Hailing a ride of success with Islam Abdul Karim of Yango

Yango, a tech platform, specializes in transformation of global technologies for local enrichment. By reshaping them into seamlessly integrated daily services, the brand connects world innovations with local communities to enhance daily experiences. Starting as a ride-hail service, the brand is growing at a tremendous pace, scaling and launching more services, and engaging with an increasingly larger number of audiences and markets.In an exclusive Interview with Adgully Middle East, Islam Abdul Karim, General Manager, Yango GCC, talks about Yango’s success as a ride-hail service, how the brand has grown tremendously in a year, and much more. Karim also shares Yango's partnership with Coca-Cola Arena, and its participation in the recent Gitex 2023.How has Yango adapted its ride-hailing service to meet the unique needs and preferences of customers in the UAE?To cater to the needs and preferences of UAE customers, Yango has tapped into the region's demographic shift, particularly with 60% of the population being under 25. Recognizing the appeal of ride-hailing services for younger audiences, Yango provides on-demand high-quality options at a good value for money that resonates with millennials and Gen Z, especially amidst changing petrol prices and a heightened focus on environmental concerns. Moreover, with services like the Kids class, Yango provides safe and specialized travel experiences for families, utilizing spacious cars available in Dubai such as the GMC, further attesting to our commitment to regional customization.Since transportation holds a substantial 24% share of global carbon emissions, Yango is also proactive in addressing sustainability goals, integrating EVs into their fleet in alignment with the UAE's vision for net-zero emissions by 2050. At the moment approximately 15% of our partners’ fleet is electric. This not only minimizes carbon emissions but also caters to the rising demand for eco-friendly transit solutions.Can you discuss any partnerships or collaborations Yango has entered into the region to enhance its service offerings?Yango is the official ride-hailing partner of Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena. We provide premium ride experiences for concert and event attendees. Yango app users receive a 20% discount on their first ride to or from the arena, ensuring a convenient and memorable experience.We also recently participated in GITEX 2023, where our primary focus was to highlight successful growth of ride-hailing service in the UAE and our further plans to expand within the country. Along with this we also announced the new global operations office in Dubai Internet City for the Yango company, including but not limited to Yango ride-hailing, Yango Delivery and Yango Tech services. It will open this year.What challenges has Yango faced in establishing its brand and operations in the UAE, and how have you overcome them?One challenge in the UAE has been the prevailing trend towards private car ownership. However, projections show a significant rise in ride-hailing users, expected to reach 3.25 million by 2027. With our unique features, we've been able to offer a more convenient, economical and sustainable solution.How does Yango ensure the safety of both drivers and passengers, especially in the context of this region?The UAE gives great importance to road safety, and Dubai’s Road & Transport Authority regularly updates traffic laws to be stricter. In line with the country’s vision for safe roads, we have various safety features in the app including reckless driving technology and Safety Center in the app where passengers can access the SOS button, share their route with friends and relatives, or contact the urgent team which is available 24/7. Additionally, we plan to introduce in Dubai new safety technologies like the speed monitoring and driving style monitoring system to enhance safety further. These advancements prioritize the safety, comfort, and overall experience of everyone who uses Yango.Are there any upcoming features or services that Yango plans to introduce specifically for the Middle East market, like the recent one as Kids Service Class?Yango, as a technology company, is continuously innovating and introducing new services and products tailored specifically for the region’s market. One of the most exciting is Yasmina, an advanced Arabic-speaking human-like AI smart assistant. This digital companion goes beyond basic functions to transform the user experience with tailored, intuitive support for the region. Yasmina's human-like conversational skills are powered by a proprietary language model fine-tuned with input from content professionals in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and more, ensuring various dialect recognition.Sustainability is another area we're passionate about, especially given the UAE's ambitious vision. We're actively investing in enhancing systems that leverage the power of data analytics, AI, and Machine Learning to ensure optimal routing and reduce carbon emissions. The demand for EVs in the UAE is also on the rise, anticipated to increase by a CAGR of 30% leading up to 2028. We're exploring opportunities to integrate more EVs into our partner’s fleet aligning with the UAE's target to cut 40% of carbon emissions by 2030.Our presence in the region is expanding, with a new dedicated office space in Dubai Internet City slated to open by the end of 2023. This is part of our larger growth strategy, which also includes expansions in the UAE and even beyond the region, like Ethiopia.How does Yango ride-hailing service differentiate itself from other platforms operating in the region?Yango is a tech company dedicated to adapting global innovations into everyday services that enrich local communities. Operational in more than 20 countries, we have vast experience in transformation of technologies into daily services around the world and have tailored our services to the UAE market.As for our ride-hailing service, Yango stands out from others in the region through a combination of innovations and targeted service offerings at a good value for money. Our features, such as user-friendly apps, safety technologies integrated within the service, and partnership with Coca-Cola Arena, specifically address the challenges of the UAE clientele. We understand that we are not just providing a ride, but a tailored experience. This ensures we always stay ahead in providing unparalleled service.Can you share some stats or success stories that highlight Yango's growth in the UAE?We celebrated the one-year-anniversary of our operations in Dubai this September. We continue to experience 20% week-to-week growth at high season there and will expand to other emirates within the upcoming months.What is Yango's long-term vision for its operations in the Middle East, and how do you plan to achieve it?Vision of Yango ride-hailing service is to be at the forefront of smart urban mobility in the market and support urban connectivity goals. Our strategies include integrating state-of-the-art technologies, ensuring the high standards of safety, and exploring opportunities like incorporating electric vehicles (EVs), for example.

Celebrate the festive season the Sheraton way!

Make memories this festive season with Dubai’s elegant 5-star destination hotel, Sheraton Mall of the Emirates. Experience a magical Christmas tree lighting ceremony, turkey to go, Christmas brunch & dinner, New year dinner, a retro New Year party, and much more. Explore a festive season unlike any other with Sheraton’s joyful offerings. Christmas Tree Lighting

Celebrating excellence Winners of the Retail Congress MENA Awards 2023 by MECS+R

The Retail Congress MENA Awards 2023, a pivotal component of the Retail Congress, illuminated the zenith of accomplishments in the shopping mall and retail industry. Hosted at the opulent Ritz Carlton Hotel in DIFC, Dubai, the gala not only acknowledged outstanding feats in marketing, retail, and design within the MENA region but also set the stage for an evening of unparalleled grandeur.David Macadam, CEO of MECS+R, remarked, "The Retail Congress MENA Awards 2023 stands as a beacon within the conference, a moment eagerly anticipated. It has consistently played a pivotal role in spotlighting the triumphs of shopping malls and retailers in the region."The grandeur of the evening was matched only by the caliber of the winners who took home the esteemed trophies. The event, which took place in the resplendent Ballroom of the Ritz Carlton – DIFC, transformed the space into a glittering showcase of excellence.The grandeur of the awards ceremony and dinner reached its zenith on the concluding night of the 2-day conference, delivering a truly fitting crescendo to the entire event. Each winner, meticulously chosen by a panel of distinguished industry experts, epitomized the pinnacle of excellence in their respective domains, playing a pivotal role in advancing the growth and development of the retail sector in the MENA region.Mr. Bhupinder Singh, General Manager & CFO - Dalma Mall said, "This is indeed a remarkable feat and a genuine testament to the unwavering commitment, expertise, and exceptional teamwork displayed by every individual of the Team. These 9 Prestigious Awards speak volumes of our dedication to excellence, and we are excited to receive them at Retail Congress MENA 2023, hosted by MECS+R, the largest association in the retail industry. Our journey is not only about accolades but also about the shared experiences, the laughter, and the cherished memories we create for our community. It is this spirit that continues to drive us forward. Our commitment to excellence and contributing to the community will remain at the forefront of all we do."Hani Al Hussein, Head of Marketing, Al Hokair Group said, "We are honored to be rewarded Eight Trophies at the prestigious event “Retail Congress Mena 2023 Ceremony Awards. Our sincere appreciation to the Jury Members and the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers & Retailers for this recognition."Wajeb Al Khoury, Director of Line Investments and Property LLC said, "We are deeply privileged to receive recognition in the significant categories at the 'Retail Congress Mena 2023 Ceremony Awards. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the esteemed Jury Members and the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers & Retailers for bestowing this honor upon us at the prestigious event. This achievement stands as a remarkable accomplishment, highlighting the steadfast dedication, expertise, and exceptional collaboration exhibited by every member of our team. Our unwavering commitment to excellence and our continued dedication to serving the community will always be at the core of our endeavors."The Retail Congress MENA Awards 2023 by MECS+R was an evening of opulence, celebration, and inspiration—a splendid showcase of the remarkable talent and unwavering dedication exhibited by individuals and organizations at the forefront of driving innovation and setting the standards for excellence in the retail industry.

Unwrap festive moments with Habtoor grand resort, autograph collection

Step into a World of Holiday Magic at Habtoor Grand Resort, Autograph Collection, the iconic beachfront haven. This picturesque beachside retreat, gracing the shores of the Arabian Gulf, invites you to elevate your festive season with unparalleled style and luxury. With an abundance of enchanting experiences, it’s the perfect destination to savor quality moments with your loved ones and indulge in a symphony of culinary delights.  Ginger Bread House Decorating

SALT expands delivery reach across Dubai through Deliveroo Editions

The widely-loved homegrown burger concept, SALT, has extended its partnership with Deliveroo to expand its delivery radius through Editions delivery-only kitchens. Through this partnership between Deliveroo and SALT, the brand is now accessible to more customers across Dubai in areas such as Arabian Ranches, Studio City, Motor City, Sports City, JVC, Meadows, Al Quoz, The Palm, Knowledge Village, Media City, Dubai Marina, JBR, JLT, Jumeirah Islands, Springs, Emirates Hills, The Lakes, Al Sufouh, Barsha, Umm Suqeim, Umm Al Sheif, Discovery Gardens, Damac Hills, Jumeirah Golf Estates, and Dubai Town Square to name a few. Established in 2014, SALT began its operations from an airstream trailer at Dubai’s Kite Beach, quickly turning into one of the city’s most loved burger destinations. SALT has become more accessible to additional fans of the concept across Dubai. Customers can now order from the expansive range of burgers and sliders alongside sides like the renowned chicken popcorn, chicken strips, and the brand’s signature fries. Lovers of the brand can also opt for curated SALT boxes available in options for 1 or 3 people. Ziad Zein, Commercial and Growth Director at Deliveroo, said, “We are excited to expand our partnership with SALT and welcome them into Editions. Through this partnership, we are able to give more of our customers access to this locally grown and loved brand. This is a true example of how Editions allows us to support our partners in expanding their reach into new regions and customers with best-in-class service.” The concept of Editions is a delivery-focused model designed to support restaurants expanding into new zones without the need for a brick-and-mortar location. With Deliveroo’s kitchen infrastructure and rider network, F&B concepts can extend their reach, delivering high-quality dishes crafted by their expert chefs to more customers in new areas.

BeIN Sports further demonstrates commitment to women’s football

beIN SPORTS is bringing some of the world’s best female footballers to MENA screens this month as the region’s leading sports broadcaster once again demonstrates its commitment to women’s sports by broadcasting the group stages of Europe’s UEFA Women’s Champions League (UEFA WCL) and Africa’s CAF Women’s Champions League (CAF WCL).The UEFA WCL returns today (14 November), with 16 teams battling it out to be crowned Europe’s best. Replicating the format of the men’s tournament, the women’s showpiece is set to culminate on 26 May 2024 in Bilbao. Barcelona, the reigning champions and home to last week’s Ballon d’Or winner Aitana Bonmati, get their quest for a third title underway at home to Benfica on Wednesday at 23:00 MECCA, while eight-time champions Lyon simultaneously travel to Slavia Praha. beIN will broadcast every match live with Arabic commentary on beIN SPORTS 1 and beIN SPORTS 2, and with English commentary on beIN SPORTS 1 ENGLISH and beIN SPORTS 2 ENGLISH.Other exciting ties from the first round of Europe’s premier women’s tournament include Bayern Munich hosting Roma on Wednesday night, as well as – 24 hours later – Paris travelling to Ajax and Real Madrid welcoming Chelsea. All matches will be broadcast live and exclusive on beIN. Further evidence of the broadcaster’s dedication to elevating the profile of women’s sports globally through its beINSPIRED initiative, the network is airing every match of the ongoing CAF WCL in Arabic on its free-to-air beIN SPORTS channel and beIN SPORTS 6, as well as select matches with English commentary on beIN SPORTS 2 ENGLISH. The African tournament kicked off on 5 November and features eight teams, including last year’s champions ASFAR Club of Morocco and South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, winners of the inaugural tournament in 2021.Organised as a two-week standalone event in Cote d’Ivoire, the first round of matches saw Ampem Darkoa of Ghana – making their tournament debut – deliver a huge shock by defeating ASFAR 2-1. With ASFAR home to as many as seven of the Morocco national team squad that shone so brightly on beIN at the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™, the 10-time domestic champions have since got their quest for historic consecutive titles back on track with defeats of Huracanes of Equatorial Guinea and AS Mande of Mali.With ASFAR’s place in Wednesday’s semi-final now secure, the Moroccans can prepare for what promises to be a must-watch match-up with South Africa’s Mamelodi Sundowns, while the other semi-final pits Ampem Darkoa against Sporting Casablanca to determine who will contest the final on 18 November at the Amadou Gon Coulibaly Stadium. Don’t miss out on any of the action by subscribing to beIN here:

Operators Facing $3 Billion Revenue Loss to OTT Messaging Channels

 A new study from Juniper Research, the foremost experts in telecommunications markets, found OTT business messaging traffic will reach 375 billion messages in 2028; rising from 100 billion messages in 2023.It predicts that diminishing quality of SMS networks will drive enterprises using mobile business messaging to explore alternative channels, including OTT messaging apps. As a result, operators are expected to lose over $3 billion SMS business messaging revenue globally to OTT channels over the next five years.Pricing Key to OTT Business Messaging GrowthReduced SMS network quality is being driven by the rising prevalence of fraud, whilst operators’ SMS prices continue to grow to maintain revenue amidst slowing demand for business messaging traffic. To capitalise on this plateauing SMS market, the report urges OTT app vendors to deploy pricing strategies that attract high-spending enterprises away from established SMS channels. These strategies must separate traffic by uses; charging a premium to enterprises for mission-critical traffic, such as MFA (Multi-factor Authentication).Retail to Experience Substantial OTT Messaging GrowthThe report forecasts a large increase in OTT business messaging spend for retail; from $790 million globally in 2023 to over $2.6 billion by 2028. It urges OTT messaging vendors to integrate data from other retail channels into OTT business messaging activities. In doing so, these vendors can position their apps as a key channel for retailers’ eCommerce strategies. To maximise the potential in this space, it is imperative that OTT messaging vendors integrate payment capabilities directly into apps to maximise the channel’s value proposition.

