39% in UAE using AI without employer or teacher awareness, says Oliver Wyman

Well over a third of the UAE’s workers and students are already benefitting from the enormous potential delivered from generative AI technologies, yet their employers and teachers are not even aware of this growing usage within their organisations, according to global management consultancy, Oliver Wyman.Generative AI is the type of artificial intelligence technology that can produce various types of content for its users, including text, audio, and visual. Examples of generative AI applications that are popular in the GCC include: ChatGPT, GPT-4, Bard, and Synthesia.At 39%, the UAE’s covert use of generative AI mirrors the global average, while Mexico is the highest at 46%, and Italy the lowest at 34%. By industry, 45% of those in manufacturing in the UAE have used AI without employer awareness, 38% of those in tech, and 33% in financial services.The UAE research into AI behaviours was conducted in July 2023 by the Oliver Wyman Forum, the management consultancy’s think tank dedicated to building leadership communities to act on shared global challenges.“The workforce of the future will be hugely, and in many ways positively, impacted by generative AI technology. That’s no longer up for debate,” says Jad Haddad, Head of Digital at management consultancy Oliver Wyman in India, the Middle East, and Africa. “However, the rate of adoption, and therefore transformation, will vary widely by industry and company, and that will depend greatly on policies, actions, and general openness. Enabling people who can use AI with purpose will be key to growth in the future.It is not surprising that 39% of employees and students in the UAE have used AI covertly, adds Haddad, because it has the potential, when approached correctly, to streamline and speed up processes, including those that are tedious. The risk factors need to be taken seriously, of course, but the more the technology is ignored by organisations, the more covert use will be seen which presents a severe cybersecurity threat.“All GCC organisations need to be thinking seriously and boldly about early generative AI adoption policies now – it’s not something that we can just ignore. The AI technologies are well and truly out there,” concludes Haddad.

Revolutionizing creative industry: Pew.'s innovative branding approach

Dubai:  pew. design bureau, a leading branding studio born in Cairo, spotlights the success it has achieved having recently expanded its creative arena to the USA after spearheading some of the largest projects in the MENA region, continuing to revolutionize the creative industry with its innovative and unorthodox approach.Founded in January 2017, pew. rapidly emerged as a disruptive force driven by unmatched creative brilliance offering rebranding strategy to spatial design experience. The dynamic duo behind the design bureau, Nourhan Wahdan and Al Hassan Elwan, joined forces to challenge traditional design norms, bringing together cemented industry experience backed by their unorthodox ways, to create a design studio unlike any other. The founder’s unique, unconventional design approach echoed back, seeing the bureau in its first year establish profound, long-term partnerships with some of the globe’s biggest household brands including Youtube, Google, and Lipton.Additionally, pew. has been the mastermind behind strategic partnerships for distinguished brands such as Unilever, Lipton, Tabby, Swvl, RiseUp, Dukkantek, UN Women, Sync School, Idealz, and SOKNA, solidifying their position as the go-to design and branding studio in the MENA region. With a prominent portfolio, the pew. design bureau gained interest from US house-hold brands, sparking its expansion to Los Angeles, California in 2022. Establishing the US office was a strategic move to adapt to new opportunities in the US market whilst still offering and retaining Middle Eastern roots.Among its impressive accomplishments, one standout success story is its collaboration with Tabby, a prominent buy-now-pay-later app in the MENA region. Since its inception, pew. has served over 175 clients, and Tabby sought pew.'s assistance in late 2021 to enhance its brand strategy and visual identity, aiming to expand beyond Dubai's market and secure larger investments. pew.'s transformative approach to Tabby's branding was a game-changer, propelling the app to unparalleled levels of success. Working closely with Tabby's marketingteam, pew. crafted a fresh and larger-than-life branding strategy, positioning Tabby as its own currency—a symbol of independence amidst a saturated market. The reimagined brand resonated powerfully with the public, catapulting Tabby's value from a local startup to an astounding $660 million company in less than two years. Today, Tabby reigns as the leading BNPL app in the region, a testament to the innovative and strategic vision brought to life by pew. design expertise solidifying its position as a trailblazer in the field of brand design.The essence of pew’s success lies in the seamless integration of thorough research and daring experimentation. With each project, the studio crafts compelling narratives that resonate deeply with the brand's identity, establishing a strong and meaningful connection with the audience. This skillful balance of creativity and strategic thinking leads to impactful designs that leave a lasting impression on both the brand and its target audience.pew.’s creative process is highly tailored, ensuring that each client receives a personalized and holistic experience. The studio begins with comprehensive Discovery Sessions, collaborating closely with key stakeholders to identify objectives, challenges, and the essence of the brand. Through qualitative and quantitative research, the team crafts a Concept Presentation that aligns the brand's vision with empirical insights, setting the stage for impactful design solutions. pew. utilizes a multifaceted approach to gain a comprehensive understanding of audience behaviors and preferences while simultaneously utilizing research to achieve a sweeping view of the industry’s most relevant and stellar insights."As a creative, I’ve always held originality in very high regard but with such a fast-paced market I’ve come to realize that it’s more about agility and being ready to adapt and accommodate change. When it comes to our work now, especially with branding, we try to worry less about being original and more about being influential." said Nourhan Wahdan, Co-Founder of pew. "One thing we noticed the industry gets hung up on is aesthetics. Whether it’s conversations about taste or form they ultimately don’t matter if clear business goals and audience insights are overlooked or not properly taken into account. I really think we, as designers, should stop prioritizing aesthetics over strategy.” said Al Hassan, Co-Founder of pew.Looking towards the future, pew. welcomes tech and entertainment companies in the GCC and USA with plans to expand operations further into Europe by the end of 2023, as it continues to solidify its position in the global design market by boldly pushing boundaries of design definitions and principles.

FeatureMind launches in the Middle East

DUBAI: FeatureMind, a leading provider of digital solutions within the retail environment, today announced its launch in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). With this launch, FeatureMind will bring its expertise in delivering comprehensive end-to-end omnichannel support to businesses across the region, empowering them to elevate customer experiences and drive growth.According to Alpen Capital, the GCC retail industry sales are forecasted to grow at a 5.7% CAGR between 2022 and 2026 to reach US$ 370.0 billion. FeatureMind’s team of experts is perfectly positioned to help clients adopt technology-driven solutions, positions retailers to tap into this potential, offering seamless shopping experiences, expanding market reach, and fostering sustainable business growth. By providing innovative solutions that seamlessly integrate multiple communication channels, FeatureMind empowers businesses to create cohesive and personalised interactions, enhancing brand reputation and fostering long-term customer loyalty.The team, led by Edwin Stonestreet as the Managing Director, brings together experts from Salesforce, Emakina and EPAM Solutions and have over fifteen years of experience in delivering end-to-end digital transformation projects within the retail and travel industries across the Middle East region. FeatureMind have delivered transformative digital experiences for Mamas&Papas, Bloomingdales, Mouwad, Graff and several of the Gulf Marketing Group (GMG) brands across the region.“The retail industry in the Middle East is undergoing a significant transformation due to technological advancements”, said Edwin Stonestreet, Managing Director at FeatureMind. He added, “To achieve regional financial growth, retailers must adopt innovative strategies and overcome cultural differences and infrastructure challenges. FeatureMind has been fortunate to receive support and cooperation from industry leaders and clients, who have played a vital role in shaping the company's journey thus far. We are excited to continue supporting these partnerships and exploring new projects as we embark on this thrilling new chapter.”FeatureMind provides its clients with a complete end-to-end omnichannel support system, a more tailored and cost-effective approach. By integrating various communication channels, such as websites, mobile applications, social media, email, and chat, into a unified ecosystem, the platform enables businesses to offer seamless and consistent experiences across all touchpoints. Leveraging advanced analytics and AI technologies, FeatureMind empowers companies to gain deep insights into customer behaviour, optimise customer journeys, and deliver highly personalised interactions.This expansion follows news of FeatureMind’s latest partnership announcement with Timsoft Group, with further growth expected to continue throughout the year as operations expand into Africa with a planned centre of excellence scheduled to open in Nigeria in Q4 2023..

TimeAI summit unites tech giants and visionaries to shape AI futureTimeAI summit

Dubai: The future of artificial intelligence is here, and it's time to embrace the next era of innovation. The highly anticipated TimeAI Summit is set to revolutionize the AI landscape by bringing together global leaders, pioneering tech companies, and visionary entrepreneurs. This groundbreaking event will take place on October 4-5, 2023, at the prestigious Le Meridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Center, offering a platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and cutting-edge advancements in AI.Why AI Matters:Artificial Intelligence has emerged as the driving force behind the transformative technologies of the 21st century. It's potential to analyze vast datasets, recognize patterns, and make intelligent decisions has revolutionised industries and improved lives globally. From healthcare and finance to transportation and education, AI's impact is undeniable. Embracing AI is no longer an option; it is a necessity for organizations to thrive in the fast-paced, data-driven world.Dubai's Visionary Approach to AI:Dubai, a city synonymous with innovation and futuristic endeavours, has embraced AI wholeheartedly. As a testament to its commitment, Dubai has become an AI hub and a testing ground for cutting-edge technologies. The United Arab Emirates' forward-thinking approach to AI adoption has positioned the nation as a global leader in the AI revolution. Hosting the TimeAI Summit in Dubai underscores the city's dedication to fostering collaboration and driving progress in the AI industry.Inspiring Speakers and Captivating Sessions:The TimeAI Summit is thrilled to welcome a lineup of influential speakers from around the world. These AI experts and thought leaders will share their insights, expertise, and visions for the future of AI across various sectors. Attendees can look forward to engaging keynotes, thought-provoking panel discussions, and interactive workshops that will shed light on the latest AI trends, innovations, and real-world applications.Notable Speakers Include:Dr. Ebrahim Al Alkeem - Digital Transformation, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence Expert, Director at Government of Abu DhabiVladimir Nikolenko - CBDC & Digital Assets Associate Director at AccentureFred Sun - Head of Strategy at Tencent Cloud InternationalLennix Lai - Global Chief Commercial Officer at OKXMartin Hanzl - Head of New Technologies at EY LawSam Blatteis - CEO of The MENA CatalystsAkshay Chopra VP - Head of Innovation & Design at Visa CEMEAMatthew Sigel - Head of Digital Assets Research at VanEckUnmissable Networking Opportunities:The TimeAI Summit provides a platform for attendees to connect with like-minded individuals, potential partners, investors, and clients. The extensive networking sessions will foster collaborations, spark new ideas, and propel AI initiatives to new heights.Join the Global AI Movement:As AI continues to revolutionize industries and societies, the TimeAI Summit stands as an unparalleled opportunity to stay at the forefront of this dynamic field. The event's diverse international representation and extensive media coverage make it a pivotal moment for AI enthusiasts, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs alike. Secure your spot at the TimeAI Summit now and be part of shaping the future of AI.

