IDC explores the rise of the digital economy

 International Data Corporation (IDC) today launched the 16th edition of its annual IDC Middle East CIO Summit at Dubai's Atlantis, The Palm. With more than 500 of the region's most influential ICT decision makers in attendance, the two-day event — which this year runs under the theme 'Enabling the Digital Economy's Leaders' — was opened by IDC's global president, Crawford Del Prete, as he presented the summit's keynote, 'Strategies for the CIO and Enterprise Innovation'."As storms of disruption continue to gather, it is crucial that CIOs are clear on what they need to do now — and in the future — to create an environment for long-term sustainable innovation," said Del Prete. "Central to this is the need to build a culture of trust across the entire organization and its broader ecosystem of partners and customers. We are increasingly seeing a move toward greater industry ecosystem-led innovation, and it is important that CIOs fully understand the implications of this ongoing decentralization. At the same time, enterprise leaders must view increased line-of-business investment as a springboard to greater innovation and not an end state in itself."The IDC Middle East CIO Summit has been a staple of the region's ICT calendar for 16 years, serving as the ICT community's premier source of learning about the industry's latest developments. As well as informative presentations, in-depth discussions, and expert-led panel sessions, this year's edition incorporates five different 'Transformation Zones' demonstrating pioneering use cases and technological advances in the areas of the metaverse, DevOps, customer experience, sustainability, and Industry 4.0.The rise of the digital economy was central to discussions on Day 1 of the summit, with IDC's group vice president and regional managing director for the Middle East, Türkiye, and Africa, Jyoti Lalchandani, explaining that it is one of the hottest tech trends shaping investment in 2023. "We are seeing a growing focus across the region on developing the infrastructure, innovation platforms, and skills required to support the expansion of digital businesses," said Lalchandani. "To set themselves apart in an increasingly competitive market, organizations need to leverage infrastructure, data, and skills alongside critical technology enablers such as 5G, the cloud, and AI. Only then will they be able to successfully re-invent their business models, create new customer experiences, and drive innovation with their partners."The Day 1 agenda also included a series of fascinating 'For the CIO by the CIO' panel discussions, with expert insights from some of the region's most respected end-user tech leaders on topics such as:Talent Development and the Demand for New Skills: How to Optimally Structure Your TeamSustainable Strategies and Technologies: Operationalization, Impact Measurability, and Business Value CreationVendor Selection and Management: Best Practices and What to Look Out ForDay 2 of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2023 commences at 9:00 am tomorrow and will include an exclusive keynote from His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti, head of cybersecurity for the UAE government. There will also be a show-stopping performance from contemporary artist Neil Harbisson, the world's first officially recognized human cyborg, while IDC's senior vice president and regional managing director for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Steven Frantzen, will take to the stage to examine the unprecedented rate of disruption that is being caused by the emergence of a thriving digital economy."Digital-native firms, equipped with new business models and armed with substantial venture capital funding, have disrupted supply chains in numerous industries, fueling growth in areas such as ecommerce, direct-to-consumer services, digital payments, and cloud kitchens," says Frantzen. "With the metaverse and Web3 paradigms on the horizon, further disruption is expected to individual, enterprise, and industrial digital experiences."The agenda for Day 2 of the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2023 will also incorporate a series of expert-led technology track sessions focusing on the following key themes:Cyber Protection for Today and Tomorrow: Dynamic Security Strategies to Minimize RiskConnecting the Distributed Cloud: From the Edge to the Core     Enabling the Data-Driven Enterprise      AI and Analytics: How to Win in the Intelligent Economy The event will conclude with the IDC Excellence Awards 2023, which will recognize the efforts of the Middle East's leading technology executives across three categories: CIO of the Year; CISO of the Year; and Women in Technology & Business.To learn more about the IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2023, please click here or contact Sheila Manek at / +971 4 446 3154.The IDC Middle East CIO Summit 2023 is supported by the UAE's Ministry of Industry & Advanced Technology, the UAE's Cyber Security Council, Kuwait's Central Agency for Information Technology, and Dubai Municipality. IDC is also honored to have a wide range of partners on board for the event, including:Host Partner: Gulf Business Machines (GBM); Strategic Partner: Microsoft; Smart ICT Partner: Red Hat; Digital Solutions Partner: MDS System Integration; Trailblazer Partners: VMware, Huco; Sustainability Partner: Cisco; DX Partner: Tech Mahindra; Innovation Partner: HCL Tech; Summit Partners: Google Cloud / Mandiant, Zero&One, Riverbed, AWS, UiPath; Platinum Partners: eMudhra, Fortinet, SentinelOne, Denodo, f5, Snowflake, ServiceNow, Micro Focus, Boomi, HUMAN Security, Tenable, Recorded Future; Technology Focus Group Partners: Crayon, Equinix, Veeam, OpenText, Hyland, SquareOne, Kaspersky, Manage Engine, RiCSOC / Sahara Watira, Kyndryl, Swimlane, Advanced Technology Consultancy / Huawei, Pure Storage, Mendix, NetApp / Ingram Micro; Sustainability Transformation Zone Partner: Microsoft; Industry 4.0 Transformation Zone Partner: Infor; Exhibit Partners: SER Group, Rimini Street, Freshworks, Truspeq, Infinidat, SymphonyAI Summit, New Smart Office Automation, BMC; Associate Partners: Emirates Digital Association for Women, UAE Banks Federation, Women in AI, Women in Cyber Security Middle East; Media Partners: Tech Magazine, IE Industry Events, AI Time Journal, DX Talks, GCC Business News, Security Middle East Magazine, Global Business Magazine, CoinPedia, Coinspeaker, U.Today, International Business Magazine, TechX, Media 7, DigitalsetGo.

Veeam appoints Dustin Driggs as Chief Financial Officer

Veeam® Software, the leader in Modern Data Protection, today announced the appointment of Dustin Driggs as the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Driggs will lead Veeam’s global financial function including strategy and reporting as Veeam continues to gain market share and provide best-in-class secure backup and fast, reliable recovery that keeps businesses running.Driggs is an accomplished finance leader with more than 30 years’ experience in successfully building and managing large multinational businesses. He joins Veeam from Barracuda Networks where he worked for over 16 years, most recently as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President leading the finance and accounting function. Prior to Barracuda Networks, Driggs held senior leadership roles at Cisco Systems and PwC.“Veeam is helping to keep businesses running when the unexpected happens, whether it’s ransomware, natural disasters, human error, outages, or a cyber-attack. That’s an incredible value proposition that in turn creates huge opportunity in a fast-growing market,” said Dustin Driggs, CFO at Veeam. “I’m excited to join such a talented and innovative team and look forward to the opportunity to contribute to Veeam’s continued global success.”“Dustin brings great experience, insights and skills to Veeam,” said Anand Eswaran, CEO at Veeam. “With more than 5,000 employees, 450,000 customers and well over $1B in ARR, it’s an exciting time in our development and evolution; we’re growing rapidly by keeping businesses running. In a digital world, our value proposition of proactively protecting data across every type of environment and helping companies rapidly recover from unexpected events is incredibly critical to every organization. Dustin is a valuable addition to our strong leadership team at Veeam, and I’m confident his expertise and experience will make a great impact here.”Driggs succeeds Chuck Garner who is leaving Veeam after successfully leading the company’s finance, strategy, and operations functions and having completed its $5 billion sale to Insight Partners in 2020. Garner said, "I have enjoyed partnering with our leadership team and investors over the last four years as Veeam has achieved record growth and extended its market leadership position."Eswaran added, "I want to thank Chuck for his leadership and dedication at Veeam. He's made valuable contributions to the company, and I wish him much continued success."Veeam recently announced the NEW Veeam Data Platform, a single platform delivering more advanced data security, recovery, and hybrid cloud capabilities than ever before. The Veeam Data Platform, which includes Veeam Backup & Replication (VBR) v12, provides best-in-class secure backup and fast reliable recovery that keeps business running. It brings together the latest features offered from Veeam into a robust solution that is offered in three enterprise-grade editions for protecting Cloud, Virtual, Physical, SaaS, and Kubernetes applications across complex and expanding IT environments and the increasing set of challenges facing every organization from outages to errors and ransomware. Veeam will highlight the New Veeam Data Platform during VeeamON 2023, the community event for data recovery experts, which will take place May 22 – 24 in Miami, FL and online. Designed by and built for the backup and recovery professional, attendees will expand their skills, celebrate with the community, and share industry knowledge with special content from Amazon Web Services, (AWS), Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and more. Registration for the in-person event is now open.

Empyre Communications wins Ultrahuman

Empyre Communications, Dubai’s leading Public Relations and Marketing agency which oversees a rich portfolio of tech, hospitality, luxury, beauty, fashion, and corporate brands, has been appointed as the agency of choice by Ultrahuman, the world's most advanced metabolic fitness platform.The UAE-based, digital health powerhouse, Ultrahuman, is a unique interplay of hardware and software that seamlessly monitors important biomarkers in the body. Ultrahuman’s innovative products include the Ultrahuman M1, a continuous glucose monitoring platform, and the Ultrahuman Ring, a metabolic health-tracking wearable, which are set to propel health and longevity in the region.Commenting on the agency's latest project win, Stephanie Farah, Managing Director & Founder of Empyre Communications, said: “We are proud to be adding such an innovative, digital-health brand to our tech and wellness portfolio. We look forward to representing the brand and its innovative products in the UAE.

Publicis Groupe picks Nadim Ghrayeb as business lead for Studio M

Publicis Groupe has announced the appointment Nadim Ghrayeb as business lead for Studio M, which is a part of Leo Burnett and the bespoke agency solution meant for McDonald’s GCC region. Studio M has been envisaged as an entity for consolidating the Groupe’s capabilities into a seamless offering for delivering end-to-end solutions for the brand.“It's been just over a month since joining as the business lead of STUDIOm Leo Burnett MEA (Middle East & Africa) and working on such an iconic brand as #McDonalds. The team at STUDIOm had wrapped up a great campaign prior to my joining and really excited and happy to see the hard work go live and get to share it! I'm looking forward to learning and working closely with both my team and the great teams at McDonald's here in the GCC,” Nadim wrote on his LinkedIn page. Nadim Ghrayeb will take the brand’s position to a greater heights while identifying new growth opportunities under the Groupe’s Power of One model. “Nadim’s credentials and collaborative approach made him a natural fit to lead Studio M which was borne out of the Power of One. His multi-disciplinary experience in the region will be an asset in unlocking further growth opportunities for McDonald’s GCC while scaling solutions across the Groupe’s capabilities,” said Nathalie Gevresse, CEO of Publicis Communications UAE, the creative communications division of Publicis Groupe.Nadim Ghrayeb is a marketing maverick having worked on integrated campaigns across all disciplines for iconic brands such as Cadillac, BMW, Audi, Nike, Red Bull, Absolut, etc.

FIFA World Cup tops YouGov’s Global Sport Rankings 2023 in UAE

FIFA dominated YouGov’s Global Sport Rankings 2023 in UAE, with FIFA World Cup leading the table with a Buzz score of 61.2 points. Following it in second was the FIFA Club World Cup, with a score of 40.3.YouGov SportsIndex measures the public’s perception of sports brands on a daily basis across a range of metrics. YouGov’s Global Sport Rankings 2023 are based on the Buzz scores, which measures whether respondents have heard something positive or negative about a brand recently. Football dominated the rankings, with five events making the top ten list. Along with the top two events, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League and La Liga also appeared in the list, in third (24.9), seventh (22.8) and ninth (18.8), respectively.Cricket based sporting events also featured prominently, with the ICC Cricket World Cup ranking fourth (24.0) and the ICC World Twenty20 taking the sixth place (23.6).Formula One was the only non-football or non-cricket event in the top five, ranked in fifth (24.0).Finally, Dubai Marathon and UAE Tour- the only domestic events to feature in the list- completed the rankings in eighth (19.8) and tenth (16.3), respectively.  MethodologySportsIndex is one of YouGov Sport’s signature tools. It operates in 35 markets around the world, tracking 200 key domestic and international competitions across more than 30 sports. A core of 21 properties is tracked in every market, allowing for international comparison. Many other events, leagues and tournaments appear in multiple markets; while some competitions are tracked only in the country which hosts them. The 2023 Buzz Report provides insight into all the sports events we monitor against just one of the 16 metrics we measure – ‘Buzz’.Every day, we ask 100 people these questions...“Over the past two weeks, which of the following sports events/leagues have you heard something positive about?” and “Now which of the following sports/events leagues have you heard something negative about over the past two weeks?” From the answers we collect, we derive a Buzz score for each event, or the difference between the percentage of respondents hearing positive news and the percentage hearing negative news about an event in the previous two weeks. So, depending on what is going on, an event’s Buzz score can reveal whether conversations around a property are positive or negative at a point in time.Buzz scores can range from +100 (where everyone we asked has heard something positive) to -100 (where everyone we asked has heard something negative). A completely neutral score, therefore, would be zero. A score of 45 would show positive sentiment towards a property, by a margin of 45 percentage-points.For our Buzz rankings here, we look at the highest average Buzz score each property has scored each calendar month. Then we take the highest of those twelve scores and compare them with highest monthly scores of every other property we track in that market. We track up to 80 properties in each country but for the sake of this report, we display only the top ten in each market overall (typically a mix of domestic and international). In addition, we show a top five or top ten ranking for each market for those competitions hosted or held (in part or in their entirety) in each market over the year.

