James Morris Joins Publicis Groupe as CEO Creative Transformation EMEA

Former Dentsu Creative CEO James Morris is set to join Publicis Groupe as CEO Creative Transformation EMEA. This strategic move underscores Publicis Groupe's commitment to growth, collaboration, and enhanced client services in the UK and Europe.Morris will report to Loris Nold, CEO of Publicis Groupe EMEA, and collaborate closely with Sergio Lopez-Ferrero, Global CEO of Publicis Production. In his newly created role, Morris will leverage his cross-disciplinary leadership skills to scale production and innovate client solutions using technology.Morris will assume his position in January 2024, bringing his extensive experience in media, creative, production, and strategic leadership to drive transformative models for clients in the EMEA region.Loris Nold, CEO Publicis Groupe EMEA, comments: “I am thrilled that James is joining us as he is truly a hybrid leader with a proven track record in delivering connected and innovative solutions for clients. Production is a massive priority for us and we’ve been accelerating on both delivery capabilities and tech solutions for our clients across the region. His unique and multi-disciplinary skillset, spanning media, creative, production and strategic leadership, positions him perfectly to help deliver transformative models to our clients.”James Morris, CEO Creative Transformation EMEA, comments: “I am over the moon to be joining Publicis at a time of such momentum and growth. Publicis Groupe’s world leading agency brands, clients, diverse capabilities, craft and integrity, is second to none. I cannot wait to join this incredibly talented team to deliver groundbreaking solutions for clients across the EMEA region.”

Viola Communications becomes the only UAE company on the Eventex Top 100 index

Organizers of the Eventex Awards, the world’s most esteemed accolade in the world of events and experiential marketing, have unveiled the highly anticipated Eventex index covering the top 100 event organizers and agencies for 2023, with Viola Communications becoming the only UAE agency to appear on the list, having garnered five awards for the work carried out for the Abu Dhabi Department of Community Development’s Abu Dhabi Moments, an integrated initiative designed to help foster a sense of belonging amongst communities.Speaking on the accolade, Reham El Ezaby, Viola’s Events’ Client Services Director, said: “We are incredibly proud to announce that Viola Communications has not only achieved recognition on the prestigious Eventex index but has done so by working hand-in-hand with the Abu Dhabi government on a project to enhance community cohesion across all society sectors. Our team's unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts earned us five awards, a testament to our commitment to creating unforgettable experiences through initiatives such as these. What makes this accomplishment even more special is that we are the only UAE-based agency to be featured on the list for 2023, and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the remarkable team behind this success and to the Abu Dhabi DCD for their invaluable trust and partnership. Together, we've not only organized events but also forged connections that foster a sense of belonging within our communities."The ranking represents consistent excellence in the events and experience-marketing industry over the last 3 years and is determined by the number of Eventex awards won during that period. For Eventex Awards 2023, a Platinum award is equivalent to 150 points, Gold means 100 points, Silver award winners get 50 points, and Bronze awards yield 30 points. For the 2022 and 2021 editions, Platinum winners get 75 points, Gold yields 50 points, and 25 and 15 points go for Silver and Bronze winners, respectively.The country that has emerged as the year’s undisputed champion is the USA, accounting for 24 agencies on the list. Netherlands is the runner-up, boasting 9 agencies, with Germany following close behind with 8. The UK and Poland round out the top 5 with 7 and 6 agencies, respectively. The total number of countries represented on the list stands at 34. Ovanes Ovanessian, Co-founder of Eventex Awards, said: “Being recognized as one of the “Top 100 Event Organizers and Agencies” shows not only outstanding creativity but also unwavering consistency in delivering stellar experiences and staying at the forefront of the industry. I would therefore like to congratulate everyone who made the ranking.”

Codeless AI infra company Pixis secures $85 million in series C1 funding

Pixis, a leading codeless AI infrastructure company focused on enabling brands to enhance performance marketing, has raised $85 million in its series C1 funding round. The round was led by Touring Capital and brings the company’s capital raised to $209 million. The new and existing investors who participated in the funding round include Grupo Carso, General Atlantic, Celesta Capital and Chiratae Ventures. The funding will be used to deepen Pixis’ AI capabilities, accelerate global expansion, invest in R&D to refine and launch a generative AI-powered creative studio, and build strategic product and business partnerships.Pixis develops accessible AI technology for growth marketing and has a rich product suite that includes targeting, in-flight performance optimization and generative AI capabilities. Since launch, Pixis has demonstrated a tremendous growth trajectory, with its platform leveraged by more than 200 global brands including names like DHL, Carsome, JOE & THE JUICE, Kavak, HDFC Bank, to name a few.<img src='\fff5f8f2e69473b2e2c3675157f925de.png' class='content_image'>Nagraj Kashyap, co-founder and General Partner at Touring Capital said, “We passionately believe in the power of generative AI to transform enterprise software use cases. We see Pixis as a pioneer in this category and have been thoroughly impressed by the platform’s powerful technical capabilities translating into rapid customer adoption. We are excited to partner with Pixis, having had a years-long relationship with the team.”Creative StudioPixis recently launched its creative studio, with breakthrough AI capabilities that enable brands to instantly generate photorealistic creative assets – both 3D images and videos – through simple text prompts. The creative studio is deeply integrated into Pixis’ marketing campaign optimization capabilities, embedding contextual campaign data into the creative asset generation process.Expansion and Roadmap“This is shaping up to be an exciting year for Pixis as we welcome Touring Capital as investors; the Touring team have been important thought partners over the years and we are delighted to announce our new partnership. With this capital raised, we will continue to concentrate on strategic channel partnerships with renewed vigour, and invest heavily in our R&D efforts,” said Shubham A. Mishra, co-founder and CEO, Pixis.This year also saw a significant expansion of Pixis’ AI infrastructure with the company having achieved its goal of building 200 AI models. Along with having successfully beta-tested their generative AI-powered creative studio, they have also released products for cross-platform growth marketing that are proving to be game-changers in the market. Additionally, the company has also begun live deployments of its AI-powered solutions for B2B companies.

Clubhouse re-invents itself with ‘Chats’

Clubhouse, a social audio platform, is evolving itself, with its new voice-only group messaging called ‘Chats’. Clubhouse had lost its appeal among users after a meteoric rise during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the launch of ‘Chats, they are looking to make a comeback, trying to be "more of a messaging app". With this feature, Clubhouse aims to make it 100x easier for users to be with friends throughout the day, bump into friends unexpectedly, and get to know new friends through your existing friend groups – even if they don’t have many friends on Clubhouse or so much time to spare.According to the company, a Chat is a voice-only group chat with your favourite people. In their blog post the company says: “It’s like a Clubhouse room, but it takes place asynchronously, so you can drop by and chime in on your own time. With Chats, you can push to talk, listen at 2x, tap to skip, swipe to the next Chat, and slide into your friends’ VMS to chat privately. They’re designed to be fast, fun and personal.”Although live audio rooms will continue to exist on Clubhouse, chats may encourage users to check in more frequently to hear from their friends rather than whoever is hosting a live conversation at the time.Unlike iMessage, Clubhouse transcribes these voice messages. Chats can be set as friends only, or friends of friends. The platform is available now on iOS and Android. It aims to be like a messaging app and be more social than other messaging apps. Chats are much faster than text, where groups can share more stories and more off-the-record stuff that they would never spend the time to type up.

SentinelOne Unveils Singularity RemoteOps Forensics for Incident Response

Cyber breaches are on the rise, and when it comes to responding to them, time is of the essence. In order to drive swift conclusions, security teams need to identify relevant insights and extract actionable intelligence. It’s a daunting task, but SentinelOne, a global leader in autonomous cybersecurity, is expanding its forensics capabilities to simplify things. The company has announced the release of Singularity RemoteOps Forensics, a new digital forensics product offering that brings incident response readiness to companies of all sizes, enabling them to execute efficient and streamlined investigation and response activities with unprecedented speed and scale. “As timelines for reporting and responding to breaches shrink, it is imperative that security teams have advanced forensics capabilities that make investigations faster and more efficient, and with Singularity RemoteOps Forensics, we are delivering them," said Jane Wong, Senior Vice President of Products and Strategy, SentinelOne.Seamlessly integrated with the SentinelOne Singularity Platform and offered as an add-on to Sentinel One’s Endpoint and Cloud Workload Security solutions, RemoteOps Forensics is a fast, efficient, and flexible digital forensics and incident response solution that security teams can use to:? Optimize resources and accelerate Mean Time to Resolution?   Perform ad-hoc or conditional trigger-based evidence collection, enabling targeted investigations on one or multiple assets including endpoints and server workloads.?   Automate the collection of evidence, such as processes, ports, service listings, MFT, Amcache, JumpLists, and memory dumps, and orchestrate them in less than a minute.?   Consolidate evidence into one data pool through the Singularity Security DataLake, correlating SentinelOne and partner data with forensics data in the same search to create a comprehensive picture of an attack, quickly identify the root cause and take measures to mitigate risk.?   Analyze collected evidence alongside Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) data in one console to proactively defend against future threats. ?   Correlate and analyze integrated data to uncover hidden indicators of compromise, identify advanced attack patterns, and understand the tactics, techniques, and procedures employed by threat actors. And, fully integrated with the SentinelOne agent, RemoteOps Forensics eliminates the need to deploy and provision multiple tools during investigations, saving organizations both time and resources. The solution also makes investigations more forensically sound, as fewer changes are made on disk, and SentinelOne employs its anti-tampering capabilities as well as metadata collection capabilities to ensure data integrity is maintained.“SentinelOne's new forensic capabilities are reinventing incident response by empowering security teams to perform deep investigations in less time without the need for niche expertise or additional tools,” Wong concluded.To learn more about Singularity Remote Ops Forensics, click here for a free demo.

Acer empowers partners with first UAE channel event

Acer expanded its support for Small and Medium Business (SMB) resellers, dealers, value added resellers (VAR) and system integrators in the country with a first-of-its kind UAE Channel event. The event featured insights into Acer’s global strategies, comprehensive product training, an overview of the benefits of its quarterly channel partner programs, and more.The event, which took place on September 12, reaffirmed Acer’s support for the dealers and resellers of the UAE channel. The event featured a morning session dedicated to commercial and education partners and an afternoon segment dedicated to consumer partners, aligning with Acer’s commitment to foster a greater collaboration with their channel partners. This in turn aims to enhance the company’s business growth and deliver a more satisfying and fulfilling customer experience.Commenting on the initiative, Michele Montecchio – General Manager, Acer Middle East said: “At the heart of Acer’s business model are our valued partners whose contribution is immeasurable: our success wouldn’t be possible without theirs. Additionally, the channel plays a significant role in the economy, contributing to 25% of the UAE revenue market in the PC segment, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) figures for the first half of 2023. That’s why we are thrilled to have hosted our UAE Channel event for this valuable segment, expanding their presence into Acer's existing programs, campaigns, and discount schemes. This strategic shift ensures a more comprehensive and inclusive approach to our market presence.”“Our unwavering dedication to our channel partners will not only help them transform potential challenges into new opportunities for business growth, but also ensure that they are suitably rewarded for performance, capabilities and collaboration within Acer’s evolving and expanding portfolio. This milestone event reaffirms Acer’s steadfast commitment to our valued dealers & resellers.”During the sessions partners were presented with Acer’s global, regional and local strategies, guiding and advising them on how Acer has successfully kept pace with the ever-changing business models regionally and globally. The briefing also shed light on Acer’s strategy for maintaining sustainable operations and elaborated on Acer’s quarterly Channel Partner Program benefits, which facilitate successful collaborations with partners and help deliver market-leading solutions. This session included an array of tools and instruments designed to help resellers and dealers effectively market Acer’s products and solutions to their target customer base in the UAE.Acer’s experts at the UAE Channel event showcased the brand’s class-leading products and solutions, including Desktops, Notebooks, Monitors and Projectors, demonstrating how the company can enable partners to deliver superior business solutions that best fulfil the needs of their end customers. The sessions also introduced Acer’s powerful Altos Computing which provides the most streamlined and cost-effective integrated solutions such as servers, workstations, thin client, networks, and storageThe UAE Channel event concluded with hands-on demonstrations of selected Acer products that were on display throughout the day. With decades of experience in the world of computing, the event not only reaffirmed Acer’s commitment to UAE channel partners but re-affirmed continuous support for partners and end customers across all levels.

Ooredoo Qatar Goes Green with Ericsson's Smart Connected Site Solution

Ooredoo Qatar will be able to monitor and control energy consumption in real-time while optimizing the network’s use of energy sources and reducing reliance on diesel generators.The solution contributes to Ooredoo Qatar's sustainability journey, with plans to further explore the use of renewable energy sources.Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and Ooredoo Qatar deploy the Ericsson Smart Connected Site solution to increase the network’s energy efficiency and reduce the carbon emissions in the network. The Ericsson Smart Connected Site solution, which includes Enclosure 6150, will enable Ooredoo Qatar to hybrid manage multiple energy sources, such as li-ion batteries in addition to the traditional power grid and diesel generators. The hybrid energy management will optimize their use based on the availability of energy. The Ericsson Smart Connected Site solution provides real-time, remote monitoring of all aspects of the site like collecting, aggregating, and communicating radio, power and enclosure, and site material operating data and status. It also aids in hybrid managing and controlling energy consumption by optimizing the network’s use of energy sources, reducing the reliance on diesel generators, and thus reducing Ooredoo Qatar’s carbon emissions.Günther Ottendorfer, Chief Technology and Infrastructure Officer at Ooredoo Qatar says: "Ooredoo Qatar is fully dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of our network and investing in innovative solutions for sustainable energy management. The implementation of the Ericsson Smart Connected Site solution is a significant milestone in our sustainability journey, allowing us to decrease reliance on diesel generators and achieve substantial carbon emissions reduction. By enhancing energy efficiency in our operations, we aim to support Qatar's ambitious goal - part of Qatar National Vision 2030 - of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2030."Trials where hybrid energy management of power provided by diesel generators and li-ion batteries have already been conducted, resulting in up to 66 percent daily diesel generator runtime reduction with up to 55 percent reduction in fuel consumption. This in turn results in a reduction of approximately 3 tons per month per site of carbon dioxide emissions and a 50 per cent reduction in number of site visits. Kevin Murphy, Vice President and Head of Ericsson Levant Countries and Global Customer Unit Ooredoo Group at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “Ericsson is creating a world of limitless connectivity, where mobile technology opens new possibilities to pioneer a sustainable future. Our innovative solutions reduce the environmental impact of network operations while at the same time enhancing network performance. By leveraging the Ericsson Smart Connected Site solution, and real-time monitoring and control, Ooredoo Qatar will derive significant benefit in its operations. We look forward to working closely with them to deliver a successful deployment in line with Qatar's National Environment and Climate Change Strategy.”

