Turbocharging customer loyalty: The need for CRM strategies

In an age where data drives customer service and customization, it is sad to experience a situation where a leading telecommunications company fails to make use of the wealth of information at its disposal.In view of the customer service week a few days ago, I would like to share the experience I had recently with one of the largest telco companies in the GCC region, and it was a stark reminder of how poor customer service and a lack of personalization can drive customers away and benefit competitors.A few weeks ago, I received a call from this telco company, in which they attempted to offer me an upgraded mobile package. In theory, this should have been a straightforward and potentially beneficial interaction for both of us. However, it soon became apparent that they had not taken the time to study my profile or understand my needs before reaching out to me.The first issue was their insistence on pushing me towards a higher-tier package, even though a careful analysis of my data usage would have shown that I was not utilizing all the data included in my current plan. It was evident that the company's representatives had not taken the time to examine my consumption habits or preferences. This oversight, in my opinion, highlights a fundamental flaw in the telco company's approach to customer engagement.This incident serves as a stark example of a major telco company's failure to develop a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy that resonates with its customers. When a company of this stature, which has access to a treasure of data about its users,neglects to employ it to customize its offerings and improve customer experience, it undermines not only its reputation but also the loyalty of its customers.As a marketing professional with over 25 years of experience, I am well aware of the importance of understanding the customer's needs and preferences, developing messages, customer journeys and strategies that resonate with them, and ultimately, creating brand experiences that enhance their daily lives. This experience left me deeply disappointed, especially coming from a telco company that has access to all the necessary customer data to do better.The outcome of this encounter was double:• First, I decided to re-evaluate my mobile package and opted for a more cost-effective option that better suited my needs, still staying with the same telco company.• Second, the poor customer service and the inability of the telco company to provide a tailored offering led me to explore alternative options for my home internet needs. I found myself actively considering packages from other service providers, and finally decided to opt for another telco company.This is a clear example of how a poorly executed customer retention strategy can not only damage the relationship between a company and its customer but can also carelessly promote the interests of its competitors.It highlights the need for telco companies, as well as businesses in general, to invest in data-driven, personalized CRM strategies.My recent experience with one of the biggest telecom companies in the GCC region was a reminder that even giants in the industry can fail when it comes to understanding their customers and providing a level of service that aligns with their preferences. This episode should serve as a cautionary tale for companies that have access to a wealth of customer data, urging them to leverage that information to create meaningful, customized interactions and secure customer loyalty.Failure to do so not only risks alienating existing customers but also presents opportunities for competitors to swoop in and provide a more personalized, customer-centric experience.

CarSwitch Joins Forces with MoEngage to Elevate Personalized Customer Engagement

CarSwitch, the leading UAE site for buying and selling used cars, has partnered with MoEngage, a marketing automation and customer engagement platform and e-CENS.Operating in both UAE and KSA, the brand is a perfect bridge between sellers who are looking to sell their cars conveniently and buyers who prefer not to visit showrooms in search of cars physically.Speaking about the customer engagement challenges, Mohammad Ali Raahim, Head of Product at CarSwitch, said, “There were few challenges that we encountered while building our engagement frameworks. Data analysis, engaging the right channel, personalization at scale and relevant content are some of them. This is where we think MoEngage, along with e-CENS fits perfectly well into our system.”Using MoEngage, the car-selling platform will offload journeys that have been built on their own tech stack onto MoEngage to focus more on maintaining and analyzing these journeys. Additionally, the brand will also identify and capitalize on new opportunities to engage customers at the right time, through the right channels with content that they would care about, with MoEngage’s engagement platform.“In the age of online reviews and social media, our reputation is critical. Meaningful customer engagement helps us manage our online reputation effectively. While our ultimate goal is to increase the number of cars we sell, we want to excel in customer engagement. With MoEngage and e-cens, our experience so far has been great. Hoping for more of the same after we launch the integration.”, said Mohammad Ali Raahim, Head of Product at CarSwitch“We are delighted to onboard CarSwitch as part of our MoEngage family. They have been constantly focusing on providing a supreme customer experience, and we are ecstatic to be a part of their journey”, said Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success at MEA, MoEngage.Building a long-lasting relationship with customers is essential for businesses to increase their ROI. That's why we use MoEngage for our clients. Their marketing automation makes targeting and optimizing messaging easier, helping businesses build a loyal customer base, thus increasing their ROI”, said Bashar Hafez, Co-Founder and Managing Director at e-CENS.CarSwitch joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Azadea, Jazeera Airways, Alsaif Gallery, Apparel Group, Airtel, Ola, Oyo, and Mashreq, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.

DAMAC Hotels partners with HPE Aruba Networking

DAMAC Hotels, a renowned luxury Hotels & Resorts brand, has announced a strategic partnership with HPE Aruba Networking. This collaboration aims to redefine guest satisfaction by introducing cutting-edge network technology across DAMAC's upscale Hotels.Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU), DAMAC Hotels and HPE Aruba Networking are embarking on an innovative project to elevate guest experiences through advanced network solutions. HPE Aruba Networking will deploy its state-of-the-art Wi-Fi 6E and Switches to provide DAMAC Hotels' luxury portfolio guests with high-speed, dependable, and secure connectivity.A central aspect of this partnership is the implementation of Wi-Fi 6E, the latest breakthrough in wireless technology. Wi-Fi 6E offers unmatched network performance, guaranteeing guests lightning-fast internet speeds, reduced latency, and seamless connectivity. This advancement empowers DAMAC Hotels to enhance the digital experiences of its visitors, setting new benchmarks for guest satisfaction.In addition to Wi-Fi 6E, HPE Aruba Networking's Switches will play a pivotal role in optimizing network performance within DAMAC's Hotels. They are designed to deliver robust and efficient network switching, further enhancing the reliability and security of the network infrastructure."Guest satisfaction lies at the core of DAMAC Hotels' mission. We are thrilled to partner with HPE Aruba Networking to introduce cutting-edge network solutions to our luxury Hotels," stated Francis Arul, Group Chief Information Officer. "With Wi-Fi 6E and an industry leading switching solution, we are committed to providing a seamless and secure digital experience, ensuring that our residents and guests have the finest connectivity at their fingertips."Zeeshan Hadi, the Country Manager of UAE & Africa at HPE Aruba Networking, said: "This joint project with DAMAC Hotels is a great example of how to efficiently enhance guest satisfaction through top-tier network solutions. By utilizing technology that has established new standards for connectivity and security, DAMAC Hotels is reinforcing the luxurious experience the brand is known for."This collaboration marks a significant step in redefining luxury living in the real estate & Hospitality sector. Together, DAMAC Hotels and HPE Aruba Networking are elevating guest satisfaction by introducing state-of-the-art network solutions tailored to the digital needs of modern residents and visitors, setting new standards in the process.

