UAE calls for global consensus on AI governance

Dubai: The UAE’s AI minister on Wednesday urged countries to come to a consensus on AI governance sooner than it came to the Paris Agreement, which took years to take shape and come into force.His Excellency Omar Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy & Remote Work Applications, said at the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI that countries need a fresh approach to governing AI.“I think the current global discussion on AI governance is a non-starter. Instead of attempting to govern the technology, we can govern the use cases,” he said.During the assembly – which witnessed over 2000 attendees coming big tech companies and consultancies such as Microsoft, Deloitte, PwC, IBM – Dubai Future Foundation launched the Dubai Generative AI Alliance, a new alliance of tech companies to help Dubai accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies and build one of the world’s most advanced and effective tech-enabled governments.Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of DFF, called on companies and innovators to join the alliance, which will focus on developing innovative technology pilots by leveraging AI, the metaverse and Web3. The Dubai government also launched ‘Dubai AI’, a generative AI-powered digital city concierge. The city-wide digital platform will offer comprehensive information and services, covering health, business, and education, to residents and visitors. It will transform government services, the assembly heard.The assembly also heard how the global banking sector could benefit by as much as USD 400 billion from the boom in generative AI.The global platform heard from experts from international tech corporations and consultancies. PwC said automation in the workplace is imminent, with generative AI likely to be able to execute everyday tasks, such as booking flights and generating reports autonomously, on a large scale within the next 18-20 months.Deloitte's leading digital expert said nuclear fusion, climate action and drug discovery will be some of the main beneficiaries of generative AI, while the industrial and pharmaceutical sectors are among those quickest to adapt to the emerging technology.Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, said by November, the airline will “empower cabin crew to leverage [generative AI] through delivering training on complex models”.

Qatar Museums appoints Kirstin Mearns as new CEO of its commercial arm, IN-Q

Qatar Museums today announced the appointment of Kirstin Mearns to serve as Chief Executive Officer of IN-Q Enterprises WLL (IN-Q), the commercial arm and wholly owned subsidiary of Qatar Museums within the retail, food and beverage, and hospitality sectors. IN-Q creates commercial opportunities for artists, designers, and entrepreneurs while also presenting curated experiences that demonstrate the hospitality for which Qatar is well known.Ali Bouzarif, Vice Chairman of IN-Q, said, “Kirstin Mearns is a champion of artists with a keen mind for enterprise. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience from both the non-profit and business sectors, making her the ideal leader to create entrepreneurial opportunities for Qatar’s emerging creatives both on site and through digital engagement.”Mearns will oversee IN-Q’s expanding portfolio of restaurants, stores, retail and dining experiences, and online platforms, which include IDAM by Alain Ducasse at the Museum of Islamic Art, Jiwan Restaurant and Café 875 at the National Museum of Qatar, Café #999 at the Fire Station, Naua at 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Profiles Café at M7, Ralph’s Coffee at Place Vendome, IN-Q Online, QM museum gift shops, Cass Art Qatar Shop, exhibition pop-ups at M7, QM Galleries, and the Fire Station, and more.Kirstin Mearns said, “‘It is with great pride in what M+ is, and what I know it will become, that I now embrace my new position of CEO of IN-Q enterprises. The Qatar Cultural Vision for 2030 is one built on Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s foresight and fortitude, and it is an honour to be part of that vision leading the IN-Q team. Cultural commerce has the potential to bridge the gap as a familiar context in a new and evolving Qatari cultural experience. I look forward to working with the Qatar Museums and IN-Q teams to become a global leader in cultural commerce.”Mearns most recently served as Head of Commerce and Visitor Services at M+ in Hong Kong where she oversaw a large department that was responsible for visitor service, trademark and licensing, merchandising, membership and sponsorship strategies, placemaking, retail and commercial development, and generating new revenue streams.

The Sandbox expands to Saudi Arabia through a partnership with Sandsoft

The Sandbox, a leading decentralized gaming virtual world and subsidiary of Animoca Brands, today announced a collaboration with Sandsoft, the mobile-first Riyadh-headquartered game developer, publisher and investor powered by AAA talent. Sandsoft will be a key partner in The Sandbox’s expansion into Saudi Arabia and the Middle East and will also be a driver in attracting local talent in the video game sector and growing education and job opportunities within the region.The collaboration aims at building a team of Web3 gaming experts to create partnerships with local public and private industry actors, entertainment, IPs & Brands and celebrities to explore opportunities in gamified social experiences in The Sandbox, and to empower local creative talent by educating and onboarding developers and artists into its ecosystem.“We’re excited to collaborate with Sandsoft in bringing new creators to contribute towards the open Metaverse and develop together a virtual neighborhood on our map. This partnership will allow brands and creators across Saudi Arabia and the Middle East to discover the creative opportunities The Sandbox provides,” said Sebastien Borget, COO and co-founder of The Sandbox. “It will also enrich The Sandbox’s global ecosystem with Saudi Arabia’s rich culture and history.” “The Sandbox has great potential for game developers, creatives, brands and consumers from the Middle East and North Africa,” said David Fernandez, CEO of Sandsoft. “We’re pleased to announce this collaboration, which will drive opportunities for vibrant and diverse communities in Saudi Arabia and beyond, expanding on Sandsoft’s existing initiatives to nurture talent in the local gaming ecosystem.”With a diverse global team of more than 60 people, Sandsoft is on a trajectory to become a leading mobile-first gaming powerhouse. Sandsoft’s ‘Press Start’ internship program aims to provide opportunities for talented young people in Saudi Arabia to enhance their game development skills under the supervision of leading games industry figures including VP Studio Yahsir Qureshi (formerly of EA, Zynga) and CTO Ahmed Sharif (previously at Meta, Sony, EA). Part virtual real estate, part amusement park, The Sandbox fully embraces the idea of the metaverse as a continuous shared digital space where worlds and heroes collide to make magic. Over 400 partners have joined The Sandbox, including Warner Music Group, Ubisoft’s Rabbids, Cut The Rope, Gucci Vault, The Walking Dead, Invincible, Snoop Dogg, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, SM Entertainment, The Smurfs, Care Bears, and Atari, all following The Sandbox team’s vision of empowering players to create their own experiences using both original and well-known characters and worlds.

Demand increases for project professionals with AI skills

Dubai:  Project Management Institute (PMI), the world's leading organization for the project management profession, is empowering millions of global project professionals worldwide to adopt, embrace, and leverage artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and generative AI (GenAI). PMI is developing the tools, resources, and learning opportunities – including a free, introductory online course entitled “Generative AI Overview for Project Managers” – project professionals need to leverage AI powered technology while preserving the human touch in project management. According to McKinsey, GenAI and other technologies have the potential to automate work activities that absorb 60 to 70 percent of employees’ time today. But tools cannot automate interpersonal skills, the invaluable and very necessary skills project managers bring to projects. Communication, problem-solving, collaborative leadership, and strategic thinking – skills PMI calls “power skills” – will continue to be crucial to project success. In fact, PMI research finds that organizations that place a high priority on power skills are significantly better at completing projects that meet business goals. Additionally, they waste less investment due to poor project performance compared to the global average (4.8 percent vs. 5.2 percent), and far less than organizations that put a low priority on power skills (8.8 percent). “I see an incredible opportunity to elevate the leadership role of project professionals in their organization, thanks to the AI-driven disruption,” said Pierre Le Manh, President & Chief Executive Officer of PMI. “Project professionals are natural learners, problem solvers, innovators and they get things done. Now is the time for us to lead the AI transformation of organizations.” STAY CURRENT AND SHARPEN SKILLS AT THE AI IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT PAGE ON PMI.ORG To keep up with the latest developments in AI technology, project professionals must prioritize continuous learning. The Artificial Intelligence in Project Management Resource Center on is the destination for learning to navigate a new era of efficiency, insight, and growth. The page, complete with AI insights and learning opportunities, will be updated consistently with new, thought-provoking survey findings, thought leadership, industry analysis, academic research, and community-contributed content and publications. The varied data sources – inclusive of PMI's vast community of academic partners, enterprise partners, and millions of project professionals, combined with proprietary research – will set this content apart and make it the go-to resource for project professionals and organizations striving to leverage these tools to improve project success. PMI will post two new articles in October 2023. Key insights from these articles include: Project managers can leverage AI for project productivity and enhance power skillsAccording to the 2023 PMI Annual Global Survey on Project Management, the top three ways project managers use AI are reporting (34%), decision support (33%), and communication (26%). While AI can take on productivity tasks like planning and budgeting, project managers are also using AI as a tool to sharpen specific power skills, so their human interactions and strategic decisions are stronger. AI Adoption will only increase, so project managers need to upskill quickly to take advantage of this enormous career opportunity?The 2023 PMI Annual Global Survey on Project Management found that 82% of senior leaders said AI will have at least some impact on how projects are run at their organization over the next five years. However, unpublished PMI Customer Experience (CX) research found that only 18% of project managers report having extensive or good practical experience with AI tools and technologies, and 49% have little to no experience with or understanding of AI in the context of project management.  Building organizational resilience, leveraging technical skills, and upskilling teams will help organizations remain competitive. AI is a major disruption that requires businesses to transform. While technical skills are an important part of widespread AI adoption, it is just one piece of the puzzle. For AI to work, organizations need resilience. The BRIGHTLINE Initiative and Thinkers50 book Building Resilient Organizations, states that organizations must have a clear vision, a flexible mindset, and empowered teams to foster widespread collaboration.  BUILD FOUNDATIONAL KNOWLEDGE WITH A NEW FREE, INTRODUCTORY COURSE – “GENERATIVE AI OVERVIEW FOR PROJECT MANAGERS” To help project professionals gain the foundational knowledge they need to master AI in project management, PMI launched a free course to serve as a gateway to learning titled “Generative AI Overview for Project Managers.” It provides learners with practical knowledge for using AI that they can apply to their projects immediately. After completing the course, professionals will earn 5 PDUs and a digital badge issued via Credly. This course is just the beginning. PMI will continue to release learning content focused on AI in project management, all created for project professionals by project professionals. The PMI community will test the learning content, ensuring it reflects the experience of project professionals who have relevant experience using AI in project management. EXPERIENCE AI IN PROJECT MANAGEMENT FIRST-HAND AT PMI GLOBAL SUMMIT 2023 As AI takes a foothold on the project management profession, project professionals will need to embrace experimenting with these new tools and connecting with peers for lessons learned. To pave the way for professionals to do this, PMI is reimagining how project professionals can balance AI with human ingenuity at its annual event, PMI Global Summit, 25-28 October in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The event’s program features AI-focused sessions, exclusive learning opportunities, and immersive activities. Attendees will learn from AI experts and thought leaders unpacking the power of using AI and be challenged to broaden their perspectives on the use of AI. Register for the event today here. “AI is on the rise, with Goldman Sachs reporting AI investment could be near $200 billion globally by 2025, making it clear that project managers need to embrace and lead this change,” said Sam Sibley, Global Head, Emerging Products & Innovation for PMI. “With the right combination of how to best use AI on projects and the project manager’s human touch, you can do more than ever to meet every challenge that comes your way. PMI’s commitment is to support and guide project professionals at every career stage to be at the forefront of this new AI-enabled world of work.” AI brings the potential to unlock a better future with endless opportunities to improve project success rate, benefits realization, and the societal impact of projects. For project professionals who fully embrace AI and enhance their work with its capabilities, they will see career advancement opportunities. To unleash the impact of AI on the future of project management, visit the Artificial Intelligence in Project Management Resource Center.

Dubai CommerCity to participate in Expand North Star 2023

Dubai: Dubai CommerCity, the first and leading free zone dedicated exclusively to e-commerce in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and a joint venture between the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority (DIEZ) and Wasl Properties, has announced its participation in this year’s Expand North Star, the world’s largest event for startups and investors, taking place between 15-18 October 2023 at Dubai Harbour.Dubai CommerCity’s participation at this event, which is set to host startups from over 100 countries and more than 1,000 investors with a combined total of over US$1 trillion under management to Dubai, which is rapidly emerging as the heart of the world's digital economy, comes as part of its ambition to connect with some of the world’s most innovative start-ups and showcase its cutting-edge infrastructure and state-of-the-art facilities, each tailored to meet the requirements of digital commerce businesses. These comprehensive offerings include full business set-up, comprehensive business support, customs consultations, end-to-end logistics solutions, as well as block chain solutions and technology, all while offering a conducive working environment and access to an expansive network of like-minded individuals.Furthermore, the free zone’s participation aligns with its ongoing efforts to advance digital commerce in the region and its commitment to achieving the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which aims to drive the growth of Dubai’s digital economy over the next ten years.Mitch Bittermann, Senior Vice President of Commercials at Dubai CommerCity, said: “Our participation in this year’s Expand North Star, reflects our commitment to connecting with and supporting the world's most innovative start-ups. Dubai CommerCity stands as a symbol of progress and innovation in the digital commerce sector, and we look forward to showcasing our advanced infrastructure to up-and-coming businesses looking to grow and succeed in the region and beyond."He added: “We look forward to connecting with the event participants, where we will showcase the opportunities that DCC brings to investors and entrepreneurs, enabling them to gain a competitive edge in the dynamic digital commerce landscape. We are confident in the immense value of this event that promises to be a catalyst for innovative thinking, international collaboration, and shaping the future of digital commerce.Dubai CommerCity operates under the Dubai Integrated Economic Zones Authority, established in 2021 to provide support and enable operations in various free zones, including the Dubai Airport Free Zone, Dubai Silicon Oasis, and Dubai CommerCity. Its primary goal is to achieve integration among all economic zones and bolster their roles in supporting the economy. The ultimate objective is to establish an economic system that caters to all strategic sectors and enhances competitive capabilities within the Emirate of Dubai.

UK's CMA approves Microsoft's acquisition of Activision

UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has approved the Microsoft deal to buy Activision without cloud gaming rights. In August this year Microsoft made a concession that would see Ubisoft, instead of Microsoft, buy Activision’s cloud gaming rights. This new deal will put the cloud streaming rights (outside the EEA) for all of Activision’s PC and console content produced over the next 15 years in the hands of a strong and independent competitor with ambitious plans to offer new ways of accessing that content.As a result of this concession, the CMA agreed to look afresh at the deal and launched a new investigation in August. That investigation has completed today with the CMA clearing this narrower transaction.The new deal will stop Microsoft from locking up competition in cloud gaming as this market takes off, preserving competitive prices and services for UK cloud gaming customers. It will allow Ubisoft to offer Activision’s content under any business model, including through multigame subscription services. It will also help to ensure that cloud gaming providers will be able to use non-Windows operating systems for Activision content, reducing costs and increasing efficiency.Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA said:  The CMA is resolute in its determination to prevent mergers that harm competition and deliver bad outcomes for consumers and businesses.?We take our decisions free from political influence and we won’t be swayed by corporate lobbying.  We delivered a clear message to Microsoft that the deal would be blocked unless they comprehensively addressed our concerns and stuck to our guns on that.  With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market. As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services and more choice. We are the only competition agency globally to have delivered this outcome.  But businesses and their advisors should be in no doubt that the tactics employed by Microsoft are no way to engage with the CMA.?Microsoft had the chance to restructure during our initial investigation but instead continued to insist on a package of measures that we told them simply wouldn’t work. Dragging out proceedings in this way only wastes time and money.Martin Coleman, Chair of the Independent Panel who reviewed the original Microsoft deal, said:  Cloud gaming is an important new way for gamers to access games and this deal could have seriously undermined its potential development. On that we, the European Commission and the US Federal Trade Commission are in full agreement. Where we differ is on how we solve that problem. We rejected a solution put to us by the parties which would have left Microsoft with too much control.  We now have a new transaction in which the cloud distribution of Activision games, old and new, is taken away from Microsoft and put into the hands of Ubisoft, an independent party who is committed to widening access to the games.?That’s better for competition, better for consumers and better for economic growth.The decision In its original investigation, the CMA found Microsoft already held a strong position in relation to cloud gaming and blocked the deal. The sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft will prevent the distribution of important, popular content – including games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft – from coming under the control of Microsoft in relation to cloud gaming. The restructured deal substantially addressed the concerns that the CMA had following its original investigation, which concluded earlier this year.  The CMA did identify limited residual concerns with the new deal, but Microsoft gave undertakings that will ensure that the terms of the sale of Activision’s rights to Ubisoft are enforceable by the CMA. The CMA consulted on these undertakings and is satisfied that this will provide the safety net needed to make sure this deal is properly implemented.

