General Motors hosts gaming tournament driven by in-vehicle Wi-Fi

OnStar, General Motor’s pioneering connectivity and safety technology, hosted the region’s first gaming tournament, driven entirely by in-vehicle Wi-Fi in the UAE.Bringing together 10 of the Arab world’s top gamers, the travelling gaming tournament took place out of the backseat of Chevrolet and GMC connected vehicles. Spanning a total of 12 hours and covering 450 km of the UAE’s roads, all the way from the Liwa desert to Ras Al Khaimah via Dubai, the tournament saw a grueling series of head-to-head contests take place, across a lineup of some of the most popular games globally. Gameplay can be followed through a captivating video series of episodes, launched on the dedicated tournament webpage.The unique gaming tournament driven by OnStar’s connectivity enabled by etisalat by e& was designed to highlight the seamless connectivity of automotive technology through the lens of popular gaming culture. The gaming industry in the UAE has experienced a significant surge in recent years, establishing the nation as a thriving hub for gamers and game developers. Likewise, the appetite for in-vehicle Wi-Fi in the UAE has grown. In fact, the automotive connectivity market is currently valued at USD 33.42 Billion, projected to reach USD 190.29 Billion by 2033. By seamlessly blending the thrill of the gaming world with reliable and fast in-vehicle Wi-Fi, OnStar was able to show the power of advanced vehicle connectivity and communication technology through uninterrupted online gameplay.Commenting on the move, Shereen Harris, Head of Marketing & Subscriptions, OnStar Middle East, said: "Infotainment is one of the fastest growing aspects of the automotive industry, enabled by seamless connectivity and rich data flows. Whilst modern vehicles can already connect navigation and infotainment systems, a fully connected car can provide both convenience and elevated user experiences for its passengers, turning vehicles into agents of personal time, and really bringing to life the sense of living with a smartphone on wheels. Through Highway Hero, we are delighted to exemplify this and bring gaming enthusiasts together in a way never imagined before by the connectivity, convenience and safety of connected vehicles”.Esam Mahmoud, Senior Vice President - Small & Medium Business, etisalat by e& said: “We're delighted to have partnered with OnStar for the Highway Hero gaming tournament, providing a platform to demonstrate our expertise in seamless automotive connectivity. Leveraging our proficiency in mobility IoT and connected car solutions, we're transforming the automotive sector with advanced communication capabilities. This collaboration aligns with our commitment to shaping the future of technology and mobility while also driving the UAE’s connected ecosystem, which includes autonomous transportation.”

Emirates Scores with Beirut Basketball Club in a multi-year sponsorship

Beirut: Emirates has partnered with the Beirut Basketball Club as its Official Airline and jersey sponsor for the next three seasons. The deal underscores the airline’s long-standing commitment to supporting basketball in Lebanon, where the sport is hugely popular, and across the region, connecting with fanbases that cut across geographies and sharing their love for the game. To celebrate the partnership, Emirates and the Beirut Basketball Club tipped off their relationship with a special media event in a co-branded basketball court where the Club trains and plays its season games.Tamador Kouatly, Regional Manager Levant for Emirates Airline said: “As the Official Airline and jersey sponsor of the Beirut Basketball Club, Emirates solidifies its relationship and commitment to Lebanon and the passionate fans of the game. We look forward to what will be an exciting time for the team, as it heads abroad to play in a number of regional and international tournaments, as well as the start of its season, as they proudly wear their ‘Emirates Fly Better’ emblazoned jerseys. We also aim to jointly inspire young people at the club to realise their full potential and support their journey. Emirates has a long history of sponsoring basketball, starting with the UAE and Lebanese Basketball Associations and Clubs, and we’re ready to work side-by-side with the team and its players to help boost the sport of basketball in the region, and support grassroots activities to grow the prospects of young, talented athletes.”Nadim Hakim, Beirut Basketball Club President, said: “The Beirut Basketball Club is tremendously proud to have Emirates Airline, led by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, its Chairman and Chief Executive, as our main sponsor for the next three seasons. It is a great honour for a Lebanese club to partner with a global leader in sports like Emirates, and their support demonstrates our shared objective of positively impacting the communities we serve, and providing opportunities for talented youth to fulfil their potential.”As part of its agreement, Emirates will receive numerous sponsorship rights including the prominent placement of its signature ‘Emirates Fly Better’ logo on the player jerseys, digital and static court branding at all of the Men’s and Women’s matches, TV and broadcast exposure, digital and social media activation rights on the Club’s platforms, player access, as well as game ticket allocation for each match. The Club will participate in several local and regional leagues and tournaments, with the Men’s team playing in the Lebanese Basketball League, the Lebanese Cup, the Arab Championship, and the Dubai International Tournament. In 2022, The team clinched the Men’s Lebanese League Championship, and have been crowned Lebanese Cup Champions.The Women’s’ team will participate in the Lebanese Basketball League. The Beirut Women’s Basketball Club were crowned champions at the 23rd Arab Women’s Club Championship, which was the club’s third consecutive win of the prestigious title.Emirates will support the U-18 and academy teams, by helping the club cultivate a new generation of players, enriching the pipeline of talent from across local communities in Lebanon.The Beirut Basketball Club was formed in 2016, with the aim to foster inclusion among Lebanese sporting enthusiasts. Emirates and the Club have enjoyed a successful relationship over the years, with the airline sponsoring the club during its participation at the Dubai International Tournament on numerous occasions. The Club was one of the first teams to wear the airline’s new “Emirates Fly Better” slogan on its jerseys in 2019.Emirates has been a steadfast supporter of basketball since 1991, when it partnered with the UAE Basketball Association as Sponsor and Official Airline. The airline has also been a sponsor of the Dubai International Basketball Championship for close to 30 years, as well as the staging of the FIBA World Championship in the UAE in 2014. Teams sponsored by Emirates have won the International Basketball Championship seven times.Emirates has also been a proud supporter of the Lebanese Basketball League. In addition, airline has sponsored top division teams in the Lebanese Basketball League through its support of jersey and institutional sponsorships.

Horizon Holdings promotes Haian Nayouf to GM GolinMENA

Horizon Holdings has promoted Haian Nayouf to General Manager of GolinMENA, the company’s public relations division.Haian Nayouf will work closely with Stephen Worsley, the recently appointed Regional Managing Director, to lead the communications work of the agency and build the Golin brand across the region.Nayouf is a seasoned media and communications professional with over 20 years of experience in journalism, agency consultancy, and client-side communications.  In addition to serving several leading PR agencies, he headed the UK Government’s Arabic Media and Communications Hub in the Middle East for eight years and was its Arabic Deputy Spokesperson for two years.His journalism career spans newspapers, radio, and television, including five years as a senior journalist and news producer for the leading pan-Arab outlet-Al Arabiya. Nayouf joined GolinMENA in March 2022, where he leads the agency’s growing public affairs portfolio.Mazen Jawad, CEO of Horizon Holdings, said: “Haian’s deep knowledge of the region and its media culture are tremendous assets. I’m confident he will play a major role in developing our PR offering in the region and bringing the best of Golin internationally to our clients in the Middle East.”Commenting on his appointment, Nayouf expressed his gratitude: “I am thrilled and honored to be appointed General Manager of Golin MENA in the UAE. Working with my colleagues and guided by Mazen’s vision for Horizon group, I’m excited to have this opportunity to realize a new phase of growth for the brand in the Middle East.”

Qatargas rebrands as QatarEnergy LNG

Highlighting the future vision for the Qatar’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry, QatarEnergy has rebranded Qatargas to ‘QatarEnergy LNG.’With its new image, “QatarEnergy LNG” will continue to deliver on its commitment to safety, environmental protection, project delivery and the reliability and efficiency of its production facilities.This announcement comes as part of the increasing international recognition of Qatar’s role in meeting the world's growing need for energy, particularly natural gas. It also reflects QatarEnergy’s continued commitment to LNG as a critical source of energy for decades to come and a vital enabler of the energy transition. Qatargas, established in 1984, is a unique global energy operator in terms of size, service and reliability. It currently operates 14 LNG production trains and is at the center of QatarEnergy’s efforts to raise Qatar’s LNG production capacity to 126 MMtpa.His Excellency Minister Al-Kaabi said: “Over the course of 39 years, Qatargas has been a pioneer of the LNG industry, helping place the State of Qatar firmly on the global LNG map and enhancing its leading position as a safe, reliable and trustworthy LNG supplier. Today, ‘QatarEnergy LNG’ carries this legacy forward well into the 21st century helping meet the world’s growing energy demand, placing LNG at the center of a realistic energy transition, and playing a critical role in safeguarding energy security and eliminating energy poverty.”

Inside the gaming mind of Bijay Gurung: From Angry Birds to global success

Founded in 2020, Riyadh-headquartered Sandsoft Games is a gaming company focused on publishing, developing, and investing in high-quality international gaming experiences and studios. Sandsoft delivers in engaging and entertaining experiences to players in the MENA region, with global support from an experienced team with a proven track record. The seasoned team is composed of passionate game creators who collate a deep-rooted knowledge of the video games market, having worked on some of the most successful game franchises ever, including FIFA, Candy Crush, Need for Speed, Angry Birds and World of Tanks.In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Bijay Gurung, Senior Director, Business Development, EMEA, dwells at length on the delicate balance between creativity and commerce in game development, the challenges and strategies of catering to the MENA region, the importance of cross-cultural collaboration, and so on. Join us on this journey through the gaming ecosystem, where continents, cultures, and people are brought closer together through the power of gaming. Excerpts:Your journey in the gaming industry has been quite remarkable, with experiences at companies like Rovio, Huawei, and Real Networks. How have these diverse roles shaped your perspective on business development in the gaming sector?Since starting my career in the days before the App Store and Google Play even existed, it’s been an incredible journey to see the growth and evolution of mobile games. The industry has grown from games being little snackable bits of content that are just 100 kilobytes in size, to being known as household brands. I spent a decade working on the Angry Birds franchise and continue to see its influence across the globe, with a movie, sports sponsorships and toys all spinning out of the IP.Could you share some insights from your time at Rovio, especially regarding your contributions to launching numerous games and leading major marketing programmes with tech giants like Apple, Google, Samsung, Facebook, and Amazon?I joined Rovio when Angry Birds was first gaining popularity and success. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to launch multiple games in close collaboration with the platforms. Particular highlights include launching Angry Birds Space from the international space station, a surprise appearance in CES for a special version of the game for Samsung Smart TVs, and being part of Apple’s key initiatives like ‘Games for RED’ and ‘Apps for Earth’.The mobile gaming industry is known for its rapid changes. How do you approach identifying and capitalizing on new opportunities and synergies across different platforms and geographical regions at Sandsoft Games?At Sandsoft, we are lucky to have amassed huge industry talents from across the globe. This allows us to identify key partners and partnerships from a range of company sizes and regions, all the way from publishing powerhouse Jam City to small indie developers. By working with international teams, we are able to provide the best experience for gamers wherever they play from.Sandsoft Games focuses on delivering gaming experiences in the MENA region. Could you elaborate on the challenges and strategies you employ to ensure that these experiences resonate with the local audience while maintaining global appeal? The challenge is that no two gamers are alike; but there are ways to provide experiences that have broad appeal. Our aim is to provide the ultimate gaming experience by incorporating local content, events, and cultural relevance. However, we also know that players are interested in experiencing content from beyond their own region. That's why we're focusing on games that have a global appeal while still being relevant to the MENA region. One such game that we think fits the bill is Fantasy Pick, a Fantasy Football game.Your background includes an MBA from the Kelley School of Business. How has this formal education complemented your practical experiences, particularly in the gaming industry?Formal education taught me a variety of lessons; not only in educational content, but also when it comes to working with others. My educational background has taught me how to approach challenging situations with clarity and boldness. Indeed, I've been taught the importance of analytical thinking from an early stage which I apply to my role on a daily basis. The multicultural environment at Kelley has equipped me with an understanding of diverse cultures and approaches; very relevant to my role at Sandsoft!Sandsoft Games has offices in various countries, including Saudi Arabia, Spain, Finland, and China. How do you manage cross-cultural collaboration and communication within your team, and what role do you believe this diversity plays in enriching the gaming ecosystem?Although technical solutions such as Slack and Teams are incredibly helpful in day-to-day communication, we also have quarterly face-to-face catch-ups that help foster effective collaboration and understanding. Most importantly, as our organisation grows, our People and Culture team is doing a phenomenal job of bringing everyone together, from new joiners to those that have been with us from the start. Given that our games are designed for a global market, diversity is key to making our games relevant to our players; particularly when it comes to understanding the market with localized marketing.As a Senior Director of Business Development, you've likely been involved in establishing and maintaining partnerships. Could you share a particularly challenging or rewarding partnership experience from your career, and the key lessons you've learned from it?One challenge I face is managing expectations. In my experience, building trust and a long-lasting partnership that goes beyond a single project has been most successful. Not all games or marketing partnerships will succeed, but viewing them as a part of a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship can help cement a lasting partnership. The philosophy behind games as a service follows a similar approach, as our goal is to entertain our players for many years to come. Whilst one partnership may not turn out exactly as planned, it's a long-term vision of success that we strive for.Gaming is increasingly seen as a medium for storytelling and artistic expression. How does Sandsoft Games balance the creative aspects of game development with the business side, and how do you ensure that the teams you work with maintain their artistic integrity while meeting commercial goals?Game making is very much a mix of art and science. Both go hand in hand. From inception we have the mindset of testing in the market what we are building. We have key milestones in different phases of the development process. Ultimately, a game must deliver an enjoyable experience to the players, and when they are truly engaged, commercial success naturally follows.With your extensive network in the gaming industry, what advice would you give to aspiring game developers and business development professionals who aim to make a mark in this ever-evolving sector?Have fun! The advice sounds simple but to truly thrive in the industry, it helps to have a passion for it. Play games, understand the latest releases, and keep up with the latest developments. When you're truly immersed in your work, the best results arise. Also, don't feel that you need to be an expert in everything. Not all of us are great game makers, but perhaps you have great marketing skills. By working closely with industry friends and colleagues, a well-rounded team can make sure all skills are met and the best results are achieved.Lastly, Sandsoft Games' mission revolves around bringing continents, cultures, and people closer together through gaming. Can you share a vision you have for the future of the gaming ecosystem in the MENA region and beyond?We’re deeply committed to delivering the best content to players, wherever they are in the world. To achieve this, we're building up an industry-leading team across the globe, with 20 nationalities represented among our 50-strong team. In August, Ahmed Sharif from META joined Sandsoft as CTO, and Pasqual Batalla became our COO after leaving SocialPoint. As a Saudi Arabia-headquartered company, we’re also committed to nurturing local talent; and our Press Start Internship Program equips local residents with the skills needed to thrive in the industry. With our talented team in place, we are excited to develop more high-quality gaming experiences for international players.