WAM signs MoU with the Brazilian TV SBT

The Emirates News Agency (WAM) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Brazilian TV SBT to strengthen and develop cooperation in news exchange.The MoU, on the sidelines of the International Government Communications Forum in Expo Centre Sharjah, was signed by Mohammed Jalal Al Rayssi, Director-General of WAM, and Roberto Franco, Director of Institutional and Regulatory Affairs of SBT.The WAM-SBT collaboration is part of WAM’s efforts to strengthen its partnership with international media outlets, especially as it is set to host the second edition of the Global Media Congress in November.The MoU also aligns with the two sides’ keenness to boost their cooperation in news exchange and build constructive friendships and cooperation between media institutions in the UAE and Brazil to serve their common interests.Al Rayssi underscored the distinguished and growing relations that UAE and Brazil share at all levels, noting that the MoU signing comes within the framework of efforts to build bridges of cooperation and enhance news exchange with SBT.The WAM Director-General said that he is looking forward to the participation of the Brazilian media in the second edition of the Global Media Congress, scheduled to be held next November in Abu Dhabi, as it provides a vital global platform that facilitates establishing strong partnerships between media outlets from around the world.Robert Franco expressed his eagerness to consolidate SBT-WAM relations and commence their exchange of expertise, noting that the UAE’s media sector shows great promise, especially as it continues to push its development to new heights.

Entrust hires Jordan Avnaim as Chief Information Security Officer

Entrust, a global leader in trusted payments, identities, and data, today announced that it named Jordan Avnaim as its Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). With more than 20 years of experience leading information security functions and influencing change and enterprise digital transformation, Jordan will help scale and mature Entrust’s information security program for both corporate and commercial portfolios.“We are excited to welcome Jordan to the team and are confident his experience and deep understanding of information security, IT security operations and risk leadership will support Entrust’s mission to be an innovative and trusted solutions provider,” said Anudeep Parhar, Chief Operating Officer at Entrust. “Jordan will be instrumental in helping to further build our information security program that will strengthen our security posture.”Entrust’s solutions are at the forefront of the cybersecurity industry and include new solutions to support organizations through their Zero Trust journey and post-quantum cryptography approach. As CISO, Avnaim will play a key role in the company’s advancement of these solutions.Avnaim joins Entrust with experience in a variety of information security and risk leadership roles including most recently at The Capital Group Companies, where he was responsible for leading various information security, technology risk and technology audit functions over his tenure. Previously at Deloitte & Touche, Avnaim led delivery of specialized security and risk consultative services to C-suite executives and clients across the globe. Avnaim’s experience and achievements in these roles have well-positioned him to lead Entrust’s information security program, continue strengthening the company’s security posture, and assist in delivery of exceptional security solutions to Entrust’s clients and customers.“The threat landscape continues to rapidly evolve and companies need to constantly be identifying and initiating new cybersecurity practices, like post-quantum cryptography to prepare for the future,” said Avnaim. “With my passion for cybersecurity and technology risk management, and experience providing consultative services to worldwide clients, I am thrilled to be stepping into this role to support Entrust’s strategy and assist our clients in realizing their cybersecurity objectives.”Avnaim holds both a Master of Engineering in Management of Technology with an Information Security focus and a Bachelor of Engineering in both Computer Engineering and Mathematics from Vanderbilt University. Avnaim is a member of Infragard, FS-ISAC, ISC2, ISACA and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).Avnaim will also join the Entrust Cybersecurity Institute as an expert member. To access critical insights C-suite leaders need to protect their organizations, tune into the Entrust Cybersecurity Institute Podcast.Entrust’s outgoing CISO Mark Ruchie will remain at Entrust as Vice President, Information Security Advisor, through the first half of 2024, to assist Avnaim and ensure a seamless transition before officially retiring.

Louis Vuitton the world’s most popular luxury brand: New study

A new study reveals that Louis Vuitton is the world’s most popular luxury brand. Research by Cross-Border Shopping Platform Ubuy analysed five different metrics including global searches, global website visits, social media following and engagement and revenue, to determine out of 100 of the most well-renowned and revered brands, which is the most popular.   1 – Louis Vuitton Louis Vuitton is a renowned luxury fashion brand that epitomizes elegance, sophistication, and timeless style. Founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton, the French company has since become synonymous with high-end fashion and accessories. Louis Vuitton has the most global monthly searches (8,330,000) and website visits (15,500,000). In 2022 Luis Vuitton alone did over £15 billion in sales. With a massive online following as well, Louis Vuitton cements itself as the most well-known and popular luxury brand globally. ?Popularity score: 32.75   2 – Dior Dior has become an icon in the fashion industry. Beyond its signature haute couture creations, the brand offers a wide range of products, including ready-to-wear clothing, accessories, fragrance, and cosmetics. Because of Dior’s broad range of products the company recorded the highest revenue of any of the luxury fashion brands making over £60 billion. Dior also has one of the highest monthly website visits (12,600,000) and has a huge online following with over 40,000,000 followers. ?Popularity score: 31.73   3 – Gucci Established in Florence, Italy, in 1921 by Guccio Gucci, the brand has become a global symbol of elegance and sophistication. With its signature double G logo and bold, innovative designs, Gucci continues to captivate fashion enthusiasts around the world, setting trends and pushing boundaries in the industry. Gucci has the second-highest search volume (4,690,000 monthly searches), and over 9 million website visits every month. ?Popularity score: 23.39   4 – Chanel Chanel is a renowned French fashion and luxury brand Founded by Coco Chanel in 1910. The brand quickly became synonymous with high fashion, introducing innovative designs and revolutionizing women's clothing with its signature tweed suits, little black dresses, and quilted handbags. Chanel also has over 9 million website visits every month as well as the largest social media following with over 56 million followers. Chanel's broad range of products also means the brand's revenue streams are multiplied making them one of the most profitable with a revenue of over £12 billion.  Popularity score: 22.15   5 – Rolex Founded in 1905 by Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, Rolex has consistently pushed the boundaries of watchmaking, setting the industry standards for quality, reliability, and innovation. The brand's iconic models, such as the Oyster Perpetual, Submariner, Daytona, and Datejust, have become synonymous with luxury and success. Rolex has been a popular brand for many years setting the standards for luxury watches. Rolex receives over 6 million monthly visits to its website and made over £7 billion in revenue in 2022. Rolex does have a slightly smaller online following with 14 million followers however has a better engagement rate than many brands with 0.50% ?Popularity score: 14.48   6 – Versace Versace is an Italian luxury fashion brand known for its glamorous and opulent designs. Founded by Gianni Versace in 1978, the brand quickly gained global recognition thanks to its bold prints, vibrant colours, and daring styles. Versace's creations often feature intricate detailing, Medusa head motifs, and a fusion of classical and modern influences. Versace is searched globally over 2 million times every month. Boasting just over 29 million followers, Versace also has strong engagement with 0.71%. The brands popularity is also shown through its sales with over £1 billion in revenue in 2022. ?Popularity score: 14.32   7 – Michael Kors Michael Kors is a renowned American fashion designer who has made a significant impact on the global fashion industry. Known for his luxurious and sophisticated designs, Kors has built a brand that exudes timeless elegance and modern style. Michael Kors is searched 2.8 million times every month and has over 9.8 million monthly website visits, while the brand’s revenue also exceeded £3 billion in 2022 establishing itself as a top 10 global brand. Popularity score: 13.83   8 – Ralph Lauren Born in 1939, Lauren founded his eponymous brand, Ralph Lauren Corporation, in 1967. Ralph Lauren's designs often blend classic elegance with a touch of American heritage, showcasing his love for timeless aesthetics and the pursuit of luxury. Ralph Lauren receives 10 million monthly visitors to its website and the brand made over £4 billion in 2022. Popularity score: 12.85   9 – Prada Prada was established in 1913 by Mario Prada, and the company initially focused on producing leather goods and accessories. However, it has since expanded its offerings to include clothing, footwear, eyewear, and fragrances. Prada gets 2 million searches and 5.6 million website visits every month, and boasts a big online following of 32 million and in 2022 made 2.9 billion in revenue. Popularity score: 12.67  10 – Coach With a rich heritage dating back to 1941, Coach has become a symbol of American luxury and style. The brand offers a wide range of products, including handbags, accessories, footwear, and ready-to-wear clothing. Coach gets 9 million website visits every month and made over 5 billion in revenue in 2022 making them a global powerhouse of luxury fashion. ?Popularity score: 12.29   A spokesperson from commented: “The popularity of luxury fashion stems from a combination of factors that make it highly desirable. It represents exclusivity and craftsmanship, offering meticulously designed and impeccably crafted garments and accessories. The allure of luxury brands lies in their rich heritage, timeless elegance, and association with status and prestige.  Celebrities, influencers, and high-profile individuals often showcase luxury fashion, creating a desire for consumers to emulate their style and sophistication. Furthermore, the rise of social media has significantly contributed to the popularity of luxury fashion, as it allows brands to reach a global audience and create a sense of aspiration among fashion-conscious consumers.”

UAE's Ethara and US-based OVG form JV for Middle East expansion

Ethara, a company based in the UAE specializing in event management, and Oak View Group (OVG), a US-based arena developer, have unveiled a collaborative endeavor. This partnership marks OVG's expansion into the Middle East and aims to revolutionize the live entertainment and hospitality industries within the region.This announcement comes on the heels of OVG's acquisition of Rhubarb Hospitality Collection (RHC), a prominent British venue caterer. The joint venture will involve close cooperation between RHC and Ethara, with the objective of enhancing the fan experience by providing top-notch food, beverage, and hospitality services at live entertainment venues throughout the Middle East, including the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.Ethara is renowned for organizing events such as the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yasalam After-Race Concerts, and managing various venues in the UAE, including the Etihad Arena, Etihad Park, Yas Marina Circuit, and Yas Conference Centre.Meanwhile, OVG currently operates nine major arenas in North America and Europe, with some already open and others in development under its OVG 360 brand. This brand oversees the company's venue management operations, serving over 300 arenas, stadiums, and convention centers worldwide.The live events industry in the Middle East and Africa is poised for substantial growth, with projections indicating it could reach $76.67 billion by 2028. This growth is expected to be driven by a estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.1% from 2021 to 2028, as reported by Research and Markets.

The rise, fall, and rise again of Eco-Active consumers

Kantar, the world's leading marketing insights and analytics company, today released the fifth annual Who Cares? Who Does? study, the largest, global sustainability survey, involving more than 112,000 shoppers, which connects consumers' sustainability attitudes and actions to in-depth shopping behaviour data across all FMCG categories, revealing how brands need to evolve to tap into the ~$500 billion annual sustainable shopping spend.  Who Cares? Who Does? identifies that the ‘Eco-actives’ segment, made up of the most eco-conscious consumers, has rebounded from its 2022 cost of living crisis-related decline. In 2023, sustainability-conscious shopper segment rebounded to represent 22% of shoppers, compared with 18% in 2022 and 22% in 2021. These consumers spend almost $500 billion in the FMCG market each year, with this projected to reach $1 trillion by 2027. That said, 43% of overall respondents say that financial constraints are making it harder for them to act sustainably. This suggests that brands that invest in making sustainable choices affordable will be able to reverse the shift to own label products – a major coping strategy during the cost of living crisis. Currently, sustainably marketed products cost 70% more than the category average price. Tactics that will secure these returning consumers include using non-plastic packaging, locally-sourced and natural ingredients, increasing refill and recycling options, and adopting fairtrade practices.Global Eco-Actives household population share projection Eco-conscious behaviour is now mainstreamWhen it comes to their own behaviour, Who Cares? Who Does? finds that three quarters of people (74%) now bring their own bags when shopping (+3% since 2019), including almost half of people using fabric bags (+12%). Almost two-thirds of consumers now use refillable bottles, while the use of "to-go cups" is closing in on majority status – now at 42% (+6%). “Consumer habits have changed significantly over recent years. It is clear that retailers and brands can shape habits by offering sustainable options and incentives, while governments are increasingly seen as responsible for addressing environmental issues at a systemic level. By aligning actions with eco-conscious consumers' changing needs and desires, brands can win back shoppers who are switching en-masse to white-label goods and contribute to a more sustainable future.” comments study author, Natalie Babbage. ?The price of progress: balancing living costs and environmental valuesThe study also reveals:• The cost-of-living crisis is inadvertently creating more sustainable behaviour in spaces like clothing, where cost is a major driver in the growth of second-hand clothes sales, while food waste is now a major concern for 24% of people globally. Consumers’ tactics to minimise food waste include proper food storage (80%), making meals with leftovers (70%), meal planning (64%), creating shopping lists (62%), and finding alternative uses for foods at risk of spoiling (55%).• Sustainability concepts remain poorly understood among consumers. Only 8% frequently choose carbon-neutral products, citing their own lack of understanding (24%) or availability of such products (27%). However, recyclable packaging is a fundamental expectation, with 72% frequently or occasionally choosing products with 100% recyclable packaging.• The perception that sustainable options are expensive remains the top barrier to sustainable choices, with 60.9% globally citing cost as a hindrance.  Natalie Babbage, Global LinkQ Solution Director, Worldpanel Division, Kantar, continued: “The reality in 2023, is that the media and public discourse play a significant role in driving sustainability engagement. Governments have power in shaping consumer behaviour, with actions that raise all boats, like banning specific products. And while consumers desire better products which have less environmental impact and waste, realistically sustainability is not the primary driver for most decisions at a time when budgets are tight. Brands should view sustainability investment as an avenue to gain trust, and to signify quality, health, and taste.” Download a copy of the Who Cares? Who Does? 2023 study and register to watch the webinar “Eco-insights 2023: what consumers (really) want” on demand at

Saudi Arabia to launch new channel 'Saudia Alaan'

Saudi Arabia is set to launch a new channel called 'Saudia Alaan' (Saudia Now) to coincide with the celebration of the 93rd National Day on September 23rd. Salman Al-Dosari, the Minister of Media and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Broadcasting Authority (SBA), made the announcement, stating that the channel will serve as the official platform for broadcasting all official events, entertainment activities, and programs in Saudi Arabia.The primary objective of 'Saudia Alaan' is to showcase the significant growth and rapid development occurring in the Kingdom, along with the extensive array of events being organized as part of its ambitious Vision 2030 initiative. These events encompass a wide range of local, regional, and international activities and conferences, spanning political, economic, educational, and entertainment domains.Al-Dosari emphasized the importance of the media in keeping pace with this development, highlighting that it serves as an indicator of the Kingdom's progress through the coverage of events, activities, occasions, and conferences. He also noted that media plays a crucial role in reflecting the national image and is aligned with Saudi Arabia's soft power approach to present itself to the global community. Al-Dosari described this initiative as a small part of the broader efforts undertaken by SBA to boost local content and achieve transformation goals.Mohammed Al-Harthi, CEO of SBA, confirmed that all preparations for the new channel's launch have been completed. He explained that 'Saudia Alaan' will focus on covering events, occasions, and activities within the Kingdom, aligning with SBA's mission to contribute to the development of all sectors and collaborate with partner entities. The channel will allocate dedicated time slots for live event coverage and integrate with social media platforms to reach a broader audience and foster public interaction.Al-Harthi also noted that SBA has formed partnerships with various organizations to enhance the channel's content and provide high-quality services. The decision to launch the channel comes in response to the growing demand for coverage of events, exhibitions, and conferences across the Kingdom, with a remarkable 367 percent increase in event licenses issued in 2022 compared to the previous year. Furthermore, the channel is expected to support the strategies of companies and institutions seeking to engage with a diverse segment of the Saudi public.