Timothy M. Kelly is appointed president of Atlantis

Atlantis Dubai proudly announces the appointment of Timothy M. Kelly as the President of Atlantis, Kerzner International. This is a testament to Timothy’s outstanding contributions and achievements during his six-year tenure at Atlantis Dubai. In this brand-new role, Timothy will be responsible for leading and representing the entire Atlantis brand globally. He will continue his responsibilities overseeing the teams in Atlantis, The Palm and Atlantis The Royal in Dubai, and will begin overseeing the team in Atlantis Sanya in China. Timothy will also officially join Kerzner International's esteemed Executive Team, ensuring the delivery of the entire organisation's strategy across its multi-award-winning portfolio. Timothy’s innate ability to lead and inspire his team has ensured that Atlantis, The Palm outperforms year on year. The illustrious Grand Reveal of Atlantis The Royal in January this year set the pace for a stream of awards, including the recent announcement that the newly opened property had been ranked in The World’s 50 Best Hotels list – the only hotel in the Middle East to be featured. From the record-breaking expansion of Atlantis Aquaventure, to the star-studded food and beverage offerings across both properties as well as the roll-out of multiple award-winning sustainability projects including the Atlantis Atlas Project, the achievements under Timothy’s leadership continue to propel the brand forward as a destination that reveals a new and extraordinary experience at every turn. In his new role, Timothy will also ensure resort operations, design planning, brand alignment, sales and marketing, and people initiatives at all Atlantis properties are carried out to the highest level. Additionally, he will be responsible for representing Kerzner International, while providing mentorship to all General Managers and Executive Leaders under the Atlantis brand. "Timothy’s appointment acknowledges his inspiring and dedicated leadership, and the incredible successes he has overseen at Atlantis, The Palm, which continues to achieve record growth, and Atlantis, The Royal, which opened to worldwide acclaim and excitement earlier this year, and is already collecting global awards and recognition," said Philippe Zuber, CEO of Kerzner International. "I am delighted to welcome him to the Executive Team, and confident that under his stewardship, Atlantis will continue to innovate and excite, boldly redefining the luxury resort and entertainment experience for guests around the world." Commenting on his appointment, Timothy Kelly, President of Atlantis, said, "I am truly honoured that Kerzner International has placed their trust in me to embark on this exciting chapter ahead. The past six years have been incredible, and there's been nothing more rewarding than witnessing our brand's successful growth trajectory. I look forward to an exciting future filled with endless possibilities and continuing to work with our amazing colleagues throughout Kerzner International.” Before joining Atlantis Dubai, Timothy served in a variety of senior leadership positions, most recently as Senior Vice President of Resort Operations at Wynn Palace, Cotai and Wynn, Macau (SAR). Prior to this, Timothy held the prestigious role of Vice President of Hotel Operations at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was here that Timothy’s emphasis on guest experience, through the implementation of personalised service strategies, and the introduction of a new brand concept “Skylofts at MGM Grand”, led to MGM Resorts International achieving their first “Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award” in the history of the company. Timothy's leadership excellence afforded him to be the first representative of Forbes Travel Guide Service Advisory Committee, representing the Asia-Pacific Region, on Five-Star luxury service and maintenance standards. He was also appointed to the Nevada Hotel Lodging Association Board of Directors for six years, lobbying the state legislature supporting the integrated resort industry.

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy unveils new startup showcases

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers under Dubai Chambers, has revealed details of the exciting new showcases making their debut at Expand North Star 2023. India Central, Asia Fast 100, and Africa Fast 100 position the world's biggest gathering of startups and investors as an unmissable event for the global business community.Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy’s flagship event will take place at Dubai Harbour from 15 to 18 October 2023 and is set to connect the world's most sought-after startups with innovators, investors, entrepreneurs, and the founders of global success stories.India Central is the largest showcase of Indian startups outside India, which is home to over 90,000 startups and more than 100 unicorn companies. Around 300 Indian startups are expected to participate in the India Central showcase, together with state ministers, unicorn founders, and leading venture capitalists. The platform features a dedicated conference that will shed light on the Indian tech ecosystem, its regulatory environment, and emerging investment opportunities.Asia Fast 100 and Africa Fast 100 will bring together 100 of the most promising startups from each continent. Southeast Asia’s tech startups are forecast to reach a combined value of US$ 1 trillion by 2025, up from just US$ 340 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, 633 African startups raised a combined US$ 3.3 billion in 2022, representing a total annual funding level increase of more than 1,000% since 2015.The Asia Fast 100 and Africa Fast 100 showcases follow extensive four-month promotional campaigns and a series of networking events that connected ten of the biggest hubs on both continents. The programmes are the largest showcases for the Asian and African startup communities outside their home regions, and both will feature a packed schedule of conferences, networking opportunities, and dedicated pitch competitions.Other notable new initiatives include AI Monday, a showcase of over 250 fast-scaling AI startups; the CTO World Congress, a forum offering profound insights into the minds of the world’s leading tech architects and data scientists; and Angel Sunday, a series of unique workshops that includes a guided tour aimed at connecting startups with angel investors.The exciting new initiatives reflect Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy's commitment to strengthening economic relationships with the Asian and African markets, particularly in the technology and digital transformation spaces. The chamber aims to introduce entrepreneurs and ambitious startups to Dubai's digital ecosystem, facilitate their expansion into the emirate and provide access to the tools they need to thrive in the emirate. Expand North Star is set to support Dubai's transformation into one of the world's leading digital economies, in line with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33).The digital economy has been established as a key pillar of the D33 agenda, which seeks to generate an annual economic contribution of AED 100 billion from digital transformation projects. Expand North Star aims to support this goal by transforming 30 startups into unicorns – privately held startups with a valuation of US$ 1 billion or more – by 2033.The event is set to host more than 1,800 startup exhibitors from over 100 countries. More than 1,000 investors with a combined total of over US$ 1 trillion under management are also heading to Dubai, which is rapidly emerging as a leading capital of the global digital economy.Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy is targeting the attraction of 300 digital startups to Dubai by 2024 as part of its commitment to advancing the emirate’s digital economy and bringing the ambitions of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) to life.Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, aims to strengthen Dubai’s position as a global leader in the digital economy, attract specialised talent, leading companies and new investments and create a stimulating environment that supports the growth of digital companies. The Chamber was established by a decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

42 Abu Dhabi to showcase its students’ AI-powered projects at GITEX 2023

42 Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital’s innovative and disruptive coding school that provides a unique peer-to-peer, gamified learning methodology, is set to showcase its students’ AI-powered projects at GITEX 2023, a leading event specializing in technology in the region. GITEX will be held from 16-20 October 2023 at Dubai World Trade Centre.In line with the theme of GITEX 2023, “The Year to Imagine AI in Everything”, 42 Abu Dhabi will showcase a range of new projects which were developed by its students using AI technologies. These include “Talent Hub”, a platform designed to streamline recruitment processes for enhanced efficiency and “Synaera”, an app that bridges communication gaps for sign language users by converting sign language into text and speech.As a step towards a sustainable future, the school will also showcase an eco-friendly robotic tour guide which the students designed from recycled plastics and biodegradable components. Additionally, 42 Abu Dhabi will unveil “Tahlili”, an app which utilizes cutting-edge Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Computer Vision (CV) technologies to decipher complex medical terminology, providing clear and understandable medical insights.Marcos Muller Habig, Acting CEO of 42 Abu Dhabi said: "Our participation in GITEX comes in line with our efforts to highlight the achievements and innovative projects that our students have developed to make an impact on their community. GITEX will serve as an opportunity to shed light on 42 Abu Dhabi’s key role in fostering a new generation of digital leaders who are at the forefront of building the digital future of vital sectors through their coding skills. We look forward to connecting with tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and innovators from across the globe at this large-scale event.""42 Abu Dhabi’s participation under the umbrella of the Abu Dhabi government’s pavilion cements its role as a talent incubator that is driving the Emirate’s tech-enabled future and upskilling coders to empower them to develop advanced technologies that will accelerate the Emirate’s digital transformation," he added.Since its launch, 42 Abu Dhabi has enrolled 584 students, including 152 UAE national students, to further support Abu Dhabi’s efforts to create a diverse and inclusive education infrastructure that enables a future-ready workforce.42 Abu Dhabi is an innovative and disruptive coding school, launched in 2020 as an initiative of the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK), to drive Abu Dhabi’s ongoing development through multi-faceted investments in business, innovation, and people.

Dubai Duty Free wins two at The Trazees Awards

Dubai Duty Free was presented with two awards in its Head Office yesterday, 10th October, that were won earlier at the 9th annual ceremony for the Trazees Awards held in Texas, USA. The awards included “Favorite Duty-Free Shopping” and “Favorite Duty-Free Shopping in the Middle East”.Voted by the online readers of Trazees Travel, Global Traveler’s sister online publication, which is the must-visit online resource for travelers aged 25–40 offering travel tips, reviews and the latest travel trends. Dubai Duty Free came out top in the online readers survey conducted between December 2022 to May 2023.Haley Fogarty, Advertising Manager for Global Traveller and Trazees Travel traveled to Dubai to personally hand over the trophies to Dubai Duty Free Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Colm McLoughlin, and Ramesh Cidambi, COO.Commenting on the two awards, Colm McLoughlin said, “We are delighted to be named "Favorite Duty-Free Shopping in the Middle East" for the third time and "Favorite Duty-Free Shopping" for the second time. We are thrilled that we are appealing to the millennial traveler, the most sought-after travel demographic. My thanks to the online readers of Trazees Travel magazine and to the organisers.” conducted a survey of its readers for the best in many categories important to the millennial travel market (under 40 years of age). The survey was conducted online at and email, with only those questionnaires with more than 50 percent of the questions completed were counted. Those with less than 50 percent answered were discarded.

Governments must focus to ensuring compliance: says AI expert

Dubai: Governments must shift their focus from developing ethical AI regulations to ensuring compliance given the rapid pace at which generative AI is being developed and adopted. That is according to regulatory experts speaking today at the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI.“We are not regulating AI itself more than we are regulating traditional computers; we are regulating the use of AI and its application in different areas to ensure positive outcomes,” said Stephen Almond, Executive Director, Regulatory Risk, Information Commissioner’s Office, UK Government.“Regulations in this space are not new. AI has been around for a long time, and the principles for regulating it in terms of fairness, bias, transparency, accountability, safety and security already exist in law. The core focus is ensuring that organizations using the data comply with these laws,” he said during a panel titled ‘Can Regulators Maneuver the GenAI Challenge?’.The panel also featured John Marshall, Executive Director, World Ethical Data Foundation, and Dr. Akram Awad, Partner, Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Dr. Awad said: “It’s almost impossible to separate the application of responsible and ethical AI from the cultural, social and economic context.”Discussing the diverse dimensions and layers of regulations causing ambiguity and uncertainty across various sectors, Marshall noted: “Acknowledging these tensions sends a message to some that regulation is intended to restrict and constrain powerful tech companies."However, he clarified that even smaller tech firms are grappling with ambiguity and pausing their innovations. In fact, they are advocating for regulations, but with a cautious approach.Marshall further stated: "We have many different dimensions at many different layers, and there is a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty."Addressing these concerns, in a keynote speech titled 'Google: Rising to the GenAI Challenge,' Alessio Bagnaresi, Director of AI and Advanced Analytics at Google Cloud, said: “A platform-based approach allows you to provide governance for individual use cases. Each AI use case is different, with its own training sets and challenges. The platform approach allows us to apply the right governance to every use case.” The Dubai Assembly for Generative AI takes place from 11-12 October at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071 in Emirates Towers. The assembly is organized by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) in line with Dubai’s efforts to become a global hub for emerging technologies.

Careem harnesses Generative AI to revolutionize service and insights

Careem, the super app in Dubai, has harnessed generative AI to enhance its pricing, routing, ETA predictions, and developer efficiency. This revelation was made by Wael Salloum, Vice President of Data and AI at Careem, during his participation in the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI.In a panel discussion titled "More Breakthrough Moments: How Agile Companies are Utilizing GenAI," Salloum commended the potential of generative AI, emphasizing how it has transformed the app's interaction with users, allowing a wider audience to access its services. Salloum also pointed out that Careem has initiated several AI-driven projects.Muhammed Atef Hassouna, Senior Director of Machine Learning, Algorithms, and AI at Talabat, elaborated on how their app is capitalizing on emerging technologies, underlining the significance of nurturing local talent in the region.Hassouna remarked, "We believe in cultivating our existing talent. Novel disruptive technologies necessitate fresh perspectives, most of which are likely to originate from the younger generation."Hrish Lotlikar, Co-Founder and CEO of SuperWorld, was also part of the panel, where he discussed the potential of generative AI in enhancing personalization, particularly in the context of search functionality.Lotlikar stated, "We have a strong interest in content creation, especially in the development of diverse content types, personalized avatars, and advanced visual representation for users.""When it comes to virtual real estate," he continued, "we aspire to provide analytics that enable buyers and sellers within SuperWorld to formulate strategies for obtaining locations. This approach assists them in assessing the long-term performance of these places and identifying optimal methods for monetizing them."Regarding the ethical and responsible use of generative AI, Lotlikar emphasized, "As society evolves alongside AI, we must establish robust procedures to safeguard data privacy, user rights, and content integrity."The Dubai Assembly for Generative AI attracted 2,200 participants, including major global technology companies and consulting firms such as Microsoft, Meta, IBM, PwC, Deloitte, SAP, Nokia, McKinsey, and others.

SIG all set to launch ‘DomeMini’ at Gulfood Manufacturing

SIG, a Swiss packaging company, will be launching SIG DomeMini, its uniquely different on-the-go carton bottle, at the upcoming Gulfood Manufacturing in Dubai at Dubai World Trade Centre from 7-9 November, 2023.The mini-size carton pack, offering the convenience of a plastic bottle and the sustainability benefits of a carton pack, will be showcased in the Middle East and Africa region, for the first time. Unveiling its carton bottle, SIG aims to prove that beverage manufacturers also have the opportunity to choose a solution that puts significantly less plastic on the market, thereby, supporting the growing ‘paperization’ trend.With this launch, SIG is all set to participate in COP28 to further demonstrate the environmental benefits of its products, contributing to the reduction of plastic waste and aligning with the rising consumer interest in eco-friendly and sustainable packaging solutions.The SIG DomeMini offers numerous advantages for consumers, particularly for travelers. Its user-friendly design allows for convenient carrying and effortless consumption. Its easy-to-open and resealable feature ensures secure storage in bags, making it readily accessible for on-the-go refreshment whenever required. The launch of the small-format SIG DomeMini carton bottle is part of SIG’s journey to create packaging for better.SIG DomeMini is made from FSC-certified paperboard, designed for recycling, and produced using 100% renewable electricity. At Gulfood Manufacturing, SIG will also present the SIG DomeMini 12 Aseptic filling machine, capable of aseptically filling 12,000 packages per hour, in seven volume sizes ranging from 180 to 350 ml, all within a rapid 15-minute volume change. This not only maximizes efficiency and flexibility, but also provides an excellent return on investment for beverage manufacturers.Abdelghany Eladib, President & General Manager – MEA at SIG, said: “We are thrilled to be part of Gulfood Manufacturing this year, where we will unveil the new SIG DomeMini. Our presence at the ‘Smarter Future’ gathering reflects our commitment to packaging solutions that prioritise sustainability. This innovative product is an exciting step forward – particularly amidst the urgent global challenges posed by pressing environmental issues – providing consumers and beverage manufacturers an opportunity to embrace sustainable packaging alternatives.”Christoph Wegener, Chief Markets Officer at SIG Group, says: “The market for on-the-go beverages continues to grow and offers immense potential. By combining convenience with sustainability, SIG DomeMini sets the stage and offers a new drinking experience for consumers, who can now enjoy their favourite drink on the move while helping to reduce plastic waste.”

Zain KSA official telecommunication partner for LIV Golf Jeddah tournament

Zain KSA, the leading telecommunications and digital services provider in Saudi Arabia, has signed a partnership agreement with LIV Golf to become the official telecommunication partner for the highly anticipated LIV Golf Jeddah tournament. Scheduled to take place October 13-15 at King Abdullah Economic City, the groundbreaking tournament will feature 12 teams comprising 48 elite golfers from all over the world. The event promises to revolutionize the global landscape of the sport with a new format and a staggering prize pool of up to $25 million.Commenting on Zain KSA's sponsorship of LIV Golf Jeddah, Zain KSA's Corporate Communication Officer, Rayan bin Abdullah Al-Turki, stated: “Zain KSA is delighted to be the Official Telecommunication Partner of LIV Golf Jeddah presented by ROSHN. Through this partnership, we are proud to provide advanced digital infrastructure and services for this premier sporting event featuring many of golf’s biggest stars. This is a championship tournament and Zain KSA will deliver championship-caliber technology to connect with LIV Golf’s global audience.”The collaboration with the global LIV Golf series, launched with the support of the Public Investment Fund, aligns seamlessly with Zain KSA's strategic vision to position the Kingdom as a premier global sports hub. This aligns with Saudi Vision 2030's objectives of empowering a vibrant society by fostering healthy and fulfilling lives and enhancing the overall quality of life. The partnership marks a significant milestone, in light of the rising popularity of golf in the Kingdom. In 2022, 50,000 new enthusiasts embraced the sport, in line with the Kingdom’s plans to construct 17 new golf courses and invest approximately $3 billion in the local golfing infrastructure.

FP7McCann wins big at the Loeries Festival

FP7McCann has announced its remarkable success at the 45th annual Loeries Advertising Awards, held in Cape Town last week. This momentous occasion not only marks the 45th anniversary of the esteemed event but also underscores a triumphant year for FP7McCann, solidifying its position as a global creative leader.In a display of creative excellence, FP7McCann secured an impressive array of accolades, including 2 Gold Awards, 2 Silver Awards, 3 Bronze Awards, and the prestigious Grand Prix. These accolades were spread across diverse brands and categories, further reinforcing the agency's reputation as an industry powerhouse, both regionally and on the international stage.As the premier award in Africa and the Middle East recognizing and celebrating outstanding achievements in the advertising and brand communication industry, a Loerie award stands as the highest honor for innovation and creativity in our region.Tarek Miknas, CEO of FP7McCann MENAT, commented, “Being rewarded and recognized for creativity at the Loeries is the result of strong and quality relationships nurtured by both agency and client. It gives me great pleasure to see ideas that have produced significant results be equally valued for their originality and creativity.”Federico Fanti, Chief Creative Officer of FP7McCann, said "This victory is a validation of the outstanding creativity of our agency and of our region. We are extremely grateful to Babyshop, Heinz, The Clooney Foundation for Justice and The Testicular Cancer Society for their bravery and their trust in our creative acumen."FP7McCann's triumphant performance at the 45th Loeries Festival underscores its unwavering commitment to pushing creative boundaries and delivering excellence to clients, setting the stage for a promising future of innovative endeavours and continued success.