Dubai Jewellery Group announces unbelievable prizes and deals this Diwali

Dubai Jewellery Group (DJG), the leading trade body for the jewellery industry in the region, is all set to ignite the festive spirit with its highly anticipated Diwali campaign ‘Glow with Gold this Diwali’, in association with The Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET)This year, DJG aims to make Diwali celebrations more radiant than ever by offering an array of irresistible deals, prizes and offers across a variety of jewellery brands in Dubai.Buying and gifting of gold and jewellery has been an age-old tradition of Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Known as the City of Gold and Jewellery Destination of the world, Dubai is the also the ultimate Diwali shopping destination for Indian shoppers. As the countdown to Diwali begins, DJG is excited to announce that customers visiting the participating outlets will be greeted with complimentary gifts, a heartfelt gesture to embrace the joyous spirit of the festival of lights. DJG is also introducing an electrifying raffle draw where participants have the chance to win a total of AED 150,000 in jewellery vouchers, adding a touch of grandeur to the celebrations. Upon purchase of jewellery for AED 1000 or more, customers can participate in this raffle draw digitally simply by scanning the QR code available at each outlet. 30 lucky winners will stand a chance to win jewellery vouchers worth AED 5000 each.Laila Suhail, Board Member & Chairperson of Marketing at Dubai Jewellery Group (DJG), expressed her excitement about the campaign, saying, "Diwali is a time of immense joy, lights, and togetherness. At DJG, we are committed to enhancing this joy for our valued shoppers by offering them a truly illuminating experience. Our Diwali campaign is a testament to our dedication to making the festive season unforgettable."DJG’s Diwali campaign promises a treasure trove of irresistible offers, including:Up to 50% Discount on Select Diamond and Pearl Jewellery CollectionsZero Making Charge or 50% Discount on the Making Charges of Select CollectionsSurprise gifts and free gold coins with purchase of Diamond, Gold and Pearl JewelleryAround 75 jewellery brands with 150 retail outlets across Dubai are set to take part in the campaign with their exclusive Diwali collection, between October 28 to November 16, 2023. announces expansion to KSA, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, one the UAE’s fastest growing digital ecosystems, announced its expansion across the MENA region with offices in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey during GITEX Global 2023. Driven by the success of its two platforms – collect and market – had already expanded its operations across the UAE with offices in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, in addition to a dedicated sales and technology office in India. By bringing both its platforms to new countries in the region, is now enhancing access to its entire ecosystem beyond the UAE, from trading recyclables through market to logistics and movement of goods through’s geographical expansion comes with its exponential growth in 2023, surpassing its performance indicators from 2022. Last year, market -’s online recyclables trading platform - recorded transactions worth over AED 100 million and over 100,000 tonnes of material bought and sold. has surpassed last year’s performance within the first six months of 2023, recording transactions worth over AED 150 million and over 130,000 tonnes of material traded, further driving the circular economy. Similarly, collect, which “uberises” moving and logistics, recorded a 150% increase in trips and a 15% increase in number of users in the first half of 2023, as more people and businesses leverage the platform’s access to simple, convenient and affordable logistics services.Commenting on the venture’s expansion, Salim Al Owais, Chief Executive Officer at, said: “We are fortunate to have demonstrated success in serving customers from the UAE as well as across borders, contributing to local economies, driving circularity and accelerating logistics services. has now established new offices in Abu Dhabi and Dammam, KSA. We are also planning our offices in Jeddah in KSA, and Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. Through this strategically planned network of offices, we are looking to add further value to the local and regional economies, while setting up mutually beneficial business relationships.”In the UAE, has offices in Sharjah, its headquarters, as well as in Abu Dhabi, supporting objectives to enhance employment and the local economy within the emirate. In Dammam, KSA, has already established a base of customers leveraging the collect platform for shipments from the UAE. With a new office in Dammam, seeks to further strengthen the logistics corridor to the UAE with cost-effective services via collect offers several moving and logistics services that can be conveniently booked from the app, including home moving, B2B logistics, renting a truck or fleet, and its most popular service, cross border shipments.As a manufacturing hub, Dammam is also an ideal location to introduce market, with factories having the opportunity to unlock new revenue streams by trading scraps and other recyclables across several categories. Similarly, recyclables traders can use the platform to trade better, faster and more market offers a variety of bidding options, including time-limited bidding, bid-free transactions, partial bidding, spot sales, and spot buys. The platform enables trade across a variety of recyclables categories, including paper, e-waste, wood, glass, plastic, ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, aggregates, recyclable road base and rubber. market sees over 400 bids a month with over 650 enterprises registered on the platform.Similar to Dammam, sees huge potential to make positive impact in Jeddah, KSA, as well as in Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, which are centres for manufacturing, shipping and business in the region.Through market, businesses can unlock value from their waste through recyclables trading. With collect, businesses can accelerate logistics needs with cost-effective options as well as send and receive shipments from the UAE with enhanced ease. During GITEX Global, also announced the addition of a new service on collect to rent earthmoving equipment, offering businesses and project managers the opportunity to complete construction work without high upfront investment and long-term maintenance costs of a specialised fleet.“Digitalisation is the need of the hour – it is demanded by customers and becoming a necessity for business functions and processes,” added Salim Al Owais. “With this expansion, is offering businesses in more countries the opportunity to digitalise aspects of their business quickly and cost-effectively, without the need to invest in building their own platforms from the ground up. Through our new offices, we look forward to furthering the impact of market and collect while adding value to new economies.”Since its launch, has won multiple awards for the transformative impact of its platforms. Some of its awards include the “B2B platform of the Year” at the 2023 E-Business Awards by Entrepreneur Middle East, “Specialist Trading Solution of the Year” at the 2022 and 2023 Innovation and Excellence Awards by Corporate Livewire, and “Technology Innovation of the Year” at the 2022 Middle East Waste and Recycling Awards.

Dubai Government Workshop signs cooperation agreement with eSolutions

Dubai Government Workshop entered into a cooperation agreement with eSolutions, which is aimed at establishing mechanisms for efficient fleet maintenance and operations management. Under the agreement, Integrated Fleet Management system on ‘IBM Maximo Application Suite’ will be utilised in the workshop, incorporating its new features that support the operations of the workshop.HE Fahad Ahmed Al Raeesi, Executive Director of DGW, Gaby Matar, Group Managing Partner of eSolutions, and a number of officials from both sides were present during the signing ceremony, which was held on the Dubai Digital Platform at Sheikh Saeed Hall.The terms of the agreement stipulates that eSolutions will provide the innovative system which will enable Dubai Government Workshop to have complete control of asset data, proactively manage it according to asset life cycle management standards, utilise a streamlined and centralised approach for operations, and promote paperless processes in line with Dubai’s paperless strategy. The new system further helps mitigate manual errors by end to end automation, seemless Integration with other systems, preparing accurate and insightful reports/dashboards that supports improved operational efficiency , facilitating asset tracking and control, and reducing equipment downtime.H.E. Fahad Al-Raeesi said: “As part of our efforts to expand and manage our operations effectively and in accordance with highest international standards, we intend to boost the Workshop operations utilising a sophisticated fleet management system through the Memorandum of Understanding with eSolutions. The The ‘IBM Maximo Application Suite’ system helps streamline operations, reduce risk of human mistakes, and set new standards for quality. We are delighted to work with eSolutions on this project, and we intend to grow our partnership in the future in order to provide the best services, develop cutting-edge solutions, and improve customer satisfaction.”Gaby Matar, Group Managing Partner of eSolutions, said: “We are honoured for Dubai Government Workshop's trust in our advanced fleet management system and look forward to working with them to refine operating procedures and boost workshop productivity. This collaboration reflects our shared aim of delivering innovative technologies and solutions while enhancing the effectiveness and reliability of services.”

Eight of ten of UAE CEOs see AI as an important enabler for cybersecurity

According to new research by Censuswide, commissioned by Palo Alto Networks, 95% of UAE organisations surveyed plan to increase investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to improve their respective cybersecurity strategy, with 81% seeing AI as an important enabler for their organisation’s overall approach to cybersecurity.“As organisations adopt new technologies at a rapid pace, it is critical that they take steps to improve their cybersecurity posture, including their ability to detect and respond to threats in real-time,” said Ercan Aydin, Regional Vice President at Palo Alto Networks, Middle East and Africa (MEA). “By incorporating AI into their cybersecurity strategies, organisations in the UAE and regionally can improve their ability to defend against a wide range of cyber threats, reduce response times, and gain better visibility into their security posture – combined with other best cybersecurity practices such as employee training, strong policies, and a layered security approach.”The research found that 94% of UAE respondents understand the potential cyber risks, and 89% feel their organisation is cyber-ready. However, 52% of organisations researched said they have seen an increase in cyberattacks in the past 12 months.69% of CEOs researched said that cybersecurity is a board-level issue within their organisation, 39% have said they are accountable with the CIO for ensuring their organisation is protected against cyberattacks, especially if that could impact the business, customers and reputation.While 65%5 said they are looking to increase investment in cybersecurity protection, 92% of respondents have confirmed that their company’s CIO or CISO plan to lower the number of security solutions deployed in order to reduce complexity.Palo Alto Networks is showcasing its leading cybersecurity technology at GITEX Global 2023, with live demos of its best-in-class cybersecurity platforms representing three main security pillars plus services: Strata (The Networks Security with NGFW and SASE), Cortex (Endpoint security and SoC Automation, Unit 42 Incident Response), Prisma Cloud (Cloud Security) and Professional Services.The research was conducted by Censuswide with 502 CEOs across the UAE and Saudi Arabia between 20.09.2023 - 28.09.2023. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of The British Polling Council.