Emirates unveils its stylish Bulgari amenity kits

Dubai: Emirates is unveiling its new collection of stylish Bulgari amenity kits for the Autumn/Winter season in First and Business Class. The range features new colour palettes and new fragrances, along with a keepsake mirror, and a myriad of thoughtful amenities for passenger comfort – onboard select routes and long-haul flights now.In keeping with Emirates commitment to providing an exceptional customer experience onboard, the First and Business Class kit bags feature new trending pantones and designs, along with Bulgari fragrances encapsulated in bottles designed exclusively for Emirates. The new range presents eight different collectible bags across First and Business Class, in a classic tan and black fabric, contemporary silver with lilac, or understated black with lilac highlights.New Business Class Amenity KitsFeaturing one of 2023’s most stylish pantones – silver, the Business Class range offers two bag shapes, a pouch and classic toiletry bag silhouette, both made from vegan leather in a standout metallic silver shade with lilac accents. Each kit features several Bulgari products, including the iconic fragrance BVLGARI OMNIA Amethyste Eau de Toilette. The scent opens with the bright and citrusy facets of pink grapefruit and green sap accords, while the heart reveals rich Damascena Rose Absolute, accompanied by a warm, woody trail where the sweetness of a heliotrope accord melts into the vibrations of solar wood notes. Passengers will also receive a complementary Omnia Amethyste face emulsion and body emulsion to keep their skin hydrated, alongside a rich Bulgari lip balm, and some comfort essentials including a dental kit, double mirror made from a sustainable wheat straw material, deodorant, tissues and a foldaway hairbrush.Two contemporary classic black fabric bags in varying shapes with tan vegan leather accents will appeal to those who prefer a masculine style. The fragrance included in these kits is BVLGARI POUR HOMME Eau de Toilette, a woody and floral musky scent in which notes of Darjeeling tea, water lily, and guaiac wood blend flawlessly to create a soothing effect. Inspired by the same iconic scent, a complementary Bulgari after shave balm and body emulsion are included, alongside a Gillette razor, shaving foam, a dental kit, deodorant, tissues and a foldaway hairbrush made from sustainable wheat straw.New First Class Amenity KitsIn First Class, the luxurious range features 4 individual collectible bags, two in black vegan leather with lilac accents, and two in a high-quality black fabric, some with tan vegan leather accents - both containing an array of personalised luxury products.In the black and lilac kits, encased within a soft Bulgari pouch is the new engraved gold Bulgari mirror – a keepsake piece exclusively crafted for Emirates, alongside a 30ml exclusive bottle of BVLGARI LE GEMME Desiria Eau de Parfum. This rich and sophisticated floral rose scent features violet jade, magnolia and radiant rose petals. The fragrance is complemented by a matching face and body emulsion. The kit also includes a dental kit, refreshing cleansing towel, deodorant, tissues and foldaway hairbrush so that First Class passengers arrive to their destination fully refreshed.In the black and tan kits, passengers will enjoy a 30ml exclusive bottle of BVLGARI LE GEMME Gyan Eau de Parfum -a sophisticated, woody floral fragrance expressed through Patchouli and Jasmine Sambac. The scent profile reveals that ‘patchouli embodies the velvety sapphires of Kashmir, while jasmine sambac is reminiscent of sumptuous Himalayan skies’. The kit also features a hydrating Bulgari Le Gemme Gyan after shave balm and matching body emulsion, cleansing towel, Gillette razor, shaving foam, dental kit, deodorant, tissues and foldaway hairbrush.Onboard A380 aircraft, First Class passengers can also use the Onboard Shower Spa which offers a separate range of luxury products – organic and sustainable Voya, from Ireland. First Class passengers can also find a skincare set from luxury Swedish brand Byredo, in their private suites.Economy and Premium Economy passengers can also look forward to new collectible amenity kits, to be launched towards the end of the year.

Abdallah Bibi to Lead dentsu's Content, Sports, and Gaming Design

Dubai: Dentsu has announced that Abdallah Bibi has been appointed as Commercial Director – Sports, Gaming and Content Partnerships, leading the development and design of dentsu’s offering in this space in the MENA region. Reporting to Tarek Daouk, CEO of dentsu MENA, Abdallah's new role will leverage opportunities in content production, rights distribution, naming and broadcast rights, gaming, anime and sports franchise infrastructure. Concurrently, Jad Noujeim, former Group Trading Director at Carat, assumes the position of Head of Trading for Amplifi, dentsu’s media investment arm. In this newly created role, Abdallah, with over 15 years of regional media experience, will oversee dentsu’s regional content and production efforts, integrating capabilities across the organization to build cohesive brand experiences. Jad, another stalwart of the dentsu team with 16 years’ expertise, having spent the last decade with Carat and most recently leading the media agency’s trading division, will take on Abdallah’s previous responsibilities leading Amplifi MENA. Globally, dentsu has an established Entertainment and Gaming business backed by a worldwide studio footprint, pioneering craft and technology capabilities and a roster of production partners and independent creators, enhanced by seamless integration with dentsu’s product and data offering. Abdallah will lead strategic investments and partnerships to leverage global entertainment opportunities and engage the thriving Middle Eastern gaming community. Working with the newly established Dentsu Anime Solutions Inc. in Japan, dentsu MENA will introduce new opportunities to market with anime licensing and merchandising to broadcasters and streaming platforms, along with peripheral businesses such as games, merchandising and events. Abdallah Bibi, newly appointed Commercial Director – Sports, Gaming and Content Partnerships remarked: “I’m excited to leverage my career experiences and dentsu’s rich heritage in this field to design our regional Content, Sports and Gaming offering. We are uniquely positioned to unlock new revenue opportunities for sports franchises, content producers and our clients. We will also be looking to create, enhance and invest in authentic gaming experiences for our clients in publishing, creator worlds, anime and e-sports. There is huge potential to produce transformative work in this space in our region, and I can’t wait to get started”.Jad Noujeim, now Head of Trading, Amplifi MENA said: “I'm thrilled to be leading our trading division into new horizons within the dynamic MENA media landscape. My focus will remain on cultivating strong partnerships, while leveraging deep industry insights and client-centric strategies to deliver on dentsu’s commitment to excellence and ongoing advancement.” Tarek Daouk, CEO, dentsu MENA added: “Dentsu Japan has an exceptional history in Entertainment and Sports as critical players in major sporting events and properties, as well as having a vast array of film, television, gaming, and anime experience. Dentsu’s content business is one of its true differentiators and as anime, gaming and sports continue to generate enthusiasm in MENA, particularly among Gen Z audiences, I’m excited for us to build a compelling regional offering in this space with Abdallah at the helm. Jad is also extremely well placed to lead Amplifi going forward, bringing together innovations, capabilities, and expertise to unlock new opportunities for our partners and clients. Congratulations to them both, I wish them every success in their new roles.”

Dubai’s BEDU announces ambitious AI vision to fuel the future of the Internet

Dubai:  BEDU, the regional pioneer at the forefront of Web 3.0 and AI, today announced a bold strategy set to change how individuals and enterprises engage with the digital realm. The announcement comes at a time when the company is targeting substantial growth and regional industry leadership through a pre-seed investment round.Over the past 18 months, BEDU has achieved significant milestones in its continued investment in innovation. The company showcased its leadership in emerging technology by launching the Virtual Mars Experience 2117 in partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre. BEDU’s community-building efforts include leveraging blockchain for societal engagement – a reflection of its tradition of identifying and capitalizing on emerging trends, through bringing digital collections such as ‘From Desert to Mars’ and ‘Colonies on Mars’. Leading to BEDU making an impact at Art Dubai 2023, as it showcased the role that technology and Web3.0 are playing in the Art space.The global AI investments projected to reach $110 billion by 2024 and by 2030, the market impact of AI is expected to be even more significant, with estimates indicating that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy. With that BEDU’s long-term vision, announced today, represents fertile ground for investment. The company will bring AI and blockchain into industries to redefine them, harnessing the farthest outskirts of tech to bring new user experiences that connect, engage, and entertain.“We’re at an exciting juncture," said Amin Al Zarouni, CEO, BEDU. “Our vision, coupled with this investment opportunity, represents a unique chance for investors to be part of a transformative journey. With our portfolio of innovations and a pre-seed round, we're poised to forge a future that will shape the very essence of the digital realm.”The main pillar of the company’s vision and its flagship is the AI Builder Tool, an agnostic platform that can be used by all types of people, organizations and enterprises to build their digital and virtual experiences which will contribute heavily to the future of the internet. In addition to that, the company announced BEDU AI, a portfolio of impactful products and services that include, a market-ready platform that uses AI to streamline media management in recognition of the rapidly growing need for effective asset management in a content-driven world. This includes advanced natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning that redefines document processing across industries from finance to legal, automating tedious tasks that prevent professionals from focusing on higher-value activities. And an advanced AI solution to process voice and visual data and enable real-time insights which are frontier capabilities with use cases in arenas from security to healthcare.“Today, we’re setting the stage for a paradigm shift in the digital landscape,” said Khaled Al Huraimel, Co-Founder and Chairman, BEDU. “Our vision that encompasses the convergence of Web3.0 and AI, is at the helm of reshaping industries and human experiences. As we embark on this transformation, we invite likeminded visionaries to join us in this journey where innovation knows no bounds and technology drives endless possibilities.”BEDU’s pre-seed round is aimed at opening the door to regional growth. The funding will allow BEDU to enhance its delivery speed, extend its reach, and reinforce its position as an industry leader as it turbocharges its prolific R&D function and its flagship platform development.éline-gauthier-darnis-on-ad-tech-future