Abu Dhabi T10 2023 will take place from November 28th to December 9th

The much awaited seventh edition of Abu Dhabi T10 is just around the corner and cricket frenzy fans in the region will be delighted to know that the tickets for cricket's fastest format are now available for sale for just AED 10. Tickets can be purchased online via: Dhabi T10 is partnering with Q-Tickets as their exclusive ticketing partner for the upcoming edition. Q-Tickets will also be running co-promotions with 360 Play in various malls across Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Fujairah to sell tickets and other bundled offers.  In Abu Dhabi, the tickets will be sold at the Jumpo Trampo in Yas Mall, and at the Beanstalk at the Marina Mall. In Dubai, the tickets will be available to purchase at the 360 Play Jumpo Trampo at the Spring Souk Mall, Adventure Land at the Al Ghuriar Mall, and at the Trampoline at the Century Mall. Tickets for Abu Dhabi T10 Season 7 will also be sold at the Spider Tower in the Century Mall in Fujairah.Abu Dhabi T10 2023 will take place between November 28th and December 9th with 32 matches set to be played between eight well-rounded teams namely Deccan Gladiators, New York Strikers, Northern Warriors, Morrisville Samp Army, Delhi Bulls, Bangla Tigers, Team Abu Dhabi, and Chennai Braves.

Anthology hosts EdTech conference in Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia:– Anthology, a leading provider of education solutions that support the entire learner lifecycle, is hosting their annual conference for clients in the Middle East for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.More than 150 instiutional leaders, industy experts and instructors from 56 institutions across the Middle East are expected to attend the the two day conference on 13 – 14 November. The event is hosted by senior executives of Anthology, including Chief Executive Officer Bruce Dahlgren; President of Global Markets Joe Belanardo; and Senior Vice President of EMEA, Oleg Figlin.Anthology Together Middle East will feature keynotes by Anthology leaders and panel discussions on the most important issues facing higher education today, including the ethical and responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI).Executives from Anthology will be joined on stage by leaders in their fields from universities across the Middle East.“Saudi Arabia is home to some of the world's leading higher education institutions,” said Anthology Chief Executive Officer Bruce Dahlgren. "We believe that these institutions, with their commitment to academic excellence, are at the forefront of shaping the future. Our choice to host this conference in Riyadh reflects our commitment to our clients in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, and our dedication to building solutions in direct partnership with our clients and the learners they serve.”Product and Report Launches at EventAnthology will launch their latest AI-facilitated feature, Authentic Assessments, at the event. Set for release in December, the feature in Blackboard Learn Ultra utilizes learning objectives and course material to develop prompts aligned to Bloom’s Taxonomy that promote critical thinking like analysing, creating, and evaluating. The feature addresses the evolving challenges of academic integrity in the era of artificial intelligence.News at the event also includes the results of a global survey conducted by Anthology on the use and perceptions of AI in higher education. More than 5,000 higher education leaders and current students from countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United States, Brazil, Singapore, and the United Kingdom, participated in the survey.Key findings of the report highlight the positive approval of AI in Saudi Universities:49% of students in Saudi Arabia feel that artificial intelligence (AI) will revolutionise education.Students in Saudi Arabia are among the most frequent users of generative AI tools like ChatGPT, with 32% saying they use the tools weekly. Students in Saudi Arabia reported the highest likelihood that their use of generative AI tools will increase significantly in the next six months.  Download report: AI in Higher Ed: Hype, Harm, or Help, Spotlight on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  Anthology Together will conclude with an awards ceremony, recognizing excellence in education. The following institutions will be honoured on Tuesday, 14 November:Saudi Electronic University: Excellence in Inclusion and DiversityKing Faisal University: Excellence in InnovationAl-Qassim University: Excellence in InnovationKing Khalid University: Excellence in Community EngagementAl-Baha University: Excellence in Community Engagement "Rafed"Tabuk University: Excellence in Training and DevelopmentNajran University: Excellence in Training and DevelopmentHa'il University: Excellence in Advancement and TransitionShaqra University: Excellence in Advancement and TransitionBoard Middle East: 2023 Strategic Channel Partner

Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island resort appoints two new marketing and sales experts

United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi: Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort, Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts’ eco-conscious beachfront resort in Abu Dhabi, today announced the appointment of two new sales and marketing experts. The appointments follow a period of ongoing enhancements for the resorts’ hospitality offering to drive continued growth for the resort on an international, regional and local level.Vivian Trida takes the lead on the role of Director of Sales & Marketing at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort. With over 15 years of experience, insight and knowledge working with luxury hospitality brands in the region, Vivian has previously managed the sales front for high profile luxury resorts across the UAE including the rebranding of Emirates Palace as a Mandarin Oriental and Grand Hyatt Dubai on the early years of her career. In her new role, Vivian will be leading the charge in devising and implementing the commercial strategy across local and international markets with the vision to continue working with destination stakeholders in positioning Abu Dhabi and Saadiyat Island as a luxury destination. This new appointment marks a return to Jumeirah Group for Vivian, who spent three years as Director of Sales Groups - Commercial Cluster from 2018-2021.Also joining the team in Dubai is Khrystyna Masych, who is appointed as Assistant Digital Marketing Manager. With five years’ global experience creating successful media campaigns for brands across North America, Asia and Europe, Khrystyna will manage the property’s online paid advertising campaigns, including the strategy, design and implementation, and search engine optimizationCommenting on the appointments, Savino Leone, General Manager at Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort said: “We have had a very successful year in 2023 to date and are targeting further growth next year, with an evolved offering to welcome even more visitors to our exceptional resort. Central to this is our commitment to investing in the best talent to further differentiate our brand experience and meet the ever-evolving needs of our guests. Both Vivian and Khystyna bring a breadth of knowledge and expertise and will be strong assets for Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort as we target continued growth.”

Crypto Fight Night set to host electrifying boxing showdown in Dubai

Dubai, United Arab Emirates – Crypto Fight Night (CFN) returns with a bang, promising an even grander, more daring, and heart-pounding experience than before!On November 24, the Yume Theatre at Ramee Dream Hotel in Downtown Dubai will transform into the ultimate battleground for an electrifying fusion of cryptocurrency and boxing, all under the bright lights of the exclusive WBC Crypto World Championship.In a thrilling matchup, the reigning 2022 WBC Crypto World Champion, Trading Lord, will put his title on the line against the dynamic newcomer, Krown. This battle symbolizes the unique fusion of financial technology and pugilism, characteristic of influencer boxing.To further ignite the flames of competition, Khalid Nasir will enter the ring to compete for the WBC Middle East title against the formidable Ernest Kapinga. This matchup is one of the marquee events, exemplifying the essence of professional boxing and the regional rivalry that adds fervor to the CFN narrative.The night will feature a packed schedule with over 13 professional and exhibition bouts, showcasing a diverse array of talented boxers who also happen to be crypto enthusiasts. Each fight guarantees to deliver a captivating blend of skill, tenacity, and the indomitable spirit that characterizes the sport of boxing.Adding a touch of celebrity allure to the event, the fiercely contested Crypto Fight Night TV Title will feature Aaron Chalmers, renowned for his MTV fame and an extensive social media following of over 5 million, going head-to-head with Warren Spencer. Under the guidance of Andrew Tate, Spencer has vigorously prepared for this bout, promising a war from the very first bell.Crypto Fight Night is not just a boxing event; it's a celebration of the convergence of traditional sports and modern-day financial technology, a unique combination of combat sports and cryptocurrency expertise that promises to bring a thrilling blend of physical prowess and digital innovation to the forefront. In fact, the upcoming boxing matches are set to feature contestants who are not only skilled pugilists but also fervent crypto enthusiasts.What makes this event truly captivating is the fact that these fighters have been deeply involved in the world of cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and decentralized finance, and would openly share their experience and knowledge with the rest of the community.Nevertheless, this remarkable event has garnered substantial acclaim, thanks to our esteemed sponsors who play a pivotal role in its success. A special acknowledgment goes to Bybit, a sponsor that holds paramount importance in our endeavors.As a leading cryptocurrency exchange, Bybit has been a steadfast supporter since day 1 and is now embarking on its third year of collaboration with CFN, underscoring their unwavering commitment to our shared vision.Equally noteworthy is Ghaf Capital, a rapidly growing and trailblazing blockchain venture capital fund based in Dubai. Their support adds a distinctive touch to our event, showcasing the dynamism of the blockchain industry in the region.Moreover, the support from Phemex, a distinguished cryptocurrency exchange specializing in both spot and derivatives trading, alongside contributions from various other noteworthy sponsors, plays a crucial role in enhancing the vibrancy and ensuring the success of our event.Crypto Fight Night is also proudly presented by Savy Promotions and endorsed by Mauricio Sulaiman, the President of the World Boxing Council.The co-founders, including Rookie XBT, Jai Vora, Raghav 'Reggie' Jerath, Mohd Abu Salah, and Rahul Suri, who is both the co-founder of CFN and the founder of Savy Promotions, share a common belief in the event's core philosophy.Rahul commented, "The ethos of Crypto Fight Night is centered on the concept of being created and operated by the community, for the community. As founders, we have constructed a platform to elevate competition to its pinnacle and unite fans under a singular belief: everything is possible!"Tickets are now available for purchase, offering boxing enthusiasts and crypto aficionados a chance to witness history in the making. Get ready for an evening filled with relentless action, gripping drama, and a display of the unyielding spirit of competition.This is not your average boxing event; it's a high-octane, pulse-pounding spectacle that you won't want to miss!

Oman Government incorporates Yepic’s Generative AI to relay real-time election

In a world-first end-to-end online election, the Oman government revealed its Shura election results to citizens in real-time using generative artificial intelligence (AI). The Ministry of Interior partnered with London-based generative AI startup Yepic AI to bring the election results to citizens in a more visual and engaging way. Yepic’s API enables the creation of high-quality videos at scale within minutes and in multiple languages, all made from a single photo. Its technology was used to create custom avatars reflective of the Omani community, who then delivered the election results in real-time to citizens over the course of the day.The elections reporting process is an AI-driven workflow that starts with online voting verified by AI-powered facial recognition technology. The results were then compiled and announced via scripts created by a large language model (LLM) specifically developed for the elections by AiCubes and then read out by Yepic’s AI presenters. The hope is that by serving information to citizens in a more visual, personalised and engaging way, civic participation in the election process will increase.On an hourly basis, 400 unique videos were generated, accessible via an app, and disseminated to each province. In total, Yepic AI produced over 10,000 state-of-the-art videos over the course of the day in six languages, including Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian.Aaron Jones, Co-founder and CEO of Yepic AI, said: “Harnessing the power of generative AI to revolutionise the way election results are communicated is a momentous stride for Yepic AI and for Oman as a nation. We're deeply honored to collaborate with the Oman government on this pioneering venture. Our mission at Yepic AI is to transform the way we communicate through video. To see our technology being harnessed in this way is a testament to the fact we’re realising it. We're thrilled to be a part of this historical moment and look forward to continued collaboration with Oman as it looks to integrate AI into public services to enhance citizens' lives.”Ioannis Kazantzidis, Co-founder and CTO of Yepic AI said: "Our collaboration with the Oman government highlights the ocean of opportunities for real-time, personalised video content creation, ushering in a new era of innovation and engagement in the digital landscape. Real-time video generation integrated into workflows and at scale is the future of how we will interact with AI, and receive and deliver information. It has been great to work with Oman to be at the forefront of this work."Following the Oman government's Vision 2040, a strategy that prioritizes a diversified, dynamic and globalized economy, Yepic will continue to collaborate with Oman to enhance AI-driven digital experiences for its citizens.

Al-Futtaim IKEA embraces circular sustainability

United Arab Emirates, Dubai: Al-Futtaim IKEA, the region’s leading Swedish home furnishing retailer, today unveiled a 30-meter-long community table to celebrate Dubai Design Week. Made out of used furniture that would otherwise go to the landfill, the table will be open for public use from November 7th to the 12th in Dubai Design District. Not only is the community table a bold piece of art, but it is also functional, well-designed and signifies Al-Futtaim IKEA’s unwavering dedication to the Year of Sustainability, Innovation and the path leading to COP28.Thoughtfully designed and curated by IKEA designers and co-created with Adimas Bayu, an illustrator and upcoming doodle artist, along with Grade 5 and Grade 6 students of the Universal American School, this initiative is a testament to the Swedish retailer’s vision of using only renewable or recycled materials to offer fresh solutions to customers, extending the lifespan of products and materials. The table has a story to tell. It aligns with the core themes of conserving energy, preserving water, reducing food waste, and safeguarding biodiversity.Al-Futtaim IKEA has a vision and ambition in the markets it operates in - the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman; to inspire and enable more than 70 million people to live a better everyday life within the boundaries of the planet by 2025. It also aims to become a circular climate positive business by reducing more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the IKEA value chain emits by 2030. Dubai Design Week served as an ideal platform to showcase the retailors vision. Aligning with the UAE’s sustainability vision, it seeks to educate and encourage people to make choices that lead to a better everyday life.Vinod Jayan, Managing Director of Al-Futtaim IKEA in UAE, Qatar, Oman and Egypt said, ‘At Al-Futtaim IKEA, sustainability is one of the most important pillars that sets the foundation for what we do. We’re on a mission to make sustainability accessible to all, ensuring that sustainable living is not a luxury but a choice everyone can afford. For example, by changing to IKEA LED bulbs, we save 80% energy as compared to conventional bulbs. By using IKEA showers and taps, we can save up to 40% water with the special inbuilt aerator.’The community table is a great example of raising awareness among consumers on the importance of sustainability and the role they can play in contributing towards a circular economy. It encourages consumers to think about the life cycle of products and the value of reusing and recycling materials.‘As we craft this community table, IKEA's mission is crystal clear: we're championing Circularity. Our approach for designing and developing IKEA home furnishing products is to ensure that they integrate good function, beautiful form of long-lasting quality, while also securing sustainability and low price. We want to not only encourage people to protect the planet but also fosters a sense of community amongst artists. Together, we worked to inspire others to craft affordable, creative pieces off used and unwanted furniture’, he continued.In addition, Al-Futtaim IKEA has taken a step further by launching a Maker Space at Dubai Design District. This dynamic environment will showcase IKEA's sustainable furniture range, providing consumers with hands-on education on the functionality of these eco-conscious products. The space will allow customers with opportunity to gain valuable insights into energy conservation, water preservation, and food waste reduction, contributing to the crucial goal of protecting biodiversity.The Maker Space will also include workshops that will take visitors into the world of creativity. From transforming cushions to crafting collages from old catalogues, there's something for everyone. Come visit the Maker Space at building number 8 daily until November 12th, and experience these workshops for free. Don't miss this opportunity to unleash your artistic potential.