GroupM partners with Amazon Ads for creator-led shoppable content

GroupM, WPP’s media investment group, has announced a global collaboration with Amazon Ads to introduce creator-led shoppable content to the Amazon advertising suite of services available to its clients. The collaboration gives GroupM clients the ability to amplify creator content within the Amazon DSP and in Amazon Sponsored Brand placements.Developed by The Goat Agency and available exclusively to GroupM clients via Goat, the collaboration enables advertisers to drive commerce outcomes more effectively with audiences on Key features of these exclusive bespoke formats available to clients include:  Off-site DSP amplification: The Goat Agency’s proprietary creator ad format—now further enhanced by Amazon’s expansive insights—will be enabled across the Amazon DSP in every market where it’s available.  Sponsored Brands integration: Sponsored Brands, an “above the fold” ad placement, will now feature creator content developed by The Goat Agency, exclusive to clients of GroupM and Goat. Complimenting Amazon DSP off-site amplification, the ad experience continues the journey onsite with the same influencer-led creative driving further engagement and sales for brands. This integration will allow creator content and Amazon sponsored ads capabilities to be paired, connecting content and advertising capabilities in retail media.  Advanced programmatic creative optimization: Insights from campaigns run with Amazon Ads will be used to cyclically inform The Goat Agency’s custom creative and sharpen audience targeting. Combining Goat’s expertise and Amazon Ads Audience targeting, clients will benefit from improved commercial outcomes by aligning creator content with the audiences most likely to convert by content type across both display and video formats.  Product Pages & Brand Store Enhancement: The collaboration will also mean creator content can be uploaded onto Product Pages and Brand Stores, increasing conversion rates and helping to turn Brand Pages on Amazon into “inspiration hubs” for consumers.Samantha Bukowski, Global Head of Commerce, GroupM Nexus, said: “The development of this new capability is an important step we’re taking to better connect the creativity and engagement of creator marketing with the scale and sophistication of GroupM Nexus’s commerce capabilities. We’re excited to continue this collaboration with Amazon to further integrate inspirational content in commerce advertising in ways that deliver value for clients and Amazon’s consumers.”Amy Armstrong, Director Global Customer Development at Amazon Ads, said: “We are excited to see how GroupM leverages this new ability to deliver creator content directly in the shopping experience and the benefit it will have for our mutual customers. GroupM is a valued customer of Amazon Ads, and we look forward to collaborating with them on innovative projects like this in the future.”“Beyond our proprietary style of content, one of Goat’s most significant points of differentiation is the ability to deliver high-rigor performance and guaranteed outcomes to clients through creator marketing,” said Dafydd Woodward, Global Chief Operating Officer, The Goat Agency. “Our collaboration with Amazon Ads is a natural fit that is already delivering performance improvements on client campaigns across multiple markets.”Nilam Atodaria, Global Product Director at The Goat Agency, added: “Teaming up with Amazon Ads creates valuable opportunities for clients looking to activate creator-led campaigns in a performance-centric way. This collaboration allows us to deliver greater value for our clients by deploying more engaging and intelligent campaigns that drive measurable business outcomes. This unique combination brings an alternative version of Social Commerce, one which puts consumers and their shopping habits at the heart of product development.”

Unilever named lead sponsor for Annual Middle East Women Leaders’ Summit & Award

Unilever, a global consumer goods powerhouse, has been unveiled as the lead sponsor for the upcoming 2nd Annual Middle East Women Leaders’ Summit & Awards 2023, set to take place on the 24th and 25th of October, 2023. With a rich history of delivering high-quality products and a dedication to social responsibility, Unilever's support of this year’s edition of the summit amplifies the summit's mission to foster excellence and inclusive practices across industry sectors.“In today's world, empowering women is not just a moral imperative; it is a strategic necessity. Companies and communities thrive when diverse voices are heard, and different perspectives are valued. It is for this reason that at Unilever Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is ingrained in our ethos because we know that a diverse and inclusive business makes us, and society, stronger,” said Leyal Eskin Yilmaz, Head of Unilever Personal Care Arabia and Chair of the Advertising Business Group. “It drives our growth by helping us engage with our consumers while making sure we can attract and retain talented people and unlock their potential. This has allowed us to increase the representation of women in mid and senior management in the UAE from 22% in 2014 to a current 46% - a dramatic jump that has been supported by a progressive mindset and policies”.Unilever's support on this exemplary initiative is a testament to their dedication to making a positive impact on both local and global scales. As an influential player in the industry, Unilever's involvement promises to elevate the 2nd Annual Middle East Women Leaders’ Summit & Awards 2023 to new heights, offering attendees invaluable insights and opportunities.The 2nd Annual Middle East Women Leaders’ Summit & Awards is an annual gathering that has established itself as a premier platform for across the Middle East, featuring pioneers, dignitaries, and experts who are shaping the future of the region."We are thrilled to have Unilever on board as the lead sponsor for the 2nd Annual Middle East Women Leaders’ Summit & Awards 2023," said Sabah Parvez, Managing Director of Verve Management. "Their commitment to their ERG and DEI initiatives strongly resonates with the values of our event, and we are confident that their participation will enrich the experience for all attendees."Unilever's support for the 2nd Annual Middle East Women Leaders’ Summit & Awards, reinforces their position as a corporate leader in championing inclusivity, and their involvement is anticipated to be a highlight of this year's event.This year’s summit was organized by Verve Management. Verve Management is one of the UAE’s leading business facilitation platforms, where the primary focus involves bringing together pioneers and professionals from all walks of the globe, under one roof. Verve Management strives to do exactly what your business needs; the team strongly believes in a sole purpose, which is to provide solutions that progress your company’s production and performance.

Netflix to host its first-ever live sports event

This fall, stars of two Netflix sports series will face off in The Netflix Cup, Netflix’s first-ever live sports event featuring athletes from Formula 1: Drive to Survive and Full Swing. The drivers and golfers will pair up to compete in a match play tournament at Wynn Golf Club at Wynn Las Vegas, the only 18-hole, championship golf course on the Las Vegas Strip, to kick off the week of the inaugural FORMULA 1 HEINEKEN SILVER LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX. The Netflix Cup is set to stream live on Netflix beginning at 3 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. ET on Tuesday, November 14th. The Netflix Cup’s roster currently includes:Formula 1® Drivers: Alex Albon (Williams Racing), Pierre Gasly (BWT Alpine F1 Team), Lando Norris (McLaren Racing), and Carlos Sainz (Scuderia Ferrari).PGA TOUR Golfers: Rickie Fowler, Max Homa, Collin Morikawa and Justin Thomas. In a clash of wheels and irons, four pairs consisting of one Formula 1® driver and one PGA TOUR professional will play an eight-hole match with the top two teams advancing to the final hole, where they will battle for the chance to win the inaugural Netflix Cup title. The Netflix Cup is a first-of-its-kind live event that showcases two of Netflix’s sports programming breakouts. Formula 1: Drive to Survive is now in production on its sixth season as the fandom continues to popularize the sport in the US. Full Swing, one of 2023’s new series, is finishing filming on a second season and is credited with a rise in PGA TOUR fan engagement.“We love to see how our sports series have brought increased fandom to sports leagues and competitions all over the world,” said Gabe Spitzer, Vice President, Nonfiction Sports, Netflix. “The Netflix Cup will take that energy to the next level with global stars from two popular hits competing in our first-ever live sports event.” “The continued success of Drive to Survive has played a significant role in the growth of Formula 1 in the US, which has ultimately led to the addition of a third American race,” said Emily Prazer, Chief Commercial Officer, Las Vegas Grand Prix, Inc. “It’s only fitting that we kick off our inaugural race weekend with a fun event that can be streamed by F1 and PGA TOUR fans around the globe.”“The PGA TOUR is proud to participate in this significant milestone for Netflix and we look forward to showcasing our sport’s professional athletes to a live global audience,” said Norb Gambuzza, PGA TOUR Senior Vice President, Media and Gaming. “New and diverse audiences have come to know more about both our sports and their athletes through Full Swing and Drive to Survive, and we are excited to team up with Netflix, Formula 1 and the Las Vegas Grand Prix on this exciting concept.”“The Wynn Golf Club has hosted a number of unique matchups over the years and The Netflix Cup will be an incredible addition to the storied history of the course,” said Steve Weitman, President of Wynn Las Vegas. “This tournament will showcase a tremendous roster of talent, competing on the only golf course on the Las Vegas Strip, just steps away from the inaugural Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix.” Netflix is the premier home for great sports stories with popular series such as Formula 1: Drive to Survive, Full Swing, Untold, Quarterback, Tour de France: Unchained, Break Point and upcoming series following athletes in track and field, soccer, rugby and NASCAR. The Netflix Cup, which is sanctioned by the PGA TOUR and Formula 1®, will be produced by Excel Sports Management, BZ Entertainment, and Full Day Productions (Connor Schell and David Chamberlin), the company behind the ESPY Awards, the Oscars Red Carpet Show and the NFL Honors.

UAE AI Office Collaborates with Core42 to Boost National Talent

The Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications organization signed a memorandum of understanding with Core42, a G42 company, aimed at driving a robust Emiratization AI program. This initiative encompasses comprehensive training programs designed to strengthen collaboration structures within technical fields and promote the development of national talent in emerging fields, including artificial intelligence and coding.The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, and Kiril Evtimov, Chief Executive Officer of Core42, during Global DevSlam, hosted at CodersHQ, as part of Gitex Global 2023. Gitex Global 2023 is the world's largest specialized gathering dedicated to advanced technological fields, including artificial intelligence, generative artificial intelligence, Web 3, and various pivotal digital fields.His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama stated that the UAE seeks to cultivate collaborations with leading institutions, enhancing a foundational cornerstone to advance progress and digital transformation within the nation. This represents a significant stride towards emphasizing the importance of developing national talents within the digital sector. Furthermore, it plays a major role in bolstering the key drive towards comprehensive digital transformation, as envisioned by the UAE's leadership through the implementation of exceptional strategies and initiatives.His Excellency added that the UAE embraces leaders and innovators in the field of artificial intelligence who possess the capability to advance the global digital landscape. The UAE is dedicated to providing support for these technologies by leveraging a variety of elements that enhance digital applications. In doing so, the UAE aims to bolster its position in the digital world, setting an inspiring example and taking promising steps towards achieving tangible digital progress.Kiril Evtimov, Chief Executive Officer of Core42 said: “At Core42, we believe in leveraging the power of innovation to serve our community and drive our nation's vision forward. This partnership with the UAE’s Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications represents a pivotal step in this direction. Together, we aim to cultivate an ecosystem where Emirati talent thrives, fortified by cutting-edge AI tools and global best practices. As we embark on this journey, we are confident that this alliance will lead to the development of new AI solutions resulting from deeper people capabilities that will have a positive impact on the UAE and the world.”The collaboration reflects the UAE’s commitment and efforts to facilitate the interaction between talented coders and AI experts to bolster the development of their journey and refine the essential skills for the digital future. Additionally, it aims to equip individuals with the digital tools in the artificial intelligence and coding field, essential for their professional growth and enrichment within these fields. This strategic partnership further serves to advance the cultivation of global leaders in the field of artificial intelligence, bolstering the UAE's position as a frontrunner in this field.CodersHQ, one of the National Program for Coders initiatives, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is working on initiatives aimed at strengthening the programming community in the UAE, building partnerships that bring together experts in artificial intelligence and coding, and ensuring the sustainability of the development of the digital economy.Core42 is a leading digital transformation provider, offering a vast array of technological capabilities and solutions that enable the delivery of Enterprise AI and national-scale AI programs. Core42 seeks with its unparalleled scalable infrastructure, cutting-edge AI solutions, and centralized professional IT services to enable nations and organizations to transform their ambitions into realities and leverage the latest technologies to make impactful strides in their domains.?