Shamrock Nevis joins Tuesday as Creative Director

Tuesday, a GP Inc Company, has appointed Shamrock Nevis as Senior Creative Director. GP Inc, a shortform for “Growth & Performance,” is headed by Rahul Nagpal, an industry stalwart and former CEO of Group Partnership.  Tuesday, the creative services company of GP Inc, is a Dubai-headquartered marketing services agency, which seeks to blend three verticals combining to deliver the promise of ‘Growth & Performance”: Tuesday Communications for the creative content, Mobiiworld for Tech & Innovation, and Steroid for data analytics and CRM.Shamrock Nevis has had a rich experience of working with agencies including Rain Creative and Saatchi & Saatchi, Cadbury, Cadillac, and HSBC. He has also worked with home-grown brands representing the banking and retail/FMCG sectors.  As Senior Creative Director, he will work closely with Tuesday’s CEO, Alok Gadkar and team, and be responsible for developing and executing the creative narrative for clients across various categories at the agency.Shamrock comments: “I am delighted to be joining Alok and team meeting new challenges and ambitions as we drive the company forward. I am used to working across both international and local brands and Tuesday is carving out a great reputation in both sectors. It’s exciting to be leading the Creative services element of the Tuesday proposition, which takes the intelligence of data analytics to a totally new level, delivering total accountability and ROI for clients.”   Alok Gadkar, CEO, Tuesday, adds: "We extend a hearty welcome to Shamrock. In our quest to elevate not only our creative output but also the overall team dynamics and agency's momentum, we sought an individual who could perfectly balance these aspirations. In Shamrock, we have found an exceptional creative leader who will undoubtedly steer us to greater heights."

SCEGA signs as strategic partner with Athar Festival

'Athar – Saudi Festival of Creativity', the largest gathering of the creative marketing industry in the Kingdom, has announced that the Saudi Conventions & Exhibitions General Authority (SCEGA) has joined the festival as a strategic partner. This endorsement is an affirmation of the Authority’s ambition and role as a facilitator of global business collaboration and partnerships, and ability to unlock new business streams.In the lead-up to the inaugural edition, which runs from November 13–16, 2023, at the Hotel Crowne Plaza Riyadh RDC, SCEGA will provide the necessary technical support for the success and the effective delivery of the message of this creative gathering to the largest segment of the audience.Amjad Shacker, Acting CEO of SCEGA, said: “We are responsible for introducing industry benchmarking M.I.C.E. standards and systems in Saudi Arabia and creating an ecosystem that attracts international events while also identifying and supporting new and high potential industries. Creativity and innovation are at the core of the Kingdom’s transformation blueprint, and unlocking the full potential of the local creative industry to achieve the vision is critical. Our strategic partnership with Athar Festival is a prime example of public-private sector collaboration under Vision 2030, and we hope to contribute to the success of this pioneering platform in its first year and in the years to come.”“Today, Athar Festival welcomes SCEGA, a leading enabler of the Kingdom’s exhibitions and conferences industry, into its ranks. This partnership aligns with one of Athar Festival's key objectives: fostering greater recognition for Saudi creativity and emphasizing its significance as a major economic driver and an enabler of Saudi Vision 2030”, said Ian Fairservice, Chairman of Athar Festival and Managing Partner & Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Media Group.Mohamed Al Ayed, Vice Chairman of Athar Festival and CEO of TRACCS, said: “This alliance with SCEGA will greatly contribute to our mission of establishing Athar Festival as a true platform for Saudi Arabia’s future-forward economy. With their support, we look forward to showcasing the power of creativity as an enabler and accelerator of the Kingdom’s sustainable and thriving economic development in an environment that inspires cultural exchange, collaborative innovation, tangible learning, and training and development.”Athar Festival will be able to accommodate around 1,500 delegates and feature 12 academies for young professionals, along with CMOs and executive women. The festival will host 100+ national, international and celebrity speakers who will deliver thought provoking insights across six content themes. The festival has also just opened its doors to early-bird delegate and awards gala dinner registration.

Eton Solutions expands global presence with strategic launch of new office

Dubai: – Eton Solutions, developer of the cloud-based AtlasFive® enterprise resource platform (ERP) for the family office of the future, announced today the opening of its new office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), a significant step in the company's ongoing global expansion. This strategic move is designed to better serve clients in the Middle East and underscores Eton Solutions' commitment to providing unparalleled, localised service in this rapidly growing market.Over the past decade, Eton Solutions has developed a highly sophisticated ERP platform, AtlasFive, originally built by the company founder for his own family office to meet the challenges of creating process efficiencies and operational leverage by incorporating all the operating needs of a family office into one platform in a fully integrated manner. The platform is sold to larger global family offices, generally with USD1 billion of AUM and above. Eton Solutions now has over 650 families on the platform managing over USD737 billion.Satyen Patel, Executive Chairman of Eton Solutions, said, "Our expansion into the UAE is a testament to our commitment to the Middle East region. This new office will allow us to better serve our existing clients and forge new partnerships in this dynamic market. The UAE office is equidistant between Asia and Europe and serves as a connection to key wealth centres. It will act as a hub to serve Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (GCC), Indian sub-continent, Africa, Turkey and parts of Central Asia. We are excited about the opportunities this expansion presents."“I wish to express our appreciation to DIFC (Dubai International Finance Centre) for their instrumental role and unwavering support in ushering Eton Solutions into the UAE landscape,” he added.As part of the firm’s new international thrust, Eton Solutions launched their brand new global Administrative Family Office (AFO)TM solution earlier this year. This solution, which packages the company’s AtlasFive software with its world classes services offering, is designed to help open access to institutional levels of family office capability to ultra-high-net-worth families starting from $50 million in assets, helping them to launch their own virtual family office while achieving cost-effective reporting and a fully outsourced middle and back office. The AFOTM enables clients to streamline their family office, to experience family office-level governance, get full control at their fingertips, achieve total visibility and risk management. As a guideline, the AFOTM module helps family offices cut some 30% to 40% of their operating costs. By way of perspective, a billion dollar plus office typically would cost anywhere between 150 to 200 basis points to run, as the bare minimum. AFOTM can help smaller offices run at a cost of 15bp or even less. As to speed of implementation, Eton Solutions can get AFOTM up and running within 30 days.Bryan Henning, Senior Vice President of International at Eton Solutions, added, "The UAE is a strategic region for our global growth strategy going forward, our solutions cater for a broad range of needs for emerging and existing Family Offices. The launch of our Administrative Family Office (AFO)TM solution is a game-changer for the industry, enabling family offices to streamline their operations and achieve unprecedented levels of efficiency and control. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the best possible service, and this expansion will enable us to deliver our innovative solutions more effectively to clients in the Middle East."In line with this expansion, Eton Solutions is also pleased to announce the appointment of Chetan Chaudhari as Vice President of Sales for the Middle East & India. Based in the new UAE office in Dubai, Chetan will play a pivotal role in strengthening the company's presence in the region and driving its growth strategy.Eton Solutions' commitment to innovation, client service, and global growth continues to drive its success. The company is excited about this new chapter in its history and looks forward to making a positive impact in the Middle East wealth management industry.

McCANN launches McCANN content studios

MENAT: McCann announced today the launch of McCann Content Studios, providing clients with a global capability for social and influencer marketing, as well as connected social commerce. IPG’s influencer agency ITB will join the new unit. McCann LIVE, the network’s social practice that has pioneered work for clients such as Aldi in the UK and Converse in the U.S., will also become part of McCann Content Studios.McCann Content Studios will house the network’s social and influencer strategy capabilities; social creative ideation and content creation; social audience and connection strategies and activation; influencer content co-creation and production; and performance measurement and optimization.ITB, IPG’s pioneering influencer agency, will be integrated into McCann Content Studios. Launched in 2006 with offices in Los Angeles, New York and London, the agency has an established track record of success activating influencers to advance brand platforms for clients including Unilever and Mastercard. By bringing this capability together with McCann’s brand social and social commerce offerings, the agency is enabling clients to have access to a full-service social content and influencer marketing capability that removes the siloes between social and influence that have emerged in the industry.“Brands are increasingly interacting today in social communities in dialogue with fans, creators and influencers. McCann, with our deep heritage and experience in building enduring brand platforms, has been creating social storytelling for brands at scale for some time now. McCann Content Studios will provide our clients with a way to participate in the creator economy and co-create with them without losing their brand’s unique perspective and social voice, getting the best of both worlds,” said Daryl Lee, Global CEO of McCann and McCann Worldgroup."At MCN, we pride ourselves on our pioneering spirit when it comes to integration and collaboration across agencies and within our network. Our united goal is to generate unmatched creativity and success for our clients. The launch of McCann's Content Studios represents a further extension of our capabilities by offering our clients a comprehensive, data-driven, audience-centric, and modular suite of creative content services aimed at realizing their broader business goals," commented Ghassan Harfouche, Group CEO at MCN MENAT and President of McCann Worldgroup APAC.The leadership of the new unit has also been announced:Amit Sutha has been tapped as President and Global Chief Client Officer of McCann Content Studios, reporting to Lee. Most recently Global Chief Client Officer and Global President of Performance & Campaign Content at sister agency Mediabrands Content Studios, Sutha has had a global career spanning continents and has built both creative and media businesses into dominant positions in their markets. His work at Mediabrands helped transform the definition of creative media content by bringing together the best of media, storytelling, talent, data and partnerships. Prior to this role, he was Chief Executive Officer, UM Worldwide in Malaysia, heading up the agency’s full spectrum of marketing and brand related services, media planning, social media management, integrated content creation, eCommerce, data analytics, market research and mobile solutions, while also serving as the founding CEO of data-fuelled creative agency Ensemble Worldwide.Monica Tailor, formerly Global Director of McCann LIVE, has been elevated to Chief Social Marketing Officer of McCann and McCann Content Studios. Under Tailor’s leadership, McCann LIVE quickly became a crucial part of McCann’s core client offering, weaving brands into culture in authentic and entertaining ways. She helped McCann’s integrated Aldi team become world renowned by creating a brand voice and brand storytelling that maximizes social attention and conversion, best illustrated by Aldi’s “Free Cuthbert” campaign – where a single tweet lampooning its rival became one of Twitter’s biggest viral events and Aldi’s biggest news story ever.Crystal Malachias has been appointed Global Head of Influencer for McCann Content Studios, having previously served as SVP, Global Growth & Innovation at ITB. An influencer marketing veteran, her experience spans publishing, including roles at Hearst, Say Media as well as helping to launch Refinery29 in the UK.“We have some of the industry’s very best leading McCann Content Studios. Amit is a content entrepreneur with a proven track record of commercial success. Monica is a pioneer of brand-driven social marketing for some of the world’s most socially impactful brands. Crystal is a trailblazing influencer marketing talent who understands the power of creators to shape culture and advocate for brands. Together, they represent a powerhouse of expertise that will help guide brands to new frontiers of co-creativity,” added Lee.The launch comes at a time of momentum and accolades for McCann Worldgroup, fresh from being ranked in the top five networks at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Top awarded work included Mastercard's "Where to Settle” project which was awarded a coveted Dan Wieden Titanium Lion, a Grand Prix and two Golds,?and Microsoft’s “ADLaM,” which won two Grand Prix, one in Design and one in Creative Business Transformation, as well as new business wins that include TJ Maxx in the U.S., Durex in the UK, Centrum in China and Air India, among others.