Dubai government departments adopting AI to provide POD-friendly services

Public facilities and government departments are fast adopting Artificial Intelligence to provide better services for People of Determination.Experts from various government and private entities participated in a Majlis hosted by the Dubai Youth Council as part of the Knowledge Hub during the recently concluded AccessAbilities Expo said, AI is playing a major role in enhancing the quality of life of POD and the UAE government is taking a lead in adapting the technology.Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technology is fast transforming the scope of assistive technology and is bound to change how governments and organisations develop services and applications for people with disabilities, experts said.Ahmad al Aktari from the Community Development Authority said AI experts have been helping various departments and organisations to develop services and solutions to people with determination.A representative from Dubai Municipality said they, in association with CDA, are working with all government departments to enable smart building features to assist PODs."Be it government facilities, shopping centres, airports, police stations and all facilities accessible to the general public, we have made sure that the buildings follow the best practices and guidelines," he said.“AccessAbilities Expo, organised by Nadd Al Shiba PR & Event Management, has emerged as one of the biggest such events in the MENA region, bringing together various technology and solution providers under one roof. "It has created a platform for interaction especially among the decision makers and youth from both the private and public sector, thereby contributing to policy related discussions and enhancement of the overall life of people with disabilities," said Salem Saqur Al Marri, Member, Dubai Youth Council.The discussions also centered around the role in AI in visual communication and sign language, advancements in Natural Language Processing, voice recognition, voice to braille conversion, applications and services developed using artificial intelligence and how they are impacting assistive technology. Discussions were also held on how technologies such as machine learning are able to change the way solutions can be delivered to people with disabilities with little human intervention.Representatives from major government departments explained the ongoing works within their departments and explored how AI could further help improvise the solutions they offer."Technology has had a defining impact on policing and law enforcement. It has also helped us advance the services that we offer to the residents, especially to those who need our special attention," said Abdulla Al Shamsi from Dubai Police.The barrier of communication has been broken using technology. Traditional services like where PODs press a button to activate an alarm are giving way to sensor technology leading to smart track, smart readers and even smart police stations. "Today PODs can do a video conference with a police officer. To help people with speech and hearing impairment, we use sign language and camera and AI to interpret the sign language and face recognition and produce a transcript on the screen," he said adding that smart police stations can offer 24/7 services with little human intervention."AI technology is nascent but emerging fast. There are advancements in the development of artificial limbs. NLP has gained newer capability where they are able to more precisely decipher an image," said Al Marri. Explaining the potential of tourists with determination, a representative of Dubai Airports said the emirate is being positioned as a hub for tourists with disabilities."We are leveraging the power of AI to advance many of the services and facilities. We are developing software and applications that can identify POD right when they are disembarking from the aircraft and entering the facility and direct them to all available services," he said.Rafik Gerges, Data Security Officer with Microsoft, said the company is involved in teaching coding and programing to people with hearing disabilities and people with dyslexia. "We are teaching them how to build computer games and share with friends. We are also teaching them programing skills and problem-solving skills, thereby raising their confidence level. We are getting feedback from many of the students who want to be engineers or game developers,” he said.Microsoft has also been enabling various service providers across the globe to integrate AI in providing better services to PODs."We are collaborating with Moovit, a mobility as a service provider to integrate AI to build maps customised for wheelchair users. There are about 350,000 users in the region who will be able to use this service," he said.In another example he said Vimbi, a technology firm in India with the help of Microsoft AI has developed a software that can read any printed book and convert it into braille. This has directly benefitted more than 100,000 students.Microsoft is also working with another tech firm in Illinois in the United States which is using AI models and training them to understand the way people with Down syndrome speak and translate into text. "This becomes helpful when they talk on zoom or other special applications," he said.The event also explored developments of robots that can cater to the needs of individuals with customised solutions and their ability to perform routine tasks. "We already have robots that can be used as personal assistants to people with disabilities. However, within the next two years, we will be able to introduce advanced features which will enable the machines capable enough to auto learn from its interaction with PODs and acquire advanced knowledge, said Ali Riza Abdul Gafoor, Chairman and CEO, Aliriza Group, UAE.

Second edition of META film fest unveils impressive line-up

META Film Fest, the four-day international motion picture gala, is back for its eagerly awaited second edition, set to take place at VOX Cinemas, Wafi City, from November 9-12. The festival promises to be a celebration of world cinema with an impressive lineup of films, an esteemed international jury, and a host of special events tailored for film enthusiasts.The festival will showcase 95 films from 32 countries, with 29 films as special festival premieres, while the remaining 66 films will compete for various prizes in categories of Feature, Short, Documentary and Student films. What is noteworthy is the increase of Arabic titles in the festival this year, with 30 Arabic films included within the festival lineup.Notable full Feature Films entries include the Turkish film Black Night, directed by Özcan Alper, Bodyguard from Kazakhstan and directed by Akan Satayev, and the French film Our Ties, directed by Roschdy Zem. Snow and the Bear, the Turkish film whose lead Merve Dizdar who won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival, is another stand-out. A variety of these films will be having their official world premiere at the META Film Fest. Two Arabic titles from Kuwait, Akh with its world premiere and How I Got There with its UAE premiere, are among the surprise masterpieces in the Feature film competition category. Additionally, the full Feature Film category also includes films such as Sons of Ramses, a French film directed by Clement Cogitore, NO END, a Persian film directed by Nader Saeivar, JANANAM 1947 PRANAYAM THUDARUNNU, a Malayalam film directed by Abijith Asokan will also be having their world premiere at META Film Fest.The Persian feature film Endless Borders, directed by Abbas Amini and notably won awards such as International Film Festival Rotterdam and Hamburg International Film Festival amongst others will be the opening film this year. While the Spanish feature film Virginal Pink, directed by Dennis Smith, and starring the Argentinian superstar Juana Viale who will be visiting Dubai for the first time along with her cast and crew, will have its World Premiere at the festival, and will be the closing film at the META Film Fest.Additionally, Winners, the UK’s official entry to the Oscars in 2023 will also participate in the competition. Director Hassan Nazer and actor Reza Naji will both attend the screening.META Film Fest will also see over 25 Short Films, with entries such as Fatih the Conqueror, the Turkish film directed by Onur Yagiz, Beneath a Mother’s Feet, a Arabic film directed by Hassan Saeed, And Me, I’m Dancing Too, a Persian film directed by Mohammad Valizadegan and Palestine 87 competing for tangible recognition.In a diverse arrange of films screened, approximately 15 Documentary Films will be in competition including: Dear Memories, a German film directed by Nahuel Lopez, Earthbound: Nzambi Matee, a Japanese film directed by Farhoud Meybodi which will be screened in English and Swahili,META Film Fest will also include a Student category for passionate young tale to showcase their skills. The festival’s Student Projects category will see six compelling films competing for an award, with Alaikal, a Malayalam short produced by Dream6 and exploring themes of nostalgia, friendship, love, and companionship, one of the hot favourites, alongside titles such as as Desert Slam directed by Joshua Canlas Ponseca, The Son of a Lost Father directed by Sadeq Al, So Cool and more.In addition to the competition screenings, META Film Fest will host special premieres of notable films, including May December and Seven Winters in Tehran, the former of which is directed by Todd Haynes, written by Samy Burch and Alex Mechanik, and tells the story of a married couple grappling with the arrival of an actress researching their past tabloid romance and stars Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival.Another highlight of the event is the Indian Film Festival, which will see the likes of Holy Conspiracy, a Bengali film that adapts the American play Inherit the Wind, among the nominated films. Featuring Indian celebrity couple Naseeruddin Shah and Ratna Pathak Shah, both are set to attend a screening of the film during the festival. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, a 2000 Indian English-Hindi bilingual feature film directed by Jabbar Patel, will also be screened. The movie, starring South Indian actor Mammootty, saw him win a National Film Award in India for Best Actor.Another film set to premiere during the festival is Syndrome, directed by Anton Bormatov and exploring the unsettling consequences of a car accident. It stars Oksana Akinshina and Kirill Käro.META Film Fest is bringing a total of 14 world premieres, offering audiences exclusive first views of cutting-edge global cinema. Additionally, the festival features 28 regional premieres, introducing captivating films previously unseen in the Middle East. Emphasizing local talent, there are 38 UAE premieres, and a spotlight on regional stories with 30 Arabic films. This diverse selection ensures a rich cinematic experience, making META Film Fest a vibrant hub for film enthusiasts.META Film Fest is not just about films; it also offers an array of engaging panels, workshops, and masterclasses. Attendees can look forward to a ‘Women in Cinema’ panel discussion featuring prominent industry figures, ‘Expat Connections: Exploring Cultural Intersection in UAE Cinema’, and a one-on-one interview with renowned Pakistani actress Sajal Aly.For those interested in the technical side of the industry, the festival is offering a masterclass on ‘AI in the Film Industry’ led by Pooyan Sedghi. Nancy Paton, Desert Rose Films and President of WIFTGCC will lead a masterclass on the business and the legal side of movie production. Meanwhile, a masterclass to introduce cinema to children and youths led by Fateme Fereydoun, an acting masterclass by Valeria Tsvietok, and a director’s masterclass by Indian luminary Adoor Gopalakrishnan will also be held.

Akshay Kumar's 'Mission Raniganj' Misses the Mark of Kaala Patthar

Released with almost zilch promotion, Mission Raniganj appears to be a neglected project of Akshay Kumar, which the superstar hasn't pined much hopes on. If my guess is indeed true, that's quite sad as the film has an inspiring true story to tell!! Narrating the 1989 Raniganj coal mine incident in which braveheart Jaswant Singh Gill, a dedicated mining engineer, saved sixty five miners of Coal India trapped after a flood wroke havoc in the colliery; the film was initially called Capsule Gill (which became Jaswant Singh's popular name after this heroic feat). Gill won the Bravery award from the President of India for his incredible act of valour. It is really thoughtful of Bollywood to make a full fledged movie on him. Kudos to that!! Akshay Kumar as Jaswant Singh Gill, is earnest enough to make you root for him right till the end. The strong supporting cast comprising Kumud Mishra, Ravi Kishen, Pavan Malhotra, etc pitch in reliably assured performances. Dibyendu Bhattacharya is also memorable as the wicked Coal India senior officer with a sinister agenda. On the other hand, Parineeti Chopra playing Akshay's wife, is shortchanged with exactly four scenes. In fact, a street dog gets more prominence than her in the movie. Bow wow, dunno how!! All seen and endured, Mission Raniganj reminded me of Yash Chopra’s infinitely superior Kaala Patthar (1979), which had a similar plot of near impossible rescue operation in a coal mine. That film was inspired by another such tragedy at Chasnala in the '70s. Technically, Kaala Patthar, made forty years ago, is way ahead of Mission Raniganj. The flooding sequence in Raniganj looks ridiculously fake. The two songs are not worth a hum. And more importantly, the movie length appears tad stretched even at just about two hours fifteen minutes. Ho hum!! To sum up short and quick, Mission Raniganj has its heart and intent in the right place but its tepid execution makes it look like a 'sasta' Kaala Patthar. Risk it if you wish!! Ratings on some key aspects* : 1. Acting : 3.5/5 2. Direction : 3/53. Music : 2/5 4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 2.5/55. Cinematography : 3.5/56. Editing : 3/5 7. Costume Design : 3/58. Special Effects and VFX : 1.5/59. Action : 2/510. Production Quality : 3/5 #SNRating for #MissionRaniganj : 2 & 1/2 stars out of 5. - Sumeet Nadkarni Liked the review? Click on the link below and like the #SNRatings page to subscribe to honest and unbiased reviews of all latest movies : You can also follow us on Twitter handle : @sumu76in * - The overall film rating is not a simple average of all ratings on key aspects but a weighted average of the ratings where some crucial aspects (like direction, acting, story and screenplay etc) are assigned more weightage than others. #MissionRaniganj #DisasterMovie #HindiMovie #BollywoodFilm #AkshayKumar #ParineetiChopra #RaviKishen #KumudMishra #KaalaPatthar #BollywoodReview #Filmreview #TheatricalRelease #OTTRelease #Netflix #SNRatings #SNRatings barometer:1 star = Poor1 & 1/2 star = Below average/ Avoidable2 stars = Average2 & 1/2 stars = Above average/ Risk it3 stars = Good enough/ Endurable3 & 1/2 stars = Definitely worth a watch4 stars = Very good5 stars = Masterpiece/ Outstanding. 2023 SNRatings.

Apparel Group wins first place in five major categories at Images RetailME Award

Apparel Group, a global leader in fashion and lifestyle retail, once again demonstrated its industry dominance by securing multiple accolades at the esteemed Images RetailME Awards ceremony. This recognition further establishes the group's consistent dedication to retail excellence. The Images RetailME Awards emphasize outstanding achievements across various retail sectors, setting standards for innovation and best practices in the continuously adaptive retail environment.Apparel Group proudly claimed the title of Most Admired Responsible Retailer of the Year, reflecting its unparalleled commitment to sustainability and beyond.The ceremony, organised by Images RetailME held in Address Dubai Marina on 10th October, 2023, highlighted several of Apparel Group's brands for their stellar achievements in the retail domain. The award highlights include:Apparel Group – Most Admired Responsible Retailer of the YearRituals – Most Admired Retailer of the Year – Beauty and WellnessDune London – Most Admired Retailer of the Year – Footwear & AccessoriesSteve Madden – Most Admired Retail Transformation of the YearTim Hortons – Most Admired Store Design of the Year – F&B and GroceryMr. Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group, said, “It’s an incredible honor to receive such esteemed recognitions at the Images RetailME Awards. These awards are a testament to our unwavering commitment to innovation, sustainability, and excellence in retail. Our brands have continuously pushed boundaries, and I am immensely proud of our teams for their relentless drive and passion. As we continue our journey, we are inspired to further elevate the retail experience for our consumers in the Middle East and beyond.”The grand awards evening saw several nominations, representing the best in retail from all across the region. These awards commend the remarkable accomplishments of retailers who've showcased innovation, adopting avant-garde retail concepts blended with the latest technologies and insights available globally.Conducted in conjunction with the Middle East Retail Forum (MRF), the annual IMAGES RetailME Awards stand as a revered platform celebrating the unparalleled achievements of top-tier retail organizations and brands in the Middle East.These awards, which set the benchmark in the industry, commend retailers who've showcased exceptional innovation and initiative across various channels. By implementing best business and technology practices throughout the retail value chain, these awards inspire the entire retail fraternity to aim for superiority and ongoing enhancement. This acknowledgment not only lauds the efforts of individual retailers but also motivates the entire industry to venture beyond the conventional, aiming to provide unmatched retail experiences to consumers in the Middle East.

Age of AI comes with opportunities but also responsibilities: Nokia

Dubai: Nokia Bell Labs’ Head of AI Lab Research said today the massive opportunities brought by generative AI also bring with them new responsibilities for businesses and governments.Sean Kennedy, speaking at the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI, discussed the complexities of developing AI technologies that emulate human thinking: “We are living in an age of AI, and with this comes a host of new opportunities, but it also comes with new responsibilities – we have to deliver these technologies in the most responsible way possible.”In his keynote speech, ‘Testing AI's Limits: Mimicking Human and Analytical Thinking’, Kennedy touched on real-world challenges where AI systems have faced difficulties. Such instances underscore the need for AI systems to think "outside the box" and continuously improve their decision-making processes, he said.During a fireside chat, ‘The UAE Amidst the GenAI Revolution’, Dr. Ebtesam Almazrouei, Executive Director and Acting Chief AI Researcher, Technology Innovation Institute (TII), shed light on the UAE's pioneering role in the generative AI industry and the significance of open-source models.Dr. Almazrouei shared insights into the development and impact of Falcon, an open-source Large Language Model (LLM) introduced in 2022. Falcon was designed to outperform existing models and make advanced AI technology accessible to a wider audience. Dr. Almazrouei highlighted the model's remarkable capabilities, placing it on par with industry leaders like ChatGPT and Google Bard.Dr. Almazrouei said: “Today, we are already at a global scale, and Falcon is a flagship generative AI technology around the world. Today, the UAE is in the frontier of generative AI industries.”In a panel titled ‘Can GenAI be a Catalyst for the Fourth Wave of Entrepreneurship?’, the founders of Humanism, Daniil and David Liberman, said innovation in the generative AI space will predominantly happen outside large corporations. However, collaboration with big organizations, particularly regarding capital and resources, will be essential, they said.

‘Creatives should not fear AI’, says Snapchat

Dubai: Generative AI is dismantling the barriers that have traditionally made the creative sector inaccessible to many people, rather than threatening to put artists out of jobs, according to one of Snapchat’s top executives.“Fear that AI is taking over in the creative sectors is not justified,” Georg Wolfart, Head of Public Policy, Snap Inc., told the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI today.Speaking at a panel titled ‘GenAI: Fueling Growth for Creative Clusters’, Wolfart said: “The value of generative AI lies in a combination of the human element and the AI element because uniqueness still comes from humans.”Speaking on the same panel, John Dabill, Director of Product Operations, HTC Vive, acknowledged the prevailing preference for human-generated output in the creative realm. But he said AI will democratize creativity, explaining that technology will expand opportunities for a broader demographic to join the space without needing artistic skills.While both agreed that AI has been a catalyst for growth in the creative sector, they underscored the imperative of establishing fitting regulations and enhancing transparency to ensure AI's responsible integration.Wolfart said the current “one-size-fits-all approach” to regulating AI, particularly in its early stages, is inadequate, stressing that “it should be risk-based and proportionate”.As the world rushes to embrace AI, he advised countries to “take a step back and focus on demystifying AI and consider the objectives you aim to achieve”.He added: “There is pressure due to the rapid emergence of technology, but it is important not to rush regulations too quickly.”

