https://adgully.me/post/2079/osn-expands-partnership-with-itv-studios

OSN expands partnership with ITV Studios

Dubai: OSN, the leading entertainment network in the Middle East is delighted to announce the expansion of its existing deal with ITV Studios, the production and distribution arm of ITV PLC – the UK’s largest commercial broadcaster. This expanded partnership will bring an extensive line-up of captivating scripted and non-scripted programming exclusively to OSN+ and OSN TV starting this month.Under the enhanced agreement, OSN subscribers will have access to over 150 hours of exceptional content, including highly acclaimed series and award-winning productions. Audiences can look forward to enjoying all six seasons of the 9-time Emmy Award-winning comedy series, Schitt's Creek as well as other highly anticipated shows like Bump and The Suspect. As part of this exciting collaboration, OSN will also include the popular reality show, The Voice US, to its programming line-up.Commenting on the expanded partnership, Rolla Karam, SVP, Content Acquisition & Arabic Channels at OSN, added, "This expanded deal showcases our commitment to offering the best in entertainment to our viewers. We are excited to bring acclaimed series like Schitt's Creek and the latest season of the talent show, The Voice US, to our platform. We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration with ITV Studios and bringing more exceptional content to our viewers in the near future."Further enriching its entertainment offering, OSN will feature an array of captivating shows, including Vigil Season 1, the limited series Litvinenko, a selection of delightful cooking series such as John and Lisa's Weekend Kitchen, Gino's Italian Express, and Tom Kerridge Barbecues, and George Clark’s Flipping Fast, among many others.This expansion is just the beginning of a promising collaboration between OSN and ITV Studios. Looking ahead to 2024, OSN is excited to announce plans to license more incredible content from ITV Studios, promising even more engaging and diverse programming options for its viewers.The deal was brokered on behalf of ITV Studios Global Partnerships by Robbie Burroughs, Sales Director, EMEA.OSN+ can be accessed through all your favourite devices, including major TV platforms,
https://adgully.me/post/2078/matrix-pr-shines-at-prca-mena-awards-2023-with-6-highly-sought-after-awards

Matrix PR shines at PRCA MENA Awards 2023 with 6 highly sought after awards

Dubai: Homegrown communications agency Matrix Public Relations was among the top winners honored at this year’s Public Relations and Communications Association MENA (PRCA MENA) awards with six prestigious awards across key highly competitive categories.Recognized as the world’s largest professional PR body, PRCA through its annual awards ceremony, brings together in-house and agency teams from across the region to showcase some of their best communications campaigns and a chance to demonstrate their impact to society.Succeeding with Award-Winning CampaignsFounded 23 years ago by PR veteran Jack Pearce, the Dubai-based public relations agency Matrix PR kicked off its awards haul by being named the winner for the Best Integrated Campaign: Small/Medium Companies. In this category, Matrix was feted for its contribution and sterling performance in the campaign planning and execution for cyber protection firm, Acronis. The Dubai-based agency was also announced the overall winner of the Best PR Campaign - Digital category following its successful and impactful campaign for insurance experts Zurich dubbed ‘Have You Done Your Homework”.The team of highly-talented PR practitioners were also feted for successfully pulling off a campaign for a new market entrant in one of the most competitive industries in the region. In the Results on a Budget category, Matrix PR emerged the winner of one of the most sought-after awards for executing Dubai’s first-ever Celebrity Football Cup in 2022 for the new kids on the event management block - AG Events. Matrix PR was also highly commended in the Small Consultancy of the Year category. Celebrating ExcellenceSpeaking at the sidelines of the glamorous event, which was held at Hilton Palm Jumeirah, Dubai, Matrix PR Chief Executive Officer, Hilmarie Hutchison commended the team for their exemplary performance and dedication.“We are extremely proud to have won in various competitive categories - an achievement that signifies our commitment to delivering tangible results for our clients. The team has gone above and beyond to ensure that our PR campaigns are not just focused on getting covered by the media but also have a long-lasting impact to the target audience. These auspicious awards will serve as a motivation and inspiration to the team and be a constant reminder of the excellent work they continue to do,”Despite its humble beginnings, the boutique PR agency managed to accumulate an impressive 13 elite awards - including an international award - in the past year alone. In line with the evolving industry needs, the agency has also re-aligned its objectives towards delivering business and data-driven communications strategies that address its clients’ pain-points.The recognition by its industry peers under the PRCA Awards forum presents an opportunity for the agency to moot growth-oriented synergies across all industries. This, according to the agency, will enable the team to craft PR campaigns that will help brands change mindsets and solve real issues.
https://adgully.me/post/2077/osn-and-afac-launch-mentorship-programme-for-arab-tv-series

OSN and Afac launch mentorship programme for Arab TV series

Dubai: OSN, the leading entertainment network in the Middle East, has teamed up with The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (Afac) to launch a ground-breaking mentorship programme called The Writers' Room. The initiative is aimed at fostering creativity and developing new, compelling TV series from the Arab region.The mentorship programme provides a platform for series creators to pitch their projects to OSN for potential development and distribution on their platform. The initiative is designed to support the development of a fully-fledged limited series, providing guidance from experts during and between residencies.The programme's aim is to nurture a culture of series writing in the region that is anchored in the Writers' Room method, allowing for peer-to-peer learning and participation in the creative process.“At OSN, we believe in the power of local storytelling and the incredible talent that exists within the Arab region and are excited to join hands with Afac to launch this initiative. This programme represents our commitment to nurturing emerging writers and investing in compelling narratives that resonate with our diverse audience. Together, we aim to unlock the untapped potential of Arab storytellers and create a platform for their voices to be heard," said Joe Kawkabani, chief executive of OSN.Successful applicants will also have access to weekly online working sessions, one-on-one mentorship, and support from experts in relevant fields. Final feedback on their fully written episodes will be provided by industry professionals, and their projects will have a first look by the commissioning team at OSN.“The initiative marks a significant step in supporting the development of Arab series creators. Through this programme, we aim to provide a nurturing environment for emerging talents, bridge gaps in series development, and foster a community of storytellers,” said Afac’s executive director Rima Mismar.The programme is open to Arab writers living in the region with prior writing experience, preferably in series writing, and who submit a project as part of their application.Applications can be made through the Afac portal until July 7. The Writers' Room mentorship programme represents a significant opportunity for Arab writers to showcase their talents and develop their series projects.
https://adgully.me/post/2076/emirates-group-announces-2022-23-results

Emirates Group announces 2022-23 results

Dubai: The Emirates Group today released its 2022-23 Annual Report, reporting its most profitable year ever on the back of strong demand across its businesses. Emirates achieved new record profits, a complete turnaround from its loss position last year. Both Emirates and dnata saw significant revenue increases in 2022-23 as the Group expanded its air transport and travel-related operations following the removal of nearly all pandemic-related restrictions around the world. For the financial year ended 31 March 2023, the Emirates Group posted a record profit of AED 10.9 billion (US$ 3.0 billion) compared with an AED 3.8 billion (US$ 1.0 billion) loss for last year. The Group’s revenue was AED 119.8 billion (US$ 32.6 billion), an increase of 81% over last year’s results. The Group’s cash balance was AED 42.5 billion (US$ 11.6 billion), the highest ever reported, up 65% from last year mainly due to strong demand across its core business divisions and markets.  HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates airline and Group, said: “We’re proud of our 2022-23 performance which is not only a full recovery, but also a record result. This achievement would not have been possible without HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, whose leadership has been critical to our success today and through the years. The architect of Dubai’s progressive economic policies, HH Sheikh Mohammed is also the engine behind the Emirates Group’s trajectory. Without his drive and support, Emirates will be half the size of what we are today.” He added: I’m proud of the Emirates Group’s performance for 2022-23, and our contribution to the restoration of air transport and tourism across the markets we serve, including Dubai’s astounding 97% year-on-year growth in international visitors for 2022. The Group is the biggest player in the UAE’s aviation sector, which supports over 770,000 jobs and generates an estimated contribution to GDP of over US$ 47 billion (AED 172.5 billion). With our growth plans, and in line with the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, we expect to significantly increase our contribution to the UAE’s GDP over the next decade through direct and indirect employment, supply chain spending, tourism spend, and trade and commerce benefits from the movement of cargo.” Commenting on the Group’s 2022-23 turnaround performance, Sheikh Ahmed said: “We had anticipated the strong return of travel, and as the last travel restrictions lifted and triggered a tide of demand, we were ready to expand our operations quickly and safely to serve our customers. Our ongoing investments in our brand, and in our products and services, helped drive customer preference and position us favourably in the market. As a result, we have delivered a record financial performance and cash balance for our financial year 2022-23. This reflects the strength of our proven business model, our careful forward planning, the hard work of all our employees, and our solid partnerships across the aviation and travel ecosystem.” To support expanded operations and to bolster the Group’s future capabilities, Emirates and dnata ramped up recruitment activity across the globe during the year. As a result, the Group’s total workforce increased by 20% to 102,379 employees, representing over 160 different nationalities. In 2022-23, the Group collectively invested AED 7.2 billion (US$ 2.0 billion) in new aircraft, facilities, equipment, companies, and the latest technologies to position the business for future growth. Our commitments include: a massive multi-billion dollar aircraft cabin retrofit programme; an order for 5 new 777 freighters; the building of a new pilot training centre; the opening of Bustanica, the world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai under a partnership with CropOne; new training aircraft for its cadets at Emirates Flight Training Academy; dnata’s acquisition of 30% shares to gain full ownership of its ground handling operations in Brazil; and the building of a new advanced cargo facility in Erbil, Iraq. The Emirates Group also continued to progress on its sustainability journey during the year. Notably, it signed up to the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary initiative where Emirates and dnata will work towards making the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Principles part of their strategy, culture, and operations. The Group also signed the UAE Gender Balance Council’s pledge to increase female representation at mid-senior management positions to 30% across the country by 2025. Amongst its numerous environmental initiatives, a key highlight for Emirates was the successful conduct of a demonstration flight with 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) in one engine of a Boeing 777. This first-in-region initiative contributes to collective industry data and efforts to enable a future of 100% SAF flying. dnata in 2022-23 pledged to invest US$ 100 million (AED 367 million) over 2 years, to improve environmental efficiency across its global business, supporting its goal to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% by 2030. During the year, the Group supported various community and humanitarian initiatives across its markets including relief efforts for the floods in Pakistan and the earthquake in Turkey and Syria. It also continued to participate in innovation incubators, and support programmes that build a pipeline of skilled aviation talent and develop future solutions for the industry. Sheikh Ahmed said: “In 2022-23, we’ve not only brought back most of our operations but also grew our footprint and capabilities by investing in people, product, and new technologies – demonstrating our agility and ability. We continue to lay strong foundations for future success and join hands with partners to grow our business and to collaborate on innovative solutions for travel and aviation. As our business expands, so does our ability to make a positive impact on the communities we serve. We are steadfast in our commitment to deliver value to our customers and stakeholders while minimising our environmental impact. “We go into 2023-24 with a strong positive outlook and expect the Group to remain profitable. We will work hard to hit our targets while keeping a close watch on inflation, high fuel prices, and political and economic uncertainty.” Emirates performanceEmirates’ total passenger and cargo capacity increased by 32% to 48.2 billion ATKMs in 2022-23, as the airline continued to reinstate passenger services across its network in line with the lifting of pandemic-related flight and travel restrictions. In addition to launching services to Tel Aviv, Emirates relaunched flights to six destinations and increased operations to 62 cities across its network throughout the year to serve strong customer demand. By 31 March 2023, the Emirates network comprised 150 destinations across six continents, including 9 cities served by its freighter fleet only. Emirates also deployed its flagship A380 aircraft to even more cities during the year, bringing its A380 network to 43 destinations as of 31 March 2023. Enabling its customers access even more destinations, Emirates signed agreements with new codeshare partners in 2022-23 most notably with United Airlines and Air Canada, expanding the airline’s connectivity in the Americas to over 200 new points, in addition to mutual frequent flyer programme benefits. Emirates also reinforced its strategic partnerships with Qantas and flydubai and added new interline and codeshare partners: Airlink, AEGEAN, ITA Airways, Air Tanzania, Bamboo Airways, Batik Air, Philippine Airlines, Royal Air Maroc and Sky Express. Emirates received two new 777 freighter aircraft during the financial year. It also phased out 4 older aircraft comprising of 2 A380, 1 Boeing 777-300ERs and 1 Freighter. Its total fleet count at the end of March was 260 units, with a youthful average fleet age of 9.1 years. Emirates’ order book stands at 200 aircraft, including 5 additional Boeing 777-300ER freighter orders announced during 2022-23. The airline’s long-standing strategy of operating modern and efficient aircraft remains unchanged, a commitment which underpins its Fly Better brand promise as a young fleet is better for the environment, better for operations, and better for customers. With significantly enhanced capacity deployment across most markets, Emirates’ total revenue for the financial year increased 81% to AED 107.4 billion (US$ 29.3 billion). Currency fluctuations in some of the airline’s major markets, notably the Euro, Pound Sterling, and devaluation of the Pakistani Rupee, significantly impacted the airline’s profitability negatively by AED 4.5 billion (US$ 1.2 billion). Total operating costs increased by 57% from last financial year. Cost of ownership (depreciation and amortisation) and fuel cost were the two biggest cost components for the airline in 2022-23, followed by employee cost. Fuel accounted for 36% of operating costs compared to 23% in 2021-22. The airline’s fuel bill increased by 143% to AED 33.7 billion (US$ 9.2 billion) compared to the previous year, due to a higher uplift of 49% in line with capacity expansion and a higher average fuel price which was up by 48%. With the removal of pandemic-related travel restrictions globally, the airline substantially improved its financial results and reported a record profit of AED 10.6 billion (US$ 2.9 billion) after last year’s AED 3.9 billion (US$ 1.1 billion) loss, and an exceptional profit margin of 9.9%, reflecting the best performance in the airline’s history. Emirates carried 43.6 million passengers (up 123%) in 2022-23, with seat capacity up by 78%. The airline reports a Passenger Seat Factor of 79.5%, compared with last year’s passenger seat factor of 58.6%; and a 7% increase in passenger yield to 37.5 fils (10.2 US cents) per Revenue Passenger Kilometre (RPKM), due to a change in cabin and route mix, fares and currency.  Emirates continued to invest in delivering ever better customer experiences. During the year, it launched its full Premium Economy experience to hugely positive customer feedback, brought into service the first 6 of its newly retrofitted A380s with completely refreshed cabin interiors, and opened ‘Emirates World’ - a modern concept retail store which will gradually be introduced to other key markets. It also announced a US$ 350 million investment in new generation inflight entertainment systems for its A350 fleet. With a continued focus on digital initiatives to provide customers with speedy and secure journeys, Emirates also signed a landmark biometric data agreement with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Dubai to fast-track travellers’ journey on arrival. Emirates SkyCargo delivered a solid performance, contributing 16% of the airline’s revenue despite a reduction in available capacity as aircraft that were temporarily converted into “mini freighters” during the pandemic returned to full passenger service. In 2022-23, Emirates’ cargo division reinforced its leadership in cool chain transport, building on the advanced expertise and infrastructure that made it the carrier of choice for the transport of temperature sensitive medicines during the pandemic, and other perishable items. Emirates SkyCargo maintained its edge in the global airfreight industry by focusing its customers, bringing innovative solutions to the market, and leveraging its fleet and network capabilities. During the year, the cargo division signed commercial MoUs with United Airlines and Air Canada to expand its network reach and capacity for customers; introduced a new digital channel, WebCargo, for customers to directly access and book its flights for their cargo shipments; and launched Emirates Delivers UK, expanding its e-commerce shipping solution to UAE customers. Emirates SkyCargo also deployed its expertise and capacity to transport relief goods to Pakistan, Turkey and Syria in partnership with Dubai’s International Humanitarian City. With steady air freight demand throughout the year, Emirates’ cargo division reported a solid revenue of AED 17.2 billion (US$ 4.7 billion). This was a 21% decline over last year’s exceptional performance caused by the pandemic. Freight yield per Freight Tonne Kilometre (FTKM) increased by 3% despite more cargo capacity returned to the global market, but generally remained at high levels compared to the pandemic marketplace due to steady and strong demand. Tonnage carried declined by 14% to reach 1.8 million tonnes, due to the reduction in available freighter capacity for the entire year with the reinstatement of more passenger services. At the end of 2022-23, Emirates’ SkyCargo’s total freighter fleet stood at 11 Boeing 777Fs. Emirates’ hotels portfolio revenue over last year increased by 12% to AED 675 million (US$ 184 million) reflecting the uptick in tourism traffic, particularly to Dubai.   Emirates has consistently demonstrated the ability and commitment to fulfil its contractual obligations. In addition to repaying aircraft related financing liabilities as they fall due, it successfully repaid AED 3.0 billion (US$ 817 million) more of the total AED 17.5 billion (US$ 4.8 billion) raised during the COVID-19 crisis. This assurance continues to strengthen the confidence of its financing partners in its business model and allowed Emirates to reprice AED 4.5 billion (US$ 1.2 billion) of debt during this financial year and further raise AED 1.2 billion to finance the acquisition of two new B777 freighter aircraft through an Islamic finance lease at highly effective margins. In the face of rising interest rates, Emirates adeptly managed its net exposure and effectively mitigated the impact of rate fluctuations on the bottom line. Additionally, the proactive currency risk management programme ensured ongoing financial stability and resilience by employing a range of hedging strategies including forward contracts and natural hedges.Emirates closed the financial year with an exceptional level of cash assets of AED 37.4 billion (US$ 10.2 billion), 79% higher compared to 31 March 2022.   dnata performanceRecovery from the pandemic was felt across almost all dnata businesses, and in 2022-23 dnata increased its profit by 201% to AED 331 million (US$ 90 million).With growing flight and travel activity across the world, dnata's total revenue increased by 74% to AED 14.9 billion (US$ 4.1 billion). dnata’s international businesses account for 72% of its revenue, an increase of 10%pts from the previous year. Through the year, dnata worked closely with its customers through the challenges of labour shortages and rising inflation in its major markets such as UK, US, Europe and Australia. Laying the foundations for future growth, dnata’s investments in 2022-23 amounted to AED 467 million (US$ 127 million). Significant investments during the year included: a new cargo centre in Amsterdam, the Netherlands; new modern cargo and ground service equipment facilities in Erbil, Iraq; the global roll-out of its advanced “OneCargo” system to digitise and automate business functions; the expansion of marhaba operations in Dubai and Zanzibar; and the re-opening of renovated catering facilities in Sydney with energy efficient installations and equipment upgrades.In 2022-23, dnata’s operating costs increased by 74% to AED 14.6 billion (US$ 4.0 billion), in line with expanded operations in its Airport Operations, Catering and Travel divisions and impacted by inflationary pressure across all markets mainly for labour and food supply.dnata’s cash balance improved by more than AED 200 million to AED 5.1 billion (US$ 1.4 billion). Net cash used in financing activities, primarily payments for loans and leases, amounted to AED 906 million (US$ 247 million), while the business utilised net cash of AED 528 million (US$ 144 million) in essential investing activities. The business saw a positive operating cash flow of AED 1.4 billion (US$ 381 million) in 2022-23, a reflection of the substantial improvements in revenue.Revenue from dnata’s Airport Operations, including ground and cargo handling increased to AED 7.2 billion (US$ 2.0 billion).The number of aircraft turns handled by dnata globally grew by 35% to 712,383, cargo handled declined by 8% to 2.7 million tonnes, reflecting the increased flight activity across markets as the last pandemic restrictions lifted and dnata’s customers reinstated services. During 2022-23, dnata launched its ground handling operations at the newly built terminal of Zanzibar Abeid Amani Karume International Airport, together with Emirates Leisure Retail (ELR) and MMI as master concessionaire for all food and beverage, duty free and commercial outlets at the terminal. It also expanded operations in Canada, partnering GTA Group to offer quality and safe cargo services in Calgary and Vancouver.dnata’s Catering & Retail business accounted for AED 4.8 billion (US$ 1.3 billion) of dnata’s revenue, up by 187%. The inflight catering business uplifted 111.4 million meals to airline customers, almost three times the number of meals from last year, as its airline customers across the world restored their flight operations.dnata’s Catering & Retail division substantially increased production to support airlines to restart their flight operations after the pandemic particularly in Australia, and its key markets of UK and the USA. It also worked extensively with its customers on flexing their menus to address supply chain issues and food inflation. In the UAE, Alpha Flight Services (Alpha), dnata’s subsidiary, signed a concession agreement under which it will provide flight catering services to over 10 airlines at Ras Al Khaimah International airport, operate three F&B outlets, as well as the airport lounge.Notable contract wins for the catering division in 2022-23 include: multi-year catering contracts with Australia’s newest airline, Bonza, and with Air India for its flights in London, Birmingham, and Milan; contracts with United Airlines and Edelweiss Air for their flights in Jordan; and with Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines in Singapore.Revenue from dnata’s Travel Services division grew by 227% to AED 2.3 billion (US$ 618 million). The reported total transaction value (TTV) of travel services sold increased by 203% to AED 7.0 billion (US$ 1.9 billion), a substantial growth from last year. This reflects last year’s abnormal situation where the business was recovering from COVID-19-related booking cancellations.In 2022-23, dnata Representation Services boosted its existing customer service support for Lufthansa in Europe and grew its relationship with American Airlines by providing a range of sales and marketing services to the carrier as its general sales agent in India. dnata became the preferred travel partner in the Middle East for American Express Global Business Travel, the world’s leading B2B travel platform; and enhanced its long-standing partnership with Club Med to bring tailor-made, all-inclusive holidays at exclusive rates closer to the GCC travellers.In the UAE, dnata expanded its retail footprint with the opening of a new travel store in Dubai Hills. Reflecting the increased visitor numbers and demand for Dubai experiences, Arabian Adventures expanded and enhanced its popular ‘Overnight Safari’ experience in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve and re-launched an enhanced edition of its signature Jeep Adventure Safari.dnata's leisure wholesale specialist, Yalago, expanded its global in-markets teams, and recorded a 92% year on year increase in hotel bookings in 2022. 
https://adgully.me/post/2075/shiseido-company-opens-store-outside-the-asia-region-in-dubai