Benefit and Reboot coding institute join forces to empower Bahrain's tech talent

Manama: Reboot Coding Institute (Reboot01), the first-of-its-kind on-campus coding institute in the Kingdom of Bahrain, part of the 01Edu global network of coding schools, announced its partnership with BENEFIT, the Kingdom’s innovator and leading company in Fintech and electronic financial transactions services. The agreement marks a significant milestone and a step forward in Reboot01's mission to empower Bahraini students and build a pipeline of highly skilled digital talent for the Kingdom's key sectors, in line with Bahrain's Economic Vision 2030.As Reboot Coding Institute's initial cohort reaches its final selection pool with over 200 students, its partnership with BENEFIT underscores their dedication to provide students with exceptional opportunities in the field of technology. BENEFIT joins a growing list of companies who have partnered with Reboot01 to obtain early access to top-tier talent from a highly-skilled pool of Bahraini developers suited to their specific needs.As part of the collaboration, Reboot01 students will participate in BENEFIT's Masaar Internship Program, which will be tailored specifically for Reboot01 and take place at the company's renowned IT department. This program aims to provide students with fundamental real-world experience and hands-on learning opportunities, laying the framework for future success in the technology sector.In a testament to BENEFIT's commitment to local talent, Reboot01 students will receive priority consideration for employment opportunities at BENEFIT. Furthermore, as part of this collaboration, BENEFIT will provide Reboot01 students with access to their test environment APIs and Sandbox, giving them a unique opportunity to engage with cutting-edge financial technology tools and systems that are being employed across the Kingdom.Yanal Jallad, Managing Director at Reboot01, commented, "We commend BENEFIT for their proactive support of Reboot01's mission, while securing early access to our graduates. This unique partnership includes a tailored internship program for our students and access to BENEFIT's test environment and sandboxes, empowering our students to innovate, benefiting both our partner and their career journeys. Moreover, access to the test environment equips our students with invaluable skill sets for future success."Salah Alwadhi, Head of HR & Admin at BENEFIT stated, “We are pleased to collaborate with Reboot01 in our shared goal of empowering Bahraini students and fostering our country's tech talent pool. This partnership not only allows us to offer students with real-world experience through our renowned Masaar Internship Program, but it also demonstrates our commitment to promoting local talent and fostering innovation within the field.”BENEFIT employees will be visiting Reboot01's campus to engage in mentorship programs, providing students with invaluable insights and advice from industry professionals. Additionally, practical projects and hackathons will be organized to tackle real-world challenges, stimulating creativity, strengthening problem-solving abilities as well as boosting inventive thinking and teamwork amongst Reboot01’s students.The comprehensive two-year program at Reboot01 cultivates expertise not only in generalized full-stack development but also in specialized branches such as Cloud Devops, Artificial Intelligence & Data Science and more. Reboot01 recently announced partnerships with institutions such as the American University of Bahrain (AUBH), YK Almoayyed & Sons and Binance Academy, in addition to its agreement with BENEFIT. These partnerships are in alignment with Bahrain's Economic Vision 2030, aiming to empower local students while equipping them with the skills required to thrive in the ever-developing tech landscape.

From 1969 to 2023: Hisense's Fazalur Rahman reflects on the brand's success

In this exclusive interview, Fazalur Rahman, Marketing Director of Hisense Middle East & Africa, provides insights into Hisense's evolution since its inception in 1969, major milestones, and the brand's remarkable growth in the Middle East. He discusses the changing dynamics of the marketing industry, successful strategies, and the brand's expansion into new avenues, including AI adoption and B2B air-conditioning marketing plans. Excerpts:As Marketing Director of Hisense, Middle East, can you please share as to how the company has evolved since its inception in 1969? Kindly mention a few major milestones that the organization has achieved.Since the company’s inception in 1969, Hisense has been pushing the boundaries of innovation and investing heavily in the research and development to bring to life wide range of electronic products and solution to ever demanding consumers and changing lifestyle. Hisense now has over 90,000 employees worldwide, 29 industrials parks, and as of H1 2023 22 research and development centers across the world that service specific key markets for the brand.Since establishing ourselves in the UAE in 2012, Hisense Middle East has experienced remarkable and steady growth, evolving into a multi-million-dollar enterprise. We now have a strong presence across the region, witnessing substantial expansion across diverse product categories. Our business is thriving through a combination of online and offline channels, earning recognition as one of the top electronic brands in physical retail stores, including both organised and independent outlets, as well as major e-commerce platforms.The company’s solid MEA performance closes a successful 12-month period that has also seen us secure a number of high-profile product awards, including the prestigious CES 2023 Innovation Award and EISA Award for ‘Best Product of the Year’ for our premium 4K Mini-LED ULED TV 65U8HQ, and the Tom's Guide Award 2023 for our 4K UST Triple-Laser Trichroma Projector 100L9H.Hisense is one of the largest consumer electronics companies. What are your responsibilities in running such a big organization flawlessly?As the regional marketing director for Hisense Middle East & North Africa, it is my responsibility to design and reshape strategies to improve brand awareness and equity, execute GTM plans, enhance consumer engagement, and optimise retail/shopper marketing. My primary focus in this role is on driving brand equity, influencing consumer behaviour, and accelerating business growth across the Middle East region.While retail expansion remains key to us, we are also elevating our presence through e-commerce and online platforms. Comprehensive marketing plans that drive traffic and conversions through various social and digital platforms, have supported the brand to increase its brand equity.Another key part of our marketing efforts is supporting the brand through collaboration with global sporting events, which has helped us position Hisense as one of the top consumer electronic brands in the region. Participations included the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022, as well as the UEFA European Championships in both 2016 and 2020 and football club PSG, and previously the Australian Open, NASCAR Xfinity Series, Red Bull Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, and Germany’s FC Schalke 04.Being a Marketing Director, how have you seen the marketing segment evolving over the years? What are your views on the changing dynamics of the marketing industry?In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift in marketing. Today, If the brand wishes to stay ahead of competition and thrive in an ever-changing environment, then it must prioritize providing relevant, personalised customer experiences and meaningful engagements.The pandemic has changed how marketers build brands, and marketing’s role has been redefined. Today’s consumer is more concerned with value than with product, and other factors such as the environment and brand activism are equally important when making a purchasing decision.Customers’ expectations for Online/digital experiences have climbed sharply. These experiences must not only be seamless, but they must also span the whole consumer journey. Be it social, mobile, digital, web, brands must meet the needs of their customers wherever they are.On the execution front, there have been great developments too, like Marketing Automation, Artificial Intelligence and 360 degree experiential marketing, which has changed the marketing landscape.What campaigns and strategies have you devised for Hisense over the years? Have they all worked for the brand? According to you, which would you like to re-work on?Hisense has witnessed a big surge in its brand equity over the years. In the last 5 years Hisense brand equity increased by over 154%, in a highly competitive and challenging business environment. This is a result of our strategies and various activations. Our global brand building platform is Soccer marketing, which has worked very well for us, as it is a highly passionate, engaging and mass appeal touch point. Sponsorships like FIFA World cup 2018 and 2022, Euro ups 206, 2021 and now 2024, PSG had all contributed a lot, creating a strong brand awareness with high engagements. We would be pursuing this strategy for years to come.Apart from that, our strategic approach focuses on engaging and influencing consumer behavior at each touch point of the customer journey, be it online or offline. Also we are focusing a lot on experiential marketing, by enhancing our retail marketing, experiential zones as well as consumer activation for real life interaction with our products and solutions.Our strategy rests on three key drivers i.e. Brand marketing, Product marketing and Retail marketing, these play an important role in driving and brand and business growth. Our strategy is delivering the results and we plan to continue pursing it in future too.Hisense as a brand is best known for its consumer electronics division. Is the brand planning to diverge into different avenues? What would be the forthcoming plans of the brand?Hisense is leading in the space of home appliance and consumer electronics globally. Our business covers multimedia products with a focus on Smart TVs, home appliances, and IT intelligent information. We have grown rapidly in the past few years and have expanded to different avenues.One being Intelligent Transport Systems, providing overall solutions like traffic operation monitoring and emergency central system, ordinary public transportation intelligent system, taxi service management information system, road electromechanical system, intelligent road management system to name a few.We have also diversified into the Medical and Healthcare Industry. Last year we introduced imaging platforms that provide medical practitioners with more accuracy using 4k ultra high-definition resolution and state of the art connectivity in endoscope or surgery monitors. Its diagnostic monitors are currently in the final stages of testing at Ahalia Hospital in Abu Dhabi, UAE, while its ultrasound devices are being tested at Medicano Hospital in Erbil, Iraq.In a recent development, Hisense has opened its flagship stores in GCC, LEVANT and North Africa region. What can you share on this?Hisense’s regional growth has been elevated by the expansion of local offices in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt, and Algeria, improving regionwide operations and a more robust partner network and relations strategy. This advancement has also brought the brand closer to its key markets, allowing us to better cater for our end users and network partners. We also look forward to catering to local requirements in terms of products, lifestyle, environment and social that influence the customers consumption patterns and habits with a global R&D centre based in Dubai, that will be an innovation centre for Hisense to introduce new products and technology.AI is taking the centre stage worldwide. What is your take on this? How far has Hisense adopted AI in the marketing domain and other related areas?Artificial intelligence is a great technology that can make human-like decisions, and there are many ways to utilize this power in the world of marketing. What makes artificial intelligence so powerful is that it comes in many different forms. Machine learning and artificial intelligence has come together to optimize ad campaigns across multiple ad platforms. We are utilizing AI tools for various marketing activities like Social listening, which helps us collect and analyze data related to our brand, audience and competitors across various social media platforms. We also use it for integrating customer-facing channels to collect every single interaction for in-depth analysis and insights. It helps in right content development, based on VOC data to find out content which the target audience is interested in and responds to it. AI is also used for identifying the right audience segmentation for programmatic campaigns, which helps us to improve digital ads ROI.Hisense is also making huge inroads into the region’s B2B air-conditioner market with a growing reputation for product efficiency. What are the marketing plans for this?B2B air-conditioning is quite different in approach compared to B2C products. The business characteristics are quite different in terms of the entire decision-making process and stakeholder profile, which are our primary target audience. Our marketing strategy is based on creating the right awareness and engagement to the stakeholders through knowledge sharing initiatives as well as B2B communication events to elaborate Hisense technology, solutions and service back-up for their projects. B2B Exhibition, technical seminars, focus groups from specific industry verticals as well as industry online & offline publication are great ways for us to create demand for our products and solutions.

Rafid Automotive Solutions launches 9 hybrid vehicles and 6 motorcycles

Sharjah: Rafid Automotive Solutions has launched nine hybrid vehicles, including the C-HR and Corolla Cross models, and six BMW F900XR motorcycles to bolster its fleet. These vehicles will manage minor traffic incidents and improve response times and traffic safety across all roads within the Emirate of Sharjah. His Excellency Brigadier General Dr Ahmed Saeed Al Naour, Director General of Central Operations, and His Excellency Ahmed Al Mashrakh, Chief Officer of Rafid and Deputy Head of the Team, attended the launch event.Abdulrahman bin Kanoon Al Shamsi, Director of the Accident & RSA Department at Rafid Automotive Solutions and a member of the Joint Committee, stated: "This step aligns with our vision to support strategic goals and initiatives aimed at achieving climate neutrality and supporting efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the United Arab Emirates, and the Emirate of Sharjah in particular. This is achieved through the utilisation of innovative solutions and modern technologies. Hybrid vehicles and bicycles are environmentally friendly solutions to reduce carbon emissions and decrease fuel consumption."Bin Kannoon further explained that using motorcycles will enhance accessibility for Rafid customers. He emphasised that expanding the bicycle fleet, which will reach 12 motorcycles, will substantially reduce the average response time to minor traffic accidents. Currently, the average response time stands at 10 minutes, and this initiative aims to further reduce this period by increasing the number of bicycles known for their swift and efficient mobility.Rafid applicationThe Rafid application offers a wide array of services designed to simplify the process and empower users by giving them effortless access to services anytime, anywhere. It provides the flexibility needed to efficiently complete transactions, including emergency roadside assistance services such as fuel delivery, tyre and battery replacements, and towing services for vehicles experiencing breakdowns.The application allows vehicle owners to book a car inspection service at "Motorcheck," which offers many inspection options. The "Rafid" app, available in Arabic, English, and Urdu on iOS and Android stores, enables users to schedule appointments at "AutoXpress," a comprehensive facility for repairing all types of vehicles. The "Mobile AutoXpress" service consists of a specialised mobile workshop for repairs and maintenance, providing essential and urgent services such as tire replacement or repair according to the highest quality standards."Rafid Automotive Solutions" is one of the subsidiary projects of Sharjah Asset Management, the investment arm of the government of Sharjah, which was established in 2017 to develop and enhance the automotive sector. "Rafid" has been actively involved in numerous service-oriented projects since its inception up to the present day.

