Sila Insights CEO Paul Kelly on unlocking consumer intelligence with AI

In this interview,  Sila Insights CEO Paul Kelly tells Adgully Associate Editor BF Firos how the inspiration behind starting Sila stemmed from recognizing the untapped potential of consumer intelligence in the Middle East, especially in understanding Arabic-speaking consumers' unique needs and preferences. Kelly explains the role of AI in the consumer intelligence industry and how their unique Arabic-native AI sets them apart from competitors. He also discusses Sila's data collection and analysis methods, case studies of providing valuable insights to clients, and measures in place to ensure data privacy and security. Excerpts:Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting Sila Insights and how it has evolved since its inception?The inspiration behind starting Sila Insights stemmed from recognizing the untapped potential of consumer intelligence in the Middle East, especially in understanding Arabic-speaking consumers' unique needs and preferences. Since its inception, Sila has evolved by continuously enhancing our data collection methods, refining our AI algorithms, and expanding our services to provide increasingly valuable insights to our clients across various industries.Can you explain the role that AI plays in the consumer intelligence industry, and how your unique Arabic-native AI sets Sila Insights apart from competitors?AI plays a crucial role in the consumer intelligence industry by automating data collection, analysis, and insights generation, enabling businesses to make data-driven decisions quickly and efficiently. Our unique Arabic-native AI sets Sila apart from competitors by providing a deep understanding of the Arabic-speaking market's cultural nuances, language, and preferences, giving our clients a competitive advantage in the region. Our natural language processing, for example, can work natively in 20+ dialects of Arabic, rather than using translation methods like many platforms.How does Sila Insights gather and analyze data on consumer behavior, and what kind of insights have you been able to glean from this data so far?Sila Insights gathers data on consumer behaviour through various sources, including social media, online forums, surveys, and website analytics. Our AI algorithms then analyze this data to identify trends, patterns, and sentiment, and provide actionable insights to our clients. So far, we have been able to help businesses better understand their target audience, optimize marketing strategies, and develop more relevant products and services.Can you walk us through a case study where Sila Insights was able to provide valuable insights to a client, and how these insights impacted their business decisions?In one case study, Sila Insights worked with a leading FMCG company to expand their knowledge of important consumer segments. We analyzed consumer data to identify key demographics, preferences, and pain points, enabling the company to develop targeted marketing, NPD and advertising campaigns that resonated with their audience. As a result, the client has seen a significant increase in conversion rates and customer satisfaction. This also meant we were able to segment an audience efficiently and effectively.How does Sila Insights ensure the privacy and security of the data it collects and analyzes, and what measures do you have in place to prevent any potential breaches?At Sila, we take data privacy and security very seriously. We adhere to strict data protection regulations and industry best practices, including anonymizing data, encrypting data during storage and transmission, and conducting regular security audits. Also, we have a robust incident response plan to quickly and effectively address potential breaches.How do you see the consumer intelligence industry evolving in the next 5-10 years, and what role do you see Sila Insights playing in this future?We envision the consumer intelligence industry becoming increasingly data-driven and automated, with AI playing a central role in extracting actionable insights from vast data. Sila aims to be at the forefront of this evolution by continuously enhancing our AI capabilities, expanding our services, and providing unparalleled consumer insights to businesses in the Middle East and beyond.How do you foster a culture of innovation and continuous learning within Sila Insights, and what steps do you take to ensure that your team stays ahead of the curve in terms of technology and industry trends?We foster a culture of innovation and continuous learning at Sila Insights through open communication, cross-functional collaboration, and ongoing education. We encourage team members to share ideas, attend industry events, and participate in training programs to stay ahead of the curve regarding technology and trends.How does Sila Insights balance the use of technology with the need for human expertise and analysis, and what is your approach to striking this balance?Sila Insights balances technology and human expertise by leveraging AI for data analysis and pattern recognition while relying on our experienced analysts to provide context, interpretation, and strategic recommendations. This approach ensures we deliver our clients accurate, relevant, and actionable insights.What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the consumer intelligence space, particularly in the Middle East region?For aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start a business in the consumer intelligence space, particularly in the Middle East region, my advice would be to:(a) develop a deep understanding of the local market and cultural nuances,(b) continuously invest in technology and innovation to stay competitive,(c) prioritize data privacy and security, and(d) build a diverse and skilled team that can drive your business towards success.

TBWA\RAAD promotes Romy Abdelnour to Head of Communications

Dubai: TBWA\RAAD has announced the immediate promotion of Romy Abdelnour to the position of Head of Communications. In her new role, Romy will lead the agency's Public Relations and Corporate Communications strategy, reporting directly to Group CEO Reda Raad. She will be responsible for promoting the company's vision for Disruption® in the region.Previously, Romy served as Corporate Communications Director, where she oversaw the agency's internal and external communications, media relations, partnerships, corporate events, and presence at regional and global creative award shows such as the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the Loeries, New York Festivals, Dubai Lynx, and MENA Effie awards, among others. She has helped enhance TBWA\RAAD's reputation in the region, contributing to agency, leadership, and talent recognition: The agency has been recognized for its innovation, earning the title of The Middle East's Most Innovative Company in Advertising by Fast Company Middle East, and CEO Reda Raad designated Advertising Person of the Year by Arab Ad in 2022.Reda Raad, Group CEO of TBWA\RAAD said: “Romy is a multitalented and passionate leader who has strongly contributed to our workplace culture throughout the years and played a key role in enhancing the agency’s reputation, securing the right exposure to our people and creative product, and telling our story to the world. Romy has done remarkable work on the comms front during the pandemic by reinforcing our internal communication and launching key initiatives that contributed to a smooth navigation and solid recovery. All of these have showcased her problem-solving skills and speedy adaptability. I believe she is more than ready to take on bigger responsibilities within the agency.”Speaking of her promotion, Romy said: “TBWA is a collective that never ceases to reinvent itself and innovate its operating model, philosophy, and products. Every year brings an exciting set of challenges, new products, projects, offerings, ideas, campaigns and most importantly, new stories to tell, to reflect an everchanging landscape. All of these are nurtured by the incredible TBWA culture - a culture one cannot but get addicted to. It has been a great journey for me so far on every level, and I look forward to this next chapter of my career. I’d like to thank our CEO Reda Raad for his trust, support, and mentorship throughout the years.”Romy has over 15 years of experience in the creative industry, having started her career as a graphic designer before shifting to communications. She holds a BA in Graphic Design from the Lebanese American University and a Masters' degree in Marketing and Communication from ESA/ESCP Europe.Romy was also recognized in Communicate's list of Women to Watch for 2022, which celebrates women in the Middle East who are driving change in the industry. and Binance Card announce partnership

Dubai:, the leading online platform for business transfers, has announced a strategic partnership with Binance Card, the leading cryptocurrency payment card provider. The partnership will enable Binance Card users to receive an exclusive discount on all transportation services that can be booked online via addition to the discount, both parties have plans to further expand the partnership in future. Some of the mechanics may include tiered cashback rewards in cryptocurrency to Binance customers' accounts via Binance Pay. Furthermore, some of these plans would involve NFTs and soulbound tokens."We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Binance Card," said Alexander Sapov, Co-Founder & CEO of "This partnership is a significant milestone for us and is a testament to our commitment to providing innovative and exclusive services to our customers. We are excited to collaborate with the leader in the web3 industry and look forward to exploring new ways to serve our customers."Raj Nandwani, Regional Business Development Lead for Asia Pacific & Eastern Europe at Binance, expressed his excitement for the partnership and stated, "We thank for this unique discount and exclusive service to Binance users. This partnership is an exciting step in the right direction towards crypto mass adoption globally”The partnership between and Binance Card will be effective immediately, and Binance Card users can take advantage of the exclusive discount by entering the promo code provided by at the time of booking.

Two new beIN SPORTS shows reach No.1 in MENA rankings

Doha:  beIN SPORTS has followed up its highly successful FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ podcast with a further two sports-focused audio shows – and despite its latest offering only launching two weeks ago, both new shows are ranked No.1 in the football category across a host of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) markets. From the Heart of the World Cup™ represented beIN’s first foray into podcasting, launched during the FIFA mega-event that took place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December. beIN published a total of 13 episodes during the tournament, with the Arabic-language show ranking No.1 on Apple Podcasts in Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Mauritania, and Saudi Arabia.Such was the success, beIN launched its second podcast in January this year. Legends is a weekly, 30-minute show diving into the rich history of elite athletes who have left their mark on their chosen sport. Primarily focused on football, subjects so far include Pele, Diego Maradona, Zinedine Zidane, and Just Fontaine, among others. Episode six explored the life and career of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, while the most recent episode – published this past Monday – looked at Luis Figo, the Portuguese midfielder who played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid.With 12 episodes published so far, Legends is ranked No.1 in the football category of Apple Podcasts in eight countries: Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi, Tunisia, and the UAE, as well as holding the No.1 position in the general Sports category in Oman, Qatar, and Tunisia. In Yemen and Bahrain, “Legends” is respectively the second-most and fourth-most downloaded football podcast, while it ranks No.12 in Russia.Noting the high demand for their engaging podcasts, beIN launched a third audio offering on 27 March. The twice-weekly Podcast with Ayman Jada is an open space for the renowned beIN SPORTS presenter to discuss and debate all the hot topics surrounding global football, from specific matches, to teams, new rules, competitions, and crises in certain leagues. The most recent episode, published on 11 April, featuring Haytham Farouk and Tareq Al-Jalahma, explored the current situation of Liverpool FC and their Egyptian striker Mohamed Salah. Other beIN talent that make guest appearances include Wael Gomaa, Tarek Dhiab, Mubarak Mostafa and Abdulaziz Al-Sulaiti.Podcast with Ayman Jada is currently the most-downloaded football show on Apple Podcasts in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi, Tunisia, and the UAE, as well as ranking No.5 in Malaysia, No.9 in the Netherlands, No.16 in Sweden, and No.17 in France.Faisal Mahmoud Al-Raisi, Director of Digital, beIN MENA, said: “beIN SPORTS has long provided high-quality, award-winning visual content to our customers, yet it was somewhat of a new experience entering the world of podcast publishing last November. The reception those first World Cup™ shows received was fantastic and has ultimately led us to launch these two new shows. There is clearly a huge demand for insightful sports opinion and localised football analysis, delivered in podcast format in the Arabic language. We are excited to roll out a host of podcasts in the near future.”All 30-minute episodes of Legends and Podcast with Ayman Jada, as well as the 13 episodes of From the Heart of the World Cup™ can be downloaded for free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

CRYPTOVSUMMIT to highlight latest developments in the cryptocurrency industry

Dubai: CRYPTOVSUMMIT, the premier conference for the cryptocurrency industry, is set to take place on May 10th, 2023, at the Address Dubai Mall Hotel. The event will bring together industry leaders, innovators, investors, and policymakers to discuss the latest developments and opportunities in the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrency. With the rise of decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms and the increased adoption of cryptocurrencies as a means of payment, the industry has experienced unprecedented growth and innovation over the past year. At CRYPTOVSUMMIT, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from experts on the current state of the industry and the trends that are shaping its future. Keynote speakers will include industry leaders, such as Veiko Krunberg, the CMO of Riddec, and Dr. Zayed Al Hemairy, the UAE’s leading advisor on Blockchain for Gov. sectors. In addition, the event will feature a panel discussion on the impact of regulation on the industry, with policymakers and industry leaders sharing their insights on the best practices for navigating the changing regulatory landscape. As part of the event, attendees will have the opportunity to network with fellow industry professionals, explore the latest products and services from leading companies, and participate in workshops and training sessions on the latest technologies and trends. “We are excited to bring together the best and brightest in the cryptocurrency industry for CRYPTOVSUMMIT,” said the event organizer. “With the industry experiencing unprecedented growth and innovation, this is the perfect opportunity for attendees to learn from industry leaders, network with peers, and explore the latest technologies and trends.” Registration for CRYPTOVSUMMIT is now open, and limited seats are available due to the invite only policy. For more information on the event and to register, visit the CRYPTOVSUMMIT website

UAE ranks 10th globally in Nation Brand Strength index

Dubai: The UAE has preserved its global leadership in the Nation Brand Performance Index, maintaining the first place globally for the second year in a row. The UAE ranked 10th globally in Nation Brand Strength index and 16th globally and 1st in MENA in Nation Brand Value index.Issued by the world's leading brand valuation consultancy "Brand Finance", the index surveyed more than 100,000 people from 121 countries.His Excellency Saeed Al Eter, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic project, Chairman of the UAE Government Media Office, said that the development of the UAE is always supported by a strong and established global brand identity that reflects that ambitions of our leadership, to reach the top in all indicators.His Excellency added: “The UAE’s soft power consolidates the country’s leading position in various fields and sectors, including economy, space, tourism, advanced technology and culture.”Saeed Al Eter noted that the UAE’s leading position in the indices of the Brand Finance Report 2023, comes after surveying opinions of over 100,000 people from 121 countries.Nation Brand PerformanceThe UAE ranked first globally in Nation Brand Performance for the second year in a row, achieving 83.5 points. Many reasons stand behind the UAE achievement, including its strategic location as a destination linking Asia, Europe and Africa, its strong financial solvency, and its continued success in implementing economic diversification policies.UAE ranks 10th globally in Nation Brand StrengthThe UAE ranked 10th in the Nation Brand Strength scoring 78.4 points out of 100. This was supported by the growth of its soft power at the global and regional levels, especially after its remarkable performance in the fields of international relations and good governance.The strong economic performance in all sectors contributed to the UAE's attainment of advanced ranks in main and sub-indicators, as the gross domestic product (GDP) continues to grow in 2022, in addition to high foreign trade volume. The country's ability to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) from many countries of the world has also increased.Nation Brand ValueThe UAE ranked 16th globally and 1st in MENA region in the Nation Brand Value index. The UAE enhanced its position as and most valuable country brand in MENA in 2023 with a Nation Brand Value worth AED3.540 trillion ($957 billion).The strong performance of the UAE economy during the last period contributed to the increase of the Nation Brand Value, especially with the projections of the UAE Central Bank that the economic growth rate for the year 2022 will reach 7.6%, the highest in more than a decade.The various oil and non-oil economic sectors have also achieved strong performance during the past year, especially the tourism and hospitality, real estate, transportation, and industry sectors, in addition to the large number of encouraging legislations to promote sustainable growth.