CTV, retail media, gaming: Equativ's Céline Gauthier-Darnis on Ad Tech future

In the dynamic world of business development, experience and expertise are paramount, especially within the intricate landscape of ad tech. Céline Gauthier-Darnis, the Executive Vice President of MENAT & APAC at Equativ, brings her extensive background in fostering growth and strategic partnerships to the forefront of the ad tech industry. With a deep understanding of market trends and a penchant for innovation, she has successfully navigated the complexities of this realm. In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Céline sheds light on her approach to bridging the gap between advertisers and publishers, her insights into Equativ's programmatic solutions, strategies for navigating the ever-evolving digital landscape, team management in a fast-paced environment, and Equativ's unique communication and marketing strategies. Furthermore, Céline delves into emerging trends and challenges within the MENAT and APAC regions, revealing her plans to tackle these issues head-on. Let us explore the dynamic world of ad tech through the lens of Céline Gauthier-Darnis, an industry trailblazer and a driving force behind Equativ's success.Can you tell us about your experience in business development and how it relates to the ad tech industry?Business development involves creating and implementing growth strategies to expand a company's market presence, increase revenue, and enhance profitability. My business development expertise is grounded in fostering growth, innovation, and strategic partnerships to thrive in a dynamic and competitive landscape such as the ad tech industry. It has also helped me understand market trends, form strategic relationships, and continuously adapting to the evolving needs of advertisers, publishers, and consumers.As the EVP MENAT & APAC at Equativ, how do you ensure that the interests of both advertisers and publishers are effectively served?In my role, its key is to act as a bridge between advertisers and publishers, ensuring that their interests are aligned and that the partnership benefits all parties involved. This involves proactive and transparent communication, strategic decision-making, and a commitment to fostering a healthy and sustainable ecosystem within the ad tech industry. Additionally, it’s important to recognize that the needs of advertisers and publishers may differ. I work closely with my team to ensure we create customized solutions to align with our client's specific needs and goals.Could you share some examples of programmatic solutions that Equativ offers to advertisers in the UAE?Thanks to Equativ’s holistic ad monetization platform (Adserver/SSP/Buyer Tools/DSP), brands can achieve greater efficiency through their advertising spend and publishers can act with certainty and have the control they need to provide the right blend of transaction models, channels, format (Display, Audio, Video, CTV, Mobile) and audience data to deliver true value path optimization to brands. On top of that, our programmatic solutions including PMPs, auction packages, and contextual targeting solutions, enable a more streamlined and accurate ad transaction across various platforms and screens and help our clients reach their target audiences with the right message in the right environment.How do you approach the challenge of connecting advertisers with their target audience in the ever-evolving digital landscape?Navigating the ever-evolving digital landscape requires a combination of data-driven insights, technological innovation, creative messaging, and a deep understanding of your audience's behaviors and preferences. Adapting to changing technologies, consumer behaviors, and industry trends are essential. Here are a few strategies we work with our clients to leverage:A holistic approach to tap into multi-channel strategies that span across a variety of formats, devices, and platforms to ensure a consistent brand experienceData-driven insights to gain deeper insights into their target audiencesAudience segmentation to leverage first-party data to create more precise audience segmentsContextual targeting to ensure ads are placed in relevant contextual environments so that ads resonate with their target audiencesMeasurement and optimization solutions to continually establish, track and optimize against KPIsHow do you effectively manage and motivate your teams in a fast-moving environment? Can you provide examples of how you have successfully structured and managed an office to optimize productivity and efficiency?In this fast-paced industry, keeping your teams motivated and engaged is essential. I tailor my management style to each team member's preferences and strengths, and coupled with my enthusiastic and hands-on leadership approach, I always want to ensure my teams are feeling motivated and inspired.Here are a few ways I ensure this:Clear communication (and a lot of it!). Transparency and open discussions are essential to making teams feel inclusive and part of the teamEncouraging autonomy and trustRecognizing and celebrating achievementsFocusing on professional growth and identifying new opportunitiesContinued education in ad tech for my teams (always changing!)And have fun! I want my teams to feel excited to come to work and feel they are part of contributing to the success of the company.Communication and marketing play a crucial role in the ad tech industry. How do you approach these areas to effectively promote Equativ's services and attract clients?At Equativ, developing a comprehensive communication and marketing strategy is vital in the ever-changing ad tech industry in order to promote our services, attract and retain clients, and build trust by clearly explaining our solutions and the value they can expect by working with us. I love working with our central marketing team and my local team of marketing specialists to come up with new and creative ways to not only establish a strong brand presence and showcase our innovative global solutions but also connect the Equativ brand with the local community in the APAC/MENA region by tailoring our data, insights and strategies. Whether it’s through thought leadership, content marketing, social and events, to me, it’s always about ensuring a customized approach!In your opinion, what are some of the emerging trends and challenges in the MENAT and APAC regions when it comes to ad tech, and how do you plan to address them?Connected TVThere is a growing demand from advertisers in the MENAT/APAC region for CTV advertising. Currently, we have successfully executed campaigns for various industries targeting American and European audiences, specifically in sectors like hospitality, tourism, and real estate. While the inventory in the Americas and Europe is robust, publishers in the MENAT/APAC region are still in the process of developing programmatic solutions. However, we maintain an optimistic outlook and anticipate that the market will soon catch up. Once this happens, we will be able to effectively target the local audience through CTV formats.Retail mediaEvery e-commerce player has a gold mine to uncover. With the end of third-party cookies, the market is exploring the power of first-party data to unlock new targeting opportunities. Equativ provides a privacy-first addressable solution for retailers to monetize their data. This technology creates a new revenue stream for advertisers and an alternative to cookies to run highly targeted campaigns. Advertisers are almost ready technically to unlock this opportunity.Gaming advertisingOver the past 18 months, Saudi Arabia has invested $8 billion in global game companies with the objective of positioning itself as the primary global hub for the games and esports industry by 2030. These investments have been made through the public investment fund known as Savvy Games Group, and they mark just the initial phase of their plans. The group aims to allocate a remarkable $38 billion to establish 250 game companies, including developers, publishers, and studios, by 2030. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the gaming industry is projected to generate a revenue of $6 billion by 2027.By 2025, the global esports audience is anticipated to reach 318 million enthusiasts, with the MENA region accounting for 15% of that figure. This substantial gaming audience presents a significant opportunity for advertisers to connect with the market and captivate their customers by offering innovative experiences.Moreover, there is great enthusiasm surrounding the potential achievements in this field. Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the View Through Rate and the Click Through Rate tend to be higher, indicating the advantageous timing of engaging with customers while they relax and enjoy their favorite games.

SRJ Sports Investments announces Gold sponsorship of Al-Ittihad Club

Jeddah: Al-Ittihad Club has signed a gold sponsorship agreement with SRJ Sports Investments, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund.As part of the sponsorship agreement, SRJ Sports Investments will have its logo displayed on Al-Ittihad Club’s distinctive kit, as well as a series of other rights including its brand and content being displayed on LED billboards in the stadium and in the backdrop of media interviews conducted by Al-Ittihad players.Abdulwahab Abed, CEO of Al-Ittihad, said: “Today, we signed a sponsorship agreement with a national company that begins its journey to contribute to the development of Saudi sports, contributing to the realization of Vision 2030 which prioritizes the sports sector and meeting the demands of our youth. We are committed to making our capabilities available to our partners and sponsors, to help them achieve their investment goals and utilize the overwhelming popularity and prestigious position of our club which will represent all the Saudi clubs in the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup™.”Bander Bin Mogren, Chairman at SRJ Sports Investments commented: “We are proud to sponsor this year’s reigning Roshn Saudi League champions. Al-Ittihad Club is a winning team, boasting one of the most dedicated football fan bases both internationally and within Saudi. The team maintains a deep heritage within Saudi Arabia’s football scene, and we have seen them demonstrate resilience and ambition. These are all synergies that SRJ Sports Investments continue to draw on as we embark on our mission to develop a world-class sports sector in Saudi Arabia and across the MENA region.”For more information on SRJ Sports Investment visit:

Sandsoft Games strengthens global team with major hire from Meta

RIYADH: Sandsoft Games, the mobile-first game developer, publisher and investor powered by AAA talent, announces the appointment of Ahmed Sharif, formerly Meta’s Head of AR, VR, Metaverse Automation and Platform Engineering, as its new Chief Technology Officer. Ahmed’s appointment is another significant milestone in Sandsoft’s trajectory to becoming a leading global mobile gaming powerhouse. The experienced leader will drive technology and innovation across the business, which has a diverse global team of more than 50 people across its headquarters in Riyadh and offices in Barcelona, Helsinki and Shanghai. Ahmed will focus on enhancing and scaling the Sandsoft Publishing Platform while providing technical direction for Sandsoft’s in-house game development, supporting and guiding the studio and engineering teams in their development journeys. As a senior engineering leader and strategist, Ahmed brings to his role at Sandsoft extensive experience of building software and hardware to power gaming experiences. His career to-date encompasses top gaming brands such as EA, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Criterion Games, and titles such as Need for Speed and Pearl’s Peril. As well as shipping the Meta Quest 2 globally, Ahmed’s portfolio includes the development of PSVR1, PS4 and PS4 Pro, and EA’s Frostbite game engine.  David Fernandez, CEO of Sandsoft Games, commented: "It goes without saying that Ahmed is a significant hire for Sandsoft. He has spearheaded engineering strategy for many of the most recognizable commercial technology products and worked on globally renowned gaming titles. I’m excited to welcome him to the team and convinced that he’ll play a major role in driving the next phase of Sandsoft’s growth.” Ahmed Sharif, Chief Technology Officer at Sandsoft, commented: “Throughout my career I’ve worked on technology and content that delivers unforgettable gaming experiences. Sandsoft’s commitment to creating engaging and diverse games aligns really well with that objective, with a team that brings the best of cross-platform gaming to accessible, mobile-first environments. I believe Sandsoft is primed to become a leader in the global games industry and I’m looking forward to playing my part.” Sandsoft Games recently announced its partnership with Jam City, one of mobile gaming’s most successful publishers, to support the global launch of DC Heroes & Villains and publish the title in the Middle East and North Africa markets.

Savvy Games Group welcomes new General Counsel

RIYADH : Savvy Games Group (“Savvy”), the games and esports company founded to drive the long-term growth and development of esports and the wider games industry worldwide, announced today the appointment of Feras Houhou as General Counsel.Feras brings extensive legal and governance experience to the company and will play a pivotal role in ensuring legal compliance, managing risk, and driving strategic growth initiatives.Feras is a seasoned legal professional with a distinguished career spanning over 16 years in the capital market industry. Prior to joining Savvy, he served as a Legal Advisor and later as the Chief Legal and Governance Officer and Board Secretary at SNB Capital. During his tenure, Feras demonstrated exceptional legal expertise and leadership, overseeing critical legal functions and governance affairs, and providing advice on major cross-border financial transactions.In his role as Savvy’s General Counsel, Feras assumes responsibility for five key control and advisory functions, including legal affairs, risk management, compliance, governance, and board affairs. His expertise in navigating complex financial transactions, particularly demonstrated during his time at SNB Capital, will be instrumental in guiding Savvy through its strategic investments and growth plans both locally and internationally.Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy, expressed his enthusiasm about Feras joining the team, stating, “Feras has an extensive legal background, corporate governance acumen and experience in managing complex transactions. Bringing him onto the Savvy team as General Counsel will provide invaluable guidance and support to our organisation and strengthens our commitment to excellence, legal compliance, and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability.”An alumnus of Harvard Business School’s General Management Program, Feras additionally holds an LLM from Georgetown University Law Centre

ThePubverse teams up with Lotame to transform data-driven monetization

ArabyAds' platform for monetizing publishers, ThePubverse, has collaborated with Lotame, a renowned global tech enterprise. ThePubverse will leverage Lotame's cutting-edge data platform, Spherical, to amass firsthand data while obtaining unrestricted access to an extensive reservoir of consented third-party data.Lotame, headquartered in the US, is a technology company specializing in data solutions. Its primary role revolves around collecting and creating customer databases utilized by marketers and media owners to cater to their clientele across the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, North America, Africa, and the Asia Pacific region.The collected data will empower ThePubverse in making informed decisions, amplifying advertisement pertinence, and enhancing the efficacy of campaigns. Furthermore, it will harness real-time insights to meticulously tailor messages directed at distinct target audiences.ThePubverse CEO Imad Sarrouf said: “We are thrilled to join hands with Lotame on this exciting journey. This collaboration opens a wealth of opportunities for our clients and us, as we aim to provide unmatched data targeting and activations backed by cutting-edge data analytics. Together, we are poised to set new industry standards and create transformative campaigns that drive meaningful results.”Ross McMillan, VP of Commercial Solutions EMEA at Lotame, said: “Lotame’s mission is to empower publishers to drive growth and derive value from customer data — whether they have it or need it. We’re excited to join forces with ThePubverse to enable their clients to use data in smarter, faster, and easier ways that expand their monetization and yield."Through this collaboration, ThePubverse will also delve into Lotame's specialized audience segment generation, audience augmentation, enrichment of audience profiles for persona creation, and enhanced cookieless targeting opportunities.  Earlier this year, ThePubverse had partnered with the regional Arabic content provider Mawdoo3. ArabyAd's retail-centric media advertising platform, Ritelo, has also collaborated with Daleel Store, a Saudi Arabia-based online retail establishment.

Fawry and Tamatem Plus join forces to enhance e-payment experience for Egyptian

Cairo: Fawry, Egypt's premier e-payment solutions provider, has entered into a strategic partnership with Tamatem Plus, a leading online store catering to gamers’ needs worldwide. This collaboration aims to offer Egyptian gamers easy and seamless access to the market through enhanced e-payment solutions without having to rely on banking services or going to unsecure foreign websites.Under this partnership, Tamatem Plus users will have access to two of Fawry Accept flagship services: card payment and Fawry Pay reference code. With a network of over 310,000 Fawry retail outlets and 230 FawryPlus branches, users can conveniently make payments using their preferred method.Fawry Accept payment gateway services, including card payments and Fawry Pay reference code, will enable Tamatem Plus users to make secure and hassle-free transactions. Users can pay with their cards (Mastercard, Visa, and Meeza) directly on the Tamatem Plus platform. Alternatively, they can visit the nearest Fawry retail network and pay in cash using the Fawry Pay reference code.Upon placing an order on the Tamatem Plus platform, users will receive a 48-hour valid reference code through a pop-up message, email, and SMS, which will serve as a unique identifier for the transaction"We are very pleased with our partnership with Tamatem Plus, the online platform that provides a convenient way for users to top up their accounts and enjoy in-app purchases often without having access to a bank account," said Bassem Lotfy, Head of Acceptance - E-Commerce at Fawry.Faisal Bitar, Managing Director of Tamatem Plus, added, "We are excited to collaborate with Fawry and bring their secure and widely accepted payment solutions to our platform. This integration aligns perfectly with our commitment to providing a seamless gaming experience for our users in Egypt."