Spacee's President nominated among 50 innovators in AI

 Spacee, which provides the best computer vision and AI solutions for retailers and consumer brands, is proud to announce that its President, COO and Secretary of the Board, Mirna Abyad Baloul, has been nominated among 50 of the most innovative leaders in the Artificial Intelligence (AI) industry.Mirna's nomination is a testament to her leadership and expertise in driving Spacee's mission of delivering solutions that make a meaningful impact on the retail industry. Under her direction, Spacee has developed Hovertouch, a unique solution that brings products to life using computer vision and requires no screen or customer device. In addition, the company has also introduced Deming, a mini-robot supply chain solution that provides retailers with accurate, near-real-time visibility on inventory levels, helping them improve efficiency and reduce costs and waste while ensuring Planogram compliance."I am honoured to be recognised among 50 innovators in AI and to be part of a team that is shaping the future of the retail industry," said Mirna Abyad Baloul. "At Spacee, we are committed to delivering progressive solutions that positively impact retailers and consumers alike. Our solutions are designed to help retailers optimise their operations, increase efficiency and reduce waste while providing an engaging and convenient shopping experience for customers.""Mirna's nomination is a testament to her leadership and expertise and reflects the innovative spirit of our entire team," said Skip Howard, founder and CEO of Spacee. "Our expansion to the UAE is a consolidation of our progressive journey, and I am confident that with Mirna at the helm, we will continue to drive growth and success for Spacee and our customers."Mirna is responsible for global operations at Spacee and holds a Juris Doctor, MBA with an emphasis on IT, and a Bachelor of Science in electrical and computer engineering. She is a seasoned executive with a wealth of experience in both the private and public sectors. Before joining Spacee, during her time at Texas Instruments, Mirna led a global team of analogue patent attorneys and developed and executed intellectual property processes, systems, and practices based on business strategy, changing laws, market data, licensing interests, potential adverse cases, and senior management goals. She also successfully negotiated multimillion-dollar agreements with international, external customer companies and presented annual strategies and reviews to Sr. Vice Presidents in all technical areas of analogue business. Before that, at Motorola, Mirna designed and ran automated test scripts using Micrographics, TTCN, PTK, and Visual C++ and developed systems for BlueTooth and GSM platforms. Her expertise in IP protection and extensive technical knowledge have been invaluable in her role as President, COO, Board Member & Secretary at SPACEE, where she brings strategic leadership and operational excellence to the forefront

Dubai’s Museum of the Future attracts 1 million visitors from 163 countries

 His Excellency Mohammad Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Museum of the Future, announced today that the museum has received more than one million visitors from 163 countries in the year since its official opening, which was in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on February 22, 2022. The one-million mark constitutes a milestone in Dubai and the UAE’s path to imagine, inspire and design the future. Commenting on the landmark visitor count, His Excellency said: "We pledged that the museum of the Future would host one million visitors in its first year, and today we celebrate the achievement of this target and the launch of a new year for the museum, during which we will continue to design the future for a better world for all in the coming years and decades.”His Excellency added: “Since opening, the Museum of the Future has contributed to bringing about a clear shift in the traditional view of museums, and has proven the importance of harnessing future foresight, in line with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision to transform the designing and creation of the future into a complete institutional framework. Imagining the future and implementing its changes and advancements is a pivotal pillar towards the success of governments and societies.“Mohammed bin Rashid’s vision has allowed the Museum of the Future to become home to the world’s top experts, scientists, great minds and architects of the future and the most prominent international institutions foreseeing the future. Meanwhile, humanity is becoming more assured that the future can be designed and that the changes to our environment should not be ignored. The Museum of the Future, with its unique architectural design, has become a global symbol of the future and a key regional and international hub for the advancement of science and knowledge-sharing.”His Excellency stated that the Museum of the Future has reinforced Dubai's global position as one of the top cities of the future, while embodying a successful global model that proves that cities of the future can employ and implement technological transformations to serve their societies. He added that the museum sends an important message from the UAE to the world, that the future requires more positive collaboration and action for the benefit of our future generations.Landmark achievementsSince opening, the museum – an initiative by the Dubai Future Foundation – has hosted more than 180 local, regional and global activations, events, conferences and forums that cover technology, entrepreneurship, economy, space, tourism, culture and varied futurist-specific sectors, all while receiving more than 200 media delegations from around the world.More than 1,000 international dignitaries, ministers, officials and experts visited the museum throughout the past year, including around 20 heads of government and official delegations from South Korea, Estonia, Luxembourg, China, Greece, Hong Kong, Thailand and Rwanda and Mauritius, among others.International awardsSince its inauguration, the Museum of the Future has won ten international awards from global institutions and specialized industry magazines for its museum content quality, future sciences, and architectural design, in addition to attaining the LEED Platinum status certification – the ultimate certificate of recognition a building can obtain for sustainable and environmentally friendly design, construction, and operation. International institutions and organisationsDuring the past year, the Museum of the Future hosted many heads and representatives of international institutions and organizations, including Daren Tang, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organisation, Gerd Müller, Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Maimunah Sharif, Executive Director of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, Arturo Brice, Director of the World Competitiveness Centre of the International Institute for Management Development, and Dr Samira Asma, Assistant Director-General of the World Health Organization.Future TalksThe museum also led global discussions through the ‘Future Talks’ series, with each session highlighting, discussing and exploring humanity’s latest discoveries as well as those yet to come. ‘Future Talks’ hosted some of the most prominent visionaries and thought leaders in the world, including Professor Greg Clark, Global Head of Future Cities and New Industries at HSBC Group. Alex Kipman, Technical Fellow and Vice President of Microsoft Technologies, Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality, Professor Osama Al-Khatib, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Robotics Lab at Stanford University, also partook in a Future Talks session, in addition to actor and IFAD Goodwill Ambassador, Idris Elba, yoga instructor and environmental activist Sadguru Jagadish Vasudev, and global leader in the field of mind-body medicine and motivational speaker, Deepak Chopra.Global partnershipsAs the Museum of the Future sought to enhance its role as a global headquarters for future-shaping institutions around the world, while enhancing collaboration and knowledge exchange between them, during the 2022 edition of the Dubai Future Forum, the Dubai Future Foundation signed cooperation agreements with the World Futures Studies Federation, The Millennium Project and the Public Sector Foresight Network, among other entities.The Dubai Future Forum was hosted by the Museum of the Future under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation. More than 400 prominent international personalities, government officials and futurist experts and specialists from around the world participated in the Forum, in addition to more than 45 international organizations and institutions, in the largest global gathering of its kind for future experts. The next edition of the Dubai Future Forum will be held on November 27 and 28, 2023.Centre for Arab brillianceThe Museum of the Future is now recognised as centre for futurists across various sectors in the region and the world, becoming a comprehensive testbed for testing and developing emerging technologies and ideas. During the past year, the museum has established its keenness to invest in the creative minds of the Arab region – embracing ideas, projects, initiatives, research and studies that bring added value to products and services of the future. The aim is for these creative energies to accelerate Arab scientific development and create a better future for the people of the region.Future ExperienceIn its first year, the Museum of the Future gave visitors from across the world the unique opportunity to witness fundamental experiences that show potential future scenarios for humanity. Across its several floors, the museum uses advanced technologies to depict the future. A distinguishing feature, the museum’s elevator, is a crucial part of the museum’s journey-based narrative, with a simulation of OSS Hope – the museum’s very own spaceship – to help guests learn about potential life aboard a space station. The experience introduces visitors to the exciting concept of visiting space in the near future, as well as a reimagined landscape of Dubai and the world in the year 2071 through efforts made in restoring the natural ecosystem and sustainability of the planet's resources. The journey then continues to unravel an array of different scenarios and adventures that encourages visitors to take charge of their own future.Future TechnologiesThe museum employs the latest technologies of the future, such as artificial intelligence, and interaction between humans and machines, to launch meaningful dialogues that motivate visitors to draw their own perceptions about the future.The museum, standing at 77 metres high and extending over an area of 30,000 square metres was designed to be an engineering marvel that connects the past to the future, with an architectural style that differs entirely from the concept of traditional museums to appeal to innovative thinkers and future-curious visitors from around the world.

Red Sea Global launches new water sports and diving brands

Red Sea Global (RSG), the multi-project developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism destinations, The Red Sea and Amaala, has revealed two new brands, WAMA and Galaxea, set to deliver incredible guest experiences at RSG destinations.Last year the developer rebranded as Red Sea Global, promising the establishment of a series of RSG-owned subsidiary businesses that prioritized stringent sustainability standards while continuing to support the evolution of RSG developments into destinations that will play a critical role in the Saudi tourism sector.WAMA and Galaxea are the first two subsidiary businesses to be announced since then, ahead of The Red Sea welcoming its first guests this year.“Creating experiences is just as important as building hotels, and WAMA and Galaxea are sure to deliver unforgettable adventures for our guests. Whether it’s kayaking, canoeing, stand up paddleboarding, foiling, kite surfing, sailing, or exploring the Red Sea’s incredible submarine world, WAMA and Galaxea will create extraordinary moments and beautiful memories that last a lifetime,” said John Pagano, Group CEO of Red Sea Global.“What’s more, these brands have been created with sustainability at their core and will continue to build on our ambition to deliver a regenerative approach to tourism development and operations. It is our hope that eventually they will become standalone brands operating at destinations around the world.”In line with this approach, Galaxea is working closely with Saudi Water Sports & Diving Federation, alongside PADI International to ensure that all diving facilities operated by Galaxea lead in regenerative tourism standards and set the blueprint for future diving development around the world.WAMA, named from combining the word ‘water’ in English and Arabic, is responsible for creating invigorating water sport adventures, from Stand-up Paddleboarding through the destination’s mangrove forests, to sailing the Red Sea’s soft swells.Galaxea is named after a bold and vibrant coral prevalent in the Red Sea and will offer diving experiences that let guests explore life below the water.Last year, an eleven-month long research study of the Al Wajh lagoon revealed an exceptionally rich diversity of habitats, flora, and fauna. These include a significant number of endangered and critically endangered species such as the Halavi Guitarfish, Hawksbill Sea Turtle and Sooty Falcon, as well as a thriving, eight-meter-high single coral colony estimated to be around 600 years old.It is hoped that future divers will also be able to explore an 18th century ‘merchantman’ shipwreck which is currently the most intact and best-preserved wooden shipwreck in the Red Sea. The site boasts a spectacular cargo of jars, porcelain and spices, a testament to the history of trading activities the region.Rosanna Chopra, ED of Destination Development explained, “When we consider people, planet, product, and process alongside visitors, community, and marine life, we must look to how we protect these best while ensuring our environment can still flourish. By owning and operating water sports and diving activities we can grow in line with the strategy defined by RSG and implemented across all our destinations.”“Through the creation of strong brands, we will enjoy dynamic relationships with industry partners, federations, brand partners, activity specific groups and event IP’s. We will continuously look to the latest innovations both in natural power and hydro and electric powered equipment and hope to become a hub and a home for sport to grow.”RSG is currently hiring for roles across WAMA and Galaxea and expects to employ more than 250 people by 2026. This includes Sailing and Water Sports Instructors, Divemaster’s, technicians and Dive Boat Captains, plus roles for those entering the industry for the first time wishing to discover a new career at the highest level of service and standard. Successful candidates will have the opportunity to live at Turtle Bay, the brand-new sustainable community RSG created for employees and their families.“When we first announced The Red Sea, we promised exciting career opportunities in new industries for Saudi Arabia. WAMA and Galaxea mark a new phase in delivering on that promise, and already we’re seeing huge interest from international talent as well as young Saudis looking to start their careers in this sector”, added Mr. Pagano.RSG recently revealed an exciting partnership with The Ocean Race, born of a shared commitment to ocean health and vision to drive regeneration of life above and below water.The Ocean Race has provided the ultimate test for sailing teams since 1973. Known as ‘sailing's greatest round-the-world challenge’, it is widely recognized as the pinnacle of achievement for sailors across the world and has created legends of the sport throughout the years.The partnership is intended to not only drive benefits for the natural environment, but to help inspire the next generation of Saudi sailors, promoting a new sport to a Kingdom that has enjoyed a crucial and historic relationship with the sea for over 4,000 years.Three resorts at The Red Sea will open this year along with the first phase of the Red Sea International airport. A further 13 hotels will open in 2024, and upon full completion in 2030, the destination will comprise 50 resorts, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and more than 1,000 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites. The destination will also include luxury marinas, golf courses, entertainment, F&B, and leisure facilities.

Jon Whyte and Jon Vint become partners at PMKConsult

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Regional Project and Commercial Management Consultancy firm, PMKConsult strengthens its ownership structure with the partnership of two senior team members. The consultancy celebrates the new alliance of Jon Whyte and John Vint, both of whom have senior leadership roles within the commercial and cost management business stream.“The addition of Jon Whyte and John Vint as partners reiterates our commitment as a company to elevating our team and growing from within. This partnership demonstrates that commitment. Our recent company annual event had many leadership announcements and several of the team have had their growth trajectory mapped within the business. There is a lot of excitement and positive momentum in our offices around the region,” commented Kevin Woolley, CEO of PMKConsult.  Jon Whyte has been a team member of PMKConsult for the past several years and leads the Commercial Management discipline for the consultancy. His vast portfolio of commercial management clients ranges from multi-platform real estate projects to hospitality, leisure, residential in addition to many other sectors. Jon Whyte’s notable assignments include the completion of a high-end residential neighbourhood in Abu Dhabi, the QE2 upper deck, and a commercial real estate project delivering over 50,000 sqm meters of floor area. He has also delivered commercial management services for major infrastructure projects in the UAE and the UK.  John Vint joined PMKConsult through the acquisition of his previous entity, ACS Cost Consulting. Since the acquisition John Vint has grown the commercial management business stream for PMKConsult and guides a 20-member team along with Jon Whyte. Key wins for the business include commercial new-build and fitting-out, healthcare, hospitality, engineering, and airport related schemes. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and a qualified Expert Witness who has recently contributed his expertise on cases that have all ruled in favour of his clients. He is actively growing this service within the business and has been throughout his career involved in many high-profile arbitration cases.Keenan Grote, Chief Operating Officer of PMKConsult added: “Both Jon Whyte and John Vint have played an integral role in elevating PMKConsult’s business in particular the commercial management practice. Jon Whyte is taking leadership of the cost management delivery stream ensuring that our distinct and elevated client services are maintained throughout the business across regions while John Vint is building the specialist services offering within the commercial management practice area. On the whole, the business stream has grown considerably under their guidance. This move strengthens the foundation of our organization and I believe that the team and our collaborators and clients will benefit.”PMKConsult’s Commercial Management business has recently grown to include assignments in KSA and the UK with the addition of considerable key remits ongoing within the UAE including hospitality, residential, offices, medical, infrastructure and retail.

Dubai SME & Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development participates in 28th Gulfood

Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME), one of the agencies of Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), in cooperation with the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, is participating in the 28th edition of Gulfood, taking place from 20 to 24 February at Dubai World Trade Centre.Dubai SME will showcase Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, with a focus on the F&B sector; highlight its projects and local emerging enterprises and their products; and help SMEs to connect and network with international vendors to help them gain access to new markets and opportunities. This will contribute to the growth of SMEs in the emirate, which represent 99% of private-sector companies operating in Dubai.His Excellency Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME, said: “At Dubai SME, we are keen to provide our members with the most prominent opportunities to participate and promote their products and communicate with the business community and consumers to develop their businesses. The Gulfood 2023 exhibition is one of the most prominent platforms in which we regularly participate due to its importance in the F&B sector. Bringing rings together thousands of companies from all over the world under one roof, along with the most renowned global chefs and intellectual leaders in this sector, the forum is capable of bringing about change in the culture and orientation of small and medium-sized companies, providing them with more opportunities for growth and expansion.”Al Janahi added: “2023 is set to become an exceptional year, following the launch of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which seeks to double the size of Dubai’s economy and position the emirate among the top three global cities in the world. This encourages us to further motivate small and medium-sized companies in the F&B sector to contribute and participate actively in this strategic journey to further enhance our city’s international standing, taking advantage of the opportunities, infrastructure and incentives provided by Dubai to reach their goals of achieving excellence, creativity and innovation in their diverse businesses and projects.”Her Excellency Alia Al Mazrouei. CEO, Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, said: “We are delighted to participate in Gulfood exhibition for the seventh year in a row with nine funded Emirati projects supported by the Khalifa Fund. We are excited to see the outstanding opportunities that are available for these projects at this event. By presenting their products to well-known suppliers from all over the world, small and medium-sized enterprises will be empowered and can have better access to new markets. With Gulfood 2023 allowing enterprises to explore unique business deals, we look forward to supporting the success of these projects through this exhibition.”Dubai SME is being represented at the event, the largest of its kind in the world, by 10 companies including Liwa Dates, Health Way General Trading, Health Choice General Trading, Ibubble Tea House for food & beverages trading L.L.C, Special foodz zone foodstuff trading, Prog Tech Solutions, Mayamen Trading, Albarni foodstuff trading, Twenty Eight Coffee Trading, Fab Trading One Person Company L.C.C Proprietorship LLC.The Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development represents Khairat Al Yemen Honey & Natural Herbs, P&P Cups, Al Diyafa Hotel & Catering Supplies, Felix & Norton Cookies, SIMPIOZ (Confectionery Factory), Soil Store Foodstuff Trading, Iconic Solutions General Trading, Al Thiqa Foodstuff Trading, Emirates Dates Factory, F&B Innovation Lab.Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development (Dubai SME) is keen to maintain a competitive business environment for SMEs and to provide innovative support and financing solutions in line with the directives of the visionary leadership to support business continuity, especially SMEs in the F&B sector.