Shiseido Company opens store outside the Asia region in Dubai

Dubai:  Shiseido Company, the Japanese revolutionary beauty leader today announced the opening of the Shiseido Ginza Tokyo brand store in Mall of the Emirates, the only store outside the Asia region for the 150-year-old brand, in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim, the leading retail, shopping mall, communities, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. This marks a significant milestone for Shiseido’s expansion plans and signifies Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle’s debut into the beauty industry.Since 1972, Shiseido has pioneered the future of skincare to bring a truly holistic experience to the beauty routine. Being an innovative cosmetic company, Shiseido blends cutting-edge technology with breakthrough science from Japan, to reveal the most vibrant and radiant self every day.As Shiseido Ginza Tokyo opens its doors in Dubai, customers will have the chance to experience the innovative and unique expert facial treatments and personalised skincare consultations the brand is famous for. The treatment room, which features state-of-the-art technology and equipment, including Personalised skin analysis tools and advanced facial massage techniques, offers several treatment options incorporating breakthrough science from Japan. Customers will have access to Shiseido’s full assortments of products and exclusive access to some of the latest and most advanced products only available in-store.Franck Marilly, President & CEO, Shiseido EMEA & Global Fragrance, said:“The opening of this Shiseido brand store in Dubai marks an important step in the expansion of our company in the Middle East. We are delighted to bring our namesake brand's state-of-the-art skincare innovation to the region's very dynamic and demanding consumers. We are excited by this partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle and confident of the great success we will build together in this region with high growth potential.”The Shiseido store design seamlessly blends the best of East and West, creating a modern and elegant space that pays homage to the brand's Japanese heritage. The neutral palette, clean lines, and natural textures come together to create a sense of simplicity that captures the essence of the brand ethos. Cladded in impactful red mirror and appearing to float off the walls, the treatment room is at the core of the store design with a contrasting, yet symbiotic aesthetic, allowing the customer to be both captivated and comfortable in Shiseido Ginza Tokyo store.The store opening follows a successful six-month e-commerce partnership between Shiseido brand and Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle, which saw a 38% monthly average growth since its launch.Commenting on the milestone opening, Fahed Ghanim, Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle, said:“We are proud to open the only Shiseido brand store outside the Asia region and mark Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle’s entry into the beauty industry with such a renowned brand. Shiseido's 150-year reputation for excellence and innovation aligns perfectly with our company’s vision and commitment to delivering unique and exceptional experiences for our customers.”"The brand’s decision to open a flagship store in Dubai in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle is a testament to the potential of this market and the strength of our ecosystem to support the growth of leading international brands. We are honored to welcome Shiseido to our portfolio and we are confident that with our deep understanding of the local market and Shiseido's global expertise in beauty, we will deliver a new level of sophistication to the beauty landscape in the region.”To celebrate the opening of the store, located on the ground floor in Mall of the Emirates, customers will be treated to a variety of exclusive offers, including for the first two weeks, complimentary express facial treatments for anyone who reaches a minimum spend of AED 750, as well as additional offers and animations launched each month.Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle's entry into the beauty industry with Shiseido Ginza Tokyo complements the group's existing portfolio of eight leading franchise brands, two homegrown brands, and over 65 stores across the GCC, along with 18 online platforms. In 2022, the company achieved a record-breaking performance, with a 38% year-on-year increase in like-for-like revenue and over 20 store openings across the region. Looking ahead to 2023, Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle is set to continue its growth trajectory by opening another 15 stores across the region with the Shiseido store in Mall of the Emirates as the first.Dubai, UAE:  Shiseido Company, the Japanese revolutionary beauty leader today announced the opening of the Shiseido Ginza Tokyo brand store in Mall of the Emirates, the only store outside the Asia region for the 150-year-old brand, in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim, the leading retail, shopping mall, communities, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. This marks a significant milestone for Shiseido’s expansion plans and signifies Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle’s debut into the beauty industry.Since 1972, Shiseido has pioneered the future of skincare to bring a truly holistic experience to the beauty routine. Being an innovative cosmetic company, Shiseido blends cutting-edge technology with breakthrough science from Japan, to reveal the most vibrant and radiant self every day.As Shiseido Ginza Tokyo opens its doors in Dubai, customers will have the chance to experience the innovative and unique expert facial treatments and personalised skincare consultations the brand is famous for. The treatment room, which features state-of-the-art technology and equipment, including Personalised skin analysis tools and advanced facial massage techniques, offers several treatment options incorporating breakthrough science from Japan. Customers will have access to Shiseido’s full assortments of products and exclusive access to some of the latest and most advanced products only available in-store.Franck Marilly, President & CEO, Shiseido EMEA & Global Fragrance, said:“The opening of this Shiseido brand store in Dubai marks an important step in the expansion of our company in the Middle East. We are delighted to bring our namesake brand's state-of-the-art skincare innovation to the region's very dynamic and demanding consumers. We are excited by this partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle and confident of the great success we will build together in this region with high growth potential.”The Shiseido store design seamlessly blends the best of East and West, creating a modern and elegant space that pays homage to the brand's Japanese heritage. The neutral palette, clean lines, and natural textures come together to create a sense of simplicity that captures the essence of the brand ethos. Cladded in impactful red mirror and appearing to float off the walls, the treatment room is at the core of the store design with a contrasting, yet symbiotic aesthetic, allowing the customer to be both captivated and comfortable in Shiseido Ginza Tokyo store.The store opening follows a successful six-month e-commerce partnership between Shiseido brand and Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle, which saw a 38% monthly average growth since its launch.Commenting on the milestone opening, Fahed Ghanim, Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle, said:“We are proud to open the only Shiseido brand store outside the Asia region and mark Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle’s entry into the beauty industry with such a renowned brand. Shiseido's 150-year reputation for excellence and innovation aligns perfectly with our company’s vision and commitment to delivering unique and exceptional experiences for our customers.”"The brand’s decision to open a flagship store in Dubai in partnership with Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle is a testament to the potential of this market and the strength of our ecosystem to support the growth of leading international brands. We are honored to welcome Shiseido to our portfolio and we are confident that with our deep understanding of the local market and Shiseido's global expertise in beauty, we will deliver a new level of sophistication to the beauty landscape in the region.”To celebrate the opening of the store, located on the ground floor in Mall of the Emirates, customers will be treated to a variety of exclusive offers, including for the first two weeks, complimentary express facial treatments for anyone who reaches a minimum spend of AED 750, as well as additional offers and animations launched each month.Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle's entry into the beauty industry with Shiseido Ginza Tokyo complements the group's existing portfolio of eight leading franchise brands, two homegrown brands, and over 65 stores across the GCC, along with 18 online platforms. In 2022, the company achieved a record-breaking performance, with a 38% year-on-year increase in like-for-like revenue and over 20 store openings across the region. Looking ahead to 2023, Majid Al Futtaim Lifestyle is set to continue its growth trajectory by opening another 15 stores across the region with the Shiseido store in Mall of the Emirates as the first.
https://adgully.me/post/2073/al-ramz-corporation-pjsc-appoints-two-new-group-ceos

Al Ramz Corporation PJSC Appoints Two New Group CEOs

Dubai: Al Ramz Corporation PJSC (DFM: ALRAMZ), a leading financial services provider in the UAE, has announced the appointment of two new Group CEOs, as part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen its leadership team. Haisam Odeimeh has been appointed as the new Group CEO for Financial Services, while Karim Schoeib will serve as the Group CEO for Investment Banking.Both senior executives possess significant capital markets expertise and have established client relationships throughout the region. This strategic move aligns with Al Ramz's objective of investing in top talent to offer exceptional client service and is expected to bolster the company's position in the financial services sector and support its strategic growth plans.Commenting on the appointments, Mohammad Al Mortada Al Dandashi, Group Managing Director of Al Ramz Corporation PJSC said, “At this critical stage of our growth, we are delighted to announce the appointment of two exceptional Group Chief Executives. Haisam and Karim have an extensive record in the region capital markets and possess a robust network of relationships. In their new capacity, they will play a crucial role in executing Al Ramz's strategic vision, and I am excited to collaborate alongside them to achieve our maximum potential.”Haisam will be working closely with the Group Managing Director to strengthen the Group's financial services and management consultancy offerings with the objective of assisting client organizations in enhancing performance, remaining competitive and adapting to market conditions.Karim will collaborate closely with the Group Managing Director in his new position to enhance Al Ramz's investment banking business across asset management, corporate finance, market making, prime brokerage and research to generate value for shareholders and stakeholders and propel expansion in key markets.Haisam, formerly the Group Chief Operating Officer, has over 23 years of experience and previously served as the Financial Services Head at KPMG. He led key high-profile transactions, holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance from Paris Sorbonne University and is a Certified Public Accountant.Karim, formerly the Chief Executive Officer of Al Ramz Capital, brings over 25 years of Investment Banking experience and previously served in several senior positions in leading institutions including Credit Suisse. Karim holds a master’s degree in Banking and Finance from Paris Sorbonne University and is a Certified Wealth Advisor.
https://adgully.me/post/2074/meta-unveils-new-ai-powered-tools-for-advertisers

Meta unveils new AI-powered tools for advertisers

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has unveiled new AI-powered tools and features for advertisers and marketers. The company has introduced a new testing playground, the AI Sandbox, that will test generative AI-powered ad tools like text variation, background generation, and image outcropping. Meta is working with a small group of advertisers and plans to expand access gradually from July onwards. The company has also introduced new features in its Meta Advantage suite of ad automation tools, including switching manual campaigns to Advantage+ shopping in one click and using video creative in catalog ads. Additionally, the company is investing tens of billions of dollars annually in AI infrastructure and modeling to improve the performance and measurement of its ads system.The AI Sandbox will act as Meta's testing playground for early versions of new tools and features, including generative AI-powered ad tools. The goal is to learn what works for advertisers and make these features easy to use in our Meta's tools. The company is building tools like text variation, background generation and image outcropping to do things like make an ad’s text more engaging or improve parts of its creative.Currently, Meta is working with a small group of advertisers in order to quickly gather feedback that it can use to make these products even better. In July, Meta will begin gradually expanding access to more advertisers with plans to add some of these features into its products later this year.
https://adgully.me/post/2072/66-of-uae-organisations-report-data-breaches-in-2022

66% of UAE organisations report data breaches in 2022

Dubai: Infoblox Inc., a company that offers a cloud-enabled networking and security platform, released its 2023 Global State of Cybersecurity Report. According to the report, 66% of organizations in the UAE have experienced one or more data breaches in the past year, which is a worrying trend. The report highlights several security and networking trends that urge the cybersecurity industry to follow its lead in unifying networking and security teams. Mohammed Al-Moneer, Regional Sr. Director, META at Infoblox commented that respondents in the UAE continue to face challenges in securing remote employee and corporate-owned devices, networks and endpoints. Most of them fear data leaks and cloud attacks and do not believe they have a firm grip on the insider threat. The report presents various findings, such as the prevalent security controls and attack methods, the estimated average value of losses suffered by UAE organizations and the top anticipated challenges in protecting against attacks.Findings from the 2022 study among UAE respondents reveal the following trends:   Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many UAE organizations fast-tracked digital transformations to support remote workers (61%), boosted support for customer portals to support their workforces or customers (46%), and focused network and security controls on the edge - such as SASE, secure access service edge (44%).   In the past year, a large share of UAE organizations added remote employee- and corporate-owned mobile devices (59%) and cloud-managed DDI (DNS-DHCP-IPAM) servers (59%) to protect their networks while managing the proliferation and associated security risks from more remote devices on the network. Also, 55% added smart kiosks or similar devices to support remote customers or clients.   In the next 12 months, UAE respondents said their organization will be most concerned about data leakage (48%), cloud attacks (40%) as well as attacks through networked IoT (29%).   UAE respondents believe their organization is least prepared to defend their organization’s networks against insider threats (15%), direct attacks through cloud services (13%), data leakage (13%), as well as ransomware, supply chain/third-party attacks and attacks through networked IoT, which were mentioned by 11% each. They did not seem confident in workers’ or suppliers’ ability to maintain high security standards, especially with organizations transitioning from on-premises to cloud services.   On average, UAE organizations detected more issues resulting from email/phishing attacks compared to any other type. Respondents estimated their organization detected issues resulting from roughly 27 email/phishing attacks in the past 12 months, as well as 17 ransomware attacks, 15 network attacks, 15 device/ endpoint attacks, 14 application attacks and 14 cloud attacks in the same period.   Two-thirds (66%) of UAE respondents reported one or more breaches to their organization from cyberattacks—most originating from Wi- Fi access points as a result of a remote workforce (41%), third-party and/or supply chain providers (39%), IoT devices or networks (38%) and cloud infrastructure or applications (36%).   Phishing was the most common attack method against organizations that were breached, accounting for 62% of attack methods in the past year, followed by advanced threats (APTs) (53%) and ransomware (51%).   Collectively, the estimated average value of UAE organizational losses— including direct and indirect financial losses as well as reputational harm and remediation expenses—resulting from those breached in the past year was roughly 8 million UAE dirham (USD $2.2 million). Organizations that were victims of breaches mostly experienced system outages or downtime (49%), data lockouts due to ransomware (41%) and other malware infections (39%) or data manipulation (38%).   UAE organizations used a variety of controls to protect their networked assets in on-premises, cloud-based and hybrid (on-premises and cloud-based) environments. The most prevalent are VPN/access controls (29%) for on-premises; DNS security (48%) and cloud access security brokers, data encryption and secure provisioning and deprovisioning (44% each) for cloud-based environments.   On average, most organizations (69%) take up to 24 hours to investigate a threat, with many relying on third-party threat intelligence platforms or services. To aid their investigations or threat hunts, security teams mostly rely on vulnerability information (44%), DNS queries and response (43%), open-source intelligence (39%) and network flow data (38%).   The Domain Name System (DNS) provides various security measures to protect organizations and is a key component in virtually all organizations’ security strategies. Respondents reported their organization most typically uses DNS in its strategy to help with the following: protecting against threats like DNS tunneling, data exfiltration and domain generating algorithms that other security tools might miss (61%); helping detect malware activity earlier in the kill chain (57%); blocking known bad destination requests to reduce the burden on perimeter defenses (55%); and informing them of devices making requests to connect to malicious destinations (51%).   The top anticipated challenges in protecting against attacks relate to the ability to monitor remote worker access (38%), respond to alerts (31%), shortage of IT security skills (30%) and deal with limited budgets (35%).   A majority (62%) of UAE organizations indicated their IT security budgets increased in 2022, and 72% said they expected bigger security budgets in 2023 to combat known and new threats.   The most popular planned technology purchases include network traffic monitoring/network detection and response (NDR) and threat intelligence (50% each) for hybrid environments; data loss protection, cloud access security brokers (CASBs) and DNS security (39% each) for cloud-based systems; secure provisioning and deprovisioning (27%), VPN/access controls (25%) and endpoint detection and response (24%) for on-premises protection.
https://adgully.me/post/2071/ifs-names-jamal-alamer-as-mena-regional-sales-director

IFS Names Jamal Alamer as MENA Regional Sales Director

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: IFS, the global cloud enterprise software company announced the appointment of Jamal Alamer as the new Regional Sales Director for the MENA region. A highly accomplished professional, his exceptional leadership and skills will be a driving force to position IFS in the digital transformation market with its cutting-edge solutions that meet the evolving customer needs.Speaking on the appointment, Mehmood Khan, Managing Director Middle East and North Africa at IFS, said, “The region has been witnessing tremendous opportunities and growth. The timely appointment of Jamal Alamer will help us deliver strong customer experiences and success. We believe that IFS will be able to sustain its growth and establish itself as a key player in the digital transformation industry.” As Regional Sales Director, Jamal will support IFS’s growth objectives through the development and execution of the company’s go-to-market strategy in the sales teams to a range of industries, including Oil & Gas, Utilities, Telecommunications, Aerospace & Defence, Marine, Manufacturing and Engineering & Construction.“IFS has a strong market reputation and an innovative product portfolio. This is solidified by the commitment to customer success and this has been a catalyst for joining the company. Understanding the organization’s culture, operations and strategic objectives are key to my role, and will help in developing plans to implement effective sales strategies to drive revenue growth and expand IFS’s market share in the digital transformation space,” said Jamal Alamer as the new Regional Sales Director, MENA.Prior to this, Jamal held positions in AVEVA and Bentley Systems, where he honed his skills in developing and implementing solutions that drive business growth and improve operational efficiency. Throughout his career, he has been instrumental in pushing the adoption of the latest technologies, with a particular focus on AI, Machine Learning, Cloud Solutions, Asset & Service Management, APM, EPC 4.0, BIM, and Digital Transformation. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and is a certified Product Management Professional (PMP).
https://adgully.me/post/2070/serviceplan-hires-rawida-saadé-maksoudian-as-client-servicing-director