Generative AI Takes Center Stage: Over Half of Organizations Pilot or Produce

 In a recent Gartner, Inc. poll of more than 1,400 executive leaders, 45% reported that they are in piloting mode with generative AI, and another 10% have put generative AI solutions into production. This is a significant increase from a Gartner poll conducted in March and April 2023, in which only 15% of respondents were piloting generative AI and 4% were in production.“Organizations are not just talking about generative AI – they’re investing time, money and resources to move it forward and drive business outcomes,” said Frances Karamouzis, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “In fact, 55% of organizations reported increasing investment in generative AI since it surged into the public domain ten months ago. Generative AI is now on CEOs’ and boards’ agendas as they seek to take advantage of the transformative potential of this technology.”The poll included 1,419 respondents who participated in a Gartner webinar in September 2023 discussing enterprise cost and risks of generative AI. Results of this poll do not represent global findings or the market as a whole. Executives Believe Generative AI Investments Outweigh the Risks Seventy-eight percent of respondents believe that the benefits of generative AI outweigh its risks. This is higher than the 68% who reported this sentiment in the earlier poll. “Executives are taking a bolder stance on generative AI as they see the profound ways that it can drive innovation, optimization and disruption,” said Karamouzis. “Business and IT leaders understand that the ‘wait and see’ approach is riskier than investing.” Generative AI Investments Scaling Across Multiple Business FunctionsThe poll found that 45% of enterprises are scaling generative AI investments across multiple business functions, with 22% scaling across more than three different functions. Software development is the function with the highest rate of adoption or investment in generative AI, followed closely by marketing and customer service (see Figure 1). Figure 1. Generative AI Investment by Business Function Source: Gartner (October 2023)Growth initiatives were cited as the primary business focus of generative AI investments by 30% of respondents, followed by cost optimization (26%) and customer experience/retention (24%). “Many organizations began their AI journey with an overemphasis on cost optimization and efficiency,” said Karamouzis. “Savvy enterprises have moved beyond this to focus initiatives on efficacy, quantifiable value and business agility in products and services. This ensures visibility, trust and synergy among stakeholders, and most importantly, alignment to business outcomes.”Generative AI Hype Cycle Identifies Key Technologies Impacting OrganizationsGartner predicts that by 2026, more than 80% of enterprises will have used generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) application programming interfaces (APIs) or models, and/or deployed GenAI-enabled applications in production environments, up from less than 5% in 2023. In the 2023 Gartner Hype Cycle for Generative AI three innovations are projected to have a huge impact on organizations within ten years which include GenAI-enabled applications, foundation models and AI trust, risk and security management (AI TRiSM) (see Figure 2). Figure 2. Hype Cycle for Generative AI, 2023Source: Gartner (October 2023)

Du to drive digital transformation in the UAE supported by Microsoft

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft, aimed at transforming the digital landscape in the UAE by combining Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing capabilities du’s network capabilities. This collaboration, which was unveiled at GITEX Global 2023, will fuel innovation and drive digital transformation for businesses, while delivering cutting-edge solutions in AI, sustainability, and cybersecurity.Under the envisaged collaboration, du ICT will establish offerings, powered by Microsoft Azure, which will provide businesses with cutting-edge technologies to drive their digital transformation journey, fueling their growth and success.Commenting on the agreement, Fahad Al Hassawi, CEO of du, said: "We are delighted to go on this journey with Microsoft. Through this collaboration, we aim to leverage Microsoft's technology leadership to position ourselves as a major digital transformation provider in the UAE. By creating a offering specialized, AI driven services, we will empower businesses to embrace sustainability, AI, and advanced analytics, helping them thrive in an increasingly competitive landscape."Naim Yazbeck, General Manager at Microsoft UAE, added: "We look forward to working with du in their digital transformation journey. Our joint efforts will enable businesses in the UAE to harness the power of the cloud and drive innovation in AI, sustainability, and cybersecurity. By leveraging Microsoft Azure, together, we will equip organizations with the tools they need to achieve their strategic objectives and stay ahead in the digital era."This collaboration create a strong foundation for du’s own digital transformation. Microsoft's platform technologies and partner ecosystem capabilities will help du delight customers, attract top talent, and deliver optimal value for shareholders through business excellence and innovation.

Media Blends unveils DOOH network in Abu Dhabi

Media Blends is introducing an exclusive Digital Out of Home (DOOH) network across YAS Island and Al Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi's iconic YAS Island and MIRAL, the renowned master planner and operator. This initiative is divided into two phases, aiming to provide advertisers with a digital screen network that can effectively target the millions of travelers and residents who frequent these islands annually.Abu Dhabi has a population of approximately 2.9 million residents, and in 2018, 22.3 million travelers transited through Abu Dhabi Airport, with 11.35 million international visitors to the city in 2019. In the same year, the city welcomed 518,000 cruise passengers and recorded 5.1 million hotel stays.The YAS Island DOOH network comprises 35 high-quality digital screens of various sizes strategically placed by Media Blends to cover key attractions on the island, including YAS Bay, Etihad Arena, Hilton YAS hotel, YAS Marina Circuit, YAS Mall, and Ferrari World. YAS Island is home to over 150 restaurants, four theme parks, 10 hotels, 3,056 hotel rooms and apartments, and more than 19,500 square meters of business spaces.In the project's second phase, Media Blends, operating in Egypt, UAE, and KSA, will launch over 60 advanced screens across Al Saadiyat Island, another significant landmark in Abu Dhabi.Media Blends CEO Mona Al Amin said: “We’re excited to announce this great opportunity for advertisers in one of the busiest and most vibrant locations in the UAE in general, and Abu Dhabi in specific. Our DOOH network comprises next-gen digital screens that will take advertising campaigns to a new level, helping advertisers from YAS Island and beyond to engage with a substantially wide audience across effective media platforms.”

Liminal's rebrand elevates digital asset custody services in APAC and MENA

Liminal Custody Solutions (Liminal), the fastest-growing digital asset custody and wallet infrastructure provider in the APAC and MENA region, is thrilled to announce a significant rebranding initiative that underscores its commitment to innovation, excellence, and customer-centricity. This strategic move aims to reshape and elevate the brand’s identity, ushering in a new era of secure, compliant, and automated digital asset custodial solutions. Positioning the company as a "custody and wallet expert", the rebranding signifies Liminal's expansion beyond wallet infrastructure. This exercise ensures that the brand remains at the forefront of digital asset custody, delivering enhanced services to clients and partners. The digital asset industry is pivoting towards custody as the need for security and risk mitigation emerges as a top consideration. Liminal has recognised the necessity to expand its services to stay on top of these shifts. With its new outlook, Liminal has dedicated itself to building comprehensive layers that encompass compliance, security, and regulatory readiness. Commenting on the new look, Mahin Gupta, Founder of Liminal, said, "We anticipate a mature, compliant, and standardized web3 ecosystem across the APAC and MENA regions, which will attract institutions to build on Web3. This rebrand aligns with our long-term vision of offering secure, compliant, and efficient custody solutions. Every aspect of our roadmap reinforces this commitment. We are now better positioned to serve this mission by offering improved services and demonstrating our dedication to a compliant, secure, and innovative web3 ecosystem." As a part of this transformative initiative, Liminal has unveiled a vibrant new colour palette that symbolizes abundance and strength. Additionally, a more robust and visually appealing solid colour logo, paired with improved typography, is anticipated to enhance brand visibility and recall significantly. This comprehensive effort extends across the entire spectrum of the brand, encompassing the website, product user interface and user experience, marketing collateral, and all brand-related materials. Although the name "Liminal" remains unchanged, the rebrand introduces fresh design elements and vibes. The redesigned website, in particular, will adopt a more product-centric approach, enabling customers to access vital information swiftly while adhering to web3 design standards that aim to deliver a more meaningful B2B/SaaS experience. This strategic approach ensures a seamless transition for existing customers, emphasizing trust-building and continuous satisfaction. Liminal is poised to expand its footprint in the coming year. With expectations of faster regulatory clarity in the APAC and MENA regions, the company is set to launch regulated custody operations in four regions in the next quarter, providing businesses with a secure, compliant, and regulated custody layer. This will enable businesses to focus on delivering the promises of web3 to end users. Further sharing upcoming expansion plans of the company, Gupta added, "We are poised for expansion and engagement, with a particular focus on APAC and MENA regions. Currently, we are looking at Hong Kong, Indonesia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Nigeria and Taiwan. Our dedicated local teams will be delivering tailored solutions and building business relationships within these markets."

