Jaane Jaan: Kareena Kapoor's matured act elevates an average thriller

Lights, Camera, Review! Adgully launches film review column SCREENXX REVIEW. Adgully is thrilled to announce the launch of our brand-new film review column 'SCREENXX REVIEW' by none other than Sumeet Nadkarni. By day, he's a Chartered Accountant, but by passion, he's a self-styled film critic. Sumeet is no stranger to the world of cinema; he's been captivating audiences with his insights for years. Sumeet's film-related articles have appeared in leading publications. He brings a fresh and unique perspective to the world of Indian cinema with his unbiased film reviews. Stay tuned for a cinematic journey like no other, right here on Adgully.Lady Drishyam. These two words would sum up the latest crime thriller from Sujoy Ghosh, which is being publicised as Kareena Kapoor's OTT debut. Whateva!! Jaane Jaan is basically an adaptation of The Devotion of Suspect X, a popular novel made in to a Hollywood movie earlier as well as wonderfully Indianised by Jeethu Joseph and the late Nishikant Kamat as Drishyam (2015). The plot premise plus the alibi offered by the suspect are identical here though Sujoy Ghosh begins and ends his movie on a totally different note. And mind you, I found the climax quite abrupt and disappointing.The lovely Kareena Kapoor is obviously the centre of attraction here - for her next door neighbour cum mathematics teacher (Jaideep Ahlawat) as well as the investigating cop (Vijay Varma) cross-examining her in a murder case. The victim is supposedly Kareena's ex-husband, who was a dirty cop indulging in shady deals from hawala to dance bars.Like Ghosh's earlier films, the characters are well etched and deliciously quirky!! Jaideep Ahlawat is outstanding as the socially awkward Maths genius who sees logic as well as magic in numbers. Vijay Varma playing the tough cop, pitches in a competent act. In one scene, he finds it difficult to resist Kareena's charm and sorta self admonishes himself. Haha!!Ultimately, Jaane Jaan belongs to Kareena Kapoor, who is the "jaan" of this otherwise average flick. Her looks, body language, eye contact and dialogue delivery are just perfect. Watch her in the scene where she sees her ex-hubby for first time or later, when she grooves to the iconic Lata Mangeshkar song from which the movie title is borrowed. This is indeed Kareena 2.0. Yup, she's come a long way from playing Poo and hamming to glory in films like Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon and Khushi (both 2003). This lady has matured beautifully, knows how to act now and most importantly, means business. Lady Drishyam, actually!! Ratings on some key aspects* :1. Acting : 5/52. Direction : 3/53. Music : 3.5/54. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 2/55. Cinematography : 3/56. Editing : 2.5/57. Costume Design : 3.5/58. Special Effects and VFX : NA9. Action : NA10. Production Quality : 3/5 #SNRating for #JaaneJaan : 2 & 1/2 stars out of 5. - Sumeet Nadkarni. * - The overall film rating is not a simple average of all ratings on key aspects but a weighted average of the ratings where some crucial aspects (like direction, acting, story and screenplay etc) are assigned more weightage than others. #JaaneJaan #CrimeThriller #HindiMovie #BollywoodFilm #KareenaKapoor #JaideepAhlawat #VijayVarma #SujoyGhosh #BollywoodReview #Filmreview #TheatricalRelease #OTTRelease #Netflix #SNRatings #SNRatings barometer:1 star = Poor1 & 1/2 star = Below average/ Avoidable2 stars = Average2 & 1/2 stars = Above average/ Risk it3 stars = Good enough/ Watchable3 & 1/2 stars = Definitely worth a theatrical watch4 stars = Very good5 stars = Masterpiece/ Outstanding.