Serviceplan hires Rawida Saadé Maksoudian as Client Servicing Director

Dubai: Serviceplan Middle East has appointed Rawida Saadé Maksoudian as the new Client Servicing Director. With over 15 years of experience in brand management, Maksoudian is a seasoned communications and brand expert with expertise in advertising, shopper marketing, and digital media. She was born and raised in Dubai, and her portfolio includes working with some of the prominent brands such as BRF, Nakheel, Arla Foods, Unilever, P&G, Emaar, Mondelez International, Kraft, Johnson & Johnson, Al Alali, and more.Natalie Shardan, the Managing Director of Serviceplan Middle East, expressed her excitement for Maksoudian joining the growing team, saying that she has a wealth of experience in the industry, and her skills will undoubtedly contribute to the growth of the client servicing department and help to grow clients' businesses. Shardan added that she looks forward to Maksoudian's contribution to achieving their goals.Rawida Saadé Maksoudian also expressed her excitement about joining the Serviceplan Middle East team, stating that she is eager to contribute her extensive knowledge in advertising, shopper marketing, and digital media to the largest independent advertising agency group in the world. Maksoudian shares the agency's passion for developing captivating brands that resonate with consumers and leave a lasting impact. She feels honored to be part of the dynamic and innovative team and is looking forward to helping their clients achieve their strategic goals.
https://adgully.me/post/2069/bybit-revs-up-its-sponsorship-game

Bybit revs up its sponsorship game

Dubai: Bybit, the world’s third most visited crypto exchange, has announced its official sponsorship of the Safehouse Racegraph Lamborghini team for Super Trofeo in Asia. This partnership is a thrilling new step for Bybit, as it continues to accelerate toward the future of finance. With this sponsorship, Bybit will be supporting Safehouse Racegraph’s quest for victory at the Super Trofeo series, which consists of six races across five countries in Asia and Australia. The deal will see Bybit’s striking logo prominently displayed on the team's car as they compete on iconic circuits such as Sepang and Fuji.Bybit is no stranger to sports sponsorship, inking one of the biggest sports sponsorship deals of all time when it became the Principle Team Partner of Oracle Red Bull Racing in February 2022. The deal with Safehouse Racegraph will further extend the crypto exchange’s reach in Asia and Australia as the crypto revolution gears up globally. Safehouse Racegraph has recently made an exciting addition to its driver lineup for the upcoming season. Singapore-based Finnish driver Mikko Nassi, known for his illustrious career in karting, has turned his sights toward GT competition and will be bringing his immense talents to Safehouse Racegraph. Joining him on the team will be 27-year-old Singaporean Ni Weiliang, who has honed his racing skills through a successful career in Asian single seaters.“We are excited to be part of this amazing journey with the Safehouse Racegraph Lamborghini team and their pursuit of excellence on the racetrack,” said Ben Zhou, CEO of Bybit. “Through this partnership, we hope to showcase our shared values: next-level performance, reliability, and opportunities. We look forward to seeing our logo on track and cheering on our drivers!”
https://adgully.me/post/2068/aiq-and-beeah-mobilize-efforts-to-accelerate-ai-driven-sustainability

AIQ and BEEAH mobilize efforts to accelerate AI-driven sustainability

Dubai: AIQ, a technology pioneer focused on driving the artificial intelligence (AI)-powered transformation of the energy sector, and BEEAH Group, the region’s sustainability pioneer, have announced their collaboration to propel the UAE’s sustainability agenda forward in alignment with the UAE government’s vision and COP28 goals.The MoU underscores AIQ and BEEAH Group’s unwavering commitment to boosting sustainability across sectors and industries by leveraging future technologies such as AI. The entities will collaborate on AI-driven opportunities in waste management, renewable energy, transportation and jointly explore new ways to drive value creation in the areas of sustainability and new energy.The collaboration was launched with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the Climate Tech Forum, held in Abu Dhabi, in the presence of Omar Al Marzooqi, CEO of AIQ, and Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO, of BEEAH.Omar Al Marzooqi, CEO of AIQ, said, “The UAE’s vision to become a global hub for climate action and impactful change is inspiring collective action, which AIQ is committed to, and now, we are incredibly excited to join forces with BEEAH Group and expand our offerings beyond the energy sector. Their commitment to sustainability aligns with our mission to leverage cutting-edge technologies to develop game-changing solutions, power the progress of energy and drive growth across industries. This partnership represents a significant step in our shared vision for a sustainable future, and we look forward to what we will accomplish together.” Khaled Al Huraimel, Group CEO of BEEAH Group, said, “Driven by the pillars of sustainability and digitalization, BEEAH Group is redefining industries to be future-ready. Our businesses have demonstrated that technologies not only enable us to drive towards sustainability targets, but also achieve commercial success. We are excited to partner with AIQ to further explore new avenues for AI-based technological development, create new business efficiencies, and achieve greater targets to support the UAE’s sustainability agenda.”BEEAH Group has achieved several firsts in the region with technology and AI, such as in its iconic BEEAH Headquarters, where predictive AI and a digital twin enable operations at LEED Platinum standards, to AI-enabled solutions to meet waste management demand, automatically segregate waste and more.Combining AIQ's leadership in artificial intelligence and BEEAH Group’s expertise in sustainability and digitalization, the two organisations aim to unlock new innovations for future-ready industries.
https://adgully.me/post/2067/the-game-company-raises-5mln-at-40mln-valuation

The Game Company raises $5mln at $40mln valuation

Dubai: Revolutionary AI-driven cloud-based gaming platform, The Game Company, raised $5 million during their pre-seed round in December. The funds will be used to accelerate the development of The Game Company's powerful platform and leverage AI technology to create an interconnected multi-role ecosystem.Their approach to create a unique AI-driven cloud-based gaming platform has set a new standard in the industry. It has garnered the attention of ultra-high-net-worth individuals, solidifying their position as one of the most promising gaming platforms in the market.The platform downsizes the memory and processing systems that most modern games demand to be able to run smoothly. This will enable users to play any e-pastime from any device without the need for expensive consoles, or PCs. In addition to that they utilize AI technology in their platform to allow for a truly personalized experience for users based on their unique psychographics and Interests, Opinions, and Activities (IOA). The Game Company has been making significant strides in development since its pre-seed round. With their impressive $40 million valuation from this pre-seed round, the company is poised for even more growth during its upcoming funding round, with expectations of a substantial increase in valuation."The $5 million raised during our pre-seed round is a testament to our vision and our commitment to creating an unmatched gaming experience for gamers worldwide," said Osman Masud, CEO. "We are confident that we have paved the way for the next funding round, which may propel the level of gaming available to users even further."The Game Company's vision is to provide the most advanced, flexible, and inclusive cloud gaming platform that breaks down the barriers of connectivity, latency, and market economics. The company aims to create a truly immersive gaming experience that is accessible for anyone, anywhere, anytime, and on any device.
https://adgully.me/post/2066/epson-showcases-its-latest-solutions-to-support-the-mena-regions-retail

Epson showcases its latest solutions to support the MENA region’s retail

Dubai: In line with the needs of the Middle East’s fastest-growing business sectors including retail, entertainment, and education, Epson Middle East will showcase its latest business display solutions of immersive experiences from digital signage to hybrid and remote and classroom models at Integrate Middle East this year.Professionals in the AV and multimedia landscape can experience the advantages delivered by Epson’s corporate solutions showcased at Integrate 2023 including the world’s smallest, compact 20,000lm 3LCD laser projector EB-PU2220B to EB-PU2216B of 16,000lm.Deployed at some of the Middle East’s most visited events and entertainment destinations, Epson’s display solutions address the demand for ease of installation, minimal maintenance, and compelling visuals. Similarly, changing demands in the region’s education sector and hybrid corporate work environments have increased Epson’s market reach ahead of Integrate 2023.Jason McMillian at Epson Middle East said: “Demand is increasing exponentially for Epson’s professional display solutions in events, concerts, shopping malls, education facilities, healthcare and at corporate offices supporting remote or hybrid work models. From having the world’s smallest laser projector to catering to large-space immersive experiences, Epson’s solutions deliver memorable visuals to any venue.”He added: “Using our signage projectors such as the EB-805F, you can now bring any space – a museum, retail environment, headquarters, or classroom – to life.”With easy installation, set-up and maintenance, Epson’s EB-PU2220B is the smallest 20,000lm 3LCD projector globally yet delivers a high-impact immersive experience for large auditoriums, live events, concerts, and conference rooms. Epson’s projectors such as the EB-PU2216B also support featuring premium laser projection with a 4K enhancement and a 20,000-hour virtually maintenance-free laser light source.Epson’s EB-805F is a bright and scalable ultra-short throw display solution producing scalable projections of up to 130 inches, helping produce borderless images onto ultra-wide surfaces including glass and curved walls. Additional solutions that will be on display are the LightScene EV-115, the interactive projector EB-1485Fi, and Artome M10.Epson looks forward to welcoming all visitors at Integrate Middle East 2023 to witness an immersive experience using their innovative solutions.
https://adgully.me/post/2065/superapp-ayoba-surpasses-25mln-monthly-active-users

Superapp ayoba surpasses 25mln monthly active users

Cape town: Africa’s super app ayoba today announced the achievement of a significant milestone – surpassing the 25 million monthly active users’ mark as we celebrate our fourth anniversary. This is up from 20 million monthly active users in December 2022. The platform is available globally but has a strong a focus on the African continent. Among key territories are Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda and The Republic of Congo.“25 million is a significant milestone to pass on our fourth birthday,” says CEO Burak Akinci. "Our journey has been transformative, and the positive response from our users fuels our drive for innovation. Our users are at the heart of our progress, and we are grateful for their support.” So far in 2023, ayoba has focused on enhancing communication and content features. These have been well received, with a 35% increase in messages, and a 16% increase in both stories and VoIP calls. Users have viewed 88 million cards across all channels, in topics such as entertainment, education, food, fashion and more. "The first four months of 2023 was a period of significant growth and development for ayoba. We have improved our socialisation and messaging functionalities, enhanced our microapp experience and added many more features," Akinci says.The introduction of the new ‘explore’ landing page marks a significant advance for the ayoba’s Android version. This page, currently in pilot phase, will be rolled out to all key territories in the future. It brings a simplified design for easy navigation through ayoba’s curated high-quality content and highlights our themes to our users.The microapp’s vertical has also seen significant evolution in Q1 at ayoba, as a direct shortcut to the vertical has been added on the bottom navigation bar. This section, referred to as an evolving ‘ecosystem for small African business’ – and some larger ones – allows service providers easy access to the existing ayoba user base with minimal effort. The most popular microapps currently are ‘live scores’ (allowing users to get the latest sports scores), ‘ayoba gifting’, ‘video play apps’, sports, and shopping. Born out of a partnership with MTN, ayoba is available on all networks. In certain participating territories, users on ayoba receive complimentary daily data, amplifying its value proposition*. Ayoba’s growth trajectory has it on track to achieve 100 million monthly active users by 2025 in line with MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy.Link to Ayoba 4th Birthday Video*VoIP and video call are not zero rated for MTN subscribersDistributed by African Media Agency (AMA) on behalf of Ayoba.
https://adgully.me/post/2064/redington-gulf-and-google-cloud-to-accelerate-cloud-journeys

Redington Gulf and Google Cloud to accelerate cloud journeys

Dubai:  Redington, an integrated technology solutions provider, has announced a new partnership with Google Cloud, a suite of leading cloud computing services offered by Google Cloud. The latest milestone partnership will see Redington working in close quarters with its extensive and highly qualified channel partners to accelerate the adoption of Google Workspace and Google Cloud across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.Regional customers are increasingly investing in cloud applications and services as they implement cloud-first strategies to ensure seamless business growth and continuity. Customers are seeking experts to support their transition to cloud-led models and Redington along with its channel ecosystem are perfectly positioned to do so.A renowned cloud leader in the region and serving customers from across SMBs, public sectors and enterprises, Redington has built a successful and thriving cloud practice for its partner community over the last few years. The company’s vision is to be the most valued consulting distributor across the globe to simplify cloud adoption. To achieve this, Redington is offering a unified platform that integrates its capabilities and offerings together with its community of partners and vendors to deliver unparalleled excellence. The company has also created competencies to ensure highest levels of seamless and enhanced experiences for the cloud community.Redington is continuously enhancing its proprietary CloudQuarks platform for cloud subscriptions, renewals, and billing, which play a central role in enabling partners operating across the region to bring solutions to market quickly and efficiently. TrackMyCloud (TMC), a key component of CloudQuarks, is an intelligent SaaS platform designed to be an all-in-one solution to manage complex, sophisticated cloud. TMC offers a bouquet of five solutions with 800+ features, simplifying monitoring and optimization of spends, done on managing the cloud infrastructure. The vendor agnostic and user-friendly platform allows partners to build their cloud capabilities and expand their value-added services for customers across industries.Moreover, Redington, besides its large-scale partner network, has created a close-knit ecosystem of cloud-native Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), helping partners to offer enhanced experiences for their customers with innovative solutions in the cloud space.From new business models to bespoke tools and specialised services, Redington has made itself indispensable to partners and continues to empower them to support customers’ cloud goals.Viswanath Pallasena, Chief Executive Officer, Redington Middle East and Africa said, “Over the last few years, we have strengthened our cloud capabilities and introduced cloud-specific enablement programs for our channel partners – and today we are a clear market leader in the space. With the addition of a world-class solution suite like Google Cloud, we are now better equipped than ever before to cater to the regional cloud demands and accelerate cloud adoption and transformation journeys. We look forward to a long lasting and successful collaboration with Google Cloud.”“As global enterprises accelerate their digital transformation journeys, knowledge and expertise in Google Cloud technologies play a critical role in successful enterprise cloud migration,” said Eric Buck, director of commercial partners and global distribution, Google Cloud. “By expanding its global support of Google Cloud offerings across the MENA Region, Redington Gulf is able to provide more organizations with greater access to the cloud experts and technologies that will ultimately drive more positive business outcomes.”
https://adgully.me/post/2062/leading-proptech-start-up-stella-stays-appoints-new-member-of-the-bod

Leading proptech start-up Stella Stays appoints new member of the BOD

Dubai: Stella Stays, the leading Middle Eastern proptech start-up with the mission the reinvent rentals globally and the vision to create the future of living, has appointed His Excellency Faras Al Ramahi, UAE Director-General of the General Pension and Social Security Authority (GPSSA) and former CEO of Abu Dhabi Investment Company to its Board of Directors. H.E. Al Ramahi’s key experience and insights in private equity and real estate allows the company to further excel in its financial objectives and accelerate expansion, leveraging his background of 26 years in asset management, corporate finance and investment banking. H.E. Al Ramahi was the Chief Executive Officer of Invest AD - Abu Dhabi Investment Company, having held this position for five years leading to July 2021. H.E. Al Ramahi comments on his new position at Stella Stays: “I am overjoyed to have witnessed Stella Stays’ exponential growth and look forward to its bright future. The company is a successful start-up story of the Middle East and is redefining the future of living by reinventing rentals globally and building technology infrastructure for residential real estate. I am confident they will continue striving.”Mohammed Al Ghussein, Chairman of Stella Stays, comments, “With the support of H.E. Al Ramahi’s strategic advice and expert opinion, we are projecting exponential growth for Stella Stays, strengthening our pioneer and market leader position of the new “residential hospitality” category in our core MENA markets and pursue aggressive regional and global expansion plans in 2023.”Stella Stays is disrupting rentals globally with its innovative business model and key offerings of tech-enabled branded residences. The company offers residents, business travellers, and holidaymakers a seamless ‘Show Up and Start Living’ experience in major cities around the world. The company is recognised for its innovative approach, providing consumers with on-demand furnished apartments and a community-driven lifestyle with modern services. Residents and guests at Stella Stays can navigate the entire journey, from booking, checking in, and controlling smart home systems, to ordering guest services on the Stella Stays mobile app. The company further simplifies the rental experience by offering flexible payment terms, which can be made through various methods, including debit, credit cards and crypto payments. On the real estate supply side, Stella Stays comes in as a one-stop-shop for property owners, real estate developers and investors to monetize their properties. The company offers master leases or profit-sharing agreements; while infusing the latest technology to increase operations efficiency, allowing for up to 40% higher return than traditional residential or hospitality tenants.Set to become the world’s most-loved residential hospitality brand, Stella Stays has witnessed exponential growth and is now present in seven markets across MENA, Europe and North America since its inception only three years ago. The company currently operates in UAE, KSA, Turkey, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Kingdom, and Canada with more than 1,500 contracted units. The proptech start-up is profitable and cash flow positive. 
https://adgully.me/post/2061/mediamonks-appoints-youssef-hallal-as-head-of-data-and-analytics

Media.Monks appoints Youssef Hallal as Head of Data and Analytics

Dubai: Media.Monks, a global creative production company that collaborates with advertising and creative agencies to design digital advertising and marketing campaigns, has appointed Youssef Hallal as Head of Data and Analytics, MENA. This move aims to strengthen Media.Monks' data and analytics capabilities in the MENA region.Hallal comes to Media.Monks from Wunderman Thompson, where he served as Head of Analytics, establishing a data and analytics department. In his new role, Hallal will concentrate on building the entire data ecosystem, including data architecture, BI, data activation, collection, synchronisation, CDPs, and CRM.Commenting on his appointment, Hallal noted the significant need for advanced data capabilities in the region. Media.Monks is one of the few companies in the area that can provide extensive capabilities in combination with content, data, and digital media and technology services, delivering a complete service offering. He looks forward to collaborating with his new colleagues and clients to increase efficiency across organisations.Nelly Saad, Managing Director of Media.Monks Middle East, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Youssef as the new Head of Data and Analytics for MENA. His extensive experience and expertise in data analytics and digital transformation will help us continue to expand our data and analytics capabilities in the region, delivering cutting-edge solutions that leverage the power of data to drive business growth for our clients.”
https://adgully.me/post/2060/us-mission-startad-host-ceremony-for-uaes-3rd-academy-for-women-entrepreneurs