AlpFin hires Ben Cross as Senior Operations Analyst

Alp Financial Ltd (AlpFin) the global service provider for institutional clients has today announced that Ben Cross has joined the firm as their Senior Operations Analyst at AlpFin. Ben will be based out of London and reporting directly to CEO Chris Ling. Chris Ling, CEO at Alp Financial (AlpFin) commented on the new hire saying: “At the core of AlpFin's DNA and client-focused approach lies a carefully curated team of industry experts who bring together a wealth of knowledge in both B2B and B2C financial solutions. We are delighted to have Ben Cross join our team as our Senior Operation’s Analyst to support the growth we have witnessed since the beginning of the year. With a great team, deep expertise, and commitment to excellence, we strive to deliver tailored solutions that empower our clients to thrive in the ever-evolving financial landscape.”Ben Cross, Senior Operations Analyst at Alp Financial Ltd (AlpFin) gave the following quote about recently joining AlpFin:“I am thrilled to join AlpFin as their Senior Operations Analyst. With a focus on operational excellence and a commitment to delivering comprehensive solutions, Alp Financial is poised to make a significant impact in the institutional financial services industry. I look forward to collaborating with the talented team here and leveraging my experience to drive success for our B2B clients. Together, we will navigate the complexities of the financial landscape, optimise processes, and deliver exceptional value to our partners. It's an exciting opportunity, and I am eager to be part of this journey."Ben brings a wealth of experience from his previous roles in Operations. He has been part of FX Prime Operations, worked as an Operations Consultant, and has worked in Middle Office Trade Support. At AlpFin he will be handling the day-to-day processes across both data centres, supporting the Liquidity Management team and being the first point of contact for clients and third-party vendors. His deep understanding of liquidity management, coupled with his ability to identify and seize market opportunities will undoubtedly contribute to the continued success of Alp Financial.

ADMO Lifestyle Holding to acquire CE LA VI

ADMO, the joint venture between Alpha Dhabi Holding PJSC (ADX: ALPHADHABI) and Monterock International Limited, today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire rapidly growing luxury lifestyle group, CE LA VI. This strategic move signifies ADMO’s accelerated efforts in building a diverse portfolio of luxury, lifestyle, F&B, and entertainment brands, significantly expanding its global lifestyle presence to the east. CE LA VI, which translates to “This is Life” in French, first opened its doors in Southeast Asia. Drawing inspiration from the region’s rich artistic heritage, the brand is deeply rooted in the artistic influences of Southeast Asia’s art, carvings, paintings, and temples. It has expanded over the years and now has a presence in gateway cities such as Singapore, Dubai, Tokyo, and Taipei, with its unique multi-concept dining and entertainment offerings in iconic venues continuing to attract guests from across the world who seek spectacular and unforgettable experiences. In 2022, ADMO was unveiled, aiming to curate a portfolio of premier luxury and lifestyle brands, with the acquisition of Nammos Group. Both entities remain committed to exploring global investment opportunities, with ambitions to establish a leading platform of lifestyle, luxury, hospitality, and entertainment projects. Petros Stathis, Vice Chairman, ADMO, said: “This acquisition is not just a strategic move to expand globally, but a bold statement of our vision and pace to identify and invest in brands that have a distinct market presence and transform them into world leading brands. ADMO is proceeding with utmost speed and enthusiasm, forging a robust platform of luxury, lifestyle, F&B, and entertainment brands. This acquisition not only expands ADMO’s global lifestyle presence to the east but also underscores our focus on building and nurturing a portfolio of world-dominating lifestyle brands. CE LA VI, with its unique brand essence and significant presence in key global markets, is a testament to our commitment and a valuable addition to our ever-evolving portfolio.” This acquisition aligns with the UAE’s national tourism strategy, aiming to attract 40 million hotel guests by 2031 and secure Dh100 billion in tourism investments. As ADMO’s latest deal, it underscores the venture’s commitment to scaling its platform and integrating new brands. At the heart of CE LA VI’s offerings are its Restaurants, Asian culinary havens that are among the region’s premier dining destinations. Complementing the dining experiences at the Restaurants are CE LA VI’s Skybars, epitomes of luxury and indulgence that treat visitors to breathtaking views and exotic Asian flavors, and Club Lounges, which are renowned for emanating the energy of both resident and internationally acclaimed DJs. These lounges have also become synonymous with marquee events such as electrifying Grand Prix Nights organized around Formula 1 races in their vicinity and festive New Year’s Eve parties heralding new beginnings. These offerings bear testament to CE LA VI’s commitment to curating experiences that are eagerly anticipated and remembered long after the last song fades.

Ooredoo Qatar introduces AI-powered feature for foreign visitors

As part of its commitment to revolutionising digital experiences, Ooredoo Qatar has proudly announced the launch of an all-new feature to allow foreign visitors to purchase an eSIM or physical SIM online by confirming their identity with their passport details. An easy-to-use eSIM QR code will be generated as soon as the order is placed and activated once the customer connects to the Ooredoo network. Physical SIM cards will be delivered to any location of customer choice in Qatar.Building on the success of Ooredoo’s World Cup 2022™ initiative, which allowed visitors to purchase SIM cards online using their Hayya identification card, this new feature offers an equally secure and more comprehensive digital solution for the purchase of mobile services with the use of passport documents. As Expo 2023 Doha progresses, Ooredoo invites all visitors to benefit from this state-of-the-art solution, promising a seamless, swift, and secure digital experience. This initiative underscores Ooredoo’s dedication to pioneer advancements in the digital services industry, highlighting its unwavering commitment to Qatar’s broader aspirations for a technology-enabled sustainable future.

Interiors brand Sedar Global opens new stores in Abu Dhabi and Riyadh

Wall covering and window interior specialist for over 130 years, Sedar Global has opened two new locations in Al Malqa, Riyadh KSA and Reem Mall, Abu Dhabi UAE. The store openings mark the fourth store to open in Abu Dhabi and first mall store location in the emirate, as well as seventh store to open in Saudi Arabia. Located on the ground floor at mega shopping destination Reem Mall which sits on the picturesque Al Reem Island, the 174sqm Sedar Reem Mall store opened doors in September 2023 following on from the Sedar Al Malqa store, occupying 130sqm in the abundant northern neighbourhood of Riyadh. Bringing the number of outposts to over 30, across 11 countries in the GCC, MENA regions including; UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen, Qatar, Oman, Sudan as well stores in Canada and design hub in Northern Italy.Shoppers will have access to unique design options including recently added upholstery lines available to shop at Sedar UAE based stores for the first time this year and will be able to enjoy a new level of autonomy when making purchasing decisions with interactive screens giving visitors the freedom to fully customise and purchase curtains as well as wallpaper, blinds, pillow and folding doors.Following the new look and feel that has already been rolled out revitalising over 10 existing Sedar stores since 2022, both new locations take on a more friendly and approachable visual identity for consumers. Aiming to reach a wider, international millennial and Gen Z audience, the spaces take on a look Inspired by Sedar Global’s highly successful brand campaign ‘Your Space Your Art’, store interiors are brightened with bold colours and include new technology to create interactive design spaces enhancing consumer engagement.  Nahel Selo Creative Director at Sedar Global says “we are delighted to be able to expand our store locations for both KSA and the UAE shoppers, and have done so in an effort to better meet the growing need and demands of our customers. Al Malqa Riyadh in particular has witnessed a surge in population numbers in recent years due to the neighbourhood’s sophistication, services and real estate offerings so was a natural next store location opening for the Saudi market. Similarly, our recent expansion into mall store locations for Dubai customers since 2022 has been received with great success and we were keen to offer a similar shopping option and roll out our first mall location for our Abu Dhabi based consumers”.The two new retail stores showcase an array of products that carefully keep an eye on new interior trends including blinds, curtains, wallpaper, folding doors, throw pillows, awnings and home-automation, in 2023 Sedar Global expanded their lines to focus on sustainable designs and to include upholstery fabrics to better suit consumer interior demands. Sedar have also continued to keep an eye on their trend led consumer, expanding their portfolio of world-renown partners to include Karl Lagerfeld lines. As well as extending smart automation services from Somfy and designs from Armani/Casa, Roberto Cavalli, Versace Home, Missoni Home, Swarovski and Jannelli Volpi to name a few; in addition to several sought-after sub-brands including Marcopolo, Amazona, Fujikawa, York Weave and Antartica. Shoppers can select from thousands of fabric and wallpaper selections from hundreds of suppliers across the globe from some of the finest factories known for soft furnishings. Providing the highest quality fabrics for liveable interiors, dealing with B2B and B2C clients across the globe, shoppers can work with Sedar’s specialist in house style team to customise, tailor design and fit out interiors to their exact needs.   As well as their renowned VIP in-store experience which continues to roll out for 2023, Sedar Global’s  e-commerce platform has seen a refresh including an evolving virtual store and high end-to-end shopping immersive VR experience. Specially designed to provide the unique 360 experience customers enjoy in store virtually, customers can now shop and organise a room makeover from their computer. From consulting, manufacturing, delivery to installation – Sedar continue to work closely on design elements of their e-commerce platform to build in virtual home consultation services for taking measurements and styling consultancy. Working on a user-friendly platform that doesn’t alienate less tech-savvy users and that maintains that unique one-to-one shopping experience appeal of Sedar. The new Reem Mall, Abu Dhabi UAE store is located on the ground floor and Al Malqa, Riyadh KSA store is located at Anas Ibn Malik Road, Al Malqa, Riyadh 13521, Saudi Arabia.

