Keventers' UAE odyssey: Agastya Dalmia on achieving sweet success

Keventers is a renowned legacy with origins tracing back to 1925. It is widely recognized for its delectable dairy products, which evoke a sense of nostalgia and a deep appreciation for Indian milkshakes. The brand experienced a hiatus during the 1970s but was successfully resurrected by Agastya Dalmia in 2014. Today, it is under the ownership of Super Milk Products Private Limited and boasts a network of more than 200 Keventers Milkshake restaurants and outlets across India. In 2021, Keventers expanded its presence to the Middle East, where it has quickly become the preferred choice for milkshakes among the local populace. In an exclusive talk with Abha Garyali Peer, Adgully, Agastya Dalmia, Founder and CEO, Keventers, opens up about the brand’s revival as well as its success in India and the UAE as well. He talks about the challenges that the brand faced and dealt with, to become a famous milkshake for the people of the UAE. Excerpts: Share with us your entrepreneurial journey? What initiated you to re-launch Keventers?My entrepreneurial journey has been an exciting one, characterized by a passion for the food and beverages industry. When it comes to Keventers, the decision to re-launch this iconic brand stemmed from a desire to bridge the gap between nostalgia and modern preferences. Keventers has a rich heritage dating back to 1925. However, with changing consumer tastes and preferences, we saw an opportunity to breathe new life into the brand. The re-launch was driven by the aim to reintroduce Keventers to a new generation of consumers while preserving the essence of quality and authenticity.How has been the Keventers journey? You must have faced some obstacles on the way. How did you overcome them?The journey of establishing Keventers has indeed been a challenging yet rewarding one. We encountered several obstacles along the way. These challenges include positioning the brand in a competitive market, changing consumer preferences, supply chain disruptions, economic fluctuations, etc.To overcome them, we implemented a multifaceted approach. This involved extensive market research to understand consumer preferences, expanding our product offerings, modernizing our operations, and leveraging digital marketing strategies to connect with our audience. Additionally, forging strategic partnerships and collaborations played a significant role in our success.You forayed into the Middle East with Keventers in 2018. What factors encouraged you to take the brand to the UAE?The Food and Beverage market in the UAE is among the leaders in the Middle East, with a constant influx of tourists all year around. Expanding Keventers to the Middle East, particularly the UAE, was a strategic move based on the region's promising market dynamics. The UAE market is lucrative and offers a diverse and cosmopolitan consumer base with a penchant for international brands.Can you please share the growth of Keventers in the UAE market?Our growth in the UAE market has been steady and promising. Since entering the market, we have seen a positive response from consumers who appreciate our commitment to quality and innovation. Currently, we have stores in JBR, Al Karama, Sahara, etc.Our expansion strategy includes opening new outlets in strategic locations, and engaging in marketing efforts to build brand awareness. We are optimistic about the potential for further growth in the UAE.Are you looking for Product expansion and diversification in the Keventers Portfolio?Product expansion and diversification are key strategies to remain relevant and meet evolving consumer preferences. We are always looking at innovating our product offerings. Recently, we launched new flavours of Bubble Tea and Fruit Tea in the UAE market. We have a lot of exciting things planned for the coming months!What business strategies have been undertaken by the brand for its success in the UAE?It involved thorough market research, localisation of products, effective marketing, and trying out different formats including Food Trucks. Based on the success received from our recently launched Food Truck in JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence), we are eager to introduce this format in new locations!Please brief us about the business expansions plans and the number of new outlets the brand is targeting in UAE?Our goal is to increase our presence in key locations across the UAE. We aim to reach a broader audience by strategically positioning our outlets in high-traffic areas, shopping centers, and prominent commercial districts. We aim to open 5-6 stores in the coming year in the UAE, sharing our love for all things sweet with newer consumers.Did you face any challenges in the UAE market? How did you overcome them?Like any market entry, we faced specific challenges in the UAE. These challenges encompassed adapting to local regulations, understanding cultural nuances, navigating competitive landscapes, and ensuring efficient logistics. To overcome these obstacles, we invested in comprehensive market research to tailor our products and marketing strategies to local preferences. Building strong relationships with local partners and suppliers was crucial in ensuring a seamless supply chain. Additionally, we remain flexible and responsive to the evolving needs of our customers in the UAE.

New Balance opens unique retail concept store in Dubai

New Balance, a leading global athletic brand, has opened its doors to its revolutionary retail concept store at Dubai Hills Mall, marking a significant change in how the brand interacts with consumers. The uniqueness lies in its concept, which is ‘built to put people, not products, at the centre of the consumer experience and to revolutionise the running experience”. This store aims to put the focus on people rather than products. It has been designed with central seating areas. The space invites customers to gather, share ideas, and find their unique styles. The curated assortment of products aims to cater to a diverse audience, from elite athletes to fashion influencers. Each product will be accompanied by visual storytelling elements that spotlight the origin and creators behind them, situating New Balance at the crossroads of sport and culture.New Balance had recently launched a store based on this unique idea in Abu Dhabi. Ian Fitzpatrick, Senior Director-Global Brand Strategy and Operations, New Balance, shares, “This store signifies a notable step forward in how we approach our retail spaces, featuring a more focused and specific collection tailored especially for younger customers.”

Samar Maakaroun re-joins Pentagram as Partner

Pentagram, one of the world's largest independent design consultancies, has made Samar Maakaroun a partner at its London office. Prior to this, Samar had been working as Creative Director and Graphic Designer at Studio Right to Left since 2021, where she helmed a team that works across multiple languages and disciplines. Samar Maakaroun specialises in ‘multicultural and multilingual designs’.Samar has been working in the design industry for more than 15 years, leading projects with major studios, including coining the first integrated destination brand for Dubai with M&C Saatchi in 2015. She had also collaborated with Apple to launch the brand in Arabic across digital, retail and print in 2017. She had worked at Pentagram for five years in the past as well. She has led various expansive projects, notably rebranding the Abu Dhabi Media portfolio with Angus Hyland, and later bringing the Diriyah City brand to life with Domenic Lippa. After leaving her permanent position, she had been content with returning as a consultant on a regular basis, until she received the offer for being a Partner in Pentagram. She believes in embracing the fluidity and nuances of identity, seeing complexity as a source of creative inspiration. Marina Willer, Partner at Pentagram, in her post welcomed Samar Maakaroun, said, “I am delighted that Samar Maakaroun is joining as our new Pentagram Partner. Samar is a wonderful designer, she thinks and works in a different way to all of us because of her unique cultural mix, approaching design simultaneously in Latin and Arabic alphabets.”

DIEZ Launches ‘MIT DesignX Dubai’ Accelerator

Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ) has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to introduce MIT DesignX Dubai Accelerator, MIT’s first accelerator in the region aimed at facilitating the establishment of innovative businesses.The agreement was signed by His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Executive Chairman of DIEZ and Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the School of Architecture & Planning at MIT, at the MIT campus in Boston, US.With a strong focus on sustainability, this innovative venture accelerator programme will empower entrepreneurs in the region to devise efficient and sustainable solutions for the world’s most pressing challenges facing the urban environment in diverse areas such as water, climate, food security and energy, through design innovation.The accelerator provides comprehensive business development and design support, including access to MIT mentors, investors and corporate partners.The DesignX Dubai will be guided by distinguished MIT faculty, operating under the management of the Global Growth Hub (GGH), a leading Dubai-based management and consulting firm specialised in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship and economic growth.Commenting on this initiative, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Executive Chairman of Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ), said: “DIEZ prioritises technology-driven sustainable development and supports entrepreneurs that offer smart city solutions to boost efficiency. Through our partnership with MIT and GGH, we aim to catalyse the creation of revolutionary solutions that address global challenges while positioning Dubai as a hub for sustainable entrepreneurship. DesignX signifies a substantial leap towards advancing sustainability-focused innovation not just within Dubai, but globally.”Dr. Al Zarooni added: “By nurturing entrepreneurial creativity and empowering innovators to bring their visions to life, this partnership underscores DIEZ’s commitment to fulfilling its role as a hub for attracting and nurturing talent, technology and knowledge, as outlined in the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.”Hashim Sarkis, Dean of the School of Architecture & Planning at MIT, expressed his enthusiasm about this partnership, saying: “This initiative will provide an ideal platform for cutting-edge projects to flourish, showcasing MIT's unwavering dedication to addressing global challenges through innovation and entrepreneurship. By granting teams access to MIT's accomplished faculty, mentors, and resources, we aim to foster groundbreaking solutions for a more sustainable future.”He added: “DIEZ is the ideal partner for this initiative, given its commitment to smart city solutions and its status as a preferred destination for technology entrepreneurs.”With a global footprint spanning Hong Kong, Venice, Boston, Mexico City and Reykjavik, DesignX has nurtured and graduated 118 companies with a combined portfolio valuation of approximately US$1 billion.Since its establishment in 2016, the MIT DesignX program has been at the forefront of driving design innovation and fostering ventures that address crucial issues and opportunities in design, urban environments and human-built interactions. By harnessing the profound expertise of MIT's faculty and mentors, the MIT DesignX Dubai Accelerator will guide ten visionary teams through developing their sustainability-focused innovations, from conceptualisation to practical realisation.

Bayut launches the UAE’s first AI-powered property search assistant

Bayut, the UAE’s leading property portal, has launched BayutGPT, a groundbreaking AI-powered property search assistant. This innovative tool marks a significant milestone in Bayut’s continued commitment to revolutionize the property search experience in the region.  Bayut has a history of pioneering innovations in the real estate sector, with previous offerings such as TruCheck™ and Search 2.0. Now, BayutGPT is set to redefine the way users interact with property listings and market data in the UAE.BayutGPT has been meticulously designed to provide property seekers with a conversational and data-rich experience. This cutting-edge AI assistant simplifies the intricacies of the UAE real estate market and empowers users with a revolutionary tool to navigate it effectively.By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, Bayut once again demonstrates its commitment to staying at the forefront of the dynamic real estate landscape. Whether you are a first-time buyer, a seasoned investor, or simply exploring the market, BayutGPT is here to streamline your property search journey and provide insightful answers to your questions.Users can engage with BayutGPT by asking questions about various aspects of the real estate market, such as rental yields in different communities, popular locations in Dubai, the availability of specific bed types in desired areas, and even request personalized property recommendations based on their preferences.Haider Khan, CEO of Bayut and the Head of Dubizzle Group MENA, commented on this landmark announcement:"BayutGPT represents a significant leap forward in Bayut's dedication to staying ahead of the curve and enhancing the search experience for property seekers in the UAE.With BayutGPT, we are harnessing the power of AI to delve Bayutinto the complex journey of property search for our users.This milestone reaffirms our commitment to innovation and sets a new standard for excellence in the real estate industry. We are excited to embark on a new era of real estate exploration with BayutGPT."BayutGPT is poised to become an invaluable resource for anyone navigating the UAE real estate market, providing them with personalized insights and recommendations that cater to their unique needs and preferences.

Freshworks appoints Johanna Jackman as Chief People Officer

Freshworks Inc., (NASDAQ: FRSH) today announced the appointment of Johanna Jackman as the company’s new Chief People Officer (CPO). Johanna joins the executive team and reports to Freshwork’s Chief Executive Officer Girish Mathrubootham and President Dennis Woodside. Jackman will be responsible for the company's global human resources strategy and operations, which oversees HR business partnerships, talent acquisition and employee development, facilities, compensation and benefits, corporate social responsibility programs, and diversity, equity and inclusion strategy.A global executive who focuses on driving business impact, Jackman has led people teams at Pure Storage, LinkedIn, Microsoft and most recently served as Chief People Officer at Airtable during a hyper growth phase, where she has played a crucial role scaling talent and culture to meet big business objectives.“JJ is a great addition to the Freshworks team,” said Mathrubootham. “Her successful track record at high-growth tech companies and her international expertise working with global teams make her the perfect fit to support our diverse employee base who drive the long-term success of our business.”Before Airtable, Jackman held the position of CHRO for several years at Pure Storage (NYSE: PSTG) and served as a board member for the Pure Good Foundation, contributing to environmental impact and workforce development solutions for underserved communities. Prior to Pure Storage, she served as Vice President of HR at LinkedIn, where she helped create a talent platform that grew the employee base from 1,000 to 10,000. Jackman’s experience extends further back to her tenure at Microsoft, where she specialized in talent management and business partnership, holding key roles in the US, Europe, and Australia.“Freshworks has incredible potential to become a multi-billion dollar software company and I’m excited to join the leadership team to elevate its already strong company culture and include our current and future employees in the journey as we scale,” said Jackman. “This is a special place – a globally diverse organization which in itself provides a massive benefit to our employees and customers alike.”She holds a Bachelor of Business degree from the Queensland University of Technology, Australia. Additionally, she serves as a member of the board of directors at Grafana Labs, an open-source interactive data-visualization platform company.

AI-powered property lead conversion platform Tripler launches in the UAE

Tripler, the world’s first revolutionary property lead conversion platform has announced its official launch in the United Arab Emirates, introducing a game-changing solution for lead generation. Tripler is set to transform the way businesses, especially real estate agents and large corporations, generate real estate leads by tripling their capabilities, all thanks to its groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered technology that enables agents to understand the meaning, intent, and urgency (MIU score) of any buyer.Tripler is a ProperTech AI Ltd. Company that was founded by AI inventor and serial entrepreneur Sam Singh – dubbed ‘the creator of the smart lead.’ The platform’s AI, called Amy, is an innovative approach that marks a significant milestone in the world of artificial intelligence, as it becomes the first company to create a platform that offers data that can only be extracted using this specific AI. In addition to that, the platform offers agents 20 different data points, and includes six different inbuilt AI tools including ChatGPT 4 which help the agent to close the deal effectively.Speaking about the launch and sharing his vision, Sam Singh, Founder of Tripler, comments, "Our journey began with the simple idea of revolutionizing lead generation by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence. We recognized the immense potential of AI, and its ability to transform businesses across industries. Today, we are proud to offer a solution that will empower real estate agents, large corporations, and many more to unlock their full potential in lead generation."“The scale of opportunities in the real estate sector in Dubai is immense. I see technology, and more specifically ‘proptech’, playing a huge role in transforming the sector. I envision Tripler pioneering this concept in the UAE,” he added.Tripler AI's proprietary MIU (Mind-Intent-Urgency) analysis technology is the driving force behind its success. It leverages deep learning algorithms to analyze users voice to understand not just the words used but also the underlying emotions, intent, and urgency of potential buyers. By understanding users' needs and intentions, Tripler AI enables businesses to generate leads that are three times more likely to convert into loyal customers.Tripler AI also offers Tripler Labs, a white-labeling service that allows businesses to leverage the company's cutting-edge technology while maintaining their branding and identity. Tripler Labs empowers enterprises to integrate Tripler AI's MIU analysis technology seamlessly into their existing systems and processes.  Tripler's management team boasts over 100 years of cumulative experience and has facilitated over $1 billion worth of property transactions. It took five years to develop this remarkable technology; the platform went through rigorous trials across four different locations: New York, London, UAE, and Mumbai with 2,200 companies taking part and validating the resilience – proving that the tech works and cannot be fooled.