Salesforce and Google expand partnership

Dubai: Salesforce and Google announced an expansion of their strategic partnership to bring together Salesforce, the #1 AI CRM, and Google Workspace, the world’s most popular productivity tool, to drive productivity with AI. This partnership will deliver new bidirectional integrations that allow customers to bring together context from Salesforce and Google Workspace, including Google Calendar, Docs, Meet, Gmail, and more, to power generative AI experiences across platforms.With these integrations, users will be able to seamlessly work across platforms through Salesforce and Google Workspace’s generative AI assistants, Salesforce’s Einstein Copilot, and Duet AI in Google Workspace. Customers can use their own account, contact, and opportunity data from Salesforce to generate customized Google Slides and Docs while Google Meet summaries and context from Gmail and Google Calendar can be brought into Salesforce to update records and trigger workflows, such as saving a signed contract to Salesforce and closing the opportunity with a win-loss report generated in Docs.As part of this collaboration, Salesforce and Google have worked together to make their generative AI assistant offerings extensible and each will be the first partners to integrate with the other’s newly available third-party platforms. Significance: Generative AI is reshaping the way businesses and people work. In fact, 77% of senior IT leaders say generative AI will help their organization serve customers faster, and 64% of businesses expect AI to increase their workforces’ productivity.This expanded partnership will help drive increased productivity by providing the right data and context at the right time, and unlocking generative AI benefits in the flow of work. With this integration, users will be able to:Generate personalized content across Google Workspace and Salesforce: Users will be able to generate personalized and contextual Workspace content, including emails in Gmail, content in Google Docs, and more, from Workspace or Salesforce, by seamlessly accessing relevant Salesforce information on prior meetings, customer interactions, and sales outcomes.Keep Salesforce records up-to-date with context from Google Workspace: Users will be able to leverage Google Workspace data to automatically keep Salesforce records up-to-date, increasing productivity and eliminating manual tasks — like moving an opportunity stage forward in Salesforce based on context from Gmail.   Drive automation at scale: Users will be able to automate processes and eliminate the need for context switching by automatically generating interaction and meeting summaries, scheduling follow-ups and assigning tasks, and more, based on context from Salesforce and Google Workspace. For example, after a successful sales call, a summary from Google Meet can trigger assignment of tasks to owners in Salesforce, schedule follow-up meetings in Google Calendar, and move a deal stage to closed.Go deeper: Salesforce is the first partner to integrate with Google Workspace’s new Duet AI extensions framework and Google Workspace is the first extensibility partner for Salesforce’s new Einstein Copilot. Einstein Copilot will be able to access relevant context in Google Workspace to enrich workflows across sales, service, marketing, commerce, and more. Each of these integrations are backed by the robust privacy and user data protections already in place across Salesforce and Google Workspace. Broader AI momentum: In addition to Google Workspace integrating with Einstein Copilot, today Google and Salesforce announce the ability for customers to bring their LLMs deployed on Vertex AI, including Google’s PaLM family of models, and use them within the Einstein 1 Platform to build generative AI powered experiences across the Customer 360. This continued momentum around data and AI builds upon partnerships announced earlier this year between Salesforce Data Cloud, Google BigQuery, and Google Vertex AI to help businesses utilize data and AI to deliver more holistic customer data strategy and drive personalized customer experiences.The Google perspective: “Our partnership with Salesforce is an example of why an open and extensible ecosystem for generative AI will create the most value for customers. Together, Salesforce and Google Workspace will empower organizations to redefine how work is accomplished with generative AI, help foster innovation and productivity at scale, and make common tasks more efficient and purposeful.” – Thomas Kurian, CEO at Google CloudThe Salesforce perspective: “Our partnership with Google empowers organizations to unlock the full potential of AI and data, grounded in trust. This deep integration between Salesforce and Google Workspace, where many users spend much of their day, helps save time and effort, unlocks far greater value and deeper insights from their data, and will fundamentally change how people work.” – David Schmaier, President and Chief Product Officer at Salesforce

Online store Winly unveils gamified shopping experience and prizes

Online store Winly has introduced a unique and engaging shopping concept, which is poised to disrupt the e-commerce landscape. Spearheaded by entrepreneur Hassan EL Imam, Winly has introduced a captivating shopping concept that combines convenience with a gamified experience, making each purchase an opportunity to win.With every purchase made on the platform, customers receive a complimentary Prize Draw ticket, unlocking the chance to win a range of captivating prizes. This gamified shopping experience sets Winly apart and appeals to modern consumers who seek value, entertainment, and quality products all in one place. The platform has launched three competitions, providing users with the opportunity to win AED 10,000, AED 35,000 or an IPhone 14 Pro.Founder Hassan EL Imam, a seasoned entrepreneur with over five years of experience in licensing and franchising, has a vision for Winly which is driven by a desire to transform the online shopping landscape. Recognizing the changing needs of customers, he set out to blend the convenience of e-commerce with an interactive and rewarding twist. Through Winly, customers can access a curated selection of products while enjoying the anticipation of winning valuable rewards.Anchored in transparency and integrity, Winly ensures that all Prize Draw proceedings are regulated by the Dubai Economy & Tourism, instilling confidence in customers as they explore this groundbreaking shopping platform.The launch of Winly marks a significant stride in the world of e-commerce. As businesses adapt to dynamic market demands, Winly emerges as a frontrunner, offering not just products, but an immersive and innovative shopping journey.

Manassvini Rizvi appointed as Head of Marcom by entourage

entourage has appointed Manassvini Rizvi as Head of Marcom. Rizvi has taken the control of the agency’s Marketing & Communications division, solidifying efforts in growing the vertical within entourage and expanding the regional team. Manassvini has been an integrated communications practitioner for more than 15 years, and has been the driving force behind the growth of several local and international brands, including ENOC Retail, DEWA, Western Union, and Coca-Cola, to name a few. She has held leadership roles, overseeing the brand planning, campaign management and the successful deployment of communication strategies across local and multinational agencies, including a decade at C2 Communication where she held the role of Group Marcom Director. Mohammed Tayem, Founder & CEO, entourage welcomed Manassvini into the team. He said: “We are reinforcing our commitment to the region and expanding our capabilities to meet the evolving media scene. With the expanding economy and the renewed push towards marketing activities, it is a part of our growth strategy to bolster our teams to meet new challenges and expand on our offerings within the communications spectrum, specially across performance and data driven marketing.” In her new position, Manassvini will lead the development of Marcoms strategy across the agency’s impressive portfolio of clients, while continuing to power the agency’s strong credentials in organising and managing turnkey mega projects.Manassvini also shared her excitement on being a part of Entourage. She said: “With its dynamic edge, entourage offers me a series of opportunities and challenges to navigate along with the team and build capabilities across the board.”

iKO Media Group partners with STN

iKO Media Group has announced its new partnership with STN. This partnership will provide added value to the customers of both companies, allowing the use of both companies’ services and abilities to bring together the optimal solution for the channel or content owners.STN is a well-established, forward-thinking global teleport facility, firmly placed at the cutting edge of satellite, broadcast, connectivity, and co-location services. Based in Slovenia, the heart of Europe provides a strategic location that presents a wide visible arc of 120 degrees, allowing easy access to all major satellites’ orbital positions.STN provides global telecommunication services in C-, Ku-, DVB-s, and Ka-band for all prime satellites to all continents around the world.High level security and a well-connected facility allow STN to provide a comprehensive range of equipment hosting services for servers, TT&C, antenna with available ground space for larger scale projects.With one of the world’s most highly developed internet infrastructures, the company has virtually unlimited capacities with complete double or triple redundancy/diversity options.iKO Media Group AG is a Swiss entity with a state-of-the-art teleport in Rome, Italy, connected globally and providing tailor-made solutions focused on customer needs through dedicated service, expert knowledge, and high professionalism.Recent company growth led to the broadcasting of almost 400 TV channels using 450 Mbps on satellites and 700 Mbps of IP for contribution delivery. iKOMG provides a full spectrum of services to broadcasters and content owners, such as automated, high-capacity playout management services, cloud services, EPG creation, disaster recovery solutions, monitoring feed, OTT platforms, and IP delivery. iKOMG differs from other service providers thanks to a holistic approach and a keen ability to offer the best-suited technology-based solutions for their customers.To support growing demand, iKOMG and STN have established a strategic partnership focused on teleport and ground services, sports and event services, and OTT platforms. As one of the biggest and most experienced providers in Europe, STN is an excellent partner to help iKOMG provide faster, more reliable, and higher-quality services to its customers.“We’ve been talking with STN for a few months but finalized the dynamic partnership a few weeks ago. Our agreement has no defined timeline as we see the relationship delivering tremendous benefits for iKOMG, STN, and the combined customer base for years and years to come. We are excited to start building and developing alongside the great team at STN” said iKO Media Group’s Chairman, David Treadway.  “As our collaboration discussions progressed over the recent months it became quickly and mutually apparent to both companies of the great advantages to client services this robust combination could provide. This new partnership will give way to expansion and progress in every area of business. The expertise, industry experience and professionalism of both STN and iKOMG will bring a broader spectrum of enhanced service solutions to all clients.” Commented Mitja Lovsin, General Manager, STN.

Dell Technologies appoints Alexandre Brousse to lead its EMEA Channel

Dubai: Dell Technologies has appointed Alexandre Brousse as EMEA Channel Lead, effective October 1. Brousse will work with the EMEA Channel team to deliver a customer-centric and partner-empowered ecosystem that drives growth and innovation in the region. He succeeds Anwar Dahab who has been appointed to lead Dell Technologies in France. Brousse has been with Dell Technologies for 18 years, most recently leading Channel Sales for Western Europe. “With today’s leadership announcements we demonstrate our commitment to growth and creating market opportunities for both our customers and partners.,” said Diego Majdalani, President, Global Channel Sales, Dell Technologies. "Alexandre Brousse is a highly experienced, respected leader and will be an asset to my leadership team and our broader EMEA partner ecosystem, while Anwar brings a great channel perspective, relationships, and a deep understanding of the French market to his new role.” “Partners are essential to our success. When we work hand-in-hand with partners, we move faster, spur progress and deliver strong outcomes to our customers,” said Alexandre Brousse, EMEA Channel Lead, Dell Technologies. “I am honored and excited for the opportunity to accelerate our partner momentum and look forward to building even stronger relationships with our partners in region.”

Kristian Imhof joins LEGO Group as GM for MEA region

Kristian Imhof has been appointed as the new General Manager for the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region by the LEGO Group. Imhof is highly experienced in corporate leadership, with a proven track record in both established and emerging markets. Jeroen Bejier, who established the LEGO Group’s presence in the Middle East and spearheaded operations in MEA over the past four years, handed over his responsibilities to Imhof.Imhof joined the LEGO Group in 2012 and has played an essential role in developing the company. Starting in the Munich office in Germany, he has led innovative initiatives in Austria, Switzerland, and beyond.In 2017, he moved to Johannesburg as the General Manager of South Africa and Sub Saharan region. Imhof’s visionary leadership expanded wholesale channels in Southern Africa and fostered distributor relationships in both West and East Africa. After an impressive track record, Imhof returned to Europe Central in 2021 and later assumed the role of Acting General Manager. Now, he is taking on the exciting challenge of leading the dynamic MEA region.The LEGO Group has been actively engaging consumers in the region. Imhof plans to build upon this and expand the brand’s footprint through various distribution and communication channels. His expertise in diverse markets will enable him to create tailored strategies that resonate with the unique cultures and preferences of the MEA region. Additionally, he envisions geographical expansion to ensure that the LEGO experience reaches more corners of the region.

Sayarti announces strategic partnership with Tesla Power MENA

Muscat: Sayarti LLC, a subsidiary of The Zubair Corporation, announced the signing of a strategic partnership agreement with Tesla Power MENA (Middle East and North Africa) – a part of Tesla Power USA LLC. The partnership marks Sayarti LLC as the Authorised Distributor for passenger car, SUV as well as commercial vehicle batteries and a range of industrial batteries. This affiliation cascades within Sayarti’s framework of meeting the evolving needs of customers in the fields of renewable and conventional energy storage.The partnership agreement was signed by Niels Bormans, CEO of The Zubair Corporation and on behalf of Tesla Power Middle East by Irfan Ahmed, the CEO -MENA region. The ceremony was graced by the presence of several senior representatives of both the companies.Speaking on the occasion, Niels Bormans, CEO of The Zubair Corporation said, “The agreement between Sayarti and Tesla Power MENA is a strategic move to provide high-quality innovative products and energy solutions to the local market. As a trusted and experienced entity, the opportunity to serve as an Authorised Dealer for Tesla batteries holds special significance and will allow Sayarti to provide comprehensive mobility solutions to its customers. We look forward to a long-term productive relationship between the Corporation and Tesla Power MENA.”Tesla Power MENA is a part of the American company Tesla Power USA LLC, has been acknowledged for being a pioneer and leader in introducing high quality and long-life battery solutions, completely revolutionising the energy storage industry. After having established a prominent client base in the American continent, Tesla Power USA has now expanded its operations in the MENA region. Tesla Power USA is also well known for its Sealed Maintenance Free Valve Regulated Lead Acid Batteries as well as Solar Batteries with a growing customer base in the region. Irfan Ahmed, CEO of Tesla Power MENA said, “With a strong focus on innovation through research & development, Tesla Power USA continually provides innovative solutions in the energy storage space. We are delighted to enter the Omani market through our range of automotive and industrial batteries with a robust partner such as The Zubair Corporation. This partnership will further Tesla Power’s position as a leading company in the renewable and conventional energy storage industry across the globe."Commencing operations in 1992, Sayarti LLC is an ISO certified company that serves as a market leader in the field of vehicle rental and leasing services in Oman. Operating under the General Automotive Co. LLC, the company offers best-in-class services to deliver innovative solutions in the field of vehicle leasing, catering not only to the needs of individual customers, but to those of corporate clients as well.

