Revolutionizing retail: The silent rise of AI in e-commerce

In the bustling markets of the Middle East, a silent revolution is underway that is reshaping the landscape of retail - the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the operations of e-commerce platforms. As the region experiences a digital transformation, businesses are leveraging cutting-edge technologies to enhance customer experiences, optimize operations, and stay ahead in the highly competitive e-commerce space.Advanced algorithms, machine learning, and AI-driven innovations converge with the rich tapestry of Middle Eastern commerce. AI is becoming an integral part of the e-commerce ecosystem, offering a glimpse into the future of retail in the region.AI is not just a tool but a transformative force. E-commerce giants are employing AI to tailor personalized shopping experiences, predict consumer preferences, and create targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with diverse and dynamic consumer bases.Customer experienceTake the case of Kibsons, which provides fresh fruit and vegetablesin the UAE. The company has internal algorithms that have been cleverly designed to follow the learnings of our past experiences and mimic the decision-making choices of senior minds to automate our local procurement process, says Halima Jumani, CEO of Kibsons.E-commerce platforms currently leverage AI for various operations, including personalized recommendations, demand forecasting, fraud detection, and chatbots for customer support, says Ahmed Elgebaly, Regional Head of MENA, Globale Media.<img src='\94fe07f639edc89580cf648941ae8907.png' class='content_image'>He provides a detailed breakdown as follows:Personalised recommendations: AI algorithms analyze user behavior and preferences to provide personalized product recommendations, improving the overall shopping experience.Predictive analytics: E-commerce platforms use AI for demand forecasting, inventory management, and pricing optimization, helping to minimize stockouts and overstock situations.Fraud detection: AI algorithms analyze transaction patterns to identify and prevent fraudulent activities, ensuring secure online transactions.Image recognition: Visual search and image recognition technologies allow users to search for products using images, making the search process more intuitive.Customer service automation: AI helps automate customer service tasks through chatbots and virtual assistants, handling routine queries and improving response times.Supply chain optimization: AI is employed to enhance the efficiency of supply chain processes, from logistics and transportation to warehouse management.Behavioral analytics: E-commerce platforms analyze user behaviour through AI to gain insights into shopping patterns, helping them refine marketing strategies and enhance user.<img src='\81c0d7f069a20d2bae66972543c3744c.png' class='content_image'>E-commerce platforms have embraced AI in a number of ways, observes Lisa Lee, Vice President and Head of Business Development, Perfect Corp.According to her, AI solutions have simplified the process for customers to discover desired products, while also facilitating brands in effectively meeting their requirements.“One fundamental aspect of the AI revolution in e-commerce is the use of AI-powered personalised shopping experiences. One such example is our Virtual Try-On technology. This tool utilizes augmented reality to allow customers to virtually test beauty products with incredible accuracy, easing online purchasing hesitations. The technology also uses AI to determine information about users’ specific facial features and skin tone, generating personalized makeup recommendations based on their unique facial features.The AI-driven Skin Analysis and Product Recommendation tool also enhances personalization by recommending tailored skincare solutions based on individual needs and preferences by detecting the unique skincare concerns of the user’s skin,” says Lee.She adds that these AI solutions redefine beauty e-commerce, creating a harmonious blend of personalized experiences and streamlined operations for both consumers and retailers.On the motivation behind the adoption of AI in its e-commerce processes, Halima Jumani said: “The challenge is to control our costs and remain competitive on prices. The fresh produce industry is price-sensitive and prone to high food wastage. Internally designed generative AI model based on data patterns and machine learning techniques help us control our wastages much lower than industry averages.”AI enhances customer experience by analyzing user behaviour to offer personalised product recommendations, providing chatbot and virtual assistance for quick customer queries, and optimizing search algorithms for better results, says Ahmed Elgebaly.He adds that e-commerce platforms use AI to adjust prices dynamically based on various factors such as demand, competition, and customer behavior, optimizing revenue.Lisa Lee observes that the adoption of AI in e-commerce is motivated by various factors. First and foremost, she adds, it aims to improve customer engagement and satisfaction by tailoring product recommendations to individual preferences.“It also provides a competitive edge by offering superior customer service and more targeted products. Brands that have adopted AI-powered virtual try-on solutions have seen impressive benefits. In some cases even marking over 300% increases in conversions and site dwell times,” she adds.Halima Jumani says that Kibsons uses smart competitor price analysis to be able to give its customers guaranteed low prices on our platform.Customer experienceAI plays a pivotal role in elevating the customer experience on e-commerce platforms, says Lisa Lee. Personalized product recommendations make the shopping experience more enjoyable and efficient."AI-powered Virtual Try-On allows customers to preview products virtually, overcoming the limitations of online shopping while AI-driven Skin Analysis tailors product recommendations, creating a personalized skincare journey. Perfect Corp.’s AI Skin Analysis for instance, analyzes up to 14 distinct types of skin concerns, and is able to realistically simulate improvement of 9 these issues with AR technology.We also recently partnered with Unilever to create a try-on experience for their Tresseme brand. The experience used AI-Generated Content to allow users to try on a range of different highly-realistic hairstyles before committing to a specific look. This level of personalization enhances customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall shopping experience by giving customers a unique tailored experience.Supply ChainAI plays a key role in revolutionizing supply chain management and inventory forecasting. AI transforms the landscape, ensuring efficiency and accuracy for e-commerce platforms.Halima Jumani says that 80% of their locally sourced SKUs are fulfilled by system-generated purchase orders.“This reduces considerable time spent on demand planning/ forecasting. In the fresh produce industry, excess ordering can result in wastages and conservative ordering can result in unfulfilled customer service in the form of undelivered items to customers. Our internal algorithms developed over months of planning and research help us find the right balance between food wastages and fulfillment shortages. At the same time, our inventory cycles are also carefully optimized as part of the algorithm set up, thereby reducing stock holding costs and supply chain management,” she adds.According to Ahmed Elgebaly, AI contributes to supply chain management by optimizing routes, predicting demand, and automating inventory management, leading to more efficient operations and reduced costs.“AI algorithms analyze historical sales data, market trends, and external factors to predict future demand more accurately. This helps in optimizing inventory levels and reducing the risk of overstock or stockouts. AI-driven models continuously assess inventory levels, reorder points, and lead times, enabling more efficient stock management. This prevents excess inventory and minimizes holding costs,” he adds.ChallengesWhat challenges or obstacles do e-commerce platforms face when integrating AI into their e-commerce business, and how do they address them?Ahmed Elgebaly says that challenges in integrating AI include data quality issues, resistance to change, and the need for skilled professionals.Data quality and accessibility: AI models require large amounts of high-quality data, and ensuring data accessibility and quality can be challenging. E-commerce platforms invest in data management practices, and data cleansing, and may use data augmentation techniques to enhance data quality. They also employ data governance frameworks to ensure compliance and security.Costs and ROI concerns: Implementing AI involves upfront costs, and measuring the return on investment (ROI) can be challenging.Talent and skill gaps: There is a shortage of skilled professionals with expertise in both AI and e-commerce.Ethical and privacy concerns: AI applications may raise ethical and privacy concerns, especially when dealing with customer data.Constant technological evolution: AI technologies are continually evolving, and keeping up with the latest advancements can be a challenge.Integrating AI into e-commerce has traditionally come with its set of challenges, says Lisa Lee. These included high initial development costs, aligning AI with specific business objectives, and navigating regulatory compliance.Nowadays, she adds, the bar to entry is much lower.“Perfect Corp. has broken down down many of the barriers by offering cost-effective solutions that are simple to use and easy to integrate. The AI algorithm has been put to the test in many commercial scenarios, is trusted, and has delivered results for many large global brands,” she adds.For Halima Jumani, the fresh grocery shopping patterns are complex and different to other household products in the market. For example, she adds, AI could possibly suggest a tennis ball to be bought along with a tennis racket, but we cannot presume onions will always be purchased along with potatoes.“Household fresh grocery shopping patterns are different from each other and even different from their own shopping patterns each week. For example, family members may be travelling or have preferred diet plans each week. Having said this, our internal AI team is working on data insights to understand shopping patterns, consumer profiles, frequently purchased items or weekly items missed,” she adds.<img src='\22cc6a09bd427cf45464a83f549bfed9.png' class='content_image'>Data privacyData privacy and security are crucial in e-commerce. E-commerce platforms need to ensure the protection of customer data in AI-driven processes.Data Privacy is crucial and of utmost importance at Kibsons, says Halima Jumani.“As a family business, we respect that consumer details must not be shared with any third-party service providers, and therefore we are focusing on building our own inhouse machine learning techniques,” concludes Halima.E-commerce platforms prioritize data privacy and security by implementing data encryption, access controls, and regular audits, says Ahmed Elgebaly.“Platforms use encryption techniques to secure customer data both during transmission and when stored. This helps prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information. Strict access controls are implemented to limit access to customer data only to authorized personnel. This includes role-based access, ensuring that employees have access only to the data necessary for their responsibilities. Platforms adhere to data protection regulations such as GDPR, HIPAA, or others applicable in their region. Compliance ensures that customer data is handled responsibly and by legal requirements,” he adds. Our approach to solving this problem was to develop our AI solutions as edge solutions, statesLisa Lee. This means that zero data transmission from users’ devices to the networks is required."All user data remains on the user's personal device throughout the entire experience, virtually eliminating any security issues and concerns. For a small fraction of our solutions that can’t be fully implemented as edge solutions, we ensure the full stack is in compliance / certified with GDPR, ISO27001, HIPPA standards," she concludes.Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Saudi online cosmetics retailer Nice One explores stock exchange listing

Nice One, the online cosmetics retailer based in Saudi Arabia, is considering a listing on the local stock exchange, according to sources informed by Bloomberg.The company has requested proposals from banks regarding potential participation in the initial public offering (IPO), though specific details on the IPO's size and timing are yet to be determined, as discussions are still ongoing.Established in 2016, Nice One is part of the growing landscape of technology startups in the Middle East exploring the possibility of IPOs.In a related development, Bloomberg had previously reported in November that Floward, an online business specializing in flower and gift deliveries, was collaborating with banks for a potential listing later in the year.Image (by Katrina_S from Pixabay) for representation purpose only.

Advanced Media wraps CINETomorrow

Advanced Media Trading returned with CINETomorrow, another edition of its digital cinema community event, in January 2024. CINETomorrow served as an interactive intersection of digital cinema, virtual production and sustainability in media and entertainment.The three-day open house from January 11-13 was held at Advanced Media’s Dubai headquarter on Sheikh Zayed Road and welcomed up to 200 filmmakers, visionaries, students, and industry experts everyday who were interested in the tomorrow of the industry. This year Advanced Media welcomed guests from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Kenya, Oman, and Lebanon who had flown in exclusively for the event. Kaveh Farnam, renowned producer and chairperson of Advanced Media commented that “CINETomorrow is an avenue that allows our enthusiastic guests to discover the latest advancements in digital cinema and to learn about sustainability for the first time and adopt green practices such as relying on cutting-edge cloud technology and virtual production.”Advanced Media’s showroom had been converted to accommodate three different sets aptly named “nation”, “nature” and “knowledge” to showcase the range and capabilities of digital cinema equipment in outdoor, indoor, and virtual production settings and compliment the workshops. The sets were intentionally designed to first and foremost pay homage to the rich culture and history of the UAE, and how the exemplary leadership envision the future. “Our commitment to sustainability and community are one of the main reasons that we have set ourselves apart in the industry. Knowledge, education, and development are the cornerstones of Advanced Media’s mission statement. So we really wanted to create environmental awareness throughout the event including the workshops,” remarked Parnian Farnam, Head of CSR at Advanced Media.CINETomorrow included nine workshops of 90 minutes each and broken down into three main themes: “Light, Sound, Action!,” “Behind the Scenes,” and “Future of Cinema.” The free-to-attend workshops attracted up to 65 attendees each. On the first day, Simon Battensby conducted a “Lighting for Drama” workshop followed by “Microphone Selection for Different Film Genres” powered by Sennheiser’s Ryan Burr and sound specialist Simon Charles and culminated with the launch of Sony Burano and “Changing the Way You Shoot Cinema” with Tim Fare-Matthews.Day two covered the crucial steps behind the scenes of a production which had masterfully been curated by Mark ‘Hobz’ Hobson and Mostafa Salah in three workshops. In this series, attendees experienced Red Cameras in action and learnt hands- on about choosing the right optics for a shoot that was later edited in the “Workflow and Post” workshop. Finally, day three focused on how environmental concerns have shifted productions from physical to digital with cloud technology and virtual production. Filipe Pereira, a dynamic figure in the cinema and sustainability scene, dissected the core departments of the industry, evaluated their environmental footprints, and ended by offering solutions that were highlighted by M&E technology expert Iain Churchill-Coleman in workshop powered by Editshare to “Master Remote Production for Video Editors,” and Simon Battensby who emphasized the importance of lighting a virtual production set properly to achieve a convincing final image. While the community event is always brand-agnostic, there were representations from well-known brands such as Sony, DJI, RED, Zeiss, Atomos, and Cooke, and exceptional products were highlighted such Sony Burano, RED Komodo-X, Cooke SP3, Astera LEO and Aputure Electro Storm. “Every event that we do is in service to the brands that we represent and the clients we cater to. We take pride in our ability to bring them all together in our premises,” concluded Alaa Al Rantisi, co-founder of Advanced Media.Advanced Media regularly hosts training workshops and product launches across the UAE and in its regional offices in Riyadh and Cairo. The next CINE event would be in March 2026.

Joyce Hallak joins Publicis Media as Chief Strategy Officer

Joyce Hallak has been appointed as the Chief Strategy Officer of Publicis Media for the Middle East. This newly established role is in line with Publicis Groupe's commitment to enhancing its media capabilities in the region. Hallak's appointment is a crucial addition to the recently formed executive leadership team at Publicis Media ME and is expected to play a vital role in strengthening the strategic direction of the group's media operations.Joyce Hallak has a longstanding history with Publicis Groupe Middle East, spanning 16 years. She initially joined as Media Director at Starcom Lebanon in 2007 and has since held various roles, including Client Managing Director for Mondelez EMEA. In this role, she oversaw 20 markets and drove digital transformation, earning the team accolades at industry events such as MENA Effies, Cristals, and Dubai Lynx.In 2016, Hallak was promoted to Head of Starcom for Levant, where she led all local operations. Her extensive experience includes handling key brands like Cadbury, Oreo, and Trident for Mondelez, as well as delivering value for multinational clients such as Samsung, Heineken, and Visa across multiple markets.Bassel Kakish, CEO of Publicis Groupe Middle East and Turkey, expressed enthusiasm about Hallak's expanded role, highlighting her strategic prowess and leadership qualities. He emphasized her importance in advancing Publicis Media ME's transformation and contributing to the overall strategic agenda for the region.Tony Wazen, CEO of Publicis Media ME, underscored the increasing demand for innovative solutions from clients and expressed confidence in Hallak's ability to contribute to meeting and surpassing those expectations. As Chief Strategy Officer, Hallak will play a pivotal role in crafting solutions for client business challenges, setting standards for the media strategic product, identifying new business opportunities, and aligning client needs with successful strategies.In her new position, Joyce Hallak expressed her excitement to be part of the Publicis Media team and emphasized the unique opportunity to navigate the evolving landscape of how brands connect with consumers. She highlighted the 'Power of One' proposition, emphasizing the integration of media, creative excellence, and performance solutions to deliver tangible business impact for clients.