Arab Youth Centre launches fifth edition of Young Arab Media Leaders Program

The Arab Youth Centre (AYC), under the patronage of its President H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, launched the fifth edition of the Young Arab Media Leaders Program.Fifty one young male and female participants from 18 Arab countries will engage in the initiative which was launched in collaboration with 20 Arab and international media organisations.The programme, which targets distinguished senior year students or those on the start of their professional career, will focus on developing their practical skills, building their capacities and enriching their experiments in order to increase their competitiveness for the labour market.H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed stressed the importance of the youth's adherence to human values ????and community service derived from ‘’our Arab and Islamic identity'', in a way that promotes the noble message and goals of the media profession in serving societies.H.H. said: ‘’Arab youth are able of presenting a better image of Arab capabilities in various development sectors through professional media that balances professionalism and the use of modern technology tools by relying on the capabilities and creativity of young people. Therefore, the AYC will continue to invest in developing knowledge and skills and strive to provide opportunities for all talented people.'The fifth edition of the program will feature specialised training workshops and expanded interactions with media leaders, experts and trainers who will empower participants with skills that enable them to become talented media professionals through a close look at news rooms and other media platforms.Trainees will also have the opportunity to participate in the activities of the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) in Sharjah from 13th to 14th September 2023, the Arab Media Forum (AMF) in Dubai at the end of September and the Global Media Congress (GMC) in Abu Dhabi next November.

Omnicom Media Group bags HSBC’s global media agency rights

HSBC, the British banking and financial services company, has zeroed down on Omnicom Media Group (OMG) to handle its global media. The decision was taken after a long pitch process of more than six months.The final contest for HSBC’s media rights was between OMG’s PHD and WPP’s Mindshare.OMG had earlier taken on HSBC’s account in 2018 as well, when it was a close three-way contest between WPP’s Mindshare and Dentsu’s Aegis network.The incumbent prior to Omnicom was GroupM's media agency Mindshare which had the global account for 13 years up until 2018. During PHD’s tenure as media agency, HSBC has launched campaigns such as “Vicious circle”, a tie-up with Shelter that helped homeless people open bank accounts, and “Borders”, with Richard Ayoade. Both were created by WPP’s Wunderman Thompson.HSBC periodically evaluates all marketing service suppliers to ensure that they select the best partners to maximise the effectiveness of their investment to support their strategic goals.

Qatar Tourism announces Olympic champion Mutaz Barshim as brand ambassador

Qatar Tourism has announced Olympic and World champion Mutaz Barshim, as its newest brand ambassador.Barshim, who recently set a world record as the only high jump athlete to win five World Championship medals, will be the new face of Qatar Tourism’s campaigns from now to September 2024.Commenting on the announcement, Sheikha Hessa Al-Thani, Head of Marketing and Planning at Qatar Tourism, said: “Mutaz Barshim’s soaring athletic endeavours mirror the very essence of Qatar's rising ambitions on the world stage. A name that resonates with triumph, dedication, and the pursuit of greatness, this partnership is forged on our shared values and commitment to excellence. We are proud to have Barshim as one of Qatar Tourism’s brand ambassadors, as he is a true embodiment of Qatar's limitless potential.”Olympic and World Champion, Mutaz Barshim, said: "I am truly honoured and proud to be a brand ambassador for Qatar Tourism. My country has been supporting me since day one, and this is an opportunity for me to show my gratitude and give back. This partnership reflects the synergy between my aspirations and the mission of Qatar Tourism to showcase our nation's rich traditions, cultural heritage, and premier global events. I eagerly embrace the responsibility of representing my homeland and I'm excited to introduce the world to the wonders of Qatar."Having just concluded its eventful Summer in Qatar season, which saw the debut of the country’s first-ever Qatar Toy Festival, the smash hit - ‘Disney on Ice,’ - and the return of the ever-popular show, ‘Aghani Al Mosalsalat,’ Qatar Tourism is gearing up for further world-class events in the coming months. Residents and visitors are set to enjoy the upcoming Geneva International Motor Show, Formula 1® Qatar Airways Qatar Grand Prix 2023™ and Expo 2023 Doha, which are scheduled for October 2023 and the 2023 Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar (MotoGP™) which will follow in November.

Check Point to acquire Atmosec

Dubai: Check PointaQ Software Technologies Ltd. , a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has announced the acquisition of Atmosec. An early-stage start-up, Atmosec specializes in the rapid discovery and disconnection of malicious SaaS applications, preventing risky 3rd party SaaS communications, and rectifying SaaS misconfigurations. The move reinforces Check Point‘s commitment to enhance its SaaS security offering and address the security gaps and blind spots in SaaS applications. Atmosec was founded in January 2021 and employs 17 employees. The widespread adoption of SaaS applications has exposed organizations to an increased array of cyber threats. Statista reports an average use of 130 SaaS applications by organizations globally. Yet, Atmosec's research reveals that there are approximately 700 additional SaaS applications in use without IT's knowledge. Moreover, within popular enterprises SaaS platforms like O365 and Slack, hundreds of third-party apps are connected. This ever-expanding SaaS landscape not only increases the potential attack surface, but it also introduces many apps that could be harmful or misused to leak sensitive information, often bypassing proper IT authorization.“The shift to SaaS applications introduces specific challenges, notably in the realm of malicious SaaS-to-SaaS communications. Atmosec´s capabilities in SaaS discovery, risk assessment, and full visibility are instrumental in addressing these challenges,” says Nataly Kremer, Chief Product Officer and Head of R&D at Check Point Software Technologies."Integrating Atmosec’s technology into Check Point Infinity sets us to deliver one of the industry's most secure SASE solutions, enabling organizations to effectively manage SaaS security, prevent data leaks, unauthorized access, and malware dissemination, and ensure a robust, adaptive zero trust environment.”Key features of Atmosec's technology include:? Quick discovery and disconnection of malicious SaaS applications, completed in under 10 minutes? Prevent third-party SaaS applications from communicating with an enterprise’s SaaS environment? Provide full visibility into authorized and unauthorized SaaS applications? Fix misconfigurations within SaaS applications such as publicly exposed repositories, ? Enforce multi factor authentication (MFA) to access the application, and many more. With Atmosec’s technology, Check Point Infinity will offer SaaS security with continuous SaaS posture management, prevention of malicious communications (SSPM), and a full security stack for SaaS apps including threat prevention, data protection, and adaptative zero-trust access controls for both users and devices (CASB). New capabilities will be incrementally released based on roadmap milestones, enabling organizations to utilize these critical enhancements from the same Check Point Infinity platform they already use today.The acquisition of Atmosec is expected to close by mid-September 2023.

Archie selects the UAE as its first global launch market

Dubai: Archie has chosen the UAE as its first global launch market, bringing the firm’s innovative new growth acceleration model to the region’s fast-growing fintech market.The UAE’s Digital Economy Strategy is targeted at increasing the digital sector's share in the UAE's GDP from 9.7% to more than 20% by 2031. Currently, the UAE's digital economy stands at an estimated $38 billion – by 2031, it is projected to surpass $140 billion in value.[1]With this ambition, the region is set to become an even more prominent part of the global fintech scene, with significant pools of investment and a strong focus on attracting some of the world’s best talent. Investor funding for fintech start-ups alone in MENAP more than quadrupled from nearly $200 million in 2020 to approximately $885 million in 2022.[2]Archie has therefore identified the UAE and wider GCC as a central part of the firm’s long-term ambitions to partner with some of the world’s most exciting fintechs. Led by some of the world’s leading fintech growth experts, Archie is launching with an ambition to help the UAE’s ecosystem and support the best fintechs to successfully deliver their go-to-market plans and propel their fintechs from early growth into hyper-scale.Offering a new partner model to accelerate fintech growth , Archie will invest its intellectual capital, go-to-market and growth expertise, along with the highly-prized ARCHIE NETWORK in exchange for equity – a key differentiator with the fintech ecosystem, designed specifically to ensure a true partnership with fintech founders, aligning all interests and focussing efforts on driving success.Archie has been founded by serial fintech entrepreneur Anthony Thomson who founded and Chaired both Atom and Metro Bank in the United Kingdom and digital bank 86 400 in Australia. Anthony currently also sits on the board of WIO Bank based in the UAE.Archie’s senior team also includes global tech and fintech leader Steve Brennen as Co-Founder and CEO (Uber, PayPal, eBay & Zip), along with fellow Co-Founders Tommy Mermelshtayn (global scaler and strategy, Zip and Equifax) and Richard McCandless (brand and performance optimisation, FCB and Publicis Groupe).Banking and tech veterans Fawaz Zu’bi (founder and CEO of global venture capital firm Silicon Badia) and Paul Pester (Chair of Tandem Bank, former CEO of TSB and Virgin Money globally, and founder of Loop) will also provide expertise acting as Non-Executive Directors.Co-Founder and CEO of Archie, Steve Brennen, said:“The UAE has set out an ambition to continue to grow and be one of the leading well-regulated and forward-thinking financial services hubs.“It’s set to be a prominent part of the global fintech scene, attracting some of the world’s best talent and global investors. Archie wants to help build on that dream and we’re thrilled to be here, and even more excited to get started in unlocking the growth potential for founders and the region as a whole.”The Archie team, will be hosting their first SUPERSCALE event at DIFC in Dubai on Tuesday 12 September.Archie is inviting fintech founders to attend the first SUPERSCALE event, along with leaders and investors from across the GCC fintech ecosystem, to learn from Archie’s world-leading team on the opportunities and challenges facing fintech scale-ups, and practical solutions to unleash their exponential growth. The event will be held in partnership with Wio Bank and Legal Intro.

Sharjah Government Communication Award 2023 announces 55 shortlisted entries

The Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB) has announced the shortlist for the 10th edition of the coveted Sharjah Government Communication Award (SGCA), with 55 candidates competing in 26 award categories, including 14 global and 12 Arab categories. This year, the award witnessed over 1,530 entries from communication innovators, spanning governmental, semi-governmental, private, and individual contributors.The shortlisted entries have been carefully selected through a deliberation session conducted by the SGCA Higher Committee, which comprises experts from diverse fields within the realm of media and communication. The outstanding nominees hail from a range of countries, including the UAE, KSA, Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar, the USA, and Kenya. The winners will be announced at the Sharjah Government Communication Award ceremony on September 14th, 2023, at Expo Centre Sharjah.SGCA Higher Committee and award criteriaSGCA Higher Committee’s selection of candidates was based on a comprehensive set of criteria, encompassing factors such as their distinctiveness and effectiveness in government communication practices, skills and tools utilised, adeptness in formulating targeted strategies for engaging their audiences, and their contributions to advancing the role of government communication and media in addressing global societal and developmental challenges.The SGCA Higher Committee features HE Ali Jaber, Group TV Director of MBC; HE Dr. Ali Qasim Jawad Al Lawati, President of The Royal Academy of Management in Oman; HE Mohammed Jalal Al Raisi, Director General of the Emirates News Agency (WAM); HE Shihab Alhammadi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Sharjah for Financial and Administrative Affairs; Mohammed Majed Al Suwaidi, Director of Sharjah Sports Channel (SSC).The committee also includes Mona El-Shazly, prominent Egyptian media personality and TV host; media personality Sami Al Reyami; Dr. Yasar Jarrar, Senior Strategy Advisor focused on emerging markets; and Saudi writer and journalist Dr. Ahmed Abdel Rahman Al Arfaj.Arab award categoriesThe finalists in the “Best Spokesperson” category consists of the Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai, and the Department of Agriculture and Livestock in Sharjah. In the “Best Government Communication Team” category, the contenders on the shortlist are Dubai Customs; General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA), and Tawazun Council.The “Best Integrated Communication Campaign” category, the candidates include the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA), Abu Dhabi City Municipality, and the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs & Port Security. Turning to the “Best Communication for Reputation Building and Management” category, the shortlisted contenders are Dubai Police, Sharjah International Airport Authority, and the Zayed Higher Organization (ZHO) for People of Determination.Within the “Best Campaign Celebrating Arab Culture” category, the shortlist comprises the Sharjah Private Education Authority and the Holy Quran Academy in Sharjah. In the “Best Social Responsibility Campaign” category, the finalists are the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA), Sharjah Museums Authority, and the National Housing Company (NHC) in Saudi Arabia.The “Best Communication Targeting Youth” category includes three sub-categories. The contenders for the first sub-category “Best Communication Programme to Support Youth Entrepreneurship and Projects” are the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), the Federal Youth Authority (FYA) under the Ministry of Culture and Youth, and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai. In the “Best Campaign for Positive Impact on Youth Awareness and Practices” sub-category, the candidates are the Integrated Transport Centre in Abu Dhabi, National Center for Non-Profit Sector in Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi Ports Group (AD Ports Group). Lastly, in the “Best Youth Initiative in Government Communication” sub-category, the shortlist features the 'Masaafah' Community affiliated to King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture - Ithra, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention Youth Council, and the Art Youth Forum from the UAE.Global award categoriesThe global award categories have witnessed outstanding competition and have attracted exceptional entries from the region. In the “Best Communication Strategy for Crisis Management” category, the shortlist comprises the Sharjah Social Services Department, the General Administration of Strategic Communication at the Saudi Ministry of Defense, and UAE's National Center of Meteorology, each demonstrating noteworthy achievements.For the “Best Innovation in Communication” category, which comprises two sub-categories, the Abu Dhabi National Library and Archives (NLA), as well as the Sharjah Housing Programme, are set to compete for the first sub-category “Best Innovation in Government Communication”. Meanwhile, the winners for the second sub-category “Best Initiative within the Annual Youth Challenge” will be announced on the second day of IGCF 2023.In the “Best Food Security Programme Communication Plan” category, candidates include Recycling for Education Foundation in Jordan; the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kenya; and the Department of Agriculture and Livestock in Sharjah.For the “Best Communication Initiative or Media Content to Promote Environmental Awareness” category, the contenders are Alroya Newspaper from Oman and Saudi Arabia's Environmental Awareness Initiative of Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA).In the “Best Communication Practices or Campaigns Addressing Developmental Challenges” category, the shortlist features the Emirati Talent Competitiveness Council, Sulaiman Bin Abdulaziz Al Rajhi Charitable Foundation, and the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY).Competing for the “Best Communication Practice in Volunteer Campaign'' category award are the Sharjah Social Services Department and the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. As for the “Best Communication through Media Content'' category, the candidates include Bahrain's Atnafas Creative Production, Saudi Arabia's Okaz Organization for Press and Publication, and the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY).Meanwhile, the nominees for the “Best Applied Scientific Research in Government Communication” on an individual level include Amal Al-Helian from the UAE and Ghada Seif Thabet from Egypt.Jury award categories and Universities ChallengeAs for the “Best Communication Strategy Utilising Sports” category, and the “Best Positive Social Impact Driver” category, the winners will be announced during the award ceremony. Additionally, the winners of the "Universities Challenge," which is organised in cooperation with United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), will be announced on the second day of IGCF 2023. Universities teams will be competing to design and present innovative communications projects that provide genuine contributions to government communications.The Sharjah Government Communication Award was launched by SGMB in September 2012 as the first-of-its-kind award in the region with the aim of recognising outstanding government communication and media practices. The award recognises those who have made a significant impact in the field, focusing on societal value and fostering international cooperation. SGCA celebrates new ideas embracing collaboration across societies to achieve future goals.

