Toyota, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, and SAMF delve into motorsports possibilities

Jeddah: Representatives from Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, an authorized distributor of Toyota vehicles in Saudi Arabia since 1955, and the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation (SAMF) have successfully completed a visit to key TOYOTA GAZOO Racing (TGR) facilities in Japan to explore opportunities in motorsports aimed at strengthening the Saudi motorsports ecosystem by leveraging Toyota Motor Corporation’s (TMC) extensive knowledge in the field, as well as supporting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 sustainability goals by learning more about Toyota’s Multiple Pathway approach to carbon neutrality.A delegation including His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, Chairman of SAMF, and Munir Khoja, Managing Director of Marketing Communication at Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, was taken for a special tour of TMC facilities involved in the development of sports vehicles. These included the TGR factory and Shimoyama Proving Ground, a testing facility that supports the Company’s research and development efforts.Productive discussions took place on increasing GR vehicles’ participation in motorsports in Saudi Arabia, including the Saudi Toyota Championship. Organized by SAMF, the Championship is the largest of its kind in the Kingdom and features a diverse line-up of events such as rallies, drifting, time attack, autocross, drag racing, and hill-climbing. Spanning seven cities including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Asir, Al Baha, Qassim, and Hail, the Saudi Toyota Championship represents a qualitative leap in the world of local racing that has attracted over 300 participants to date.His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation, said, “The tour of the TGR factory was a truly transformative experience as we witnessed TMC’s latest carbon-neutral technology and their bold steps towards a decarbonized society. We are excited about the potential of climate-conscious vehicles to revolutionize the Kingdom's motorsports scene and look forward to exploring further opportunities for grassroots motorsports initiatives and the advancement of carbon-neutral technology in our country.”TGR was established in 2015 ?to consolidate Toyota’s motorsports activities under one in-house brand and represents a fundamental pillar of the company’s commitment to ?creating ‘ever-better’ cars. The TGR team actively participates in numerous different forms of motorsports ?including the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). In recent years, TGR has found great success in these events with eco-friendly vehicles such as the GR YARIS Rally1 Hybrid and the GR010 Hybrid, including winning the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race an incredible five times in succession. Toyota harnesses the experience gained under the extreme ?conditions of motorsports to forge new ?technologies and solutions, with the goal of bringing the freedom, adventure, and joy of driving to everyone.Made for motorsport enthusiasts by motorsports enthusiasts, Toyota’s GR line-up represents the embodiment of climate-conscious sports vehicles. Abdul Latif Jameel Motors offers an extensive range of GR models to customers in the Kingdom including the Land Cruiser, Supra, Hilux, and GR86.Munir Khoja, Managing Director of Marketing Communication at Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, said: “As part of our strategic relationship with both TMC and SAMF, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors is committed to promoting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals and initiatives towards a greener future. Our recent conversation with TMC was of utmost importance as we discussed innovative solutions to support the electrification of more vehicles in Saudi Arabia. TMC's dedication to realizing hybrid and hydrogen fuel cell cars aligns with our values and our mission to improve mobility in the Kingdom. We look forward to celebrating these special moments and promoting sustainable mobility for all.”The guests also visited the facilities of Rookie Racing, a private team owned by TMC Chairman Akio Toyoda. Rookie Racing’s participation in a series of grueling endurance races with a hydrogen-powered GR Corolla exemplifies TMC’s Multiple Pathway approach and passion for making ‘ever-better cars’ through motorsports.Toyota’s Multiple Pathway approach to carbon neutrality offers customers the choice of various vehicle powertrain technologies, including Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), and Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV). This enables customers to select cleaner and greener mobility options based on their economic circumstances, locally available energy sources, charging infrastructure readiness, industrial policies, and usage needs.Akitoshi Takemura, Regional CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, commented: “As our Chairman Akio Toyoda has said, Toyota believes that ‘carbon is the enemy.’ Our Multiple Pathway approach provides an excellent fit with the drive to achieve carbon neutrality in Saudi Arabia, where diversifications across multiple sectors including the country’s energy resource strategy are underway in line with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”Takemura continued: “Toyota, together with SAMF and Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, supports these goals not only by providing cars to motorsports enthusiasts, but also by establishing communities where car lovers can gather and tomorrow’s talents can grow. We remain committed to shaping a more sustainable tomorrow fueled by our passion for developing ‘ever-better cars’ through motorsports that are fun to drive, while at the same time focusing on sustainable mobility to ensure that no one is left behind.”Abdul Latif Jameel Motors has worked together with Toyota Motor Corporation since 1955 to deliver a premium automotive ownership experience and world-class aftersales services in Saudi Arabia. Leveraging decades of expertise across the mobility value chain, Abdul Latif Jameel Motors remains committed to continually enhancing its products and services to meet the evolving needs of customers across the Kingdom.

Cartlow and E-city partner to launch Sustainable Device Subscription Program

Dubai: Cartlow, the leading reverse logistics platform, has partnered with E-City, a multi-brand electronics retail group, to launch a new device subscription program across 16 stores in the UAE. The program aims to align with the UAE's 2023 vision for sustainability by providing customers with affordable and convenient options to prolong the life cycle of their devices and reduce electronic waste.In the device subscription program, customers will constantly have the latest device by securing its exchange value for future use. This program simplifies the process of keeping up with the latest technology by eliminating the need to sell or trade-in the current device.All old devices collected through the program undergo data sanitization following international standards for IT Asset Disposal services. The program adheres to circular economy principles, meaning that collected devices are either repaired, refurbished, or recycled to minimize waste and promote sustainability. This collaboration reflects Cartlow's continuous commitment to minimizing electronic waste and promoting a sustainable future. The global mobile device subscription market is expected to reach $64.8 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 24.8% from 2021 to 2026. These statistics demonstrate the growing popularity and importance of device subscription programs globally, particularly as consumers increasingly prioritize flexibility and access over ownership. The coming together of the two entities helps to address this growing trend, promoting a more responsible and eco-friendly approach to electronic device consumption in the UAE.Cartlow has managed over 2 million products since its inception, resulting in a groundbreaking contribution to saving over 6 million kg of e-waste and 36 million kg of carbon emissions. The platform aims to further dominate the global reverse logistics market, which is projected to reach $958 billion in 2028.Mohammad Sleiman, Founder and CEO of Cartlow, stated, “Our partnership with E-City is aligned with the UAE's vision of sustainability for 2023, and we are delighted to contribute to this mission. As a leading advocate for reducing the environmental impact of electronic waste, we take pride in our efforts to provide sustainable and cost-effective solutions to our customers. Together with E-City, we strive to make a positive impact on the environment and promote a more sustainable future for generations to come.”Cartlow and E-City hope to encourage consumers to make environmentally responsible choices while also promoting new technology at an affordable price point through their agreement. receives 19mln visitors and more than 30mln visits to by end of 2022

Dubai: The Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority (TDRA) released ‘ 2022... Figures and Facts’ Report, which sheds light on the great success story of the portal since its launch, as the interface of the UAE Government official presence, and the main reference for government information and services. The report includes milestones, figures, results and indicators related to the portal's performance and the level of its popularity locally and globally.Moreover, the report highlights the journey of, which was launched in 2001, starting with its establishment as a static site under the name of (, through the stage of the interactive site based on an open-source content management system, to the stage of the one-letter domain (, which is the shortest domain name in the world.Commenting on the report, H.E. Eng. Majed Sultan Al Mesmar, TDRA Director General, said: “The UAE Government official portal ( is the UAE interface online, and an interface of its digital presence. We are pleased with the results achieved by the portal in terms of the level of visits, searches and browsing. We are also pleased with the comments and suggestions received from the portal users that have contributed over time to developing it and improving its performance in line with international best practice.”H.E. Al Mesmar added: “TDRA’s team works tirelessly on developing the portal and aligning it with the higher national directions, manly 'We the UAE 2031' vision with its four pillars related to government, society, economy and international relations. We developed the portal based on our role as an enabler of the digital government, and on our strategic goal to enhance the digital lifestyle in line with the directives of the wise leadership by making digital transformation a path to creating a happy and sustainable future in the UAE.” reflects the best international experiences, such as the customers' journey, adopting the latest international standards and choosing the best content management system.The report showed a steady increase in the number of visitors to the portal, as the number of visitors approached 19 million in 2022, with more than 30 million visitors came mainly from the UAE. During the last five years, more than 35.6 million visitors from the UAE visited the portal, while India came second with 4.67 million visitors in the same period, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia third with 2.72 million visitors.As for the most popular pages, the page of applications for entry permits and visas and their validity came at the top of the list, as the average time spent by the visitor browsing this page was 4:16 minutes. Travel to the UAE page came second with an average visit time of 4:07 minutes, and the Emirates ID page came third with an average visit time of 3:51 minutes.According to the report, English came as the most used language with 48.8 million visitors, followed by Arabic with 8.13 million visitors, then French with 1.18 million visitors, then German, Russian and Chinese.The report showed the inclusion of 2,630 digital services on the portal, provide

Salesforce celebrates partner growth and success in Middle East

DUBAI: Salesforce (NYSE: CRM), the global leader in CRM, has announced the winners of its annual Middle East Partner Awards 2023 across 10 categories.The Middle East Partner Awards event, which was held at the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai as part of Salesforce World Tour Essentials Dubai on May 18th, gathered more than 1,500 attendees across Salesforce’s regional ecosystem.Salesforce’s partner network experienced robust growth of 46% year-on-year by the end of Q1 2024 (January 31, 2023). Over the same time, the total number of Salesforce certifications rose by 51.5% to reach 3,673.“The spectacular growth of our partner network is a reflection of both the success of our partner program and the surging demand for solutions that help organizations put their customers at the center of everything they do,” Mukesh Kumar, Regional Vice President for Salesforce Alliance & Channels Middle East, said. “This level of growth made the 2023 awards a truly special occasion, with an eclectic mix of regional partners and global system integrators, and partners covering newly represented sectors including telco and financial services competing for awards.“What these awards really demonstrate is that we value our partners as extensions of our organization: We are members of one family and share similar core values. This is vital to ensure we work as one unified team, focused on our customers’ transformation journey and success in the Middle East.”Awards were handed out as follows:1 Customer Success Partner (Implementation - CSAT) - recognizes partners who share Salesforce's commitment to customer success through the development of product, industry, and service expertise, as demonstrated by Salesforce specializations. Building a strong track record of successful implementations and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. Winner: Coberg2 Outstanding Knowledge Partner (Innovation - Credentials) - recognizes partners who have a laser focus on expanding their Salesforce Practice. By utilizing all available enablement tools, they have increased their total number of certifications, certified individuals, and use of partner learning camps. Winner: Smaartt3 Sales Excellence Partner (Engagement - ACV) - this award celebrates partners who are committed to growing the Salesforce footprint across the commercial and enterprise markets. They have demonstrated this through increased sales and marketing engagement reflected in being the Top influenced Annual Contract Value (ACV) contributor. Winner: CloudzLab4 Community Impact Partner - recognizes partners who have dedicated their time, money, and resources to have a positive impact on the local community. This is measured through their enrollment in Salesforce’s Talent Alliance, Pledge 1% and sustainability programs, and their demonstrated corporate responsibility.Winner: Deloitte5 One A&C Cloud Solution Partner – this category recognizes partners across the One A&C cloud solutions, which includes Mulesoft, Tableau and Slack. The partner must demonstrate great product knowledge which helps to address customer challenges.Winner: Capgemini6 Marketing/Commerce Cloud Partner – recognizes partners who excelled in using Salesforce marketing and commerce cloud solutions to drive transformation programs and build a niche set of skills that are relevant for customers. Winner: Horizontal Digital7 New Cloud (NetZero, Data Cloud, Whatsapp, CDP, Industry Clouds) – partners who invest resources to understand Salesforce’s latest product offerings or industry solutions. Building on the incredible salesforce knowledge and taking this further to truly leverage the maximum value from the salesforce platform.Winner: Publicis Sapient8 Outstanding New Logo - This award celebrates the partner who positioned Salesforce to help solve unique and complex business challenges for new customers across the Middle East.Winner: Sirocco9 Rising Star Partner - celebrates the partner with the most growth based on program pillars: Customer success (Navigator + CSAT), Innovation (Credentials & Practice Growth), Growth (Influenced ACV) and Lead (Equality and Sustainable Development).Winner: Conx Digital10 Overall Partner of the Year - recognizes a partner that has gone above and beyond in their commitment to building a world class Salesforce practice. They have excelled across all of the consulting program pillars, built a strong alignment with Salesforce’s sales team and dedicated marketing to ensure pipeline creation and progression. These partners are a true extension of Salesforce.Winner: EI-Technologies MENA

Jaguar Land Rover switches gears with Hearts & Science in MENA

Dubai: In support of the Reimagine Strategy, JLR has appointed Hearts & Science, a brand of Omnicom Media Group, as its new global media agency. The network was appointed following a thorough evaluation process. A successful global transition concluded this month, completing the move across all five key regions: China, Europe, Overseas, North America and the UK.The appointment of Hearts & Science supports JLR’s commitment to become proud creators of the most desirable, modern luxury brands for the most discerning clients. All four makes in the JLR house of brands, Jaguar, Range Rover, Discovery and Defender, will be managed by Hearts & Science. The network’s client-centric approach, fused with data science skills, will accelerate the manufacturer’s growth and transformation.In line with the global decision, Hearts & Science MENA will be responsible for 23 markets, managing media strategy and planning, buying across traditional and all biddable and performance channels. The deployment of marketing science, a custom digital marketing transformation framework and optimized customer digital experiences through OMNI, Omnicom’s critically acclaimed marketing orchestration platform, are also in the scope of work.The choice of an agency built for the future was also driven by JLR’s Reimagine strategy to deliver a sustainability-rich vision of modern luxury by design. The company will become carbon net zero across its supply chain, products, and operations by 2039. Before the end of the decade, the Range Rover, Discovery, Defender collections will each have a pure electric model, while Jaguar will be entirely electric. “Throughout the tender process, Hearts & Science demonstrated they were the most capable partner to help JLR build equity across our house of brands and embed a performance marketing-led ecosystem. We are excited to begin our partnership with them but also wish to wholeheartedly thank Dentsu for their partnership during the past five years,” said Lennard Hoornik, JLR’s Chief Commercial Officer.“Acting on data to improve performance is clearly an approach that runs deep in our engineering. With the appointment of Hearts & Science, we will go further down that path in our marketing too. They’ve demonstrated an exceptional command of data, analytics, technology and consumer understanding,” explained Paula Shamaa, Brand Director at Jaguar Land Rover MENA. “With their insights, science and expertise, we expect them to lift all our KPIs, be they brand or business focused, and create differentiation, desire and demand.”“Speed, accuracy and reliability are some of the attributes you require from a performance car. JLR have come into this review with the same expectations and found at Hearts & Science a team of experts and specialists bound by the same drive: to accelerate growth through effective marketing transformation,” commented Rasha Rteil, managing director of Hearts & Science MENA. “In the last few years, we have built a solid track record of success above and beyond media. It is this best practice that JLR will capitalize on to improve its marques’ positioning and desirability, with a next-level data infrastructure.”

