviating some of the risks involved in building a business. We believe it is necessary to embed ourselves within the ecosystem and invest in and nurture innovative ideas that address gaps in the market and add value to consumers."Calibrate Commerce brings a unique blend of industry know-how, entrepreneurial spirit, and innovative thinking – a trinity that promises unparalleled results for those who opt to work with Calibrate. The company just launched a Creator Discovery platform, Clout Scout and has a few other niche retail projects in development.

Dubai International Chamber opens representative office in the Netherlands

Dubai International Chamber, one of the three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, has inaugurated its fourth European office in the Netherlands, bringing its total number of international offices to 25. Located in the capital city of Amsterdam, the new office will further strengthen economic and trade ties between Dubai and the Netherlands.The strategic move comes as part of the ‘Dubai Global’ initiative, which seeks to attract new business, investment, and talent to the emirate while enabling Dubai-based companies to expand into priority international markets. Launched by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, Dubai Global aims to establish a powerful network of 50 representative offices around the world by 2030.The office was officially inaugurated yesterday evening during a special ceremony in Amsterdam with the participation of Ali Rashed Alshehhi, Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the United Arab Emirates to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Salem Al Shamsi, Vice President of Global Markets at Dubai Chambers, together with distinguished representatives of the Dutch business community.Commenting on the inauguration, Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, said: “The launch of our fourth office in Europe represents another important step in achieving our strategic priorities. We are continuing to make steady progress in strengthening our international reach and consolidating Dubai's position on the global stage. Our Amsterdam office will play a key role in enabling Dubai-based companies to successfully expand into key European markets, attracting foreign direct investment, and promoting the growth of bilateral trade in line with the wise leadership’s economic ambitions.”According to Dubai Customs statistics, the value of non-oil bilateral trade between Dubai and the Netherlands reached around AED 11.5 billion in 2022. A total of 236 Dutch companies registered as members of Dubai Chamber of Commerce during the first eight months of 2023 alone, bringing the total number of members from the Netherlands to 1,520. This represents an impressive increase of 35% compared to the same period in 2022, underlining the strong interest in Dubai among the Dutch business community.The launch of the Amsterdam office will play a key role in boosting bilateral trade between Dubai and the Netherlands in high-potential sectors including fruits and vegetables; textiles; antiques and artistic products; perfumes and cosmetics; and medical equipment. The chamber has also identified promising opportunities for mutual investments in areas such as agribusiness, chemical products, and the creative industries.The new office will showcase Dubai’s competitive advantages and provide focused on-ground support to Dutch companies seeking to enter the emirate and expand into the Middle East and beyond. The Dubai International Chamber team in Amsterdam will focus on building strong relationships with key public and private sector stakeholders, as well as assisting Dubai-based companies to expand into the Netherlands by connecting them with potential partners that can help them access the European market and scale their operations.Dubai’s strategic location and world-class logistics facilities have established the emirate as a preferred trade hub for Dutch companies with global ambitions. Offering easy access to over 2.2 billion consumers, the emirate serves as a gateway for businesses in the Netherlands and the wider European continent looking to expand their international footprints.

Saudi IT decision-makers consider automation of networking solutions crucial

Juniper Networks, a leader in secure, AI-driven networks, today announced the findings of a survey based in Saudi Arabia examining the understanding of the experience economy among IT decision makers and enterprise employees. The research also considers the strategic influence of the experience economy on future IT investments and gauges the level of digital readiness among organisations in the context of the Digital Economy Policy of Saudi Arabia.The experience economy refers to an economic model where public and private sector organisations shift their focus from selling products or services to offering and monetising memorable and transformative experiences for their customers.The new research, conducted by Censuswide* on Juniper’s behalf, surveyed 304 IT decision makers with over 500 employees across the government, education, retail, oil/ gas, healthcare, travel and transport and manufacturing & utilities sectors of the UAE and KSA’s economies. The IT respondents are directly involved in executing their organisation’s digitisation efforts, technology investment plans and talent development.The research highlights that 45 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia think their organisation's C-level leadership does have a thorough understanding of the experience economy concept. Additionally, 83 percent of respondents agree[1] that their organisation is already capitalising on the experience economy.Within this context, the findings provide insights into three key themes: digital maturity, value of an intelligent network, AI-driven talent and skilling.Digital Maturity vs. Challenges to Digitisation:Categorising organisations into relative levels of digital transformation, 37 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia consider their organisation to be a leader in digital transformation. In comparison, only nine percent think their organisation is a digital laggard. Bearing in mind IT investment is a major boost for an organisation on its digital journey, 33 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia said that their organisation has already invested in capable IT infrastructure to deliver optimised, personalised experiences to employees and customers. A further 52 percent said their organisation is currently investing in capable IT infrastructure, highlighting the importance of the network in driving successful digital transformation.While these numbers indicate the level of appetite among organisations in Saudi Arabia for digital transformation and the experience economy, surprisingly, it is peer pressure and a fear of being left behind that appear to be a key driver in many people’s minds. As highlighted by 53 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia, the driving factor for the uptake within their organisations is benchmarking competitors and peers performing better at digitisation.  While the level of digital maturity and capable IT infrastructure appears to be in place for most organisations, challenges to delivering digital experiences that matter to customers still exist. Additionally, the research found that 32 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia highlighted lack of digital strategy and planning as their primary challenge, followed by budget constraints (29 percent) and buy-in from the C-level leadership (21 percent).The Value of Investing in an Intelligent Network:While organisations are investing in agile IT infrastructures to deliver on the promise of enhanced products and services, the role of intelligent networking solutions has taken center-stage in this conversation across the board. Laying emphasis on capitalisation of the experience economy, 99 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia feel their C-level leadership considers the network to be critically important/important. However, in an effort to demand more from networking solutions, 99 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia believe automation of networks is critically important/important to lead in the experience economy.The experience economy has also impacted workplace trends that are further shaping how organisations work and operate. As the workforce adapts to new and flexible modes of work, 87 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia strongly agree/somewhat agree that their organisation’s networking strategies need to be elevated to keep pace with hybrid or remote work models. Adding to that, 88 percent strongly agree/somewhat agree that leveraging the 5G network is essential to accelerate the experience for employees and customers.Talent and Skill Building Mandates in the Artificial Intelligence Era:Almost all (96 percent[2]) of respondents in Saudi Arabia feel AI, Analytics and Cloud play a positive role in their organisation, and these areas are considered to be enablers of better digital user experiences and business efficiency.However, an AI-powered future requires adaptability, which can only be achieved through skill building. Nevertheless, continuing the positive perceptions, 96 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia agree that their IT team members are mostly skilled/completely skilled to leverage AI-driven networking solutions. “While Dynamic technology trends shape industries, and it is evident from our research findings that organisations in Saudi Arabia are keen to step up their digitisation efforts to capitalise on the experience economy. Two key factors that can drive them forward on this journey are robust, intelligent AI-driven networking solutions and building efficient IT skill sets. Hand in hand, both these factors can support IT decision makers and the workforce to elevate operational capabilities to keep up with the pace of an experience-led market. Overall, this also correlates to goals of the Digital Economy Policy of Saudi Arabia that center on advancing digital transformation,” said Yarob Sakhnini (pictured above), Vice President, Emerging Markets, EMEA at Juniper Networks.