AD Gaming partners with SAWA Group to develop Abu Dhabi’s gaming ecosystem

AD Gaming, the entity driving Abu Dhabi’s fast-growing gaming industry, has signed a partnership agreement with SAWA Group, a leading game publishing and esports company, to facilitate expansion of publishers in the MENA region.SAWA Group is a pioneer in the localisation of global video games, largely developed in China, and esports content, making SAWA’s established game library more accessible to Arabic speakers across the MENA region. In relocating to Abu Dhabi, SAWA group will be positioned in the heart of the region’s largest community of game developers. With SAWA Group’s game development expertise and access to content from the Asian continent, the local industry will continue to see unprecedented growth in the coming years.The partnership agreement will bring together two leaders of industry in the gaming world, helping to facilitate the international expansion of Chinese gaming and esports companies through Abu Dhabi and providing the local industry with access to reach new content hungry audiences. Simultaneously, SAWA Group will benefit from being part of the largest cluster of gaming companies in the region, with opportunities to work alongside the ever-growing AD Gaming community on new and exciting projects.Sultan Al Riyami, Head of Gaming & Esports at AD Gaming, said: “Demand for high-quality gaming content across the Arabic-speaking world has never been higher. The opportunity to tap into this market from Abu Dhabi is substantial, and SAWA’s expertise in the localisation of gaming esports content addresses this head on. Since its inception, AD Gaming has succeeded in building an ecosystem that supports all segments of the gaming and esports sector. Bringing SAWA into the fold both diversifies and expands our community as we continue to advance Abu Dhabi’s gaming industry.”Jing Wang, CEO of SAWA Group, said: “Aligned with AD Gaming, SAWA Group is dedicated to enhancing the gaming and esports ecosystem in the UAE, creating more opportunities for the country’s passionate gamers to experience global content in their native language. By supporting its thriving community, we are confident that Abu Dhabi will become a premier global destination for gaming and esports. “Through the collaboration and partnership with AD Gaming, SAWA Group hopes to balance game publishing and esport exposure to make Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE one of the world’s top centres for the gaming industry.”SAWA Group newly published the deep localised SLG game, Infinity Kingdom, which has been downloaded millions times across different app stores. Along with its own multi-channel network, SAWA Group also has partnerships with top tier TV channels in the MENA region, including MBC Group, through which SAWA try to build up the deep connection of game developer globally and the core of Arabic culture and all age’s players and users in MENA area.

Brands upbeat about smart marketing platforms in MEA

Authored By Raviteja Dodda, CEO & Co-Founder, MoEngageConsumers across the MEA region effortlessly converted into digital shoppers during the pandemic buying groceries, personal care and household supplies from the comfort of their homes. Reports say that around 91% of customers in the Middle East and North Africa region have become digital converts and the trend is expected to continue. Predictions say that MEA’s e-commerce sales was $50bn in 2022, up from $32 billion in 2021. Latest estimates from Redseer say that the total MEA e-commerce market size will be worth US$100 billion in 2023. Good news all around for digital marketers in the MEA region. But sheathed inside are hitches like prevailing complexities related to integration of data and insights into consumer behavior. Because what started as a comfort has become a convenience for customers and a requisite for successful businesses. The dynamics of online business are changing drastically and marketing teams are keeping pace to keep a steady handle on the transforming customer, their demands and the competitive landscape. Marketers have to move away from making business decisions based on current campaigns and instead take an analytics-driven approach. This automatically routes them on a better engagement course with their customer throughout the purchase journeys. For this, they need to get the right information at the right time from colossal mines of data, which can only be done with an advanced high-quality marketing platform. Recognizing the big data flawAlthough marketers are flooded with several marketing platforms, most of them come with limitations, like failure to measure current campaigns or working in siloes. They merely skim through huge amounts of data, lack in analytics-based insights; completely missing out on catching consumer shopping behavior in real time. The result is that brands are stuck with not-so-clean data like outdated buyer information and preferences. What they actually need to do is create campaigns based on data and not create data based on campaigns. Digital marketing platforms should not limit themselves to measuring digital marketing campaigns. They should provide brands with accurate insights and profitable recommendations. The need of the hour is an all-in-one digital marketing platform that can help them analyze and plan for marketing campaigns across all mediums to gain the greatest marketing efficiency and effectiveness.  The reason for this is simple: customers now want to be met where they are and they will not move to meet the brand. So there should as many different engagement strategies as there are customers. All this is possible only with an integrated marketing technology stack that comes with a bag of tools that fosters personalized engagement.Getting proactive about insights and analyticsMarketing analytics platforms serve as customer experience report cards for brands as they indicate which marketing campaigns are getting the maximum results and how to go about with course correction. Analytics also ensure that consumers get to see a greater number of targeted and personalized ads that fulfil their specific needs and interests, rather than a one-size-fits-all communication that tends to annoy.With the use of a marketing analytics platform, for example, businesses can track the engagement rates on all channels and identify the exact time when there is a drop off or a sudden customer interest in their brands. Insights based on these analytics tells businesses how customers are responding to the content put out by businesses. It educates brands on what type of content attract customers, when do they get interested in brands and when do they drop out and leave for a competitor. All this information should guide marketers toward future marketing and content strategies, increase efficiency of their ad spends and test the viability of new products, channels and markets. They can get this from platforms that can leverage unified marketing data from across various channels and campaigns and simplify analysis. Get a tech stack where platforms talk to one anotherA smart marketing tech stack is an integrated tool that gives marketers insights not just from a single team or function, but offers a holistic approach to customer engagement. It doesn’t just answer the what of the customer behaviour, but also how, when, where and why. This information supports marketers in deciding which plans work for them and which do not, and more important, switch to Plan B or C before any mishaps occur.Consistency across channelsAnalytics and insights built into a smart platform help brands give a consistent narrative across all channels. For example, a brand recall is reinforced if the same message is beamed across social media, TV or websites giving an omni-channel experience to the customer. Unique customer experiencesIntegrated tech stacks offer customer experiences that are unique; whether it’s through an app notification, website messaging, emails or SMS. They start conversations that convert to sales.  Engagement with analytics is the new way forwardCustomer data doesn’t do much when it’s siloed in different locations. Smart marketing platforms unify data from different channels to build a 360-degree view of every single customer. Teams are therefore looking for an integrated martech stack so they do not waste time hopping between tools or wasting time seeking information from other functions or teams. These tech stacks inherently enable all platforms to talk to one another and lead the customer through the channel they want. Smart martech platforms do not just give huge amounts of data that make marketers busy. Instead, they free up marketers’ time as they make efficient use of marketing data. They understand their customers better and create and target campaigns based on the insights that come from the platforms, thus leading to more leads and converts for their brands.

Ego partners with MoEngage for AI-Powered campaign optimization &personalization

Ego, a ride-hailing app based out of Saudi Arabia, has partnered with MoEngage, an insights-led customer engagement platform to drive data-driven strategic decisions and tactics.Founded in 2018, the transportation brand will use the engagement platform as a main source for all communications. Ego will leverage MoEngage to analyze the best time and channel to send messages and focus on increasing retention and customer lifetime value.“Earlier, we used various messaging and engagement tools, which became a challenge to handle. With MoEngage, we’re aiming to resolve this with a single omnichannel marketing platform and effectively reach the customers with the right message at the right time using the most relevant channel for their unique use case,” said Laith Abdallah, Chief Growth Officer at EgoThe nature of the ride-hailing business is that of high-frequency transactions. Hence, for Ego, engaging both the customers and drivers is crucial to maintain retention and increase the lifetime value. Integrating MoEngage with Mixpanel will help Ego to increase the conversion of first-time installs to booking to repeat customers.With an aim to create affordable transportation in the region, the brand will focus on engaging customers using the AI capabilities of MoEngage - Sherpa. In fact, Ego aims to decrease churn and customize its messaging to specific user segments with MoEngage and its customer success.“We are excited to partner with one of the first movers in the ride-hailing industry within Saudi Arabia and are more than happy to assist Ego in its steadfast endeavor to unlock the next phase of customer engagement with insights-led personalization,” said Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success at MoEngage.Ego joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Landmark Group, Apparel Group, Airtel, Jazeera Airways, GMG, Mashreq Bank, Alamar Foods, and many more, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.

UAEPA reveals the opening event of this year’s inaugural Mashreq Padel Tour

The UAE Padel Association (UAEPA), which governs the sport of padel across the UAE, has revealed the opening event of this year’s inaugural Mashreq Padel Tour - the country’s first dedicated community tournament series for amateurs – welcomed “exceptional turnout and quality”.Taking place from February 17-19 at World Padel Academy in Dubai, the opening leg of the eight-leg Tour got underway with three competitions: UAEPA 100 (Open), UAEPA 10 (Men’s), and Under-16 (Boys).With the top-ranking UAEPA 100 competition boasting prizes of AED 12,000, AED 6,000 and AED 4,000 for first, second and third place teams, respectively, Sergio Icardo and Javier Lopez took top spot with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Francisco Rodriquez and Jordi Cassanova in the final.In the UAEPA 10 event, which boasts prizes of AED 4,000, AED 3,000 and AED 2,000 for teams finishing first-to-third, Ranjan Pradeep and Victor Arruiz sealed top spot after a 6-3, 6-2 final win over Rashid Alrais and Omar Alabbar.And in the Under-16 competition final, Mahmood Alattar and Mohammed Sayed Alhashimi took home first-place honours with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over Hamdan Abdalla and Humaid Alkokhardi.“What we have seen at World Padel Academy this weekend exceeded our expectations. The exceptional turnout and quality of players across all competition categories underlines the significance of the Mashreq Padel Tour - it has arrived at precisely the right time to leverage the sport’s meteoric growth across the UAE. This exciting nationwide Tour will enrich the Padel community, improve tournament standards, and develop our players’ competitive experiences,” said Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al Maktoum, UAEPA President.Commenting on the Tour’s inaugural tournaments, Ahmed Abdelaal, Group Chief Executive Officer, Mashreq, added: “We congratulate all the players and winners of the inaugural Mashreq Padel Tour event at World Padel Academy. As part of our commitment to supporting the growth and development of sports in the UAE, we are excited to see the Tour roll-out across the country in coming months, with amateur players showcasing their skills and competing for substantial prize purses. The era of Padel is only beginning in the Emirates.” Conceived to increase adoption of the world’s fastest growing sport across all nationalities, age groups, genders, and abilities, the Mashreq Padel Tour will feature 20 tournaments in various categories played at six padel clubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ajman between February and December. The Tour’s debut season carries a season prize purse of AED 350,000.The Tour now moves to NAS Sports Complex, where five tournaments will be contested from March 23 to April 4 in what is the biggest round of the inaugural season. The NAS Sports Complex tournaments include UAEPA 100 (Open), UAEPA 10 (Men’s), UAEPA 10 (Women’s), the hotly anticipated UAEPAE&E (Men’s), which must feature two-player teams comprising an Emirati and an expatriate, and Under-16 (Boy’s).Registration for the NAS Sports Complex tournaments is open until March 3. To find out more about the Mashreq Padel Tour 2023, or to enter tournaments, players can visit

Dubai Lynx awards Khaled AlShehhi as Advertising Person of the Year

Dubai Lynx, MENA’s Festival and Awards, has announced Khaled AlShehhi as Advertising Person of the Year, Outstanding Contribution. It is considered to be one of the most important awards that celebrates efforts and contribution of individuals to MENA’s advertising.Khaled AlShehhi is one of the leading leaders, known to make amendments in the way the UAE Government communicates, producing content that has witnessed huge impact locally, regionally, and globally. He is a renowned motivational speaker around the world as well.Khaled has gained leadership roles at the Global CMO Growth Council led by Cannes Lions and the ANA, Brand Advisory Board (BAB) for The World Media Group, New York Festival AME Advisory Council, Executive Board Member in The Public Relations & Communications Association and Strategy Board Member in the Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA). He has also won the World Media Award (WMA) for Content Leadership & Innovation for 2022 and the Honorary Award of the 2022 Effie MENA, and got featured in the Arabian Business’ 2021 Power List of individuals.After receiving this prestigious award, Khaled AlShehhi, executive director of marketing and communication at UAE Government Media Office, said: “Looking at the impressive pedigree of previous recipients, joining the exclusive club of Advertising Person of the Year at Dubai Lynx is an immense and amazing honour. In the marketing roles I have held in the last few years, I have been driven by the desire to innovate and achieve the best results possible for our humanitarian or nation-building campaigns. All I wanted was to serve my country to the best of my abilities and being awarded this title for me is the validation that I have met this ambition. This is the recognition of a lot of hard work by my team and the industry partners who inspire and support us, bound as we are by the same mission and dream. I not only thank them all but also dedicate this trophy to them as well. Advertising is the fruit of collaboration.”