MoEngage to host the 2nd edition of its flagship event

DUBAI: After hosting 250+ brands in 2022, MoEngage, a marketing automation and customer engagement platform, is back with the 2nd edition of #GROWTH Summit Dubai on 1st June at Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai.The Dubai chapter of #GROWTH Summit 2023 will bring experts from top GCC consumer brands together and foster a network of Growth, Marketing, Product, and Retention professionals to encourage peer learning and problem-solving. The event is brought to the audience in partnership with AWS, mParticle, and Tanla. #GROWTH Summit promises to host marquee brands like GMG, DP World, OSN+, Geekay Group, RedTag, Sharjah Corp,, Astra tech, Lals Group, Almosafer, and many others.Building long-lasting customer relationships and sustainable growth is the biggest growth lever. And with this invite-only event, MoEngage aims to bring in leaders who will share their experiences, discuss actionable strategies, and showcase real-world frameworks they have used to drive meaningful engagement and growth.The event will feature various panel discussions, fireside chats, customer growth stories, and intuitive product announcements that will encourage the marketing fraternity to look towards innovative ways of engaging with customers.What makes #GROWTH Summit Special?All Brands Under One Roof: Get a chance to interact with professionals from brands across verticals like Retail, E-commerce, BFSI, Telecom, Travel, Media, Healthcare and many more.Product, Features and More: Get latest updates on features that are revolutionizing customer engagement like Outbound Segment, Website Personalization, Inform, OSM Pro and Flows.Interactive Panel and Fireside Chats: Listen to seasoned professionals from various B2C brands as they share their experience across engagement, retention, and personalization.A True Networking Event: Meet and greet your peers and get a chance to discuss challenges and solutions around customer engagement with marketing leaders over a sumptuous meal.A few of the panelists, amongst others attending the Summit are:Pallav Singhvi, VP Consumer Business - Seera GroupHitesh Malhotra, VP Marketing - DamacRichard Quipp, Engagement Director, The ENTERTAINERNuran Mekky, Group Head of CVM Operations and Customer Experience, Gargash GroupMilica Smudja, Head of Marketing - Landmark LeisureNilanjana Chaterjee, Data & Analytics Director - AlamarTariq Jaser, Co- founder and Head of marketing - myco.ioIshan Singh, Director - Engagement and Retention - OSN+Dharmendra Mehta, Business Head - E-Commerce - Lal's GroupDebleena Ghosh, Head of CRM - GMGVinod Nagar, Head of Growth, Marketing & CX - PayitSami Skaff - Product Head | Customer Experience - AWRostamaniBilal Adham, Director of Digital - DP WorldHammad Khan, Head of Digital - Geekay GroupOwais Khan,VP Marketing - UdrivePuneet Mishra, Head of E-commerce, Redtag“In the last couple of years, we have seen marketers coming together as a community to solve the major engagement challenges. To encourage and contribute to these communities, we are back with our 2nd edition of Dubai Summit. #GROWTH Community is a platform to foster mutual learning and problem-solving among marketers and product owners. After seeing great reception from the community across 4 continents, with 10,000+ attendees, more than 500 speakers, and over 100 curated sessions, it gives us immense pleasure to host the event in the heart of UAE," said Raviteja Dodda, CEO, MoEngage.

STARZPLAY records nearly 70% increase in viewership during Ramadan 2023

Dubai: Ramadan entertainment continues to be in high demand and has driven growth in viewership during the Holy Month,  according to a recent viewership analysis by STARZPLAY, one of the region’s top 3 subscription video on demand services.The platform witnessed a remarkable increase in viewership across the GCC markets with nearly a 70% increase in unique users compared to Ramadan 2022. UAE witnessed the maximum increase in viewership, a 62% increase in unique users in 2023 vis-à-vis Ramadan in 2022 while the rest of the GCC recorded nearly a 60% increase in unique users.Over the years, in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, Ramadan has typically seen increased TV consumption and a visible shift in viewership towards Arabic content. This year too, the top performing shows in the region included Serou Al Batea, Al Moasses Osman, Kashf Mestaagel, Bab Al Hara and Harb. Drama continued to be the top performing genre while comedy satires and cookery shows remained a popular choice for viewers.  Tony Saab, Senior Vice President of Content and Strategic Partnerships, STARZPLAY added: “Ramadan is a month of family gatherings and celebrations with friends and families and a time where viewers consume a greater amount of entertainment content. Over the last few years STARZPLAY has witnessed a significant increase in streaming during the Holy Month and this year was no different. Our platform recorded nearly a 70% uplift in consumption vis-à-vis last year which is a clear indication of the increase in demand of video streaming consumption across the MENA region. The Ramadan viewership figures evidently indicate the appetite for Arabic language content in the region and therefore an opportunity for streaming services like ours to deliver even more original Arabic content.”During the Holy Month, STARZPLAY also witnessed over a 50% increase in new sign-ups compared to Ramadan 2022, which is a testament of the platform’s compelling content roster to meet the demand for streaming in the region. The young consumers are driving subscription growth and STARZPLAY has been at the helm to deliver diverse, as well as quality, content to its audiences, with a strong focus on producing Arabic original content.With thousands of hours of premium content including blockbuster movies, exclusive TV shows, kids’ content, Arabic series, as well as varied content via add-on channels, STARZPLAY is the number one player in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The service is available in 19 countries across the MENA for fans to enjoy quality content anytime, anywhere, and from any device. announces $250mln Series D led by QIA

Dubai:®, the AI powered composable software platform, designed to be so simple and accessible that everyday businesses and individuals can turn their ideas into software, today announced an investment of $250 million in a Series D funding. The new investment, led by Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) takes the total amount raised by the company to over $450 million with an up to 1.8x increase in its valuation.The latest round of capital will fuel the company’s continued industry leadership and innovation pipeline allowing further investments in talent, partnerships, and technology; with a bigger focus on using human conversation as the primary user interface for allowing people to build software rather than the expert-laden white-canvas systems we are used to seeing in the no-code/low-code space. With customer demand at an all-time high, and AI advancing every day, the company has almost doubled its headcount since January 2022, and extended its UK HQ footprint with four new offices opened since 2021 – including the USA, the UAE, Singapore, and France.Continued investor support – combined with strategic partnerships, customer tailwinds and acclaimed industry innovation – helped drive the company’s momentum with 2.3x revenue growth and over 40,000 features deployed to customers within the last year.    The Series D round included participation from additional existing and new investors including Iconiq Capital, Jungle Ventures & Insight Partners.“ was founded on the promise that everyone should be empowered to unlock their human potential. Today this means being able to build software to be able to do more with less. We are entering an incredible time in history where the very notion of software is changing; from something that had a shelf life of years to what will eventually have a shelf life of a conversation and the volume of what is being created is only going to grow exponentially” said Sachin Dev Duggal, Chief Wizard and Founder of     Duggal added “With the support of our investors and the dedication and drive of our team, we are further empowered to unlock our own potential. Our growth strategy has always been driven by a DNA based on being able to do more with less and this has weaved into our shared vision with our customers around the world as everyone pushes the envelope to do more. It is what attracted our first-round investors in 2018, and what drives this Series D today. Our team is already investing this capital in our AI and automation capabilities, not only keeping pace with the fast-moving industry, but leading from the front so we can empower our customers more and at the same time use new frontier technology responsibly.”"QIA is very excited to be partnering with the leader in this space. We are confident that’s innovative technology and proven approach positions the company for a future of substantial growth. This investment is aligned with QIA’s strategy of supporting innovative companies shaping the future of the global economy” said Ahmed Ali Al-Hammadi, CIO for Europe, Türkiye and Russia at QIA.“Our journey with was fuelled by a deep-seated belief in their pioneering solution, allowing us to recognise the immense potential of this sector and anticipate the trajectory of this industry during its nascent stages,” said Amit Anand, Managing Partner at Jungle Ventures. “As early investors, we have witnessed their exceptional growth, even amidst harsh economic climates, which demonstrates the team's resilience and commitment to innovation. We are proud to continue supporting on their visionary path today.”Established in 2016, continues to lead the industry with its AI-powered composable software platform that allows anyone with an idea to build an app (web or mobile) – faster and 70% more affordably. Breaking software down into its reusable lego-like features, coupled with customization from its managed expert network of designers and developers atop its human assisted AI powered assembly line, has been the key to’s performance and that of its customers’ successful digital transformations worldwide.The brand has also furthered its partnership with Microsoft for a holistic global GTM and inclusion in their reseller program, as well as entered partnerships with JP Morgan & Chase, Etisalat UAE and other technology and financial enterprises. These partnerships, along with the company’s visionary application of AI, has landed on the 2023 Fast Company list of Most Innovative Companies, winner of the 2022 Europas “Scale Up of the Year” as well as placing them firmly in the 2021 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Multi Experience Development Platforms (MXDP) and MarketGuide 2022 for MXDP, as well as inclusion in the final round of consideration for 2022 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for low code application platforms (LCAP).The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.Goodwin acted as legal advisor to

MENA online video ad revenues to reach $2.3bn in 2027: Omdia

Dubai: The online video advertising market in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will more than double to reach $2.3bn in 2027 according to the latest research from Omdia.“MENA is generating worldwide interest in the online advertising market thanks to the immense growth potential linked to the UAE and Saudi Arabia. With more than half of online video advertising revenues expected from TikTok, Meta and YouTube, online video players must integrate social video into their video strategies. It is important to note that this growth is the free video space and will not be to the detriment of the online video subscription market which is on track to reach $1.5bn in 2027 representing 54% growth.”Subscription video on demand (SVOD) subscriptions reached 11.1 million at the end of 2022, and more than 2 million new subscriptions expected this year.The leading player is Arabic video on demand service, Shahid VIP, with 2.7 million subscriptions. In a close second place is STARZPLAY Arabia with 2.1 million subscriptions and NETFLIX is in third place with less than 2 million subscriptions.Shahid holds the largest catalogue of Arabic content in the region offering popular original shows such as Al Thaman and Stiletto and coverage of the Saudi Pro League. There are also plans to launch more than 20 new free ad-supported television (FAST) channels.STARZPLAY Arabia saw its numbers increase to 2.1 million subscriptions driven by subscribers to its premium football and cricket content thanks to telco partnership deals.Netflix has continued to invest in original content in the Middle East however, the scale and scope of its content is limited. The success of Dubai Bling should lead to more investments in high-quality, Middle East-focused, unscripted content in the region. The streaming service has also amended its pricing strategy between the Gulf and North African countries to make it more accessible to low-income countries in the region.Omdia forecasts that SVOD and telco partnerships will play a significant role in the growth of the online video services in the MENA region.

Islamic Coin's Public Release Boosts Shariah-Compliant Crypto Adoption

Dubai: It has been at the forefront of rapid crypto adoption for the past few years. In 2022 alone, cryptocurrency transactions in the MENA region accounted for $566 billion: a 48% increase from the previous year. At the same time, five out of the top 20 countries in the global crypto adoption index are Muslim-majority nations, with Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, and Nigeria leading the group.However, Muslims still hold significant reservations about digital assets, with the main concern being whether or not crypto is halal: e.g., earned lawfully and through ethical means according to the principles of Islam.The Dubai-based Haqq ecosystem is addressing this concern with the launch of Islamic Coin: a 100% halal cryptocurrency.New Fatwa-accredited Asset, Boosting Islamic FinanceIslamic Coin is the native token of the Haqq, the world’s first ecosystem that abides by the principles and traditions of Islam. Focused on driving crypto adoption in the region and boosting Islamic finance across 185 countries, Haqq aims to provide the global Muslim population with user-friendly, Shariah-compliant financial products.The new currency will power seamless transactions and interactions in the ecosystem while supporting innovation and philanthropy: the network will dedicate 10% of each Islamic Coin issuance to philanthropic pursuits across the Muslim world. To date, Islamic Coin has received accreditation and authorization through the Fatwa of several Muslim authorities.The coin has the potential to become a tier-1 asset: as Haqq’s co-founder Mohammed Alkaff Alhashmi recently claimed, if only 3-4% of the online Muslim community holds the coin, it could become a Bitcoin-scale asset. To date, Islamic Coin has secured over $200 million — a record shattering feat given last year’s bear market.With the public release scheduled for 2023, Islamic Coin already has multiple exclusive partnerships with leading Web3 projects and Islamic educational institutions.Increasing Crypto Awareness and AdoptionAs part of its initiative to boost crypto adoption, Haqq Association — the ecosystem’s non-profit — has partnered with the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) to increase blockchain and crypto awareness while fostering a positive learning environment. Haqq and IIUM will create a blockchain academy in Malaysia, offering free courses about crypto and blockchain technology courses. Students at IIUM can also enroll in these courses for credits toward existing university programs.Haqq and Islamic Coin recently partnered with DDCap Group, and will be working on a Web3 Shariah-compliant alternative to SWIFT as well as other products.Haqq is also forming several commercial partnerships with retail and e-commerce platforms to introduce Sharia-compliant Web3 technologies into traditional Web2 environments. Most recently, it has partnered with Holiday Swap, the world’s largest home exchange platform, to transition the company’s tokenized operations to Web3.To keep track of news on Haqq and Islamic coin, visit the official website.

Google Cloud opens new cloud region in Doha

Doha: Today, Google Cloud announced the opening of its Doha cloud region at an official launch event attended by ministers from the Qatari Cabinet and executives from leading Qatari businesses, with the cooperation of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Qatar Free Zone Authority (QFZ). The new cloud region will meet growing demand for cloud services in Qatar and the Middle East region and support Qatar’s National Vision 2030 that aims to transform the country into a digital economy through innovation and digital transformation. According to research commissioned by Google Cloud and conducted by Access Partnership, the new Doha cloud region is expected to drive increased economic activity and is estimated to contribute a cumulative 18.9 billion USD in higher gross economic output to the economy of Qatar between 2023 and 2030 and support the creation of 25,000 jobs in 2030 alone. This new cloud region is the latest significant investment made by Google Cloud in Qatar, following the recent opening of a country office and virtual center of excellence (CoE) in Msheireb.The series of investments in infrastructure and resources demonstrates Google Cloud’s continued commitment to playing a pivotal role in advancing Qatar’s digital future and technological capabilities. MCIT and the Qatari government have helped enable the growth of cloud across the government through the adoption of cloud policies, which facilitated Google Cloud's market entry. His Excellency Mr. Mohammed bin Ali Al Mannai, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, said: “The launch of the first Google Cloud region in Qatar fits into our comprehensive vision to achieve the desired goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, including the establishment of a strong digital infrastructure with internationally agreed standards and policies that will lead us all towards a more efficient economy based on digitalization and technology to facilitate quality of life and provide convenient solutions for various sectors. The new cloud region will contribute to giving impetus to economic and productivity growth, and will allow various government and private companies and institutions within Qatar the opportunity to achieve significant efficiency gains by adopting flexible features in dealing with digital technology.”H.E. Ahmad Al Sayed, Minister of State and Chairman of Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZ) said: “The launch of the new Google Cloud region in Qatar marks a significant milestone in our growing partnership with Google Cloud that started in 2020 with an agreement to establish Google Cloud’s region in Doha. We are proud to provide world-class cloud services from the free zones in Qatar, this is in addition to QFZ’s pivotal role in introducing disruptive technologies and advanced digital infrastructure, creating opportunities for businesses to enhance their capabilities, foster innovation, and advance the technology sector in the State. This will further accelerate Qatar’s digital transformation and the realization of Qatar National Vision 2030 that aims to build a sustainable knowledge-based economy.”QFZ and Google Cloud’s strategic collaboration agreement to enable in-country Google Cloud presence was announced in early 2020. QFZ’s continued support of the launch of the Center of Excellence has helped the growth of the technology ecosystem in Qatar.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways is excited at the opportunity offered by Google setting up its Cloud region in Qatar. This gives us the ability to innovate jointly with Google and leverage their rich Cloud service offerings. We are particularly keen to use AI/ML driven data insights using Google Cloud as a platform for enhancing our world-acclaimed customer service whilst also improving our operational efficiencies. Areas like data driven predictive maintenance will now be much easier with Google Cloud being in Qatar and our data residing here securely.” His Excellency Mr. Nasser Ghanem Al-Khelaifi, Chairman of beIN Media Group, said, “We are delighted to enter this major new partnership with Google Cloud, which will help beIN embrace latest technologies and innovations. As a proud Qatari media group, we are always looking to innovate as a business and find ways to improve the experience of millions of our subscribers worldwide. In partnership with Google Cloud, beIN will help drive the continued digital transformation of the sports, entertainment and media industry, both in Qatar and globally.”Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Financial Center said: “Our partnership with Google Cloud affirms our shared desire to facilitate the growth of local businesses by providing opportunities and solutions that enable them to capitalize on the transformative benefits of technology and digitalisation. Working with Google in this field builds up the support we provide our clients, particularly those in the financial services sector, and takes us steps forward in our mission to support the transformation of Qatar into a digital and fintech hub and the country's sustainable development in line with the national development plan.”Ahmed AlFahad, Executive Director of Technology & Network Operations, Al Jazeera Media Network stated: “We are delighted to be among the group of companies leveraging Google Cloud’s new cloud region in Qatar. The new region will help Al Jazeera positively impact and empower more customers and partners around the world. Our collaboration with Google Cloud has helped us deliver tremendous value added services to news readers around the globe. We are able to capture and analyze how people engage with news in real-time and translate these insights into actions that help us keep the world better informed. We believe that with the cloud region now in Qatar, we are going to be strongly positioned to deliver exceptional news coverage and drive deeper engagement to all the information.”Adaire Fox-Martin, President, Google Cloud Go-to-Market, said: “We are proud to be delivering on the commitment we made in 2020 to the Government of Qatar and the business community to open a cloud region in the country. The economy of Qatar holds tremendous growth potential. The Doha cloud region will be a catalyst for economic development and will create more employment opportunities in the Qatari market as more businesses grow and expand with the power of cloud technologies. We are also humbled by the presence of Qatari Cabinet Ministers and leaders from Qatari businesses at the region launch event today, which reflects the endorsement of the new cloud regions' potential.”The new Doha region is part of Google Cloud’s global network of 37 regions and 112 zones that bring cloud services to over 200 countries and territories worldwide. The new region brings high-performance, low-latency services and products to customers of all sizes, from public sector organizations, to large enterprises, to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups in Qatar and the Middle East. Organizations in the region will benefit from key controls that allow them to maintain the highest security, data residency, and compliance standards, including specific data storage requirements.Today’s news was revealed as part of a keynote by Adaire Fox-Martin, President, Go-to-Market, Google Cloud, at the company’s launch event held at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC). The event was attended by over 1,200 participants from Qatar’s top decision makers, government officials, CIOs, CXOs and IT community.