BTEA aims to elevate Bahrain as 2024 GCC tourism capital

The Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) is set to announce a series of groundbreaking initiatives aimed at solidifying Bahrain’s position as a premier global tourist destination. The declaration follows Bahrain’s remarkable achievement in Manama being chosen as the capital of Gulf tourism for the year 2024 during the 7th meeting of the ministers responsible for tourism in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The prestigious designation of "Manama" as the capital of Gulf tourism for 2024 is a testament to Bahrain's exceptional contributions to the growth of Gulf tourism sector. The Kingdom of Bahrain's foresight in recognizing tourism's potential as a vital sector capable of driving economic growth and ensuring sustainable development played a pivotal role in securing this honour. Bahrain is committed to nurturing a thriving and dynamically expanding tourism sector, with the aim of not only enhancing its reputation as a prominent hub for regional and international tourists but also fostering stronger tourism cooperation within the GCC region. Dr. Nasser Ali Qaedi, CEO, Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) said, "We take immense pride in this achievement in the Kingdom's tourism sector, which stands as a testament to a series of successful tourism endeavors at local, regional, and international levels. The Kingdom has positioned the tourism sector at the forefront of its developmental agenda. This strategic position acknowledges the sector's pivotal role in driving sustainable development. Under this vision, substantial investments have been channeled into expanding tourism infrastructure, refining tourism services, and establishing high-quality facilities. These endeavors are aimed at attracting a greater influx of tourists worldwide.” Dr. Qaedi added, "Collaborating closely with its public and private sector partners, BTEA persistently crafts success stories, aiming to fulfill the ambitious tourism goals outlined in the 2022-2026 strategy. This intensive effort has transformed Bahrain into a beacon of adaptability, diversity, and consistent tourism growth within a remarkably brief timeframe. This achievement was evident last year when the Kingdom welcomed approximately 10 million tourists, surpassing the targeted numbers by an impressive 20%. We assure our GCC visitors of an exceptional tourism year ahead. Anticipate the launch of several high-quality tourism initiatives and an array of exclusive travel packages tailored for GCC citizens and residents; these offerings are meticulously designed to attract a broader audience, enhancing tourism appeal across all sectors." The Kingdom of Bahrain has always been a gem of the Arabian Gulf, offering a blend of rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty. With this recent recognition, Bahrain aims to draw the attention of tourists from around the world and to embark on a journey filled with unique experiences, warm hospitality, and unforgettable memories.

CMOs defy odds with many reporting optimism: GfK study

Dubai: Despite chronic crises, marketing executives are looking positive into the future: They feel confident about what is to come, tend to invest in long-term brand building activities, and have few troubles securing their budgets. Data from the new GfK CMO Outlook Report shows how adept marketing leaders are with new technology like AI and real-time insights. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows: the report also illuminates a huge gap between marketer’s and consumer’s expectations in terms of sustainability.Given current economic uncertainties, it would be tempting for marketers to focus on short-term marketing activities that yield immediate results while slashing long-term investments. While these tactics may temporarily improve balance sheets, building and nourishing a strong brand tends to pay off more in the long run. Experience shows that a strong brand reduces customer acquisition costs, improves customer retention rates, makes for more impactful product launches, and may protect margins even in times of inflation.Fortunately, marketing leaders worldwide have got the memo. GfK's new CMO Outlook Report Data, Decisions, and Optimism: How CMOs are driving change in an evolving world shows that despite ongoing crises, over two-thirds of marketing decision-makers worldwide (70 percent) are investing more than half of their budgets in long-term initiatives, e. g. campaigns focused on strengthening the brand. Among CMOs, this proportion rises to 78 percent.Industry-wise, marketing leaders in consumer tech (76 percent), automotive (76 percent), and retail (74 percent) are zeroing in on long-term brand-building strategies. B2B brands are more willing to make long-term investments. Longer conversion cycles and smaller customer bases probably play a role.Despite crises marketing leaders are optimistic about the futureOverall, 61 percent of marketing decision-makers worldwide believe that their industry has been hit harder than others by the ongoing turbulences of recent years. However, there are regional differences: 66 percent of marketing decision-makers in Europe and 65 percent in North America feel particularly affected by the economic situation. In Africa and the Middle East, only 52 percent agree with this statement, and 55 percent in the Asia-Pacific region.Despite this, CMOs remain remarkably confident: Almost three-quarters state that their company has grown in the last three years and 78 percent say that they are optimistic about the future. These optimistic marketing leaders are more focused on long-term brand building (77 percent), suggesting a link between optimism and long-term investment. Most marketing leaders also show impressive confidence in their budgets. Nearly two-thirds overall say they find it easy to justify their financial needs, particularly in North America and Europe. Especially optimistic marketing decision-makers say they have no problems funding marketing expenditures.Which region’s CMOs are the frontrunners of real-time insights?Data analytics and customer insights are more important than ever for improving marketing campaigns. 61 percent of global marketing leaders state that they receive actionable insights either immediately after data gathering or short of real-time, but still fast. Only 3 percent claim that generating insights takes too long to be useful at all. Larger companies seem to have an advantage: the bigger the company, the higher the proportion of insights generated in real-time.Europe leads the way with 33 percent of marketers answering they receive insights in real-time, versus the global average of 26 percent. The score is lowest in Africa/Middle East, where only 19 percent claim to have access to real-time insights. Data integration is the main obstacle for achieving real-time insights, as stated by one-third of global marketers. Overall, 44 percent of the survey’s respondents want to improve their capabilities in generating actionable insights, while 42 percent aim at improving data integration in their companies.“In recent years, market disruptions have shown us just how quickly buyer behavior can pivot, highlighting the need for real-time predictive data. The businesses that thrive in this environment will be those that can anticipate what’s coming next,” predicts Gonzalo Garcia Villanueva, CMO at NielsenIQ/GfK. “It is notable that marketing leaders across regions who say that their company has grown in the last three years and are optimistic get their insights faster than others. This indicates that successful companies are more digitalized and prioritize real-time insights for marketing.”Next to real-time insights, AI is transforming the way many marketers work. Almost half of marketing leaders worldwide (45 percent) say they are already using AI, while 40 percent are familiar with, or using, Machine Learning models. The uptake of ChatGPT has been rapid, with 36 percent of respondents already using it by March 2023 - despite it being in the market for less than a year. Marketers working in the biggest enterprises are those most familiar with such technology and much more likely to be early adopters than those in smaller firms.Are marketers failing their audience in terms of sustainability?After a summer marked by extreme weather events, sustainability is squarely on the CMO agenda, with 42 percent stating that sustainability and environmental protection are important parts of their brand. The number is especially high in Africa/Middle East (56 percent) and Asia Pacific (46 percent).However, there seems to be a gap in how marketers perceive their audience: Only 30 percent of the survey respondents feel that their customers expect them to address sustainability. On the other hand, the global long-term GfK Consumer Life study finds that most consumers (73 percent) expect companies to take environmentally responsible actions. This is a huge perception gap. One factor might be that companies tend to see sustainability as a corporate initiative rather than a marketing one. At least 24 percent of global marketers agree, especially among North American companies.Overall, marketers need to keep in mind that any engagement for the environment and the climate must be authentic and long-term to be credible for the consumers.New GfK CMO Outlook Report publishedDespite ongoing macroeconomic and geopolitical turbulences, CMOs are optimistic about the future and look forward to maximizing several exciting opportunities for growth in the current marketing climate. Read more about how to do it the new GfK Outlook Report “Data, Decisions, and Optimism: How CMOs are driving change in an evolving world”.

Smartphone Owners Are Now The Global Majority, New GSMA Report Reveals

London: Over half (54%) of the global population – some 4.3 billion people – now owns a smartphone, according to the GSMA’s annual State of Mobile Internet Connectivity Report 2023 (SOMIC) published today.Smartphone owners are much more likely to be aware of, and adopt, mobile internet services, as well as use it more frequently and for a wider variety of tasks. For example, of the 4.6 billion people now using mobile internet, almost 4 billion do so using a smartphone, representing just under half (49%) of the world’s population. Meanwhile, 600 million people – 8% of the global population – are accessing the internet using a feature phone.For the first time, the SOMIC 2023 report, breaks down mobile internet connections by device type, revealing significant regional variations. The global expansion of 4G and 5G networks has paved the way for over two-thirds (69%) of smartphone owners accessing mobile broadband to be doing so on a 4G-enabled device, while 17% are doing so on a 5G-enabled device – driven largely by mature markets such as North America and East Asia & Pacific. Meanwhile, 69% of smartphones used to access mobile internet in Sub-Saharan Africa, and 33% in the Middle East and North Africa, are still only 3G-capable, meaning 2G and 3G networks remain an important source of coverage for millions of users in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).The GSMA’s sixth annual SOMIC report, published ahead of MWC Kigali 2023, analyses the latest trends in global connectivity since 2015, provides insights into mobile internet usage and barriers to adoption in LMICs, and outlines the key challenges that must be addressed to ensure everyone can connect to the internet.Spotlight on the usage gap and the digital divideWhile more people are using mobile internet than ever before – 57% of the global population – 3.4 billion people remain unconnected. The majority of those who are not using mobile internet live in areas covered by a mobile broadband network – the usage gap. This usage gap has fallen slightly from 40% of the global population in 2021 to 38% in 2022 – representing 3 billion people – but remains substantial. By comparison only 5% of those not using mobile internet live in areas without mobile broadband coverage – the coverage gap.Regional discrepancies and a digital divide persist; for example, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia represent the regions with the least connected populations and where the usage gaps are 59% and 52% respectively. In LMICs, adults in rural areas are still 29% less likely to use mobile internet than those in urban areas, while women are 19% less likely to use mobile internet than men.In addition, the report reveals that two-thirds of the individuals who live within areas covered by a mobile broadband network but who are not using mobile internet do not own a mobile phone, highlighting the importance of tackling issues such as handset affordability. However, even where people do own smartphones, many are still unable to use them due to barriers such as digital skills and literacy, safety and security concerns, accessibility of enablers or services, and the availability of relevant content in local languages.The remaining third of the usage gap, representing 950 million people, consists of users who own or have access to a smartphone (350 million) or basic or feature phone (600 million), but are only using basic services like voice or SMS. Smartphone owners should, in theory, face fewer barriers to accessing the internet, given they already have a device, is often a primary barrier to using the internet.Other key findingsWhile 200 million people began using mobile internet in 2022, the growth rate at which people are adopting it has slowed in the last year, falling from 300 million in 2021 and 2020.Only 25% of the population in the world’s least developed countries use mobile internet, compared to 52% across LMICs and 85% across high-income countries.Mobile broadband coverage has remained relatively unchanged, with 95% of the global population living within the footprint of a mobile broadband network.5% of the world’s population is still not covered by mobile broadband, representing almost 400 million people.Connectivity varies significantly between and within regions and countries, with 95% of the unconnected living in LMICs.For the first time, all regions now have average download speeds of at least 10Mbps, while the global average download speed increased from 27Mbps to 34Mbps.Breaking barriers to ensure no one is left unconnectedMobile internet connectivity delivers significant social and economic benefits to both individuals and society, helping to improve wellbeing, increase household consumption and positively impact GDP.In recent years, efforts have been made to break down the barriers to the usage gap, while striving for digital inclusion, recognising its transformative potential for societies. While there have been notable achievements and mobile internet adoption continues to grow, the SOMIC report shows progress is slowing and that increased action is required to ensure everybody can access mobile internet.To this end, the GSMA is calling for a greater collaborative effort from all stakeholders, including government, policymakers and the mobile ecosystem, to break the barriers to the digital divide, provide coverage for those living in areas without mobile broadband and overcome barriers to usage. Actions must be informed by an understanding of the usage gap, the needs of individuals not yet using mobile internet, the barriers they face, and the opportunities to address them.Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, said: “Mobile is the primary – and, in most cases, only – way that most people in low- and middle-income countries access the internet. The fact that the growth rate at which people are adopting mobile internet has slowed is worrying. Lack of connectivity will deprive billions of people of access to vital services and revenue-generating opportunities – likely impacting poorer, less educated, rural and female users disproportionately. As the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and rise in climate-related emergencies affects these groups further, there is an urgent need to accelerate digital inclusion and break down the barriers to stop the digital divide from widening further.”

Arab Youth Say Social Media Addiction is leading to decline in Mental Wellbeing

Dubai: While the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has among the highest levels of per capita adoption of social media networks globally, a majority of Arab youth say they are struggling to disconnect, and that social media addiction is negatively impacting their mental health.These are some of the key findings under the theme, ‘My Lifestyle,’ of the 15th annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, the most comprehensive study of its kind of the Arab world’s largest demographic, its over 200 million youth, conducted by ASDA’A BCW, MENA’s leading communications consultancy.With 77% internet penetration – higher than the global average of 65% – users in MENA have an average 8.4 social media accounts, each spending over 3.5 hours on them. Saudi Arabia is the biggest user of YouTube worldwide, where 68% of the users consume more video digitally than on TV. The top 5 countries by reach for TikTok are in the MENA (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and Iraq) while Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt are among the Top 15 largest national markets for SnapChat.With such significant social media usage, it is not surprising that in this year’s survey nearly three-fourths (74%) of young Arabs said they are struggling to disconnect from social media. Additionally, about two-thirds (61%) agreed that social media addiction negatively impacts their mental health.The findings of the survey were launched at a special event organised by blinx, the new digital media hub focused on youth in the Middle East, to mark the World Mental Health Day (October 10). Sunil John, President, MENA, BCW and Founder of ASDA’A BCW, and Nakhle Elhage, General Manager of blinx, discussed the findings and their impact on the Arab world’s changing media and digital landscape.Seeking fame as social media influencersAsked which social channels are most important to them, 18% said of the respondents said Facebook, followed by Instagram (17%), WhatsApp (16%), YouTube (13%), TikTok (12%), SnapChat (11%), X/Twitter (8%) and LinkedIn (4%).But most Arab youth (92%) also said big tech companies such as Meta, Apple, Netflix and Google have ‘too much power’ – a sentiment shared by young people in all three regions covered – the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, North Africa and Levant. Similarly, an overwhelming majority (92%) said social media companies need to do more to stop disinformation on their sites. Despite their struggle to disconnect, many young Arabs are swayed by the prospect of fame via social media, reflecting their ‘soft career’ choices rather than pursue challenging jobs in technology, medicine or engineering.Asked which field they would want to achieve fame, the highest percentage (13%) of Arab youth said they would rather be famous as ‘a social media influencer.’ The respondents had the option of naming multiple fields from over 30 options including careers in industry, education, business, healthcare, tourism, and others.To be known as chefs, food critics or food bloggers was equally popular (12%) while 11% each said they would like to be known for their humanitarian work or for their contribution to technology. 10% young Arabs said they would like to be famous in the fashion sector as designers or models. Careers in education and in sports appeal to 9% each, while only 8% said they would prefer to be famous in business as entrepreneurs/CEOs.However, there are regional disparities: In the GCC, technology, engineering, and culinary arts were named as the top three choices (10% each), while 17% of youth in North African nations seek fame as social media influencers, followed by 15% naming charity work and 12% wanting to explore culinary arts. In the Levantine nations, the top preference is for technology and culinary arts (13% each) followed by 12% wanting to achieve fame as influencers.Although social media dominates the lives of Arab youth, when asked what defines their lifestyle, more than half (58%) said ‘eating out’ followed by 57% saying ‘hanging out with friends’. Wearing fashionable brands was named by 42% while over a third (36%) said ‘holidaying in new destinations.’ Nearly a third (31%) said ‘going to the movies’ reflects their lifestyle, and almost as many (30%) said ‘driving a sports car.’Social media as top source of newsNearly two-thirds (61%) of the respondents said they get their news from social media, but this is a significant drop from 2019 when almost 80% of young Arabs surveyed said they get their news from social channels. Television, however, continues to be the second most preferred source of news – named by nearly half of young Arabs (45%).A perceptible trend is the rise of online portals as a source of news for young Arabs. In 2019, over a third (38%) named online portals as their primary source of news; this has increased to 42% in 2023, also marking a 10% increase over 2022. Print dailies continue to see a steady decline, named by less than one in 10 (9%).However, television is the most trusted source of news for young Arabs – named by 89% followed by online news portals (79%) and print dailies (76%). Social media influencers are not as trusted with 42% saying they are ‘not trustworthy’.Announcing the findings, Sunil John, said: “The lifestyles of the region’s youth are increasingly defined by their social media addiction, and even when they agree they struggle to disconnect, many favour seeking fame by choosing to be social media influencers. The overt dependence on social media appears to have left many young people living in a bubble, unaware of the socioeconomic realities. With the highest levels of youth unemployment in the world, it is important for the MENA region to channel the energies of these young men and women into vocational training and quality education for the jobs of the future.”John added that the concern raised by Arab youth about the impact of social networks on mental health is especially significant. “A digital-savvy youth population is an asset for any nation, but their mental well-being must be given top priority by encouraging them to live a fuller social life in the real world.”Arab Youth Media Consumption Habits, Preferences… and blinx“In the face of intriguing revelations by the ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey, blinx, with its sharp focus on Gen Z and Millennials across the Middle East, finds these insights particularly enlightening,” said Nakhle Elhage, blinx General Manager.“Our purpose is to inspire the youth through honest, genuine, and spectacular storytelling while harnessing the collective power of resources, tech, and expertise, so that storytelling always feels fresh, exciting, credible, believable, trusted and relevant to today’s Youth,” Elhage added.“As we learn more about Arab youth media consumption habits and preferences from the recent survey findings, we, at blinx, are committed to keeping it real and genuine, away from fake news, misinformation, and disinformation. Whenever tackling sensitive issues, blinx does it without exaggeration, distortion, or sensationalism,” Elhage explained.“Boasting a mission to deliver authentic and genuine narratives, blinx is committed to producing diverse, inclusive, and culturally relevant content that resonates with audiences, on a deeper level – truly embodying our motto: ‘More Story. Less Noise,’” concluded Elhage.ASDA’A BCW commissioned SixthFactor Consulting, a leading research company, to conduct the 15th edition of the Arab Youth Survey. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with 3,600 Arab citizens aged 18 to 24 in 53 cities across 18 Arab states, the largest sample in the survey’s history. The interviews were conducted in person rather than online to maximise accuracy and to reflect the nuances of Arab youth opinion across the region as much as possible.The overarching theme of the 2023 ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey is ‘Living a New Reality’. Findings on five themes, ‘My Global Citizenship’, ‘My Politics’, ‘My Livelihood’, ‘My Identity’ and ‘My Aspirations’ were launched earlier. All the published findings are freely available with expert commentaries at