Twice as nice to Kuala Lumpur as Etihad airways announces double daily flights

Abu Dhabi: Etihad Airways is meeting customer demand by boosting flights between Abu Dhabi and Malaysia’s vibrant capital Kuala Lumpur. A second daily flight starts on 15 January 2024, providing guests with 14 flights per week between both cities.“With our convenient departures from Abu Dhabi, our second Kuala Lumpur flights will optimise timings for UAE residents wishing to have a break in Malaysia,” said Arik De, Chief Revenue Officer at Etihad Airways.“Moreover, the new daytime and night-time flights from Kuala Lumpur allow travellers reaching Abu Dhabi more options to explore what the city has to offer in terms of business and pleasure. It further reaffirms our commitment to bringing more guests to enjoy Abu Dhabi, as well as connecting to our growing global network.”Kuala Lumpur, the dazzling capital city of Malaysia, is renowned for its captivating skyline dominated by the iconic Petronas Twin Towers. The city offers a rich blend of Malay, Chinese, and Indian cultures, resulting in a diverse culinary scene, vibrant markets, and a plethora of cultural attractions.Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi continues to allure travellers with its enthralling array of attractions, ranging from the architectural masterpiece Louvre Abu Dhabi to adrenaline-filled adventures at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi.Both daily frequencies will be operated on a state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, and in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity.<img src='\93e8dbc43db6a53855b8a9c7a9ea6616.png' class='content_image'>The combined double-daily flights will see Etihad offer 425,000 seats annually between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur, representing a year-on-year capacity increase of 75%.The additional frequency will also increase the total annual cargo capacity, opening more business opportunities and supporting the growth of bilateral trade.The move means customers will enjoy even more choice and connectivity this winter between Abu Dhabi and Southeast Asia as Etihad offers up to 77 weekly flights between Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur (14 weekly flights), Bangkok (14), Phuket (14), Manila (14), Jakarta (14), and Singapore (7).The announcement comes after the airline unveiled an ambitious network overhaul, positioning it for sustainable expansion while improving Abu Dhabi’s links to global markets and amplifying the capital’s tourism industry. Etihad’s new winter schedule includes new destinations, increased flight frequencies and even more convenient departure times.Tickets are now on sale on and the airline's mobile app.

LuLu Group expands into poland with logistics hub

LuLu Group, the UAE's prominent retail conglomerate, is expanding its footprint in Europe with the establishment of a logistics hub in Poland. The company has recently entered into agreements with both the Polish Investment and Trade Agency and Olsztyn Mazury Airport to materialize this strategic initiative. This move follows closely on the heels of LuLu Group's inauguration of a sourcing, food processing, and export hub in Italy.In this new venture in Poland, the retail giant is slated to create a facility at Olsztyn Mazury Airport that will be responsible for handling fresh products, including meat, berries, apples, cheese, and various packaged foods, destined for markets in the Middle East, North Africa, the Far East, and India. This forthcoming facility will serve as the company's inaugural logistics center in Central and Eastern Europe.Notably, it will augment the presence of local Polish products on LuLu's supermarket shelves and foster enhanced collaboration between Polish producers, suppliers, and contractors in the UAE. The investment is poised to generate fresh opportunities for local Polish producers, as stated by Pawel Kurtasz, Chairman of the Management Board of the Polish Investment and Trade Agency.A company statement emphasized that "the logistics center in Poland will play a pivotal role in advancing LuLu Group International's business in Central and Eastern Europe." This latest investment underscores the company's continued expansion, further solidifying its position as a major player in the global retail market.

Prime Video to introduce ads

Beginning next year, Amazon's Prime Video streaming service will incorporate limited advertisements. Ads in Prime Video content will be introduced in the US, UK, Germany and Canada in early 2024, followed by France, Italy, Spain, Mexico and Australia later in the year, said the company. Amazon said the idea is to provide an ad experience with significantly fewer interruptions compared to traditional linear TV and other streaming platforms.Crucially, this transformation will not result in any changes to the current pricing structure of Prime membership for customers. "We aim to have meaningfully fewer ads than linear TV and other streaming TV providers. No action is required for Prime members. We’re not making changes in 2024 to the current price of Prime membership," said the company.Amazon is working on introducing a new ad-free option, and the pricing details for this option will be shared at a later date. Amazon will ensure that its Prime members are well-informed about these developments and will provide ample time and guidance on how to opt for the ad-free option, should they prefer it.Since its launch in 2007, Amazon Prime has consistently evolved, offering an expanding list of benefits to its members. Live event content such as sports will continue to include advertising.