NKN Media, India Today Group honour Indian entrepreneurs in UAE

‘Icons of the UAE,’ an exclusive award ceremony hosted by NKN Media and India Today Group, brought together 16 outstanding Indian entrepreneurs based in the UAE to recognise their impact on the UAE’s business landscape and community. The ceremony occurred at Taj Exotica, the Palm, Dubai, on September 27, with Dr. Shashi Tharoor as the esteemed guest of honour.Dr. Shashi Tharoor, a prominent Indian politician, diplomat, and acclaimed author, expressed with heartfelt appreciation, "Though NRI traditionally signifies 'Non-Resident Indian,' in my view, they equally embody the essence of being the 'National Reserve of India. Their remarkable journeys inspire everyone, especially Indians worldwide, reflecting their enduring impact and unwavering passion.”The event also featured India Today’s leading anchors, including Rajdeep Sardesai, Sweta Singh, Anjana Om Kashyap, and Nabila Jamal, who brought their insightful perspectives and engaging presence to the occasion.The brilliant list of awardees included Paras Shahdadpuri, Chairman of Nikai Group of Companies; Rizwan Sajan, Chairman and Founder of Danube Group; Dr.Dhananjay Datar, Chairman and Managing Director of Adil Trading Company; Naresh Kumar Bhawnani, Group Founder & Chairman of Westzone; Dr. Thumbay Moideen, Founder and President of Thumbay Group; Prashant Goenka, Director of Emami; Dr. KP Hussain, Chairman and Managing Director of Fathima Healthcare Group and Yogesh Mehta, CEO of Petrochem Middle East.The award ceremony continued with honouring Praveen Sharma, Founder and CEO of Meteora Developers; Abdulla Ajmal, CEO of Ajmal Group; Ankur Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of Bricks N Woods; Madhur Kakkar, Executive Director of Century Financial and Partner at Quantl AI; Nasir Syed, Founder and Chairman of CHS Group; Jamsheer Poozhithara, Director of Scribe Management Consultancy and Managing Partner at Global Chartered Accountants; Harsh Patel, Founder and Global CEO of Water and Shark; and Ravinder Soni, Founder and CEO of BlueChip Group of Companies.Dr. Bu Abdullah, Chairman of Bu Abdullah Group, received a special award for 'The Rising Emirati businessman of the Year'.In addition to the celebrations, Abdul Majid Khan, CEO of NKN Media, remarked, "Thanks to the immense success of the premiere season, NKN media and India Today Group are launching season 2 that will proudly feature the journeys of 20 visionary leaders, recognising their impact on UAE’s business landscape and community.”Viewers can experience the remarkable narratives of these iconic figures through 30-minute episodes airing on India Today and Aaj Tak, starting this October.

Google Faces Tough Questions on Ad Pricing Practices Amid Antitrust Trial

In a pivotal moment during the ongoing antitrust trial in Washington, a lawyer for the US Justice Department grilled Google executive Adam Juda on the search and advertising giant's pricing practices in the online advertising industry.The Justice Department has accused Google of manipulating the multibillion-dollar online advertising auctions to favor its own financial interests, and this trial is seen as a once-in-a-generation event that could reshape the tech industry.Juda testified that Google uses a formula, which considers ad quality, to determine the winners of advertising auctions on websites. However, the Justice Department alleges that Google has used these formulas to unfairly influence pricing in its favor.During questioning, Justice Department attorney David Dahlquist confronted Juda with a document prepared for the European Union in which Google admitted it could "directly affect pricing through tunings of our auction mechanisms." Juda denied agreement with this statement.Juda explained that one aspect that can be "tuned" is a formula that assigns a long-term value (LTV) to an ad based on factors like the bid amount, potential click-through rate, and ad and website quality.Dahlquist asked Juda if Google had made changes to ad sales that increased the cost-per-click for advertisers. Juda acknowledged this possibility.However, Google's attorney, Wendy Waszmer, later questioned Juda about whether his ad quality team could unilaterally raise prices. Juda responded with a firm "No."Google's advertising practices have faced scrutiny for a lack of transparency, with both advertisers and website publishers accusing the company of retaining an excessive share of revenue.This focus on advertising pricing marks a shift in the trial's proceedings, which previously concentrated on Google's expenditures to maintain its search engine as the default on various devices.The outcome of this trial could have significant ramifications for the tech industry, potentially leading to regulatory changes and shifts in the competitive landscape.

