New era of AI grips world's imagination as GITEX Global 2023 enters 2nd day

UAE: As the UAE hosts the world's largest tech and startup show, Dubai unleashed a new era of global AI dominance at GITEX GLOBAL 2023. The event, currently underway at Dubai World Trade Centre until October 20, brings together the world's brightest minds, forward-thinking governments, and the most advanced companies to redefine the boundaries of the AI economy and shape the future of technological revolution on the planet.GITEX GLOBAL Explores the Future of MobilityAs driverless car trials continue throughout the world, including the UAE, the impact of driverless mobility on society is starting to be felt., a $8.5 billion Toyota-backed robotaxi unicorn, designs autonomous vehicles with active deployments in Silicon Valley, Beijing, and Guangzhou.Speaking at GITEX GLOBAL, co-founder and CFO Dr. Leo Wang said he sees a viable path toward Middle East expansion. The region's traditionally friendly business environment and readiness to adopt advanced AI technology provide an excellent incentive for innovative businesses. "With its extensive exhibitor list of global tech leaders, GITEX GLOBAL represents the vast breadth of technology available for robocar brands to help forge broad industrial ecosystems," he said.Competition is ramping up in the emergent autonomous driving space. Dr. Wang welcomes the rivalry. "Competition is always welcome because the technology and the market potential are progressing much faster. So, you don't want to be the only player in the field; you want a diverse field so we can all progress together."CTOs Confront the Generative AI EraGenerative AI is reshaping the CTO's playbook, as it requires a new mindset and skill set for leading and managing software development teams. CTOs are under pressure to embrace generative AI as a strategic asset and a competitive advantage to foster innovation and collaboration among developers while addressing the potential challenges and risks of generative AI, such as data privacy violations and AI ethics.On day two of GITEX GLOBAL, His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, attended the inaugural GITEX CTO World Congress, the year's largest gathering of tech architects and disruptors. Delivering a keynote on the occasion, H.E. lauded the efforts of GITEX and the CTO World Congress, calling it a platform that brings together the best and brightest, fostering cross-fertilization among startups, individuals, and scientists from around the world to shape the future of technology.Smart Cities: The Future is NowMore than 50% of smart cities have embraced AI with 5G technology, enabling faster and morereliable communication for connected devices. But this grand vision faces numerous challenges – cybersecurity risks lurking in the shadows, data privacy concerns threatening our every move, while interoperability issues muddy the waters of progress.In a high-level discussion on the future of smart cities, Chris Wan, Associate Director of Sustainability & CSR, Masdar City, was joined by Jordi Vaquer, Secretary General, World Association of Major Metropolises, Spain; Dr Nasser Saidi, Founder and Chair, Clean Energy Business Council MENA and Thomas Debass, MD & Chief Partnerships Officer, US Department of State discussed 'Making the Zero Dream a Reality: Decarbonising Cities by 2050'.The conversation delved into the critical motives for achieving net zero goals as early as possible, citing factors like population growth. The speakers emphasized the daunting task of investing in sustainable urban development and explored potential solutions, including phasing out fossil fuel subsidies to redirect resources toward net zero objectives, implementing a carbon tax and attracting private sector funding in energy transition projects.The 43rd edition of GITEX GLOBAL takes place from 16-20 October 2023, the blockbuster tech showpiece once again reaching full capacity at the Dubai World Trade Centre as it prepares to host more than 6,000 exhibitors and 180,000 tech executives from 180 countries. GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star comprise a combined 41 halls spanning 2.7 million sq. ft of exhibition space, a 40% growth year-on-year with 1,800 startups across both. The events converge the best minds and most visionary companies to scrutinise, challenge, define, and empower the digital agendas of the world.

SHRM MENA Conference & Expo 2023: Pioneering strategies for the future of work

The Society for Human Resource Management in Middle East & North Africa (SHRM MENA) is set to orchestrate a gathering of the most influential minds in the HR and Technology industries for its Annual Conference and Expo 2023. Taking place at the luxurious Atlantis The Palm, Dubai, on November 1st and 2nd, 2023, this premier HR Tech event aims to explore cutting-edge strategies to navigate the rapidly changing world of work.With the theme "Together Towards Tomorrow," the event will unite luminaries, thought leaders, and decision-makers to underscore the importance of forging enduring workplace partnerships, learning from challenges, and collaboratively shaping a brighter future for workplaces.Disruptions in the workplace, accelerated by factors like the Covid-19 pandemic, the rise of artificial intelligence, and the adoption of remote and hybrid work models, have raised concerns about employee well-being and performance. The SHRM MENA conference will serve as a forum to deliberate on ways to empower workers and organizations to mitigate and ultimately eliminate disruptions.Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO of SHRM, emphasized, "The changing landscape of work demands our attention, and we must address the disruptions impacting the workplace. SHRM MENA events will decipher regulations, introduce innovative approaches, craft pioneering strategies, and empower individuals and organizations to thrive in disruptive times, equipping them to navigate the evolving dynamics and opportunities of the modern work world."SHRM conferences are dedicated to harnessing automation and adaptive work frameworks to reshape traditional labor paradigms. The United Arab Emirates, a beacon of innovation and information technology, stands as an international example for collaboration and digital proficiency. It symbolizes the potential for nations seeking to bolster their labor forces. Addressing the complexities of the future of work requires a harmonious effort involving corporations, governments, and educational institutions.SHRM is committed to contributing significantly to this noble endeavor, leveraging its expertise to ensure that the global workforce is exceptionally prepared to navigate the evolving intricacies and opportunities of the contemporary employment landscape.The SHRM MENA Annual Conference & Expo 2023 is set to feature 50+ distinguished regional and global speakers, drawing more than 1600 HR and tech leaders, alongside 150+ CXOs representing 50 nationalities. The two-day program will offer immersive learning experiences, featuring insightful sessions, best-in-class case studies, research papers, articles, and much more.

Veritas announces FY24 partner awards winners for the Middle East at GITEX

 Veritas Technologies, the leader in secure multi-cloud data management, today revealed the winners of its FY24 Partner Awards for the Middle East. The awards honour top channel partners across the region for their contributions to the Veritas business as demonstrated by overall performance in cloud, strategic growth, excellence in technical innovation, and strategic implementation of Veritas solutions.Yudum Yonak (pictured above), Channel Director of International Emerging Region at Veritas, said: “The winners of our FY24 partner awards are those who leveraged our cloud-native cybersecurity solutions to achieve remarkable business successes. Through our collaboration, organisations in the Middle East are discovering effective ways to handle and safeguard data, ensuring compliance, even in the face of growing IT complexities and the persistence of ransomware attacks. We applaud these exceptional partners for their commitment to exceeding business objectives and providing unparalleled value to our joint customers."Among the award winners were (see below for full list):Best Distributor (Gulf and Saudi) – MindwareThe Mindware team has a remarkable ability to swiftly execute tasks, provide support in recruiting new partners, and carry out marketing activities. Their biggest strength lies in winning net new logos, both in the enterprise and SME sectors, and passing these opportunities back to Veritas’ channel teams to inspire and motivate them. Their outstanding performance has earned them the prestigious Best Distributor award in both the Gulf and Saudi regions.The Most Significant Project of the Year (UAE) – MDS DubaiAs one of Veritas’ longest standing and strategically significant partners in the UAE, MDS Dubai has consistently delivered on crucial net new logos over the past year. Their elite post-sales team continues to invest in valuable resources to support our customers.UAE Partner of the Year – Alpha Data Alpha Data has outperformed its previous year's bookings, achieving maximum revenue between FY23 and the first half of FY24. Notably, Alpha Data helped secure Veritas’ largest deal in the Gulf's oil and gas sector.Best Cloud Performance (UAE) – Condo ProtegoThe Condo Protego team assisted a prominent UAE bank in transitioning to Azure, which not only facilitated their cloud migration but also expanded further opportunities for more cloud services, as they extended their presence in the cloud.Alliances Strategic Partner of the Year (Gulf & UAE) – Hitachi This award is dedicated to an exceptional Alliances Partner, whose journey with Veritas began locally in Pakistan and extended into the UAE. The success and significant impact achieved through our partnership with Hitachi is a result of their impeccable and seamless execution.Technical Elite Award (UAE) – ITS AgilityThe ITS Agility team has been instrumental in successfully completing a highly complex technology implementation for a leading healthcare organisation in the UAE. Their achievement isn't just about the sale; it’s about the exceptional implementation efforts by both the pre-sales and post-sales teams, enabling project signoff in less than 90 days.Best Distribution Award (Rest of Gulf Region) – Ingram MicroIngram Micro plays a crucial role in Veritas’ operations. The team’s unwavering loyalty and dedication is a key part of our success.Veritas has partnerships with more than 20,000 companies worldwide. Learn more about the Veritas partner ecosystem or find an authorised Veritas partner by region.Join Veritas at GITEX GLOBAL between 16th-20th October 2023, to learn more about how organisations can ensure their data?is protected, compliant, and recoverable when it matters most. Customers can find Veritas at Stand #CC2-1, Concourse II, Dubai World Trade Center.

Majid Al Futtaim shares findings from '25 Years of Impact in Egypt' report

Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, is celebrating a significant milestone this month as it marks a quarter century of operations in Egypt. To explore the impact of its history and operations in the country, the company has commissioned a report with thought partner Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). Today, the initial findings of the report have been shared by Chief Executive Officer of Majid Al Futtaim Holding, Ahmed Galal Ismail, who was in Cairo to discuss with a small group of media. Over the past 25 years, Majid Al Futtaim has transformed the retail, real estate, and entertainment landscape in Egypt. In 2002 the opening of City Centre Maadi marked a revolutionary addition to the country’s retail offering, bringing the concept of modern malls to a nation that traditionally enjoyed a ‘high-street’ model. The success of this opening brought opportunity, and today, Majid Al Futtaim’s Egypt portfolio, which spans 14 cities and welcomes more than 90 million visitors per year, accounts for 21%[1] of the market share of modern Egyptian retail and includes four destination shopping malls and 70 Carrefour stores, including four Supeco and five Myli stores. For the leisure market, there are six family entertainment centres which include an indoor ski experience and one-third of the country’s modern cinema screens (44 screens), as operated by VOX Cinemas.Ahmed Galal Ismail, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim – Holding, said: "As we commemorate the 25th anniversary of Majid Al Futtaim’s presence in Egypt, we could not be more proud of the role we have played in contributing to the delivery of the Republic’s national growth agenda in that time. We have witnessed first-hand the cultural shift in consumer habits our destination shopping malls, entertainment venues and retail centres have enabled, establishing community hubs that have created investment opportunities to reshape landscapes and create countless employment opportunities for the country’s remarkable talent.Our investment of $2.5 billion over the last two decades is a testament to our unwavering support for the country while our future investments include robust growth plans for Carrefour and Supeco stores and our aspiration is to achieve EGP 100 billion in revenues over the next decade. However, the Majid Al Futtaim journey in Egypt extends far beyond direct capital spend, supporting key initiatives in support of Vision 2030, such as of education, employment, sustainable and economic prosperity. As Egypt continues to unlock its full potential, Majid Al Futtaim is immensely proud to contribute to the Republic’s people, its progress, and its prosperity."A Continued Partnership Majid Al Futtaim remains steadfast in its commitment to create great moments for everyone, everyday across Egypt. With 25 years of positive impact in the country, the Group continues to place the Egyptian community at the heart of its sustainable growth agenda with an unwavering focus on fostering economic progress and community development.Significant investments are planned for the coming years, with a solid ambition from Majid Al Futtaim Properties to invest EGP20 billion in new projects, plus extensions and refurbishments of existing malls and entertainment centres by 2030. A further EGP4.6 billion is slated for local market investment by the Retail business, specifically focusing on the expansion of the Carrefour network to reach 130 stores across 25 cities in Egypt by 2025, and scaling operations of Supeco which will grow to 144 stores by 2030.The VOX Studios business, which was launched in 2021 and produced ‘Voy Voy Voy’ is also to be the recipient of investment and growth. The studio is currently on track to produce 25 Arabic films by 2025.Community ImpactMajid Al Futtaim’s commitment to the communities in which it operates has actively driven strategic investment decisions, totalling more than US$2.5 billion over the last two and half decades. These investments have catalysed urban and social development positioning Majid Al Futtaim as one of Egypt’s largest non-oil foreign investors, directly employing 9,000 people in Egypt and contributing to thousands of indirect employment opportunities through construction projects, tenants and through entertainment assets.In order to build a sustainable future for the company in support of the national agenda, it is recognised that the creation of employment is not enough, and the need to upskill in an evolving labour market and offer access to education that supports that is critical. In line with the Company’s ESG commitments, Majid Al Futtaim has actively engaged in partnerships to equip its Egyptian workforce, as well as youth and underserved societies. This has included collaboration with UNICEF in support of the ‘No Last Generation’ initiative which has enabled access to education for over 2 million children and extended support to an additional 1 million young people in partner countries, in addition to fund-raising campaigns and donations to aid those in need.Majid Al Futtaim has always understood that to build a legacy that lasts, it must be built with an understanding of its impact, whether that be its customers, the environment or, more broadly, the economic growth opportunities that emerge because of its success. Decision-making is driven by the company’s “Dare Today, Change Tomorrow” strategy, and is aligned to 14 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which constantly analyses the issues that are most relevant and important, to respond in a responsible way. This focus is as much about the community as it is the company’s stakeholders, supply chains and governments.Proof of this strategy lies in the Group’s local Egyptian partnerships and initiatives. The exploration of solutions to address renewable energy production and water scarcity in Egypt, the company’s ability to generate 4,700,000 kWh of renewable energy on-site at Mall of Egypt, City Centre Al Maza, City Centre Alexandria and City Centre Maadi and a partnership with Engazaat, Egypt’s first integrated independent power and water producer (IPWP), developer, and operator, which focuses on enabling businesses with sustainable and affordable clean-energy and water utilities.The Majid Al Futtaim 25 Years of Impact Report will be released later this year.