The global EV community gathers in Abu Dhabi in a week

Dubai:  The Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit (EVIS) is just around the corner, and the local and global e-mobility is getting excited for an unforgettable three-day event in Abu Dhabi from 29-31 May!This summit is bringing together leading EV institutions and professionals from across the globe to discuss the latest innovations, launch new products and services, and explore the challenges and opportunities of this growing sector.As per the International Energy Agency’s EV Outlook, the EV markets are seeing exponential growth as sales exceeded 10 million vehicles in 2022. A total of 14% of all new cars sold were electric in 2022, up from around 9% in 2021 and less than 5% in 2020. The Middle East region is one of the fastest-growing EV markets globally and there are many opportunities ahead for businesses and investors in this region to unlock.Commenting on the coming event, Eng. Naser Albahri, EVIS Director, said: “As we prepared for EVIS2030, we made sure that the event’s attendees will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of topics related to the electric vehicle industry, including the latest advances in battery tech, charging infrastructure, and vehicle specifications and design. In addition, the conference will feature keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops that will provide a platform for global experts to share their insights and for attendees to connect with like-minded individuals from across the industry.”The summit will also explore the business opportunities of this sector in the MENA region and the challenges facing the industry, including financing, marketing, and supply chain management. Finally, speakers will cover the future of e-mobility, including autonomous vehicles, ride-sharing, and the intersection of transportation and urban planning.“One of the highlights of the summit will be the opportunity to see some of the latest electric vehicles and charging technologies on display, including innovative new designs, cutting-edge technology, and sustainable solutions that are transforming the industry,” said Mr. Albahri.The conference will give attendees the chance to discuss government policies and incentives, including policy frameworks, incentives, and partnerships to promote EV adoption. Sustainable transportation will also be a key topic, covering public transportation and urban planning.Now in its second edition this year, EVIS has already become a must-attend event for seasoned professionals, EV global manufacturers, local investors, and everyone who wants to explore the electric vehicle industry. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to learn from experts, connect with peers, and gain insights into the future of sustainable transportation.Commenting on this event, Arthi Srinivasan, Director of EV Charging Solutions at Powertech Mobility, said “The UAE is paving the way for Electric Mobility with its ambitious vision and we are excited to be a part of its journey while contributing to its sustainability goals. We have witnessed rapid growth over the past five years and expect it to continue as the EV market matures. The UAE already has a network of charging stations and with favourable policies and strategic initiatives continually being implemented by the government, we aim to support the nation to become a positive testament for the global energy transition,”A major contributor to sustainability, this year’s edition coincides with the UAE’s announcement of 2023 as the UAE Sustainability Week and as the country is getting ready to host the climate change COP28 conference later this year.With a week left until the event, now is the time to register and secure your place at this exciting summit. Don't miss your chance to be part of shaping the future of the electric vehicle industry. We look forward to seeing you in Abu Dhabi for an incredible experience!

Formula E announces leadership transition

Dubai: Riyadh, London: Formula E today announces that Jamie Reigle will step down as Chief Executive Officer.Over the last four years, Reigle has led Formula E in partnership with Founder and Chairman, Alejandro Agag, and will now move to an advisory role for the remainder of the season to ensure a seamless leadership transition.Appointed in 2019, Reigle navigated the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship through the pandemic, built a multi-disciplined executive team and introduced a series of initiatives that underpin Formula E’s strategic position and ongoing development.During his tenure, Reigle oversaw the introduction of a new sporting format that has been met with the universal enthusiasm of fans, teams and partners, the launch of the GEN3 car GEN3 car and the implementation of technical, commercial and financial regulations that reinforce the business model of Formula E’s teams and manufacturers.The Board of Formula E is pleased to announce the appointment of Jeff Dodds as CEO, starting 5 June. Dodds joins from Virgin Media O2 and will lead the next phase of Formula E's growth as the first electric motorsport world championship and driving force behind sustainability in elite sport.Dodds has a proven track record in building dynamic media businesses. He served as Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Media O2 for the past two years and prior to that he held leadership positions at Virgin Media as COO, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer. He also spent two years living and working in the Netherlands as CEO of telecoms business Tele2.Dodds has held executive roles at Callaway Golf and Honda, while today he sits on the board of the disability equality organisation, The Valuable 500, and is a Non-Executive Director of the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.Alejandro Agag, Founder and Chairman, Formula E, said: “I am pleased to welcome Jeff Dodds as Chief Executive Officer ahead of an exciting phase for Formula E as we build upon the success of Season 9. Jeff brings a proven track record of dynamic leadership and impressive execution to Formula E, and the Board looks forward to him unlocking the full potential of Formula E, for the benefit of our fans, teams, manufacturers, partners and stakeholders.“I would like to thank Jamie for his leadership over the last four years and welcome his support over the remainder of the season. I enjoyed partnering with Jamie to build upon my founding vision while reimagining the definition of success for Formula E. It has been a pleasure working with him and I look forward to welcoming him back at Formula E races in the future.”Jeff Dodds, Chief Executive Officer, Formula E, said: “I am thrilled to take on the role of CEO at Formula E. My passion for automotive, sport and entertainment means I am incredibly excited about this opportunity. Formula E is a unique platform that blends cutting-edge technology with the world’s most sustainable sport, providing endless potential for innovation and positive change. There is a world-class team at Formula E and I am excited to lead them into the next chapter, shaping the future of motorsport and redefining what is possible.”Jamie Reigle said: “It has been an honour leading Formula E for the last four years. I was initially attracted to Formula E’s unique position as a sport at the intersection of innovation, sustainability and electric mobility. What I found was far more ambitious and humbling; a passionate group of people committed to building a global sport while changing the world. This mission continues under new leadership and as someone who benefitted from a partnership with Alejandro I’m happy to support Jeff before reverting to life as a passionate Formula E fan.

CEOs cite AI as the top disruptive technology: Gartner

Dubai:  A recent survey of CEOs and senior executives by Gartner, Inc. revealed that artificial intelligence (AI) was the top technology that CEOs believe will significantly impact their industry over the next three years, cited by 21% of survey respondents.“Generative AI will profoundly impact business and operating models,” said Mark Raskino, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “However, fear of missing out is a powerful driver of technology markets. AI is reaching the tipping point where CEOs who are not yet invested become concerned that they are missing something competitively important.”The 2023 Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive Survey was conducted from July through December 2022 among over 400 CEOs and other senior business executives in North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and South Africa, across different industries, revenue and company sizes.Half of CEOs Cite Growth as Their Top Strategic Business Priority“When determining business priorities, CEOs are hesitant, but not frozen,” said Kristin Moyer, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner. “More than half of CEOs believe an economic downturn or recession in 2023 will be shallow and short, and the survey showed only a modest rise in cash flow, capital and fundraising concerns.”Despite the impact of these economic headwinds, half of CEOs cited growth as the top strategic business priority for the next two years. Technology also remains a top focus area for CEOs, closely followed by workforce issues (see Figure 1).Fig. 1: CEOs’ Top Strategic Business Priorities for 2023-2024 (Sum of Top Three Mentions)Source: Gartner (May 2023)“After three years of volatility, CEO priorities are stabilizing,” said Raskino. “Executive leaders are looking past the aftershocks of the omnicrisis period to a time when talent, sustainability and next-level digital change will be the levers of competitive performance.”In fact, mentions of environmental sustainability rose 25% over the previous year’s survey, which was the first time sustainability ranked among CEOs’ top 10 priorities. Gartner predicts that by 2026, environmental sustainability will be a higher CEO strategic business priority than the technology-related category.Inflation Drives Shifts in Customer BehaviorInflation was ranked as the most damaging business risk by 22% of CEOs, and nearly a quarter cited greater price sensitivity as the biggest shift in customer expectations they anticipate this year. However, increasing prices is still the top action that CEOs are taking in response to inflation (44%), followed by cost optimization (36%) and productivity, efficiency and automation (21%).“It’s concerning that CEOs do not yet seem to be focused on productivity as much as they should be in an inflationary period,” said Moyer. “This may be due to wishful thinking that inflation will not become a persistent feature of the economic landscape. CEOs must embrace automation to redesign methods, processes and products for efficiency, rather than pushing cost increases onto customers.” Attracting and Retaining Talent Is the Top Workforce PriorityWhen asked about the impact of various risks on the business, 26% of CEOs cited the talent shortage as the most damaging risk for their organization. Attracting and retaining talent is, by far, CEOs’ top workforce priority. Concerns about compensation are the biggest shift in employee and prospective employee behavior that CEOs anticipate, followed by a desire for greater flexibility and remote or hybrid work.“The emphasis on pay is not surprising in an inflationary environment, but in prior economic cycles, unemployment would typically be undermining labor market power,” said Raskino.Gartner clients can read more in the report “2023 CEO Survey – The Pause and Pivot Year.”

Phillip Lord joins The Game Company as non-executive director

Dubai: UAE - The Game Company, an AI-driven cloud gaming platform, is pleased to welcome Non-Executive Director,  Phillip Lord. With twenty years of investment banking experience, Phillip has previously worked with Jefferies, Nomura & HSBC, and the Co-Founder of Pimlico Partners.“We believe that his experience will not only drive our success but also leave a profound and lasting impact on the gaming industry as a whole," said Osman Masud, CEO of The Game Company.As Non-Executive Director, Phillip will oversee strategic planning, partnerships, and investor relations, helping The Game Company to achieve its vision of providing the most advanced, flexible, and inclusive platform. With Lord's leadership and expertise, the company is poised for even greater success in the years to come.“I am confident that we can achieve our goals, particularly in leveraging cloud gaming as the optimal solution to welcome the next billion gamers into the market. Together, we will shape the future of gaming, reaching a wider audience than ever deemed possible." expressed Phillip.Phillip possesses expertise that extends across various areas, such as funding capital, managing investor relationships, and navigating exit strategies, all of which have been oned through years of experience in American, European, Asian, and Australian markets. Moreover, he has established solid international ties with significant sovereign wealth funds, private equity firms, venture capitalists, and hedge funds.With his strong grasp of the industry landscape and emerging trends, he plays a pivotal role in identifying and exploring new business opportunities that align with the company's growth objectives. Phillip's ability to foresee and capitalize on market shifts will enable The Game Company to stay at the forefront of the ever-evolving gaming industry.

Vision Labs partners with Thawani Technologies to bring facepay to Oman

Dubai: VisionLabs, an advanced Computer Vision technologies provider from the Netherlands, together with Oman-based partner - Thawani Technologies are bringing facial payments to Oman. The first FacePay terminals, which allow to complete a transaction through facial recognition or a more commonly used credit card, will soon appear in the Sultanate of Oman.The solution will be presented at the Seamless Middle East 2023 exhibition (booth F32), which will take place on 23-24 May 2023 in Dubai. The technology will be demonstrated at a conceptual coffee spot and a gift shop, which will give a chance to pay for coffee drinks and presents using Thawani Wallet by using facial recognition instead of paying by credit card. The advanced FacePay technology, which represents a duo of a face recognition terminal and an AI-based backend software, has proven to have > 99% accuracy and is capable of identifying the person even with a partially occluded/covered face. Besides payment processing, KYC, fraud protection, access control and forensic solutions will be demonstrated. “Modern facial payment technologies ensure a high level of safety and data protection. Multiple pilots for face payments happen now around the world, familiarising people with this innovative payment method and building trust in it. At VisionLabs we are honoured to partner with Thawani Technologies for this project that surely will benefit people of Oman”, said Anton Nazarkin, Global Business Development Director of VisionLabs.By implementing FacePay Oman will make a next big step in its sovereign payment system development. In 2022 the Omani Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment made the cash-free payments option mandatory in the country. Now, within a year, the Sultanate is looking at implementing more technologically advanced payment methods, involving facial recognition.

Kate Bird joins Snap as senior director of EMEA Marketing

Dubai: Snap, the innovative platform with 750 million active monthly users, has appointed Kate Bird as its new senior director of marketing for the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region. Formerly the Global Vice-President of Consumer Revenue at Condé Nast, Bird will join Snap on June 19, where she will lead the EMEA marketing team.Snap aims to leverage Bird's expertise to inspire and educate advertisers, agencies, and small businesses about the platform's augmented reality (AR) formats. With her extensive experience in delivering impactful marketing campaigns, Bird will spearhead Snap's initiatives in AR, enhancing the user experience for millions of Snapchatters.Reporting to Doug Frisbie, the Global Vice-President of Global Business Marketing, Bird's appointment is expected to drive real results while embodying Snap's core values of kindness, intelligence, and creativity. Her track record of success includes her commendation from Scotland Yard for her contribution to the renowned "Run, hide, tell" campaign during her tenure as Chief Marketing Officer and General Manager for The Sun.Prior to her role at Condé Nast, Bird held various marketing positions at News UK, The Times, and The Wall Street Journal, solidifying her industry expertise and versatility.