Lavazza announced as the official coffee partner of Dubai Fashion Week

Dubai: Lavazza, the internationally renowned family-owned Italian coffee company, is proud to announce its partnership as the Official Coffee Partner of Dubai Fashion Week.Dubai Fashion Week, a prestigious event on the international fashion calendar, takes its place alongside renowned fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan, and Paris. It serves as a platform to showcase Dubai's creativity and excellence in fashion to a global audience. One of the highlights of this partnership is the unveiling of 'The Lavazza Lounge'. This exclusive lounge will welcome guests to indulge in a wide range of coffee experiences. The menu at The Lavazza Lounge will feature a blend of classic coffees and Coffeetails (coffee cocktails), along with signature exclusive recipes from Lavazza's "coffee design" range. These elaborate coffee creations have been meticulously developed by Lavazza's innovation center in Italy and are exclusively available at Lavazza's flagship stores.Speaking about the partnership, Sara Yousef, MEA Marketing Manager at Lavazza Group, said; "We are truly excited to partner with Dubai Fashion Week, a platform that shares our commitment to excellence and innovation. Lavazza has a long history of celebrating the art of coffee, and we see this collaboration as an opportunity to blend the worlds of fashion and coffee, creating a memorable experience for all attendees. We look forward to welcoming guests to 'The Lavazza Lounge' and offering them a taste of authentic Italian coffee as they enjoy the creative energy of Dubai Fashion Week."Lavazza's presence at Dubai Fashion Week underscores the brand's dedication to offering the most premium coffee globally and builds upon its successful campaigns and collaborations during Milan and London fashion weeks. Lavazza is excited to bring its passion for excellence and innovation to the heart of Dubai. Lavazza’s commitment to promoting art and culture is evident in its annual calendars: since 1993, the iconic Lavazza Calendar has been visually encapsulating the philosophy and identity of the brand through contributions from big names such as Helmut Newton, David LaChapelle, Annie Leibovitz, Elliott Erwitt, and Erwin Olaf.Lavazza, founded in 1895 by Luigi Lavazza, has revolutionized the world of coffee with its innovative blends. From a single store in the historical center of Turin, Lavazza has grown to become one of the largest coffee companies in the world, operating in over 140 countries.Lavazza looks forward to developing its partnership with Dubai Fashion Week, where the worlds of coffee and fashion come together to create a truly memorable experience for all attendees.

Registration for Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu championship hits 90%

The organising committee for the fifteenth edition of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship, scheduled to take place from November 1 to 10, has announced that registrations have already reached 90%, a month before the start of the competitions.The championship, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, will be hosted at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City from November 1 to 10. It will feature more than 6,000 male and female athletes from more than 100 countries.The organizing committee confirmed that the high registration rates are a strong indicator that the number of participating athletes will soon reach full capacity within the next few days. They have urged those wishing to join the ranks of the participants to register as soon as possible to avoid being placed on waiting lists.His Excellency Yousef Al Batran, Board Member of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation, said, “ADWPJJC draws strong interest from the best professional players in the world, as evidenced by the high demand for participation in all categories and weight classes. Champions are coming to Abu Dhabi with the goal of achieving top rankings and winning the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Awards, the most coveted international award in the sport.”“ADWPJJC is entering a new era of brilliance and distinction, and we take pride in the exceptional success of this tournament over the past fourteen years. There is no doubt that the increasing interest in the tournament will solidify Abu Dhabi’s position as a global hub for jiu-jitsu, the premier destination for international stars, the primary driver of the sport’s growth, and a catalyst for its rising popularity worldwide.”Al Batran noted that the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation will continue its efforts to organise tournaments that meet international standards, aiming to develop the sport in line with best practices.His Excellency further added that ADWPJJC continues to provide an ideal platform for both local and professional players to launch their journeys towards winning the most prestigious world titles. This aligns with the Federation’s goals of expanding the sport’s scope and reach, strengthening the practitioner base, and attracting elite stars to the ‘world capital of jiu-jitsu.’