How female leaders are set to take 30% of the MENA tech industry

Dubai: The tech industry has traditionally been male-dominated, but in recent years, women have been increasingly making their mark in the sector, particularly in the field of technology. The MENA region, in particular, has seen a rise in the number of women taking on leadership roles in real estate tech companies, paving the way for a more diverse and inclusive industry.According to a report by McKinsey, gender-diverse companies are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability compared to their peers. This suggests that the rise of women leaders in the real estate tech industry could have significant economic benefits for the MENA region.One such leader is Anastasia Denisova is the CEO of Realiste MENA, a proptech startup based in Dubai that uses artificial intelligence to digitize global housing markets and make them more efficient, transparent, and attractive to property investors. Realiste MENA covers 20 cities worldwide, including Dubai, New York, London, and Riyadh, and aims to expand its presence to over 30 additional cities by the end of 2023. Under Anastasia's leadership, Realiste MENA has integrated with 27 real estate developers in Dubai, attracted more than 50,000 users, and increased monthly revenue in Dubai from zero to $1M by the end of 2022.“I believe that the greatest contribution was made by educational institutions. Many countries in the region invest in education and provide better access to technology-related fields, resulting in women graduating with engineering degrees at higher rates than more technologically advanced countries such as the US, the UK, and Japan. In some Gulf states, more than half of engineering students are female.Overall, women in the MENA countries comprise nearly half, and sometimes more, of STEM students at the university level. Eleven of the 18 Arab states have a majority of female science graduates. This trend has resulted in women playing a significant role in high-profile tech projects in the region, such as the UAE's Mars Hope probe, where women made up 80% of the scientists involved.I have also observed that women who have accomplished notable feats in the business field become role models for others and provide support to the women's community. Our advisory board includes several individuals who serve as such examples. One such person is Aisha Bin Bishr, Vice Chairwoman at Emaar Development, who was recently recognized by Forbes Middle East as one of the 100 Most Powerful Businesswomen of 2023. Another exceptional role model is Fatima Al Jaber, who serves as a Board member and Head of the Projects Committee at Al Jaber Group, one of the Middle East's most prominent construction and infrastructure companies.”, Anastasia Denisova says.Anastasia's success is a testament to the crucial role that women play in MENA's real estate technology industry. Women are driving innovation and progress in the region, from startups like Realiste MENA to established companies like Emaar, which is led by Aisha Bin Bishr, Vice Chairwoman of the Board. The MENA region has long been known for its conservative attitudes towards women in the workplace, but the growing number of female leaders in the real estate technology industry is helping to break down these barriers and create new opportunities for women . Anastasia believes that women may make up to 30% of the tech industry in the MENA region by 2030.Women are breaking down barriers in the real estate tech industry and inspiring a new generation of female entrepreneurs to pursue careers in the field. According to a report by the Dubai Future Foundation, women now make up 45% of the UAE's startup workforce, a significant increase from just a few years ago.It is clear that women are playing an increasingly important role in shaping the future of the MENA real estate tech industry. By promoting gender diversity and inclusion, these women leaders are not only paving the way for future generations but also contributing to the economic growth and success of the region as a whole.

UK datacenter and cloud specialist XDS sets up office in Dubai

Dubai: XTREME DB SYSTEMS (XDS) are currently engaged with financial services in the UAE supporting customers to reimagine their datacenter and support the drive to a new colocation or deploy to Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services.   Speaking to CEO’s in the UAE its become clear the key driver to maintain competitive advantages are instant provisioning and fast go to market.   This is no longer possible with on-premise datacenters.XTREME DB SYSTEMS chose Equinix based at the Dubai Production Zone for datacenter colocation with dedicated connections to Microsoft Azure & Amazon Web Services.  As enterprise infrastructure moves toward cloud distributed application delivery, the datacenter itself is being transformed. C-Level executives must transition to a hybrid model mindset where the presence of an on-premises datacenter is no longer the primary driver for infrastructure decisions.   Growth is typically an exciting moment for an organization that brings with it new customers, new innovations, and new opportunities. In most cases, however, rapid growth can also expose critical shortcomings in on-premises infrastructure. The tech stack that served a company well during the early phases of the business is seldom capable of carrying it to the next level of success. If the right steps are not taken quickly to help the organization scale more effectively, it could find that growth becomes a non-existing exercise.On-premises datacenters may have once been the standard means of deploying IT resources and applications, but today’s companies have a much wider range of options available to them. Colocation datacenters and public cloud platforms are a compelling alternative for organizations that lack the capital resources to build and maintain their own facilities. Even larger enterprises that have long operated an on-premise datacenter are turning to other options.XTREME DB SYSTEMS not only support datacenter transformation but also database and operating system upgrades.  Most customers either manage Oracle, SAP-Sybase or MS-SQL database environments which requires dedicated database administrators to manage data workloads, optimization, weekend maintenance and software upgrades.  All three database vendors will send end of life notifications however organizations sweat out the current version which has now become security debt.  This impacts internal & external audits in particular if your trading in financial services.Predictions and strategic planning assumptions -By 2025, 40% of newly procured premises-based compute and storage will be consumed as a service, up from less than 10% in 2021.By 2025, 70% of organizations will implement structured infrastructure automation to deliver flexibility and efficiency, up from 20% in 2021.XTREME DB SYSTEMS are offering all customers in the UAE a free on-premise survey and migration report.

Amer El Hajj joins GroupM as MENA CEO

DUBAI: Amer El Hajj has joined GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, as MENA CEO.El Hajj will be leading GroupM’s operations in the MENA region, while serving at the company's MENA Executive Committee. He succeeds Ravi Rao. With over two decades of experience in the media and advertising industry, El Hajj brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his new role at GroupM. He has held senior leadership positions across the MENA region, including as the Chief Investment Officer for Publicis Media. El Hajj will be in charge of strategy and operations across the region for GroupM and its agencies Wavemaker, Mindshare, EssenceMediacom and mSix&Partners along with its cross-channel organisation GroupM Nexus.Josh Krichefski, GroupM EMEA and UK CEO, said: “MENA is one of the key areas of focus and opportunity for us across EMEA, a region containing significant individual market nuance. Amer’s proven track record of revenue growth, team upskilling and business transformation over such an impressive career in market aligns well with our business goals for the MENA region as well as EMEA as a whole. He’ll play a critical role in helping our clients achieve the business growth goals they are looking for and we’re excited to have him join us.”Amer El Hajj said: “When you think of what the next era of media looks like, there’s no better place to help shape that than at GroupM. I’m really looking forward to working with Josh, his team and our leadership throughout MENA to introduce our business strategies and simplified offerings across our agencies, GroupM Nexus and Choreograph to our clients to help them achieve the sustained business growth they expect from us.”

The Ramadan Shift: How millennials experience Ramadan in the digital age

As the world becomes more digital and social, pressure to "keep up" and economic uncertainty affect how Ramadan is experienced, especially for millennials, according to the latest study by Sila Insights, a Dubai-based consumer intelligence company powered by its unique Arabic-native AI.The study, titled The Ramadan Shift, analyses how Ramadan in recent times has shifted between Gen-Z and millennials. Sila understook this study by taking Arabic-only Tweets, Instagram and TikTok from the MENA region (and worldwide to include all Arab diaspora) that include the word ‘Ramadan’.Content is also being consumed differently now, leading to a more personalised Ramadan, one that is increasingly less homogenous, and more reflective of a rapidly changing society."At the midpoint of Ramadan we see that the Arab youth, particularly in KSA and the UAE are having a shift in experience. Despite this change, the Holy Month retains its spiritual element, but in a more modern context," says the report. Another interesting finding in the study is that budgetary worries are high for millennials and above. While older generations focus on money, there’s a yearning for simplicity and back to tradition for younger generations, even though they are disrupting the most traditional aspects of Ramadan. Financial pressures about Ramadan are evident among older generations - pressures around having to provide, eat out, gifting (a rising occasion) and higher prices are leading to more and more concerns.What’s interesting is the pressures of giving also weigh heavily on the budget considerations of those in the giving season. The study has found that 79% of 30-40 year olds are worried about the financial impact of Ramadan. Another important finding is that in the UAE and KSA, youth prefer TikTok to TV. Spirituality and the pastThe research by Sila challenges the well-trodden trope by every older generation that the younger generations have it ‘easy’. The findings indicate this is not true. Despite this, large scale behaviour patterns don’t change, but the context does. But belief systems are still incredibly strong, staying true to the core of Ramadan’s meaning.When examining core topics associated with Ramadan, the strongest topic is the spiritual connection that Gen Z and millennials feel towards the Holy Month. Not only is entertainment, family and feasts part of the popular discourse, but so are Ramadan-focused activities. Sila’s research shows that in fact, the strongest connection is still with the spiritual connection with the observance of Ramadan. Hope is the strongest theme for spiritual connection. Mostly this relates to the problems of the last few years, and that the hope is that these problems will soon be behind them.Religious obligations, such as the Islamic prayers, and other religious obligations are also top of mind during the Holy Month. This includes the five daily prayers and the growing importance of those, such as Fajr. There is a large segment that is focused on charity, of which most are donations reflecting the want of giving during Ramadan to do better.Gen Z have a strong nostalgia for the past, especially when compared to millennials, says the study. There’s an authenticity missing from the younger experiences of Ramadan. A sense of community and authenticity is missing, which they feel is absent in their experiences, especially compared to their broader families’ memories. While nostalgia is always a strong topic in studies, its remarkable the difference here for a yearning for simpler times.  The Ramadan Shift: How millennials experience Ramadan in the digital age.As the world becomes more digital and social, pressure to "keep up" and economic uncertainty affect how Ramadan is experienced, especially for millennials, according to the latest study by Sila Insights, a Dubai-based consumer intelligence company powered by its unique Arabic-native AI.The study, titled The Ramadan Shift, analyses how Ramadan in recent times has shifted between Gen-Z and millennials. Sila understook this study by taking Arabic-only Tweets, Instagram and TikTok from the MENA region (and worldwide to include all Arab diaspora) that include the word ‘Ramadan’.Content is also being consumed differently now, leading to a more personalised Ramadan, one that is increasingly less homogenous, and more reflective of a rapidly changing society."At the midpoint of Ramadan we see that the Arab youth, particularly in KSA and the UAE are having a shift in experience. Despite this change, the Holy Month retains its spiritual element, but in a more modern context," says the report. Another interesting finding in the study is that budgetary worries are high for millennials and above. While older generations focus on money, there’s a yearning for simplicity and back to tradition for younger generations, even though they are disrupting the most traditional aspects of Ramadan. Financial pressures about Ramadan are evident among older generations - pressures around having to provide, eat out, gifting (a rising occasion) and higher prices are leading to more and more concerns.What’s interesting is the pressures of giving also weigh heavily on the budget considerations of those in the giving season. The study has found that 79% of 30-40 year olds are worried about the financial impact of Ramadan. Another important finding is that in the UAE and KSA, youth prefer TikTok to TV. Spirituality and the pastThe research by Sila challenges the well-trodden trope by every older generation that the younger generations have it ‘easy’. The findings indicate this is not true. Despite this, large scale behaviour patterns don’t change, but the context does. But belief systems are still incredibly strong, staying true to the core of Ramadan’s meaning.When examining core topics associated with Ramadan, the strongest topic is the spiritual connection that Gen Z and millennials feel towards the Holy Month. Not only is entertainment, family and feasts part of the popular discourse, but so are Ramadan-focused activities. Sila’s research shows that in fact, the strongest connection is still with the spiritual connection with the observance of Ramadan. Hope is the strongest theme for spiritual connection. Mostly this relates to the problems of the last few years, and that the hope is that these problems will soon be behind them.Religious obligations, such as the Islamic prayers, and other religious obligations are also top of mind during the Holy Month. This includes the five daily prayers and the growing importance of those, such as Fajr. There is a large segment that is focused on charity, of which most are donations reflecting the want of giving during Ramadan to do better.Gen Z have a strong nostalgia for the past, especially when compared to millennials, says the study. There’s an authenticity missing from the younger experiences of Ramadan. A sense of community and authenticity is missing, which they feel is absent in their experiences, especially compared to their broader families’ memories. While nostalgia is always a strong topic in studies, its remarkable the difference here for a yearning for simpler times

UAE's digital marketing trailblazers honored at DIGIXX Summit & Awards 2023

UAE: Emerged as a hub for digital marketing excellence, and the winners of the DIGIXX Summit & Awards 2023 from the region have demonstrated outstanding achievements in their respective fields. These winners have successfully navigated the rapidly evolving digital landscape to deliver innovative campaigns, creative content and exceptional results. With their exceptional digital marketing skills, they have not only elevated their own brands, but also set a benchmark for the industry as a whole. The DIGIXX Summit and Awards 2023 celebrates the achievements of these inspiring winners and recognizes their contributions towards shaping the future of digital marketing in the UAE.Congratulations to all the winners of the DIGIXX Summit & Awards in the UAE. Your exceptional achievements in digital marketing are truly inspiring!Gagan Uppal, Country Head, MENA, said: "I am really thrilled that the innovation and remarkable brand outcomes for our client, Myco, have been recognized through this award. We strategically leverage our expertise to create a campaign for Myco that resonated with their target audience for the campaign-Watch & Earn with MyCo."<img src='\55668ca717a0baf430515b7e4b38a0f0' class='content_image'>

Beyon Connect and B2Brouter partner

MENA: Beyon Connect, part of the Beyon Group, has announced a strategic partnership with B2Brouter, a prominent global player in the e-Invoicing market. The purpose of the partnership is to provide an e-Invoicing platform and technology services to small and medium sized companies in the MENA region, where e-Invoicing is set to become mandatory in many countries.Beyon Connect is planning to launch OneExpress in the coming months to provide businesses with access to cutting-edge e-Invoicing technology and support services. This will support organisations with complying with regulations, while optimizing their invoicing processes and reducing costs.B2Brouter is well established in Europe and Asia, with over 150,000 customers using its easy-to-use e-Invoicing solutions to streamline their invoicing and e-commerce processes. By partnering with Beyon Connect, B2Brouter will bring its expertise and established platform to the GCC and MENA regions, which represent a huge potential market for e-Invoicing services as the tax and e-Invoicing regulations in the region align with global standards and frameworks, such as Peppol.Beyon Connect CEO Christian Rasmussen commented on the partnership saying, "We are excited to partner with B2Brouter enabling us to bring our e-invoicing platform OneExpress powered by B2Brouter’s established technologies, to the MENA region.”"Our goal is to help businesses in the region grow and thrive both locally and globally, and the potential synergy between OneExpress and our trusted OneID and OneBox platforms will allow secure communication of critical eDocuments with verified entities.""We are thrilled to partner with Beyon Connect to bring our e-Invoicing solutions to the MENA region," said Oriol Bausa Peris, CEO of B2Brouter. "Our partnership will enable us to expand our reach and help more businesses streamline their invoicing processes, increase efficiency, whilst remaining compliant with the relevant regulations and global standards."