Honeywell next-generation 5G mobile computer empowers e-commerce workers

Honeywell (Nasdaq: HON) has unveiled its latest mobile device tailored for warehouse, logistics and fieldwork professionals that can endure the demanding warehouse environment while helping provide efficient logistics operations in the Middle East.The Honeywell CT47 mobile computer is designed to provide reliable performance, 5G data connectivity and enhanced communications capabilities, giving workers one powerful device to complete tasks in the supply chain – from picking and packing to delivery. The solution will be on display at GITEX 2023 in Dubai.“Workers on the frontline in transportation, logistics and warehousing are demanding users of their mobile devices. What businesses really need is a tough, dependable and easy-to-use device that can help these workers get more done, all while being efficient,” said Taylor Smith, vice president and general manager of voice automation in Honeywell’s Productivity Solutions and Services business. “The CT47 helps those on the front line accomplish tasks accurately and efficiently and enables companies to achieve a more seamless supply chain. It’s not just a tool, it's a mission-critical solution for warehouse, distribution centre and logistics businesses." In industries undergoing digital transformation, such as warehouses, technology is becoming increasingly indispensable for workers to be able to carry out their tasks effectively. The introduction of 5G connectivity brings internet-based computing and devices closer to the endpoints and systems, including the workforce within these facilities.With 5G, work tasks, productivity insights and worker collaboration will seamlessly occur in real time, offering swift access to data insights and accommodating numerous devices on the network simultaneously. This transformative shift in connectivity empowers workers to harness the full potential of technology, enhancing their efficiency and productivity in the evolving digital landscape of the supply chain.The Middle East is experiencing a growing need for enhanced warehouse efficiency, a crucial factor in enabling workers to achieve greater speed and effectiveness in distribution. Warehouses play a pivotal role in both the retail sector and in serving the needs of digital enthusiasts, as nearly nine out of every ten customers in the region intend to continue making online purchases, a trend that has persisted since the onset of the pandemic.The e-commerce market is thriving, driven by a steadfast commitment to meeting customer demands for convenience. This consumer demand has given rise to a need for mobile workers to have cutting-edge tools and actionable insights to effectively handle the rapid expansion of tasks and workflows across various industries. A recent report unveiled that in 2022, the Middle East and North Africa region's e-commerce market surged to a staggering US $37 billion in size, a double-digit growth rate compared to 2021 and an impressive 32% compound annual growth rate from 2018 to 2022.GITEX attendees can see Honeywell’s CT47 as well as other offerings at Hall 5, Stand B1 at the Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC).Honeywell has been operating in the Middle East for more than 70 years, creating value for customers and ultimately supporting long-term national development visions and economic diversification. To learn more about the latest solutions that improve productivity, promote workplace safety and optimize asset performance for industries across the globe, visit

Confluent’s Fred Crehan on revolutionizing AI with the real-time data streaming

In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Fred Crehan, Area Vice President for Emerging Markets at Confluent, delves into the transformative role of real-time data in the Middle East region. Crehan provides insights into the unique challenges and opportunities facing Confluent in this dynamic market, the impact of their real-time AI initiative, and the strategic partnerships that are poised to reshape the technological landscape. He also discusses Confluent's role in empowering Middle Eastern businesses with the data management and analytics capabilities required for modern AI applications and highlights emerging trends in the AI domain. He reiterates the importance of data streaming as a “prerequisite to the success of AI endeavours.” With its data streaming for AI initiative, Confluent aims to help organisations quickly build and scale next-generation AI applications “with a shared source of real-time truth for all operational and analytical data, no matter where it lives.” Excerpts:Can you tell us about your role as the Area Vice President for Emerging Markets at Confluent and how it pertains to the Middle East region?As the Area Vice President, Emerging Markets, I lead Confluent’s business and strategy across the Middle East, and Israel. My role has direct responsibility for sales and I also oversee key field-facing functions like solution engineering, professional services, customer success, and channel teams in the region.As I look to grow Confluent’s regional footprint, I am focused on helping organisations recognise that unlocking the full potential of real-time data will empower them to pioneer compelling digital services for the discerning modern consumer. This is especially relevant in the context of the Middle East. As businesses in the region compete in the digital era, gains in efficiency are made possible by data-backed decision-making. The insight unlocked by the analysis of real-time data from across the enterprise will also help deliver a differentiating edge to businesses, which will be essential to their competitiveness. This calls for enterprises to create a central nervous system that sets their data in motion. The continuous collection and delivery of data across the digital enterprise underpins all digital initiatives, be it the modernisation of IT, adoption of AI, utilization of analytics, or migration to the cloud. For this reason, event streaming platforms are rapidly becoming a must-have component in the IT infrastructures of modern enterprises, and this is a trend that is only set to accelerate in the year ahead.What are the unique challenges and opportunities you've encountered while leading Confluent's efforts in the Middle East market?I helped establish Confluent’s local presence in the Middle East with the opening of our regional headquarters in Dubai in May 2022. While It’s fair to say that the last 16+ months have been challenging for the software industry in general, Confluent has been at the heart of emerging trends like AI, ML and digital transformation. As a result, a lot of data is being generated and utilized. There is also increasing pressure on businesses given the macroeconomic environment to be more efficient, and those factors combined really drives the need for more solutions based on real-time data streaming.Confluent has announced an initiative to accelerate the development of real-time AI applications. How do you see this initiative impacting the tech landscape in the Middle East?Data streaming is a prerequisite to the success of AI endeavours. Continuously enriched, trustworthy data streams are vital when creating next-gen AI applications, because in order to be accurate and effective, these need to be fed with rich, real-time data. With our data streaming for AI initiative, we aim to help organisations quickly build and scale next-generation AI applications with a shared source of real-time truth for all operational and analytical data, no matter where it lives.This has tremendous potential to positively impact the region as AI is set to drive the bottom-line of both regional governments and businesses. A recent PwC report predicts that the Middle East will accrue 2% of the total global benefits of AI in 2030, equivalent to US$320 billion. In Saudi Arabia alone, AI is expected to contribute over US$135.2 billion in 2030 to the economy, equivalent to 12.4% of the country’s GDP.Can you elaborate on the partnerships with MongoDB, Pinecone, Rockset, Weaviate, and Zilliz. How these partnerships might benefit businesses in the Middle East region?As revealed in our recently announced news on data streaming for AI, we are expanding our partnerships with leading companies in the AI and vector database space, including MongoDB, Pinecone, Rockset, Weaviate, and Zilliz. These partnerships will allow companies to unlock the full potential of AI with the freshest contextual data from across their business.Could you share specific examples or use cases where Confluent's partnerships with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure have made a tangible impact on businesses in the Middle East?Through our partnership with Microsoft, Confluent Cloud, our fully managed, cloud-native service for connecting and processing data, wherever it is needed, is now available to our customers in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar through MicrosoftAzure and AWS data centers. With Confluent Cloud being locally hosted, we bring peerless, reliable data streaming to our regional customers and empower them in their digital transformation initiatives in an increasingly hybrid and multi-cloud world.What role do you see AI assistants, like Confluent's AI Assistant, playing in enhancing business processes and decision-making for companies in the Middle East?Our data streaming for AI initiative is demonstrating product innovations that incorporate the latest advances in AI into the platform, with capabilities like a generative AI-powered assistant that helps generate code and answer questions about the data streaming environment.For example, the Confluent AI Assistant turns natural language inputs—like “What was my most expensive environment last month?” or “Give me an API request to produce messages to my orders topic”— into suggestions and accurate code that’s specific to their deployment.With the growth of real-time data and AI applications, how does Confluent plan to support businesses in the Middle East in terms of data management and analytics?We recently announced data streaming for AI, an initiative to empower organisations’ development of real-time AI applications. Real-time, trustworthy data streams are key to building next-gen AI applications and Confluent wants to make it easier for businesses. Modern AI applications require multiple technologies and data from numerous domains to seamlessly come together. We want to help organisations quickly build and scale next-generation AI applications with a shared source of real-time truth for all operational and analytical data, no matter where it lives.Can you provide insights into the specific strategies Confluent is employing to help organisations in the Middle East build a real-time data foundation for modern AI applications? And what are the emerging trends in the AI domain?For businesses to succeed in the new era of AI, they have to avoid the challenges that legacy data-at-rest architectures impose and build the modern AI stack on a foundation of data in motion. We are expanding our ecosystem to include critical AI technologies to help organisations build AI apps faster. This includes plans for fully managed connectors for the modern AI stack, GenAI API calls built into Apache Flink, and an AI Assistant to help companies build faster on Confluent.

Global Threat Assessment reveals escalation in child sexual abuse online

WeProtect Global Alliance has released its fourth Global Threat Assessment Report, which revealed there has been an 87% increase in reported child sexual abuse material cases since 2019, with over 32 million reports globally (NCMEC). The findings underscore the pressing need for a coordinated, multi-faceted response to protect the world's children from this escalating threat.The report, which provides critical insights into the threats children face online in 2023, also found there has been a 360% increase in self-generated sexual imagery of 7-10-year-olds from 2020 to 2022 (Internet Watch Foundation). Shockingly, it was also revealed that conversations with children on social gaming platforms can escalate into high-risk grooming situations within 19 seconds, with an average grooming time of just 45 minutes. Social gaming environments that facilitate adult-child intermingling, exchanging virtual gifts and public ranking systems, significantly increase these risks.The research found a significant rise in financial sexual extortion, with reports of the harm jumping from 139 in 2021 to over 10,000 reports in 2022. This involves perpetrators grooming and manipulating children into sharing sexual images and video of themselves and then extorting them for monetary gain. Many extorters pose as young girls online and predominantly approach boys aged between 15-17 years via social media. This phenomenon has resulted in a string of cases where children have tragically taken their own lives.New technology is heightening the threats that children face online. Since early 2023, cases of perpetrators also using generative Al to create child sexual abuse material and exploit children have been increasing. Thorn found that while less than 1% of child sexual abuse material files shared in a sample of offender communities are currently photorealistic computer-generated imagery (CGI) of child sexual abuse, the volume has increased consistently since August 2022. Last month, Australia, in a global first, put in place measures that require big tech companies to take steps to ensure AI products cannot be used to generate deepfake images and video of child sexual abuse.Director General of the International Affairs Bureau at the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Interior, Lt. Colonel Dana Humaid Al Marzouqi says:“The Global Threat Assessment's conclusion paints a critical picture: child sexual abuse is on the rise, driven largely by proliferation of social media and technological advancements such as AI.“In the UAE, we are very positive of the collective efforts that is happening in real-time, and we will always be advocates for change. We are determined to take action, to futureproofing our approach to children's online safety by implementing the Model National Response on Child Safety, an initiative to build a robust protection system. We are eager to share our expertise with those committed to combatting child sexual abuse effectively.“In the meantime, law enforcement agencies continue to grapple with challenges in detecting and investigating child abuse cases. That is why we must collaborate closely with ICT sector companies to better understand the roadblocks and together identify pragmatic solutions.To achieve this, we need a platform that promotes alignment, knowledge sharing, and cooperation. Such a platform would empower us to adapt processes and inform policies, all in pursuit of our shared mission: safeguarding children.”Iain Drennan, Executive Director of WeProtect Global Alliance says:“Our latest report shows the scale of the threat children face online. Online-facilitated child sexual exploitation and abuse worldwide demands our attention and action right now. New technological capabilities further exacerbate existing risks, and the situation is no different in the United Arab Emirates. Children’s safety must be non-negotiable. To prevent more children from coming to harm, governments, online service providers, charities and companies must step up their efforts and work together to drive change and protect children.”Turning the tide on current abuse trends will only be possible with increased prioritisation and commitment from all stakeholders involved in the response, empowered and enabled by maturing legislation. To fight back, all stakeholders, including governments, online service providers, civil society organisations, and responders, are urged to:Invest in Public Health Approaches: Prioritise prevention and invest in interventions targeting those who have or are at risk of perpetrating or experiencing abuse. If we only invest in responding to the problem after the abuse has happened, we are failing children.Centre Children's Rights and Perspectives: Design interventions that empower children, remove barriers to abuse identification, and enable them to hold online service providers accountable.Implement Globally Aligned Legislation: Prevent offenders from exploiting legal loopholes by enacting globally consistent internet regulations.Adopt a Safety by Design Approach: Implement innovative approaches to technology design that prioritise user safety from the outset, not as an afterthought.Additional findings:Chasm in Children's Perceptions: A significant gap exists between children's perceptions of online risks and the actual manifestation of online abuse, with evidence showing that perpetrators are often known to the child and private platforms as where most sexual harm occurs. This highlights the need for improved age-appropriate online safety information and accessible reporting processes.Pornography as a Precursor? The report highlights emerging evidence of a correlation between the frequent viewing of pornography and accessing child sexual abuse material. Minority groups targeted: Vulnerable minority and marginalised groups, including those based on sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, or disability, are disproportionately exposed to online sexual harm.Global instability increases abuse: Poverty, inequality, and global crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and climate change, all contribute to the rise in child sexual exploitation and abuse.Supporting quotes:Sheema Sen Gupta, UNICEF Director of Child Protection and WeProtect Global Alliance Policy Board Member:“The swift advancement of technology is straining child protection and justice systems, which in many countries are already stretched thin. We urgently need to focus on large-scale prevention – this requires governments to invest in evidence-based interventions to protect children from sexual violence and for companies to adopt child-rights-by-design principles when developing digital products and services to prevent potential harm. We also need strong legislation to protect children from all forms of online child sexual exploitation, future-proofed against rapidly evolving technologies.”Najat Maalla M’jid, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children, UN:“In order to make the online world safer, it’s critical to understand children’s perceptions of safety to tailor responses appropriately. The message from children is clear: we have a lot more to do to ensure the digital environment is a safe and protective space for and with them.”Etienne Krug, Director Social Determinants of Health - World Health Organisation:“The Global Threat Assessment reveals, once again, that unwanted online sexual solicitation and cyberbullying remains a pervasive issue for children. 2/3 of cyberbullying victims also experience bullying away from screens, emphasizing the strong connection between violence online and offline. While acknowledging the benefits of internet access for children and young people, it is crucial to put an end to violence online. Digital service providers need to take action; in addition government and school officials, civil society organizations, faith based groups, parents and young people themselves also have a key role to play. It is essential to promote empathy, the nurturing of healthy relationship skills and policies that bolster the mental health of children in the digital realm and in the real world.”