Continental tires welcomes Juan Uruburu Alonso as new Managing Director of Saudi

Jeddah: Continental tires proud to announce the appointment of Mr. Juan Uruburu as its new managing director. Mr. Uruburu brings a distinguished career with Continental and a rich understanding of the Middle East and Saudi Arabian markets to his new role, making him a valuable addition to company’s leadership team.Mr. Uruburu’s journey in Continental began in Madrid, Spain in 2005 as a Customer Service Manager, he was responsible for Spanish and Portuguese market, eventually becoming Sales and Marketing Director for Commercial Vehicles Tires in 2008, thanks to his exceptional experience.In 2017, Mr. Uruburu moved to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Join Continental’s Middle East Office as a Head of Sales for Commercial Vehicles Tires, where he played a pivotal role in achieving high sales revenues in one of the most challenging markets. In 2021, He started as Head of Sales Consumer and Truck Tires Middle East, consistently demonstrating exceptional leadership.His remarkable achievements led to appoint him as a Managing Director for Saudi Arabia in 2023, where he will continue to excel his experience in developing deals across the kingdom.A graduate of Universidad Politecnica de Madrid with a degree in technical industrial engineering, Mr. Uruburu’s extensive experience and track record of success make him a valuable addition to Continental KSA.Commenting on his new appointment, Juan Uruburu said” I am really thrilled with the project of steering Operations in Saudi Arabia, a charming evolving Country with great people. We aim becoming the most reliable partner in the country within the tire industry for Consumer, Truck and Specialty tires, in combination with our Digital Solutions and After Sales Services. This Journey requires dedicated efforts, consistency and a Team of passionate people committed to give their best. With these key ingredients, I am confident we will become a key player in the Kingdom, we are in the right track.”Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2021, Continental generated sales of €33.8 billion and currently employs over 190,000 people in 58 countries and markets. On October 8, 2021, the company celebrated its 150th anniversary.The tyres group sector has 24 production and development locations worldwide. Continental is one of the leading tyre manufacturers with more than 57,000 employees and posted sales of €11.8 billion in 2021 in this group sector. Continental ranks among the technology leaders in tyre production and offers a broad product range for passenger cars, commercial and special-purpose vehicles as well as two-wheelers. Through continuous investment in research and development, Continental makes a major contribution to safe, cost-effective and ecologically efficient mobility. The portfolio of the Tyres sector includes services for the tyre trade and fleet applications, as well as digital management systems for tyres.

Zebra Technologies demonstrates Generative AI on devices powered by Qualcomm

Dubai: Zebra Technologies Corporation, a leading digital solution provider enabling businesses to intelligently connect data, assets, and people has successfully demonstrated a Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) large language model (LLM) running on Zebra handheld mobile computers and tablets without needing connectivity to the cloud.This breakthrough empowers Zebra partners and customers to unlock exciting productivity gains that will shape the future of work across industries from retail to warehouse and logistics to hospitality and healthcare. On-device execution of GenAI LLMs has the potential to empower front-line workers with new capabilities so they can deliver new outcomes for their end customers.On-device AI can offer additional personalization as well as enhanced privacy and security as data remains on the device. It also drives faster performance and lower costs as GenAI searches on the cloud can be expensive. A whitepaper published by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. suggests that GenAI-based search cost per query is estimated to increase by ten times compared to traditional search methods. By removing the need to utilise the cloud, costs can be reduced.  “Zebra’s devices are powerful platforms with cutting-edge software and AI models which we’re driving forward with our partner ecosystem to solve customer challenges and add value,” said Tom Bianculli, Chief Technology Officer, Zebra Technologies. “We’re taking GenAI to the mobile edge on-device and applying it to areas such as voice AI, computer vision, and machine vision software powered by deep learning as well as task and workflow software using orchestrated AI.”Potential use cases for LLMs include improving associate effectiveness by enhancing their product and customer service knowledge, acting as an efficient internal communications tool by answering employee queries on things like store policies, collecting and analysing feedback from associates to identify areas of improvement, enhancing productivity and increasing job satisfaction levels.LLMs also have the potential to elevate the customer experience by powering personalized shopping assistants that could provide product recommendations, integrating shopping experiences across in-store, online, and mobile platforms as well as potentially enabling fully voice-activated shopping.Zebra’s TC53/TC58 and TC73/TC78 mobile computers and ET6x Series tablets powered by Qualcomm Technologies – together with Zebra’s asset visibility and intelligent automation solutions – deliver elevated data insight, analysis and recommendations, problem solving, planning and creativity. Front-line workers can utilize a smaller on-device model, even in rural, built-up and underground working environments where connection to the cloud may not be possible. Alternatively, users may switch to a cloud-based app or web browser GenAI tool via Zebra’s Wi-Fi 6/6E and 5G enabled devices. “On-device generative AI is unlocking new and enhanced experiences across industries,” said Megha Daga, Senior Director, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “Qualcomm Technologies’ goal is to drive the transformation of industries, and we are doing that beginning with mobile devices. Zebra’s demonstration is showcasing the type of transformation we aim to achieve.”This innovative solution from Zebra using a platform from Qualcomm Technologies reduces memory requirements and is built upon a wide array of open source and third-party models which are a significant part of Zebra’s strategy to deliver effective on-edge AI solutions across multiple industries.“Zebra recognizes the importance of ethical and responsible AI,” said Andrea Mirabile, Director of AI Research, Zebra Technologies. “We are committed to ensuring our AI initiatives are aligned with federal guidance on accountability, ethical purpose and transparency and help set the standard related to delivering solutions to end-users. We also support the Business Roundtable AI Road Map and policy recommendations for responsible, appropriate, and ethical AI development and deployment.”KEY TAKEAWAYSZebra’s AI research team has successfully implemented a GenAI,open-source model on its mobile computers and tablets powered by Qualcomm® processors.GenAI on-device provides a range of new capabilities across industries to better engage associates and elevate the customer experience, as well as provide enhanced privacy and security, faster performance and lower cost.This breakthrough empowers Zebra, its partners and customers to unlock new frontiers of productivity gains for front-line workers with new use cases that will shape the future of work.Learn more about GenAI on-device with Zebra CTO Tom Bianculli in this video.