Netflix releases trailer of Saudi psychological thriller The Matchmaker

Riyadh: Netflix has opened the door to the mysterious, atmospheric and eerie world of The Matchmaker, with the latest release of the film's trailer. From the modern present day office setting to the ancient UNESCO World Heritage site of AlUla, The Matchmaker is one of the first psychological thrillers from Saudi Arabia and is filled with suspense moments that will leave you captivated. The Matchmaker follows Tarek (Hussam Alharthy), an IT professional who develops a passionate crush on the attractive intern working for him (Nour Alkhadra). He trails her to a strangely haunted desert resort where a matchmaker (Reem Alhabib) promises to pair visitors with their ideal bride. But when Tarek leaves the resort’s boundaries, he unearths a long-forgotten grudge.Director Abdulmohsin Aldabaan said: “I grew up hearing stories about both the supernatural and human stories of love and revenge, and I wanted to bring these together in The Matchmaker, set against the stunning backdrop of the ancient world of AlUla. I am excited that we were able to explore the relatively new genre of psychological thrillers from Saudi Arabia, following the complex emotions of the characters as they embark on a thrilling journey. I look forward to the audience’s reaction to this film that blends the modern and ancient world in a way that is distinctly Saudi.” The Matchmaker is produced by the creative minds at Telfaz11 and directed by Abdulmohsin Aldabaan and launches exclusively on Netflix on April 27, 2023.

Oliver Norman joins Veritas as VP of Channel & Alliances

DUBAI : Veritas Technologies, the leader in secure multi-cloud data management, today announced that Oliver Norman has joined the company as VP of Channel & Alliances, EMEAI. In this role, Oliver will develop and execute a growth-oriented channel strategy that will help to build on the company’s leading position in business and cloud resiliency. He will report to Mike Walkey, Senior Vice President, Global Channel and Alliance at Veritas and will be part of the Veritas International Leadership Team.Oliver will work with partners to mutually grow channel revenues and drive momentum. He will make it his priority to build knowledge, capabilities, and communication that bring value to partners as more of their customers’ businesses and operations shift to complex multi-cloud environments.Oliver is a proven technology leader with decades of international sales experience. Most recently, he served as Area Vice President for BMC Software – which helps customers run and reinvent their businesses with open, scalable, and modular solutions to complex IT problems – where he headed up the channel sales function for EMEA. Prior to this, he worked at Morse, a consulting, IT services and technology company, with proven expertise in business applications services and infrastructure services and technology. Mike Walkey, Senior Vice President, Global Channel and Alliance at Veritas, said:“This hire reflects our continued commitment to the channel. Oliver’s knowledge and ability to take a holistic view of our channel business across the EMEAI region will bring great value to our company and our customers. We look forward to him continuing the growth acceleration across our partner ecosystem and driving innovation within our business model. He will also play an integral role in continuing to build and grow a world class channel go-to-market strategy and partner programme for our business.”Mark Nutt, Senior Vice President, International Sales at Veritas, said:“Oliver is a fantastic addition to our leadership team and the best choice to lead the expansion and deepening of Veritas’ partner ecosystem. Oliver has a wealth of enterprise sales experience which will be a tremendous asset to both Veritas and our partners. His background as an accomplished IT transformation leader and strategist is a powerful strength that he brings to our executive team.”  Oliver Norman, VP Sales International EMEA Channel & Alliances at Veritas, said:“Veritas is recognised as the industry leader in business resiliency and data management and is well positioned to help enterprise customers address some of the biggest challenges and complexities they face today as the march to the cloud continues at pace. I am looking forward to working with our channel partners, advancing Veritas’ position as the vendor partner of choice in cloud resiliency and multi-cloud data management.”Outside of work, Oliver loves sport and has previously run for Great Britain, and all three of his children have represented England; his wife Diana is a World Record holder for the track-and-field pentathlon.

MENA Young Lions Competition 2023 - Winners announced

Dubai: The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is pleased to announce that Gambit Communications’ Judy Bakieh and Sarah Alsalem have won the MENA Young Lions Competition 2023 for their #WalkInTheirShoes campaign. The star duo will go on to represent the MENA at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.Responding to a brief set by Gulf for Good, Judy Bakieh and Sarah Alsalem beat a field of 13 teams. Each team had 24 hours to create a campaign that would help Gulf for Good to promote its fundraising platform across the UAE to generate funds for its global work.  Lana Alrichan, the Marketing Director on the Board of Gulf for Good, commented:"At Gulf for Good, we always welcome a challenge, and this competition has allowed us to showcase the exceptional talent of the region's youth. We are truly humbled to have received an overwhelming number of heart-warming submissions that provide valuable insight for us to further our mission of improving the lives of children around the world. It's an honour to have had the opportunity to review such inspiring work and we can't wait to see the positive impact that our chosen winner will create in both the Young Lions competition and the wider world." PRCA’s Head of EMEA, Monika Fourneaux MPRCA said:“PRCA is very pleased to be Young Lions representatives in the MENA region for the PR Competition. All competing teams have done an amazing job. The range of creative campaigns goes to show the amazing diversity of young talent in our region. Congratulations to Judy and Sarah for their successful achievement and we wish them well in Cannes. Thank you all for your participation and we hope to see you next year.”

Prism Digital launches a new e-commerce website for Neo Front Furniture

Dubai : Headquartered in China, Neo Front Furniture, a leader in sustainable furniture production, hired a Dubai-based full-service digital marketing company to design a completely new mobile-first e-commerce website.Prism has built the bespoke e-commerce website on WordPress with WhatsApp as the primary lead generation module. The multi-device responsive website also has cross-browser compatibility ranking the current score of the website at an A grade. In addition, the home furniture and office furniture products are showcased in a way that will gauge the consumer's purchase intent providing a simple 2-Step gateway for customers to like and buy their furniture of choice.Commenting on their partnership with Prism Digital, WEI YUAN, Managing Director of Neo Front Furniture, said, “It has been an amazing experience working with Prism. From the design to the execution, everything was done systematically and with our complete approval. As a result, the website was built and launched even before the deadline. We will also work with Prism for all our digital marketing campaigns and SEO projects to ensure we generate the number of leads we require to grow our business.”  Speaking on the website launch, Mr. Lovetto Nazareth, Managing Director, Prism Digital, commented, “To achieve the business and design objectives for Neo Front Furniture, we recognized the need for a custom-made clutter-free website that is easy to navigate, slick and speed bound. In addition, we understand the modern-day dynamics of customer demand for an enhanced user experience, ranking high on the search engine with SEO-optimized content driving substantial organic traffic. Given our extensive work tailoring website development requirements, we look forward to adding strategic value to Neo Front Furniture’s vision. Neo Front Furniture has been an official distributor and supplier of SAOSEN in GCC since 2007 and endeavors to introduce product quality enhancement and design innovation from China. The Neo Front Furniture website has been designed to make the shopping experience as smooth, easy, and secure as possible. Furthermore, Prism has ensured that the website will generate as many leads as possible because the entire website works as a lead-generation funnel. This latest innovation by Prism ensures that all the websites we build work as a click funnel, driving and converting leads completely automatedly.

Batelco launches OneOffice solution

Dubai : Manama, Bahrain: Batelco, part of the Beyon Group, launched Batelco OneOffice, a cloud-based suite that includes essential productivity tools to support the needs of a busy office team, through a secure, easy-to-use and cost-effective platform.                 Batelco OneOffice offers online apps such as document editing and sharing, project management, secure email, real-time video calls and team chats. It also features live collaboration with team members and partners, as well as next-generation AI tools to streamline daily operations for businesses. Furthermore, a key differentiator is that each business will benefit from having a separate application sandbox, which means that they will have their own dedicated and independent storage on the cloud platform. Customers will have access to features and functionalities similar to any other online collaboration tool, but at an affordable price with higher security.Two competitively priced packages are available, basic and advance, with the advance package including additional benefits such as automated backups, long-term data retention, and 1TB cloud storage. By using Batelco OneOffice, customers can secure and access their data anywhere, optimize operations, while simultaneously reducing costs and improving communications.Batelco General Manager Enterprise, Abdulla Danesh said, “We are delighted to introduce Batelco OneOffice productivity suite, as we continually look for opportunities to expand our support towards the SME sector and diversify our product portfolio to cater to the different needs of their businesses.”“Batelco OneOffice is a highly secure platform that includes integral applications and tools for all types of businesses. The solution was designed to support businesses to run smoothly with more efficient operations at a great price point. Businesses, regardless of size, can excel by using modern-day digital tools, and here at Batelco we strive to provide just that,” Mr. Danesh added

KMEG partners with Saudi SMEs for global tech innovator

RIYADH: KPMG in Saudi Arabia has partnered with the General Authority for SMEs (Monsha’at) as it launches the third annual Global Tech Innovator (GTI) competition. This competition is set out to recognize leading tech innovators in the Kingdom, allow them to pitch their ideas in front of a panel of judges, enable them to get global exposure and the chance to pitch against tech innovators across the globe.The winner of the finals in Saudi Arabia will get the chance to compete against the winners from more than 25 countries present at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal.The partnership between the two organizations reflects KPMG's commitment to supporting the development of Saudi Arabia's innovation ecosystem, and Monsha’at's dedication to fostering the growth of the country's start-ups and entrepreneurs.“This competition comes as part of our global strategy to empower and support entrepreneurs and technology pioneers to scale their ideas and innovations into success stories,” commented Khalil Ibrahim Al Sedais, Regional Managing Partner – Riyadh at KPMG in Saudi Arabia. “We are proud to partner with Monsha’at as this really helps to spread the word among the entrepreneurial community for entrepreneurs to apply to our competition and put our Saudi startups in the spotlight.”Saud Alsabhan, Vice Governor, Entrepreneurship at Monsha’at, commented: “We are happy to see initiatives launched by the private sector that support and help develop our entrepreneurial ecosystem. The partnership is very much aligned with Vision 2030, which aims to support entrepreneurship and innovation in the Kingdom and will leverage the expertise and resources of both organizations to provide aspiring entrepreneurs and start-ups with the right exposure, guidance and mentorship.”The competition is now open and the last date for submitting the online application form is 30 June 2023. Local finals will be held on 30 August in KPMG’s Insights Center in its Riyadh head office in front of a panel of judges that will be announced over the coming months.In 2022, OTO, a provider of innovative e-commerce delivery management technologies, won the second GTI competition in Saudi Arabia.“Regardless of whether a business is a pure technology company, tech-enabled, tech-led, or tech-driven, we acknowledge the potential of these entities to shape the future. With the GTI initiative, we invite entrepreneurs to showcase and pitch their ideas, opening doors to becoming tomorrow's success story,” according to Dr. Samer Abdallah, Head of ICT Sector at KPMG in Saudi Arabia and a judge on the panel."Each pitching competition will be judged by a panel consisting of investors, industry experts, entrepreneurs and KPMG professionals, who will assign a score to each application based on six equally weighted criteria. These criteria include disruption and innovation, market potential, customer adoption, market traction and marketing, long-term potential, and pitch quality.”Start-ups with a foundation in tech and strong societal impact are especially invited to participate. In 2022, HiiROC, the UK-based start-up and developer of a system to produce low-cost, zero-emission hydrogen, was crowned the global GIT winner. They managed to win and overcome fierce competition from over 1,100 applicants across 22 countries and jurisdictions during the national stages.The countries/regions/jurisdictions participating in the 2023 competition include Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam.

Digital Qube launches

UAE: Digital marketing company Digital Qube launches from its new office in Yas Creative Hub in Abu Dhabi.Yas Island has become a global destination, with US actor Kevin Hart appointed as Chief Island Officer reflecting the fast-growing global interest in the entertainment island of Abu Dhabi and the Middle East. With many new, exciting projects being built on the island, from SeaWorld to stunning sea view property developments, Yas Island is fast becoming a household name on the international map.CEO of Digital Qube, said, “We are excited to be growing our digital marketing business from our new base in Yas Creative Hub. Opening our new offices here is in line with our vision to assist companies in Abu Dhabi and the world to run entire digital programmes from start to end.”Set up by one of Abu Dhabi’s Leading Women Entrepreneurs <2>, Digital Qube offers clients a suite of digital services, including digital transformation, talent management, and training in digital marketing for individuals and businesses. This expansion complements the existing services of digital marketing strategy, branding, social media, website creation, content writing and PR.“Digital Qube is here to help Yas Island and the GCC expand, which is exciting,”“Our aim is simply to help our clients deliver projects swiftly in the digital world. At the heart of everything we do is a desire to create seamless and exceptional digital experiences for our customers and clients.”Brilliant marketing and outstanding digital capabilities are key to a flourishing, evolving business.Yet Arabian Business reported that “70 percent of business leaders in the Middle East said the shortage of essential digital skills is a business threat”.Therefore, Digital Qube is training and building a highly qualified team of experts.” Digital is no longer simply a department – it’s an entire operating system. We help companies harness their digital potential.”The team is currently working with some of the leading brands in the UAE as well as international names, SMEs and startups. Projects vary from designing new websites to creating dynamic new marketing or digital transformation strategies.“Our mantra is quality, agility and speed,” Rosie Seldon, CEO said. “Things move at breakneck pace in the digital world, and supporting the biggest brands is often a question of being faster and smarter; with the strongest teamwork, communications and project management skills. Solving problems is integral to what we do. We think of a business like a Rubix cube – manipulate one element, and it will change the structure on all sides. We assess a company’s digital processes from all angles to truly deliver digital transformation.”A certified Google trainer, Rosie Seldon worked in digital marketing for giants including HSBC and Lloyds Bank in London prior to moving to the UAE. The experience of working on million-dollar digital transformation projects in London highlighted the importance of creating a strong, positive digital experience for customers, building all-round strategies that deliver measurable results, and of creating a strong team that puts clients first.“Digital Qube is built on talented specialists working together as a team,” Rosie said. “It’s essential to me that clients find our team highly responsive, a joy to work with – and that we overcome the many challenges to get the projects delivered!”