Conrad Dubai appoints MEPRA’s homegrown agency of the year Brazen MENA

Conrad Dubai Hotel, located in the centre of Downtown just off Sheikh Zayed Road, has appointed Brazen MENA to handle communications across its portfolio of in-house facilities and food & beverage outlets.Following a competitive pitch, Brazen MENA has been chosen by Conrad Dubai as partners for all press and media needs. As eight-times winner of the MEPRA and PRCA Small Agency of the Year, and the 2023 winner of the MEPRA Home-Grown Agency of The Year, Brazen MENA has been appointed to increase awareness of the Conrad Dubai brand as a whole, firmly establishing its existing F&B outlets, MICE facilities, rooms and wellness facilities on the Dubai scene.A leading hotel, Conrad Dubai, prides itself on its ability to suit the modern travellers’ needs, be they families, couples or solo business travellers. With sustainability at its heart, the hotel is passionate about being an eco-conscious market leader. With initiatives such as ‘Green Ramadan’ the hydroponic farm and food waste reduction, Brazen MENA’s objective is to work with Conrad Dubai, to increase awareness of these causes.In addition, the agency will manage all media and influencer communications, including F&B outlets; Anasa, Kimpo, Bliss 6 and more. Brazen MENA will also look to increase awareness of the property’s room offering and residences, the unrivalled urban pool deck and the state-of-the-art, versatile event spaces and packages that are available for both personal and business needs.Michael Schmitt, General Manager of The Conrad Dubai comments: “We have had Brazen MENA on our radar for quite some time given their excellent reputation within the region. Not only did they present a compelling pitch, but their dedication and passion was more than apparent from the first moment we met and we are absolutely delighted to be working with them as our communications partners”.Louise Jacobson, Managing Partner of Brazen MENA added: “We are absolutely thrilled to be handling the communications for Conrad Dubai. This partnership with the bustling Dubai city-centre hotel only serves to strengthen our authority as communication leaders across the hospitality and luxury scene. We very much look forward to generating fantastic results using our signature approach – creative intelligence.”

Jacky's Brand Shop unveils website revamp for enhanced customer experience

Jacky's Retail, a premier electronics retailer in the UAE, has announced the launch of its newly revamped website, This significant upgrade is set to revolutionize the online shopping experience for its customers, offering faster navigation, improved features, and a seamless user experience.Enhanced E-Commerce Platform for Superior Shopping ExperienceUnderstanding the evolving needs of our customers, Jacky's Brand Shop has invested in an extensive website overhaul. The new site boasts cutting-edge technology, ensuring a swift and more responsive online shopping journey. This upgrade reflects our commitment to scaling up our e-commerce operations and accommodating a greater capacity, thus delivering a cohesive and smooth user experience.Galaxy Hand Raisers Campaign: An Exclusive Opportunity for Tech EnthusiastsIn celebration of the revamp, we are excited to introduce the 'Galaxy Hand Raisers' campaign, a unique initiative for Samsung enthusiasts. Customers who register their interest in the upcoming Galaxy device before the Galaxy Unpacked event on 17th January will enjoy exclusive benefits. Participants in this campaign will receive a complimentary 2-Year Samsung Care+ and 1-Year Entertainer on their pre-orders.To be part of this exciting offer, customers can register at This campaign is a testament to Jacky's Brand Shop's commitment to delivering not just quality products but also exceptional value to our customers.A Future-Ready Platform for the Digital-Savvy Shopper “We are incredibly excited about the launch of our revamped website, which marks a significant milestone in our journey towards providing an unrivalled online shopping experience," said Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer of Jacky's Retail. "This upgrade is more than just a facelift; it's a complete overhaul designed to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers. With faster performance, enhanced features, and a user-friendly interface, we are setting a new standard in e-commerce efficiency. This is a testament to our commitment to not only meet but exceed customer expectations by offering exclusive benefits and a seamless shopping journey.”The revamped Jacky's Brand Shop website is more than just an e-commerce platform; it's a gateway to a future-ready shopping experience. We are dedicated to continuously enhancing our services and offerings, ensuring that we remain at the forefront of the digital retail landscape.

Cartoon Network ME partners with UNICEF for anti-bullying initiative

Cartoon Network Middle East has collaborated with UNICEF’s Regional Office in the Middle East and North Africa to produce and promote content to raise awareness on the topic of bullying; as part of Cartoon Network’s EMEA-wide anti-bullying initiative, CN Buddy Network.CN Buddy Network rolled out in the Middle East region in 2019, focusing on educating children and parents about the effects of bullying, both in the online and physical world. The initiative provides practical ways to counter bullying, emphasising the importance of friendship and kindness and encouraging children aged 5 to 12 to ‘Be a buddy, not a bully.’Mohamed Sheiha, Head of Marketing, Digital & Communications, WarnerMedia MENAT, said: “No child should have to endure bullying. Cartoon Network’s CN Buddy Network aims to raise awareness of bullying and to promote friendship and kindness. It is a priority for us to address this issue in a way that is positive, supportive, and relevant to kids. We are thrilled to be partnering with UNICEF MENA in our efforts to raise awareness of the issue in the Middle East.”Juliette Touma, Regional Chief of Advocacy and Communications at UNICEF Middle East & North Africa, said: “Bullying can have harmful and long-lasting consequences on children, affecting their emotional and mental wellbeing. We are happy to cooperate with Cartoon Network Middle East on CN Buddy Network campaign – a key initiative to protect children from the scourge of bullying.“Working in close collaboration with UNICEF and drawing on the global organisation’s expertise, Cartoon Network Middle East will air a series of programmes to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week, which runs from 15-21 November, as a central part of its CN Buddy Network campaign. The network will release a new piece of content every day, including a song-and-music video with Kuwaiti star Humood Alkhudher, a rap track from Cartoon Network’s Laith the King characters, as well as a series of awareness videos.The CN Buddy Network campaign uses TV content, events, and digital and social outreach to spread its anti-bullying message.

TBWA\RAAD appoints Dan Leach as Managing Director for Saudi Arabia

TBWA\RAAD has announced the appointment of Dan Leach as the new Managing Director for its operations in Saudi Arabia. Currently serving as the Managing Director for Growth in Dubai, Leach's appointment to head TBWA\RAAD’s operations in the Kingdom strengthens the agency's presence in the country and continues its commitment to sustained growth and investment in the Middle East.The appointment aligns with TBWA\RAAD's growth strategy and follows the recent establishment of the agency’s new office in Saudi Arabia. The expansion enhances the agency's presence in the Kingdom, where it has been operating for over two decades, playing an instrumental role in supporting renowned brands such as Al Ula, Nissan, KFC, and NEOM.In his new role, Dan Leach, brings a wealth of experience and proven leadership, and aims to continue TBWA\RAAD’s legacy of delivering disruptive creative work for brands in Saudi Arabia.Reda Raad, Group CEO at TBWA\RAAD, highlighted the significance of this move, stating, "Dan’s appointment marks a pivotal moment in our ongoing commitment to shaping the advertising landscape in the Middle East. As we expand our footprint, TBWA\RAAD remains unwavering in our dedication to excellence and disruption. Dan's track record positions him as the ideal leader to oversee our operations in Riyadh and across the Kingdom, solidifying our impact there."Commenting on his appointment, Dan Leach said: “Saudi Arabia stands as the epicenter of opportunity and ambition in the Middle East, with projects emerging from the Kingdom resonating on the global stage. I look forward to continuing TBWA\RAAD’s growth in Saudi, further establishing our presence, and harnessing the best local talent to craft world-class disruptive work for global, regional, and local brands."

Investment Corporation of Dubai reveals new visual identity

 Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the principal investment arm of the Government of Dubai, has revealed a rebrand of its visual identity incorporating a new logo.Going forward, the Corporation will be known by its acronym ‘ICD’, with its visual identity reflecting its dynamism and evergreen commitment to the pursuit of growth, development, and excellence. The change further signals ICD’s preparedness to adapt to the ever evolving global investment landscape.Utilising the best practices in design, the new sleek and bold brand mark takes on a fresh aesthetic, positively reflecting the corporation and its mission, while remaining instantly recognisable.H.E. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, Managing Director of ICD, said: “As we continue to evolve and grow, our new identity will reflect the spirit and mindset with which we exist in the world today. We lean on our past, as we embrace the future”. He added, “ICD will continue to build on its successes, embracing a forward and future-focused outlook as it strives to maximise value for the long-term benefit of the Emirate of Dubai.”The rebrand coincides with ICD’s move to its new headquarters in Dubai’s newest, record-breaking architectural landmark, One Za’abeel, developed and owned by ICD.

Spinneys announces five UAE business incubator winners

Spinneys, one of the UAE’s leading fresh food retailers, has announced the winners of the fourth edition of the Spinneys Local Business Incubator. The Incubator program was launched in 2020 and directly supports the UAE's vision of becoming an attractive incubator for entrepreneurs as part of its “We the UAE 2031” strategy. The Spinneys Local Business Incubator has played a vital role in fostering entrepreneurial success in the UAE. In its previous three editions, 30 brands have successfully launched in Spinneys stores. A number of these have since expanded to international markets, bolstering the credentials of the UAE's entrepreneurial landscape. Following participation in the program, Naksha Collections launched gourmet meal kits in top-tier UK retailers including Selfridges, Harrods and Whole Foods Market, while BRW Society, a local tea brand, successfully entered the Saudi market, securing space in Panda and Carrefour outlets and forming key partnerships with renowned regional hotel chains.Sunil Kumar, Chief Executive Officer at Spinneys, commented: “Spinneys continues to foster an environment where homegrown businesses can thrive and expand at home and beyond borders. This year, once again, our Incubator Program attracted significant interest, drawing in a remarkable 73 entries, showcasing the creativity that is shaping the future landscape of the UAE's consumer sector. Our winners demonstrated innovation across a range of product types, from personal care to desserts, fragrances, homeware and hot sauces – and now they will bring their unique products to our stores.”The winners of the Fourth Edition of the Spinneys Local Business Incubator are:<img src='\14eb5bd9a4d93176a6228dc25329a53f.png' class='content_image'>Kumar continued: “The historic success of the Incubator program reflects the resilience and ingenuity of UAE entrepreneurship. These pioneering brands, committed to quality, innovation and community align seamlessly with Spinneys' own philosophy. Each winning brand brings a unique perspective that resonates with today's consumers, promising an exciting addition to our increasingly diverse product range. From strategic mentorship to market presence, Spinneys pledges unwavering support to its incubator winners, enabling high-potential businesses to flourish. We look forward to continuing to support these ventures and wish them every future success.”Backed by government support and visionary leadership, the UAE’s startup ecosystem offers an increasingly attractive environment for entrepreneurs. In support of the startup community, Spinneys takes an active role in fostering entrepreneurial success. The Company will be showcasing the products of the Incubator winners on shelves across 69 Spinneys and Waitrose stores in the UAE, offering a direct pathway to wider consumer reach. Spinneys also pledges ongoing guidance, market presence, and strategic mentorship to empower the winning brands.With a commitment to fostering their growth, Spinneys assists with providing entrepreneurs with the resources and backing necessary to flourish in a competitive market. For example, winners will have all fees related to shelf placement in Spinneys and Waitrose stores in the UAE waived. These are typically borne by entrepreneurs seeking shelf space for their products. Additionally, they benefit from preferential payment terms, helping to support reliable cash flow crucial for growth and expansion. Winners will benefit from tailored coaching sessions, access to Spinneys' marketplaces, and opportunities for featured placements, all aimed at maximizing their commercial potential.

Sumsub joins the MENA Fintech Association

Sumsub, a global full-cycle verification platform, has joined the MENA FinTech Association (MFTA) to drive business growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), raise identity fraud awareness, and foster innovation in the fintech sector. This partnership highlights Sumsub's commitment to establishing and strengthening key industry connections and contributing to the ever-evolving fintech landscape in the Middle East and African markets. Founded in 2018, the MENA Fintech Association is globally recognized as one of the top-4 fintech groups in the world, bringing together fintech companies, startups, investors, regulators, influencers and academia. It is the premier not-for-profit organisation dedicated to serving fintech startups and established players across the Middle East and Africa. The MFTA provides numerous opportunities as a fintech hub that connects different stakeholders from the industry and creates space for growth, innovation and inclusivity. This presents Sumsub experts a generous choice of engaging with top fintech professionals, exploring potential partnerships in the fintech network and sharing verification expertise within the community.In December, Sumsub was announced winner in the RegTech of the Year category of the 2023 MENA FinTech Awards. As an MFTA member, Sumsub aims to contribute to the regional fintech ecosystem by providing insights into anti-fraud measures, compliance with the shifting regulatory requirements, and expertise in KYC, KYB and transaction monitoring for fintechs. This partnership will enhance the development of the entire fintech community, driving more innovative solutions and projects in the MENA region. Furthermore, Sumsub will lead conversations within the policy and regulations working group, collaborating with industry peers to host panel discussions, workshops, and reports with the aim of advancing the industry.Nameer Khan, Chairman of the MENA Fintech Association and Founder of FILS, commented: "We are pleased to welcome Sumsub to the MENA Fintech Association. Their expertise in KYC, KYB, and transaction monitoring will be invaluable in our efforts to strengthen the fintech ecosystem in the MENA region.Sumsub's commitment to sharing insights and actively participating in policy discussions aligns with our mission to foster collaboration and innovation. We look forward to their contributions to the MFTA family and the Policy and Regulations Working Group and believe that together, we can create a more secure and compliant environment for fintech to thrive in the Middle East and Africa."Andrew Sever, co-founder and CEO of Sumsub, added, "For Sumsub, partnering with the MENA Fintech Association marks a new level of presence in the region.We believe that our expertise and years of experience in the verification, anti-fraud, and compliance sector will be valued by other MFTA members. Together with this extraordinary community, we aim to build a safer digital environment based on top-notch technologies tailored for the fintech industry."

GP Inc launches digital media agency Thirty31North

Dubai-based marketing services group GP Inc has recently launched Thirty31North, a digital media agency poised to specialize in performance media solutions. Led by CEO Rahul Kantharia, backed by Practice Head Samir Pancha, the agency aims to navigate the post-COVID era, emphasizing the shift towards omni-channel consumer behavior.Rahul Kantharia, with over 20 years of industry experience, highlights the agency's strategic focus on the bottom of the marketing funnel, ensuring measurable outcomes in sales, qualified leads, app downloads, or return on advertising spend (ROAS). Samir Pancha, also an industry veteran with over fifteen years in digital marketing, brings diverse expertise to the agency.Chairman and CEO of GP Inc, Rahul Nagpal, views performance marketing as the key to adapting to evolving consumer behavior. With Thirty31North's addition, GP Inc consolidates a comprehensive digital marketing ecosystem, integrating creativity from Tuesday, technology from Mobiiworld, and CRM solutions from Steroid. This holistic approach aims to address the challenges of the ever-changing digital marketing landscape.Thirty31North joins existing GP Inc verticals, including Tuesday Communications for creative content, Mobiiworld for technology, and Steroid for data analytics and CRM. Established last year by ex-WPP veterans, GP Inc positions itself to provide a complete suite of services to clients in the dynamic digital marketing landscape.

Ogilvy veteran Joe Lipscombe bids farewell after nearly a decade

Joe Lipscombe, Executive Strategy and Creative Director of Ogilvy, has announced his departure from the agency after nearly 10 years. He made this announcement through a LinkedIn post, expressing gratitude for his time at Ogilvy and acknowledging the transformative impact it had on both his professional and personal life. He also mentioned meeting his wife during his tenure at the agency.In his post, Joe thanked specific individuals for their support and mentorship. He writes: “I’ll be brief, but it’s important to recognize some incredible people.Thank you Sami Moutran and Saada Hammad, who took a big risk on a young journalist a long time ago. Thank you both for pushing others forward, putting your trust in people, and relentlessly searching for excellence.“And thank you Ashraf Shakah, my partner, leader, friend, and mentor. A planet of knowledge, a man of great taste (for the most part), and someone who will move mountains to get the best work and people seen. The business is secure in your hands.” Joe also extended his thanks to others, including Patou Nuytemans, David Fox, Samer ABBOUD, and Joanna Oosthuizen, expressing his indebtedness for their guidance, partnership, friendship, and wisdom. The post suggests a strong sense of camaraderie and collaboration during his time at Ogilvy.While Joe didn't provide extensive details about his departure, his post reflects on the positive experiences, professional growth, and relationships he cultivated during his tenure at Ogilvy.