Shaping the future of real estate: Anastasia Denisova on the journey of Realiste

Realiste was founded with a vision to transform the real estate investment process and bring about positive change in the industry. It recognized the existing inefficiencies and challenges associated with investing in real estate, such as complex procedures, lack of transparency, and limited access to comprehensive data. In this interview with Adgully, AnastasiaDenisova, Chief Executive Officer, Realiste MENA, discusses the inspiration behind starting the company and developing the world's first real estate exchange. She highlights the challenges in the current process of buying off-plan apartments and explains how Realiste addresses these challenges through a user-friendly platform, comprehensive data and analytics, and streamlined transactions. She also delves into how Realiste utilizes data and modern technologies to revolutionize the real estate industry and differentiate itself from competitors. The CEO shares her vision for the future of Realiste, including expansion into new markets and integration of emerging technologies. Excerpts:Can you tell us about the inspiration behind starting Realiste and developing the first real estate exchange in the world?The inspiration behind starting Realiste and developing the first real estate exchange in the world stemmed from a desire to revolutionize the way peopleinvest in real estate . We recognized the inefficiencies and challenges inherent in the traditional process and saw an opportunity to create a more streamlined and accessible platform. By leveraging technology and data, we aimed to provide a solution that would benefit both buyers and developers, making the real estate market more transparent and efficient.What specific challenges do you see in the current process of buying off-plan apartments, and how does Realiste aim to address these challenges?The current process of investing off-plan apartments often involves complex paperwork, lengthy procedures, and market opacity. Buyers face challenges in terms of understanding the market, evaluating investment opportunities, and ensuring transparency throughout the transaction. Realiste addresses these challenges by offering a user-friendly platform that provides comprehensive data and analytics, enabling buyers to make informed decisions. We aim to simplify the entire process, from property selection to documentation, ensuring a seamless and secure experience for our users.How does Realiste utilize data and modern technologies to revolutionize the real estate industry?Realiste utilizes advanced data analytics and modern technologies to revolutionize the real estate industry. We leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data, including market trends, property values, and investment potential. This allows us to provide accurate predictions, personalized recommendations, and real-time market insights to our users. By harnessing the power of data and technology, we aim to transform the way people engage with the real estate market.What sets Realiste apart from other proptech startups in the market? How does it differentiate itself and rise above the competition?Our focus is on creating a comprehensive ecosystem that caters to all stakeholders in the real estate industry. We not only provide a user-friendly platform for buyers but also cooperate with developers, brokers, and agents to offer a holistic solution. Our emphasis on data-driven insights, personalized recommendations, and transparent transactions distinguishes us from competitors. Additionally, our commitment to innovation and continuous improvement allows us to stay ahead of the curve and adapt to evolving market needs.How does Realiste ensure transparency and security for buyers and sellers on its real estate exchange platform?Transparency and security are paramount to Realiste. We ensure transparency by providing detailed information about properties, including floor plans, amenities, pricing, and historical data. Our platform facilitates direct communication between buyers and sellers, fostering trust and openness throughout the transaction. Furthermore, we implement robust security measures to protect user data and financial transactions, adhering to industry standards and regulationsCould you share some success stories or testimonials from customers who have used Realiste's platform to buy off-plan apartments?We have received positive feedback from customers who have used Realiste's platform to buy off-plan apartments. Many have praised the ease of use, extensive property information, and personalized recommendations that helped them find their ideal investment. Customers appreciate the transparency and security offered by our platform, as it has facilitated smooth and hassle-free transactions. Their success stories serve as a testament to the value Realiste brings to the real estate market.What are your future plans for Realiste? Are there any new features or developments in the pipeline?Our future plans for Realiste involve expanding our presence to new markets and collaborating with additional developers and industry partners. We are continuously enhancing our platform with new features and functionalities to provide an even more comprehensive and user-centric experience. Additionally, we are exploring opportunities to integrate emerging technologies such as virtual reality and blockchain into our ecosystem, further revolutionizing the real estate industry.How do you see the real estate industry evolving in the next few years, and how does Realiste plan to stay at the forefront of this transformation?The real estate industry is evolving rapidly, driven by advancements in technology, changing consumer preferences, and market dynamics. To stay at the forefront of this transformation, Realiste remains committed to innovation and adaptability. We will continue to leverage data and modern technologies to provide cutting-edge solutions to our users. By closely monitoring industry trends, collaborating with industry experts, and anticipating market needs, we aim to lead the way in shaping the future of real estate.What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or professionals looking to make an impact in the real estate and proptech sectors?For aspiring entrepreneurs or professionals looking to make an impact in the real estate and proptech sectors, my advice would be to embrace innovation, stay agile, and always prioritize the needs of your users. Understand the pain points and challenges in the industry and strive to create solutions that add value and improve efficiency. Build a strong network of industry partners, investors, and mentors who can provide guidance and support. Lastly, be persistent, resilient, and willing to adapt to changing circumstances.Can you share some insights into the challenges you faced as a communication specialist and how those experiences have shaped your approach to leading Realiste?My experiences as a communication specialist have taught me the importance of effective collaboration, clear communication, and building strong relationships. These skills have been instrumental in leading Realiste and navigating the challenges that come with entrepreneurship. Understanding the power of effective communication in driving business growth, we prioritize transparency, clarity, and open dialogue within our team and with our stakeholders. These experiences have shaped my leadership approach, emphasizing the value of effective communication in achieving our goals.

AD Gaming welcomes game developer MY.GAMES to Abu Dhabi

Dubai: AD Gaming has expanded its gaming ecosystem by welcoming MY.GAMES to Abu Dhabi, marking the latest multinational gaming business to select the emirate as its regional hub. Headquartered in Amsterdam, MY.GAMES is a leading publisher and developer of mobile, PC, and console games, with over one billion registered users worldwide.Expanding its presence globally, MY.GAMES is using Abu Dhabi’s status as the centre of the MENA region’s gaming industry to better tap into the world’s fastest-growing gaming market. MY.GAMES operates on a ‘Think Global, Act Local’ model, with 90% of its 2,000-people workforce working in key gaming hubs around the world. In establishing its first MENA base in Abu Dhabi, MY.GAMES will become embedded within the local game development and player community, attuning to the latest regional gaming trends.MY.GAMES’ Abu Dhabi-based team will work on the more than 70 games across the company’s portfolio, including genre-defining titles such as War Robots, Rush Royale, and Hustle Castle. As part of the move, MY.GAMES will also look to hire and develop local game developers, creating tens of jobs over the next 5 years. Additionally, the company will seek out opportunities with local partners to launch internship programmes, developing the next generation of game development talent.James Hartt, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Business Development at AD Gaming, said: “MY.GAMES selecting Abu Dhabi as their home in the fast-growing MENA gaming market is yet another demonstration of the thriving gaming ecosystem that AD Gaming has developed. This move supports all aspects of our industry’s continued growth, so we are proud to welcome them to Abu Dhabi and support them in the next step of their journey.”Vladimir Nikolsky, CEO at MY.GAMES, added: “We are excited to partner with AD Gaming to open up a new regional office at Yas Creative Hub. We can’t wait to both learn from Abu Dhabi’s ever-growing, passionate player base, and contribute to the developments that are well underway as the emirate’s gaming ecosystem continues to expand.”Alex Chachava, owner of MY.GAMES, said: “Abu Dhabi's strategic location and thriving gaming ecosystem make it a crucial region for the entire gaming industry, and MY.GAMES recognizes its importance as a gateway to the fast-growing MENA market. We are thrilled to be establishing our regional hub in Abu Dhabi and look forward to collaborating with local partners and talent to drive the industry forward.”In joining AD Gaming, MY.GAMES has reaffirmed AD Gaming’s status as the largest ecosystem of gaming and esports businesses in the region. AD Gaming is currently home to over 50 gaming companies including the likes of international industry giants such as Unity Technologies and Ubisoft, as well as local success stories such as Boss Bunny, AA Meta, and many more.

Kasih Food earns coveted international certification

Amman: Kasih Food, the leading high-quality food production company, recently announced receiving the AA+ Grade for the This accolade positions Kasih Food as the first Jordanian food company to receive this prestigious grade and highlights the company's commitment to delivering safe and high-quality food products to customers worldwide.The BRCGS Global Standard for food safety is a comprehensive set of guidelines developed by the British Retail Consortium (BRCGS) to ensure food products' safety, quality, and legality. It encompasses various aspects of food safety management, such as hazard analysis, critical control points, quality management, supplier management, and product testing. Companies must establish a compliant food safety management system and undergo a thorough audit to obtain certification. The certification is widely recognized by retailers, manufacturers, and food service organizations globally, serving as a testament to a company's commitment to excellent food safety practices."This is a momentous accomplishment for us at Kasih Food. Achieving an AA+ grade affirms our unwavering dedication to excellence in the safety and quality of our products, nurturing customer loyalty, and thriving in the competitive global market." Mohammad Hamam, Total Quality Management stated.It is worth highlighting that Kasih Food's remarkable achievements serve as a prime example of the immense potential that Jordanian companies possess to excel. Through their accomplishments, Kasih Food has not only elevated the reputation of Jordanian food products on a global scale but has also acted as a driving force to inspire and motivate other Jordanian manufacturers to pursue internationally acclaimed certifications.

Panasonic Influencer Affiliate Program takes off successfully

Dubai: Panasonic Marketing Middle East & Africa (PMMAF) has revealed the successful conclusion of the inaugural edition of the Panasonic Influencer Affiliate Program (PIAP), the company’s latest initiative in which Panasonic partners with social media influencers to promote increased engagement with its customers, while empowering more consumers to Create Today. Enrich Tomorrow.PIAP is an affiliate program open to social media influencers based across the Middle East. For Panasonic, the annual campaign is a way to extend its reach online and across social channels, both of which have been an increasingly integral part of the company’s growth strategy.Hiroyuki Shibutani - Managing Director, PMMAF, said: "As a global leader with rich legacy in consumer electronics advancements, Panasonic deeply understands what it means to truly partner with its customers. In fact, the brand acknowledges that these valued relationships inspired a number of Panasonic’s most popular and important products, and the partnership between the company and the consumer continues to be a well of innovation."With social media becoming a powerful force for change in Middle East, and recognizing the fact that today’s consumers are progressively leading digitally enhanced lives, Panasonic launched PIAP towards the end of last year to discover new partners – this time social media influencers and digital content creators - who use their passion in creating content to engage, educate and empower their community. "Social media has opened the door for direct communication with the consumers and we are always eager to engage with them, to help them know more about Panasonic and our products, as well as hear about their feedback so that we can continuously improve our offerings and meet their demands. The pilot edition of PIAP not only helped us achieve those goals but also opened up new opportunities for these amazing influencers we have in the region. Given the success of the program in advancing key business priorities, we are set to launch a more exciting PIAP 2023 edition very soon," Shibutani commented further.The competition is open to health, wellness, lifestyle, beauty, food/cooking, tech or fitness social media influencers with 10,000 and above followers on Instagram and/or TikTok at the time of participation. Following a rigorous evaluation process, the region’s 25 most engaging influencers are selected to join the PIAP. This elite team of shortlisted social media influencers is provided the latest Panasonic products to review in order for them to share their experience and create engaging posts which will help spread Panasonic’s core philosophy of helping people live their best through the brand’s innovations.From the 25 PIAP members, five influencers who earn the highest social media engagement rate on their posts are conferred the Panasonic Middle East & Africa ‘Influencer of the Year’ Award. In addition to the recognition of being in the ultimate top five influencers, the Influencer of the Year Awardees also earn a PIAP trip to Japan, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, including an immersive walkthrough in key Panasonic facilities.Proclaimed as Influencer of the Year Awardees for PIAP 2022 were (in no particular order): Neda Elyas (Instagram - @nedamaliqbeauty) and Juwairia Ehtesham (Instagram - @love_life_passion4u) from Saudi Arabia; Rao Shreya Suresh (Instagram - @queenslifeindubai) from the UAE; Hoda Al Dahi (Instagram - @hoda.aldahii) from Kuwait; and, Afshan Jabeen (Instagram - @afshaan_foodblog) from Oman.The winners were treated to a six-day trip to Japan, including city tours covering Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. A unique exposure in key Panasonic facilities became the highlight of the trip. The immersion included visits to the Panasonic Center Tokyo, which featured Business Solution exhibit, eco exhibit and AkeruE creative museum; PETEC recycle factory, where influencers gained a deeper understanding about Panasonic’s home appliance recycling initiatives; the Osaka Panasonic Museum; Home appliance showroom; and the Hikone Beauty Factory.PIAP 2023 entries open from June 2023.

Savvy Games Group welcomes new chief financial officer

Riyadh:  Savvy Games Group, the games and esports company founded to drive the long-term growth and development of esports and the wider games industry worldwide, announced today the appointment of Saleh Alfadhel as Chief Financial Officer.Saleh Alfadhel has been appointed Savvy’s Chief Financial Officer. Alfadhel brings a wealth of experience in finance and accounting to his new role, having served most recently as the Group Chief Financial Officer at Saudia, the national carrier and one of the largest airlines in the Middle East. He has also served as a member of many listed and close joint stock companies boards and audit committees, including Riyadh Airports, Flyadeal and AXA insurance.In his new role, Alfadhel will oversee Savvy Games Group's financial strategy and operations, sitting on the executive team to drive the company's growth and profitability.Savvy is 100% owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, PIF.Brian Ward, CEO of Savvy Games Group said:“We are thrilled to welcome Saleh Alfadhel as our new Chief Financial Officer. With his impressive track record and wealth of experience in finance and strategy, I know he will play a critical role in driving Savvy’s development and growth. As we continue to invest long-term capital to grow the community and the sector, Saleh's expertise will be invaluable to us.”

FasterCapital launches Pitch Deck Creation and Review Services

Dubai: FasterCapital launches its complete and customized pitch deck creation, review, and design services. The three packages have different services that startups can customize to meet their specific needs. Startups and businesses seeking to raise capital always need to create the most compelling and persuasive pitch decks possible. FasterCapital helps startups do just that by creating custom decks tailored specifically to the company and its goals. The team takes the time to learn about the company and its history, current state, and future prospects so that they can create an effective presentation that will capture investor interest. The decks are designed for use in public presentations or pitching internally to decision-makers, so they are clear, concise, and easy to read – no matter how experienced or technically advanced the audience may be.Launching this service will make it easy for startups to create professional-looking decks in order to get funded by investors. Moreover, FasterCapital's expert reviewers help the startup's team learn more about how to present to investors when they have to do the pitching.This service is part of a larger vision and mission that FasterCapital is on which involves helping startups get the capital they need in the best and most efficient ways. Entrepreneurs and companies that are interested in this service can visit the service page.Mr. Hesham Zreik, CEO of FasterCapital, comments, "After our extensive work with startups on their fundraising, we have noticed that one of the main issues startups face is lack of response from investors. The response rate can be highly improved by improving the way the startup is presented and this is what we aspire to do through this service."