U.S. vs. Google: Highlights from the Ongoing Antitrust Case

The legal battle between the U.S. government and Google is approaching its halfway point as allegations of antitrust violations are being scrutinized. Here are five significant takeaways from the ongoing trial:Google's Multi-Billion Dollar Payments for Search Dominance: Witnesses from companies like Verizon, Samsung, and Google itself revealed that Google pays around $10 billion annually to ensure its search engine remains the default on smartphones and web browsers. Critics argue these practices harm competition, with privacy-focused search engines like DuckDuckGo and Neeva citing adverse effects. Neeva, one such competitor, ceased operations earlier this year. Google's executive, James Kolotouros, testified that these agreements granted Google exclusive search privileges and that the company closely monitored compliance.Impact of Google's Search Dominance on Ad Prices: Google's executive, Adam Juda, explained the role of a formula in determining Long Term Value (LTV) and ad quality, affecting which advertiser wins the split-second ad auction. Advertisers are not informed of their LTV, and Google uses "tunings" to adjust ad prices. Testimony by Joshua Lowcock, global chief media officer for UM Worldwide, highlighted Google's dominance in the market for search-related ads, leading to increased ad prices over the last decade. In 2020, Google generated over $100 billion from search ads, as acknowledged by Jerry Dischler, Google's vice president and general manager of ads.Search Queries as an AI Advantage: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized the importance of access to search queries on a massive scale, similar to Google's, for improving search engines and dominating artificial intelligence. Nadella pointed out that enhancing AI relies on sufficient computing power, including servers, and large volumes of data to train software.Google's Defense Argument 1: Quality Trumps Antitrust Allegations: Google has countered the government's claims by asserting its search engine's immense popularity is primarily due to its quality. Google argues that dissatisfied users can readily switch to alternatives. Apple's senior vice president of services, Eddie Cue, praised Google's search engine quality and confirmed discussions with Microsoft and DuckDuckGo. However, he deemed these alternatives inadequate during questioning.Google's Defense Argument 2: Default Status Doesn't Guarantee User Loyalty: Google contends that despite paying billions each year to be the default search engine on Apple and Android devices, this status does not guarantee user loyalty. Google's lead lawyer, John Schmidtlein, cited instances where Microsoft's default status on certain devices eventually led users to bypass Bing and conduct most of their searches on Google.The trial, which commenced on September 12, is expected to continue until mid-November, with the U.S. Justice Department scrutinizing Google's tactics in online search and advertising. The central question revolves around whether Google violated antitrust laws in dominating these sectors.

Injeel Moti: Leading success with Catch Communications and Catch Academy

Catch Communications is a new-age media agency known for providing customized communication solutions that deliver quick, impactful, and effective results for businesses. Injeel Moti, the driving force behind Catch Communication and Academy, boasts a decade of experience in communications and brand reputation, primarily in the GCC region. Through Catch Academy, she offers training to business owners and MARCOM professionals, focusing on contemporary marketing strategies.In an exclusive interview with Adgully, Injeel Moti, Founder and Managing Director of Catch Communications & Catch Academy, shares her insights into harnessing effective marketing to support and grow businesses, brands, and concepts. She also delves into why public relations can be a strong suit for women and highlights the progress made in the MENA region in positioning women as industry leaders and accomplished professionals. Here are some excerpts:Kindly share your journey, starting as a PR professional, and leading to your role as the Founder of Catch Communications and Catch Academy?I never intended to be in PR; it happened to me. My very first job upon graduating from university was that of a content writer in a marketing firm which involved working very closely with the PR department. The role gave me exposure to the wondrous world of communications, and there has been no looking back since. I was drawn to the industry, the creativity, ideation, and ability to influence perception through story-telling was very exciting to me as a young professional and continues to be till date. Starting Catch too was a gamble, I acted on intuition and knew I had enough passion for the profession which would fuel my entrepreneurial journey.What motivated you to establish Catch Communications and Catch Academy?Catch Academy was born during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a business, we faced a significant challenge, losing 90% of our clientele overnight due to budget cuts and a reluctance to market during this difficult period. Recognizing the essential nature of marketing for our business, we conceived the concept of an academy and introduced crash courses. These courses aimed to educate people on the fundamentals of modern marketing, enabling teams to handle their marketing needs in-house. We witnessed a positive response from a diverse group, including marketing professionals, entrepreneurs, and students, all expressing keen interest in our courses.Could you provide insights into the brands that Catch Communications has collaborated with?When we launched in 2018 our core focus was the consumer space and our clientele typically was in the fashion, beauty, wellness, entertainment & hospitality space; however, over the last couple of years we have evolved and now have a corporate division too where we service brands in the finance, tech, health, and FMCG space.Can you share an example of someone who gained prominence after training at Catch Academy?One of our very first enrollers went on to set up her own independent marketing consultancy which was the primary goal for her when she signed up to the course. It is deeply gratifying to say that she was able to fulfill her dream through us.How do you see Artificial Intelligence impacting the Public Relations Industry? Is it a positive or negative influence on the PR sector?Most definitely, AI is a positive influence. I like to look at AI as a useful tool that helps PR professionals do their job quicker, better and more accurately. Ethical AI surely will become a major force in PR, as more people see its importance in creating honest and responsible communication that reaches a wide audience.Do you think the PR sector tends to attract more women, and if so, what might be the reasons behind this trend?There are a few reasons for this, but I'd like to highlight two in particular. First, effective PR often demands a high level of empathy and emotional intelligence, as professionals must comprehend and establish connections with various stakeholders. Women tend to exhibit higher levels of emotional intelligence, which can be an advantage in this field.PR also involves creating written content, press releases, and other materials that require strong writing and creative abilities. Women have historically been encouraged to develop these skills, which can be advantageous in PR roles.What's your perspective on the progress of women in the Middle East? How do you view women's empowerment in the region?In recent years, the MENA region has come a long way in positioning women as industry leaders and driven professionals, with governments and institutions introducing pioneering reforms and an increasing number of women defying boundaries and pursuing their ambitions. The communication space is no exception, In fact, women in leadership roles within the comms/PR spaces are aplenty and growing every day.What advice would you offer to individuals, both men and women, aspiring to become leaders in the PR sector?First and foremost one must have a deep passion for the space; PR isn’t your typical 9-5 job, and the evolution is constant and endless. Practical experience is invaluable in PR. Look for internships, entry-level positions, or volunteer opportunities that allow you to build your skills and develop a portfolio of work. Learning from mentors and experienced professionals is essential.

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy launches mobile application development courses

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has launched the foundational phase of the Emirati Training Academy. The state-of-the-art online training programme comes as part of the ‘Create Apps in Dubai’ initiative and is designed to equip talented UAE nationals with the knowledge and skills required to build a successful career in mobile application development.The self-paced courses build on the programme’s initial phase, which was launched in August, to provide a comprehensive learning journey with two distinct tracks focusing on Android and iOS app development. Participants can opt to complete one or both tracks, and those who successfully complete this phase of the programme will have the opportunity to apply for a course that leads to a globally recognised nanodegree certificate.Saeed Al Gergawi, Vice President of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, commented: “We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the Emirati Training Academy. Building on this success, the upcoming foundational phase of the programme will deliver an engaging in-depth curriculum on designing and developing apps.”Al Gergawi added: “The Emirati Training Academy comes as part of the 'Create Apps in Dubai' initiative and advances the emirate’s forward-thinking vision to transform Dubai into a leading player in the global digital sector. We recognise the importance of embracing future opportunities and believe this world-class training offering will enable us to build an experienced and highly qualified cadre of Emirati coders and app developers, positioning Dubai as one of the world’s most agile and diversified technology-enabled digital hubs.”The programme’s foundational phase will focus on equipping participants with the technical, user experience, and user interface skills required to successfully develop mobile applications. In addition to Android and iOS app design methodologies, the comprehensive curriculum features specialised courses on app marketing and monetisation, rapid prototyping, and introductions to key programming languages. Participants in the Emirati Training Academy will be guided through workshops delivered by expert Emirati tutors to ultimately help transform their skills and ideas into businesses.The programme aims to create well-rounded developers equipped with a deep understanding of the market and the needs of users, preparing them for the real-world challenges of the app development landscape. Learners will not only develop the skills necessary to become Android and iOS developers, but also cultivate capabilities that will significantly enhance their career prospects within the broader technology sector. Available exclusively to UAE nationals of all ages and from any of the seven emirates, the Emirati Training Academy is designed to educate and upskill Emiratis with the goal of enabling participants to start their own business ventures. Launched earlier this year by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, ‘Create Apps in Dubai’ is designed to empower and enable Emirati talents to play key roles in realising the country’s digital vision.Led by Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, ‘Create Apps in Dubai’ seeks to train over 1,000 Emiratis on the fundamentals of coding, building mobile applications, and business creation models. The initiative aims to triple the number of app developers in Dubai by 2025 and will support 100 new national projects for the development of cutting-edge applications, which will be made available in digital app stores over the coming two years.

Sharjah Media City participates in MIPCOM 2023

Sharjah Media City ‘Shams’ announced its participation at the upcoming International Television and Entertainment Content Exhibition (MIPCOM 2023), to be held in Cannes, France between October 16th to 19th, 2023.‘Shams’s delegation joins the largest global gathering for the television and entertainment production market, with the aim of attracting significant projects to Sharjah. The focus will be to showcase Sharjah's journey and achievements in the creation and development of media content, highlighting current and future successful projects.Rashid Abdullah Al Obad, Managing Director of Sharjah Media City ‘Shams’, stated, "We are delighted to participate in MIPCOM 2023 to shed light on Sharjah's media efforts. Our goal is to attract projects to the Emirate by highlighting advantages of our company licensure and office spaces, along with our outstanding production services, future studios, wide range of media companies, content distributors and highly skilled workforce, all of which streamline the production process under one roof."He added, "Our participation is in line with ‘Shams’ vision to present and support successful and advanced media content. It is an opportunity to engage with the world's leading companies specialised in the media, television and entertainment content industry and establishing strategic relationships, thereby enhancing cooperation opportunities and discovering new projects in Sharjah."‘Shams’ aims to support unique creative industries capable of driving progress and enhancing community well-being, ultimately boosting the economic performance and competitiveness of the Emirate of Sharjah.MIPCOM 2023 brings together a selection of the largest companies across various media fields, specialising in the production of various content such as films, series, and programs. The exhibition provides a comprehensive platform for showcasing, buying and selling, in addition to facilitating international partnerships, contracts, and deals in the production and business development sector. Participants have the opportunity to explore and finance production projects, and develop media content, television and entertainment programs.???

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts Unveils a Distinctive Global Brand Evolution

 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, the world's first and largest international luxury hotel brand, is embarking on an exciting new chapter with the launch of an extensive global brand evolution announced today.As part of IHG Hotels & Resorts' luxury and lifestyle portfolio, InterContinental is set to yet again reimagine the luxury travel experience, striking a harmonious balance between freedom and familiarity. This transformative journey is driven by the brand’s long held belief that travel can expand minds and connect cultures, enhanced by cutting-edge technology, innovative design, and the exceptional talents of InterContinental’s diverse team members.A FOCUS ON MODERN LUXURY TRAVELLERS AND DIVERSITYInterContinental aims to captivate the imaginations of modern luxury travellers by satisfying their desire for knowledge and culturally rich experiences. This holistic evolution includes new offerings and experiences, a fresh brand culture, unique brand differentiators, and a game-changing food and beverage and hotel design strategy tailored to the traveller of tomorrow. With InterContinental hotels in the world’s finest cities from Rome to Shanghai, and 93 new hotels and resorts in the pipeline, these concepts will shape the future of InterContinental.Tom Rowntree, Vice President of Luxury Brands at IHG Hotels and Resorts, said: “This isn't a rebrand or repositioning; rather, it's a comprehensive transformation from start to finish of InterContinental, ensuring we stay at the forefront of crafting a luxury experience for the modern luxury traveler. Collaborating with our 215 hotels worldwide, we are committed to delivering precisely what todays and tomorrows guests, owners and colleagues require.”"At its core, this brand evolution revolves around our exceptional team members globally. Alongside a new brand service platform, we're introducing a fresh brand culture and a range of programmes aimed at attracting and retaining the finest talent in the industry. Our colleague brand culture is grounded in InterContinental's core belief that travel expands the mind. We unite in diversity and wherever you are in the world, you belong at InterContinental.”INTENTIONAL FLEXIBILITY FOR MODERN LIFESTYLESModern travellers lead diverse lives, and InterContinental acknowledges the need for seamless transitions throughout their day. To address this, the brand is committed to helping guests "shape shift" through their day.New initiatives include scientifically backed food and beverage programmes aimed at helping guests reduce travel fatigue while ensuring dining options reflect differing guest needs throughout the day. All guests will also receive access to the Timeshifter, a jet lag app which enables travelers to use the latest circadian science to adjust quickly to new time zones. InterContinental is collaborating with neuroscience-based designer Isabelle Sjovall to revolutionize guestroom spaces to enhance the restorative process needed for travel fatigue and reimagine other versatile physical spaces so they can seamlessly adapt to evolving needs at different times of the day.INSIDER EXPERTISE; UNRIVALLED KNOWLEDGE OF CULTUREInterContinental Sydney InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, with properties in 60 countries, leverages its rich history as a pioneer in hospitality. The brand's colleagues serve as cultural connectors, helping guests embrace and explore cities and local neighbourhoods. The concierge, at the heart of cultural exploration, will play an even more significant role. InterContinental will develop innovative Concierge Galleries in hotel lobbies, transforming them into epicentres of unrivaled local, cultural knowledge. Going far beyond the standard concierge desk, these new outposts will more closely resemble a luxury boutique, bringing together interactive displays, library spaces and informative features, in some cases even art installations or designer pop-ups. From a design perspective, these social spaces will eschew the traditional desk in favor of a more interactive worktable allowing for more natural and engaging interactions between the guest and concierge.INCREDIBLE OCCASIONS; THE VERY BEST MOMENTS IN LIFEModern luxury travellers place great value on special moments and celebrations but finding time to plan for them can be challenging as life gets busier. Long considered the setting of countless celebrations and special moments, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts will further elevate micro-occasions for guests who wish to enjoy any number of life’s milestones, from birthdays to baby showers, through its brand-new Incredible Occasions programme.The Incredible Occasions programme will help signpost bookable spaces around the hotel, where groups of guests can enjoy privacy while celebrating memorable moments. Unlike grand settings or spacious ballrooms, each intimate space will include programming and packages, consisting of amenities and experiences, such as beautiful tablescapes, decadent candlelit dinners or private masterclasses which can be offered.Bringing together expertise, infrastructure and imagination, InterContinental will also unveil Celebration Suites across its global portfolio. These are reimagined spaces designed specifically to help guests elevate life’s most special moments, from lavish dinner parties to landmark birthdays.CULTIVATED ELEGANCE; A PORTFOLIO OF FASCINATIONInterContinental Hotels & Resorts boasts a diverse portfolio of remarkable properties catering to various travel needs and purposes. The brand evolution focuses on further elevating quality design and timeless style under the umbrella of "Cultivated Elegance."Melissa Messmer, Global Head of Design for Luxury Brands at IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “Each InterContinental hotel or resort is an experience-driven bespoke concept, tied together by our new Design Pillars that form the strength of our brand design style, Cultivated Elegance.”InterContinental's diverse style domains cater to different traveller preferences, from idyllic escapes such as InterContinental Maldives to romantic getaways at InterContinental Rome Ambasciatori Palace to unique stays at properties such as Bill Bensley-designed InterContinental Khao Yai.InterContinental Hotels & Resorts' global brand evolution embraces modernity, diversity and the desire for meaningful experiences, ensuring that guests can continue to explore the world while feeling right at home.With acquisitions and new brand launches, IHG Hotels & Resorts has become a significant player in the luxury & lifestyle segment, offering a unique portfolio that spans over 479 properties in more than 70 countries.

Du sets industry standard with 98.5% population coverage of 5G

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), has achieved 98.5% 5G population coverage across the UAE as it continues to cement its leadership in delivering cutting-edge connectivity. The milestone reaffirms du's commitment to providing customers with future-ready network experiences in alignment with the UAE’s national vision to create a smart and connected nation.In its ongoing pursuit of innovation, du has partnered with Huawei to bring the future of connectivity to households with the development of 5G Advanced (5G-A), also known as 5.5G. Their collaborative effort resulted in the unveiling of the world's first 5G-A demonstration Villa, showcasing the potential of 10.5Gbps smart home living. This immersive experience integrates advanced technologies like glass-free 3D and Extended Reality (XR), creating a more enhanced and interactive smart home environment. This partnership serves as a catalyst for future advancements, exploring new applications and paving the way for a connected ecosystem that transforms the way people live and interact with their homes.Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO at du, said: "We are proud to announce that we have achieved a 98.5% 5G population coverage across the UAE. This milestone not only showcases our commitment to providing customers with cutting-edge network experiences, but also contributes to the UAE's vision of embracing advanced digital infrastructure. As we continue to push the boundaries of innovation, our partnership with Huawei has resulted in the world's first 5G-A demonstration Villa. The project represents the possibilities of 5G Advanced technology, immersing residents in a transformative and interactive smart home environment.”As a leading digital telco, du aims to foster an ecosystem that harnesses the unique features of 5G Advanced technology, including improved connectivity, faster speeds, comprehensive IoT capabilities, and widespread coverage. In recognition of its efforts, du received the prestigious LEAD Award for "Fastest 5G FWA Experience" from SAMENA Telecommunications Council. This recognition highlights du's active contributions in advancing 5G FWA from both network and business perspectives geared towards enhancing the quality of life for UAE residents in a transformative and inclusive environment.