Aramco and etisalat by e& lead the way for Middle Eastern brands in global rank

etisalat by e&, e&’s telecoms brand, is strongest Middle Eastern and African brand, and strongest telecoms brand in the worldBanking brands QNB and Al-Rajhi Bank see strong brand value growth Apple achieves remarkable 74% growth in brand value, reclaiming its title as the world’s most valuable brand by huge marginArtificial Intelligence sector booms as NVIDIA becomes world’s fastest growing brand Tesla drops out of top 10, falling to 18th placeAramco retains status as most valuable Middle Eastern brand in global ranking, followed by ADNOC and stcAramco's brand value has witnessed a slight decrease to USD41.6 billion in 2024.While largely influenced by revenue changes, this decrease is also associated with a dip in perceived quality and reliability. That said, Aramco remains the most valuable Middle Eastern brand by a significant margin. Every year, leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance puts 5,000 of the biggest brands to the test, and publishes over 100 reports, ranking brands across all sectors and countries. The world’s top 500 most valuable and strongest global brands are included in the annual Brand Finance Global 500 2024 ranking.ADNOC, the second most valuable Middle Eastern brand, has grown its brand value by 7% to USD15.2 billion, driven by a 1-point improvement in its BSI to 80. It is also now an AAA- rated brand. ADNOC recently made a strategic investment in Storegga, a company that focuses on the development of global carbon capture and storage projects. ADNOC's brand strength has also improved due to its commitment to decarbonisation; it is one of 50 founding signatories of the Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter (OGDC) that is a global commitment to speed up climate action across the industry, launched at COP28.David Haigh, Chairman and CEO of Brand Finance, commented: “We are witnessing several brands from a wide array of sectors on the cusp of breaking into the top 500. The region is investing heavily in tangible and intangible away from the oil industry and as such many brands are making the step up from being strong regional players to becoming brands with global aspirations.”etisalat by e&, e&’s telecoms brand, is strongest Middle Eastern and African brand, and strongest telecoms brand in the worlde& group’s telecom vertical, etisalat by e&, has retained its position as strongest brand in the Middle East and Africa as well as the strongest telecom brand in the world, scoring 89.4 in the Brand Strength Index. The telecom operator has benefited from being part of a larger technology group, e&. This also means that e& has retained its ranking as the most valuable portfolio of TMT brands in the Middle East and Africa, with an increase of 15% on last year to a total brand value of USD17 billion. Key contributing factors include its ongoing Manchester City Football Club partnership, 5G network leadership, innovative customer experience initiatives, and participation in global events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi and breaks into top 150 brands globallystc (brand value up 12% to USD13.9 billion) has shown impressive growth and entered the top 150 within the Global 500 ranking this year. This achievement makes stc the first consumer brand in the Middle East to enter the 150 most valuable brands globally. stc has taken significant strides in its expansion strategy, integrating specialized subsidiaries in digital infrastructure, IoT, cloud computing, cybersecurity, business outsourcing, telecommunications, and fintech. stc’s acquisition of an interest in Telefonica, one the largest telecommunications companies in the world marks a key milestone in stc’s growth journey in 2024.Banking brands QNB and Al-Rajhi Bank see solid brand value and strength growthQNB, (brand value up 10% to USD8.4 billion) has increased its brand value and strength in this year’s ranking, maintaining its AAA rating. As the region’s largest financial institution, the brand’s growth success stems from a combination of robust financial performance, and a strong reputation amongst consumers both internationally and abroad. Al-Rajhi Bank, the region’s second strongest brand, has grown its brand value by 13% to USD6.4 billion. It also has a brand strength index of 85.07, along with a AAA rating. Brand Finance research found that customers were considering Al-Rajih more frequently and were more willing to pay higher prices for premium services from the bank.Apple achieves remarkable 74% growth in brand value, reclaiming its title as the world’s most valuable brand by huge marginApple has achieved exceptional brand value growth this year, increasing by USD219billion (74%) to USD517 billion, reclaiming its title as the world’s most valuable brand by a huge margin. Apple has achieved a remarkable brand value increase, even as iPhone volume share has largely plateaued, as its strategy of finding new markets, expanding its ecosystem, and encouraging upgrades to higher-value iPhones has been highly effective. Apple has maintained its position as the dominant player in the premium smartphone market, with 71% value share.Artificial Intelligence sector booms as NVIDIA becomes world’s fastest growing brandBrand Finance research found significant gain amongst brands that have heavily invested in AI, seeing NVIDIA (brand value up 163% to USD44.5 billion) become the world’s fastest-growing brand. A key supplier of chips in the AI space, NVIDIA is perceived as highly innovative while familiarity, consideration, and recommendation levels all increased year-on-year, according to Brand Finance research.Tesla drops out of top 10, falling to 18th placeTesla (brand value down 12% to USD58.3 billion) has dropped out of the top 10, falling to 18th place in the ranking. Tesla has been harmed by its large exposure to the Chinese EV market, and BYD (brand value up 20% to USD12.1 billion) has now overtaken Tesla to become the world’s largest EV maker. While Tesla’s brand strength remains high overall, rated AAA-, Brand Finance research shows a significant fall in reputation. Tesla’s close association with Elon Musk, a controversial leadership figure, creates added reputational risk for the brand.

Lulu Group unveils plans for India's largest shopping mall in Ahmedabad

Lulu Group, the UAE-based retailer, is set to embark on the construction of India's largest shopping mall in Ahmedabad, with an estimated cost of Rs 40 billion ($482.67 million). The commencement of construction is scheduled for this year, as reported by the Asian News International (ANI) news agency. Yusuff Ali MA, Chairman and Managing Director of Lulu Group International, announced the ambitious project at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in India.In September 2023, Yusuff Ali had revealed plans for two expansive shopping malls in India, located in Ahmedabad and Chennai. Expressing Lulu's expansion strategy, he mentioned the imminent opening of a shopping mall in Hyderabad by the end of the month, along with plans to establish additional malls and engage in food processing ventures in various states.Lulu Group already boasts malls in six Indian cities: Bengaluru, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, and Coimbatore. Beyond India, the company operates more than 250 hypermarkets and supermarkets across the GCC, Egypt, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, with a global annual turnover of $8 billion.

Omar Sultan Al Olama: AI is the engine for the future

His excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, the Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, emphasized that the rapid growth observed in the global generative artificial intelligence market reflects that AI is the driving force and the engine for the future. His excellency pointed out that the leadership of the United Arab Emirates has recognized for more than two decades the importance of adopting and developing the capabilities and solutions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, enhancing investment in the technology and artificial intelligence sector that reshapes various industries worldwide.This came during a session titled "Generative AI: Steam Engine of the Fourth Industrial Revolution” as part of the 54th World Economic Forum. The session included Omar Sultan Al Olama, Cristiano Amon, President and Chief Executive Officer, Qualcomm, Julie Sweet, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Accenture, Ireland; Member of Board of Trustee WEF andArvind Krishna, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, IBM, USA; International Business Council. The session was moderated by Zanny Minton Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief, The Economist.Al Olama stated that global efforts' integration through providing effective platforms for international dialogue, such as the World Economic Forum, contributes to enhancing governments' readiness in future sectors and supports their efforts in developing solutions and tools to accelerate progress towards the future. Al Olama emphasized the importance of international cooperation in mapping current and future challenges and opportunities and laying the foundations to address them.The Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence and Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications stated that the UAE government seeks international collaboration and partnerships with technology companies worldwide to ensure the realization of positive returns and address the negatives of technology that may occur over time. Al Olama emphasized the UAE's commitment to creating an environment conducive to accelerating the adoption of generative artificial intelligence, recognizing its potential to contribute to the UAE’s ambitious goals and the positive opportunities it holds for large, small, and medium-sized enterprises.Al Olama added that the UAE possesses significant capabilities and resources by having over 200 nationalities, making it an ideal platform for developing global artificial intelligence applications in various fields such as healthcare and other sectors in need of development and improvement. Al Olama highlighted the UAE's digital infrastructure and flexible legislative frameworks, ensuring the mutual prosperity for the UAE and technological companies.Al Olama stated that, with the evolution of generative artificial intelligence, the importance of developing digital skills has increased, emphasizing the need to ensure the agility of talents to adapt to new technologies and keep pace with global changes. His Excellency further stated that the government has to closely explore new technologies, studying their challenges and potential opportunities rather than completely ignoring them. Al Olama said that the UAE has taken significant steps in the digital field by graduating over 400 participants from the AI Program in collaboration with Oxford University. The program aims to train government officials and decision-makers in digital skills, ethics, digital foundations, and artificial intelligence to enhance awareness in government entities and society, ensuring the comprehensive adoption of digital technologies across various entities.Al Olama mentioned also that the UAE celebrates the UAE Codes Day every year on October 29, with more than 100,000 community members participating in coding to promote digital awareness in society and encourage them to start their digital journey and excel in these future fields. His excellency also highlighted the success of the UAE in introducing artificial intelligence into educational curricula, teaching students programming methods, and the ethics of artificial intelligence.The session, held as part of the initiatives of the World Economic Forum's Artificial Intelligence Governance Alliance, focused on the evolution of generative artificial intelligence and the transformation of intelligent technology into one of the fastest and most impactful innovations in the Fourth Industrial Revolution across various sectors, from creativity to production and distribution. The session addressed the importance of developing digital skills in anticipating the future, the effects of generative artificial intelligence on global industry, the solutions for governments and leaders to manage its various challenges, and the opportunities presented by artificial intelligence solutions in improving production efficiency, industrial systems, and enhancing product quality.

BBC sells Elstree studio to French company

AXA Investment Managers, the investment arm of leading French insurance company AXA, will buy renowned Elstree studio complex from the BBC. The deal, valued at £70 million, is set to provide a significant financial boost to the BBC.Situated on a sprawling 16-acre site near Watford, north-west of London, the Elstree studio complex has been a hub for UK television and film production for over a century. The acquisition aligns with AXA's strategic focus on prime real estate investments, particularly in film and TV production spaces near major urban centers.As part of the agreement, the BBC will enter into a 25-year leaseback of a portion of the facilities, ensuring continuity in its operations and the continued filming of popular soap opera EastEnders at the Elstree location. The deal is expected to reach completion early next year.Alan Dickson, Chief Finance Officer at the BBC, stated that the sale of the Elstree Centre is part of an ongoing review of the BBC’s property portfolio to provide the best value for license fee payers." This move comes as the BBC faces financial challenges, having experienced a freeze in the license fee and the need to implement cost-saving measures.AXA Investment Managers, recognizing the potential of the Elstree studio complex, is finalizing plans to invest in expansion and additional support facilities. Despite industry-wide pressures on production budgets, AXA remains optimistic about the demand for reliable studio spaces.John O’Driscoll, Global Co-Head of Real Estate at AXA Investment Managers, said that this is possibly the most established studio location in the UK. "We like the idea of something that works, but also something that can be improved." The Elstree deal underscores the increasing investor interest in the UK's studio sector, which has become integral to the global film industry. With advanced film technology, a skilled workforce, and attractive tax incentives, the UK continues to attract major players in the entertainment industry.

Google lays off employees in ad sales team amid AI push

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking it toll. Alphabet-owned Google has announced the implementation of workforce reductions within its advertising sales team, as disclosed on Tuesday. The tech giant says it is embracing AI and automation to navigate the changing landscape, following industry trends. Hundreds of Google advertising sales team members are expected to experience job cuts.The layoffs follow a series of workforce adjustments within Google, including personnel reductions in hardware teams overseeing Pixel, Nest, Voice Assistant units, and Fitbit, as well as the AR team. Google emphasizes that its customer solutions unit will play a pivotal role in driving future growth. The announcement aligns with a broader industry trend, as companies across sectors increasingly turn to AI and automation to enhance productivity. Google's latest model, Gemini, showcases its commitment to staying ahead in the AI gold rush. disclosed last week its plans to undertake workforce reductions in its streaming and studio operations, along with 500 layoffs at its video streaming platform Twitch.

Emma Burdett: A catalyst for positive transformation with WILD

Adgully has always saluted and honoured women managers and leaders across diverse fields. W-SUITE is a special initiative from Adgully Middle East that has been turning the spotlight on some of the most remarkable women achievers in the M&E, advertising, marketing, PR and communications industry.Today, our guest is Emma Burdett, the Founder of WILD (Women in Leadership Deliver) network, a keynote speaker, moderator, executive coach and business mentor. Emma is an advocate for gender balance, diversity and inclusion. Adgully Middle East interviewed Emma Burdett to explore her dedication to challenging the status quo and championing change. The WILD movement, with its emphasis on gender equality, demonstrates Emma's advocacy for a more inclusive and balanced society. By addressing gender disparities and promoting equality, WILD aims to create a more just and equitable world for everyone. Emma's passion for change and her involvement in the WILD movement make her a trailblazer in the pursuit of a more equitable and empowered world. Let’s find out more...Kindly share your career and entrepreneurial journey so far?I moved to Dubai in January 2014, and have had a long career in the corporate sector. In 2016, I was headhunted into a corporate director role. The company asked me if I would like to start a women’s network as a CSR initiative. What started as four women and a sheet of paper, grew to 15 women, and I witnessed the power of women coming together. We were sharing knowledge and expertise, offering each other guidance and support, and ultimately, doing business together. Unfortunately, I encountered significant workplace challenges and lost my job. During this time, I rebuilt myself, took time out, and embarked on a spiritual journey. I wrote the concept of WILD from scratch after a mental breakdown. I knew I could create a women’s network as a business. WILD was nothing at the time. Just a lot of faith and a big dream. I launched WILD in July 2018, primarily doing events and building community.What inspired you to launch ‘WILD’ (Women in Leadership Deliver)? What do you aspire to achieve from it?Since its launch in 2018, WILD has become the fastest-growing women’s network in the Middle East. Throughout its six years, I have become a coach, and IINSEAD qualified in gender equality studies. Women’s networks are the key to gender equality. I saw a niche in the market for this platform for corporate women. WILD now offers a myriad of solutions for female leadership and for the women within the community, from consultancy to leadership training to memberships, coaching, and masterminds. In November 2022 we launched in Saudi Arabia as the first and only women’s network from outside the kingdom. This allows our members to connect across borders. The bold move has earned WILD a contract with the United Nations Global Compact Network, KSA to support the Kingdom with SDG5 gender equality. WILD is a movement I am proud to pioneer.What are your views on the development of women in the Middle Eastern countries? What are your hopes for the future?I feel the future is bright as the world wakes up to gender equality and the benefits it offers. While there is a long way to go, companies are beginning to strategize and invest in female talent. I have been mightily impressed by the talent and ambition I have seen in KSA. KSA Comprises of over 65% of Generation Z. This generation is radical, ethical, and rebellious, and desires to see diversity and inclusion. It is also important to mention that KSA is seeing the highest percentage of young females graduating in STEM more than anywhere else in the world. I hope we will see change when this generation moves up to leadership level.With the success of WILD this year, what are your hopes and aspirations in the coming years from it? What were the main takeaways for women in the WILD event?We plan to scale WILD across nine countries over the next few years. Countries such as Qatar, Jordan, and Oman; places that need and would benefit from having a platform such as WILD.I am always blown away by WILD events. I may be biased but they are amazing- Authentic, inspiring, and motivating. Every event is different. We are about the solution at WILD, not continually discussing the ‘problem’. One of the main reasons I created WILD was because I was so bored and fed up with all of the current events held in Dubai. Sterile, contrived, and filtered conversations. No one says what they want or how they feel. One of the key pillars of WILD is authenticity. We embody this in all of our events.Regarding takeaways, we always see a genuine sense of solidarity and empathy building when women feel seen, heard, and understood. My intention is that every woman who comes to a WILD event leaves inspired and ready to take on the world. We live in a patriarchal society with many outdated workplace cultures and structures that don't support women in the workplace, however, we also need to take ownership and accountability for our own lives and careers. I always suggest women invest in their own growth and development, especially hiring a coach or mentor. I have worked with 4 coaches and it has been life-changing and a key catalyst for me building WILD with the success and level we are at.You have been awarded as one of the 10 ‘Women of Substance’ in Dubai? Whom do you owe your success to? Who has been your inspiration?I owe my success to myself! For staying tenacious and committed, even when times get tough. Entrepreneurship is a rollercoaster and an arduous journey full of highs and lows. It is important to surround yourself with the right people, who hold space for you and whom you can trust implicitly. I am grateful to have those people in my life. I am inspired by all of the women in WILD, who show up, who commit and who want to further themselves and their careers. I am inspired by some of my private clients whom I mentor, they step up with courage and build the life of their dreams, it's beautiful to see!What will be your advice to women who aspire to be leaders?Anything is possible when we work on ourselves and move past fear, limitations, and doubt. We need to get out of our own way and give ourselves permission to be bold, doing things we haven't done before. Fear can be debilitating and will only cling to stagnant people. Trust yourself and your own intuition, the gut never lies. Lastly, always work on YOU like a full-time job, no one will save you!