Creative journey of Danny Azzi and his take on AI and Metaverse in advertising

The advertising and marketing industry is currently experiencing a significant upswing, primarily due to the widespread adoption of AI, particularly in the field of advertising. Danny Azzi, a seasoned creative leader with more than 23 years of experience, has recently taken on the role of Executive Creative Director at AGA-ADK (The Network Communication Group). He has an extensive background working with multinational networks such as FP7McCann, DDB, Memac Ogilvy, and Drive Dentsu in the Middle East and GCC.In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Danny Azzi, Executive Creative Director at AGA ADK, shares insights into his professional journey, outlines his goals, and discusses upcoming ad campaigns for the new organization. He also provides his perspective on the topics of AI and the Metaverse. Excerpts: You have worked with many top companies. How has your professional journey been so far?I was fortunate to work with leading multinational agencies in the Middle East and the GCC, and to be exposed to different schools of thinking and multiple agencies’ cultures.In addition to this, working with top global and regional brands from diversified industries has enriched my experience and brought forward campaigns that were recognised in leading global and regional award shows. So, I can say that my professional journey was fulfilling and rewarding at all levels.    AGA-ADK ranks among the top communication networks in the MENA region. What are your aspirations on joining it as the Executive Creative Director?AGA ADK is part of The Network Communication Group, the largest independent network in the region; so joining them at this stage of my career offers a promising opportunity to take my professional journey to unprecedented heights.AGA ADK management and I both share the same vision on the need to foster talents and to instill a creative culture that champions brave ideas and disruptive thinking. Our aspiration is to become the go-to destination for creativity, whether it is for brands or talents.What are your basic responsibilities as the ECD of AGA-ADK? What are your target areas for the organisation?My main duty as a creative leader is to focus on the big picture by implementing a creative culture and setting a clear vision to guide the team and steer all efforts in the same direction.On a day-to-day basis, I am overseeing the creative product and managing the creative teams across different offices and markets in the Middle East. My main target areas for now are people and products, which are interlinked. Brave and meaningful ideas are byproducts of a talented team. At AGA ADK we take pride in having a diversified pool of talents, and we are working relentlessly to help them grow their careers further and sharpen their skills. In fact, we have an extensive development plan for the coming year that consists of a series of seminars and workshops, covering different topics related to communication, digital, social, AI and many more. What changes can be expected at AGA-ADK in the coming year? What are your future plans?They are not changes, but rather areas of focus. We are already present in multiple markets, and we have an ambitious plan to further grow our operations.In addition to the expansion plan, we want to be famous for the work we do. So next year is going to be all about growth and fame. What all iconic brands does AGA-ADK cater to? What are the forthcoming campaigns that we should look forward to?We have a diversified portfolio of global and regional clients across different industries like FMCG, retail, medical, governmental, real estate, destination, entertainment, transportation and many more. I don’t want to pinpoint any specific campaign as there is a lot of passionate work going into the creation of several and hopefully you will see them live in due time.What are your views about the advertisement and communication industry of MENA region? How is it shaping up?Our industry in the MENA region is facing a lot of setbacks against the backdrop of a challenging economic situation. Budgets are shrinking, the competition is getting tougher, and agencies are expected to offer more for less. On the other hand, there is always a bright side, and our region is leaving its mark on a global level through the work that is being recognized in leading award shows.Our industry is always changing and evolving. However, the way it shapes up differs from one country to the other. For instance, Lebanon is starting to witness a creative renaissance, and the UAE just like KSA is seeing tremendous growth and transformation on all levels.What changes has AI and Metaverse brought about in the ad industry? How is AGA-ADK adopting it for its progress? There is no doubt that AI is reshaping our life on all levels, especially the way we conduct business. We all should embrace it, and learn how to harness its power. In our industry, AI is making waves and having a great impact on complicated and time-consuming jobs by turning them into easy tasks.However, for me, AI is a tool, and I believe in our industry, a brave idea will always be essential to creating meaningful work, hence the importance of curious and insightful human intelligence.When it comes to AGA ADK, and similar to other agencies, we are using AI to simplify certain tasks and optimize our time. Nonetheless, I regularly advise against the team’s full reliance on AI tools and technology, in order not to hinder their creative capabilities but rather to expand them and perfect their execution through AI.

Mandiant showcases AI-driven cybersecurity solutions at GITEX 2023

As GITEX 2023, the leading technology event in the Middle East and Africa, prepares to open its doors, Mandiant, part of Google Cloud, announces its participation to guide businesses and individuals on their cloud transformation journeys. Leveraging state-of-the-art AI technologies and insights gained from frontline incident response engagements, Mandiant aims to advance cybersecurity postures for organizations, whether they operate on-premises or are transitioning to the cloud.  Mandiant's participation in GITEX 2023 aligns with Google Cloud's ongoing investment in the Middle East and Africa, following the launch of Google Cloud instances in Qatar and upcoming launches in Saudi Arabia and South Africa. Mandiant plays a crucial role in securing customers' cloud journeys, making its presence at GITEX 2023 a strategic move for both Mandiant/Google Cloud. At the exhibition, Mandiant will focus on the pressing cybersecurity issues of today, including supply chain vulnerabilities, ransomware, and geopolitical threats. The company will showcase its Mandiant Advantage platform, an integrated solution covering Threat Intelligence, Attack Surface Management, Security Validation, and Breach Analytics.  Visitors to GITEX 2023 can engage with Mandiant consultants and experience the Mandiant Advantage platform firsthand. The company has been involved in mitigating some of the world's most high-profile cyber-attacks. Mandiant aims to address key challenges such as the shortage of skilled resources, the increasing sophistication of threat actors, and the complexity of managing security controls.  As companies navigate through the lasting impact of what Mandiant terms a 'Zero-Day Summer,' the cybersecurity landscape is becoming increasingly complex. This year has already seen 62 zero-day vulnerabilities, up from 55 last year. A significant portion of these zero-day vulnerabilities are targeted at governments and sectors like technology and telecommunications, which are typical targets for cyber espionage by nation-state actors. Cybercriminals, on the other hand, are leveraging zero-days in financially motivated attacks like ransomware, as they typically don't target governments where there's no money to be made. The threats are evolving; social engineering attacks are becoming more sophisticated due to the adoption of Generative AI, and there's a rising trend in the theft and sale of valid credentials. “The UAE, like many other regions of the world, is a desirable target for cyber threat actors because of its dominant position in the Middle East and its advanced economy. Local or regional disputes are a source of cyberattacks on the global stage, particularly when they have either a political or financial goal. This year at GITEX, we are committed to assisting enterprises in acquiring a thorough grasp of their current and emerging threat actors, the efficient security measures they have in place, as well as the knowledge and intelligence supporting them. The key takeaway Mandiant aims to impart is the importance of being prepared: do not test the preparedness of your security team in a security incident. Leverage Mandiant to help you detect, investigate, and respond to cyber threats more efficiently," commented Jamil Abu Aqel, Head of Mandiant systems engineering for MEA and Emerging region, Google Cloud. Mandiant emphasizes the need for a layered defense strategy. The first layer focuses on identifying and protecting assets, while the second layer is geared towards detecting, responding to, and containing breaches. Given the evolving threats, organizations should operate under the assumption that breaches are inevitable, preparing accordingly. In this challenging cyber landscape, Mandiant is pioneering the use of AI, particularly generative AI (genAI), to augment defenses. Mandiant is committed to harnessing gen AI to stop threats, reduce toil, and scale cybersecurity talent. It enables quicker threat detection and response, reduces the burden on security specialists, and bridges the talent gap in the cybersecurity industry. By leveraging genAI, Mandiant aims to give defenders a significant edge, allowing them to stay ahead of evolving threats and respond more effectively,” commented Renze Jongman, Threat Intelligence Advisor, MEA at Mandiant.