Omnicom Media Group launches TRKKN in the Middle East

 Omnicom Media Group (OMG), the media services division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC), today announced the launched of its dedicated Google Marketing Platform and Google Cloud Platform consultancy TRKKN in the Middle East.Founded in Germany in 2008 as Trakken, the Analytics, Marketing & Cloud Technology consultancy has become one of the largest Google Marketing Platform (GMP) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Reseller in Europe. It was acquired by OMG in 2015 and is now expanding rapidly around the world, growing from five European countries to 14 markets in APAC, Europe and North America in just eight months.Under OMG’s ownership, TRKKN’s offering has expanded from Google reseller to also include a wide range of services to help clients manage their Google Marketing and Cloud stack, including digital analytics, ad tech, conversion optimization, advanced analytics and AI, cloud engineering, training and support, advanced builds and full strategy planning across Google products. When more clients are initiating or developing their digital transformation, in-housing or hybrid media operations, TRKKN is responding to this shift in demand with a service model that offers greater flexibility.The Middle East has some of the fastest growing economies globally and a huge appetite for digital transformation. With over $700M invested in start-ups across the UAE alone, businesses are seeing huge growth in the region and are investing in AdTech and MarTech to ensure they have the right foundations in place to scale effectively across MENA. The region’s advertisers also aim to unify their marketing and advertising technology to manage cost and try to better understand their consumer’s behaviour, whilst always striving for better media effectiveness. TRKKN’s GCP and GMP certified partnership allows clients to tap in to best-in-class experience and help drive on-going value from their technology stack.“We're thrilled to now bring the global TRKKN brand and its advanced offering to our markets, as it will help advertisers capitalize on the scale and scope of the Google Stack. With the launch of this established Google Marketing and Cloud partner, we will be even better placed to accelerate our clients’ digital transformation. Our mission is to help them build deeper consumer connections and increase their digital efficiency with technology,” Elda Choucair, CEO of Omnicom Media Group MENA, commented. “I am also delighted to welcome Vimal Badiani to OMG MENA as TRKKN’s Managing Director for the Middle East. His deep understanding of the marketing and technology landscape, combined with his passion for driving results, make him the perfect person to lead TRKKN and deliver value and agility to our clients.”Vimal Badiani joins TRKKN from Merkle MENA where he held the same position. “As the digital ecosystem becomes increasingly fragmented, clients need expertise to effectively manage their Google Marketing infrastructure. We’re meeting this demand with our team of experts who are renowned for their ability to impart insightful clarity, deliver substantial value, and ensure complete transparency in their operations,” Badiani added. “Our Google Marketing Platform and Cloud Platform specialist consultants provide a technological solution that strikes a balance between personalized marketing and data privacy control and adapt to the evolving attention patterns of consumers. In doing so, TRKKN meets the needs of both brands and agencies.”

Sony ME & Africa reveals the top three home entertainment trends of 2023

The universal desire to experience joy, wonder and amazement remained constant in 2022, with people expecting similar experiences that evoke ‘kando’, or an emotional connection, in 2023. These are among key technology trends identified by Sony Middle East & Africa, which has charted strong growth in the Middle East in 2022 as it supports the region’s growing media, entertainment and gaming industry with better services and products.Joebin Joejoe, Deputy Managing Director at Sony Middle East and Africa, said: “We are increasingly witnessing people’s offline lives and emotions becoming deeply intertwined with their digital lives. At Sony, we believe technology is a tool to add more value and opportunity for a richer, more emotional life – and we will be focused on delivering enhanced experiences through emerging technologies in 2023.”Sony has identified three key trends that are set to dominate the digital landscape in 2023.Rise of the metaverseNetworks are rapidly expanding into an interactive entertainment space that delivers live experiences while also providing a social element, in the form of the metaverse. Sony views the rise of the metaverse from a less dystopian perspective in 2023 and anticipates the rise of a social and live network space where games, music, movies, and anime intersect. Mocopi, Sony’s wearable motion-tracking system makes metaverse more engaging and fun. A PoC (proof of concept) is being conducted by Sony with English Premier League football club Manchester City to realise the next generation of online fan communities and engagement by experiencing metaverse content as if they were in Etihad Stadium. Fans can create their own customisable avatars, connect with millions of fans across the globe, and access various services to increase engagement.Emergence of adaptive and generative AIThe use of state-of-the-art AI is set to take off in 2023, especially Adaptive AI and Generative AI. Conventional AI can only detect and analyse picture elements like colour, contrast and clarity individually, with the picture element enhanced to only a certain level. But the way the world is perceived is based on all kinds of information coming from our eyes and ears to our brain. For example, Sony’s technology in its Alpha 7RV mirrorless camera features an advanced AI focusing system that can accurately detect not only human faces, but also birds, animals and insects. Similarly, Sony’s Cognitive Processor XR™ cross-analyses hundreds of thousands of elements at once and delivers immersive realism. Meanwhile, Sony’s new high-tech electric vehicle Afeela will have AI, virtual reality and augmented reality, representing the concept of an interactive relationship where people feel the sensation of interactive mobility by utilising sensing and AI technologies. 3D Optical TechnologyThe 3D content and animation market will continue to grow in the coming years. Despite the 3D optical developments in recent years, the need for 3D glasses or precise viewing angles limited the adoption rate and potential applications for 3D optical displays. Sony’s Spatial Reality Display (SR Display) technology reproduces the real world with 3D spatial images on a 2D screen – so that specially crafted 3D content can be viewed by the naked eye without special glasses or headsets. SR Display allows viewers to see the depth, texture, and appearance of the object with a real sense of presence, reproducing medical images and product designs more realistically.

Millennium Hotels and Resorts appoints new CEO for Middle East & Africa

Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA today announced the appointment of Fahad Abdulrahim Kazim as Chief Executive Officer, spearheading the brand’s strategic growth in the region.Fahad brings more than twenty years of regional experience across the real estate and professional services industries, having worked in various leadership roles with prominent real estate developers in Dubai. Fahad has a deeper understanding of the brand from an ownership lens and with this wealth of knowledge aims to reinforce the Millennium Hotels & Resorts brand as a regional specialist with a strategic focus on community-driven initiatives and introducing talent programmes to boost localization.Commenting on his appointment, Fahad says, “It is an honour to be appointed as CEO of Millennium Hotels & Resorts, Middle East & Africa. I have closely watched the brand establish and grow its position as a key contender in the regional hospitality space. I now look forward to supporting the growth and solidifying the brand’s vision as it enters a new phase of expansion and development. We will strengthen our position as a regional specialist in the industry through empowering our hotel teams to deliver exceptional guest experiences that build brand advocacy.”Ali Hamad Lakhraim Alzaabi, President, Millennium Hotels and Resorts MEA, commented: “I am delighted that Fahad has joined us at this exciting time in our company’s evolution. The combination of his experience, culture, and drive makes him an ideal fit for Millennium Hotels & Resorts, MEA to enable the next stages of our growth. I hope our company will reach new achievements under his strategic direction.”Fahad has also been appointed CEO of Tetra Hospitality Investment, the company that owns and operates numerous prime hotel assets across the region, including Millennium Hotels and Resorts.

DGDA named one of KSA’s top 10 best workplaces in 2023

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: The Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA) has been recognized as one of KSA’s top 10 Best Workplaces for 2023 in the Large Enterprise category according to the Global Authority on Workplace Culture, which rigorously monitors and evaluates each nominated workplace’s culture, placing DGDA on its prestigious list for the second year in a row.This classification highlights the authority’s interest in building a positive work environment for employees across all its departments.The announcement also follows DGDA’s recognition as one of KSA and Asia’s Best Workplaces in 2022, further solidifying its reputation as a premier employer.

AW Rostamani Group unveils ‘NXT Luxury’ showroom in Dubai

AW Rostamani Group (AWR), the trusted automotive provider in the UAE, launched its first luxury used-car showroom, NXT Luxury, on 15th February 2023. This milestone marks the growth of the used-car segment in the UAE, with AWR extending its offering to meet the demands of its customers.“We are truly honored to launch NXT Luxury, our first luxury showroom for used cars in Dubai,” said Michel Ayat, CEO of AWR. “Our commitment to providing our customers with the best service and experience in the used car market comes in line with the growth of this segment in the UAE. Under the guidance of the wise leadership, the UAE has become a thriving environment for businesses like ours to grow and succeed, driving us to continue providing our customers with the best service. We look forward to the future of NXT and our role in shaping the used car market in the UAE,” Ayat concluded.NXT Luxury is the first of many milestones for the brand; AWR plans to offer a ‘phygital’ business model with the launch of the NXT website and application in 2023, giving customers the choice to buy, sell, or trade in their cars online, through the showrooms, or via a mix of both. All cars sold at the NXT Luxury showroom are thoroughly checked for mileage and service history to ensure the reliability of the vehicle and undergo a comprehensive process of reconditioning by skilled technicians and stringent quality checks. New showrooms are planned for Dubai and Sharjah for multi-brand used cars in 2023, with a planned expansion to Abu Dhabi in 2024.AW Rostamani Group is a hallmark of innovation and progress in the UAE, consistently setting new standards in the automotive industry. With a rich history dating back over six decades, it has established itself as a partner to both individuals and businesses across the country, building a reputation of high integrity and trust through its commitment to a customer-centric approach.This dedication to excellence is reflected in the group’s continuous investment in the latest technology and its commitment to sustainability, ensuring that it remains at the forefront of the industry.NXT will offer a wide range of vehicles and solutions for customers, including a wide range of models, luxury cars, commercial vehicles, value miles (an affordable selection), and assisted selling (the hassle-free way to sell your car).

IFZA partners with to sponsor the Gold Cup TitleAl Habtoor Group

IFZA Dubai, the UAE’s most dynamic and truly international Free Zone, has announced the sponsorship of the Gold Cup Title at the Dubai Polo Club series, running from 15 February until 4 March 2023.The signing ceremony took place at Al Habtoor Polo Resort and Club, and was attended by Mohammed Khalaf Al Habtoor, Vice Chairman and CEO of Al Habtoor Group, Founder of the Dubai Polo Gold Cup series (DPGC) and President of the UAE Polo Federation, and Martin G. Pedersen, IFZA Chairman.The IFZA Gold Cup 2023 marks the 14th season of the tournament and has recently achieved a 20-goal handicap status, which ranks Dubai's polo scene among the most prestigious polo capitals in the world. Mohammed Al Habtoor said, “We are proud to partner with IFZA as Gold Cup Title sponsors this season. Thanks to our partnership with IFZA, we will be able to continue supporting the world’s best teams to compete for international recognition.”Martin G. Pedersen commented, “As one of the leading free zones in the UAE, we are delighted to support the prestigious Dubai Polo Gold Cup series in its 14th season. The tournament brings the best Polo talent from across the world to Dubai, placing the emirate at the forefront of the international polo circuit. We look forward to introducing our international network of Professional Partners and other guests to this elite sport.”The sponsorship secures IFZA's presence during the Club's calendar of polo events for the year. IFZA will also continue to host its hospitality lounge for its guests and Professional Partners at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort hotel.

Over half of Middle East CEOs expect stable worldwide economic outlook

Despite current challenges, CEOs of the world’s largest companies are embracing the positive and seeing the opportunities in turmoil. Over half (61%) of CEOs in the Middle East expect a stable or positive worldwide economic outlook over the next three to five years. Arthur D. Little (ADL), the leading management consultancy firm with the longest-standing presence in the Middle East region, elaborates on this and many other findings in their new 2023 CEO Insights study, which englobes insights from nearly 250 CEOs from companies worldwide with turnover of more than $1 billion.Thomas Kuruvilla, Managing Partner, Arthur D. Little Middle East, said: “In the Middle East, we see good examples of an industry’s moves to improve both efficiency and innovation in the travel and transportation industry. The COVID crisis pushed airlines and airports into large-scale efficiency programs to achieve major cost reductions, impacting thousands of jobs. However, at the same time, these companies are forming new partnerships to offer new services to passengers, such as combined intermodal mobility offerings (e.g., bringing together aircraft, rail, and mobility on-demand services). The next eight years will showcase tremendous advances in new client segments in the region as more investment is poured into reskilling initiatives for employees in the manufacturing and energy and utilities sector, ultimately contributing to competitive sustainability projects in the run-up to COP."What are the drivers of future growth?Despite the current energy crisis, all CEOs are focusing on innovation when it comes to drivers of future growth. Following the global trend of new geographies, Gulf executives will put less emphasis on diversification and disruptive offering to focus more on new client segments. Globally, over a quarter (26%) listed technology innovation as the most critical factor to growth, well ahead of raw material/energy prices (11%). Factors such as supply chain, and cyber risks both outranked raw material prices globally.However, there are clear regional differences:Environmental and climate change issues are a key focus in Europe, North America, and Asia, but receive less attention in other regions. Though more and more CEOs in the Middle East (7%) are prioritising environmental and climate change as a factor in future growth, they remain closely aligned to their global (10%) counterparts.Cyber risk is viewed as a key, urgent factor by 15% of CEOs in Africa, 14% in Asia, and 13% in Middle East and Africa (MEA)/South America, ahead of their peers in Europe and North America. Additionally C-suite in the Middle East believe the most critical factor in economic growth is technology innovation at 29% as compared with the global average of 26%.Francesco Marsella, Managing Partner, and Global Practice Leader, Strategy & Organization at Arthur D. Little, comments: “In a downturn, conventional business wisdom is to cut costs and focus on survival. Despite current challenges and many dark macroeconomic previsions for 2023, most CEOs we spoke to are optimistic for the future working with passion, entrepreneurship, and creativity to manage performance today while building the future. They see opportunity in adversity, looking beyond the current crisis to embrace a more positive future for their companies and wider society.”Overall, there will be a moderate need employee reskilling in the GCC for the telecommunications industry, travel and transportation and financial services. By comparison, healthcare (25%), manufacturing (33%) and energy & utilities (33%) see the highest volume of reskilling endeavours in the workplace.The Arthur D. Little 2023 CEO Insights Study interviewed nearly 250 global CEOs leading companies with a turnover of more than $1 billion. Study respondents are split between key industries and geographies to give unrivalled insight into the minds of those running the world’s biggest organizations.

Bisleri International makes its oversees entry with UAE

 India's leading bottled mineral water brand, Bisleri International, sets up its first overseas operations in UAE. The brand has partnered with the established and well-known Gulf company - Nasser Abdulla Lootah Group. The manufacturing and bottling will be under the flagship of Emirates Drinking Water, which is part of the Nasser Abdulla Lootah Group of Companies in the region. The association will help strengthen Bisleri International's presence across Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi. The operations will begin in April 2023. Bisleri – mineral water and Vedica - the Himalayan Spring Water will be available in 500ml and 1.5ltrs at mass-premium general and modern trade stores along with HoReCa and e-commerce platforms. The UAE bottled market is displaying significant growth projections. As per a recent market study, the bottled water industry is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 11% over the next five years. This is driven by an increasing number of immigrants and the growing tourism sector, leading to a surge in demand for functional water. Besides, the Indian expatriate community is the largest ethnic community constituting approximately 30% of the country's population. Bisleri, a legacy Indian brand synonymous with the category, has an emotional connect with the audience. Thus, entering the global market with UAE is a perfect time to connect with the Indian diaspora and strengthen the trust amongst the audience. Angelo George, CEO, Bisleri International Pvt. Ltd, elaborated on plans of penetrating the Global Middle East market with the oldest and reliable brand of UAE, "The UAE market indicates healthy growth projections with a noticeable appetite for Indian brands and products. Bisleri, a legacy Indian brand, holds a strong connect with the Indian diaspora living in the region. Our partnership with the Nasser Abdulla Lootah Group will strengthen our reach in the market. UAE is a beginning to our expansion plans, and we are committed to increasing our presence overseas."Mr. Sunir Sulaiman, Chief Operating Officer and Mr. Felix Francis, General Manager of Emirates Drinking Water, commented about the collaboration with Bisleri International: “We are happy to associate with Bisleri, the oldest water brand in India. We are confident that Bisleri’s India legacy along with our expertise complement each another. The bottling will be done under the flagship of Emirates Drinking Water. Along with Bisleri we are poised to achieve our goals in the competitive market of UAE.With a legacy of over five decades, Bisleri International is India's largest-selling mineral water brand. The strategic vision of extending Bisleri International's best-in-class offerings to international consumers and expanding its presence in the UAE region is a first step into this dynamic journey of taking the Indian heritage brand globally.