GoDaddy’s Selina Bieber: Unleashing the power of AI in Saudi Arabia

In this exclusive interview with Adgully Middle East, Selina Bieber, Regional Director for MENA at GoDaddy, discusses the game-changing implications of the .AI domain extension for individuals, startups, and research institutions in Saudi Arabia. She sheds light on GoDaddy's commitment to supporting the ambitious goals of the Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA) and outlines the role of .AI domains in projecting innovation and benefiting small businesses across sectors. Bieber also delves into the accessibility of GoDaddy’s user-friendly tools, the contribution of dedicated domain brokers, and the strategic positioning of .AI domains in shaping the future of AI-driven businesses in the Kingdom.Can you elaborate on the specific opportunities that the introduction of the .AI domain extension brings for individuals, developers, startups, and research institutions in Saudi Arabia, aligning with the country’s AI strategy? Do you have similar plans in the region?The introduction of the .AI domain extension presents significant opportunities for individuals, developers, startups, and research institutions in Saudi Arabia. This extension allows them to establish a unique online presence and align their digital identities with the evolving landscape of AI. It provides a platform for showcasing innovations, fostering collaboration, and contributing to the growth of the AI community. GoDaddy remains committed to offering support for entrepreneurs and businesses in the region, aligning with the broader goals of the AI landscape.Given the ambitious goals of the Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA) and the overall AI agenda for the Kingdom, how does GoDaddy envision supporting the dimensions of ambition, skills, policies, investment, research, and innovation in the Saudi Arabian AI landscape through the .AI domain extension?At GoDaddy, we understand the evolving landscape of AI in Saudi Arabia. We are dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs through our .AI extension. Our focus is on providing a platform that empowers individuals and businesses to contribute to the advancement of AI initiatives. We are committed to providing the tools to foster an environment conducive to AI development in Saudi Arabia.In what ways does the .AI domain extension contribute to projecting innovation to customers and benefiting small businesses across sectors? Can you provide specific examples of how businesses have leveraged this extension to embrace AI’s potential?The .AI domain extension serves as a powerful tool for projecting innovation to customers and benefiting small businesses across sectors. By adopting a .AI domain, businesses can convey a cutting-edge image synonymous with the use of artificial intelligence and innovation. This not only can help to enhance their brand perception but also can attract a tech-savvy audience.GoDaddy’s user-friendly tools are designed to help entrepreneurs choose the right domain. How does the company ensure that these tools are accessible and beneficial for users with varying levels of technical expertise, especially in the context of adopting AI-driven technologies?GoDaddy prioritizes accessibility and ease of use for entrepreneurs with varying levels of technical expertise. We understand the time constraints and challenges faced by small businesses, prompting us to integrate AI automation into our services for a streamlined experience. The goal is to empower entrepreneurs to leverage AI-driven technologies without the need for deep technical knowledge.Can you share insights into the role of the dedicated domain brokers at GoDaddy and how they contribute to assisting businesses when a desired .AI domain is already owned? How does this process align with GoDaddy’s commitment to supporting Saudi Arabia’s AI community?GoDaddy’s domain brokers can play a crucial role in navigating the market for .AI domains, especially when the desired names are already taken. They assist businesses in negotiating acquisitions, providing expertise in valuation and transfer processes. This service is particularly beneficial considering the competitive nature of AI-related domains. Our domain brokerage service aligns with our commitment to empowering the Saudi Arabian AI community by ensuring that entrepreneurs and innovators have access to the digital assets that best reflect their innovation and expertise.With AI projected to contribute significantly to Saudi Arabia’s economy, how does GoDaddy see the .AI domain extension playing a role in shaping AI-driven businesses in the country? Are there specific industries or sectors where you anticipate a particularly strong impact?We consider the recent introduction of the .AI domain extension will be an important part in influencing AI-driven businesses in Saudi Arabia.. The extension offers a unique online identity for companies immersed in AI technologies, that could be particularly helpful in sectors like technology, innovation, research, finance, and manufacturing. In the context of Saudi Arabia's AI strategy, use of the .AI domain signals expertise and positions businesses at the forefront of AI advancements, contributing to their credibility and visibility in these evolving industries. For example, in the healthcare sector, AI-driven startups could utilize the .AI extension with their domain name to emphasize their focus on AI-powered medical solutions.This extension not only enhances the digital presence of these businesses but also directly communicates their commitment to leveraging AI for sector-specific innovations in the region.The .AI domain extension is positioned as a symbol of technological expertise and innovation. How does GoDaddy plan to convey this message to potential users, and what strategies are in place to create awareness and understanding of the significance of .AI domains in the context of Saudi Arabia’s AI journey?GoDaddy’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia is reflected in its continual efforts to assist the success of entrepreneurs and small business owners. This is achieved through the provision of a comprehensive suite of online products and services, addressing the unique needs of businesses in the region. Through these sustained initiatives, GoDaddy aims to contribute consistently to the growth and development of the entrepreneurial and .AI domain ecosystem in Saudi Arabia.Given the anticipation of the impact of generative AI by 85 percent of business leaders in the next three years, how does GoDaddy plan to stay at the forefront of providing solutions that cater to the evolving needs of businesses in Saudi Arabia? Are there specific initiatives or partnerships in place to support entrepreneurs and innovators in the dynamic AI landscape?At GoDaddy, we are actively monitoring advancements in generative AI and remain committed to staying at the forefront of providing cutting-edge solutions for businesses in Saudi Arabia. We are dedicated to supporting the dynamic landscape of AI and fostering growth opportunities for businesses in the region.

Plus500 secures regulatory licence & strengthens its strategic expansion in UAE

The global multi-asset fintech group, Plus500 which has over 25 million registered customers worldwide, has obtained a new regulatory license approval from the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) through its subsidiary Plus500AE in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).This license from the DFSA presents Plus500AE, whose parent company Plus500 Ltd is a FTSE 250 company listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange (LSE), with significant growth opportunities in the burgeoning and dynamic UAE market. Approval of the new regulatory licence enables the company to provide a more localised experience to prospective customers in the UAE's online trading sphere through Plus500AE, complementing the group’s renowned user-friendly diverse offerings, innovation, and customer-centric approach.Additional customer benefits include the integration of local payment methods, and bespoke versions of the Plus500 trading platform, website, and mobile app, enabling access to the most popular financial instruments. The proprietary tech-based trading platform will enable UAE traders to engage in Over the Counter (OTC) or Contracts for Difference (CFD) products.Additionally, the platform's advanced analytics empower traders with real-time data, robust charting tools, and technical indicators, aiding informed trading decisions. It also ensures mobile accessibility on both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.The establishment of the UAE subsidiary fortifies Plus500 group’s regulatory framework and complements the portfolio of regulatory licenses in markets such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Cyprus, Singapore, the United States, and Japan.According to the latest trends released by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), the Middle East’s online trading industry is witnessing spectacular growth and is expected to reach US$1 trillion in value by 2025 with commonly traded assets including stocks, commodities, currencies, and cryptocurrencies.The intuitive and advanced trading platform allows customers to manage leveraged exposure appropriately with the aim of protecting potential profits and limiting exposure to losses.

Samsung launches Galaxy Experience Spaces to welcome new era of Galaxy AI

Samsung Electronics has announced it is opening nine Galaxy Experience Spaces around the world to showcase how galaxy AI enables new ways to connect, create and play. The spaces — opening after Galaxy Unpacked — will immerse fans in Samsung’s latest innovations in cities including Bangkok, Barcelona, Berlin, Dubai, London, New York, Paris and Seoul.“Galaxy empowers people with new experiences and new ways to do what they love. With Galaxy AI, we’re redefining what’s possible on mobile devices,” said Stephanie Choi, EVP & Head of Mobile eXperience Business at Samsung Electronics. “These spaces will give Galaxy fans the first opportunity to see a new era of innovation firsthand, and we can’t wait to see how Galaxy AI will empower people to unleash their potential.”Immediately upon entering these vibrant, contemporary spaces, visitors will know they’ve stepped into the future. Yet, everything visitors will experience will be available to them very soon on Galaxy’s newest devices. As visitors move between interactive and immersive zones, they’ll see how Galaxy AI amplifies everyday activities in ways never seen before, from discovering new places to capturing and sharing content to communicating across language barriers.In every region, visitors will experience different twists on what Galaxy has to offer. Fan-favorites like Nightography and Galaxy gaming will captivate visitors, inspiring new ways to be creative and play with cutting-edge technology. In some regions, visitors will even be able to participate in special activities like daily gaming tournaments where gamers will compete against one another in some of the most popular mobile games. As visitors explore and test out all the features, they’ll receive stamps that can be redeemed for exclusive giveaways before they leave. Plus, a lucky draw will give visitors the chance to walk away with a special prize.

Anghami and Almarai join forces for fresh milk campaign

Audio streaming platform Anghami Inc has partnered with dairy company Almarai to launch an innovative, technology-driven segment as part of Almarai's latest fresh milk campaign, titled "Milk every day, is the smart way.This collaborative effort seamlessly integrate education and entertainment to promote innovative awareness about food and health.The campaign aims to underscore the significance of consuming fresh milk by seamlessly combining education and entertainment. The collaboration with Anghami propels this campaign forward, enhancing engagement through personalized experiences, gamification, and storytelling.Leveraging Anghami's AI features, along with the beloved and nostalgic voice of Rasha Rizk, a prominent figure in Saudi Arabia, parents can effortlessly create a personalized song for their children. This unique approach not only entertains but also promotes the healthy daily habit of drinking fresh milk.To participate, parents simply need to add their child's name, choose the song's topic, and they are ready to go. Additionally, participants can share these distinctive songs on various social media platforms.This initiative goes beyond creating unique experiences; it raises public awareness and empowers parents to educate their children. Furthermore, it reaffirms the shared commitment of both Almarai and Anghami to support the realization of one of the key pillars of Vision 2030 in the Kingdom – the health and well-being of Saudi society.

Emirates readies to recruit 5,000 cabin crew from six continents in 2024

Emirates is celebrating the new year and the imminent arrival of its spanking new fleet of Airbus A350s with a global cabin crew recruitment drive with a difference. The 5,000 new joiners will ensure the airline’s commitment to offering the world’s best inflight experience maintains a steady course.The recruitment drive is designed primarily for those who will soon or have recently stepped into the world of work. The airline is inviting fresh graduates with internships or part-time jobs on their résumés, those with a year or so of hospitality or customer service experience, and individuals keen to embark on an exciting career travelling the globe. The new recruits will be a part of the world’s largest international airline and one of the most iconic brands, plus they will learn hospitality and life skills from the best trainers in the business.What’s more, they will travel the world across more than 140 cities in 76 countries and enjoy the entire gamut of benefits working as Emirates’ cabin crew. Recruitment driveIn 2024, Emirates’ recruitment team will host open days and assessments in more than 460 cities across six continents, reflecting the span of the airline's network and the diversity of its cabin crew team, while flying the flag for living and working in dynamic Dubai.In 2023, Emirates hired a staggering 8,000 cabin crew and held recruitment events in 353 cities as the airline ramped up its services post the pandemic. In August 2023, the airline’s cabin crew numbers crossed the 20,000 milestone and are now 21,500 strong. Fleet and network expansionThe new cabin crew recruitment drive comes as Emirates begins to take delivery of its eagerly anticipated A350s from mid-year and the Boeing 777-Xs starting in 2025. The airline has 65 A350s and a mix of 205 777-9s and 777-8s in its order book. The new aircraft will expand the airline’s reach and provide flexibility to add new routes to its network.Training and life skillsAll new cabin crew recruits undergo an intense eight weeks of training in delivering the highest standards of hospitality, safety and service that Emirates’ customers have come to expect over the years. Trained in Emirates' state-of-the-art facility in Dubai, cabin crew learn invaluable transferable skills that include a knack for communications, initiative and leadership qualities. They develop the ability to work effectively in a multicultural team, the focus to stay mentally strong and calm under pressure, becoming bastions of hospitality and exceptional service, and ambassadors of an iconic brand. Cabin crew also have access to the latest training programmes and LinkedIn courses.What new joiners sayAne Monego Castagna from Italy, who joined May 2023 said: “Sometimes you’ve got to chase your dreams, other times the dream chases you. In April last year, I received the ‘golden call’ that changed my life. During training, I was amazed by the knowledge and skills imparted to us and what it took to become an Emirates cabin crew. The opportunity to make friends for life, be super confident and to fly with the airline is priceless. Thanks to Emirates, the life I live today is better than anything I have ever dreamed of!”Robyn Clark from the UK, who joined in February 2023 said: “Working for Emirates is a job like no other. From the day I got the call to boarding every flight, I feel so proud of what I’ve accomplished. Putting on the iconic Emirates uniform every morning is a feeling I can’t explain – this really is a dream come true. I will always be grateful to Emirates for the memories I’ve made, the amazing experiences I’ve had travelling the world, and being able to come back from my journeys to Dubai – one of the safest and most vibrant cities globally – that I now call home.”Cabin crew communityEmirates’ multicultural cabin crew team hail from more than 140 nationalities and speak a staggering 130 languages – which is why customers can always expect to converse with a warm, friendly voice in their own lingo. Crew form lifelong friendships and close-knit bonds within the community, fostering better teamwork, a common sense of purpose and a shared service philosophy.Cabin crew experience excellent career progression, including upgrading to higher cabin classes, and becoming a cabin supervisor, purser or trainer. Today, the airline has 1,180 pursers who have climbed the career ladder after successfully completing exacting training and assessments. Crew also have the opportunity to apply for internal vacancies throughout the Emirates Group.The cabin crew lifeEmirates’ cabin crew lead a cosmopolitan lifestyle in vibrant Dubai, living with 200 nationalities in a city renowned for its hotels, restaurants, food scene, leisure activities and for being one of the safest in the world.Emirates’ cabin crew enjoy a competitive, tax-free salary and flying pay, eligibility for profit share, hotel stays and layover expenses, concessional travel and cargo, annual leave, annual leave ticket, furnished accommodation, transportation to and from work, excellent medical, life and dental insurance coverage, laundry services and other benefits. Friends and family enjoy deeply discounted flight tickets, and travelling with their loved ones creates lasting memories for crew.