PRCA MENA Leaders Breakfast Sets Guinness World Record

PRCA MENA, the leading Public Relations Communications Association of the Middle East and North Africa, organised the PRCA MENA Leaders Breakfast in partnership with Guinness World Records, hosted at the Guinness World Records office in Dubai.A special guest speaker at the Breakfast, Noha Hefny, the Head of Strategic Partnerships and Communications at UN Women, delivered an inspiring speech on women's empowerment and the essential steps for a company to foster gender equity.Following this, PRCA MENA members participated in a Guinness World Records attempt to achieve a historic feat by breaking the Guinness World Record title for "Most High and Low Fives in Relay in Three Minutes," with an impressive 160 high and low fives.The invite-only gathering provided a platform for influential PRCA MENA members to connect, share knowledge, and forge valuable partnerships.Monika Fourneaux, Head of EMEA, expressed her appreciation, saying, "We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Noha Hefny for delivering a compelling presentation on women's empowerment and gender equity, sparking a meaningful dialogue among the participants. Congratulations to the PRCA MENA members who participated in the Guinness World Record attempt – you are now officially amazing!" Shaddy Gaad, Senior Marketing Manager at Guinness World Records, commented, "It was a pleasure for us to host the PRCA MENA Leaders Breakfast. We congratulate all participants and look forward to further cooperation.”PRCA MENA and Guinness World Records have been long-term partners, and their partnership continues to thrive.With another successful event, PRCA MENA continues to lead the way in the field of public relations and communications, bringing together PR professionals who are not only committed to excellence but also dedicated to making a positive impact on the industry and society.

Intigral at Digital Experience Show 2023

Intigral, the media arm of stc Group and leader in digital entertainment in Saudi Arabia and the MENA region, participated in the Digital Experience Show 2023, held on September 5-6 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Qurtuba, Riyadh.The event brought together global and regional industry leaders to provide valuable insights and practical solutions around the opportunities and challenges in leveraging digital experience. In-depth sessions on a wide range of topics were held, including pioneering digital experiences strategies, technology infrastructure support, and reimagining digital experiences to optimize business advantages, promote customer engagement, and boost retention rates.Intigral Director of Customer Ops & Customer Experience, Zahra Alsamurae, addressed the strengths of the company’s digital ecosystem during a panel titled ‘Deep Dive: Strengthening your digital experience management strategy through capability building’. “At Intigral, we leverage the digital revolution to complement it with the human sentiment to passionately craft a curated user experience.We focus on harnessing a customer-centric culture to deliver engaging solutions to our viewers in Saudi Arabia and the region. The foundation of our operations begins with leveraging innovation to pinpoint and address pressing pain points within the video streaming experience and optimize them throughout the customer journey. This is all within a strategy that prioritizes investments in user-friendly interfaces, AI-powered features, and responsive customer support, including deploying advanced recommendation algorithms and content assistant chatbots. Intigral seamlessly combines AI innovation and human expertise to provide customers with a streamlined, engaging, and immersive entertainment experience.”Under the theme "The Business of Digital Experience", the 2023 Digital Experience Show Middle East provided a platform for valuable networking opportunities, fostering connections and championing cutting-edge digital strategies that empower organizations to thrive in this rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Fast Company Middle East: Celebrating innovators

Fast Company Middle East, a leading platform for innovation and business excellence, has invited companies across the Middle East to participate in the prestigious Most Innovative Companies List for 2023.The annual Most Innovative Companies list, initiated in 2022, aims to recognize and celebrate the transformative power of innovation in businesses and society. This year, the focus is on companies that have made exceptional contributions to the growth and development of the Middle East. Over 240 companies have already submitted their nominations.The Most Innovative Companies list by Fast Company Middle East is the definitive acknowledgment of innovation in the region. The nomination process is open until October 10, 2023, with early submissions increasing the chances of being shortlisted.Why Companies Should Participate:1. Brand Amplification: Being named a winner signifies a company's unwavering commitment to creativity and impact. It offers visibility by featuring in the 2023 edition of Fast Company Middle East magazine and Connect with Industry Pioneers: Join a list that provides opportunities to interact with some of the most pioneering companies in the Middle East. Engage with innovators and gain fresh perspectives.3. Join an Inspiring Community: Honorees become part of Fast Company's expansive community, recognized as go-to sources for events, including the World Changing Ideas, Impact Council, and Green Goals Summit.4. Funding and Stakeholder Engagement: The Most Innovative Companies list opens doors to funding and strategic partnerships. Recognition here demonstrates a company's value to industry peers, investors, and potential collaborators.5. Attracting Talent: In a world of possibilities, top-notch professionals are drawn to organizations that prioritize innovation and social impact. Winning companies become magnets for talent looking to make a meaningful difference.Winning organizations will receive the coveted Fast Company Middle East stamp of approval for their groundbreaking innovations, along with prominent features on Fast Company Middle East’s website.Nominations are now open for a limited time. For inquiries and submissions, please contact the dedicated support team by emailing

Golden times: Indian jewellery brands sparkle in the UAE market

"You are never fully dressed without  jewellery," is a renowned quote that beautifully encapsulates the significance of jewellery in our lives, particularly for women. Jewellery stands out as an accessory that effortlessly enhances the wearer's appearance, transcending boundaries of nationality, ethnicity, or religion. Historically, India was revered as the epicenter of jewellery craftsmanship, but today, its allure has spread globally, particularly in the Middle East. Indian jewelers, attuned to this burgeoning trend, have seized the opportunity to expand their businesses by establishing outlets in the Middle East market. Let's explore this phenomenon further.Middle East: The next hub for jewelleryThe Middle East jewellery market is a significant and growing sector of the global jewellery industry. The region has a rich history and culture of jewellery making, with skilled artisans and designers creating intricate and luxurious pieces that are highly sought after by consumers around the world.The MENA jewellery market is projected to grow from $30.72 billion in 2022 to $52.24 billion by 2029, at a CAGR of 7.88 percent in the forecast period. Moreover, according to 6Wresearch, the UAE jewellery market is sure to grow during the 2023-2029 period.  The key factors driving this tremendous growth include rising disposable income, increasing consumer preferences for luxury goods, and the growing tourism industry in the Middle East. In addition, the Middle East has a strong cultural affinity for jewellery, which is also contributing in the expansion of the jewellery market.Indian brands beautifying MENAThe last couple of years have seen Indian jewellery brands making their strong presence in the lucrative MENA market, thanks to their intricate designs, high-quality craftsmanship, and the use of precious metals and stones. According to available data, the overall jewellery exports amounted to $5.4 billion in June 2022, which saw 17 per cent year-on-year growth. This tremendous growth can be owed to the Indo-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (Cepa) in 2022. This agreement has strengthened the trade relations between both the nations.Malabar Gold & Diamonds was the first Indian jewellery brand to have utilised the duty benefits of the CEPA to import 25 kg of gold in October 2022, marking a significant milestone for Indian jewellery brands. Shamlal Ahamed, MD - International Operations, Malabar Gold & Diamonds, stated: “The liberal trade policies that promote ease of doing business, political stability, ease of access to international markets and the extremely conducive trade agreements with India, to name a few, make the region very attractive for Indian investment.”<img src='\045007bbdd04203445bcf3ca548600a1.png' class='content_image'>He added: “There are several other factors that make the Middle East jewellery market one of the best in the world for Indian brands. If one takes the UAE as an example, the large Indian diaspora that resides in the region, with high earning capacity, makes up a significant chunk of the market in the middle east. This is an immediately attractive and lucrative prospect for Indian brands looking to establish themselves in the Middle East.”Speaking on the same lines, Ramesh Kalyanaraman, Executive Director, Kalyan Jewellers, said: “The UAE market's appeal to Indian brands, including Kalyan Jewellers, can be attributed to several key factors. The geographical proximity to India, coupled with cultural affinities, fosters stronger business connections and facilitates logistical operations. Additionally, the UAE's tax policy, which exempts gold and jewellery exports, presents a favorable economic environment for expansion. We believe that the tax benefits offered by the UAE not only enhance the competitiveness of our products in the international market but also contribute positively to the growth of the overall jewellery industry.”UAE: A perfect playground for Indian brandsRenowned Indian jewellery brands like Tanishq, Malabar Gold & Diamonds, Kalyan Jewellers, Joyallukas, etc. have successfully expanded their operations to the UAE, showcasing their collections to a diverse customer base. These include not only the Indian diaspora but also the local people as well as tourists from all over the world.Malabar Gold & Diamonds was one of the initial brands to make a foray in the Middle Eastern soil.Says Shamlal Ahamed: “With a strong focus on providing an exemplary jewellery shopping experience to jewellery lovers, the brand quickly gained acceptance amongst jewellery lovers of all nationalities by combining a host of customer-centric approaches with an exquisite collection of jewellery, emerging as one of the most preferred jewellery retailers in the region. The humble yet ambitious beginning laid the groundwork for our expansion into the other GCC countries, Singapore, Malaysia, the US, and the UK. In this regard, the Middle East market was extremely receptive to our business, so much so that we recently established the Malabar International Hub (MIH) at the historic Dubai Gold Souq. MIH houses all the enabling functionalities of the group’s immense international operations and will act as the epicenter for the brand’s current and future business aspirations.”About Kalyan Jeweller’s foray into the UAE, Ramesh Kalyanaraman said: “In 2013, we embarked on this strategic expansion, marking two decades of our journey. As we celebrate our 10-year presence in the UAE, Kalyan Jewellers has consistently flourished in the region, steadily expanding its market share. Over the years, we've worked diligently to create a comprehensive shopping experience for our patrons, ensuring our presence across various consumer touchpoints and building a distinctive presence in the market.”UAE: A goldmine for jewellery brandsThe UAE market offers numerous advantages to Indian jewellery brands, including a thriving population of Indian expatriates, a business-friendly environment, and a strong bilateral relationship between the UAE and India.<img src='\81ed2496e73766b03f3b651a0b09a552.png' class='content_image'>Additionally, the UAE presents an opportunity to Indian brands to increase their market share by targeting other diverse communities. However, the primary advantage lies in the trust and preference that Indians have for Indian brands, ensuring a stable and significant presence in the UAE market.Shamlal Ahamed, when discussing why the UAE is an ideal market for the brand, says: "Malabar Gold & Diamonds initially focused on serving the jewelry preferences of the extensive Indian expatriate community in the region. Over time, our customer base expanded to include the broader South Asian diaspora, followed by expatriates from various nationalities, including Arabs from different countries. Eventually, we established a strong presence among the local Emirati population. Our wide range of designs, outstanding service, and commitment to transparency swiftly made us the preferred jewellery retailer among Indians and people of other nationalities."On the expansion plans of Kalyan Jewellers, Ramesh Kalyanaraman said: “The brand has made significant strides in expanding its presence in the Middle East. Currently, we operate in 33 locations across four countries in the region. The Middle East has consistently demonstrated a positive trend in revenue contribution, with the recent quarter seeing it contribute 16% of our total revenue. It's worth noting that our international endeavors, primarily centered in the Middle East, have yielded impressive results, with a remarkable 29% year-over-year increase in revenue. A significant milestone lies ahead as we prepare to pilot our inaugural franchise showroom within the region this year. Looking ahead, our expansion efforts in the Middle East will be bolstered by the infusion of franchise capital, allowing us to further strengthen our foothold in the market.”Sharing his brand’s future plans, Shamlal Ahamed says: “Malabar Gold & Diamonds has an extensive retail network in all six GCC countries, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait. Since our international expansion in 2008, we have consistently grown in terms of revenue and store count. We are ranked as the 6th largest jewellery retailer globally, with presence in 11 countries. The ambitious expansion plans that we have charted for the Middle East includes strengthening our retail presence in existing regions with the launch of more showrooms as well as expanding our presence to new territories.”Preferences of the clientelesLet's hear from the experts regarding the preferences of Middle East customers. According to Shamlal Ahamed, in the UAE, customers show equal interest in both modern and traditional jewellery designs.“They have embraced and are quite open to global jewellery trends, always looking for the latest designs, whether it's for special occasions or everyday wear. Additionally, we've noticed an increasing preference for solitaires and diamonds, even among the younger demographic. The country is also becoming a significant destination for bridal jewelry shopping, catering to both residents and tourists," he adds.

Blinx: Dubai's new digital storytelling hub for Gen-Z and millennials

blinx, the new digital media hub in the Middle East, has been launched to empower Middle Eastern youth with the finest in digital storytelling and news stories, offering fresh perspectives, and connecting Gen Z and Millennials across multiple screens, platforms, and smart devices, encapsulating the motto: “More Story, Less Noise.”Ever since its brand-name announcement in March 2023, blinx has emerged as a vibrant hub in the realm of storytelling. Nakhle Elhage, blinx General Manager, highlights: "We've made remarkable strides since our brand name announcement. The launch of blinx is not just about compelling content creation. It's a digital media powerhouse that promotes storytelling excellence in a myriad of genres like Entertainment, Infotainment, News, Trending, Investigatives, Business, Lifestyle, Sports, Self-Development, Climate Change, and more. Our Smart TV App also offers exclusive long-form content such as investigatives, talk shows, and live broadcasts.”One of the blinx core commitments lies in nurturing and empowering emerging talent. Embracing a bold and diverse team, blinx currently employs nearly 150 young professionals hailing from across the MENA region. In a relatively short period, the blinx headquarters in Dubai Media City has already doubled in size, unveiling an array of cutting-edge technology. Among these innovations are state-of-the-art Metaverse and extended reality studios, production facilities with VR capabilities, AI-enhanced tools, and advanced data analytics, among others.Fadi Radi, blinx Chief Creative Officer said: "Technology is designed to transport audiences beyond traditional storytelling, pushing the limits of innovation, news, information, data, and others. Our featured stories cater to tech-savvy youth, offering a blend of entertainment and insightful inspiration. End-users can effortlessly swipe through stories, engaging with both content creators and peers.”Prior to joining blinx, Radi led disruptive creative treatments of major global events, including the U.S. presidential elections, for some of the leading U.S. and Middle Eastern news networks.At blinx, user experience takes centre stage, stretching across various screens, platforms, and devices to cater to Gen Z and Millennials, wherever they may be. The magic of gamification will gradually add an interactive and fun element to storytelling, The blinx ecosystem operates on principles of sustainability and ethical business practices. By collaborating with business partners and suppliers who share their ethos, blinx ensures that every aspect of its operations aligns with its core values. Furthermore, with strategic initiatives to minimize its carbon footprint and active promotion of recycling, blinx remains true to its commitment to the environment and the community