SFA Expo and Community Sports Group Awards showcase growth of the Saudi sports

Riyadh: Yesterday night, the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) concluded the SFA Expo the most significant and first-of-its-kind fitness and health exhibition hosted in the Kingdom at Riyadh Front Exhibition & Convention Center, in the presence of HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, President of the Saudi Sports for All Federation, Khalid Abdullah Albaker, CEO of Quality of Life, Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, Managing Director, the Saudi Sports for All Federation, and Kholoud Al Junaibi, Secretary-General of UAE Sports for All Federation,The exhibition included a diverse range of sessions and workshops delivered by more than 90 speakers and trainers specialized in a wide selection of sports; in addition, many experts from around the world attended the exhibition to build relationships and invest in the promising Saudi market.The exhibition area was more than 10,000 SQM, divided into six interactive areas focused on communication, knowledge sharing, learning about modern innovations, and practicing sports with challenge and competition.The exhibition attracted to the meeting hall (B2B) many international and local companies to highlight the investment role in the sports sector in the Kingdom and to discuss promising opportunities to make the Kingdom a competitive sports destination.An honorary ceremony was held during the event, where four prizes were distributed to four groups. The awards, organized by SFA, rewarded several community groups across various categories for advancing the Saudi sports industry and regional sports culture. The Community Sports Group Awards categories are as follows: “Most Active Community Sports Group on the SFA app,”; “Most unique event idea,”; “Most effective sustainable and community service initiative,”; and “Most active university Group Male/female.”Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, Managing Director of Saudi Sports for All Federation, said: “We are very pleased to have hosted SFA Expo. As the largest and first-of-its-kind fitness and health exhibition in Saudi Arabia, the exhibition will help to raise the Kingdom’s profile on the global stage as a world-class sports hub. Crucially, it will shine an even brighter spotlight on the importance of sport and physical activity to the economy and society, encouraging more people and families to lead healthy, active lifestyles.”The exhibition allowed visitors to interact with leading global and regional brands in the sports and fitness sector, attend panel discussions and workshops, and view and participate in competitions that added more excitement and fun to the event. It also provided professionals, athletes, trainers, and fitness enthusiasts worldwide with an appropriate platform to discuss challenges in the sports field.With the support of leading bodies such as the Ministry of Sport, Ministry of Investment, Saudi Business Center, and Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the event was launched to contribute to the growth and development of the Saudi sports industry, bolster local sports infrastructure, and transform regional community sports.SFA Expo was supported by leading event sponsors such as Invest Saudi, Delta Fitness, Riyad Bank, and Al Arabiya and official event supporters such as Salonpas, Saudi 360, and Get More Vits.

Sharjah Media City "Shams" wraps up the first edition of "Shams Creative Fest"

Dubai: Sharjah Media City "Shams" successfully concluded the inaugural edition of the "Shams Creative Fest," a three-day event held at Shams Business Center. The festival witnessed extensive participation from startup owners, craftsmen, and creative artists who showcased their projects and artistic innovations to festival-goers.Sharjah Media City aims to establish a fresh approach to entrepreneurship by embracing innovative ideas that enhance creative industries. The city enables small and medium-sized companies, along with entrepreneurs, to engage in various creative sectors. It promotes the spirit of creative entrepreneurship, stimulates business growth, and fosters a vibrant ecosystem for innovators to thrive, learn, and collaborate.Shihab Alhamadi, Managing Director of Sharjah Media City "Shams," expressed, "The first edition of the Shams Creative Fest achieved remarkable success, embracing numerous local talents and creations. It provided them with an opportunity to connect and interact with community members, showcase their innovative projects, and inspire them to pursue their creative passions. This further supports their exposure to a wider audience."Alhamadi further stated, "Sharjah Media City is committed to organizing more events and festivals that cater to this segment of the community. We aim to expand our coverage to include additional fields and new categories, promoting creativity and offering opportunities for success. These efforts strengthen Sharjah's position as a thriving hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. Shams is dedicated to creating opportunities for investing in talented individuals, aspiring entrepreneurs, and fostering an environment that supports startups in developing and growing their projects, providing them with the necessary support for success."The festival attracted a notable turnout from diverse nationalities and age groups who enjoyed numerous entertainment activities, creative workshops, live musical performances, and engaging competitions. Attendees also relished a variety of Arab and Western cuisine available at the festival's food stalls.Sharjah Media City (Shams) upholds the Sharjah work system, which revolves around people and its noble mission of empowering individuals through unique creative industries. This mission aims to drive progress, enhance societal well-being, and bolster the Emirate of Sharjah's economic performance, diversity, and competitiveness.With the conclusion of the "Shams Creative Fest," Sharjah Media City reinforces its unwavering commitment to enhancing creativity and nurturing local talents. It underscores its pivotal role in providing platforms and essential opportunities for creators and startup owners to realize their aspirations and achieve success.

Mastercard launches second season of ‘Her Voice’ podcast series

Riyadh : As part of its commitment to empowering women and championing female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia and the wider region, Mastercard has announced the launch of the second season of its award-winning podcast series ‘Her Voice’.Building on the success of the first season, ‘Her Voice’ Season Two will profile a diverse range of inspiring Saudi female pioneers, innovators, and business leaders, spotlighting their groundbreaking achievements and amplifying their unique, compelling stories.To further extend the value to SMEs across the Kingdom, Mastercard partnered with SAB to offer an outstanding female entrepreneur the opportunity to be featured in the final episode of the season.The winner will be chosen by Mastercard and SAB as the exclusive issuer for the nomination round, starting from May 17th. In addition to appearing on the podcast, the winner will receive a grant worth USD 30,000 to develop and scale her business. Meanwhile, the top 15 nominees will get to attend an SME masterclass co-hosted by the two partners.“At SAB, we realize the pivotal role of the banking sector in enabling SMEs to take their business to new heights. From facilitating access to financing to providing capacity-building opportunities, we are here to support them every step of the way. We are delighted to join forces with Mastercard to help build the next generation of future female entrepreneurs in the region,” said Yasser Al-Barrak, Chief Executive Officer of Corporate and Institutional Banking SAB.“As a company that works to build an inclusive digital economy, we are passionate about women’s empowerment. By charting the journeys of incredible female pioneers across various fields, ‘Her Voice’ aims to motivate women in Saudi Arabia and beyond to realize their full potential. Our audiences that have come to love the podcast in its first season are in for a treat. We are launching a new video format, introducing an interactive and competitive element, and offering added value to women-led small businesses in the form of an SME grant and masterclass in partnership with SAB,” Maria Medvedeva, Country Business Manager, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, Mastercard.Set to premiere on May 21st, this season will switch to a video format and focus on designing a better world for everyone. In line with Mastercard’s efforts to connect people to their passions, each episode will explore a different passion point. The guests will chronicle their journeys in their own voices in conversation with the host, the trailblazing broadcaster Weam Al Dakheel – the first female anchor to present an evening news program on Saudi TV’s Channel 1.Mastercard has pledged to bring 25 million women entrepreneurs worldwide into the digital economy by 2025, connecting them to the digital tools, training, insights and solutions that will empower their business. Mastercard has also partnered with Women Choice to launch the Social Innovation Incubator (SII) For Women’s Employment. The program will help create one million jobs for women across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), supporting inclusive economic growth in the region.

L’azurde asserts its leadership in the gold and jewelry sector

Riyadh: L’azurde Company for Jewelry (“L’azurde”, “the Company”, “the Group”), the leading gold and jewelry designer, manufacturer, distributor, and retailer in the Middle East, has asserted its leadership in this vital sector with positive financial results for the first quarter of 2023.The Company achieved a net profit of SAR 11.6 million following the increase in its operating revenues to SAR 126.1 million. The Company generated an operating profit of SAR 25.1 million asserting its steady growth, and its strong performance that reflects the effectiveness of its transformative initiatives that have contributed to an increase in revenues and profits on the one hand, and a decrease in financial costs on the other hand, putting the Company on the road to remarkable growth and financial stability.In addition to that, the Company’s e-commerce business has generated revenues of SAR 7.9 million. This underscores the success of the Company's endeavors to expand its e-commerce business through further investments in technology, infrastructure, and systems.In KSA, wholesale operating revenues increased by 20.4% year-on-year, the noticeable increase being mainly attributed to the successful sales of L’azurde gold in gold souks. In Egypt, wholesale operating revenues increased by 4.0%, and Retail operating revenues grew by 47% compared to the same period last year.Commenting on that results, Mr. Sélim Chidiac, CEO of L’azurde said: “L’azurde has succeeded in achieving constantly positive results, due to generating new and various revenue streams, whether through digital channels that bring accelerated growth, or through opening of new outlets, launching modern products that offer great value to consumers and provide us with strong profit margins”.He added: “In 2022, the Company provided its clientele with a variety of brands including L’azurde, Tous, and Miss L’ and we work on promoting and innovating our products to adapt and win in times of changing consumer shopping behaviors”. Mr. Chidiac explained that the plans of the Company include expanding its Miss L’ brand of modern jewelry, through new retail selling points and promoting the role of agents, and through e-commerce. In addition, the Company will be developing the international Tous brand in KSA through e-commerce and an innovative product assortment, meeting the requirements of the modern woman.

May Fest brings customers unbeatable deals across GMG’s food retail stores

Dubai: GMG Everyday Goods’ retail division has launched its first ever Biggest May Fest promising unbeatable deals, exclusive offers, and everyday discounts of 50 % to 70% off and an exciting chance to win double cash back on in-store purchases made from now until 28th May 2023.Customers at select Géant and aswaaq stores including those in Dubai Hills, Mudon, newly opened Nshama and Jumeirah Golf Estates can enjoy up to 70 percent off on everything from fresh groceries to fresh food, meat and seafood, organic, plant-based foods and global foods, and a mix of day-to-day and non-essentials. Spend AED 150 in your local Géant hypermarket or AED 75 in supermarkets and Express stores and you stand a chance to win double cash back. Details on how to participate will be shared at checkout. This cash back promotion is on in select aswaaq stores (spend limit varies depending on size of store) where you can also enjoy offers of up to 70 percent.“Our Biggest May Fest is designed to reflect our promise of great value, variety, and convenience. We want to make grocery shopping rewarding with unmatchable offerings and give families an opportunity to gear up for their summer holidays,” said Marc Laurent, President, Retail - Everyday Goods at GMG.Residents of Oud Metha will be pleased to know that they can also enjoy these amazing deals now that a Géant Express store has opened in their community at Lamcy Residences. From freshly prepared food to go, imported and local fresh produce, to quality meats, cheese and cold cuts, global foods and bakery products, customers can find it all including a unique South Asian shop in shop to cater to the largest demographic who live and work in this area.Home delivery will also be available to neighbourhoods in the vicinity via local delivery platforms straight to your doorstep. And just like any Géant, customers can purchase their Géant gift cards in-store as well as reusable bags, reiterating the brand’s strong commitment to environmental sustainability and promoting a positive and cohesive community lifestyle.

AI-powered tech firm Travel Genius announces three new board directors

Dubai: Travel Genius, the most innovative location intelligence platform, has today announced the appointment of three new board directors who will bring with them a wealth of experience in hospitality, brand marketing, business process design and governance.Roshni Pandey, Jagdish Sidhu and David King will all join the company with immediate effect.Hannes Bos, the CEO and Founder of Travel Genius said "Their invaluable expertise, diverse backgrounds, and deep industry knowledge will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in bringing our innovative solutions to life and driving our company's success. Their commitment to excellence and passion for innovation align perfectly with our company's vision and mission."This announcement follows the recent launch of SpotQuest, the world’s first solution with actionable insight for travel professionals. Using unique data points at micro-neighbourhood levels, the new location intelligence platform provides detailed and actionable insights in a fraction of the time it currently takes travel professionals to gather the data.Over the next few weeks, Travel Genius is planning to announce a number of innovative products that are set to disrupt the Travel and F&B industries, by bringing together AI-powered tech and a proprietary database of millions of micro-location data points to create accurate local insights with an accuracy not seen before.

NBK Automobiles launches the new Mercedes?Benz GLC SUV in Qatar

Doha: Nasser Bin Khaled Automobiles, the general authorised distributor of Mercedes-Benz in Qatar proudly launched the new Mercedes?Benz GLC SUV in Qatar. The vehicle is available now at NBK Automobiles showroom on Salwa Road.The completely newly developed model series impresses with modern design and technology, sporty performance and efficiency as well as comfort and agility. Whether on- or off-road, the GLC is at home on any terrain. The new rear axle steering also makes it even more agile and dynamic. With all its features and equipment, the new GLC defends its top position in the Mercedes?Benz passenger car portfolio: it has been the best-selling vehicle for more than two years.Performance:The new GLC comes in two variants: the GLC 200 4MATIC is equipped with 1,999 CC engine, with a system output of up to 150 kW (204 hp) and a maximum torque of 520 Nm, and the acceleration from 0 to 100 km is 7.8 seconds. The GLC 300 4MATIC comes with 1,999 CC engine, with a system output of up to 190 KW (258 hp) and a maximum torque of 600 Nm, and the acceleration from 0 to 100 km is 6.2 sec.Exterior and DesignThe new GLC is immediately recognisable as a member of the Mercedes?Benz SUV family. Different design and equipment lines lend the vehicle its very own characterThe vehicle is distinguished with its optional panorama sliding sunroof, allowing the passengers to experience an exciting feeling of freedom and enjoy a pleasantly bright ambience in the interior. When viewed from the outside, the generous sliding sunroof likewise makes a unique visual impression, as it lends lightness and exclusivity to the exterior.The new two-section taillights feature a high-quality, three-dimensional full-LED light design. The practical two-section design allows for a wider tailgate as well as a larger load compartment opening. At the same time, the modern, slimmer light design conveys more dynamism even when the vehicle is stationary.The combination of AIRMATIC air suspension and rear axle steering provides noticeably more ride comfort and agility. The air suspension fascinates with dynamics or comfort according to choose, while the rear axle steering enables supremely confident or agile handling and a smaller turning circle, depending on the speed.Aluminium-look running boards with rubber studsThe newly designed and optional aluminium-look running boards reinforce the SUV character of the GLC. They are mounted at the height of the side skirts and facilitate entry. The running boards have a sporty "shaped" design, which means they are narrower in the area of the front doors and become wider towards the rear.The new GLC is attractive from every perspective – but in a side view, the combination of sporty design and SUV details lends it a particularly expressive look. This is largely thanks to the extensive portfolio of large-dimension, externally flush light-alloy wheels ranging in size from 45.7 cm (18 inches) to 50.8 cm (20 inches).The SUV front of the new GLC underscores the vehicle's sportiness with its radiator grille with chrome surround and vertical louvres as well as the directly adjoining headlights that emphasise the width. The centrally positioned Mercedes star is, of course, one of the familiar elements of the striking front end design.Luxury and sporty improved InteriorThe interior of the new GLC SUV sets standards. Be it the central display tilted towards the driver, the multifunction sports steering wheel or high-quality trim elements: high-quality materials ensure luxurious comfort that you can feel - on every journey.The multifunction sports steering wheel in nappa leather has a flattened bottom section and deeply embossed grip area – excellent prerequisites for a sporty driving style. The high-quality, soft nappa leather is a quality experience in itself. Use the touch control panels to operate the most important vehicle functions without having to take your hands off the steering wheel.The MBUX multimedia system with central display is tilted towards the driver and operated by touch. It is the digital interface between you and the vehicle, through which you control many important functions of the vehicle - intuitively and comfortably.The luggage compartment capacity of the new GLC SUV comes with the EASY-PACK tailgate as standard. It is spacious, functional and equipped to a high standard. The new GLC becomes even more comfortable with the Boot Comfort Package as standard.State of the art TechnologyThe optional head-up display shows you all the essential information directly on the windscreen, so your full attention remains on the road and the traffic. In the new Mercedes-Benz GLC, the head-up display it is now even bigger, precise and comfortable.The central display is tilted towards the driver and operated by touch input. It is the digital interface between you and the vehicle, through which you control many important functions of the vehicle. It is as intuitive and comfortable as possible.Your profile can be used to pre-activate certain personalised settings, such as the colour of the interior lighting or the seat position. KEYLESS-GO puts an end to irritating searches for the vehicle key. Your key will be recognised when you have it on your person while close to or inside your vehicle: all doors can then be opened and locked simply by touching the door handle.GUARD 360° vehicle protectionURBAN GUARD vehicle protection Plus offers all-round monitoring of the vehicle's surroundings. Thanks to the anti-theft alarm system, as well as emergency key deactivation, you will be able to act quickly. On the road, the collision detection notifies you via the app. And the Stolen Vehicle Help service increases the chance of recovering your property if your vehicle is ever stolen.PRE-SAFE® Impulse SideWith the PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side, if the new GLC detects an unavoidable side collision, PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side initiates measures to move the occupants towards the centre of the vehicle. This way, the vehicle will reduce the force exerted in the event of an accident.With its continuously adjustable damping control on each individual wheel, AIRMATIC enables a particularly smooth ride. This will enable you to drive in outstanding comfort and arrive more relaxed at your destination. In addition, the air suspension can be raised by 15 mm if necessary and it automatically adjusts to different vehicle loads.Dual-voltage 12/48-volt on-board electrical systemThe new Mercedes-Benz GLC offers a dual-voltage 12/48-volt electrical system for vehicles powered by an internal-combustion engine. The additional 48-volt energy management as a step on the road to electrification generates efficiency, consumption and comfort benefits.Off-Road drive program and Off-Road CockpitYou can select the Off-Road drive program via DYNAMIC SELECT: traction, brake control and drive behavior are adapted to the driving situation. The off-road light of the headlamps is also activated if your new GLC has DIGITAL LIGHT.At the mere touch of a button, the central display turns into an attractive off-road screen. Off-road-specific displays, settings and functions are vividly presented here and in the driver's display and can thus be experienced visually.Optional SysremsMBUX Augmented Reality Navigation is optional in the new GLC. To enable you to find your way in complex traffic situations, MBUX Augmented Reality Navigation connects the virtual world with the real world. The technology incorporates graphic navigation instructions and traffic information into live images. You can reach your destination quickly, safely and stress-free.The MBUX navigation system can take into account that the GLC is driving in trailer mode when calculating the route. The route is even calculated according to the type of trailer – bicycle carrier, small trailer and large trailer. For example, steep gradients or tight bends on the route are avoided to suit the car/trailer combination.Parking Package with 360° camera: Detects available parking spaces and designated parking spaces as you drive past. After selecting a parking space, you can park in it effortlessly thanks to dynamic visualisation and acoustic feedback – or have the vehicle manoeuvre into the space with assisted parking.Driving Assistance Plus Package: Offers maximum comfort & safety on the road to autonomous driving. You receive Active Stop-and-Go Assist, which takes the strain off you on motorways. Another advantage: PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side can provide additional protection inside collisions caused by other vehicles.Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC: You will be grateful for the convenience of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC in flowing & stop-and-go traffic. It takes the strain off you by automatically adapting your own speed to that of slower-moving vehicles travelling ahead. The desired specified distance can be set at several levels.ENERGIZING Package Plus: This package bundles together a variety of premium equipment with innovative intelligence. Your Mercedes can invigorate and indulge you in targeted ways – for prolonged alertness at the wheel and an extremely pleasant drive. With seven varied comfort programs and attractive extras such as multicontour seats.DIGITAL LIGHT with projection function: The pioneering headlamp technology combines the familiar MULTIBEAM LED with innovative high-resolution lighting technology. Light projections in HD quality are projected directly onto the road surface and provide the driver with information.