Nissan Saudi Arabia launch the Nissan Rewards Program

 In a bold move towards reshaping the landscape of automotive customer service, Nissan Saudi Arabia is thrilled to announce the much-anticipated Rewards program, set to revolutionize the way customers engage with the brand. This program is set underscores Nissan’s steadfast commitment to “Defy ordinary.” This innovative program a result of a strategic collaboration between Nissan Saudi Arabia and The Entertainer, a partnership publicly revealed at the Seamless event in Riyadh. With aims to redefine the ownership experience of Nissan vehicles in Saudi Arabia by leveraging the power of a dedicated mobile application.The program is designed to elevate customer loyalty, enhance after-sales services, and deliver an array of exclusive discounts across a spectrum of categories such as Food &Drink, Beauty & Fitness, Attractions & Leisure, Retail & Services, Hotels Worldwide.The rewards program also has different offers and discounts that includes "2 for 1," "Fixed price off," "Package price," and "Percentage off." This dynamic range of offerings caters to the diverse.The rewards program offered by Nissan is available to all New Nissan owners by default, and they can access the program's benefits through the Nissan App. However, owners of the Patrol and or the new X-Trail who bought their vehicles during the fourth quarter of 2022 can join the program one year after their purchase.Customer engagement and loyalty are further bolstered by the opportunity for customers to advance through tiers by accumulating points. These points are earned through aftersales purchases and interactions with Nissan, with each tier offering specific benefits and merchants. The system also encourages tier advancement through after-sales services.Adib Takieddine Managing Director of Nissan Saudi Arabia said: “We believe in putting customers at the center of everything we do” and by launching the rewards program it showcases Nissan keenness into fulfilling the needs of its customers and creates an essence of loyalty between the two parties.”The Nissan Rewards Program opens a world of possibilities for customers to enhance their Nissan ownership experience, promoting loyalty and engagement while enabling them to derive added value from every facet of their lives. It signifies Nissan's unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction, excellence, and delivering beyond ordinary customer service.

Du teams with Intelsat to enhance cellular connectivity in remote areas in UAE

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), has partnered with Intelsat, operator of one of the world’s largest integrated satellite and terrestrial networks, to expand cellular connectivity across the UAE. This collaboration marks an exciting step towards enhancing cellular services nationwide, even in areas that were previously out of reach.Saleem AlBlooshi, Chief Technology Officer at du, said: "The pivotal role of digital connectivity in shaping the socio-economic landscape of the UAE is irrefutable. As a leading national telecom operator, we relentlessly pursue exceptional customer experiences, delivering tangible value to our stakeholders by leveraging the latest telecom technologies and fostering a culture deeply imbued with innovation throughout our operational framework. The introduction of advanced networking infrastructure and services will act as a catalyst, propelling our community into the digital transformation era.“du's cellular backhaul solution stands at the forefront of innovation, significantly enhancing the capabilities of mobile coverage in remote areas. Through our partnership with Intelsat, we can leverage the full capacity of IS-39 satellite, providing coverage to even the most remote areas of the nation. With this advanced technology, end users can enjoy a superior, uninterrupted connection experience, regardless of their location. This unparalleled level of quality and reliability sets a new industry standard for cellular networks," added AlBlooshi.Rhys Morgan, Vice President and General Manager of Intelsat, said: “The UAE continues to bolster its telecom and infrastructure capabilities. As global leader in satellite connectivity, Intelsat is well-positioned to support the UAE’s connectivity plans, supporting du in the provision of reliable connectivity. We look forward to working with du to expand its reach into these important areas, providing reliable access to an increasing number of end customers.”This collaboration demonstrates du's commitment to delivering exceptional customer experiences and driving the digital transformation of the UAE. With this advanced networking infrastructure, end users will benefit from a superior connection experience regardless of their location. The partnership sets a new industry standard for cellular networks, paving the way for enhanced connectivity nationwide.

Snap Inc MENA elevates Rasha El-Ghoussaini to its Head of Agency

Snap Inc. in MENA has announced the appointment of Rasha El-Ghoussaini as the new Head of Agency.Rasha has had a remarkable career at Snap Inc., spanning over 18 years with a significant impact on the company's growth and strategy. Having served as the Head of Industry, she has gained valuable experience working across various verticals. Her tenure since May 2017 highlights her commitment and contributions to shaping Snap Inc.'s strategy in the region.With her recent appointment as the Head of Agency in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, Rasha is set to leverage her extensive experience to formulate, build, and execute strategic partnerships within the Agency ecosystem. Her responsibilities will likely include cultivating relationships across the Agency landscape, engaging with leadership figures, and enhancing capabilities across the networks."As a long-standing member of the UAE leadership team, I've had the privilege of working closely with Rasha El-Ghoussaini over the past 6 years and I am excited to see her take on this pivotal role as Head of Agency. Her wealth of experience and proven success in driving business growth and fostering strategic partnerships makes her the perfect person to take our Agency business to the next level." said Jake Thomas, Head of UAE at Snap Inc. in MENA.Rasha El-Ghoussaini expressed her enthusiasm for the new role, stating: "I am honored and excited to take on the position of Head of Agency at a time when the agency landscape in the MENA region is experiencing remarkable growth and transformation. I look forward to leveraging my experience and passion for building strategic partnerships to drive continued innovation and growth across the agency ecosystem.”

Axis Communications to showcase new products at Intersec Dubai 2024

Axis Communications, the industry leader in video surveillance, today announced new products at Intersec Dubai, including a world-first for network camera technology.The new products include:The world’s first thermometric explosion-protected camera specifically designed and certified for use in Zone and Division 2 hazardous locations (AXIS Q1961-XTE).The first network horn speaker from Axis certified for Zone and Division 1 hazardous locations (AXIS XC1311).A high-frequency radar that can accurately detect, classify and track humans and vehicles in various light and weather conditions (AXIS D2210-VE).Taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from 16 to 18 January 2024, the 25th edition of Intersec Dubai celebrates a quarter century of uniting security technology and serving as a calendar highpoint for the security industry.The annual event brings more than 45,000 stakeholders from around the world together to explore the latest trends, promote trade and commerce across international borders, showcase the latest innovations and products, and confront the world’s most pressing security challenges.“The security industry and the needs of our customers are in constant flux. Axis is constantly refining our product and service offering to meet those needs and to that, we are always innovating and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with network monitoring and security products. We are very excited to introduce the world to our latest products and demonstrate what we can to do enhance organisations’ security, and help build a smarter, safer, and more sustainable world for all,” said Ettiene van der Watt, Regional Director for Middle East and Africa at Axis at Axis.AXIS Q1961-XTE – a world-first in thermometric monitoringAXIS Q1961-XTE is the world’s first explosion-protected thermal camera specifically designed and certified for use in Zone and Division 2 hazardous areas (the majority of a hazardous area site that contain potentially combustible substances).Capable of remotely monitoring temperatures from -40°C to 350°C (-40°F to 660°F), this cost-efficient camera can monitor temperature-based events and send notifications to operators based on temperature readings and fluctuations, effectively minimising potential production downtime and enabling predictive maintenance planning.AXIS Q1961-XTE will be available through Axis distribution channels in March 2024.AXIS XC1311 – Axis first network horn speaker for hazardous areasAn all-in-one audio device that supports situational awareness and enables real-time responses, AXIS XC1311 is the company’s first-ever network horn speaker designed and certified for Zone and Division 1 hazardous areas (areas that contain potentially combustible substances). It is capable of withstanding temperatures between -40°C and 60°C (-40°F and 140°F).The speaker is easy to install, configure, and use and is capable of delivering clear, long-range audio and voice messages. The speaker can be configured to play a pre-recorded message when an analytics-equipped camera detects smoke, fire or missing personal protective equipment, or, in the event of an alert from an industrial control system, operators can target live instructions to the targeted area.AXIS XC1311 will be available through Axis distribution channels in March 2024.AXIS D2210-VE – the optimal solution for 24/7 area and traffic monitoringBoasting a compact design and offering a 95° field of detection, AXIS D2210-VE Radar is a robust and powerful device for accurate object detection in all light and various weather conditions.The 60 GHz radar can detect humans at up to 60 meters (200 feet) and vehicles at up to 90 meters (295 feet), or up to 150 meters (492 feet) with road monitoring profile enabled. Switching from area to road monitoring also makes it possible to detect objects travelling as fast as up to 200 km/h (125 mph). The radar is also equipped with a dynamic LED light strip that can be used for notification or warning purposes or can be switched off for more discrete monitoring.AXIS D2210-VE will be available through Axis distribution channels in Q1 2024.

Wassim Mneimneh joins MiQ as MD for MENAT

Wassim Mneimneh has been named the new Managing Director for the MENAT region at MiQ, a prominent figure in programmatic media. With an extensive background spanning more than 17 years in the digital media landscape, Mneimneh has amassed valuable experience working with notable companies such as DoubleVerify, TikTok, Connect Ads, and Nielsen.Commencing his career as a media planner at MCN group, Mneimneh has played pivotal roles in the success stories of major corporations like TikTok, DoubleVerify, and Nielsen. Notably, he contributed significantly to establishing DoubleVerify as the preeminent measurement provider in the region.In his capacity at MiQ, Mneimneh's primary focus will be on expanding the market presence, establishing a robust footprint in MENAT, and cultivating strong relationships with brands and agencies throughout the region.Expressing his enthusiasm about the new role, Mneimneh stated, “I am thrilled to embark on this journey with MiQ as their MD for the region. My goal is to not only grow the business but to establish a solid and impactful presence for MiQ, covering the diverse and dynamic markets of the region. Together, we will navigate new horizons and deliver innovative solutions to our clients.”MiQ is dedicated to the growth and development of its business unit in MENAT, providing programmatic tools and products to serve the region's needs.Lee Puri, Global Chief Growth Officer and Co-founder of MiQ, expressed excitement about Wassim joining as Managing Director of MENAT, emphasizing that Wassim's appointment underscores MiQ's ongoing commitment to shaping the company as the leading programmatic media partner in MENAT. Mneimneh officially assumed his role this year, with immediate plans focused on initiating market presence initiatives, forming strategic alliances, and aligning MiQ with the unique requirements of the MENAT region.

Jumeirah Gulf of Bahrain Resort & Spa appoints new General Manager

Jumeirah Gulf of Bahrain Resort & Spa proudly announces the appointment of Thibault de Vries as its new General Manager. Mr. De Vries brings with him two decades of experience in hotel operations spanning multiple countries, including the Netherlands, Singapore, France, South Africa, Russia, and Qatar.Mr. De Vries’s Middle East hospitality experience includes a successful tenure as General Manager of Andaz, Doha, under the Hyatt brand. He has consistently delivered outstanding financial results and elevated guest satisfaction levels, with a career that showcases his leadership in steering the growth and success of renowned global hotel brands such as Grand Hyatt, Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, and Andaz.Addressing his appointment, Mr. De Vries said, "I am honored to join Jumeirah Gulf of Bahrain Resort & Spa and look forward to elevating guest experiences and driving the property's continued success. With its pristine 500m beach, five swimming pools, cinema, and outstanding F&B outlets, this is a wonderful destination, and I am committed to contributing to its mission of redefining luxury hospitality. I am guided by a famous quote by Leonardo da Vinci: ‘Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail!’”He added, “This endeavour aligns with Bahrain's aspirations for economic diversification and growth in the tourism sector. By raising the bar in service standards and curating distinctive guest offerings, we anticipate a ripple effect that will help stimulate the local economy, including amplified employment opportunities and business activities within the hospitality ecosystem. Our mission resonates with Bahrain's vision, contributing to the Economic Vision 2030 and reinforcing the Kingdom's position as a coveted luxury travel destination."An alumnus of Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Switzerland, Mr. De Vries holds a bachelor’s degree in international hospitality management, complemented by several leadership development programs.This strategic move reflects Jumeirah's commitment to excellence and delivering an unparalleled guest experience. Its Mission 2030 is focused on optimizing operations and reinforcing its position as a leader in the luxury hospitality sector.

Panda Retail Company selects Revionics’ AI-powered price optimization platform

 Revionics, an Aptos Company and provider of retail pricing, promotion, markdown and advanced analytics solutions, announced today that Panda Retail Company has selected its intelligent pricing platform to adopt a more data-driven and customer-centric approach to its pricing decisions. The retailer will leverage Revionics’ base price solution to optimize prices at nearly 200 hypermarkets and supermarkets.Based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Panda is the region’s leading grocery store chain, serving more than 100 million customers annually. Panda was acquired by Savola Group in 1998 and since that time has grown its market share in the food retail sector. One key aspect of its success has been its investment in modern technology systems that enhance customer satisfaction and profitability. In line with this commitment, Panda saw an opportunity to leverage the latest advancements in data science to bring greater levels of automation, market responsiveness and speed to its pricing decisions.Following a comprehensive evaluation of price optimization vendors, Panda selected Revionics with the belief that its software can unlock pricing decisions that improve price perception and achieve stronger financial results — even as consumer demand, local conditions and other factors continue to shift.“Throughout our company’s history, we have listened carefully to our customers’ needs and preferences and adapted accordingly,” said Ahmad Chehade, Chief Marketing Officer at Panda Retail Company. “In regards to our investments in Revionics' technology, at Panda, we're all about putting the customer first. As the leaders in our industry, it's our job to keep looking ahead. We know that customer preferences change as the world economy shifts, and that's why we're committed to tailoring our offerings to each individual and, above all, making sure we provide real value.”Trusted by retailers around the world, Revionics’ AI models accurately forecast demand changes and recommend optimal prices specific to each client’s unique goals and its customers’ behaviors and buying patterns. Prices can be optimized at every level — product, key value item groups, zones, categories, etc. — and robust reporting is provided along with deep insights into the impact and value generated by price changes.“Panda’s selection of Revionics reflects our ability to deliver a powerful solution, unmatched pricing expertise and industry-leading science to help our clients get maximum value and competitive advantage from their pricing function,” said Scott Zucker, General Manager at Revionics, an Aptos Company.“With new pricing innovations, Panda takes another step forward in its mission to grow share and deliver even more value to the communities it operates in,” Zucker added. “We are proud to partner with this remarkable and visionary retail group.”

Thmanyah transforms into a media-tech powerhouse

Thmanyah, the Middle East and North Africa’s pioneering Arabic podcast network and independent journalism platform, marks 2024 with the launch of a whole new technology-powered business, charting a course to revolutionize the landscape of online content creation.Thmanyah’s award-winning platform is driven by a team of seasoned content creators with extensive experience producing widely acclaimed podcast shows like Funjan, Socrates, and Swalif Business, newsletters, and documentaries reaching hundreds of millions of viewers and listeners weekly.Thmanyah is building an ecosystem that enables creators to produce high-quality content that enriches the Arabic content on the internet. “Radio Thmanyah” is a mobile application that allows creators to host their podcast show, promote it to highly engaged podcast listeners, and access monetization opportunities. The application revisits the entire experience of podcast listening and sharing by introducing profiles and social interactions, while still allowing users to easily import their podcast libraries from existing platforms or search the catalog of their favorite international and regional podcasts.Thmanyah's ecosystem allows creators to enroll in the Thmanyah Ad Network, a platform designed to help creators monetize their content effectively. By bridging the gap between creators and advertisers, Thmanyah is dedicated to fostering a thriving community of content producers who can generate income from their passion.Thmanyah (which translates to "eight" in Arabic) was founded in 2016, and 51% of its shares were acquired by the Saudi Research and Media Group (SRMG) in 2021. The company also relaunched as a destination for content creators to share their newsletters and articles.Abdulrahman Abu Malih, the visionary founder and CEO of Thmanyah, expressed his enthusiasm for the company's transformative journey, stating, "Over the past very few years we have created a library of premium Arabic content that has no rival online, and we want that growth to prosper together with content creators across the Arab world. Today, we are not just talking about our own transformation, but we are building tools that can fulfill this vision from our experiences and learnings across hosting, marketing and monetization, so content creators can focus on elevating the quality of their production and sustain it.”