DGCL named official sponsor of SAEF Championships

Diriyah Company has signed an agreement with the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation (SAEF), establishing the company as the strategic sponsor. The agreement forms a key part of the federation's plans to achieve its strategy, enhancing the role of the various sectors in supporting the equestrian sports that it supervises.Underlining the support that equestrianism, a major pillar of the Kingdom’s history and Arabian identity, receives from the Kingdom’s Leadership, HH Prince Abdullah bin Fahad stated that the partnership between the federation and Diriyah Company would play an instrumental role in uplifting the equestrian sector, strengthening interest in the sport on both the national and international levels.“We are extremely excited to have Diriyah Company serve as both a strategic partner and supporter of tournaments supervised by SAEF,” said Jerry Inzerillo, Chief Executive Officer of Diriyah Company. “This partnership comes as an extension of Diriyah’s ongoing collaboration with the federation which will continue to set industry precedents by hosting national and international equestrian championships, developing equestrian training centers, jointly planning training programs for horseback riders, jockeys, coaches, judges and referees and creating measures to exchange expertise in the field.” Inzerillo stated.Through this, SAEF seeks to promote the equestrian culture and its close association with Saudi history. The federation intends to establish an equestrian center, in cooperation with Diriyah Company, as one of the upcoming collaborative efforts between the equestrian federation and the Diriyah Company.

Tanmiah Food Company plans to invest 4.5bln SAR by 2030

Tanmiah Food Company (“Tanmiah” or the “Company”, 2281 on the Saudi Exchange) has announced several key developments with the MHP SE (LSE: MHPC, ‘MHP’), Agricultural Development Fund (ADF), Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SIRC), and National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification (NCVC) to improve sustainable food security and production, increase recycling capabilities, and improve quality of life.As the only listed poultry company in the Kingdom and amongst the leading integrated producer and supplier of poultry and other meat products in the MENA region, Tanmiah signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ADF to launch the “10miah farmers initiative”. The project focuses on supporting the Company’s target of producing 1.2 million chickens per day, contributing to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture's target of 80% local poultry meat production by 2025.Tanmiah signed another MoU with the SIRC to develop a framework for enhanced cooperation and integration to recycle agricultural waste from the poultry industry to preserve our environment, increase greenery, and support carbon reduction.Tanmiah also entered into a MOU with NCVC to develop a framework to support the vegetation cover at national parks, preserve their natural components, and develop the green infrastructure in Riyadh Governorate.In addition, with a focus on bolstering the Kingdom’s food security and self-sufficiency, Tanmiah’s subsidiary, Desert Hills for Veterinary Services Company Ltd, partners with the leading producer of poultry meat in Europe, MHP. The joint venture’s primary focus will be developing and operating poultry breeding facilities, including establishing a greenfield hatchery in Saudi Arabia to hatch 108 million hatching eggs per annum and investing in feed milling facilities to produce 137 thousand tonnes of feed per annum.Zulifqar Hamadani, CEO, Tanmiah Food Company, said, “We have a responsibility to not only provide for the needs of today but also to preserve the resources and ecosystems for future generations. Our initiatives demonstrate a strong commitment and uncompromised dedication to supporting the Kingdom and its citizens in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Our agreements envision a collaboration to develop frameworks to establish models and infrastructures that bolster joint efforts toward a more sustainable future.”With Tanmiah’s continuous support of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, the Company is launching the first of its kind in the Middle East; a new fresh, healthy product line; Tanmiah Life. The new product line is a locally grown fresh chicken range fortified with Omega3 to nurture our consumers with health benefits that support heart, eye, and brain functions.Ahmed Sharaf Osilan, Executive Board Member & Managing Director of Tanmiah, Food Company, said, “As we steer toward implementing a sustainable long-term action plan, our initiatives are carefully selected to improve the quality of life and protect the Kingdom and the planet for future generations. With a fully integrated production, processing, and distribution business model, we are in an unrivalled position to drive innovation and sustainability through the entire value chain.”The introduction of Tanmiah Life further strengthens Tanmiah’s position as one of the leading innovative and future-focused food production companies in Saudi Arabia.

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy drives conversation on e-commerce market

Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, one of the three chambers operating under Dubai Chambers, has hosted the sixth episode of a series of digital industry workshops focusing on the e-commerce market.Attended by Dubai's e-commerce industry leaders, the workshop saw discussions on topics surrounding regulations, funding, talent, and infrastructure. The dialogue sought to provide clarity and a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by e-commerce companies.“Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy is committed to supporting the growth of Dubai’s digital economy and cement the emirate's position as a global destination for digital companies. As such, we will continue to support members through various initiatives including events like this, to ensure we involve all stakeholders in building a roadmap and finding solutions to the challenges faced by digital industry leaders,” said Mohammad Ali Rashed Lootah, President & CEO of Dubai Chambers.“With such a rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape, engaging with stakeholders in a transparent setting is essential in helping us understand the challenges companies face and enables us to carry out our role in advocating to improve Dubai’s business environment and establish the emirate as a leading e-commerce marketplace,” he added.The UAE’s e-commerce landscape has thrived in recent years, through major investments, acquisitions and partnerships with global companies. According to, it is the 27th largest market for e-commerce with a projected revenue of US$17.2 billion by 2027 at a compound annual growth rate of 8.4% between 2023-2027.The growth momentum of the UAE’s e-commerce sector is expected to continue, supported by rising demand for online shopping, improvement and modernisation of payment systems and services, as well as steady infrastructural investment flows.The Chamber is committed to involving all relevant parties in building a roadmap and finding solutions to the challenges discussed and aims to reconvene with representatives of these sectors to continue the conversation and track the progress that the discussions, ideas, and initiatives have made.Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy plays a prominent role in engaging stakeholders from various digital sectors to promote an environment that is truly conducive to the growth of the digital economy and the role of advanced technology in society.

Jaidah Group introduces the new Geely Tugella in Qatar

Skyline Automotive, a company of Jaidah group has introduced the new Geely Tugella in Qatar. The 2023 model is currently displayed at Geely’s cutting-edge newly expanded showroom on Salwa Road, where drivers can experience the new Tugella, discover the Geely range of vehicles and the latest and greatest technologies from the leading manufacturer.Tugella’s new features include improvements and additions to its exterior, such as a thunderbolt accumulation front face, thunderbolt claw, star shuttle trim, four exhausts, a black top & shark fin, and a revamped interior and configuration.The sporty car also boasts a front bumper with three powerful scars that help reduce or prevent physical damage in case of low-speed crashes. The strips on the exterior are imprinted with the word ‘CMA’, showcasing the vehicle’s Modular Compact Architecture. The car’s sport tail also provides wind resistance for further on-road stability and the interstellar cockpit’s asymmetrical design comes with an electric-optic green dynamic package for a comfortable feel. The ambient lamp around the car’s center console features eight colors that automatically switch with the speed of sound and the car’s BOSE multi-speaker surround-sound system features 12 speakers, ensuring that drivers can enjoy an immersive audio experience.Tugella’s configuration also provides additional driving assistance functions, such as blind spot detection, rear collision warning, rear crossing traffic alert, lane change assist, head-up display, and door open warning. A three-millimeter wave radar has been added for scanning to minimize the blind area and to ensure driving safety. When reversing at low speed, pedestrians and vehicles approaching laterally can be detected in real-time, warning when a collision may occur.All the current unique features including CMA, powertrain, active safety function, passive safety function, and BorgWarner’s 4WD have been retained. The existing smart engine 2.0TD has high performance with a maximum horsepower of 175kw. The four HD wide-angle cameras on all sides collect real-time information about road conditions around the vehicle, and seamlessly splice 360°real-time monitoring images.Tugella recently surpassed the global auto industry reliability verification standards, derived from performance tests conducted in 57 environments.Skyline Automotive has recently completed a sizeable extension of its Salwa Road showroom to enable it to display more Geely models. The extension will also cater to the company’s anticipated further expansion of the Geely range, enabling it to exhibit more vehicles and give ample space for customers to comfortably inspect them.

Nozomi Networks expands strategic partnership with Mandiant

– Nozomi Networks, the leader in OT and IoT security, today announced an expanded global strategic partnership with Mandiant to help industrial and enterprise customers anticipate, diagnose and respond to IT and OT cyber threats in their critical business operations.As part of the strategic partnership, Mandiant expanded the number of certified Nozomi Networks experts on its global OT incident response team and will utilize Nozomi Networks’ solutions to further forensic analysis and incident assessments. The companies are also investing in a new initiative that will include threat intelligence sharing and joint security research, and plan to introduce custom-designed incident response and assessment programs for joint customers. These new efforts reinforce a trusted partnership that began in 2016 and continues to expand with the shared mission to strengthen the security of industrial control systems.“When it comes to critical infrastructure security, being able to diagnose threats and respond quickly are necessary to keep business running,” said Nozomi Networks CEO Edgard Capdevielle. “But addressing IT and OT requirements is complex and requires collaboration. That’s why we’re teaming with Mandiant to bring the industry’s best IT and OT threat intelligence teams and technologies together for the best possible defense, without compromise.”“Government organizations and critical infrastructure worldwide rely on Nozomi Networks and Mandiant for cybersecurity,” said Mandiant Global Chief Technology Officer Marshall Heilman. “Our partnership strengthens cyber defenses without compromise at a time when operational resilience has never been more important.”Recognized as a market leader in OT and IoT security, Nozomi Networks is valued for superior operational visibility, advanced OT and IoT threat detection and strength across deployments. Nozomi Networks solutions support more than 89 million devices in thousands of installations across energy, manufacturing, mining, transportation, utilities, building automation, smart cities, and critical infrastructure. Nozomi Networks products are deployable onsite and in the cloud, and span IT, OT and IoT to automate the hard work of inventorying, visualizing and monitoring industrial control networks through the innovative use of artificial intelligence. Use cases stretch beyond cybersecurity, and include troubleshooting, asset management and predictive maintenance.By combining their market leadership in OT, IT & IoT cybersecurity, Nozomi Networks and Mandiant are bringing a new level of cyber defenses to critical infrastructure organizations worldwide.

National Experts Program announces new cohort and mentors for 3rd edition

The National Experts Program (NEP) contributes to the development of 15 Emirati specialists over a rigorous eight-month programme that combines academics, immersive work experience, and one-on-one mentoring by sector leaders to foster knowledge exchange and innovative thinking. Now in its third edition, NEP focuses on three strategic clusters: Economic Growth, Social Development, and Sustainability and Infrastructure. The programme is an initiative of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE.With the UAE hosting the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) this year, this edition places added emphasis on sustainability.The learning and development programme supports the UAE’s strategic vision and fosters the development of sector leaders by cultivating specialised expertise and leadership skills in outstanding UAE-National professionals and equipping them to make a transformative impact on key social and economic sectors. Through work sharing, shadowing, networking and other experiential activities, a selection of high-level, industry-leading mentors accelerate the personal and professional development of NEP participants, further cementing the value of lifelong learning, innovation and education as key pillars in the nation’s ongoing progress. His Excellency Ahmed Talib Al Shamsi, Director of the National Experts Program, said: “The National Experts Program, created to contribute to the UAE’s long-term strategic economic development, will be an essential platform to recognise promising young leaders and nurture the next generation of Emirati talent. The third edition’s participants were selected from nearly 900 applicants through a competitive selection process.” The list of mentors and participants includes: Economic Growth:Economic Development:Mentor: His Excellency Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of EconomyParticipant: Mohamed Tarmoom, Senior Associate, UAE Investments at Mubadala Investment CompanyMedia and Creative Economy:Mentor: Her Excellency Mona Al Marri, Director-General of the Dubai Government Media OfficeParticipant: Waheeda Alhadhrami, Director of National Cultural and Creative Industries Promotion Department at the Ministry of Culture and YouthSpace:Mentor: His Excellency Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director-General at Mohammed Bin Rashid Space CentreParticipant: Abdulla Alshehhi, Head of Strategic Research at the UAE Space AgencyTechnology and Innovation:Mentor: Peng Xiao, Group CEO at G42Participant: Dr. Abdulla Al Shimmari, CEO at HCMS.aiAdvanced Sciences and Research:Mentor: Professor Eric Xing, President at Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial IntelligenceParticipant: Dr. Ameena Al Sumaiti, Associate Professor at Khalifa UniversityTourism and Hospitality:Mentor: Haitham Mattar, Managing Director at IHG Hotels and ResortsParticipant: Aisha Al Matrooshi, Tourism Sector Industry Development Section Head, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi Social Development:Education:Mentor: His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of EducationParticipant: Hareth Alhashmi, Director of Strategy Success at the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood AuthorityCulture:Mentor: His Excellency Omar Saif Ghobash, Ambassador to the Holy See and Assistant Minister for Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International CooperationParticipant: Eman Al Mughairy, Head of Communication at Anwar Gargash Diplomatic AcademyCommunity Development and Social Services:Mentor: Her Excellency Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, State MinisterParticipant: Talal Faris, Division Manager, Family and Community Division at Abu Dhabi Department of Community DevelopmentPolicy and Government Services:Mentor: Her Excellency Maryam Al Hammadi, Secretary General at the UAE Cabinet, and State MinisterParticipant: Salama Alfalasi, Senior Programmer and Chairwoman of Dubai Police Young Leaders Council at Dubai Police HeadquartersHealth and Well-Being:Mentor: Dr. Jorge A. Guzman, Chief Executive Officer of Cleveland Clinic Abu DhabiParticipant: Fatima Al Ali, Project Manager at Mubadala HealthSustainability and Infrastructure:Energy and Renewables:Mentor: His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced TechnologyParticipant: Saood Alnoori, Head of Diplomatic Engagement at the Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate ChangeFood and Water Security:Mentor: Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and EnvironmentParticipant: Hamad Alshehhi, Investment Manager at ADQMobility and Logistics:Mentor: His Excellency Falah Mohamed Al AhbabiParticipant: Abdulla Alhaidan, Project Manager, Project Management and Group Planning at DP WorldEnvironment and Climate Change:Mentor: Her Excellency Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of the Environment Agency – Abu DhabiParticipant: Maitha Al Hameli, Section Manager – Marine Assessment & Conservation at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi28TH UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES (COP28) CLIMATE CHAN