US Mission & startAD host ceremony for UAE's 3rd Academy for Women Entrepreneurs

Dubai: startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), along with the US Mission to the UAE, held a closing ceremony on May 10 at the NYUAD campus to mark the completion of the third UAE edition of the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) UAE program.AWE UAE is organized by the US Mission to the UAE, in partnership with startAD. It is designed for female-owned SMEs to fulfil their economic potential, creating conditions for increased stability, security, and prosperity for all. Over the last three years, AWE UAE businesses have become an integral part of the local economy, having cumulatively generated USD 41 million in revenue, raised USD 7.5 million in funding, and created 481 jobs. This year’s cohort featured eight UAE businesses: that have advanced their ventures and secured more than 1,600 partnerships since the start of the program. The teams showcased their pitches with an action plan to thrive in rapidly evolving market conditions to members of the UAE innovation ecosystem. The AWE UAE businesses are:House of Pops: Offers 100 percent natural, clean label, vegan ice cream pops made from real fruits, with authentic taste.Fruitful Day: A health-based cafe offering fresh fruit and snacks delivered directly to customers across the UAE.BoHo: A hair salon focusing on bringing education about sustainable beauty to the forefront of the industry.Urban Circle: An online platform connecting parents with handpicked, vetted, and qualified kids related service providers in UAE.Spill the Bean: A coffee shop offering 100 percent organic and fair-trade specialty coffee, wholesome treats, and community meets.The Broth Lab: A healthy restaurant focusing on free range, hormone, and antibiotic-free, fresh, locally sourced products.Kinetic Brands: An independent brand and digital experience consultancy led by award-winning creative and strategic minds.GroCart: A smart B2B wholesale marketplace, transforming a centuries-old industry with incredible technology.Robin Solomon, Public Affairs Counselor, U.S. Embassy Abu Dhabi, said: “We are proud to partner with startAD to bring the Academy of Women Entrepreneurs to the UAE. Since 2020, startAD has supported 64 women business owners and 29 businesses in the UAE through the AWE program. AWE gives enterprising women the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch and scale successful businesses. We look forward to continuing to work with UAE-based organizations to promote women's economic opportunities.”Senior Associate Director of startAD Hana Barakat said: “Our third AWE program in partnership with the US Mission to the UAE has once again proved to be an inspiring and instructive experience for the startups and the regional business community. The program is actively narrowing the gender gap in the market, evident through the success the entrepreneurs have achieved already since participating in the program.”“These successes reflect a wider trend in the UAE, where female entrepreneurship has boomed, with a 68 percent growth in the number of women in the UAE starting their own businesses between 2019 and 2020. This is encouraging news, and we look forward to supporting this new generation of business owners in building a more inclusive future.”Ola Sinno, business entrepreneur and Owner of Spill the Bean commented: “The AWE program allowed me to step away from day-to-day operations and to re-examine the business from a birds eye perspective. Upon doing so, I gained clarity and the courage to make the moves I have known for a while that I needed to make to take my business where it needs to go. More than anything, AWE provided me with the support, validation, and network that will ensure that my business is on the right track to reach the goals I have set for it and to exceed them.”Banu Cetin Akca, Co-founder of the Urban Circle, said: “Our participation in the AWE program has been instrumental for our growth in the last quarter. We were able to make the right moves to scale up our business considerably and I can confidently say that this was the biggest catalyst in our startup journey. Starting from the validation of our value proposition and structuring our business perspectives to enriching our network and partnerships, accessing mentorship with industry gurus and enabling discussions with like-minded start-up owners, we received immense help whenever requested.”The closing ceremony for AWE UAE featured a panel discussion moderated by Christina Struller, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, UPS on the topic of Leadership: from Zero to Infinity, where panellists discussed ways to build a strong team culture and how to help employees to advance and to retain top talent as well as the new trends, tools and resources that entrepreneurs can leverage to optimize current operations and help scale their business. Farah Al Mazrui, Head of Investments, Aliph Capital; Theresa Wernery, Founder and GM, Trident Trackway and AWE Alumnus; and Kate Midttun, Founder & CEO, Acorn Strategy were among the industry experts who shared their insights and expertise during the panel discussion. Program partners include Grow.ME International, and ItsHerWay.The US State Department established AWE as an exchange program in 2019 to empower women with the knowledge, networks, and access they need to launch or scale successful businesses. Implemented in nearly 100 countries since 2019, AWE has empowered an estimated 25,000 women entrepreneurs around the world with the skills they need to reach their full economic potential.
https://adgully.me/post/2063/pivotroots-secures-the-media-contract-for-urban-company

PivotRoots secures the media contract for Urban Company

Dubai : Leading marketing and data-focused digital agency, PivotRoots, has recently announced its successful bid to secure the media contract for Urban Company in the UAE. As part of their role, PivotRoots will develop and execute data-driven strategies to strengthen Urban Company’s digital marketing efforts in the region.This achievement comes as PivotRoots continues to expand its marketing services and scale data offerings through PivotConsult. As the media agency for Urban Company, PivotRoots will oversee integrated media, branding, and performance marketing initiatives with the primary objective of boosting consumer acquisition and engagement. Additionally, through PivotConsult, the agency will help empower the media activation for the brand by providing deeper and automated insights to increase efficiencies and effectiveness consistently.  Nitesh Agarwal, Regional Head of Middle-East, Urban Company said, “We believe that our partnership with PivotRoots will help us achieve our goal of delivering exceptional experiences to our customers by enabling us to engage with our customers more effectively and efficiently. PivotRoots' data-driven approach and expertise in digital marketing aligns with our values, and we are confident that their innovative strategies will help us stay ahead of the curve. With their support, we aim to further strengthen our brand presence in the UAE market and provide our customers with a seamless experience.”Urban Company is a leading global provider of at-home services, with a presence in multiple countries including India, UAE, Singapore, KSA, and USA. The company initiated its international expansion in 2018 by launching in the UAE, starting with Dubai, and later expanding to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. While initially offering cleaning services, Urban Company has now expanded its portfolio to include Beauty and Wellness, and Homes and Maintenance verticals, with cleaning, salon, and spa services being the most prominent and rapidly growing verticals.Yogesh Khanchandani, Co-Founder of PivotRoots stated: “Our goal since integrating PivotConsult into our planning approach has been to introduce innovative and transformative data-driven digital marketing strategies. With digital-first brands like Urban Company, we have the chance to demonstrate the powerful impact of data-driven campaigns”.PivotRoots will develop and execute a comprehensive digital marketing strategy to expand Urban Company UAE's presence within the target market, with a focus on reaching key audience segments such as Arabic, Western, and Asian expats at effective frequencies. The agency's strategy aims to improve the brand's recall value and capitalize on readily available digital opportunities to enhance its overall performance. PivotRoots will utilize a combination of data analytics and digital media efforts to drive the planning and thought process, which will serve as a critical driver in achieving the agency’s goals.
https://adgully.me/post/2058/data-encryption-from-ransomware-reaches-highest-level-in-four-years

Data encryption from ransomware reaches highest level in four years

Dubai: Sophos, a global leader in innovating and delivering cybersecurity as a service, today released its annual “State of Ransomware 2023” report, which found that in 76% of ransomware attacks against surveyed organizations, adversaries succeeded in encrypting data. This is the highest rate of data encryption from ransomware since Sophos started issuing the report in 2020.The survey also shows that when organizations paid a ransom to get their data decrypted, they ended up additionally doubling their recovery costs ($750,000 in recovery costs versus $375,000 for organizations that used backups to get data back). Moreover, paying the ransom usually meant longer recovery times, with 45% of those organizations that used backups recovering within a week, compared to 39% of those that paid the ransom.Overall, 66% of the organizations surveyed were attacked by ransomware—the same percentage as the previous year. This suggests that the rate of ransomware attacks has remained steady, despite any perceived reduction in attacks.“Rates of encryption have returned to very high levels after a temporary dip during the pandemic, which is certainly concerning. Ransomware crews have been refining their methodologies of attack and accelerating their attacks to reduce the time for defenders to disrupt their schemes," said Chester Wisniewski, field CTO, Sophos.“Incident costs rise significantly when ransoms are paid. Most victims will not be able to recover all their files by simply buying the encryption keys; they must rebuild and recover from backups as well. Paying ransoms not only enriches criminals, but it also slows incident response and adds cost to an already devastatingly expensive situation,” said Wisniewski.When analyzing the root cause of ransomware attacks, the most common was an exploited vulnerability (involved in 36% of cases), followed by compromised credentials (involved in 29% of cases). This is in line with recent, in-the-field incident response findings from Sophos’ 2023 Active Adversary Report for Business Leaders.Additional key findings from the report include:In 30% of cases where data was encrypted, data was also stolen, suggesting this “double dip” method (data encryption and data exfiltration) is becoming commonplaceThe education sector reported the highest level of ransomware attacks, with 79% of higher education organizations surveyed and 80% of lower education organizations surveyed reporting that they were victims of ransomwareOverall, 46% of organizations surveyed that had their data encrypted paid the ransom. However, larger organizations were far more likely to pay. In fact, more than half of businesses with revenue of $500 million or more paid the ransom, with the highest rate reported by those with revenue over $5 billion. This could partially be due to the fact that larger companies are more likely to have a standalone cyber insurance policy that covers ransom payments“With two thirds of organizations reporting that they have been victimized by ransomware criminals for the second year in a row, we’ve likely reached a plateau. The key to lowering this number is to work to aggressively lower both time to detect and time to respond. Human-led threat hunting is very effective at stopping these criminals in their tracks, but alerts must be investigated, and criminals evicted from systems in hours and days, not weeks and months. Experienced analysts can recognize the patterns of an active intrusion in minutes and spring into action. This is likely the difference between the third who stay safe and the two thirds who do not. Organizations must be on alert 24x7 to mount an effective defense these days,” said Wisniewski.Sophos recommends the following best practices to help defend against ransomware and other cyberattacks:Strengthen defensive shields with:Security tools that defend against the most common attack vectors, including endpoint protection with strong anti-exploit capabilities to prevent exploitation of vulnerabilities, and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) to thwart the abuse of compromised credentialsAdaptive technologies that respond automatically to attacks, disrupting adversaries and buying defenders time to respond24/7 threat detection, investigation and response, whether delivered in-house or by a specialist Managed Detection and Response (MDR) providerOptimize attack preparation, including making regular backups, practicing recovering data from backups and maintaining an up-to-date incident response planMaintain good security hygiene, including timely patching and regularly reviewing security tool configurationsData for the State of Ransomware 2023 report comes from a vendor-agnostic survey of 3,000 cybersecurity/IT leaders conducted between January and March 2023. Respondents were based in 14 countries across the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific. Organizations surveyed had between 100 and 5,000 employees, and revenue ranged from less than $10 million to more than $5 billion.
https://adgully.me/post/2057/dubai-economy-and-tourisms-latest-campaign-for-indian-market

Dubai economy and tourism's latest campaign for Indian market

Summer fun is back, and Dubai is inviting Indian family travellers to experience an unforgettable getaway enriched by the best offerings of the city. Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism launched its latest summer campaign starring veteran actress Poonam Dhillon and celebrity couple Divyanka Tripathi and Vivek Dahiya. The campaign video captures the destination’s bountiful outdoor and indoor activities one must experience with their family to make their holiday one to remember and treasured for a lifetime! The film’s core narrative celebrates family bonding as it brings together 3 generations in a unique storyline, where Poonam Dhillon is reflective of a relatable and sporting maternal figure who transports them into the diverse world of Dubai. The conceptualized campaign film, ‘Do you believe it?’ showcases Poonam Dhillon and her grandkids excitedly unravelling their adventure-filled day exploring the sun-soaked modern metropolis. With striking, colourful visuals of a plethora of activities like time travelling to the future in a shuttle spaceship at Museum of the Future, adrenaline pumping activities including the Edgewalk experience at Sky Views, desert drive on vintage four-wheel drives followed by a hot air experience chasing the clouds and finally concluding the day with record-breaking speeds at the Storm Coaster.  Talking about the campaign, Bader Ali Habib, Head of South Asia, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism said: “With growing demand for family-friendly experiences among Indian travellers, we aim to showcase Dubai’s broad spectrum of offerings for all travellers, no matter what time of the year. With the onboarding of outbound Indian travellers this summer, we aim to showcase unique offerings in the city, which will entice visitors from all age-groups making it an exciting destination for the summer break. We are thrilled to launch this campaign in India and are confident that Indian family travellers will see immense value, as they continue to curate their summer itineraries.” “It has been an honour to collaborate with Dubai Tourism for their summer campaign. During the shoot, me along with my co-stars, especially the children, thoroughly enjoyed our visit, be it the hot air balloon rides or the desert safari, they truly brought alive the child in me. This culturally rich and vibrant destination has curated unique experiences for Indian travellers making it the ultimate destination for a perfect family getaway,”  Commented actor, Poonam Dhillon. Crowned as the No.1 global destination in the Tripadvisor? Travellers’ Choice Awards 2023 for a second successive year, the city offers a wide range of world-class attractions that ensure a leisurely and safe experience for the full family time in the city. If you’re travelling on a budget, travellers can now enjoy an unforgettable family getaway for less, as Dubai Economy & Tourism announces their incredible ‘Kids Go Free’ deals across the destination’s top hotels, most eye-catching hot spots, and attractions.  
https://adgully.me/post/2056/gaca-issues-license-to-cj-logistics-for-e-commerce-gdc-in-saudi

GACA issues license to CJ Logistics for e-commerce GDC in Saudi

Riyadh: The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia has today signed an agreement with CJ Logistics to build a dedicated e-Commerce Global Distribution Center at Riyadh Integrated the Kingdom’s first Special Integrated Logistics Zone by 2024.CJ Logistics, a leading provider of logistics solutions worldwide, will build a Global Distribution Center at Riyadh’s Special Integrated Logistics Zone by 2024. The proposed facility is a state-of-the-art logistics center with a gross floor area of 18,000 square meters and a daily throughput capacity of 15,000 boxes. It will serve as a forwarding base and hub for logistics in the region, connecting the Middle East, Africa and Europe.CJ Logistics recently signed an eight-year long-term contract with iHub before establishing the Global Distribution Center. The new Center will offer international delivery of iHerb products to the Middle East, one of the largest online retailers for health and wellness products.Commenting on the issuance of the license, GACA President Al Duailej said:“On behalf of the General Authority of Civil Aviation, I am delighted to be issuing CJ Logistics with a license to operate today, which marks an important milestone for Riyadh Integrated - Saudi Arabia’s Special Integrated Logistics Zone. We look forward to CJ Logistics having a strong presence in the Kingdom, with this Global Distribution Center being their main hub in the region.“Riyadh Integrated is a testimony to the Saudi Aviation Strategy under Vision 2030, positioning the Kingdom as a global logistics hub connecting three continents to the Kingdom as our logistics sector is transformed.                                  “As a vital enabler for Saudi Arabia’s logistics sector, the Special Integrated Logistics Zone will strengthen Saudi Arabia’s position as the largest, fastest growing market and leading strategic trading nation in the Middle East and continue Vision 2030’s mission to connect the Kingdom to the world.”Kang Sin-ho, CEO of CJ Logistics, added:“The Saudi e-commerce market has the richest growth potential in the Middle East and the geographical advantage of connecting Africa, Middle East and Europe."We will spare no support for state-of-the-art logistics technology and infrastructure so that the GDC can become a logistics hub that leads the Middle East e-commerce market."The Special Integrated Logistics Zone was launched in October 2022 in Riyadh by HE the Minister of Transport & Logistics and the General Authority for Civil Aviation. The Zone is truly integrated, with a value proposition that has been developed alongside its first batch of investors.The strategically located Special Integrated Logistics Zone will serve billions of potential customers in easy reach in Africa, Asia and Europe and help to significantly increase Saudi’s cargo capacity to more than 4.5 million tons per annum. It will also strengthen Saudi Arabia’s competitive position as the largest, fastest growing and leading trading nation in the Middle East, continuing Vision 2030’s mission to connect the Kingdom to the world.As part of the wider transformation of the Kingdom’s logistics sector, by 2030 Saudi Arabia is significantly increasing its cargo capacity to more than 4.5 million tons per annum and increasing the contribution of the transport and logistics sector to national gross domestic product from the current six per cent to 10 per cent. This will help to fuel business growth, attract inward investment, and increase the sector’s non-oil revenues to about SR 45 billion ($12 billion) a year by 2030.
https://adgully.me/post/2052/ibcap-expands-into-europe-and-middle-east-with-the-addition-of-cricbuzz

IBCAP Expands into Europe and Middle East with the Addition of Cricbuzz

Dubai: The International Broadcaster Coalition Against Piracy (IBCAP) today announced that it has expanded its anti-piracy coverage to include Europe and the Middle East with the addition of Times Internet Limited, India's largest digital network and owner of Cricbuzz.Cricbuzz, one of the world’s leading cricket content destinations, has become the official digital streaming partner for the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the MENA, Continental Europe and Latin America regions. With exclusive streaming rights for IPL 2023 in key countries, including Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Germany, France, Italy and Sweden, cricket enthusiasts across the region can catch every thrilling moment of the tournament via digital streaming on the user-friendly Cricbuzz app. As part of the IBCAP membership offering, it will initially monitor multiple live cricket matches for the IPL 2023 tournament on behalf of Cricbuzz."We are thrilled to offer cricket fans across the MENA, Continental Europe and Latin America regions digital access to one of the most important tournaments in cricket, the Indian Premier League," said Pankaj Chhaparwal, CEO of Cricbuzz. "With IBCAP's support, we aim to combat unauthorized streaming and provide a great experience for our users."“As a recognized leader in protecting cricket rights in the United States, it is a natural progression to expand that expertise into additional countries across Europe and the Middle East,” said Chris Kuelling, executive director of IBCAP. “We look forward to showcasing the significant value we bring to members, like Cricbuzz, in delivering the resources and expertise necessary in the fight against piracy.”
https://adgully.me/post/2053/cyber-resilience-needs-improvement-in-uae-ksa-security-leaders