Flat6Labs report shows marked rise in international start-up interest

 International start-ups are increasingly vying for an opportunity to establish their global hubs in the UAE in the hopes of accelerating their growth. This is one of the key findings released today by Flat6Labs, the MENA region's leading seed and early-stage venture capital firm, based on the company’s analysis of over 4,000 applications to five cycles of its Ignite seed funding and incubator program, between June 2021 and October 2023. During this nearly two-and-a-half-year period, the number of applications from start-ups based outside the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region grew by an impressive 284%, validating the success of the initiatives made by the UAE’s leadership to attract the world’s most innovative business leaders to the country.Flat6Labs also reported a consistent increase in the number of applications from UAE-based start-ups over the five cycles of the program, reflecting a 2x increase over the recorded window. While the Ignite program is open to start-ups from around the world, it was interesting to see that in every cycle, the number of applications from start-ups in Egypt was second only to that for the UAE.“The steady and considerable increase in the number of applications to our program over each six-month cycle indicates just how rapidly the UAE is advancing its position as a global hub for tech entrepreneurship. The nation’s highly active VC and investor community, favourable legislation, rich talent pool, high standards of living, and coveted position as the gateway to the thriving MEA region, and indeed the world, make it ideal for disruptive businesses to establish their global headquarters,” said Ryaan Sharif, General Manager at Flat6Labs UAE.Also significant was the increase in the number of applications by female-founded start-ups, which grew 244% over the last two and a half years. Impressively, female founded companies accounted for a whole 32% of all applications made to the Ignite program. Such maturing of the start-up ecosystem is also evidenced in the fact that while two and a half years ago, the number of applications was evenly split between organisations in the ideation, launch, minimum viable product (MVP) and revenue generating stages, today, the proportion is heavily skewed towards start-ups that have already started generating revenues.“Female founders are certainly at a greater advantage than they were, say, a decade ago. Governments and investors are beginning to realise the positive economic implications of being more inclusive of women in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Work remains to be done, but the mounting evidence of the above-average potential of female founders to lead successful start-ups, combined with the rise of female-led and female-focused VCs, is welcome,” said Sharif.Flat6Labs also provided insight into the areas of business that pioneers are focusing their efforts on. HealthTech start-ups accounted for the largest number of applications to the Ignite program, followed by near-equal proportions of FinTech, FoodTech, and Transport & Logistics ventures. Interesting, not far behind was the number of GreenTech companies, which also reflects the ongoing flight of capital towards sustainable investment opportunities.Offering his outlook for 2024, Sharif said, “The start-ups that will be especially well positioned to draw investor attention in 2024 are those that have based their disruptive innovations around sectors that the government is heavily backing. 2024 therefore holds the most promise for FinTech, Generative AI, e-Commerce enablement, HealthTech and Renewable Energy Tech innovators.”

TikTok, Emirates Airline LitFest join forces for #BookTok Challenge

Short-form video platform TikTok has forged a partnership with the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (Emirates LitFest) to introduce the #BookTok Challenge, an endeavor designed to amplify the creative expressions of fervent readers throughout the MENA region.With an impressive 209.3 billion global views, the #BookTok Challenge has evolved into a central nexus on TikTok, bringing together book enthusiasts, authors, storytellers, and educators. Participating local libraries are actively engaging in popular TikTok trends, recreating the immersive experience of library exploration, while content creators share their treasured literary discoveries.In celebration of this lively literary community, TikTok and Emirates LitFest extend an invitation to book enthusiasts and imaginative minds to partake in the challenge. From January 9 to January 22, participants can showcase their affection for books through TikTok videos, with an opportunity to gain recognition for their exceptional #BookTok content during the Emirates LitFest closing ceremony on February 4.To participate in the challenge, users simply need to share a distinctive and visually captivating video related to their reading habits, storytelling, reviews, book recommendations, and tips, utilizing the hashtag #BookTok to enhance visibility.International literary agents attending the festival will contribute compelling videos to the dedicated #BookTok page on the platform.Kinda Ibrahim, General Manager of Operations at TikTok Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Pakistan, and South Asia, expressed TikTok's belief in the transformative power of storytelling and the platform's dedication to providing a creative space within a vibrant community of creators.The #BookTok challenge will feature public voting from January 22 to 25, where users can participate in selecting the top 10 videos on a dedicated voting page on TikTok. A panel of judges, including three esteemed global authors—Sara Hamdan, Cecelia Ahern, and Salha Obeaid—will then choose five winners and five runners-up from the shortlist.The announcement of winners will take place on February 4 during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature closing ceremony, followed by a special performance by Rashed Alnuaimi. The victorious entries will be honored with an exclusive Montegrappa Hemingway pen and a TikTok Book Awards trophy.The chosen Montegrappa Hemingway pen is not just a writing instrument but also a tribute to the multifaceted life of Ernest Hemingway.Ahlam Bolooki, Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, conveyed excitement about the TikTok partnership, marking a new chapter in celebrating the love of books in the digital age. Bolooki emphasized the transformative impact of storytelling in the digital realm, creating a movement that influences the publishing industry and commemorating this shift through the region's inaugural book awards at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature.

Yas Island and Saadiyat Island receive 170 regional and global awards in 2023

Yas Island and Saadiyat Island have received 170 regional and international awards in 2023 after being recognised as a premier leisure and entertainment destination in the Middle East.His Excellency Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Miral, said: “Achieving a stellar track record of success across the tourism ecosystem within Abu Dhabi is a proud testament to our relentless commitment in bolstering Abu Dhabi’s position as a global tourism hub. Award-winning destinations and attractions across Yas Island and Saadiyat Island continue to define new industry benchmarks while contributing to the growth and economic diversification of the emirate.”Yas Island received several awards, including recognition from the World Travel Awards as World’s Leading Theme Park Destination, the International Travel Awards as the Best Holiday Destination at the regional and continental levels, as well as the title of Best Entertainment Destination at the country level. It also received the MENALAC 2023 award for being the Best-Integrated Leisure Destination.Ferrari World Yas Island, Abu Dhabi won World’s Leading Theme Park for the fifth year in a row at World Travel Awards. The theme park was also awarded a Silver for Innovation in the Use of Events at the MENA Stevie Awards. Yas Waterworld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi received the Middle East’s Leading Water Park title at the World Travel Awards, while Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi earned the title of the Middle East’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards and CLYMB Yas Island, Abu Dhabi received the title of the Middle East’s Leading Adventure Tourist Attraction 2023.SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi received the award in Outstanding Achievement at the esteemed TEA Awards. Yas Island received the title of Best Business Hotel in Abu Dhabi 2023 at the Business Traveler Awards 2023. Etihad Arena won the Sports and Recreation category at the 2023 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum and was also recognised as a finalist for Venue of the Year, at the 2023 The Stadium Business Awards.Nurai Island received the title of the Best Leading Villa Resort 2023 at the World Travel Awards, while Jumeirah at Saadiyat Island Resort received four awards, including Abu Dhabi’s Leading Resort 2023 and the World’s Leading Luxury Resort and Villas. Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas received eight awards, including Abu Dhabi’s Leading Beach Resort 2023, at the World Travel Awards.

IMI appoints Rania Masri El Khatib & Sharif Badreddine

International Media Investments (IMI), the region’s leading privately-owned media investment group, announced two new hires to its Executive Management Team, with Rania Masri El Khatib appointed as Chief Brand and Marcomms Officer and Sharif Badreddine appointed as Chief Revenue Officer. Both executives will report directly to Rani R. Raad, the Group’s Chief Executive Officer.These appointments come as part of IMI’s transformative efforts to build the organization into a forward–thinking global media powerhouse. “As IMI continues to grow, it is imperative for us to have the right expertise in place to propel our ambitious strategy forward. We are pleased to welcome Rania and Sharif to IMI, both of whom bring a wealth of experience and a proven track record of strategic achievements that will fortify IMI’s leading position in the industry, in line with our commitment to delivering innovative media solutions and elevating our presence in the global media sector.” Raad commented.Rania Masri El Khatib, a seasoned professional with over 20 years of experience in the brand and marketing industries, brings forth a wealth of expertise in shaping the way brands can innovatively connect with audiences. Her extensive background includes working with various international brands and launching homegrown ones; she most recently served as the Chief Transformation Officer at Chalhoub Group, the Middle East’s largest luxury retail organization, before starting her own consultancy. At IMI, Rania will lead the brand strategy, Marketing, Communications and Creative functions, with a vision to connect with audiences on multiple levels in a fast paced and information-rich world. “I am thrilled to join IMI and to contribute to a field that not only informs but also entertains and enriches lives.” shared Rania.Sharif Badreddine, brings more than two and a half decades of experience in the media and advertising industry, having served as the Group Director of Commercial at MBC Group, where he developed a holistic and multi-platform approach focused on product innovation and the creation of alternative revenue streams. His visionary leadership and strategic innovation have significantly influenced organisations and high-profile brands across various sectors and regions. In his new role, Sherif will lead the Commercial team, driving product innovation and revenue growth. “I am delighted to join IMI, an organization that stands at the forefront of media innovation and global storytelling. While our content continues to engage, inform, and inspire people worldwide, my priority would be to strengthen our partnerships with clients and agencies and help create innovative and deeper connections between their brands and audiences.” Sharif commented.IMI is a privately–owned investment company focused on building a portfolio of quality media assets across the globe. The company’s brands currently include The National, CNN Business Arabic, and Al-Ain News; along with interests in Sky News Arabia and Euronews.

Unstop and hrtech Forge Strategic Alliance to Revolutionize Early Talent in ME

In a landmark move set to transform the landscape of early talent acquisition and engagement in the Middle East, hrtech, a premier HR Technology Solutions and Analyst firm, has joined forces with Unstop, a talent discovery, community engagement and hiring platform for students and freshers, where talent meets opportunities. This strategic partnership is poised to reshape how businesses in the rapidly evolving Middle Eastern market discover and engage with emerging talent.This alliance leverages hrtech's deep market insights and consulting prowess alongside Unstop's cutting-edge platform, offering enterprises and startups in the Middle East a unique solution for engaging and hiring early talent. The collaboration is uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the region's emerging talent and its burgeoning business sector, fostering a vibrant ecosystem encompassing Early Talent, Colleges, and Recruiters.Ankit Aggarwal, Founder of Unstop, expressed his enthusiasm about this collaboration, stating, "Our alliance with hrtech is more than a partnership; it's a commitment to the Middle East's future leaders. Unstop is dedicated to being an unstoppable force in talent development, and with hrtech, we are set to revolutionize how the Middle East discovers and nurtures early talent, aligning with our vision to provide innovative and localized solutions."Sriram Iyer, Founder & CEO of hrtech, shared his excitement about the partnership, saying, "Partnering with Unstop, renowned for their dynamic approach to talent engagement, marks a significant milestone in our mission. We are eager to redefine the HR landscape in the Middle East, confident that our combined expertise will introduce groundbreaking HR solutions tailored to the unique dynamics of this vibrant region."This partnership is more than a collaboration; it's a catalyst for change in the Middle Eastern talent landscape, promising to bring innovative solutions and new opportunities to the region's burgeoning workforce and dynamic business environment.

Google appoints Ziad Jammal as Google Cloud Country Manager in the UAE

Google Cloud announced the appointment of Ziad Jammal as UAE Google Cloud Country Manager to further drive digital transformation for UAE businesses in the new AI era. Ziad brings extensive experience in the technology industry and a deep understanding of the UAE’s digital landscape to this strategic role.As Google Cloud Country Manager, he will be responsible for overseeing Google Cloud’s go-to-market strategy, supporting partners relationships, and driving customers' success across the UAE. He will focus on scaling Google Cloud’s offerings in the UAE to help organizations across various industries, including the public sector, financial services, media, aviation, telco and retail, innovate faster.“We are delighted to have Ziad at the helm of our UAE operations,” said Abdul Rahman AlThehaiban, Google Cloud Managing Director, Middle East, Turkey and Africa. “His leadership, expertise, and knowledge of the region will be instrumental in elevating customers’ experience with Google Cloud, while ensuring businesses benefit from both cutting-edge solutions and the trusted support needed for their unique cloud journey.” Ziad has over 20 years of experience in information technology and tech sales leadership. He joined Google Cloud in 2017 and has since played a pivotal role in expanding the company’s value proposition in the UAE. In his most recent role at Google Cloud, he led the Startups and Digital Natives team where he successfully developed the go-to-market strategy to support, grow and empower local businesses and entrepreneurs.“I am excited to take on this new challenge and to spearhead the next chapter of Google Cloud’s journey in the UAE,” said Ziad. “The UAE has long championed ambitious plans for its digital economy, and looking at an entirely new era of digital transformation fueled by generative AI, there are unprecedented opportunities for businesses in the country to transform their operations and disrupt industries. With this, our AI-infused solutions for data, infrastructure, productivity, and security will help organizations in achieving transformative business outcomes and leveraging new technologies like generative AI.

Aramco Digital and Intel to forge collaboration

Aramco Digital and Intel announced their intent to establish Saudi Arabia’s inaugural Open RAN (Radio Access Network) Development Center. The facility is expected to drive innovation, foster technological advancements and contribute to the digital transformation landscape in the Kingdom.The collaborative effort aims to accelerate the development and deployment of Open RAN technologies, helping to enable the Kingdom to build robust and agile telecommunication infrastructure focused on accelerating digitization across industries. This collaboration aims to align with Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, which focuses on technological advancements and economic diversification.Open RAN, an evolving paradigm in wireless network architecture, allows for greater flexibility, interoperability and innovation. Aramco Digital brings a deep understanding of the development needs and ambitions of the Kingdom and the opportunities for Open RAN technology deployment, along with a unique perspective of the Kingdom's economic landscape. Intel, a pioneer in computing and communication technologies, brings its expertise in Open RAN technologies to the collaboration.Highlights of the collaboration:**Innovation Hub:** The Open RAN Development Center aims to serve as an innovation hub, fostering collaboration between Aramco Digital and Intel engineers, researchers and industry experts.**Local Talent Development:** The Center aims to contribute to the development of local talent by providing training and hands-on experience in the rapidly evolving field of Open RAN and Edge computing technology.**Economic Impact:** The collaboration aims to contribute to the local economy through technology-driven initiatives, aligning with the broader objectives of Vision 2030.**Global Collaboration:** The collaboration on Open RAN between Aramco Digital and Intel is expected to extend beyond borders, connecting Saudi Arabia to the global landscape of Open RAN and Edge development and deployment.Aramco Digital's CEO Tareq Amin said: "This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to helping drive innovation in the Kingdom. The Open RAN Development Center is expected to be a catalyst for digital evolution, providing a platform for collaboration, skill development and the creation of a vibrant technology ecosystem. At the heart of this collaboration is the creation of a vibrant pool of local capabilities for advanced 5G and future 6G technologies.”"We are pleased to collaborate on Open RAN with Aramco Digital and to combine Intel's technological prowess in network and edge computing and software with the local insights and industry leadership of Aramco Digital. Together, we aim to accelerate the deployment of edge-native Open RAN solutions in Saudi Arabia and beyond," said Sachin Katti, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Network and Edge Group.The Open RAN Development Center is planned to commence operations in 2024, marking a milestone in Saudi Arabia's journey towards a technology-driven future.