GuestReady appoints Shruti Arora as Managing Director, GCC

Dubai: GuestReady, the leading global hospitality & property technology company with a focus on urban short-term rental management has announced the appointment of a new Managing Director for the GCC region.Shruti Arora has been tapped to oversee all aspects of GuestReady’s GCC operations including business development, strategic partnerships, guest and owner relations, as well as to drive services and technology innovation. Based in Dubai, her primary focus will be on expanding GuestReady's footprint in key cities across the region, nurturing relations with property owners and other key stakeholders, and continuing to elevate GuestReady’s guest and host experience.A seasoned leader with a proven track record in building and scaling start-ups, Arora joins during a pivotal period of growth for GuestReady within the region, including the recent launch of a GuestReady’s Saudi Arabian office this past summer, and following a year of unprecedented growth.Arora brings a wealth of diverse expertise to her new role having held positions in fast growing e-commerce and tech businesses within the region. Her history of designing and delivering high-impact growth strategies in dynamic industries across the Middle East aligns with GuestReady’s wider vision and ambitions.GuestReady CEO, Alexander Limpert said: "We are delighted to welcome Shruti to GuestReady. Her experience in scaling technology start-ups and proven leadership skills will be instrumental in propelling GuestReady's continued growth in the GCC region. We have full confidence that under her guidance, we will continue to deliver exemplary property management services to our clients and stakeholders and offer unforgettable experiences to our guests."“As someone who gravitates towards dynamic and innovative growth sectors, I am thrilled to join GuestReady,” said Arora. “With the rise in leisure and business tourism, the short-term rental industry across the GCC is thriving. Expanding upon the strong presence and talented team that GuestReady has already established in the region, I see tremendous potential to further build and solidify our position as market leader.”Arora will be replacing long-time and outgoing GuestReady GCC Managing Director, Reem Al Khatib who, after having built the company’s regional presence from the ground-up over the past six years, will be leaving the company to pursue new endeavors.“Our Middle Eastern presence, with its solid foundation and continued growth is testament to the wonderful team that has been established and guided by Reem throughout the last six years. Her service and strong leadership has been instrumental in our success in the region, and she leaves a legacy of innovation and growth that Shruti will now build upon,” added Lampert. Along with the opening of GuestReady’s Saudi Arabia office, the company recently introduced what is believed to be a regional technology first within its innovative proprietary platform and property management system (PMS), RentalReady.RentalReady offers all-in-one functionality for managing short-term vacation rentals to both property owners and managers, while offering streamlined, convenient services and information to guests. Two new Artificial Intelligence (AI) integrations were recently introduced within RentalReady, a first within the region. These integrations enable personalized itineraries for guests across GuestReady’s global network, including cities in the region, as well as AI-powered guest communications. RentalReady is currently used by GuestReady as well as independent property managers, hosts, and their respective guests across the Middle East and worldwide. GuestReady offers a wide range of services designed to support investors and property owners every step of the way with their world-class technology, local expert advice, and end-to-end support including but not limited to property listing optimization, professional photography, 24/7 guest communication, housekeeping, maintenance, and more. By leveraging its industry-leading technology, RentalReady, and its global expertise, GuestReady ensures that property owners can maximize their rental income and deliver exceptional guest experiences.GuestReady’s GCC properties are available to book on GuestReady’s direct booking website, and via Airbnb, and For more information, visit

NEOM partners with the Korean Film Council

NEOM: NEOM Media Industries and The Korean Film Council (KOFIC) have announced an exciting strategic partnership aimed at nurturing emerging talent in the filmmaking industry.The Korean Academy of Film Arts (KAFA), South Korea's premier national film school operated by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC), a key entity dedicated to the promotion and support of the nation's film industry, is committed to delivering comprehensive training across various filmmaking disciplines to the next generation of filmmaking talent at NEOM.KOFIC (KAFA) training and development plans will be available for both aspiring and experienced film and television content creators and will prepare them to work on projects across local, regional and international levels. The partnership will offer a wide range of training disciplines, including workshops, masterclasses and programs for various roles in filmmaking, such as producers, directors, screenwriters, cinematographers, and sound designers, among others.Scheduled for Q1 2024, the inaugural program kicks off with a Directing Masterclass and Workshop, to be conducted in the Media Hub at NEOM - the largest purpose-built screen production facility in the region.Wayne Borg, Managing Director of Media Industries, Entertainment, and Culture at NEOM, said: "We are privileged to partner with The Korean Film Council to support Saudi emerging filmmaking talent set to contribute to the global film industry. This collaboration represents a significant opportunity for mutual growth and enhanced collaboration. Leveraging South Korea's remarkable achievements in the global film arena, and the invaluable insights this partnership offers, holds immense potential to raise production standards, accelerate ecosystem development, broaden international market reach, nurture talent, facilitate co-productions and usher in a new era of storytelling. This collaboration perfectly aligns with our dedication to nurturing talent as a cornerstone of our strategic vision, aiming to cultivate a diverse and highly skilled workforce."Park Ki-yong, Chair of KOFIC, said: “We are delighted to partner with NEOM in nurturing Saudi filmmakers for the future of the world cinema. KAFA’s presence in Saudi Arabia in 2024 will be our third international collaboration, in addition to KAFA in Kazakhstan in 2022 and KAFA in Vietnam in 2023, which we have initiated to share our 40 years of experience and know-how in filmmaking and training. As one of the world’s leading film agencies, KOFIC, and best film schools, KAFA, it is our responsibility to contribute to the cooperative development of the global film industry. We anticipate this collaboration to lead our two countries and film industries to much greater cooperation in the future.”Both South Korea and Saudi Arabia have seen a surge in talented young filmmakers who are making a significant impact on the international media landscape. Their fresh perspectives and diverse storytelling styles are contributing to the richness and diversity of world cinema.

Saudi Festival of Creativity unveils 10+ speaker lineup

With a little over a month to go for Saudi Arabia’s largest, most vibrant, and dynamic festival for the creative marketing industry, Motivate Media Group and TRACCS, organisers of Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, today unveiled an impressive four-day programme and exceptional speaker lineup of over 100 national and global industry strategists, innovators, and experts. The announcement was made in the presence of key representatives from Saudi Conventions & Exhibitions General Authority (SCEGA), a strategic partner, and MBC Media Solutions (MMS), a co-partner of the festival, which promises to be a groundbreaking event that celebrates and nurtures creativity in the Kingdom.Held from 13 to 16 November 2023 at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC, Athar Festival will be able to accommodate around 1,500 delegates from across the globe, including participation from some of Saudi’s top companies such as Saudi Tourism Authority, Red Sea Global, STC, Saudi Aramco, SAUDIA, HungerStation amongst others.Athar Festival will feature 12 academies for young professionals, along with CMOs and the Maheerah Women’s Programme which is open to 10 high-potential women in the creative marcomms industry. The festival will culminate with the Athar Awards Gala Dinner which will feature the Legacy Awards of the Decade and Special Awards, which will be presented to the agency, network, brand, creative leader, and marketer of the decade among others. The awards will also feature the winners of the 24-hour hack competition part of the young talent academies.Amjad Shacker, Acting CEO of SCEGA said, “Creativity and innovation are at the core of Saudi Vision 2030, and as part of our ambition and role as a facilitator of global business collaboration and partnerships, it is our responsibility to attract and support new and high potential industries. Identifying new business streams is imperative to the Kingdom’s thriving economic growth, and we believe that unlocking the full potential of the local creative industry is vital for Saudi Arabia to achieve its transformation aspirations. As a strategic partner of Athar Festival, the first and largest of its kind in the country, we are realizing our goal of truly attracting high calibre international events.”Emphasising the festival's significance in promoting creativity across various sectors, Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, said, “Athar Festival will be the largest gathering of the creative marketing industry ever staged in the Kingdom. Our main objectives are aligned with Saudi Vision 2030, focusing on enriching the local innovation, advertising, and creative ecosystem. We are thrilled to bring together the best minds and talents from all over the world, creating an environment of collaborative learning and innovation, showcasing the boundless potential of creativity as a force for business, for change, and for good."Citing the recent description of Saudi Arabia as the biggest success story of the 21st century by the Kingdom’s Crown Prince, Mohamed Al Ayed, Vice Chairman of Athar Festival and CEO of TRACCS said, “For centuries, Saudi Arabia has been the global epicentre for trade, shaping its identity with a distinctive blend of culture, commerce, and creativity. Time is rife for us to truly celebrate and recognise the power of creativity as a key accelerator and enabler of the Kingdom’s sustainable, thriving, and future-forward economy. Athar Festival is a unique platform where imagination will flourish, industry aspirations will be renewed, and new collaborations will be forged, creating infinite possibilities for Saudi Arabia and its people. I am positive that Athar Festival will leave a lasting mark on the Saudi landscape.”Ahmed Al-Sahhaf, CEO of MBC Media Solutions (MMS), added, “It is our great pleasure to be a part of Athar Festival as it brings together the region's most influential brands and individuals to foster connections and spark creativity. Athar Festival allows us to showcase our creative solutions and connect with creative individuals and make a difference. Being a part of Athar Festival is not only an exciting experience but also a testament to our commitment at MMS to push innovation and growth."Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in an engaging agenda that features a distinguished lineup of speakers who will deliver thought-provoking insights across six content themes, namely, Technology as a creative driver; Strategies that help grow brands; Inspiration and idea generation; Work culture and talent; Bringing a positive change to society; and Saudi Arabia - a thriving market for the creative community.These themes and the main lineup of activities will be divided across two primary stages which will run in parallel and feature two days of inspiring content including a series of keynotes, in-depth panel discussions, informative talks, fireside chats, and engaging and interactive workshops. The Cultivation Stage, themed 'The Impact of Strategy,' will spotlight the transformative power of strategy and technology in the creative marketing sphere. Meanwhile, the Momentum Stage, themed 'The Art of Creativity,' will delve into the realms of inspiration, culture, and talent, exploring how these elements contribute to groundbreaking creativity.The festival promises to showcase a diverse lineup of speakers to learn from, including creative business leaders representing some of Saudi’s top companies across myriad sectors. Attendees can expect to hear from the likes of H.H. Princess Loulwa Bint Yazeed Al Saud, Founder & CEO, +966 And CEO, RiseUp Saudi; Asmaa Quorrich, CMO of Saudi Tourism Authority; Mohammed Abaalkheil, Vice President Corporate Relations, STC; Tracy Lanza, Group Head of Global Brand Development, Red Sea Global; Khaled Tash, Group CMO of SAUDIA; Mohammed Jifri, CMO of Hungerstation; and Kirk Collingwood, Director of Brand & Communication at Saudi Aramco, to name a few.Creative industry veterans and representatives of the foremost creative agencies in the region and beyond, such as Fernando Machado, Global CMO of NotCo, USA; Khalid Abdulaziz, Head of Strategy, The Fullstop; Dani Richa, Chairman and CEO, Europe, Middle East and Africa at BBDO; Bassel Kakish, CEO ME and Turkey of Publicis Groupe; Elda Choucair, CEO, Omnicom Media Group; Mohamed Sehly, Executive Creative Director, Leo Burnett; Mohammed Bahmishan, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, FP7 McCann KSA; and Rayyan Aoun, Executive Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson among others, will take to the festival’s stages to share their invaluable insight.Offering a broader perspective on commerce and creativity at the global level, some of the world’s most recognizable companies and brands will also partake in the festival and will be represented by their most creative thought leaders. Some of them will include Ali Cheikhali, Creative Strategy Lead at Google; Garrett Olexiuk, Campaign & Creative Manager at Amazon; Hala Zgheib, Head of Retail at Snapchat; Sasha El Jurdi, Head of Content Programming, TikTok; Jacqueline Bourke, Senior Director, Creative, Getty Images; and Aamir Allibhoy, Regional CMO, Tim Hortons MENA to list a few.For more information on the festival, the registration process, and the festival’s programme, please visit

SearchInform launches the unique information security service in the MENA market

Dubai: SearchInform, the leading risk management product developer, is expanding its presence in the MENA region. The vendor is introducing its information security outsourcing service to the market. The single service ensures customers’ comprehensive protection and helps to improve business efficiency. This offer brings a unique proposition to the market. With the help of outsourcing services, companies can prevent data leaks, monitor user activity and reveal inefficient business processes.Lev Matveev, SearchInform Chairman of the Board of Directors: "We have been working on the MENA market for a long time; our solutions already protect banks, hospitals and manufacturing facilities. Being the service provider requires even more close cooperation with customers. To meet this goal, we have strengthened our presence in the UAE, opened an office in Dubai, and expanded our staff to be in closer contact with our customers. The client doesn't risk anything - the free-of-charge one-month trial is available. The client can decide whether the service suits the company’s needs during the free trial. During this month, the client gets the full picture of their business's state of safety and efficiency. We’ve been successfully developing the service since 2019 in several countries. According to our statistics, 100% of companies, even at the test stage, detect incidents: data leaks, corporate fraud, misconfigured access rights.”The service by SearchInform enables solving the following tasks: ensuring protection against data leaks, data classification, access rights audit, monitoring of employees’ activity and much more. With outsourcing, it is possible to perform regulatory compliance audits (Personal Data Protection Law, DCC-1: 2022, SAMA, GDPR and many others). This service stands out for its ability to handle the tasks mentioned above, a feature not commonly found in other options on the market.As the service provider, SearchInform protects the clients with the help of its security solutions (DLP, DCAP, Risk Management solution) and provides analytical experts who manage these solutions. The company's specialists implement and maintain the software in the customers' IT infrastructure, set up security policies for effective monitoring and help customers fine-tune the software. The analyst working with the software constantly monitors the situation, detects incidents and investigates them if necessary. The analyst provides the customers with detailed reports and also notifies them urgently in case of an emergency to prevent an incident. Protective solutions can be deployed in the cloud, such as Microsoft Azure.Sergey Ozhegov, SearchInform CEO: "The concept of the service is unique - we offer the platform, ensuring internal security and improving business efficiency available by subscription. Our service is useful for literally any organization. For SMEs, it is the opportunity to get full-scale comprehensive protection at low expenditures, as there is no need to purchase expensive hardware and software or hire onboard IS officers. Large enterprises with their own IS departments can delegate some tasks (e.g. routine tasks) to MSSP, what reduces the load on in-house specialists; what’s more, they get access to MSSP’s specialists’ unique tools and expertise. We believe the best thing about our new service is that it makes information security more accessible to all organizations."SearchInform, a privately held company, specializes in developing cutting-edge risk management products and holds a prominent position as one of the industry leaders. With a client base spanning over 20 countries and over 4,000 companies, SearchInform provides an advanced platform for internal threat mitigation.