Etihad Airways partners with Air France-KLM

Etihad Airways has signed an agreement with Air France-KLM Group to enhance collaboration opportunities across passenger operations, loyalty programmes, talent development, and maintenance.The signing ceremony took place at the Air France-KLM Group’s headquarters in Paris, France in the presence of Angus Clarke, Chief Commercial Officer, Air France-KLM and Arik De, Chief Revenue Officer, Etihad Airways.Through this partnership, and subject to any necessary regulatory approvals, Air France-KLM and Etihad Airways will contemplate expanding their codeshare and interline agreements initiated in 2012. As a first step, more than 40 new routes, covering destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Australia, have been made available to book for travel as early as the winter 2023 season.The agreement also proposes the ability for frequent flyers of both Flying Blue and Etihad Guest to earn and redeem miles with Air France, KLM and Etihad Airways. The airlines will also explore terminal co-location, reciprocal lounge access and ground handling, among other initiatives.  Etihad Airways currently operates daily flights to both Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol from Abu Dhabi international airport.Air France will start operating daily flights between Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Abu Dhabi International Airport from 29 October 2023.Arik De, Chief Revenue Officer at Etihad Airways, said: “We are excited to expand our collaboration with Air France-KLM, with this MoU serving as a testament to our shared vision of creating premium journeys for our guests. This MoU builds on our existing partnership by exploring deeper network enhancements as we offer improved connectivity between Abu Dhabi and Paris, and leveraging the extensive AF-KL network to Europe and beyond. It reaffirms Etihad’s intent to bolster Abu Dhabi’s cultural and economic growth as we look forward to welcoming more guests to our home enjoying better travel benefits and enhanced customer experiences along the way.”Angus Clarke, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer Air France-KLM, said: "I'm delighted to further develop our partnership with Etihad Airways. This 11-year collaboration is now expanding even further, as we aim to explore opportunities in maintenance and loyalty, in addition to enhancing our route network for the benefit of our customers from all around the world. The attractiveness of Abu Dhabi as a destination and a hub, powered by Etihad's large footprint spanning South and Southeast Asia, as well as Australia, brings significant richness to this partnership. This moment marks our shared commitment to providing seamless, premium, customer-centric travel experiences to our shared global customer base."

IIT Delhi to open its Abu Dhabi campus next January

Rangan Banerjee, Director of the Indian Institute Of Technology Delhi (IIT-Delhi) - India’s leading technical education and research institution – said that the institution’s first international campus is expected to open in Abu Dhabi in 2024, further enhancing the UAE-India distinguished relations and joint cooperation, especially in the field of higher education.On the sidelines of the Emirates News Agency’s (WAM) visit to IIT Delhi’s campus, coinciding with the convening of the G20 Summit in New Delhi, Rangan noted that the institution signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) the with Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) and India’s Ministry of Education this past June during the visit of Indian Prime Minster Narendra Modi to the UAE.He stressed that the IIT-Delhi Abu Dhabi reflects the shared vision of the two countries in focusing on areas of educational excellence, innovation, knowledge exchange and investment in human capital.Rangan explained that the institution will handle all academic matters in its new Abu Dhabi branch, including curriculums, labs, and research initiatives, in addition to participating in infrastructure planning, especially digital infrastructure, in cooperation with partners in ADEK and other relevant entities.The Director of IIT-Delhi stated that the Abu Dhabi branch will provide an added value to the research and innovation sector in the emirate, adding that it will benefit from cooperation opportunities with institutions such as the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), and Technology Innovation Institute (TII) to provide integrated programmes and advanced research.He further said that some of the areas targeted by the institute's branch in Abu Dhabi in the first phase include computer science, artificial intelligence, energy and sustainability, health care, in addition to research programmes.

Saudi and Costa Rica Forge Soccer Alliance for a Bright Future

The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has announced a new partnership with the Costa Rican Football Federation (FEDEFUTBOL) as part of its commitment to support the growth and development of international football. Presidents of both federations finalized the agreement on September 8, signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Newcastle, UK where Saudi Arabia and Costa Rica men’s national teams met in a friendly match at St. James’ Park.This collaboration solidifies the dedication of both federations to foster the development of football worldwide. Moving forward, the two will work together to strengthen youth engagement, facilitate referees’ exchanges, enhance coaching courses, and support various football development initiatives."Building on our existing relationships with fellow CONCACAF members, this latest partnership represents another step towards our shared vision of elevating football development domestically and worldwide,” said Yasser Al Misehal, President of the SAFF.Osael Maroto, the newly elected President of the Costa Rican Football Federation, added: "This MOU with SAFF is a significant step for Costa Rican football and represents a great opportunity to gain valuable experience and expertise."The MoU highlights SAFF's continued efforts to strengthen its relationship with CONCACAF. In August 2023 the Saudi Arabian U-15 national team participated in the 2023 CONCACAF Boys' U-15 Championship in the Dominican Republic and Curaçao. SAFF also hosted the Panama women's national team for a training camp in preparation for the recent FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Saudi Snapchatters Spark Eco Fashion Revolution with Garnier's Green Tote Bag

Calling out design aficionados for a one-of-a-kind opportunity powered by Garnier Green and Snap Inc. Snapchatters now have a chance to inspire the design of the next Garnier Tote and create for a noble cause while at it. Set to run till September 27, the Shop Greener, because Saudi Deserves Green initiative is in support of Garnier Green Beauty’s latest campaign that aims to engage with communities across the Kingdom to encourage sustainable beauty choices.Hop on to the trend by using the Green Beauty Lens this KSA National Day exclusively on Snapchat by flipping the camera to engage with an AR powered customizable tote bag experience. Amateur and professional designers can show off artistic flair and submit awe-inspiring designs to @GarnierKSA for a chance to inspire the design of the next Garnier Tote. The winner will be contacted via Snapchat and features from their design inspiration will be showcased on the physical tote bag and available at Panda stores. Plus customers can also grab a tote bag for free on purchase of any Garnier product. Not only that, but if they come back with the tote bag, and purchase Garnier products worth only SAR50, they will get SAR5 cashback!In this era of revolutionary user-generated content powered by AR on platforms like Snapchat, brands are embracing novel ways to address crucial societal issues. Using AR to advocate eco-conscious beauty, Garnier Green Beauty Campaign’s latest campaign is employing AR technology to make Saudi greener. Leveraging Snapchat’s far-reaching monthly addressable audience of 22 million in KSA, along with a staggering 90% reach among 13-34 year olds, the competition aims to foster youth participation in promoting sustainable practices.Ahmed Wagih, General Manager Consumer Product Division Middle East, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, "Garnier's unwavering commitment to a greener and more sustainable Saudi Arabia has been our driving force for years. This National Day, we're proud to introduce an AR lens x Snapchat experience that empowers consumers to design their own digital sustainable tote bags. Not only that, but they can get a free locally designed tote bag at the nearest Panda store! As we celebrate Saudi Arabia's heritage, we also celebrate our shared responsibility towards a greener future."“According to our KSA Augmentality Shift Report, 77% of consumers agree that they feel closer to brands or products that offer AR experiences. We take pride in collaborating with Garnier Green to help reduce environmental impact through the power of AR, and to raise awareness and catalyze change on environmental issues that can have an even bigger influence to champion real change. We eagerly anticipate KSA’s actively growing Snapchat community to partake in this eco-friendly initiative, helping Garnier pave the way to a more sustainable world,” said Mariam Koumaiha, Brand Strategist at Snap Inc. in MENA.

AI-fueled misinformation: Corporates keen on online audit of brands

Reputation House, a US-based online reputation management company, revealed that 80% out of 461 visitors to their stand within two days of Seamless Saudi Arabia, representing their businesses, were concerned about the online reputation. They enquired about online audits of their brand and reputation of the leaders.“The significance of digital channels, notably search engines, in providing information has amplified the need for search engine optimization as a crucial aspect of reputation management. Nevertheless, the rise of generative AI tools such as ChatGPT and comparable platforms could potentially disrupt this trend. It leads to urgently cross-checking the information available on the internet,’, said Mr. Nikita Prokhorov, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Reputation HouseThe visitors to the Reputation House stand were comprised of local SMEs and international blue-chip firms which participated in the event. “15 companies scheduled post-event meetings to explore long-term relations with us. Looking at the high interest of visitors to our stand is reflective of our previous research about the event before deciding to participate and leading us to open an office in Saudi Arabia.” Revealed Nikita.Analysis of Live TrendsReputation House displayed its ability of online analytics of trends by a real-time data dissection of the Seamless Saudi Arabia event - from August 2, 2023, to September 4, 2023. The live analysis stunned the audience and received a resounding applause.The results showed on the live screen provided the geographical reach, sources of data and the countries the event was talked about. The analytics showed it reached 96.43 million audiences in total, 26,704 engagements, and 3,547 mentions.An analysis revealed that the key markets where the Seamless event was accessed are the USA (47%), Saudi Arabia (32%), India (8%), UAE (7%), and the UK (3%).The real-time data was sourced from the social media (66%), mass media (20%), blogs (8%), forums (4%), messengers (1%), and reviews (1%).

Puja Pannum joins Futuretech as Managing Director, Middle East

Puja Pannum has joined FutureTech as Managing Director, Middle East. She has more than 21 years of digital media and Adtech experience.Puja Pannum is commercially and operationally attuned with the UK, MENA, and India Adtech industry. She has global and local experience of working at Amazon, MSN, Blis, AOL, Yahoo, Ikoo and Reach MENA. At Futuretech, Puja will bring new technologies to help marketers and media agencies establish deeper connections with their audiences whilst improving efficiencies in the buying process. She is an experienced leader who is passionate about growing tech businesses. Under her leadership, FutureTech will be well-positioned to invest in talent and new technology, and to continue to grow its business in the MENA region, specifically in Saudi Arabia from its office in Riyadh. Futuretech CEO, Boye Balogun has expressed her enthusiasm in welcoming Puja into the leadership team. She believes Puja is a talented industry expert and she is a respected media practitioner across many functions.

SentinelOne launches on Google Cloud Marketplace

SentinelOne, a global leader in autonomous cybersecurity, announced the availability of Singularity™ Platform on Google Cloud Marketplace. Google Cloud customers can now easily buy SentinelOne’s cybersecurity platform and quickly implement it to enhance their security posture from endpoint and identity to cloud.“At SentinelOne, we are redefining cybersecurity by pushing the boundaries of autonomous technology,” said Vats Srivatsan, Chief Operating Officer, SentinelOne. “Covering security solutions for endpoint, cloud and identity in a single data platform, the SentinelOne Singularity Platform unleashes the power of context rich data and artificial intelligence (AI) and enables modern enterprises to defend their attack surfaces faster, at greater scale, and with higher accuracy. We are pleased to be opening a powerful new channel through which Google Cloud customers can purchase, manage and run it in a simple, cost-effective way on the infrastructure they trust.”Google Cloud Marketplace lets users quickly deploy functional software packages that run on Google Cloud and easily start up a familiar software package with services like Compute Engine or Cloud Storage, with no manual configuration required. In addition, customers can use their Google Cloud committed spend to purchase SentinelOne, eliminating the need for additional budget.“Cybersecurity is top-of-mind for companies around the world,” said Dai Vu, Managing Director, Cloud Marketplace & ISV GTM Initiatives. “Bringing SentinelOne into our Google Cloud Marketplace ecosystem will empower our customers to make safe, real-time decisions to anticipate and mitigate cyberattacks.”SentinelOne will work closely with its strong channel partner ecosystem to ensure its Google Cloud Marketplace customers get the full range of available technology and services from SentinelOne and its partners to advance their cybersecurity strategies and business goals.For more information on SentinelOne’s solutions and the value they deliver, visit SentinelOne on Google Cloud Marketplace.

Stockzones and Distichain join forces to launch cutting-edge B2B platform

 Stockzones, the most innovative Online Distributor in the Middle East, is proud to announce a strategic partnership with Distichain, a leading player in the SaaS B2B marketplace landscape. This collaboration will see the launch of a state-of-the-art B2B platform aimed at streamlining import and export processes in the Middle East while empowering both online and offline distribution, aligning with Saudi Vision 2030's.The partnership is cemented through a Letter of Intent (LOI) signed by both parties during Seamless 2023 in Riyadh, the premier event for the payments, fintech, retail, and e-commerce sectors in the Middle East. The LOI outlines the commitment of Stockzones and Distichain to bring efficiency, transparency, and convenience to businesses to distribute their products within the region.The collaboration will enable an automated B2B platform streamlining distribution across the region. This will create efficiency, end to end transparency, and facilitate access to an ecosystem of service providers streamlining workflows across the value chain.Hussam Damen, CEO of Stockzones, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration, saying, "This partnership with Distichain aligns perfectly with our vision of enhancing the distribution landscape in the Middle East and supporting Saudi Vision 2030's ambition to make Saudi Arabia the regional e-commerce hub."Haisam Jamal, CEO of Distichain, added, "We believe that our collaboration can add real value to suppliers looking to seamlessly operate across the Middle East. By embracing digitalization, this collaboration with Stockzones will empower businesses’ ability to grow”.Both companies are looking to work together and launch the enhanced B2B capabilities later in 2023. This will deliver the transformative capabilities both the current and new members of the Stockzones community, positioning the company perfectly in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 initiative.

Pulsar Capital invests in TruDoc for advancing healthcare accessibility

Pulsar Capital, a leading regional private equity firm specialising in the healthcare, ecommerce and fintech sectors, will invest in TruDoc, a telehealth and virtual primary care provider in the UAE. This investment is sure to mark a significant milestone in TruDoc's mission to redefine healthcare delivery and expand its reach to benefit patients across multiple regions.Pulsar Capital has invested in TruDoc with the vision to enhance its product offerings and accelerate its growth across South Asia, the GCC, and Africa by bringing the best in the world to the region. The news of the Pulsar Capital taking a controlling stake in the business comes a year after the initial investment in 2022 which saw the private equity firm own a minority share before recently culminating into a larger investment in the company.Established in 2011, TruDoc is at the forefront of delivering innovative and accessible healthcare solutions. Its commitment to reimagining healthcare delivery has made the company the trusted provider of 24x7 access to licensed telemedicine close to one million paid subscribers in the UAE and 2 million globally, along with its home care doctors, labs and diagnostics, e-pharmacy services, and personalized wellness programs. TruDoc strives to bridge the gap in accessibility and affordability, the two the biggest challenges facing global healthcare by offering comprehensive end-to-end care for healthy individuals and those dealing with acute and chronic illnesses. Characterized by an unwavering commitment to value-based care and evidence-based medicine, TruDoc's team of dedicated medical professionals prioritizes patients' needs, ensuring that each individual receives tailored and comprehensive care that addresses their unique health requirementsVish Narain, Managing Partner, Pulsar Capital, will be the Executive Chairman of TruDoc. He commented: “The acquisition of TruDoc represents our continued commitment to deliver quality care to patients with an emphasis on convenience, affordability and accessibility. Technology is going to significantly change the way primary care is going to be delivered. TruDoc has cutting edge tools using the latest technology in electronic patient record management, home health, telemonitoring, wearables and generative AI which will benefit our payors and end-consumers.”Under its new and upgraded leadership team, TruDoc is poised to transform the future of healthcare delivery with a new focus on product offering, plans of expansion and a continued mission to make healthcare accessible from the comfort of one's home.