Abu Dhabi Chamber and FICCI explore collaboration

His Excellency Yousuf Ali, Second Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI), reaffirmed the solid relations between the UAE and India, saying: “The UAE and India share a long history of strong relations, which laid the ground for signing the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) last year. One of the key objectives of the CEPA is to increase trade exchange by 120% from USD 45 billion to USD 100 billion over the next five years.”This came as part of a meeting that was organised by the Abu Dhabi Chamber at its headquarters, where the Chamber welcomed a high-level delegation from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). The meeting was attended by members of the Abu Dhabi Chamber’s Board of Directors, including: Masood Rahma Al Masaood Al Mehairbi, Treasurer; Saeed Ghumran Al Remeithi, Vice-Treasurer, and Nour Al Tamimi, Board Member of the Abu Dhabi Business Women Council.The Indian delegation, headed by Dr. Gunveena Chadha Assistant Secretary General of the FICCI, included high-level representatives from the FICCI, as well as representatives of more than 30 private companies across a wide range of industries, which include Agriculture, Chemical, Electrical Equipment, Textile, Pharmaceuticals, Food and Beverages, Sports Equipment, Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), and more.His Excellency Yousuf Ali, Second Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, said: “We are proud of our economic relations with India which centre on mutual respect, friendship and cooperation. We have worked together on several projects and have signed different agreements to strengthen cooperation in vital industries, including manufacturing, SMEs, energy, IT, digitization, logistics, and financial services industries, among others. Our trade history with India confirms the importance of our partnership, especially that India is the UAE's number one trading partner in terms of non-oil exports, accounting for 14% of our total global exports. In 2021 alone, non-oil trade exchange between the two countries amounted to USD 45 billion.”His Excellency added: “We would like to assure you that the Abu Dhabi Chamber is always ready to provide Indian companies with all the support they need to make their business a success. This, of course, comes within the Chamber’s newly announced strategy of playing the role of a policy advocator, a networker and service provider to its member companies.”Dr. Gunveena Chadha Assistant Secretary General of the FICCI, said: “The meeting today, organized by the Abu Dhabi Chamber, serves as an ideal platform for connecting companies in Abu Dhabi and India and uncovering investment opportunities for the benefit of the two countries. We are keen to drive investment, and take part in different projects and agreements, as per the UAE-India CEPA, which marks the beginning of a new era of success for the two countries. I would like to express my appreciation of the active role that the Abu Dhabi Chamber is playing in attracting, supporting and advancing businesses.”The meeting comes following the Abu Dhabi Chamber’s launch of its new 3-year strategy spanning from 2023 to 2025, which centres on serving the Abu Dhabi Economy and solidifying its position as the “Voice of the Private Sector”. In line with its new strategy, the Abu Dhabi Chamber aims to empower the private sector in Abu Dhabi and enhance its competitiveness, making Abu Dhabi the first choice in the MENA region for doing business by 2025.

Saudi Broadcasting Authority aims for 2bln views with its 2023 Ramadan programs

Governmental entity, Saudi Broadcasting Authority (SBA) has officially revealed its schedule of programming for Ramadan 2023. The unveiling took place at a high-profile event held in Dubai, which was attended by several C-level executives, including Mohammed Fahad Alharthi - Chief Executive Officer at SBA, Bandar Al Hassan - Chief Commercial Officer at SBA, Ibrahim Al Farhan Content Director at SBA and Khalid Alkhudair - Chief Executive Officer at SMC.SBA’s exclusive sales representatives, SMC, handled and executed the event. They further extended their support by inviting top agencies and partners, as well as providing full on ground assistance."This is an exciting time for us," said Khalid Alkhudair, Chief Executive Officer of SMC, "and we are keen to fully assist our partners SBA, ensuring they get the required visibility during Ramadan for all the newly-launched shows that will air."SBA is set to entertain all demographic groups with original and impactful content during the holy month. Programs will cover the entire entertainment spectrum, where viewers can look forward to shows focused on comedy, cookery, education, as well as some competitions. These will be presented by top hosts, actors, and actresses from the region.Committed to offering cinematic experiences, the shows will be broadcasted on digital platforms and Twitch as well as TV stations SBC and STV1. Top programs to look forward to include, high-rated show Netflorex, now in its second season. Qurrat Ain, starring prominent Kuwati Actresses Hayat Al Fahad and Omniya, a humanitarian show presented by Fayez Al Malki, will also be aired.Mohammed Fahad Alharthi - Chief Executive Officer at SBA said “We are extremely thrilled with the announcement of the Ramadan 2023 programs line-up. Our goal is to continue innovating and bringing together distinctive stories for our rapidly evolving audience. We are humbled to be positioned as a credible, trusted brand, and are currently reaching more individuals than ever before with our distinctive content offering.”

Digitect strengthens leadership with appointment of Faisal Aleisawi

Digitect Agency, a leading 360° creative services provider, is proud to announce the appointment of Faisal Aleisawi as the new Regional Managing Director. In his new role, Aleisawi will be responsible for overseeing the company's operations and expanding its presence in the region.Aleisawi has a wealth of experience in the marketing and advertising industry, with over 22 years of experience in executive and management positions. Aleisawi is a brand builder raised in Saudi Arabia and educated in Canada, with a decade of building brands in the Middle East. He has a proven track record of success, having been a part of many private, public sector, and international success stories.Aleisawi will steer the mission and goals of Digitect towards greater success, utilizing his expertise and leveraging the strengths of the team through strategic approaches. He is dedicated to driving the company forward and delivering exceptional results for clients.Faisal Aleisawi. said "I look forward to utilize my experience and expertise to continue delivering the best possible solutions to clients and expanding the company's presence in the region."Digitect is more than just an advertising agency, it is a catalyst of change in the creative services industry. With a full range of offerings including research, innovation, and creativity, Digitect provides comprehensive solutions for its clients'. the company has established itself as a leading provider of tech solutions, app, and website development, and both digital and conventional marketing. With a team of over 100 highly experienced professionals, including app inventors, IT experts, graphic designers, content creators, and social media creatives. Digitect delivers results that drive growth for its clients. With offices in Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dubai, Digitect is positioned to drive change and bring about a brighter future for its clients.

Why Email Personalization is the Need of the Hour

MoEngage, a customer engagement platform, has released a “State of Personalization Report” covering how retail brands in the Middle East and Africa can use the power of personalization in their email communication to enhance their engagement metrics.Customer expectations have been ever-evolving, and there is a visible shift in their shopping/buying behavior. Almost 52% of consumers prefer buying groceries online, and 90% of consumers will continue to shop online.Therefore, it becomes imperative for brands to understand the consumer trends and act accordingly. Additionally, as interactions become frequent, brands will move beyond first name personalization and dig deeper into their data pool to identify insights to drive communications.To supplement the above points, this well-timed report also highlights how marketers and brands are responding to this ever-changing customer demand with focus on personalization. MoEngage took a survey of 1000+ executives from the region to understand the investment trends in the martech stack.Some of the key findings from the survey are:52% of brands are investing more in their martech stack to drive personalization66% of marketers are looking towards enhancing their email personalization capabilitiesWhile email remains the most frequently used touch point, social media is catching up.The highlight section of the report includes two use cases of personalized emails from the region. Across both instances, brands witness higher engagement rates, with better open rates (85% increase) and higher CVR (~2X).This ultimately reflects the fact that customers respond to messages or communications specifically tailored for them. In order to stay relevant today, brands will need to indulge in event based personalization or user based personalization or an amalgamation of both to drive high engagement metrics.Commenting on the relevance of the report, Kunal Badiani, Regional Head, MEA, MoEngage, said: “As digital touchpoints evolve and physical touchpoints rejuvenate, personalization will become mainstream. Brands will need to look at the data and focus towards the insights-led personalized engagement to stay relevant during these times.

VUZ partners with media group MBC

Social app VUZ has entered into a partnership with MBC Group, which will enable VUZ to expand MBC Group’s video library and XR experiences. With the help of the cooperation, MBC Group's video library and XR experiences will grow, and VUZ's users will be able to stream and experience a higher level of realism in extended reality and the metaverse.With this new strategic alliance, which is expected to greatly expand VUZ's reach, the social app will be featured on all of the MBC Group's channels in the area, including satellite TV, radio, MBC social, and the Arabic streaming service Shahid. Live broadcasts of this combination will also air on VUZ, which will contain exclusive social channels for MBC on the VUZ platform.Khaled Zaatarah, the founder of VUZ, stated: “Our goal is to provide our users with the best immersive experiences, and by partnering with MBC Group, one of the leading media companies in the world, we aim to bring in the best content to integrate within our immersive social app.” He further added, “we aim to embrace the latest media trends such as the metaverse, and XR, which of course, encompasses augmented [AR] and virtual reality [VR]. Together with MBC Group, we are excited to strengthen our position as the leading immersive social app globally.”Fadel Zahreddine, group director of emerging media at MBC Group, stated: “There’s no doubt that immersive experiences have become increasingly important in the world of entertainment, and the region is fully embracing this. Creating a more realistic and engaging environment allows users to become more deeply involved in – and more connected to – the content they are consuming. We are thrilled to have partnered with VUZ to amplify these audience experiences.”VUZ has so far raised approximately $30 million in the capital, supported by investors such as e& Capital, Caruso Ventures, Dubai Future District Fund, SRMG, and others. The company was named "Tech Company of the Year Award" at the 2022 edition of the Tech Entrepreneur Awards. The infrastructure of its partners is used by the immersive media platform to grow into new nations.

Kingdom of Bahrain assumes the Presidency of Digital Cooperation Organization

The Kingdom of Bahrain has officially been appointed to the Presidency of the Digital Cooperation Organization (DCO), the global, multilateral organization dedicated to accelerating the inclusive growth of the digital economy to create digital prosperity for all.His Excellency Mohamed bin Thamer Al Kaabi, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Kingdom of Bahrain, will become the new Chairman of the Council of the DCO.As represented by the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunications (MTT), Bahrain will oversee the strategic direction of the DCO for the coming year and support the ongoing execution of key initiatives launched by the DCO.His Excellency Mohamed bin Thamer Al Kaabi, Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, commented on the ascension of Bahrain to the Presidency: "The Kingdom of Bahrain is honored to have been elected to the prestigious role of Presidency of the DCO. Bahrain has put great focus on developing the regulatory framework, policies, and infrastructure that have enabled the Kingdom to establish an efficient and attractive digital ecosystem for businesses. Bahrain is ready to share its expertise and best practices with the Member States of the DCO, to enhance the mission of empowering all nations to build digital economies that drive growth and development."Her Excellency Deemah AlYahya, Secretary-General of the DCO welcomed the appointment of Bahrain to the DCO Presidency and of H.E. Mohamed bin Thamer Al Kaabi to Chairman of the DCO Council: "We are very pleased to announce that the Kingdom of Bahrain has been ratified to the Presidency of the DCO for 2023. The leadership of the Kingdom of Bahrain has long understood the potential of technology to advance economic growth, and the necessity of using policy and regulation to enable the framework for the digital economy to flourish and grow. Bahrain was one of the founding nations of the DCO, and now, under the Presidency of Bahrain and the wise Chairmanship of His Excellency Mohamed bin Thamer Al Kaabi, we look forward to making great progress towards our goal of digital prosperity for all in 2023."The ascension of Bahrain to the Presidency of the DCO was ratified during the second DCO General Assembly which took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. As the holder of the Presidency, Bahrain will host the next General Assembly.

Dentsu shop opens for business

Dentsu today announced the launch of dentsu shop, a fully integrated retail accelerator developed to help both retailers and brands win in the ever-changing and expanding shopping landscape. As one of dentsu’s growing portfolio of vertical-specific solutions, dentsu shop is a collective which draws upon the best of the network’s commerce capabilities across CXM, media and creative, to deliver on the promise and potential of the increasingly ‘shoppable’ world. Dentsu shop is a tightly coordinated ecosystem of cutting-edge technologies, led by the network’s most experienced sector consultants across retail and brand, powering meaningful, data-driven experiences throughout media, commerce and loyalty. Underpinned by modern creativity, dentsu shop was built to help clients monetize first-party data, multiply the efficiency and efficacy of buy-side media, accelerate shopper growth and generate customer loyalty on the way to creating winning retail experiences – in-store, online, on the digital shelf, or at the end of the aisle.“The simple fact is that consumers no longer go shopping, they are always shopping. With so many paths to purchase, retailers and brands need to be everywhere their shoppers are right now, while being able to predict where they will be next,” commented Neal Sharma, President of dentsu shop. “With dentsu shop, we’re bringing together both sides of the coin, giving retailers and brands the opportunity to take advantage of dentsu’s unparalleled insight into consumers and address every manner in which they shop.”“Dentsu shop combines our network’s world-class services, including Merkle’s New Stream Media, loyalty solutions and globally-scaled commerce capability along with dentsu’s industry-leading retail media activation expertise — all elevated with horizontal creativity,” said Jeff Greenspoon, President, Global Solutions, dentsu. “Orchestrated and easy to access for clients, dentsu shop will power meaningful consumer experiences across media, commerce, loyalty and retail environments – while allowing us to increase our competitive advantage in this space. Watch out for a series of external partnerships and joint product development announcements that are on our roadmap for 2023.”Dentsu shop allows clients to seamlessly blend multiple modes of shopping and deliver a consistent brand experience elevated beyond function and convenience with best-in-class experts orchestrated together in an agile and proven integrated model.For the first time, clients can benefit from the deepest expertise in brand and retail value creation, brought together in one holistic solution. Dentsu’s experience in helping brands activate shopping experiences positions it perfectly to help retailers create the places and spaces for brands to drive growth. Similarly, dentsu’s successes in retail enablement, allows it to help brands activate in more meaningful and effective ways, while driving brand love and loyalty.Dentsu shop’s integrated solutions include:Retail enablement – the development, operation and scaling of retail media networks (RMNs), establishment of media sales and operations groups, implementation of commerce platforms and loyalty programs, and execution of monetization systems.Brand activation – centered around performance media, search, social, programmatic, shopper marketing, retail media and marketing automation.Consulting – consumer research, audience insights, experience design, merchandising through major e-retailer platforms, commerce strategy, branding/creative development, technology selection and partnership management.Innovation – capitalizing on emerging trends and technologies to create sustainable value for clients, from leveraging identity services to innovating new products and services, or venture investing to creating new ad products.Dentsu offers retail media, commerce, and creative strategies to flagship retail and consumer brands. Find out more on dentsu shop at:

WPP partners with Stripe to expand commerce and payments solutions for brands

WPP today announced it has partnered with Stripe to develop new commerce and payments solutions on behalf of joint clients. With this announcement WPP is now a Consulting Partner within the Stripe Partner Ecosystem (SPE), a program which provides a comprehensive package of resources and access to industry-leading consulting firms.WPP, together with Stripe, will engage in strategy and consulting to help clients with a range of initiatives including digital transformation, new product launches, e-commerce design and development, mobile applications and payments infrastructure. WPP will receive early access to new product releases and go-to-market strategy in addition to receiving support from Stripe’s team of commerce and payment experts.A recent report on the future of commerce suggests that 57% of global consumer spend is already online, and 60% of shoppers say they will increase their usage of digital shopping channels in the future.By partnering with Stripe, WPP will enhance its digital commerce capabilities across its business which includes over 13,500 commerce specialists globally. The news follows WPP’s recent acquisitions of commerce agencies Diff and Fenom, and exemplifies the company’s continued investment in its commerce offer for clients. Ranked as a Leader in Forrester's latest global Commerce Services Wave, WPP already manages more than $40bn of direct and $20bn of marketplace GMV for clients.Stripe is a financial infrastructure platform for businesses. Millions of companies such as Amazon, Ford, Maersk, Shopify, and Le Monde use Stripe to accept payments, grow their revenue, and accelerate new business opportunities. Stripe’s partner ecosystem provides the services and technology to enable enterprises across all industries to transform their ecommerce experience.Stephan Pretorius, WPP’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “As companies increasingly move to digital channels to improve the customer experience, it becomes important that they implement a robust system with quality data to integrate their brand and commerce strategies. Through the deployment of best-in-class technology platforms, like Stripe, we’re able to support bold client ambitions, promote powerful data-driven commerce performance and remove friction in delivering first-rate customer experiences."Dorothy Copeland, VP of Global Partnerships and Alliances at Stripe, said: “The increase in online spending is accelerating, and companies need to innovate quickly to stay ahead of consumer demand. By combining Stripe with WPP’s extensive commerce experience, businesses can modernize, get more out of their digital channels, and grow entirely new revenue streams.”