Dubai: Middle East’s largest food hall ‘Market Island’ to open in Festival City

Dubai: Dubai Festival City Mall, part of Al Futtaim Malls, partners with the Zemskiy Group to unveil Market Island, the largest food hall in the Middle East.The new Market Island at the mall's north end on the ground floor in December 2023.Market Island is the culmination of the Zemskiy Group, one of Russia’s largest organisations in the field of commercial real estate for the food and beverage industry. With over 150 projects across 16 cities around the world, the Zemskiy Group debuts its F&B concept in UAE at Dubai Festival City Mall.Spanning across 70,000 square meters, the Market Island will introduce 53 distinct gastronomic concepts which will offer a diverse range of cuisines from across the world. Boasting a seating capacity of over 3,500, the food hall will feature various food stations, dedicated restaurant spaces, bars and lounges – the first licensed bar venue within a mall in UAE.Apart from a world-class culinary experience, the Market Island will also stand as a tourism and leisure destination, where visitors can enjoy live entertainment featuring spectacular performances and DJ-sets by regional artists. The seamless fusion of food, drinks and entertainment promises the ultimate social experience for tourists and residents alike.Commenting on the launch of Market Island at Dubai Festival City Mall, Hayssam Hajjar, General Manager of Al-Futtaim Malls – UAE said, “We are excited to be partnering with Zemskiy Group to debut the one-of-its-kind food hall experience with the opening of Market Island at Dubai Festival City Mall.Our commitment to delivering exceptional F&B and entertainment that prioritise customer satisfaction has always been our goal at Al-Futtaim Malls. With this in mind, we are proud to present Market Island, a cutting-edge venue that seamlessly merges the worlds of food and entertainment, featuring a diverse range of culinary concepts.”

Dubai: Now, all Emirates passengers can enjoy free WiFi on board

Dubai: Now, all Emirates passengers in every class of travel can enjoy some form of free connectivity once they sign up to Emirates Skywards, the airline announced on Friday.This was made possible through a recent enhancement to the carrier's inflight connectivity. The development has resulted in an additional 30,000 Economy Class passengers connecting to complimentary onboard Wi-Fi every week.All Emirates Skywards members in every class of travel can now enjoy some form of free connectivity. Skywards members, whether Blue, Silver, Gold, or Platinum tier, travelling in any class — whether Economy, Premium Economy, Business or First Class — will enjoy free app messaging.Additionally, First Class passengers will have unlimited free internet if they are Skywards members, enabling them to shop or work online while inflight, as will Silver, Gold and Platinum Skywards members travelling in Business Class. Platinum Skywards members have complimentary internet access in all classes.The airline has constantly been at the forefront of inflight Wi-Fi developments and has to date invested more than $300 million dollars into onboard connectivity.New high-speed Internet in 2024Emirates also announced that it will offer new high-speed, inflight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, on board 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft — scheduled to enter service in 2024.The new agreement will significantly improve the passenger experience with enhanced connectivity and greater global coverage, even on flights over the Arctic.The Airbus A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to take advantage of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers the world’s first and only globally available broadband network, ensuring passengers can enjoy uninterrupted global connectivity, no matter their destination, including the North Pole.The advanced high-speed capabilities of the broadband will enable Emirates passengers to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media, all from the comfort of their seat.Emirates also confirmed an investment of over US$ 350 million to equip a 50-strong fleet of A350s coming in 2024 with enhanced passenger connectivity via Thales’ AVANT Up system and Optiq — the first smart display in the industry to offer two Bluetooth connections, built-in Wi-Fi for passengers to pair multiple devices including phones, tablets, headphones or even game controllers, while supporting up to 60 watts USB-C to fast-charge personal devices.Passengers simply need to join Emirates Skywards — an easy and complimentary process, in order to access free Wi-Fi.Those interested can sign up via,, through the official Emirates app, or the flydubai app and directly from the Wi-Fi portal onboard. Emirates Skywards has more than 30 million members worldwide, offering unmatched rewards in the air and on-ground including airlines, hotels, car rental, banks and a multitude of retail and lifestyle options.Over 450,000 users per monthThe increase in free connectivity has been well received by Emirates’ passengers following changes in January 2023.Today, the airline sees an average of 450,000 users per month. This represents a 30 per cent increase of passenger use in 2023 versus the same period last year. Currently, almost 10 per cent of all passengers are utilising the complimentary onboard Wi-Fi.On routes through the Americas, almost 20 per cent of passengers connect to Wi-Fi onboard, and on European and Africa routes the usage is over 11 per cent of all passengers.Patrick Brannelly, SVP Retail, IFE and Connectivity commented: "Emirates has persistently worked with our service providers to optimise and improve the connectivity experience. In March we delivered about 55 per cent more data per customer session compared to early 2022 despite the number of sessions increasing by 68 per cent in the same period. We will continue to work to invest in upgrades and enhancements, and our A350 aircraft will arrive with the next generation of satellite connectivity already equipped."

UAE cybersecurity: 26,000 vulnerabilities were reported in 2022

Dubai: A record high of more than 26,000 vulnerabilities were reported in 2022 identified as per the NIST National Vulnerability Database (NVD).Improper configuration and device settings emerged as one of the top risks to organisations in 2022, while consistent usage of weak and insecure protocols, especially on externally facing assets such as weak SSL/TLS protocols on web servers, are usually the first target for an attacker to gain a foothold in the network.These were part of finding revealed in the State of the Market Report 2023 by Help AG, the cybersecurity arm of e& enterprise (formerly Etisalat Digital).Help AG’s annual State of the Market Report’s third edition, themed around the adage of “Innovate. Automate. Elevate.”, is focused on how organisations across the region can innovate their technology and processes and automate playbooks and operations to ultimately elevate their cybersecurity posture. The report dives deep into the top threats over the past 12 months, the kinds of attacks and attack vectors which are a cause of concern, anatomy of high profile breaches, best practice recommendations, security investment patterns of organisations in the region, uptake rates of new emerging technologies, and, of course, directions on where the market is moving towards in terms of technologies and evolution. With the substantial increase in prices of cybersecurity solutions globally, including some OEMs increasing their prices north of 30 per cent compared to 2021, combined with the fact that the average large organization runs 50-100 different cybersecurity solutions in their estate, Help AG has observed organizations investing and focusing heavily on cybersecurity estate consolidation, utilizing longer term contracts such as Enterprise License Agreements (ELAs)) to ensure better predictability of budgets and reduced complexity.There has been a marked increase in investment in locally hosted solutions and services. Investments into Security Service Edge (SSE) and OT/IoT security have seen twice the increase in the year, and over 50% growth in DDoS protection investments. Additionally, Managed Cyber Defense has become essential for cyber resilience and compliance, with investment growing 50% YoY and over 100% in Digital Risk Protection and Threat Intelligence. The services-led cybersecurity approach offers several advantages over a traditional in-house cybersecurity model, including 24x7 access to the best people, processes, and technologies, under a predictable OPEX payment model. Emerging Trends in Cybersecurity as a Service (CaaS) include leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), greater adoption of Security Service Edge (SSE), Cybersecurity Compliance as a Service, and Incident Response as a Service (IRaaS).The report spotlights the evolution of the service centric market and how UNIFY, Help AG as a Service 3.0 addresses the top concerns of organizations when it comes to the need for a unified approach to cyber defense. Cybersecurity has become a critical concern for organizations of all sizes in the region. In 2022, the cyber threat landscape was characterized by a growing number of advanced persistent threats (APTs), malware attacks, and cybercrime.Major risks that organisations faced were often related to human factors, misconfiguration of default credentials, and missing patches.Ransomware and phishing attacks are both becoming more sophisticated, with attackers using tactics like double extortion to increase pressure on organizations to pay the ransom, and social engineering tactics to trick victims into divulging sensitive information.DDoS attacks are also becoming more sophisticated and diversified in their forms. The total number of DDoS attacks detected in 2022 exceeded 150,000. DDoS attacks targeting UAE businesses with a volume of over 40Gbps have become the norm, while the max attack volume observed was 238.6 Gbps. Over 61% of DDoS attacks observed were multi-vector attacks, with the top attack types being UDP and DNS Amplification. As threats become increasingly numerous, persistent, and sophisticated, manual alert triage is no longer sufficient. Instead, contextualizing all data points into a single action thread is vital to a comprehensive defense against threats. In response to this, Help AG launched UNIFY, an integrated cyber defense platform serving as the foundation of their cyber defense services, unifying pivotal capabilities like visibility, collaboration, orchestration, and intelligent automation to deliver a seamless customer experience. As cloud adoption reaches an all-time high and organizations increasingly adopt a microservice architecture, one of the most significant risks they face is cloud insecurity. To ensure a secure cloud posture, organizations must take action to address these risks. This involves identifying and remediating security issues, managing and securing access to cloud resources, and complying with regulations and industry standards. One of the key considerations while adopting security services at the edge in the Middle East is the growing importance of data privacy and the need for local content inspection. Organisations look for SSE providers that provide true unification of security consoles, endpoint agents and converged policies; a single point of inspection for all security services; local data residency and compliance with regulations; and a large local partner ecosystem to deliver services ensuring the highest level of support and quick implementation.Companies face the challenge of trying to streamline their data protection by safeguarding their sensitive data whilst enabling their employees to work productively and more importantly, maintain company success. On a regional level, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and KSA have all introduced laws that govern the lawful use of data within their respective countries. Identity has become the new security perimeter. Adversaries are also reciprocating by targeting identities and gaps in governance. A very strong Identity Governance and Administration (IGA) practice will become a core requirement of security operations, and we can expect to see more focus and more investment in this area in 2023.IHS forecasted that the IoT market will grow from an installed base of 15.4 billion devices in 2015 to 75.4 billion in 2025. The IoT is the future, and hence, organisations aim to achieve comprehensive visibility and perform asset discovery, creating solid baseline measures for security in IoT devices, including security from the start of IoT project planning, adopting a strong zero-trust strategy, and enabling SecOps to detect, prevent and mitigate security incidents. Stephan Berner, chief executive officer at Help AG, said: “Cybersecurity is the crucial component of successful digital transformation and needs to be built in from day zero and beyond. Through the State of the Market Report 2023, we enable readers to understand how they can innovate to bring in the best of people, processes, and technologies, automate to enhance agility and improve time to value, and elevate the resilience of their enterprise to thrive in the hyper connected era where experience is of paramount importance and availability needs to be constantly on.”Nicolai Solling, chief technology officer at Help AG, added: “In a hyperconnected world where threats are becoming more sophisticated and frequent, it is increasingly essential for the public and private sector to work together, sharing knowledge and creating a united front against malicious actors in the digital sphere. Making our State of the Market Report readily available to organizations across the region provides essential intelligence into the state of cybersecurity in the Middle East, arming key players in the industry with the knowledge to protect themselves against cybersecurity threats.”