Iconic Reimagined: Dubai Launches All-New 5 Series with i5 and 520i Models

AGMC, the exclusive importer of BMW Group vehicles in Dubai, Sharjah, and the Northern Emirates, leads the Middle East market by being the first to launch the latest BMW 5 Series and the all-new BMW i5 in the region.The authorised dealer hosted the launch of these remarkable vehicles to its exclusive clientele in a private villa at the resort setting of Nikki Beach in Dubai. The two vehicles unveiled elevate all the elegance and performance quotients that the globally renowned carmaker is known for. Delivery of these exceptional vehicles to customers will begin from the end of November 2023.The icon of executive sedans since its inception in 1972, the launch of the new BMW 5 Series, now in its eighth generation, continues to uphold the tradition of leadership in its segment.The 5 Series lineup now available in Dubai, Sharjah and the Northern Emirates includes petrol models, with electric models to follow shortly afterwards. Regardless of the powertrain, the new 5 Series maintains its signature style while offering increased dynamic performance and exceptional comfort.The new 5 Series embodies clear, reduced design language and athletic proportions. It unveils key design highlights, including a bold aesthetic that features a larger, illuminated kidney grille and sleek body lines, giving it a contemporary and commanding presence. The BMW Iconic Glow headlights illuminate the road ahead with brilliance. The Hofmeister kink design feature in the rear pillar, with its embossed number 5, adds a touch of artistry to the sedan’s profile. This transitions into the powerful rear end, adorned with LED flat light units, leaves a lasting impression.Luxurious interiors feature the driver-centric BMW Curved Display with the new BMW iDrive that enhances the in-car experience, offering intuitive control and digital entertainment options and providing natural interaction through touch and voice commands via a 12.3-inch instrument display and a 14.9-inch touchscreen Control Display. All these make the beautiful cockpit an efficient mobile office as well as a space to relax.For the first time, the 5 Series comes with a fully vegan interior as standard, featuring sophisticated Veganza vegan leather. Whether you’re in the driver’s seat or the back, the 5 Series offers spacious and comfortable seating featuring sports seats with partially electric adjustment – making it an ideal choice for both business and leisure travel.The grippy standard steering wheel comes with shift paddles and integrated controls in its horizontal spokes, with a flattened bottom section that’s a first for the BMW 5 Series.The new BMW i5, in turn, represents BMW’s commitment to sustainable mobility, being the first version to feature an all-electric drive. Boasting an impressive maximum range of up to 582 km (WLTP).Elevated driving dynamicsAGMC will offer a range of models under the BMW 5 Series to cater to diverse preferences. The models available, with their respective specs, include the BMW 520i M Sport Pro and the 520iM Sport Titanium (both with 4-cylinder, 2-litre engine; 208hp, 0-100km in 7.5 seconds, max speed 230 km/h, 330 Nm torque). The additional, electric versions BMW i5 eDrive40 M Sport Pro (0 to 100km in 6 seconds, max speed 193km/h, battery capacity 84.4 kWh, battery range 497-582km, 340 hp, 430 Nm torque) and the high-performance BMW i5 M60 xDrive (0-100km in 3.8 seconds, max speed 230 km/h, battery capacity 81.2 kWh, battery range between 455-516km, 601 hp, 820 Nm torque) ensure that there’s a 5 Series for every discerning driver.For those seeking to add a sporty touch, BMW M Performance Parts offer a range of enhancements from lightweight alloy wheels to carbon-fibre accessories. While 18” alloy wheels come as standard on the 520i M Sport Pro / Titanium M Sport Pro, the i5 sports 19” alloy wheels are standard on i5 eDrive40 and the 21” BMW Individual Aerodynamics wheels are standard for the i5 M60 xDrive.Every new BMW 5 Series comes equipped as standard with Proactive Care, a revolutionary feature that acts as a virtual guardian angel by proactively anticipating and addressing the vehicle’s needs, such as spotting functional irregularities and providing hassle-free support in the event of a breakdown or accident. Through the My BMW app, Proactive Care connects owners with the BMW Service world, ensuring the vehicle’s optimal performance and safety. Also making its debut is the remote-controlled parking using the My BMW app, as part of the optional Parking Assistant Professional. The launch of the all-new BMW 5 Series and BMW i5 represents a significant step towards a more sustainable and technologically advanced future of driving. AGMC’s commitment to delivering cutting-edge vehicles and a premium ownership experience remains unwavering. As the first market in the Middle East to launch the all-new BMW 5 Series and BMW i5, AGMC continues to redefine the standard for luxury and innovation in the region.

Cloudflare unveils unified data protection suite to address increased AI

Cloudflare, Inc. (NYSE: NET), the security, performance, and reliability company helping to build a better Internet, today announced Cloudflare One Data Protection Suite, a unified set of advanced security solutions designed to protect data across every environment – web, SaaS, and private applications. Powered by Cloudflare’s Security Service Edge (SSE), customers can streamline compliance in the cloud, mitigate data exposure and loss of source code, and secure developer and AI environments from a single platform. Today’s organizations need to move away from legacy tools in order to maintain a competitive edge, decrease complexity in environments, and lessen the burden on their end users. However, the shift to emerging cutting-edge technology has introduced new risks and the daunting task of safeguarding sensitive data and intellectual property. In order to address this modern landscape and shrink the attack surface, CISOs need a fool-proof holistic strategy that will enable them to secure their entire corporate IT stack – including the rapidly increasing amount of data that is everywhere their employees’ devices, SaaS / cloud applications, and AI tools are.The Cloudflare One Data Protection Suite focuses on simplicity, extending comprehensive data controls to all aspects of an organization's internal and external applications. Built natively on Cloudflare's global network, this suite allows organizations of all sizes to:Allow programmable network architecture: Organizations can build new capabilities and adopt new security standards and protocols quickly, which ensures data protection controls address modern use cases, like protecting code in generative AI.Streamline data visibility and controls onto a single platform: With one management interface, administrators have multiple, flexible options to send traffic to Cloudflare for enforcement including API-based scans, clientless deployments of ZTNA and RBI, a single device client, direct or virtual interconnects, and SD-WAN partnerships. Enforce data protection controls with single-pass inspection: Across each of Cloudflare’s network locations – spanning more than 300 cities in over 100 countries – policy enforcement is reliable, unintrusive, and fast. This ultimately means that data controls never disrupt end-user productivity, and allow efficacy and scalability.Customize detections: DLP exact data match will equip customers with flexibility to detect organization-specific data defined in custom datasets. More predefined data detection profiles are available for source code files and protected health information (PHI). Converge API-driven CASB and DLP: Customers can discover sensitive data at rest and in line. Integrations will cover the majority of cloud collaboration, productivity, and code repository tools for enterprises.Provide risk-based data protection: Control access to data and apps based on a behavioral user risk scores, which incorporates signals from across Cloudflare One such as a user’s activities, posture, settings“Data is an organization’s most valuable asset, and protecting that data is critical. Breaches have lasting effects, and can even destroy a business when it comes to operational downtime, regulatory repercussions, associated costs. And, that doesn’t even account for the reputational damage associated with it,” said Matthew Prince, CEO at Cloudflare. “Organizations already have enough complexity, safeguarding your data doesn't need to fall in that bucket. Cloudflare provides a unique network architecture so enterprises can tackle anything from AI exposure to code leaks all in one unified platform.”“Today, Cloudflare One helps prevent our users from sharing sensitive data and code with tools like ChatGPT and Bard, enabling us to take advantage of AI safely,” says Tanner Randolph, Chief Information Security Officer at Applied Systems, a SaaS technology provider for insurance brokers. “Over the past few years, Cloudflare has been a critical partner in our digital transformation efforts and has helped us consolidate security controls across our users, applications, and networks. Going forward, we are excited for Cloudflare’s continued innovations to protect data, and in particular, their vision and roadmap for services like DLP and CASB.”

Fadi Sader joins Fusion5 as Digital Director

Fadi Sader has been signed-in as the new Digital Director at Fusion5, a diversified media solutions agency of Middle East. Fadi Sader is an experienced professional with 10 years of experience. Before joining Fusion5, he was Head of platforms and Performance Media at Wavemaker in South Africa. For him the transition from Wavemaker to Fusion5 was a calculated and passionate decision. Fusion5’s ethos, its commitment to excellence in performance marketing, and its vision for the future resonated deeply with him as an expert in developing companies. Dubai, a hub of innovation, a melting pot of cultures, and a beacon for businesses aiming for global impact, beckoned him.  He said: “As Head of Platforms & Performance Marketing at Wavemaker, Johannesburg, I designed a strategic monetisation blueprint that reduced cost per thousand reach by 62% and yielded a 5.6x revenue return. Leading a diverse team of 11, I fostered collaboration and career advancement.”Fadi Sader has worked with various companies, handling key positions. At EST8 Digital, he directed a lead generation campaign, resulting in a remarkable $9.7 million in revenue within three months and contributing to a 15% increase in annual client revenue. Similarly, at LYST Property Consultants, he was responsible for accelerating marketing and sales efforts for a $100 million property portfolio. He has a track record of innovative marketing strategies, client savings, and optimisation through analytics tools. At Fusion5, Fadi Sader aims to amplify the brand’s presence, drawing from his experiences and infusing them with the dynamism of the Fusion5 team. Natale Panella, Head of Digital at Fusion5, welcomed Fadi in the Fusion5 family.

WILD, female network platform, all set to be held in Riyadh

It is time to go WILD with WILD female leadership event in Riyandh which will be taking place on 27th September at Cipriani, Riyadh.  Trailblazing gender equality in the region, the event is open to the community and created primarily for women in real estate, construction, interiors, architecture, and engineering industries. WILD is a movement geared towards gender equality, transforming corporations and individuals through female networks, transformational private 1.1 coaching, group masterminds, and live events.Emma Burdett, Founder and CEO of WILD, in her LinkedIN post shares, “Come and join us for a WILD evening in partnership with Saudi Projects to be held at the beautiful Cipriani restaurant, Riyadh. Hear inspiring insights from female leaders in the kingdom about how they have navigated their way to success and used influence to inspire, as the region gears up to embrace SDG5 and Vision 2030 for a sustainable future. “WILD Ambassador Amal Somali, EMBA will be sharing her own, unique experiences as a Saudi National, her perception of the changes she has witnessed in the Kingdom over the last few years and informative, interesting insights of being part of the MISK cohort of 1000 leaders selected to carry forward the region's vision.Some of the female leaders who will be gracing the occasion are Samar Alamro, Director, Corporate Services, Accenture, Aisling Collins, Director Interior Architecture – Buildings, The Red Sea Development , Marta Pessanha, Design Director, Seven, Amal Al Somali, Country CIO, ABB, Marie-Joelle Ghaoui, Director Architecture & Engineering, Kuwait & Porto at KEO International Consultants and many more.

Mangomolo and Rotana initiate Fast radio channels for Arab World

Mangomolo, a world-leading full-service OTT video platform provider, and Rotana, an Arabic Media Conglomerate, have launched Free Ad-Supported Streaming Television (FAST) channels to rapidly stream radio content for users across the Arab world.With this venture, Mangomolo will enable Rotana to deliver 24-hour streaming of three FAST radio channels offering Khaleeji music, Egyptian hits and others via the Fannbox app. Using Mangomolo, Rotana can automatically and conveniently compose linear radio channels and make them available to end users ensuring a high-quality audio experience.  Mangomolo provides Rotana with an end-to-end platform that supports the delivery of radio and visual radio channels, live events, and celebrity shoutouts and special occasions. The platform enables Rotana to deploy multiple monetisation models including, FAST channels, pay-per-view and a growing number of others. Mohamed Zaghloul, Digital Product Manager at Rotana, says, “Rotana has collaborated with Mangomolo since the launch of Fannbox over three years ago. Mangomolo offers a flexible and adaptable approach to content curation, streaming, and monetisation. The launch of these FAST radio channels demonstrates how we are evolving together and catering to the changing needs of users. We’re a company that is continually pushing boundaries and offering innovative experiences, so Mangomolo is a great fit for us.”  By using Mangomolo’s unified platform, the streaming app has been able to seamlessly launch all linear channels in one simple click, allowing them to benefit from high-quality, multi-bitrate and multi-format delivery across all devices.  Wissam Sabbagh, Founder and CEO at Mangomolo, shares, “Rotana is a unique and visionary media group in the Arab world and we’re proud to support the growth and monetisation of the Fannbox app. Our platform has enabled it to move with greater agility when curating and streaming content while supporting different monetisation models. Fannbox is providing access to compelling and cutting-edge content with the ability to interact with the celebrities and shows that users love. As we expand our capabilities, we look forward to continuing to innovate in digital experience with Rotana.”

Unprecedented collaboration: nine cypherpunks, one AI company, one goal

Today marks a seismic shift in the technology landscape as Dubai-based startup Haltia.AI emerges from three months of meticulous planning and stealth operations to make its grand entry onto the global VC stage. For the first time in history, nine cypherpunks, revered as the philosophical backbone of a more secure, private digital world, are uniting to push the boundaries of what's possible in AI and privacy."Cypherpunks are more than just visionaries; they are our philosophical backbone and the best and brightest in the tech and AI fields have assembled under the Haltia.AI banner,” says Arto Bendiken, CTO and co-founder, with an illustrious track record in the European tech scene. “We've carefully curated an extraordinary dream team enriched with applauded brain capital - experts in machine learning, natural language processing, voice interaction, user experience, computer vision, core building, and fine-tuning. The inclusion of a celebrated AI psychologist and a top-tier AI ethicist amplifies our commitment to not just technology but also the ethical and emotional complexities of AI in modern society."The strategic choice of establishing Haltia.AI in the UAE amplifies the company's formidable mission. "The UAE is a tech entrepreneur's utopia, having astutely created an AI ministerial role as early as 2017," Bendiken adds. "Their foresight and robust investment in AI development have made them a global AI leader, offering cutting-edge research facilities, world-class infrastructure, and top-tier talent. The nation is synergistically aligned with our mission to not only push technological boundaries but also to make a lasting, positive impact on global quality of life."Talal Thabet, CEO and co-founder with a portfolio of successful startups, underscores the strategic advantages of the UAE. "In an ecosystem enriched by progressive government policies, such as The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031, we find ourselves on an accelerated trajectory towards delivering transformative AI solutions," Thabet states. "Conversations for Series A funding are already underway with potential investors in both the UAE and Silicon Valley, making the business-friendly regulatory environment in the UAE the ideal launching pad for Haltia.AI."Haltia.AI's team comprises an extraordinary blend of globally recognised pioneers, not just technologists. "We are already experiencing significant traction, as evidenced by our growing waiting list of users pre-launch," Thabet elaborates. "This positions us uniquely in the investor landscape, offering substantial partnership opportunities and allowing us to be highly selective in choosing the ideal lead investor for our Series A round."Anchored by its vision of privacy and ethical AI development, Haltia.AI is steadfast in its commitment to have a transformative impact on industries and individual lives around the world.