Polestar integrates Prime Video for intuitive infotainment

Polestar, the Swedish electric performance car brand, has announced the addition of Prime Video as it continues to pioneer the intuitive infotainment experience. Accessible to stream content while parked or charging, Prime Video joins YouTube which launched in Polestar 2 in June 2023.Polestar 2 was the first car in the market to feature Google’s Android Automotive OS with Google built-in when it launched in 2019. Since launch, Polestar and related suppliers have continuously released useful apps for the car, including the likes of Waze, EasyPark, A Better Routeplanner, AccuWeather, Range Assistant, Journey Log and the Performance app for dual-motor cars.Polestar 2 has also featured the Vivaldi web browser since December 2021 that unlocks web access to other entertainment services that may not yet have a native in-car app.Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, comments: “The successful launch and integration of Android Automotive OS in Polestar 2 has proven that we can leverage the best navigation and voice control in the business to make life with a Polestar easier. The Google Play store has also gained a rich variety of apps that offer interactivity and entertainment, from playing games to streaming series.”The launch and ongoing development of Android Automotive OS in Polestar 2, which has been done in close collaboration with Google, has laid the foundations for Polestar’s forthcoming cars. Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 feature an evolution of the interface with larger screens and more capability. Apps developed for Polestar 2 are planned to be available in future cars as well.Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, Polestar’s cars are available online in 27 markets globally across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Wins Sharjah's leading hotel award

DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences is proud to announce its prestigious recognition as Sharjah's Leading Hotel for the year 2023 by the World Travel Awards. This remarkable achievement underscores the hotel's unwavering commitment to providing exceptional hospitality experiences and showcases its dedication to excellence in the hospitality industry.The World Travel Awards is widely regarded as the ultimate hallmark of quality within the global travel and tourism industry, and winning this award is a testament to the outstanding efforts and dedication of the entire team at DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences.DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences, a business and family friendly hotel is situated on the picturesque waterfront of Al Majaz Sharjah, has consistently delivered memorable stays and exceptional services to its guests. From its breathtaking waterfront views to its warm and welcoming atmosphere, the hotel has become a go-to destination for travelers seeking a blend of comfort and elegance in the heart of Sharjah.Ligia Brasoveanu, General Manager-DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences expressed her excitement about the recognition: "We are absolutely thrilled to receive the Sharjah's Leading Hotel 2023 award from the World Travel Awards. This accolade is a testament to the hard work, dedication, and passion of our incredible team, who consistently go above and beyond to provide exceptional experiences for our guests.""At DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences, we are committed to delivering the highest standards of hospitality. This award reinforces our position as a leading hotel in Sharjah and inspires us to continue raising the bar in providing unmatched services and creating unforgettable memories for our valued guests,” Ligia added.DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences offers a range of facilities and amenities that cater to both leisure and business travelers, including spacious guest rooms and apartments, exquisite dining options, state-of-the-art meeting and event spaces, a separate male and female fitness center with steam and sauna rooms, and Semi Olympic size indoor swimming pool.The Sharjah's Leading Hotel 2023 award by World Travel Awards further solidifies DoubleTree by Hilton Sharjah Waterfront Hotel & Residences as a beacon of excellence in the hospitality industry. The hotel looks forward to welcoming guests from around the world and continuing to provide remarkable experiences that leave lasting memories.

Zoho invests AED 43mln to support the digitization of UAE businesses

Zoho Corp., a leading global technology company, revealed that it has invested AED 43 million into local partnerships since the pandemic started to help UAE businesses digitise their operations. To date, the company has helped close to 5,000 small, medium and large local businesses move their operations to the cloud, and transition to a more efficient and effective digital workflow.The announcement was made on the sidelines of GITEX, the region's biggest technology conference. Since 2022, Zoho's partnerships with government entities in the UAE have resulted in a 36% increase in a number of businesses benefitting from the perks programme.Through local partnerships, Zoho has been able to provide businesses with the necessary tools and resources to help them understand and leverage its solutions. The company achieved this through wallet credits and training programmes on how to use its innovative products to gain a competitive advantage, as well as optimise its digital presence. The top sectors that have leveraged Zoho's platforms included IT Hardware & IT Related Services, Retail, Transportation and Logistics, Organisations and Services and Professional Services."Zoho's offerings have enabled enterprises to take advantage of the digital revolution and stay ahead of the competition. As part of our transnational localism strategy, we have set a long-term vision with the support of the relevant UAE government departments to help businesses in their digital transformation journey," said Hyther Nizam, President of Middle East and Africa (MEA) at Zoho. "In the coming years, we will double down on this investment, and continue to assist businesses in adopting cloud solutions and thriving in the digital age."Zoho at GITEXOver the past years, Zoho has consistently exhibited at GITEX, and seen a rise of 125% in terms of revenue generated from the event and a 65% rise in the footfall. The engagement has largely come from the Education, IT Services & IT Consulting, and Pharma Manufacturing sectors.Zoho is participating at GITEX 2023 to showcase its latest innovative apps and AI-powered tools that were recently released. This year, Zoho unveiled new features and capabilities in 13 apps powered by generative AI and ChatGPT that further improve businesses' productivity and efficiency. It has also launched a free privacy-centred browser, Ulaa, which enables a secure browsing experience for individuals and organisations.

Dubai Chambers reveals details of ‘Future Theatre’ programme

Dubai Chambers has unveiled details of the ‘Future Theatre’ programme, a key element of the upcoming Dubai Business Forum that creates a curated platform for interaction with globally renowned speakers as they explore the groundbreaking innovations driving today’s economies.Hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai Business Forum will take place at Madinat Jumeirah from 1-2 November 2023 under the theme ‘Shifting Economic Power: Dubai and the Future of Global Trade.’The Future Theatre programme features headlining keynote sessions examining a thoughtful mix of seven thematic pillars. Participants will take a deep dive into the Future of Industries, Future of Cities, Future of Investments, Future of IoT, Future of Jobs, Future of Cyber Security, and Future of Robotics. The insightful experiential sessions will tackle the future trends set to catalyse growth in economies, industries, businesses, and society.Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President and CEO of Dubai Chambers, commented: “This year's Dubai Business Forum is designed to provide our global community of attendees, partners, and guest speakers with tailored opportunities to connect through meaningful conversations that will drive transformative growth and shape the future of business and trade. With an exciting lineup of sessions focusing on seven diverse topics, our Future Theatre sets the stage for thought-provoking conversations that will provide valuable insights and fresh perspectives on global trade and investments in a world shaped by digital transformation.”The opening session will feature a TED-style talk focusing on the Future of Industry pillar. 'The 4th Industrial Revolution: Powering Future Economies' will shed light on the significant impact Industry 4.0 will have on the global economy.The Future of Investments pillar will present a session examining thematic investments, which have grown in importance during the post-pandemic period. The session will also consider the impact of investment opportunities on future societies.Meanwhile, the Future of Jobs pillar will highlight the career paths of tomorrow and share insights on potential jobs of the future that reflect the fast-evolving digital landscape on a global and local level.Additional sessions will examine the future of urban planning, how the growing use of AI and machine learning is transforming industries by enabling advanced IoT technologies, and the integration of robotics within the workplace, as well as the impact of ransomware and the importance of adopting robust cybersecurity measures.The Future Theatre will host focused and intimate sessions that provide additional scope for interaction, creating an engaging platform for meaningful dialogue that complements the forum’s compelling panel discussions and interactive main-stage sessions.The inaugural edition of the Dubai Business Forum builds on the success of Dubai Chambers’ series of ‘Global Business Forum’ events and is set to play a key role in contributing to the ambitious targets outlined in the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33), which seeks to double the size of the emirate’s economy over the coming decade.The Dubai Business Forum will be hosted at Madinat Jumeirah from 1-2 November.

Air Arabia ranks first on Airfinance Journal's list of top 100 global airlines

Air Arabia, the Middle East & North Africa’s first and largest low-cost carrier (LCC), achieved first place in Airfinance Journal's prestigious annual ranking of the world's top 100 airlines for the fourth consecutive year.The airline received this ranking following Airfinance Journal’s extensive assessment of the performance of 100 global airlines during the last twelve months figures no older than 31 December 2022 ensuring the accuracy of the data. The assessment considered a comprehensive set of operational and financial criteria, encompassing various key performance metrics such as revenue, fixed charges, liquidity, market capitalization, and leverage in addition to the fleet size.Adel Al Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer of Air Arabia, said: "This recognition is a testament to our relentless pursuit of operational and financial excellence. It reflects the dedication and hard work of our entire team at Air Arabia. We will continue to push the boundaries when it comes to operational and financial excellence, ensuring our passengers receive the best service while maintaining our position as a leader in the industry."As Air Arabia has been securing this leading position for four consecutive years, it marks the airline's successive accomplishment of this esteemed status. Air Arabia outperformed 99 other prominent global airline companies, showcasing exceptional performance across all the evaluated variables in the report.Airfinance Journal, known as 'The Airline Analyst,' is recognized as the most extensive and in-depth source of financial and operational data for airlines available in the aviation market.

Dubai will have its third Gran Melia Hotel by 2025

Gran Meliá Dubai overlooking the Port de La Mer marina will be adding to the list of plush hotels in Dubai. According to Meliá Hotels International, the hotel will be open for the guests by the end of 2025.Located on one of the peninsulas of Port de la Mer, the Gran Meliá Dubai in Jumeriah 1 will have 380 rooms and suites with views of the ocean and the city’s skyline. The resort will also have direct access to the marina and space for events hosting over 1,000 people. Like all 5 star hotels, the visitors will have access to wellness and fitness facilities of the hotel. In addition, the Gran Meliá Dubai will be having five new restaurants in its premises, belonging to different cuisines. Details about the restaurants will be given later. With the opening of Gran Meliá, Dubai can boast of having three Melia hotels, as the city already has Meliá Collection Desert Palm and ME Dubai in Business Bay.This announcement follows the big news that Dubai will be getting its first Zuma beach club. Zuma Dubai Beachhouse, to be located at La Mer, will also be adjacent to the upcoming Gran Meliá Dubai. Overlooking Port de La Mer marina, Zuma Dubai Beachhouse will also open in 2025.

YSpot unveils its new AI-driven website

Yspot, the unique and forward-thinking platform designed to revolutionize connectivity between youth and organisations, has unveiled its new cutting-edge AI-driven website. Yspot's upgraded website owes its existence to the support of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center's (Sheraa) 2023 S3 program. Yspot had the privilege of participating in this incubator programme.Yspot was a natural fit, bridging the gap between Sharjah's educational institutions and Sheraa's mission to nurture startups in the EdTech sector. Both shared a common vision of empowering the next generation of change-makers. Sheraa's focus on youth initiatives, like capacity-building programmes, startup career fairs, and inspirational events in university hubs, aims to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in young individuals from an early age. Sheraa played a pivotal role in encouraging Yspot to transition from an application to a website, improving the experience for both organizations and young people aged 16 to 25. The new website offers a range of resources tailored to benefit both parties.Within the upgraded website, Yspot is dedicated to skill development, offering young people access to various empowering tools and free services, including AI CV building, AI cover letter creation, an AI career coach, and an AI skill assessment. This skill assessment not only benefits young individuals but is also invaluable for organizations. It is customizable, providing organizations with an in-depth analysis of specific skills. Yspot also empowers young people to identify skill gaps in their chosen fields and offers opportunities for upskilling. This makes it easier for organizations to select suitable candidates.Deena Habib, Founder of Yspot, expressed her pride in being part of Sheraa's S3 program, which has added immense value to YSpot and its mission to bridge the gap between youth and businesses.As part of the Sheraa stand, Yspot is showcased at Expand North Star 2023 (GITEX), the world's largest convention for startups and investors. Sheraa continues to support Yspot's vision of addressing youth skill development and expanding its impact in Sharjah and beyond. This contributes to a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem and a prosperous future.Yspot said it remains committed to offering internship opportunities for youth and will continue to partner with organisations. These organisations can now utilize Yspot's AI-driven data to connect with skilled individuals. The female-led startup has already partnered with organizations and universities across the UAE, including American University Sharjah, GEMS Schools, L'Oreal, and JBM Studio.

Yazle announces strategic programmatic DOOH partnership with Invenda

Yazle, a global digital media company specializing in innovative and creative digital advertising, announced a strategic partnership with Invenda, a prominent player in the automated retail and programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) sector. This collaboration marks a significant milestone for Yazle, as it opens doors to programmatic DOOH screens across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).Commenting on the partnership, Jamie Atherton, Managing Director at Yazle, said, "We are thrilled to partner with Invenda, a leader in the programmatic DOOH space. This collaboration aligns perfectly with our mission to empower advertisers with cutting-edge tools and access to prime advertising landscape. Together with Invenda, we are poised to deliver outstanding results for our clients and elevate the DOOH advertising space in the region."Yazle has established itself as a pioneer in the dynamic DOOH advertising landscape, consistently delivering innovative solutions that engage audiences and drive results for brands. The partnership with Invenda represents a key step in furthering Yazle's commitment to providing advertisers with unprecedented reach and targeting capabilities.Francesca Meloni, DOOH advertising director at Invenda said, "Invenda is excited to embark on this partnership with Yazle. By combining our programmatic technology expertise with Yazle's creative prowess, we are confident in our ability to revolutionize the DOOH advertising experience for brands operating in the UAE and KSA.Invenda is recognized for its expertise in programmatic DOOH, offering a sophisticated platform that enables advertisers to connect with their desired audiences through data-driven campaigns. By joining forces with Invenda, Yazle gains access to an extensive network of premium programmatic DOOH screens strategically located in high-traffic areas across the UAE and KSA.The Yazle-Invenda partnership represents a game-changing development in the DOOH advertising sector, offering advertisers expanded reach, enhanced targeting capabilities, real-time insights with high-fidelity audience impressions, and creative excellence. It is set to redefine how brands connect with their audiences in the dynamic markets of the UAE and KSA.