Ras Al Khaimah unveils campaign with Beautiful Destinations

 Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) in partnership with award-winning creative agency, Beautiful Destinations, harnesses the power of short-form video in a new landmark creative video campaign.As a destination of the future, RAKTDA takes a fresh approach to the traditional media campaign with an experiential destination itinerary through short form video. Working with one of the world’s largest and most influential online travel communities of over 50 million followers on social media, Beautiful Destinations has masterminded some of the world’s most high profile and impactful video-led tourism campaigns for destination marketing organisations (DMOs) worldwide. In this latest partnership, 30 pieces of stunning vertical short-form video content have been created in engaging cinematic style, highlighting Ras Al Khaimah’s diverse experiences, to reach travel audiences through ‘real’, snackable content, inspiring travellers as they begin their research, which is increasingly starting – and staying - on social media.Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “We try to stay on the cusp of the traveler journey and tap into the visceral nature of tourism. By harnessing the power of short form video with Beautiful Destinations, we effectively trigger inspiration and emotion far quicker and more impactfully than other, more traditional, marketing tools. We welcomed a record-breaking number of visitors in first six months in 2023 – a 14.8% increase from the same time last year, so now is the perfect time to accelerate our destination marketing offering with the global trailblazers in travel content creation.”Jeremy Jauncey, Founder and CEO of Beautiful Destinations said: “Ras Al Khaimah is a case study on why visual storytelling is so impactful for destination marketing. Through this partnership with RAKTDA, we succinctly captured the sheer breadth of the emirate, through stunning landscapes, nature and experiences creating the kind of content that consumers today want to see. Beautiful Destinations is thrilled to be the partner for this campaign, and I am looking forward to seeing the results of the powerful short-form content we have created together.”Short-form video is increasingly becoming the most influential form of travel media– not only for Gen Z but also older generations with as much as 40% of over 30s looking to TikTok first for travel inspiration. According to research 87% of millennials are inspired by social media when booking travel and 97% post about trips daily, making it a key tool for travel research and influencing decision-making. Short form video has more virality, with entertaining and participatory content performing the best, and, vitally, delivering the highest return on investment. Due to this seismic shift in how consumers are conducting research online, some of the world’s biggest brands – including the likes of Google - are moving to adapt to this growing trend making online search a more visual and engaging experience with vertical video platforms.This always-on campaign in partnership with Beautiful Destinations is live across RAKTDA’s leading markets across three phases with different themes: Mountain Adventures, What to do in RAK and Desert Beyond the Dunes (November 2023). The campaign aims to drive brand affinity and consideration in key markets, as well as increase awareness in new territories through ‘showing’, rather than ‘telling’ potential visitors what awaits them in Ras Al Khaimah.Known as the Nature Emirate, Ras Al Khaimah is a one-stop destination for fun, family, nature, adventure, with a wealth of captivating attractions to experience and explore, which come to life in this latest campaign. Moreover, it cements Ras Al Khaimah as a regional leader in responsible, sustainable tourism, focusing on the environment, culture, conservation and liveability.Featured in Time magazine's World's Greatest Places of 2022 and CNN Travel's Best Destinations to Visit in 2023, 2022 was a pivotal year for Ras Al Khaimah's tourism. The Emirate attracted 1.13 million annual visitors – the highest-ever number of arrivals superseding pre-pandemic levels. Infrastructure-wise, it saw a 17% annual growth in hotel supply to over 8,000 keys. Taking the Emirate a step closer to its goal of securing over three million annual visitors by 2030, the momentum has continued this year, with annual visitor numbers expected to continue to grow as the Emirate remains the region’s fastest growing destination.

Omnicom Media Group promotes Dan Clays to Chief Executive- EMEA

Omnicom Media Group (OMG) has promoted Dan Clays, the current CEO of OMG UK, to chief executive EMEA.Dan Clays, in his new role, will oversee strategy and operations as well as the development of OMG agencies – across EMEA, including OMD, PHD, Hearts & Science and the Annalect data and analytics division.He will be taking on the official responsibilities from 1st October, succeeding Guy Marks, who was recently named CEO of PHD Worldwide.Under Clays leadership OMG UK agencies won $1.3 billion of new business over the past two years, signing up British Airways, British Gas, Comparethemarket, Jaguar Land Rover, Peloton and Virgin Media 02 and retaining Channel 4, John Lewis Partnership and the UK government. Florian Adamski, OMG-CEO praised Clays’ commitment for making OMG the “UK’s number one media group in new business.”During the last four years, Clays has played a key role in advancing OMG’s platform approach, connecting media, content and commerce to drive sales and grow share for clients.Dan Clays, on his promotion said: “As the EMEA CEO, my priority will be to build on Guy Marks’ success by ensuring the future-fit offer and transformational technology that will drive growth for our clients, our agencies and our talent across the region.”

Abdulla Al Nuaimi joins Seed Group as an Advisor

Abdulla Al Nuaimi will be joining Seed Group as an Advisor. Seed Group is owned by The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum. Seed Group focuses on fostering strategic partnerships with innovative startups that seek prosperity with a larger vision of contributing towards a happier and empowered global community. Al Nuaimi was earlier the CEO at Dubai National Insurance (DNI). He is the first Emirati CEO to win Insurance Professional of the Year 2022, Abdulla Al Nuaimi has a proven track record for over 25 years across diversified domains such as financial service, insurance, export credit insurance, procurement and sourcing with expertise in enabling technology in various sectors. He is an expert in end- to-end transformation management of organisations to attain profitability targets with minimum cost and maximum ROI. He graduated from Wharton Business School University of Pennsylvania with an EMBA in Leadership & Business Management. He has been recognized with many awards, such as Insurance Professional of the Year - MENA IR 2022, Marine Insurer of the Year at the InsureTek Middle East Award 2022, World’s Greatest CEO Award winner at the 15th Asia-Africa Business & Social Forum- AsiaOne – 2021 and many more. Abdulla Al Nuaimi shared his happiness on joining by sharing a post on Linkedin. He said: “As a member of the advisory board, my focus will be on leveraging techno insurance startups/ innovative(out of the box) products/services across the globe aligned to Seed Group strategy and priorities.”

45% of employees in Saudi Arabia feel the lack of digital competencies

According to a new Kaspersky survey, 62% of employees in Saudi Arabia feel the need for better digital skills in their work with computers and other digital equipment. Almost half (45%) are afraid of losing their jobs because of the lack of IT competencies. Some believe it could happen as soon as in the next 5 years (20%), others suppose it might happen at some point later (25%). Only 20% are sure they are not at risk of losing their job because of poor IT knowledge.Among those who think they are most likely to lose their job because of the lack of digital skills within the next 5 years are department heads and top-managers. They remain most wary about the need for constant self-education and staying ahead of the trends.The lack of digital skills may not only impede a person’s career, but also produces serious risks for the cybersecurity of the organization where this person is employed. The ‘human firewall’ is one of the key defenses from cyber incidents. Recent research showed that 95% of cybersecurity threats are in some way caused by human error[2]. Employees can open a phishing link or download ransomware on corporate device and it’ll produce financial and reputation losses for company. This is why workers on any levels — from top managers to interns — should receive proper cybersecurity training.“Many are afraid of losing their job due to the explosive advancement of AI / ML solutions. While some individuals and organizations are wary of automatization and refrain from using it, others adapt their processes to get the most benefits from the newest technologies. Employees should be cyber savvy if they want to remain in demand, and companies should help them to tackle digital challenges and develop cybersecurity skills,” comments Emad Haffar, Head of Technical Experts at Kaspersky. “Kaspersky offers the Automated Security Awareness Platform to contribute to the education and upskilling of employees at all levels. The Platform is an online tool that builds strong, practical cyber-hygiene skills for employees throughout the year. Launching and managing the Platform doesn’t require special resources or arrangements, and it provides the organization with built-in help at every step of the journey towards a safe corporate cyber-environment.”To help your employees to improve their digital skills, Kaspersky experts recommend:conduct regular checkups to understand what digital skills are most needed for business and educate their employees;organize digital literacy courses and trainings for employees so they could improve their skills. Use Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform — an online learning tool that would help to train employees about relevant topics in cybersecurity;make sure employees know about trending cyberthreats like phishing, scam, ransomware attacks and how to recognize and avoid them.

Turkish design brand Koleksiyon Mobilya expands into the UAE

In commemoration of its 50th anniversary, Turkish furniture and upholstery brand Koleksiyon Mobilya opened its first showroom in Dubai this week in the presence of the company’s Chairman, Koray Malhan, Deputy Chairman, Doruk Malhan, Dubai Consul General, Onur ?aylan, and Turkish Ambassador to Abu Dhabi, Tugay Tunçer. Building upon its award-winning success in Turkey, the prominent furniture and upholstery brand plans to expand across the GCC and marked its entry into the region with the showroom launch on Sheikh Zayed Road.The company’s expansion aligns with Koleksiyon Mobilya’s vision to grow its presence in key markets like Dubai, with a focus to boost its global sales exports to 50 per cent in the next five years.The Dubai operations will serve as the primary gateway for strengthening exports of Turkish furniture and upholstery to the Middle East and Africa region. With the aim of positioning its brand as the regional leaders in the furniture industry, Koleksiyon Mobilya has partnered with MILO, a renowned UAE-based construction company with 20 years of experience in the emirate.Speaking at the launch, Doruk Malhan said: “Our expansion to the UAE is part of our strategic objective to build stronger cooperation between the two countries. Dubai is a globally acclaimed hub for international trade and its geographical location eases access to Asia, Africa, and European markets. We are confident that with this launch, we will be able to expand our reach to newer markets, leading to an increase in trade and investments between Türkiye and the UAE.”“With our Dubai showroom, we aspire to meet the needs of our customers. The furniture industry currently exports US$2.5 per kilogram, on the contrary, the export value of some of the products of Koleksiyon reaches US$24 per kilogram. We will also contribute to our country's economy with the value-added exports through this new endeavor,” Malhan added.Koray Malhan said, “We have focused our growth plans on global markets. Dubai Airport stands out as one of the largest airports in the world, receiving 56 million people in 2022, the commercial activity shows us the potential of the country. Our brand exists globally with our "Made in Türkiye" products rolled out from our factory in Tekirda?. Of which 50% of our exports are to Middle Eastern countries”. bi-lateral relations shared between Turkey and the UAE as we work towards our goal of growing the Turkish economy.Along with the retail expansion, Koleksiyon Mobilya, is aligned with UAE's vision on sustainability goals and is steadfast in its approach to environmental, social, and managerial aspects. The company has invested in the installation of solar panels on the roof of their production plant in Tekirda?, Türkiye. They also replaced their fleet consisting of passenger cars and commercial vehicles with electric cars, furthering their goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.Announcing Türkiye's “quality production power” to the whole world, Koleksiyon’s investment in its Tekirda? factory is a step toward our growth plans. “We will invest US$7Min the first year. Of this amount, we have already completed US$1.5M. In the first stage, we have focused on increasing the capacity of our factory to contribute to our global growth strategy”, said Malhan.

New cross-border payments platform Digit9 launched in the UAE

Building on its reputation as one of the most trusted companies for cross-border payments, LuLu Money Singapore, a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi based LuLu Financial Holding, is now set to pioneer the digital payments ecosystem across the UAE, and globally, with the rollout of its purpose-built cross-border payments product, Digit9.Developed in collaboration with Endava, a global provider of digital transformation, agile development and intelligent automation services, Digit9 has been developed as a Remittance-as-a-Service (RaaS) product. Being a tech-enabled platform, it will help promote financial flexibility, reliability, and transparency, thus empowering banks, FinTechs, and Financial Institutions (FIs) to seamlessly execute multi-currency remittances in real time, across a global network of over 2000 partners.Initially, Digit9 is being launched in the UAE with LuLu Exchange, the licensed partner in the country. The product has been built on Open Banking standards to enable a much broader range of financial institutions to meet the market demand for a truly mature cross-border payments platform. Companies can leverage Digit9’s core functionality which enables it to be conveniently white-labelled and embedded into innovative new financial applications and organisational workflows.Commenting on the company’s ambition to launch the product in the MENA market first, Mr. Joseph Cleetus, AVP of Business Transformation at LuLu Financial Holdings, said, “Through Digit9, we aim to democratise remittances, enabling FIs across the spectrum to build powerful cross border payments applications without the prohibitive costs and complexities associated with establishing a robust underlying infrastructure.”“We are delighted to partner with Endava whose pioneering work in this space convinced us early on, of their ability to enable our digital acceleration and ensure global best practices were infused into every aspect of our product,” Mr. Cleetus added.Digit9 has the ability to handle over 300 transactions per second across a network of over 2,000 global partners. Endava has designed the solution architecture to offer three key functionalities — act as a white-label solution for payment distribution networks to partners; enable organisations the ability to Build Your Own Network (BYON) and configure their own correspondent banks. All this, while being able to serve as a Managed Treasury Service that provides the best real-time foreign exchange (FX) rates to customers using the platform’s in-built analytics engine, experienced FX dealers, and automated market-making and liquidity pool managers.Critical to the successful development of the market leading FinTech platform has been The Endava Adaptive Model (TEAM), a proven framework which streamlines and accelerates software development. “Far from resting on its laurels, Digit9 and LuLu Exchange have risen to the challenge of creating a powerful digital payments platform which will revolutionise the critical cross-border payments segment in the UAE and broader MENA region. We are proud to offer our global expertise in enabling the exchange to make this vision a reality. It will be exciting to see how financial institutions and other organisations will leverage Digit9 to create new and impactful applications that serve the remittance needs of the region’s significant expat population,” said David Boast, General Manager, UAE at Endava.

Discover coffee intelligence at The Brew Crew, Dubai

Many coffee shops in Dubai can brew a good cuppa and pour it well too. Right? However, not many coffee shops in Dubai can give you a crash course in Coffee Intelligence (CI) whilst you indulge in the beans. Yes, Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be in the news, but Coffee Intelligence is what you need to wake up to if you literally wish to smell the coffee. Enter The Brew Crew, a café in Dubai Investment Park (DIP) 2, Dubai, that opened its doors to coffee aficionados in September 2023. If you not only like your coffee, but also are curious about how it’s roasted, brewed, and poured, then The Brew Crew is the place to head to for your dose of a range of coffee varieties. And yes, you don’t need to reserve a spot for a lesson or a cup, simply walk into the space.The brainchild of comrades, Ashjeet Talwar and Ghanu, The Brew Crew imports and roasts a range of specialty coffees from across the world and has 30+ artisanal beverages. “We believe in knowledge sharing, and there’s nothing better than a coffee literate indulging in the beans. At The Brew Crew, our dream is to empower anyone who walks into the café with insights into the sourcing, roasting, grinding, brewing, and other aspects of coffee production and consumption,” said Ashjeet, Founder, The Brew Crew. The café aspires to emerge as a space for both coffee lovers and coffee curious. Anyone who walks into their doors is guaranteed a complimentary crash course by the in-house baristas. Add to it the fact that the 6,650 square feet space is equipped with a temperature and humidity-controlled facility, which includes a nouvelle Brew Bar in action, a Roasting Training Campus, a Green Coffee Storage, and more, to ensure that your lesson is complete with both theoretical and practical elements.Whilst placing an order, one can make a selection from beans from three countries primarily — Brazil, Ethiopia, and Malawi — and we’d highly recommend sampling their Signature Ceremonial Matcha Latte, the Artisan Brew Iced V60, or the Coffee on Tap Nitro Original and Cold Brew. The guests can also purchase beans to prepare a cup at home, “All of our produce is ethically sourced and grown to certain specifications. A guest who buys the beans (from us) also takes home tips from our team on how to store the coffee to ensure it tastes the same, even after weeks of the purchase. The flavour of the coffee is dependent on of course various factors and we hope to educate the guests with as many of those as possible,” added Ghanu, Head of Beverages, The Brew Crew.The café will soon be partnering with delivery platforms across Dubai, but until then you’re invited to dine in at the space, adorned with graffiti that speaks volumes and colours, and very much deserves a space on your Instagram grid. In the near future, The Brew Crew will also host a series of lectures, talks, and workshops to further spread the love for coffee, as they enhance the coffee literacy quotient in Dubai.