Dulsco Group appoints Martin Brogan as Director of HSE

DUBAI: UAE-based Dulsco Group, a leader in People Solutions, Environmental Solutions, Talent Solutions and Energy Recruitment Solutions, has appointed Martin Brogan as Director of Health, Safety and Environment as the company calls for unified, nationwide standard to improve HSE practices and culture.Martin brings more than 20 years’ expertise to the company, with extensive HSE experience in the UK and UAE in the oil and gas, aviation, food manufacturing and FMCG sectors. He has a degree in Health and Safety, is a certified ISO 45001 Lead Auditor and a graduate of the UK’s National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH).At Dulsco, Martin is responsible for all HSE operations at a corporate and client level. Internally, he is working closely with all departments within the four portfolios to further enhance Dulsco’s already robust HSE policies and procedures. Martin also acts as the lead HSE advisor to Dulsco’s customers, many of whom want on-the-ground HSE support from the Dulsco team in their day-to-day operations.Martin’s appointment comes as Dulsco calls for unified HSE standards across all seven emirates.David Stockton, Chief Executive Officer, Dulsco Group, said: “Health and safety is the most important division of any business, and Dulsco is proud to have robust policies in place that go above and beyond to ensure our people remain safe. With Martin now on board, we will take HSE to new levels both internally and for our clients in the UAE and, as part of our global expansion strategy. His expertise and experience are of great value to Dulsco, and I am delighted to welcome him to our company.“Government directives and industry initiatives have resulted in great strides in HSE, which is now taken much more seriously at most organisations and is seeing year-on-year improvements in the sector’s skill set. However, enhancements are still needed, starting with consistency in rules, policies and procedures and enforcement, which currently differ in organizations and geographies, as well as more measures to make health and safety an integral part of company culture.”Martin’s role covers all divisions of the Dulsco Group: Dulsco People, Dulsco Environment, Parisima and Advance Global Recruitment businesses. He also plans to expand his expert HSE team in line with the company’s growth.

The Work Crowd reveals solutions to business growth amid war on talent

Dubai: A panel of experts convened by global talent community, The Work Crowd, has revealed how the increasing use of freelancers and advisors is enabling businesses to accelerate their growth in the GCC. Government measures to attract international expertise, coupled with a boom in ‘solopreneurship’ have driven the shift to decentralised workforces, which are critical to plugging specific skill gaps and providing mentorship for local talent, to help overcome barriers to scaling in the region.Moderated by Nivine Afiouni, Geopolitics, Global Public Affairs & Media Advisor, the conversation drew on insights from international specialists in strategic planning and talent management, including Felice Hurst, GCC advisor to The Work Crowd and MD of Hanson Search MENA; Imad Lahad, MD at APCO Worldwide; Latifah RahmDel, VP of Mawja; and Tom Morf, CEO and Co-Founder of Aramedes Ltd. The panel also discussed the impact of artificial intelligence in the workforce and the future skills needed to harness the technology.Opening the debate, Nivine highlighted the difficulties that businesses have been facing with finding and retaining talent in recent years, with the panellists sharing their own strategies in overcoming these challenges. Discussing the approach to recruitment and retention in his start-up, Tom spoke about the need for passion and personality, over specific academic and industry experience, and revealed how offering shareholding opportunities can provide an added incentive in a small business environment.  Reflecting on the issues specific to the GCC, Felice went on to discuss the challenges around time-bound visas and the dynamic nature of business decision-making, which have previously inhibited talent acquisition and retention. Highlighting the opportunities linked to new visa options and the easing of access to global talent, Felice said, “One of the positives that came out of the pandemic is the flexibility of work, enabling businesses to access talent on-demand, rather than having a full workforce. It enables companies to grow fast, and specifically find that dedicated talent that maybe isn’t in the permanent workforce. I think we’re going to see an enormous rise in using global talent to fill specific skills gaps.”Sharing her own experience of tapping into the freelancer market, Latifa discussed how bringing in external talent helps to build a more coherent team of people, who share a dedication to the project while remaining flexible to manage their own time. Explaining how freelancers represent a better use of resources in her business, Latifa said, “It wouldn’t make sense for me to build a dedicated events arm, I always prefer using the best freelancers. They have a passion for what they do; you give them the brief and they become part of the team.”Providing insights into talent management within a multi-national company, Imad discussed how APCO operates as a global workforce, where employees are not necessarily tied to their specific office or geography but are available to tap into across different markets. He also revealed how the company retains relationships with APCO alumni who have gone on to develop their expertise in different roles and may be drawn upon to provide expertise in specific subject areas in the future.The panel went on to discuss the important impact of Government policy in building a vibrant freelance community in the region, including the UAE’s green visa, which allows foreign nationals who are self-employed, skilled workers, entrepreneurs, or investors to live and work in the country. The increasing focus on work-life balance was also cited among the drivers for the growth in freelancing, as workers prioritise their mental and physical wellbeing in light of incidences of employee burnout. Concluding the session, the experts explored the much-debated topic of artificial intelligence and the need to promote its ethical usage and build a talent pool that can learn, unlearn, and relearn such technologies at a fast pace.The panel discussion was convened as The Work Crowd accelerates its own expansion in the MENA region, including the recent opening of an office in Abu Dhabi. Speaking about the expansion, Founder and CEO of The Work Crowd and Hanson Search, Alice Weightman said, “We are delighted to extend our presence in the MENA region to connect the thriving business ecosystem to some of the world’s best brains. In this booming economy, demand for business critical and new evolving skills is at an all-time high, and that is where The Work Crowd community can help plug the gap. The UAE has established itself as a global pioneer in enabling digital nomads, and freelance working is a fast-growing market across the GCC. The Work Crowd aims to help businesses find the flexible talent they need, while empowering freelancers to upskill and re-skill to meet future industry needs.”With over 4,500 pre-vetted advisors, freelancers and mentors on its platform, The Work Crowd is helping companies find the right talent across multi-regional markets to support their business growth. The commitment to the GCC reflects a dramatic increase in both supply and demand for dedicated expertise in the region.

Standard Chartered partners with DIFC Innovation Hub to empower UAE women

Dubai: Standard Chartered, in partnership with DIFC Innovation Hub, announced today the launch of the fifth cohort of the Women in Tech accelerator programme. This transformative initiative is designed to drive sustainable growth and empower women entrepreneurs in the UAE's technology sector, fostering innovation, diversity, and economic development.Standard Chartered's Women in Tech accelerator programme offers women entrepreneurs a unique platform to unleash their potential, overcome barriers, and accelerate their business ventures. As part of a global Women in Tech initiative, the programme operates successfully in nine countries, creating a powerful global network of empowered women in the tech space. In collaboration with the renowned DIFC Innovation Hub, the programme provides unparalleled support, mentorship, and access to seed capital to propel the success of women-led start-ups.Rola Abu Manneh, Chief Executive Officer, Standard Chartered UAE, said: “We are thrilled to launch the fifth round of this signature accelerator programme in the UAE, in partnership with DIFC Innovation Hub. This programme is a testament to our shared commitment with the UAE to champion women empowerment and support technological innovation. Through targeted support, mentorship, and access to seed capital, we aim to empower women in technology, enabling them to overcome barriers, seize opportunities, and drive transformative change. By joining forces with DIFC Innovation Hub, we are taking significant strides towards building a more inclusive and thriving tech ecosystem that supports women-led start-ups and harnesses the diverse talents and perspectives of women, ultimately shaping a brighter future for all.”Mohammad AlBlooshi, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Innovation Hub, added: “DIFC Innovation Hub is dedicated to supporting start-ups and entrepreneurs in the UAE, fostering an environment that nurtures innovation and drives economic growth. The Women in Tech programme empowers female entrepreneurs to overcome challenges and make a lasting impact. We are proud to collaborate with Standard Chartered on this initiative as we drive the future of finance together.”The programme commences with an application period, welcoming ambitious start-ups to submit their proposals until the end of July. From the pool of applicants, ten start-ups will be meticulously selected to participate in the programme. These selected entrepreneurs will embark on a transformative journey, benefitting from a comprehensive curriculum featuring tailored training, immersive workshops, and invaluable mentorship opportunities designed to address their specific needs.The Women in Tech accelerator programme will conclude with the highly anticipated Demo Day in October. During this prestigious event, ten female-led entrepreneurial teams will showcase their innovative business models to a distinguished panel of potential investors, industry experts, and thought leaders. In addition to the invaluable exposure, the top three winners will be awarded a total of USD 100,000 in equity-free seed capital, providing a substantial boost to their ventures.The Women in Tech programme is geared towards empowering female entrepreneurs to confront the challenges of uncertain times as they grow their impact-driven businesses across the region. To date, Standard Chartered UAE has accelerated four cohorts, comprising of more than 20 start-ups, who have collectively raised over USD5 million from various venture capitalists to expand their businesses within and outside of the UAE.

Rami Younes announced as the new General Manager for Swisslog Middle East

Dubai: Swisslog, leaders in data-driven & robotic solutions for logistics automation, announced the appointment of Rami Younes as the new General Manager and Head of Sales for Swisslog Middle East.In his new position, Rami will be responsible for leading Swisslog's business in the Middle East, with a primary focus on warehouse logistics. Working closely with Swisslog's local and global senior management teams, he will identify and pursue new growth opportunities, while also delivering industry-specific automation solutions to companies in the region to help improve their operational efficiencies.Based in the UAE, Rami brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise in the automation field. Prior to joining Swisslog Middle East, Rami was the Chief Operating Officer at ALS Logistic Solutions and also successfully led a 4PL Logistics start-up, Integrated Logistics Services in Saudi Arabia. Rami’s leadership skills in supply chain, logistics, and high-tech industrial products have consistently driven success for international teams.Commenting on Rami’s appointment, Jens Schmale, CEO, Swisslog EMEA said, “Rami brings a strong customer-driven focus to his role and a deep understanding of the warehouse automation industry. We are leaning on a wealth of experience within the automated industry and a track record of delivering added value to customers in highly competitive markets, to take the company through its next phase of growth.”Rami Younes, General Manager at Swisslog Middle East, said “I am delighted to be appointed as the new General Manager at Swisslog Middle East. I look forward to working closely with the team to expand our portfolio of integrated automation solutions, catering to the specific needs of customers in the Middle East. We will work together to execute our vision of establishing Swisslog as the frontrunner in data-driven robotic intralogistics automation.”The Middle East is experiencing substantial growth in the logistics automation sector, with initiatives such as Saudi's Vision 2030 and the Dubai 10X driving innovation and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies to diversify the economy and increase efficiency.

Dulsco Group appoints Martin Brogan as Director of HSE

DUBAI:  UAE-based Dulsco Group, a leader in People Solutions, Environmental Solutions, Talent Solutions and Energy Recruitment Solutions, has appointed Martin Brogan as Director of Health, Safety and Environment as the company calls for unified, nationwide standard to improve HSE practices and culture.Martin brings more than 20 years’ expertise to the company, with extensive HSE experience in the UK and UAE in the oil and gas, aviation, food manufacturing and FMCG sectors. He has a degree in Health and Safety, is a certified ISO 45001 Lead Auditor and a graduate of the UK’s National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH).At Dulsco, Martin is responsible for all HSE operations at a corporate and client level. Internally, he is working closely with all departments within the four portfolios to further enhance Dulsco’s already robust HSE policies and procedures. Martin also acts as the lead HSE advisor to Dulsco’s customers, many of whom want on-the-ground HSE support from the Dulsco team in their day-to-day operations.Martin’s appointment comes as Dulsco calls for unified HSE standards across all seven emirates.David Stockton, Chief Executive Officer, Dulsco Group, said: “Health and safety is the most important division of any business, and Dulsco is proud to have robust policies in place that go above and beyond to ensure our people remain safe. With Martin now on board, we will take HSE to new levels both internally and for our clients in the UAE and, as part of our global expansion strategy. His expertise and experience are of great value to Dulsco, and I am delighted to welcome him to our company.“Government directives and industry initiatives have resulted in great strides in HSE, which is now taken much more seriously at most organisations and is seeing year-on-year improvements in the sector’s skill set. However, enhancements are still needed, starting with consistency in rules, policies and procedures and enforcement, which currently differ in organizations and geographies, as well as more measures to make health and safety an integral part of company culture.”Martin’s role covers all divisions of the Dulsco Group: Dulsco People, Dulsco Environment, Parisima and Advance Global Recruitment businesses. He also plans to expand his expert HSE team in line with the company’s growth.