Kaspersky to showcase its new technology at Black Hat MEA 2023

Riyadh: Kaspersky, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, has announced its participation in the highly anticipated Black Hat 2023 conference. Black Hat has long been a platform where industry pioneers come together to discuss the latest developments in cybersecurity.Kaspersky will take center stage to showcase its newly launched Managed Detection and Response (MDR) solution, which allows organizations in the Kingdom to leverage Kaspersky's experts while saving IT security teams’ resources for threat analysis, investigation, and response. The service was made possible through the public cloud service provided by Saudi Cloud Computing Company (SCCC Alibaba Cloud) which allows Kaspersky’s customers to comply with data sovereignty and privacy guidelines.Kaspersky will also showcase its Threat Intelligence service which has become an essential tool for organizations to safeguard their assets comprehensively. Kaspersky researchers actively engage in monitoring and tracking 16 Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) groups operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the surrounding region. These APT groups strategically select their primary victims, focusing on various sectors such as government entities, financial institutions, and manufacturing companies. This service enables organizations access to evidence-based knowledge, context, and actionable recommendations regarding cyber threats targeting their organization.Mohamad Hashem, General Manager of Kaspersky in KSA & Bahrain, expressed his excitement about the company's participation in Black Hat 2023: " Black Hat provides us with the perfect platform to discuss the vital cybersecurity issues and showcase our advanced cybersecurity solutions. With 16 years of experience in KSA, Kaspersky has consistently grown its business, achieving over 30% growth in the first three quarters of this year. We will continue working closely with governments and organizations to ensure they are protected throughout their digital transformation journey."Black Hat 2023 is set to be an exceptional event, with Kaspersky at the forefront of the cybersecurity conversation. We invite attendees to visit our booth to learn more about our MDR solution and discover how Kaspersky is dedicated to keeping organizations safe in an ever-evolving threat landscape.

Tiger 3' Story Falls Flat, Better to Avoid

Ever heard of a RAW agent saving the Prime Minister (PM) of NOT India but our neighbour Pakistan. That too after almost gunning down the entire Pak army?!! Well, if you think that's unimaginable, please walk in to your nearest theatre screening Tiger 3. Brace yourself as you will get to see apna Tiger bhai saving the lady padosi PM (Simran Bagga) and moreover, witness the 'pyaare nanhe munhe' Paki kiddos singing our Indian National Anthem as a return gift to him. Wow o wow, really now that's Bollywood's new found creativity for you!! In fact, writer- producer Aditya Chopra seems to have this kinky fantasy of showing a male RAW agent falling for his female ISI counterpart and then both fighting together for a common cause which invariably brings India and Pakistan on the same level!! Ek Tha Tiger (2012) started it all, Tiger Zinda Hai (2017) took it ahead and then Pathaan released early this year, replicated the same RAW- ISI romance wala formula. So far, this YRF Spy Universe as they call it, has incorrectly shown both India and Pakistan as geo-politically equal with their 'Pakistan prem' rising alarmingly with every instalment. I won't be surprised if Tiger or Pathaan jive to a remixed version of 'Dil Dil Pakistan' in their next outing!!! Anyway, Tiger 3 is the weakest movie of this (so called) franchise till now, which even a Salman Khan can't rescue!! Ain't his fault; he has practically nothing to do here except go through the rut of those unrealistic action scenes, which our dear old Mithun Chakraborty mastered in his prime. Remember how those ten thousand bullets would just fly past him graciously while he would bump off two or three bozos with one pellet gun!! Well, Salman Bhai does exactly the same here... Obviously, the VFX and technical aspects are incredibly better than the regular Bollywood fare but still, Tiger 3 as an end product resembles a B grade Hollywood actioner. Basically a desi mission impossible with no mission in it!! As for the much touted Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) cameo, his entry is appropriately timed but the action is so unconvincingly overdone that the entire scene is reduced to a humbug. The climax, supposedly set in Pakistani PM office, is also overstretched to such an extent that you lose your patience. And pray, why is that building in Islamabad designed like the US White House. Eeps!! Of the cast, the gorgeous Katrina Kaif gets a fair share of glamour plus action and actually, pitches in an assured act. Her towel fight scene got the maximum 'ceetis' in the South Mumbai single screen, where I saw the film. Hmm!! Surprisingly, Emraan Hashmi is ineffective as the main villain and his role appears to be chopped off at the editing table. Revathi is the replacement for RAW Chief Girish Karnad in the first two parts and her interaction with Salman brings back the nostalgia of their yesteryear film together- Love (1991). The rest of supporting cast is strictly okey dokey. Finally, it is superstar Salman Khan whose undiminishing charisma and swagger will certainly pull in the crowd to watch Tiger 3 in this extended Diwali weekend. The survival after that, will become mission impossible for this movie though!! Ratings on some key aspects* : 1. Acting : 2/5 2. Direction : 1.5/53. Music : 2/5 4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 1/55. Cinematography : 3.5/56. Editing : 2.5/5 7. Costume Design : 3.5/58. Special Effects and VFX : 3.5/59. Action : 2/510. Production Quality : 3.5/5 #SNRating for #Tiger3 : 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. #Tiger3 #SpyThriller #HindiMovie #BollywoodFilm #SalmanKhan #KatrinaKaif #AdityaChopra #YRFSpyUniverse #EmraanHashmi #Simran #Revathi #SRK #Pathaan #BollywoodReview #Filmreview #TheatricalRelease #OTTRelease #Zee5 #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.

How TCL is revolutionizing home entertainment: An interview with Sunny Yang

In the rapidly evolving landscape of consumer electronics and home appliances, TCL has consistently stood at the forefront of innovation. In this interview with Adgully Middle East Sunny Yang, the General Manager of TCL MEA, sheds light on the latest groundbreaking products and strategies that propel TCL as a global leader. From cutting-edge TVs redefining home entertainment to a steadfast commitment to sustainability, TCL continues to shape the future of technology. Yang delves into the company's unique initiatives, partnerships, and customer-centric approach, offering insights into TCL's vision for growth, innovation, and market expansion in the Middle East and beyond. Excerpts:Can you share with us the latest innovations and product developments that TCL is currently working on in the consumer electronics and home appliances sectors? TCL continually strives to push the boundaries of innovation within the consumer electronics and home appliances sectors. Our most recent endeavour, the TCL C755 QD-Mini LED 4K TV, is a testament to our commitment to excellence. This cutting-edge product redefines picture quality with its incorporation of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos technologies, coupled with an impressive 144Hz refresh rate. The result is an immersive IMAX-enhanced viewing experience that sets a new standard for home entertainment.In addition to the existing model's available sizes of 50, 55, 65, 75, and 85 inches, we are excited to introduce the grand 98-inch variant, expanding our range and offering our customers a wider array of options to choose from. At TCL, we take pride in our pursuit of innovation and are dedicated to enhancing the consumer electronics and home appliances landscape with the latest advancements in technology.TCL has been recognized for its commitment to sustainability. How is the company incorporating eco-friendly practices and technologies into its products and operations? TCL takes great pride in its commitment to sustainability and is dedicated to integrating eco-friendly practices and technologies into both its products and operations. Under the global banner of the #TCLGreen campaign, we are spearheading a transformative initiative to inspire greatness and foster a more environmentally conscious planet for all.The #TCLGreen initiative has received worldwide recognition, serving as a symbol of our steadfast dedication to sustainability within local and global communities. In pursuit of these sustainability goals, we offer a range of environmentally responsible products that include the TCL Mini LED C845, the TCL FreshIN Air Conditioner, the TCL Eco Fresh Refrigerator, and our TCL Front Load Washer, which excels in providing advanced hygiene care.At TCL, we are committed to making eco-conscious choices accessible to our customers and are continuously innovating to minimize our environmental footprint across all facets of our business operations.In a highly competitive market, what strategies does TCL employ to maintain its position as a global leader in consumer electronics and home appliances?In a fiercely competitive market, TCL employs a strategic approach that has positioned us as a global leader in consumer electronics and home appliances. One of our key distinctions is our unrivaled expertise in the realm of large-format displays, with TCL holding a prestigious position as the global leader in 98-inch TVs. This attests to our dominant presence in the realm of XL-sized displays, a testament to the quality and innovation synonymous with our brand.Furthermore, we are proud to hold the second-place position as a global TV brand, and our aspirations are set even higher; we are on a mission to swiftly ascend to the coveted No.1 spot. This ambition aligns with our unwavering commitment to delivering products that redefine quality and innovation, further solidifying our prominent status in the market.In the domain of home appliances, we offer a range of cutting-edge technologies that empower consumers to lead smarter and more eco-conscious lifestyles. Our product portfolio spans from refrigerators to air conditioners and washers, all designed with a focus on environmental sustainability and technological advancement. We are confident that as we effectively communicate our unique value propositions to consumers, they will increasingly recognize TCL as the most sought-after brand in the realm of consumer electronics, and this will serve to bolster our pursuit of the No.1 position.Ultimately, our goal is to kindle a sense of excellence in the everyday lives of our consumers through our exceptional products, cementing our position as a global leader in the consumer electronics and home appliances sectors.With the growth of smart home technology, how is TCL adapting to meet the evolving needs and preferences of consumers in this space?Amidst the burgeoning smart home technology landscape, TCL is strategically adapting to align with the ever-evolving needs and preferences of our consumers. Our approach is centered on the integration of WiFi-enabled functionality in our home comfort appliances, thereby ushering in a new realm of possibilities for enhancing the convenience and control of these devices.By harnessing the power of your smartphone, TCL's WiFi-enabled appliances grant you immediate access to advanced controls that are seamlessly at your fingertips. A simple download and connection of your device open the door to a transformative experience where TCL simplifies and enhances your home comfort in an effortless and convenient manner.Through this innovative adaptation, we are committed to delivering the utmost in smart home technology, empowering consumers to take control of their comfort and convenience with the ease of their smartphones.Could you elaborate on any recent partnerships or collaborations that TCL has embarked on to enhance its product offerings or expand its market reach?TCL has been actively pursuing partnerships and collaborations to bolster our product offerings and broaden our market reach. Notably, as a brand that is on a mission to inspire greatness, we have recognized the immense global appeal of sports as a platform for engagement and have made strategic investments in sponsorships to significantly augment our following.Leveraging our reputation for innovative product solutions, TCL presents an unparalleled proposition for sports enthusiasts. Our commitment to providing TVs with exceptional specifications ensures that consumers can enjoy an unbeatable sports viewing experience. These partnerships not only enrich our product ecosystem but also reinforce our presence in the market, catering to the diverse interests of our audience.Customer service and support are crucial in the consumer electronics industry. How does TCL ensure a positive customer experience, from product purchase to post-purchase service? We place paramount importance on delivering a positive customer experience, extending from the initial product purchase to post-purchase service. To achieve this, we have established a dedicated team of customer-facing professionals who undergo continuous training to remain well-informed and proficient in serving our digitally savvy consumers.Our service centres are staffed with highly experienced customer service and technical support experts who excel at simplifying intricate issues, ensuring that customers enjoy seamless and hassle-free experiences. We have created a multifaceted support network that includes various channels for communication, both online and offline, such as email correspondence. Additionally, our channel partners are instrumental in providing extensive support, further enhancing the overall customer service landscape. Our commitment is to ensure that each customer interaction is a testament to TCL's dedication to excellence in the realm of consumer electronics.The global supply chain landscape has faced challenges recently. How has TCL navigated these challenges and ensured a steady supply of its products to customers?TCL has been able to adeptly steer through the recent challenges in the global supply chain landscape, prioritizing the uninterrupted availability of our products to our valued customers. Our strong presence in the market has been instrumental in this regard.Even when faced with formidable hurdles, we remain resolute in our commitment to offering consumers top-of-the-line technology products, underpinned by our relentless pursuit of cutting-edge innovations. Our vision is to establish ourselves as the quintessential brand for premium quality in the industry and to showcase our high-end models, which we anticipate will garner substantial market penetration over time. Our dedication to ensuring a steady supply of our products reflects our deep-seated commitment to meeting the needs of our customers.Looking ahead, what are the key goals and initiatives that TCL has in store for the coming years in terms of growth, innovation, and market expansion?TCL has set forth a clear roadmap, encompassing pivotal goals and initiatives aimed at fostering growth, driving innovation, and expanding our market presence. Our pronounced focus centres on the dynamic Middle East region, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia serving as the flagship territories.One of our key initiatives involves the expansion of our retail network throughout the Middle East. We are making substantial investments in this expansion, underscoring our unwavering commitment to growing our footprint in this promising market. We hold great confidence that the year 2023 will mark the commencement of this transformative journey, propelling TCL towards new horizons of growth, innovation, and market expansion in the Middle East and beyond.How does TCL adapt its product offerings and marketing strategies to cater to the specific preferences and demands of consumers in the Middle East market?We tailor our product offerings and marketing strategies to align with the distinctive preferences and demands of consumers in the Middle East market. One of our strategic approaches involves the incorporation of sports marketing to bolster our global visibility, enhance recognition of our top-tier products, and stimulate sales.Through the astute utilization of sports marketing and the continuous enhancement of our integrated global marketing capabilities, we are solidifying our worldwide presence and reinforcing our brand recognition. This approach allows us to effectively resonate with the specific tastes and requirements of consumers in the Middle East, contributing to a more tailored and compelling consumer experience.

Du partners with Hayat Communications to deliver managed services across UAE

Dubai, UAE – du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), today announced a strategic partnership with Hayat Communications, a publicly listed organization in the Kuwait Stock Exchange. This partnership marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of delivering cutting-edge telecom services and expanding network capabilities.The collaboration between du and Hayat Communications brings together the expertise, resources, and experience of both organizations to provide innovative solutions and address the growing demands of customers across the UAE. With the telecommunications landscape evolving at a rapid pace, staying at the forefront of technological advancements is crucial, and this partnership ensures that both organizations can deliver on that promise.Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Executive Officer at du said: "Our collaboration with Hayat Communication will enable us to enhance our network capabilities, provide innovative telecom solutions, and effectively meet the demands of our customers. We look forward to jointly shaping the future of telecommunications in the country and delivering exceptional services to our clients."The partnership will cover the entire du infrastructure, including mobile, fixed, fiber, and data center assets. With Hayat Communications' comprehensive market-leading delivery and managed services capabilities, du will be able to maximize return on investments for its clients and further expand its digital services offerings.Abdulraouf Alwazzan, Chief Executive Officer at Hayat Communications said: "We are thrilled to embark on this three-year partnership with du to deliver innovative solutions and leveraging our strong partnership to further extend du's digital footprint across the country. This collaboration will enable us to contribute to the digital transformation journey of du and provide comprehensive market-leading delivery and managed services capabilities to its clients.”Hayat Communications, established in 1997 in the UAE, has been a trusted partner of du since 2006, delivering numerous strategic infrastructure projects. The collaboration is in line with du's strategic aim to further expand its digital services and maximize return on investments for its clients, underscoring the company's commitment to innovation and excellence. Both organizations are excited about the opportunities ahead and look forward to jointly shaping the future of telecommunications in the country.