ANYbotics and Sigma Enterprises announce partnership in UAE

Abu Dhabi: ANYbotics strengthens its presence in the Middle East, appointing Sigma Enterprises as a reseller partner for the UAE. Sigma Enterprises, part of the privately-held diversified holding company Mazrui International, will increase inspection robot deployment in the region's oil & gas, power, chemicals, metals, and transportation sectors. ANYbotics' advanced mobile robots perform autonomous inspections, asset monitoring, and anomaly detection in complex industrial environments. Sigma Enterprises will offer the ANYmal inspection solution, support services, customer training, and technical expertise. The partnership and ANYmal will be showcased at ADIPEC 2023 (International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference) in Abu Dhabi, October 2-5.Marwan Moubarak (center, MD, Mazrui Trading and Sigma Enterprises) with Satschin Bansal (left, VP Partnerships) and Dr. Péter Fankhauser (right, CEO) from ANYbotics, during a recent visit to ANYbotics at their head office in Zurich.Bringing Automated Inspection to Ex-zones in the UAEANYbotics' collaboration with Sigma Enterprises (part of the Mazrui Group) underscores the demand for industrial robotic inspection in the region, particularly in the oil & gas and power sectors. Sigma Enterprises and ANYbotics have combined their automation and advanced-legged robotics expertise to provide unparalleled industrial inspection solutions. By leveraging local expertise, industry networks, and proximity to key players delivered through Sigma, ANYbotics can better address the specific needs of production facilities, improve customer support and build a strong position in this crucial market.“As part of the Mazrui Group, Sigma Enterprises provides one of the UAE's best-in-class calibration and technology support services. Growing ANYbotics' presence in the region and focusing on expanding our partner network with accomplished reseller partners like Sigma Enterprises are strategic initiatives that drive our growth, increase market penetration and accelerate the global adoption of our robotic inspection solutions.” Satschin Bansal, Global VP Strategic Alliances & Partnerships, ANYboticsTransforming the Regional Inspection Ecosystem with Cutting-edge Robotic TechnologyWith the addition of ANYbotics' robots to its portfolio and the introduction of state-of-the-art robotic inspection technology in the region, Sigma Enterprises is changing the inspection landscape. ANYbotics' inspection solutions increase safety by reducing worker exposure to hazardous environments, improve predictive maintenance through early detection of equipment anomalies, and optimize production through more accurate and frequent data collection.ANYbotics' advanced autonomous robots are designed to perform autonomous inspection, monitoring, and anomaly detection tasks in diverse and complex industrial environments. They provide immediate added value by integrating as an end-to-end solution with asset management software and digital twin platforms that enable customers to automate inspections easily.Leveraging its extensive experience in oil & gas, power generation, and utilities, Sigma Enterprises offers ANYmal and ANYmal X inspection solutions including a range of local support services, customer training, and technical expertise to ensure successful implementation and operation.“At Sigma, we are proud to work with world-leading technology brands from America, Europe, and Japan, among others. By partnering with ANYbotics, Sigma Enterprises can leverage its expertise in advanced technology to expand its offerings and provide effective solutions to its customers.” Marwan Moubarak, Managing Director, Sigma Enterprises LLCANYmal - Revolutionizing Industrial InspectionANYmal is a rugged, autonomous, highly mobile inspection solution with ready-to-use payloads and a leading non-Ex inspection robot. As the world's only Ex-certified legged robot solution, ANYmal X combines the performance of ANYmal and is the world’s only Ex-proof legged robot for safe use in hazardous and potentially explosive atmospheres.Whether automating repetitive tasks, performing detailed inspections in hard-to-reach areas, ensuring safety compliance, or monitoring environmental parameters, ANYmal and ANYmal X are the leading robotic inspection solutions for the oil & gas, chemical, and power sectors.See ANYmal, ANYbotics and Sigma Enterprises in ActionThe ANYbotics - Sigma Enterprises partnership and ANYmal will be showcased at ADIPEC 2023 in Abu Dhabi, October 2-5. More than 2,200 companies worldwide, representing the entire energy ecosystem and beyond, will gather at ADIPEC to showcase the latest strategies and innovations defining tomorrow's energy. This makes the event an ideal platform to showcase ANYmal’s capabilities.ANYmal's presence at ADIPEC will allow industry professionals to learn firsthand how robotic solutions can improve efficiency, safety, and productivity. Demonstrations will showcase ANYmal's potential applications in plant inspection, asset monitoring, and environmental tasks.

Mindware and BitTitan sign VAD partnership agreement

Dubai: Mindware, a leading value-added distributor (VAD) in the Middle East and Africa, today announced its distributor partnership with BitTitan, a premier provider of cloud migration solutions. As per the terms of the agreement, Mindware will market and distribute BitTitan's suite of migration solutions for managed services automation, enabling the vendor to broaden its SaaS migration services within the Middle East and Africa region. This strategic partnership aims to provide regional businesses of all sizes with a seamless and efficient experience when they need to migrate data to the Cloud or between tenants.Speaking about the partnership, Silmi Khanfir, Director of Cloud & XaaS at Mindware commented: “Businesses are transforming, and so is their IT spend strategy. We live in a digital, and data-driven world where migration to the Cloud securely is a constant challenge faced by enterprises. BitTitan’s fully automated, industry-leading SaaS solution simplifies Cloud migration projects. Mindware’s collaboration with the company will give our current and potential customers the tools required to expand and operate in the Cloud with enhanced efficiency, security, and productivity. The company’s robust solution portfolio will help Mindware’s channel partners to play a vital role in aiding enterprises to digitally transform with confidence while optimizing time and resources.”Companies and organizations around the globe are migrating to the cloud and between cloud tenants in response to ongoing trends. Migration activity has increased as a result of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Moreover, companies are requiring migrations as they move more to the cloud to support remote work and workplace modernization. Technology changes, including cybersecurity concerns and Microsoft’s upcoming end to active and security support for Exchange Server, are also driving migration activity. IT teams and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are looking for an intuitive yet customizable migration tool that will handle projects of every size and type.BitTitan’s secure, fast, and scalable MigrationWiz is the industry-leading, 100% SaaS solution that enables users to quickly and securely migrate email, files, and other workloads from a wide range of source and destination endpoints. The company has customers in over 180 countries and has successfully migrated more than 28 million users.Mindware supports 4,000+ partners across the region. With the new VAD partnership, BitTitan will have increased presence in the region and be able to leverage trusted channel partnerships of Mindware.The two companies will work together on several key initiatives including identifying cloud partners who align with the vendor’s goals; offering BitTitan product and technical training and certification; digital marketing campaigns including webinars and social media activations; and joint participation at live in-region events to build brand awareness, generate demand, and attract the attention of industry leaders and decision-makers.Lon Clark, Sr. Director, Global Channel Sales, at BitTitan said: "BitTitan is thrilled to partner with Mindware, a leading distributor in the Middle East and Africa. Our commitment is to enable our partners with the solutions they need to ensure swift and secure data migration for customers.”“Together with Mindware, we’re providing our partners with a single source for best-of-breed cloud migration solutions capable of managing multiple cloud workloads. Whether migrating between instances of tenant-to-tenant environments or Microsoft Teams, MigrationWiz provides a seamless migration experience for end-user companies, ensures a high level of customer satisfaction, and enables our partners to achieve continued business growth,” he concluded.

Nutanix promotes Paulo Pereira to Vice President of EMEA Presales

Dubai: Nutanix, a leader in hybrid multicloud computing,  today announced that Paulo Pereira joins the worldwide leadership team as Vice President, EMEA Presales.Paulo joined Nutanix in 2016, where he hit the ground running as a Systems Engineering (SE) Manager for the Middle East. With his dedication and strategic approach, he quickly moved into managing EMEA Emerging Markets, where he has been leading with distinction for the last 5 years. Before Nutanix, Paulo spent 16 years at Cisco, working in diverse roles across Portugal, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.Commenting on the appointment, Mike Phelan, SVP Global Solution Sales at Nutanix says, “Paulo’s passion for work, and life, shine through in his leadership style. Those who have worked closely with Paulo remark on his ability to simultaneously inspire, challenge and mentor others through change. He is deeply analytical, thoughtful, a straight shooter, and someone who doesn’t shy away from a challenge. I couldn't be more excited about what he will accomplish in this new leadership role at Nutanix.”“I am truly honoured to lead Nutanix’s EMEA pre-sales team, at an exciting time when digital transformation is the need of the hour, cloud computing and AI are imperatives and no longer a luxury. In the cloud space, Nutanix is at the forefront of innovation - solving the very toughest challenges that plague organizations as they try to wrap their minds around the complexities of hybrid cloud. We understand that enterprises have unique requirements and are at different stages of the cloud adoption cycle, and our job is to identify and match technology opportunities with customers’ business issues and objectives. I’m looking forward to progressing the great work that’s currently underway and excited to move Nutanix’s business to the next level across the region,” concludes Paulo Pereira.

Arab Telemedia Studios participates in the International Broadcasting Conference

In line with Arab Telemedia Studios commitment to keeping pace with technological advancements and digital innovations in the field of studios and broadcasting services, the company is participating in the 2023 International Broadcasting Conference taking place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, from September 15th to 18th.The conference serves as a dynamic platform where significant global technological developments unfold, bringing together international media outlets and everything related to the entertainment industry and modern technology. It showcases the latest cutting-edge technologies that offer viewers a delightful and entertaining experience, catering to their diverse preferences and interests.Furthermore, the conference, with its diverse activities, serves as a magnet for leading companies in the film and television production sector. They convene to discuss technological advancements and how to harness them to meet the requirements of viewers who follow a variety of artistic works with different themes.This year's conference attracts a substantial number of companies and individuals to attend sessions and seminars related to digital and technological broadcasting. Participating entities aim to share success stories and exchange expertise and knowledge.The conference boasts over 37,000 participants representing nearly 170 countries and features specialized exhibitions, expected to surpass 1,000 exhibitors. It will host 250 speakers from various parts of the world during discussion and dialogue sessions covering a wide range of technical and technological topics and issues.

Google faces biggest anti-trust trial in the US

A major landmark antitrust trial is set to begin in the US, targeting Google. The case was filed in December 2020 by the Justice Department and eleven states, accusing Google of maintaining its stranglehold on the search market through deals with smartphone manufacturers and Internet browser creators. This, says the Justice Department, has made Google the default search engine almost everywhere. These deals often include provisions preventing partners from installing rival search engines. Google's legal troubles poin to a major shift in the regulatory approach towards tech giants. For years, major tech companies went on an expansion spree without much constraint, but now they face multiple antitrust investigations. The outcome of the Google case will have far-reaching implications extending beyond online advertising and search engines, particularly in the realm of AI technologies.Google's huge market share—nearly ninety percent of US general search queries—led the US government to label it a "gatekeeper for the internet." The US government argues that Google's monopoly profits allow it to perpetuate its dominance through these deals, leading to a cycle of control and profit.Google defends saying that its market dominance is the result of offering a superior product. The company argues that users have a choice and so they choose Google. Unlike the Microsoft case in 1998, where most users preferred Netscape, Google claims that consumers genuinely prefer its search engine. Google also says that it's easy for users to switch to alternative search engines if they desire, such as Bing or DuckDuckGo.AI-based search sites like Neeva, which seek to challenge Google's dominance with AI-powered search, faced difficulties attracting users due to Google's dominance. The verdict in the Google case could determine the future of online search and the emerging AI-driven search technologies.The Google antitrust case is reminiscent of the Microsoft case in 1998, when the software giant faced an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice and twenty states. Microsoft was accused of engaging in anti-competitive practices in both the computer operating systems and Internet browser markets.

Air France-KLM appoints new Regional Commercial Director for the Middle East

Dubai: Air France-KLM has announced the appointment of Hichame Lahkim Bennani as the new Regional Commercial Director for the Middle East region. In his new role, Mr. Lahkim Bennani will be responsible for the regional team covering pricing, marketing and business intelligence, e-commerce and distribution for the Middle East including the company's online and offline markets.Hichame Lahkim Bennani has taken over the role from his predecessor, Sylvain Mathias, who has moved to a new position within the group. Mr. Lahkim Bennani is based at the company’s regional headquarters in Dubai Airport Free Zone, United Arab Emirates and reports directly to the Air France-KLM General Manager Middle East, Simon Scholte.In his career with Air France KLM, Hichame Lahkim Bennani has held a series of senior executive positions across a range of business areas from sales to business development, yield management and pricing responsibilities. He has held key roles at the Paris group headquarters and in international locations, including India, Nigeria, Switzerland and The Netherlands. He was selected as a finalist in the Air France ‘Boostez Le Futur’ program 2019 for an Intrapreneurial project platform. Hichame Lahkim Bennani holds a Master of Management degree from ESSEC Business School and an Engineering degree from Ecole Mohammadia d'Ingénieurs. He is fluent in English, French and Arabic.Commenting on the new appointment, Simon Scholte, General Manager Middle East, Air France-KLM, said: ‘We are delighted to announce Hichame Lahkim Bennani as the new Regional Commercial Director for the Middle East and to welcome him to the regional team. With a distinguished 17-year career with Air France-KLM, Hichame brings extensive international experience and broad expertise to his new role. He has an outstanding track record in leading diverse teams, innovative thinking andstrategies to deliver consistently impressive results. Hichame will add significant value to our regional team and our ability to provide exceptional service and drive growth within the Middle East region.”

Visa's "GetP@id" initiative empowers Gen Z content creators in the UAE

Dubai: Visa, the world's leader in digital payments, launched its innovative "GetP@id" initiative, dedicated to helping Gen Z creators and influencers transform their passions into profitable careers. This initiative marks Visa's commitment to nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by bridging the gap between creativity and commerce.Visa's "GetP@id" kicked off with an interactive workshop led by Emirati content creator Khalid Al Ameri, a renowned figure with 21 million followers across several social media platforms. The workshop, hosted at Visa's headquarters in Dubai on Sunday 17 September, provided a unique opportunity for aspiring creators to gain valuable insights from Khalid Al Ameri, who shared his personal journey, learnings, and challenges encountered while transitioning from a hobbyist to a successful content creator. The aim was to educate and empower novice content creators, helping them improve and grow in their skills.Tarek Abdalla, Visa's Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), said: "Visa's 'GetP@id' initiative comes at a crucial time. A study revealed that only 2.5% of Gen Z individuals across CEMEA have successfully transformed content creation into a sustainable career[1]. This means there remains a significant pool of Gen Z talent in our region with a strong desire for content creation as a career choice."He continued, "Through the 'GetP@id' initiative, we aim to create a collaborative ecosystem where budding creators can learn from established ones, fostering their success in their chosen fields. By inspiring creators to shift from pursuing their passions to making a living, Visa remains at the forefront of promoting financial inclusion, facilitating money movement, and fostering success for the creators of tomorrow."Khalid Al Ameri expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative, stating, "Visa's 'GetP@id' is a game-changer for young creators in the UAE. It's not just about turning a passion into a paycheck; it's about understanding the difference between a hobby and a thriving business. I'm thrilled to be a part of this initiative and help empower the next generation of content creators." Visa's recent study shows that 37% of Gen Z individuals in the UAE earn income from their own businesses, similar to non-Gen Z counterparts at 39%[2]. This underscores the importance of offering Gen Z creators the support and resources they need to shift from hobbies to successful entrepreneurs.As part of this initiative, Visa aims to work closely with established creators to mentor emerging talent, providing them with the necessary tools, tips, and support to turn content creation into a lucrative career. For more information about Visa's "GetP@id" initiative, please visit our website.