Cyber-resilience needs improvement in UAE & KSA: Security leaders

Riyadh: Despite a continued increase in cybersecurity spending in the region, organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia remain ill-equipped to face down the cyber-menace. This was the key finding in a global report released by Trellix, the cybersecurity company delivering the future of extended detection and response (XDR).End-of-decade CAGRs for the GCC cybersecurity market have been revised upwards, from 5.9% in 2017 to as high as 7.6% last year. While this is a clear illustration of heightened interest in security matters at the board level, Trellix’s “Mind of the CISO” report shows that two thirds (66%) of CISOs in the UAE and KSA still believe their organizations lack the right people and processes to be cyber resilient and almost three quarters (74%) believe their current technology setup is insufficient.The research — which was conducted by Vanson Bourne across nine countries and surveyed 500 CISOs at companies with more than 1,000 employees — found that when it came to challenges around people, more than one in four CISOs in the UAE and KSA (26%) decried the lack of skilled talent, as well as their inability to recruit and retain this talent. More than one in five (22%) were concerned about a lack of buy-in from their board, and 30% cited lack of buy-in from other parts of their organization.From a process standpoint, some 38% of CISOs in the UAE & KSA said they lacked the freedom to communicate outside of their organization for learning purposes. A further 38% expressed frustration with their inability to respond quickly to changing regulatory frameworks and 18% said their processes were poorly designed or they were presented with too many sources of information to be adequately in control of their environment.“The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia rank consistently high on global maturity indexes for cybersecurity,” said Khaled Alateeq, Head of Middle East, Trellix. “This is because government entities have done a great job in laying out cybersecurity guidelines and regulations and introducing a wide array of skilling initiatives and incentives to attract top talent to the region. Now it is for talent but incumbent upon organizations to answer the call and support their CISOs. Our recent Mind of the CISO research is quite clear on what would make life easier for CISOs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia.”Asked for suggestions on how their enterprise’s senior leadership could help them overcome their challenges, half of CISOs in the UAE and Saudi Arabia said better engagement from such stakeholders would be a good start. And 38% said better understanding from the rest of the organization on issues of cybersecurity would help, with 32% calling for a strong support team to assist in their defense efforts.But predictably, technology continues to be the largest stumbling block between the regional CISO and their ideal threat posture. While two thirds (66%) said people and processes are holding them back from being cyber-resilient, nearly three in four (74%) — a whopping 25 percentage points higher than the global average — said the same of technology.The report showed further evidence that the strategy of multiple point solutions is out of date. When asked about their experiences with their current security tools and platforms, 38% described them as outdated, 30% said there were too many, and 34% said they did not work well together. Almost all (92%) of those polled across the two Gulf nations said their organization was using anywhere between 11 and 35 separate tools.“What comes across most in this study is not the lack of investment,” Alateeq added. “There are plenty of signs that commitments in this regard are on the rise, including the fact that only 36% of respondents cited budget and resource challenges. What emerges here is more of a misdirection of investment. We must ensure the right people and processes are in place for sure. But it is worrying is that amid all the budget increases, we are not yet seeing the right tech in place.”Alateeq continued: “CISOs are telling us plainly that ‘more solutions’ is not the answer. They need a platform approach that is open and capable of learning and adapting to build a proactive defense. CISOs and their teams must be able to see, protect, and resolve. They must be able to maximize visibility and peer into every corner of the enterprise. They must be able to have coverage of every asset and be equipped with unrivaled discovery speed when picking up on potential threats. And they must be able to automate their response across this connected security ecosystem to keep their organization from becoming the latest victim of the threat landscape.”
https://adgully.me/post/2054/saudi-plans-english-news-channel-to-rival-al-jazeera

Saudi plans English news channel to rival Al Jazeera

Riyadh: A state-backed media group in Saudi Arabia is reportedly considering the launch of an international English-language news channel, with the aim of expanding the country's global media influence and potentially rivaling Qatar's Al Jazeera. The Saudi Research and Media Group has already contacted media consultancies to study the viability the proposed venture, according to Financial Times. While it is still early days, sources close to the project have suggested that the initiative could be well-funded, with the intention of spreading the word of Saudi Arabia around the world. However, others have suggested that the project will only go ahead if it is found to be financially viable. Saudi Arabia is currently seeking to rivl Dubai as the Gulf region's financial hub and is investing heavily in gigaprojects aimed at diversifying its economy away from petrodollars. The Saudi Research and Media Group already runs 36 titles, which include Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and Asharq News, which has partnered with Bloomberg. It has partnerships with The Independent and operates its Middle East editions. Saudi Arabia currently owns Al Arabiya, an Arabic broadcaster that rivals Al Jazeera Arabic and Sky News Arabia. While concerns have been raised about editorial freedom following the sale of a 30% stake in The Independent to a Saudi businessman in 2017, media analysts suggest that the Saudi government is using a similar strategy to Qatar, which has used Al Jazeera to raise its global profile.
https://adgully.me/post/2051/uae-to-host-west-indies-for-three-odis-in-june

UAE to host West Indies for three ODIs in June

Dubai: As part of their preparations for the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, the West Indies men’s cricket team will play three One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Sharjah next month.  The day-night matches will be played on Monday 5 June, Wednesday 7 June and Friday 9 June. Both teams will depart for Zimbabwe at the end of the series for their World Cup qualifying campaign which begins on 18 June. The all-important tournament will confirm the remaining two spots for the 10-team ICC Cricket World Cup 2023, India.  General Secretary of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB), Mubashshir Usmani said: “We are delighted to host a former World Champion side like the West Indies ahead of the qualifying tournament in Zimbabwe. In recent months, our team has produced some sensational performances in the ODI format which have helped raise UAE cricket’s profile.  “Our qualification for the tournament in Zimbabwe exemplifies our recent achievements. We want to ensure we provide the best possible preparation to our team and this series will most certainly help in achieving the goal. We look forward to welcoming the West Indian team. We want to thank Cricket West Indies for their continuous support towards cricket development in the UAE."Jimmy Adams, Director of Cricket for Cricket West Indies said: “This is our first ever bilateral tour against the UAE and we are pleased to have agreed this historic three-match ODI series as it will provide a good opportunity for our players to get some preparation ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier. “It will also allow those players not going to Zimbabwe to get some valuable experience at the international level in foreign conditions, which would be hugely beneficial to their growth and development. We are happy to work closely with the ECB to arrange the three matches and we see this as a partnership which can grow in the future.” UAE vs West Indies ODI series 5 June – UAE vs West Indies, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, UAE 7 June – UAE vs West Indies, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, UAE 9 June – UAE vs West Indies, Sharjah Cricket Stadium, UAE 
https://adgully.me/post/2050/beyon-announces-appointment-of-faisal-qamhiyah-as-ceo

Beyon announces appointment of Faisal Qamhiyah as CEO

Manama, Bahrain: Beyon Board of Directors has confirmed the appointment of Faisal Qamhiyah as CEO of Umniah in Jordan, following a meeting of the board of directors on Tuesday, May 9 at Beyon’s campus in Hamala. Umniah is part of the Beyon Group.Mr. Qamhiyah, who was appointed as Acting CEO of Umniah in November 2022, has employed his extensive experience gained over 20 years in the telecommunications and investments sector, to accelerate the implementation of the 5G project, making Umniah the first Jordanian telecom operator to deploy this service in Jordan.Prior to joining Batelco, part of the Beyon Group in 2012, Mr. Qamhiyah held the CFO role at Umniah, and among his earlier roles, he was the Chief Operating Officer at Zain Jordan and Director of Investments at Ern Capital. Mr. Qamhiyah is a Board member in several of Beyon’s telecoms, technology and digital companies in Europe, Asia and the Gulf region.The Board of Directors conveyed their best wishes to Faisal Qamhiyah in carrying out his new responsibilities and their confidence in his abilities to lead Umniah and achieve its business goals.
https://adgully.me/post/2049/saudi-esports-federation-and-savvy-games-group

Saudi Esports Federation and Savvy Games Group

Riyadh: The Saudi Esports Federation (SEF) and Savvy Games Group (Savvy) today announced a significant partnership with a year-long sponsorship agreement that will showcase Savvy's brands across the entire SEF ecosystem, including Gamers Without Borders (GWB) and Gamers8: The Land of Heroes.This is the second year in a row that the two organizations have come together and following last year’s popular activations, Savvy and SEF will once again deliver exclusive on-ground and virtual experiences for gaming enthusiasts at this year’s highly anticipated events. The partnership also includes a series of initiatives designed to further Saudi Arabia’s mission to become a global hub for esports and gaming.Turki Al Fawzan, CEO at the Saudi Esports Federation, said: "It is with great pleasure that the Saudi Esports Federation unveils this historic agreement with Savvy Games Group. Last year, Gamers Without Borders and Gamers8 demonstrated the huge gaming market in Saudi Arabia and the enormous potential for growth for the industry. With the extension of the partnership this year, there is so much to look forward to, whether it be for Saudi Arabian gamers or gamers across the globe.”Brian Ward, Savvy Games Group CEO, said: “At Savvy, we are committed to driving the long-term growth and development of the global esports and games industry. We are excited to continue working closely with SEF to bring gaming enthusiasts an unforgettable experience and support its mission to build the largest esports festival in the world.”GWB, the world’s largest charitable esports event, returned for the fourth consecutive year for six weeks from April 10. Held virtually by SEF, GWB serves as a qualifier for Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, the biggest esports and gaming festival worldwide, which takes place in Riyadh for eight weeks this summer beginning July 6.In addition to GWB and Gamers8: The Land of Heroes, Savvy will be the presenting partner for SEF assets such as the Saudi eLeagues, Next World Forum, Voices of Saudi Esports, SEF Awards, Arab League, Gaming Centers’ Face-Off, Saudi Esports Academy, Esports Federation Championship, and Marhala Podcast. Savvy will also be a strategic partner for the National Esports Team.GWB has a charity prize pool of $10 million. To support GWB, visit the Gamers Without Borders website to donate and make a difference. To stay up to date with the latest event updates and news, follow on Twitter (@gwbps_en), Instagram (@gwbps_en), Snapchat (@gwbps), Facebook (@gwbps), YouTube (@gwbps).   
https://adgully.me/post/2048/lush-dubai-mall-store-reopens-with-a-fresh-new-look

LUSH Dubai Mall store reopens with a fresh new look

Dubai,: LUSH, the ethical beauty brand proudly creating vegetarian and cruelty free products for 27 years and counting, is thrilled to announce the reopening of its first concpet store in Dubai Mall. The visually exquisite store that opened on April 7th, 2023, features an updated concept and design that draws inspiration from LUSH stores around the world, including a Harajuku wall inspired by the Japanese store and a Fine Fragrance section inspired by the Oxford Street store in London. The store also features a perfume area that highlights LUSH's extensive range of perfumes and body sprays.LUSH is also proud to announce that the Dubai Mall store is the first concept store in the MENA region to feature an entirely lanolin-free product range. As a vegetarian company, LUSH has been diligently working to phase out the use of lanolin in its products, which is derived from animals. The store countertops are made from recycled workshop materials, further showcasing LUSH's commitment to sustainability. Mark Constantine, one of the six founders of LUSH, also had input in the store's design, ensuring that it reflects the brand's values and ethos."Dubai is the hub for the entire region so knowing that it is definitely going to elevate our brand exposure in the GCC. We are taking concepts from Japan, London to name a few and bringing those amazing elements together in our store. The new concept and innovative design by LUSH are really going to showcase to our customers the future of LUSH on a global scale. I mean we have not been able to refit our Dubai mall shop for a few years now so getting this chance is great, we are very excited!" – said Miche Whitehouse, Head of Brand & Digital at LUSH Cosmetics.
https://adgully.me/post/2047/laura-alina-dragu-on-her-journey-to-success-ventures-investment-strategies

Laura Alina Dragu on her journey to success, ventures, investment strategies

Laura Alina Dragu is a versatile and accomplished entrepreneur hailing from Romania. With a diverse range of expertise spanning precious metal trading, real estate, technology, and various other fields, Laura has carved a successful path for herself in the business world.Her exceptional trading skills and record-breaking sales volumes earned her recognition at the regional level. Drawing from her background as an Expert United Marines Services member and a Green Energy Solutions provider in Italy, Laura brought a unique perspective to her trading ventures.Beyond her prowess in trading, the 35-year-old Laura has displayed her entrepreneurial acumen as a sole proprietor and partner in several companies. She co-founded Healthy Habits, an online marketplace application dedicated to promoting fitness and healthy living. She also owned Lauren Domino, a beauty salon and spa, and served as the owner of "Chi Cerca Trova Magazine," a prominent advertising agency.Laura's achievements extend far beyond the business realm. She has shattered gender stereotypes by excelling in various fields traditionally dominated by men. As an accomplished motorsports events organiser, she has demonstrated her organisational skills and passion for the automotive industry. Additionally, Laura is an equestrian skilled in show jumping and dressage, showcasing her talent and discipline in the world of horses.Her diverse talents also encompass the world of modelling, having been trained at the renowned John Casablancas School & Agency and was crowned Miss Italy for Foreigners Beauty Competition in 2011. Moreover, Laura is a trained Mixed Martial Artist, specialising in Brazilian JiuJitsu and Muay Thai, exemplifying her dedication to physical fitness and martial arts.In this interaction, Laura Alina Dragu speaks with Nehal Shukla, Senior Correspondent, Adgully, about her journey as an entrepreneur, how she balances her business and much more. Excerpts:Can you tell us about your journey from co-founding a beauty salon & spa to becoming a successful real estate and precious metal investor? How do you manage to balance your various business ventures and roles effectively?My journey started off in the way that most girls dream of; it’s even more beautiful now as I am grateful for how far I have come. It wasn’t an easy one; I faced a lot of challenges as a young entrepreneur who never settled for less.I always wanted to be a person of value in society, and by opening my beauty salon, I automatically felt like I was on the right path. I was able to make people happy by working on their appearance, but what made this mission special was that I also cared about their mood. Seeing women come to my salon with problems or tension, and then watching them leave feeling more beautiful both inside and out, made me feel successful.While visiting the UAE for a seminar, I received an offer to work in Dubai. It was an exciting opportunity that I decided to take, and once I arrived in Dubai, I quickly settled in and embraced this new chapter of my life.With time passing, I became more exposed to other opportunities that life had to offer and this opportunity came right before the covid pandemic. At the time I realised that there is great potential in precious metals and real estate. I started my investment in real estate and precious metals. As soon as I understood how it worked, I started training myself in this field and that’s how I became a real estate and precious metal investor.What motivated you to start Healthy Habits Company, and how did you grow it into a successful business?Healthy Habits represents my lifestyle.From the very beginning, I have always aimed to live the lifestyle that I've dreamed of, whether it be as a model, businesswoman, advisor, or mother. Whenever I look at myself in the mirror, my goal is to like what I see.In order to sustain that very smile on a daily basis, since the beginning I understood that I need to invest in myself and give time in order to consistently inculcate a lifestyle that is not only healthy, but also a reflection of my true self onto others.We all know that this lifestyle isn’t easy to sustain consistently for the majority of people out there.Creating Healthy Habits was born out of a desire to make it easy for people to maintain a healthy lifestyle within their daily routine without facing restrictions or stereotypes that they may have formed in their minds. In particular, we aim to solve the stereotype of a healthy lifestyle being difficult to maintain for the majority of people.As an investor, what do you look for in a potential investment opportunity?When it comes to investing, the major risk is the possibility of losing money. Risk is not the same as uncertainty. An investment that’s certain to lose money will usually carry less risk than one where you’re unsure about how much you’ll lose or whether or not you’ll even lose anything.Here are six important facts to consider before you decide to invest your money:- Assess the level of risk in a particular investment- Evaluate the potential return from the investment- Compare the merits of the investment to other investment opportunities- Analyse the duration required to reap an investment’s benefits- Determine whether you have the expertise needed to manage an investment- When investing, it is important to ensure that your investments are not too risky for your needs, but also not so conservative that they won't yield a sufficient return.To conclude, investing is a skill that requires time, practice, and knowledge. There’s no magic formula for success; you must learn from experience. If you follow these steps, you’ll be on the right track toward making sound investment decisions!How do you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in the real estate and precious metal markets?I came to understand that generational wealth can really be built by either real estate or through the precious metal industry, which are both safe investments that grow and appreciate in value. Romania is amongst the top countries in Europe today for investors to invest. Also, at the same time, I learned that you do not want to have all eggs in one basket and that's how I came to my second best bet which is the precious metals industry (specifically gold).Today, we all know that governments and banks across the world at large have these two investments to essentially run and save their economies. You have the real estate industry, which also has the same intrinsic value as the gold and precious metals industry. Although the world may view them as basic, these investments are perfect examples of worthwhile long-term investments. I can attest to this from my personal experience over the last decade. My net worth today is mainly attributed to my investments in precious metals and real estate over the years. I believe that these investments will continue to appreciate in value in the foreseeable future, and I place my bets on them accordingly.Can you tell us about a particularly challenging situation you faced in your career and how you overcame it?When we’re children, we believe we can do anything. Yet somewhere on the journey to adulthood, self-doubt creeps in and we begin to question our abilities.As a child, I remember wanting to be an artist. I would spend hours painting, drawing, exploring my talents and being as creative as possible. It was a huge dream of mine and I wanted to create styles and designs that people would love and cherish.However, as I got older, my peers began telling me things like:You can’t make money as an artist.You need a career.Art is just a hobby, you need a proper job.The problem with all of us is sharing our unconscious stereotypical biassed opinions in a way that we want or were taught as a child. We hear consistent rhetoric and then we retain the same in our minds., limiting our beliefs as adults!This is how self-doubt is formed and we begin to build our own limiting beliefs.How many times have you told yourself you cannot do something?How many times have you believed you weren’t qualified enough?How many times have you passed up the opportunity of a lifetime because you thought weren’t good enough?This is self-doubt holding you back from chasing your goals and pursuing your dreams.When was the last time we looked in the mirror and asked ourselves why do we always blame others?Introspection is key to recognizing which emotions or situations may cause us to react in a certain way, which can ultimately lead us far away from our desired outcomes. It is imperative to reflect on these patterns in order to build the best versions of our imagined future selves.At the age of 35, thanks to the lessons I have learnt, I am grateful to the ones that wronged me, as without them I would not have a reason to find my present, which might not please everyone! But sure keeps me happy!Cause I know that I am the absolute best and I know I am doing everything I can to make me, my best evolved self!As a successful woman entrepreneur, how do you view the current state of women's entrepreneurship and gender diversity in the business world?Women are demanding more from work, and they’re leaving their companies in unprecedented numbers to get it. Women leaders are switching jobs at the highest rates we’ve ever seen—and at higher rates than men in leadership.That could have serious implications for companies. Women are already significantly underrepresented in leadership roles. For years, fewer women have risen through the ranks because of the “broken rung” at the first step up to management. Now, companies are struggling to hold onto the relatively few women leaders they have. And all of these dynamics are even more pronounced for women of colour.The reasons women leaders are stepping away from their companies are telling. Women leaders are just as ambitious as men, but at many companies, they face headwinds that signal it will be harder to advance. They’re more likely to experience belittling microaggressions, such as having their judgement questioned or being mistaken for someone more junior. Employers are increasingly prioritizing employee well-being and fostering inclusion, but this critical work is spreading them thin and often goes unrewarded. Additionally, women leaders are placing increasing importance on working for companies that prioritize flexibility, employee well-being, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).If companies don’t take action, they risk losing not only their current women leaders but also the next generation of women leaders. Young women are even more ambitious and place a higher premium on working in an equitable, supportive, and inclusive workplace. They’re watching senior women leave for better opportunities, and they’re prepared to do the same.
https://adgully.me/post/2046/ripple-expands-in-the-middle-east