Measuring impact: John von Hofsten discusses HOP's approach to success

Digital agency Home of Performance (HOP) has recently forged a strategic partnership with FitConnector, a groundbreaking mobile app connecting fitness enthusiasts with passionate professionals. The collaboration aims to redefine the fitness landscape across the region. In this interview with Adgully Middle East, John von Hofsten, the Managing Director of HOP, delves into the vision and strategies behind this partnership, and much more. Excerpts:In light of HOP's partnership with FitConnector, how do you envision leveraging your strategic expertise to contribute to the transformation of the fitness and wellness experience for individuals across the region?Partnering with FitConnector allows us to tap into our strategic expertise and truly reshape the fitness landscape. We plan to create targeted campaigns that go beyond just promotion, connecting users with the perfect coach based on their needs and goals. Imagine AI-powered recommendations, personalized content, and gamified challenges that build an engaging community around fitness. We'll leverage social media, influencer partnerships, and innovative marketing strategies to ensure FitConnector reaches diverse audiences and makes fitness accessible and appealing to everyone.FitConnector emphasizes democratizing access to quality fitness guidance. How does HOP ensure a client-centric approach, and what steps are taken to understand and address the diverse needs of clients in the evolving digital landscape?Client-centricity is embedded in everything we do at HOP. We actively engage with FitConnector users through surveys, polls, and social media interactions to understand their backgrounds, fitness goals, and technological comfort levels. This data informs our content strategy, user interface design, and even coach selection. We strive for inclusivity, ensuring the app caters to diverse needs, cultural backgrounds, and fitness levels. This continuous feedback loop allows us to adapt and personalize the experience for everyone.With the increasing role of technology in the fitness industry, how does HOP plan to integrate digital innovations to enhance the user experience within the FitConnector app and stay ahead of industry trends?The future of fitness lies in seamlessly integrating technology. We're exploring AI-powered workout recommendations that adjust based on real-time performance data, gamified challenges that motivate and reward users, and even adaptive training plans that personalize the experience. Imagine FitConnector suggesting healthy recipes paired with your workout or virtual challenges with friends, making fitness fun and social. We actively monitor industry trends and invest in R&D to ensure FitConnector remains at the forefront of digital fitness.Given the competitive landscape in the digital agency industry, what specific strategies or initiatives do you believe set HOP apart and contribute to its success in driving results for clients?While the agency landscape is crowded, HOP stands out through our unwavering focus on performance. We deliver tangible results, not just vanity metrics. We also value long-term partnerships, working collaboratively with clients like FitConnector to evolve their digital presence. Our data-driven approach allows us to constantly optimize campaigns and track ROI, proving every investment delivers a measurable return. Finally, our team combines passion, creativity, and tech expertise, giving us the edge in crafting effective and innovative digital solutions.Could you share insights into your leadership style and how it aligns with the dynamic and innovative nature of the digital agency environment?My leadership style reflects the dynamic nature of the digital world. I foster open communication, encouraging brainstorming and innovative ideas. Collaboration is key, and I empower individuals to leverage their strengths and take ownership. This creates a sense of purpose and dedication, driving us to exceed expectations and propel collaborations like FitConnector to success.How does HOP define and measure success? Are there specific KPIs or milestones that you consider crucial in evaluating the impact and effectiveness of collaborations?HOP's success goes beyond awards. We measure it by the tangible impact we create for our clients. For FitConnector, it's the number of lives transformed, the thriving communities built, and the positive shift in people's approach to fitness. We track key metrics like app downloads, active users, engagement rates, and user feedback to assess our progress and identify areas for improvement. These KPIs demonstrate the real-world impact of our collaboration and guide our efforts to continuously create positive change.Considering the evolving landscape of digital agencies, what major trends or shifts do you foresee in the industry (such as AI), and how does HOP position itself to adapt and capitalize on these changes?AI is a game-changer, and HOP is actively embracing it. We envision AI powering personalized recommendations, optimizing training plans, and even providing on-the-go feedback through voice assistants. We're also keeping an eye on the rise of augmented reality and the metaverse, where virtual fitness experiences could hold immense potential. HOP thrives on agility and continuous learning. We invest in training, attend conferences, and experiment with new technologies, ensuring we remain prepared to adapt and capitalize on these evolving trends.

Gifting innovations: Tarun Joshi's odyssey with IGP in the Middle East

Adgully Middle East recently interviewed Tarun Joshi, the Founder of Join Ventures in India, which is the parent company for IGP in the Middle East, and various other brands.From his roots as a DRDO scientist to steering Join Ventures, Tarun unfolds the narrative of IGP's expansion into the Middle East and the strategic vision driving its success in the region. Tarun, a seasoned technology entrepreneur and investor, is notable for establishing Join Ventures, a company with substantial holdings in the online gifting sector. Under his leadership, Join Ventures owns, recognized as one of the world's premier online gifting companies. Additionally, Tarun has strategically positioned the company to oversee, the Indian business of the world's largest floral company.In the interview, Tarun Joshi discusses his entrepreneurial journey from being a DRDO scientist to his current ventures. With his business acumen, he has successfully expanded IGP to the Middle East. The discussion will explore further insights into his business plans for the Middle Eastern region.Could you share your entrepreneurial journey and the genesis of the Join Ventures?My entrepreneurial journey has been a tapestry woven with threads of diverse experiences, each contributing to the fabric of Join Ventures, one of the world’s fastest-growing direct-to-consumer (D2C) platforms. At the helm of this venture, I find myself at the intersection of technology, innovation, and a relentless passion for creating meaningful connections through gifting and flowersThe genesis of Join Ventures can be traced back to my early days as an aerospace scientist, playing a pivotal role in designing the flight control systems for Tejas, India's first supersonic fighter aircraft. This experience ingrained in me the importance of precision, innovation, and the ability to navigate challenges with resilience. Building on this foundation, I embarked on a journey to harness technology for societal impact.Another turning point in my career was the design of the world's first biometric ATM, a pioneering initiative that broke down language barriers and facilitated financial inclusion for low-income microfinance consumers in India. This project fuelled my belief in the transformative power of technology to bridge gaps and enhance lives. It was a testament to the idea that innovation can be a force for positive change, fostering financial empowerment and inclusion.With over 12 years of experience at leading private equity firms, including 3i and CVCI, I honed my skills in strategic financial management. Managing investments exceeding $500 million in Asia provided me with a comprehensive understanding of market dynamics and a keen insight into the potential of emerging industries. This experience became a cornerstone for my venture into the entrepreneurial landscape.As an active angel investor in start-ups, my interests spanned diverse sectors, including e-commerce, financial services, technology, and consumer companies. These investments were not merely financial; they were strategic bets on the potential of visionary ideas and innovative solutions. Each investment contributed to shaping my entrepreneurial philosophy, emphasizing the importance of agility, innovation, and purposeful leadership.My passion for sports, particularly my achievements as a state champion and 11 times national level player in Badminton, instilled in me the values of discipline, determination, and a team-player approach. These values have been integral to my leadership style, fostering a culture at Join Ventures where talent thrives and evolves to meet the demands of the dynamic digital-first ecosystem.Join Ventures, with its flagship entities and, reflects my commitment to creating a platform that goes beyond transactions, focusing on creating memorable experiences for individuals across the globe. The vision is to redefine the landscape of online gifting and flower delivery, leveraging technology to forge emotional connections.In essence, my entrepreneurial journey is a mosaic of technological innovation, financial acumen, and a deep-rooted belief in the transformative power of purposeful leadership. Join Ventures is not just a business venture; it is a culmination of my experiences, values, and relentless pursuit of excellence in creating a positive impact on people's lives.IGP, a renowned gifting company, has embarked on its journey in the Middle East. What motivated the decision to introduce the brand in this region?The UAE has over 10 million people, and out of which 85% are immigrants who want to stay connected to their families and build and enhance their social graph in the UAE. Our sole reason for existence is to help our consumers stay connected to their friends and families back home and to enrich new relationships, whether personal or corporate. We view the UAE as our gateway into the MENA region, considering the warmth and sociability of the culture, which is consistent across the entire MENA region.What are your perspectives on the e-commerce landscape in the UAE? How do you intend to navigate and capitalize on this dynamic market with IGP?The e commerce landscape in the UAE has strong tailwinds. Given the increase in the migrated population in the UAE and preference for convenience, over 70% of people in the UAE are going to continue ordering online. This is expected to deliver over 30% growth p.a. to the online ecosystem in the UAE over the next 3-5 years.What strategies will you employ for marketing to ensure IGP's success in both the UAE and the broader GCC market?The entire GCC market is very aspirational and values the overall service experience. Our marketing strategy would be a mix of providing a strong AI-powered technology platform that reminds every important moment in the life of our consumers, best product portfolio spanning across flowers, cakes, personalised, home and fashion accessories, and on top of that delivery of all these products within 60 minutes.In the midst of the festive season, how can brands seamlessly integrate into the evolving e-commerce landscape in the UAE? How can a corporation develop a profound understanding and adaptability to market dynamics, ensuring a sustained impact in the gifting sector?Providing a superior delivery experience is the key to all brands. In a digital-first world, convenience and variety are of foremost importance. Gifting for example is very demanding as the consumers remember an occasion at the last minute and expect the best products to be delivered in the shortest amount of time. Sustainability is very important to be measured and implemented across the organisation.For IGP, if we want the world to be a happy place, we strive to ensure that we have to first give back to the society and the environment at large. We therefore monitor the carbon footprint of every single product, including the flower stems used in our bouquets, and make sure that we run a carbon-neutral organisation, which is making the entire world a happy place.Do you identify gaps in the gifting market, and if so, what is your approach to filling these voids?The biggest gap that I feel in the gifting market in the UAE is the lack of personalised options. Increasingly, consumers are looking at unique ways of expressing their heartfelt emotions for every special moment in the lives of their loved ones. We at IGP believe in bringing a smile to every recipient for every special moment.Currently, customized gifts are gaining popularity in the gifting sector. How does IGP plan to redefine the art of thoughtful and personalized gifting experiences?Every gift has a feeling associated with it. Customization is the best way to express a multitude of feelings. These feelings are the glue between people and their relationships (close or distant) and special moments (small or big and sad or happy).In the competitive landscape of gifting brands in the UAE and GCC markets, what is your strategy for IGP to stand out? What sets IGP apart from its competition?IGP is all about enriching relationships for over 10 million people in the UAE and over 50 million in the GCC. Our endeavour would be to present the best assortment of over 2500 gifts to express the relevant feeling for every occasion and relationship.Can you outline the cities where IGP is set to expand across the Middle East in the coming years? What are the future expansion plans for the brand?IGP has created a state-of-the-art 20,000-square-feet facility in the heart of Dubai, and will look at opening similar facilities in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, and Jeddah.

X expands partnership with Shopify for new opportunities

X (former Twitter) is making strides in its "everything app" plan through a new partnership with Shopify. The partnership aims to provide more opportunities for Shopify merchants to promote their products within the app.The deal is expected to introduce new ways for Shopify sellers to advertise on X. This could potentially enhance the visibility of Shopify products on the platform.X and Shopify are working on facilitating easier catalogue uploads. Shopify merchants may have a streamlined process to showcase their products on X, making it more convenient for both sellers and potential customers. The partnership is intended to enable broader product awareness actions. This could mean increased visibility and exposure for the products offered by Shopify sellers on the X platform. X is working on securing payment transmitter licenses in U.S. states, and there's confidence in enabling peer-to-peer payments in the app. If successful, this could open up new opportunities for retailers, with Shopify merchants leveraging X's reach for in-stream payments and transfers.Shopify's President, Harley Finkelstein, emphasizes the importance of reaching customers wherever they are and suggests that the partnership will boost exposure for Shopify sellers.Elon Musk's "everything app" vision, hints at a comprehensive platform that covers various aspects, potentially including commerce. The success of this vision could significantly impact how businesses operate on the platform.While the details are still to be determined, the collaboration between X and Shopify appears to hold potential for both parties. If the "everything app" vision materializes and in-stream payments become a reality, it could indeed lead to significant opportunities for retailers, particularly those on the Shopify platform.

Mashreq Launches New Mobile App for Superior Digital Experience

Mashreq, one of the leading financial institutions in the MENA region, announced the launch of its innovative mobile app, Mashreq UAE, aimed at providing a superior digital experience for its customers. This cutting-edge solution represents a significant leap in mobile banking, merging the Mashreq app with the Mashreq NEO app to deliver a unified, single-login platform. This consolidation allows customers to view all their financial relationships across products and services, enhancing convenience and simplifying their banking experience.The newly enhanced Mashreq NEO experience offered through the Mashreq UAE app, has been specifically designed with the customer in mind, offering a personalized experience with features like tailor-made offers for credit and debit cards visible on the app dashboard. The app's simpler branding is aimed at providing a consistent experience across different customer segments and variants, truly embodying the essence of intuitive customer focus.Fernando Morillo, Group Head of Retail Banking, Mashreq, said:“Banks that are focused on enhancing their digital infrastructure are set to see a dramatic spike in engagement, thanks to a consumer base that is evolving to be more tech-savvy, seeking convenience, simplicity and personalization. As one of the leading financial institutions in the region, Mashreq has had a history of going beyond just offering new products and services, which has enabled us to pioneer the best-in-class experiences that benefit our customers. Because of the demonstrated success of our digital banking platforms in the UAE and other global markets, we have undertaken expansion to new markets, such as Egypt, Pakistan, and scaling up our presence in the GCC. The new, supercharged Mashreq NEO experience we have introduced through this launch, is yet another incredible milestone in our journey to creating truly game-changing digital experiences for our customers.”Radu Topliceanu, Head of NEO and Personal Banking, Mashreq, said:“As we embrace the future of banking, the revamped Mashreq NEO experience is more than just a technological advancement. It is a strategic pivot towards fully integrated, customer-centric digital experiences. The app is not only a gateway to efficient and secure banking but also a reflection of our commitment to understanding and addressing the unique financial needs of our customers. We are redefining the standards of digital banking, ensuring that every interaction is personalized, secure, and above all, effortlessly intuitive. Our aim is to not only meet but exceed the expectations of our digitally-savvy customers, making Mashreq the go-to bank for innovative and reliable digital banking services.”The app is particularly designed for the digitally connected consumer and busy professionals who manage their finances on the go. It offers existing Mashreq customers a consolidated view of their relationships with the bank, a single login for ease of use, and a personalized experience. The app’s 24/7 customer service via the Digital Chatbot – Mashreq Virtual Assistant is a highlight, offering instant support and transaction management. Customers who are new to the bank will benefit from a 100% digital onboarding journey, allowing them to open an account quickly and securely with just a face scan. This biometric face validation provides a fast, secure, and streamlined process, making decision-making simpler for the customers.In terms of growth and engagement, the launch of the Mashreq UAE app is anticipated to significantly boost user engagement rates. The bank forecasts considerable increases in these areas, showcasing the app's potential to transform the digital banking experience for its users. These enhancements align with Mashreq's vision for the app over the coming years, aiming to onboard all customers digitally, offer a comprehensive range of services, and establish itself as the most rewarding banking app in the market.