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy launches global entrepreneur’s guide

Dubai: Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers operating under the umbrella of Dubai Chambers, has published a comprehensive guide for startups that aims to simplify the process of setting up a business in Dubai.‘Building Your Business in a Dynamic City: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Setup in Dubai’ is designed to guide aspiring entrepreneurs through the intricacies of the emirate’s dynamic business landscape, equipping them with the information they need to make informed decisions.Launched as the chamber prepares to host Expand North Star – the world’s largest event for startups – the guide is packed with essential information for anyone considering establishing a new business in Dubai’s rapidly growing digital economy ecosystem.The UAE has outlined an ambitious strategy to double the contribution of the digital economy to the national GDP to 19.4% within the coming decade and achieve a value of US$ 140 billion by 2031. Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy aims to support these objectives by empowering aspiring entrepreneurs with the insights they need to unlock the vast potential of the emirate’s digital economy.The new guide is available to download free of charge and has been developed based on in-depth research and feedback from the business community, which highlighted the need for a convenient reference tool to assist ambitious innovators who wish to become part of Dubai’s success story.With Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy gearing up to host this year’s Expand North Star, the event offers the perfect platform to release the guide. This landmark gathering will attract the global tech community to the emirate and connect venture capitalists with unicorns, scaleups, and startups, further strengthening Dubai’s position as a leading centre for global digital capital.Saeed Al Gergawi, Vice President of Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy commented: “The launch of this informative guide supports our ongoing efforts to attract and assist entrepreneurs in the digital industries to set up in Dubai, in line with the chamber’s drive to achieve the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33).”Al Gergawi added: “Ambition alone is not enough to establish a startup – it requires a thorough understanding of the local business ecosystem, legal and regulatory frameworks, and wider economic landscape. The release of this guide represents an advanced step in our journey to help entrepreneurs from across the globe successfully set up their businesses and leverage the exciting opportunities emerging in Dubai’s digital economy.”The guide commences with a section highlighting interesting facts and statistics on Dubai’s vibrant economy, future strategies, diverse talent pool, and fastest-growing sectors, before diving into useful information about key ecosystem enablers, including accelerators and incubators.This is followed by a visual guide to major investors covering pre-seed to growth stages. The publication also takes entrepreneurs through the process of how to open a business account in the emirate and features a handy list of startup-friendly local banks. The guide continues with a section dedicated to the diverse range of free zones in Dubai, which includes a map of the 28 tax-free business zones, a brief outline of the various business structures available, and an explanation of different visa types.The guide concludes with a series of comprehensive one-page set-up guides for key sectors of the digital economy, including Fintech, Digital Assets, Metaverse & Web3, AI, Cybersecurity, Software & SAAS, Healthtech, 3D printing, and Edtech. These feature step-by-step setup guides; sector-specific accelerators, incubators, and sandboxes; regulations entrepreneurs should be aware of; and a list of relevant conferences and events.Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy is committed to building the economy of the future and supporting the emirate’s dynamic startup ecosystem. The chamber is working to create the world’s most advanced digital infrastructure, enhance the contribution of the digital industries to the national economy, and attract business, talent, and investors to Dubai.‘Building Your Business in a Dynamic City: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Business Setup in Dubai’ can be downloaded by visiting the following

IDDA empowers Azerbaijani innovators at GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star Dubai

Dubai: The Innovation and Digital Development Agency (IDDA), an institution in Azerbaijan to promote the country’s technological development, has announced its participation at GITEX GLOBAL, as well as Expand North Star Dubai, the world’s largest event for startups and investors, taking place between 15-18 October. IDDA, represented by its Chairperson Inara Valiyeva, Advisor to Chairperson Shahin Aliyev and Deputy Chairperson Rashad Khaligov, will be bringing along three local startups as part of the Azerbaijani delegation to showcase the country's growing innovation ecosystem.At its premier appearance at the events, IDDA plans to talk about the digital development of Azerbaijan and how it creates and fosters an ecosystem for local and foreign ICT businesses there. Through a set of meetings and active networking, the agency plans to grow its expertise, while promoting the successful projects they have at hand, including the rapidly evolving ‘Relocation Program’ and the educational initiative launched in collaboration with Holberton School.Elaborating about IDDA’s participation Inara Valiyeva says: “It is an honour for IDDA to be amongst the IT market leaders that have gathered at GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star Dubai this year. This is a great chance for us to learn from the best, while sharing our own unique experience of transforming the digital landscape of Azerbaijan, which is a country with an actively developing innovation ecosystem. IDDA’s mission is to foster a culture of innovation, support the development of innovative products and services, and drive economic growth through technology, entrepreneurship and digital transformation. We do all that through enabling the environment in the country for local and foreign ICT companies, investing in human capital and supporting the infrastructure that helps startups develop their potential. Building new business relations here at the event will help us accelerate our efforts to ensure Azerbaijan’s continuous digital growth and provide it with a competitive edge internationally.”One of the key discussion points at the event will be the ‘Relocation Program’, launched last year by the Agency to attract global ICT talent and companies. It currently has over 60 residents who have benefited from the technopark residence law introduced in 2023, which offers IT companies a significant set of benefits, including multiple tax waivers for 10 years and no work permits for relocating ICT specialists. Currently 6 international companies are in the process of obtaining technopark residence. As part of the ‘Relocation Program’, IDDA offers businesses comprehensive support - from relocation advice to work permit procedures.In addition, as part of its mission to develop skilled professionals in the ICT sector locally, IDDA has initiated a collaboration with the globally renowned Holberton School. Over two thousand applications have been received to date and 60 students have already enrolled in the program. Known for its unique peer to peer tech programs that match Silicon Valley benchmarks, Holberton will play a significant role in fostering the emerging ICT talent in Azerbaijan.IDDA also has its own Technest scholarship program, launched in 2021. To this day, it has already granted over 3,500 scholarships and aims to grow to 11,000 recipients in its fourth year, covering up to 100% of tuition for selected candidates.The IDDA stand will be located at Expand North Star in the new Dubai Harbour venue, where the three Azerbaijani startups - Bonpara, SchoolPlus and Imajin - will be featured as well to showcase their talent and technologies. As a sponsor, "PASHA Holding" will have a reception desk in the IDDA booth.

Major facelift to light up Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Sharjah, United Arab Emirates: The iconic Sharjah cricket stadium, the leading venue in the world for One-Dayers has gone in for a major refurbishment of its facilities.A floodlight upgrade using Philips ArenaVision LED lighting is further enhanced by employing DMX control system technology to deliver the perfect lighting for players on the field and facilitate top quality coverage of light and laser shows as entertainment during game breaks for fans across the world through HDR (high dynamic range) and ultra-high-definition TV transmissions."The state-of-the-art illumination using cutting edge technology will give us a strength of 2600 lux on the pitch," said Khalaf Bukhatir, Managing Director of Bukhatir Group and CEO of Sharjah Cricket Stadium.He added that the Sharjah stadium is known for keeping pace with innovation through the years."In keeping with that constant spirit of improvement we are the first LED lit cricket stadium in the GCC Region that uses innovative and advanced control systems and DMX Technology simplifying the operation by putting it under the control of one console,” he said.The new pitch lighting Signify system replaces 392 conventional metal Halide floodlights with 176 LED floodlights, allowing for energy conservation.“Teamwork is the ability to work towards a common objective. The leadership and people of the Emirate of Sharjah have proven this throughout its history. And Sharjah Cricket Stadium is an eminent part of that history since the 20th century, bringing international recognition to the Emirate in the sporting world. Now, in the 21st century, Al Ghandi Electronics and Philips Lighting are proud to be associated with Sharjah Cricket stadium as providers of the most advanced sports lighting solutions with the flagship product, “Philips ArenaVision” with controls, adding great value to the system, successfully executed in just ‘2 months’ – thanks to a great teamwork,” said Krishna RS, General Manager, SE Unit, Al Ghandi Electronics.“As a world leader in lighting, we’re providing cricket fans from all over the world with a perfect view as we illuminate the most iconic stadium in the GCC. Not only will we be offering an unparalleled sporting experience for players and fans, we are also helping the stadium achieve its environmental goals by enabling a more cost-effective and durable system,” he added.The groundsmen have also worked very hard to maintain the outfield and the centre pitch has been re-laid. Today the stadium boasts eight playing pitches and six of these are within the broadcast range.Not to mention a world-class Fit Capital gymnasium, indoor swimming pool, and upgraded steam, and sauna area. The stadium also boasts 11 VIP suites, a VIP grand dining area and the parking area has also recently been enhanced. The face-lift has occurred right in time for the third season of the very popular CBFS T20 tournament which started this week with the final scheduled for 2nd November 2023. This will be closely followed by the equally exciting S-10 tournament with its final taking place on 28th Nov 2023.

VT Markets appoints Eslam Elshafay as Operations Manager for MENA Region

VT Markets, a leading global forex broker, is pleased to announce the appointment of Eslam Elshafay as Operations Manager for the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. With a wealth of experience in the forex industry, including a successful tenure at Accuindex, Eslam brings valuable expertise to his new role. Eslam Elshafay joins VT Markets with a remarkable track record in the field, having served as the CS & Operations Manager at Accuindex for two and a half years. During his time at Accuindex, Eslam showcased exceptional leadership skills and a deep understanding of operational efficiency in the forex market. His dedication to providing exceptional customer service and driving operational excellence played a pivotal role in Accuindex's success.With over five years of experience in the forex industry, Eslam possesses a comprehensive understanding of the market's dynamics and a keen eye for identifying emerging trends. His expertise in risk management, compliance, and operational strategies will prove instrumental in further enhancing VT Markets' position as a leading player in the industry.As the Operations Manager for VT Markets in the MENA region, Eslam Elshafay will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations, ensuring seamless execution of services, and maintaining the highest standards of customer satisfaction. His strong leadership abilities and strategic vision will help streamline internal processes, drive organizational growth, and foster a culture of excellence within the MENA region.I am thrilled to be joining VT Markets as their Operations Manager for the MENA region," said Eslam Elshafay. VT Markets is renowned for its commitment to providing clients with innovative trading solutions and exceptional service. I look forward to working closely with the talented team in the region and contributing to the company's continued success in the global forex market.

XP Music Futures unveils 2023 initiatives, announces second round of speakers

XP Music Futures, the leading music conference in the Middle East, is set to return this December. This year, the innovative event is opening an array of initiatives and activations, together aimed at nurturing regional talent, promoting inclusion, and ultimately elevating the music scene in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Known for shining a light not only on the current state of the music industry, but its future as well, XP Music Futures is a must-visit for anybody looking to take their career, network, or industry knowledge to the next level.This year, XP’s 8 initiatives represent an entire ecosystem designed to foster and educate the next generation of talent in the scene:XPERFORM: In partnership with YouTube and sponsored by the FORMULA 1 STC SAUDI ARABIAN GRAND PRIX, we’re on a mission to uncover the region’s emerging talent through a singing contest that puts star quality, charisma and vocals to the test.XCHANGE: XChange is a series of touring workshops across the MENA region done in effort to integrate, and better understand, the regional music ecosystem. In 2023, XChange visited Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Amman, and Riyadh with tailor-made workshops to identify key themes, pain points and strengths in the music industry for the conference program while promoting community building within the region. The outcome of these workshops are recorded in the annual Xine - a magazine made as an homage to the region’s ecosystem.HUNNA: Hunna is a one-on-one mentorship program designed to connect established women in the music industry to budding female artists to promote equity in the regional music industry. Alongside the on-going mentorships, Hunna hosts listening circles, gathering women across the regions to share, connect and be heard.HEARFUL: Raising awareness about tinnitus and ear health, HEARFUL educates people about prevention methods by simulating the sound of tinnitus.Sound Futures: The musical version of Shark Tank that you’ve been waiting for, Sound Futures invites aspiring musicians and innovators to pitch their original music and groundbreaking ideas to successful music industry investors, with the goal of securing funding and mentorship for their careers. Sound Futures is proudly partnered with Sea Ventures.XP AIR: XP Music Future’s very own on-site streaming container will host interviews, sets, and feature brand takeovers from the day and nite program’s artists and industry leaders.Artist Management Bootcamp: Launching in 2023, the Artist Management Bootcamp aims to empower aspiring artist managers in the region through an intensive manager bootcamp program, followed by mentorship from a globally renowned manager for the top six candidates.Storm Shaker: DJs have the opportunity to submit their sets for a chance to perform at the Soundstorm festival by MDLBEAST through the Storm Shaker competition. Partners for Storm Shaker include DJ Corner, Berklee Abu Dhabi, SPAARKD Powered by PANGAIA, and Deepgrooves.In addition, XP Music Futures continues to proudly collaborate with partners who share its vision for the future of music, including talent incubator and multi-media production company Merwas, Berklee College of Music, and SOWT, the leading independent podcast company in the MENA region. The aforementioned partners will be hosting audio mixing and production workshops at the conference. 2023 will also welcome partners like sonic titan Dolby, as well as MassiveMusic, who will be holding a session on how to best value your content, IFPI, and Warner Music, who will be covering distribution rights. On the conference, Warner Music commented, “Warner Music eagerly anticipates XP Music Futures, where we'll share invaluable insights and connect with industry leaders, showcasing our commitment to pioneering the future of music – a future that holds immense potential and growth opportunities for Warner Music.”As XP has announced the first round of speakers and talent at the beginning of the month, they now continue to pull back the curtain, revealing the second batch of speakers at this year’s conference. This year, attendees will be able to see and pick the minds of Multi-platinum, Grammy nominated producer and composer Khaled Rohaim, Vice President of Marketing and Brand Strategy at Audiomack, Charlotte Bwana, West coast hip-hop talent and The Whooligan, Chief Strategy Officer at Factory People, Wassim Bou Malham, and Saudi Arabia's first superstar DJ, Cosmicat. Also joining the event this year is DJ Michelle, Bayan Abuzinadah, German DJing superstar Topic, Will Stephenson of Paradise Worldwide, Yuri Dokter of DJ Monitor, and José Woldring, CEO of The Media Nanny.This year, XP Music Futures strives to be more than a music conference; but a catalyst for change, a bridge to diverse voices, and a platform for musical excellence. With the beautiful Riyadh as the backdrop, XP Music Futures is set to ignite the global conversation surrounding the future of the industry from December 7 to 9.

PRCA MENA Digital Awards 2023 finalists revealed

The Public Relations and Communications Association Middle East and North Africa (PRCA MENA) has revealed the finalists of its Digital Awards.The PRCA MENA Digital Awards, organised in cooperation with strategic partner One Group, reflect the outstanding work across the region’s digital communications industry over the last 12 months. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, 8th November, at Movenpick Hotel and Residences in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.The 11 award categories were judged by some of the industry’s most innovative minds.Finalists:Best AI-Driven Digital Campaign:Atteline - BOTIM Launches Execution Arabic CHATGPTWeber Shandwick MENAT and Ewaa - Navigating to Freedom with AIBest Digital Marketing Campaign:Cicero & Bernay - OPPO Reno 7 LaunchONE Group for Communication and Marketing - (Jood Eskan Charitable Campaign) ???? ?????? ??? ??????W7Worldwide - Communicating the Unifying Spirit of RamadanWeber Shandwick MENAT and Department of Health Abu Dhabi - Gifting Lives With HayatWeber Shandwick MENAT and Epson - Keeping Epson top of mind with content creatorsBest Performance in a Digital Campaign:15th annual ASDA'A BCW Arab Youth Survey - Living a New RealityCicero & Bernay - OPPO Reno 7 LaunchONE Group for Communication and Marketing - Marketing campaign for the Fifth Saudi Global Conference on Occupational Safety and Health 2022The PR Academy MENA - Take Off In Style - Sahara CentreW7Worldwide - Showcasing the excellent work behind HajjWeber Shandwick MENAT and Department of Health Abu Dhabi - Gifting Lives With HayatBest Social Media Campaign:15th annual ASDA'A BCW Arab Youth Survey - Living a New RealityASDA'A BCW - Truth About Weight by Novo NordiskBritish Council - Voices4Climate – Empowering Climate ChampionsBahrain Network (BNET) with Seven Media Middle East- The ShiftWeber Shandwick MENAT and Dorco - Demonstrating Dorco's PersonalityWeber Shandwick MENAT and Epson - Keeping Epson top of mind with content creatorsBest Use of Content Marketing in a Campaign:15th annual ASDA'A BCW Arab Youth Survey - Living a New RealityAPCO Worldwide - Diriyah Biennale Foundation - Launching the world’s first Islamic Arts Biennale (IAB)Cicero & Bernay - OPPO Reno 7 LaunchTouch - Awareness Campaign to Reduce Food Loss and Waste  Touch - Jood Eskan Charitable CampaignWeber Shandwick MENAT and Emirates Steel - Steeling the LimelightBest Use of Paid Media in a Campaign:APCO Worldwide - CHANGE TRAVEL. CHANGE THE WORLDASDA'A BCW - JasadyAtteline - BOTIM 3.0 LAUNCHBritish Council - Voices4Climate – Empowering Climate ChampionsMG Motor & Performance Communications - Launch of the New MG HS Plug-in Hybrid EVThe PR Academy MENA - Take Off In Style - Sahara CentreWeber Shandwick MENAT and Emirates Steel - Steeling the LimelightTouch - Local Content Award    Best Use of Reporting and Measurement in a Campaign:15th annual ASDA'A BCW Arab Youth Survey - Living a New RealityCosmopole - “TRIMMING THE FAT” for Embody FitnessThe PR Academy MENA - Take Off In Style - Sahara CentreW7Worldwide - Redefining Ramadan Dining ExperiencesW7Worldwide - Launching the Region's New Healthcare Insurance HQBest Use of Social Influencers in a Campaign:ASDA’A BCW - #HalaaloTouch - The International Judicial ConferenceWeber Shandwick MENAT and Dorco - Demonstrating Dorco's PersonalityWeber Shandwick MENAT and Epson - Keeping Epson top of mind with content creatorsBest Use of Video in a Campaign:ASDA'A BCW - JasadyONE Group for Communication and Marketing - Hajj Season 1444HONE Group for Communication and Marketing – Draw Your DreamThe PR Academy MENA - Take Off In Style - Sahara CentreW7Worldwide - Showcasing the Excellent Service Behind HajjWeber Shandwick MENAT and Ewaa - Navigating to Freedom with AIDigital Professional of the Year:Dr. Basma Alotaibi, Digital Associate Account Director - APCO Worldwide (Riyadh)Reem Masswadeh, Head of Communications - The PR Academy MENASanya Ijaz, Account Director – AttelineDigital Team of the Year:Matrix PR - Revolutionizing communication through digital transformationWeber Shandwick MENAT - A Superpowered Team

UAE brands shine at 19th Superbrands tribute event

Superbrands, the independent authority and trendsetter of branding, has honored 33 brands from the UAE at the 19th annual Superbrands tribute event, held recently. Reputed retail brands like Aldo, Arakkal Gold & Diamonds, Captain Oats, Crocs,Dubai Duty Free, Forest Essentials, Tommy Hilfiger and Skechers were awarded at the event. With over 2,000 brands in the UAE competing for the Superbrands title, only 33 scored more than 80 per cent of the total possible marks.The selection process involved polling by the Brand Council and online voting, reaching out to almost 2,000 senior managers and marketing professionals. The criteria evaluated covered market presence, customer perception, innovation and the overall impact created by the brand.Director of Superbrands Middle East, Mike English, said: “It is crucial for brands to stay relevant in an ever-competitive market, where it is often hard to successfully retain brand loyalty. Customers are often easily swayed or overwhelmed by various market options, and are quick to spend on companies that they are not only familiar with but also feel a lasting value and connection with.”The Superbrands organisation was originally set up in London in 1994 where it published the first Superbrands book. Since then, it has expanded its operations to 93 countries including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, France and the US.To date, over 43,000 individual brands have been featured worldwide.