Entourage appoints seasoned French designer Vincent Drevet as Head of Creative

 entourage, one of the region's leading live communications agencies, with offices in Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, and Cairo, announced the joining of Vincent Drevet as Head of Creative. A seasoned designer hailing from France, Vincent brings with him over two decades of experience spanning diverse disciplines of the creative realm including branding & advertising, digital communications, game design, TV production, and sound design.Vincent joins the entourage leadership team as part of the agency’s expansion strategy. Capitalizing on the market growth in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, entourage implemented its 5-year growth plan at the beginning of 2023 and announced 35 new positions for the year. Thus far, 23 of these positions have been successfully filled. The recruitment drive includes the strategic appointment of department heads with extensive industry experience, reinforcing the agency's structural integrity and facilitating seamless collaboration across its various verticals in addition to many other positions across all departments strengthening the commitment to craft unique experiences, and exceptional storytelling to elevate brands.Meet the Leadership Team:Vincent Drevet - Head of Creative: The newest addition to the team, Vincent comes with a diverse background in advertising, digital communications, game design, television production, and sound design.Ziad Faour - Head of Strategy: With over two decades of experience in the marketing sector, Ziad has been leading the strategy division at entourage since 2019, consistently guiding the team to victory in numerous projects.Ali Hamade - Head of Events & Technology: Ali's journey at entourage began over a decade ago as an event executive, and he has since risen to lead the department through his built expertise in event planning, management, and cutting-edge technology knowledge.Shereen Khoury - People & Culture Manager: Shereen, a seasoned Human Resource professional with over 12 years of experience, plays a pivotal role in driving entourage's diversity and inclusion policies across all its offices.Manasvini Rizvi - Head of Marcom: Manasvini joined entourage as the Head of Marcoms, bringing over 15 years of expertise in the field, having worked across various renowned brands in brand and communication strategyMohammed Idries - Head of Finance: With a tenure of more than five years at entourage, Mohammed has successfully managed and streamlined all financial procedures within the agency.Commenting on the agency’s expansion plans and future ambitions, the entourage founder and CEO Mohammed Tayem noted, “In the beginning of this year, we laid out an ambitious 5-year growth strategy that would allow us to expand our client portfolio across verticals, and strengthening our teams is the cornerstone to realizing this growth. The idea is to create a robust structure that allows us to meet the current demands and is flexible to expand and accommodate all future requirements. We want to continue offering specialized, tailored, and innovative immersive experiences to the global, regional & local clients whom we are honored to serve every day.”entourage looks forward to an exciting journey of growth and innovation as it continues to serve the region's marketing and event needs.

Global icon Shania Twain to headline Saturday Yasalam after-race concert

With the Formula 1 season moving into its final race weeks, Ethara has unveiled the latest act to perform at this year’s Yasalam After-Race Concerts. Global country pop and fashion icon Shania Twain is set to play Etihad Park on Saturday, 25th November at the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2023.   As one of music’s renowned trailblazers with over 100+ million album sales worldwide, Shania Twain remains the top-selling female country pop artist of all time spanning her 30-year illustrious music career. With three consecutive diamond albums, Twain heads to Abu Dhabi after a sold-out global tour in support of her latest album, Queen of Me, and is set to wow crowds performing her massive catalogue of hits during Abu Dhabi GP weekend.  Race ticket holders can look forward to an electrifying performance from the five-time Grammy Award winner, with iconic hits including Any Man of Mine, That Don’t Impress Me Much, You’re Still the One and Man! I Feel Like A Woman! when the global superstar takes to the Etihad Park stage in November.  The addition of Shania Twain to an award-winning line-up for this year’s Yasalam After-Race Concerts, with Ethara announcing headline acts for Thursday and Sunday at Etihad Park this November. With global stars including Tiësto and Ava Max, and Hall of Fame Rock and Roll group, Foo Fighters set to headline, the F1 season finale in 2023 is set to be bigger than ever before.  Saif Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO, Ethara, said: “We are delighted to announce the latest act to headline at this year’s Yasalam After-Race Concerts and welcome global music superstar Shania Twain to Abu Dhabi. She is an internationally renowned trailblazer and continues to push the boundaries throughout an incredible 30-year, award-winning career to date.  “Adding an artist of Shania’s calibre to our line-up featuring some of the world’s biggest names, including Foo Fighters, Tiësto and Ava Max, not only demonstrates the scale of the Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but also adds to the diversity of entertainment we are offering fans as we see demands from varying fan demographics evolve year-on-year. We look forward to announcing our final act over the coming weeks for what will be a memorable weekend in Abu Dhabi”.  As part of this year’s Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, founding partner e& will join as the presenting partner for the iconic Yasalam After-Race Concerts, supporting the region’s biggest event weekend during this year’s Abu Dhabi GP. Race ticket holders can upgrade their Yasalam After-Race Concert experience with a Golden Circle Upgrade. The upgrade guarantees access to the concerts, access closest to the stage and AAA stars, fast-track entry and dedicated beverage points. An early bird discount on Golden Circle Upgrades is available for a limited 48-hour period.  The weekend will conclude the longest season in F1 history and is set to set new standards both on and off the track following 2022’s record attendance from Thursday 23rd to Sunday 26th November on Yas Island.  Organisers have confirmed limited experiences and ticket options remain for the F1 season finale, including exclusive hospitality packages and West Straight Grandstand Package, which includes tickets for the F1 Abu Dhabi GP, FIM World Supercross Championships Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the Pirelli Testing Sessions in November.

XPANCEO raises $40mln to launch the first smart contact lenses for AR vision

XPANCEO, a deep tech startup, has raised a $40 million seed round to launch the first contact lenses with AR vision features. The round was led by Hong Kong-based Opportunity Ventures (Asia). The funds will be invested to launch the next prototype, in which the company will gather several features in one device.After several attempts by other companies to create smart lenses, the XPANCEO team has created and successfully tested in the laboratory three separate prototypes to enable night vision and zoom, real-time health monitoring, and the ability to see video and graphic content in AR. The new device, which is the world’s first ultra thin lens, feels as natural to the wearer as their own vision. It is made of advanced optical materials (including low-dimensional and van der Waals materials), which exhibit record-breaking refractive indices and anisotropy and maintain excellent optical properties. The new device is aimed to unleash the full potential of AR technology by making it accessible and easy to use.The company was founded by Valentyn S. Volkov, a Ukrainian scientist who boasts over 7000 citations in some of the most respected international media, and Roman Axelrod, an experienced entrepreneur with three previous exits. XPANCEO's multidisciplinary team includes over 50 outstanding scientists, engineers and executive leaders from top universities, research institutions and deep tech companies, and gathers expertise both in science and novel technologies as well as product management and development in complex markets. XPANCEO also collaborates with top scientists from universities all around the globe, such as the Donostia International Physics Center (Spain), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), National University of Singapore (Singapore), University of Oviedo (Spain),University of Manchester (UK), Aix-Marseille University (France) and the University of Zaragoza among others to create the first all-in-one prototype by 2026.Co-founder and Scientific Partner, Valentyn S. Volkov, Ph.D. says: ''We are targeting, at least, the $790 billion Augmented Reality and Contact Lenses market, and creating the first device in the market that will allow us to use all apps and software in a single contact lens interface. Our device will effectively merge all your gadgets into one. XPANCEO was recognized as one of the top five optic laboratories in the world by international consulting firm BCG, and has practical experience in developing and studying unique materials (like graphene and other 2D materials), opening a way for the realization of next-generation ultra-compact optoelectronic devices."The use of classical optoelectronic materials and technologies has proven insufficient to realise this project, as the resulting components are too bulky to be effectively integrated into a practical and user-friendly contact lens. XPANCEO combines over 20 patented technologies in Advanced Optic and Photonics, Novel material, AI, and Neural Interfacing to create ultra-compact and highly efficient optoelectronic devices in smart contact lenses, paving the way for a gradual transition from traditional silicon technologies to the "graphene valley’’ future.The high refractive indices, coupled with the giant anisotropy of the materials used in waveguide-based devices, are key factors that enable a more efficient light bending and guiding process compared to modern optical devices. This opens up possibilities for the realisation of ultra-compact optical elements. Another key technology developed by XPANCEO is its flexible and transparent electronics, based on highly conductive quasi-2D metallic films with thicknesses of only a few nanometers. To engage with these technologies, we employ AI to develop models capable of accurate predictions regarding the optical characteristics of similar materials. Neural Interfacing gives the user full control over the applications, without the need for awkward eye movements, blinks, or extra controllers.Opportunity Venture’s (Asia) Managing Director Philip Ma says: “We led this round of funding as a testament to the fact that XPANCEO has not merely an ambition but also a capacity to deliver on its product vision. We believe that now XPANCEO has all the resources needed to drive their R&D and product design forward, and do it even faster. Opportunity Venture (Asia) sees the potential in XPANCEO to define the next generation of computing and to become a major player in the world of personal tech in the post smartphone era."

Dubai Fitness Challenge with Adidas gearing up for Guinness World Record

Dubai Fitness Challenge is back in its 7th edition, with Adidas all geared up for a historic Guinness World Record attempt. Launched in 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, the Dubai Fitness Challenge transforms the entire city into a fitness hub and aims to inspire its residents to seek a healthy and active lifestyle by incorporating fitness into their daily routine.During the Dubai Fitness Challenge, there is a celebration of health and fitness that challenges every one to exercise for 30 minutes every day for 30 days with a number of fitness-centric events taking place throughout the month. Adidas, the global sports brand, in partnership with Les Mills and DFC, will kick off the event with a ‘largest high-intensity interval training class’ on Sheikh Zayed Road, on 12th November. This challenge will take place against the backdrop of the beautiful Museum of the Future on the grand Sheikh Zayed road. All participants will be guided by world-class trainers through a Les Mills workout and some uber-cool activewear provided by adidas. UAE residents and tourists over the age of 16 will have an opportunity to come together and be part of this fitness achievement.In addition to the ‘high-intensity interval training class’, there will be the iconic Dubai Run, on the last day of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, the 26th of November. This challenge is for everyone – from experienced athletes to rookie runners. For this, the grand Sheikh Zayed Road will be closed for vehicles and will be transformed into a giant running track. The run will follow two routes: a 5km route and a 10km route, both following Dubai’s most celebrated buildings such as the Museum of the Future, Emirates Towers, Burj Khalifa and several others.Moreover, one of the biggest cycling events, Dubai Ride, will also be taking place on 12th November. Similar to the Dubai Run, Dubai Ride also has two routes: a 4-km family-friendly route through the stunning downtown Dubai and a 12-km route for all the expert cyclists on the Sheikh Zayed Road.Bilal Fares, General Manager at Adidas MENA, said: “Adidas is stepping into a new territory with this Guinness World Records™ record attempt, and we are privileged to have Les Mills supporting us in this exhilarating pursuit. The collaboration between Adidas and Les Mills is a testament to our shared vision of pushing boundaries in the fitness industry. The attempt is open to all UAE residents, regardless of their fitness background, granting an opportunity to come together and take part in a historical fitness achievement.”Glen Stollery, CEO at Les Mills Middle East, India and Africa, said: “Les Mills is dedicated to delivering the best live training experiences globally, and this event on November 12th in collaboration with Adidas will unquestionably be one of those remarkable experiences. We invite all UAE residents to join us for an unforgettable fitness event and an opportunity to be a part of a historical moment.”Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), said: “Dubai Fitness Challenge has always been more than just a fitness initiative. It is an inclusive opportunity for people to challenge and be challenged, try new sports, and embrace the benefits of an active lifestyle.”

PRWEEK selects Ibrahim Almutawa among the PR professionals in the ME in 2023

The PRWeek Magazine selected Ibrahim Almutawa, CEO and Co-Founder of Jummar PR, as one of the most influential professionals in public relations and communication in the Middle East.The selection has been announced in the magazine’s annual Middle East Power Book of the most prominent public relations professionals in the region in 2023. The annual book also included insights into the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the sector.Jummar PR & Communications is a Saudi public relations consultancy firm headquartered in Riyadh. It was founded in 2021 and specializes in providing corporate communications, PR, content creation, and media engagement strategies and solutions. With its in-depth understanding and knowledge of the social, cultural, and economic contexts in Saudi Arabia, Jummar provides its expertise and capabilities across several sectors, such as finance, real estate, aviation, education, media, energy, e-commerce, entertainment, and artificial intelligence.Moreover, Jummar is the Saudi partner of PROI, which is the largest and most important global alliance of independent communication agencies, including 90 public relations and communications companies in 165 cities in 60 countries.

Aloft Muscat appoints Ramy Hamdoun as new General Manager

Aloft Muscat, a vibrant and stylish hotel in the heart of Muscat, is thrilled to announce the appointment of Mr. Ramy Hamdoun as its new General Manager. With an extensive background in the hospitality industry and a proven track record of excellence, Mr. Hamdoun brings a wealth of experience and a fresh perspective to the Aloft Muscat team.Ramy Hamdoun joins Aloft Muscat with a distinguished career spanning over 16 years in the hospitality sector. His appointment as General Manager at Aloft Muscat marks a significant milestone in his career, and the hotel is excited to have him lead the way in achieving new heights of success.Before assuming his current position, Mr. Hamdoun held key roles in the industry, including Executive Assistant Manager and Director of Sales and Marketing at Wyndham Garden, Muscat, as well as Director of Sales and Marketing at Wyndham Hotels and Resorts, Bahrain. He also served as Director of Sales-Corporate at InterContinental Hotels Group. Throughout his career, he has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills, a passion for guest satisfaction, and a commitment to delivering memorable experiences.Aloft Muscat is excited for the new era that Mr. Ramy Hamdoun's leadership will usher in, and looks forward to scaling new heights under his guidance.

dnata Travel Group brands sweep six awards at World Travel Awards ME 2023

dnata Travel Group brands across the GCC have won six accolades at the Middle East edition of the 2023 World Travel Awards.Representing the Travel division of dnata, a leading global air and travel services provider, titles earned by the dnata Travel Group include Middle East's Leading Airline GSA 2023 (dnata Representation Services), Bahrain's Leading Travel Management Company 2023 (dnata Travel Management), and Saudi Arabia's Leading Travel Agency 2023 (dnata Travel).A highlight for the Group at the prestigious travel industry awards this year includes the success of Arabian Adventures across three categories for a fourth consecutive year. Its accolades include the UAE’s Leading Destination Management Company 2023, UAE’s Leading Desert Safari Company 2023, and UAE’s Leading Tour Operator 2023.John Bevan, CEO of the dnata Travel Group, commented: “The annual World Travel Awards are recognised globally, and we are proud to have been acknowledged in such a diverse range of categories. As we continue to grow and enhance our core product offerings and introduce more in our range of local and global travel services, this is an exciting time for our Group. We look forward to revealing more to GCC-based and international travellers and trade partners throughout the 2023/24 winter season.”Currently growing its global team and offering, also inclusive of UAE-based attraction bookings, cruise handling and event services, Arabian Adventures recently launched its destination management (DMC) services from the UAE to a first international destination in 2023: the Maldives. As the company seeks to enhance the affordability of tours and experiences across the emirates, recent product launches include ‘The Adventure Pass’ which offers Dubai attraction bundles with up to 40% savings compared to standard entry prices combined. More new products and enhancements to its existing range are set to be launched throughout the 2023/24 winter season, including to its ‘Overnight Desert Safari’, an all-inclusive desert camping experience.Meanwhile, the wider range of dnata Travel Group brands, which cover all aspects of the travel industry, continue to innovate and expand from their base in the UAE to the GCC and beyond.The World Travel Awards serves to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the travel, tourism and hospitality industries. The awards are voted on by travel and tourism professionals worldwide.