Etlisalat by E& brings ‘Smiles’ in hard times

Etisalat UAE, the telecommunications division of E&, formerly known as Etisalat Group, has launched a new advertisement campaign to promote its new home service offerings through the Smiles rewards and deals app.Initially, Smiles was primarily a rewards platform, but it expanded its services to include food and grocery delivery. With this campaign, it is signaling its entry into the home service sector. This strategic move aims to bolster the position of the rewards app and diversify its business. Smiles' home services complement its existing range of offerings, which includes online food and grocery delivery, lifestyle offers, deals, and a reward points system that can be used at various stores in the United Arab Emirates. <div class="video-container"><iframe src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe></div>The new campaign features a series of videos that put a fun twist on the concept of home services. These advertisements depict various frustrating scenarios, such as a broken tap flooding the kitchen or food spilled on the carpet. In typical situations, anyone would understandably feel angry and frustrated. However, in these ads, people are dancing with joy, thanks to the arrival of Smiles. The videos demonstrate that instead of getting stressed or upset when things go wrong, you can turn to Smiles' home services to bring happiness to the situation.Notably, Etisalat by e& had previously acquired the UAE-based household marketplace, Service Market, which is renowned for offering services like home cleaning, handymen and moving services. The home services was added to Smiles with the aime of strengthening the rewards app’s position and diversifying its business.

Sav and forge pioneering partnership to revolutionize travel savings

Dubai: Sav, the UAE's leading goal-based savings app, has joined forces with, the leading online travel agency in the UAE, to bring a groundbreaking approach to travel savings. This transformative partnership is set to reshape the travel landscape, making it more accessible and affordable for UAE residents.A Travel Savings RevolutionIn an era where financial responsibility and smart spending are paramount, Sav and introduce an innovative paradigm shift—"Save Now, Buy Later for Travel”. This trailblazing feature empowers users to embark on a journey of financial discipline while planning their dream vacations.Sachin Gadoya, CEO and Co-Founder of said, "At, our mission has always been to make travel dreams a reality. Through this partnership with Sav, we aim to empower our customers to save effortlessly for their dream vacations. This partnership is a testament to our commitment to providing unforgettable travel experiences while making the journey towards them more accessible and convenient.”Unbeatable Travel commits to contribute to users’ goals across hotels, holidays, domestic and international Visas, which will redefine their travel experiences:10% Off on UAE Visas: Seamlessly apply for UAE visas and enjoy an unprecedented 10% contribution from off on International Visas: Explore the world with ease and save significantly on international visas.5% contribution on Hotels: Secure your stay at top-notch hotels with an unbeatable 5% contribution from 300 contribution on Booking Holidays: Plan your dream holiday and save AED 300 on your booking.This partnership epitomizes Sav's unwavering commitment to helping users save on their travel aspirations. joins this mission as one of the pioneering companies promoting sustainable affordability in the travel category.A Unified Vision for Financial EmpowermentThis partnership between Sav and is about fostering sustainable financial practices in an era where saving and accessibility are paramount. It is particularly significant that both Sav and are based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), reflecting the alignment of their vision with the Sustainable Finance charters outlined by the Future Sustainability Forum, Dubai.Accessible Travel for AllAt a time when the travel industry in the UAE is experiencing exponential growth, this partnership takes center stage. The UAE is poised to welcome a record number of visitors this year, and an impressive portion of UAE residents are gearing up for both domestic and international journeys. More than 40% goals created on Sav are towards travel as well.According to Purvi Munot, co-founder of Sav “The need for accessible and affordable travel solutions is more significant than ever. Sav’s partnership with Musafir Travels has answered this call with a resounding solution. By offering users a platform to save and embark on unforgettable journeys, we're making the dream of travel a reality while ensuring financial well-being for all.”How it works?Sign Up: Users sign up on the Sav app using their iOS or Android devices.Create a Goal: In the app's "Shop" section, users create a goal for their holiday with Contribution: After setting up the goal, users can immediately see the contribution made by towards their goal.Claim Contribution: Users can claim the brand contribution from once they have saved the target amount.