Positive Technologies: Most attacks on individuals in ME involve spyware

Positive Technologies analyzed attacks on individuals in Middle Eastern countries between 2022 and 2023. Malware was used in 70% of successful attacks. More than half of these attacks involved spyware. The vast majority of attacks used social engineering techniques. In 20% of phishing campaigns, the attack was multi-pronged, exploiting multiple social engineering channels simultaneously.According to our data, cybercriminals employed malware in 7 out of 10 successful attacks on individuals in the Middle East region. More often than not, the attackers infected users' devices with spyware (three out of five malware attacks). This type of malware collects information from the infected device and then passes it on to the attacker. Depending on the task, spyware can steal personal and financial data, user credentials, as well as files from the device's memory.Positive Technologies Information Security Research Analyst Roman Reznikov comments: "By using spyware, attackers can compromise not only personal and payment information and personal accounts, but also corporate credentials, network connection information, and other sensitive data. The stolen data is then offered for sale on the dark web forums. As a result, a skilled attacker can gain access to an organization and carry out a successful attack, leading to non-tolerable consequences: disruption of technological and business processes, theft of funds, leakage of confidential information, attacks on customers and partners."In the vast majority (96%) of successful attacks on individuals in the Middle East countries, social engineering techniques were employed. Most often, these were mass attacks in which the criminals aimed to reach the maximum number of victims. To achieve this, they actively leveraged current news about significant global and regional events, including the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar.In every fifth (20%) phishing campaign, the attack was multi-pronged, exploiting multiple social engineering channels simultaneously. Criminals led the victims through a series of steps until the device was infected and data stolen. For instance, users could be lured through social media accounts that contained links to a messenger channel from which the victim would install a malicious application.One of the reasons for the success of social engineering is the numerous data leaks from various organizations. According to our research on the cybersecurity threatscape in the Middle East, 63% of successful attacks on individuals in the region resulted in leaks of confidential information. The majority of stolen information consisted of personal data (30%) and account credentials (30%). Cybercriminals were also interested in payment card data (10%) and user correspondence (8%).On the dark web, malicious actors sell information about users and also provide stolen data archives for free. Criminals use the compromised information in subsequent attacks on users. For example, a successful attack on a bank could result in fraudulent actions against its customers.Cybersecurity experts recommend that users follow cyberhygiene rules. Companies also need to ensure the security of employee and customer data. Data breaches cause reputational and financial damage and put at risk users whose information has been compromised. To maintain cyberresilience, it's essential to regularly assess the effectiveness of security measures and pay special attention to verification of non-tolerable events

McDonald’s UAE revamps its app experience

Dubai:  McDonald's UAE gives brand fans a reason to smile with the latest updates to the McDonald's App. The updates are focused on customer convenience while offering them the chance to earn and redeem Reward Points on delivery via the MyM Rewards Program.The ordering process has never been easier, promising a more convenient experience that caters to all customers’ needs. For the busy customers, you have the opportunity to order ahead for drive-thru or skip the que and pick-up your order from the front counter. For those who prefer ordering from the comfort of their homes, the App now offers a streamlined ordering process with order tracking. What's more, customers can earn and redeem Reward Points for delivery orders as well. For those who'd like to dine in, the App can be used to place an order, select table service, and enjoy a relaxed dining experience and your order will be served to your table.Continuing to enhance the ordering convenience for brand lovers, McDonald’s UAE has also introduced Curbside Pickup as an extension of their App services. The new service is currently available at the Umm Suqeim restaurant, with plans to roll it out across other McDonald’s restaurants in the UAE. This service allows customers to place orders through the App from designated parking spaces, and their orders will be delivered straight to their car, for increased convenience.Available exclusively via the App, customers can choose from great deals when ordering for delivery or pickup. Some of the deals include, for a limited time, receiving a complimentary meal when buying a meal for delivery, the opportunity to get large fries for only 5 AED when placing a pickup order, or redeeming only 800 Reward Points to get a Chickenburger or a Cheeseburger and for those looking for a great meal, you can also redeem 2,900 Reward Points to get a Big Mac Medium Meal or a McChicken Medium Meal!

Saudi-China Entrepreneurs Association & Hong Kong Trade Council Ink MoU

Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneurs Association has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Hong Kong Trade Development Council ("HKTDC") to promote trade and business between Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia. The MoU was signed during the eighth Belt and Road Summit on 13th September 2023, which was jointly organized by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the HKTDC. Under the theme of "Ten Years of Cooperation for Mutual Benefit," the summit spanned two days and attracted nearly 6,000 government officials, business leaders, and entrepreneurs from almost 70 countries and regions. Over 100 delegations from overseas and Mainland China participated in various summit activities.This year's summit explored opportunities in emerging markets along the Belt and Road Initiative, particularly the Middle East markets and the South East Asia markets. In his opening speech, Mr. John Lee, the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, expressed his belief in the potential of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Middle East regions. Since the full implementation of customs clearance this year, he has led business and professional delegations to visit these two regions twice, resulting in fruitful outcomes. Li cited his visit to the Middle East in February as an example, highlighting substantial achievements such as Hong Kong companies providing hydrogen-powered cars and refueling stations, offering energy-saving and environmental services, and planning cooperative ventures in the hotel industry. These accomplishments reflect the diverse business opportunities in the Middle East.The Middle Eastern countries are key partners of the Belt and Road Initiative, providing extensive cooperation opportunities and potential for economic, trade, and infrastructure development with China. Focusing on the new opportunities, developments, and collaborations that the Middle East market offers under the Belt and Road Initiative, this year's summit boasts the largest number of Middle Eastern guests in its history. Among them are notable figures such as Rania A. Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation of the Arab Republic of Egypt, and Abdulla Bin Touq AlMarri, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates, along with several Middle Eastern enterprises.During the roundtable discussion at the Middle East session, Jerry Li, Founding Partner of eWTP Arabia Capital and Director-General of the Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneurs Association, remarked, "The Middle East and Hong Kong are full of potential for cooperation and mutual benefit in the fields of finance, new energy, and digital technology. The Middle East has set numerous development goals to achieve its 2030 vision, while Hong Kong possesses world-class financial and technological talents, as well as industry clusters. Collaboration between the two parties will not only diversify the Middle East's economy but also enhance Hong Kong's international influence and reshape its position as a global financial center."During the Belt and Road Summit, Saudi Arabia-China Entrepreneurs Association (SCEA), a non-profit organisation initiated by eWTP Arabia Capital to boost cooperation between the private sectors in Saudi Arabia and China, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the HKTDC. The MoU aims to strengthen the commercial and economic ties between Hong Kong and the Middle East regions, particularly start-ups and service providers looking to expand beyond their countries of origin.Since its establishment, Saudi-China Entrepreneurs Association (SCEA) has been committed to becoming a vital bridge between Hong Kong and the Middle East. In February this year, Chief Executive Mr. John Lee visited the Middle East and expressed his support towards the establishment of the SCEA in Saudi Arabia. In July, the SCEA officially announced the establishment of its first Asian office in Hong Kong and signed a MOU to cooperate with 11 Mainland China and Hong Kong companies and facilitate their entry in the Saudi market. Additionally, the SCEA assisted in facilitating the visit of His Excellency Engineer Abdullah Al-Swaha, the Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology, to Hong Kong in July, further enhancing cooperation between the two parties.Operated by SCEA, eWTP Arabia Capital has established deep partnerships with the Hong Kong government, major financial institutions, industrial companies, and technological innovation platforms in Hong Kong since Chief Executive Mr. John Lee's visit to the Middle East in February. Supported by the HKTDC, eWTP Arabia Capital has hosted more than 100 partners from various industries in Hong Kong, including real estate, finance, trade, technology innovation, and healthcare. Currently, eWTP Arabia Capital is actively facilitating the establishment of these institutions and companies' presence in Saudi Arabia.eWTP Arabia Capital has invited a Saudi business delegation to attend the Belt and Road Summit and showcase their products during the pitch sessions in a bid to facilitate connections with investors in Hong Kong. The delegation comprises COFE, a Kuwait-originated company that offers an online marketplace for coffee enthusiasts, Advanced Communications & Electronic Systems Company (ACES), a Saudi Arabia-based digital infrastructure company, and Navigator Consulting, a Saudi Arabia-based strategic consulting company. They were represented by Ali Al Ebrahim, Founder and CEO of COFE, Akram Aburas, CEO and Founder of ACES, and Alfred Wang, CEO of Navigator Consulting.

GM and Cruise ME Announce Fresh Leadership for Innovative Mobility solutions

Mobility technology veteran Gary West has joined the self-driving technology company Cruise as Managing Director of Cruise Middle East, effective September 2023. West will lead the company’s commercialization efforts in the region surrounding the strategic partnership with Dubai’s Roads and Transit Authority (RTA).In 2021, RTA selected Cruise as their exclusive provider for self-driving ride-hail services, making Dubai the first international city Cruise will expand to. Cruise autonomous vehicles are currently conducting data collection and initial testing in Jumeirah 1 on Dubai’s traffic systems, signals, signage, and driving behavior.Prior to joining Cruise, West played an instrumental role in setting up GM’s connectivity offering in the region and laid the cornerstone for GM’s autonomous and electric technology in the Middle East. He served as GM’s Managing Director of OnStar Middle East and Head of Future Mobility. This followed a three-decade tenure with GM, which spanned multiple continents and encompassed various roles in operations, mobility strategy, and more.President and Managing Director of General Motors Africa Middle East Operations, Jack Uppal, announced that Luis De La Cruz would succeed Gary as Managing Director, OnStar, and Digital Business. De La Cruz will be responsible for leading the growth of GM’s Digital Business in Africa and the Middle East, as well as supporting GM International Connected Operations.Charged with establishing the groundwork of GM’s future Connected Digital Business, De La Cruz and his team will spearhead the expansion of the OnStar business across the region. They will also debut consumer technologies such as Super Cruise and other consumer solutions enabled by the Software Defined Vehicle.“GM is leading the transformation of the automotive industry. Gary and Luis will play important roles in the implementation of self-driving and connectivity technologies for customers in the Middle East, supporting GM and Cruise’s shared vision of a world of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion,” added Jack Uppal.Luis De La Cruz began his career at GM Mexico in 2008 and has since made significant contributions in Global Purchasing and Portfolio planning over the years.äf-takes-charge-of-dual-gm-role-at-iconic-dubai-marriott-properties

Gerrit Gräf Takes Charge of Dual GM Role at Iconic Dubai Marriott Properties

JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai and Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites are delighted to announce the appointment of Gerrit Gräf as the new Multi-Property General Manager effective September 2023. Gräf is an industry veteran, with a career spanning over two decades with Marriott, having held diverse roles across eight renowned brands in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East and brings with him a wealth of experience overseeing 14 successful hotel openings throughout his career.Gräf’s journey with Marriott began in 1996 as the Director of Food & Beverage at the Renaissance Cologne Hotel in Germany. His exceptional performance led him to the UAE in 2000, where he assumed the role of Director of F&B at JW Marriott Hotel, with his outstanding leadership resulting in a promotion as Director of Operations at the property within three years.Building on his achievements throughout eight successful years in Dubai, Gräf embarked on a new challenge and relocated to Doha to assume the position of Hotel Manager at the Renaissance, Courtyard and Marriott Executive Apartments complex. In the same year, his exceptional capabilities earned him the position of Regional Director of Operations, overseeing South Asia, Malaysia, Australia, and the Maldives. In 2014, he spearheaded the opening of the Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit & Marriott Executive Apartments Sukhumvit Thonglor, as Multi-Property General Manager.In 2015, Gräf returned to the Middle East as Hotel Manager for the opening of The Ritz-Carlton Jeddah, and within a year, he assumed the position of General Manager at The Ritz-Carlton Riyadh. His exemplary leadership and extensive experience led to his appointment as Area Vice President for Marriott’s Premium Select Brands for the UAE in 2019. In this role, he successfully oversaw Marriott’s 32 Premium and Select Brands within the UAE.Before his current appointment, Gräf held the prestigious position of Multi-Property General Manager at Le Royal Méridien Doha, Agora Doha - Autograph Collection Hotel, Qabila Westbay - Autograph Collection and Palais Vendôme Doha, A Luxury Collection Hotel during the Pre-Opening. Responsible for overseeing the development of several luxury properties, encompassing 889 rooms, suites, residences, and creative event locations, Gräf also supervised 12 lounges and award-winning restaurants. Notably, his remarkable contributions were recognized in March 2023 in Abu Dhabi where he received the Marriott EMEA 2022/2023 Leadership of Excellence Award. "I am excited about my return to Dubai and honored to take on this role, continuing my journey with Marriott in such a dynamic region," expressed Gerrit Gräf. "I'm committed to not only maintaining but elevating the exceptional standards these iconic properties are known for and to lead the dedicated teams at JW Marriott Marquis Dubai and Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites to create extraordinary guest experiences."Gräf’s visionary leadership and dedication to excellence, combined with his extensive expertise in managing luxury properties within the Marriott portfolio, will undoubtedly usher in a chapter of unparalleled hospitality, innovation, and exceptional guest experiences at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai and Dubai Marriott Harbour Hotel & Suites.