Huawei and Mobily Pay team up for enhanced digital payments in KSA

 In a momentous development for digital payments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, HUAWEI Mobile Services (HMS) and Mobily Pay, a trailblazing name in digital payment solutions, have proudly unveiled their partnership at the Seamless KSA event on September 5th. This strategic alliance promises to revolutionize the mobile payment landscape for Huawei users in the region.This collaboration between HMS and Mobily Pay represents a significant milestone in the ever-evolving world of mobile payments. At the heart of this partnership lies the integration of Mobily Pay into HUAWEI AppGallery, providing Huawei users across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with seamless access to a diverse array of digital payment services.With this partnership, Huawei users now have the privilege of effortlessly utilizing Mobily Pay's extensive suite of digital payment solutions. This development is poised to simplify daily financial transactions, offering enhanced convenience, speed, and security to users in the KSA.Central to this partnership is HMS’ unwavering commitment to delivering a seamless and secure user experience. Huawei has played a pivotal role by providing vital technical support to ensure the smooth integration of Mobily Pay into the AppGallery. This technical prowess guarantees that users can engage with Mobily Pay's services without any glitches, setting new standards for digital payment convenience.Moreover, HUAWEI AppGallery will actively champion Mobily Pay, elevating its visibility and accessibility in the KSA market. This strategic move will open doors for a broader audience, enabling even more Huawei users to experience the future of digital payments.The Managing Director of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Eco Development and Operation, KSA, expressed his enthusiasm for this partnership, stating, "We are thrilled to collaborate with Mobily Pay to provide our users with enhanced mobile payment capabilities. This partnership exemplifies Huawei's commitment to delivering innovative solutions that improve the lives of our customers."Hazem Alrashed, Vice President of Mobily Pay, echoed the excitement, saying, "Our partnership with Huawei is a strategic move to bring Mobily Pay's services to a wider audience. We look forward to offering Huawei users in KSA a seamless and secure digital payment experience."This groundbreaking partnership signifies the relentless pursuit of excellence in digital payment solutions. As HMS and Mobily Pay join forces, users across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia can eagerly anticipate an elevated mobile payment experience that combines cutting-edge technology with unbeatable convenience. The future of digital payments has arrived, and it's powered by HMS and Mobily Pay ushering in a realm of exciting developments in the world of mobile finance.

Beautyworld Middle East 2023: Booming industry brings brands to Dubai

The 27th edition of Beautyworld Middle East – the region’s largest international trade fair for beauty, hair, fragrance and wellbeing will take place at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 30th October – 1stNovember 2023. The exhibition is one of the most influential and visited trade shows in the world, playing a pivotal role in the growth and development of the industry. Bringing together a global beauty community of over 50,000 industry attendees for a dynamic exchange of ideas, innovation, and collaboration, the exhibition will champion the influence and opportunity for the business of beauty in the Middle East. With the MEA’s beauty and personal care market projected to reach $47 billion by McKinsey & Company, the region is attracting interest from key industry players around the world. Capitalising on the success of the previous year's edition, Beautyworld Middle East 2023 will be the industry’s chosen platform for connection, inspiration and global trade under this year’s theme “Uncover Beauty. Maximise Opportunity.”  With last year’s Beautyworld Middle East the most successful and best-attended edition in the event’s long 26-year history, spread across fifteen halls, this year’s event is bigger and bolder than ever, growing 20% in size and expected to welcome over 1,600 exhibitors from around 60 countries, across various sectors including Supply Chain & Services, Fragrance, Cosmetics & Skincare, Beauty Tech, Personal Care & Hygiene, Hair, Nails and Salon Supplies and Clean + Conscious.  Some highlights of what to expect at Beautyworld Middle East 2023 include:A diverse showcase of products and solutions from beauty tech, cosmetics and skincare, fragrance, personal care and hygiene, hair, nails and salon supplies, supply chain and brand new sectors, Prestige Pack; focusing on premium packaging innovation and the newly evolved Clean + Conscious sector.  Beautyworld Middle East recognises today’s consumer is more environmentally and socially aware than ever before with natural, sustainable, and ethical beauty products emerging as one of the primary growth drivers alongside the traditional beauty industry. Taking a more holistic approach to the shift in values of today’s consumers, Beautyworld Middle East has evolved its Natural & Organic segment of the show with the launch of Clean + Conscious, the new home for brands committed to making a difference to both people and the planet. Front Row by Nazih Group is a crowd favourite stage that captures the spirit of Beautyworld Middle East. Featuring educational talks, demonstrations, and expert panels across the three-day show, attendees can enjoy an engaging and entertaining avant-garde setup showcasing the latest in hair, make-up, nails, and more. 15 of the top international fragrance houses will create their interpretation of a signature scent that captures the essence of the region’s largest international trade show. Visitors will be able to test these blends in a blind sampling using the latest technology from AirParfum and vote for the one that best captures the essence of Beautyworld Middle East 2023.‘Quintessence – the art of perfume' is the exclusive platform at Beautyworld Middle East devoted to niche fragrance. Some of the world’s most unique brands and creators will showcase their creations in this bespoke and luxurious environment. The ‘Next in Beauty Conference’ offers an array of sessions that encompass market intelligence, emerging trends and revolutionary technologies reshaping the regional and global beauty sector. Listen to the many panel sessions that will discuss fresh viewpoints, new insights and advanced business strategies on a range of topics including innovation, market trends and the business landscape in the Middle East. The prestigious Beautyworld Middle East Awards 2023 celebrate the very best of the beauty industry, from innovative products and cutting-edge technologies to exceptional brands and talented individuals. Recognising and honouring the hard work, creativity, and dedication of beauty professionals and brands that have made a significant impact in the industry, this year’s edition features new categories including Hair Product of the Year, Luxury Packaging of the Year, Independent Retailer of the Year, Popular Retailer of the Year, and more. Winners will be selected by a panel of esteemed judges including industry experts, influencers, and beauty journalists.   Beautyworld Middle East 2023 promises an unparalleled opportunity to expand professional networks, discover new products and unlock the tremendous business potential in one of the world’s key trade hubs. Stay ahead of the curve in this dynamic and fast-evolving market and mark your calendars for 30 October – 1 November to unlock a world of possibilities at Beautyworld Middle East 2023.

Launchpad X: Majid Al Futtaim fuels MENA startup global expansion

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has announced the opening of Launchpad X a dynamic concept store for local startups. The new concept store includes local startups and winners from Majid Al Futtaim’s Launchpad Accelerator Programme, which launched last year as an initiative that nurtures entrepreneurship, and supports small and medium entreprises in the pursuit of innovation, creativity and growth.  Located in City Centre Mirdif, the brand-new Launchpad X concept store is home to a diverse range of local brands that have displayed outstanding innovation, creativity, and growth potential. It connects these budding businesses with the unparalleled go-to-market opportunities offered by Majid Al Futtaim shopping malls. With ‘X’ symbolising the spirit of collaboration, the inauguration of Launchpad X aligns with Majid Al Futtaim’s constant endeavour to support homegrown brands in their journey to become globally recognised businesses. The eclectic mix of brands at Launchpad X includes start-ups that are already part of Majid Al Futtaim’s pioneering Launchpad Accelerator Programme, as well as additional small and medium businesses from around the region with demonstrated new product or service capabilities. Launched in 2022, Majid Al Futtaim’s Launchpad Accelerator Programme is all about uplifting start-ups and SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in strategic categories. It offers successful participants access to innovative technology, mentorship, training, and go-to-market opportunities.The brands showcased at Launchpad X include the leading luxury home fragrances company Wallace & Co; sustainable luxury fashion and home essentials brand Reform; premium active and loungewear brand LC; healthy snacks for families Koala Picks; the upcoming sneaker and streetwear boutique HypeSelection; premium matcha and coffee drinks spot Blue Matcha; the fashion line and women’s boutique Bambah; and Egyptian sustainable and ethnic crafts brand Kiliim. Commenting on the occasion, Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Managing Director of the UAE Shopping Malls at Majid Al Futtaim Properties said: “We are delighted to announce the inauguration of Launchpad X, the region’s first truly collaborative commercial store for start-ups and entrepreneurs. The launch of this concept store marks the next major milestone in Majid Al Futtaim’s strategic focus to help unlock the incredible potential of startups in the region. It builds on the extraordinary success of our Launchpad Accelerator Programme over the past couple of years.”“We are confident that Launchpad X will not only connect the region’s leading start-ups to new opportunities that strengthen their commercial footprint but also be a catalyst for innovation and a powerful force for driving the region’s economic development.”In partnership with AstroLabs, Microsoft and DIFC Launchpad, Majid Al Futtaim’s Launchpad Accelerator Programme unlocks value by partnering with and investing in innovative startups and SMEs that benefit from the reach and scale of the Majid Al Futtaim ecosystem. Catering to homegrown brands across segments such as fashion and lifestyle, leisure, climatetech, and community, the Launchpad programme is a pillar of support for local entrepreneurs. Nearly 50% of its initial cohort of winners were female entrepreneurs, who gained access to tangible growth opportunities with Majid Al Futtaim, such as accelerating customer acquisition, improving operational efficiencies, and access to new revenue streams.Programme winners who earlier had the opportunity to introduce their innovative solutions within Majid Al Futtaim’s portfolio through fully funded pilot programmes, can now explore a commercial customer base with the rollout of Launchpad X, in line with the group’s vision of building a meaningful and globally integrated business environment. The new winners for the second edition of Majid Al Futtaim’s Launchpad Accelerator Programme will be announced by September 27, and will cater to homegrown and climatetech segments.

TV’s sharp decline: Kantar Media's report reveals its fall from grace in 2023

Kantar Media has released its Media Reactions 2023 report, revealing some remarkable insights for the media industry:  1. Television's Decline: Television, previously a top choice for marketers, has plummeted from its third-place position last year to the 12th position in 2023. TV sponsorship has also dropped from 12th to 20th place. This decline is attributed to a lack of innovation, making it less competitive for marketers.  2. Global Survey: The report is based on a consumer survey conducted in 23 markets and includes around 16,000 interviews. It also includes insights from approximately 900 marketing professionals from advertiser, agency, and media companies worldwide.Key Findings:  3. Audience Receptiveness: Advertising campaigns are seven times more impactful when targeting receptive audiences.  4. Online Video Dominance: From a marketing perspective, online video has claimed the top spot, followed closely by sponsored events, digital out-of-home ads (DOOH), video streaming ads, and social media story ads.  5. Consumer Preferences: For global consumers, sponsored events rank first, followed by cinema ads and out-of-home (OOH) ads.  6. Preferred Ad Platforms: Amazon is the most-preferred ad platform for consumers, followed by Google, TikTok, Instagram, and Spotify. For marketers, YouTube takes the top position, and Amazon does not make the list.  7. In-Person Media Preference: "In-person media channels" are preferred by consumers, with the top five channels requiring people to go out. Traditional magazines have fallen out of the top five, and outdoor advertising, including digital out-of-home (DOOH), has gained prominence for both consumers and marketers due to its innovation.  8. Metaverse Discrepancy: The report suggests that marketing in the metaverse, a 3D virtual space powered by technology, has not lived up to the hype. While 61% of marketers claimed they would increase spending in the metaverse in 2023, the actual net increase was only 12%. For 2024, a net of 22% of marketers plan to increase their metaverse investments.  9. Online Video Popularity: Online video remains the most preferred media channel for marketers for the fourth consecutive year. A net 74% of marketers plan to increase their spending in this channel in 2024.  10. YouTube's Rise: YouTube has surpassed Instagram's previous lead, jumping two spots in 2023. Established brands like YouTube and Google are trusted and well-received by marketers, but they may not always resonate with consumers' top choices, where YouTube is absent from the list.These findings offer valuable insights into the evolving preferences and trends in the media industry, highlighting the dynamic landscape that both marketers and consumers navigate.

Union Coop: Stores and e-commerce portals enhance market captivation

Dubai-based Consumer Cooperative ‘Union Coop’ has affirmed that the present market saturation with stores and e-commerce portals has enhanced competitiveness in the markets, especially in the retail outlets that now employ innovative methods to promote products and offer discounts that sometimes reach up to 50% to 70% to stimulate online purchases and motivate consumers to take advantage of the promotions. In its report, the Cooperative stated that the growth of e-commerce has led to an increase in the number of consumers using online platforms, as the percentage of online sales is steadily increasing on a monthly basis, as per the statistical data reported by each store. This is due to the time and effort saved for consumers, who can now see all the available offers from different outlets at once, whether at work or at home, and compare them before making a purchase. The majority of outlets have started offering online purchasing with either ‘on-site pickup’ or free home delivery, subject to certain conditions such as the purchase ratio and invoice amount, and this is exactly what the Cooperative has implemented and offered to all consumers.Union Coop emphasized that consumers have a high level of trust in e-commerce platforms due to the services provided that protect their rights, offer attractive alternatives, and provide reasonable pricing, especially for highly demanded electronic products, food, and non-food items.It should also be noted that retail outlets have increased their competitiveness through these platforms by reducing delivery time and fees, preserving the right to return goods if they do not meet specifications, providing shopping wallets, and earning loyalty points to reach a wider range of consumers and boost their sales.The Cooperative disclosed that it handles more than 1,100 online orders daily, offering a wide variety of products in its smart store. New products are added and updated daily, in line with the retail sector developments. It also mentioned that the ‘Dubai Chamber of Commerce’ predicts that e-commerce’s share of retail sales in the UAE will reach 12.6% of total retail sales by 2026, indicating promising growth opportunities in the e-commerce market and the rapid adoption of e-commerce in the UAE. This analysis indicates an increase in price transparency by providing price comparisons for products sold through online platforms.Furthermore, it continued to highlight that all indicators suggest significant interest in e-commerce within the retail sector, with continuous updates to sales platforms through their applications or smart websites to keep up with ongoing developments in this field and provide better services to enable continuous growth of this sector.