64% of organizations across the Middle East are implementing ESG in 2023

Dubai, UAE: Green Future Project (GFP), a B-Corp providing end-to-end solutions for organizations to develop and implement a corporate sustainability strategy, has observed an increase in the number of UAE-based companies looking to implement an ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) policy. Co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at GFP, Zain Tarawneh, explains the factors that are contributing to this environmental reformation.According to a recent survey, 64% of organizations across the Middle East have adopted a formal ESG strategy; this reflects a significant increase from the previously reported 18% in 2022. Moreover, 73% of companies have made a carbon-neutral commitment or are working towards one while 40% are hopeful that Conference of the Parties 28 (COP28) will lead to governments improving ESG infrastructure and providing incentives for green growth.Zain commented: “There’s both a bottom-up and top-down movement happening, the former being pushed by mindful changes in consumer behaviour, and the latter by companies implementing reformative frameworks such as ESG and environmental policy. As a result, businesses are demonstrating an increased sense of responsibility as they strive to make a meaningful impact while remaining both profitable and competitive. ”As COP28 is set to kick off in the UAE at the end of this month, the country will not only play a key role in furthering its green agenda but also spark meaningful dialogue among key industry stakeholders and government entities to accelerate regional and global progress. With only 13% of businesses accessing sustainable finance, challenges remain with an ongoing green skills gap.“Nearly half of the organisations across the Middle East, 46% to be exact, are self-funding their ESG activities. While this is a welcome sign to usher in a greener future, more innovative green financing opportunities do exist and should be sought out to unlock the region’s full potential and enable the realization of its climate ambitions. COP28 will be an ideal platform for discussing such topics and ultimately provide benefits on a global scale,” added Zain.GFP is helping advance the UAE’s green objectives while contributing to key governmental mandates such as UAE Net Zero 2050. The company is working with UAE-based organizations in sectors including digital banking, hospitality, real estate, and finance to help them pioneer sustainable action across the region. Some notable live projects and partnerships include collaborations with companies such as Lune, Atteline, Gulf Capital, Silkhaus, and Sharjah Sustainable City[2]. To date, GFP has helped over 100 businesses globally in its decarbonization journeys while also planting 427,152 trees, protecting 85.48 hectares of rainforest, planting 229 corals for reef restoration, offsetting more than 26,905.62 tonnes of CO2, and producing over 14,675,674 kW of renewable energy

KSA consumers open to robotics in restaurants: Deliverect study

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Deliverect, a global scale-up that integrates and accelerates online orders for restaurants and food businesses, today announced new consumer research that examines ‘The Four Ds of Digital Success’ - Discover, Deliver, Delight and Drive. The research revealed that people are relying on digital platforms more than ever to discover new restaurants, conduct research on what they offer and build a lasting relationship with the brand itself.The results show that KSA consumers are open to the role that robotics will play in restaurants compared to the US and UK, with 66% comfortable with drones and robots carrying out food preparation (63%) or service (72%). In fact, when consumers in Saudi Arabia were asked about the technologies that help create a positive experience at a restaurant, more that 50% prioritized QR codes and contactless payments.The survey of 5,000 people, including 1,000 in KSA, which was commissioned by Deliverect and conducted by Censuswide, revealed the important role that technology plays in each stage of the consumer journey, from how they first discover restaurants to what ultimately drives customer loyalty and repeat orders.The Discovery PhaseThe results showed that 34% of KSA consumers are using Google Search, 56% are using food delivery apps and 29% are using social media platforms to find new restaurants. When it comes to researching these newly discovered restaurants, 86% of consumers would go directly to a brand’s website or food delivery apps.The research also delved into what KSA consumers are looking for as part of this research and what leads to them ordering from a particular establishment, with a variety of menu options (94%), affordability (95%) and high standard of health and safety (93%) all scoring highly.Naji Haddad, MENA General Manager at Deliverect, said: “With Saudi Arabia’s Food and Beverage sector being the largest in the MENA region, people’s views are crucial to understand their preferences, especially at a time when the sector is growing rapidly. The survey results show that delivery apps and websites are still the most popular method when it comes to identifying new outlets which is no surprise considering that technology is at our fingertips through the use of mobile phones and tablets.”“As the Kingdom continues to develop and transform itself into a leading global destination for trade, business and tourism, there is no doubt that the F&B sector will go from strength to strength and outlets must begin to embrace changes in their day-to-day operations to better serve their customers – both in the short and long-term.”Delivering at Every TouchpointThe research reveals that once a decision is made on where they would like to order from, 38% of the customers in Saudi Arabia choose to do so from delivery apps. 64% said that it is easier to use than other mediums, while 52% like that they have access to reviews and ratings and 35% enjoy the premium features. Analysing the data, it’s clear that a cohesive and intuitive digital experience is essential when it comes to building brand loyalty and delivering your brand everywhere and at every touchpoint.Surprise and DelightThe element of ‘human touch’ can also help drive personalization, make customers feel valued and complement your digital brand. When asked what makes people in KSA feel loyal to a restaurant, friendly and attentive staff (24%), fast delivery (40%) and reliable and accurate service (21%) and special offers (30%) all appeared as key elements in delighting customers when engaging with a restaurant, all of which can be driven by a blend of digital experiences and human interaction.Drive Loyalty and Customer SatisfactionDigitization is clearly imperative in driving consumer loyalty in the Kingdom. When asked about the features they value the most when ordering from a restaurant’s website or app, 35% prioritized the menu details, and 43% chose the easy-to-use navigation, further proving just how valuable digital elements are from initial discovery to repeat purchases.Zhong Xu, CEO and Co-Founder of Deliverect, commented: “It’s not surprising that consumers are increasingly relying on digital platforms to enhance their restaurant interactions and engagement, especially following the pandemic where a lot of new technology became commonplace in our everyday lives,” said“The findings outline the importance of restaurant brands creating a strong digital presence, maintaining consistency, and offering compelling experiences to stand out in a competitive market, all of which cannot be underestimated when it comes to sustaining growth and increasing customer retention. Integrating a perfect blend of technology, human interaction and personalization is a must for all restaurants looking to make a lasting impact.”

Yspot champions youth empowerment in strategic partnership with Virtuzone

Yspot, the unique and forward-thinking platform designed to revolutionize connectivity between youth and organisations, has forged an official partnership with Virtuzone, the UAE’s number one company formation specialists, to champion its youth skills throughout Virtuzone's expansive ecosystem of registered companies.Yspot is dedicated to empowering and inspiring today's youth, nurturing innovative minds, and fostering internship opportunities between young individuals and organizations. The recently updated Yspot platform serves as a gateway, providing the youth with access to a multitude of AI driven tools and services, showcasing a deep commitment to development of skills. By creating opportunities, Yspot actively encourages professional growth through collaborative partnerships with organizations, aiming to bridge the gap between young talents and their aspirations.In a strategic move to amplify awareness of Yspots' offerings, the company has forged a dynamic partnership with Virtuzone. The collaboration is geared towards spotlighting the advantages of hiring interns, underscoring the notion that interns represent a valuable and skilled resource for organizations. Leveraging Virtuzone's extensive ecosystem of startups and SMEs, the partnership is designed to bolster youth employment in the region by offering an affordable solution and providing essential intern support. The symbiotic relationship not only benefits the youth, empowering them as drivers of innovation, creativity, and a proactive learning mindset but also enriches organizations by infusing fresh perspectives and dynamic energy into its workforce.The partnership is an enduring link paving the way for impactful internships and future employment opportunities. Gaining entry to Yspot’s comprehensive database of skilled interns, Virutzone and its ecosystem of clients stands to acquire benefits, such as the accessibility to source specific skill assessments for Yspot applicants. As a testament to its commitment, Yspot extends its support to Virtuzone by providing free workshops on the hiring process for interns, offering guidance on salaries, structuring internship programs and also provides complimentary recruitment support to Virtuzone.Positioned as the foremost experts in company setup and corporate services, Virtuzone’s expertise includes the entire company formation process, including trade licensing, visa applications, accounting, tax consultancy, legal services, golden visa applications and more.With solid trust in Yspot's work and mission, Virtuzone has hired its first intern under the guidance of Yspot.

Jahez introduces unlimited free deliveries with “Jahez Prime” subscription

Jahez International Company (“Jahez-Kuwait”), a pioneering platform that connects customers with their favorite restaurants through online orders, announced the launch of “Jahez Prime”, a monthly subscription service offering free unlimited deliveries from select restaurants for just KD1. The integration of Jahez Prime into the Jahez-Kuwait App strategically aligns with the Company’s commitment to prioritizing customer needs. This initiative demonstrates Jahez-Kuwait’s customer-centric approach and dedication to improving the user experience while providing exceptional value to its extensive customer base.Jahez Prime aims to provide customers with a unique and innovative service that combines convenience with affordability. With a monthly subscription fee of only KD1, subscribers gain access to a list of Prime restaurants that offer free delivery for 30 days. Customers that do not subscribe to the service will be able to order from Prime restaurants for a fee of 500 fils per order. Restaurants enrolled in the service will be indicated by an orange symbol on the Jahez-Kuwait App. Currently the App offers a selection of cuisines with plans to expand and include a larger variety of exceptional restaurants in the near future. With this innovative service, Jahez-Kuwait aims to foster stronger connections between customers and their beloved eateries, making it easier and more affordable to enjoy delicious meals from the comfort of home.In a statement, Jahez-Kuwait indicated that the launch of Jahez Prime serves as a strategic move to solidify the Company's position as a market leader in the food delivery service industry, as it continues to invest in services that add value for both customers and restaurant partners alike. The monthly subscription of KD1 is competitively priced, ensuring that Jahez Prime is accessible to a wide audience, and represents the Company’s ongoing dedication to offering cost-effective solutions without compromising on quality or service. As Jahez-Kuwait continues to innovate and evolve, Jahez Prime stands as a clear indication of its unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction and its forward-thinking approach to the rapidly changing landscape of online food delivery.“We are proud to launch Jahez Prime for our valued customers, further building on our commitment to offer innovative services at competitive prices in the local market,” said Faisal Alsaei, Marketing Manager at Jahez-Kuwait. “At Jahez-Kuwait, we are driven by a passion for excellence and a relentless pursuit of customer satisfaction. The launch of Jahez Prime is a critical milestone in our journey, showcasing our dedication to providing value-driven services that serve our diverse customer base. Customers wanting to subscribe to the service can do so simply through the Jahez-Kuwait App and enjoy unlimited free deliveries from Prime restaurants.”Alsaei added, “As we continue to grow, we remain dedicated to expanding our offerings and strengthening our position as a pioneer in the local and regional food delivery services industry. This is just one of the many ways that we aim to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations, ensuring they have access to their favorite restaurants with a click of a button.”It is worth mentioning that Jahez-Kuwait entered the competitive food delivery industry with an innovative customer centric approach. By allowing customers to simply drop a pin for delivery without needing to enter an address, Jahez-Kuwait provides a seamless and intuitive experience that takes convenience to a new level. The platform further empowers its users with flexible payment options, offering the freedom to pay anytime, whether before or after delivery, putting the control squarely in customers' hands. Additionally, in collaboration with select partners, Jahez offers up to 50% off at some restaurants, providing unmatched value and making it a truly compelling choice for food delivery in Kuwait.

Mastercard Collaborates With Dubai Islamic Bank for Cross-Border Payment Service

Mastercard has initiated a strategic partnership with Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) to launch cross-border payment services for peer-to-peer (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) fund transfers. The collaboration leverages Mastercard Cross-Border Services to enable the bank to provide real-time remittances through its digital channels across more than 40 countries worldwide. The Mastercard-powered remittance solution allows people and organizations to send and receive money around the world almost instantly.Mastercard Cross-Border Services facilitate the movement of funds to any end point across over 140 countries through one secure connection and through rich features such as guaranteed exchange rates, full value transfers without deductions and transaction status tracking, reaching 95% of bank accounts worldwide. The highly localized solution offers multiple payout options, including bank account, mobile wallet and card. To address the needs of the unbanked and underbanked, cash payout is also an option through a continuously expanding global network of cash pickup locations, whose number currently stands at approximately 350,000.“At DIB, we are committed to making an active contribution to building a seamless payment infrastructure through bringing unique, state-of-art solutions to the market in line with the highest international standards. This partnership further enriches DIB cross-border payment services through an integration between customer facing mobile apps and online platforms with Mastercard, ensuring secure and efficient transfers to a vast network of geographies that the latter operates in. With its advanced technology, global expertise and ever-growing remittance footprint, Mastercard will significantly enhance our customer offering and allow us to achieve further global reach,” said Dr. Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO of DIB.“For many people, remittances are a way to stay connected to their communities. At Mastercard, we are dedicated to providing them with fast, convenient, secure and affordable ways to transfer funds internationally. We are delighted to launch our first innovation-driven business venture with DIB, and hope this will be the start of a long and productive partnership,” said Dimitrios Dosis, President, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.Recognizing the need for speed in today's fast-paced world, Mastercard Cross-Border Services have been optimized for quick and efficient fund transfers. This ensures that customers can complete their desired transactions promptly, which is particularly advantageous for urgent financial needs. To promote transparency, the solution is equipped with a real-time tracking feature, so users can stay informed about the progress of their transactions.

The role of AI in transforming experiential retail

Artificial intelligence (AI) has become so seamlessly integrated into our day to day lives, you may not even notice when you’re using it. From asking Siri for a song to following Waze on your way to work, AI is redefining the way we communicate, work and play. The retail sector is one industry that has been transformed by the rise in AI technology. The e-commerce industry achieved a record USD 5.7 trillion in sales in 2022, accounting for 20 per cent of all retail sales around the world.And while some of the AI functionality has become ingrained in the way we shop, such as online chatbots offering purchasing support, or the behind-the-scenes roles of inventory management and supply chain networks, the really thrilling transformations are taking place in the form of experiential retail. Here are some of the key ways AI is transforming the way we shop.Personalising the processLeading the AI charge are major online marketplaces Amazon and Alibaba, whose use of AI has contributed to a massive market share – Amazon clocked up 5.9 billion direct visits in April 2023 alone. Both retailers use predictive analytics to help personalise the customer experience, analysing previous purchases, popularity and user search patterns to sift through the millions of products available on their marketplaces. Amazon draws on usage pattern analysis to accurately predict when a regular shopper will need to restock on household necessities, such as diapers, laundry detergent or their morning coffee, giving the user a nudge when it’s time to stock up. The Sephora app personalises the experience by customising suggested products within the shopper’s expected budget, delivering a better overall user experience and a higher conversion rate.Virtual reality fitting roomsOne of the exciting transformations we’re seeing is the creation of virtual reality fitting rooms. This form of blended reality allows shoppers to ‘try on’ clothing, shoes and cosmetics from the comfort of their living rooms using AI and augmented reality (AR) – think Adidas sneakers, ASOS clothing, and Charlotte Tilbury lipstick. Early adopters Walmart and Macy’s have been more recently joined by luxury brands such as Gucci and Hugo Boss, with the global virtual fitting room market now predicted to grow from USD 4.03 billion in 2022 to USD 14.87 billion by 2029.   Visual search technologySee something you like, but aren’t sure of the brand? Visual search technology such as ASOS’s Style Match feature allows users to upload an image of a style they’re looking for, and then offer personalised recommendations of similar items to buy. The tool uses machine learning and AI computer vision technology to analyse the image and then share suggestions based on colours, shapes, and patterns.Gamification of shoppingYou may not have realised at the time, but eBay was one of the first retailers to ‘gamify’ retail, with its virtual bidding system adding a new level of thrill to the shopping experience. From that initial dopamine rush, the gamification of shopping has evolved into the interactive experiences and experiential retail we have today – from Pepsi’s QR codes featuring AR football stars to digital avatars from the likes of Roblox, Prada, and Balenciaga – all designed to keep users on retail sites for longer, building brand loyalty and conversions. According to Boston Retail Partners, 87 per cent of retailers plan to implement gamification within the next five years, making it a key area of development for experiential retail. Behind the scenesSome of AI’s other roles in experiential retail are less obvious but no less impactful. From the chatbot that helps you locate your missing order, to the prompt telling you when stock is running low on that pair of sneakers in your wish list, AI technology streamlines the online shopping process from the moment you start browsing until the time it lands in your hands.AI can even make the retail experience more sustainable. Personalisation and virtual try-ons have been shown to reduce the number of returns a shopper makes, cutting back on transport and packaging – a win for shoppers, retailers and the environment.