Universities should embrace ChatGPT, not resist it, says AURAK study

Dubai : Ras Al Khaimah, UAE: ChatGPT and similar tools are here to stay, and it is futile to try to prevent their use. The best course of action is to guide university students to use such AI-enabled text-generation programs responsibly and ethically, according to an internal paper prepared by the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK).As ChatGPT and several newer AI writers are predicted to disrupt the academic world in particular, the study takes the sober view that it is best to embrace these tools and integrate them into teaching practices.The study acknowledges that ChatGPT poses a serious threat to academic integrity, but also underlines ChatGPT’s potential to be a helpful instructional tool under faculty supervision, with several do’s and don’ts.Prof. Stephen Wilhite, Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Student Success/ Provost, AURAK, said: “It is very obvious that ChatGPT and other AI writers are set to have a profound impact on higher education. But apart from the obvious negative aspects, AI writers also have some intrinsic positive elements which can be used effectively to students’ advantage. The challenge is to find a win-win solution.”In an experiment to assess the gravity of the situation, AURAK’s IT Department conducted an experiment. Staff members generated an essay on Climate Change using OpenAI’s ChatGPT. Then they ran a plagiarism test using the SafeAssign tool embedded in AURAK’s LMS Blackboard Learn. The result showed 25% of the essay content was copied or matched a source from the Internet. Further, test of demo version of GPT-2 Output Detector showed 100% match with ChatGPT produced content. However, detection of plagiarism was greatly reduced when ChatGPT content was paraphrased by Qillbot.The rising popularity of ChatGPT and other AI writers underlines the need to have supporting faculty to maintain academic integrity, while incorporating appropriate use of AI tools. According to Professor Stephen, there is a need to revise the Academic Integrity/Statement on Plagiarism sections of the syllabus template. He recommends universities make it explicit that use of information generated by ChatGPT and other AI writers without identifying the source of the information would constitute plagiarism, which is a violation of the Honor Code and the Student Academic Integrity Policy.Says Professor Stephen: “Anti-plagiarism software is not good at detecting ChatGPT-generated content. Providers of such software (e.g., SafeAssign, Turnitin, etc.) are endeavoring to improve detection. Also, ChatGPT has developed its own tool for detecting ChatGPT-generated content – GPT-2 Output Detector, and other ‘detectors’ are also being marketed (e.g., GPTZero). However, use of other paraphrasing software (e.g., Quillbot) greatly reduces detection of ChatGPT-generated content.”The AURAK study recommends changes in assignments and assessments in educational settings. For example, in written assignments, students could be asked to connect personal experience or events from the class to course concepts, as the AI writer does not have access to personal experiences or class events. They could be asked to pair short written submissions with oral, in-class questioning about the submission.Another recommendation is to have writing occur in-class with a zero tolerance policy for possession of any electronic devices during such writing exercises – “flipping” classes with reading, viewing of lectures, videos, etc., occurring at home but with writing about the material occurring in class.Further, if written assignments are to be completed outside class, universities should collect an in-class sample of students’ writing as a “baseline” against which written assignments completed outside class can be compared. However, AI writers will increasingly be able to mimic the writing style of users if provided with a sufficient sample of the user’s writing.The study recommends greater vigilance when it comes to examinations, such as having multiple, trained proctors present based on number of students being tested and having all electronic devices turned off and stored at entry to the exam room.Despite the challenges, there are positive educational benefits of ChatGPT – it can be used as a helpful instructional tool under faculty supervision and as a tool to promote information literacy. Graduates will increasingly be expected by employers to use AI writers in the workplace, so gaining familiarity with them and how to use them responsibly and ethically while in university, will better prepare students for their work after graduation.

Ramadan and Eid siscounts drive GCC shoppers to spend more

UAE: GIG Gulf, one of the largest insurance providers in the MENA region, has reported that despite intending to spend more this year compared to 2022, nearly 75% of GCC residents will postpone purchases to wait for special offers and promotions during Ramadan and Eid.The findings are based on two separate research pieces carried out to analyse consumer behaviour during the festive seasons of Ramadan and Eid. One study was commissioned by GIG Gulf and carried out by YouGov, a leading global market research and data analytics firm, while the other was commissioned by Toluna, a leading provider of market research and consumer insights.The research suggests that consumers are driven by inflation and a desire to 'make up for the pandemic years,' with nearly half of GCC residents expecting to pay more for Eid gifts than last year. A majority, however, will hold out for Ramadan in-store events and special offers before making their purchases. The data also reveals that thrifty motorists are likely to renew and pay earlier for insurance policies in exchange for Ramadan promotions.Interestingly, the studies highlight the value placed on love, education, and memories over material wealth by GCC residents. Six out of ten respondents prioritize their family, friends, and relationships over their health, home, or experiences. GIG Gulf's data suggests that while people plan to spend more on material goods this year, 40% would buy insurance for their love, education, and memories if they could. Moreover, 57% of respondents identified 'friends and family' as the most valuable aspect of their lives.The research also unveils how 53% of respondents enjoy pampering themselves with luxurious experiences during Ramadan. Despite this indulgence, many still prioritize protecting their loved ones and cherished possessions through insurance coverage. This sentiment reflects the importance of safeguarding valuable relationships and items against unforeseen circumstances.Caroline Bertrand, Chief HR and Marketing Officer, GIG Gulf said, “While insurance cannot protect the abstract concept of love, it can shield our loved ones from potential harm. For instance, home insurance can protect against legal liability for damages or accidental bodily injury to those we care about. Insuring what we love grants us a sense of freedom, enabling us to live in the moments that matter without worry or anxiety. During the holy month of Ramadan and Eid, when we want to be close to those we love, we can achieve peace of mind by protecting them from unforeseen circumstances.”The findings emphasize the desire to protect what matters most to people. When asked what they would choose to insure if possible, 54% would insure their love, 43% would insure their memories, and 34% would insure their passions. Those who opted for insurance coverage for their health or valuable possessions cited peace of mind and financial security as their motivations. Nearly half also acknowledged that insurance was a financially prudent decision in case of unexpected events.

Karaz Linen Partners With MoEngage

Riyadh: Karaz Linen, Saudi Arabia’s premium bedding and home products brand, has partnered with MoEngage, an insights-led customer engagement platform for engaging and retargeting customers.Founded in 2010, the bed and bath brand currently operates 24 stores across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Post providing an excellent in-store customer experience, Karaz Linen has also shifted its operations online.The brands plan to leverage MoEngage’s capabilities to collect data from its physical stores and online to provide a true omnichannel experience to its customers, which previously they were not able to achieve.“With presence across physical and online, we faced major challenges in collecting data under one place. Using MoEngage, we plan to curate all the data related to a customer to better personalize our offerings. Additionally, MoEngage will also help us in driving the communication”, said Abdulaziz Arjah, e-commerce Manager at Karaz Linen.Karaz Linen also plans to leverage the smart recommendations feature of MoEngage to understand the best time to send and the best channel to utilize for all the communications. Additionally, MoEngage will also assist Karaz Linen in understanding the customer journey flow and provide insights into the interaction that each customer is having, online and offline.Speaking about the partnership, Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success at MoEngage, said, “We are elated to welcome Karaz Linen as part of the MoEngage family. As a brand, Karaz Linen has always kept customers at heart and we are more than happy to support them in their journey of elevating customer experience and satisfaction”.Karaz Linen joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Landmark Group, Apparel Group, Airtel, Ola, Oyo, and Mashreq, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.

The PR Academy MENA offers CIPR Specialist Diploma

DUBAI : The PR Academy MENA announced the first-ever CIPR Specialist Diploma in Sustainability Communication in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The program is designed to equip communication professionals with the necessary skills and knowledge to tackle sustainability issues in business, government, and non-governmental organizations.Reem Masswadeh, Founder of PR Academy MENA said, "With COP28 and the UAE's Year of Climate Change, sustainability communication has taken on a new level of importance in the MENA region. It is more important than ever for communication professionals to be able to effectively communicate about sustainability issues. We are excited to offer this program to our students and to provide them with the practical skills and knowledge they need to become successful in the field of sustainability communication."The CIPR Specialist Diploma in Sustainability Communication is an in-depth, nine-month program that explores the ethical and strategic aspects of sustainability communication. It is designed to equip students with the latest theories and practices in the field, in addition to experiential learning opportunities. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of sustainability and sustainability communication and will be able to develop and implement effective communication plans.Dr Kevin Ruck, Co-founder, PR Academy in the UK said, "This new qualification will equip practitioners with the knowledge and tools to lead an organisation's strategic management of sustainability communication with confidence".The program is set to open in June and will be available in English for practitioners who have two years' broad communication management experience. You can enrol now and interested applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.

NxtWave empowers next-generation Indian Tech innovators

In an endeavour to provide students with enhanced exposure to 4.0 technologies, and strengthen their resolve to build careers in these emerging technologies, NxtWave, an upskilling company, recently held a four-day 4.0 Tech Camp in Dubai, UAE for its students. 27 students were selected for the tech camp out of thousands across India who participated in the Fly High Challenge, a unique challenge that was designed by NxtWave for its students to recognise the next wave of technology leaders. The challenge assessed their coding skills and encouraged consistent learning among students to secure their seats for the tech camp.Speaking about the initiative, CEO of NxtWave, Rahul Attuluri said - “The 4.0 Tech Camp was designed to further encourage students and create an opportunity for them to explore newer forte of Technology. By participating in the event, students gained valuable insights into how the world of technology is evolving and how future careers are going to be shaped by this.”He added, “NxtWave has been extremely successful in creating job-ready tech professionals through its training programs. Over the last couple of years, 1250+ companies, from fast-growing startups to Fortune 500 giants have hired thousands of NxtWave learners. 4.0 Tech Camp is another step forward to provide industry-relevant exposure to Indian youth.”During their time in Dubai, the students visited Samsung Headquarters Gulf and Samsung SmartThings Home, an Ecosystem of Samsung devices that works together using IoT technology. Students got to know about Metaverse, Blockchain and Samsung’s work in these technologies and the opportunities that lie ahead from Mr. Alaa Alsweileh, Head of Digital, Gulf, Samsung Electronics. They participated in an engaging quiz later.The students also attended masterclasses where they learned from industry experts like Mr. Nikhil Nair, Consumer Business Leader of the Middle East, Turkey & Africa, HTC Vive; and Mr. Sonam Kaithan, a Fintech leader in UAE. During the interactions with experts, students learned how companies are shifting their businesses towards the metaverse, and about blockchain technology. They witnessed some cutting-edge projects happening at these companies and understood the vast career opportunities available to students who are skilled in these technologies.At the 4.0 Tech Camp, the students participated in a day-long hackathon where they exchanged and gained knowledge about ongoing digital transformation in India. They learned about inculcating an entrepreneurial mindset and creating solutions to the problems they face and turning them into ?businesses through value creation. After special sessions on how D2C companies are built using technology and case studies of successful tech companies, students participated in teams, and came up with innovative startup ideas. Using no-code tools, they got the website, product, and vision ready by the end of the hackathon.Speaking about her experience at 4.0 Tech Camp, Rashi Chauhan, 2nd year Engineering student from Noida said, ? "I learnt a lot about Artificial Intelligence, Metaverse, Blockchain, NFTs, Fintech and many more emerging technologies. While working as a team in a hackathon, I improved my communication and leadership skills. This tech camp pushed me out of my comfort zone and increased my awareness of these technologies drastically."Apart from the intense learning, the students also got the chance to explore engineering marvels in Dubai by visiting iconic places like the Dubai Mall, the Burj Khalifa, and the Dubai Frame. The city tour provided them with a glimpse of the rich cultural and technological landscape of Dubai. The event was a success and is expected to continue in the future, inspiring more students to become leaders in the field of 4.0 technologies.