Saudi Fashion Commission convenes investors in New York

 Investors and fashion stakeholders met in New York City this week at a roadshow hosted by the Saudi Fashion Commission. Designed as a platform to discuss Saudi’s growing fashion ecosystem and opportunities to invest, the roadshow saw the announcement of strategic partnerships facilitated by the Fashion Commission.Held at the St. Regis, the event saw newly minted agreements, including investments into two brands by leading consumer-focused private equity firm, Turmeric Capital: Saudi-founded elevated streetwear brand 1886 and ethical luxury label, Abadia.  The first-of-its-kind involvement in Saudi fashion brands by an international investor will see 1886 and Abadia’s founders supported by cash incentives from Turmeric Capital and matching support in services from the Fashion Commission.The collaborations between Turmeric Capital and the two brands are complemented by a Memorandum of Understanding between the PE firm and the Fashion Commission.  Intended to create an ecosystem that supports the growth of local SMEs in the fashion with high scalability potential, the partnership will see both organizations share resources and expertise to enable the development of globally competitive brands rooted in Saudi culture. Burak Cakmak, CEO of the Saudi Fashion Commission, said:“From Paris to Milan, to New York, the Saudi Fashion Commission is traversing the globe to support the Saudi fashion sector as it grows and supports diversification of the Saudi economy.“The return to New York this year is an incredible moment where we are witnessing key milestones – for Saudi brands as we help them secure international investment, for the Commission as we continue to put our mark on the global stage and for the Saudi fashion industry as public awareness grows.”Commenting on the Memorandum of Understanding, Ravi Thakran, Chairman of Turmeric Capital, said:“I am very proud of our collaboration with the Saudi Fashion Commission. With our complementary skill sets, we are contributing to the Saudi fashion eco-system and working towards the objectives of Vision 2030. There is no better way to do this than by backing future Saudi entrepreneurs.“The momentum I see in Saudi Arabia today is very similar to what I noticed in China when working there with LVMH from the early 2000s.“A decade from now, I believe books will be written about the colossal changes as Saudi increases its economic presence across Asia.”The roadshow’s day-long agenda included keynotes by HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, Ambassador to the United States, Saudi Arabia, panel sessions attended by the likes of Jeffry Aronsson, Founder & CEO, Aronsson Group and Huda Al Lawati, Founder & CEO, Aliph Capital and Karla Martin, US Fashion & Sustainability Lead, Deloitte. Bringing together fashion investors and luxury goods companies, designers, and sustainable manufacturing experts, the Commission sought to build on and accelerate the progress made in attracting foreign investment.Saudi Arabia’s fashion currently industry holds the largest projected growth rates of any other large, high-income market, according to the ‘State of Fashion in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (2023)’ report. From 2021 to 2025, retail fashion sales in Saudi are expected to surge 48% to $32 billion, representing an annual growth rate of 13%. This growth is expected to be fueled by the Kingdom’s economic expansion and growing population with apparel, accessories, footwear and luxury goods poised for significant gains. The value of luxury fashion purchases in the GCC hit $9.6 billion in 2021, with Saudi Arabia posting 19% growth.The Fashion Commission departs New York with Riyadh Fashion Week due to take place 20-23 October in the Saudi capital. The inaugural event will exclusively focus on showcasing domestic talent, setting a new precedent in fashion while celebrating local creatives and sustainable craftsmanship.é-and-florist-concept-coffee-roses-to-debut-in-dubai

Café and florist concept Coffee & Roses to debut in Dubai

Dubai: Coffee & Roses, a unique blend between a café and florist, is set to open its doors next month, debuting as Dubai’s first café and floral concept store. Nestled within the B1 Mall in Al Barsha, Coffee & Roses promises an extraordinary experience where the realms of gourmet coffee, exquisite cuisine, and artful blooms intertwine.The eagerly anticipated venue will be found on the first floor of Al Barsha’s newest retail destination and will provide both indoor and outdoor seating options. Radiating elegance, the interior is outfitted with white marble counters, tables, and flooring adorned by opulent gold columns and accents. The enchanting walls will be adorned with grand floral arches and accompanied by floor-to-ceiling floral backdrops, all meticulously crafted to capture the perfect Instagram moment. At the heart of the café will stand a central florist booth, offering patrons the opportunity to receive fresh flower arrangements expertly crafted by the in-house florist team.Patrons can anticipate an extensive all-day menu with an array of breakfast and lunch options. The menu will encompass dishes curated from around the globe tailored to refined palates, showcasing authentic flavours and generous serving sizes. The menu will present a culinary escapade designed for savvy budgets and includes hand-thrown pizzas, sandwiches, and fresh salads. For those who enjoy the sweeter pleasures in life, patrons will have the chance to delight in freshly baked desserts, pastries, and cakes.Raffi Farajian, the Founder of Coffee & Roses and an industry veteran with over a decade of leadership experience in the hospitality sector, conveyed his excitement regarding this new venture. "We are delighted to bring the region's first and only high-end florist café concept to the perfect location in Al Barsha’s newest B1 Mall and look forward to welcoming you next month”.With the opening approaching, Coffee & Roses is primed to redefine the realms of dining and floral encounters, heralding a new era of elegance and refinement within Dubai's dynamic culinary tapestry.

Dubai Media City calls for design, leave imprint on Media City Amphitheatre.