CleverTap joins forces with OSN+ to elevate user engagement in premium streaming

 CleverTap, the all-in-one engagement platform, announced its partnership with the region’s leading premium streaming service, OSN+. This strategic alliance will enable OSN+ to deliver hyper-personalized communication across all touchpoints to its customers by leveraging CleverTap’s all-in-one platform.Ishan Singh, Director of Engagement and Retention Marketing at OSN+ said, “We believe in a customer-first approach and are confident that with CleverTap, we will be able to enhance our overall user experience. CleverTap’s remarkable expertise within the OTT space means they are well-versed with the unique challenges and opportunities the industry presents. Content is king, and personalization is the key to capturing and retaining audiences. Leveraging CleverTap’s patented technology and comprehensive all-in-one solution, we will be able to provide tailored, hyper-personalized content and unmatched value to our customers.” "We are thrilled about partnering with OSN+, who have always been at the forefront of digital technological innovation – a principle that strongly resonates with our commitment to always push the boundaries of MarTech. Through our granular AI-powered segmentation, OSN+ will be able to not only group users into compact cohorts but also understand the best time and channel to engage with them, and the nature of content they prefer. This will streamline their marketing efforts and help direct attention to the high-value customers.” said Samer Saad, Regional Sales Director for META region, CleverTap. “With over 120 customers in the META region, we continue to focus on scaling our local presence and are committed to helping brands maximize customer lifetime value.”

Montblanc debuts in Iraq, opens first outlet in Baghdad

Montblanc has made its debut in Iraq, bringing its high-end products to the nation’s capital Baghdad. It has opened the first outlet on the first level of the renowned Baghdad Mall on Kindi Street in Harthiya.With this the locals of Iraq can now learn more about Montblanc and its wide range of products, including timepieces, writing instruments, leather goods, and the Extreme 3.0 collection of svelte, fashionable, and practical leather items made to suit urban explorer’s every need.The extensive range of watches, which includes the Montblanc 1858 series, serves as inspiration for watch aficionados due to Minerva’s extensive watchmaking heritage.Anwar Abdul Lateef, Chairman of Baghdad Mall, said: “Our challenges in Iraq over the past two decades have meant that Iraqi consumers have been limited in their access to venture into this territory and appreciate that their local partners recognize the potential for this fast-growing market and the appetite of the Iraqi luxury consumers. We are proud to host quality of the experience that local shoppers can expect to have in their own country.”

Mastercard-Delivery Hero partnership to fuel e-commerce growth

Mastercard’s strategic partnership with Delivery Hero, the world’s leading local delivery platform, continues to fuel the growth of the ecommerce in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.Since announcing a large-scale collaboration aimed at digitalizing Delivery Hero’s payment chain in 2020, the two companies have seen the number of transactions through its platforms more than double. Over the past three years, Mastercard has been partnering with Delivery Hero to facilitate seamless payment acceptance across its operating entities in MENA, while adding value for consumers across millions of transactions.Between 2020 and 2022, the number of Mastercard food order transactions on Delivery Hero’s apps increased by more than 100%. Hundreds of thousands of customers across MENA have benefitted from its always-on Customer Value Proposition (CVP), offering Mastercard cardholders’ access to unique discounts and benefits. Delivery Hero’s MENA region had a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) growth accelerating to 21% YoY in Q2 2023 in constant currency (Q1 2023: 16% YoY), due to strong customer demand.Amidst a clear and sustained shift to ecommerce for food and grocery deliveries, Mastercard has committed to supporting the growing appetite among MENA consumers by facilitating secure and convenient digital transactions. In a first collaboration of its kind in the region, the company recently joined forces with Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) and talabat UAE to launch the talabat ADCB Mastercard Credit Card that maximizes rewards for day-to-day delivery orders. The new card offers seven food-themed designs tailored to different types of food enthusiasts, and can easily be applied for digitally through the talabat app.“Mastercard remains focused on providing a superior consumer experience to its partners. As part of our partnership with Delivery Hero, we are continuously innovating the consumer experience to enable a best-in-class proposition for consumers. The recent talabat cobrand card launch is just another example of how we are bringing benefits and convenience to our cardholders,” said Amnah Ajmal, Executive Vice President, Market Development, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.“Our landmark partnership with Mastercard, built on our shared passion for innovation, enables us to provide unprecedented benefits to our customers while boosting operational efficiencies and eliminating the need for cash across our value chain. Together, we are setting new benchmarks for ecommerce solutions of the future,” said Emmanuel Thomassin, CFO, Delivery Hero.By pushing further adoption of digital payments, the partnership with Delivery Hero continues to create a superior customer experience and financial security for consumers, riders and restaurants, support the growth of digital inclusion across the region and additionally drives operational efficiencies across Delivery Hero’s platforms.

Foodics celebrates 3 years in Egypt with a remarkable business growth

On the occasion of its 3rd anniversary in the Egyptian market, Foodics in Egypt, the leader in restaurant management solutions in Egypt and the Middle East, conducted a comprehensive review of its future business strategy, remarkable business volume, and the exceptional services extended to its partners in Egypt.Foodics' visionary approach aims to revolutionize restaurant management systems in Egypt by offering a one-stop-shop restaurant management ecosystem. This strategic direction is in perfect alignment with global and technological trends, marking a significant step forward for the country. By spearheading the digitization and advancement of the F&B sector, Foodics actively supports Egypt's Vision 2030 for digital transformation."Our company places great emphasis on empowering restaurant owners and merchant owners," stated Belal Zahran, General Manager of Foodics in Egypt. "We are committed to providing them with a comprehensive cloud-based POS system to enrich their operations and cater to a wide range of activities within the F&B sector.”Zahran further commented, "Over the past three years, Foodics has made remarkable strides in the Egyptian market. We are proud to have achieved a 3-fold increase year over year in our business volume. This growth can be attributed to the expanding network of Foodics partners who have embraced our diverse cloud solutions. Our partners range from international and local merchants, cloud kitchens, dine-in restaurants, local bakeries, food trucks, quick service restaurants, franchises, and even large-scale restaurants located across multiple governorates in Egypt."He also added that Foodics has raised a record US$198 million through multiple rounds of series funding. With the latest US $170 million in Series C funding boosting its innovation capabilities to better serve business owners. This substantial investment paves the way for Foodics to expand its footprint both regionally and globally, solidifying its presence in key markets. Furthermore, the infusion of funds amplifies the company's merger and acquisition strategy, positioning Foodics as a frontrunner in the industry. By leveraging the power of cloud technology, Foodics remains at the forefront of emerging companies in the region, embracing a forward-thinking approach that sets it apart from its competitors.From its humble beginnings with just four employees and three departments, Foodics in Egypt has experienced remarkable growth. The company now boasts a team of 108 employees across eight departments in addition to a dedicated local support team, catering to the diverse needs of its partners. This strategic expansion is driven by the company's unwavering commitment to addressing the diverse needs of the market and develop tailored solutions that precisely align with the unique requirements of its partners in Egypt.He outlined Foodics' ambitious roadmap for 2023, which encompasses several key objectives. Firstly, the company aims to double its partners by expanding its reach to a broader range of restaurants and cafes.. Furthermore, Foodics is actively forging robust partnerships with different stakeholders, fostering collaborative efforts that will drive the digital transformation of SMEs in the F&B sector.Foodics provides a diverse range of innovative solutions and systems designed to streamline restaurant operations and drive its growth. At the core is Foodics POS system, a comprehensive cloud-based solution that empowers restaurant management with seamless control and efficiency. Additionally, Foodics offers Foodics Pay, which enhances and facilitates the checkout experience through the integration between payment devices and Foodics cashier app, which eliminates manual intervention of the cashier in the card payment process by decreasing daily end-of-day operations. Furthermore, Foodics Enterprise presents a powerful Multi-Branch Management Solution, enabling businesses to effortlessly oversee and optimize operations across multiple branches from a unified platform.Adding to that, Foodics Kiosk, the latest solution offered by Foodics in Egypt, is a self-ordering system that helps increase average order volume while reducing operational costs by improving efficiency. Additionally, Foodics Online, which allows customers to order and pay electronically without any intermediary or external commissions. Also, there is Foodics Marketplace which offers various external applications that can be integrated with Foodics systems to improve the overall experience of managing restaurants and cafes. Finally, Foodics Accounting, which is set to be launched soon, offers a comprehensive accounting solution, designed for the F&B industry, and integrates seamlessly with Foodics RMS, allowing for automatic and real-time mapping and syncing of all transaction and financial data. This eliminates the need for manual data entry and ensures that restaurants accounting records are accurate, secured and always up-to-date.With the rapid digitization of the F&B sector, it has become crucial for businesses to adapt and leverage technology to stay competitive. Zahran concluded, “We are dedicated to empowering the F&B sector with innovative digital solutions that enable businesses to thrive in today’s competitive landscape. Our goal is to provide the sector with the tools it needs to enhance customer experiences, optimize operations, and achieve sustainable growth”.

Beyon hosts Elevate 2023 Technology Forum

The Beyon Group hosted Elevate 2023, its annual customer focussed technology forum introduced last year, bringing together over 300 invited enterprise customers from Bahrain’s public and private sectors.The major event, which was attended by Beyon Chairman Shaikh Abdulla bin Khalifa Al Khalifa and Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) Chief Executive, Mohammed Ali Al Qaed, was held at the Ritz Carlton Bahrain on Wednesday 13th September.Under the theme, Digital Transformation Accelerated, Elevate is fast becoming the flagship technology event in the Kingdom of Bahrain, attended by business leaders, and bringing together expertise and resources from the Beyon digital companies and other local, regional and international organisations. To launch the day’s proceedings, Beyon Chief Digital Growth Officer, Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa gave a welcome address, highlighting the excellent progress made by Beyon’s digital companies during the past year, and outlining their key achievements and future plans. Following the opening remarks, iGA’s Chief Executive, Mr. Mohamed Al Qaed delivered a speech, where he addressed the upcoming partnership between the iGA and Beyon Connect, which is aimed at enhancing the current eKey system used by citizens and residents through the utilization of the OneID application, Beyon Connect's digital identity platform. Al Qaed highlighted that this application is in line with both local and international laws and standards, with a focus on further enhancing the system by authorization services for individuals engaging in electronic transactions.The event’s comprehensive agenda featured key presentations given by industry experts and international speakers, including Expel Co-Founder Yanek Koroff who discussed the changing paradigm of cyber defense, Nermin Hassan from Egypt Post who spoke on the topic of embracing digital postboxes for a sustainable future, and from Calligo - a provider of transformative data services, Adam Ryan and Tessa Jones gave a presentation about empowering data driven business through the lens of ESG.Throughout the day, Beyon’s enterprise focussed companies, Beyon Cyber, Beyon Solutions and Beyon Connect showcased their products and services range, and during breakout sessions introduced trending topics such as AI, Machine Learning, Cyber Security and more.Batelco Chief Digital Growth Officer, Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said, ­“We were delighted to host Elevate for the 2nd year and very pleased with the excellent attendance from across the business sector. The event is an invaluable opportunity for us to engage with our customers and partners, while providing a platform to discuss emerging trends and how we can best support the enterprise sector. Furthermore, the wide range of presentations and panel discussions were informative and engaging and truly enriched the agenda.”“On behalf of the Beyon Group, I would like to offer huge appreciation to the individual experts and companies that helped to make Elevate 2023 a great event. We look forward to future collaborations with the enterprise sector building on the success of today’s event,” Shaikh Mohamed added.

Online sales of beauty products in MENA grew by more than 20% in 1H 2023

The global beauty industry continues to gain momentum each year, with an increasing proportion of sales taking place online. According to the Admitad partner network, global sales in the beauty and self-care industry grew by over 15% in the first half of the year, with online orders in the MENA region experiencing a YoY increase of more than 20%.To prepare this report, Admitad analyzed the sales of 450 brands worldwide and 185 MENA brands, including such well-known companies and marketplaces as Sephora, Alibaba, iHerb, Lancome, Yves Rocher, ICI Paris XL, BABOR, Loccitane, Clarins, Calvin Klein, Kiehl's and many others. The calculations are based on more than 6.5 million orders worldwide and more than 400,000 orders in the MENA region, that were generated by network partners for beauty brands and retail sites.MENA is back on beauty trackThe growth of online sales of beauty products in the world is strong but moderate. Admitad calculates that the number of global online sales grew by 11% in 2022, and in the first half of 2023 the growth has already hit the mark of 15%. GMV is up by 8% and by 12% respectively.While MENA's buying activity in the beauty industry saw minimal growth in 2022, the first half of 2023 witnessed a rapid catch-up, even surpassing global activity levels. The number of beauty orders grew by 20% and the amount MENA shoppers are willing to spend on cosmetics and self care rose by 5%.The average order value for online beauty product sales in the MENA region has slightly decreased, hovering around 92 USD. Two countries in the region, UAE and Saudi Arabia, claimed top spots on the list of countries with the highest order values in the beauty industry.The source of beauty huntersIn 2023, the dominant keywords in online shopping for beauty products are “benefit” and “smart shopping”. Therefore, Admitad calculates that coupon and cashback purchases rank high worldwide. However, the recommendations of influencers and content creators still faithfully generate orders for beauty brands - their share in the total number of orders is also significant.Interestingly, on average, global orders for beauty products from Google contextual ads grew by more than 30% in 2023. Messengers, especially Telegram, also achieved remarkable sales growth in this segment, with the number of orders through them more than doubling. Sales from Affiliate stores increased by 45%.Marketing trends in the beauty industry in MENA are closely following global ones, although the role of affiliate stores in the country is higher - this source of traffic in 2023 attracted several percent more local purchases than the global average. Their influence continues to grow - orders through this channel have increased by more than 30% year-over-year.Another unique trend among local shoppers is purchases based on recommendations in mobile apps, accounting for more than 5% of local purchases. Their number doubled over the year, which confirms the rapidly growing mobile audience in the beauty industry.Content platforms were also among the record holders in terms of influence growth, with sales based on recommendations from articles and banners on media websites growing by more than 10% over the year.MENA residents haven't forgotten to avail discounts when making beauty purchases. In 2023, they increased their use of coupons by 15%.The mobile frenzyThe share of mobile sales in the global beauty industry in 2023 already stands at a staggering 46% and continues to grow (in 2022, the share of mobile sales was 44%).For MENA's beauty industry, mobile sales are still a growth point - in 2023, only about 25% of all beauty and self-care purchases were made from cell phones. The region is catching up with a global trend, and this is a great chance for local brands to compete for the growing mobile audience.Forecasts are positiveBoth global and MENA figures clearly indicate that online sales in the beauty industry will continue to grow. According to Admitad experts, 2023 may end even more positively for MENA beauty brands than the successful 2022. It is highly likely that the increase in their online sales for the entire year will reach up to 23%.Businesses should pay attention to the most effective traffic sources and those customer acquisition channels that show growth or have the highest average order value. This approach will help them not to miss trends and increase not only the number of orders, but also improve other important business indicators.