DEWA employees explore Generative AI in Google Cloud workshop

Dubai: As part of its efforts to adopt the disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and provide its employees with the latest programmes and tools, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) organised a workshop on generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) in collaboration with Google Cloud. The workshop, which saw the participation of many employees from all divisions, aimed to raise their awareness of generative AI and provide them with the necessary resources and tools to keep up with the latest developments in this field.“DEWA contributes to achieving the wise leadership’s vision to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world. This is achieved by adopting the latest disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, including AI, to enrich the experiences of customers, employees, and other stakeholders. AI and digital solutions are the foundation for smart, secure and sustainable future cities. In this regard, we are keen to instil a culture of continuous learning and build the capabilities of our employees through workshops and training courses in collaboration with our leading global partners. These efforts align with the UAE Artificial Intelligence Strategy to create productive, creative, and innovative environments by investing in and using AI technologies and tools. DEWA started its AI journey in 2017, and we are currently enriching our services with generative AI technologies to enhance performance and improve service quality,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.The workshop featured various topics related to deep learning and neural networks for AI. The speakers gave an overview of generative AI use cases across DEWA’s work areas. This includes improving productivity, enhancing efficiency, supporting decision-making procedures, enriching administrative operations, and providing innovative and advanced services that meet the needs of stakeholders, anytime and anywhere. The workshop also showcased generative AI models and trained participants to use the Qwiklabs and AI Vertex platforms. The workshop concluded with a brainstorming session on the anticipated use cases of this technology in DEWA.

Disprz raises $30mln in Series C funding to expand presence in the Middle East

Disprz, an AI-powered learning and skilling suite, has raised $30 Million in its Series C funding round led by Lumos Capital and 360 ONE Asset (IIFL), with participation from Kae Capital, KOIS, & Dallas Venture Capital. The funds raised in the round will be utilized for global market expansion and product development using new-age technologies like Generative AI in emerging markets such as the Middle East, and India, & expanding to the US. The company serves industry leaders like Sharaf DG, Jumbo Electronics, NEOM, Saudi Research & others.Since its inception in 2015, Disprz has witnessed remarkable growth & is one of few HR tech startups in the Series C segment. “The company’s consistent revenue growth, during and after the peak of the pandemic, shows that people's advancement is recession-proof problem statement within HR tech- it is a core problem of humanity,” stated Kuljit Chadha, Co-Founder & COO, of Disprz.Subbu Viswanathan, Co-founder & CEO of Disprz, said, "Disprz is at the forefront of innovation in the learning and skilling space. We are on a mission to equip the workforce for the rapidly changing world, and we solve this mission using a B2B SaaS approach." Karan Ahuja, Fund Manager of 360 ONE Asset (IIFL) said, "Upskilling and re-training workforces is a top priority for human capital leaders globally, and Disprz’s product offerings stand out in a learning & development market that’s undergoing transition."Disprz has established its presence in every continent, serving over 350 organizations & boasting an impressive roster of renowned household brands & industry leaders. The fundraise will enable Disprz to expand its global team, hire data scientists, skilling scientists, and engineers to complement its product capabilities & accelerate its success through bigger and local go-to-market teams.The company also plans to form strategic partnerships and make strategic acquisitions, partnering with the broader learning ecosystem, including HCM players, people reward platforms, learning content players, and assessment players.Looking ahead, Disprz envisions itself as a people intelligence suite on a global scale, extending beyond employee skilling to back every stage in an employee's lifecycle. The company aims to empower organizations worldwide to advance their workforce potential through skills, data & personalization.

‘Meta’ the social metaverse, joins Manama-IX

Batelco, part of the Beyon Group, has announced that Meta has now joined Manama-IX, the Bahrain based Internet peering service provider. Meta, the social metaverse company and among the world’s leading content providers, owns and operates a number of social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram.Social media has revolutionized how people socialize, do business, shop, and get news. According to statistics from Mckinsey, since July 2022, new users are joining social-media platforms at an average global rate of seven users per second. With the high demands for social media usage and to ensure the best customer experience, Batelco is keen to provide high performance internet-based services.One way to improve internet efficiency is to establish direct connections with big content providers, and by having Meta on Manama-IX, members will have access to an immense data pool which will help reduce latency and improve connectivity quality, thus delivering a better customer experience when accessing Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp.Hani Askar, Chief Global Business Officer at Batelco, said, “We are delighted that Meta joined Manama-IX and that now we are able to provide our customers with direct peering access to major Content Delivery Network (CDNs) such as Meta, as well as AWS, Google, and Microsoft who are already on Manama-IX.”“Having Meta on Manama-IX is a very exciting milestone as we always aim to enhance the customer experience and add value to our peers, by attracting more content players to the region, and supporting the connectivity community,” he added.“Batelco’s vision behind Manama-IX is to be the leading IX in the MENA region and to contribute towards the development of Internet services across the region, in line with Bahrain’s vision of becoming a leading digital economy in the region.” Mr. Askar concluded.Manama-IX is the Bahrain-based Internet exchange platform that interconnects global carriers, local and international operators, and both content and cloud providers.To learn more about Manama-IX, please visit

Sharjah Summer Promotions 2023 spreads joy with grand draws and offers

The 20th edition of "Sharjah Summer Promotions 2023," organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) under the theme "Ya Hala Bsaifna in Sharjah (Welcome Summer in Sharjah)," continues to sprinkle joy across the emirate. On Saturday evening, a vibrant event at the Sahara Centre saw 20 fortunate participants walking away with purchase vouchers and travel tickets.Prizes included five vouchers worth AED5,000 each, ten vouchers valued at AED 2,500, and five tourist tickets. Eager shoppers can anticipate more exciting surprises in the upcoming period, including a plethora of shopping vouchers, travel and hotel packages, and a grand draw to win the Nissan Patrol 2023. The promotion also boasts hefty discounts, an array of entertainment offers, and standout marketing activities.Beyond the evident excitement and happiness permeating Sharjah, the promotions have bolstered the retail sector and invigorated commercial activities. Participating malls, markets, and shops reported sales exceeding AED 200 million, according to the Sharjah Summer Promotions’ draw committee. This was based on the number of draw vouchers issued a month after the promotion's launch.Jamal Bouzanjal, Director of the Corporate Communication Department at SCCI, extended congratulations to all the first draw winners, encouraging shoppers to maximize their participation in the upcoming weeks by exploring shopping centers across the emirate to avail of the numerous offers and surprises.Bouzanjal emphasized that fostering community happiness is a core objective that the Sharjah Chamber seeks to achieve through Sharjah Summer Promotions, which are brought to life by the series of events and activities staged by shopping centers in celebration of these special offers.The current edition, set to run until September 3rd, has witnessed participation from numerous malls and retail stores throughout Sharjah. Shoppers can still benefit from promotional discounts reaching up to 75% on a diverse range of products.

Anantara, The Palm Dubai Resort appoints Aseel Elagib as social media specialist

Dubai: Anantara, The Palm Dubai Resort has welcomed Aseel Elagib to the position of Social Media Specialist. Aseel is a Sudanese-Canadian graduate of the German University of Technology in Oman who is joining the hospitality industry for the first time after excelling in social media, marketing, and content creation positions in the UAE for over two years.Beginning her career in planning, architectural design, and project management, Aseel demonstrated an aptitude for strategy, creativity, and implementation. She took her first digital marketing position at Harbor Real Estate in April 2021 and, after demonstrating her talent for the creation and optimisation of content to develop and boost engagement across digital and social channels, was recruited for a marketing project at Cityscape Dubai with Exalogic Consulting. Aseel joins Anantara with a proven record of success and a clear passion for the role. She is bilingual with excellent written and verbal communication skills in both English and Arabic.Aseel will be responsible for all social media accounts, including LinkedIn, for Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort and Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort plus all food and beverage outlets across both hotels. Through the execution of compelling photo and video creation, Aseel will communicate the key selling points and lifestyle of the brand, its Dubai resorts, and its exquisite restaurants and bars. She will engage with guests and generate leads through direct messaging and enquiry response while informing and shaping strategy through diligent analysis to drive exceptional results. By generating and maintaining beneficial relationships with industry partners and social influencers, and through consistent and impactful digital ad campaigns, Aseel will identify and maximise every opportunity to expand and enhance brand awareness and reputation.“We are delighted to welcome Aseel to our team. She brings an excellent reputation for content creation and digital engagement, and we are excited to see the impact she makes on social media strategies across all our resorts and outlets. We believe communication with our customers is key to providing the outstanding hospitality they expect and deserve. Social media helps us to keep every guest clearly informed and allows all stakeholders to enjoy the benefits of continuous conversation,” Jeremie Lannoy, Cluster Director Marketing and Communications, Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort and Anantara World Islands Dubai Resort.

The Authority of Social Contribution encourages CSR efforts in Abu Dhabi

The Authority of Social Contribution - Ma’an has refined its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) model, further enabling businesses across Abu Dhabi to utilise the authority’s initiatives and programmes as a channel to maximise CSR budgets and actively give back to the local community.The Authority of Social Contribution – Ma’an provides an unparalleled opportunity for corporates across Abu Dhabi to simplify and achieve their social goals associated with their responsibility contribution and Sustainability Development Goals (SDG)s, allowing more budget and time to be dedicated directly to the social programmes, which increases the social impact made by the corporation.Ma’an’s key role is to facilitate these projects and deploy funds as necessary to ensure a successful outcome. 100% of the contributions received by Ma’an go towards the social programmes and initiatives as agreed by the contributor, disclosing the impact to involved beneficiaries. More than 700,000 individuals in Abu Dhabi have benefited from Ma’an’s programmes and initiatives, which demonstrates its widespread social impact on the emirate.Focused on addressing critical social priorities across sectors including health, education, environment, social and infrastructure, Ma’an serves the evolving needs of the community and promotes social responsibility both among individuals and corporations. Corporates can choose from a range of 30 programmes and initiatives, tailored to benefit a key social priority in Abu DhabiHer Excellency Salama Al Ameemi, Director General of Ma’an, said: “Corporates can play a critical role in maximising the breadth of our impact by channelling their CSR budgets to support social priorities that are in line with their organisational values. It is imperative for them to understand their role in the collective and the effect their actions can have on the development of an active and socially inclusive society.“Ensuring the success of our programmes and bringing long-term positive impact to communities also requires deployment of resources, which is why partnerships are at the heart of the work we do. Every individual effort can make an important contribution to amplify the development of an engaged and collaborative community.”Ma’an lays strong emphasis on recognising and showcasing corporates and individuals for their CSR contributions. This year, the authority launched the Abu Dhabi Social Responsibility Label, a government recognition that acknowledges the key role played by the corporate contributors in supporting social priorities in Abu Dhabi.Corporates can choose from a range of 30 programmes and initiatives, tailored to benefit a key social priority in Abu Dhabi, including Social - these projects aim at creating an inclusive and cohesive society in Abu Dhabi, building integrated communities and ensuring a decent standard of living for all community members.Other programmes include Health initiatives including facilitating therapeutic, preventive and rehabilitative care to ensure the required healthcare for all community members by stimulating growth in medical services and equipment is provided. Education programmes are designed to provide distinctive and appropriate opportunities for all learners to access education services and support developing the education sector in Abu Dhabi, in addition to promoting a culture of creativity, sustainability and excellence.Environment initiatives support protecting the environment through innovative and impact-oriented environmental projects, in collaboration with success partners and the community.Finally, Infrastructure initiatives help in creating an ideal living environment for Abu Dhabi citizen and residents with all facilities and services aiming to provide a high quality of life.In order to efficiently facilitate the process of accepting and directing the contributions received, Ma’an has launched an application that will allow public and private sector and individuals to assign their contributions to a programme of initiative of their choice without paying any administrative fees to the authority.Committed to actualising its programmes with trust and transparency, Ma’an issues an impact report annually on its website that highlights all the programmes and initiatives launched in the year and underlines the significant impact it has made on the beneficiaries as well as its continued efforts to empower the growth and development of the Third Sector.Over the past three years, Ma’an has raised nearly AED517 million from various institutions and individuals, ensuring long-term positive impact across the multicultural society of Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Al Dhafra regions. As more companies realise the impact of social progress on organisational success, Ma’an’s human-centred approach to transform the Abu Dhabi community into a cohesive, sustainable, and productive society has gained vital momentum. Last year, the value of financial allocations provided by Ma’an to social institutions, projects, and entrepreneurs exceeded AED78.1 million.