Ripple expands in the Middle East

Dubai : On the back of strong growth in the Middle East, Ripple, the leader in enterprise blockchain and crypto solutions, is expanding its presence in Dubai by opening a new office location in the heart of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and bringing Swell Global 2023, the seventh edition of its annual customer conference, to Dubai on November 8-9.Ripple has long focused on serving customers around the world with over 90% of the company’s business outside the US. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is a key market for the company, with around 20% of all RippleNet customers, such as SABB, Qatar National Bank, Lulu Financial Holdings, Al-Ansari Exchange, and RAK Bank, based here. Over half of Ripple’s MENA payment volume consists of cross-border payments such as remittances from the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to India. In 2020, the company chose the DIFC as the location for its MENA headquarters due to Dubai’s innovation-forward regulations, expansive network and reputation as a leading global financial centre.“We chose Dubai as both a key office for Ripple, and to bring Swell Global to the city, in large part due to its forward-thinking regulatory environment. Regulators here have risen to the challenge of establishing a framework that allows the local crypto industry to thrive, create jobs and increase economic growth, while also ensuring participants act in a responsible manner, ” said Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO. “Dubai is playing an important part in shaping the world’s future economy. By demonstrating truly visionary leadership, the Emirate has positioned itself as an exciting fintech hub that is embracing crypto and blockchain technologies to bring innovation and foreign investment into the space.“In late 2021, Ripple announced the launch of its first-ever On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) deployment in the Middle East, with Pyypl, the international blockchain-based financial services technology company in the Middle East and Africa. ODL leverages the digital asset XRP to underpin instant and low-cost cross-border payments. By using ODL, financial institutions and Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) can leverage previously trapped, pre-funded capital to grow and scale their businesses. Billions of dollars have been transacted to and from MENA customers through ODL since launch.“In a hyper-global connected world, the need for cross-border payments is on the rise, with an estimated $156T worth of cross-border payment flows in 2022 alone. As a region containing a number of significant remittance markets and corridors, the Middle East’s financial institutions are focused on making payments faster, cheaper and more efficient for the people who need it the most. This is where Ripple excels. We were the first enterprise company to leverage crypto to tackle the trillion-dollar challenges associated with cross-border payments – expertise that we have been bringing to our customers in the Middle East for a number of years. Ripple is proud of its presence in the UAE and we are excited about what the future holds for our business in the region,” said Navin Gupta, Managing Director, South Asia & MENA, at Ripple.When Swell Global lands in Dubai, it will follow previous successful events which saw hundreds of Ripple’s customers and partners come together in London and Singapore, two other major global financial centres. The conference announcement comes as Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse arrives in Dubai to appear as a keynote speaker at Dubai Fintech Summit 2023. Garlinghouse will take the main stage alongside other global thought leaders, decision-makers and policymakers from the worlds of fintech, finance and crypto.
https://adgully.me/post/2045/mirchi-dubais-preeti-phalke-on-ai-host-and-the-bright-futureofradio

Mirchi Dubai's Preeti Phalke on AI host and the bright future of radio

In this exclusive interview, Preeti Phalke, Director of Programming for Mirchi Dubai, speaks to BF Firos, Associate Editor at Adgully, about the station's use of AI technology for their radio presenter, AIRAH, and how it has been received by the audience and advertisers.She also shares Mirchi's approach to content creation and staying relevant in the UAE's competitive radio market, as well as the unique advantages that traditional FM radio stations offer compared to streaming platforms. Preeti also speaks about the role of technology in the evolution of radio and the future of the entertainment industry as a whole. She also shares the station's plans for future growth and expansion.Preeti is sure that radio is here to stay in spite of streaming platforms. According to her, the biggest difference between radio and streaming platforms is the human touch. "Especially when people are away from home, a radio station that speaks their language can comfort them in ways unknown," Preeti says. Excerpts:Can you tell us more about AIRAH, the world's first AI presenter on a commercial radio station? How does it work, and what inspired the creation of AIRAH?Airah stands for Artificial Intelligence Radio Host. She is a voice clone of our radio presenter Sanchari. We are using a text-to-speech AI voice technology. The major reason for introducing Airah was our jock Sanchari went on maternity leave and it did not make sense to hire someone temporarily and for the interim.How has the audience/stakeholders like advertisers responded to the launch of "Mirchi on AI" and the addition of AIRAH? Have you noticed any changes in listener engagement or feedback?Airah has managed to create a buzz and intrigue in the market for sure. Advertisers at first were unsure, but many technology-fronted or inclined companies are coming forward to advertise on the show. We are also getting rave reviews from listeners. The general lack of knowledge about AI has some listeners doubting that AI will replace real presenters. The majority has welcomed this fresh change.The UAE is home to a very active FM radio listening community. Mirchi is known for its diverse and engaging content across languages. How does the station approach content creation, and what sets it apart from other radio stations in the UAE?Mirchi in the UAE comes with its legacy from India. While all radio stations play popular Hindi film music, Mirchi in the UAE has the freshest jocks, and we try to focus on content relevant to the South Asian expats in the country. We are more Bollywood-centric as well.The radio industry has faced many challenges in recent years, such as the pandemic and the rise of digital media and streaming services. How has Mirchi adapted to these changes and continued to remain relevant in today's market?To begin with, radio did not suffer so much during the pandemic. With the lack of new TV content, OTT still being unaffordable to many, radio was the only source of entertainment. In the UAE, jocks were live unlike in India. They were essential workers according to the government here. Programming was more focused on giving out relevant information about the situation, defying any myths around the virus and entertaining a mass away from home and locked up. It was a tough phase. But radio is always the trusted medium in times of crisis.About staying relevant, innovation is the key, always. The radio consumption patterns have changed dramatically post pandemic, and radio, being a live medium, was quick to adapt to it. People were more into nostalgia (the reason why Friends, Ramayan and Mahabharat were re-watched) they sought comfort in the old things and Mirchi could give them that via music and talk. Now they want to feel alive and Mirchi has returned with full glory on ground with events, contests and travel. We have created a show where the listeners get to host an hour on radio on weekends.What unique advantages do traditional FM radio stations offer when compared to streaming platforms? And what strategies do you use to keep your content fresh and engaging for your audience, especially in a market as competitive as the UAE's?Streaming platforms are just music playlists without the talk. The biggest difference between radio and them is the human touch. Especially when people are away from home, a radio station that speaks their language can comfort them in ways unknown. During the pandemic, RJs would open lines for people to talk with them. It was their only respite.In a market where there are 56 frequencies in all languages imaginable., Mirchi has stood out for its pioneering ideas. We have taken 30 listeners on an all-expense paid trip to European destinations; we did concerts to engage with listeners and also went to schools and colleges for a musical talent hunt. All of this is to build our one-on-one connect.Can you speak about the role that technology has played in the evolution of radio? How do you see technology continuing to shape the future of radio and the entertainment industry as a whole?In the AIR days, presenters would manually play spool tapes, then later, began queuing CDs until Mirchi came and introduced radio computing software that enabled presenters to play everything from music to ads in a pre-fed computer programme. No other medium has adapted to technology like radio has. Whether we want to admit it or not, technology is an inevitable part of our lives. Telephone devices getting smarter is keeping the entertainment industry on its toes. With new innovations like smart homes, immersive technologies, ChatGPT etc, people are indulging themselves with technology more than ever. I think the next big steps in entertainment tech will be Holographic movie projections. Radio is already on its way to becoming more visual. Presenters are SEEN as much as heard, AI will enable personalisation may be in the future perhaps enabling targeted advertising.Contrary to popular fear, technology is only here to make us work smartly instead of taking the long route. AI voices will open a wide horizon of possibilities for radio. To me, the way I see it is, jocks can go on leaves without having to worry their replacement will be loved more than them.Mirchi has been a leader in the radio industry for over a decade. What do you attribute to the station's success, and what are your plans for future growth and expansion?Mirchi UAE has big plans for the future. One such area of focus would be IPs; we are actively getting into scalable associations that bank on real-time engagement. We are currently in the middle of the first junior edition of Mirchi Jam. After an immensely successful season of Mirchi Jam the university edition, we have opened the stage for MIRCHI Jam junior, which will feature talented school student performances from across the UAE. We intend on driving the station and its potential with more of these innovative concepts as they build a higher recall with our listeners and advertisers alike. A lot more technological innovations are in store which will be revealed with time.Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or initiatives that Mirchi is working on in the region? What can listeners expect in the coming months and years?Mirchi listeners can expect a lot of new exciting events this year. The Mirchi UAE listeners will get to experience a whole new product with some fresh young voices. A lot more buzz from the AI presenter as well.
https://adgully.me/post/2044/new-report-unravels-the-potential-of-metaverse-in-mena

New report unravels the potential of metaverse in MENA

Dubai: Metaverse could unlock revenue and innovation in key growth sectors in the MENA region, according to a report "The Metaverse and its potential for MENA," prepared by Deloitte LLP for Meta Platforms, Inc. The MENA region is undergoing rapid change, with hydrocarbon-rich countries seeking sustainable growth through diversification and ambitious transformation plans. Digitalization is at the heart of these plans, with countries targeting it as a key driver of development. In parallel, consumers and business communities across the region are increasingly open to digital technologies.Based on projections of metaverse?related ICT investment globally, this study estimates that metaverse technologies could eventually support an annual economic contribution ranging from US$ $20.2 toUS $38.1 billion in KSA and US$11.6 to US$22.0 billion in Egypt, to US$ $0.9 to US$ 1.7 billion in Jordan, by 2035.Digitally mature countries such as KSA and the UAE have particular potential for near?term adoption. However, further diversification will be needed to create a dynamic private sector business environment with incentives for innovation and investment, to expand the potential for metaverse adoption across the wide range of sectors where it can create value.Elsewhere, benefits can be expected to accrue more gradually. Countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Morocco face wider gaps in digital infrastructure, skills and affordability, creating barriers especially for the adoption of the most sophisticated and transformative use cases. The report outlines the potential impact of the metaverse in MENA and how it can enable successful growth. The metaverse is a collective virtual shared space that is created by the convergence of physical and virtual worlds. It offers new opportunities for economic growth, social interaction, and innovation. The report suggests that the metaverse could provide a platform for the region to showcase its cultural heritage and offer new experiences to consumers.In countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the UAE, and the KSA, momentum behind the metaverse is building across policymakers, businesses and consumers.The UAE and KSA seek to play a leading role in the emergence of the metaverse globally, recognizing the potential contribution towards growth and diversification targets. In the UAE, Dubai has launched a Metaverse Strategy, aiming to establish one of the world’s top ten metaverse economies.KSA, for example, has launched an initiative that will allow Muslims from all around the world to virtually touch the Black Stone at the Kaaba, an important religious tourism site. The initiative will allow people to completely immerse themselves in the experience, stimulating a range of senses including vision, hearing and smell.The Strategy envisages economic benefits of US$4 billion by 2030, focusing on transformative impacts in tourism, real estate, education, retail, and government services.34 The UAE has hosted international events – including the Dubai Metaverse Assembly and the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (‘GITEX’) in 2022 – to spread awareness and explore the metaverse’s potential.However, the report also highlights the challenges that need to be addressed to enable successful metaverse growth in MENA. These include infrastructure challenges, such as connectivity and access to digital technologies, as well as regulatory challenges, such as data protection and cybersecurity.To enable successful metaverse growth, the report suggests a collaborative approach between public and private sectors, academia, and civil society. It also suggests the need for investment in infrastructure, digital skills, and innovation.The report concludes with country profiles of MENA countries, highlighting their current digitalization efforts and potential for metaverse growth. The report emphasizes that any decision to invest, conduct business, enter or exit the markets considered in the report should be made solely on independent advice, and no information in the report should be relied upon in any way by any third party.GamingImmersive gaming is currently one of the most prevalent use cases for metaverse?related technologies, and will play a key part in the proliferation of the metaverse across MENA.MENA has one of the fastest growing gaming industries in the world, expected to more than double to a US$ 5 billion industry with 85.7 million gamers by 2025.62. MENA countries such as KSA and the UAE are investing heavily in the industry, reflecting its potential. KSA is making multibillion?dollar investments in gaming and e?sports and has launched the “Gaming And Esports Strategy” programme to boost the sector’s contribution to GDP to US$ 13 billion in eight years and generate 39,000 jobs by 2030.63.In the UAE, the government is supporting the creation of a gaming hub in Abu Dhabi, ADGaming Hub, that aims to attract international creators and gaming companies. More generally, the UAE is forecasted to reach an AR and VR penetration rate of over 50% by 2027, highlighting the ubiquity of the technology in the near future.Other governments in the region also recognize the importance of gaming, such as Morocco, where the Ministry of Youth partnered with Royal Moroccan Federation of Videogames to promote the sector. The two entities plan to increase investment, enhance the country’s youth gaming skills and promote participation in international tournaments, such as the FIFAe Nations Series 2022.Improved access to gaming could even offer players new avenues to pursue professional careers as gamers, with this trend already becoming popular in Morocco. Retail and tourism Metaverse technologies can offer consumers access to engaging shopping experiences through virtual shops, experiencing products without visiting the shop physically. Emerging examples include the launch of the first metaverse B2B marketplace in the region, based in the UAE, called “Magnati?MetaV’, which will provide shops and brands the ability to shift to multi?dimensional online commerce.85 Also, retailers such as Chalhoub Group – the largest retail operator in MENA – are already offering retail in the metaverse with products in the form of non?fungible tokens (NFTs) designed to be bought and worn by avatars.Metaverse technologies can enhance and amplify the existing tourism industry. AR, VR and MR have the potential to create a more engaging and interactive experience for visitors, for example, by restoring physical historical ruins to their original architecture or augmenting historical events into real life settings. By adopting metaverse technologies, the sector also stands to benefit from virtual visits and virtual tourism campaigns, which could motivate travelers to visit MENA countries physically after experiencing sites or hotels remotely.Egypt, for instance, has launched the ECO Egypt virtual tourism campaign which offers people the opportunity to explore some the country’s most spectacular sites through VR tours and 360° technologies and Jordan has introduced virtual reality tours to promote Petra, one of the country’s most important tourist sites.
https://adgully.me/post/2043/dewa-initiates-pilot-use-of-chatgpt-to-enhance-the-capabilities-of-rammas

DEWA initiates pilot use of ChatGPT to enhance the capabilities of Rammas

Dubai: After launching it last February, and as part of its strategy to employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies across all its operations and services, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced the pilot use of ChatGPT, since April 2023, on its website through Rammas, DEWA’s virtual employee, to enhance customer experience.“The wise leadership pays great attention to leveraging AI technologies across all sectors. At DEWA, we are keen to enrich the customer experience through smart services that save their time and effort using the latest AI tools. This supports the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, the Dubai 10X initiative and the Smart Dubai initiative, which aims to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world. This is also part of our efforts to use AI in all our services and operations to reduce the number of visits to our customer happiness centres and contribute to shaping a new digital future for Dubai through Digital DEWA, our digital arm, that aims to make us DEWA first digital utility in the world with autonomous systems for renewable energy and storage, with the expansion of the use of AI and digital services,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.“We always strive to improve customer experience and provide our services according to the highest standards of availability, reliability, efficiency and quality. This step to use ChatGPT in Rammas confirms our ongoing efforts to leverage the disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to accelerate digital transformation and provide advanced digital services with added value that enriches the experience and happiness of customers,” added Al Tayer.Since its launch in the first quarter of 2017 until the end of April 2023, Rammas has answered more than seven million enquiries. ChatGPT will contribute to enhancing its capabilities due to its superior ability to interact with users and better understand their needs. It will also improve its ability to learn, understand, and analyse customer enquiries based on available data and information to respond promptly and accurately.DEWA is working to enrich its services with ChatGPT. It is the first utility in the world and the first government organisation in the UAE to use this modern technology as part of its continuous efforts to enhance its leadership locally and globally.
https://adgully.me/post/2042/nce-ibm-unveils-the-watsonx-platform-to-power-next-generation-foundation-models