Orange Jordan launches “Subscribe & win with 5G”

Orange Jordan is giving its 5G home and mobile subscribers, both current and new, a chance to win valuable prizes in its " Subscribe & Win with 5G" campaign, including a BYD Atto 3 electric car, iPhone 14 Pro Max handsets, and PlayStation 5 devices.Chief Consumer Market Officer at Orange Jordan, Naila Al Dawoud, said that as a responsible digital leader, Orange Jordan remains committed to keeping its customers connected to all that matters to them, including innovative offers and services that meet their needs and aspirations, alongside unique campaigns.The “Subscribe & Win with 5G” comes just in time after Orange Jordan launched its 5G services with remarkable speed and low latency, added Al Dawoud.The winner of the grand prize, a 2024 BYD ATTO 3 GL500 electric car, will be selected in a draw open to all individual subscribers to Orange 5G offers for home internet, postpaid and prepaid mobile lines since the launch of the company’s 5G services on July 11, 2023.The campaign offers other valuable prizes, including iPhone?? 14 Pro Max handsets. The first iPhone draw will be open to all individual subscribers to Orange 5G offers for home internet, postpaid and prepaid mobile lines from the launch of Orange 5G services on July 11 until November 30, 2023.For a chance to win a PlayStation 5, the company will hold a draw to choose winners from all its individual 5G home internet, postpaid and prepaid mobile subscribers from July 11 until February 29, 2024.Al Dawoud added: “We prioritize taking our subscribers’ experiences to the next level and providing them with added value through exceptional offers. This campaign will enable our customers to enjoy 5G’s massive potential with a chance to win valuable prizes, as we continue to launch campaigns that offer them more".

Ministry of Economy makes 19 free contract templates available for UAE companies

The Ministry of Economy (MoEc), in cooperation with Al Tamimi & Company, launched the ‘Standard Contracts’ initiative. It is designed to support Emirati entrepreneurs and startups in the country by facilitating their access to a range of most commonly used contract templates needed for the establishment of companies and starting various business activities through the MoEc website, without having to pay any charges.H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy, said: “The UAE is keen to enhance and develop the national entrepreneurship environment, and adopt innovative projects that drive sustainable economic growth. We strive to provide all necessary enablers for the growth of SMEs in general and Emirati SMEs in particular, through providing training, financing, guidance and reducing costs, to help them focus on their core businesses.”The Undersecretary explained that the Ministry of Economy continues to work on ensuring all kinds of support for the growth of the entrepreneurial sector in the country, in cooperation with its strategic partners in the government and private sectors. These efforts are aimed at creating a more flexible and competitive business environment that contributes to enhancing the growth and expansion of UAE startups and solidifying the country’s position as a destination of choice for entrepreneurs and startups from around the world.The Ministry of Economy offers templates for 19 contracts, which include joint ventures, consultancy services, agency agreement, assignment agreement, intellectual property rights assignment document, exclusive and non-exclusive distribution agreement, restaurant franchise agreement, management agreement, limited liability company incorporation contract, sole proprietorship incorporation contract, service agreement, settlement agreement, shareholders agreement, share purchase agreement, facilities agreement, trademark assignment agreement, trademark licensing.MoEc said that company owners, entrepreneurs, and concerned parties can use these templates free of charge, through its website:, it clarified that these templates are generic and therefore, the Ministry of Economy, Al Tamimi & Company, their advisors, employees, agents, or representatives do not bear any responsibility towards anyone who downloads or uses them. Additionally, all copyrights and other intellectual property rights related to these templates belong to the Ministry of Economy and Al Tamimi & Company.The initiative will contribute to facilitating trade, establishment of businesses, reducing financial burdens on startups, organizing relevant legal and procedural frameworks, supporting contract strength, and effectively implementing their objectives. This will lead to a rise in the number of startups in the country and maximize their contribution to GDP growth, thus promoting sustainable national economic growth and enhancing its flexibility and global competitiveness in line with the “We the UAE 2031” vision.

Arab Fintech forum secures major sponsorship partners for upcoming edition

Mastercard, a global technology company in the payments industry, has officially confirmed its role as the Platinum Sponsor of the upcoming Arab Fintech Forum in Qatar. This announcement underscores Mastercard's unwavering dedication to driving innovation within the dynamic fintech space. Erdem Çakar, Country Manager, Qatar and Kuwait, Mastercard, said, "Mastercard is proud to support the Arab Fintech Forum as Platinum Sponsor. Events like these are vital to fostering dialogue, deepening relationships, and driving innovation across our industry. We look forward to two days of stimulating conversations as market leaders join forces to shape the future of fintech.” HyperPay, the region’s leading payment gateway, and eMcREY, a company at the forefront of digital financial transformation, have been secured as Gold Sponsors of the event. Their participation attests the forum’s role as a key assembly point for industry leaders. Additionally, the forum is delighted to welcome R3, a global enterprise software firm specializing in blockchain technology, as the Silver Sponsor of this year’s edition.The second edition of the forum will unfold against the backdrop of Qatar Central Bank's Fintech Strategy implementation. This initiative aims to establish Qatar as a prominent fintech hub with a strong focus on developing a robust digital infrastructure, supporting local start-ups, and fostering partnerships with global fintech firms. The Arab Fintech Forum is aligned with this national strategy and is positioned to facilitate its objectives, further contributing to Qatar’s leadership in fintech innovation.The forum's official media partners include The Fintech Times, the world's first and only monthly newspaper dedicated to fintech.Malik Shishtawi, the President and Founder of the Arab Fintech Forum, commented, "We are extremely pleased to have the support of such esteemed companies for this year's forum. Their participation reinforces the forum’s critical role in the rapidly evolving fintech landscape. With the event set in Doha, we are poised to make a meaningful contribution to the advancement of financial inclusion throughout the MENA region."The Arab Fintech Forum is scheduled to take place in Doha, Qatar, on October 10-11, 2023. The forum will feature a comprehensive lineup of sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities, solidifying its reputation as an essential event for professionals in the fintech sector.

UM pioneers a Global-First application crafted with AI Technology for MediaMarkt

UM Turkey has launched a never-seen-before AI application that revolutionises the product sales experience for consumers, UM partnered with, MediaMarkt, developing an e-commerce application that seamlessly incorporates AI into the very core of both and sales strategy. The result is an innovative creation named "Mother AI," which has ushered in exceptional value for both the consumer experience and client business growth.The ideaLeveraging the universal belief that mothers possess unparalleled wisdom, MediaMarkt's Mother's Day campaign birthed "Mother AI. Inspired by the astounding capabilities of GPT-4, UM Turkey replicated the warmth and guidance of mothers in AI form. This AI persona, with its maternal touch, was prominently showcased on renowned news website Onedio. Acting as an advisor, it recommended the perfect gifts, subtly directing users towards MediaMarkt products. Beyond simply assisting with gift choices, the tool ensured discussions remained brand-aligned and avoided controversies. It's not just an advancement in technology; it's a celebration of maternal intuition in our digital era.The result MediaMarkt's Mother's Day campaign was a notable success, both in-store and online. Mother AI, as an innovative touchpoint, played a subtle yet effective role in this achievement. Facilitating various interactions with users, its incorporation showcased the potential of GPT-4 in creating meaningful brand experiences. Gaining media attention, Mother AI was featured in several news outlets. This initiative not only emphasized MediaMarkt's aptitude for merging advanced technology with tailored customer service but also strengthened its position in a digitally evolving retail world."We are excited to see work involving AI that adds meaningful value to media and the end consumer. Following the resounding success of this global-first application, we are committed to further exploration while upholding these core principles. This is only the beginning.", commented CEO of UM MENAT, Joe Nicolas.  Tolga Ünvan, Marketing, Corporate Communication and E-Commerce Director, MediaMarkt Turkey, added, “This technology will simplify people’s lives as it emerges in various sectors from health to education, tourism to finance. At MediaMarkt, we define ourselves as the best place to experience electronics and technology. I believe “Mother AI” is a very innovative technology that enhances the total customer experience by helping customers in both emotional and functional ways. In the near future, companies will have various advantages to attract consumers with different approaches on different platforms. Artificial intelligence will open up exciting new business areas, and we are proud to be global-first players in this impressive arena.”UM Turkey’s Account Director for MediaMarkt, Gizem Atik and Project Director, Emre Candan, said, “The excitement we feel with "Mother AI" is not just about its intersection with our visions related to digital, technology, and marketing communication at MediaMarkt and UM, but also about how this groundbreaking technology transforms itself into a communication tool, indicating the future shifts in our profession.”

Centro Mada Amman by Rotana welcomes new human resources manager

Centro Mada Amman by Rotana appoints new Human Resources Manager Rasha Rusrus.With over 20 years in the hospitality industry in several international brands and a previous role at Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa, Rasha brings her ambition and experience to her current position at Centro Mada Amman by Rotana. Her accomplishments are countless from regulating the work environment, preparing solid action plans, competing for fair salaries against the market and ensuring quality control. In her new capacity, she will oversee and continue to improve the HR policies and procedures and implement a practical approach to guarantee optimal results in the workplace reflecting the Rotana brand.       A native of Jordan, Rasha has climbed the Human Resources chain gaining knowledge and skill-sets allowing her to lead and guide the team effectively. She is well-trained with a background in interviewing, group training, reporting & investigating, health policies, local labour laws and managing performance. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and watching movies and lives by the quote: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.

Saudi Coffee Company Partners with Siemens to Elevate Saudi Coffee Farming

Saudi Coffee Company is proud to announce today its collaboration with Siemens, through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help in constructing a high-tech smart factory in Jazan based on Siemens’ electrification, automation, and digitalization technologies, while considering the highest standards of sustainability and efficiency.As fully owned subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund, Saudi Coffee Company is on a mission to transform Saudi Arabia’s coffee industry and present the nation’s deep-rooted coffee traditions to the world. The establishment of the smart factory is set to revolutionize coffee farming in Jazan. Currently witnessing the implementation of several development initiatives in modern technology, water management solutions, and advanced equipment, Jazan’s farmers will benefit immensely from this collaboration through having visibility and control over all their systems in one integrated platform with high tech.Saudi Coffee Company's vision expands beyond increasing production and job opportunities to include promoting a culture of collaboration and sustainability across the entire coffee value chain.This collaboration is part of Saudi Coffee Company’s initiatives to join forces with the private sector and introduce cutting-edge technology into Saudi Coffee Company’s production processes with the smart factory set to revolutionize coffee farming in Jazan. The construction and operation of the factory are in line with the latest global sustainability standards, ensuring a balance between economic growth and environmental sustainability. The complete digitalization includes unifying various systems under one advanced platform while also introducing initiatives like carbon capture, renewable energy adoption, responsible waste management, and eco-friendly packaging.Karim Chabara, CEO of Saudi Coffee Company emphasized that “This partnership marks a defining moment for Saudi Coffee Company in the coffee industry, as we are proud to be shedding light on the Kingdom’s coffee heritage and to help in elevating the local coffee production. We are delighted to join efforts with the private sector, leveraging their expertise to fully optimize our local resources and showcase our coffee heritage to the world.”Ahmad Hawsawi, CEO of Siemens in Saudi Arabia stated: “We are proud of our technology collaboration with Saudi Coffee Company, highlighting and developing coffee farming and manufacturing. Siemens is committed to transform manufacturing facilities into intelligent and connected ecosystems based on real-time data analysis, predictive maintenance, and seamless collaboration between machines and humans, leading to improved productivity, reduced costs, and enhanced product quality.”Hawsawi highlighted Siemens’ contribution in supporting the Saudi Arabia’s National Industrial Strategy through the cutting-edge digital technologies by leveraging digitalization and automation.

Haltia.AI champions ethical AI revolution

As the global focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI) intensifies, Haltia.AI, a cutting-edge AI startup rooted in the UAE, is setting the standard for ethical AI application. As the company gears up for its highly-anticipated alpha release, the co-founders - CEO Talal Thabet and CTO Arto Bendiken - emphasise that ethics are not just a component of their AI platform, but the company’s north star."We keenly aware of the transformative power of AI and its potential consequences. It’s not just about building smarter machines; it’s about aligning them with the values that make us human," asserts Talal Thabet, CEO and co-founder of Haltia.AI. "This approach is deeply ingrained in our superstar team, guided by leading experts such as AI Ethicist Steve Cobb."Steve Cobb concurs, "We are setting a new paradigm. In a world where AI technologies are advancing at breakneck speed, we’re committed to shaping an AI landscape that is ethical by design, drawing on the combined decades of experience and leadership provided by Talal and Arto."With this commitment to ethical practices in mind, Haltia.AI recognises its influential role in the rapidly evolving tech landscape, calling for responsible innovation. Haltia.AI highlights the unparalleled expertise of its engineering team, each of whom is hand-picked for their prowess and commitment to excellence while rooted in ethical considerations.Consistent with the UAE leadership’s vision for international impact and technological advancement, Haltia.AI invites companies and institutions worldwide to collaborate. "The UAE stands as a beacon for global innovation and we aim to contribute to the UAE government’s legacy by spearheading partnerships in the ethical sphere," says Talal Thabet.As the company transitions from stealth to spotlight with its impending alpha release, this ethical stance serves as both a corporate mission and an industry call to arms."Our focus on ethics isn't a trend—it's a non-negotiable responsibility," concludes Talal. "We have the expertise and vision to not only implement ethical AI but to also guide other organisations in doing so."

Al-Futtaim Motors launches dedicated motorsport division

Al-Futtaim Motors has deepened its commitment to motorsport in the United Arab Emirates with the launch of a new Motorsport Division dedicated to expanding their support and involvement in all forms of motorsports, both on- and off-road, as well as esports racing.In addition to supporting motorsport, the new Al-Futtaim Motorsport Division will encompass the Toyota Gazoo Racing and Lexus F Performance brands in the UAE, both of which offer high-performance versions of some of the most popular models from each brand, such as the Toyota GR Supra, the Toyota Land Cruiser GR Sport, the Lexus RC F, Lexus GS F and the Legendary LFA, to name a few.Globally Toyota has an illustrious motorsport history spanning five decades of successful participations in the World Rally Championship, Formula One, FIA Cross Country World Cup and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. From the championship-winning Toyota Yaris GR WRC to the Toyota Hilux that has enjoyed huge success in the Dakar Rally, Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge and the Dubai International Baja, Toyota vehicles have championed the spirit of motorsport at the highest level.Also no stranger to competing at the highest levels, Lexus first entered the world of motorsport in 2002 at the historic Daytona 24-hour race, and from 2006 to 2008, its cars won three straight victories in the 24 Hours at Daytona. In the UAE, Lexus stepped in the world of motorsport when they built the first ever Lexus RC F drift car which made its global debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed in 2019, as well as launching the first Lexus F Club for F and F SPORT owners. Lexus has since competed successfully across a range of disciplines, from GT3 and GT4 series to endurance racing, hill climbs, off-road rallies, drifting and more.The newly launched Al-Futtaim Motorsport division builds on this proud tradition by supporting the UAE’s motorsport community through partnerships with illustrious home-grown sporting events such as the UAE Autocross Challenge, the Dubai International Baja, and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, as well as developing motorsport talent through the Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy, a driver development programme which took place earlier this year.Commenting on the launch of the new Al-Futtaim Motorsport Division, Jacques Brent, Managing Director at Al-Futtaim Toyota & Lexus, said: “Al-Futtaim Motors has always been deeply committed to motorsports in the Emirates, and this new division reinforces this commitment with a new team entirely dedicated to supporting and developing motorsports across the UAE. In a nation that is so passionate about motoring, the Toyota and Lexus brands have become an integral part of the motoring and off-roading culture of the UAE. The Al-Futtaim Motorsport division empowers us to further develop this culture and our historic ties with the UAE’s motoring communities, and engage and give back to them by developing and supporting local events and driving talent.”Ensuring the success of the new division will be a dedicated team led by Alaa Tarawneh, Motorsport Manager at Al-Futtaim Toyota & Lexus, with a mission to spearhead Al-Futtaim’s drive to support motorsports in the Emirates and build awareness around the exceptional performance of Toyota GR and Lexus F Performance models.The Al-Futtaim Motorsport Division’s calendar kicks off almost immediately with support for the UAE’s participation in the Toyota Gazoo Racing MENA Esports Cup, with the top two competitors qualifying to compete at the regional finals in Amman, Jordan, in October.This will be followed by event partnerships with several motoring events in the UAE including the Dubai International Baja and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, with more to be announced soon. Further developing the UAE’s undiscovered driving talent will be the second edition of the Al-Futtaim Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy, also set to launch later this year.The inaugural edition of the Al-Futtaim Toyota Gazoo Racing Academy was a huge success, with the different stages streamed to millions of viewers across the region on Shahid, the Arab world’s biggest digital streaming service, and Brandon Hancock was crowned as the winner and the Al-Futtaim Toyota Gazoo Racing Off-Road Ambassador for 2023.