Amazon Payment Services gets license from UAE Central Bank

Amazon Payment Services, a regional leader in digital payments operating across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, has been granted a Retail Payment Services license by the UAE Central Bank. Marking a significant milestone for the business, this license enables Amazon Payment Services to unlock an enhanced offering for its merchants across the country, through unique products and services, directly improving the experience for their customers. Obtaining the license reinforces Amazon Payment Services’ position as a trusted payment service provider in the UAE, where the company facilitates payment processing for hundreds of merchants including Small to Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs). This license enables Amazon Payment Services to invest in operational efficiency to deliver more streamlined payment processing and continues to support merchants of all sizes through its various hassle-free products and services.SMBs in the UAE accepting, or considering, online payments are set to gain the most from the regulated payment processing solution by Amazon Payment Services, with a range of benefits enabling faster onboarding and lower cost of payments, which aims to support their growth and success through a secure and reliable platform.Peter George, Managing Director for Amazon Payment Services in MENA, said: “It is a privilege to have earned the trust of the UAE Central Bank and been granted this license which not only instils trust and security for merchants and customers alike, but also allows us to take our offering to the next level. We look forward to continuing to work with key local stakeholders as we expand our offering and invest in our operations across the UAE, facilitating seamless, secure, and fast payments for merchants of all sizes and customers. At Amazon, we insist on the highest standards, and this license is a true testament of this.”Amazon Payment Services continues to offer seamless and secure payment solutions to merchants across new and diverse sectors such as travel, insurance, and education. With this license, the company joins a select group of payment providers operating a regulated retail payment service locally, contributing to instilling trust and promoting further adoption of digital payments in the UAE.

Arabsat Teams Up with Microsoft to Drive Cloud Adoption and Digital

Arabsat, the foremost satellite services provider in the Arab world and a global leader in satellite operations, has announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Microsoft Arabia, to accelerate digital transformation and the development of its services. The announcement was made during the Euroconsult World Satellite Business Week conference, which was recently held in Paris. Inked by Eng. Alhamedi Alanezi, President and CEO of Arabsat, and Turki Badhris, Head of the Public Sector and Acting General Manager at Microsoft Arabia, the partnership will pave the way for a series of technological projects, supporting Arabsat’s goal to become the leading satellite operator, while enhancing its connection with the whole world to provide services that suit Arab values and culture.The two organizations will work together to accelerate Arabsat’s digital transformation by adopting cloud computing technology to improve performance efficiency, increase productivity, and reduce costs to achieve sustainable growth.Both parties will also focus their efforts on utilizing the latest Microsoft technologies to develop Arabsat’s digital infrastructure and improving the digital capabilities of Arabsat employees to benefit from modern technical solutions. The partnership also aims to focus on developing value-added and quality services for the Arab market, which includes 21 Arabsat member states.These services combine Arabsat's expertise in space and Microsoft's technological capabilities to develop infrastructure, adopt the best internationally approved cybersecurity solutions, and build digital capabilities to enable countries to make the most of what both companies have to offer. In addition, the MoU is set to establish an innovation laboratory to develop new products in the satellite communications sector as well as environmentally sustainable solutions that rely on cloud and satellite technologies to collect and analyze important environmental data. This will provide Arabsat with new tools for exploring climate change, weather forecasting, and environmental monitoring.Commenting on the partnership, Eng. Alanezi said: “We are pleased to announce this strategic alliance with Microsoft, a testament to our commitment of maintaining Arabsat’s leading position in the digital services and satellite sector. The agreement aims to accelerate our efforts in adopting secure cloud services and modern technological innovations, and to provide high-quality services in accordance with international standards. These efforts also aim to facilitate digital transformation in the satellite communications sector and empower our future generations.”For his part, Badhris said “We recognize that technology is key in driving innovation, and we are committed to empowering organizations with our industry-specific solutions to future proof their businesses and accelerate their growth and success. By leveraging Microsoft cloud solutions, Arabsat will improve productivity and efficiency while driving the scalability of their operations. We are happy to support Arabsat in their digital transformation journey and on their mission to become a global leader in the satellite services industry. “

Central Hotels & Resorts supports Dubai Fitness Challenge with free bike rentals

Central Hotels & Resorts, a leading hospitality brand renowned for its commitment to guest well-being and community engagement, has announced its active participation in the Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) 2023. As part of this annual health initiative, Central Hotels & Resorts is offering complimentary bike rentals to hotel guests throughout the month-long challenge. The complimentary bikes will be offered at Canal Central Business Bay, C Central Hotel The Palm, and Royal Central Hotel The Palm. Typically, the hotels offer bike rentals for a fee, but during this health initiative, the service will be available free of charge for one hour per guest, empowering them to ride around while improving their fitness and taking in the breathtaking views. The Dubai Fitness Challenge, a signature initiative by the Dubai Government, aims to inspire a culture of fitness and well-being in the city by motivating residents and visitors to embrace an active and healthier lifestyle. Central Hotels & Resorts shares the vision of the DFC and is committed to making a positive impact on the health and well-being of its guests. "The Dubai Fitness Challenge is a fantastic initiative, and we are thrilled to be part of it. We believe that health and well-being are paramount, and our commitment to offering complimentary bikes for exploring The Palm and Business Bay reflects our dedication to promoting a healthier lifestyle within the community. We encourage all our guests and fellow Dubai companies to embrace this initiative and make fitness a part of their everyday lives,” comments Abdulla Al Abdulla, COO and General Manager of Central Hotels & Resorts. Furthermore, Central Hotels & Resorts is excited to announce its active participation in the highly anticipated Dubai Run, scheduled in November. Team members from various Central Hotels locations will be lacing up their running shoes to take part in this exhilarating marathon, reinforcing the brand's commitment to leading by example in promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Disney the most talked about stock on social media

Disney is the most talked about stock on social media, new research has revealed. The entertainment giant has the highest number of videos published and viewed, and the most hashtags used across TikTok and Instagram.  The findings come from a new study by online trading provider City Index, which analysed every company in the S&P 500 based on how much content on their stocks and shares had been created and viewed on TikTok and Instagram. The study revealed that there have been 80 million views of videos with the hashtag of #disneystock, #disneystocks, or #disneyshares, the highest amount out of all the 500 companies that were included in the in-depth analysis. Those views have come from 6,151 videos – also the largest amount in the study – as creators discuss the company’s financial performance, and whether it is a good time to invest in the stock.  In total there are 44,177 hashtags related to Disney stocks and shares, and the company’s share price has been around $85 in recent weeks. It is down more than $100 from its all-time high above $200 in March 2021, which came after California health officials confirmed theme parks would be allowed to reopen as COVID restrictions eased. The second most popular stock on social media is Netflix, which has more than 13 million video views on TikTok and Instagram. The global streaming service is the subject of 1,384 videos about its financial performance, with 4,635 hashtags mentioning #netflixstock, #netflixstocks or #netflixshares. Netflix shuttered its mail order DVD business at the end of September, and its most recent earnings report revealed it had added 5.9 million new subscribers in the second quarter of 2023. The company’s stock price is currently around $380, which is down from its all-time high in November 2021, when it peaked just above $690. Amazon places third in the ranking with more than 5.9 million video views about its stocks and shares, along with 17,278 hashtags, and 725 published videos. The company reported that for the second quarter of 2023, ended 30 June, it had net sales of $134.4 billion, while its share price has steadily risen this year, and is currently around $128. Social media’s fourth most popular stock is Tesla, which has 739 videos dedicated to it on TikTok and Instagram. They have received more than two million views, while there are 1,898 hashtags related to the electric car company’s stocks and shares. Tesla’s share price is around $260 and it has a market capitaliszation of $813 billion, which is the second highest out of the companies in the top five, behind Amazon on $1.32 trillion. Fifth in the social media stocks ranking goes to Walmart, with more than 4.7 million views of videos discussing its financial performance, along with 2,570 dedicated hashtags. The top ten is rounded out by Costco in sixth, Microsoft in seventh, 3M in eighth, Nike in ninth and Starbucks in tenth.  Commenting on the figures, a spokesperson for City Index said: “This data paints a fascinating picture of which companies’ financial performance attracts the most interest, excitement and discussion on social media. The companies at the top of the list are some of the biggest brands in the world, which highlights how the general public are most comfortable approaching the complex world of the stock market through the businesses and brands with which they are most familiar.  “The strong appetite for advice and guidance on trading is demonstrated by the fact that videos on the top ten companies in the list have more than 117 million views in total. As trading continues to become more accessible to people who aren’t working in the finance industry, and following the rise of so called ‘meme stocks’ over the past two years, it will be interesting to see how the discussion of the best trading and investment opportunities continues to develop on social media.” The study was conducted by City Index, an award-winning, multi-asset financial services provider with 40 years' experience in supporting clients – providing instant and secure access to global markets.