Middle East consumers willing to pay more for luxury excursions

Dubai : Sustainability is becoming an increasingly important consideration within the Middle East’s luxury travel sector, especially in the UAE where 61% of residents say they are willing to pay a premium for more responsible, eco-friendly and sustainable tourism experiences. Trends and opportunities within the high-end travel segment will represent key focuses throughout the 30th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which will run from 1-4 May 2023 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).According to YouGov’s Global Travel & Tourism Whitepaper 2023: Luxury travel post-pandemic, one in 10 consumers has stayed in luxury eco-friendly accommodation during the past three years. This trend is especially prevalent among high-income travellers, whose sustainable luxury hotel stays have increased by 50% during the same period.The UAE topped global rankings in terms of the value placed on exploring, with almost two-thirds (58%) of respondents reporting that travel has become more important to them since the Covid-19 pandemic. In terms of luxury travel priorities, a quarter of those living in the Emirates are looking for great entertainment, whereas 19% place the biggest emphasis on premium-quality accommodation when booking trips.Danielle Curtis, Exhibition Director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said, “The Middle East has developed an unparalleled international reputation for luxury tourism, with consumers across the region placing a high value on bespoke, memorable and environmentally responsible experiences. This is especially pertinent given ATM 2023’s theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Industry leaders will be showcasing the innovative ways in which they are delivering luxury, sustainable travel experiences across the Gulf and beyond.”In addition to sustainable luxury travel, consumers’ appetite for authentic excursions is also on the rise within this segment. Over half (51%) of affluent tourists have sought more meaningful travel experiences since the pandemic, and more than a quarter (27%) are willing to pay extra for secluded villas and chalets. These figures coincide with growth across the Gulf’s travel industry. By 2028, the value of the UAE’s outbound sector is set to reach $30.5 billion, Saudi Arabia is on course to hit $27 billion, Kuwait is expected to grow to $17 billion, and Qatar is likely to exceed $13 billion.Premium travel will be placed under the microscope at ATM 2023, as high-profile names from across the sector gather in Dubai to discuss luxury-related trends, challenges and opportunities during the session entitled, Sustainable Luxury: At What Cost?. Moderated by Joe Mortimer, Editor-at-Large at Destinations of the World News, speakers including Amir Golbarg, Senior Vice President Operations - Middle East & Africa at Minor Hotels; Candice D’Cruz, VP Luxury Brands at Marriott International; and Nadia Ibrahim, Member of the Board of Directors at the UN Global Compact, will discuss a range of industry-critical topics, such as the environmental impact of luxury hospitality and the most effective methods of carbon offsetting.ATM 2023 will also see the return of International Luxury Travel Market (ILTM) Arabia 2023, a luxury-focused event dedicated to high-end destinations, premium accommodation and bespoke tourism experiences, which will run on days two and three of the show. The upcoming edition of ILTM Arabia will deliver extensive networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities to participants, as 44 exhibitors engage with a select group of buyers catering to high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) across the GCC and broader region.ATM 2023 will feature an array of exclusive brands from the Middle East’s luxury hospitality segment, including Kerzner International’s Atlantis The Palm and Atlantis The Royal; Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts’ Burj Al Arab; Caesars Palace Dubai; Emaar Hospitality Group; and more. The ILTM Lounge will also host a range of international luxury exhibitors, such as Japan’s Hotel New Otani Tokyo Executive House ZEN; Adaaran Resorts Maldives; Switzerland’s Red Carnation Hotel Collection; France’s Airelles; and The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in the United States, among others.The 30th edition of ATM will explore the future of sustainable travel in line with its theme, ‘Working Towards Net Zero’. Having officially initiated its journey to net zero, the conference programme will explore how innovative sustainable travel trends are likely to evolve, allowing delegates to identify growth strategies within key vertical sectors, while providing a platform for regional experts to explore a sustainable future ahead of COP28, which will take place in November 2023 at Expo City Dubai.The conference will also feature a sustainability category at its annual exhibitor awards for the first time. Exhibiting organisations will be recognised based on the extent to which they have considered the environmental impact of their stands, as well as their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. ATM 2023 is held in conjunction with Dubai World Trade Centre and its strategic partners include Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) as the Destination Partner, Emirates as the Official Airline Partner, IHG Hotels & Resorts as the Official Hotel Partner and Al Rais Travel as the Official DMC Partner.

Faisal Ahmed promoted to Head of Performance, Media for dentsu MENA

Dubai : Dentsu today announces the promotion of Faisal Ahmed to Head of Performance, Media for dentsu MENA, a newly created role designed to strengthen client focus and provide operational leadership for Performance across the group’s media brands Carat, iProspect and dentsu X.Leading a consolidated team of performance specialists across departments, Faisal will lead the integration of digital products, tools and capabilities to maximize opportunities for clients and respond to the changing needs of consumers. Encouraging the adoption of best practice in deploying relevant experiences, insights and technology, Faisal will be tasked with driving progressive and effective performance media strategies for dentsu’s clients across the MENA region.Faisal has a wealth of industry experience with over 17 years’ specialising in software engineering, digital performance, analytics and client management roles, of which he has spent over 10 years with dentsu in various leadership positions. “With the continued pace of digital transformation, brands and businesses should be taking a more holistic approach to digital performance management. Agencies are no exception; integrating our performance teams to combine the right talent, technologies, platforms, and processes will better enable us to deliver a top-class digital experience for our clients and partners. I am delighted to appoint Faisal to spearhead this effort, his deep industry experience and leadership will be invaluable to further strengthen our Performance Media capabilities and services across MENA,” said Tarek Daouk, CEO of dentsu MENA.Commenting on his new role, Faisal added, “I’m delighted to be taking on this new challenge with dentsu. By shifting our digital specialists away from a siloed single agency model into a hybrid, multi-disciplinary digital performance effort, we will both drive efficiency and improve quality. From knowledge-sharing across teams, to standardised outputs across the discipline, we have an opportunity to reimagine ways of working to both empower our teams and drive growth for our clients who are trusting us to do great work.”

Kinetic Brands appointed to create the brand for Intellectual property firm

Dubai : Following a multi-way international pitch, Kinetic Brands has been appointed to deliver the new brand strategy, identity and website for a new unrivalled super-regional IP firm servicing and managing the intellectual property (IP) portfolios for some of the world’s leading brands across the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia.Kinetic Brands will work with Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active private equity firms based in Dubai, as well as the newly formed leadership team from the merged firms, CWB Group and PETOŠEVI? Group to define and craft the brand strategy, design implementation and transition of the new identity across all touchpoints including digital platforms.The new flagship brand will see the merged entity take a unique position to provide clients with the full suite of IP services across the 52 countries it is set to operate in.Halim Shehadeh, the newly appointed Group CEO for the merged firms, said: “The appointment of Kinetic Brands followed a rigorous pitch process amongst local and global agencies. Kinetic was successfully appointed due to their deep expertise and senior advisory and delivery team. As we move through the early stages of the project, we are very happy with our choice and look forward to announcing the new brand shortly”.Hannah Powlesland, Founder of Kinetic Brands, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to deliver this important project for Gulf Capital, CWB and PETOŠEVI?. It is a significant win for the agency having started our operations in 2020 and is testament to the strong experience our senior Kinetic consultants hold”.

Power League Gaming launches Flux to help brands enter gaming, esports

Dubai : PLG, MENA’S leading and most innovative gaming and esports agency has launched its new service Flux, in response to increasing demand from brands for lower cost base solutions to enter the gaming and esports space. As a multi service agency, PLG delivers strategic advice, builds branded gaming ecosystems, hosts on and offline esports tournaments and drives strategies which drives audiences to client content via social media, influencer and paid for digital marketing campaigns with measured ROI. Over the past 24 months, PLG has witnessed unprecedented growth from regional brands for building marketing campaigns and branded content to reach gaming and esports audiences.The size of the MENA gaming market is projected to increase 19 per cent to more than $5 billion by 2025, from 2019, according to a report by Boston Consulting Group [BCG]. Newzoo predicts that by 2024 the global gaming livestream audience will be 830.3 Mn CAGR of 9.2% over 2019 - 2024 with the Middle East and Africa growing at 15.1%.As audiences gravitate to this medium, SMEs and those with smaller budgets are looking for ways to reach them in strategic and engaging ways at affordable rates. Gaming and esports are fast becoming an essential part of the marketing mix as mass reach channels that provide highly engaged and loyal audiences. PLG has identified the need to offer lower cost solutions to bring brands into the gaming and esports space and to serve the fast-growing demand. The average esports production and marketing campaign in the global industry costs in the range of $150 - $500K so can be out of reach for brands with smaller budgets. PLG Flux offers clients a lower touch solution that comprises a mix of branded content and toolkits, social media marketing, end to end community management, influencer marketing and downstream trending data and reporting with entry costs from a much more affordable range starting at $30K.PLG Flux’s toolkit of solutions, products and services are specifically engineered to acquire, engage and retain audiences on the brand’s behalf, focused toward attaining tangible ROI. In addition to the flexible social content creation solutions, PLG FLUX’s end to end gaming and esports influencer marketing unit consistently delivers engagement averages circa 11% (industry average 5%).“PLG’s social and influencer marketing division (FLUX), has delivered continual success by enabling the Pizza Hut brand to acquire, engage and retain Arabic Gen Z and M gaming audiences. Thorough PLG’s range of content, social and influencer marketing strategies, Pizza Hut has built scalable social platforms and continually drives conversations within the MENA esports and gaming community. This approach has enabled the brand to build meaningful relationships by serving the Arabic gaming and esports communities with the right content, at the right time.” Said Beverley D'Cruz, General Manager - Pizza Hut Middle East and Pakistan.Commenting on the launch of Flux, PLG’s CEO Matthew Pickering “as a company built from the ground up by expert gamers and marketing professionals, we are laser focused on getting the right strategies in place for our clients so that their brands can form long lasting relationships with this very important audience category. Entering the space at speed in meaningful ways is critical for clients to become and remain relevant to these communities as we move toward a Web 3.0 world. We are excited to be leading the way with Flux, enabling more brands to start their journey engaging and building relationships with gaming and esports audiences.

Kantar fuels growth in the Middle East and Africa

Dubai : Kantar, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company today announces three senior appointments in support of the next phase of company growth in the Middle East and Africa region.  Ndeye Diagne has been appointed Managing Director, West, East & Central Africa and joins the MEA Leadership team. Inclusion & Diversity champion and award-winning keynote speaker, Ndeye holds an impressive record of client successes and positive impact on brands operating in and outside the region. She is deeply enthusiastic about Africa and its potential and is the founder of Africa Life – Kantar’s most distinctive insights programme about Africa, its trends and people. Ndeye grew her career through a series of critical roles – from Managing Director of Francophone Africa to Managing Director for Nigeria, and, ultimately Managing Director for West Africa in 2021.  Daniel Oseman adds Chief Growth Officer, West, East & Central Africa, to his remit as Managing Director, East Africa. Having led Kantar’s East Africa Insights business for the last three years, Daniel passionately believes in the power of insight to help brands grow. With over 14 years of research experience, Daniel has extensive knowledge of brands’ business challenges in the region, making him an ideal partner to help guide our clients. In his new dual role, he will help deepen Kantar’s data and technology strategy to shape the brands of tomorrow. Astrid Ricketts appointed Sustainable Transformation Practice Lead, Middle East & Africa. Astrid has been integral to the launch of Kantar’s Sustainability Practice in the region, delivering strategic insight and advice to help businesses and brands futureproof through sustainable transformation. Insights from Kantar’s Sustainability Index further help shape solutions to societal and environmental problems facing consumers and businesses today.  “I’m delighted to see our talent grow into roles of increased responsibility. Ndeye, Dan and Astrid are inspiring leaders and well-known industry experts whose success is shaping the brands of tomorrow. Also, they are testimony to our commitment to creating rewarding career paths and meaningful progression within the company. I look forward to working with Ndeye, Dan and Astrid as we pursue growth for the business and the brands we serve,” said Adeola Tejumola, Executive Managing Director for Middle East & Africa.  Kantar’s people are at the heart of its global growth strategy; as the company continues accelerating its innovation journey to become the indispensable brand partner to the world’s top companies.

Exotic beverage brand Rubicon expands in the UAE

Dubai: Rubicon Exotic, the Internationally renowned beverage company, is expanding its presence in the UAE just in time for the summer season. The brand's exotic range of flavorful juices and beverages will now be available at Zoom Supermarkets, Emarat, and ENOC gas stations throughout the region.From its very first drink, 'Passionade,' to its extensive product range that includes sparkling, no added sugar, organic coconut water, kids' options, classic flavors, spring water and exotic blends, Rubicon Exotic is dedicated to offering a wide range of special products to cater to the unique preferences of its customers. The brand's juices are enjoyed on their own and also widely used as ingredients in cocktails, mocktails, and desserts.Rubicon Exotic has been a leading international beverage company for over four decades, known for its use of the finest, authentic ingredients and its superior quality. Its juice drinks are now enjoyed in over 30 countries worldwide, and the brand promises to showcase delicious exotic fruits from around the world through its products.UAE residents can find Rubicon Exotic products at various retail stores, including Spinneys, Waitrose, Carrefour, Lulu, Zoom, Geant, Choithrams, Abu Dhabi Coop, Sharjah Coop, Al Maya, and Aswaaq. The brand's products are also available online at Lulu online, Carrefour, Amazon,, Noon, Instashop, Spinneys , Talabat and Mumzworld.Rubicon Exotic's flavorful and healthy options are an excellent way to reduce dehydration and boost energy in the body. The brand's expansion in the UAE demonstrates its commitment to providing customers with convenient access to its delicious products, and it looks forward to continuing to delight consumers with its exotic flavors.

Wego named the #1 travel app for flight searches and bookings

DUBAI : Wego has emerged as the #1 travel app for flight search and booking in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region with a year-over-year (YOY) growth of over 157.7% and 143,002 downloads in February 2023, according to data from data was gathered by analyzing the download rates of 1,062 travel apps that offer flight and hotel search capabilities. Wego has also earned the distinction of being the most downloaded travel app for flight-focused brands in the MENA region, and secondly, it is the most downloaded travel app under Meta and OTA categories in Kuwait since September 2022. With holidays such as Eid Fitr approaching soon, the app's popularity is expected to rise steadily.Wego is an award-winning travel app and one of the largest online travel marketplaces in the MENA & Asia Pacific. With its extensive network of airline and hotel partners, Wego offers travelers a comprehensive range of travel options, allowing them to find the best deals and make informed decisions about their travel plans.Whether traveling for adventure, work, family, or other reasons, users can rely on Wego to provide them with a seamless booking experience.Wego's success can be attributed to its user-friendly interface, which allows users to browse and compare flight and hotel room options from multiple airlines and hotels in one place.Moreover, throughout the year 2022, Wego has introduced a string of new updates and features for its users, like easier payment gateways with its collaboration with Tabby and Apple Pay. This, coupled with the app's competitive pricing, has helped Wego secure its position as the top travel app for flight search and booking in the MENA region.