Elie Kassis joins Futuretech as Sales Director

Futuretech has appointed Elie Kassis as Sales Director, across KSA. He will be heading the sales department.  Kassis is an industry veteran with more than 17 years of extensive global and regional experience, fulfilling roles with various multinationals, SMEs and start-ups within the marketing and advertising, telco, media, digital, and tech sectors, focusing mainly on Europe, Africa and the Middle East.In his role, as Sales Director, he will be responsible for growing the business in the MENA region with a special focus on the KSA market, working with both agencies and enterprise partners.Elie Kassis is an MBA graduate, specialised in International Business and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Sciences. He is fluent in French, English, and Arabic languages. He is passionate about building and leading high-performing teams. He is an individual with a highly analytical, data-driven and strategic mindset.

PRCA MENA Conference 2023 agenda revealed

PRCA MENA, the leading professional association for public relations and communications in the Middle East and North Africa, is delighted to unveil the agenda for its highly anticipated PRCA MENA Conference 2023, set to take place on November 8th, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.Dedicated to industry professionals, this event is expected to draw both local and international attendees, marking a significant milestone for the PRCA MENA community.PRCA, founded in the UK in 1969, expanded its reach to the Middle East and Africa with the establishment of PRCA MENA in Dubai in 2016. Over the years, PRCA MENA has experienced steady growth, particularly in the past two years. Now, PRCA MENA is proud to venture into organising the Conference and Digital Awards in Riyadh for the first time, with the vibrant city providing the perfect backdrop for this occasion.Monika Fourneaux, Head of PRCA MENA, stated, "PRCA MENA is privileged to have members who work closely with us, and they have consistently expressed their desire for a conference in Saudi Arabia. In response to their needs, we partnered with One Group, a marketing and communication group based in Riyadh, to create an exciting conference program tailored for PR professionals in the region."This premier industry gathering promises to bring together the crème de la crème of the public relations world, providing a platform for networking, knowledge-sharing, and recognition of outstanding achievements in the field. The conference agenda boasts a diverse range of insightful sessions covering key PR industry topics and trends.Conference Highlights:Keynote Session: Prepare for an electrifying revelation.The Value of PR in MENA: Delve into a comprehensive report jointly crafted by PRCA MENA and YouGov, offering insights into how the PR industry is perceived across diverse countries and industries in the MENA region.Crafting Successful PR Campaigns: Unearth the secrets behind crafting successful PR campaigns in the distinctive Saudi Arabian landscape.AI vs. PR: Engage in a riveting panel discussion exploring the transformative potential of AI in PR and how the industry can adapt to this revolutionary change.Sponsored Sessions: Immerse yourself in a series of specialised sessions conducted in both Arabic and English, designed to provide practical insights and valuable takeaways.Evolving PR Agencies in Saudi Arabia: Gain perspectives on the dynamic shifts and challenges facing PR agencies in the Saudi market.Saudi PR VISION: Peer into the future of PR within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Esports Middle East Earns 'Great Place to Work' Status in UAE Gaming

 Esports Middle East LLC (ESME), a world-leading esports and gaming solutions provider based in the Middle East, was awarded the first Great Place to Work® certification in the UAE for a company dedicated to that industry, after an exceptional year that saw big involvement in the growth of the industry.Great Place to Work® is a global research and management consultancy that recognizes the Best Workplaces™ in over 60 countries worldwide and provides premier business and advisory services.  Its mission is to improve people’s lives and create a better society by improving the workplace experience. The award was held at the annual ceremony in the UAE, where ESME was officially certified a Great Place To Work® after it was ranked highly across all fields.Employees now place an increasing amount of importance on a good business culture, and expectations for the workplace are also changing quickly. This is what the team at ESME and their leadership has managed to convey to the organization, and received its certification in August 2023. In the same vein it had previously been awarded as an “Excellent Service Provider” for its collaboration with Tencent.“Being recognized as a Great Place To Work® is an honor and a pleasure because we always thrive to be leaders in our industry from the inside out. Without its incredible workforce, Esports Middle East wouldn't exist today. Because of their perseverance and unwavering faith in our mission, this certification on top of Tencent’s 2020 "Excellent Service Provider" and the 2023 “Excellent Partner of the Year” is a big recognition for our work.”  stated Saeed Sharaf, CEO and Co-Founder of ESME on the occasion.Ibrahim Mougharbel, Managing Director of UAE for, Great Place To Work® Middle East stated: “Congratulations to the UAE's first Great Place to Work Middle East certified esports company for their exceptional focus on employee satisfaction and workplace culture. It is truly inspiring to see an organization prioritize the well-being of its employees, leading to this remarkable achievement. By valuing the opinions and feedback of their workforce, Esports Middle East sets an incredible example for organizations all around the world. This is a testament to their commitment to fostering a work environment where employees feel valued and supported. Keep up the fantastic work!”Esports Middle East is set to continue its successful streak in 2023, having recently closed the curtains on the Moontoon Mobile Legends Pro League ( MPL MENA) event.Since its inception in 2014, ESME has pioneered in the esports operation and marcom business, running highly profitable campaigns for brands such as Tencent Games, Samsung, Moonton, Coca-Cola, Spotify. Some of their most recent accomplishments include local legs of international events such as the PUBG MOBILE GCC Cup, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang MENA Pro League, as well as lending a helping hand to produce the official Arabic broadcast for PUBG Mobile Global Championship 2021 and the M4 World Championship and Asia Games..It is worth mentioning that thanks to this certificate, Esports Middle East is now the first esports and gaming company in the UAE to receive the highly coveted Great Place to Work®, and the second company in the MENA region after SAVVY Group in Saudi Arabia.

LinkedIn research reveals UAE professionals ready to embrace AI

According to new research from LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, employees are gearing up for a new way of working thanks to new advances in Artificial Intelligence such as generative AI. A majority of employees in the UAE (67%) believe that AI will bring significant changes to their work within the next year, and even more employees (72%) expect AI to significantly impact their work within the next 5 years.More than three quarters (81%) believe it is likely that AI will function as an “invisible teammate” who assists them with their work in the next 5 years.The UAE has been investing in AI long before the creation of ChatGPT and the recent uptick around AI. In 2017, the UAE launched its National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031, which aims to put the nation at the forefront of AI innovation in different sectors, an initiative considered the first of its kind regionally and globally.We see this enthusiasm about AI reflected in the UAE’s workforce as a little over half (54%) are already using AI in their job, with 41% trying out AI tools like ChatGPT. The possibilities of AI at work are endlessThe lack of knowledge about AI is not stopping UAE professionals from wanting to experiment with it. Although 30% of them say they have not been provided with any formal AI training from their employer, over half (59%) want to learn more, even if they don’t know where to start. It is clear that UAE professionals are optimistic about the potential AI can bring to their careers, with an overwhelming majority (98%) saying they are excited to use AI in their work, and a similar percentage (97%) who believe it will help their career progression in some way. Most are already thinking of ways AI can help them be more productive with 82% envisioning AI to improve their work-life balance. Over a third (67%) plan to use AI to say goodbye to boring work tasks and assist in answering questions they’re too embarrassed to ask their colleagues, and 63% have progression on their mind as they plan to use it for career advice. We also know that more needs to be done to educate professionals on how to use AI as 45% of them feel their colleagues know more about AI than they do, 48% have even admitted to pretending they know more about AI to look ‘in the know’ in front of teammates.Pairing soft skills with AI skills essential for the future  Overall, the mood of the nation is one of embracing AI and people are focusing on the skills they believe will complement AI the most, which comes as no surprise as the UAE was one of the first countries to adopt AI.Professionals in the UAE believe interpersonal skills such as problem solving (66%), time-management (69%), resilience and strategic thinking (67%) will become even more important as AI grows in prominence.With LinkedIn's data showing a significant 21-fold increase in global, English-language job listings mentioning AI technologies, including Chat GPT, since November 2022, embracing AI could be a pivotal move for those seeking career development.Ali Matar, EMEA Growth Markets Leader and Head of LinkedIn MENA, says: “Just as we’ve moved past the pandemic, once again professionals are adapting to another wave of change as generative AI becomes more prominent in the workplace. In a country as technologically progressive as the UAE, where a move towards innovation and integrating new technologies has long been apparent, it is encouraging to see that also its people are embracing the shift. Even more so, our data clearly shows that workers in the UAE are focusing on the many benefits AI can bring to their working lives, including more time to focus on the work they care about and helping with career progression.It’s also clear that people are eager to learn more about AI and we’re seeing a significant increase in conversations on LinkedIn with members already adding AI skills to their profiles, but our data also highlights the enormous value of soft skills as humans learn to partner with AI– and this is what is now shaping the future of work.”Top tipsWhether you’re AI-advanced or eager to learn, taking the plunge can help you in your career and job, and LinkedIn’s Career Expert Najat Abdelhadi shares some advice to get you started: Learn the lingo: Having the language to talk about and understand AI will put you ahead of the curve. Study up on popular AI skills with resources like LinkedIn Learning where you can find the most popular AI courses unlocked for free until the end of the year. A good place to start is with How to Research and Write using generative AI, and What is generative AI and you can find the full list here. Embrace the experts and tap into your network: Reach out to your network to share learnings and stay up to speed on AI by following thought leaders and subject matter experts on LinkedIn, including Allie Miller and Greg Coquillo.Sharpen up your soft skills: Don’t underestimate the value of highlighting your soft skills in a world being reshaped by AI. LinkedIn’s AI at Work report shows a staggering 25% shift in the skills demanded by various global jobs since 2015. And with AI accelerating these shifts, people can expect a swifter transformation, with the skills required for many jobs to evolve by at least 65% by 2030. The top skills anticipated to be most in demand: problem solving, strategic thinking and time management.Take advantage of existing tools: Use AI tools already available to you on LinkedIn including collaborative articles — knowledge topics published by LinkedIn with insights and perspectives added by the LinkedIn community. These articles begin as AI-powered conversation starters, developed with our editorial team. Next, with the help of LinkedIn's Skills Graph, the team connects each article with subject experts who contribute with their advice and insights. Microsoft’s WorkLab Guides also give helpful tips from how to use AI to dominate your task list to how to make in-person time count for your team.Acknowledge your AI worries: It’s okay to feel a little nervous or overwhelmed with new technology! People felt similarly when the internet was introduced and it’s important to remember that these changes don’t happen overnight. These are long-term changes and you can do the work to be part of the change, not just be impacted by the change of AI.

Baaz partners with Petal Ads

Petal Ads, a leading advertising platform by Huawei, and Baaz, the first Arabic social media platform, have inked a new agreement, strengthening the two companies’ successful collaboration. The signing ceremony took place at Huawei premises in Cairo, Egypt on July 18th. Through leveraging Petal Ads' innovative capabilities, Baaz aims to accelerate the growth of its social network throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.Baaz is a social media platform specially created in the Arab world for the Arab world. Baaz incubates diverse communities enabling users to connect with others who share similar interests, hobbies, and passion, all while upholding the region’s numerous significant cultural and societal values. Baaz Empowers those communities by providing them with innovative features enabling them to connect, conduct their conversations and share their content in a healthy environment. The platform employs advanced encryption technology that follows international laws and regulations to ensure privacy and data protection, and offers users a safe space for sharing authentic information through its easy and secure verification process. The official Baaz app is available on HUAWEI AppGallery and has already surpassed 6 million downloads in Egypt alone.Petal Ads, Huawei’s revolutionary next-generation advertising platform, enriches ads with premium features and utilizes big data analytics to perform meticulous multi-dimensional targeting in order to deliver them with pinpoint accuracy to users throughout HUAWEI Mobile Services’s smart ecosystem and beyond. In addition to Huawei’s own media, Petal Ads provides additional coverage in MENA’s major third-party apps and media. Currently, there are over 18,000 apps integrated with Petal Ads, attracting millions of users per month and enabling partners to communicate key information on a vast new scale.Petal Ads supports the creation of niche audiences through the Data Management Platform (DMP) for enhanced targeted advertising, as well as unobtrusive one-click installation, allowing users to download an app without having to navigate to a new page. Furthermore, with automatic bid adjustment, partners can improve conversions while drastically reducing cost-per-conversion, maximizing the effectiveness of any advertising budget.The Managing Director of Huawei Consumer Business Group, Eco Development and Operation, North Africa, stated: “We are overjoyed to share the establishment of this new partnership between Petal Ads and Baaz. HUAWEI Mobile Services prioritizes supporting the growth of local companies that can make a difference through their groundbreaking offerings and share our vision for a smarter AI world for all. We are confident that the unparalleled multidimensional targeting, excellent cost-effectiveness, and adaptability of Petal Ads will add more value to Baaz's vibrant social media platform.”The previous partnership between Petal Ads and Baaz during the fourth quarter of 2022 yielded exceptional results. The social network’s Petal Ads-powered installs campaign achieved an impressive amount of AppGallery installations and a competitive CPI rate in comparison to other advertising platforms. Building on this accomplishment, Baaz opted to extend its collaboration with Petal Ads through the second half of 2023, investing in always-on campaigns to drive strong app growth by tapping into Huawei's massive user base of over 730 million.“The partnership with HMS widens the horizons of collaboration to better serve our mutual and huge Egyptian users' base. At Baaz, we constantly seek partnerships that enhance our users' experience, empower them to purposefully lead communities, and encourage meaningful discussions around their interests,” said Mossab Sharayri, Chief Executive Officer at Baaz. “We have adopted a philosophy that thrives on change, new technology, teamwork, and partnerships within and beyond our organization, and Huawei’s innovative advertising platform, as well as its broader open, and smart ecosystem, align perfectly with our vision for developing the next generation of social media.”In addition to the revolutionary advertising capabilities of Petal Ads, HUAWEI Mobile Services provide partners with exclusive benefits throughout the company's ever-evolving smart ecosystem. HMS shares its knowledge and expertise to assist in the development of cutting-edge apps and creative digital services for regional users, while its partners gain access to a vast and active audience, resulting in genuine joint success.