Pyxis Events LLC revolutionizes branding and advertising on Abu Dhabi taxis

 PYXIS EVENTS LLC, a dynamic 360-degree events and brand management company headquartered in Abu Dhabi and a subsidiary of Palms Sports PJSC, has joined forces with TAWASUL TRANSPORT, a National Taxi Company operating in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain under Integrated Transport Center, to pioneer a transformation in branding and advertising on 1,100 taxis in the Emirate.This strategic collaboration represents a significant industry milestone, with PYXIS taking the helm in providing comprehensive branding and digital solutions for the entire fleet of 1,100 taxis. The services include full wrapping with Side Doors branding, Rear Bumper, and Rear Glass branding. Additionally, each of the 1,100 taxis will be equipped with in-vehicle LED screens, featuring two screens integrated into the headrests of each vehicle.The digital advertising screens within the taxis will deliver a wide array of engaging content to passengers, elevating awareness and strengthening marketing communications within the city. It is expected to enhance the overall passenger experience in Abu Dhabi by delivering exceptional advertising content, improving the city's marketing communications, and raising awareness of various services, events, and activities.Mukhles Odeh, General Manager of PYXIS EVENTS LLC reaffirmed the company's dedication to crafting bespoke solutions: "For us, branding and digital signage are not 'one size fits all.' We are passionate about crafting solutions that meet our customers' specific needs and challenges. This partnership is a prime example of our ability to develop fully customized solutions. We believe this strategic collaboration with TAWASUL will not only expand PYXIS' product portfolio but also empower us to provide comprehensive solutions to our clients, invigorating their brands and amplifying their strengths."Renowned for its creativity in designing and executing innovative events across various sectors, PYXIS is expanding its digital branding capabilities within its portfolio. They are catering to diverse marketing needs through customized digital solutions, spanning government, education, medical, retail, and hospitality sectors.This partnership signifies a significant leap forward in reshaping the advertising landscape and enhancing the passenger experience in Abu Dhabi.

Unilever and TikTok elevate #CleanTok collaboration with awards, branded content

Unilever and TikTok are extending their #CleanTok collaboration, with Unilever's Cleanipedia serving as the exclusive sponsor of the popular hashtag on TikTok. The collaboration, which began in June, has seen #CleanTok videos amass an impressive 98.5 billion lifetime views, showcasing increased engagement. Moreover, Unilever's Cleanipedia online portal, providing cleaning tips, has garnered 2.8 billion impressions and witnessed a 30% rise in web traffic.Building on this success, Unilever has unveiled the next phase of its global #CleanTok partnership with TikTok. This includes the introduction of a creator awards initiative and a new branded content campaign. The content campaign, titled "Dirty Deeds: A Kitchen Crime," comprises five short episodes and a teaser video. Developed in collaboration with creator Sam Cotton, the series will be featured on TikTok's dedicated #CleanTok hub and Unilever's Cleanipedia website.Additionally, the #CleanTok Awards will be launched by both companies to recognize innovative influencers, or "cleanfluencers," on TikTok. Unilever aims to sustain the positive impact of its partnership, resulting in increased web traffic and enhanced favorability for brands like Cif Cream Cleaner in the U.K.Interest in #CleanTok peaked during the pandemic, driven by Gen Z on TikTok, their preferred social media platform. Surveys indicate that 56% of TikTok users also seek comedy sketches on the platform. Leveraging this insight, "Dirty Deeds: A Kitchen Crime" was created, a soap opera-style series featuring animated versions of Unilever brands. This series is part of Unilever's Dirt is Good project, tailored for different markets. The storyline, revolving around a humorous love rivalry, was developed with influencer Sam Cotton and promoted by agency Gravity Road.The #CleanTok Awards will acknowledge excellence in categories like "Most Helpful Hack," "Most Motivational Sunday Reset," "Most OMG Extreme Clean," and "Most Satisfying ASMR." Winners receive complimentary Unilever Home Care products. A separate Spotless Creator competition offers a €4,000 cash prize for the most impressive cleaning transformations.Unilever's focus on #CleanTok aims to connect with new audiences, particularly Generation Z, and tap into purchasing behaviors influenced by TikTok's creator community. The trend of influencers using Cif Cream Cleaner for cleaning white sneakers led to a 38% increase in UK adults under 28 purchasing the brand, according to Kantar Worldpanel data cited by Unilever.

Jose Manuel Aisa Mancho joins VFS Global as CFO and member of the Executive Boar

 VFS Global, the world's largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions appointed Jose Manuel Aisa Mancho as its Chief Financial Officer effective 1 November 2023. He reports to Zubin Karkaria, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, and is based in Dubai, UAE, the organisation’s global headquarters.Jose joins VFS Global from Cellnex Telecom. He has over two decades of experience across the suite of finance sub-functions, including mergers & acquisitions, financial planning, investor relations, management control, treasury, and tax. He has previously worked in organisations that include Abertis Infrastructures, CriteriaCaixa and Cellnex. He was also a Non-Executive Officer in infrastructure companies such as Hispasat, Sanef or TBI Limited.Jose will be responsible for the overall Finance function at VFS Global, and will also be responsible for Legal, Data Privacy and Corporate Risk functions. Jose will leverage his rich experience in strengthening VFS Global’s finance function and developing strategies to support further growth and development of the company. As a member of the company’s Executive Board, he will also play a pivotal role in the overall strategic decision-making at VFS Global.Jose holds a Bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Esade (Barcelona, Spain), a CEMS Masters in International Management from the London School of Economics (London, UK) and has completed Stanford’s Executive Programme (Palo Alto, California).

RT Arabic launches MENA-wide ad campaign

 RT Arabic has launched a major new advertising campaign throughout the Middle East and North Africa regions across digital, radio and out-of-home platforms targeting audiences across the region.With activations across the UAE, KSA, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Libya the campaign boldly states: ‘THEY try to silence our voice. YOU seek out the truth. WE meet at RT ARABIC’. It aims to re-energize the conversation around RT’s core editorial principle “Question More” and amplify the importance of having access to news as the right of all.“Access to news is the right of all. RT’s editorial line is embodied by its motto, Question More. We don’t dictate to our audience whom to believe. We give you the facts — you make the choice. This principle is what lies at the heart of the RT Arabic 2023 campaign. We want our audience to know that no matter what, RT Arabic will keep working for you,” commented RT Arabic Editor-in-Chief, Maya Manna.“Over the years mainstream western voices sought to shut-down RT’s access to platforms, and shut us out of conversations, including on social media and TV broadcasting platforms in Arabic. In doing so, they are not just trying to silence us, they are infringing upon our viewers’ and readers’ right of access to information,” she continued.RT journalists work tirelessly to bring audiences breaking news, vital stories and local and global voices alike, 24 hours a day. RT Arabic covers pressing regional and world events from an alternative point of view and through this new campaign it hopes that audiences will feel inspired to join the conversation, seek out the truth, and continue to question more.Since its launch in 2007, RT Arabic channel has become a trusted news source for millions of people throughout the Arabic-speaking world, covering stories often overlooked by the mainstream Western media and providing diverse perspectives on current affairs. It also acquaints international audiences with a Russian viewpoint on major global events.To make its reporting, programming and commentary even more current and relevant, RT Arabic has also launched two new programs, Studio Cairo and Studio Beirut. From these locations, hosts Mona Salman and Omar Solh keep their fingers on the pulse of everything that matters in the region.

OSN+ and Google Cloud collaborate on integration of new GenAI solution

 OSN+, the ultimate destination for premium entertainment, announced the integration of Google Cloud's Vertex AI Search for Media Recommendations, a next generation large language model that builds on Google’s research in machine learning and AI. The announcement which took place during the annual Google Media Summit last week marks the first time in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region where Google Cloud's Vertex AI Search for Media Recommendations is provided to an entertainment streaming platform.Joe Kawkabani, CEO of OSN Group, commented: "In an ever-evolving entertainment landscape, OSN+ is dedicated to providing our viewers with cutting-edge experiences. Our collaboration with Google Cloud’s Vertex AI is a significant step forward in this direction. By integrating this GenAI solution, we aim to redefine the way users interact with our platform, making it more engaging and dynamic."Tarek Khalil, Director, Middle East and North Africa, Google Cloud said: "We are pleased to continue our partnership with OSN+ to bring the latest GenAI solution to the streaming platform. Vertex AI Search for Media Recommendations will solve for the constraints of consumers who want assistance in discovering relevant content in a highly personalized and conversational way. AI is a powerful enabler and can be a major platform shift. That’s why we’re focused on making it easy and scalable for organizations to innovate with AI and that means expanding access to Google’s latest foundation models that have been rigorously tested in our own products."The vision of our collaboration and with the integration of Google Cloud's Vertex AI Search for Media Recommendations will enable OSN+ subscribers to interact with their own virtual assistant that will provide more accurate and personalized recommendations.

EAD and du unveil Naha: A groundbreaking environmental engagement e-platform

Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and du, part of the Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), have launched the Naha environmental engagement platform as part of their ongoing public-private collaboration to enhance sustainability initiatives.The platform is designed to utilise personalised digital platforms to promote sustainability, elevate environmental awareness and encourage green practices across Abu Dhabi and beyond.The Naha platform (taken from the words natural habitat) will centralise EAD's key outreach initiatives, which are based on scientific information and knowledge, aiming to turn climate intentions into meaningful action in the UAE through participation and engagement with the various programmes that are part of the platform.Naha offers a range of tools and resources, including a personalised My Naha newsfeed and calendar to empower individuals to adopt environmental lifestyle changes through increased awareness, event participation and community engagement.The platform includes more than eight environmental programmes and initiatives such as the Sustainable Schools Initiative (SSI), Sustainable Campus Initiative (SCI) and Sahim Citizen Science Programme, and other initiatives targeting youth, school students and the community.This digital ecosystem will establish a coordinated effort among stakeholders to address pressing environmental issues, especially climate change, which is particularly relevant as the UAE gears up to host COP28 this year.Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary General of EAD, said: “The launch of the Naha platform is an evolutionary step in our partnership with du. It is a culmination of our educational awareness initiatives manifested in a unified digital platform. As 2023 has been declared the Year of Sustainability by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and with the UAE hosting COP28, this platform exemplifies our unwavering commitment to environmental responsibility and our continuous efforts towards creating awareness among the community about the importance of sustainability and breaking it down into tangible actions which can be performed on a daily basis.“Naha serves as an essential tool for expanding community participation and environmental awareness, leading us towards a sustainable future that balances economic growth, technological innovation and environmental conservation."EAD remains steadfast in safeguarding Abu Dhabi's environment. Our alliance with du, magnifies our collective capabilities to leverage digital technologies for heightened environmental awareness, lifestyle changes and action."Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO of du, said: “Our involvement in Naha signifies a natural progression of our strategic partnership with EAD. By leveraging our advanced technological capabilities and expertise in data management, we are bolstering Naha platform's mission to convert climate intentions into actionable measures. In addition to our impactful technological contributions, du is committed to proactively engaging with key audiences, amplifying the platform's influence and reach."The collaborative launch of Naha by EAD and du is part of Abu Dhabi's sustainability drive, leveraging technology as a powerful tool in confronting environmental challenges and fostering a sustainable future by engaging all sectors of the community.

Snap unveils Lens Studio 5.0 with advanced AR capabilities

Snap Inc has unveiled Lens Studio 5.0 Beta, which offers several new benefits. The announcement was made at its sixth annual Lens Fest 2023 event. The new version of Lens Studio supports more advanced AR development by collaborative teams. The new version offers several new benefits such as:Better performance for building more complex AR projects, and now projects load 18x faster. The compamny teamed up with Open AI to offer a new ChatGPT Remote API. Now, any Lens developer can leverage ChatGPT in their Lenses, unlocking new types of learning, conversational, and creative experiences for Snapchatters. Also, a new 3D face mask generator enables anyone to build their first potentially viral self-expression Lens within a matter of seconds, combining Gen AI and Snap's state-of-the-art face mesh capabilities.5.0 Beta also supports version control tools like Git for better project management. Multiple developers will be able work on projects at the same time. AR developers from around the world attended the event to celebrate the innovation and creativity of community, and share new tools for building the next generation of AR experiences. According to Snap, there are now 330,000 developers building on Snap’s AR platform who have created nearly 3.5 million Lenses, which in the last year have been viewed by Snapchatters more than 3 trillion times.The company said that its mission is to offer this growing AR community the most advanced tools available to build next-generation experiences for the Snapchat community and beyond through Camera Kit and Spectacles. Beyond new tools, Snap is continually finding new ways to support developers as they build their business and audience on its platform. Last year Snap introduced Lenses with Digital Goods so developers could build business models directly into their Lenses. Now, Digital Goods are available to any developer so they can offer exclusive AR features within a Lens that Snapchatters can unlock for a fee. A new section of Lens Explorer will promote Lenses with Digital Goods so they’re easy for Snapchatters to find and try.Snap has also seen great momentum with our Lens Creator Rewards programme which kicked off this summer, offering a monthly reward of up to $7,200 dollars for top-performing Lenses in selection regions. In the first month, more than 45,000 Lenses opted in, generating over 5 billion Lens interactions by Snapchatters.