Kaspersky inaugurates Transparency Center in Riyadh

The “Kaspersky Transparency Center”, first of its kind in the Middle East was inaugurated today by His Excellency the Vice Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Engineer Haitham bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ohali, in the presence of officials from the Ministry, the company, and a number of specialists from the technology industry. The launch is an essential part of Kaspersky’s Global Transparency Initiative, a flagship program committed to building trust and assuring the integrity of the company’s solutions and processes.Kaspersky selected Riyadh as the venue for its first Transparency Center in the Middle East to closely align with the goals of “Saudi Vision 2030”. The vision aims to promote the Kingdom’s position as the hub for technology and innovation, and has transformed the country into a destination to attracts international companies to establish their regional headquarters in Riyadh.Visitors to the Transparency Center in Riyadh can review the source code of all of Kaspersky on-premise solutions. The whole review process depends on the level of sophistication and follows “piste” skiing classification color codes – “blue”, “red”, and “black”. “Blue piste” offers a general overview of the security development processes of Kaspersky products and services, as well as data management procedures. “Red piste” allows a review of the most critical aspects of source code, assisted by the company’s specialists, and provides a targeted analysis of a particular functionality. “Black piste” enables visitors to conduct the most comprehensive source code review, with the help of Kaspersky’s experts.Commenting on the company’s further developments in the region, Eugene Kaspersky, Founder and CEO of Kaspersky, noted:“This year we celebrate the five-year anniversary of our Global Transparency Initiative. As true pioneers in advancing digital trust, we are pleased to celebrate the arrival of this initiative in the Middle East region, which is witnessing rapid digital transformation. In order to enhance our partners’ confidence in the services we provide to them, we are pleased to welcome them to the newly opened Transparency Center in Riyadh to answer any questions about the nature of our work and our solutions.”

DEWA joins with Microsoft to Embrace Cutting-Edge AI for Digital Transformation

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has adopted Microsoft Power Platform and its AI-powered tool Copilot. The move is part of DEWA’s efforts to utilise the latest global technologies in all areas and benefit from the capabilities of generative AI to enhance DEWA’s digital transformation. Copilot will assist software developers at DEWA in building smart programmes and applications that support DEWA’s operations more smoothly and efficiently by utilising generative AI tools.“We work to develop DEWA’s digital channels using the latest disruptive technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and generative AI tools. This aligns with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the smartest and happiest city in the world. Adopting the Microsoft Power Platform Copilot is part of our efforts to utilise AI in all our services and operations. DEWA invests in its digital infrastructure to enhance the digital transformation to promote stakeholders’ happiness and provide value-added advanced digital services,” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.The Copilot supports developers and programmers in writing code and developing applications. It understands the context of the code being written and provides suggestions and guidance to programmers during the programming process, in addition to tips on how to format code and correct errors to speed up the development process.

Harley-Davidson Doha Welcomes Riders to Embrace Freedom with Exclusive Deals!

With the beginning of the Riding season, Harley-Davidson Doha launched a special offer on the full range of 2022 and 2023 models with an attractive benefits package.Valid until 4 October 2023, customers can avail of the new offer to buy a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and leverage a wide range of benefits including free one-year registration, first year third party insurance, a three-year manufacturer warranty with unlimited mileage, and free first and second service.All new buyers will receive a complimentary gift voucher worth QAR 2,000 for purchases from Harley-Davidson accessories.The offer features special prices on the bikes the 2022 Softail Fatboy FLFBS 114 for QR 106,200 and 2022 Touring FLHTK for QR 128,920.Harley-Davidson Doha special offers reflect the company’s commitment to the local community and the brand's loyal enthusiasts to offer them the best deals and services that exceed their expectations.The full range of Harley-Davidson motorcycles is available at Harley-Davidson Doha Showroom on Salwa Road. For more information, customers can call 44632428/29 or Visit our Harley-Davidson showroom on Salwa Road from Saturday through Thursday, from 10:30 AM until 8 PM.

Assembly wins Virgin Mobile UAE account

Assembly, a global omni-channel media agency will be taking the new account of Virgin Mobile UAE.From now, Assembly will be responsible for building Virgin Mobile UAE’s affiliate network and enhancing its user experience. It will also be in-charge of managing Virgin Mobile’s digital activities to take on its many campaigns, which include paid and organic media channels, and data and analytics. Therefore, Assembly will act as a CRM consultancy for Virgin Mobile. Faisal Dean, CEO of Assembly MENA expressed his excitement on winning the Virgin Mobile UAE account. He shares, “The partnership will showcase our commitment to collaborate with clients as business partners, providing market leading activations touching all stages of the customer journey. With our strengths in data, talent and tech, we are confident in delivering exceptional value to find the change that fuels growth for Virgin Mobile UAE.”Rob Beswick, Managing Director, Virgin Mobile UAE ,shares: “Assembly MENA has demonstrated their ability to effectively navigate the complexities of the advertising landscape. We are excited about this partnership, and we are looking forward to working together with them in elevating our brand, engaging with our customers in innovative and impactful ways and unlocking new avenues of success.”Virgin Mobile UAE had also recently appointed Havas Middle East to be its creative and public relations partner.

Hana Khatib to handle two positions at GroupM

GroupM has appointed Hana Khatib as Chief Operating Officer (COO)-Effeciency Hubs. Hana, who is already the Regional MD Levant for GroupM, will retain her position. She will be handling both the senior positions simultaneously.  Hana is a highly experienced and dedicated professional who has consistently excelled at Mindshare and within the broader GroupM family. Her expertise in operational excellence, strategic management, and the art of driving efficient processes has consistently been demonstrated throughout her remarkable journey within the Group.As COO of the Efficiency Hubs, Hana will be instrumental in overseeing all regional operations.Amer El Hajj, CEO, GroupM, MENA, said: “Hana's appointment signifies the pivotal role the COO - Efficiency Hubs holds in driving operational excellence, refining resource utilization, and streamlining processes within our dynamic Efficiency Hubs.”

IKEA ropes in McCann for global ad account

Ingka Group, the biggest IKEA retailer, has awarded its global ad account to McCann, as the company looks to “streamline” its agency operations.After a thorough process, the advertising agency McCann with its base in Madrid, has been procured for the global assignment. According to reports the account will be run out of McCann Spain which already has a working relationship with IKEA.It is the first time, IKEA has given its ad account to a single agency. With this, McCann will handle Ikea retail for the Ingka Group, which consists of 379 Ikea stores across 31 markets.Licca Li, Acting Global Marketing Manager, Ingka Group said: “As one of the most trusted brands in the world, we have the responsibility to show how we are leading from our vision and purpose; that we are siding with the many through our affordable range and actions we take as a company for people and the planet. I am excited to see how this shift gives us the opportunity to connect to more people with a stronger voice.”The Global Marketing team of Ingka Group is in lead of this transformational change, whilst the operating team is the Marketing team of IKEA Spain. McCann Spain was chosen after the collaboration between the IKEA Global Marketing team and the Marketing team at IKEA Spain. The new approach allows to secure simplified and impactful processes that supports creative quality, with the ambition to stronger position IKEA in all markets. Gabriel Ladaria, IKEA, Spain’s Marketing Director, shares: “We are very excited that McCann has been finally chosen as winner, with us as the operating team. It makes us proud and serves as an acknowledgment for the work that has been carried out for the IKEA brand in Spain for years now. It also comes with the responsibility to build up and strengthen the emotional connection with consumers from all Ingka Group countries in a solid and consistent way, while leaning on the strengths that have shaped how we communicate at IKEA Spain and positioned the IKEA brand as the benchmark it is today.” The new approach and partnership starts in September 2023, and the outcome of this plans are to be visible during spring 2024. “We are humbled and excited to be appointed as IKEA’s first global brand marketing partner,” says Daryl Lee, Global CEO, McCann Worldgroup and McCann and continues: “IKEA’s vision to create a better everyday life for the many people, based on universal truths, is perfectly aligned with our global philosophy of Truth Well Told. Our teams that collaborated around the world, brilliantly led by McCann Spain, cannot wait to launch an enduring brand platform that resonates globally and further builds IKEA’s leadership position in every market.”In the region, IKEA retail stores are operated by Al Futtaim Group and Ghassan Ahmed Al Sulaiman Furnishing Co. Al-Futtaim group holds the franchise rights for the store in four countries: Egypt, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. In Saudi Arabia, IKEA stores are operated by Ghassan Ahmed Al Sulaiman Furnishing Co.Fp7 McCann had also recently worked on IKEA’s latest regional campaign, ‘Bring on the Mess’. In this, IKEA was seen accepting a challenge where people make messes and let IKEA provide them with their storage solutions.

Top female leaders express optimism about growth despite ongoing challenges

An overwhelming 77 percent of female executives surveyed in KPMG's Global Female Leaders Outlook (GFLO) anticipate gender equality in the corporate world within the next 15 years or sooner. This encouraging statistic stems from a comprehensive survey of 839 top female managers worldwide, marking the fourth consecutive study since 2018 tracking their perspectives on global business trends. Notably, half of the companies where these female executives are employed report revenues exceeding $500 million.The report indicates that a significant three-quarters of respondents foresee progress in the realms of diversity and inclusion in the coming years. Yet, regional variations are apparent, with female managers in North America displaying higher optimism levels compared to their counterparts in other regions. In Qatar, the enthusiasm towards gender equality initiatives is equally strong, reflecting a growing commitment to fostering inclusive workplaces and supporting women in leadership positions.The importance of gender diversity at the C-level cannot be overstated, as 75 percent of respondents regard it as a pivotal factor for future growth. This aligns with Qatar's commitment to gender equality and its recognition of the vital role women play in driving innovation and success within the business ecosystem.Addressing the gender pay gap, the report reveals that the pay gap for leadership roles currently stands at 38 percent. Encouragingly, 45 percent of participants confirm transparency within their companies regarding equal pay, while 33 percent report a lack of transparency. An additional 22 percent indicate a need for further data collection on the pay gap issue.Positive Outlook Amidst Challenges: Female Leaders Embrace the FutureIn addition to matters of equality, this year's Global Female Leaders Outlook delved into the growth prospects envisioned by female executives for their companies and personal careers. Despite ongoing challenges and uncertainties, the outlook remains overwhelmingly positive. Remarkably, 84 percent of female respondents anticipate growth for their companies over the next three years, even as tasks become more complex (90 percent). Additionally, 72 percent see opportunities for personal career advancement in these dynamic times, showcasing their resilience and adaptability.Barbara Henzen, Partner and Head of Tax at KPMG in Qatar, remarks, "As female executives continue to navigate the evolving business landscape, their resilience and optimism are commendable. In Qatar, we are witnessing a growing recognition of the importance of gender diversity in driving innovation and success. By nurturing an inclusive culture and supporting women in leadership, we can contribute significantly to Qatar's business ecosystem's growth and development."Huda Ibrahim, Clients and Markets Manager at KPMG in Qatar, adds, "Having grown up and built my career in Qatar, I have personally witnessed the evolving business landscape. At KPMG in Qatar, we are dedicated to creating an inclusive workplace that celebrates diversity. We take pride in actively supporting women in leadership roles and believe in paving the way for greater opportunities for all professionals in Qatar."Increasing Emphasis on Personal NetworksRegarding the structural conditions for a successful career, the report highlights a significant increase in the importance of personal networks, with 57 percent of respondents emphasizing their role in career advancement. This aligns with Qatar's business culture, where relationships and alliances are highly valued.Image by CoWomen on Unsplash

Lipton brewing tea with ‘Project Chaiwala’

Lipton, the world’s leading tea brand, is partnering with UAE-based café concept, Project Chaiwala, to provide exclusive, tailor-made blends from the best tea plantations. This is the first move, in a series of collaborations aimed at supporting Lipton’s regional market dominance through the support and uplift of homegrown UAE businesses.Project Chaiwala, a homegrown tea concept founded in 2017, sees the Lipton’s tea-masters collaborate with Project Chaiwala to understand the unique needs and taste preferences of the teashop and café’s clients.To start with, Lipton will provide Project Chaiwalla with three dedicated blends and a tea supply solution, eliminating concerns related to product sourcing, raw material availability, and tracking. The bespoke blends will not only provide customers with unparalleled tastes, but has also undergone a seven-step iterative process developed by experts who used different grades, original combinations, and sourced quality products from the finest tea gardens globally.Participants ranging from Lipton’s in-house experts to café staff and customers were invited to taste-test the various blends. Abhiroop Chuckarbutty, President- Africa, Middle East, and Turkey, Lipton Teas and Infusions, said: “We are very excited by this partnership with Project Chaiwala. Our vision focuses on reinforcing Lipton’s position within the regional market, and supporting local businesses and street side cafes is a key part of the objective. Both brands share similar values in that we are both passionate about tea, have strong links to the region, and put our consumers’ needs first. The bespoke blends we curated specifically for Project Chaiwala are only available for consumers at Project Chaiwala café. I believe this collaboration to be the beginning of a long-standing partnership.”Ahmed Kazim, Founder of Project Chaiwala, added: “As a UAE national who grew up here, this partnership with Lipton is a huge deal for me personally. We only started Project Chaiwala six years ago, so partnering with such a renowned name is hard to believe. This year represents major growth for the business as we aim to become a global company representing the multicultural heritage of the UAE through karak. We have plans to launch up to three flagship locations across the country this year, each with a new look yet retaining the traditional ‘Chaiwala experience.”Lipton’s collaboration with Project Chaiwala is the first of several, with further agreements in the pipeline for later this year.