Survey reveals strong demand for Netflix cloud gaming services

A significant portion of dedicated gamers, approximately 33%, hailing from seven different global markets, have already ventured into the realm of cloud gaming services, reveals new research findings carried out in June 2023 by market research firm Savanta. Additionally, it was discovered that 10% of casual gamers have also dipped their toes into this technology.The study enlisted a diverse and representative sample of approximately 12,000 gamers. These gamers were broadly defined as individuals who engage in electronic gaming across various devices. The study encompassed seven prominent markets, namely Canada, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, the UK, and the US.Netflix, in a soft launch, introduced game downloads through its mobile application in November 2021. Intriguingly, 22% of the individuals within Savanta's research pool have already taken the plunge by downloading at least one game through Netflix, and a significant 77% expressed their likelihood of doing so again. A substantial 45% of respondents who had not been previously acquainted with Netflix's gaming offerings indicated their readiness to utilize the existing service.Shaun Austin, the Senior Vice President of Media at Savanta, highlighted an interesting perspective on the matter. He noted: “The failure of Google’s Stadia service suggests the committed gamer segment, one that obsesses over technical details like frame rates and data usage caps, is always going to be a tough one to crack,” said Shaun Austin, senior vice president media at Savanta. “Netflix is taking a very different strategy in following the likes of Facebook to target the casual market and positioning games as a value add, rather than a destination.”Netflix's foray into cloud gaming coincides with a time when a notable 20% of respondents revealed that purchasing video games is the first luxury they would relinquish in the face of rising living costs. This preference ranked ahead of other entertainment expenditures, such as magazines and gaming subscriptions, each at 15%, as well as TV and film streaming subscriptions, which garnered 12% of the vote.While the survey unearthed that nearly 44% of less enthusiastic gamers and 26% of passionate gamers had no prior knowledge of cloud gaming, the concept holds substantial appeal. Among those who had yet to try it, Spanish gamers displayed the greatest openness, with 44% expressing a willingness to explore cloud gaming, followed by the US at 36%, and the UK at 30%.

Customer Commitment Reinforced: New Regional Call Center and Exclusive Offers

 London-based technology company Nothing Tech, recently stepped up its customer-centric commitments with the opening of a GCC-dedicated call center and new trade-in offers with extended warranties for its entire product lineup, including its flagship smartphones, the Nothing Phone (1) & (2).The new call center joins Nothing’s global list of support centers, which will offer customer Arabic call service for general inquiries as well as product concerns and troubleshooting. The call center will also tackle all kinds of software related issues but will defer back to local distributors for physical repairs. The first call center was opened in the home grounds of the UK and as of today, Nothing has 4 call centers globally, each of them delivering support via live chat, calls and emails.In addition to the new call center, Nothing Tech is also offering its UAE and KSA customers with a new trade-in program, where they can bring in any old phone to Nothing’s retail partners to avail a voucher of up to AED 200 on top of the old phone value to purchase a new Nothing Phone (2) or AED 100 for the Nothing Phone (1). Customers in KSA can avail a voucher of SAR 400, limited to the Nothing Phone (2) only.Customers in the UAE can avail themselves of the program in Sharaf DG, Jumbo, Virgin Megastore and Eros starting from the 1st of September, while customers in KSA* can head to their nearest Jarir bookstores for the same offer.Commenting on the new commitments, Rishi Kishor Gupta, Business Lead for Middle East and Africa for Nothing said “Our customers are the center of our business and our commitments towards their user experience is the driving force our innovations. With the new call center, we aim to bring Nothing’s standard of global support to the Middle East and our new extended warranty aims to be more reassuring to the customer. With our new trade-in program, we hope that more users are encouraged to bring their old phones instead of throwing them away, a move that is beneficial from a financial standpoint for the customer as well as a more sustainable choice.”Nothing Tech has also announced an extended warranty for all of its products, which will now be valid across India and Europe for devices bought in the GCC market. The warranty extends to devices bought across both retail and online platforms. This further showcases Nothing’s commitment to its users, supported by regular software updates for undisruptive experience.

King Koil expands its reign in Saudi Arabia with opening in Al Khobar

King Koil, the internationally renowned mattress brand, has announced the grand opening of its first-ever showroom in Al Khobar, Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Located on the bustling King Abdulaziz Street, this showroom promises to bring an exceptional sleep experience to the heart of Al Khobar.King Koil has already captured the hearts of sleep enthusiasts in Riyadh and Jeddah with its premium quality mattresses, and now it is all set to offer the same luxury sleep solutions to residents of Al Khobar. The new showroom will showcase the latest collection of King Koil mattresses and beds, including the much-anticipated King Koil Intimate Collection mattresses, "Embrace" and "Affinity."What sets King Koil apart is its commitment to providing an incredible sleep experience, combined with superior quality. The brand sources high-quality raw materials from the best suppliers worldwide, ensuring not only comfort but also a healthy sleep environment.The King Koil Intimate Collection offers a sophisticated sleep comfort experience, designed to transform your relationship with tomorrow by providing a well-rested tonight. Handcrafted for ultimate comfort and intimacy, these mattresses conform to your body's unique curves, offering unparalleled support and comfort. The Swiss pocketed coil system isolates motion, ensuring undisturbed sleep, allowing you and your partner to wake up feeling closer than ever.The Intimate Collection features innovative technologies, including the Smart Cushion Aero System (SCAS) for enhanced air flow and cushioning, iFusion for temperature regulation, and Mega Foam for eco-friendliness and comfort.In addition to the extensive mattress collection, customers can explore a wide range of bedding accessories, including pillows, duvets, mattress protectors, toppers, bed linen, mattress encasements, and more, to complete their sleep experience.The grand opening of the King Koil showroom in Al Khobar marks an exciting milestone in the brand's continued expansion across Saudi Arabia. Whether you are seeking the perfect mattress or looking to upgrade your sleep experience, King Koil promises to provide the ultimate solution for a restful and rejuvenating night's sleep.On this grand opening, King Koil is also offering exciting deals and offers in-store, so you can experience the ultimate comfort and quality of our products at unbeatable prices.

Lights, camera, streaming! Kareena Kapoor Khan shines in 'Jaane Jaan' on Netflix

Adgully is thrilled to announce the launch of our brand-new column, "Star Talk." Get ready for exclusive celebrity interviews, where we delve into the lives and stories of your favorite stars!In a dazzling shift from the glitzy world of Bollywood to the captivating realm of streaming, Kareena Kapoor Khan is poised to make her much-anticipated OTT debut with Sujoy Ghosh's thrilling creation, "Jaane Jaan," exclusively on Netflix. Joining her in this venture are the talented Vijay Varma and the enigmatic Jaideep Ahlawat.Kareena Kapoor Khan, known for her audacious career choices and an unerring knack for reinventing herself, reveals the compelling reasons that drew her into "Jaane Jaan." With a gleam in her eye, she says: "I have always strived to explore new horizons in my career. When I glanced across the landscape of the OTT world, I couldn't help but notice the incredible storytelling that was unfolding there. A thriller has been on my bucket list for quite some time, and collaborating with Sujoy Ghosh, someone I've yearned to work with, felt like a dream come true. 'Jaane Jaan' brought together all my desires in one irresistible package, so naturally, I couldn't resist."What's even more intriguing about this film is the synchronicity of the leading trio. Both Vijay Varma and Jaideep Ahlawat happen to be alumni of FTII, sharing a common journey through the corridors of cinematic excellence. Kareena candidly confesses: "When I discovered that my co-stars would be the formidable Jaideep Ahlawat and the incredibly talented Vijay Varma, I must admit, I was a tad nervous. I remember Saif advising me to be on my toes, warning that both of them are masters at improvisation during takes."With an illustrious career spanning over 23 years in the film industry, Kareena admits that her OTT debut has her feeling more jittery than ever before. She reflects: "The OTT space is distinct from the silver screen. As I watched the 'Jaane Jaan' trailer on my television screen, it dawned on me that the audience would see me up close and personal. There are no elaborate song-and-dance sequences to provide a respite; not even a popcorn break."Asked about the most challenging aspect of being an actor, Kareena, with her trademark confidence, remarks: "Actors are frequently asked what's tough and challenging in their profession. I find that nothing is truly tough because we're actors, and challenges make our craft all the more exhilarating. Besides, I believe the Kapoor Khandaan simply thrives in front of the camera."Despite her impressive repertoire of films, Kareena's fans often associate her with iconic characters like Poo from "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" and Geet from "Jab We Met." She explains: "I believe the youth connect with Poo and Geet due to their vibrant costumes, memorable songs, and infectious dance moves. However, the intense roles I've portrayed over the years hold a special place in my heart."While many of Kareena's contemporaries have ventured into Hollywood, she remains firmly rooted in Bollywood. She explains: "I don't feel the temptation to explore Hollywood at the moment. My children are still young, and they need me here. Besides, I have exciting projects in the pipeline. We've even dabbled in a small English film titled 'The Buckingham Murders,' directed by Hansal Mehta. It's a gripping atmospheric thriller, delving into themes of loss, closure, and the immigrant experience. What makes it even more exceptional is that it's one of the three Indian films featured at prestigious festivals."As the clock ticks toward the release of "Jaane Jaan" on September 21st, an auspicious date coinciding with Kareena's birthday, we couldn't help but inquire about her birthday celebrations. She smiles warmly and says: "It's less about extravagant parties and more about cherishing moments with my children and family."Kareena Kapoor Khan, the epitome of versatility, is undoubtedly set to captivate the OTT audience with her gripping performance in "Jaane Jaan." The countdown to this electrifying OTT debut has officially begun, promising a thrilling cinematic experience for viewers worldwide.

Dubai's sensational September & October: A symphony of stars and hits

Dubai, known for its dazzling skyline and tourism gems, is now set to shine even brighter as the ultimate musical hotspot this September and October. With an incredible lineup of international maestros and chart-topping stars descending upon the city, it's no surprise that tickets are vanishing like desert mirages!‘Dubaites’ are in for a full music extravaganza for the months of September and October this year. The musical show will be starting on September 8 and would be concluding on October 22 with lot of fun and gaiety. Some of the musical maestros and pop starts who will be setting the stage on fire are listed below:Asha Bhosle: The most awaited is surely the Bollywood legend, Asha Bhosle, who will be returning to her second home, Dubai, to enthrall her fans with a musical extravaganza titled “Asha @ 90: Live in Concert” on Friday September 8, 2023, at Coca-Cola Arena. Asha Bhosle, better known as the ‘last Mughal of the Indian film industry,’ will be celebrating her birthday with the audience of the city. She calls herself as ‘the last Mughal’ on account of her illustrious career spanning over more than 80 years. Renowned for her golden voice and versatility, the iconic Indian playback singer landed in Dubai with her family a few days ahead of her concert. In the concert, Asha Bhosle will be introducing her granddaughter, Zanai Bhosle, who will be performing on stage. Dubai is a second home for Bhosle; so it came as no surprise to fans when the celebratory concert was announced at the beginning of 2023. The versatile singer has performed multiple times in the UAE over the decades. It will be a surprise to her fans that this legendary singer is an entrepreneur also, with her own chain of Indian restaurants: Asha’s. Her first restaurant was inaugurated in Dubai around two decades back. Since then, Asha’s has become an international brand with around 20 outlets in the GCC and the UK. <img src='\58c47bdb3d80545946e2ff868abe88b5.png' class='content_image'>Jay Sean, Manj Musik, Juggy D, and RaghavJay Sean started his career as part of the UK’s Asian Underground scene in 2003. Since then he has released many iconic hits such as 'Down', 'Do You Remember', and 'Ride It’. He will be joined by Manj Musik, known for 'We Doin It' and 'Daddy Da Cash', created by his former group RDB (Rhythm, Dhol, Bass). Juggy D, from England, who has performed alongside Jay Sean and other singers such as Britney Spears, Ricky Martin, and Craig David, will also be performing at the event. Raghav, from Canada, is ready to treat audiences to his hits such as 'Angel Eyes' and 'Desperado'.They all will be performing at 'Indie Vibes' on September 9 at the Coca-Cola Arena. <img src='\cdb09e4452bb140f40d6e4a7d9105c39.png' class='content_image'>Ben&Ben Ben & Ben would be returning to the UAE in October for a unique performance on October 14. Ben&Ben is a folk-pop band based in the Philippines. Formed in 2017, the band has since been known for their hit songs, "Kathang Isip," “Maybe The Night”, “Leaves”, “Paninindigan Kita”, “Araw-Araw”, and "Sa Susunod Na Habangbuhay" among others. It has over a billion online streams and is recognized as Spotify's 'Most Streamed Artist' in the Philippines for 2020.Blue, Five, and Boyzlife It is going to be a treat for ’90s boy band fans. The three of the biggest boy bands to top the charts are set to perform in Dubai’s Duty-Free Tennis Stadium on October 20. Blue, Five and Boyzlife (Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden, who previously appeared as members of Boyzone and Westlife) will be performing their iconic songs like such as 'All Rise,' 'One Love,' 'Guilty,' ''Everyone Get Up,' and 'Uptown Girl'. Sean PaulOn October 21, the Grammy-award-winning artist, Sean Paul, will ignite the stage at Coca-Cola Arena. The popular artist, who is behind the iconic tracks 'Get Busy', 'Temperature', and 'Got To Luv U, is famous for his genre-skipping music, from reggae-infused anthems to hip-shaking dance tracks.Neha KakkarThe last but not the least is Neha Kakkar, the popular Bollywood singer who will perform on her greatest hits at the Coca-Cola Arena on October 22. Neha Kakkar shot to fame after appearing on the singing reality show Indian Idol. She is behind some of the most famous Hindi songs of the past few years, including 'Kar Gayi Chull' and 'Sunny Sunny' with Yo Yo Honey Singh.

EIH Ethmar International Holding acquires majority stake in 9Yards Communication

 EIH Ethmar International Holding PJSC "EIH" and 9Yards Communications, two leading companies based in Abu Dhabi, have together announced EIH’s acquisition of a majority stake in 9Yards Communications.The acquisition aims to broaden EIH’s investment portfolio in the capital and expand its presence into vital new sectors. This will be achieved by executing operational plans that effectively contribute to expanding the service offerings and client portfolio of 9Yards Communications, aligning with the vision of the UAE’s leadership to boost and develop various sectors of the economy, within the framework of Abu Dhabi's Economic Vision 2030.EIH has a successful track record, characterized by remarkable growth, diversity, and profitability. The company has cultivated a diversified, innovative, and sustainable investment portfolio, comprising over 40 successful companies across various sectors, including energy, real estate, alternative investment, technology, healthcare, hospitality, travel & tourism, and automotive and trading. On the other hand, 9Yards Communications holds a prominent position in the media and marketing sector in Abu Dhabi and the UAE, boasting a successful track record and a broad client portfolio encompassing government entities and private organizations both domestically and internationally. Ali El Gebely, Managing Director and Group CEO of EIH, commented "We are delighted to announce this strategic acquisition of a majority stake in 9Yards Communications, as it represents a significant step in line with our expansion plan. It also aligns with our vision of investing in new, dynamic, and vital sectors. This step will positively impact our future plans, boosting our group's portfolio with one of the most successful media, marketing, and events management companies in Abu Dhabi and the UAE." "This acquisition reaffirms our commitment to diversify our investments across various sectors, relying on the immense capabilities and extensive experience of 9Yards Communications. Through this partnership, we aim to expand their range of services and enter new markets across the region and the world," El Gebely added.Commenting on the acquisition, Hussam Al Mulhem, Founder and CEO of 9Yards Communications, said: "Over the years, we have accomplished numerous milestones and have established a prominent position in the media, marketing, and event management sector, particularly in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, and the region. Today, we announce EIH’s acquisition of a majority stake in 9Yards Communications, which signifies the culmination of extensive and dedicated efforts spanning several years. Through this partnership, we seek to reach new markets and expand our clients’ portfolio and services." "9Yards Communications relies on over 120 professionals working in its offices, representing some of the best talents available in the markets where we operate. This has allowed us to become one of the leading providers of media, marketing, and event management services for government and non-government entities. We have achieved significant accomplishments over the years, offering various services, including integrated marketing strategies, event management, public relations, and digital media services. We are excited about this partnership with EIH and look forward to embarking on a new chapter." Al Mulhem added.