Freelancers and professionals within Dubai Media City’s vibrant ecosystem are officially invited to be part of something extraordinary and literally leave an indelible imprint on the city’s iconic Media City Amphitheatre.Dubai Media City, a dynamic cornerstone of TECOM Group PJSC and the epicentre of content creation in the Middle East, has launched an exhilarating competition to spotlight the most talented design champions within its community by taking over the Dubai institution as an exciting 2023/24 events season beckons.The creative ecosystem is on the hunt for visuals that not only dazzle the senses, but also champion sustainability and the beauty of green spaces. The winning artwork will be installed across Media City Amphitheatre – right at the heart of Dubai’s thriving media community – as the 15,000-seat venue space gears up for a sensational line-up of live concerts, exciting festivals, enlightening workshops, and knowledge-sharing sessions in the coming months.But that's not all – this competition goes beyond artistry and is about making an impact on globally meaningful trends. The winning design at Media City Amphitheatre is required to shine a bright spotlight on sustainability and environmental awareness as global climate awareness grows and Dubai prepares to host of the prestigious United Nations Climate Change Conference 2023 (COP 28) from 30 November to 12 December.To secure the winning entry, design ninjas within Dubai Media City’s ecosystem must craft original, awe-inspiring pieces that raise awareness about environmental sustainability and the wonder of green spaces. The submission should align with UAE's cultural guidelines, and be emailed in PDF format, along with its creator’s full name, company details, and phone number, to The final date to submit entries is Friday, 6 October 2023.The winning entry will be selected by a jury panel comprising Majed Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President of Dubai Media City at TECOM Group PJSC; Jon Barber, Vice President of Marketing and Communications at TECOM Group; Thea Skelton, Director of Dubai Lynx Festival; and Sahar Rafique, Managing Director of NordStella.“Dubai Media City, home to the world's most creative minds in the media and content sectors, is uniquely positioned to tell an engaging story of the need for environmental sustainability,” says Majed Al Suwaidi, Senior Vice President of Dubai Media City at TECOM Group PJSC.“Our community is brimming with talented creatives, and we’re inviting them to join us in driving forward the global mission to make the world a greener place by creating engaging, memorable designs that strengthen Dubai’s efforts towards greater climate awareness and eco-consciousness. The winning design from this competition will be a visionary visual treat that transforms Media City Amphitheatre into a platform that highlights our planet’s environmental needs for now and the future.”Media City Amphitheatre draws thousands of people from around the world every year as the region’s leading destination for exclusive stand-up shows, electrifying live concerts, and unforgettable festivals. Renowned artists like Eric Clapton, Amr Diab, and Jennifer Lopez graced the stage during the 2022/23 events season, when the RedFestDXB and Chill Out festivals also made triumphant returns.Established in 2000 by TECOM Group, Dubai Media City enables the UAE and the region’s creative economy by providing a platform dedicated to high-quality media and content production. It is the address of global media organisations such as CNN, and Thomson Reuters, and the BBC.Dubai Media City is among TECOM Group’s portfolio of 10 business districts, including Dubai Internet City, Dubai Industrial City, Dubai Production City, Dubai Science Park, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai International Academic City, and Dubai Design District (d3).

Generative AI to have majorimpact on UAE businesses in the next five years

Ahead of GITEX Global 2023, Cisco revealed the UAE findings of the Cisco State of Global Innovation Report 2023, showing that 95% of CIOs, IT decision makers, and developers surveyed across the UAE consider their organization as innovative.When looking at the top tech trends that are most likely to significantly impact businesses, the study revealed that the UAE-based respondents believe generative AI (43%), next-generation networks, including 6G (38%), and cybersecurity (38%) are the top technologies impacting businesses in the next 5 years in the UAE.While the global average of respondents who find value in their technology investments is 57%, 63% of respondents in the UAE take a positive view, and even plan to invest on average 14% of annual revenue in innovation projects over the next 12 months – again, beating the global average.Under the theme of “Experience the Power of AI to Shape the Future”, Cisco is participating in GITEX GLOBAL 2023 to showcase its latest technologies, demonstrating the power of innovation in helping businesses accelerate their digital transformation and navigate emerging technological shifts at scale.Reem Asaad, (pictured above), Vice President, Cisco Middle East and Africa said: “According to our study, IT professionals in the UAE rank generative AI as the technology most likely to have a significant impact on their business, with 92% feeling confident they're prepared for its impact. Cisco recognizes the important role AI will play to revolutionize industries and drive innovation, and it has been an important element across our portfolio for over a decade. We had the foresight to reimagine silicon from the ground up to power AI infrastructures, years of expertise in deploying AI solutions at scale, and an AI-driven portfolio to responsibly power, connect, secure, and observe AI — in all its various forms.”This year at GITEX, visitors will be able to engage with subject matter experts at Cisco’s stand and discover demos that demonstrate how Cisco AI technology empowers industries like education, healthcare, financial services, retail, and manufacturing.Abdelilah Nejjari, Managing Director for the Gulf region at Cisco, commented: “The UAE has made great strides in its journey, building a robust digital economy, driven by the country’s unwavering dedication to a culture of innovation across industries. For more than 25 years, Cisco has been working together with our customers and partners in the UAE, helping to shape a tech-enabled future and support the nation realizing its vision. GITEX continues to be a significant platform for us to highlight Cisco's commitment to promoting collaboration and accelerating innovation.”Cisco is set to showcase its latest innovations spanning networking, security, collaboration, and applications; outlining its strategy to securely connect everything to make anything possible and do it in a sustainable way.Visitors will also learn about Cisco’s contributions to support the UAE’s transition to a digital economy via the Cisco Country Digital Acceleration (CDA) program, active in the country since 2018. The CDA program is a global long-term collaboration of Cisco with national leadership, industry, and academia to actively invest in strategic programs that align to national digitization agendas.GITEX GLOBAL presents an opportunity to network and connect with leaders, industry influencers, and key government stakeholders. Cisco stand will be located at booth #H22-C20.