Bybit introduces Double-Win, a revolutionary trading tool to capture market move

Dubai: Bybit, the world’s third most visited crypto exchange, is thrilled to announce the launch of Double-Win, an innovative trading tool designed to empower users and maximize profit potential in the dynamic crypto market.Double-Win is a groundbreaking short-term structured product that enables users to react swiftly to violent market movements and fast-paced market environment, regardless of whether they are bullish or bearish to. Available now on PC and Android platforms, the iOS version of Double-Win will be released soon.Key Features of Double-Win include:Flexibility: Double-Win allows traders to profit from market fluctuations in both upward and downward directions, ensuring maximum benefit from volatile price movements.Swift Reaction: With the ability to react swiftly to violent market movements, Double-Win empowers traders to capitalize on time-sensitive opportunities.Unique Profit Mechanism: By offering the ability to profit as long as the settlement price moves away from the preset range, Double-Win provides traders with unparalleled opportunities to achieve exceptional profits.Wide Platform Availability: Currently available on PC and Android platforms, the iOS version is set to be released soon; access through multi-devices supported.The unique features set Double-Win apart from traditional trading strategies, Bybit users can now capture market opportunities more effectively, optimize their trading strategies, and achieve exceptional results."We are excited to introduce Double-Win, a new product aimed at empowering crypto traders," said Ben Zhou, CEO of Bybit. "By expanding our tools like Double-Win, we are diversifying our strategy and solutions for users. This approach gives traders flexibility across assets. With Double-Win as part of our offering, Bybit is well-positioned to meet evolving user needs and achieve success in crypto trading."

Luxury vegan silk brand niLuu expands presence in the Middle East

niLuu, a PETA-Approved vegan silk and cruelty-free loungewear brand, has announced its expanded luxury distribution in the UAE, now with an exclusive presence at the 'his and hers' store in Atlantis, The Palm. This unique multi-brand concept store is dedicated to swimwear, loungewear, and sleepwear, and it represents niLuu's second touchpoint in the Middle East following its successful debut at Galeries Lafayette in Downtown Dubai last year.Originally from Miami, Florida, niLuu is now making ethical, planet-friendly luxury sleepwear accessible to silk enthusiasts in the Middle East. The Dubai locations mark the brand's first international expansion beyond the United States, where it is available at renowned retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Goop in Hawaii.The niLuu collection offers a range of elegant resort wear pieces, including kimonos, dresses, silk shirts, pants, and sleep masks. These designs seamlessly blur the line between loungewear and outerwear, all while embodying Turkey's rich culture and spirit with bold and vibrant hues, eye-catching prints, and soft-brushed finish textiles.At the heart of the brand's ethos is a deep compassion for animals, drawing inspiration from the peace and harmony found in nature's flora and fauna. This inspiration is reflected in their coveted prints, diverse color palette, and varied textures.Introducing an exciting new print, the "MONROE," adorned with exotic giraffes symbolizing good luck and fortune, as well as the elegant "Magnolia," in pure white with a rich Jacquard texture, niLuu's Creative Director, Nilüfer Bracco, continues to bring fresh and meaningful designs to her collections.niLuu's ongoing expansion across the UAE and partnership with the multi-brand retailer 'his and hers' follows its core mission of making vegan and cruelty-free products accessible to a broader audience. The brand remains deeply committed to a socially and environmentally ethical production process. As a proud member of '1% For The Planet,' niLuu has pledged to donate 1% of its annual revenue toward natural protection initiatives across the globe.

Ericsson catches visitors’ attention at GITEX Global 2023

Ericsson has caught the attention of visitors at GITEX Global 2023 at Hall 21 with its unique demonstration that highlights the advantages and benefits of Network Slicing on a 5G network for communication service providers (CSPs) and consumers.The demonstrated solution emphasizes the potential of immersive fan engagement for sports clubs, particularly in football, and the business opportunities it presents through Network Slicing and application programming interfaces (APIs) Exposure on a 5G network.Combining the capabilities of 5G Standalone (SA), Network Slicing and  API Exposure technologies, CSPs can deliver new and immersive experiences to sports fans to capture new revenue streams. At GITEX, Ericsson has demonstrated how a Sports Fan App, showcasing the features these technologies provide, can offer gamification features, user-controlled cameras, replays, and tiered subscription levels for enhanced personalized experiences and in-stadium purchases. Sports clubs now have the opportunity to explore a wide range of models for direct engagement with fans through collaboration with technology and connectivity partners. As well as ideas to increase engagement in grounds and stadiums themselves, there is big potential for revenue generation across the whole fan base; Ericsson’s goal in this fast-evolving area is to deliver the best experience wherever, whenever. Network Slicing, 5G SA, and API Exposure are key enablers for CSPs to deliver this experience, opening sizeable new ‘add on’ subscription revenues based on fan base size, not stadium size.To further highlight the benefits of Network Slicing and the opportunities of enhancing customer experiences, Ericsson also showcased a demonstration for ‘eXtended Reality Education 5G Experience’.In addition to the Networking Slicing demonstrations, a ‘Sustainability Globe’ demonstration of a moving animation of the earth demonstrated how connectivity is critical for a more inclusive and a more sustainable world, underscoring Ericsson’s commitment to connectivity for a sustainable future.

Elaf Group officially opens Joudyan Red Sea Mall Hotel

Elaf Group, a leader in the hospitality and tourism sector with more than four decades of expertise in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, announced the official opening of the Joudyan Red Sea Mall Hotel. This luxurious 5-star hotel represents a significant milestone in the group's journey, reaffirming its commitment to establishing new standards for the hospitality experience, enhancing the quality and efficiency of hotel services, and elevating the comfort of guests and visitors in the Kingdom of Hospitality.The grand opening ceremony of the Joudyan Red Sea Mall Hotel was a remarkable occasion, graced by the presence of Dr. Abdulraouf Mannaa, Chairman of the Board of Elaf Group and Dr. Adel Ezzat, CEO of Elaf Group, along with members of the Board of Directors, partners, and senior officials. The launch of the new hotel is in line with the group’s commitment to supporting the goals of the “Saudi Vision 2030”, aimed at strengthening the role of the tourism sector as a vital economic contributor and enhancing private sector participation in Saudi Arabia's development journey. This strategic step is a testament to the Elaf Group's ongoing efforts to diversify and expand its investment portfolio, tangibly contributing to enhancing KSA's competitiveness and reinforcing its position in the tourism and hospitality sector. The official opening of Joudyan Red Sea Mall hotel is a result of strenuous efforts to achieve the main goal of the Elaf Group to become the preferred brand for Saudi hospitality. The group's commitment to upholding the highest standards in the sector aims to support and empower the national tourism ecosystem, solidifying the principles of excellent hospitality and modernity by establishing a robust and comprehensive value chain. The development also holds significance as it comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is preparing to attract 100 million tourists and 30 million pilgrims by 2030. It offers an invaluable opportunity to provide exceptional experiences to guests, visitors, and pilgrims with cutting-edge facilities and high-quality services that exceed their expectations.Dr. Abdulraouf Mannaa, Chairman of the Board of Elaf Group, said: “We reiterate our commitment to expanding our presence in Saudi Arabia and introducing more hotel facilities to cater to the rising demand for hotel services. Our distinctiveness lies in our commitment to providing exceptional hospitality experiences, paying meticulous attention to the smallest details, and our relentless passion for enhancing our services and elevating the experiences we offer. The inauguration of this exceptional hotel mirrors our vision to enhance visitor experiences in the realms of Hajj, Umrah, hospitality, and tourism in the KSA to unprecedented levels. We are confident that these endeavors will contribute to the realization of the goals set out in ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ by promoting the growth of the tourism sector and its role in diversifying the KSA’s economy.”Dr. Adel Ezzat, CEO of Elaf Group, said: “The Joudyan Red Sea Mall Hotel is a unique addition to our series of hotels spread across Saudi Arabia. The hotel boasts a strategic location in the heart of Jeddah, providing breathtaking views of prominent landmarks, including the Red Sea Mall, and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Circuit. It promises an unforgettable Saudi hospitality experience. The hotel offers exceptional services and a variety of options for luxurious rooms and suites, as well as outstanding facilities including restaurants. The fitness center is equipped with state-of-the-art sports equipment, and the hotel pool provides a serene atmosphere with elegant design for a truly relaxing and comfortable experience.”The Joudyan Red Sea Mall hotel boasts a dedicated and highly skilled team, available round the clock, and committed to ensuring an exceptional guest experience. The hotel comprises 155 rooms and suites, which include 132 rooms and 23 suites, as well as an exclusive executive suite as well as one executive suite, in addition to guest rooms specially equipped for people of determination. With its comprehensive amenities, top-notch services, and unmatched comfort, the hotel caters to a wide range of guest preferences. Guests can savor a variety of dining options at Noori Café, Lounjoy Lounge, and the Sunsera Restaurant. Additionally, the hotel features spa and wellness centers for men and ladies, a sports club to offer a range of treatments and services, as well as sauna and steam rooms.The new hotel also features a fully equipped meeting room, making it ideal for holding business conferences, seminars, and other events. The ballroom is distinguished by its elegance and spaciousness, providing a complete destination for weddings, galas, and other special occasions.

Deel launches AI-powered global work assistant, Deel IQ

Dubai: Deel the all-in-one HR platform for global teams, has announced the launch of Deel IQ, coinciding with the 43rd edition of GITEX Global, the most established large-scale tech exhibition in the world. Deel IQ, a global work assistant powered by AI. allows employers from small startups and larger enterprises to access reliable global HR information and insights effortlessly.Underpinned by OpenAI's ChatGPT, Deel IQ is enhanced by access to Deel's Global Knowledge Base—informed by a 200-person in-house team of local HR experts and lawyers. These resources give Deel IQ the power to turn any organization into a global HR expert with a single source for compliance information.Businesses leveraging Deel IQ can get accurate information on local laws and best practices in over 150 countries around the world, tapping into Deel's Knowledge Base to help ensure regulatory compliance for each of their employees, no matter where they may reside.Additionally, employers can also use Deel IQ to garner fast, actionable data points, such as total employee-related costs or number of employees in particular skill areas, directly from their own company data via the Deel platform. Drawing upon such workforce data, businesses can generate instant reports to gain valuable insights about their teams without having to rely on manual spreadsheet-based reporting processes.“With Deel IQ, businesses can effortlessly access reliable global HR information from Deel, plus insights that are sourced from their own workforce data,” said Tarek Salam, Head of MENA Expansion, Deel. Shannon Karaka, Country Leader and Head of Expansion, Australia and New Zealand, Deel. “Now, all business leaders and HR teams need to do is ask the relevant questions, and they can tap into the information they need to make well-informed hiring decisions.“Deel already provides businesses around the world with the tools and confidence they need to find skills and grow in other countries,” said Salam. “Deel IQ helps employers prevent further missteps when it comes to global hiring and employee management.”Importantly, Deel IQ provides insights into contract and invoice data while ensuring security through multiple layers of protection. Access to both the AI and the database is restricted to Deel’s Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) environment, ensuring that data is not publicly shared. Deel IQ is covered by an access control, guaranteeing that data access is limited exclusively to users with the appropriate permissions.Deel IQ is currently available in beta for Deel customers. Businesses can try it out by joining the beta launch here.