AC Milan expands global footprint with the inauguration of Casa Milan Dubai

AC Milan is proud to announce the opening of Casa Milan Dubai, the new Home of the Rossoneri in the Middle East, which marks a significant milestone in the Club's strategic global expansion and stands as a testament to the Rossoneri’s new evolution phase under the leadership of RedBird Capital.Casa Milan Dubai solidifies AC Milan's commitment to the UAE and the whole Middle Eastern region, setting the stage for a profound connection with key stakeholders, from institutions to existing partners, including Emirates (Principal Partner – and a partner since 2007) and SIRO (Official Hotel Partner). The new office in Dubai makes the Rossoneri the first Italian football club to open an office in the MENA region (Middle East and North Africa) and it will also help the Club enhance its engagement with the local fanbase - over 35 million people in the whole MEA region (Middle East and Africa), the most supported Italian football club in the area – and the thriving football community, whilst building a bridge to cultivate new relationships in this strategic market.Situated on the 31st floor of the modern ICD Brookfield Place, in the heart of the bustling DIFC, the Dubai International Financial Center, Casa Milan Dubai is strategically positioned to serve as a central hub for the Club's operations and initiatives in the Middle East, with the goal to meet the needs of a market that is increasingly aware of its relevance at a global level. This strategic location places AC Milan at the center of Dubai's vibrant community, encompassing corporate offices, arts, fine dining, retail, and wellness.By extending its reach into the Middle East, AC Milan aims to tap into the region's rapidly growing popularity for football and create a lasting impact on the sport's development in the area.As a testament to that, AC Milan aims to keep investing on the next generation of football fans and players in the Middle East with plans to expand its Academy program in the region. For the past 15 years, the Club has proudly operated its longest-running AC Milan Academy in Kuwait, offering a platform that has engaged and empowered over 5,000 young boys and girls in the region. This achievement underscores AC Milan's unwavering commitment to fostering football talent and nurturing young athletes while strengthening the bonds between the Club and its passionate Middle Eastern fanbase.Giorgio Furlani, CEO of AC Milan, commented on this momentous occasion: “Casa Milan Dubai represents our commitment to global growth and our strong belief in the potential of the Middle Eastern market. This new office is not merely a physical space but a testament to AC Milan’s ambition to foster a stronger, more global football community, connecting hearts and minds worldwide. At the same time, Casa Milan Dubai will serve as our Home away from home, a place where our values and passion for football will continue to thrive.”“With our new office in Dubai, we are proud to further our presence in a key region for the Club and to continue to build upon our relationship with our partners, including Emirates, which has been at our side for 15 years, making our partnership one of the most recognisable, respected and longest-running in global football.”To mark the opening of Casa Milan Dubai, the Club has collaborated with Emirati Award-winning female screenwriter, director and producer N?yla al-Kh?ja. The collaboration, an embodiment of creativity and innovation, brings together an iconic football club and the distinguished Emirati filmmaker to create a compelling video that transcends boundaries and positions AC Milan as a modern football Club with strong values and an international appeal that sits at the intersection of sports, entertainment, lifestyle and fashion.With a history dating back 123 years and a staggering global fanbase exceeding 500 million enthusiasts, the inauguration of Casa Milan Dubai sits within a new exciting growth phase for AC Milan, under the leadership of RedBird Capital, with the Club venturing beyond the confines of football and evolving into a potent and diverse brand.This transformation is aptly reflected in Brand Finance's recognition of AC Milan as a brand with the fastest and highest growth in world football, underscoring the Club's unwavering commitment to excellence both on and off the pitch.????

Omorfia Group Acquires The Juice Spa: A Beauty Powerhouse Expansion

In a strategic move to bolster its position in the beauty industry, Omorfia Group, the beauty anchor of Abu Dhabi-based investment holding company Multiply Group, has announced the acquisition of 100% of The Juice Spa and Salon. This acquisition is a testament to Omorfia Group’s strategic vision of growth through bolt-on investments, further solidifying its foothold in the UAE’s beauty sector. Founded in 2005, The Juice Spa and Salon have carved a niche for itself by offering luxury beauty experiences for the mid-market segment. With a presence of 10 locations across the UAE and a dedicated team of 172 employees, the brand is projected to generate a revenue of AED 29 million post-acquisition.The acquisition is a pivotal step for Omorfia Group in its mission to consolidate its local market share and broaden its geographical footprint.  A key aspect of this partnership ensures that each brand under the acquisition umbrella will maintain its individual brand identity.Faris Al Dhaheri, CEO and Managing Director of Omorfia Group said: “The integration of The Juice Spa and Salon into our portfolio is a strategic milestone. It not only amplifies our growth trajectory but also underscores our commitment to becoming a dominant player in the Middle East’s beauty industry. With this acquisition, Omorfia’s portfolio now made up of 6 distinguished brands, collectively marking our presence in 82 locations across the region.”The acquisition comprises multiple legal entities, namely The Juice Beauty Salon, Juice Spa Salon, Juice Lounge Spa And Beauty Center, Jamm Salon Supplies, Atelier Hommage Mens Salon L.L.C, and Acumen Int. Limited (Hommage). Omorfia Group, recognized for its flagship brands Tips and Toes, Bedashing, Jazz Lounge Spa, and Fisio consistently prioritizes quality and innovation. The alignment of The Juice Spa and Salon with Omorfia’s ethos is evident, with both entities championing premium consumer experiences. The capital from this acquisition is earmarked for strategic initiatives, including potential business expansion, product and service diversification, and scaling operations.

Riyadh set to host Athar Festival, the Kingdom’s largest marketing extravaganza

The highly anticipated Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, the Kingdom’s largest gathering of the creative marketing industry, will commence on Monday, 13 November 2023, at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC with its three-day Young Talent Academy Programme comprising six distinct training academies (13-15 November).Organised by Motivate Media Group and TRACCS, the inaugural edition of Athar Festival, running from 13-16 November, also features a two-day festival (14 & 15 November) and an awards gala dinner (16 November).Speakers, panellists, industry experts and more than 1,000 delegates will come together to explore the next frontiers of the creative industry and the role of creativity as a catalyst for a vibrant, future-forward economy in Saudi Arabia.H.H. Princess Loulwa Bint Yazeed Al Saud will spearhead an exceptional lineup of over 100 speakers from key Saudi government entities and businesses, local and international creative marketing industry, and prominent global companies and brands. Award-winning creative marketer, Fernando Machado, Global CMO of NotCo, who has been recognised with over 200 Cannes Lions awards, including five Grand Prix, will deliver the keynote address.Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group, said: “We are proud to present the much anticipated inaugural edition of Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity, which will be a converging point for culture, creativity, talent and technology. The festival aims to make a profound impact on the creative landscape of the Kingdom and beyond. Our desire is to build a global platform based in Saudi Arabia that celebrates local creativity and catalyses the development of the creative economy by nurturing tomorrow’s talents.”   The engaging event will provide a venue for vibrant discourse across six themes that shape the future of the creative industry in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Artificial Intelligence is set to be one of the resounding themes throughout the festival’s agenda, which provides participants with an engaging platform to explore the latest developments in the industry, create connections, and spark their own creativity. Furthermore, in a first for the Middle East, FIRE, an AI-powered robot, is all set to make its first public appearance and feature on a panel alongside industry veterans on harnessing the power of generative AI tools in the realm of creativity.The prominent themes the festival will encompass are: 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 Industry.Athar Festival also features the Maheerah Women’s Empowerment Programme powered by Publicis Groupe Middle East, which aims to open new frontiers of possibilities for 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, verified by the Dubai Lynx and Cannes Lions international festivals of creativity, and presented to agencies and brands. Also featured are the Athar Special Awards, presented at the discretion of the organising committee to outstanding individuals, market leaders and other stellar organisations who have positively contributed to the advancement of the local creative industry. The awards ceremony will also honour the winners of the 24-hour hack competition part of the Young Talent Academies.

Dalma Mall celebrates a resounding victory with nine awards at MECS+R

 Dalma Mall, an iconic name in the world of retail and shopping, once again secured its prominent position in the retail shopping space by winning nine prestigious awards at the Retail Congress MENA Awards 2023. Hosted by the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers and Retailers (MECS+R), this achievement signifies a significant milestone in Dalma Mall's ongoing journey toward excellence in the retail sector.At the Retail Congress MENA Awards, Dalma Mall was felicitated with nine awards, including four Gold Awards for Excellence in recognition of its exceptional contributions to traditional marketing. These categories include Public Relations, Cause-Related Marketing, Customer Service Experience and Engagement, and Digital and social media.In addition to securing Gold Awards, Dalma Mall achieved five Silver Awards in Traditional Marketing, where they excelled in New and Emerging Technology, Sales Promotion and Events, Grand Opening, Expansion and Renovation. Further, the mall was awarded Silver under NOI Enhancement category on Operations Overall Team, and Leasing. These awards spotlight the mall's impressive accomplishments and innovative approaches across multiple dimensions of the retail sector. In a highly competitive field, Dalma Mall's outstanding performance in these areas sets a fresh standard for excellence in the retail industry.Bhupinder Singh, General Manager and CFO of Dalma Mall, expressed his pride in these remarkable achievements. He stated, “These awards showcase the dedication and hard work of the entire Dalma Mall team. Our exciting journey has ultimately led us to become Abu Dhabi's Favorite Mall, and we remain committed to providing the best shopping and retail experiences for our visitors. These awards are a testament to our ongoing efforts.”The 29th Retail Congress MENA Awards 2023, held recently in Ritz Carlton DIFC, Dubai, with the annual theme of "The Year of Reinvestment," this prestigious event brought together industry leaders from across the MENA region to discuss the future of retail, focusing on technology, strategies, and, most importantly, customers.Dalma Mall, Abu Dhabi’s favorite mall has long been a preferred choice of retailers as well as visitors and has boasted of a noticeable occupancy rate. The mall's success at the Retail Congress MENA Awards 2023 reinforces its status as the preferred shopping destination in the heart of Abu Dhabi.

BeIN wins ‘Best Sports Strategy of the Year’ at BroadcastPro ME Summit & Awards

beIN MEDIA GROUP’s (‘beIN’) flagship channel beIN SPORTS, the leading sports broadcaster in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), was awarded ‘Best Sports Strategy of the Year’ at the 13th edition of the BroadcastPro ME Summit & Awards, which celebrates excellence in the MENA entertainment, broadcast and satellite industries.In the ‘Best Sports Strategy of the Year’ category, beIN demonstrated its linear and digital nous with its extensive coverage of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM – which started as early as 500 days before the tournament kick off, with dedicated broadcast programmes, World Cup™ bulletins and highlight reels from previous games. Throughout the tournament, beIN produced 18+ hours of daily live coverage across each of its nine channels from more than 20 state-of-the-art studios featuring a broadcast team of more than 120 leading international and regional experts.On its linear channels, beIN SPORTS achieved record-breaking numbers, with a staggering 242.8m viewers across the region tuning in for the FIFA World CupTM final between Argentina and France – equating to 68 per cent of MENA’s total adult population, and an overall cumulative viewership of more than 5.4bn of the month-long tournament.Meanwhile, beIN’s digital presence was also hugely impressive as online videos accounted to 1.1bn views, totaling 33m hours of watch time, while the social media team underlined its commitment to go bigger and better than ever before, posting 3,400 times more than its previous World Cup™ coverage.Jassim Abdulrahman Al-Muftah, Director of Corporate Communications for beIN MENA said: “With the World Cup™ being hosted in an Arab country for the first time, we were committed to go above and beyond to provide exceptional coverage and the best viewing experience possible for our broadcast and digital viewers. This latest accolade underlines our continued drive for excellence in every aspect of the business and we look forward to delivering more success in the future.”The latest beIN accolade follows a double triumph for the company at the MENA Digital Awards last month, where they clinched top honours in two categories: ‘Best Use of Cross Platform Digital Content’ and ‘Best Use of Social Media’, as well as a Gold for the ‘Best Use of Digital and Social in Sports’ at the Sports Industry Awards 2023.

Global Media Congress 2023 set to showcase insights from leading global speakers

The conference at this year’s Global Media Congress, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, will feature a stellar array of distinguished speakers, panellists and moderators from across government, media, academic and industry sectors.With the theme of ‘Shaping the future of the media industry’, the Global Media Congress takes place from 14-16 November 2023 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre – ADNEC, Abu Dhabi. Through a packed and extensive programme of keynote speeches and open floor sessions, the conference promises to deliver a diverse range of original insights on key themes affecting the media sector.  Senior UAE government leaders scheduled to speak include H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, UAE, who will deliver the Inaugural Speech, and H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, UAE, who will also give a keynote address. Through the conference’s engaging and informative ‘fireside’ chat format, attendees will be able to benefit from discussions led by H.H. Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahy?n, President and CEO of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, and H.E Mona Al Marri, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO) in the UAE.Organized by Capital Events part of ADNEC Group in strategic partnership with the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the Second Edition of the Global Media Congress offers a critical platform for speakers to address leaders, business executives and professionals congregating from all over the world.Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, Director-General of the Emirates News Agency (WAM) and Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee for the Global Media Congress, said: “The diversity and importance of core media subjects under discussion at Global Media Congress testifies to the quality of this event as one of the leading gatherings in its sector. We are delighted to host an excellent programme of high-level speakers at the conference who will help attendees to better understand the rapid evolution of the media sector and the opportunities that are available for current and emerging professionals.”With sustainability being one of the key focus areas of this year’s edition, a much-anticipated session on 'Content Production in the Era of Sustainability' will feature a fireside chats with Laura Nix, an Oscar-Nominated and Peabody Award-Winning Director, who is based in the USA.Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group CEO of ADNEC Group, said: “This year’s Second Edition of Global Media Congress will feature a world-class line-up of speakers discussing essential topics related to the future of the media. Drawing on the expertise of leaders from across the government and private sectors, the conference at the Global Media Congress will further consolidate Abu Dhabi’s position as a global leader in hosting international events that set the business agenda.”In the context of another key conference focus area of innovation and the latest technologies in media, Professor Charlie Beckett, Professor of Practice and Director of Polis at the London School of Economics in the UK, will give a keynote presentation on the Polis/LSE Journalism AI project.