GAMR to monitor and regulate the Saudi media sector

The General Authority of Media Regulation (GAMR) has announced that it will be the authority tasked with the supervision of the entire media sector in Saudi Arabia. The Cabinet has approved the new regulation giving authority to the body.GAMR declared its new mandate, encompassing the development, regulation, and supervision of the entire media ecosystem. This includes infrastructure enhancement, media content improvement, and elevating the media economy's contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These strategic moves are in line with Saudi Vision 2030, aiming to propel the media sector forward as a pioneer, ensuring the delivery of transparent and reliable content.With its broadened scope, GAMR is now the authority in charge of all forms of digital media content on media and social platforms. Its mission involves fortifying the role of media in Saudi Arabia and aligning it with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. GAMR places a strong emphasis on nurturing media talent and empowering Saudi youth through comprehensive training and development programmes. Additionally, the authority is committed to creating an attractive environment for media sector investors, streamlining procedures, and offering robust infrastructure support.GAMR is steadfast in its commitment to position the media sector as a vital contributor to the national economy. It will ensure market competitiveness and content quality by safeguarding media rights and the interests of media professionals. Furthermore, GAMR will champion the localization and empowerment of Saudi media talents.GAMR serves as a vigilant guardian of media professionals' rights and content integrity, proactively combatting piracy and enforcing regulations. It will persist in its efforts to support and enhance the capabilities of media professionals, including fostering media research and studies, hosting seminars and workshops, and implementing training programmes and incentives for budding media talents.The authority will continue to uphold national and societal values and is dedicated to enriching content diversity and expanding entertainment options within the media landscape. GAMR will maintain rigorous oversight of advertising and media content to ensure compliance with all regulatory standards, thereby preserving the integrity of the industry.

META Film Fest to return this November with four-day celebration of cinema

Organisers of the META Film Fest have announced the star-studded, four-day international motion picture gala will return to Dubai for its second edition from November 9-12. The annual festival, which showcases the very best of international film, promises an extraordinary celebration of cinema for filmmakers, industry professionals, and movie lovers alike.Building on the resounding success of last year’s inaugural edition, the META Film Fest 2023 will focus on delivering an unparalleled experience through its emphasis on quality content, workshops and masterclasses tailored for budding filmmakers, premieres of cutting edge independent and studio-produced films, and a prestigious, high-profile judging panel.With the support of content partners such as the Royal Film Commission – Jordan, Papillon Creative, Frontrow Entertainment, and MAD Solutions, and Festival Partners including Cinema Akil, the META Film Fest is set to bolster Dubai’s Creative Economy and support the UAE’s National Strategy for the Cultural and Creative Industries. The four-day celebration of film will take place at VOX Cinemas, Wafi City.Leila Masinaei, Founder of META Film Fest, said: “Following the festival’s hugely successful debut in 2022, this year’s META Film Fest will cement Dubai’s position and capability as a hub for filmmakers and creatives to congregate, share knowledge, and promote their own and their peers’ work. The festival garners immense appreciation from movie enthusiasts and industry professionals, and this year’s edition will see significant growth in both the number and calibre of films being shown.”The META Film Fest adopts an independent, objective approach in its shortlisting process, ensuring the best of the regional industry is spotlighted at the event. Over the four days, it will show more than 70 movies from 20+ countries, host 10+ workshops, and welcome more than 50 global celebrities and 15,000 attendees. The incredible roster of shortlisted films is set to be announced in the coming weeks.At the heart of the festival lies the star-studded red-carpet awards ceremony, which is set to attract luminaries from the film and entertainment industries, along with international and regional celebrities. The evening, a culmination of four days of cinematic celebration, will honour outstanding films in multiple categories, recognising the exceptional talent that contributes to the world of cinema.The awards this year will span 12 categories, covering feature films, short films, documentaries, debut works, student projects, films with a sustainability focus, and newly introduced special categories to celebrate home-grown UAE talent.Under the theme of 'Cinema and Sustainability', the festival has welcomed eco-friendly lifestyle and homeware brand Innara as its official Sustainability Sponsor, in addition to a number of new directors, aiming to spotlight the those leading the charge in sustainable practices in film.The festival is organised by GM Events and held in partnership with VOX Cinemas and Wafi City. Stephanie-Alexandra Chartier, Group Head of Marketing, Wafi Group said the partnership underscores its commitment to fostering the UAE’s creative economy strategy.“Emphasising local content production, promoting Arabic-language content, and empowering youth in the film industry are crucial aspects we wholeheartedly support,” she added. “Wafi City's exceptional ambiance and vibrant cultural scene make it a perfect location to celebrate the power of cinema and amplify the voices of emerging talents in this growing festival.”Sanjay Patney, Vice President – Sales & Marketing, Majid Al Futtaim Entertainment, added: “As a long-standing supporter of the regional cinema industry, VOX Cinemas is proud to sponsor the META Film Festival once again. Festivals such as this provide an important platform for filmmakers and key industry stakeholders to connect, share ideas and be inspired as well as enabling established and emerging talent to showcase their creativity on the big screen through the language of film.”Film lovers are urged to mark November 9-12 on their calendars with META Film Fest inviting the general public to embark on an unforgettable cinematic journey in the heart of Dubai. With opportunities to experience the magic of cinema, interact with industry professionals, and be a part of the burgeoning film community, those interested should stay tuned for updates and announcements.

Media maven and happiness evangelist Raj Nayak joins the advisory board of YAAP

YAAP, a forward-thinking specialized content and influencer marketing company, proudly announces the addition of Raj Nayak to its advisory board. Raj Nayak, the former Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18, will play a pivotal role in guiding YAAP's strategic initiatives for growth and expansion across regions. The appointment of Raj Nayak, a distinguished stalwart of the media and entertainment industry, underscores YAAP's commitment to its ambitious long-term goals and rapid growth plan. Atul Hegde, Founder of YAAP, expressed his delight at the collaboration, saying, "It's an absolute pleasure to have Raj Nayak join YAAP's advisory board. Raj's rich legacy and extensive experience in the media and entertainment industry will be instrumental in driving YAAP's strategic growth and expansion plans in the coming months. His addition to the board aligns perfectly with our ongoing expansion across regions, key leadership appointments, and our relentless pursuit of product and service excellence."Raj Nayak's illustrious career spans over three decades, during which he has founded and held leadership positions at some of the world's largest media and entertainment companies, including Star TV and NDTV. His most recent role as the Chief Operating Officer at Viacom18 saw him spearheading some of the network's most iconic shows and properties. Following his celebrated tenure at Viacom18, Nayak ventured into a new domain with House of Cheer, a full-service happiness and technology hub specializing in creation, curation, and consultancy, where he serves as the Managing Director.Commenting on his new role, Raj Nayak shared, "Embodying its philosophy of 'Built for Now,' YAAP has successfully harnessed content, data, and technology to deliver immense value to its clients, establishing itself as a dominant player in the industry. YAAP's promising roadmap for growth and expansion in the coming years, driven by innovation and strategic expansion into new markets, resonates with my business philosophy. It presents us with an exciting opportunity to break new ground together."YAAP has been on a trajectory of strategic growth, with recent additions such as Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna, the former UAE Ambassador to India, to their advisory board, as well as key leadership appointments across India and GCC. The company has also formed a strategic partnership with Tagger Media, a leading US-based influencer marketing platform. These developments follow YAAP's acquisition of Crayons Communications, a renowned advertising agency in the Middle East, and an impressive financial performance, including a remarkable 97% increase in top-line growth and a fivefold rise in profitability for FY21-22. YAAP's prestigious client portfolio includes industry leaders such as NPCI, Visit Dubai, IndusInd, Lufthansa, SBI Cards, Disney, Apparel Group, MPL, Amazon, and Square Enix., a forward-thinking specialized content and influencer marketing company, proudly announces the addition of Raj Nayak to its advisory board. Raj Nayak, the former Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18, will play a pivotal role in guiding YAAP's strategic initiatives for growth and expansion across regions. The appointment of Raj Nayak, a distinguished stalwart of the media and entertainment industry, underscores YAAP's commitment to its ambitious long-term goals and rapid growth plan. Atul Hegde, Founder of YAAP, expressed his delight at the collaboration, saying, "It's an absolute pleasure to have Raj Nayak join YAAP's advisory board. Raj's rich legacy and extensive experience in the media and entertainment industry will be instrumental in driving YAAP's strategic growth and expansion plans in the coming months. His addition to the board aligns perfectly with our ongoing expansion across regions, key leadership appointments, and our relentless pursuit of product and service excellence."Raj Nayak's illustrious career spans over three decades, during which he has founded and held leadership positions at some of the world's largest media and entertainment companies, including Star TV and NDTV. His most recent role as the Chief Operating Officer at Viacom18 saw him spearheading some of the network's most iconic shows and properties. Following his celebrated tenure at Viacom18, Nayak ventured into a new domain with House of Cheer, a full-service happiness and technology hub specializing in creation, curation, and consultancy, where he serves as the Managing Director.Commenting on his new role, Raj Nayak shared, "Embodying its philosophy of 'Built for Now,' YAAP has successfully harnessed content, data, and technology to deliver immense value to its clients, establishing itself as a dominant player in the industry. YAAP's promising roadmap for growth and expansion in the coming years, driven by innovation and strategic expansion into new markets, resonates with my business philosophy. It presents us with an exciting opportunity to break new ground together."YAAP has been on a trajectory of strategic growth, with recent additions such as Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna, the former UAE Ambassador to India, to their advisory board, as well as key leadership appointments across India and GCC. The company has also formed a strategic partnership with Tagger Media, a leading US-based influencer marketing platform. These developments follow YAAP's acquisition of Crayons Communications, a renowned advertising agency in the Middle East, and an impressive financial performance, including a remarkable 97% increase in top-line growth and a fivefold rise in profitability for FY21-22. YAAP's prestigious client portfolio includes industry leaders such as NPCI, Visit Dubai, IndusInd, Lufthansa, SBI Cards, Disney, Apparel Group, MPL, Amazon, and Square Enix.

Coca-Cola introduces ‘drink of the future’ using AI

Coca-Cola, known for launching various limited-edition mystery flavours, has announced its latest mystery flavor, Coca-Cola Y3000 Zero Sugar, using AI.According to the brand, Coca-Cola Y300 is “the first futuristic flavor co-created with human and artificial intelligence.” The flavor is designed to celebrate an optimistic future through "the connections we make" and was created by tapping into both human and artificial intelligence as a way to understand how people envision the future. The taste of the Y3000 beverage was a two-step process. First, researchers at Coca-Cola collected ‘key flavour preferences and trends to understand what consumers imagine and think the future tastes like’. Then, that information was crunched by Coke’s artificial intelligence system to ‘help develop flavor profiles and pairings.’Coca-Cola doesn’t describe what the new flavor tastes like in any of its materials, but the drink comes in regular and zero sugar varietals. The use of AI, for Coca-Cola Creations, is a natural step that positions the drink in a way that could attract the interest of younger consumers who will want to try it, before potentially increasing their consumption of other Coca-Cola products. This latest version of Coca –Cola, doesn’t promote or reveal a flavor profile, such as cola, cherry or vanilla, but rather a mood or experience.Oana Vlad, Senior Director, Global Strategy, The Coca Cola Company, said,“We hope that Coca Cola will still be as relevant and refreshing in the year 3000 as it is today, so we challenged ourselves to explore the concept of what a Coke from the future might taste like. The ‘Real Magic’ brand platform celebrates unexpected connections that make the ordinary extraordinary, so we intentionally brought human intelligence and AI together for an uplifting expression of what Coca Cola believes tomorrow will bring.”While Y3000 is the first flavor developed with AI from Coca-Cola, it's not the first, nor the most unique flavor from the brand. Last summer, the brand released a "pixel-flavored" soda, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Byte.

du and Hashgraph association join forces for blockchain innovation at Envision

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), inked a groundbreaking partnership with The Hashgraph Association at Envision 2023. The collaboration focuses on harnessing the potential of the Hedera blockchain to offer secure, traceable, and scalable solutions on a corporate blockchain platform.As part of this strategic alliance, du and the The Hashgraph Association will provide innovative blockchain solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), governmental institutions, and municipalities. Leveraging the efficiency of Hashgraph on a decentralised, public network, the Hedera Distributed Ledger Technology ensures a trusted and reliable foundation for the newly developed solutions. Target sectors include manufacturing, healthcare, education, smart cities, and agriculture, catering to a wide range of industries seeking secure and efficient applications.Notably, Hedera stands out as the greenest proof-of-stake network according to UCL research, aligning perfectly with du's commitment to providing sustainable solutions. This synergy strengthens du's position as a leader in promoting ecological responsibility within the telecommunications industry. This partnership holds the potential to transform industries, drive innovation, and transform the way businesses operate in the digital landscape.

Deliveroo UAE reveals takeaway map of Dubai

Deliveroo has just revealed the launch of its Takeaway Map to showcase the most sought-after dishes in neighbourhoods across Dubai. Building on the platform’s deep understanding of the local market, the Takeaway Map takes customers on a culinary journey unveiling the most coveted dishes in the country. Starting with Dubai, Deliveroo is revealing the most popular dishes of the city’s diverse neighbourhoods. Dubai, the vibrant melting pot of cultures and flavours, comes alive through Deliveroo’s Takeaway Map. Extending to areas such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT), Greens, Jumeirah, Downtown Dubai, Motor City, Mirdif, Satwa, and Deira, the map guides customers through an immersive exploration of Dubai’s food scene, one neighbourhood at a time. Whether in the heart of the city or nearly by the sea, the Takeaway Map reveals that food lovers in Dubai Marina have a fondness for Margherita Pizza, while foodies in Downtown Dubai prefer the Rigatoni Bolognese. The map reveals that Birria is the ultimate pick for customers located in JLT. Residents in Jumeirah opt to start their day with the ultimate bite of a Breakfast Sandwich, whereas those living in Motor City prefer a comforting Chicken Sandwich. Travelling back to the Greens, Deliveroo’s Takeaway Map uncovers that the Katsu Curry is the favoured dish in the neighbourhood. Navigating to Satwa, Deliveroo’s findings show that residents sate their cravings with Chicken Strips. As the map crosses over the Creek, Deliveroo reveals that residents prefer salmon, with the Crispy Salmon Skin Sushi being the favourite dish in Deira, and the Salmon Bowl the most-loved in Mirdif. Yasmine Mroueh, Head of Commercial at Deliveroo UAE said, ‘At Deliveroo, our mission is to connect people with the food they love. Through our Takeaway Map, we celebrate the diverse culinary landscape that defines Dubai’s neighbourhoods. Dubai is a city where every corner has its own unique flavour, and we’re proud to deliver this world of food to our customers’ doorsteps.’ Whether a Dubai resident or a visitor, Deliveroo’s Takeaway Map of the city is a customer’s passport to an unforgettable culinary adventure.