Dubai Internet City returns to GITEX Global 2023 to foster collab innovation

Dubai Internet City, a member of TECOM Group PJSC, is returning to GITEX Global 2023 as Innovation Partner for the world’s largest tech event. GITEX Global 2023, due to be held on 16-20 October at Dubai World Trade Centre, will unite inventors, academia, researchers, and developers from around the world across 10 co-located events addressing themes including artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, mobility, and future urbanism.With a strong focus on emerging tech trends and innovation, Dubai Internet City’s pavilion at GITEX Global 2023 will be a hub for the world’s brightest minds using technology including AI and augmented reality to solve the world’s most complex problems. As a founding member of Dubai’s thriving digital sector, Dubai Internet City has supported regional economic diversification efforts and strengthened the local knowledge-based economy for over two decades by attracting top industry investors and innovators to Dubai. Commenting on behalf of Dubai Internet City, Ammar Al Malik, Executive Vice President – Commercial at TECOM Group, said: “Mitigating barriers to innovation and promoting collaborative research and development can pave the way for technology-based solutions that help to safeguard future global economic growth.“As a vanguard of tech innovation in the region, Dubai fosters business-friendly regulation and strategic support through programmes like Dubai Economic Agenda ‘D33’ and Dubai Digital Strategy, helping to unite world-leading technology leaders for profoundly impactful breakthroughs. Dubai Internet City is a prime custodian of Dubai’s vision to nurture collaborative innovation that uses technology to address the most critical trends reshaping global society and economy. Our ecosystem will continue to connect the world’s biggest tech brands with the industry’s most ambitious innovators.”A journey through AIAttendees can expect to engage with experts and innovators based within Dubai Internet City through networking opportunities and live demonstrations of the latest tech offerings from the district.Additionally, visitors to Dubai Internet City’s stand at GITEX Global 2023 will be invited to take on an AI-powered programmed robotic arm to compete in a high-stakes interactive checkers game. The interactive experience will be presented as global tech enthusiasts continue to explore how AI stacks up against human intelligence. For an immersive experience, guests will also be guided to a ‘secret door’ inviting them into a world brought to life by actors and performers from Dubai Internet City. Dubai Internet City’s pavilion will be located at Concourse 2 of Dubai World Trade Centre. The GITEX Global Media Centre, presented in collaboration with TECOM Group, will be open to journalists and content creators attending the exhibition. Visit the GITEX Global website to register for the event.Dubai Internet City, the largest leading tech hubs in the region, is part of TECOM Group’s portfolio of business districts that include Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, Dubai Production City, Dubai Knowledge Park, Dubai International Academic City, Dubai Science Park, Dubai Industrial City and Dubai Design District (d3).

8th World Investment Forum to attract 7,000+ investment stakeholders

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) will hold its 8th World Investment Forum at ADNEC in Abu Dhabi from 16-20 October 2023, bringing together more than 7,000 investment stakeholders from more than 160 countries.Supported by the Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), the event will convene the world’s business and investment community to Abu Dhabi’s Falcon Economy, guiding the emirate’s next phase of economic diversification and the transition to a smart, circular, inclusive and sustainable development. Additionally, special panel discussions, keynote speeches and interactive workshops will be organised to highlight the Make it in the Emirates initiative to develop the industrial sector in the UAE in line with the country’s commitment to Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative.These events will help in exchanging ideas and best practices, enhancing dialogue and collaboration, and stimulating collective efforts to shape global investment policies and strategies.His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said: “Hosting the 8th World Investment Forum reflects our leadership’s vision and unwavering commitment to enhance international cooperation and collective action to develop innovative solutions to benefit the global community, leveraging on the strong fundamentals of our soaring Falcon Economy to achieve the UN sustainable development goals, to contribute positively to shaping a brighter future for humanity.“Abu Dhabi has made great strides in achieving the objectives of its diversification strategy, laying down a solid foundation to continue developing a knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy. We are fostering and incentivising talents to find solutions to current and future challenges, as well as continuously enhancing the business ecosystem to provide investors with opportunities to grow and expand. We look forward to welcoming the world leaders and key decision makers in business and investment in Abu Dhabi to discuss ways of strengthening necessary frameworks to ensure international trade and investments are geared to achieve common goals of the international community.”The World Investment Forum will be split into three segments including the Invest in Tomorrow: Abu Dhabi’s economic transition forum, organised by ADDED, which will take place on 18 October, the third day of World Investment Forum. The segment of the forum will provide a vital platform for business and investment community to learn about Abu Dhabi’s Falcon Economy and its attributes as a rising economic and financial powerhouse, preferred destination for talents, businesses, and investment, as well as its transformative strategies to engineer a sustainable and prosperous future.It features keynote addresses and panel discussions, including Attracting Foreign Direct Investment in the Era of Industry 4.0: Opportunities and Challenges, which also examines why Abu Dhabi is an appealing destination for talents, entrepreneurs, and investors, and highlights its alignment with Industry 4.0’s transformative technologies and methods.The session further delves into foreign direct investment’s (FDI) role in advancing technology and boosting manufacturing. It emphasises the importance of government policies, incentives, and clear regulations in attracting foreign investment and enhancing advanced industries. Additionally, the session highlights international trade, sustainability, social responsibility, and holistic development as key drivers for economic growth.The Invest in Tomorrow will highlight the vital role played by startups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in boosting economies through job creation, driving innovation, and contributing to economic diversification. Participants will be able to discuss the measures implemented by the government of Abu Dhabi to attract, nurture and empower talent.The second part of the World Investment Forum will be under the Make it in the Emirates initiative of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology, a panel discussion entitled Investing in the Emirates: Unlocking Opportunities for Sustainable Prosperity, highlighting programmes designed for manufacturers, investors, innovators, and entrepreneurs to set up ventures in the UAE and benefit from the country's exceptional manufacturing advantages.In this panel, participants will showcase UAE's industrial and technological advancements, driven by the National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology launched in 2021. The strategy aims to elevate the national industrial sector's growth, GDP contribution, investment attractiveness, entrepreneurship support, product competitiveness, and establish the UAE as a global hub for manufacturing and innovation. It also aligns with the Year of Sustainability, the UAE's commitment to Net Zero by 2050 Strategic Initiative and its preparations for hosting COP28.The session emphasises the UAE's favourable business environment, underpinned by reliable energy, strategic location, strong logistics, and advanced technology. It backs the Make it in the Emirates initiative with significant financing, thus fueling the Technological Transformation programmes that targets 1,000 projects by 2031, focusing on Industry 4.0 technologies in various sectors including healthcare, transportation, and logistics.Finally, World Investment Forum, in collaboration with AIM Congress, will also host a side forum that includes two dialogue sessions; Digital Financial Inclusion: Moving Towards an Innovative, Interconnected, and Inclusive World Economy and Supply Chains – The Road Ahead: 2023 Challenging Questions. In addition, there will be a fireside chat and an on-platform interview.The first panel highlights the transformative power of digital finance in improving access to financial services for underserved groups, while the second one delves into the challenges and opportunities in global supply chains, covering labour shortages, cyber threats, geopolitical tensions and climate change. It also explores the application of AI and digital technologies within supply chains and assesses how evolving legislation and geopolitical issues affect these networks.The fireside chat The Future of Cities – Thriving Amid Turbulence examines the future of cities worldwide over the next 30 years, which is expected to witness unprecedented changes towards green cities.

Stream Shreek partners with inStreamly to revolutionise gaming market

Stream Shreek, a popular gaming communications firm, has joined hands with inStreamly, an European company, connecting millions of gamers through their favourite gaming streamers. This partnership is sure to revolutionise this era of ‘brand-to-streamer connectivity solutions.’The partnership will see the combination of Stream Shreek’s in-house streaming marketplace with the technology capabilities of inStreamly along with communities of Arabic-first streamers in the MENA region.inStreamly’s technology platform will allow brands to push their gaming campaigns with creativity and at scale across popular game streams in the MENA region. It also includes brand safety among its many offerings. The platform provides trackability and a two-layered safety solution powered by AI for brand campaigns.Aasim Shaik, Managing Director, Stream Shreek, said: “The recent partnership between Stream Shreek and inStreamly reaffirms our commitment to extending the reach of our revolutionary solution. By merging the expertise and experience of inStreamly with Stream Shreek’s profound understanding of the GCC market and its extensive streamer network, we are primed to revolutionize the way brands engage with Arabic-first streamer audiences.”Jakub Janaszek, the General Manager of Streamcoi, in his post, shares: “With their model and technology, inStreamly has brought together 100,000+ streamers in Europe and executed 300+ campaigns for brands like adidas, Netflix or Disney. Now, thanks to a partnership with LPS, one of the leading Dubai marketing agencies, MENA streamers will also be able to monetise their passion. At the same time, brands from all over the world will be able to implement effective campaigns in the region targeting Generation Z.”

PwC Middle East predicts AI automation in 18 months

PwC Middle East expects Generative AI (GenAI) to be able to automate a significant part of day-to-day tasks in the next 18-20 months.Speaking at the panel discussion, GenAI Today, AGI Tomorrow, at the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI on Wednesday, Ali Hosseini, Chief Digital Officer at PwC Middle East said evolution to Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is imminent, rather than a “distant dream”.  Hosseini, along with Stephen Anderson, Partner, Strategy and Markets Leader at PwC Middle East, explained how we can now get a new idea to market in 20 minutes using GenAI. He said: “AI and humans can collaborate, augmenting each other's capabilities to drive innovation and efficiency across industries.”He highlighted the need to stay up to date with the latest GenAI tools and capabilities, noting improvements in ChatGPT accuracy with latest plugins.Hosseini said: “AI can now be utilized for market assessments, pricing strategies and competitive analysis, using the impressive capabilities of tools, such as Midjourney and Leonardo. These, along with others, are transforming the way we design and create digital content. It not only saves time but also enhances the quality of our output.”Anderson and Hosseini stressed the need for transparency, acknowledging that AI models have limitations in terms of data accuracy and potential biases. They emphasised the importance of establishing frameworks and educating teams to work effectively with AI, ensuring ethical and productive AI implementation.Anderson commended the UAE's role in the global AI landscape, citing innovations like Falcon, the generative AI model developed by the Technology Innovation Institute (TII). He highlighted Dubai's readiness for exponential change, emphasizing that AI is not eliminating jobs but rather transforming them. "AI holds the key to addressing challenges such as climate change and sustainability. It is an exciting time, and technology is our ally in overcoming these hurdles," he said. Hosseini said: "AI will touch every aspect of our lives and industries, creating new jobs that require different skill sets." During the assembly, PwC hosted a side session titled, ‘The Rise of Open Source: LLM Deep Dive and Open-Source Frameworks’. It offered a comprehensive exploration of key topics in the realm of AI. Featuring demos and discussions on multi-agent systems, PwC experts delved into crucial concepts such as the rise of AI, model sizes, usage, and the intricacies of quantization. PwC also hosted an exhibit titled ‘Industry Use Cases in Generative AI?’, showcasing how generative AI is being deployed across various sectors to enhance efficiency and productivity.The Dubai Assembly for Generative AI brings together more than 1,800 officials, experts, and decision-makers from around the world. Organised by the Dubai Future Foundation, the GenAI Assembly takes place on 11-12 October at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071.More than 70 keynote speakers are participating in around 45 sessions and 12 exhibitions. The event covers five main themes, including Generative AI 101, Generative AI Sector Deep Dives, Governments, Regulators and Generative AI, Generative AI and Other Emerging Technologies, and Big Tech vs. Emerging Startups.

Riyadh Bank partners with XELEMENT

Riyadh Bank has formed a strategic partnership with the Saudi creative agency XELEMENT to usher in a new era of innovative marketing practices. Within this collaboration, XELEMENT will assume the responsibilities for marketing and advertising on behalf of the bank.Riyadh Bank has shown a strong dedication to adopting progressive and forward-thinking marketing strategies. Leveraging its expansive reach and extensive customer base, the bank has played a leading role in the development of pioneering marketing initiatives.Both companies view this collaboration as strategically significant for their respective objectives. Riyad Bank aims to elevate its marketing efforts to new levels by harnessing the creative expertise of XELEMENT agency. In turn, the agency sees this partnership as a testament to its capabilities and a vital opportunity to make a lasting impact in the financial sector.Earlier this year, the agency had announced plans to restructure and integrate its creative, strategy, and media teams under one roof, addressing a notable gap in the market. They also unveiled an expansion of their services, including media strategy, planning, buying, and data analytics. These new media services are under the leadership of Eddy Hanna, an experienced professional in the region, serving as the Media Director.

Huawei and du jointly released the world's first 5.5G Villa

 At the 2023 Global Mobile Broadband Forum (MBBF), the global tech company Huawei, in collaboration with du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), unveiled the ground-breaking world’s first 5G Advanced (5G-A) demonstration Villa, an archetype for the future smart home living powered by a staggering 10Gbps networks. Early in March this year, both entities signed an MOU on 5.5G centered on 5G-A technological innovation, application exploration, and ecosystem development. This latest reveal stands as a testament to their joint innovation prowess.The 5G-A Villa epitomizes the seamless integration of cutting-edge technologies, offering an unparalleled smart home experience enriched with applications such as naked-eye 3D and XR. As consumers increasingly crave superior experiences, this inspires the evolution of content and applications, subsequently amplifying the demand on network capabilities. To satiate these growing needs, carriers find themselves compelled to amplify their home networks to a remarkable 10Gbps.Speaking at the launch, Fahad Al Hassawi, the CEO of du commented, “From the beginning of the 5G era, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) has been a transformative catalyst, empowering us to deliver cutting-edge solutions to our valued customers. As pioneers, we at du are honored to pave the way with such novel innovations. Our enduring partnership with Huawei has been fruitful consistently, and with the introduction of FWA², we are poised to redefine the boundaries of user experience, offering our subscribers unparalleled internet connectivity indoors.”Echoing this sentiment, Li Peng, Huawei's Corporate Senior Vice President and President of the company's Carrier BG, remarked, “Today, Huawei is excited to launch the 5G-A Powered Villa at the Home of the Future. The showcase offers a first-hand look at the infinite possibilities that 5G-Advanced technology will bring to future homes and the better network experience that 5G-A will offer mobile users. It is the result of du's continuous pursuit of a better digital experience. This achievement is only the beginning. Moving forward, Huawei will continually support du in its effort to build the best 5G networks, explore the commercial use of 5G-Advanced networks, while championing du’s leadership in this transformative era.”5G-A Villa sheds light on the boundless potential that deterministic experience technology heralds for the households of tomorrow. Harnessing Huawei's innovative FWA² solution, it illustrates how, in the 5G era, FWA became an operator's powerhouse tool for rapid user expansion. As we transition to 5G-A/5.5G, the FWA² solution, encompassing FWA Pro, FWA Lite, and FWA Biz, promises unparalleled services for discerning customers. Specifically, FWA Pro is engineered to support a phenomenal rate of 10Gbps, thus reimagining smart home living and unlocking vast business opportunities.The unveiling of the villa coincided with the 14th Global Mobile Broadband Forum, themed “Bring 5.5G into Reality” from October 10 to 11 in Dubai, UAE. Hosted by Huawei and backed by industry partners GSMA, GTI and the SAMENA Telecommunications Council, the forum showcased a deep dive into the successes of 5G, the maturity of the ecosystem, the fast-track commercialization of 5G-A/5.5G, and insights into how mobile broadband technology is shaping the future and transforming people's lives and industries.

Digital Ad Expert: expansion to MENA region offering courses in Arabic & French

Aleph, which connects local and global advertisers with billions of consumers worldwide through digital media, is excited to announce that Digital Ad Expert by Aleph, a social initiative to create economic opportunities through digital advertising education, is now available in Arabic & French. The program was originally launched in MENA in April 2023 in English and Spanish.Digital Ad Expert by Aleph aims to equip the next generation of digital marketers with premium, free skills-based education through its Digital Ad Expert Certificate program in countries such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria among other MENA countries, where there is vast opportunity for digital growth and a rise in demand for digital marketing talent.The digital advertising landscape is a fast-developing industry, with high demand for experts. Digital Advertising spend alone in the MENA region reached $4.58B in 2021, nearly a full $1B increase on the previous year according to the IAB GCC. Growth in digital advertising reflects a growing shift towards digitizing economies in MENA. In the region, fully digitizing the economy would lead to a 46% increase in GDP per capita over 30 years - or in dollar terms, a long-term gain of $1.6 trillion, according to The World Bank.The demand for digital skills remains high in the MENA region and Aleph's Digital Ad Expert Certificate program accredits newcomers, with no prior experience, to effectively learn how to advertise on the world's leading digital platforms. The program provides specific, in-depth knowledge of the major global advertising platforms including TikTok, LinkedIn, Snapchat, ???? (the platform formerly known as Twitter), and Meta, among others. To join, applicants simply need to register for free on   and complete the introductory course. The program is hosted on the same platform, which also offers updated content, best cases, and other valuable material for consultation, in addition to masterclasses by renowned experts from Aleph.Gaston Taratuta, CEO of Aleph stated: "We are on a mission to empower a new generation of global digital professionals. I want us to close the digital skills gap and certify as many people as we can to set them up for success in an ever evolving digital world. We owe it to the communities we are in. I believe that education is the only currency that never devaluates and through our platform, we are offering that currency to aspiring digital marketers and advertisers worldwide. They will have the access and knowledge they need to flourish in the digital era as we make digital advertising accessible to all."Already more than 280k students in over 140 countries have registered in the Digital Ad Expert by Aleph initiative, providing glowing reviews, averaging 9.2 points on a scale of 10. Ever since the launch back in April, the number of registered students from the MENAT region reached 45,124 from 14 countries. We have received more than 11,000 requests for the French language and more than 9,000 requests for the Arabic language and now with the launch of both languages we expect the number of registrations and certification to increase even more. Digital Ad Expert by Aleph also has alliances with several prominent universities in the region including American University in Dubai, The American University in Cairo, DGCI. The Knowledge Hub Universities among many others in the pipeline.