Alibaba Cloud unveils new AI model

Dubai: Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group, today unveiled its latest large language model, Tongyi Qianwen. The technology innovator will integrate the new AI model into Alibaba’s various businesses to improve user experience in the near future. The company will also provide its customers and developers with access to the model to enable them to create customised AI features in a cost-effective way.In addition, Alibaba Cloud announced lower cost options of key cloud products including their Elastic Compute Service (ECS) and Object Storage Service (OSS) by introducing new ECS instances, OSS Reserved Capacity (OSS-RC) and OSS Anywhere Reserved Capacity (OSS-ARC). The move aims to make computing more accessible and affordable for companies looking to unlock emerging opportunities in the new AI era.“We have entered an unprecedented technological watershed moment, underpinned by generative AI and cloud computing, and businesses across all sectors have started to embrace intelligence transformation in order to stay ahead of their games,” said Daniel Zhang, Chairman and CEO of Alibaba Group and CEO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence. “As one of the global leading cloud computing service providers, Alibaba Cloud is also committed to making computing and AI services more inclusive and accessible to enterprises and developers, so they can uncover more insights, explore new business models for expansion, and create more cutting-edge products and services for the society.” Integrating Tongyi Qianwen into Alibaba’s businesses and building tailored models with customersTongyi Qianwen will be integrated into all business applications across Alibaba’s ecosystem in the near future, from enterprise communication, intelligent voice assistance, e-commerce, search-to-navigation and entertainment, to further enhance user experiences. Capable of answering questions in both Chinese and English languages, the model will be first deployed on DingTalk, Alibaba’s digital collaboration workplace and application development platform, and Tmall Genie, a provider of IoT-enabled smart home appliances.Tongyi Qianwen-empowered DingTalk is designed to make workplace communications more efficient. For example, it can summarize meeting notes, turn meeting conversations into texts, write emails, and create first drafts of business proposals or promotion campaign ideas using simple prompts. Users can also take a photo of a draft idea on paper and turn it into a mini application on DingTalk in a split second.Tongyi Qianwen-empowered Tmall Genie will be able to generate more engaging and vivid conversations with users. For instance, it can develop and tell stories for children, provide healthy diet recipes, offer travel tips and recommend background music for a work out.To further facilitate the intelligence transformation for enterprises to reap the benefits of AI-driven innovation, Alibaba Cloud will also offer its clients access to Tongyi Qianwen on cloud and help them build their own customized large language models. By fine-tuning Tongyi Qianwen with customers’ proprietary intelligence and industrial know-how in a secure cloud environment, enterprises can establish their tailored AI models on cloud to suit their specific business needs. This is expected to spark a new wave of growth momentum for customers, without them having to go through resource-intensive and expensive pre-training processes for building foundational models.In addition, developers will soon be able to access Alibaba Cloud’s Tongyi Qianwen to create their AI applications at scale. This will further bolster the AI software ecosystem across sectors ranging from logistics to media, finance, manufacturing, energy, retail and more.Multimodal capabilities including image understanding and text-to-image will be added to the Tongyi Qianwen model soon to provide users with more compelling AI features.“Generative AI powered by large language models is ushering in an unprecedented new phase. In this latest AI era, we are equipped to create additional value for our customers and broader communities through our resilient public cloud infrastructure and proven AI capabilities,” said Jingren Zhou, CTO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence.“We are witnessing a new paradigm of AI development where cloud and AI models are playing an essential role. By making this paradigm more inclusive, we hope to facilitate businesses from all industries with their intelligence transformation and, ultimately, help boost their business productivity, expand their expertise and capabilities while unlocking more exciting opportunities through innovations.”Tongyi Qianwen is based on Tongyi, Alibaba’s proprietary pre-trained model framework that unifies various AI models, including models that can turn text into images and short videos. Last year, Alibaba Cloud launched ModelScope, an open-source Model-as-a-Service (MaaS) platform that comes with hundreds of AI models including Tongyi-based text-to-image model for global developers and researchers. So far, with over 1 million active users, ModelScope has made 800 models available with over 16 million model downloads to-date. More accessible and affordable computing for enterprises and studentsDesigned for small and medium-sized (SME) enterprises, the new ECS Universal instance family provides the same stability of its similar product, while saving costs of up to 40%. It is suitable for SMEs conducting web applications and websites, enterprise office applications and offline data analysis.OSS-RC enables customers to reserve storage capacity in a specific region for a duration of one year. It reduces the capacity cost by up to 50% from pay-as-you-go prices. When customers have no requirement on storing their data in a specific region, they can create an OSS “Anywhere Bucket” to store data in a region chosen by Alibaba Cloud. OSS-ARC can then be used to reserve capacity for objects stored in OSS Anywhere Buckets. It reduces the capacity cost by up to 70% from pay-as-you-go prices.In order to make computing resources more accessible to developers in China, Alibaba Cloud has also announced free trials of core products for up to three months, including ECS and PolarDB databases. Alibaba Cloud will also provide 1,000 free training courses on cloud technologies as well as around 500 hands-on experiments based on real business scenarios for developers to get easy access to cloud technologies.

AZADEA Group announces major rollout of 10 brand debuts

ABU DHABI : AZADEA Group, a leading lifestyle retailer, has announced the opening of 23 new stores in Abu Dhabi’s Reem Mall as part of its strategy to continue expanding in the region. Visitors to the UAE capital’s newest entertainment, dining, and shopping destination will now have an even wider selection of top brands to pick from – including 10 franchises debuting in the emirate for the first time.As part of AZADEA’s expansion, Calzedonia, Deichmann, Flying Tiger Copenhagen, and Intimissimi all opened their first Abu Dhabi stores late last month, while Mood, Reserved, Salsa, and Tezenis will each open debut units imminently. New Shanghai and The Butcher Shop & Grill will also soon be introduced to Abu Dhabi consumers for the first time with debut restaurants. Among the other brands having either recently opened or set to open in the coming weeks are: Bershka, Boggi Milano, Decathlon, Eataly, KIKO Milano, Mango, Massimo Dutti, PAUL, Pull&Bear, Oysho, Sunglass Hut, Urban Outfitters, and Virgin Megastore.In keeping with AZADEA Group’s commitment to providing an unmatched shopping experience, the new brands make up a total footprint of 12,800sqm and support Reem Mall’s unique, all-in-one retail and dining experience. This new collection of popular brands will further cement the mall’s reputation as one of the Emirate’s leading leisure destinations and is a perfect fit for its wider surroundings, taking customer choice to a whole new level.“This new major development in Abu Dhabi represents a key milestone in our expansion strategy in the emirate,” said Walid Chahine, Chief Operating Officer of AZADEA Group. “We exist to provide our customers an entertaining and exciting way of life and are undergoing a promising growth phase in the region. Abu Dhabi continues to maintain its position as a leading destination for shopping and attractions with the launch of differentiated projects such as Reem Mall that provide residents and tourists with several leisure, entertainment, and retail options.”Steve Bunce, Chief Operating Officer of Reem Mall, added: “We are thrilled to witness the growing presence of our tenants as they open their stores and restaurants at Reem Mall. We are delighted to have AZADEA – one of the region’s leading retail and leisure groups with a prominent presence in the development – on board. We eagerly anticipate the response of our customers to the new stores, which started to roll out at the end of last month.”

The UAE increases tax threshold for startups

UAE: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has issued Ministerial Decision No. 73 of 2023 on Small Business Relief for the purposes of Federal Decree-Law No. 47 of 2022 on the Taxation of Corporations and Businesses (Corporate Tax Law).The decision is issued in accordance with Article 21 of the Corporate Tax Law, which treats the taxable person as not having derived any taxable income in a given tax period where the revenue did not exceed a certain threshold.Small Business Relief is intended to support startups and other small or micro businesses by reducing their Corporate Tax burden and compliance costs. The Ministerial Decision on Small Business Relief specifies the revenue threshold and conditions for a taxable person to elect for Small Business Relief and clarifies the provisions of the carried forward Tax Losses and disallowed Net Interest Expenditure under the Small Business Relief scheme.stratThe Ministerial Decision on Small Business Relief stipulates the following:1. Taxable persons who are resident persons can claim Small Business Relief where their revenue in the relevant and previous tax periods is below AED3 million for each tax period. This means that once a taxable person exceeds the AED3 million revenue threshold in any tax period, the Small Business Relief will no longer be available.2. The AED3 million revenue threshold will apply to tax periods starting on or after 1st June 2023 and will only continue to apply to subsequent tax periods that end before or on 31st December 2026.3. Revenue can be determined based on the applicable accounting standards accepted in the UAE.4. Small Business Relief will not be available to Qualifying Free Zone Persons or members of Multinational Enterprises Groups (MNE Groups) as defined in Cabinet Decision No. 44 of 2020 on Organising Reports Submitted by Multinational Companies. MNE Groups are groups of companies with operations in more than one country that have consolidated group revenues of more than AED3.15 billion.5. In tax periods defined in the decision where businesses do not elect to apply for Small Business Relief, they will be able to carry forward any incurred Tax Losses and any disallowed Net Interest Expenditure from such tax periods, for use in future tax periods in which the Small Business Relief is not elected.6. With regard to the artificial separation of business, the Ministerial Decision specifies that where the Federal Tax Authority (FTA) establishes that taxable persons have artificially separated their business or business activity and the total revenue of the entire business or business activity exceeds AED3 million in any tax period and such persons have elected to apply for Small Business Relief, this would be considered an arrangement to obtain a Corporate Tax advantage under Clause (1) of Article 50 regarding the general anti-abuse rules of the Corporate Tax Law.

Gartner forecasts worldwide IT spending to grow 5.5% in 2023

DUBAI: Worldwide IT spending is projected to total $4.6 trillion in 2023, an increase of 5.5% from 2022, according to the latest forecast by Gartner, Inc. Despite continued global economic turbulence, all regions worldwide are projected to achieve IT spending growth in 2023.“Macroeconomic headwinds are not slowing digital transformation,” said John-David Lovelock, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “IT spending will remain strong, even as many countries are projected to have near-flat gross domestic product (GDP) growth and high inflation in 2023. Prioritization will be critical as CIOs look to optimize spend while using digital technology to transform the company’s value proposition, revenue and client interactions.”The software segment will see double-digit growth this year as enterprises prioritize spending to capture competitive advantages through increased productivity, automation and other software-driven transformation initiatives. Conversely, the devices segment will decline nearly 5% in 2023, as consumers defer device purchases due to declining purchasing power and a lack of incentive to buyAs enterprises navigate continued economic turbulence, the split of technologies being maintained versus those driving the business is apparent in their position relative to overall average IT spending growth.“CIOs face a balancing act that is evident in the dichotomies in IT spending,” said Lovelock. “For example, there is sufficient spending within data center markets to maintain existing on-premises data centers, but new spending has shifted to cloud options, as reflected in the growth in IT services.”The IT services segment will continue its growth trajectory through 2024, largely driven by the infrastructure-as-a-service market, which is projected to reach over 30% growth this year. For the first time, price is a key driver of increased spend for cloud services segments, rather than just increased usage.In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), IT spending is estimated to total $175.5 billion, up from $171.9 billion in 2022 Exposure from Bank Failures Remains Contained, but Tech CEOs Must Prepare for DisruptionThe collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and Credit Suisse created a shockwave within the banking and tech industries. While exposure remains relatively contained, tech startups are likely to face renewed questions and scrutiny from stakeholders, clients and prospects.“This is not just a tech problem, as these firms lent money to all forms of startups – not just IT,” said Lovelock. “Tech CEOs must urgently ensure they are moving their organization forward by conserving working capital, monitoring the impact on cash, securing access to credit and keeping a close eye on talent and culture. Once the organization is properly prepared, tech CEOs can then direct and engage employees to find, accelerate and execute on market opportunities.”Tech Talent Shortages Continue Amidst LayoffsEven as layoffs continue to impact the tech industry at large, there is still a critical shortage of skilled IT labor. The demand for tech talent greatly outstrips the supply, which will continue until at least 2026 based on forecast IT spend.“Tech layoffs do not mean that the IT talent shortage is over,” said Lovelock. “IT spending on internal services is slowing in all industries, and enterprises are not keep up with wage rate increases. As a result, enterprises will spend more money to retain fewer staff and will turn to IT services firms to fill in the gaps.”Gartner’s IT spending forecast methodology relies heavily on rigorous analysis of the sales by over a thousand vendors across the entire range of IT products and services. Gartner uses primary research techniques, complemented by secondary research sources, to build a comprehensive database of market size data on which to base its forecast.The Gartner quarterly IT spending forecast delivers a unique perspective on IT spending across the hardware, software, IT services and telecommunications segments. These reports help Gartner clients understand market opportunities and challenges. The most recent IT spending forecast research is available to Gartner clients in “Gartner Market Databook, 1Q23 Update.”