Arsenal and Emirates extend partnership to 2028

Arsenal and Emirates are delighted to announce the extension of their partnership, the longest-running front-of-shirt sponsorship in Premier League history. Arsenal's partnership with the UAE’s leading flag carrier began in July 2006, and will now run until at least 2028, taking the collaboration to a minimum of 22 years. The agreement comes ahead of the Emirates Cup clash against AS Monaco providing the perfect backdrop to celebrate the record-breaking partnership at Emirates Stadium.  After 17 years of incredible moments and working together to bring global communities closer together, Emirates is woven into the fabric of Arsenal. Emirates has been ever present on the front of Arsenal's men’s, women’s, and academy team shirts, and its home in north London has featured the Emirates name since it opened in 2006.  The globally renowned airline has also taken Arsenal on many pre-season tours, helping to connect it with supporters around the world. Most recently, alongside Emirates, Arsenal launched the ‘Global Gooners’ campaign bringing friends and families together from all over the world at Emirates Stadium.  To mark this announcement, it has released a film that shines a light on those stand-out memories at Emirates Stadium that embody the strength of Arsenal and Emirates’ unity andteamwork.  Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer, Arsenal, said: “We are incredibly proud to make history by extending our partnership with Emirates until 2028. The longevity of our special relationship is a sign of our enduring shared values, our ambition to bring our global communities together, and our commitment to building on the numerous achievements that have marked our 17-year journey to date. As we take our partnership to a minimum of 22 years together, we’re excited to move forward and we’re focused on celebrating more incredible moments with our supporters around the world.”Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, said: “I’m proud of the journey that Emirates and Arsenal have shared over the past 17 years. Together, we’ve celebrated triumphs and stood strong against challenges. Our partnership has been built on a shared vision of excellence and a dedication to enriching the experiences of fans around the world. Emirates is very pleased to extend and reaffirm our partnership with Arsenal. We look forward to creating even more magical moments with Arsenal; and together, unite, inspire, and make a meaningful impact on communities around the world through the beautiful game.”

Fahad Al Hammadi strikes gold as UAE continues winning streak at MMAF YWC

ABU DHABI: The UAE National Team continued its winning streak at the ongoing IMMAF Youth World Championships, securing one more gold on Friday, bringing its overall medal count to 12, including 4 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze.The competitions for the Youth A, 16-17 years old, took place at the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City, where, in a thrilling match, Fahad Al Hammadi defeated Italy’s Damiano Grillo to secure the first place in the 70.3 KG division.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 the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, is organized by the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation and hosted by the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation. The championship is set to continue until tomorrow, Saturday.Mohammed Al Hosani, a member of the MMA Committee of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and MMA Federation, lauded the National Team for their exceptional performance and attributed it to the generous support and guidance of the wise leadership, as well as the tireless efforts of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts Federation.He said, “The evaluation and selection process for the UAE national team players spanned a full year between the 3rd and 4th editions of the IMMAF Youth World Championships. During this time, five MMA local tournaments were organized, with one of the primary goals being evaluation and selection. Subsequently, a rigorous preparation and a preparatory training camp were conducted for a month prior to the championship to enhance the players focus. We are delighted to see that the meticulous preparation, selection, and training processes have borne the desired results.”Al Hosani also congratulated Fahad Al Hammadi for securing the gold medal. “The whole nation is proud of him. His remarkable achievement brings pride to usand serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes in the country. Such successes showcase the talent and dedication of the athletes and highlight the promising future of MMA in the UAE, in the region, and beyond.”Davron Juraev, President of Tajikistan MMA Federation, noted that the championship has been improving each year. “Tajikistan is participating here in Abu Dhabi for the second year, and we have around 30 athletes. The level of competition, organization, and the athletes this year are significantly different. Everyone has become much stronger, and I’m thrilled that we have more countries participating than the previous year, making the competition even more robust and exciting,” he said.“The championship overall is truly amazing. As the famous phrase goes, ‘sports unite.’ Indeed, it works here because the atmosphere of the competition arena in Abu Dhabi is grandiose. We can see more than 45 countries participating, making it an international and huge event. It’s very pleasing to see the support from the sport authorities and the government of Abu Dhabi,” he added.

Global Education Provider Dibber partners with Noon Toys

Dibber, the leading global education provider and #1 Scandinavian and Nordic education expert, has partnered with noon, the renowned e- commerce marketplace. This collaboration aims to provide families in the UAE with an extraordinary opportunity to indulge their little ones in a summer of fun and learning, while enjoying discounts on a diverse range of noon toys.The hot summer deal, available for a limited time, will enable children and parents to access a wide range of educational and entertaining toys through the noon online platform. With this special promotion, Dibber and noon seek to enhance the learning experience for children during the summer break.By leveraging noon's extensive reach and reputation as a trusted brand in the region, Dibber aims to create a positive impact on young minds, fostering a lifelong love for learning."We are thrilled to partner with noon and provide families with a summer deal on an exciting assortment of toys," said Nahi Rahal, Regional Managing Director (MENATP) at Dibber. "At Dibber, we believe that play is an essential component of a child's development, and this collaboration allows us to further enrich their learning journey through engaging and educational toys. We are confident that this partnership will inspire children, boost their creativity, and contribute to their holistic growth." Rahal added.With this new collaboration, Dibber reinforces its commitment to expand its footprint in the UAE. This partnership with noon reflects Dibber's dedication to nurturing a comprehensive learning experience that extends beyond the classroom.

BeanBurds launches award-winning Barisieur in the UAE

Dubai: The Barisieur alarm clock is a coffee or tea brewing alarm clock. To use the device, users simply set their alarm as normal, and decide whether they would like their brew to be ready five minutes before the alarm, as the alarm goes off, or up to 15 minutes after the alarm sounds.Dubai, United Arab Emirates: BeanBurds, the UAE's premier online platform for coffee enthusiasts, proudly announces the exclusive debut of the internationally acclaimed and top-selling product, the Barisieur by Joy Resolve in the Middle East.Salem Ahmed, Founder and CEO of BeanBurds, said, "At BeanBurds, our mission has always been to serve the coffee community in the UAE with the finest coffee-related products and experiences. The Barisieur aligns perfectly with our commitment to providing coffee enthusiasts with top-notch, innovative products that enhance their coffee journey. We are proud to be at the forefront of bringing this award-winning device to the region and to contribute to the growth of the UAE’s coffee culture."The Barisieur is a premium alarm clock that eases you into your morning with the soothing sounds of bubbling water and the smell of the freshly brewed coffee or loose leaf tea. This product is available exclusively through BeanBurds in the Middle East, starting with the UAE.The Barisieur is inspired by a combination of the modern ritual of filter coffee with the iconic vinyl record player, encouraging a nostalgic experience with the user. It was born with a digital detox in mind, where the design language is a balance between simplicity and mystified alchemy. Watch how the water magically transports from one vessel to another, showering over the coffee at an engineered temperature of 94C - perfect for brewing coffee.The simple housing holds sophisticated technology. An induction coil is used to boil the water efficiently and safely in the vessel above. It has a milk vessel centralised in the base that’s cooled at 3 °C due to the integrated Peltier cooler, which detects if milk is present due to an infrared sensor. A retro digital display to simply tell the time and set the alarm, which dims in low lit environments due to the integrated diode. There is a sealed drawer to store for coffee or tea which conveniently holds a stainless-steel spoon which sits in the stainless-steel lid.Form follows function with all aspects of this design; the scientific borosilicate glassware sits on a charming walnut or rubber-wood timber tray, coming together to create distinctive new forms. The tray effortlessly lifts off the mid-century styled black or white base to aid transportation of accessories.The mix of Scandinavian and timeless design makes the Barisieur feel at home whether it’s displayed in the kitchen, living room or bedroom.Founder of Joy Resolve, Josh Renouf said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with BeanBurds to introduce the 'Barisieur' to the Middle East. This product has been a labour of love, driven by our passion for innovation and creating cherished experiences for coffee lovers worldwide. Our product vision encourages interaction, sentimentality and accessibility. Good design is at the core of every offering, each product adhering to our own strict guidelines on sustainability and functionality.”

Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi to take place in the emirate

Abu Dhabi: Paramount and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced that the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi will return to the city on Saturday 16 September celebrating fan favourites from across the worlds of film, television, music, sports and more.Taking place at Yas Island’s Etihad Arena, early bird tickets to the Nickelodeon awards are available now via the success of the inaugural event in 2019, this year’s Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi will be packed with family fun, unexpected moments, and more surprises than ever.First-time nominees include the Palestinian-Chilean singer-songwriter and composer Elyanna, Egyptian actress Huda El Mufti, Moroccan pop singer Rym, content creators Saudi Reporters, and Syrian comedy creator Amro Maskoun among others. The awards show will also celebrate multi-award-winning singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, young actress and songwriter Olivia Rodrigo, singer-songwriter Anne-Marie and global pop phenomenon Justin Bieber.Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi 2023 will continue to put the fans in control and beginning August 4th, will roll out a voting mechanism, leading up to the show on Saturday 16 September, when the winners will be revealed.Fans can vote across 16 categories on Nickelodeon’s digital site and on Instagram using the hashtag of their favourite nominee.The show will premiere on Nickelodeon MENA and will be aired on Nickelodeon channels worldwide.2023 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi is a Paramount production in partnership with Blink Experience and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi.Performers and presenters will be announced later.Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards Abu Dhabi 2023 nominees are for the Favourite Artist – Manal, Issam Alnajjar, Elyanna and WEGZ, Favourite Content Creator - Raghda Kouyoumdjian, Omar Farooq, Wessam Q and Noor stars, Favourite Team - Fozi Mozi, Anasala Family, Aljoud sisters and Saudi Reporters, Favourite Influencer - Life as Sara, Bessan Ismail, Ghaith Marwan and Ahmad Aburob, Favourite Female Newcomer - Noel Kharman, Sandra Sahi, Lea Makhoul and Rym.The other nominees include Favourite Gamer – BanderitaX, AboFlah, MJRMGames and Kloode, Favourite Male Newcomer, A5rass, Anthony Touma, Ali Loka and Siilawy, Favourite Actress - Andria Tayeh, Huda El Mufti, Mayan El Sayed and Noor Taher, Favourite Actor - Ahmed Dash, Ahmed Malek, Ibrahim Al Hajjaj and Taha Desouky, Favourite Nickelodeon Character - Spongebob /Spongebob Square Pants, Lincoln Loud/The Loud House, Chase/Paw Patrol and Captain Man/Danger Force, Favourite Comedy Creator - Amro Maskoun, Lorans Almansi, Hadeel Marei and Islam Afro, Favourite Pet in Nickelodeon series - Gary the Snail - Spongebob Square Pants, Boots - Dora the Explorer, Blue - Blue's Clues & You and Kiko - Santiago of the Seas, Favourite International Artist - Olivia Rodrigo, Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran and Anne-Marie, Favourite International Influencer - Charlie D'Amelio, Halle Bailey, Jenna Ortega and Addison Rae, Favourite International Content Creator - Mr Beast, Kids Diana Show, Ryan's World and KSI.