Philips Domestic Appliances names OMD Group as its Global Media Partner

Philips Domestic Appliances selects Omnicom Media Group (OMG) as global media agency. The partnership includes all of the company's kitchen appliances, coffee makers, indoor climate control, clothes steaming, ironing, and floor cleaning appliances in more than 100 countries. By supporting the company through a tailored media platform, OMG will play a key role in implementing a new marketing model and advancing Philips Domestic Appliances' accelerated growth agenda as a global leader in home appliances.The mission of Philips Domestic Appliances is to make houses into homes. OMG will support the company in this by planning and purchasing traditional, digital and performance media for the company's full brand portfolio and extensive campaign schedule. The collaboration will start on April 1, 2023.‘’Consumers want a complete experience. They don't differentiate between the message and the medium. That's why we designed an agency model that really puts the consumer at the center and is focused on making an impact," says Trix van der Vleuten, Head of Global Brands & Marketing Strategies at Philips Domestic Appliances. “This model is about seamlessly integrating the power of big, bold ideas and creativity, enhanced and optimized by media and data. It enables us to create consumer experiences based on data-rich insights at scale and in real-time, enabling us to deliver innovative can stay in our industry.”Alex de Ruwe, Head of Media at Philips Domestic Appliances: “With OMG we have found a media partner that enables our growth and enables us to achieve our ambitious goals. OMG's tech, tools and talented people take media to the next level through integration, standardization, automation, simplification and innovation. We look forward to a good and long-term cooperation with our new agency.”Florian Adamski, CEO of the Omnicom Media Group: “OMG and Philips Domestic Appliances have a common goal: to transform the consumer experience to enable long-term growth. This goal is the foundation of our bespoke media platform and all the brands our team will work on.”

Netflix releases trailer of Saudi animation series Masameer County

Netflix today has released the official trailer for the second season of the smash-hit Saudi animation sensation, Masameer County. The six-episode series will premiere exclusively on Netflix on March 2nd, 2023.The trailer for season 2 teases the wild escapades of beloved characters, Saad , Saltooh and Trad the dog, including a daring 24-hour mission, an unexpected ride in an elevator, and a mischievous rocket launch. Created by Abdulaziz Almuzaini and Malik Nejer, the series follows the comical adventures of the mischievous citizens of Masameer County. In season 1 of Masameer County, which debuted on Netflix in June 2021, we saw the Masameer team heading into a long-standing tribal feud, a media war, and a health craze gone too far. Season 2 builds on the first season promising further exciting stories and humorous entertainment for fans alike.This series is brought to you as part of Netflix's five-year exclusive partnership with Saudi Arabian animation studio Myrkott, signed in 2020 to bring viewers Saudi-focused shows and films. Masameer County season 2 will be available on Netflix in 190 countries on 2nd March, 2023.

GCC appetite for video-on-demand shows no signs of slowing

Even as video-on-demand suffers drops in subscriptions across much of the world, numbers are growing in the GCC. On average, consumers in the region currently have access to three streaming services, while fewer than two-in-ten people are subscribed to no streaming provider at all.For longer than a decade, streaming has been talked about as ‘the future’ of video-entertainment. Early video-on-demand (VOD) market leaders Netflix and Amazon Prime saw rapid success with subscription-based models, which would deliver an almost limitless number of films and series to consumers instantly.But the last year has seen the video-on-demand boom finally grind to a halt. Recent polling from Accenture found that only 18% of consumers around the world intended to grow their subscription spending in the coming year. In contrast, 38% will cut back – with a worrying 15% saying they will “greatly decrease” the amount they spend on subscriptions.Even as ‘subscription fatigue’ continues to worry video-on-demand providers – to the extent Netflix has finally taken action to crack down on password sharing – however, no such phenomenon is impacting the Gulf markets.A new study from Oliver Wyman has found that on average, people in the GCC have access to three video-on-demand streaming services – and their appetite is growing. Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting, with offices in more than 70 cities across 30 countries.Surveying consumers across the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, the firm found that UAE consumers have access to the highest number of video-on-demand services per person on average, at 3.1. This was followed by Saudi Arabia at 3.0 and Kuwait on 2.5.Rogerio Dienes, Lead of Oliver Wyman’s Communications, Media and Technology vertical in the Middle East, India and Africa, noted, “The GCC having a globally high rate of video-on-demand subscriptions does not come as a surprise considering the region has one of the highest penetrations of internet users in the world.”Video-on-demand services include those such as Netflix, Shahid, Amazon Prime, and YouTube Premium. Of those, 60% of UAE respondents said they had access to at least two services – while just 12% of respondents did not access any services at all. Similarly, only 22% of those in Kuwait and 20% of those in Saudi Arabia did not access any video-on-demand platforms.Across the whole region, GCC consumers accessed the second highest number of video-on-demand services per person, with an average of 2.9. This is only behind the United States, where each person has on average 4.7 subscriptions.Importantly, though, while US appetites seem to be fading – with only 29% of consumers considering adding a new service in 2023 – the GCC looks to have much higher growth potential. A 75% majority of respondents in the GCC said they expect to increase the number of video-on-demand streaming services they access.Dienes added, “The finding that GCC consumers are more likely to increase the number of video-on-demand subscriptions compared to other regions is in part connected to the fact that consumers here are facing less inflationary pressures on their wallets compared to those in other parts of the world.”Within the GCC, respondents in Saudi Arabia showed the highest appetite for growth in subscriptions, with 80% stating that they are likely to increase the number of video streaming services that they access.Meanwhile, the survey also found that under 25s were the age group most likely to increase their access to subscriptions. Despite having the lowest income bracket, the group is generally touted as the first movers in any ‘shift to digital’, so their enthusiasm suggests a broader shift is on the horizon for video-on-demand providers in the GCC.

HUB71 launches new innovation ecosystem

Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, has announced the launch of Hub71+ Digital Assets, a dedicated Web3 specialist ecosystem, with more than AED7bn+ ($2 billion) of capital committed to fund Web3 startups and blockchain technologies from Abu Dhabi.Hub71+ is a specialist ecosystem dedicated to advancing specific technology sectors. The first Hub71+ to launch is Hub71+ Digital Assets, focussing on unleashing the disruptive potential of Web3 and the growth of digital assets.Web3 describes the evolution of the internet into a decentralised online space increasingly built on innovations such as blockchain technology and metaverse applications. Web3 startups, from seed to unicorn stage, will benefit from the ability to scale globally through Hub71+ Digital Assets, unlocking access to a host of programmes, initiatives, and its extensive range of Web3 focused corporate, government and investment partners in the UAE and global markets. Hub71+ Digital Assets will be based at Hub71 in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) where Web3 startups can operate in a progressive regulatory environment, which offers world-class blockchain and virtual asset infrastructure.First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), the UAE's largest bank and one of the world's largest and safest financial institutions, and its research and innovation center, FABRIC, join Hub71 as the anchor partner of Hub71+ Digital Assets. FAB will identify leading Web3 startups, entrepreneurs, and breakthrough technologies to help the UAE’s largest bank reimagine financial services in the metaverse.Hub71 has also onboarded a diverse range of partners and Web3 players that form part of Hub71+ Digital Assets including digital asset exchanges and service providers Binance and MidChains, that will facilitate the discovery, trading and custody of digital assets.Technology Providers Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Mastercard will also help to bridge the gap between Web2 and Web3 and providing effective infrastructure platforms, and venture studio DAO will assist in facilitating the build and acceleration of new Web3 and digital assets startups.Providing access to capital and investment opportunities, a number of venture capital funds will be available including Binance Labs’ $500 million Investment Fund to invest in Web3, Venom Foundation through its USD 1 billion venture fund, Venom Venture Funds (VVF) in partnership with ICEBERG Capital an ADGM regulated investment manager, Ton Foundations’ $250 million TONcoin.Fund, as well as existing venture capital partners from Hub71 that are set to invest in Web3 companies.In addition, blockchain platforms Algorand, Polygon, SUI Blockchain, Ton Foundation and Venom Foundation, will enable transparent recording, tracking, and sharing of assets.The combination of these elements aims to support participating startups to launch tokens and promote tokenisation, as part of the fundraising journey.Ahmad Ali Alwan, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Hub71, said: “Hub71+ Digital Assets signifies that Abu Dhabi is open to disruptive businesses driving forward change and transformation on a global level. Decentralisation is the future of a blockchain-based internet, and Web3 startups will play an immense role in accelerating this transition. Teaming up with ADGM, FAB and its research and innovation center, FABRIC, alongside the world’s leading Web3 companies and enablers under one roof will provide founders with an opportunity to fundraise, develop and commercialize innovations safely while operating within the largest regulated jurisdiction of virtual assets in the MENA region.”Dhaher bin Dhaher Al Mheiri, CEO of ADGM, said: “We are pleased to strengthen our association with Hub71 on the launch of Hub71+ Digital Assets. In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, we have seen the rise of new technologies, and ecosystems such as Web3 that have the potential to transform the world. At ADGM, we are dedicated to providing a holistic environment that facilitates a seamless and secure adoption of digital assets to foster the growth of this new digital landscape. This alliance will help start-ups and digital assets to benefit from ADGM's diverse ecosystem and progressive regulatory environment by accessing world-class and innovative infrastructure. This further reinforces ADGM’s commitment to developing the UAE economy and keeping pace with global trends with a risk-based approach. We are delighted to be at the forefront of this revolution by empowering the next generation of businesses and look forward to the long-term growth it will present to the start-ups of the UAE and beyond.”Suhail Bin Tarraf, Group Chief Operating Officer at First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB), said: “FAB is trusted as a financial partner to our customers in the real world, and those same customers are now increasingly active in the Web3 space as well. Staying ahead of the curve when it comes to innovations such as blockchain, NFTs and the metaverse, is yet another way we fulfill our Customer First promise as we leverage new opportunities at the intersection of digital identity, ownership, and value. Through this partnership, it is our intent to meet our customers in this emerging digital space and keep them ahead with their financial needs.”Web3 startups at the unicorn stage (valued at more than $1 billion) will also benefit from Hub71’s value creation programme to support business relocation to Abu Dhabi and growth in the Middle East and global markets.Hub71+ Digital Assets will contribute to supporting the UAE Digital Economy Strategy, which aims to double the contribution of the digital economy to non-oil GDP to more than 20 per cent within 10 years.

Egypt shuts down second-largest piracy ring in Middle East

MyCima, the second-largest piracy operation in the Middle East region, was shut down by the Egyptian authorities following a referral from the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), the world’s largest and most effective anti-piracy coalition.Based in Alexandria, Egypt, the illegal service averaged more than 55 million visits per month prior to its shutdown and comprised more than 70 domains and numerous copycats. Some 12,000 movies and 26,000 TV series, including content from all ACE members, were offered for direct download or streaming.“The latest shut-down in the Middle East reinforces the fact that no matter where in the world they are, criminal distributors of pirated content can’t hide,” said Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Global Content Protection Chief for the Motion Picture Association and Head of ACE. “Whether they operate on a global or national level, these operators will have to face the consequences of their illegal actions. We applaud the action taken by the Egyptian authorities and look forward to supporting them in further actions. We would also like to thank the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Internal Affairs for their work in the investigation and protection of intellectual property rights.”ACE partnered with two of its new MENA-based members, OSN and MBC GROUP, on this action.“The shutdown of MyCima is a significant victory for the entertainment industry and sends a strong message to those who engage in the illegal distribution of content. As a member of ACE, OSN is committed to protecting the rights of content creators and producers and will continue to support actions that combat piracy in the region,” said Joe Kawkabani, Chief Executive Officer of OSN, a leading MENA provider of premium global and local content. “Through collaboration and collective efforts, we will protect the creativity and innovation that drives the global growth of our industry.”Natasha Matos-Hemingway, Chief Commercial and Marketing Officer at Shahid, a leading Arabic streaming platform by MBC GROUP, added: “MyCima was identified as one of the top pirating websites that was streaming our content illegally. Unsurprisingly, this affected our business as it would affect any media production company in the region.We have successfully managed to block more than 121 websites in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and more than 26 websites in the United Arab Emirates. Together with ACE, our efforts towards terminating these illegal platforms will help discourage and decrease the number of pirates stealing our content.”

Shakespeare Communications builds new business for Barnaby

Boutique PR Agency Shakespeare Communications is now providing its services to Barnaby Crompton, the exclusive property agent, renowned for selling the most expensive property ever recorded in Emirates Hills.Barnaby - otherwise known as Barney - a Dubai-based British-born broker, has more than 24 years of real estate experience in the UK and UAE. He moved to Dubai in 2008 and started working across property sales in some of Dubai’s most exclusive areas, from Emirates Hills to the Palm Jumeirah.Barnaby says, “My portfolio presents some of Dubai’s most exclusive properties in iconic areas, and I have quite a unique perspective on the market after many years of dealing with captains of industry and society’s movers and shakers. I need help in getting news of these rare properties out to as wide an audience as possible. Ananda and her team present a long pedigree of working with some of the leading brokers in the UAE, so I feel it’s a good fit for me and my business.”CEO of Shakespeare Communications, Ananda Shakespeare, says, “Barnaby is a real force in the local property scene, and needed someone he felt would not only understand his requirements quickly and easily, but offer a close working relationship he just couldn’t find from a bigger agency. Since I started my company, we’ve always worked with property companies, and it’s fantastic to have Barnaby join our ever-growing client roster.”Ananda and her team will soon be reaching out to key media to discuss Barnaby’s unique property portfolio, offering interviews, opportunities and tours.