CABSAT 2023 successfully concludes

Dubai: The 29th edition of CABSAT 2023, the award-winning event for the broadcast, satellite, content creation, production, distribution, digital media, and entertainment industries, drew to a successful conclusion on May 18, 2023, showcased emerging trends and technologies in these fields and facilitated thought-provoking discussions, alongside practical demos on the show floor.The three-day exhibition, which kicked off on May 16, 2023, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) served as a significant platform for numerous exhibitors from across the globe to present their various innovative solutions and forge alliances to grow their business in the region. During the event, several announcements, partnerships, and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) were signed between various organisations exhibiting at the show.CABSAT brought together international industry leaders alongside regional government and business stakeholders for three days of business networking, knowledge sharing, and innovation discovery. Exhibiting companies included NEOM; Beijing Municipal Radio and Television Bureau; Vectracom archives solutions from France; Kenya Television Network; Akratek Elektronok San Türkiye; Canadian media technology company Grass Valley, and multinational Hitachi.Innovative products on the show floor included the highspeed Glambot camera, known for its precision focus video from Hollywood red carpets, dual-camera VR, a virtual production studio created in collaboration with PIXOJAM, the latest use of artificial intelligence (AI), and multi-dimensional tech transforming the editing process.Over the three days, exhibitors taking part in CABSAT were able to demonstrate the game-changing impact of their latest technologies and solutions, build relationships with their peers and attract new partners to their network.Marta Olender of Moviebird International commented: “We are delighted to have participated in CABSAT 2023, a significant event for the broadcast, satellite, content creation, production, distribution, digital media, and entertainment industries. Through this event, we showcased our range of advanced solutions which included the cutting-edge, high-tech telescopic camera cranes for film and television production. Our advanced solutions enable a convenient and creative filmmaking process, significantly assisting film producers and camera operators across the globe. The event further served as a platform for us to explore avenues for collaboration with a number of companies from throughout the region.”Andrew Bear, Head of Video Protection Business at Verimatrix, stated: “CABSAT 2023 provided a significant opportunity for us to highlight our cutting-edge anti-piracy and cybersecurity solutions that help prevent large-scale content theft and safeguard the digital media landscape. Our solutions aim to address concerns surrounding video piracy, cyberattacks, and enterprise threats, which continue to grow significantly both regionally and globally. By participating in the event, we aimed at assisting our partners in expanding quickly in the regional markets, protecting important revenue streams, and achieving new clients.”Hamid Rahmani, Managing Director of Broadcast Hightech Systems (BHS) said: “At the CABSAT 2023, we exhibited our innovative ideas and solutions that are aimed at advancing the broadcasting and telecommunication industries. By offering cost-effective services of the highest standard and quality, we strive to assist people in communicating effectively and efficiently. In keeping with our goal to deliver swift and efficient connectivity, we are committed to providing superior and reliable satellite solutions.”Attracting a large gathering of industry professionals from the MEASA region, CABSAT also hosted several educative panel discussions and conferences which featured a remarkable line-up of thought-leaders as speakers, that shed light on emerging technologies that will reshape the future development of the media, entertainment and satellite sectors. The Content Congressdiscussed the numerous challenges in producing high-quality content and ways to overcome them, meanwhile, the SatExpo Summit highlighted the significance of various ground-breaking technologies such as AI and automation to improve and promote sustainable space operations. The NextGen Content Screening event exhibited the latest content offering of the Middle East and Africa in the scripted and non-scripted formats across various genres including anime, drama, kids, sports, comedy, action, mystery, and thriller.CABSAT 2023, which recently received a Broadcast Pro ME award for outstanding contribution to the development of the MENA media and entertainment industries, offered an unparalleled opportunity for exhibitors to explore various business opportunities, as well as for attendees to discover a wide range of ground-breaking solutions and stay up to date with the most recent developments in the broadcast, satellite, media, and entertainment industries.

Dubai to host Grand Finale of Eureka! GCC 2023

Dubai: Dubai is set to host the grand finale of Eureka! GCC 2023, Asia's largest business model competition, later this month in the presence of the UAE’s Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.The Eureka! GCC finale at the Habtoor Palace, Dubai on May 26 will feature ten finalists, chosen from amongst 150 business plans from aspiring entrepreneurs and budding startup founders after a rigorous competition over seven months to assess their innovative ventures and commercial concepts. Each finalist will pitch their business ideas to a panel of prominent investors, venture capitalists, CEOs and industry leaders, to win the coveted Eureka! GCC title and a share of prizes worth US$100,000.Participants in the sector-agnostic competition, now in its second year, received a holistic entrepreneurship programme featuring business insight and knowledge, mentorship and other training appropriate for early-stage startup companies. Following an extensive screening process, 27 semi-finalist teams were selected to participate in advanced entrepreneurship training, with tailored workshops focusing on effective business planning and personalized mentoring from seasoned industry professionals over a five-week period. Ten finalists were chosen, based on mentors’ recommendations and business reports. The Eureka! GCC 2023 competition is powered once more by Gulf Islamic Investments (GII), a leading UAE-based Shari’ah-compliant global alternative investment company with over US$3 billion of assets under management. Its co-Founder and co-CEO, Pankaj Gupta commented, “Startups have the potential to create significant business growth and have already made a significant impact on the GCC economy in the past decade. Eureka! GCC provides the right platform for entrepreneurs to develop and launch their ideas, showcase their ventures, network with potential investors, and fast-track their growth.”Mr Gupta added, “We are most grateful for the support received from government ministries and industry leaders, which has undoubtedly contributed to the success of this entrepreneurship programme.”

IFS to highlight innovative AI solutions for the Telco industry

Dubai: IFS, the global cloud enterprise software company, announced its participation in Telecoms World Middle East 2023, being held on 30-31 May 2023 at Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai. The company will showcase their AI driven IFS Cloud suite of solutions, which delivers a composable, single enterprise platform enabling Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to optimize service, project, and asset management. Speaking on its participation in the event, Markus Persson, Telecommunications Global Industry Director at IFS says, “The native 5G stand-alone landscape is accelerating and moving towards cloud creating an increase in assets and the rise of IoT. These changes further amplify the unique value that IFS Cloud delivers to the telecom industry. The build-out of 5G and the new B2B industry use cases are exciting opportunities, and IFS is the ideal partner to support CSPs in the Middle East region since we not only support the network build-out itself, but we also have deep expertise in the other industry verticals that telecom operators and infrastructure providers are addressing with new B2B industry use cases”.Markus Persson is presenting at the event and will speak on “AI-powered field service evolution: Optimize your assets, workers, and projects to scale operational efficiency and excel in the Moment of Service.” As part of his session, he will be showcasing how IFS enables some of MENA’s leading brands, including Saudi Telecom Company to increase process and field engineer efficiency, improve margins, and deliver a better customer experience. The session will explore how IFS empowers CSPs and communication infrastructure providers to manage their assets and resources from a single innovative platform, enabling optimization at an unparalleled scale and quicker decision-making always based on up-to-date real-time data.With IFS Cloud, CSPs can access all IFS solutions and capabilities from a single product suite built on a common platform with common persistence storage. From AI-powered workforce planning and scheduling optimization and integrated mobile support for field workers to industry-leading field service management and enterprise asset management, all IFS solutions are inherently integrated to ensure accurate data sharing across the entire business, enabling more agile and efficient operations. “Our telecom customers choose our software to support their digital transformation initiatives by replacing legacy systems with scalable, future-proof technology that offers embedded innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, IoT, and augmented reality,” adds Markus.IFS is continually recognized by technology analysts such as Gartner and IDC for its deep industry expertise. It is also the only telecom-focused vendor that is a Gartner and IDC leader in both Field Service Management and Enterprise Asset Management. Industry experts from IFS will be present at booth no. E54 to showcase to visitors the latest IFS Cloud solutions that enable CSPs to maximize profitable service-based revenue streams and increase their agility and efficiency.

Auburn Digital Solutions Expands its Operations in Dubai

Dubai: As part of its expansion plans, Auburn Digital Solutions has now set base in Dubai. With its office located in Dubai, they will serve clients from all around the MENA region. They have a full-service agency with staff and resources that are expanding in tandem with their expanding clientele. Following their expansion in Canada, this is a step forward in Auburn's success overseas. Since its founding in 2013, Auburn Digital Solutions has provided top-notch services and solutions for digital marketing to companies across sectors in India and established business in Canada in the first leg of expansion. From Dubai, the firm aims to provide services for the whole of Middle East and the Gulf. They provide several services including digital strategy, media buying and planning, brand planning, website development, app development, SEO etc.“We are one of the few homegrown digital marketing companies with an expanding international clientele. We are actively seeking to increase our worldwide footprint through India, Canada, and the Middle East. We want to provide our clients worldwide with the greatest 360-degree marketing services.” Says Harsh S. Kedia, CEO, Auburn Digital Solutions.“By providing clients with top-notch digital solutions, we hope to establish ourselves as a preferred partner in the global marketing industry. We strive to help brands fully realise their potential through our services. Added Ashish Tripathi, MD, Auburn Digital Solutions."

Dubai’s Sukoon completes acquisition of majority stake in Ascana

Dubai: Dubai listed Sukoon, formerly known as Oman Insurance Company, has completed the acquisition of 93.0432% of the share capital of Arabian Scandinavian Insurance Company P.S.C. (ASCANA) by way of special deal through Dubai Clear.Sukoon had signed a share purchase agreement in December 2022 to acquire a majority stake of more than 93% in the DFM-listed takaful insurer.In a statement, Sukoon also confirmed its intent to submit an offer to acquire the shares of the remaining shareholders of ASCANA, as soon as it receives the regulatory approvals.The insurer did not disclose the financial value of the acquisition.

Aramex enlists Gambit as its consumer PR agency for Middle East

Dubai: Logistics and transportation solutions company Aramex has chosen Gambit Communications as its new consumer PR agency in the Middle East. Gambit's selection came after a rigorous tendering process that involved multiple agencies in the region. With their expertise, Gambit will effectively communicate Aramex's compelling consumer stories, showcasing groundbreaking work across diverse sectors like healthcare, fashion, retail, oil and gas, sustainability, and more, along with highlighting Aramex's CSR initiatives.Mike Rich, Aramex's Group Chief Marketing Officer, expressed his enthusiasm, stating that Aramex has fascinating tales to share, from emission-free deliveries to robotics and innovation. He commended Gambit Communications for their fresh perspective and a team of talented communication professionals who will play a crucial role in reaching and engaging with regional audiences. With Gambit as an extended member of Aramex's marcomms team, exciting collaborations are set to unfold.Jamal Al Mawed, Founder and Managing Director of Gambit Communications, expressed pride in representing Aramex, a well-known brand born in the region. He emphasized the significance of sharing the remarkable stories of how Aramex positively impacts people's lives every day. In the spirit of their shared commitment to delivering exceptional results, Gambit is thrilled to embark on this partnership.As a Dubai-based independent communications agency, Gambit Communications has a strong portfolio of multinational clients, including TikTok, Acer, BMW, Amazon Payment Services, Porsche, Mandarin Oriental, and more. Their exceptional work has earned them prestigious accolades, such as being crowned PRCA Regional Medium Agency of the Year for the second consecutive time, as well as the MEPRA Homegrown Agency of the Year award.

Dubai Chambers taps LPS for social media, content production

Dubai: LPS, a leading UAE-based marketing communication agency, has been selected by Dubai Chambers following a bid to manage its social media presence and content production services across its four brand accounts: Dubai Chambers, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai International Chamber, and Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy.LPS was assigned as Dubai Chambers’ communications partner considering the agency’s expertise in managing corporate strategic communications in the Middle East and its communities-first approach. LPS will work with Dubai Chambers to attain key goals, such as creating a modern, consistent social media image through unified visuals and messaging while streamlining the entity’s online presence by integrating diverse triggers, events, activations, and business groups across its three chambers.LPS will leverage its communication prowess to support Dubai Chambers’ growth. By tailoring strategic communication to showcase the accomplishments and ambitions of Dubai Chambers, LPS will help strengthen the entity’s brand image and foster connections with businesses and stakeholders across the globe.Aasim Shaik – Managing Director of LPS, said: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Dubai Chambers, utilising our cutting-edge creative, social media, and new-age content and production capabilities to contribute to the growth and advancement of Dubai and its vibrant business community. As the entity’s dedicated communication partner, we are honoured to play an integral role in shaping its narrative and forging opinion leadership, positively impacting current and future businesses.”LPS aims to elevate Dubai Chambers image and streamline its online presence by crafting compelling communications that reflect its recent developments and expansion. LPS will effectively convey the entity’s vision and values, contributing to the emirate’s growth as a global commerce and digital economy leader.As part of its continued commitment to growth and innovation, LPS is soon expanding its operations to two new locations, Riyadh – KSA, and New Jersey – USA. These strategic expansions will further establish the agency’s global presence, enabling it to better serve its diverse clientele while tapping into new markets and opportunities.

iSTYLE opens UAE’s first Apple Premium Partner store in Dubai

Dubai: iSTYLE today announced that it will formally open UAE’s first Apple Premium Partner (APP) store on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at 6 pm in Dubai Marina Mall (Level 1) with a grand opening event. The new Apple Premium Partner store is the perfect destination to shop the entire ecosystem of Apple Products and accessories in a spacious and welcoming environment. The store's professional team speaks multiple languages to give customers the best-personalized service for all their Apple requirements.“Established in 2005, iSTYLE has 13 Apple Premium Reseller stores in UAE, with Dubai Marina Mall being the first Apple Premium Partner store, taking the customer experience to the next level for all visitors. We cater to the needs of all types of customers, including business enterprises. We encourage you to drop by one of our stores, where iSTYLE’s professional team can tell you more about incorporating Apple hardware and software into your digital lifestyle” said Nicolas Daher, General Manager, iSTYLE- Middle East and North Africa.“We conduct workshops, trainings, and group demo sessions regularly, where our customers can meet up, learn something new and share their experiences. Along with the products, we offer multiple services like AppleCare+, Trade-in & B2B solutions. The authorized Apple service center at the new store will take care of customers' post-purchase requirements” said Julia Manzyuk, Retail Manager, iSTYLE UAE.

Bishay to head business growth at Farnek

Dubai: United Arab Emirates: Leading UAE-based smart and green facilities management (FM) company Farnek has appointed Tamer Bishay as its new head of business development.Reporting directly to CEO, Markus Oberlin, Bishay, an Egyptian national, has been given the responsibility of supporting Farnek’s corporate plan, with a structured and targeted business growth strategy.His day-to-day responsibilities include developing, directing and motivating Farnek’s sales team, as well as building and maintaining key client relationships, generating increased revenue and driving profitability, across all of Farnek’s businesses including HITEK and Hitches & Glitches.“Tamer has a wealth of experience in the UAE’s property and FM sectors, stretching back over two decades, having held multiple senior roles with some of the largest companies in the region including government-owned organisations as well as local private entities.“He has a strong technical background and a highly successful track record, securing a raft of significant contracts throughout his career.“He will be an integral part of our senior management team and I am looking forward to working closely with him, promoting our unique market proposition and boosting our competitive edge, both here in the UAE and regionally,” said Markus Oberlin, CEO, Farnek.After graduating from Misr International University in Cairo, Bishay arrived in the UAE in 2006 having been appointed operations manager for real estate consultancy ERA. In 2009 he joined the H Hotel as commercial manager, before taking up an offer from DuServe FM the following year, as senior BD and marketing manager.Here Bishay excelled increasing market share and expanding its services across all seven emirates, over the following four years. For the past five years, he was head of business development and marketing for Concordia and managed to extend their services, covering over 220,000 square feet of residential community space throughout Dubai.Bishay commented: “Farnek has invested heavily in sustainability, innovation, and technology, which are key elements of the Farnek brand, supporting a more cost-efficient proposition and providing a distinct competitive advantage. Naturally, when the opportunity arose for me to join their team, I did not hesitate.”“I will focus on driving profitable growth for the company with a strategic approach to identifying and pursuing new business opportunities.”Bishay also holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and is a certified Property Manager.

WEE Marketplace taps UAE e-commerce market with quick delivery service

Dubai: WEE Marketplace, has launched its last-mile logistics platform based on advanced technology to provide quick and seamless delivery service – tapping into UAE’s $12.7 billion e -commerce market1.WEE’s platform aims to have over 500 reputed and trusted retailers and sellers by end of 2023. Currently based on an invite-only model, the platform will feature limited number of sellers to ensure minimal competition and maximum quality of products for UAE customers. With a network of over 50,000 riders (along with local partners), WEE can offer customers across the UAE access to a wide range of high-quality products from top-tier brands/retailers with a speedy delivery service (within 45 minutes) and competitive prices on its platform.Anastasia Kim, Co-founder, WEE Marketplace said, “Increased adoption of smartphones, rising internet penetration, has shifted consumer preferences towards online shopping. Our platform will allow retailers to provide a hassle-free on demand delivery service to its customers across the UAE. It will help them streamline the process even further by tackling the most crucial parts of their supply chain, giving them a competitive edge.”Currently the platform features over 7,000 products from various categories like electronics and appliances, beauty and health, household, petfood, automotive, sports and leisure, books, kids and toys, and accessories. The company plans to expand its fulfillment services to stock more than half a million products by end of 2023.