Yango unveils Arabic-speaking AI assistant Yasmina

Yango, a global tech company, has unveiled its current project – an Arabic-speaking, human-like AI assistant called Yasmina. According to a company release, this smart assistant is an empathetic companion that goes beyond basic tasks like streaming music or turning on smart home appliances.What sets Yasmina apart from other assistants is the ability to maintain engaging, fun, and consistent dialogs that feel like you are talking to a real person. Yasmina’s ability to engage in a human-like conversation is based on a proprietary large language model that was thoroughly fine-tuned with the help of hundreds of content professionals, who edited and perfected Yasmina’s dialogs. A great number of people from different locations, like Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and more, were involved in training Yasmina to recognize a wide variety of speech patterns, intonations, and dialects.Yasmina can distinguish the user's gender, comprehend various Arabic dialects, is proficient in Khaleeji, and is in the process of acquiring proficiency in English, both in speaking and comprehension.On a more practical level, Yasmina works as a smart home center: you can ask Yasmina to adjust the room temperature, turn on the vacuum, or find a new recipe. More than just an app on your phone, Yasmina can be built into other apps and smart home devices, including smart speakers.Samer Mohamad, (pictured above), Yasmina Regional Director for MENA, Yango: “Our mission at Yango is to transform global technologies into everyday services for communities around the world. This is why we created an Arabic-speaking smart assistant that makes everyday chores fun and fits perfectly in any GCC home. Right now, we are fine-tuning Yasmina’s LLM to make the assistant even more fluent, creative, and emotionally intelligent.”You can sign up for the public beta testing of Yasmina at

New data reveals the approach of evolving UAE traveller

Dubai: Travel in 2024 is set for a year of evolution, with new research showing how UAE residents are reshaping the definition of the ‘modern traveller’.The research comes as Hilton releases its 2024 Trends Report – a global study that explores traveller behaviours across key markets including the UAE – reveals that the evolution of the UAE traveller is manifested in shifting preferences, including a greater desire for individual experiences, an increased pursuit of spontaneity, and a renewed focus on health and wellness. SOLO TRAVEL: THE RISE OF PERSONAL EXPLORATIONSolo travel emerged as a popular trend in the UAE study, with 75 percent of respondents having embarked on a solo trip within the past year, and 61 percent considering taking one within the next three years. Of those who have taken, or will take, a solo trip, a staggering 61 percent of respondents cited the desire to relax alone as their primary motivation. This was closely followed by seeking self-discovery (40 percent) and an eagerness to focus on individual wellbeing and enjoyment (38 percent).This is backed by data from as searches for solo travel on have increased in UAE by 10 percent compared to last year (2022), with top destinations searched by solo UAE travellers being Dubai, Ras Al Khaimah, Abu Dhabi, London & Istanbul. The most used search filters on for solo travel are free breakfast, executive lounges and to be near a beach.Interestingly, the preference of solo travellers to disconnect and escape from the routines of daily life is met with a significant desire to stay connected and active online. Over half of all UAE-based respondents – 54 percent – still want to post on social media at least once a day while travelling, with strong Wi-Fi out-ranking room service and balcony access as the number one most important in-room amenity (64 percent). The data also points to the rising popularity of a working holiday, with many travellers booking trips that support a blend of business and pleasure. On average, guest data use in Hilton hotels has increased by 23 percent since 2022 across the EMEA market.THE SEARCH FOR NOVELTY AND SPONTANEITYHilton’s new report served to characterise next-gen travellers as people seeking newness and excitement. A whopping 85 percent look forward to visiting a place they’ve never been before when booking a holiday, underscoring the wide-spread curiosity and wonder of UAE residents. And nearly one third (28 percent) of respondents prioritise a bucket list or once-in-a-lifetime holiday when choosing their travel destinations, underscoring the importance of creating unique and memorable experiences that align with travellers’ personal aspirations.Over half of all travellers also revealed a desire for spontaneity, with 55 percent choosing to plan their holiday a month – or less – in advance. This adventure-driven approach suggests a growing trend towards more spontaneous holiday plans, perhaps fuelled by the need for greater flexibility and freedom.The influence of social media and popular culture is also significant in shaping travellers’ vision of holidaymaking. A staggering 79 percent of UAE respondents admitted to booking their vacations based on trends from social platforms or TV shows, books, etc., drawing a connection between the impact of influencers and digital marketing and the observable efforts to achieve new and exciting travel experiences.HEALTH, WELLNESS, & SUSTAINABILITYHolistic wellbeing and a commitment to sustainability continue to take centre stage for the next-gen UAE traveller, driven by a collective global awareness of personal and environmental health factors. Nearly all respondents (93 percent) rank environmental credentials – like TripAdvisor Green Leaders and GreenKey Global – as ‘somewhat or very important’ when booking a holiday, highlighting the increasingly eco-conscious approach to travel planning.Dining also plays a key role in travellers’ experiences, with 42 percent ordering room service every day or night while on holiday and 38 percent ordering room service ‘often’. While these numbers indicate a preference for convenience, they’re paired with increased recognition and responsibility. Almost half of all UAE respondents (48 percent) consider food waste ‘always’ or ‘often’ while travelling, with the majority (31 percent) prioritising healthy options when choosing a place to eat and 41 percent preferring to eat locally sourced ingredients. Following the success of Hilton’s pioneering ‘Green Ramadan’ initiative in the UAE, it’s especially empowering to note the increased awareness around how travellers choose to dine.Commenting on the report, Aligi Gardenghi, Vice President, Operations, Arabian Peninsula, Hilton said: “We’ve seen the travel industry’s dynamic comeback over the last few years, and it’s clear that traveller perceptions are continuing to evolve around the world. As a leading global hospitality brand, Hilton is dedicated to understanding and attending to the changing preferences of our patrons, and the insights presented in the latest trend report serve to inform our approach to customer excellence and guest satisfaction.“As next-gen travellers from the UAE seek to prioritise solo travel, working holidays, original destinations, and environmental responsibility, we remain committed to delivering pioneering hotel experiences that push the boundaries of modern hospitality and lay the foundations for the future of a discerning and perceptive traveller population,” he added.

ITL World recognized yet again at the World Travel Awards

Kuwait: ITL World has been awarded ‘Leading Travel Management Company in Kuwait’ where they were recognized for their exceptional performance & excellence, at a glittering ceremony held at The Atlantis Royal in Dubai, on 15th of October.The World Travel Awards is a credible hallmark of the travel & hospitality industry. The awards are voted for by travel and tourism professionals worldwide, and shows the commitment and excellence ITL World has demonstrated over the years.On the occasion, Dr Siddeek Ahmed, Chairman & Managing Director, ITL World said, “We are thrilled to be recognized again at the World Travel Awards Middle East Gala 2023 - the world’s leading travel industry award programmes. I’m personally super proud to have ITL World acknowledged and recognized on this global stage.”“We continue to remain agile in our approach to supporting our clients, whilst we continue to grow and evolve ensuring we meet dynamic customer requirements. This award further cements and showcases the determination of our highly skilled expert team to continually deliver above and beyond industry expectations, and to set new standards of excellence year after year.”, said Rafeeq Mohammed, Chief Executive Officer, ITL World.Najida Abdulla, Director ITL World Kuwait, said “To be called on by the travel industry’s peak body, and by our industry peers, as the ‘Best Travel Management Company’ is exceptionally rewarding.This is a yet again collective achievement and I take the opportunity to thank our clients, partners and colleagues.”.Since its official launch in 1998, ITL World prides itself on being a game-changer in the industry.From being rated one of the powerful Travel Management Company in the Middle East, a consecutive Superbrand winner, to its strategic and exclusive partnership with award winning Global Travel Conglomerate - CTM, not to mention maintaining the regional industry’s most consistent client retention rate, the company’s commitment to excellence remains steadfast.