NCE IBM unveils the Watsonx platform to power next-generation foundation models

Dubai: Today, IBM (NYSE: IBM) at its annual Think conference, announced IBM watsonx, a new AI and data platform to be released that will enable enterprises to scale and accelerate the impact of the most advanced AI with trusted data. Enterprises turning to AI today need access to a full technology stack that enables them to train, tune and deploy AI models, including foundation models and machine learning capabilities, across their organization with trusted data, speed, and governance - all in one place and to run across any cloud environment.Also at Think, IBM is announcing further planned advancements, including a GPU-as-a-service infrastructure offering designed to support AI-intensive workloads, an AI-powered dashboard to measure, track, manage, and help report on cloud carbon emissions, and a new practice for watsonx and generative AI from IBM Consulting that will support client deployment of AI.With watsonx, IBM is offering an AI development studio with access to IBM-curated and trained foundation models and open-source models, access to a data store to enable the gathering and cleansing of training and tuning data, and a toolkit for governance of AI into the hands of businesses that will provide a seamless end-to-end AI workflow that will make AI easier to adapt and scale.“With the development of foundation models, AI for business is more powerful than ever,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM Chairman and CEO. “Foundation models make deploying AI significantly more scalable, affordable, and efficient. We built IBM watsonx for the needs of enterprises, so that clients can be more than just users, they can become AI advantaged. With IBM watsonx, clients can quickly train and deploy custom AI capabilities across their entire business, all while retaining full control of their data.” Clients will have access to the toolset, technology, infrastructure, and consulting expertise to build their own — or fine-tune and adapt available AI models — on their own data and deploy them at scale in a more trustworthy and open environment to drive business success. Competitive differentiation and unique business value will be able to be increasingly derived from how adaptable an AI model can be to an enterprise’s unique data and domain knowledge.The IBM watsonx platform consists of three unique product sets to address these needs:IBM watsonx.ai: A next generation enterprise studio, expected to be generally available in July 2023, for AI builders to train, test, tune, and deploy both traditional machine learning and new generative AI capabilities powered by foundation models through an open and intuitive user interface. The AI studio provides a range of foundation models, training and tuning tools, and cost-effective infrastructure that facilitate the entire data and AI lifecycle, from data preparation to model development, deployment, and monitoring.The studio also includes a foundation model library that gives users easy access to IBM curated and trained foundation models. The IBM foundation models use a large, curated set of enterprise data backed by a robust filtering and cleansing process and auditable data lineage These models are being trained not just on language, but on a variety of modalities, including code, time-series data, tabular data, geospatial data, and IT events data. An initial set of foundation models will be made available in beta tech preview to select clients. Examples of model categories include:fm.code: Models built to automatically generate code for developers through a natural-language interface to boost developer productivity and enable the automation of many IT tasks.fm.NLP: A collection of large language models (LLMs) for specific or industry-specific domains that utilize curated data where bias can be mitigated more easily and can be quickly customized using client data.fm.geospatial: Model built on climate and remote sensing data to help organizations understand and plan for changes in natural disaster patterns, biodiversity, land use, and other geophysical processes that could impact their businesses.As part of a new collaboration between IBM and Hugging Face, the watsonx.ai studio will build upon Hugging Face's open-source libraries and offer thousands of Hugging Face open models and datasets. This is part of IBM's commitment to delivering to clients an open ecosystem approach that allows them to leverage the best models and architecture for their unique business needs.IBM watsonx.data: A fit-for-purpose data store built on open lakehouse architecture that is optimized for governed data and AI workloads, supported by querying, governance, and open data formats to access and share data. The solution is expected to be generally available in July 2023 and:The solution can manage workloads both on-premise and across multi-cloud environments.Through workload optimization, with this solution, an organization can reduce data warehouse costs by up to 50 percent.[1]Watsonx.data will allow users to access their increasingly robust data through a single point of entry while applying multiple fit-for-purpose query engines to uncover valuable insights.It will also provide built-in governance tools, automation and integrations with an organization’s existing databases and tools to simplify set-up and user experience.IBM watsonx.governance: an AI governance toolkit to enable trusted AI workflows. The solution, expected to be generally available later this year:Operationalizes governance to help mitigate the risk, time and cost associated with manual processes and provides the documentation necessary to drive transparent and explainable outcomes.Provides the mechanisms to protect customer privacy, proactively detect model bias and drift, and help organizations meet their ethics standards.With the watsonx platform, clients are enabled to meet the needs of their organization in five key areas of their business: interacting and conversing with customers and employees; automating business workflows and internal process; automating IT processes; protecting against threats; and tackling sustainability goals.IBM also plans to infuse watsonx.ai foundation models throughout all its major software products going forward, for example: Watson Code Assistant: A solution, expected later this year, that taps generative AI to allow developers to generate code with a straightforward English language command.AIOps Insights: AI Operations (AIOps) capabilities enhanced with foundation models expected for code and NLP to provide greater visibility into performance across IT environments, helping IT operations (ITOps) managers and Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) resolve incidents in a more expedient and cost-efficient way.Watson Assistant and Watson Orchestrate: IBM’s digital labor products are expected to be combined with an NLP foundation model to enable enhanced employee productivity and customer service experiences.Environmental Intelligence Suite: IBM EIS Builder Edition is planned to be enabled by the geospatial foundation model and available in preview later this year, allowing organizations to create tailored solutions that address and mitigate environmental risks based on their unique goals and needs.Also at Think 2023, IBM will announce a number of additional upcoming offerings that are planned to help drive AI adoption, including:New GPU offering on IBM Cloud: Addressing the global need for foundation models, IBM is announcing new GPU offerings on IBM Cloud, an AI-tailored infrastructure designed to support enterprise compute-intensive workloads. Later this year, IBM is expected to offer full stack high-performance, flexible, AI-optimized infrastructure, delivered as a service on IBM Cloud, for both training and serving foundation models.IBM Consulting Center of Excellence for Generative AI: IBM Consulting announces a Center of Excellence for generative AI with over 1,000 generative AI experts and plans to build a watsonx-focused practice which will actively build and deploy watsonx for clients. IBM Consulting has completed dozens of client engagements infusing generative AI with IBM Watson and a portfolio of ecosystem partners through its proven IBM Garage method.IBM Cloud Carbon Calculator: An AI-informed dashboard to enable clients to measure, track, manage and help report their carbon associated with their hybrid multi-cloud journey. Based on technology from IBM Research, IBM Cloud Carbon Calculator is expected to be generally available later this year. The dashboard complements IBM’s existing sustainability solutions with a comprehensive portfolio of technology and expertise, including the IBM Envizi ESG Suite, IBM Turbonomic, IBM Planning Analytics and IBM LinuxONE, that help organizations accelerate their sustainability and business objectives.New study revealing generative AI is among seven trends shaping business: A new report from the IBM Institute for Business Value, titled Seven Bets, shares seven trends impacting business today and describes the seven bets worth making to enhance their business, including insights on why businesses should adopt an “AI-first” mindset and how leaders can most effectively capitalize on AI’s opportunities now and in the future, as well as manage the enhanced risks across their organizations.The Think 2023 broadcast can be accessed at www.ibm.com/events/think. During his keynote airing Tuesday, May 9, 8:30 a.m. - 9:15 a.m. EDT, IBM CEO and Chairman Arvind Krishna will be joined on stage by leaders from Delta Airlines, Citi, and Red Hat to discuss their visions for creatively turning challenges into opportunities with hybrid cloud and AI. On Wednesday May 10, 4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. EDT, Darío Gil, Senior Vice President and Director of IBM Research, will give a keynote on how generative AI can be applied for business use cases.Following the flagship event in Orlando, Think on Tour will travel to more than a dozen cities around the world. For updates on confirmed cities, please visit: https://www.ibm.com/events/think/on-tour/.
https://adgully.me/post/2041/apparel-group-continues-to-dominate-fashion-retail-landscape

Apparel Group continues to dominate fashion retail landscape

Dubai: Apparel Group, a global leader in fashion and lifestyle retail, is proud to announce the launch of 25 new stores across the Middle East, and India, reinforcing its commitment to providing an unparalleled shopping experience for customers.In Kuwait, Apparel Group opens 12 new stores in the prestigious Khiran Mall. The brands making their debut include Beverly Hills Polo Club, Dune London, Birkenstock, Steve Madden, Levi’s, Havaianas, Ximi Vogue, The Children’s Place, BBZ, R&B, LC Waikiki, and LC Waikiki Kids, demonstrating the Group's dedication to offering a wide array of shopping choices to consumers in the region.The Group's homegrown brand, R&B, continues its rapid expansion with the opening of 9 new stores in various locations, such as Hijaz Mall in Makkah, KSA; Salalah Grand Mall in Oman; Tahlia Street in Qunfudha, KSA; Panorama Plaza in Kharj, KSA; Tawar Mall in Qatar; Al Nakheel in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE; The Avenues Mall in Kuwait; Hilite Mall in Calicut, India; and City Centre Mall in Mangalore, India.In the UAE, Crocs has opened a new store in Deerfields Mall, further expanding its presence in the region. Beverly Hills Polo Club also celebrates store openings in Deerfields Mall, Abu Dhabi, UAE, as well as in Al Shatea Mall, Dammam, KSA, and Sharaya Street, Makkah, KSA.Apparel Group's relentless pursuit of growth and innovation ensures that customers can enjoy a diverse selection of fashion, footwear, and lifestyle products. The expansion strategy underlines the Group's dedication to providing an outstanding shopping experience across the region and beyond.
https://adgully.me/post/2040/nicky-dawson-appointed-to-accelerate-arabian-gulf-business

Nicky Dawson appointed to accelerate Arabian Gulf Business

Dubai: Arabian Gulf Business Insight (AGBI), a next-generation business news platform, today announced it has further strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Nicky Dawson, who will oversee the development of its commercial strategy framework in a consultancy role.Prior to joining AGBI, Dawson was Deputy Managing Director of ITP Middle East’s B2B team, managing more than 50 staff across 11 key business titles. She has more than two decades of experience in publishing, events and media with a focus on growing business operations.Dawson has worked across the MENA region since 2007 and has vast experience in scaling media businesses as well as launching new offerings. She has led on events such as ADIPEC and ISNR, has managed large portfolios of publishing brands – from PR Week to Construction Week and MEED – and has also launched industry-leading conferences.She is consulting with AGBI to help develop the commercial strategy framework, with a remit to help build out the operational teams.“I’m excited to be supporting the world-class editorial team at AGBI and will draw upon my extensive experience in the Gulf and beyond to help grow this important new source of regional business coverage,” Dawson said.James Drummond, Editor-in-Chief of AGBI, added: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Nicky to the team, and we are delighted to have one of the region’s most respected commercial leaders join us. Her wide-ranging expertise will be vital as we look to drive growth and increase our global reach.”Headquartered in London with a newsroom in Dubai, AGBI began publishing at agbi.com last year as a focused resource for the local, regional and international business community and since its launch has grown rapidly, recording 100,000 users in April.Through deep-dive reporting and thoroughly researched insight, AGBI’s essential content provides expert analysis of the conversations and developments driving economic change in the region, adding a unique and original perspective on the factors shaping the commercial landscape.
https://adgully.me/post/2038/mbzuai-and-ourcrowd-arabia-sign-mou-to-drive-funding-for-ai-startups

MBZUAI and OurCrowd Arabia sign MoU to drive funding for AI startups

Dubai: Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) and OurCrowd Arabia, the Abu Dhabi based subsidiary of Israel’s OurCrowd, announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly create and manage several initiatives aiming to accelerate and catalyze the growth of the AI technology ecosystem on the university’s campus in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.The MoU outlines various initiatives including:Creating an AI-focused venture capital investment fund with the aim of attracting both local and global AI technology companies to scale up globally from Abu Dhabi.Developing a strategic collaboration between MBZUAI and Integrated Data Intelligence (IDI) Limited, OurCrowd’s AI subsidiary in Abu Dhabi, on research projects in applied AI technologies across industries.Enhancing Abu Dhabi’s AI innovation ecosystem via strategic partnerships with key government and government-related entities.Providing internship and job opportunities to MBZUAI graduates through OurCrowd’s vast global network of portfolio technology startup companies and industry partners.Sultan Al Hajji, MBZUAI’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations, said, “Part of MBZUAI’s existence is to foster entrepreneurship and this partnership creates a mechanism for incubating startups and creating local opportunities for the university’s pipeline of talent. Through this strategic partnership with OurCrowd Arabia, MBZUAI is forging ahead with its mission to develop a dynamic, vibrant, AI ecosystem that will help to position Abu Dhabi as a global center for AI. Together, we will encourage funding to enable AI start-ups to scale up in the UAE’s capital, help to develop and commercialize AI research, and provide exciting opportunities in the field for young AI talent – including graduates and researchers from MBZUAI. The proposed initiatives are a perfect complement to MBZUAI’s and OurCrowd Arabia’s areas of expertise.”OurCrowd Arabia Executive Chairman Sabah al-Binali added, “We are honored to have signed this MoU with MBZUAI to jointly grow the AI ecosystem in Abu Dhabi. OurCrowd Arabia continues to build on its strategic relationships having started with our partnership with ADIO under its Innovation Program announced in November 2022. We look forward to continuing to leverage OurCrowd’s global experience and relationships to support the Abu Dhabi and UAE startup ecosystems.”OurCrowd Arabia, which opened in the UAE capital in 2021, is also establishing a new VC investment center in Abu Dhabi to manage deals for its existing platform and cater to emerging markets.
https://adgully.me/post/2037/business-leaders-celebrate-health-and-safety-success-at-rospa-awards

Business leaders celebrate health and safety success at RoSPA Awards

At an awards ceremony on May 3 hosted by The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), attendees were presented with RoSPA awards based on a strict criteria that examined their organisation’s health and safety management systems and culture, risk control and harm reduction.The event marks the second year running RoSPA has hosted a Gala Dinner in the region, with top accolades going to Emirates Driving Institute, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, ACCIONA Facility Services Middle East, and AES Martiza, to name just a few.The official partner for this year’s RoSPA Awards is Croner-i, and the Dubai Gala Dinner was sponsored by NEBOSH.The RoSPA Health and Safety Awards is one of the largest occupational health and safety awards programme in the world. Now into its 67th year, the Awards have almost 2,000 entries every year, covering nearly 50 countries and a reach of over seven million employees. The programme recognises organisations’ commitment to continuous improvement in the prevention of accidents and ill health at work, looking at entrants’ overarching health and safety management systems, including practices such as leadership and workforce involvement.Matt Cryer, Awards Standards Manager at RoSPA, said: “We are thrilled to be back here in Dubai with some of the world’s leading organisations. It is encouraging to see such commitment to health and safety. We would like to congratulate everyone who has received a RoSPA Award and applaud all those involved for helping to save lives and reduce accidents.”Dee Arp, Chief Operating Officer at NEBOSH, said: “NEBOSH is delighted to return to the region this year to sponsor RoSPA’s Dubai Gala Dinner. As an organisation we focus on improving occupational health and safety through education, and we see our support of the RoSPA Awards as an extension of this. We commend all those who have taken part and demonstrated their commitment to saving lives.”Ben Chaplin, Managing Director at Croner-i, said: “We are delighted to be the headline sponsor for the RoSPA Awards and to help play a part in reducing accidents and preventing unnecessary injury and loss to life. Everyone who has taken part has shown exceptional commitment to health and safety – congratulations on your success!”
https://adgully.me/post/2036/web3-launchpad-enjinstarter-mena-granted-initial-approval

Web3 launchpad Enjinstarter MENA granted Initial Approval

DUBAI—Web3 launchpad and advisory company Enjinstarter MENA announced today that it has been granted initial approval by Dubai’s Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA), while it undertakes the in-depth process of applying for a licence, in accordance with VARA requirements.With the Middle East and North Africa considered to be a booming Web3 market, Enjinstarter is seeking a foothold in the region as it aims to be the premier launchpad and incubator for Web3 metaverse, gaming, and entertainment experiences. Along with operating out of Dubai, the metaverse capital of the world, Enjinstarter has ambitious plans to be the go-to provider for Web3 adoption in the region, including the addition of more portfolio projects focusing on impact and sustainability initiatives that complement the UAE’s commitment to climate action.“This is an important step for Enjinstarter. Getting initial approval and continuing with our licence application makes clear our commitment to achieving the highest standards of accountability and transparency in the Web3 space. We are committed to  conforming to VARA’s high standards and know this will only accelerate our growth in the Middle East and beyond,” said Prakash Somosundram, co-founder and CEO of Enjinstarter.VARA, established in March 2022 under the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law, is the first regulator of its kind to oversee virtual assets and aims to create an advanced legal framework to protect investors and set international standards for the virtual assets industry, and to enable responsible business growth in and from the Emirate.“Dubai has been laser-focused on establishing itself as a global hub for Web3. It continues to provide much-needed leadership in terms of regulation and innovation, especially with initiatives such as VARA’s own foray into The Sandbox. We are looking forward to getting started here and contributing to Dubai’s growing Web3 ecosystem,” added Vasseh Ahmed,Enjinstarter MENA’s managing director.Since inception in Dubai three months ago, Enjinstarter MENA has signed key partnerships with MENA-focused blockchain ecosystems, Crypto Oasis and Masary Capital, hosted a sustainability and climate impact roundtable with streaming platform myco, and appointed Vasseh as its managing director.
https://adgully.me/post/2035/the-new-frontier-of-car-subscriptions-welcome-to-subscribe-me

The new frontier of car subscriptions: Welcome to SUBSCRIBE ME

Dubai: SUBSCRIBE ME, a groundbreaking car subscription platform transforming the industry, launched on the 2nd of May at the Arabian Travel Market 2023 in the presence of Michel Ayat, chief executive officer of AW Rostamani Group - Automotive; Sanaa Ouahmane, director of AWR Mobility; dignitaries; SUBSCRIBE ME team members; and visitors. Offering an unmatched digital experience, this customer-centric app will provide unparalleled freedom, accessibility, and convenience to drive the car of your dreams in the UAE from a diverse fleet and enjoy complete transparency with SUBSCRIBE ME’s adaptive subscription model.Customers can download the app in just minutes and embark on a thrilling journey tailored to their unique preferences. Choose from an impressive array of vehicles across segments, all while enjoying crystal-clear pricing with no hidden fees, long-term commitments, or bank loans.Embrace the freedom to swap cars with ease and indulge in the peace of mind that comes with dealer-maintained vehicles across the entire fleet. SUBSCRIBE ME’s all-encompassing service package covers insurance, maintenance, car servicing, road assistance, pick-up, and delivery, allowing you to focus on the drive ahead.As a part of the AWR Mobility division of AW Rostamani, the company leverages the group’s wealth of knowledge and expertise to provide customers with an unparalleled experience. By forging strategic partnerships with car dealers and rental companies, SUBSCRIBE ME amplifies its reach and expands its target audiences, creating a robust network of collaborators. A soon-to-be trailblazer in the automotive industry, SUBSCRIBE ME proudly supports the UAE and Dubai governments’ commitment to excellence, innovation, and digitalisation.Get ready for the ultimate fusion of style, convenience, and flexibility with SUBSCRIBE ME. To learn more about and begin your car subscription journey.
https://adgully.me/post/2034/salesforce-and-accenture-collaborate-to-help-customers

Salesforce and Accenture collaborate to help customers

Dubai: Salesforce has announced plans to collaborate with Accenture to accelerate the deployment of generative AI for CRM. Together, the companies intend to establish an acceleration hub for generative AI that provides organizations with the technology and experience they need to scale Einstein GPT – Salesforce’s generative AI for CRM — helping to increase employee productivity and transform customer experiences.Significance: When deployed effectively, generative AI has the power to transform how companies do business and free employees’ time to focus on more complex and creative work. In fact, most senior IT leaders (84%) say generative AI will help their organization better serve customers. And with 67% of these leaders prioritizing generative AI for their business within the next 18 months, there is an urgent need to ensure the new technology is deployed effectively.Driving the news: The powerful combination of Salesforce and Accenture’s AI industry knowledge and connected customer experience aims to provide companies across every industry with strategies and technologies that harness generative AI effectively. By connecting to Accenture’s Generative AI and Large Language Model (LLM) Center of Excellence, the new acceleration hub will facilitate:Custom AI Strategies and Accelerators for Growth: Senior leaders from Salesforce and Accenture plan to work with customers to develop customized AI strategies using new accelerators for Einstein GPT, user interfaces, and process automation, which can help increase productivity and profit for their businesses.Innovative Use Cases for Sales and Service: These use cases will showcase generative AI’s benefits and potential return on investment, with an initial focus on sales and service. Examples of these use cases include:Sales: Generative AI can increase seller productivity with automated tasks to help drive ongoing engagement with customers and prospects.Service: Generative AI can also help improve customer experience and agent productivity for every customer service interaction with trusted CRM data, and automate knowledge management to help companies respond to the needs of their customers more effectively.Industry-Specific AI Models: Salesforce and Accenture intend to build industry-specific AI models for customers in the financial services, health, manufacturing, and public sector industries.Generative AI & Data Cloud: Using Data Cloud to connect and harmonize information, Salesforce and Accenture will explore how generative AI can learn from customer data to create more personalized experiences for customers faster.Upskilling for AI Success: Salesforce and Accenture plan to develop learning resources that help teams develop and enhance their generative AI skills, fostering the next generation of talent within the Salesforce ecosystem. Specific areas of focus include programming for Einstein GPT, AI literacy, data science and analytics, and ethics and responsible AI.The hub will also tap existing learning content on Trailhead, such as how to use AI to meet business needs, how to create ethical AI, and how Einstein GPT is transforming the future of work.Generative AI for CRM: Einstein GPT has the power to transform customer experiences with generative AI. It enables companies to create personalized, AI-generated content across sales, service, marketing, IT, and more. For example, Einstein GPT can generate:Personalized emails for salespeople to send to customersSpecific responses for customer service professionals to respond to customer questions more efficientlyTargeted content for marketers to increase campaign response ratesCode for developersSoundbites:“Generative AI has enormous potential to transform the way companies interact with customers and drive business growth. Accenture and Salesforce together have years of experience in AI and play a critical role in ensuring customers get the most value from this technology. We want to come together to bring the visionary and technical expertise needed to unlock new possibilities for AI- and data-powered CRM, driving a profound transformation in customer interactions.” – Bill Patterson, EVP and General Manager, C360 Applications, Salesforce“Generative AI has the potential to transform work and reinvent business, with large language models impacting up to 40% of all working hours across industries, changing the way companies interact with their customers and ushering in a new era of generative AI for everyone. Companies need the infrastructure and knowledge to deploy this new technology to help address their unique business needs. By combining Accenture’s industry experience with Salesforce’s technology, we plan to be well positioned to help customers solve problems with generative AI faster and more effectively.” – Emma McGuigan, Senior Managing Director and Enterprise & Industry Technology lead, Accenture
https://adgully.me/post/2039/union-coop-to-support-emirates-nature-wwf