Onwani system supporting easier navigation across Abu Dhabi

 Abu Dhabi: The Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) has launched a media campaign to raise awareness of the Onwani system, the unified spatial addressing system for Abu Dhabi.The innovative platform uses advanced technologies, such as geographic information systems and Quick Response (QR) code services, creating efficient access and navigation to different destinations across the emirate.The awareness campaign is being implemented in multiple languages to reach different segments of society across Abu Dhabi. The aim is to educate people on how to use Onwani to access any address in Abu Dhabi, and the unique benefits it offers, ultimately encouraging more members of the community to adopt it. The campaign features a series of short videos that tell stories about the meanings behind the street names in the emirate.These streets are named after elements inspired by authentic Emirati heritage and culture, as well as prominent figures, to introduce National identity and local heritage to current and future generations, while strengthening their connection to the history and heritage of the UAE.Onwani contributes to facilitating the access of individuals, businesses, and visitors to any destination or location in Abu Dhabi with efficiency and effectiveness. This is achieved by numbering buildings and naming streets in different parts of Abu Dhabi by, using unique numbers for buildings and facilities, and unique names for streets that reflect the Emirati identity.The importance of the system lies in the many benefits it offers to individuals, businesses and society. The system helps save time and facilitates access to desired locations more quickly, which contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles and preserving the environment. The system also contributes to enhancing logistics services and assisting in delivering goods and services promptly and with high accuracy.Other benefits include improving emergency response times and enhancing business planning and management processes by providing accurate information.The Onwani system has been developed to meet best global practices in addressing and spatial guidance, contributing to improving the quality of life in the emirate. It will also drive the national economy by facilitating the movement of individuals and enhancing the transportation of goods and commodities in various regions of the emirate.The system is a significant landmark and a step forward in the sustainable development of Abu Dhabi, enhancing infrastructure and having long-term positive effects.His Excellency Dr. Salem Khalfan Al Kaabi, Director General of Operational Affairs at the Department of Municipalities and Transport, said: "Onwani provides innovative solutions that can create a qualitative shift in transportation and navigation methods in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. It will have multiple and long-term positive impacts that support the national economy and solidify the emirate's position on the map of innovation and smart cities. Through this innovative system equipped with advanced technologies, residents of the emirate will be able to navigate and discover different places and destinations in Abu Dhabi more easily and in less time than ever before.“Onwani reflects the Department of Municipalities and Transport's commitment to continuous development of the infrastructure of the emirate's cities and improving the quality of life for its residents. The system enhances Abu Dhabi's position as a model to be followed by other cities around the world as it embodies the value of innovation and collaboration to improve public services."Department of Municipalities and Transport, in coordination with partners from government and private sectors, has conducted workshops to introduce the use of Onwani for logistics services within the unified Addressing System. announces Eid sale with savings up to 50%

CAIRO : Today, announced its Eid Sale, offering customers tens of thousands of deals across over 30 product categories. The sale will run from April 12 to 18, and features discounts of up to 50% off on a wide range of products including fashion, beauty and perfumes, electronics, home and kitchen appliances, toys, groceries, including Kahk (Egyptian Eid cookies), and Prime members will have exclusive early access to the sale starting from midnight on April 11, a full day before the sale opens to all customers. Prime members will also benefit from exclusive deals and extra savings, including fast and free shipping, early access to deals, Prime Video, and Prime Gaming. Customers who are not yet Amazon Prime members can sign up for a free 30-day trial on and enjoy all the benefits of being a Prime member, including early access to the Eid Sale. After the trial period, membership will be available for EGP 29 per month. For ease of payment and convenience, customers can pay online using their debit or credit cards, and Orange customers can also subscribe to Prime with their Orange bundle package. Commenting on the upcoming sale, Omar Elsahy, Amazon Egypt General Manager, said, “We are thrilled to launch our Eid Sale event for our customers and provide them with a range of products and discounts of up to 50%, allowing them to save big ahead of the festive occasion. As we know customers love to purchase new clothes for Eid, we are offering special fashion discounts of up to 70%, meeting their needs this Eid, along with Eid’s all-time favorite Kahk. Prime members can take full advantage of the sale, benefitting from their membership perks and exclusive deals that are tailored to their shopping preferences.” also provides customers with more ways to save this Eid. customers who are Banque Misr credit card holders can get 20% discount up to EGP 150, with an additional 10% up to EGP 50 for Prime members, and have the opportunity to pay in installments up to 12 months with 0% interest rate. In addition, ALEXBANK credit card holders buying on can also pay in installments up to 12 months with 0% interest rate. For Vodafone Cash customers, customers can get an extra 20% discount up to EGP 40 on their order when they pay EGP 100 or more using Vodafone Cash as a payment method.Customers shopping the Eid Sale on can also support local businesses by exploring the ‘Support Egyptian Products’ storefront featuring a curated collection of products connecting local businesses, with customers throughout the sale.Eid Sale DeliveriesThe increased demand through the deals season is met by Amazon’s world-class last-mile operations and delivery station technologies. The company’s advanced capacity management systems, enhanced tracking, and global routing solutions will ensure a faster, more reliable, and more convenient customer experience. Today, Amazon’s network across Egypt includes 22 delivery stations across cities like Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, Ismailia, and Assiut, and several established corporate and customer service offices.Customers can make their shopping experience even easier by downloading the Amazon app to browse and shop the best Eid sale deals or shop directly on the website on All deliveries can be paid through online payment options including credit and debit cards.

Sharjah Ramadan Fest boosts sales for shops and centres

Sharjah: The 33rd edition of the Sharjah Ramadan Festival, which was held in different cities and regions of the emirate and organized by the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has yielded positive preliminary results after 20 days of its launch. The shopping centers and shops taking part in the event reported significant increases in revenues and sales due to the surge in the number of shoppers.As the 33rd edition of the festival draws to a close on April 25, it is expected that sales will continue to rise during the remaining days. This is attributed to the high demand from families who are shopping in preparation for Eid Al Fitr. The major discounts offered by the shopping centers and thousands of shops, with prices reduced by over 75% on a range of goods, products, and fashion items, are also playing a significant role in driving the increased demand.HE Mohammad Ahmed Amin Al Awadi, Director-General of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), emphasized that the Sharjah Ramadan Festival has been a crucial shopping season for the retail sector in the Emirate of Sharjah for 33 years. It constitutes a significant proportion of their annual sales, as confirmed by polls conducted by the Chamber in collaboration with the relevant authorities. This year's polls reaffirmed that the festival has once again achieved exceptional success in promoting retail sales and activating the sales movement, as evident from the preliminary results.For his part, Ibrahim Rashid Al Jarwan, Director of Economic Relations and Marketing at SCCI and General Coordinator of the Festival, said that the Sharjah Ramadan Festival is a crucial event for both merchants and shop owners, and one of the most significant marketing seasons in the Emirate of Sharjah. It motivates shoppers to make purchases, thereby serving as a crucial driver in promoting Sharjah's retail sector. Additionally, the festival has become an essential platform to attract visitors from all over the world and provide them with a unique shopping experience in Sharjah.Several representatives from shopping centers and shops participating in the Sharjah Ramadan Festival 2023 expressed their satisfaction with the event's positive impact on their sales over the past 20 days. They reported an increase in the number of visitors and sales in many shopping centers, attributing it to the Sharjah Chamber's annual organization of the festival and the services it provides.Additionally, they appreciated the Chamber's close supervision and follow-up of the festival's various activities, such as the offers, draws, and prizes, which attracted thousands of shoppers and led to a significant increase in sales rates.Sahara Centre and City Centre Sharjah are among the many shopping centers in Sharjah offering exclusive promotions and prizes during the ongoing Sharjah Ramadan Festival 2023.At Sahara Centre, shoppers who spend AED 200 at any of its stores will be entered into a draw to win prizes or shopping vouchers worth a whopping AED 150,000. (AED15,000 for each winner). The mall is also hosting a variety of discounts and offers throughout the festival period.City Centre Sharjah, on the other hand, has launched a "spend and win" campaign exclusively for Majid Al Futtaim SHARE Rewards cardholders. The lucky winner will receive a diamond set presented by Lifestyle Jewellery Store.In collaboration with Radio Plus 95 of Sharjah Radio and Television, the shopping center is also holding a live competition program every Saturday and Sunday during Ramadan. Participants will have the chance to win valuable prizes, including "My Gift" cards worth a total of AED 28,000. Additionally, the Carrefour hypermarket is offering AED 10,000 worth of gift cards, and there are free shopping vouchers available from both Sharaf DG and Venue 3 Gym.Mega Mall Sharjah is also offering its own set of prizes for shoppers who spend AED 200 or more. Weekly draws will be held for iPads, iPhone 14s, TV screens, and electric scooters. Additionally, daily prizes will be given out once the spending threshold is met.

Continuum Media partners with Komsomolskaya Pravda

Dubai:Komsomolskaya Pravda is one of the biggest multimedia holding based in Moscow with an impressive history of 97 years, creating content and reaching their multi-million audience through radio, newspaper, and video. Komsomolskaya Pravda, a leader in the websites of consumer orientation, has a maximum audience reach and monthly traffic of 47. 7 million people.Komsomolskaya Pravda aims to bridge the gap effectively by assigning Continuum Media as its exclusive partner in the Middle East Region.Continuum Media is a media technology company which has more than 50 media titles under its portfolio across the globe. Continuum Media will be able to serve the local clients and agencies better who are looking to reach the Russian audiences through radio, newspaper, and video on a large scale.This agreement between the technology media representative company and the premium Russian publication will allow it to reach effectively the audiences in Russia who are interested or looking for better investment opportunities in real estate, education, health, and tourism in UAE Market.Mohammad Nayeem, Sales Director EMEA, said, “Continuum a leading media technology company with expertise in media & ad tech is committed to helping businesses expand its reach in several markets. Continuum Media with this partnership with Komsomolskaya Pravda can successfully aim at delivering the messages effectively and efficiently.Anna Shashlova, Director of Internet Project Development KP.RU , said: "We are pleased to present the advertising powers of KP Media Group in the Middle East through our partner Continuum Media Group, which will give customers the opportunity to reach a multi-million audience in Russia. We highly appreciate the professionalism and competence of Continuum Media Group and are confident in the effectiveness of cooperation.”

H.E. Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna joins the advisory board of YAAP

Dubai: YAAP, a new-age specialized content and influencer marketing company, today announced that His Excellency Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna has joined its advisory board. Former UAE Ambassador to India, Dr AlBanna, will have hands-on involvement in YAAP’s key strategic initiatives aimed at growth and expansion in the GCC region. The addition of a seasoned diplomat of Dr AlBanna’s calibre to the advisory board reflects YAAP's ambitious growth vision. “We are elated to induct His Excellency Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna to the advisory board of YAAP. This development coincides with a juncture marked by strategic expansion, sustainable scaling, key appointments, and continued product/service excellence at the company, in the context of the GCC region. Dr AlBanna’s wisdom will go a long way in empowering us to realize our aspirations, as well as stay rooted in shared values and business ethos,” expressed Atul Hegde, Founder of YAAP. Dr AlBanna is well-known for his contributions to the public sector, where he led key teams and departments in organizations and apex bodies such as the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dubai Quality Group, and Dubai Rent Committee. His Excellency subsequently became a member of multiple, reputable professional associations, including a stint as an advisor for the Dubai Expo. His exemplary work in the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, particularly as the Ambassador and Plenipotentiary to India, continues to define his reputation in the region.His Excellency’s intersectional experience, owing to his ambassadorship and other diplomatic roles, also complements YAAP’s operational purview which includes India and the GCC region. In a career spanning over four decades, Dr AlBanna has left a lasting legacy on multiple organizations and initiatives by negotiating and striking landmark deals, helming successful strategies, and orchestrating pathbreaking agreements. His business acumen will benefit YAAP tremendously as it explores more investments in the region and expands its footprint beyond Dubai. “YAAP is well-equipped technologically and strategically, capable of capitalizing on the many emerging opportunities in the region. Its blueprint for growth and expansion in the Middle East is promising, characterized by value creation, technology adoption, customer-centricity, and an alignment with the governmental vision of all-around socioeconomic prosperity — factors that deeply resonate with me and my business philosophy,” commented H.E. Dr Ahmed Abdul Rahman AlBanna. YAAP recently onboarded Nandita Saggu and Sadia Akhter as Partners and joined hands with leading US-based influencer marketing agency Tagger Media. The high-profile additions and partnerships were preceded by the acquisition of Crayons Communications, a reputable advertising agency in the Middle East, and an impressive top-line growth of 97% and a 5X jump in profitability for FY21-22. YAAP’s portfolio includes esteemed clients such as Coca-Cola, Visit Dubai, Lufthansa, RuPay, American Express, Disney, Amazon, and Square Enix.

Burgeoning demand from KSA’s entertainment industry to propel AV technology

Riyad: KSA: From playing host to several international sports’ events, to putting on art exhibitions and live concerts with star-studded global icons, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is facing a rising demand for AV technology to support its burgeoning entertainment industry, which reached an estimated USD 308 million at the end of last year, according to Statista.With plans for Saudi Arabia to invest USD 64 billion in its entertainment industry over the next decade, there is a significant demand for AV technology, professional lighting equipment, and theatre and cinema operators to support the Kingdom’s ambitious entertainment goals.The rising demand will be the focus of this year’s Saudi Light and Sound (SLS) Expo taking place from the 28th – 30th May at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Co-located with the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement (SEA) Expo, SLS Expo will feature exhibitors from the pro-lighting and audio, live events, digital signage, AI, laser technology, and stage technology sector. In addition, the SLS Summit will include presentations and panel discussions from industry experts and leaders on how to advance the entertainment market as it works towards Vision 2030.“The country’s entertainment industry is expected to be worth USD 1.17 billion by the end of 2030. This explosive growth has placed an immense demand on the light and sound industry,” said Sarkis Kahwajian, SLS Expo Director.“Over the last few years, it has become the norm in Saudi Arabia to play host to some of the biggest international sporting events, from WWE to Formula One, in addition to theatrical shows, and concerts with internationally acclaimed artists. And while it has done this successfully and attracted huge tourist numbers from the region and across the world, it has also set the tone for the next decade in the entertainment space. This is where SLS Expo can really be the catalyst and meet the rising demand.”With one of the largest populations in the Middle East and with around half its residents under the age of 30, Saudi Arabia has a growing appetite for entertainment that has already seen plans for hundreds of new cinemas to explode onto the market by the end of the decade, a bevy of theme parks and new cities intent on showcasing entertainment to drive domestic and international tourists.Among the exhibitors at SLS Expo this year are Huda Lighting Trading, Kvant Show Production, Novelty Middle East Pro Lab Trading, TechnoCode and many others

Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah to exit OSN board

UAE: OSN, the leading TV entertainment company for premium content in the region, has announced that Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah will be departing from the company's board to assume her new role as the Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the United States of America.Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah has been a valuable member of OSN's board, serving as the Vice-Chairwoman since May 2022 and bringing extensive leadership experience to the company. Her contributions, including spearheading a number of projects and strategic initiatives, have played an instrumental role in OSN's growth.Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah succeeds Sheikh Salem Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah as the new ambassador. OSN expresses gratitude to Sheikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah’s contributions and wishes her continued success in her new position.Chairperson Sheikha Dana Nasser Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, KIPCO’s Group Chief Executive Officer, and the OSN Board expresses gratitude and thanks for her contributions and wishes her continued success in her new position.