LFC renews official retail partnership in Dubai

Liverpool FC has renewed its official retail partnership in Dubai with Seventy8 Sports and plans to strengthen its commercial presence in the Middle East and Africa.Seventy8 Sports – a retailer and distribution company - are now in their third term with LFC as a retail partner and has signed up to a new joint venture in the region with EIGHTClouds private equity firm.Together they will explore new territories to expand the LFC international retail business with LFC official merchandise in the Middle East and Africa.Mike Cox, Senior Vice President Merchandising at Liverpool FC, said “We’re thrilled with this new partnership and delighted to renew with Seventy8 Sports for a third term. The addition of EIGHTClouds will help to strengthen our outreach in new territories.  “We have an incredible fan base all over the world and we’re always trying to bring our retail concepts globally, working with partners in market is a great way to do this and bring our retail concepts to them locally.”This positive partnership’s growth will include retail concepts in market for in store and online. The new stores will mirror the remodelling of the new Liverpool L1 store as LFC rollout the retail experience to match the UK business.Craig McKelvie, CEO of Seventy8 Sports said, “I am super excited to be signing this new 5-year deal with Liverpool FC, and at the same time to be partnering with EIGHTClouds Private Equity to accelerate the growth of Seventy8 Sports. We will work closely together to develop retail, e-commerce, and wholesale opportunities across the GCC to achieve our mission of bringing Liverpool fans closer to their icons.  These new deals are a testament to the teamwork of all those involved and the incredible passion and support of Liverpool fans across the GCC region. YNWA!”Recent LFC retail launches include the new home, away and third kit which are out now and available at the Dubai Mall.For more information and to find out about new product launches, in-store events and exclusive offers, visit or follow @LFCRetailUAE on Instagram.

UAE has smoothest shopping journey of any country: PYMNTS Visa cybersource study

A recent survey conducted by PYMNTS and Visa Cybersource has revealed that UAE shoppers continue to be the most mobile-centric and omnichannel consumers globally. The study, titled "The 2023 Global Shopping Index: UAE Edition," focuses on consumer behavior and preferred payment methods to provide retailers with actionable insights to be successful in the UAE market.The UAE consumers’ penchant for digital shopping is a truism that local merchants know well. Retailers in the UAE offer far more of the digital shopping features that consumers want. In fact, the UAE has the highest Global Digital Shopping Index (GDSI) score among all countries surveyed, indicating that local merchants offer seamless shopping and payment experiences. The country's eCommerce merchants scored 134, significantly higher than the average score of 125 across all countries. The UAE's GDSI scores have also increased over time, with local merchants scoring 11% higher in 2022 than they did in 2021, thanks to rising consumer awareness of available features such as online purchases and price matching.The survey, which involved 13,349 consumers and 3,124 merchants across Brazil, India, Mexico, UAE, United Kingdom, and United States, unearthed several key findings that highlight the unique characteristics of the UAE market.Salima Gutieva, Vice President and UAE Country Manager – Visa, emphasized the importance of catering to the needs of mobile-centric shoppers. "We are thrilled to see the UAE emerging as a leading country where consumers embrace and utilize digital shopping features with utmost enthusiasm. With the highest global digital shopping index score, it is evident that local merchants have successfully crafted seamless shopping and payment experiences for their customers." Gutieva added: "The fact that 94% of adult UAE shoppers have incorporated at least one digital feature during their recent shopping journey highlights the strong digital adoption in the market. As we witness this growing trend, Visa remains committed to partnering with UAE merchants to optimize their offerings and continue meeting the evolving needs of tech-savvy consumers."Key findings from the survey include:UAE consumers like shopping online because they believe the deals and experiences are better. UAE consumers prefer online shopping because of free shipping (50% of the respondents), better prices (44%) and an easy checkout process (43%).In contrast, the ability to obtain products immediately and find them quickly are important factors for consumers when shopping in-store, although it is less important for UAE shoppers than it is for other countries. Only 40% of those who prefer physical stores in the UAE consider immediate availability as essential, which is lower than the 54% and 53% averages in the U.S. and U.K., respectively.Nearly twice as many UAE shoppers value payment choice than rewards or free shipping when selecting a merchant. UAE shoppers value payment choice most when choosing a merchant, with nearly double the importance of rewards or free shipping. When asked to pick one option only, preferred payment methods, in particular, was the top preference for 11.4% of consumers in the UAE, followed by rewards (6.9%) and free shipping (6.6%).UAE shoppers use mobile phones as their shopping sidekick — especially when shopping in-store.Mobile shopping is highly prevalent in the UAE, with 28% of consumers making their most recent retail purchase on their smartphones — the highest in any country, second only to India.Both men and women shop on mobiles, with 33% of women and 27% of men making purchases exclusively from their phone.UAE consumers also use their smartphones to enhance their in-store shopping experience. Men, at 55%, are more likely than women — 45% — to use their smartphones to enhance their in-store shopping journeys.UAE merchants recognize the importance of digital shopping features and offer consumers smoother shopping experiences than other country.UAE consumers use more digital shopping features than consumers in any other country, with 94% having used at least one during their most recent shopping journey.Merchants’ investments in digital shopping features and local shoppers’ keen awareness of those offerings make for a powerful combination. UAE merchants’ broad array of digital shopping features, including those that consumers can use in-store, has helped provide their shoppers with the smoothest overall shopping experience of any country in our study.Our research uncovered an overall increase in consumers’ awareness of which shopping features local merchants offer. Consumers appear to be more on the lookout for cost-saving features than they have been in the past. Fifty-one percent more local consumers were aware of coupons, promo codes or rewards in 2022 than in 2021. We also found that shoppers in the UAE tend to overestimate how many features merchants offer.To learn more about which mobile- and digital-first shopping features merchants must provide to gain traction in the UAE market, download the report.

Redington accelerates the Digital Twin Experience

 Redington, the leading technology integrator and innovation powerhouse, is accelerating the uptake of its ground-breaking B2B e-commerce platform. This effort is reshaping digital distribution and convenience across 10+ countries, reflecting Redington’s commitment to delivering a faster and simpler way of doing business. With everything in one platform, the company is spearheading seamless user experiences and transforming the future of technology distribution.Redington’s B2B e-commerce platform, often referred to as Redington's “digital twin”, delivers an unprecedented online journey for channel partners in the ever-evolving digital landscape. It is designed to empower partners with greater control over their business by simplifying transactions and giving them the freedom to conduct business at their convenience.Viswanath Pallasena, CEO, Redington Middle East and Africa, said, "At Redington, we're not just keeping up with the digital age, we're pioneering it. Our B2B e-commerce platform is not only a demonstration to our adaptability but also a reflection of our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions that redefine customer and partner experiences. We are observing a surge of momentum from our partner community and high receptiveness to getting onboarded to the e-commerce platform."With a dynamic interface and user-centric design, the platform presents a comprehensive range of technology products and solutions, catering to diverse industries and customer needs. The B2B e-commerce platform encapsulates Redington's expansive portfolio, bridging the gap between supply and demand in the digital era. It includes offerings from its business units such as Technology Solutions Group, Enterprise Solutions Group and Mobility Solutions Group.The B2B e-commerce platform is operative across 10 countries, extending Redington’s global reach and enhancing its capability to serve a wider audience. The strategic expansion ensures that customers across these countries can now access and acquire technology solutions with utmost convenience, supported by Redington's expertise and seamless logistical network.As Redington embraces the future of technology distribution, its digital twin, the B2B e-commerce platform stands as a testament to its role as a transformative enabler for businesses, partner communities, and the overall advancement of the digital landscape.

KEYSS Project Teams Up with Microsoft Arabia to Foster Innovation in SA

Microsoft Arabia and KEYSS Project today signed a new partnership to accelerate the digital transformation of startups and SMEs across the Kingdom and foster innovation in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.This partnership will provide entrepreneurs and startups trained by the KEYSS Project with access to the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub, a platform that helps startups radically accelerate innovation by empowering them with industry-leading services, expert guidance, and the essential technology needed to build a future-proofed startup.Zainab Alamin, VP of Digital Transformation & Sustainability at Microsoft, expressed her enthusiasm about the partnership with the KEYSS Project as it aligns with Microsoft’s mission to empower the startup ecosystem in the Kingdom. “Through this partnership, young entrepreneurs and startups will have access to the latest technologies and digital skills needed to innovate, bring their ideas to life, and advance their business growth and success.” Alamin also noted that the partnership supports Microsoft’s efforts to be the preferred and trusted partner for innovation across all sectors of the economy in the Saudi market.Entrepreneurs and innovators in Saudi Arabia will also have access to the latest learning tools to enable them to leverage the latest cloud technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and data analytics to launch successful businesses, improve performance, boost productivity, reduce costs, and meet their sustainable development goals.Commenting on this partnership, Dr. Sarah Mohammad Ghaleb, Founder of the KEYSS Project, noted that startups often struggle with limited resources and gaining the proper guidance, especially when starting a business. “We have trained thousands of youths across the Kingdom to be more confident in their skills as civic leaders. Through our collaboration with Microsoft, we are providing them with access to the latest technologies and digital skills.”She added: “We are very excited about this collaboration as it will enable us to reach more young people and provide them with the resources that they need to direct positive impact in our communities.”By leveraging Microsoft’s cutting-edge technologies and expertise, the KEYSS Project will also empower startups to achieve their sustainability targets and accelerate progress towards Saudi Arabia’s SDG goals.The KEYSS Project is a Saudi female-led initiative that aims to empower Saudi youth by helping them find their purpose and supporting them to learn and practice new skills while engaging in impact projects within their communities.

DNI welcomes AR Srinivasan as new CEO

Dubai National Insurance (DNI), one of the leading insurance companies in Dubai, has appointed A R Srinivasan as its new Chief Executive Officer. With a career spanning over 37 years in the insurance industry, Srinivasan brings a wealth of experience, leadership, and strategic insight to his new role.H.E. Khalaf Al Habtoor, Chairman of DNI, said: "We are delighted to welcome Mr. Srinivasan to the DNI Insurance family. The entire team at DNI Insurance is excited about the new chapter under Srinivasan's leadership. His depth of knowledge, strategic vision, and proven ability to drive transformation align seamlessly with the company's commitment to excellence and innovation. Under Mr. Srinivasan's guidance, DNI Insurance is poised to reinforce its position as a pioneer in the insurance sector, delivering innovative solutions and outstanding service to clients while achieving new heights of prosperity.”AR Srinivasan, CEO of DNI, said, "I am honoured to be appointed as CEO of DNI, and I look forward to leveraging my experience and expertise to drive transformative growth, build lasting partnerships, and deliver unparalleled value to our clients and stakeholders. Together, we will navigate the evolving landscape and chart a course towards continued success."Srinivasan continued: “I thank Mr. Al Habtoor and the board for this opportunity and for their confidence in my skills to lead the company and I look forward to working closely with the board, the team and the business partners.”Srinivasan is a distinguished Chartered Accountant from India, a Chartered Insurer (ACII, London), and a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India. His vast expertise extends across various domains within the insurance sector, making him a standout leader in the field. He has spent the last 29 years serving in senior managerial capacities within the Middle East, providing him with an intricate understanding of the region's insurance landscape.His comprehensive knowledge of the Middle East market dynamics and his deep insights into Insurance and Reinsurance Operations make him an invaluable asset to DNI Insurance. Throughout his career, Mr. Srinivasan has fostered strong relationships with major reinsurers, brokers, and clients, underscoring his commitment to building trust and collaboration within the industry.Srinivasan has consistently demonstrated his ability to transform companies and enhance profitability. His track record of success in leading organisational change and his expertise in Company Transformation, Mergers, and Acquisitions makes him an ideal choice to steer DNI Insurance towards continued growth and innovation.Prior to joining DNI Insurance, Srinivasan played a pivotal role in establishing the DIFC Subsidiary of MNK Re Limited, a prominent Lloyd's Broker based in London. His vast insurance experience has spanned across India, Oman, Dubai, and Bahrain, encompassing leadership roles such as CEO of DAR Al TAKAFUL in Dubai, CEO of Arabia Falcon in Oman, and Al Ahlia Insurance Oman.

64,8% employees in Saudi Arabia believe the meta will revolutionize industries

According to Kaspersky research, the majority of employees in Saudi Arabia believe that the metaverse is the future of internet and will revolutionize entire industries (64,8%). Only few were skeptical of the metaverse and thought that it is a trend that will pass (19,5%). Many employees said their companies already have projects related to the metaverse (32,3%) or have specific plans for such projects (42,5%). However, with the metaverse come new cybersecurity challenges.The metaverse is a virtual, interconnected universe that merges physical and digital realities. In it, people can interact, socialize, work and engage in other activities through immersive technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality. The metaverse is often envisioned as the next-generation internet, blurring the boundaries between the online and offline worlds and offering limitless possibilities for social, economic, and entertainment experiences.Kaspersky experts warn that new phenomena like the metaverse bring cyber risks. VR headsets can be attacked to manipulate content, virtual assets earned in the metaverse can be stolen and whole virtual economies compromised. There are new privacy concerns as well: extensive data about users' actions, preferences, and behaviors is collected, which could be exploited for identity theft or surveillance. Protecting individuals' privacy in such a vast and interconnected digital space is a significant challenge. As the metaverse continues to evolve, cybersecurity strategies will need to adapt to address emerging threats and vulnerabilities.“When we discuss linking the metaverse and real-world objects and devices, technically we talk about the rising importance & new roles of IoT in the metaworld. Hence the attractiveness of the ‘Internet-of-Everything’ for global cybercrime increases as well,” comments Victor Ivanovsky, KasperskyOS Business Development Lead. “This is why IoT vendors should consider implementing a next generation cybersecurity approach on their devices. Kaspersky pioneers the Cyber Immune approach, where devices are able to be designed and developed with innate, built-in protection that would make them virtually impossible to compromise. For instance, Kaspersky IoT Secure Gateway is designed to serve as a secure gateway for the Internet of Things in Industrial IoT networks, Smart Cities and other modern use cases on the boundaries of the metaverse.”To keep your company protected from cyber threats in traditional and virtual environments, Kaspersky experts recommend:Organizations should conduct regular cyber skill checkups among employees and offer competent training. Kaspersky Security Awareness portfolio offers flexible ways to train staff, is easily customizable and scalable to meet the needs of any company size.Corporate users should be educated on potential privacy risks when working in virtual environments. Organizations should implement best practices in safeguarding personal and corporate data.Install updates for the firmware used on digital devices (including virtual headsets) as soon as they become available.Use Cyber Immune solutions for IoT protection on corporate networks. Use a dedicated IoT gateway that ensures inbuilt security and reliability of data transferring.Use Kaspersky Threat Intelligence to block network connections originating from malicious network addresses detected by security researchers.