Sharjah Media City participates in the Global Media Congress

Sharjah Media City ‘Shams’ is set to participate in the second edition of the Global Media Congress. The three-day congress, graciously held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center ‘ADNEC’ will take place between November 14th - 16th, 2023.HE Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media City ‘Shams’, expressed the City's commitment to participating in the 2023 Global Media Congress, as an adjunct to its strategic initiatives that have a significant impact on shaping the future of the global media sector, in line with the efforts of the United Arab Emirates.HE Al Midfa continues to emphasise that the City’s participation provides an opportunity for integration into the Global Media Congress, collaboration with organising entities, and achieving significant media gains. It also will foster knowledge and novel ideas as well as collaboration with experts and various professional institutions, in addition to contributing to the extensive efforts made by national institutions to prepare and ensure success of this global event.Talent DevelopmentHE Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa will take part in a key dialogue session titled ‘Nurturing Talent to Stimulate Creativity and Increased Opportunities in an Enhanced Media Ecosystem’. In this session, he will discuss the role of cities and media centres, such as ‘Shams’, in creating an environment that fosters talent and encourages innovation within the media ecosystem. He will also discuss the central role of cooperation between media cities and educational institutions in nurturing young talents and preparing them for the media industry.He expressed hope that participants will share the essence of their production and experiences to achieve the congress’ goals. He also encourages specialists contributing in this global conference to share their valuable and practical recommendations to enhance international efforts in developing the media sector, and continue to provide reliable and diverse content that keeps pace with the rapid technological advancements in the world. This includes ongoing efforts to address climate challenges and contribute effectively to creating a more sustainable future for all.Artificial IntelligenceAbdullah Al Sharhan, Director of Creativity and Corporate Identity at Sharjah Media City ‘Shams’, will participate in a session titled "Future of Content in the Age of Generative AI”. During this session, he will introduce the "Create with Shams" platform and discuss the future of media content in the age of artificial intelligence, as well as generative artificial intelligence technologies, which have shown abilities to independently generate content at times. Al Sharhan will present potential trends and developments in content creation, including customisation and personalisation, automated content creation, multimedia creation, quality control, and fact-checking, as well as strategies for addressing these exciting developments."Shams Talks"‘Shams’ will launch "Shams Talks" as part of its dedicated pavilion at the global exhibition; this interactive and digital initiative will focus on a series of meetings through podcasts, YouTube, and other promising media outlets, reinforcing an open communication and transparency approach, promoting emerging media content, developing media skills, providing a space for experimentation and learning for content creators and journalists, and enriching interest in a series of growth-capable media publishing sessions.‘Shams’ invites all those interested in the media sector to visit its pavilion, which offers an overview of the city’s services across multiple sectors, including the media industry, business, and artificial intelligence.The second edition of the Global Media Congress 2023, organised by the ‘ADNEC’ group and the Emirates News Agency ‘WAM’, explores the latest developments in the media sector and its future prospects, building on the great success achieved in its first edition. The event features a selection of leading figures in the media industry, specialists, and global influencers, as well as academics, youth, and university students.The international event discusses various key topics over three days, focusing on environmental and sustainability media, media education, challenges, opportunities and innovations, as well as sports media and the role of new technologies and artificial intelligence.

WARC: 70% of marketers to unlock Generative AI potential in marketing

Socio-political polarization, the potential of generative AI, masculinity in crisis, "sportswashing", and community-based sustainability are five key trends that have reached an inflection point and will shape global marketing strategies in 2024, as revealed in WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2024 released today.Now in its 13th year, The Marketer’s Toolkit 2024 provides marketers with strategic support for planning and decision-making to help navigate the challenges and benefit from the opportunities in the coming year.The trend identification for the report is based on WARC’s new proprietary GEISTE methodology(Government, Economy, Industry, Society, Technology, Environment). It further incorporates a global survey of 1,400+ marketing executives, one-to-one interviews with CMOs, industry commentary, and analysis, data and insights from WARC’s global team of experts.Aditya Kishore, Insight Director, WARC, says: “Marketers globally continue to be concerned about the economic picture with 64% of survey respondents seeing it as the biggest factor in 2024 planning. But a majority (61%) of firms expect improved business performance next year, up 10% from last year. WARC forecasts global adspend to grow 8.2% in 2024, topping $1 trillion for the first time.“As consumer insights become ever more critical to aid success, The Marketer’s Toolkit runs through some of the emerging threats and opportunities marketers will face as they look for sources of growth.”The top five trends outlined in WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2024 are: Unlocking the potential of Gen AI: Nearly three-quarters (70%) of marketers plan to unlock the potential of AI in their marketing Generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) has crossed the threshold from promise to practical deployment, overhauling media strategies and audience targeting. 2024 will see brands look to capitalise on the emergence of accessible Gen AI tools to experiment with creative development. Nearly three-quarters (70%) of respondents to the Marketer’s Toolkit survey plan to unlock the potential of AI in their marketing, 12% of which will look to adopt the technology wherever they can and over half (58%) describe themselves as “cautiously progressive”, actively testing and evaluating Gen AI in marketing.However, such opportunities come with potential risks including brand safety, copyright, sustainability and agency remuneration.Jonathan Halvorson, Global SVP, Consumer Experience & Digital Commerce, MondelÄ“z, comments: “The question is, how do you build [AI] into a scaled organizational competency? That is the obsession of every single day, every single week for the next 18 months. Because it’s a race you have to win.”Preparing for the age of polarisation: 13% of marketers said the best strategy is to “drop all ‘purpose’ driven strategies and political positions”Political ideologies have become increasingly entrenched in marketing. However, with high-profile brands caught in the polarization crossfire, there are signs of increased timidity regarding social causes. While 76% of Marketer’s Toolkit respondents advise standing ground in the face of controversy, 13% pursue the path of least risk saying that the best strategy is to “drop all ‘purpose’ driven strategies and political positions.” When addressing polarizing issues, brands should examine their audience through cultural and demographic lenses, and scenario-plan against any potential fallout. Speaking at the recent ANA Masters of Marketing conference, Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Procter & Gamble, said: “We serve diverse consumers. That requires precision to serve in ways that are relevant and better for each person, so we can unlock the potential. Inclusion to serve all people and each person matters for market growth.”Masculinity in crisis: Almost two out of three marketers (63%) agree that the way they communicate with young men needs to change Around the world, young men are increasingly being marginalised both socially and economically and struggling with their mental health. In their search for a contemporary identity, some are being drawn to toxic role models online. Almost two out of three marketers (63%) agree that they need to shift their advertising and influencer selection strategies to reflect emerging models of masculinity that offer positive and helpful messages to young men.While there will be mounting pressure to eliminate stereotypical male depictions in advertising, there will also be those who will attack the brand for being too “woke” if they do so.During Advertising Week last month, Stephanie Jacoby, SVP/Brand marketing, Diageo, said: “As an alcohol advertiser, we’ve certainly contributed to this culture, (...but) we are starting to make the change that we need to see. It’s really time now that we open the aperture (...) which broadens how men are depicted beyond, and so replaces a single, undifferentiated idea of masculinity with a multi-faceted view of what this term can encompass.”“Sportswashing” is a growing concern: 61% of marketers concur that it is “very important” for sports organisers and owners to avoid being politically divisive.In a fragmented media landscape, sports remain a natural passion point for brands to leverage. It delivers mass real-time audiences, yielding a growing competition for media rights, fresh content and sponsorship opportunities. Critics allege this is resulting in the rise of “sportswashing” whereby entities accused of a poor human rights track record invest in sports to bolster their reputation. 61% of Marketer’s Toolkit respondents concur that it is “very important” for sports organisers and owners to avoid being politically divisive. Opportunities for marketers include developing new content formats, engaging with growing sports and different communities, and data-driven insights to track performance and fan attitudes.James Williams, Investor/Advisor, Nobody Studios, says: “There’s a danger with the term “sportswashing”, because it becomes one of those words that's now thrown around all over the place for when people don't like something, especially in the world of sport."Sustainability should be locally relevant: Nearly two-fifths (38%) of marketers are investing in local communitiesWhile sustainability marketing will become more interconnected to other functions, marketers and agency leaders must double down on changing what they solely control. Investing in local communities was cited by nearly two-fifths of survey respondents (38%), followed by advertising production (26%) and media decarbonisation (21%).Marketers should pivot to smaller, local and community-based sustainability initiatives to power their green agenda and help their brands build credible consumer trust. <img src='\9abbbf0d0b54602fe74c9f86623ed4e1.png' class='content_image'>Janet Neo, Chief Sustainability Officer, North Asia & China, L’Oréal , comments: “We adopt a personalized approach at L’Oréal, emphasizing a ‘Glocalization Strategy.’ While the strategy’s framework is global, we consider local specificities when implementing it. We engage with local communities because we believe in respecting local culture and insights. [...] We believe that the local cultural context can help us define the priorities or the key areas we should focus on.”A complimentary sample of The Marketer’s Toolkit 2024 is available to read here. The Marketer’s Toolkit 2024 is part of WARC Strategy’s The Evolution of Marketing program, offering a series of practical reports designed to help marketers address major industry shifts to drive marketing effectiveness in the coming year.A series of podcasts and a webinar will follow on The Marketer’s Toolkit 2024.  Complementing the Marketer’s Toolkit, other reports from the Evolution of Marketing program include the GEISTE report, and the upcoming The Voice of the Marketer and The Future of Media.

Google eyes strategic investment in AI startup Character.AI

Google is in discussions to make a substantial investment, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars, in Character.AI. This artificial intelligence chatbot startup is seeking capital to train models and meet the increasing demand from users, according to a Reuters report.The investment could be in the form of convertible notes, which would strengthen the existing relationship between Character.AI and Google. The startup uses Google’s cloud services and Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) to train its models.The startup was founded by Noam Shazeer and Daniel De Freitas, who used to work at Google. Character.AI enables individuals to engage in conversations with virtual representations of celebrities such as Billie Eilish or anime characters. Users can also craft their own chatbots and AI assistants.It offers a free service, but also has a subscription option that costs $9.99 a month for users who want to access a chatbot without waiting in line.Character.AI’s chatbots, which have different personalities and styles, have attracted users aged 18 to 24, who make up about 60% of its website traffic, according to Similarweb data. The startup aims to provide more fun and personal AI companions than other chatbots from OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard.The company said that its website had 100 million monthly visits in the first six months after its launch.Character.AI is also seeking equity funding from venture capitalists, which could give the company a valuation of over $5 billion, sources said. In March, it raised $150 million in a round led by Andreessen Horowitz at a $1 billion valuation.The sources said that the talks with Google were not final and the terms could change.Google has been investing in AI startups, including $2 billion for model maker Anthropic in convertible notes, in addition to its previous equity investment. Anthropic uses Google’s cloud services and its latest TPUs.

Sharjah Publishing City supports publishers with benefits amounting to AED 3mln

 Under the directives of Sheikha Bodour Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Book Authority, the Sharjah Publishing City (SPC) Free Zone has announced a support package for publishers wishing to establish or relocate their businesses to the city, including financial incentives up to AED 3 million. Whether from within the country or anywhere in the world, publishers will be exempted from 90% of licensing and business establishment fees.This initiative embodies SPC Free Zone’s goals to advance the regional and global publishing industry. It asserts Sharjah's status as a destination for creative industries. The agreements with beneficiaries of this generous initiative commit to printing no less than five new books within 12 months.Mansour Al Hassani, Director of Publisher Services at the Sharjah Book Authority and Acting Director of SPC Free Zone, said: “This initiative exemplifies our steadfast dedication to fortifying our role as a global epicentre for publishing, printing and distribution. The SPC Free Zone is wholly committed to empowering investors to harness the full spectrum of our extraordinary opportunities and advantages. The Sharjah International Book Fair presents a distinct prospect for publishers to integrate into an international community that has chosen Sharjah as its corporate base. New entrants will have the chance to partake in the success that the SPC Free Zone has cultivated over the years, nurturing an environment conducive to collaboration, proficiency, and knowledge exchange within a competitive landscape”.He added that the initiative also reflects Sharjah's steadfast belief in the pivotal role of creative industries in the economy and, “SPC Free Zone’s unwavering commitment to support and nurture them through every possible means. We wholeheartedly welcome all publishers who share our vision and mission.”The initiative is a new step in Sharjah Book Authority’s journey to promote cultural dialogue between civilisations and support authors' creative, literary, and intellectual output in the region and the world. It aims to add hundreds of new titles to Arab and global libraries, provide new opportunities for authors to publish their works and present their visions to readers of various languages. The initiative targets publishers exhibiting in the 42nd edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair.

Ajman Tourism wraps up successful participation at World Travel Market in London

The Ajman Department of Tourism Development (ADTD) has successfully concluded its prominent presence at the World Travel Market (WTM) exhibition in London, held from November 6 to 8, 2023. Ajman's showcase garnered significant attention from visitors and participants, highlighting the emirate's captivating tourist attractions and lucrative investment opportunities within the tourism sector.Ajman sparkled at the exhibition by presenting a diverse array of tourism experiences, underscoring its dedication to advancing sustainable tourism and elevating the emirate's overall well-being. In this context, His Excellency H.E. Mahmood Khaleel Alhashmi, Director General of the Ajman Department of Tourism Development, expressed, "This was an excellent opportunity to engage with numerous partners and investors in the tourism industry. Our goal is to enhance Ajman's reputation as an extraordinary tourist destination, and we will persist in fostering international collaboration to attract further investments and support the growth of the tourism sector in the emirate."Regarding partnerships, the Ajman Department of Tourism Development linked strategic memorandums of understanding with several international entities, fortifying collaboration in hospitality and tourism project development. Noteworthy collaborations include a memorandum of understanding with Karisma Hotels and Resorts, a global leader in hotel and resort management. Additionally, strategic partnerships were announced with Hotel Beds and AM & RS Holding Company, aimed at bolstering tourism trade and enhancing visitor services."These memorandums underscore Ajman's commitment to fostering diversity and innovation within the tourism sector, thereby creating fresh opportunities for cutting-edge investment ventures that enhance Ajman's global reputation," Alhashmi emphasized. He highlighted the importance of partnering with international firms, stating that such collaborations would bolster Ajman's status as a prominent tourist destination in the region.As part of its participation in the World Travel Market in London, the Ajman Department of Tourism Development organized exceptional events, including promotional offers for key tourist destinations in the emirate and interactive workshops for visitors to delve into unique experiences in Ajman.In a parallel development, Ajman has recently witnessed a remarkable surge in the tourism sector, with increased hotel revenues, occupancy rates, and visitor numbers. The emirate solidifies its status as a preferred destination for tourists from the United Kingdom and Ireland, experiencing a rise in the number of nights spent and arrivals from these two countries.