Emirates, Great Britain SailGP Team announce three-year partnership

Emirates and the Great Britain SailGP Team today announced a three-year sponsorship deal.Under the agreement, Emirates will become the sailing team’s first-ever Title Sponsor starting with the race in Sydney on 18th and 19th February, 2023.Emirates’ signature "Fly Better" logo will be visible on the Great British F50 race boat, with prominent branding on the centre of the wing and hull. The airline’s iconic logo will also appear on the front and back of the team’s clothing, sailing apparel and equipment.Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, said, “We’re delighted to announce our new partnership with one of the world’s most successful sailing teams. Emirates and the Great Britain SailGP Team share common values, ambitions, and drive – making this partnership a natural fit. Together, we’ll take the sport to new levels, bring fans closer to the action, and deliver world-class experiences to customers worldwide. We also look forward to working closely with our partners on joint sustainability initiatives that will truly make an impact - on and off the water.”Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team CEO & Driver, Sir Ben Ainslie, commented, “This is a pinnacle partnership, one that brings both commercial value and supports our sustainability ambitions to support three million young people to take climate action."Under the sponsorship deal, the airline will enjoy a wide-range of benefits including: marketing, digital and social media rights; VIP hospitality tickets; meet and greet access to the athletes, including Sir Ben Ainslie and Hannah Mills, OBE, the world’s most decorated male and female Olympic sailors; and exclusive opportunities such as "sixth sailor experience" for Emirates fans to experience the action first-hand on the water.In line with the UAE declaring 2023 as the "Year of Sustainability" – the new sponsorship will also open more opportunities for Emirates and the Great Britain SailGP Team to drive joint global environmental campaigns with the common goals of reducing emissions, consuming responsibly, and preserving biodiversity.Emirates and Great Britain SailGP Team will also support wider sustainability issues such as gender equality. SailGP has launched a women's pathway to create an inclusive sporting championship that has gender equity at its heart – where the best athletes have equal opportunity to compete on the F50.' Emirates Group has also recently signed the UAE Gender Balance Council pledge, committing to increase the representation of women in leadership roles to 30 percent by 2025.The global sailing racing calendar will see the Emirates Great Britain SailGP Team compete in the remaining races in Season 3 SailGP, with the iconic Emirates branded F50 boats featured in Sydney, Christchurch, and during the grand finale in San Francisco on 6th and 7th May, 2023. The airline will also continue to support the team for the next three seasons of the racing calendar.

UAE jiu-jitsu team gearing up for Asian championships in Thailand

The UAE national jiu-jitsu team, sponsored by Mubadala Investment Company, is stepping up preparations ahead of the seventh Jiu-Jitsu Asian Championships, scheduled to kick off on February 24 in Bangkok with the participation of 37 countries. The squad, currently ensconced in a training camp in Sydney, has entered the crucial final stage of preparations.The players, overseen by technical staff from the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJF) and led by coach Ramon Lemos, train twice a day, in the morning and the evening, to improve their physical and technical abilities, attention levels, and knowledge of different combat techniques.Mubarak Al Menhali, Director of the UAEJJF’s Technical Department, said: “The camp in Australia is the team’s last practice before they depart for Thailand to compete in the Asian Championship. This is crucial for the team as it enhances the players’ technical, physical, and mental abilities and is one of the most important and critical elements in helping the team get ready to win the continental title.”In turn, Ramon Lemos, coach of the national jiu-jitsu team, expressed confidence about the team’s performance. “The final training session was productive, accomplished its objectives, and showed an improvement in the technical, tactical, and physical levels. We’re putting a lot of emphasis on strengthening the workouts in the next days to improve the technical and skill components and build physical fitness,” he said.Elsewhere, Shamma Al-Kalbani, the national team member, said: “Our preparations are progressing as planned, and we're working to put all the instructions the coaching team gives into practice so that we can overcome obstacles and keep winning titles.”The men’s national team delegation includes Theyab Al-Nuaimi and Omar Al-Suwaidi (56 kg), Omar Al-Fadhli and Khaled Al-Shehhi (62 kg), Muhammad Al-Suwaidi, Sultan Jabr and Faraj Al-Awlaki (69 kg), and Mahdi Al-Awlaki (77 kg), Saeed Al-Kubaisi and Faisal Al-Ketbi weighed (85 kg), and Abdullah Al-Kubaisi and Hazza Farhan weighed (94 kg).The women's team includes Hamda Al Shekheili and Aisha Al Shamsi (45 kg), Balqis Abdul Karim and Hessa Al Shamsi (48 kg), Asma Al Hosani and Shamsa Al Ameri (52 kg), Bashayer Al Matroushi (57 kg), and Haya Al-Jahuri and Shamma Al-Kalbani weighed (63 kg), and Marwa Al-Hosani weighed (70 kg).

MENA OTT revenues to double

Middle East & North Africa OTT TV episodes and movies will generate $5.69 billion by 2028; double from $2.83 billion in 2022. Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia together will account for 55% of the region’s revenues by 2028. The 13 Arabic-speaking countries will generate $2.47 billion in 2028; up from $1.28 billion in 2022.AVOD will bring in $1.55 billion by 2028 – up by $1 billion on 2022. Turkey will supply 62% of the 2028 total, with Israel bringing in another 11% and Saudi Arabia 10%.SVOD is the revenue driver for OTT TV and video. SVOD revenues will reach $3.82 billion in 2028; up by $1.8 billion from $2.03 billion in 2022.Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, commented: “We forecast 42 millionSVOD subscriptions by 2028, double from 21 million at end-2022. Netflix will have 11 million subscribers by 2028. Disney+ started in the Arabic countries, Israel and Turkey in 2022 – with 7.22 million subscribers expected by 2028.”

PepsiCo partners with NTSC

In a joint effort to develop a full decarbonization roadmap for PepsiCo’s fleet in the MENA Region, PepsiCo, a globally leading food and beverage manufacturer, and National Transportations Solutions Company (NTSC), a Petromin portfolio company, signed a wide-ranging Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), and commenced the decarbonization process with the launch of the first Electric Commercial delivery truck pilot in Saudi Arabia.The MOU signing was attended by Aamer Sheikh, CEO of PepsiCo Middle East, Kalyana Sivagnanam, the Group CEO of Petromin Corporation, Gary Flom, CEO NTSC, and representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture (MEWA), MODON and the Ministry of Investment. PepsiCo’s collaboration with NTSC will pilot a state-of-the-art 4-ton Quantron EV truck in Saudi Arabia, acting as the first step towards integrating EVs into PepsiCo's fleet in an effort to ultimately reduce carbon footprint in line with Saudi Vision 2030. PepsiCo has been a key innovator supporting the creation of a circular and inclusive value chain to meet aggressive sustainability goals, including net-zero emissions by 2040. This journey underlines PepsiCo’s commitment to pep+ (PepsiCo Positive), its strategic, end-to-end transformation strategy with sustainability at the center to create growth and value.NTSC is a leading technology company that utilizes new energy economics discipline and Internet of Things (IoT) fleet management systems for enabling B2B and B2G sectors to decarbonize their entire fleets through transition to BEV & FCEV commercial vehicle platforms. Supported by optimal charging and green H2 refueling infrastructure, NTSC is an active contributor to the achievement of the sustainability goals of Saudi Vision 2030.Through this partnership, PepsiCo will aid the process of reducing and eventually eliminating the collective carbon footprint. This emphasizes PepsiCo's pep+ transformation strategy, which aims to build a positive value chain by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people. A commitment to sustainability and Vision 2030, this partnership strives to work towards reducing the collective carbon footprint.PepsiCo has taken significant steps to utilize renewable energy in its Riyadh Snacks plant and continues to do so to meet the objectives. In 2022, PepsiCo’s Riyadh plant replenished 100% of the water it consumed annually back into the local watershed. This accomplishment accounts for 65% of the Kingdom’s total water usage by the snacks business. Following the MoU singing, a truck bearing Lays' sustainability branding will be unveiled and subsequently will tour Riyadh and Jeddah.Aamer Sheikh, PepsiCo CEO, Middle East, commented “We are excited to join forces with NTSC and Quantron in this pioneering move and contribute to finding solutions that can lower the carbon footprint in Saudi Arabia. Our commitment to sustainability is rooted in our belief that the only way to ensure a bright future for our planet and its inhabitants is to adopt sustainable practices wherever possible. We have been present in Saudi Arabia for over 65 years and are committed to driving the Vision 2030 goals through our pep+ initiative. With the Saudi Green Initiative in mind, it is empowering for us to grow our sustainability programs in the Kingdom to create and innovate, to achieve a green future.”Gary Flom, CEO NTSC expressed his support by saying, "Our joint effort with PepsiCo is in line with Saudi Vision 2030 and is a testament to our commitment to reducing the collective carbon footprint and driving towards a net zero emissions future. NTSC is the first and only fleet mobility solutions company in the GCC with the ability to develop complete carbon optimization and decarbonization roadmaps. In fact, we are confident that this initiative will result in numerous other major companies following PepsiCo’s lead to decarbonize their fleets and thus transition to a nature positive business model and contribute to the betterment of our planet and all of its inhabitants. Thank you PepsiCo and the Kingdom for including strong environmental improvement goals in the Vision 2030 program.”Across the MENA region, PepsiCo is increasing its activity in creating a more sustainable food system, spearheading the movement towards eco-friendly consumption within a circular economy. The MoU with NTSC will further support Vision 2030 creatively and responsibly meet current and future energy and climate challenges.

Toluna releases Global Consumer Barometer - Wave 21

Toluna, a leading market research and consumer insights technology provider, recently conducted the latest wave of their multimarket study, Global Consumer Barometer. Now in its 21st wave, the Barometer features data for 18 markets including UAE and KSA and aims to understand the changing needs of today's consumers and how they adapt to the rising cost of living.According to the report, 50% of those polled in UAE and 38% in KSA are concerned about their own financial security, compared to 41% globally. However, 74% of respondents in UAE and 68% in KSA feel more hopeful about their future than 44% at global level. In the current global economic situation, 63% of respondents in UAE and 61% in KSA expect to properly control expenses until the global economy stabilizes, compared to 60% globally.Budget control, bargain huntingThe report shows that residents in UAE and KSA are more affected by price fluctuations, particularly in kids' snacks and baby products. To meet their spending budget, 39% of respondents in UAE and 49% in KSA are inclined to switch to more economical options, compared to 36% globally. Both markets showed a commitment to better budget management, with residents planning to reduce unnecessary purchases, change supermarkets for more convenient prices, and shop more efficiently to get the best deal. For instance, 34% of individuals in UAE and 38% in KSA have intentions to switch supermarkets in search of better pricing options, compared to the global average of 28%. Additionally, 34% in UAE and 30% in KSA plan to shop more frequently to minimize waste and secure better deals, as opposed to 25% globally. Lastly, 28% in UAE and 33% in KSA aim to reduce their shopping frequency but purchase items in bulk, compared to the worldwide average of 23%.CompromisesWhile residents of UAE and KSA are willing to compromise on some spending habits, they plan to continue spending on beauty and skincare products (UAE 21%/KSA 27%), vacations abroad (19% and 20%), and fitness activities (UAE 22%, KSA 15%). The motivations for reducing consumption vary by category. For instance, 57% of survey participants in both UAE and Saudi Arabia plan to cut back on electronics purchases for financial reasons, compared to 51% globally. Meanwhile, 46% in UAE and 54% in the KSA plan to reduce their consumption of soda and soft drinks for health and sustainability reasons, while the global average is 36%.The road aheadConsumers in UAE and KSA are anticipating a rise in spending in the near future, particularly in regards to food (+54%, +48%), vitamins and minerals (+46%, +40%), clothing (+47%, +42%), gaming (+31%, +28%), and dining out (+43%, +37%). To adapt to these rising costs, 18% of respondents in UAE and 24% in KSA stated their intention to opt for cheaper alternatives to their regular products. Meanwhile, 18% in UAE and 15% in KSA said they would spend less on gaming compared to 13% worldwide, and 19% in UAE and 17% in KSA expressed a willingness to reduce their purchases of premium brands, compared to 19% globally.Quality vs priceThe global average shows that 33% of consumers prioritize price when shopping for groceries, while in the UAE and KSA, the focus is more on quality standards with 26% and 25% respectively. When it comes to choosing between a sustainable brand and their favorite brand, residents in both the UAE and KSA show a preference for sustainability with 7% and 6% respectively, compared to the global average of 6%. Health is also a major consideration in their grocery purchases, with 20% in both the UAE and KSA compared to the global average of 15%."What surprised me the most in the latest wave of our Global Consumer Barometer is how UAE and KSA consumers seem to be adjusting to economic hurdles while still embracing eco-friendly habits and focusing on healthier choices, in spite of rising prices. At the same time, they are much more optimistic regarding the future than their global peers, over 20% more, in fact! That’s a clear message for brands to stay tuned and dig a little deeper on this signal. The other interesting insight is that regional consumers Middle East residents choose quality over price while shopping for groceries, whereas in other regions it’s the opposite” commented Georges Akkaoui, Enterprise Account Director, Toluna MEA. While 42% in UAE and 36% in KSA are concerned about rising rent and mortgage payments, compared to 30% globally, they reported less concern about growing living costs. In line with global trends, seven out of ten respondents in both markets reported being affected by the energy crisis and inflation.

STARZPLAY expands to Iraq

STARZPLAY, ranked consistently among the region’s top 3 subscription video on demand service, today announced its partnership with Iraq’s biggest OTT player Almanasa to provide STARZPLAY’s diverse breadth of entertainment and sports offering for subscribers in the market.As part of the three year agreement, STARZPLAY will provide its core product catalogue of movies and TV shows for Almanasa subscribers in addition to the STARZPLAY Sports pack. This means that viewers in Iraq subscribing to Almanasa will be able to enjoy unlimited entertainment and the best in live sports, all under one umbrella.Further, Earthlink, Iraq's largest Internet service provider, will bundle Almanasa platform as a Premium Bundle with its home internet packages to offer value added benefits for its users. The Premium Bundle is exclusive for EarthLink home internet users and will be included in their subscription.Raghida Abou Fadel, SVP for Business Development & Sales, STARZPLAY, said: “We are delighted to expand our network to cover Iraq to offer premium and cutting-edge programming to all the entertainment and sports enthusiasts in the market. Our content line-up offers an impressive library of English and Arabic programming as well as the best live sporting events and through these value-added packages, subscribers can enjoy exceptional entertainment at no additional cost. We look forward to our partnership with Almanasa as we continue to expand our footprint in the Middle East.”AlMuheleb AlZaidy, Almanasa CEO, said “We are proud to provide our subscribers in Iraq with additional content options from one of the region’s leading video streaming services. Customer delight is at the core of our business and offering value-added offers to our customers underlines this commitment. We believe that STARZPLAY Sports Package, especially Seria A, is an optimum entertainment need for our customers. We hope that they enjoy STARZPLAY’s compelling programming as we continue to evolve our offerings to deliver unmatched experiences to them.”STARZPLAY Sports has the rights to stream the EA Sports Italian Super Cup and SuperCopa Argentina and every match from the Serie A live and exclusive. Sports fans can also enjoy live wrestling, football, cycling, World Championship boxing, UFC, basketball and much more, all available to stream on the platform.  With thousands of hours of premium content including the best western content, Arabic shows, Turkish favourites, anime, and live sports, STARZPLAY is available in 19 countries across the Middle East, North?Africa,?and Pakistan for fans to enjoy quality content anytime, anywhere, and from any device.