Digital assets infrastructure company Zero Two opens headquarters in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi : Digital assets infrastructure company Zero Two has launched operations in Abu Dhabi to cater to the rapidly increasing interest in Web3 technology and its ecosystem. With a unique, fully integrated offering in end-to-end digital assets infrastructure solutions, Zero Two aims to become a trusted partner to companies seeking to capitalise on the broad innovative scope and transformative potential the technology offers. The company’s services include developing power infrastructure, sourcing and testing latest generation technologies, building and operating data centres, and providing digital assets management services.Zero Two was created to develop, operate and invest in best-in-class technologies accelerating and supporting the digital asset and Web3 ecosystem in the region, which comprises concepts such as decentralisation and token-based economics.Zero Two will play an integral role in facilitating the continued stability of the power grid of Abu Dhabi while contributing towards the UAE’s Net Zero commitments and transition towards a sustainable, decarbonised economy as the nation prepares to host COP28. By utilising excess power in low demand seasons to operate its state-of-the-art data centres located in Abu Dhabi further supporting the resiliency of the local power grid.With an inaugural client roster encompassing energy and utilities sector leaders, Zero Two, which is part of ADQ, purchased the largest order to date of Clean Energy Certificates (CECs), which are rolled out collaboratively by the Department of Energy (DoE) and Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC). By offsetting CO2 emissions, the purchase grants Zero Two to attest the sources of its clean energy usage and empowers them in achieving their sustainability goals.Ahmed Al Hameli, Chief Executive Officer at Zero Two, said: “Digital assets hold vast potential that is only beginning to be explored and leveraged. Zero Two enters the market with a robust and broad business model catering to rapidly emerging demand and a demonstrated commitment to meeting the highest standards of security and compliance. We are confident that our offering that utilizes excess power from the local power grid, which is the first of its kind in the UAE and the wider region, will not only meet the needs of our clients but also exceed their expectations with regards to the various benefits that can be derived from deploying distributed ledger technologies.”Zero Two name comprises of two notions, the significance numerals 0 and 2 in Web3 technology.

Live video streaming market to reach $4.3 billion by 2028

Jeddah: OpenSignal recently published a report on the live video experience of mobile users. The first-of-its-kind in the industry, the report is based on years of extensive research and development conducted across more than 100 global markets.The report aligns with OpenSignal’s aim to help telecom providers enhance their network performance and provide the best user experience by providing and analyzing data on network performance and mobile device experience.Previously, OpenSignal issued a report on users’ experience of playing real-time multiplayer games over mobile networks, when streaming recorded video, communicating in group video calls, or with over-the-top voice applications.The latest report sheds light on the live video experience, revealing the difference between watching live events and viewing videos on social media platforms, on-demand TV shows, movies, or other forms of pre-recorded video. (read the full report here: live events is one of the most significant challenges that streaming companies face due to the need for a robust back-end infrastructure that ensures reliable and high-quality, real-time distribution.The report, titled “The Live Video Experience – in Mobile Sports, News and Game Streaming,” emphasized the importance of the live experience for mobile users because if there are any delays or glitches in the production process or network, it can significantly impact users' overall experience. For example, if a user hears their neighbors cheer a winning goal in a football match, or a batter getting caught during a cricket match before they get to see it themselves, it can ruin their enjoyment of the event.To evaluate the live video experience, OpenSignal conducted tests measuring the mobile network performance, the results of which reflected the quality of the live video viewing experience for mobile users around the world, in addition to conducting a comparison of the live video streaming experience using the world's largest streaming platforms, such as YouTube Live and Twitch.The results of the report revealed that Norway has the best overall live video experience in the world with a score of 55.3 points, surpassing the Netherlands by 1.2 points and closely followed by Sweden and Denmark with scores of 53.6 and 53.7 points, respectively. European markets dominated the global top 20 list, with only three markets outside of Europe - South Korea, Taiwan, and Canada – making it to the list.In the Asia Pacific region, South Korea topped the rankings with a score of 51.4 points, followed by Taiwan (49.7 points) in the second place, and Singapore and Japan in the third place with scores of 48.7- 49.1 points. Papua New Guinea came last with a score of 26.8 points.Across the Americas, Canada ranked first as the country with the best live video experience with a score of 49.6 points, while Uruguay scored the highest in Central and South America with 45.8 points. The US, meanwhile, scored 40.7 points, ranking sixth in the region, tying with Argentina, which scored 40.8 points and Brazil (38.9 points).The total global live video broadcasting market is expected to reach $4.3 billion by 2028, up from nearly $1 billion in 2021, which means a rapid compound annual growth rate of 23.5%, according to Vantage Market Research. According to the OpenSignal report, the most popular types of live video streaming services included live sports broadcasts, sports news, gaming broadcasts and streams, news coverage and events, as well as entertainment shows such as concerts, festivals, and variety shows produced by individual creators on social media or streaming platforms as well as live shows and product reviews via social media.The report indicated that live streams provide a more interactive experience for mobile users than pre-recorded content because they facilitate communication and engagement between broadcasters and their audience, as well as opportunities for online creators and influencers to share their content in real-time and monetize it through donations from their online communities during streams or through advertising revenues or sponsorship deals.A live video is an excellent tool for creators to showcase their content while being spontaneous. They don't need to restrict themselves to their studios, with access to specialized technical equipment. Live streaming is also user-friendly, especially for mobile users, due to its increased accessibility. People can connect to live video streams from anywhere as long as they have a mobile signal, making it easier for organizations and businesses to reach a wider audience.

Dubai Shopping Malls Group launches Eid campaign

Dubai: Get ready to make this Eid unforgettable with Dubai Shopping Malls Group's latest campaign – 'An Eid to Remember, an Eidiya to Cherish', taking place from 12-22 April 2023.During this time, customers can head to their favourite participating malls and spend as little as AED 200 for a chance to win up to AED 200,000 in an exciting digital raffle. Shoppers simply need to present their purchase receipts to the customer service desk at the mall to register for an e-ticket to enter the campaign.A total of 22 lucky shoppers will be selected at draws during the last three days of Eid—guaranteeing a memorable Eid filled with amazing shopping experiences and the chance to win big. A sum of AED 15,000 will be awarded to six winners, whereas six other winners will take home AED 10,000 and 10 winners will walk away with AED 5000.Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Shopping Malls Group, said: "We are pleased to add joy and prosperity to our customer's lives with our new Eid campaign. Imagine the excitement of taking home thousands of dirhams and all the amazing things you can do with them. At Dubai Shopping Malls Group, our commitment is to give back to our community through our campaigns, and by building on our continuous success, we aim to deliver an Eid to remember to our valued customers."The participating malls in Dubai Shopping Malls Group's Eid promotion this year include Al Barsha Mall, Al Barsha South Mall, Al Ghurair Centre, Al Bustan Centre, Al Khail Gate, Al Warqa City Mall, Arabian Centre, Bay Avenue, Century Mall, Dubai Outlet Mall, Dubai Festival Plaza, Villanova Community Centre, Etihad Mall, Lulu Silicon Central, Nad Al Hamar, Shorooq Community Centre, Serena Marketplace and Mudon Community Centre.

Dubai the top foreigners’ destination, W Capital survey says

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: A “W Capital” survey, said that the Emirate of Dubai has become a dream of living, residing and working for many foreigners, especially Arab youths.The survey, conducted through January to March 2023, asked "W Capital" clients in the UAE and the Gulf region what makes the charm of Dubai. Participants stated that the infrastructure gave Dubai the lead in the field of real estate at the global level, and strengthened its position at the forefront of global destinations as the best place to live, work and invest, besides the ease of doing business, and providing good job opportunities."The poll conducted by "W Capital", the real estate brokerage, showed the participants’ great desire to live in Dubai, establish their business and plan for future in the emirate of dreams, which is one of the seven safest cities in the world for citizens, residents and visitors,” said Walid Al Zarooni , CEO.He added that Dubai's successes during the past two decades have established its position as a fertile ground for opportunities, where efforts bear fruit and dreams come true. It is now a destination for entertainment, work and living, and it is more than just a civilized space, but rather an experience that cannot be lived anywhere else. Here you can’t avoid the temptation of big dreams and achievements, while enjoying the best lifestyle during that experience.Al Zarooni stated that the emirate has succeeded in being a home for expatriates of more than 200 nationalities, who live and work side by side.Dubai provides a rich lifestyle with many events and recreational activities for all, in a vibrant urban atmosphere.The CEO stressed that Dubai provides the most modern roads, ports and airports, which serve as one of the busiest gateways to the world in the region for business, trade and tourism. This make the city a favorite for many.Due to its central location between east and west, as it is a few hours away by flight from most of the world's major destinations, Dubai Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. It serves more than 85 million people annually, connecting more than 240 destinations across six continents, with more than 100 airlines.Al Zarooni indicated that Dubai has also established its position as one of the happiest cities in the world, and the only city in which happiness is considered an official public mission. The UAE has a Ministry of Happiness, which was established in 2016.He stressed that the emirate ensures happiness for nationals or residents of other nationalities, by empowering them and providing distinctive infrastructure and exceptional opportunities, while at the same time preserving their safety and comfort.Dubai has one of the most developed and effective transport systems; Which makes it ideal for on-the-go thanks to strict traffic laws, and a state-of-the-art road control systems.He pointed out that Dubai offers the best educational standards. There is a world-class school education, through 16 different curricula, and access to more than 60 prestigious international universities. The health services offered by Dubai are of highest global standards , especially after integrating health and innovation to serve and attract medical tourism. They are keen to become one of the top 20 healthcare markets in the world.Al Zarooni stressed that the real estate market in Dubai continues to receive great support from the unlimited facilities and qualitative initiatives launched by the emirate's government, represented in the policies to support residents, the new residency laws, and the residency of entrepreneurs and investors.He said that the emirate provides safe and vibrant residential communities, as well as luxury resorts and hotels, which suit all tastes, and the expected demand for different spaces, to suit the individuals or familes.Al Zarooni believed that the Dubai real estate market is characterized by its diversity, fulfilling the different requirements of the tenants and buyers, and this is supported by flexible real estate legal systems that allow Emirati and Gulf nationals to own property in any area, as well as allow foreign residents to rent, buy and sell real estate units in specific areas in the emirate.

Animators reveal their creative secrets at Sharjah Animation conference

Sharjah: Presenting a not-to-miss opportunity to fans and professionals alike, the Sharjah Book Authority has announced the inaugural edition of the Sharjah Animation Conference - a first-of-its-kind platform in the region to learn, be entertained and get up close and personal with Oscar winners and global industry leaders.Set to take place from May 3 - 5 on the sidelines of the 14th annual Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF 2023) in Hall 1, Expo Centre Sharjah, the event is organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in collaboration with Lilium, and in partnership with Italy’s Bergamo Animation Days (BAD) festival, and will provide a platform for people to come together, exchange ideas, and create meaningful connections.The event will host state-of-the-art masterclasses, workshops, film screenings, business networking meetings between publishers and producers, and in-person interactions with the top brass of the world of animation. The artist line-up for SAC 2023 includes the likes of John Nevarez, film-story artist and Oscar winner for “Coco”; Sandro Cleuzo, animator and character designer and Annie Award winner for “Mary Poppins Returns”; and Takahiro Yoshimatsu, the animator and director of “Dragon Ball” and “Dragon Ball Z”.With 9 seminars, 9 workshops and masterclasses, and 3 panel discussions as well as a vibrant professional agenda, the conference will also attract professionals and young people from all over the Middle East, and build Sharjah’s reputation as the animation capital of the Arab world. On the programme, activities aimed at a wide and varied audience, in terms of age and interests, with a major objective: to arouse curiosity and provide information on a world with a high level of creativity and technology. The conference will serve as a meeting point for different arts and crafts, stimulate new professionalism by directing attendees towards specialisations in the sector, and enable creative encounters between young aspirants and established protagonists of the world of animation.The focus is on the writing, languages, themes, production techniques and technologies of animated cinema and how they are expressed in pure entertainment products, popular animation and communication.Khoula Al Mujaini, SAC Executive Director said: “Animation lovers in the UAE and beyond are in for a spectacular treat. At the three-day Sharjah Animation Conference, they will enter the fascinating world of animation and get behind the scenes to learn so much about what brings these iconic and timeless characters to life. The conference is also aligned with Sharjah’s and SBA’s vision to elevate children’s visual content, and to fulfil this purpose, we will be presenting this platform to experts who will enjoy a unique opportunity to meet with the world’s top publishers, animators and producers to explore prospects for content selling and collaboration. We're aiming to bring animation professionals together and create a community in the region, all while providing an opportunity for learning.”For his part, Pietro Pinetti, SAC Artistic Director noted: “Our intention is for Sharjah to become the animation capital of the Arab world, attracting professionals and young people from all over the Middle East. A platform like SAC presents a great new opportunity for enabling exchange between the Arab and western worlds, particularly here in Sharjah, which has been investing in culture and young people for a long time. It is no coincidence that the emirate is the cultural capital of the UAE. Just this year Bergamo is, together with the neighbouring city of Brescia, the Italian capital of culture - another common touchpoint between BAD and SCRF. I thank Sharjah Book Authority for having believed in our project right from the start, and SCRF for welcoming us, proving that it fully shares our vision.”

Cartlow launches innovative retail experience for sustainable shopping

DUBAI: Cartlow has launched a new catalogue retail experience providing customers with a seamless and adaptable shopping journey through its app-based digital catalogue. Customers can explore a diverse range of pre-loved products, including electronics, toys, home, and lifestyle items, and select their preferred items from top brands such as Apple, Samsung, and Huawei. Unlike traditional online shopping, the new experience allows customers to view the item conditions physically, enabling informed purchasing decisions through a tactile and hands-on approach.Cartlow's catalogue retail experience is the first of its kind in the MENA region, providing customers with an innovative solution that helps to extend the lifecycles of products and reduce e-waste. Since inception, the platform has sold over 2 million products, resulting in a groundbreaking contribution to saving over 6 million kg of e-waste and 36 million kg of carbon emissions.Mohammad Sleiman, Founder and CEO, has expressed the company’s commitment to sustainability and continuous innovation in the reverse logistics industry, through which the company aims to provide better solutions to its partners and customers. Cartlow's has had a significant impact on the shopping scene, with products up to 80% cheaper than the retail price. Additionally, the platform holds an international standard certification, demonstrating its commitment to environmentally responsible recycling practices.As the platform continues to grow and expand its offerings, it is expected to become a major player in the global reverse logistics market, which is projected to reach $958 billion in 2028.