Omantel wins SAMENA Telecom Awards for best 5G adoption

Muscat: Omantel, the leading provider of integrated telecommunication services in the Sultanate of Oman, was recently declared the winner of the Lead Award: SAMENA Telecom Award for Best 5G Adoption at a ceremony held in Dubai last week.The award was in recognition of Omantel’s outstanding success in adopting and rapidly extending the 5G network, since the launch of the advanced technology in the Sultanate at the end of 2019. Omantel's 5G network now accounts for more than 68.18% of total wireless traffic and 88.03% of total fixed wireless access traffic – making it the only operator in Oman to achieve these figures in 5G deployment and among the best 5G operators in the region.Talal Al Mamari, CEO of Omantel, said, "We are honored to receive this prestigious award from the largest professional association of the telecom sector in the MENA region. Our growth was driven by our partnerships with government institutions and private sector companies, with Omantel providing them with modern systems and technologies such as 5G, in addition to smartphone applications, smart surveillance systems, and the Internet of Things. We also provide smart city services and mobile communications solutions. All these are part of our strategy to boost digital transformation in the Sultanate and contribute to realizing the goals of Oman Vision 2040.” "The robustness of Omantel's ecosystem -- ranging from wide area networks, international connectivity and data centers to cloud computing -- is unparalleled in the region, consolidating our position as a leading company not only locally, but also regionally and internationally.  We are excited to offer solutions in new areas covering smart public infrastructure, smart building management solutions, digital banking, healthcare infrastructure, high-performance computing, artificial intelligence solutions, machine learning, big data analysis, deep learning, and smart contracts."Omantel seeks to reimagine the future and with the tremendous transformation underway, Omantel is leveraging the unlimited benefits of 5G technology to empower organizations to develop their business models and launch new solutions in the market. Also, Omantel is working with diverse business sectors and partners to expand the scope of digital transformation in the Sultanate. The most prominent of these initiatives is Omantel's collaboration with Hutchison Ports Sohar and Huawei to launch a number of smart port management services, the first of its kind in the Middle East, in addition to its collaboration with Huawei and Oman Oil Marketing Company to successfully launch the first smart fifth-generation outlet in the Sultanate of Oman.Omantel has succeeded, through the integration of its operations, processes, and extensive expertise in the field of communications and digital technology, in establishing its position as a leading telecommunications company within the Sultanate of Oman and beyond. The company's innovative approaches have contributed to providing the latest solutions to various consumer and business sectors. The company aims to deliver an unparalleled, exceptional experience to its subscribers and strives to always exceed their expectations. Omantel works towards contributing to the achievement of Oman Vision 2040 objectives by investing in emerging technologies and providing cutting-edge solutions in modern technology, information and communications technology, such as cloud solutions, ICT solutions, AI, Smart solutions, cybersecurity, and much more, in addition to harnessing its technological capabilities to enhance innovation and leadership in new and advanced technologies.

Moro Hub and Digital Dubai Authority join forces

Dubai: Moro Hub, a subsidiary of Digital DEWA, the digital arm of DEWA, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Digital Dubai Authority (DDA) to deliver state-of-the-art cyber security services to various government entities across the Emirate of Dubai.The MoU was signed in the presence of HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA); HE Lieutenant General Talal Humaid Belhoul, Director General of Dubai’s State Security Department; HE Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of Digital Dubai Authority; HE Yousuf Al Shaibani, CEO of the Dubai Electronic Security Centre; and Marwan Bin Haidar, Vice Chairman & Group CEO of Digital DEWA. The MoU was signed by Mohammed Bin Sulaiman, CEO of Moro Hub and Amer Sharaf, CEO of Cyber Security Systems and Services Sector at the Dubai Electronic Security Center, during GITEX Global 2023, which is organised from 16 to 20 October 2023 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.As part of this agreement, Moro Hub will extend its comprehensive suite of managed cyber security services to safeguard the information assets and systems of Dubai’s government entities. This collaboration marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of a secure and resilient cyberspace in accordance with the Dubai Cyber Security Strategy of 2023.“We work in alignment with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to shape a secure and safe digital ecosystem for enterprises in the country. With the exponential growth of digital interconnection, safeguarding Dubai’s critical infrastructure has become paramount. Our partnership with DDA is a testament to our joint efforts to support the cyber defence capabilities of Dubai’s government entities. By leveraging Moro’s cutting-edge technological solutions and industry-leading expertise, we aim not only to mitigate potential risks but also position Dubai as a global benchmark for unparalleled cybersecurity in the world,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.“DDA is at the forefront of driving Dubai’s digital transformation and spearheading the Emirate’s trajectory as a global leader in innovation and technology. By fostering this collaboration with Digital DEWA, we are committed to upholding the highest standards of cybersecurity, establishing an environment that nurtures technological advancement and fosters a culture of innovation and digital excellence for government entities. We are confident that our shared vision of driving sustainability, efficiency, and seamless connectivity will enable us to elevate Dubai’s status as a dynamic, future-ready city, equipped to meet the challenges and opportunities of the digital age,” said HE Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of Digital Dubai Authority. “We are pleased to witness the signing of this pivotal MoU between Moro Hub and Digital Dubai Authority. In our ever-evolving digital landscape in the private and public sectors, the importance of cybersecurity is rapidly increasing. This collaboration underscores our commitment to enhancing the cybersecurity position of Dubai government entities. By leveraging Moro Hub’s state-of-the-art technological solutions and the expertise of the Dubai Electronic Security Center, we aim to provide a secure and advanced digital space,” said HE Yousuf Al Shaibani, CEO of the Dubai Electronic Security Center.“Digital DEWA has always been at the forefront of leading Dubai towards a sustainable and technologically empowered future. This partnership between Moro Hub and DDA is an important milestone for us to revolutionise the government sector and deliver enhanced services to them. Backed by Moro’s expertise and advanced capabilities, we are optimistic that this collaboration will drive Dubai’s government entities towards the forefront of a safe and secure digital advancement,” said Marwan Bin Haidar, Vice Chairman & Group CEO of Digital DEWA.As a part of this agreement, Dubai Government entities can subscribe to Moro’s advanced solutions, such as Managed Security Monitoring and Incident Response, Governance, Risk & Compliance Services, Security Awareness Services & Identity and Access Management, as well as Penetration Testing & Vulnerability Management. These managed security services are delivered by highly skilled professionals from Moro’s Cyber Defense Centre, utilising cutting-edge security technologies, infused with advanced analytical capabilities and AI to provide comprehensive protection for Dubai Government entities.The MoU between Moro Hub and DDA signifies a joint commitment to strengthen Dubai’s digital infrastructure, establish a safe and secure cyberspace, accelerate the Emirate’s digital transformation, and advance its smart initiatives. Cybersecurity is one of the key requirements for smart cities; subscribing to these services will help Dubai Government entities prevent evolving and advanced cyber threats and achieve the Dubai Cyber Index score. The partnership between Moro Hub and DDA will play a pivotal role in ensuring that Dubai remains at the forefront of secure and sustainable smart city initiatives, thus setting new benchmarks in cybersecurity excellence.

Creative Agencies, Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R, Join Forces to Become VML

WPP, one of the world's leading advertising and marketing services companies, has announced a significant development in its client offerings. This move involves the merger of Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R, creating a new entity known as VML. This strategic move establishes VML as the world's largest creative company, bringing together top creative agencies with world-class capabilities in commerce, customer experience, and marketing technology. VML is poised to support clients with creative brand growth strategies and transformation initiatives, bolstered by robust data operations, cutting-edge technology platforms, and partnerships with leading tech firms. Additionally, VML will offer specialized services for healthcare companies and B2B marketers.The merger is set to leverage the strengths of both agencies, making them highly complementary. It will result in a combined workforce of over 30,000 professionals across 64 global markets. The new management team will be led by Jon Cook, the new VML Global CEO, and Mel Edwards, VML Global President. Together, they aim to capitalize on the interconnectedness of brand experience, commerce, and customer experiences, with a focus on creativity and depth in customer experience and commerce.Mark Read, CEO of WPP, emphasized the importance of scale in the rapidly changing marketing landscape and stated that VML's integration of creativity and expertise in data and marketing technology will deliver a competitive edge for ambitious brands. The creation of VML aligns with WPP's ongoing efforts to reshape its offerings for the future, simplify its operations, and provide clients with fully integrated capabilities in every market.Both Wunderman Thompson and VMLY&R, prior to their merger, have gained recognition for their creativity and expertise, and have been celebrated by various industry awards and rankings. Their extensive capabilities have also been acknowledged by technology partners and industry analysts.The merger is expected to result in an even stronger, fully integrated suite of services for clients across the globe, responding to the demand for seamless connections between brand advertising and technology solutions.Key leadership appointments within VML include Debbi Vandeven as Global Chief Creative Officer, Eric Campbell as Global Chief Client Officer, Juan Pablo Jurado as CEO of LATAM, Ewen Sturgeon as CEO of EMEA, and Audrey Kuah and Yi-Chung Tay as Co-CEOs of APAC. The merger aims to drive growth and innovation for clients across markets, marking a significant step in the evolving landscape of modern marketing.

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.