Tech Innovation Institute Launches Falcon 180B: World's Mightiest Open LLM

The Technology Innovation Institute (TII) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is pushing the boundaries of generative AI once again with the launch of Falcon 180B, an advanced iteration of its flagship large language model (LLM). This groundbreaking release strengthens the UAE's dominance in AI, offering Falcon 180B as an open access model for research and commercial purposes.Following the remarkable success of Falcon 40B, an open source AI model that swiftly ascended to the top of the Hugging Face Leaderboard for LLMs in May 2023, TII, the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) continues to lead the charge in generative AI. Falcon 40B marked one of the first instances of open source models for both researchers and commercial users, and it was considered a pioneering leap in the field.H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council, emphasized the positive impact of Falcon on the AI landscape and said: “We envision a future where the transformative power of AI is within everyone's reach. We are committed to democratizing access to advanced AI, as our privacy and the potential impact of AI on humanity should not be controlled by a select few. While we may not have all the answers, our resolve remains unwavering: to collaborate and contribute to the open source community, ensuring that the benefits of AI are shared by all.”With a staggering 180 billion parameters and trained on 3.5 trillion tokens, Falcon 180B soars to the top of the Hugging Face Leaderboard for pretrained LLMs. It outperforms notable competitors like Meta’s LLaMA 2 in various benchmarks, including reasoning, coding, proficiency, and knowledge tests.Among the best closed source LLMs, Falcon 180B ranks just behind OpenAI's latest GPT 4 and is on par with the performance of Google's PaLM 2 Large, the model powering Bard – despite being half the size of the model. The licensing framework for the model is established on ‘Falcon 180B TII License’, which is based upon Apache 2.0.Dr. Ebtesam Almazrouei, Executive Director and Acting Chief Researcher of the AI Cross-Center Unit at TII, said: "The launch of Falcon 180B exemplifies our dedication to advancing the frontiers of AI, and we are thrilled to share its limitless potential with the world. Falcon 180B heralds a new era of generative AI, where the potential of scientific advancement is made available through open access to fuel the innovations of tomorrow. As we delve into frontiers of science and technology, our vision extends far beyond innovation; it's about nurturing a profound connection to address global challenges through collaborative breakthroughs.”With over 12 million developers adopting and deploying the first release of Falcon, this significant upgrade is poised to become the premier model for various domains, from chatbots to code generation, and beyond.Falcon 180B is compatible with the following major languages: English, German, Spanish, and French, with limited capabilities in Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Dutch, Romanian, Czech, and Swedish.

Nostalgia Meets Action: SRK's 'Jawan' Scores Big at the Box Office

'80's - '90s Bollywood ka masalaUss par South cinema ka tadka. That sums up Shah Rukh Khan (SRK)'s latest blockbuster Jawan. In fact, it seems like a Tamil movie in which SRK tries to do a Rajinikanth!! No kidding ya, he even flips a cigarette to match the famous 'Thalaivar' swag. The end result is an over the top action drama, which entertains aplenty!! Truly, after the independence weekend blockbuster Gadar 2, which raked in some five hundred plus crores at the domestic box office, Jawan has all the ingredients to take it forward from here. It's massy. Its fun. Its pure unadulterated entertainment. There's also a social message thrown in through SRK's brilliant monologue where he directly converses with the audience... wow!! Admittedly, the plot is oft repeated and seen before type!! Without giving away spoilers, Jawan is a frothy mix of multiple masala movies rooted in the '90s. The vigilante against corruption angle is liberally borrowed from Kamal Haasan's Indian (1996) (Hindustani in Hindi) as well as Akshay Kumar's more recent Gabbar is Back (2015). There is also an added dash of Mammootty's Bollywood turnip called Dhartiputra (1993). In fact, the entire jail sequences of the mother (Deepika Padukone) and her infant son are a direct lift from this Iqbal Durrani directed disaster. Also, let me put those rumours of Jawan being a modern day remake of Amitabh Bachchan's Aakhree Raasta (1986) to rest. Nope, Aakhree Raasta it ain't!! Having said that, the mass masala works big time and makes for a satisfying watch even at close to three hours of run time. Inspite its evident South cinema hangover, the action and song choreography are imminently catchy. The production values are expectedly avant-garde. On the flipside, Anirudh's songs (except the 'Zinda Banda' number) don't meet the humongous expectations though his background score for most parts is striking. The cast deserves full marks. Nayanthara in her Bollywood debut, looks super gorgeous and conjures a great chemistry with SRK. Deepika Padukone leaves a mighty impression even in a special appearance. Sunil Grover is noteworthy. Vijay Sethupathi playing the main antagonist named Kaali, is simply super duper. Note his scene with Deepika in jail. Awesome!! Finally, Jawan is an out and out SRK film and the Bollywood superstar sinks his teeth in to the dual role emerging the clear winner. Donning multiple avatars and juggling between a complex father and son character, he is just outstanding. From the TV series Fauji (1989) to Jawan, SRK has indeed come full circle as an actor and a self made superstar. The last decade was harsh on him mainly due to his choice of films. With Pathaan and now Jawaan, it is safe to say that SRK is back and here to stay. I betcha!! Ratings on some key aspects* : 1. Acting : 5/5 (SRK)2. Direction : 3.5/53. Music : 2.5/5 4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 3/55. Cinematography : 4/56. Editing : 4/5 7. Costume Design : 4/58. Special Effects and VFX : 4/59. Action : 4.5/510. Production Quality : 4.5/5 #SNRating for #Jawan : 3 & 1/2 stars out of 5. - Sumeet Nadkarni * - The overall film rating is not a simple average of all ratings on key aspects but a weighted average of the ratings where some crucial aspects (like direction, acting, story and screenplay etc) are assigned more weightage than others. #Jawan #ActionThriller #HindiMovie #BollywoodFilm #SRK #Atlee #Nayanthara #DeepikaPadukone #VijaySethupathi #BollywoodReview #Filmreview #TheatricalRelease #OTTRelease #Netflix #SNRatings #SNRatings barometer:1 star = Poor1 & 1/2 star = Below average/ Avoidable2 stars = Average2 & 1/2 stars = Above average/ Risk it3 stars = Good enough/ Watchable 3 & 1/2 stars = Definitely worth a theatrical watch4 stars = Very good5 stars = Masterpiece/ Outstanding.

Zoom introduces Zoom AI Companion

Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZM) announced that Zoom AI Companion (formerly Zoom IQ), the company’s generative AI digital assistant, is now included at no additional cost with the paid services in their Zoom user accounts1. AI Companion reinforces Zoom’s vision to deliver limitless human connection on one platform, empowering people by increasing their productivity, enhancing their skills, and improving team effectiveness. Zoom also announced today that Zoom IQ for Sales, its conversational intelligence software, will be renamed Zoom Revenue Accelerator.Since Zoom introduced generative AI in early June, thousands of companies have benefited from free trials of Team Chat compose and Meeting summary. Beginning this fall, Zoom will significantly expand its generative AI offering across its platform with the launch of AI Companion, at no additional cost with paid Zoom user accounts.Zoom’s federated approach to AI delivers high-quality results and lowers costs by dynamically incorporating its own large language models, along with third-party models such as Meta Llama 2, OpenAI, and Anthropic.Rooted in this unique approach, Zoom AI Companion delivers powerful, real-time digital assistant capabilities to help users improve productivity and work together more effectively. Zoom customers can expect to see AI Companion throughout the entire platform, from Meetings, Team Chat, Phone, Email, and Whiteboard, with additional features on the roadmap.“We are transcending the hype in generative AI by delivering tangible products and disrupting the industry’s pricing model, making it easy for businesses and people like you and me to leverage generative AI’s full benefits in our day-to-day work,” said Smita Hashim, chief product officer at Zoom. “We were founded on doing what’s right for our customers, and we firmly believe that offering Zoom AI Companion at no additional cost to our paid Zoom user accounts delivers tremendous value as we all navigate the challenges facing us today. We are excited to see our customers and users start using AI Companion and about our strong roadmap for further innovation underpinned by a commitment to responsible AI.”How Zoom is Putting Customer Privacy First with Generative AIZoom’s goal is to invest in AI-driven innovation that enhances user experience and productivity while prioritizing trust, safety, and privacy. In August, Zoom shared that it does not use any customer audio, video, chat, screen-sharing, attachments, or other communications-like customer content (such as poll results, whiteboards, or reactions) to train Zoom’s or third-party artificial intelligence models. Additionally, AI Companion is turned off by default — account   1 Select verticals and geos may be excluded.owners and administrators control whether to enable these AI features for their accounts. Zoom provides admins and users control and visibility when AI features are being used or activated. By putting its customers’ privacy needs first, Zoom is taking a leadership position, enabling its customers to use AI Companion and its capabilities with confidence.Modern Work Powered by Zoom AI CompanionAI Companion makes it easy and frictionless to collaborate and become more productive, removing repetitive tasks and distractions, and helping teams collaborate more effectively.AI Companion incorporates several new real-time AI capabilities immediately, with additional capabilities expected to launch over the next few months. AI Companion is transforming modern work in the following ways:With Zoom Meetings, users can watch recordings faster through highlights and smart chapters, and review summaries and next steps, so they can easily catch up on a missed meeting. In the meeting, if enabled by the meeting host, attendees can catch up quickly without disrupting the meeting flow by discreetly submitting questions via the in-meeting AI Companion side panel to receive an AI-generated answer on what they missed. Post- meeting, hosts can receive an automated meeting summary to share with attendees and those who were unable to attend a meeting. These capabilities help team members who may be in different time zones catch up asynchronously. Planned for spring 2024, users will also have the ability to receive real-time feedback on their presence in meetings, as well as coaching on their conversational and presentation skills.Zoom Team Chat is critical for real-time and asynchronous work, but it is easy to get lost in the volume of messages. AI Companion allows users to quickly draft messages based on the context of a chat thread, as well as change tone and length, so they can spend less time composing replies. In the coming weeks, users will be able to catch up on long chat threads through generative AI summarization, and by early 2024, users will have the ability to auto-complete chat sentences and schedule meetings from a chat.This fall, Zoom Whiteboard users will get help from AI Companion with generating and categorizing ideas, and by spring 2024, users will be able to harness their whiteboard content to generate images and populate whiteboard templates.Additionally, in early fall, Zoom Mail users will be able to get draft email suggestions. By spring 2024, users will be able to add meeting summaries to Notes and summarize SMS threads and calls with Zoom Phone.In spring 2024, users will be able to interact with AI Companion through a conversational interface that will be able to understand the context of questions and support users with their content across the Zoom platform, such as prior meetings, chats, and select connected third-party apps, even initiating actions on their behalf. For example, users will be able to interact with AI Companion to get help with:Pre-meeting preparation: Ask AI Companion to find the status of key projects to prepare for an upcoming customer meeting. AI Companion will be able to surface knowledge from meetings, chats, whiteboards, emails, documents, and, withusers’ permission, from third-party applications on behalf of the user, to provide the latest updates.In-meeting real-time support: Ask AI Companion real-time questions during the meeting to catch up on key points in the discussion, create and file a support ticket on an issue raised during a call, or provide a draft response to a question raised during the meeting.Post meeting: Ask AI Companion to summarize the meeting that was held, automatically identify action items and key stakeholders, and surface the next steps to the relevant stakeholders in Team Chat or, with users’ permission, in their third-party applications.Easy intuitive interfaceUsers will be able to access AI Companion from within their existing workflows such as within Zoom Meetings, Zoom Team Chat, and Zoom Whiteboard for capabilities such as Meeting summaries, Team Chat compose, and Whiteboard generation with a simple, easy-to-use experience. Starting now, users can additionally have interactive capabilities with AI Companion via a side panel by accessing these directly within the Meetings experience; this capability will expand across the Zoom platform in spring 2024, as capabilities are added.

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

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

Saudi Arabia leads Middle East in digital experience AI investments

 Enabling Middle Eastern organisations to embark on a forward-thinking digital business strategy to attain category leadership, the leading digital experience (DX) event of the Middle East, ‘The Digital Experience Show Middle East 2023,’ commenced in Riyadh. The event’s inauguration was accompanied by the unveiling of the highly insightful ‘Digital Experience Intelligence Report’.This report offers profound insights into the investment plans and digital strategies of Saudi Arabian and Middle Eastern organisations, charting their course for the year 2024.A compelling trend emerged from the report - companies across the Middle East and Africa are intensifying their investment in artificial intelligence. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Intelligent Automation (IA) are proving to be potent instruments to enhance customer loyalty, drive growth, and optimise efficiency.In line with this, a staggering 81% of companies are ramping up their investment in AI. Additionally, 46% of companies are re-evaluating Chatbots, 27% are reconsidering CRM platforms, and 23% are enhancing Natural Language Translation.The event spotlighted the pivotal role of digital experience in conferring a true competitive advantage, evident in sustained commercial triumph and elevated customer satisfaction. Ayusha Tyagi, Managing Director of Customer Experience Live, the organisers of the event, underscored this, stating, “These technologies, when combined, empower companies to understand customer behaviour, converting interactions into actionable insights. This predictive capability enables systems to anticipate and fulfill customer needs, delivering distinctive and enriched experiences.”Moreover, as organisations emphasise the cultivation of customer loyalty and accelerated growth, the significance of adopting cutting-edge technologies to amplify digital interactions cannot be overstated. A resounding 76% of business leaders affirm that customers expect a continuous stream of innovation through digital products and services that provide substantial value. Correspondingly, 74% of organisations are actively developing more digital experiences, and 63% of companies report an augmented investment in Digital Experience Technology.The report also provides insights into budget allocation for technological deployment. Notably, 68% of companies confirmed plans to invest over $200,000 in customer experience (CX) in 2024. Furthermore, an assertive 28% have committed to an investment exceeding $1,000,000 for the same purpose.Majed Rafed Al-Argoubi, CEO of the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones affirmed, "MODON believes that embracing and optimizing digital interactions is a strategic imperative for organizations aspiring to thrive in today's dynamic environment."The event's sponsors include Verint, Uniphore, channels by stc, Riyadh Airport Company, ccc by stc, Silah Gulf, Konnect Insights, Aurus, and 2 Ring. Thought-provoking perspectives were shared by aramco, The Coca-Cola Company, Tawuniya, Riyadh Municipality, NEOM, flyadeal, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Human and Social Development, Virgin Megastore, and others, providing invaluable insights and expertise on harnessing digital experience.Mamoun Alamouri, Vice President of Uniphore, illuminated their mission, “Uniphore is dedicated to transforming every aspect impacting customer journeys, driven by our commitment to provide the planet’s most engaging customer and employee experiences through a unified Enterprise-class multimodal AI and data platform.”Acknowledging exceptional accomplishments, the Digital Experience Awards, held on 6 September at the event, honored prominent regional organizations that have invested to yield remarkable outcomes in CX and digitization, including the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing, Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON), Riyadh Airports Company, solutions by stc, Bupa Arabia, Mobily, Emkan Finance Company, Cobone, and Silah Gulf.