Union Coop to support ‘Emirates Nature-WWF’

Dubai: Dubai-based retailer ‘Union Coop’ signed a memorandum of understanding with ‘Emirates Nature-WWF' in cooperation with World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The signing comes as a part of the cooperative’s social responsibility goals to support Government, Private and social welfare institutions and community welfare projects.  The MoU was signed at Union Coop headquarters – Al Warqa City Mall, Dubai, by Eng. Abdulla Mohammad Rafie Al Dallal, Managing Director, Union Coop and Ms. Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF. The agreement was signed in the presence of Dr. Suhail Al Bastaki, Happiness & Marketing Director, Union Coop, Ms. Huda Salem Saif, Senior Communication Section Manager at Union Coop and staff from both sides.This agreement falls within the framework of Union Coop's programs to strengthen cooperation with associations that serve the essential community groups, participate in initiatives directed at them, and expand their role in community development.Union Coop’s MD - Eng. Al Dallal for his part highlighted that this agreement’s primary goal is to establish a concept of corporate social responsibility, a vital part of Union Coop’s community orientation. This will in turn strengthen the bonds of cooperation with the primary sectors and relevant agencies by launching initiatives that are directed towards the members of the society, thereby expanding the cooperative’s role in the community’s development. Moreover, the cooperative placed within its annual strategies to support government and private community establishments for the general well-being of society.As per this agreement, Union Coop will support the directions of Emirates Nature-WWF and offer moral support, thereby solidifying its distinguished position in society.In her turn, Ms. Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, Director General of Emirates Nature-WWF, praised the societal role played by the Union Coop in various fields, primarily for the adoption of community initiatives to support social institutions. She further expressed her appreciation for the Cooperative’s moral support to the institution and its help in promoting its services through several channels as agreed by the two parties, explaining that the cooperative’s support for the association will have many positive effects in introducing and promoting the association’s initiatives.Post-signing, Union Coop organized a guided tour for the Emirates Nature-WWF delegation of the Union Coop hypermarket branch at Al Warqa City Mall. They were informed about the most important services that Union Coop provides to consumers, which follow the best practices applied in the field of food retailing, delivery, customer happiness services, expansion strategies and digital solutions for retail, in addition to updating them of information about the culture of retail trade in the Union Coop. Furthermore, the delegation was educated about hydroponics and the ways the Union Farm located in the Al Warqa City Mall ‘Union Coop’ branch is maintained. The experts from Union Coop answered all queries from the delegation and offered them information about the culture of retail trade in the Union Coop, and the mechanism for allocating sites and sections dedicated to international products and promoting them in their periodical advertising magazines.  
https://adgully.me/post/2033/canons-make-it-grow-campaign-brings-new-flagship-products-to-the-middle-east

Canon's "Make it GROW" campaign brings new flagship products to the Middle East

Dubai: Canon, the global leader in imaging solutions, has announced the launch its latest flagship products, the Colorado M Series and imagePRESS v 1350, in the Middle East region. The launch of these cutting-edge printing solutions is part of its "Make it GROW" campaign in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that aims to help customers grow their businesses returns with Canon's product portfolio. The campaign showcases their unprecedented features and capabilities that efficiently meet the needs of commercial printers, designers, print service providers, and photography professionals.Canon's "Make it GROW" campaign features two product launch events in the UAE. The first was organised at Bab Al Qasr hotel in Abu Dhabi from 1st – 2nd May 2023, and the second is a week-long event at Colab, Dubai Design District, from 8th – 12th May. The Dubai event hosts a special evening gathering on 10th May, exclusively for interior decor designers, and highlights the unique applications of Canon's new products in this market segment.The Colorado M Series is a game-changer in the large format printing industry, boasting new features such as white ink printing, modular design options, versatility, and upgradability. With the highest productivity in its class, it empowers print service providers to expand their business horizons and explore new applications on various flexible and rigid media.On the other hand, the imagePRESS v 1350 sets new standards in Canon's production machines range, offering the highest levels of product automation, volume, and quality. This advanced printing solution is designed to meet the demands of high-volume printing environments, providing unmatched productivity and exceptional print quality."At Canon, we are committed to delivering innovative solutions that empower our customers to grow their business and achieve success," said Shadi Bakhour, B2B Business Unit Director at Canon Middle East. "Our two new products are prime examples of our dedication to pushing the boundaries of print technology and providing customers with the tools they need to excel. With Canon's new flagship products, customers in the Middle East can expect unparalleled print quality, productivity, and versatility, enabling them to take their businesses to new heights."Canon's "Make it GROW" events in Abu Dhabi and Dubai provide an opportunity for customers, enthusiasts, and photography professionals to explore new features and applications of its flagship products. Its experts will be available for consultations on optimizing business returns and driving customer engagement with unique, high-quality printouts.In addition, Canon will showcase the newly launched products at the upcoming Saudi Print & Pack 2023 exhibition, where visitors can learn about the benefits of Canon's latest offerings, explore new features, and receive free consultations on applications and business opportunities from its experts. As a bonus, Canon is offering a promotion with a chance to win a fully paid trip to Saudi Arabia to attend the Saudi Print & Pack 2023 exhibition.
https://adgully.me/post/2032/dewa-initiates-pilot-use-of-chatgpt-to-enhance-the-capabilities-of-rammas

DEWA initiates pilot use of ChatGPT to enhance the capabilities of Rammas

Dubai: After launching it last February, and as part of its strategy to employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies across all its operations and services, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) announced the pilot use of ChatGPT, since April 2023, on its website through Rammas, DEWA’s virtual employee, to enhance customer experience.“The wise leadership pays great attention to leveraging AI technologies across all sectors. At DEWA, we are keen to enrich the customer experience through smart services that save their time and effort using the latest AI tools. This supports the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, the Dubai 10X initiative and the Smart Dubai initiative, which aims to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world. This is also part of our efforts to use AI in all our services and operations to reduce the number of visits to our customer happiness centres and contribute to shaping a new digital future for Dubai through Digital DEWA, our digital arm, that aims to make us DEWA first digital utility in the world with autonomous systems for renewable energy and storage, with the expansion of the use of AI and digital services,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.“We always strive to improve customer experience and provide our services according to the highest standards of availability, reliability, efficiency and quality. This step to use ChatGPT in Rammas confirms our ongoing efforts to leverage the disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to accelerate digital transformation and provide advanced digital services with added value that enriches the experience and happiness of customers,” added Al Tayer.Since its launch in the first quarter of 2017 until the end of April 2023, Rammas has answered more than seven million enquiries. ChatGPT will contribute to enhancing its capabilities due to its superior ability to interact with users and better understand their needs. It will also improve its ability to learn, understand, and analyse customer enquiries based on available data and information to respond promptly and accurately.DEWA is working to enrich its services with ChatGPT. It is the first utility in the world and the first government organisation in the UAE to use this modern technology as part of its continuous efforts to enhance its leadership locally and globally.
https://adgully.me/post/2031/cathay-unveils-fully-reimagined-travel-lifestyle-magazine-for-customers

Cathay unveils fully reimagined travel lifestyle magazine for customers

Dubai:  Cathay has introduced a fully reimagined travel lifestyle magazine for its customers, bringing them inspirational content whether they are in the air or on the ground.Titled “Cathay”, the re-envisaged magazine exemplifies Cathay’s evolution into a premium travel lifestyle brand, with sections dedicated to our home hub of Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area, as well as travel and holidays, wellness, dining and shopping.  Chief Customer and Commercial Officer Lavinia Lau said: “We know that our customers want and expect to be able to enjoy a travel lifestyle magazine when they fly with us, and we are delighted to reintroduce a refreshed publication that encapsulates everything we want to bring them, every day – inspiration, delight and discovery.“Our purpose is to move people forward in life by connecting them to meaningful people, places and experiences. Through the content we share, we want Cathay to become a brand that people refer to on a daily basis, for inspiration and advice on the premium travel lifestyle.”The theme of the first issue is “Reconnection”, as Cathay focuses on reconnecting Hong Kong, the Greater Bay Area and the Chinese Mainland with the world. The stories in this issue encapsulate the sense of connection through a wide range of approaches. The magazine launches with a series of inspiring travel covers of stunning aerial views of cities, each of which inspires more travel.Readers of Cathay can look forward to content across the magazine’s dedicated sections.Hong Kong & the GBA showcases what is new and thrilling in our extended home market.Explore (Travel and Hotels) is a celebration of the joy of travel and the travel lifestyle, providing content exploring destinations across our route network that makes customers want to book a flight.Dining brings together all aspects of one of the most important aspects of lifestyle, showcasing food and beverage across the Cathay route network, and highlighting must-book restaurants, cutting-edge chefs as well as lifestyle rewards and retail offers.Wellness covers all aspects of mindful travel, wellness and sustainability – plus how Cathay can help customers live a healthier, better life.Shopping is a lavishly shot section of the magazine, which directs readers to must-have products available through the Cathay shop.The Cathay Way speaks to how we do what we do, whether that be an insider’s look at our fleet, our achievements, our safety and hygiene, or the benefits of the Cathay membership programme and how members can maximise their earning and burning potential.Inflight Entertainment provides intelligent and engaging writing about our inflight entertainment, giving customers a look into the extensive onboard library of new Hollywood releases, Asian cinema classics, award-winning TV boxsets, the latest albums, podcasts, games and HBO Max.Stories and content are extended online in Cathay’s Inspiration content hub, which delivers even more high-quality content on the premium travel lifestyle.The Cathay magazine is printed using eco-friendly vegetable oil ink on environmentally responsible and ethically produced paper certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). Once we replace the magazines, we ensure that they are properly recycled by our contractors.
https://adgully.me/post/2030/from-graphic-design-to-communication-a-fulfilling-journey-for-romy-abdelnour

From graphic design to communication: A fulfilling journey for Romy Abdelnour

Romy Abdelnour, the Head of Communications at TBWA\RAAD, talks to Adgully's BF Firos on her role in storytelling and communication at the agency. She talks about her passion for creativity, how she moved from graphic design to communications, and the biggest challenges she faced in her role as Corporate Communications Director. Abdelnour highlights how TBWA\RAAD stays ahead of the curve with the launch of NEXT, a creative-led innovation consultancy, and the annual NEXT Innovation Festival. She also shares her thoughts on the importance of female representation in the advertising industry and her advice for aspiring women. She also talks about the emerging trends in advertising and communications in the UAE and how TBWA\RAAD is exploring these innovations to create strategies that resonate with clients' target audience. Excerpts:Congratulations on your recent promotion! Can you tell us a little about your new role as Head of Communications at TBWA\RAAD?Thank you, much appreciated. My main role involves telling the TBWA\RAAD story: the story of its creative products, the different brand experiences the agency creates for its clients, as well as the stories of our people, culture, key milestones, and achievements.How did you initially get involved in the creative industry, and what inspired you to make the shift from graphic design to communications?I've always had a passion for creativity, and since I was a child, I knew that I would choose a creative path. Initially, I had imagined pursuing a career in fine arts or interior design. However, as I grew older, graphic design was gaining popularity, and I became curious about how brands come to life and the vast world of design. After many years in the field and behind the computer screen, I realized that I needed more interaction with the outside world, more opportunities for exchange. I craved connectivity. I chose to complement my design background with communications, to learn how to better bring creative ideas to life through storytelling and communication.As Corporate Communications Director, you oversaw the agency's internal and external communications, media relations, partnerships, and more. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in this role, and how did you overcome them?The main challenges are related to the amount of work and the need to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. However, these challenges provide an excellent opportunity to learn, grow and gain enriching experiences that make the journey worthwhile. Effective time management is crucial, which includes setting priorities and breaking down large projects into smaller, manageable tasks. Moreover, it is essential to build a structured, consistent, relevant, and timely narrative that enhances the brand image and reputation, and resonates with the target audience.TBWA\RAAD has been recognized for its innovation, earning the title of The Middle East's Most Innovative Company in Advertising by Fast Company Middle East. How does the agency stay at the forefront of innovation in the industry, and what role do you play in this?Today, more than ever, brands need to elevate their game. Consumers in our region are tech-savvy, passionate about innovations such as the metaverse, and hungry for impactful, meaningful, and memorable experiences that utilize creativity and storytelling.Last year, TBWA\RAAD launched NEXT in the Middle East, a creative-led innovation consultancy designed to shape the future of brand experiences and help brands elevate their customer engagement to the next level. Powered by TBWA—The Disruption® Company—NEXT connects emerging technology with a deep understanding of culture and brands to disrupt traditional approaches to customer experience thinking and unlock business and brand opportunities. NEXT is supported by an ecosystem of tech and business experts, creative leaders, and strategists who combine culture with a strategic approach to technological change to identify innovation and growth opportunities for businesses.In addition to customizing innovation opportunities for its clients, TBWA\RAAD shares its knowledge and expertise in innovation with the community through its annual NEXT Innovation Festival, which serves as a platform to showcase and discuss the latest trends and technologies in innovation, and identify the different opportunities ahead for our region.My role in all of this is to highlight NEXT's offerings and the latest trends identified by NEXT and share the insights in thought leadership pieces or panel discussions attended by our leadership team. Additionally, I organize the annual festival and oversee all communications and marketing related to the event.You were recently recognized in Communicate's list of Women to Watch for 2022, which celebrates women in the Middle East who are driving change in the industry. How important do you think it is to have strong female representation in the creative industry, and what advice do you have for aspiring women in the field?I strongly believe that women have a vital role to play in our community and particularly in the advertising industry. Their unique perspectives and insights, based on their personal experiences and criteria, can contribute to elevating the creative product. Additionally, women have significant purchasing power and are crucial decision-makers in households. Therefore, they should be involved in crafting messages and telling brand stories from their own perspective.My advice to aspiring women in advertising is to be bold and courageous in their thinking. Challenge biases and conventions, push boundaries, and have fun while doing it. Make sure your voice is heard, advocate for equal representation and opportunities, and promote diversity and inclusion in the industry. Lastly, it is essential to build on your ideas and make them bigger.As someone with over 15 years of experience in the industry, what trends do you see emerging in the world of advertising and communications in the UAE, and how do you see TBWA\RAAD staying ahead of the curve?Currently, there are several key trends in the advertising industry. Personalization is a crucial one, with consumers increasingly expecting brands to offer personalized experiences and products that cater to their individual preferences and needs. As a result, companies are leveraging data-driven marketing strategies and artificial intelligence technologies to create tailored campaigns and product recommendations.Another trend that has been on the rise for some time now is purpose-driven campaigns, which are sensitive to social and environmental causes. Immersive experiences, enhanced by gamification, AR, and VR, are also gaining popularity among consumers.The advertising industry is constantly evolving, and there are endless opportunities now available with the evolution of new generative AI tools. At TBWA\RAAD, we are always on the lookout for the latest trends and technologies. Our main goal is to explore these innovations and create strategies that resonate with our clients' target audience.What do you consider to be your greatest professional accomplishment to date, and how did you achieve it?There are many accomplishments that I am proud of at TBWA\RAAD, but there are a few that stand out to me. Firstly, I take pride in organising successful events such as our International Women’s Day events and regional meetings like the ‘Cairo Exchange’. Additionally, I launched the agency’s first mobile application “Pirates” in 2017 which brought all the different agencies together under a single platform and unified communication. I also find it gratifying when the agency receives global recognition. However, I consider the launch of the agency’s insights microsite during the pandemic in 2020 to be my greatest achievement to date. It was a challenging initiative, but with hard work and collaboration, we were able to create an interactive platform that housed the latest insights, tools, and predictions about culture and industries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also organized weekly live sessions to discuss the latest trending topics. This experience taught me a lot about the importance of teamwork, creating meaningful work, and making a positive impact in the community.How do you see TBWA\RAAD's vision for Disruption® evolving in the coming years, and what role will you play in this evolution?In 2021, we upgraded our operating system to Disruption X, a modernized version of our Disruption® approach that focuses on driving commercial impact and growth for our clients. Disruption X provides us with tools to apply Disruption® upstream to our clients' businesses and downstream to all customer touchpoints, enabling us to generate innovative solutions to their problems. At TBWA, Disruption® is always evolving and adapting to the ever-changing landscape and cultural shifts. Our role in communications is to share the Disruption® story with the world and showcase its impact across every touchpoint of our agency. We strive to embed it within our culture and narrative, not just within our client work, to ensure that we continue to push the boundaries of what's possible and create meaningful experiences for our clients and their customers.
https://adgully.me/post/2029/foo-majid-al-futtaim-partnership-to-transform-customer-experience

FOO-Majid Al Futtaim partnership to transform customer experience

Dubai: FOO, an award-winning fintech solutions provider operating in the MENA region, has partnered with XSIGHT Future Solutions, Majid Al Futtaim’s newly formed digital arm accelerating the company’s digital transformation journey, to provide an embedded wallet experience for Majid Al Futtaim’s retailers.Carrefour, owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the UAE, is the first retailer to adopt this technology and has already launched the solution in the UAE, KSA and Egypt, with many more countries to follow. FOO has expedited Carrefour’s current refund process by integrating its closed-loop mobile wallet and stored value account (SVA) solution into Carrefour’s existing mobile app, enabling customers to receive instant refunds to their personal accounts.The collaboration with FOO will streamline the hypermarket chain’s refund procedure and provide a more seamless shopping experience for its customers. The embedded wallet solution is just the beginning of a long-term partnership between FOO and XSIGHT Future Solutions, laying the groundwork for additional fintech capabilities that will soon be implemented.The agile and efficient closed-loop solution offers several benefits for both Majid Al Futtaim and the end user. For instance, the credit received from the refund can be used immediately against purchases from any of its merchants, helping to drive customer retention. Moreover, retaining a significant portion of revenue within the Majid Al Futtaim ecosystem contributes to the company's further growth and success.Hussam Kayyal, Chief Revenue Officer at FOO commented: “There’s no doubt that customer satisfaction is the number one priority for all businesses. Embedded finance can significantly enhance consumer experience by eliminating traditional pain points. Integrating a closed-loop mobile wallet into the various Majid Al Futtaim consumer apps improves ease of service, therefore enhancing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.”By leveraging an in-house design and development approach, FOO crafts solutions using a modular platform built on microservices. This unique 'plug and play' model enables the delivery of super-personalized solutions with exceptional time to market. FOO’s products and services offer an unparalleled level of flexibility and scalability, aligning perfectly with Majid Al Futtaim's plans to implement the same solution across all its retailers and markets.Joe Abi Akl, Chief Corporate Development Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Holding and Managing Director of XSIGHT Future Solutions, added: “We are delighted to partner with FOO to elevate our digital services and deliver an exceptional shopping experience to our customers. By leveraging FOO’s advanced capabilities, we can enhance our existing digital infrastructure and optimize our operations to meet the evolving needs of our customers. We are confident that this strategic partnership will enable us to set new industry standards and redefine the future of retail.”