Hill & Knowlton unveils contemporary brand makeover

Hill & Knowlton, the global strategic communications leader for transformation, announced a comprehensive rebrand initiative that marks a return to its original name of Hill & Knowlton, reflecting the company’s near 100-year equity. The new brand features a refreshed visual identity, website and social presence and key innovation announcements that mark the next phase of Hill & Knowlton’s evolution as a strategic partner to today’s leading innovators."Since 2019, our leadership team has been focused on becoming the preeminent partner to help our clients drive growth, manage risk, and build reputation in today’s complex operating environment,” said AnnaMaria DeSalva, Global Chairman and CEO. “Our body of work increasingly demonstrates that strategic communication, elevated by creativity, is a primary force for sustainable value creation and modern leadership.”In response to the increasing demand for strategic communications solutions, Hill & Knowlton is introducing new services that directly address evolving client needs. As stakeholder strategies become increasingly interdependent and government continues to play a larger role in business, these innovations reflect the emerging corporate affairs paradigm that integrates brand building, corporate and public affairs to protect and grow enterprise value.H&K Advisory works at the intersection of corporate strategy and communication to create sustainable value for clients and their stakeholders. The group solves material challenges and opportunities that are a priority for executive leadership teams and governing boards. With more than 50 seasoned advisors, including several former Fortune 100 chief communicators, H&K Advisory delivers integrated strategic services spanning corporate, creative and public affairs consulting. The group deploys proprietary methods and tools including its reputation capital management and measurement system. As part of H&K Advisory, the company is also introducing:FutureSight, a combination of geopolitical, policy and communication advisors to help executives anticipate the impact of dynamic international political and regulatory environments on business and stakeholder strategy. Advisors are complemented by an external Geopolitical Advisory Pool of global experts drawn from academia and executive-level public service to ensure intelligence and planning that protects and grows value amid geopolitical change.Global Horizons, a capability focusing on the economies of the Global South spanning Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Gulf and reflecting today’s significant changes in trade flows. Hill & Knowlton’s substantial network across these regions, with strong integrated capabilities supporting both strategy and execution, enables the firm to play a meaningful role helping clients realize new opportunities for growth.Intelligence & Technology has been built to scale data science, analytics and communications technology solutions across Hill & Knowlton’s client portfolio. The company recently announced a related partnership with Pendulum Intelligence, an AI and machine learning platform, and the launch of H&K Sonar, a predictive risk identification tool powered by Pendulum, which helps clients combat reputational threats amid escalating disinformation attacks.These new capabilities are supported by a multi-year creative transformation effort to redefine the role of creativity in a modern communications company. The firm now offers a comprehensive network of Innovation & Creative hubs located strategically around the world. The hubs bring together creative, content, media and digital specialists to work alongside sector specialists, public and corporate affairs advisors and public relations experts.“We know the power of ideas builds brands and creates breakthroughs. What’s new is the scope and intensity of the creative process – it’s getting bigger, more profound and more interdisciplinary,” said DeSalva. “Business leaders need this powerful creative engine to help address today’s emerging risks. By every measure, global risk is intensifying and coming from a widening array of sources. Today’s risk domains in the areas of reputation, disinformation, and geopolitics demand focused intelligence, creativity and stakeholder-centricity – attributes that lie at the heart of the communications discipline. Risk and reinvention go hand in hand. It is this intersection of risk and opportunity, innovation and transformation that is visibly energizing Hill & Knowlton’s purpose today.”Hill & Knowlton's rebrand reflects its multi-year transformation, showcasing strong post-pandemic growth and strategic adaptability amidst the challenging macroeconomic landscape. Key leadership appointments have expanded Hill & Knowlton’s executive bench, forming a diverse leadership team of tenured agency leaders and dynamic new talent. Corporate development also has played a significant role in the company’s renewal. The acquisition of JeffreyGroup expanded Hill & Knowlton's presence in Latin America, making it the region's largest international public relations network. In parallel, the company launched Brazil-based Ideal company as an international brand, catering to disruptive and emerging technology companies. Finally, the 2023 acquisition of 3K strengthened the company’s healthcare footprint in Europe and extended its operations in Germany.The rebrand was designed as a collaborative effort that incorporated diverse and global perspectives from employees, alumni, clients and industry trade partners. The new visual identity telegraphs boldness, modernity and stature, paying homage to the company’s heritage while looking confidently towards its next era.“Hill & Knowlton is a category originator, born in 1927. I’ve learned through the years how much our company means to countless clients and alumni who have worked with us to shape their stories and successes at various points in their careers,” said DeSalva. “We hope our extended network of colleagues and friends will resonate with the vibrancy and inherent heritage of our renewed brand and with the aspiration it reflects for the future. We also intend that it will meaningfully enrich the experience of our employees, as they grow in their professional lives and change the world.”

International gifts platform IGP has announced its entry into the UAE market

IGP, the renowned international gifts platform, is thrilled to announce its grand entry into the vibrant and diverse market of UAE. With a commitment to strengthening connections and making every moment special, IGP is set to transform the gifting landscape in the region.  The brand is all set to bring its vast array of gifting options to the people of UAE through its cutting-edge E-commerce platform. This platform will be a one-stop destination for an exquisite selection of gifts, including delightful cakes, beautiful flowers, personalized gifts, curated hampers, and a diverse range of festive merchandise catering to all gifting needs. To meet the demands of the audience, they have set up a warehouse of over 20,000 square feet. This warehouse in Al Quoz is the largest flower and gift destination in the UAE.  IGP has a range of gifts for every kind of personality and occasion. For gourmet lovers, there are handcrafted sweets, artisanal chocolates, charcuterie boards, high-end teas, and top-quality dry fruits. Birthdays can be made special with designer cakes, pinata cakes, theme cakes, and photo cakes. IGP also has jewelry, watches, cushions, lamps, and photo albums to make every gifting occasion special. Keeping in mind the growing connection that people want to have with nature, IGP also offers the delivery of beautiful and exotic plants.  IGP also offers a great degree of personalization. Many gifts, from jewelry to stationery to wallets and coffee mugs can be personalized.  IGP’s goal is to become the number one gifting company for UAE’s 10 million population and become the number one destination for flowers, cakes, and gifts in the MENA region in the long term. IGP, which is in the business of making relationships richer, aims to touch the lives of the 200 million people who live in this part of the world. The company will be hiring over 100+ talented individuals in Dubai. This vision aligns with the mission to spread joy and strengthen bonds, bringing people closer together through heartfelt gifts and boosting the local economy. "I am thrilled to announce our foray into the vibrant market of UAE. With an investment of USD 10 million and a dedicated team of over 100+ professionals, we are set to transform gifting experiences in the region. IGP is a global brand, our goal is to become the ultimate destination for flowers, cakes, and gifts, enriching the lives of millions in the UAE and, in the long term, across the entire Middle East. We are in the business of enriching relationships and we are excited to share the joy and love that IGP has brought to countless homes with the wonderful people of Dubai. Our commitment to excellence and customer delight remains unwavering as we embark on this exciting journey.", added Tarun Joshi, CEO and founder at IGP. IGP has achieved remarkable success across the International Markets. With over a decade of operations, the gifting platform has a vast selection of curated gifts, including cakes, flowers, personalized items, and more. The company has served millions of happy customers and received widespread recognition in the media, with features in prestigious outlets like CNBC and TOI. Known for its commitment to customer delight, it has continually strived for excellence, making each occasion special and turning moments into cherished memories.

Media One Hotel welcomes Jan Majerski as Hotel Operations Manager and Iman Syami

Dubai: — Media One Hotel proudly introduces two exceptional individuals who are set to elevate the hotel's guest experiences and its marketing efforts. Jan Majerski, the newly appointed Hotel Operations Manager, brings extensive hospitality experience, while Iman Syami, Head of Marketing & Communications, is a dynamic marketing professional.With a diverse range of regional and international experiences in hospitality under his belt, Jan Majerski becomes the newly appointed Hotel Operations Manager at the reputable Media One Hotel in Dubai. From his early career aspirations to his impressive journey in the industry, Jan's background is marked by his dedication to excellence.Jan initiated his career in hospitality management at National Louis University in Poland, where he completed a bachelor's degree in Hotel Management and a master's degree in business administration. His rapid ascent in the industry saw him progress from housekeeping to the role of Front Office Supervisor at renowned hotels, including the Hyatt Regency in Birmingham and the Hyatt Andaz in London.Jan's journey led him to the Middle East, where he excelled in various roles at prestigious properties, including Guest Services Manager at Beach Rotana, Rotana Hotels and Resorts, where he was named Manager of the Year in 2016. He furthered his experience at Rove Hotel at World Trade Center and worked with notable hospitality brands such as Millennium Hotels, IHG Hotels & Resorts, and Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts.Now, as the Hotel Operations Manager at Media One Hotel, Jan oversees the hotel's daily activities, ensuring every guest leaves highly impressed and ready to plan their next visit. He is also responsible for the property's financial performance, seeking opportunities to drive revenues across various areas, from F&B and nightlife to hospitality and lifestyle experiences.Iman Syami, a dynamic marketing professional, brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality industry, with a career spanning back to 2013. Gaining extensive experience in marketing roles within the hospitality industry, Iman comes from a humble start in Malaysia to now overseeing all marketing activities at Media One and its on-site restaurants and event spaces.One of Iman’s most notable first positions was as the Cluster E-commerce and Digital Marketing Executive for Park Regis Hotels from 2016 to 2018. During her tenure, she learned to successfully implement digital marketing strategies, resulting in increased brand visibility and revenue growth. After a two-year stint, she accepted the role of PR & Marketing Manager for Gulf Court Hotel Business Bay from 2018 to 2021. In this role, she spearheaded various public relations and marketing campaigns, achieving heightened brand awareness and positive media coverage, further enhancing the hotel's reputation.From 2021 to 2023, she excelled in her roles as PR & Marketing Manager for SOL Properties Developments, overseeing a prestigious property such as The Dubai EDITION by Marriott, and DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Al Jaddaf.Iman is now welcomed at Media One Hotel as she heads up the marketing department, where she manages a team of four and overlooks all the marketing activities for the hotel, four F&B venues, and the venues first multi-purpose event space, P7 Arena.Iman's innovative spirit and ambition will be invaluable as she leads the marketing department at Media One Hotel. She is dedicated to reviving the hotel's brand and enhancing its reputation through unique and quirky marketing campaigns that make Media One stand out in the competitive market.The addition of Jan Majerski and Iman Syami to the Media One Hotel team signals an exciting new chapter for the hotel, with their combined expertise in operations and marketing. Their dedication to excellence will undoubtedly contribute to the hotel's continued success.

Ronnie Screwvala's War Saga 'Pippa' Misses the URI Standard

A joke to start with : When I told my wife that I am watching Pippa, she inquired if it was name of some computer virus or new thunderstorm. After watching the two hours twenty minutes war drama, I could finally confirm to her that Pippa is a amphibious war tank used by the Indian Army in the Bangladesh Liberation war of 1971. The movie per se, is sorta spiritual line up to Tejas released to a disastrous theatrical response two weeks ago. The producer Ronnie Screwvala seems to be making war based dramas on a spree but none of them are matching up to his truly spectacular URI (2019). Like Tejas, Pippa has an interesting and inspiring story to tell but the wrong casting and tepid execution play spoilsport. Based on the real life Brigadier Balram (Ballu) Singh Mehta and his heroic performance at the battle of Garibpur where he used the Pippa tanks to literally blow away the Pakistani intrusion, the film has some awe-inspiring moments but doesn't impress as a whole. Ishaan Khattar, playing Ballu is a complete misfit for this role. Sorry but he's just not convincing in a commanding part which would suit our dear old Sunny Deol in the '90s. The parallel track of Ballu's sister Radha (Mrunal Thakur, looking gorgeous as usual) rising up the ranks in RAW is another unconvincing element. And pray, are RAW officers really recruited like this just on a hunch??!!! On the positive, the war sequences are deftly filmed. The brother-sister equation is endearing. For a change, there is no mandatory love interest for our hero Ballu, thank you. And the end credit real footage of the 1971 war heroes makes you salute our army men with a loud "Jai Hind"!! With all its hits and misses, Pippa is at best, a one time watch on OTT. The makers seem to have learnt their lesson after Tejas and gone for direct digital release for this one. Its kinda wise decision, I would say. Better to avoid those cancelled shows in cinemas again!! Ratings on some key aspects* : 1. Acting : 2.5/5 2. Direction : 2.5/53. Music : 3/5 4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 2.5/55. Cinematography : 3.5/56. Editing : 3/5 7. Costume Design : 2/58. Special Effects and VFX : 3.5/59. Action : 4/510. Production Quality : 3/5 #SNRating for #Pippa : 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. #Pippa #WarDrama #HindiMovie #BollywoodFilm #IshaanKhattar #MrunalThakur #RonnieScrewvala #URI #BollywoodReview #Filmreview #TheatricalRelease #OTTRelease #Zee5 #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.

PepsiCo introduces locally produced 100% recycled plastic bottles

PepsiCo is introducing 100% recycled plastic bottles for Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Pepsi Zero in the UAE. A first in the country, PepsiCo is paving the way for the integration of fully recycled*, locally produced packaging in the Carbonated Soft Drinks (CSDs) category, ahead of COP28 taking place in the UAE.The new bottles generate over 30% less greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to traditional PET bottles, a pivotal step in combating climate change and aiding COP28’s efforts to reduce global emissions. The bottles, excluding the cap and label, are produced from recycled, reprocessed, and repurposed plastic and meet globally certified standards of quality and safety.PepsiCo is also an active partner across the plastics value chain in the UAE, collaborating with various stakeholders to innovate packaging solutions, enhance recycling infrastructure, and foster consumer education about recycling and sustainable alternatives, in addition to advocating for progressive regulatory reforms. In 2022, PepsiCo drove rPET regulatory approvals in 12 countries across Africa, Middle East, and South Asia, and launched 100% recycled bottles* in six countries, including Qatar and Kuwait in the GCC.Aamer Sheikh, CEO of PepsiCo Middle East, said, “More consumers are considering sustainable product options – conscious of environmental impact when deciding what to buy[1]. We’re proud to be the first brand in the CSDs category in the UAE to launch locally produced fully recycled plastic bottles, and thanks to the scale and expertise of Dubai Refreshment Company we’re able to give consumers more choice as to how they enjoy their favorite beverages.We also recognize that this is only one step in the circular economy journey, and more needs to be done to empower consumers to act, for which we’ve established partnerships across the value chain. Improved access to recycling infrastructure and ongoing consumer education plays an important role in shaping positive behavior, and we will continue to prioritize efforts across these areas simultaneously to boost recycling rates as we inch closer to COP28 later this year.”Ahmad Bin Eisa Alserkal, Chairman of Dubai Refreshment PJSC, added, “As the exclusive bottler and distributor of PepsiCo beverages in Dubai, Sharjah, and the Northern Emirates, we’re proud to lead the way in producing fully recycled packaging for CSDs. The UAE is taking important steps towards a more sustainable future, and we’re committed to being an equally contributing partner in this journey alongside PepsiCo. Providing more choice enables more positive decisions, and we encourage consumers to opt for the sustainable packaging, paving a greener path for future generations.”Tarek ElSakka, CEO of Dubai Refreshment PJSC, commented, “We are committed to sustainability in all its forms. We have received the LEAD Platinum Certification per existing Buildings; the highest energy saving Certification from USGBC. DRC has a Wastewater treatment plant to reclaim the production wastage and reuse the water, as well as the Solar power generation plant that generates a third of its energy consumption”.In September this year, PepsiCo, in partnership with Talabat and Yalla Return, launched an innovative recycling solution in local communities in the UAE to shape more environmentally positive behavior and boost recycling rates. Last year, in collaboration with BEEAH, one of the region’s leading environmental management companies, PepsiCo also met its commitment to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% Aquafina plastic packaging produced in the UAE, a commitment that has been renewed for 2023. PepsiCo also recently became a founding member of the Circular Packaging Association; an initiative established by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce to foster public-private partnership and drive positive action towards a circular economy.As part of the company’s pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) strategy launched in 2021, the company aims to achieve net-zero emissions across its value chain by 2040 and reduce virgin plastic usage by 50% across its global food and beverage portfolio by 2030. PepsiCo has implemented 100% rPET beverage packaging in 26 other markets globally, and at the end of 2022, over 88% of PepsiCo’s packaging was recyclable, compostable, biodegradable, or reusable.