Cybersecurity in the spotlight as GITEX GLOBAL 2023 opens

UAE: The world's leading cybersecurity experts have convened at GITEX GLOBAL 2023 to address the urgent challenges of cybercrime, projected to cause $10.5 trillion in annual damages by 2025. Ransomware, crypto crime and risks associated with Generative AI are some of the key threats that CISOs and security professionals need to tackle in the digital era.His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Al-Kuwaiti, Head of Cybersecurity, UAE Government, gave a keynote address at GITEX GLOBAL, highlighting how digital transformation across all sectors in the UAE has made it a catalyst for improved collaboration. Al-Kuwaiti also highlighted UAE's Cybersecurity Council's work across the UAE and how it collaborates with partners to protect and defend people and organizations against threats. "We strive to continuously innovate and form partnerships with entities, nations, and governments. Our vision is to create a great place to collaborate, work, and serve the entire world," he added.Cybersecurity in the AI eraAt the show, Huawei is demonstrating its leading-edge cybersecurity capabilities and solutions to address the evolving threats faced by organisations and nations hopping onto the digital transformation bandwagon.Dr. Aloysius Cheang, Chief Security Officer, Huawei Middle East & Central Asia, highlighted some cybersecurity risks associated with the rapidly advancing AI industry. "While generative AI can enhance cyber security, it can also introduce potential vulnerabilities and risks. There is a need for businesses, governments, and society to proactively address the possible risks, regulate the ethical use of generative AI in cybersecurity, and establish robust governance frameworks."Dr. Aloysius advocated for greater collaboration and information-sharing among organisations to combat cyber threats effectively. "We must pivot and focus our efforts on building Data Security Governance and adopting the 'follow the data' model as an abstraction to address any new technology that comes our way, whether it be cloud or AI."A panel discussion titled "Cybersecurity at the Heart of Digital Transformation" featured HE Dr. Mohamed Al-Kuwaiti along with Amer Sharaf, Executive Director of Cyber Security Systems and Services Sector, Dubai Electronics Security Centre, Nathan Swain, former Senior Security Advisor to the U.K. Government, His Excellency Pengiran Dato Shamhary Mustapha, Minister of Transport and Infocummunications, Brunei and Hon. Ousman Bah, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Gambia. The panellists shared their insights on balancing security and innovation in the digital age. Together, they collectively emphasized the importance of collaboration with both public and private entities, underscoring the need to sustain investments in cybersecurity.GITEX GLOBAL 2023 marked the global debut of the year's most anticipated cybersecurity showcase, GITEX Cyber Valley, hosted by the UAE Cybersecurity Council. The Cyber Valley hosts various hackathons with over 500 white hackers participating across five challenges to solve global tech issues. Cyber Valley participants can also explore X-Labs Security, a cutting-edge platform for technical talks and the latest product demos.Leading cybersecurity organisations including Huawei, Netscout, ESET, Kaspersky, Norton, Palo Alto, Fortinet, and more, are exhibiting at GITEX GLOBAL to showcase how their solutions are helping organisations protect their most precious assets.Autonomous Mobility Meets Extreme SportsAutonomy is advancing at a remarkable pace, with the power to redefine mobility. Today, the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) unveiled the Super Formula Dallara model at GITEX ahead of the first autonomous race at the Abu Dhabi F1 track in April 2024.Dr. Tom McCarthy, Executive Director of ASPIRE, the technology transition arm of ATRC, said, "The Dallara Super Formula car has been adapted with an autonomy stack, allowing the vehicle to perceive its environment and race autonomously at the Abu Dhabi Yas Marina Circuit. A2RL marks a significant milestone for Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE, setting the stage for disruptive innovations in mobility through extreme sports."GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star comprise a combined 41 halls spanning 2.7 million sq. ft of exhibition space, a 40% growth year-on-year attracting 1,800 start-ups across the two mega-events. GITEX GLOBAL and Expand North Star converge the best minds and most visionary companies to scrutinise, challenge, define, and empower the digital agendas of the world.

Eight World Investment Forum launches in Abu Dhabi

The eighth World Investment Forum (WIF) was launched on Monday at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Spanning five days and concluding on 20 October 2023, the forum is gathering leaders, prominent investors, and stakeholders in the investment sector from around the world.Established as a premier event by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the biennial WIF has historically served as the paramount platform for facilitating high-level discourse on the world’s most pressing investment development challenges. The forum is organised by UNCTAD’s Division on Investment and Enterprise, which seeks to ensure inclusive growth and sustainable development around the world.Supported by the Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) as lead partner, the 8th edition of World Investment Forum’s theme is Investing in Sustainable Development, and is particularly prescient given prevailing global developments and challenges. From tackling food security issues and addressing energy needs to bolstering health infrastructure and ensuring supply chain resilience, WIF aims to provide solutions while maintaining sustainability at its core.His Excellency Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said: “As a nation that values both economic growth and sustainability, the UAE is excited to host such an esteemed gathering of international leaders, policymakers, and prominent members of the global investment community. The World Investment Forum stands as a testament to the global community's resilience and dedication to forging a sustainable path forward, especially in the midst of several overlapping challenges. With the added focus on climate finance ahead of COP28, we are proud to be at the centre of these vital conversations.“As we gear up for the forum, it's crucial to remember the essential role global trade plays in socio-economic growth, and its potential for driving sustainability. The recently unveiled UNCTAD World Investment Report 2023 only heightens our anticipation for the event. The UAE's record of AED84.4 billion foreign direct investment in 2022 showcases our nation's strong position in the investment realm, making the forum's Abu Dhabi edition even more significant.”His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED), said: “Hosting the 8th World Investment Forum in Abu Dhabi reflects our leadership’s vision and unwavering commitment to enhance international cooperation and collective action to develop innovative solutions benefitting the global community. The forum provides a suitable platform for policymakers to formulate policies and strategies that will address key and emerging investment development issues, ensuring that today’s investments are geared towards a sustainable tomorrow.“Abu Dhabi has nurtured a supportive business environment, unparalleled connectivity and infrastructure and an entrepreneurial mindset that presents investors with growth opportunities. We are leveraging on the strong fundamentals of our soaring Falcon Economy to achieve the UN sustainable development goals and contribute positively to shaping a brighter future for humanity.”The biennial forum attracts more than 7,000 stakeholders from 160 countries, representing a diverse range of sectors – from heads of state and CEOs of multinational corporations to civil society representatives and the international media.With COP28 discussions around the corner, the 2023 WIF edition has earmarked significant sessions for climate finance and investment. The forum aspires to create a synergistic environment where policymakers and stakeholders can align their strategies, with outcomes expected to significantly influence the COP negotiations.One of the defining features of the WIF 2023 is its diverse array of opportunities tailored for participants. Attendees can look forward to a vibrant global networking environment, allowing them to mingle with top-tier investment professionals, share experiences, and forge potential collaborations. The forum will explore the intricacies of the global investment scene and the pressing challenges it currently faces. Participants can benefit from specialised workshops geared towards honing their skills with the latest investment promotion tools and strategies.An exclusive workshop on the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation’s (IFRS) newly issued Sustainability Disclosure Standards, took place on 15 October as a pre-forum event. This initiative marked the ushering of a new era of sustainability-focused financial disclosures in global capital markets. Notable speakers including Jarlath Molloy, Director of Strategic Affairs (Internal Sustainability and Capacity Building), IFRS; and Lois Gutherie, Senior Technical Advisor, IFRS, provided attendees with insights into practical implementations of these standards.The forum boasts various segments such as: the Investment Showcase, which emphasises sustainable development and fosters collaboration; Youth Forum sessions to champion the role of green industries and underscore the power of innovation and education; exclusive gatherings such as invite-only luncheons and summit roundtables; and symposiums and dialogues that promise in-depth discussions on sustainability standards and public-private partnerships.The event will also comprise several specialised conferences, discussing topics from sustainable energy to entrepreneurship development. Interactive discussions will delve into areas like the carbon market and health investment trends. Wrapping up the forum's offerings are strategic initiatives, focusing on trade and investment policies, climate action, and innovative financial instruments targeting fossil-fuel assets.Complementing the core events are a series of partner and side events designed to provide a holistic view of the investment landscape. Key highlights include the 2nd Global Dialogue on COP28, co-hosted with the UAE and UNFCCC, and the Agrifood Forum in partnership with FAO. The Academic Conference, in collaboration with AIB and SIEL, will foster scholarly exchanges. To ensure that the forum addresses all facets of sustainable investment, there will be multiple tracks running concurrently that will delve into critical areas such as Climate Change, Energy Transition, Entrepreneurship, and Health. Other focused segments will address Gender, Technology, Industry, Infrastructure, and the nuances of Sustainable Finance, offering participants a comprehensive experience.From its inception, WIF has evolved to bridge the investment institutional gap in global economic governance. Past editions in cities like Accra, Xiamen, Doha, Geneva, Nairobi, and an online session in 2021, have solidified its reputation. With the 2023 edition in Abu Dhabi, the forum looks to further its mission and offer actionable solutions to the world's investment community.

Etihad Cargo appoints Soufyan Mouaniss as Director West Cargo Commercial

Abu Dhabi: Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has promoted Soufyan Mouaniss to the role of Director West Cargo Commercial. Soufyan will lead all commercial activity for the carrier in the West region, including Europe and the Americas. He will be based in Etihad Cargo's head office in Abu Dhabi, UAE.Soufyan joined Etihad Cargo in 2019 as General Manager Benelux and Nordic region, and most recently was Area General Manager North and West Europe.Tim Isik, Etihad Cargo's Vice President Commercial, said: "Soufyan has been an influential member of Etihad Cargo's team and has achieved outstanding success in his previous roles. He has demonstrated his ability to deliver results, reaching financial targets and spearheading organisational growth in his regions. I am confident Soufyan will thrive in this new position and will play a pivotal role in expanding Etihad Cargo's reach in the West, which is a key region in the carrier's ambitious expansion plans."Commenting on his new role, Soufyan said: "I am delighted to take on this new challenge at such an exciting time for Etihad Cargo. As the carrier launches new routes and increases frequencies in the region, I look forward to working closely with partners and customers to ensure Etihad Cargo meets delivery promises and remains the air cargo partner of choice."Etihad Cargo recently announced the introduction of new routes for Europe as part of its winter schedule. The carrier now offers additional belly capacity to two new European gateways via four weekly flights to Copenhagen and three flights per week to Düsseldorf. The carrier is also offering increased frequencies to Munich, Rome, Madrid and Milan. The airline will launch a service to Boston, a fourth US gateway destination, in 2024. Additionally, Etihad Cargo operates four dedicated freighter services per week to Frankfurt, five to Amsterdam, and two to Chicago, supporting the airline's expansive passenger network with freighter capacity to fully meet the needs of partners and customers.

Hongqi announces exclusive partnership with Al Qurum Sports

Muscat: Hongqi Oman, the luxury automobile brand, and Al Qurum Sports, Oman, the hub for padel enthusiasts, are excited to announce an exclusive partnership aimed at elevating the sport of padel in Oman. The landmark agreement, signed at the Hongqi showroom by Mohsin Hani Al Bahrani, CEO of MHD ACERE, underscores both organizations’ commitment to excellence and community involvement."Sports have the power to bring communities together, and this partnership will provide a platform to engage the youth in meaningful experiences," said Mr. Mohsin Hani Al Bahrani, CEO of MHD ACERE. "At MHD ACERE, we are thrilled to join forces with Padel Addicts and Padel Avenues, Oman. It is an exciting opportunity for us to direct the spotlight towards our brand's identity and services. Together, we are excited to embark on a journey that fosters our vision of creating connections, strengthening our community, and engaging with our customers in a truly unique way.”This alliance holds a shared vision of supporting youth engagement and community involvement in Oman. By sponsoring tournaments at both Padel Addicts and Padel Avenues, Hongqi aims to contribute significantly to the growth and development of the padel community in Oman, offering exciting opportunities for both players and fans.

Nasmaakum sign language app honored as the "Best Innovative Product of the Year"

Bahrain: Nasmaakum, a pioneering Sign Language App dedicated to bridging communication gaps for the Deaf and hard-of-hearing community, has proudly received the prestigious "Best Innovative Product of the Year" award at the renowned Asian Leadership Awards ceremony held at the Taj Dubai Hotel.The Asian Leadership Awards, recognized for their commitment to celebrating excellence and innovation across diverse industries in the Asian region, acknowledged Nasmaakum for its groundbreaking impact on accessibility, inclusivity, and communication.Mr. Rahul Bhalla, Nasmaakum, Founder said” This award is a recognition of tireless dedication of the Nasmaakum team and the positive change the app has been fostering in the lives of sign language users”“This accolade serves as a testament to Nasmaakum's commitment to fostering inclusivity and ensuring that sign language users have equal access to opportunities and services. Nasmaakum remains dedicated to pushing boundaries and innovating, with a mission to create a world where communication knows no barriers”The team at Nasmaakum extends heartfelt gratitude to all clients, partners, and supporters who have played a pivotal role in their journey. It is their collective belief in the vision that has driven the app to reach new heights and create a more inclusive world.