Sunny Side Up expands into Saudi with a new GM

Saudi Arabia: Creative agency Sunny Side Up (SSUP) has unveiled its strategic expansion into Saudi Arabia, underpinned by its aspiration to cater meticulously to the needs of both local and global clienteles situated within the Kingdom.SSUP Founder-CEO Najib Sabbagh said that the "The extended reach of SSUP into Saudi Arabia fills me with enthusiasm. This expansion seamlessly harmonizes with our visionary pursuit of spearheading the creative domain. I harbor unshakeable faith in Ismail Abualsamh's prowess to navigate our triumph within the Saudi market landscape."The Saudi Arabian wing of SSUP, christened SSUP KSA, shall be under the astute leadership of the recently inducted General Manager, Ismail Abualsamh. Endowed with a rich tapestry of experience within the industry, coupled with an intimate comprehension of the Saudi market dynamics, Abualsamh stands poised to lead with distinction.Ismail Abualsamh expresses his sentiment as he steps into the role of General Manager for KSA, affirming: "Assuming the mantle of GM for KSA at SSUP is a distinction I embrace with humility. I ardently look forward to steering our adept cadre in dispensing unparalleled solutions in the realms of creativity and marketing to our Saudi clientele. Collectively, we shall establish pioneering benchmarks within the Kingdom's landscape."The venture of SSUP into KSA arises as a direct reaction to the surging desire for inventive services and the essential requirement to furnish region-specific assistance to the Kingdom's clienteles. Under the banner of SSUP KSA, the Saudi Arabian arm of this creative powerhouse, an all-encompassing spectrum of services will be on offer. These services span the gamut from creativity and marketing acumen to social and production services. This comprehensive suite will be orchestrated by a band of adept creative professionals, galvanized and led by Abualsamh, synergizing their efforts towards the realization of client objectives.Notably, the agency has also made significant strategic appointments within its UAE division, in a bid to fortify its presence. Recent times have witnessed the announcement of Ralph Nader as the accomplished General Manager and Farah El Kadi as the visionary Creative Director for SSUP UAE.

PRCA MENA teams up with MCG Talent for PR agency talent acquisition

Dubai: PRCA MENA, the leading professional association for public relations and communications in the Middle East and North Africa, is pleased to announce their new partnership with renowned recruitment agency MCG Talent. This collaboration comes as a response to the ever-expanding PR market in the Gulf region where PR agencies constantly seek the most exceptional talents to fuel their growth and success. MCG Talent, with a well-established presence in the MENA region since 2010, has a proven track record of supporting PRCA MENA activities in the past. The partnership agreement enhances their commitment to promoting excellence in the PR industry by providing the association’s members a 5% discount on the first contract fees charged by MCG Talent, empowering agencies to find and secure the perfect fit for their teams. Monika Fourneaux, Head of PRCA EMEA, expressed her delight at the newly forged alliance, stating, "MCG Talent is an invaluable asset to our members. With the Gulf region witnessing unprecedented growth, the demand for top-tier PR professionals has never been greater. Their expertise in talent acquisition will undoubtedly empower our members to thrive in the competitive industry landscape.”Commenting on the partnership, Justin McGuire, the visionary founder of MCG Talent, said, "We are delighted to take our collaboration with PRCA MENA to new heights with this strategic partnership. As an agency that understands the unique challenges and opportunities in the MENA PR market, we are perfectly positioned to complement PRCA MENA's efforts in nurturing talent and elevating the industry as a whole. We look forward to providing our expertise to PRCA MENA members and helping them find the right talent to drive their agencies' success."

Dubai Shopping Malls Group kickstarts exciting back to school bonanza

Dubai: The residents of the UAE can prepare for an unforgettable Back-to-School extravaganza as Dubai Shopping Malls Group (DSMG) presents its sensational 2023 edition with AED 100,000 in cash prizes up for grabs.Embracing the spirit of new beginnings and the joy of learning, DSMG's captivating Back-to-School campaign is set to sweep residents off their feet from 7th August to 3rd September 2023, wherein 20 lucky customers to win AED 5,000 from the grand AED 100,000 cash prize pool. All they need to do is simply spend AED 200 at any of the participating malls, and they'll be automatically entered into the thrilling draws. On August 27 and September 3, the drums of excitement will roll as twenty fortunate winners will be randomly named winners.Majid Al Ghurair, the visionary Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group, expressed his excitement about the campaign, stating, "This is a great opportunity for families to get everything they need for the new school year, and we hope they will take advantage of the savings and excitement that the campaign has to offer. At DSMG, we believe in fostering a spirit of community and creating cherished memories through shopping experiences. As we embark on this Back-to-School journey, we envision a seamless blend of shopping, winning, and delight for all our valued shoppers."With a lineup of participating malls that reads like a who's who of retail heaven, shoppers can indulge in their favourite retail therapy at renowned destinations such as Al Bustan Centre, Arabian Center, Al Ghurair Centre, Dubai Outlet Mall, Lulu Silicon Central, Mudon Community Center, Shorooq Community Center, Bay Avenue, Villanova Community Center, Al Khail Gate Community Center, Serena Market Place, Times Square Center, Al Warqa City Mall, Etihad Mall, AL Barsha Mall, Al Barsha South Mall, Nad Al Hamar, and Dubai Festival Plaza.

UM MENAT, Teads forge partnership for sustainable advertising in MENAT

UM MENAT is actively taking a proactive stride towards promoting environmental sustainability. This endeavor involves partnering with Teads, leveraging their tool to evaluate and tackle the carbon emissions associated with the media agency's advertising endeavors.Having achieved favorable outcomes during the initial launch in Saudi Arabia, UM and Teads are poised to extend this environmentally conscious initiative throughout the entire MENAT region.Contemporary conscientious consumers exhibit a growing inclination towards enterprises that emphasize sustainability and possess a clearly defined mission.According to Scope 3 assessments, the impact of 1 million digital ad impressions on the environment is comparable to that of a flight between Paris and New York.In response to this concern, Teads announced a global collaboration with IMPACT+, a prominent third-party solution focused on curtailing greenhouse gas emissions within the digital advertising sector.By collaborating, Teads and IMPACT+ are firmly dedicated to addressing ecological apprehensions within the digital advertising sphere, aligning seamlessly with the principles cherished by environmentally-aware modern consumers.Within this framework, UM will orchestrate campaigns for clients, subject to evaluation by Teads via their supply chain, utilizing an innovative carbon measurement and reduction scheme available exclusively through Teads Ad Manager.By assimilating this data into the planning and execution stages, UM and Teads can craft a more environmentally efficient resolution.Teads is committed to diminishing the use of resource-intensive creatives, mitigating wasted impressions resulting from inefficiencies in visibility, engagement, and targeting. This also involves eliminating the technological hurdles linked with excessive volume across diverse platforms.Through furnishing an uninterrupted end-to-end omnichannel platform and cultivating direct collaborations with esteemed publishers, Teads possesses the capacity to supervise numerous facets of the media supply chain.An extensive scrutiny of various domains, seamlessly integrated with Teads, showcased an impressive 99 percent reduction in emissions attributed to ad selection, juxtaposed with conventional programmatic purchasing practices.These endeavors were executed without compromising media potency, as evidenced by a noteworthy view-through rate of 75.7 percent and a robust visibility rate of 74.96 percent. This strategic alliance represents a significant milestone in the media industry's dedication to combating climate change and nurturing sustainability. The image credit goes to UM MENAT."Starting from April this year, our journey towards diminishing carbon emissions, following an all-encompassing approach, has made remarkable headway. Our commitment at UM to this cause is resolute."Our endeavors in Saudi Arabia have not only contributed to mitigating the ecological footprint of our sector but have also yielded positive outcomes in terms of media efficiency and efficacy.We eagerly anticipate further progress in this realm over the forthcoming years, closely collaborating with Teads and extending the solution across the MENAT region," affirmed Nadeem Ibrahim, Head of Digital at UM KSA."By harnessing Teads' direct inventory through its ad manager and embracing a conscious approach to media planning in partnership with UM, this collaboration is poised to make a substantial influence."It signifies a mutual dedication to constructing a better world through ingenuity, accountability, and environmental guardianship. Together, they aspire to inspire the industry and set novel benchmarks for sustainable advertising practices," commented Wael Zeidan, Deputy Managing Director at Teads KSA.

WPP & Spotify announce first-of-its-kind global partnership

Spotify will be the first audio platform to be integrated directly into WPP’s products and solutions. WPP and Spotify today announced a new global strategic partnership that will enable WPP to offer its clients early access to Spotify’s innovative ad products, first-party intelligence and creative ways to reach engaged audiences at scale.  As part of the partnership, Spotify will become the first digital audio platform to be integrated directly into WPP’s products and solutions. This includes an exploration in connection with Choreograph’s insights platform. In a first-of-its-kind partnership, WPP will look to use Spotify to develop integrations that provide Spotify’s first-party occasions insights to help clients understand aggregated listening patterns in order to inform more creative and effective digital audio advertising strategies. WPP will work with Spotify to deliver market-leading thought leadership and scaled training programmes for its employees and clients that focus on digital audio creativity and Spotify's innovative ad products. WPP’s teams and clients will also benefit from early access to Spotify’s neuro-insights research focused on audience trends and insights. One of the first outputs of the partnership is a WPP client-specific version of Spotify’s Sonic Science insights study, conducted with WPP agency Mindshare, that details the connection between Spotify, digital audio ads and listeners. Working with research firm Neuro-Insight, Spotify recreated its Sonic Science Volume 1 study using audio ads from WPP clients to explore how their ads trigger engagement, emotional intensity, memory, and more. Notable findings include: Immersed Audience: Spotify consistently drives higher levels of engagement vs. other media formats like visual media (+24%), other audio media (+27%) and social media (+38%), with an increase in numbers from Spotify’s 2021 study1. Increased Ad Engagement: We found that listeners were more engaged with the ads from WPP clients in this study than in the 2021 study, with a 17% increase on ad engagement transference when listeners went from listening to music or podcasts to a real WPP client’s audio ad. Strong engagement in both podcast and music environments: The study showed that ad engagement remains high with listeners no matter if they were listening to music (+29%) or podcasts (+36%)2. Sonic Science Volume 1, Neuro-Insight and Spotify, June 2021IbidStephan Pretorius, Chief Technology Officer of WPP, said: “In the fast-evolving media and entertainment landscape, audio streaming has become an integral part of everyday life. At WPP, we recognise the power of audio as a critical component of marketing. The intent of this first-of-its-kind partnership is to integrate Spotify’s insights with the Choreograph platform to create more innovative and relevant ways to connect our clients with their customers.” Brian Berner, Global Head of Advertising Sales, Spotify, said: “We’ve long partnered with WPP to enable agency planners and buyers to make more informed decisions when planning for digital audio. With our new global partnership, we’re helping WPP clients modernise their strategy and planning. More than 550 million people across 184 markets come to Spotify every month to be entertained, to learn and to discover for nearly 2.5 hours each day. As we continue to drive innovation in audio and the advertising industry at large, partners like WPP are critical to delivering for advertisers, creators and audiences wherever they are.” Additional insights from the Sonic Science study, as well as tips for advertisers on how to get started with digital audio can be found here: WPP Sonic Science study.