Younger tech-Savvy MENA to raise e-commerce spend by 15% in 2023

Dubai: Tradeling, the largest business-to-business (B2B) marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), cites that the pandemic-induced trend of digital adoption across several industries is set to continue with a relatively young and technologically inclined population driving this projection. The region’s median age of 26 for its younger population is reported to be significantly lower than the global average, and this is forecasted to boost e-commerce spending by 15% in 2023 when compared to the previous year .Out of necessity, increased worldwide digital adoption was witnessed at the onset of the pandemic. Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) declassifying COVID-19 as a global emergency , MENA is projected to maintain its upward trajectory by adding approximately 100 million new digital service users over the next five years.This progress is predicted to see as many as 125 million new digital users by 2030 while boosting the region’s digital economy from its $100 billion value in 2022 to an eye-popping $500 billion by the end of the decade .Hyper growth in MENA’s digital economy is expected to continue for the foreseeable future with hyper growth expected in the GCC. Furthermore, the UAE’s e-commerce sector is poised to make major contributions via its high internet penetration rate of more than 90%, a growing smartphone user base, and an increasing demand for online shopping; consumers have grown to prefer such convenience over traditional brick-and-mortar stores since the outbreak of COVID. Favourable government policies are also supporting the country’s e-commerce rise .The UAE government has implemented several initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the country’s e-commerce space while also developing frameworks which protect consumers and businesses; this includes regulating payment systems and establishing dispute resolution mechanisms among other efforts . As a result, MENA’s digital economy is rapidly gaining ground on emerging markets like Indonesia and India which are respectively valued at around $70 billion and $135 billion.Marius Ciavola, CEO of Tradeling, commented: “E-commerce in the Middle East, and the region’s digital economy as a whole, are well-positioned to lead the world in the coming years with the UAE at the forefront. A strategic location, diverse economy, and innovative infrastructure have seen e-commerce popularity surge in the country in recent years and there appears to be no slowdown in sight. As a younger, tech-savvy demographic continues being nurtured through proactive efforts of the UAE’s wise leadership and a willingness to embrace new technologies and digital solutions, the industry’s future is promising.”As MENA’s dominant B2B marketplace, Tradeling is shaping the future of e-commerce in the UAE. The company has grown rapidly since its inception three years ago with a wide selection of more than 1.7 million unique products across 14 categories and more than 200,000 registered buyers and sellers from 55 countries. Partnerships with local entities such as Wio Bank and Food Tech Valley, as well as global ones like Mastercard, are further solidifying Tradeling’s presence while simultaneously helping to prop up the country’s economy.

Fake ChatGPT Apps scam users out of thousands of Dollars, Sophos reports

Dubai: United Arab Emirates: Sophos, a global leader in innovating and delivering cybersecurity as a service, today announced that it had uncovered multiple apps masquerading as legitimate, ChatGPT-based chatbots to overcharge users and bring in thousands of dollars a month. As detailed in Sophos X-Ops' latest report, “’FleeceGPT’ Mobile Apps Target AI-Curious to Rake in Cash,” these apps have popped up in both the Google Play and Apple App Store, and, because the free versions have near-zero functionality and constant ads, they coerce unsuspecting users into signing up for a subscription that can cost hundreds of dollars a year. “Scammers have and always will use the latest trends or technology to line their pockets. ChatGPT is no exception. With interest in AI and chatbots arguably at an all-time high, users are turning to the Apple App and Google Play Stores to download anything that resembles ChatGPT. These types of scam apps what Sophos has dubbed ‘fleeceware’—often bombard users with ads until they sign up for a subscription. They’re banking on the fact that users won’t pay attention to the cost or simply forget that they have this subscription. They’re specifically designed so that they may not get much use after the free trial ends, so users delete the app without realizing they’re still on the hook for a monthly or weekly payment,” said Sean Gallagher, principal threat researcher, Sophos. In total, Sophos X-Ops investigated five of these ChatGPT fleeceware apps, all of which claimed to be based on ChatGPT’s algorithm. In some cases, as with the app “Chat GBT,” the developers played off the ChatGPT name to improve their app’s ranking in the Google Play or App Store. While OpenAI offers the basic functionality of ChatGPT to users for free online, these apps were charging anything from $10 a month to $70.00 a year. The iOS version of “Chat GBT,” called Ask AI Assistant, charges $6 a week—or $312 a year—after the three-day free trial; it netted the developers $10,000 in March alone. Another fleeceware-like app, called Genie, which encourages users to sign up for a $7 weekly or $70 annual subscription, brought in $1 million over the past month. The key characteristics of so-called fleeceware apps, first discovered by Sophos in 2019, are overcharging users for functionality that is already free elsewhere, as well as using social engineering and coercive tactics to convince users to sign up for a recurring subscription payment. Usually, the apps offer a free trial but with so many ads and restrictions, they’re barely useable until a subscription is paid. These apps are often poorly written and implemented, meaning app function is often less than ideal even after users switch to the paid version. They also inflate their ratings in the app stores through fake reviews and persistent requests of users to rate the app before it’s even been used or the free trial ends. “Fleeceware apps are specifically designed to stay on the edge of what’s allowed by Google and Apple in terms of service, and they don’t flout the security or privacy rules, so they are hardly ever rejected by these stores during review. While Google and Apple have implemented new guidelines to curb fleeceware since we reported on such apps in 2019, developers are finding ways around these policies, such as severely limiting app usage and functionality unless users pay up. While some of the ChatGPT fleeceware apps included in this report have already been taken down, more continue to pop up and it’s likely more will appear. The best protection is education. Users need to be aware that these apps exist and always be sure to read the fine print whenever hitting ‘subscribe.’ Users can also report apps to Apple and Google if they think the developers are using unethical means to profit,” said Gallagher. All apps included in the report have been reported to Apple and Google. For users who have already downloaded these apps, they should follow the App or Google Play store’s guidelines on how to “unsubscribe.” Simply deleting the fleeceware app will not void the subscription. Learn more about these scam ChatGPT apps and how to avoid them in ’FleeceGPT’ Mobile Apps Target AI-Curious to Rake in Cash on Sophos.comLearn More About Fleeceware apps on the Google Play and Apple App Store How to use ChatGPT to your advantage when thwarting cyberattackers in GPT for you and me: Applying AI language processing to cyber defensesAttacker behaviors, techniques and tactics in the 2023 Active Adversary Report for Business Leaders, based on analysis of Sophos incident response casesThe threat landscape and trends likely to impact cybersecurity in the 2023 Threat ReportSophos X-Ops and its groundbreaking threat research by subscribing to the Sophos X-Ops blogs

PRCA Platinum Awards celebrate achievers in communication

PRCA Global - The Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA) is proud to announce the highly anticipated return of the PRCA Platinum Awards, dedicated to acknowledging and honoring exceptional achievements in global communications practice.With a judging panel comprising some of the world's most respected practitioners, the Awards aim to celebrate and acknowledge the outstanding achievements of PR teams, agencies, and individuals on a global level.The PRCA Platinum Awards are open to all teams, agencies, or individuals who have been either awarded or shortlisted in a PRCA Awards programme between 17th May 2022 and 16th May 2023.Applicants are encouraged to showcase their work by submitting multiple entries across all 20 categories, regardless of the specific category in which they were previously shortlisted or awarded. The PRCA Platinum Awards provide a wide range of categories including B2B, Digital and Social Media Awards, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award, Employee Engagement Award, Strategic Communications Award, Rising Star of the Year, and Small/Medium/Large/In-house Consultancy of the Year.The final deadline for submission is set on the 13th of June 2023.For further information on pricing, guidelines, and the submission process, please visit the PRCA Platinum Awards webpage. The PRCA eagerly awaits exceptional entries that exemplify the highest standards in communications practice and looks forward to celebrating the outstanding achievements of the global PR community.

iion and MMPWW unite to reshape MENA's gaming landscape

Dubai: iion, the global leader in gaming advertising, and MMP World Wide (MMPWW), a prominent ad-tech provider in the region, have joined forces to revolutionize gaming experiences in the vibrant Middle East and North Africa (MENA) market.In an era where gaming is on the rise, this groundbreaking collaboration aims to unlock the full potential of immersive gaming formats for brands, driving substantial growth in an industry that is projected to reach an astounding market volume of US$449.60 million by 2027, according to Statista.Coinciding with a remarkable surge in gaming and metaverse investments, the Middle East is quickly establishing itself as a hotspot for cutting-edge innovations. The MENA region is set to host an estimated 87.9 million gamers by the end of 2023, propelled by mobile gaming, increased investments from both public and private sectors, and the explosive growth of esports.Thanks to the revolutionary immersiion platform offered by iion, clients of MMPWW now have unparalleled access to the ever-expanding gaming audience across all devices and environments. Yasin Dabhelia, Head of Demand, US & UK, says, “The Middle East is emerging as a top market for gaming and the metaverse, with significant investment being directed towards this sector. This presents an unprecedented opportunity for brands in the region to integrate into gaming environments and leverage measurement and targeting tools to determine their return on investment. I can’t wait to showcase this alongside MMPWW.”Sanjaya Molligoda, iion co-founder, said: “We are incredibly excited to join forces with MMPWW, and to enable brands in the MENA region to tap into the massive potential of game advertising. As gaming experiences rapid growth—thanks to significant investments by Middle Eastern governments and the private sector—advertisers can connect with a diverse, engaged audience. Our goal is to establish gaming as an indispensable, always-on media plan component.”Molligoda highlights the extraordinary opportunities this partnership offers advertisers, allowing them to connect with gaming audiences across multiple platforms. "Our unique self-serve ad platform provides extensive access to inventory, including in-game, around-the-game, and away-from-the-game environments on PC, console, app, web, esports, and game influencers."Ultimately, Molligoda believes that this partnership will reshape the advertising landscape in the rapidly growing Middle Eastern gaming market.Walid Ramadan, GM of MMP Experiences, said: “We are delighted to be iion’s new and exclusive partner for the MENA region. Their innovative programmatic offering puts the user at the heart of the experience, while still allowing for in-depth targeting to reach these diverse audiences and create tailored messaging that best aligns with their interests. We look forward to collaborating with the team to bring these immersive solutions to our clients.”This groundbreaking partnership empowers brands to craft captivating and immersive campaigns that resonate with gamers across all devices. With the average UAE gamer spending an impressive USD 115 per year, as reported by Mordor Intelligence, this alliance is primed to capitalize on the rapidly expanding market.Excitingly, iion and MMPWW are gearing up for an agency roadshow where they will unveil their state-of-the-art gaming solutions to brands and advertisers across the region. Stay tuned for further details about this highly anticipated event, promising remarkable opportunities and invaluable insights for industry professionals.Romit Gharat, Ad Tech Director at MMPWW, said: “Our partnership with iion will unlock new channels for brands to reach a large number of engaged audiences in a unique and fascinating environment. With the potential to revolutionize the way advertisers can reach and engage with gamers, we are thrilled to offer this innovative and effective approach to driving brand awareness, engagement, and sales in the region.”

Jiu-Jitsu festival returns

Dubai: The Challenge Jiu-Jitsu Festival is set for a welcome return to the Mubadala Arena in Zayed Sports City from May 26-28, and the excitement is palpable among participants, parents, and fans. The second of the four Festival rounds in the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s action-packed season calendar promises to be bigger, better, and more competitive, with male and female players aged 4-17 from various clubs and academies vying for glory and prizes.Maiky Reiter, a jiu-jitsu black belt and proud father of three, is among the many parents eagerly looking forward to the jubilant atmosphere and high spirits that are expected at the event. He said, “As a jiu-jitsu black belt myself, I know firsthand the benefits of this beautiful sport, and I’m delighted to see my kids follow in my footsteps and excel in their categories. Maryah, Ryan, and Marcelo are all excited to showcase their skills and compete against other talented athletes from across the UAE.”He further added, “Maryah is now nine years old and has been practicing the sport since she was three. She has participated in the previous editions of the Challenge Festival. Ryan and Marcelo are looking forward to participating in their first event, and we can’t wait for the championship to begin.”Reiter added that the Challenge Festival is not just a competition, but also a celebration of sport, family, and community. “We had attended the previous editions, and we always had a blast. The vibe is incredible, and the crowd is passionate and supportive. We are grateful to the UAEJJF for organising this beautiful event and promoting jiu-jitsu as a way of life and a source of inspiration for all ages.”Laila Al Kaabi, a mother of two kids who will participate in the event, also praised jiu-jitsu for its values and virtues. She said, “I believe that jiu-jitsu is more than just a sport; it's a philosophy and a lifestyle that teaches discipline, respect, and perseverance. My children practice jiu-jitsu not only to win medals but also to develop their character and confidence.”Al Kaabi commended the UAE’s visionary leadership and the UAEJJF for their role in promoting jiu-jitsu and nurturing young talents. She said, “I am proud to see how far jiu-jitsu has come in the UAE, thanks to the support and vision of our leaders and the dedication of our coaches and athletes. The Challenge Festival is a testament to the UAE’s commitment to excellence and innovation, and I’m honored to be part of this vibrant community.”Fahad Ali Al Shamsi, Secretary-General of the UAE and Asian Jiu-Jitsu Federations, said, “The Challenge Jiu-Jitsu Championship is one of the highlights of our season calendar, as it showcases the best and brightest talents in the country and promotes the sport’s values and principles. We are proud of our young athletes, and we believe that they represent the future of jiu-jitsu in the UAE.”Al Shamsi added that the Challenge Festival aims to expand the base of practitioners and inspire more people to embrace jiu-jitsu as a way of life. He said, “We want to create a culture of excellence and sportsmanship, where everyone can benefit from the power of jiu-jitsu and the joy of competition. We invite all interested participants to register as soon as possible and join us in this exciting journey.”Registration for the three-day event is still open and interested participants can register before May 22 to secure their participation.

Meta and BMW collaborate to explore AR/VR tech inside vehicles

Meta has announced its partnership with BMW Group to investigate the integration of AR and VR technology within fast-moving vehicles. This joint research project aims to enhance the passenger experience and potentially revolutionize travel in cars, trains, planes, and beyond.The collaboration between Meta and BMW, established in 2021, envisions a future where AR and VR are seamlessly integrated into smart vehicles, providing passengers with more productive, social, and entertaining experiences on the road. By leveraging cutting-edge technology, this partnership seeks to unlock new forms of hands-free communication, entertainment, and utility, transcending the limitations of current screens and instruments found in vehicles today.One of the challenges encountered in incorporating VR technology into moving vehicles is the conflict between inertial motion sensors (IMUs) and cameras. While VR headsets, such as Meta Quest 2, employ these sensors for precise motion tracking, they struggle to display stable virtual content when the vehicle is in motion. To address this issue, Meta has worked closely with BMW to integrate real-time IMU data from a BMW car's sensor array into the tracking system of the Project Aria research glasses.This significant breakthrough enables the system to calculate the glasses' location relative to the vehicle, overcoming the conflict between camera-observed motion inside the car and IMU-measured acceleration and rotational velocity relative to the world. By transferring this tracking system to the Meta Quest Pro, virtual objects can now be accurately anchored to a moving car using a digital twin representation. This advancement has allowed the demonstration of compelling virtual and mixed reality passenger experiences within moving vehicles.Moving forward, Meta and BMW are committed to leveraging the advanced machine perception capabilities of modern cars to explore future possibilities. Access to the car's precise six degrees of freedom (6DOF) positioning system could enable the rendering of world-locked virtual content outside of the vehicle, including the identification of landmarks and other points of interest. Such capabilities are expected to be invaluable for future AR glasses and personalized AI assistants.The Meta-BMW partnership signifies a significant step towards revolutionizing the passenger experience and paving the way for new advancements in AR and VR technology. By merging innovation from both companies, the collaboration aims to unlock the full potential of immersive experiences within vehicles, setting the stage for the future of transportation.