Nitesh Agarwal chronicles Urban Company's Middle East success story

In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Nitesh Agarwal, Regional Head of Urban Company in the Middle East, sheds light on the company's journey in the region. Since their entry into the Middle East market in 2018, Urban Company has prioritized delivering premium services. Starting in Dubai, they've expanded their offerings across the UAE and KSA, offering services in approximately 20 categories. With a partner network of 32,000 professionals, Urban Company is now Asia's largest tech-enabled home services marketplace. According to him, Urban Company's success in the UAE can be attributed to a multifaceted approach. They prioritize customer-centricity, utilize technology to enhance service quality and affordability, invest in training, and consistently innovate. Excerpts:Can you share with us the journey of Urban Company in the Middle East?Urban Company entered the Middle East market in the UAE in 2018. Over the past five years, our commitment to providing a premium service experience has been our guiding principle. We started with Dubai in the UAE because of the potential that we saw in this market. We started with launching part-time cleaners, one of the popular categories here, slowly expanding our services to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE and Riyadh and Jeddah in KSA. We now offer services in around 20 categories across UAE's home, beauty & wellness verticals.We are currently Asia’s largest and highest-rated tech-enabled home services marketplace with a partner network of 32,000 hand-picked service professionals.What, according to you, are the factors that have made Urban Company successful in the UAE?Urban Company's success in the UAE can be attributed to a multifaceted approach. Firstly, we prioritize customer-centricity above all. By harnessing the UAE's impressive 99% internet penetration rate, we've cultivated a deep understanding of the local consumer landscape, allowing us to fine-tune our services for maximum appeal.The UAE's service industry landscape, teeming with both organized and unorganized providers, presented a unique challenge. Traditional brick-and-mortar salons, technicians, and cleaning providers often offer services at competitive prices. However, the growth projection of the on-demand home services sector, anticipated to expand by 9.7% by 2026, indicates a promising trajectory, especially for digital platforms like ours.Our strategic utilization of technology has been a game-changer. It's allowed us to continually enhance our service quality while ensuring affordability—a key to customer retention in this market. Moreover, we place immense emphasis on training, considering the World Economic Forum suggests re-skilling half of the global workforce may be inevitable by 2025.Lastly, innovation has been a cornerstone of our strategy. Introducing tools like steam mops in our cleaning category, for instance, has empowered us to surpass customer expectations, solidifying our reputation as industry pioneers. In short, our success in the UAE stems from a blend of customer focus, affordability, rigorous training, and consistent innovation.What services do you offer, and which ones are the most popular?We offer a bouquet of high-quality services, such as salon, nails and spa at home, cleaning, plumbing, handymen, appliance repair etc., through our mobile app and websites.While cleaning was initially 85% of our offering, by 2023, services like beauty have grown in demand, with a significant portion of women preferring at-home beauty treatments, reflecting a shift from traditional salon visits.What is the procedure for joining Urban Company as a professional in any field?In the UAE, we focus on delivering hyper-localised services, and vendor onboarding is an ongoing process. Urban Company has a structured approach towards partner development and well-being centred around four key pillars: improved earnings, safety net, training and wealth creation.In the UAE, we work with vendors to improve the living standards of the workforce, upskilling, increase salaries and give incentives to them, as employee engagement is essential for great customer satisfaction.There is a thorough and objective selection process for every single service professional. Joining Urban Company involves a rigorous four-stage process. Candidates undergo screening, review of documentation such as Visa and licenses, detailed technical and soft-skill training given by on-payroll industry experts in real-life simulated set-ups, and final evaluation.This meticulous process ensures that all our professionals deliver services aligned with our high standards. We also incentivise service professionals on the basis of customers’ experiences.Urban Company believes in delivering a remarkable customer experience and we are constantly on the lookout for innovative measures to give the best to our customers. The global online on-demand home services market is estimated to reach $4.1 trillion by 2027, with more service providers and vendors introducing and enhancing sustainable, scalable and convenient services for modern customers.Are primarily women your clients for salon services, or do men also avail of your services?While women represent a major segment of our beauty services, the changing dynamics show that 30% of beauty services are consumed by men.What obstacles hindered your growth, and how did you overcome them?Our journey in the UAE, while rewarding, has not been without its set of challenges. When we entered the market, we faced a fragmented competitive environment, intensified by the presence of organized competitors, quite unlike the scenario in our home base, India. Many competitors lured customers with low prices, often compromising on quality. The pandemic further reshaped consumer behaviour, prioritizing health, hygiene, and high-quality services. Amidst this, consistently evolving consumer behaviour and rising expectations meant that we had to be agile and responsive.To navigate these obstacles, Urban Company took a multi-pronged approach:• Diversification and Quality: We expanded our service range to cater to the varied demands emerging from the pandemic, including increased demand for part-time cleaners, salon services, and wellness provisions.• Innovation and Technology: Introducing steam cleaners and scrubbing machines allowed us to redefine cleaning standards in the UAE. Furthermore, our tech-driven checks ensure our partners always utilize genuine products and adhere to our rigorous standard operating procedures. By investing in ongoing innovation, tools, and products, like our disruptive hourly cleaning service and signature pedicure, we've consistently raised the bar.• Training and Partnerships: Our emphasis on continual training ensures our partners are equipped to offer top-tier personalized services. Regular retraining, based on dynamic user feedback, keeps our services aligned with consumer expectations.• Digital Engagement: Recognizing that modern consumers are digital-driven, we've optimized our user interface, payment gateways, and overall digital experience to be hassle-free and intuitive. This has been pivotal, as even a single negative feedback in today's digital age can shift the trajectory of our business.In essence, while challenges like the pandemic, competition, and evolving consumer behaviour posed hurdles, our unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and consumer-centricity has been the cornerstone of our resilience and growth in the UAE market.What is your vision for the company? Where do you see it in five years?Our vision is to establish ourselves as the largest on-demand home services marketplace by focusing on delivering an unparalleled experience to our users. With the UAE market projected to grow by 9.7% annually until 2026, we foresee a 10x growth in this region alone. Hence, with a focus on experience, we have invested heavily in the selection of service professionals with extensive training in real-life simulated set-ups and deep investments in bringing the most cutting-edge tools and products to our users.

Microsoft unveils an AI-powered future at GITEX Global 2023

Microsoft is offering a glimpse into the AI-powered future of cities and workplaces at GITEX Global 2023, which opened at the Dubai World Trade Centre today. Under the show's theme "The Year to Imagine AI in Everything," Microsoft's will demonstrate how AI will revolutionize the way we live and work.Participating alongside 32 of its partners, Microsoft is showcasing the latest AI solutions and services designed to transform the region’s key industries - from government services to healthcare, education and financial services- and provide them a state-of-the-art platform from which to develop their own innovative technologies that suit their individual needs. Microsoft speakers will also be participating in workshops and talks around the responsible use of the new technologies. Demonstrating what government services of the future could look like, Microsoft has partnered with Kagool on building the ‘Citizen Companion’ – an AI-powered interface that seamlessly communicates with visitors in their native language and provides assistance on various government services such as renewing their driving license, applying for a UAE Golden Visa, or paying a traffic fine. Personal services are unlocked through residents’ Emirates IDs and save users time and effort and increasing governmental efficiencies by taking over administrative tasks that would have previously involved multiple journey’s to government offices.Speaking at the event, Naim Yazbeck, General Manager, Microsoft UAE, said that GITEX Global serves as an indispensable venue for collaboration, enabling companies like Microsoft to not only demonstrate their commitment to driving technological advancement but to also help shape the future of industries, economies, and societies. “We are witnessing the new era of digital transformation. AI has gone from being an abstract concept to revolutionizing industries and societies while shaping the digital world of tomorrow. At Microsoft, we believe that by empowering organizations of all sizes and industries to harness the power of AI responsibly, we can transform cities, reimagine workplaces, and ultimately, improve lives. GITEX Global 2023 is our stage to showcase these incredible possibilities, and we are thrilled to pioneer the potential for this technology to create a better, more connected future for all."Highlighting the synergy between the event's theme and Microsoft's mission to empower organizations and people to achieve more, Yazbeck said that 'The Year to Imagine AI in Everything' aligns with the company's commitment to democratizing access to AI. "Our goal is to empower organizations across the public and private sectors with cutting-edge tools and resources. We want to equip them to not only harness the transformative capabilities of AI, but to also create their own innovative applications, catalysing a paradigm shift within their respective industries and economies."Microsoft’s stand in Hall 7 will feature a dedicated booth for Xbox, in addition to a Surface Zone, Tech Talk arena, F&B stand, entertainment stage, and meeting room. Visitors at the VIP Demo Area can also have their picture taken at the stand before having it drawn by the AI Robotic Sketch Bot, which creates art in seconds using advanced AI and machine learning technology.

Leading Abu Dhabi entities showcase fintech innovation at Sibos 2023

Abu Dhabi's leading entities, including The Abu Dhabi Global Market Academy (ADGMA), the knowledge arm of the Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Khalifa Fund, startAD, and Hub71, came together to present a unified vision at Sibos 2023. This collective effort symbolized Abu Dhabi's fintech and innovation ecosystem, partnering to showcase the Emirate as a global leader in financial technology. Together, they aimed to shed light on the opportunities that Abu Dhabi offered and exhibited its vibrant and collaborative investment environment to the global financial community.These entities engaged in insightful discussions about adapting investment strategies and nurturing innovation, demonstrating Abu Dhabi's commitment to pioneering the future of finance.Sibos, with its overarching theme for 2023, "Collaborative finance in a fragmented world," served as a beacon for decision-makers, experts, and stakeholders from the world of finance, technology, and beyond. Over the course of a week, approximately 10,000 professionals hailing from financial institutions, market infrastructures, multinational corporations, and technology firms spanning 160 countries convened to shape the future of payments, securities, cash management, and trade.It further offered a unique platform for these entities to engage with the global financial ecosystem. This event stood as a testament to their commitment to further position Abu Dhabi as a thriving International Financial Centre (IFC) and a leading hub for a knowledge-based economy and innovation.The Abu Dhabi Pavilion at Sibos was a testament to Abu Dhabi's commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration within its vibrant financial ecosystem. It featured three innovative startups funded and sponsored by Abu Dhabi's leading incubators and accelerators, including Khalifa Fund, startAD, and Hub71. These startups exemplified the dynamism and forward-thinking spirit of Abu Dhabi's fintech landscape. They were featured with the support of the participating Abu Dhabi-based incubators and accelerators.ADGMA's participation at Sibos encompasses an initiative that revolves around the UAE Student Challenge, recently organised by ADGM Academy’s Research Centre in partnership with the Swift Institute and sponsored by Mubadala Investment Company. In this exceptional event, the UAE Student Challenge winning team graced the global stage at Sibos, where they presented their transformative ideas to the world, a testament to Abu Dhabi's flourishing young talent in the research and innovation arena with a focus on how the financial sector can play a pivotal role in supporting the transition to a net-zero future.Speaking about ADGMA's involvement at Sibos, Mansoor Jaffar, CEO ADGM Academy & Research Centre: "ADGMA Academy is playing a strategic role in educating the international financial market about the thriving knowledge-based economy within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in alignment with our national priorities for human capital development. We are delighted to present our young local talents, showcasing their research solutions on sustainability, and to lead the Abu Dhabi Pavilion exhibit, reaffirming Abu Dhabi as a centre of excellence in entrepreneurship."H.E. Alia Al Mazrouei, CEO of Khalifa Fund, stated: "We were truly honored to represent the Abu Dhabi Pavilion alongside our distinguished partners at SIBOS 2023. This esteemed global event provided a unique opportunity to engage with international stakeholders and gain invaluable insights into the evolving landscape of finance, the latest innovative technologies and solutions in the industry, and their impact on entrepreneurship. Through our representation, we were dedicated to showcasing Abu Dhabi as a vibrant entrepreneurial hub for SMEs from all sectors, including Fintech, where creativity, innovation, and sustainability converge to drive economic progress".startAD Managing Director Ramesh Jagannathan commented: “Abu Dhabi presents a strategic opportunity for cutting-edge global startups to scale with its strategic geo-connected location, ambitious innovation agenda, strong government commitment, and robust economic landscape. Positioning this opportunity at the Abu Dhabi Pavilion at Sibos, alongside our esteemed partners was an impactful experience, where we engaged with more than 15 leading financial institutions and banks and over 50 startups, promoting Abu Dhabi as the fintech capital of the world."Hashem Alkaabi, Head of Corporate Services, Hub71, commented: “It was inspiring to join organizations at the forefront of Abu Dhabi’s financial and technology industries at Sibos to showcase the potential for entrepreneurs and disruptive companies to thrive from the UAE capital. We take pride in supporting the development and expansion of advanced FinTech capabilities by inviting startups worldwide to grow and scale in Abu Dhabi. By collaborating closely with our esteemed partners, we are creating a favourable environment that is enabling founders to make a significant impact on the FinTech industry.”,

Savvy Games Group appoints Majed Al-Muhanna as Chief Human Resources Officer

Savvy Games Group (“Savvy”), the games and esports company founded to drive the long-term growth and development of the games and esports industry worldwide, announced today the appointment of Majed Al-Muhanna as Chief Human Resources Officer.In his new role, Majed will lead the development and implementation of Savvy’s human resources strategy, including overseeing talent development and attraction of both local and international games specialists. As a member of Savvy’s leadership team, he will also drive progress towards Savvy’s strategic objectives, and contribute to Savvy’s work in support of Saudi Arabia’s National Gaming and Esports Strategy.Majed brings wide-ranging experience of human resources leadership roles at major financial and consumer-facing organisations across the investment banking, retail, and manufacturing sectors. He was previously Chief Human Capital Officer of SNB Capital, where he was a member of the organisation’s leadership team and drove its human capital strategy.In addition to his role at Savvy, Majed currently serves as Chair of the Human Resources Committee of the Capital Market Institutions Committee, which supports the development of the capital market sector in Saudi Arabia. He will report to Savvy’s CEO, Brian Ward.Commenting on the appointment, Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy, said, “We are excited to welcome Majed Al-Muhanna to Savvy’s executive leadership team as Chief Human Resources Officer. Majed’s expertise in nurturing talent pipelines and implementing wider organisational human resources strategies will enable Savvy’s continued growth and the success of our team. Majed joins Savvy at an exciting time for our business and the wider gaming and esports industry – we are delighted to have in on board.”

Mastercard partners with SiFi to empower businesses in Saudi Arabia

 Mastercard has signed an exclusive agreement with Alhulul Almobassatah Financial Company (SiFi) to empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia with a range of innovative offerings.The agreement brings Mastercard, a leading technology company in the global payments sector together with SiFi, a Saudi-based fintech that simplifies how businesses manage spend — to provide greater access to novel financial solutions: offerings designed to overcome challenges in controlling spend, managing expense reports, and accessing analytics to save money.Utilizing Mastercard’s expertise, ecosystem, network, and resources, SiFi will have the ability to offer solutions with ease to SMEs and enterprises across the Kingdom, enabling them to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global economy.“Mastercard is a key partner for SiFi. As a reputable player in the payment technology field, Mastercard's expertise and flexibility helps us adapt to our evolving needs and improve our service to customers. With their support, we can better understand and address our customers' expectations,” said H.E. Ahmed Alhakbani, Founder and CEO of SiFi.“As Saudi Arabia’s SME space continues to grow, it is our responsibility to effect more positive change, serving as the partner of choice to fuel that growth. At Mastercard, we are committed to working closely with partners to co-create solutions and offer access to our technology and expertise. Our agreement with SiFi is fully geared towards achieving this goal,” said Adam Jones, Country General Manager, MENA Central, Mastercard.Mastercard’s agreement with SiFi marks the latest step taken by the technology company to empower the Kingdom’s burgeoning fintech community and transform Saudi entrepreneurship.Utilizing Mastercard’s expertise, ecosystem, network, and resources, SiFi will have the ability to issue corporate cards with ease — to SMEs and enterprises across the Kingdom, enabling them to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving global economy.“With SMEs playing a greater role in powering the economy, we understand the importance of offering access to quality, responsive solutions that enable businesses and fintech’s to grow. Whether empowering entities to accept more payment cards and methods or simplifying controlling and tracking expenses, we equip SMEs with the tools to accomplish their business goals,” said Maria Medvedeva, Country Manager, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Mastercard.“We are in the business of empowering companies to take greater control of their expenses. By partnering with equally innovative entities, such as Mastercard, we aim to curate an advanced suite of offerings that resolve our customers' financial management challenges,” said Fahad Alfozan, Business Development Manager at SiFi.The partnership underlines Mastercard’s commitment to bringing one billion people, 50 million micro and small businesses, and 25 million women entrepreneurs into the digital economy by 2025. This is in keeping with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims of increasing the SME sector’s contribution to the Saudi economy to 35% by 2030 and raising SME lending to 20% of funding by the end of the decade.  The exclusive agreement will support more SMEs around the country, with SiFi issuing commercial cards to employees, providing real-time expense tracking capabilities, and automating accounting entries. By enabling more businesses to streamline operations, the partnership will help to save time and money, while improving compliance and visibility into spending.With the Fintech Saudi 21/22 Annual Report outlining that there are currently 147 active fintech’s in Saudi Arabia, Mastercard’s work with SiFi will contribute to the growth and development of the Kingdom’s SME and fintech sectors, providing more enterprises with the tools to scale and grow their businesses.