Make music from words! Meta unveils AI tool AudioCraft

Meta has unveiled AudioCraft, the revolutionary AI tool that brings high-quality audio and music generation right to your fingertips. AudioCraft empowers users to effortlessly create captivating audio and music from simple text prompts, opening up a realm of possibilities for musicians, content creators, and sound enthusiasts like never before.With AudioCraft, users can explore new musical compositions without needing to play a single note on an instrument. Picture yourself easily enhancing your video ads on platforms like Instagram with mesmerizing soundtracks. This cutting-edge technology makes AI-generated audio and music accessible to you, putting the power of creativity in your hands.Unleash your imagination with AudioCraft's three powerful models: MusicGen, AudioGen, and EnCodec. Simply provide text prompts, and MusicGen, trained on specially licensed music, will generate exceptional melodies for you. Meanwhile, AudioGen, trained on public sound effects, delivers lifelike audio from your textual inputs. Excitingly, Meta is introducing an enhanced version of its EnCodec decoder, ensuring higher-quality music generation with minimal artifacts. Meta is making its pre-trained AudioGen models available, allowing you to create various environmental sounds and effects, from barking dogs to honking cars and footsteps on different surfaces. Meta is also sharing the entire AudioCraft model weights and code, giving you access to these models for research purposes through open-source.AI-generated audio has been a relatively untapped domain compared to images, videos, and text. That's why AudioCraft was designed to overcome these challenges, providing you with easy-to-use models capable of producing high-quality audio consistently. Meta has simplified the design of generative audio models, so you can make the most of our years of research and development while also encouraging you to experiment and create your own groundbreaking audio experiences.AudioCraft users have the freedom to explore various audio tasks, from generating music to crafting sound effects and compression algorithms—all within the same code base. Meta says it believes in fostering a collaborative community, and that's why it is open-sourcing AudioCraft, empowering users to innovate and redefine how we produce and enjoy audio content.With AudioCraft, users hold not just a tool but a platform to shape the future of AI-generated audio. MusicGen could become a new type of instrument, transforming the way music is composed, just like the impact synthesizers had when they first emerged.

Museum of the Future achieves WELL Health-Safety Ranking

Dubai: The Museum of the Future, a global platform to study, conceive and design the future, has received the prestigious WELL Health-Safety Ranking for Facility Operations and Management. Achieved alongside parent organisation Dubai Future Foundation, the WELL Health-Safety Ranking was awarded to the Museum of the Future by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) in June 2023 and recognises the Museum of the Future’s commitment to prioritising the health, safety and wellbeing of the museum’s visitors, workforce, partners and stakeholders. The Museum of the Future has committed to renewing the WELL Health-Safety certification annually as part of its drive to develop a culture of wellbeing and its long-term commitment to prioritising the health and safety of all those who work in and visit the museum.  The WELL Health-Safety Rating has been developed with a ‘people first’ framework in mind by the International WELL Building Institute, a global organisation focused on advancing human-centric health and safety within public buildings and offices. IWBI collaborated with more than 6,000 scientists and expert practitioners to develop the WELL Health-Safety Rating. As a third-party verified rating that focuses on operational policies, maintenance protocols and stakeholder engagement, the ranking was achieved following close consultancy between the Museum of the Future, Dubai Future Foundation and IWBI. The Museum of the Future worked closely with IWBI to design a roadmap to drive deeper resilience within the heart of museum operations and further prioritise the health, safety and well-being of both workers and visitors.Majed Al Mansoori, Deputy Executive Director at Museum of the Future, said: “The WELL Health-Safety Rating reinforces the museum's commitment to safeguarding the health and wellbeing of our most valuable assets - our talented team of employees, esteemed visitors and valued partners and stakeholders. We are proud to have achieved the Well Health-Safety Rating, a ranking that validates and guides our efforts to create a healthier and safer space. Visitors to the Museum of the Future will be able to see the WELL Health-Safety Seal displayed prominently outside its doors and enter the museum safe in the knowledge that we are committed to putting people’s wellbeing first."As a global lab for designing future-focused cities, concepts and lifestyles, the Museum of the Future seeks to develop innovative solutions that support the vision of a better tomorrow. Adopting frameworks such as the Health-Safety Rating play an essential role in creating a better, safer and healthier future for generations to come," Al Mansoori added.The WELL Health-Safety certification aligns with the Museum of the Future’s commitment to supporting UAE Centennial 2071, the long-term vision announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the UAE during the next five decades into a diversified, knowledge-based economy, offering a brighter future for generations to come, as well as the UAE Net Zero by 2050 strategic initiative.In addition to the achieving the WELL Health-Safety seal, the Museum of the Future is the first museum in the Middle East to obtain a Platinum certification from LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) the highest rating for green buildings in the world. The Museum of the Future also received a Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award, also known as an ‘Edgie’, from the Association of Science and Technology Centres, a global award recognising its commitment to diversity, accessibility, inclusion, and equity, reflecting its vision for a brighter future that is designed with everyone in mind.

Club Apparel rewards its customers with five times Club Apparel points

Apparel Group’s participation in Dubai Summer Surprise comes in association with Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment. Club Apparel will reward existing and new members with five times Club Apparel points on all their purchases across Apparel group stores in Dubai. This dream campaign will feature a whopping 35+ brands offering the ideal summer shopping experience for Club Apparel members.This campaign is a celebration of the incredible milestone of the 5 million Club Apparel members. Customers will have will be able to shop all this season’s essentials from fashion, footwear, accessories and travel essentials as well. The 3 days campaign will reward Club Apparel members with a staggering number of points during this campaign. The event will take place in across all the participating stores in Dubai as part of this initiative.Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group, said “Dubai is turning the table around through countless initiatives to support and elevate tourism and retail sectors. Dubai Summer Surprises is a prime factor in enhancing the tourism and retails sectors. At Apparel Group, we pride ourselves in providing the best retail experience by offering globally renowned brands to our valuable customers. Participating in such important initiative, Dubai Summer Surprises, is not new for Apparel Group as have been key players in numerous initiatives and campaigns locally and globally. Providing the best and most astonishing offers across all our renowned brands will allow our customers access to the best and most rewarding shopping experience.”Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment said: “Dubai Summer Surprises has played a pivotal role in supporting the Emirate’s retail sector over the years, and has become an integral part of city's identity, economy, and global appeal. This year, our focus is on enhancing quality of life for residents and offering visitors something new and innovative. This wouldn’t be possible without our trusted partners such as Club Apparel, Apparel Group’s loyalty programme, which contributes to elevating our retail offering by providing shoppers with unique and memorable shopping experiences. We are proud to be part of Club Apparel’s celebration of 5 million members and look forward to a fruitful partnership this edition”.The Dubai Summer Surprises plays a pivotal role in UAE’s plans to solidify its place as the world best shopping destination. In addition, this initiative will increase the tourism momentum and grant Dubai residents the joy of getting exclusive and special rewards and offers.

Strategic Gears experts explore metaverse development in Saudi Arabia

Saudi: Strategic Gears’ latest thought leadership publication explores the development of the global metaverse industry and its integration into real-world business, including its uptake/adoption in Saudi Arabia and the rise of the Saudi metaverse market.The report also examines global benchmarks in the metaverse industry in the US, China, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Barbados, South Korea and Japan in terms of their industry size, their national strategies for the metaverse and industries or areas where the metaverse is used/adopted.Strategic Gears experts also conducted interviews with two metaverse players in Saudi Arabia – Dolf Technologies and FalconViz -- on where the growth opportunities are and the challenges to overcome them in the global and Saudi context.The report concludes with Strategic Gears expert recommendations on maximising metaverse adoption in terms of overall metaverse development, transforming challenges into enablers, Saudi Arabia's metaverse growth, as well as recommendations based on lessons learned from the country benchmarks and interviews. Key conclusions and recommendations include:Given the expanding number of initiatives and creative ideas by both the government and Saudi businesses, increasing expenditures in the sector and more participation from the private sector are crucial, as well as continuously monitoring and evaluating the amount of money spent on metaverse projects versus the return on investment.Factors that could support metaverse development in Saudi Arabia include the integration of intermediaries such as banks and brokers into various metaverse platforms, the creation and implementation of appropriate governance structures, greater branding and awareness of the metaverse’s socioeconomic benefits for the Kingdom, coupled with more events and partnership opportunities domestically and with international stakeholders to bring in best practices, knowledge transfer and expertise.Early adoption and a clearly defined adoption strategy are required, starting with the identification of use cases that offer real value before beginning to plug in data sources and ultimately integrating with the business.Solutions need to be tailormade for the Saudi market, and sectors that stand to benefit the most from metaverse adoption are education, healthcare, industrial, entertainment and tourism.There is misinformation and hype around the metaverse which can distract from real practical applications. New hardware and software infrastructure will also be needed to support the metaverse.The metaverse will grow into a diverse and thriving digital economy with room for a wide range of businesses to operate and fairly compete. The goal is to create an open metaverse that is marked by collaborations that can lower access barriers.The “Metaverse Development in Saudi Arabia” report is available to download

E& money launches prepaid card with cash rewards

Dubai:  e& money, the fintech arm of e& group, today announced the launch of the e& money card, a digital first card for the UAE market promoting financial inclusivity and advancing the vision of fostering a cashless economy.e& money card enables every resident in the UAE to obtain a card within 10 seconds by simply logging into the e& money app. Every customer is instantly issued a 16-digit Mastercard branded e& money card, ready to be used for seamless payments and ATM access. There are more than 180,000 digital cards issued until now since the launch in March.e& money is set to transform the way UAE residents manage their finances, empowering them to make secure transactions worldwide. It ensures an exceptional user experience by effortlessly integrating the e& money card with Apple Pay, Samsung and Google Wallet offering customers the convenience and speed of contactless payments. Furthermore, customers can also request the physical version of their cards for free during the launch period, which will be delivered to their doorstep within just a few days.The e& money card offers the most rewarding prepaid card loyalty programme in the UAE, providing customers with one per cent cash rewards on all card spends during the launch period until the end of 2023. This reward is unique for a prepaid card, as it is typically associated with credit cards. Moreover, customers can conveniently access cash rewards through the app, either by transferring them to the main wallet account as real cash or redeeming them in the unique e& money loyalty catalogue with the best deals including gaming and entertainment vouchers and many more.Khalifa Al Shamsi, Chief Executive Officer, e& life, said: “The launch of the e& money card marks a significant milestone in our mission to reshape the future of financial services in the UAE. By combining cutting-edge technology, seamless user experiences, and attractive benefits, such as instant digital issuance and cash rewards, we are redefining the way people access and manage their finances. Our aim is to empower individuals from all walks of life, fostering financial inclusion and enabling them to embrace the advantages of a cashless society.”e& money's commitment to customer satisfaction goes beyond its existing offerings. The company has plans to introduce new card products in the near future, catering to customers' diverse payment needs and ensuring a great payment experience for their daily transactions.“With the launch of the e& money card, we are reshaping the future of financial services in the UAE,” said Melike Kara, CEO of e& money. “Our goal is to empower all individuals, regardless they are banked or not, by providing instant access to a rewarding prepaid card that offers cash benefits. As e& money, we are proud to launch this digital first card as the first telco-backed issuer in the UAE. The e& money card portfolio is set to revolutionise the payment landscape and digital experience of consumers.”As e& money continues to innovate and expand its offerings, it remains dedicated to delivering customer-centric solutions and ensuring the utmost satisfaction of its users.