Mercato Mall unveils a vibrant array of brands to enhance shoppers' experience

Mercato, the only Italian-themed mall in Dubai, is delighted to announce the opening of several new outlets, offering visitors the opportunity to shop, dine, and savor the authentic Italian ambiance.Mercato and Town Centre Jumeirah continuously welcome new brands to cater to both the local community and tourists visiting Dubai.We are thrilled to introduce a fresh array of brands for our guests to explore while visiting Mercato," said Nisreen Boustani, PR and Corporate Communications Manager at Mercato and Town Centre Jumeirah. "Whether you've visited us once or a hundred times, you can always expect something new to discover at Mercato. This year has been particularly fruitful, with many new brands opening at Mercato. Most recently, the spectacular Turkish restaurant, Pasha Sarayi, opened its doors to welcome residents and tourists. In addition to this exciting addition, Mercato's charming cobbled streets now host several other enticing outlets, including Soul Simple, Trouvaille Bistro, Gissah Perfumes, JR Ethical, Alberto's Chicken, and Sole Care. We are also eagerly anticipating the arrival of other exciting new brands in the near future, such as Happy Hoop, GANT, Long Life, Petra Cosmetics and Barakat”

STARZPLAY partners with Lega Serie A, PureHealth & Image Nation Abu Dhabi

Three Abu Dhabi-based organizations have partnered with Lega Serie A, Italy’s premier professional football league, to find the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s next football star and give them a chance to play on one of the world’s greatest sporting stages. STARZPLAY, one of the region’s leading subscription video-on-demand services, PureHealth, the largest healthcare platform in the Middle East, and Image Nation Abu Dhabi, the Academy Award-winning media and entertainment studio, have partnered with Lega Serie A to launch an original show, The Italian Dream. The show will help boost the UAE’s vibrant sports culture in line with PureHealth’s vision to promote longevity by encouraging a healthier, active lifestyle through the support of sporting activities.Offering the opportunity of a lifetime, this reality TV show gives the best young footballers in the MENA region the chance to showcase their talent and make their dreams come true. Over six episodes, The Italian Dream is filmed in the host emirate of Abu Dhabi, with Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Egypt also participating. Honing their skills alongside world-class players, the sport’s protégés will have the chance to play in one of world football’s biggest leagues.At a special launch for the show in Abu Dhabi which was attended by senior officials, HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism, Abu Dhabi; Masood M. Sharif Mahmood, CEO of Etisalat, UAE; Farhan Malik, Group CEO of PureHealth; Shaista Asif, Group COO of PureHealth; Maaz Sheikh, CEO of STARZPLAY; Lorenzo Fanara, Ambassador of the Republic of Italy to the UAE; Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Lega Serie A; Francesco Totti, the renowned former AS Roma football player and Lega Serie A ambassador and other senior representatives from PureHealth, STARZPLAY, Lega Serie A, and Image Nation Abu Dhabi.Footballing legends from Lega Serie A will participate in the show as mentors and guides for the competitors. The show will not only spotlight the participants' exceptional football skills but also offer insights into their families, their aspirations, the importance of healthy living for sport led by what Lega Serie A symbolizes for them.Maaz Sheikh, CEO, STARZPLAY, said: “The launch of The Italian Dream is a testament to STARZPLAY’s commitment to diversify its content range to meet its audience’s preferences, and its continued drive to produce the highest standard of Arabic content and showcase local talent. By examining audience viewing patterns and viewership data, we recognized that sports play a crucial role in attracting viewers across the Middle East and North Africa, with football standing out as the sport of choice in a nation driven by the vision of its leaders towards healthy and happy living. It was from this analysis that the concept for The Italian Dream was born.”Shaista Asif, Group Chief Operating Officer of PureHealth, said: “We are proud to support The Italian Dream TV show – a strategic collaboration that propels young football talent in the MENA region towards unprecedented opportunities. By empowering these aspiring athletes, we are not only shaping their futures but also fuelling the region’s sporting excellence.”She added: “Our participation in The Italian Dream reflects our deep commitment to empowering communities and ensuring their health, happiness, and overall well-being. By providing a platform for aspiring football talent in the MENA region, we contribute to the UAE’s efforts to nurture youth potential and foster a vibrant sports culture. At PureHealth, our vision extends beyond healthcare, as we believe in empowering individuals to lead longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives. Through this strategic collaboration, we are supporting a journey where health, sports, and community empowerment converge to create a brighter future for generations to come.”Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Lega Serie A, said: “The Italian Dream exemplifies Lega Serie A's commitment to investing in grassroots talent in the MENA region by providing opportunities for local emerging players to grow, learn, and showcase their abilities on one of the world's most renowned and storied football leagues – Lega Serie A. This project cements Lega Serie A's partnership with STARZPLAY, introducing a new dimension to the collaboration with an engaging content platform combining sports and entertainment for regional audiences.”  Commenting on the production, Ben Ross, Acting CEO of Image Nation said: “Image Nation constantly looks for diverse new projects that uncover inspirational stories from the UAE and the region. We are excited to embark on this unique show which will not only give a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to talented young footballers but will provide audiences with the chance to experience the emotional personal journeys of the lucky participants.”STARZPLAY is the home of Italian football in the MENA region with the rights to stream every match from the Lega Serie A live and exclusively. With thousands of hours of premium content including the best Western content, Arabic shows, Turkish favorites, anime, and live sports, STARZPLAY is fast solidifying its position as a leading multi-faceted entertainment hub. The service is available in 19 countries across the MENA for fans to enjoy quality content anytime, anywhere, and from any device.

Deja Vu Real Estate Appoints Mohab Samak as CEO to Elevate UAE Real Estate

Deja Vu Real Estate, a stalwart in the UAE's real estate landscape since its inception in 2007, proudly unveils the appointment of Mohab Samak as its new CEO and Managing Partner. Mohab Samak, a seasoned industry veteran with nearly two decades of experience in real estate, including distinguished roles at industry titans like Emaar, Hamptons International, and Engel & Völkers Dubai, is celebrated for his profound knowledge and expertise. This strategic alliance signifies a momentous occasion for the company, demonstrating its unwavering commitment to growth and transformation.The decision to welcome Mr. Samak into this pivotal role underlines Deja Vu's steadfast position as the leading authority in buying, selling, renting, and managing properties in the UAE. This appointment marks a significant milestone in the company's evolution, signaling its dedication to raising the bar in the industry. With a well-thought-out strategy in place, Deja Vu Real Estate is primed to ascend to the summit of the UAE real estate market. Deja Vu is committed to delivering excellence through its array of property services, effectively offering comprehensive one-stop solutions to all real-estate related queries. Central to their ethos is the art of relationship-building, and CEO and Managing Partner, Mr. Samak's wealth of industry experience will undoubtedly fortify these connections with clients. The company is eagerly anticipating Mr. Samak's contributions as they expand their real estate services and optimize their operations in Dubai. Mohab Samak, Managing Partner and CEO, says, “We are thrilled to extend an invitation to all our clients, partners, and stakeholders to join us on this exhilarating journey of growth. Together, we are set to redefine real estate consultancy standards and service levels, reaffirming our belief in the limitless potential of Dubai's real estate market and beyond." The UAE's real estate sector is currently experiencing unprecedented growth, and Deja Vu is strategically poised to seize these opportunities. Mr. Samak's appointment as CEO and Managing Partner aligns perfectly with the burgeoning real estate landscape in the UAE, which promises robust growth in the coming years. As the demand for housing continues to surge, and with the UAE's commitment to tailored housing solutions within its limited land space, property investment remains an enticing prospect for investors. Deja Vu eagerly welcomes Mr. Samak, a true visionary in the real estate arena, as their new partner.

IT Trends Report 2023: Observability Advances Automation and Empowers Innovation

SolarWinds (NYSE:SWI), a leading provider of simple, powerful, secure observability and IT management software, released the findings of its 2023 IT Trends Report: Lessons From Observability Leaders. The report explores how enterprises can act proactively to maximize the advantages of their observability solutions, integrate best practices into implementations, and mitigate common adoption challenges. The report also found that companies implementing observability benefit from increased operational efficiency, faster innovation, and better business outcomes overall.The new report is released in advance of IT Pro Day 2023, which falls on September 19 this year, and highlights a stark contrast between enterprises that have embraced observability and their peers who have not. Among the findings, the survey uncovered that observability leaders-those who follow best practices to leverage observability and report experiencing better business and IT outcomes as a result -are three times more likely to say their organization is doing extremely well with growing revenue, more than twice as likely to say the same about operational efficiency, and 2.5 times more likely to say they’re excelling with the speed of innovation. Observability leaders also gave higher ratings to their organization’s employee experience, including lower levels of reported employee burnout and fewer skill gaps on their teams.These takeaways come at a critical time, as IT environments become increasingly complex, and companies experience more challenges in efficiently addressing IT issues as a result. According to the findings, the typical enterprise suffers from an average of nine brownouts or outages every month, lasting around twelve hours each, at an average annual cost of $13.7MM. Observability has emerged as a solution to not only preemptively detect anomalies and potential issues before they escalate into full-blown outages but to proactively address those issues at the root cause and prevent future outages. “Outages and security concerns are no longer just an IT problem, and observability is no longer just an IT solution,” said Jeff Stewart, Field CTO and Vice President, Global Solutions Engineering at SolarWinds. “The better business, innovation, and technology outcomes experienced by observability leaders prove the benefits to every level, department, and employee. The findings of this year’s report should serve as an urgent call to action for business leaders who believe they can’t afford to invest in observability tools-when the truth is that we’re rapidly entering a landscape in which companies simply can’t afford to risk being without them.”The survey also highlighted trends among the observability leaders reporting fewer and less frequent challenges in their ecosystem, finding the majority are: Investing in top priorities: Data shows organizations using observability solutions to support the priorities most critical to their growth and success: improve their customer experience (96%), enable faster innovation (71%), reduce time spent solving (71%), and detecting (60%) issues, and increase operational efficiency (55%). More automated and integrated: Observability leaders embracing automation and investing in tools that provide enhanced efficiency are 214% more likely to say they are doing extremely well with operational efficiency, 750% more likely to say they are doing extremely well with auto-remediation of complex alerts, and 300% better at automatically collecting background diagnostic data for IT support staff. Ahead on IT: The data found that those ahead of the curve on observability are also leading by huge margins when it comes to monitoring, detecting, and resolving issues that could otherwise bring the business to a screeching halt. When it comes to IT, they are 233% better at auto-escalation of tickets, 213% better at auto-remediation of simple alerts, and 36% better at settling alert levels based on historical behavior.SolarWinds offers its customers full-stack observability solutions that provide organizations across all sizes and industries cost-effective, end-to-end visibility and actionable intelligence to expedite remediation using powerful machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. These fully integrated, on-premises, and cloud-native SaaS solutions provide comprehensive visibility in hybrid and multi-cloud environments, including SolarWinds Observability and SolarWinds Hybrid Cloud Observability.

Amagi Launches Cloud-based Amagi DYNAMIC

Amagi, the global leader in cloud-based SaaS technology for broadcast and connected TV (CTV), today announced the launch of Amagi DYNAMIC at IBC2023, a ground-breaking platform that empowers rights owners and holders to effortlessly deploy cloud-based live production and playout systems for single live events. By eliminating the need for costly upfront hardware investments, Amagi DYNAMIC allows users to spin up cloud infrastructure only for the duration of the event. It enables them to efficiently manage infrastructure resources, run multiple live events in parallel, expand distribution, engage viewers, and increase ad revenues, all while providing immediate and demonstrable ROI."For far too long, broadcasters, rights owners, and rights holders have grappled with the limitations of hardware-driven infrastructure, resulting in underutilized content libraries and underexplored distribution networks,” said Baskar Subramanian, CEO & Co-founder at Amagi. “Amagi DYNAMIC empowers users to maximize their content investments, optimize distribution, and create new avenues for viewer access. This transformative solution will have a profound impact on the way the industry approaches single live events and opens up new monetization opportunities."With Amagi DYNAMIC, broadcasters can swiftly provision cloud infrastructure for the duration of an event and deactivate it once the event concludes, effectively creating pop-up channels. This innovation is particularly beneficial for rights owners and holders of live sports, music, news, or special events, enabling the simultaneous broadcast of multiple events and expanding distribution to D2C apps, thereby widening viewership and boosting ad revenues.Additional benefits of Amagi DYNAMIC include:Improved Cost Savings: With features such as multi-source, multi-protocol ingest Amagi DYNAMIC streamlines content integration by allowing resources to be consumed only when required. Additionally, achieving a low latency of just two seconds ensures that resources are used optimally during live events, minimizing unnecessary resource consumption and associated costs.Flexible Remote Control: With group control of live source inputs and distribution outputs, Amagi DYNAMIC enables users to control multiple events remotely from a single instance, regardless of location. This remote management capability not only saves time but also enhances operational adaptability.Increased Viewer Engagement and Retention: Features such as frame-accurate live controls enable dynamic adjustments to breaks, graphics, and other elements, creating an engaging live event experience for viewers. The quick edits feature, with its two-second turnaround time, ensures that live event coverage remains up-to-date and captivating.Integrated Amagi LIVE Functionality: Building upon the success of Amagi LIVE, Amagi DYNAMIC offers an intuitive platform for managing live segments for both linear TV and OTT channels. This integration ensures a seamless transition to Amagi DYNAMIC and a consistent, high-quality broadcasting experience.Enhanced Operational Flexibility: Thanks to its multi-tenant system, Amagi DYNAMIC supports deployments in multiple regions for redundancy and operational flexibility. This feature provides the necessary infrastructure and scalability to manage multiple events seamlessly, adapting to various scenarios and changing demands.Amagi provides a complete suite of solutions for channel creation, distribution, and monetization. Amagi’s global clients include ABS-CBN, AccuWeather, A+E Networks UK, beIN Sports, Cinedigm, Cox Media Group, Crackle Plus, Fremantle, Gannett, Gusto TV, NBCUniversal, PAC-12, Tastemade, and The Roku Channel, among others.For more information about Amagi and its streaming TV solutions, visit Amagi DYNAMIC will be on display at Booth #5.A81, IBC2023, Amsterdam.