Bureau Beatrice launches its ‘Show Division’ and gears up for global expansion

 BUREAU BÉATRICE, the luxury creative technology company that is redefining the experiential landscape, is launching its Show Division. Founded by two creative mavericks Kevin Alderweireldt (CEO) and Jon S Maloy (Chief Creative Officer), BUREAU BÉATRICE is making waves in the industry with its extraordinary growth and ground-breaking innovations. BUREAU BÉATRICE’s growth is not just in numbers but also in its creative and technological capabilities. The expansion of its creative technology team has allowed the company to develop proprietary programs for live content generation, pushing the boundaries of experiential marketing. The new Show Division allows the business to take its offering for clients one step further, into physical events and shows. Under the guidance of CCO Jon S. Maloy the division strategically identifies and handpicks key moments and significant activities where the division's expertise can be deployed across the region and around the world, depending on requests from partners who are seeking creative prowess. The most recent example of its Show Division can be seen in the current Formula 1 racing championship; BUREAU BÉATRICE is currently traveling the world with its client Aramco executing a VIP mixed reality experience in each F1 host city.  What also sets BUREAU BÉATRICE apart is its global approach to talent acquisition. To support executing quality-focused campaigns, the company has strategically hired top-flight professionals to join its ‘Show Division’; it boasts a team with experience from iconic names such as Disney, Pixar, Ubisoft, and some of the world's leading video game studios. From its humble beginnings with just six team members in December 2022, the company has expanded exponentially, now boasting a diverse team of 32 creative and technological professionals, revolutionizing the creative landscape. In a short span, BUREAU BÉATRICE has executed campaigns in over 30 countries across the US, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, cementing its position as a global creative force. As part of its expansion strategy, the company has recently established a larger office in Dubai’s Design District, and opened a representation office in Paris, focusing on strengthening ties with luxury brands, their core clients. Building on recent successes and fuelled by unwavering passion, BUREAU BÉATRICE is poised to expand further into the Middle East and the Far East. The company’s upcoming plans include opening an office in Singapore and launching a state-of-the-art 3D VFX Studio in Asia.  Kevin Alderweireldt, Co-Founder and CEO of BUREAU BÉATRICE, commented on this remarkable journey, saying, "At BUREAU BÉATRICE, we are constantly inspired to push creative boundaries and surprise our clients with concepts that they may have never thought of. We believe that culture is the lifeblood of our organization, and that people excel when they're passionate about what they do. Our success in executing coveted campaigns and clients isn't solely attributed to my co-founder Jon and me; it's a testament to our esteemed team members who collaborate to turn dreams into reality. Our ability to be innovative is stronger than before, and our dedication to producing high-quality work remains steadfast. We ensure our clients receive nothing less than a masterpiece of luxury. "With the launch of our new Show Division, we ensure the concept is executed with our team overseeing every inch and detail, from beginning to end. This allows us to maintain control of the quality and the narrative of the content we create. Whether it's a bespoke event for a luxury fashion brand, an immersive experience for a watch brand, or an unforgettable showcase for a global event, we have unlocked the true potential of immersive experiences. We have successfully blended creativity and technology, with a primary emphasis on prioritizing creativity, while utilizing technology as a means to harness the innate creative brilliance within us as humans," he added. BUREAU BÉATRICE has consistently demonstrated its prowess in delivering impactful and innovative campaigns across a range of industries. One of the company's standout achievements includes a whimsical Ramadan campaign with CHAUMET, featuring 82 screens in Riyadh Boulevard Park in Saudi Arabia, witnessed by 100,000 spectators. BUREAU BÉATRICE also played a pivotal role in the launch of Palm Jebel Ali, a landmark project by Nakheel Properties, which included a magnificent show for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Their work on the ‘Tiffany & Co. - Follow the Bird’ campaign, (a world first for the brand) showcased their ability to create immersive and visually captivating experiences for luxury brands, effectively drawing customers into the world of Tiffany. Similarly, their ‘Richard Mille Art in the Gulf’ project demonstrated their expertise in blending art and luxury, offering a unique perspective on Richard Mille's products.  BUREAU BÉATRICE’s growth and dedication to creativity and innovation have solidified its position as a global leader in the creative technology industry. With a team of trailblazers, they continue to craft exceptional experiences that resonate with audiences worldwide. With a belief that creativity comes first and technology second, BUREAU BÉATRICE is committed to discovering novel, innovative, and creative approaches that redefine experiential moments that enhance the interaction between brands and their audience - all while looking through the lens of luxury. For the Co-Founders of BUREAU BÉATRICE, luxury is not just a fleeting concept, but a living, breathing culture that surrounds us. It's a culture that is in a constant state of evolution, adapting to the changing world, that will be seen in the history books for the years to come.

TikTok, The Walt Disney launch ‘Disney 100 Hub’

TikTok and The Walt Disney Company are all set to launch a first of its kind content hub, the Disney 100 hub, that promises to celebrate a century of Disney’s magic.Commencing on October 16, this partnership commemorates The Walt Disney Company’s remarkable 100th anniversary, and it is poised to leave Disney fans around the world spellbound. The Disney100 activation on TikTok will offer Disney enthusiasts an unprecedented interactive experience. They can immerse themselves in a world of stories, magic, and memories.This hub will include content from Disney, Disney Parks, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and ESPN. Moreover, to help brands stay on the pulse of impactful moments on the platform, Disney will also become a TikTok Pulse Premiere publisher partner, allowing marketers to run ads in brand-safe slots alongside entertainment and sports content from Disney. TikTok announced: “Beginning on October 16th, in honor of The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary, we’re giving the passionate community of Disney enthusiasts on our platform a first-of-its-kind destination within TikTok that invites Disney fans to a unique interactive experience where stories, magic, and memories come together.”Nicole Lacopetti, Global Head of content at TikTok, said, “We’re thrilled to partner with Disney to celebrate the company’s undeniable impact on entertainment and on families around the world, starting by giving TikTok’s passionate community of Disney fans unique access to content and experiences they can’t find anywhere else.”Asad Ayaz, Chief Brand Officer, The Walt Disney Company, said: “With over 240 billion views across Disney’s portfolio of brands and experiences, TikTok has become a go-to destination for Disney fans to create, engage and connect around their favorite Disney films, shows, characters and experiences, so we’re thrilled to partner with them as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the company.”

UAE witnesses unprecedented ransomware resilience: Acronis report

 As the global cybersecurity landscape faces increasing turmoil, the latest report from global cyber protection leader, Acronis, reveals a remarkable story of resilience in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the broader GCC region. The report showcases Acronis' Insights into the UAE and GCC cybersecurity landscape, painting a compelling picture of how these regions have stood strong against the tide of ransomware attacks, with threats showing signs of flatlining.Driven by a steadfast dedication to fortify the digital realm in the region, the all-encompassing Acronis Cyberthreat Report 2023 forecasts a distinct levelling off in monthly ransomware detections throughout Q4 of 2023, down from a ??6% jump reported in Q1 2023 over Q4 2022. Unmasking the Ransomware Landscape in the UAE and GCCIn a landscape fraught with uncertainty, the UAE and GCC region emerge as beacons of cybersecurity strength, according to the insightful Acronis Cyberthreat Report 2023. Here are key highlights:Rising cyberattack costs in the Middle East: The Cyberthreat Report reveals that various forms of cyberattacks are increasing in the Middle East, leading to significant financial losses for organizations. These cyberattacks encompass a wide range of threats, including hacking, malware, and data breaches. Notably, data from IBM also indicates that the average cost of a cyberattack on an organization in Saudi Arabia and the UAE was US$6.53 million, which is 69% more than the global average.Ransomware Resilience: Despite the rising costs associated with these broader cyberattacks, the UAE and GCC region has shown strong resilience against ransomware attacks, which encrypt a victim's files and demand a ransom payment. The report suggests that the number of monthly ransomware detections is expected to remain steady until the close of 2023. This underlines the region's robust cybersecurity measures in dealing specifically with ransomware, emphasizing their remarkable effectiveness in this area.Phishing's Persistent Challenge: While ransomware may be on the wane, phishing remains a persistent challenge. Cybercriminals continue to rely on this tactic to target login credentials, demanding ongoing vigilance from organizations across the region.Malware Management: Within the region, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have reported an 11% infection rate by May 2023, ranking 25th and 27th globally. The UAE maintains its resilience with a 10% infection rate, securing the 31st global position.AI as the Game-Changer: AI has emerged as the ultimate game-changer in the fight against cybercriminals. Over 70% of UAE businesses have adopted AI in their decision-making processes, underscoring its efficacy in countering advanced cyber threats. This commitment to AI technologies highlights the region's dedication to cybersecurity excellence.“The Middle East and largely the UAE region, due to its position as the go-to economic hub, both the public and private sector have been key targets for cyber-attacks. Over the last few years, ransomware has remained the leading threat but due to serious and cost-effective interventions in terms of preparedness and solutions by the key stakeholders, the region is steadily succeeding in mitigating the attacks. Sustained education, upskilling and investment in cyber protection by enterprises across all sectors continues to play a pivotal role in making the region cyber fit,” said Ziad Nasr, general manager, Acronis Middle East.As the UAE and GCC region continue to demonstrate their prowess on the global cybersecurity stage, Acronis stands firmly at the forefront, equipping them with cutting-edge cyber protection tools and strategies to navigate the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape.Manchester City Legend at GITEX Cybersecurity ExtravaganzaIn a remarkable demonstration of the surging importance of cyber protection, the Acronis team welcomed Paul Dickov, the celebrated Manchester City legend, to their ranks. Together, they showcased that cybersecurity is not just a tech challenge but a collective endeavor. The event featured captivating live demonstrations, exhilarating gamification activities, and exclusive insights into the latest cybersecurity trends and innovations.James Slaby, Director of Cyber Protection, will captivating audiences with daily thought leadership presentations. Unveiling the strategies to combat AI-driven cybersecurity threats, building unwavering cyber resilience, navigating the intricate realm of cyber insurance, crafting an incident response plan for unbeatable resilience, and safeguarding the invaluable data of Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace.While global threats escalate, the UAE and GCC remain steadfast, with ransomware threats expected to flatline in Q4. As the digital battleground evolves, the UAE and GCC are well-equipped to navigate the ever-changing landscape, ensuring the safety of their digital ecosystems with the likes of Acronis continuing to play a pivotal role in bolstering the region's cybersecurity posture.

FP7McCann appoints Tarek Ali Ahmad as Managing Director

FP7McCann is pleased to announce the appointment of Tarek Ali Ahmad as the Managing Director for its Dubai branch, effective immediately. Tarek will succeed Jon Marchant, who will leave the agency on November 30th after an impressive 15 years with McCann, six of which he served with FP7McCann in Dubai, to pursue a new role at Memac Ogilvy.  Tarek Ali Ahmad's remarkable journey in the advertising industry began as a rising star at J. Walter Thompson in 2000. His professional journey led him to FP7McCann Dubai in 2006, where he was enlisted to spearhead the Coca-Cola account, overseeing multiple brands across the Middle East and North Africa. During his 14-year tenure at FP7McCann, Tarek has remained focused on setting new industry standards in the creative world and leading a team of innovative thinkers who have won impressive accounts, awards, and recognition for the agency in Dubai and beyond.  Tarek Miknas, CEO of FP7McCann MENAT, said, "Tarek Ali Ahmad has been marked for this role over three years ago when he was promoted to General Manager and Head of Business Leadership. In the three years, he has been actively and intimately involved in the operation on all levels, allowing for a smooth and natural transition and evolution. He is no stranger to the industry, and he is no stranger to our talent, clients and partners. I have the utmost faith in Tarek's ability to take the agency to unprecedented heights."  Tarek Ali Ahmad commented, "It's a great honor to step into the role of Managing Director at FP7/McCann Dubai. Having spent over a decade with the agency, this reflects my deep respect and loyalty to our talented team and valued partners. I'm immensely grateful for Tarek Miknas' trust in my abilities, and I'm excited to continue the journey of success at FP7/McCann Dubai. I look forward to building on our legacy of creativity and innovation and further strengthening our relationships with our partners as we embark on this new chapter together".

Yazle Announces Strategic Programmatic DooH Partnership with Invenda

Yazle, a global digital media company specializing in innovative and creative digital advertising, announced a strategic partnership with Invenda, a prominent player in the automated retail and programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) sector. This collaboration marks a significant milestone for Yazle, as it opens doors to programmatic DOOH screens across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).Commenting on the partnership, Jamie Atherton, Managing Director at Yazle, said, "We are thrilled to partner with Invenda, a leader in the programmatic DOOH space. This collaboration aligns perfectly with our mission to empower advertisers with cutting-edge tools and access to prime advertising landscape. Together with Invenda, we are poised to deliver outstanding results for our clients and elevate the DOOH advertising space in the region."<img src='\3db62b13b562e0a676c68f926180bc4b.png' class='content_image'>Yazle has established itself as a pioneer in the dynamic DOOH advertising landscape, consistently delivering innovative solutions that engage audiences and drive results for brands. The partnership with Invenda represents a key step in furthering Yazle's commitment to providing advertisers with unprecedented reach and targeting capabilities. Francesca Meloni, DOOH advertising director at Invenda said, "Invenda is excited to embark on this partnership with Yazle. By combining our programmatic technology expertise with Yazle's creative prowess, we are confident in our ability to revolutionize the DOOH advertising experience for brands operating in the UAE and KSA. <img src='\6ff8a7166a573283bde68fa255b7c67c.png' class='content_image'>Invenda is recognized for its expertise in programmatic DOOH, offering a sophisticated platform that enables advertisers to connect with their desired audiences through data-driven campaigns. By joining forces with Invenda, Yazle gains access to an extensive network of premium programmatic DOOH screens strategically located in high-traffic areas across the UAE and KSA.The Yazle-Invenda partnership represents a game-changing development in the DOOH advertising sector, offering advertisers expanded reach, enhanced targeting capabilities, real-time insights with high-fidelity audience impressions, and creative excellence. It is set to redefine how brands connect with their audiences in the dynamic markets of the UAE and KSA.