TikTok releases Season two of The Future of Retail podcast series

TikTok launched the second season of its podcast ‘The Future of Retail’, hosted by Aref Yehia, Head of Retail & E-Commerce Business Partnerships at TikTok MENA. The podcast hosts prominent retail industry CEOs to discuss the industry’s evolving landscape as the region continues to be a thriving hub for retail and embraces the transformative potential of emerging technologies. Full episodes will be accessible for streaming in both audio and video formats via TikTok channels.The region’s retail industry stands out globally, with the UAE’s retail market is expected to reach USD 37.70 billion by 2027. With a projected compound annual growth rate of 5.88%, the growth is a testimony of the increased competition and promising future of the dynamic promising retail landscape. In this podcast, TikTok dives deep with industry leaders to understand shoppers’ needs and identify the opportunities that will shape the future of commerce.Aref Yehia, Head of Retail & E-Commerce at TikTok MENA, shares his anticipation for the upcoming season, “This season, we're continuing our deep dive into the real innovations reshaping retail and e-commerce. Our guests this season bring a wealth of experience and perspectives on the transformative trends that are redefining the retail and e-commerce landscape. We're focusing on the heart of retail evolution – customer-centricity. This season is about unraveling how businesses are ingeniously adapting to the ever-evolving needs and preferences of customers."‘The Future of Retail’ will feature bi-weekly episodes, with the first episode viewable here. The first episode features the CEO of Talabat Tomaso Rodriguez, discussing all the innovations happening in the field of quick commerce and food delivery. The lineup for Season 2 also includes Hani Weiss, CEO at Majid Al Futtaim Retail, and Toufic Kreidieh, Co-founder & CEO at Brands for less.

MCN and its agencies across the region achieve Great Place to Work certification

MCN (Middle East Communications Network), along with all its agencies in the UAE, Qatar, and Egypt, proudly announce its continued recognition as a Great Place to Work® for the year 2024. This prestigious certification, awarded by the Great Place to Work (GPTW) organization, reaffirms MCN's commitment to fostering a positive and thriving workplace environment, marking a new standard for excellence in the industry.The extensive analysis conducted by Great Place to Work® Middle East, based on direct feedback from employees through an anonymous survey, highlights MCN's dedication to providing an outstanding working experience. This distinction is a collective achievement of the entire MCN community, which includes the following agencies: FP7McCann, Momentum, McCann Health, MRM, Mullenlowe, UM, Magna, KINESSO, Initiative, Weber Shandwick, Jack Morton, Commonwealth//McCann. MCN's success in achieving the Great Place to Work certification solidifies its position as a leader in employee satisfaction and as an employer of choice."We are incredibly proud of this unprecedented collective achievement in the UAE, Egypt and Qatar. This recognition is truly special; it resonates with the voices, votes, and sentiments of our exceptional teams. It is a testament to the passion and unity of our MCN family and the love people have for each other and for working together." Said Ricarda Ruecker, Chief Talent Officer, MCN.MCN looks forward to continuing its journey of fostering an exceptional workplace culture and is committed to annually renew the Great Place to Work certification and expand it to additional countries.

Dubai-based fintech platform Znap rebrands as TOTL

Homegrown cashback rewards platform Znap revealed today its new brand identity, TOTL, as part of an extensive visual and service delivery transformation strategy.The rebranding marks a significant turning point in Znap’s corporate trajectory and underscores the firm’s unwavering commitment to delivering need-driven fintech solutions to consumers and partners in the region.The new look will include a logo refresh, which represents “in our mind” contactless payments with exciting colours – green, which represents growth, health, and tranquillity; purple, which represents creativity, luxury, and wisdom – and attributes that evoke emotions and brand association.The rebrand from Znap to TOTL (pronounced Total) modernises and simplifies brand recall among consumers while delivering solutions that ultimately bring people together and improve lives.According to Uday Rathod, CEO and Co-Founder of the brand, TOTL, which represents payments with Value back (cashback), is an innovative approach that transforms cashback into a seamless and straightforward process for customers and local businesses.“We’ve reached a critical turning point that began with the unveiling of Znap in 2017 – a platform that was at the time solely designed to help consumers upload their billd and earn cash rewards on every product listed in the FMCG sector. However, as business dynamics and consumer preferences evolve, there is a need to move the brand to the next level. By rebranding to TOTL, we are now on a mission to help consumers get value for every Dhiram spent in a way that’s a win-win situation for both business and consumers,” said Uday.Despite the growing competition within the industry, TOTL has been making meaningful strides in the region. From 2021 until now, TOTL has seen exponential growth, with transactions surging by over 100X thanks to the increased cashback utilisation. Moreover, boasing an impressive customer return rate exceeding 83%, the company has experiences remarkable progress.Driving loyalty and salesOver the last few years, the cashback rewards industry has become an integral part of most businesses’ growth strategy in the UAE and regionally, as the concept continues to help homegrown retailers drive customer loyalty and increase sales. According to research firm Statista, the global cashback industry is expected to be worth more than US$200 billion a year by 2024, with participating retailers growing their revenue up to two and a half times faster than competitors who do not use them.On its part, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been experiencing a ballooning adoption of loyalty programs by businesses of all sizes, led by e-commerce platforms increasingly tapping into loyalty programs to boost repeat purchases and drive revenue growth. With its loyalty market, which includes cashback and rewards programs, poised to grow by over 12 per cent annually to reach US$1,423.7 million in 2023, the market is expected to increase from US$1,269.7 million in 2022 to reach US$2,214.5 million by 2027.Before the rebrand, Znap had partnered with over 600 businesses and with the new brand outlook, the company is now expected to aggressively into other untapped markets, including Abu Dhabi, Ajman, and Ras Al Khaimah, in a bid to tap different potential categories such as food and beverages, beauty and wellness, optical floral stores, pet care and more.

'Mall Millionaire' campaign concludes with grand prize and car winners announced

Line Investments & Property LLC has successfully concluded the exciting 'Mall Millionaire' campaign, announcing the lucky winners of the AED One Million grand prize and five T5 EVO cars. The campaign held, across thirteen malls in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Al Dhafra, redefined the shopping experience, offering customers an array of rewards, entertainment, and shopping deals. The grand prize draw was the highlight of the campaign, with one fortunate shopper winning AED One Million. The lucky winner, Mr. Mohammad Sameer took home a million dirhams. Additionally, five lucky winners drove away with brand new Forthing T5 Evo 2024 cars. Throughout the campaign, shoppers also enjoyed winning Lulu Trolley gift vouchers, AED 20,000 Laka Cards worth up to AED 500K, and other instant prizes. "Witnessing the joy and excitement among our shoppers has been truly rewarding," said Wajeb Al Khoury, Director of Line Investments and Property LLC. "The 'Mall Millionaire' campaign's third edition has not only offered fantastic shopping deals but has also created unforgettable moments and happy winners. It's gratifying to see our vision for a unique shopping experience come to life across our malls." Biju George, General Manager, Line Investments, commented, "The overwhelming response to the 'Mall Millionaire' campaign underscores our commitment to offering exceptional experiences to our shoppers. We are thrilled to have brought back this campaign, making the shopping season memorable. Congratulations to all the winners, and we look forward to hosting more such engaging events in the future." The campaign's success has set a new benchmark for shopping extravaganzas in the region, with weekly prize-giving ceremonies, daily draws, and the mega prize of AED 1 million plus cars. The participating malls witnessed an unprecedented turnout, reflecting the campaign's popularity. Line Investments & Property LLC extends its gratitude to all the participants and partners who made the 'Mall Millionaire' campaign a phenomenal success and promises to return with more exciting initiatives in the future. Participating malls included Al Wahda Mall, Mushrif Mall, Khalidiyah Mall, Al Raha Mall, Mazyad Mall, Forsan Central Mall, Al Falah Central Mall, Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre and Gold Centre, Hameem Mall, and Mafraq Mall in Abu Dhabi as well as Al Foah Mall and Barari Outlet Mall in Al Ain and Al Dhafra Mall in Al Dhafra.

Thriwe launches exclusive membership program ThriwePrime

Thriwe, a leading technology-driven B2B Benefits-As-A-Platform company, has launched ThriwePrime, an exclusive membership program designed for the KSA region. As part of its expansion into the Saudi market, ThriwePrime offers unparalleled access to a myriad of premier brands including Spotify, Nahdi Pharmacies, Amazon, Uber, Mrsool, Careem, and more across Travel, Entertainment, Shopping, Digital, and Healthcare at exclusive discounted rates.Thriwe, specializes in rewards, loyalty with a decade of experience, and offers innovative solutions to Acquire, Engage, and retain customers. Renowned for its decade-long expertise, Thriwe has broadened its service portfolio to encompass various verticals. With over 30,000 strategic partnerships and associations, it is now venturing into user-oriented technology-driven holistic platforms. These platforms aim to provide a spectrum of lifestyle and wellness, dining, digital, and travel benefits and services, all while maintaining its core ideology of delivering excellence consistently.Dhruv Verma, the Founder & CEO of Thriwe, expressed enthusiasm about the launch, stating, "ThriwePrime marks our dedication to empowering businesses and individuals with an exclusive membership experience that goes beyond traditional benefits. We are excited to bring this innovative program to the KSA market, providing our users with a seamless journey towards elevated lifestyles and enhanced well-being."Sachin Sharma, Chief Operating Officer of Thriwe for the KSA region underscored, "The launch of ThriwePrime in the Saudi market seamlessly aligns with Vision 2030, emphasizing the progression of digital services and delivering unparalleled value to our users. Witnessing rapid growth in the tech-based retail market in KSA, further solidifies our commitment to meeting the dynamic demands of this flourishing sector."ThriwePrime offers three distinct membership tiers – Silver, Gold, and Platinum, with prices starting from SAR 149. The platform's user-friendly redemption process includes visiting the ThriwePrime official website, selecting a membership bundle, providing contact details, making the discounted payment, unlocking a unique membership ID, downloading the Thriwe App, and registering with the same details to access benefits.In navigating the new market landscape of Saudi Arabia, Thriwe is strategically opening its doors to users, including decision-makers across diverse businesses. Recognizing the substantial impact of experiences in decision-making, Thriwe is launching an initiative that enables decision-makers to directly encounter their services on behalf of their customers. This proactive approach underscores Thriwe's commitment to understanding and meeting the unique needs of the Saudi market.Thriwe's track record of strategic partnerships with renowned financial institutions and its global presence in over 130 countries has positioned it as a trusted leader in the B2B benefits space. With a goal of generating USD 100 million in revenue from the Saudi Market over the next 36 months, Thriwe remains committed to revolutionizing benefits platforms and enhancing user experiences across various industries.

Sherpa Communications among Communicate’s Best Places to Work 2024 in MENA

Sherpa Communications, an award-winning B2B-focused communications agency based in Dubai, has been featured among Communicate’s Best Place to Work 2024, a list of organisations in MENA’s marketing and advertising sector that are actively working to create a workplace dedicated to cultivating environments that attract, retain, and support top-tier talent.Communicate Magazine, a leading voice in the marketing, advertising, and creative industries, had a refined process to gather insights and analyse organisations based on their workplace initiatives, employee benefits, opportunities for professional development, and commitment to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) in their operations. This helped them shortlist companies that upheld commendable work policies, culture, and practices. Selection for this list was determined through an anonymous survey completed by employees, serving as the key factor in the shortlisting process.On this occasion, Anastasiya Golovatenko, PR Director, at Sherpa Communications, said: “We are incredibly honoured to be recognised by Communicate as one of MENA’s Best Places to Work. This acknowledgement validates our commitment to fostering an inclusive, collaborative, and inspiring workplace where our team members can excel and grow professionally. At Sherpa, we believe in cultivating a culture of 'sharing and caring' among our team members, bridging connections and fostering collaboration. Our focus extends beyond mere business strategies; the company is a platform that cultivates professional growth opportunities, empowering our team, and nurturing a sense of belonging and purpose within the workplace.”Sherpa Communications, an expert in Public Relations that understands the importance of human-centred approach, places a strategic emphasis on cultivating a robust corporate culture, recognizing its significance and importance. This conviction is supported by various studies, including a Glassdoor survey, which revealed that 77% of potential employees assess a company's culture before applying. By implementing progressive initiatives and offering comprehensive professional development opportunities, Sherpa Communications cultivates an inclusive and supportive environment that encourages creativity and individual growth. Their commitment to pushing boundaries and fostering innovation ensures their employees feel valued and motivated to deliver their best.

Advanced Media Trading and EditShare explore the future of cinema

Advanced Media Trading recently launched CINETomorrow, the third edition of its biannual digital cinema community event, as an interactive intersection of digital cinema, virtual production and sustainability in media and entertainment from January 11-13, 2024.The three-day event from January 11 to 13, 2024 was broken down into three main themes: “Light, Sound, Action!,” “Behind the Scenes,” and “Future of Cinema.” Every theme corresponded to a day of workshops and addressed the main subjects associated with the theme. Day three, “Future of Cinema,” focused on how environmental concerns have shifted productions from physical to digital with virtual production and cloud technology. “ On January 13th M&E technology expert Iain Churchill-Coleman kicked off the day with a 90-minute workshop on “Mastering Remote Production for Video Editors.” Powered by EditShare, the workshop emphasized how navigating remote video production demands not only requires technical knowledge but also a good understanding of project management, permissions, and IT security. In this era of rapid change, remote editing has become an essential skill for editors and content creators. “We have called it the future of cinema but it is really the present. The amazing technology developed by EditShare and the services provided are already revolutionizing cinema for the better. We cannot recommend them to productions enough,” Abdelrahman Elalfy, Corporate Sales Manager at Advanced Media Trading.EditShare is an Emmy Award-winning technology leader, supporting storytellers through collaborative media workflows across on-premise, cloud and hybrid architectures. The market-leading open software solutions and robust APIs improve workflow collaboration, third-party integrations and content sharing across the entire production chain. Designed specifically for media applications, the high performance line-up provides shared storage, archiving and backup, and intelligent media asset management.Through a recent merger with Shift Media, EditShare now also integrates tools for content review and distribution, the creation of customized and branded pitch reels, and secure preview of high-value pre-release content. The workshop led by Iain Churchill-Coleman was designed to empower editors with the indispensable knowledge and techniques required to operate efficiently in remote work. "I was delighted to participate in the inaugural CINETomorrow event. It was a great opportunity to showcase Editshare's commitment to advancing efficient remote production and collaborative media workflows" remarked Churchill-Coleman.CINETomorrow is an edition in a series of digital cinema events organized by Advanced Media. After receiving a positive response from the workshop attendees and event participants, both Advanced Media and EditShare hope to curate more training opportunities together both in the region.

Alstom appoints Dr. Dalya Al Muthanna as Managing Director & CEO

 Alstom has announced the appointment of Dalya Al Muthanna as the new Managing Director & CEO in Gulf (UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain).With a track record of customer-oriented success in the Gulf, Dalya held the position of President at GE in the UAE and global Chief of Strategy & Operations for GE International Markets, as well as previously holding the position of President & CEO for GE in the Gulf region. Her educational background includes a Ph.D. from Imperial College London and an MBA from the American University in Dubai.“With Dalya Al Muthanna on board, Alstom is poised to elevate and further localize its presence in the Middle East's dynamic mobility sector. Her role is crucial as we align with each country's drive towards net-zero carbon emissions. We are enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead, particularly in areas of infrastructure enhancement, digital optimization, and innovative sustainable mobility solutions,” stated Andrew DeLeone, President, Africa, Middle East and Central Asia Region at Alstom.In her role at Alstom, Dalya will be instrumental in steering the company's growth and enhancing relationships with key stakeholders.“I'm excited to join Alstom and lead a dynamic team dedicated to pioneering sustainable mobility solutions. Alstom has been an integral part of the region’s growth in rail transportation, and I'm honoured to contribute to this legacy. We are committed to deepening our impact and fostering broad-based collaboration, ensuring Alstom continues to play a crucial role in the sustainable development for years to come.” says Dalya Al Muthanna.Alstom, a global leader in rail transport and mobility, has a long-standing presence in Qatar and UAE. The company has delivered major successful projects in the region. For example, Alstom delivered the Dubai tramway, the first fully integrated tramway system in the Middle East, and the world's first 100% catenary-free line, which was opened in November 2014. The company provided the complete railway system in Dubai Route 2020 Metro, the world's fastest-built turnkey metro project, and also built the first tramway in Lusail Qatar, the largest tramway system project in the Gulf region.