Najla Al Midfa wins Arabian Business Arab Woman Award for Entrepreneurship

Sharjah:  In a glittering ceremony held at the Jumeirah Mina A'Salam Hotel in Dubai, the Arabian Business Arab Woman Awards 2023 recognised and celebrated exceptional women who have made significant contributions to various fields. Among the distinguished winners, Najla Al Midfa, CEO of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), received the coveted Arabian Business Arab Woman Award for Entrepreneurship.This prestigious accolade is a testament to Al Midfa's relentless dedication to fostering entrepreneurship in the Arab world and her true commitment to empowering founders and innovators.Najla Al Midfa: Pioneering entrepreneurship in the Arab worldNajla Al Midfa's passion for entrepreneurship has helped to transcend Sheraa to new heights, empowering aspiring entrepreneurs not just in the UAE but across the Arab region and the world. Through various initiatives, Sheraa has emerged as a thriving ecosystem that nurtures and supports budding business founders, providing them with the tools and resources needed to transform their dreams into reality.Al Midfa's commitment to entrepreneurship is deeply ingrained in her philosophy. She understands that the road to success for startups is often fraught with challenges, and Sheraa’s tireless efforts have alleviated many of these obstacles. During her tenure at the entrepreneurial hub, Sheraa has evolved into a powerhouse of innovation, fostering an environment where entrepreneurs can flourish.Commenting on the award, Najla Al Midfa eloquently shared, “It is often said that every great dream commences with a dreamer standing atop the shoulders of giants. I humbly dedicate this award to two such giants, visionaries who have paved the way for us on this remarkable journey. H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, the ruler of the Emirate of Sharjah, who envisioned the emirate not merely as an Arab city, but as a global beacon for human advancement and progress. And H.E. Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, the chairperson of Sheraa, whose unyielding commitment to nurturing the next generation of changemakers knows no bounds.”The Sheraa CEO gave homage to her team saying, “The incredible team at Sheraa embodies the essence of this vision, thanks to their relentless drive that every idea finds its purpose, every challenge morphs into an opportunity, and every enraptured dream inches closer to reality. And lastly, a tribute to the entrepreneurs we have had the honour of working with. You invigorate us every single day with your determination to push the boundaries of what is possible. Your ventures echo the realisation of the vision that guides us at Sheraa, reiterating that with collective effort, the sky is not the limit but the beginning.”Sheraa: The Catalyst for EntrepreneurshipThe Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center has become synonymous with entrepreneurial success under Najla Al Midfa's stewardship. Sheraa's multifaceted approach to supporting startups encompasses access to funding, mentorship, training, and a thriving community.One of the centre's standout achievements is its role in attracting founders and innovators to Sharjah and the UAE. By providing a nurturing environment and crucial resources, Sheraa has significantly contributed to positioning the emirate as a global hub for entrepreneurship.

Flint Culture MENA announces a strategic partnership with Shared Planet

Flint Culture MENA has announced an exclusive partnership with Shared Planet to offer a unique blend of environmental and cultural strategic communications expertise for the Middle East market.The two agencies came together to bring their unique blend of environmental and cultural expertise to the Middle East market – a region where sustainable tourism, green living, sustainable design, cultural heritage and ecological restoration programmes are growing substantially. This unusual partnership between boutique agencies will deliver a powerful combination of highly specialised capabilities.The Flint Culture/Shared Planet partnership is designed to serve a diverse range of clients, including governmental bodies, corporations, NGOs, and academic institutions. These organisations stand to benefit from Flint Culture’s strategic communications expertise, and Shared Planet’s research-led stakeholder engagement capabilities in a range of complex environmental and social topics. Building on Shared Planet’s extensive experience and expertise in shaping social and environmental policy across the GCC region, the partnership also aims to develop innovative strategic communications solutions in the environmental and social space, particularly in critical areas such as afforestation/greening, ecological restoration, waste management and circular economy, water usage, gender diversity, and social equity.The partnership uniquely positions Flint Culture and Shared Planet to fill a critical gap in the market by offering a research-led, integrated approach to navigating complex issues and intricate stakeholder matrices. This synergy will provide our clients across both public and private sectors in the Middle East with a holistic solution for enhancing brand reputation and fostering meaningful relationships with key stakeholders.

Adidas Originals unveils new brand platform celebrating the Trefoil legacy

Adidas Originals has introduced a new global brand platform with the slogan "We Gave the World an Original. You Gave Us a Thousand Back." This marks a significant moment for the brand in 2023 as it pays tribute to its iconic symbol, the Trefoil, which has represented Adidas for the past 50 years.Adidas has maintained its enduring presence in various domains, spanning sports, skateboarding, music, and fashion. Now, the Trefoil embarks on a fresh chapter, highlighted by a trio of films directed by three innovative creators, along with a selection of triptych still images. These visuals focus on three timeless personas from Adidas' rich history: the Superstar, the Gazelle, and the Samba.Each film and set of images sheds light on a different footwear silhouette, weaving together the Trefoil's historical narrative with the manner in which these iconic styles, initially rooted in sports, have been embraced, reimagined, and integrated into culture.For the Superstar segment, the accomplished director and founder of LoveSong production studio, Daniel Wolfe, lends his creative vision.The Gazelle,which transitioned from sports arenas to global skate parks, is portrayed by the self-taught moving image maker, Will Dohrn. Dohrn's storyline follows a young protagonist navigating different eras while donning archival Adidas attire, meeting pro-skate duo Mike Arnold and Miles Silvas along the way.Completing this trio is the Samba, originally renowned in the world of soccer. Its low-profile silhouette and gum sole have become symbols of rebellion against prevailing trends worldwide. The celebrated visual artist, Justyna Obasi, captures the mythical journey of the Samba through time and space, commencing with the nimble footwork of young soccer players and concluding in the diverse cultural scenes that have adopted the shoe as their own.Each film is complemented by a series of triptych still images photographed by Chadwick Tyler. Some sets feature partners, collaborators, and friends of the Adidas brand who have contributed to narrating the global story of the Trefoil. This illustrious list includes Zinedine Zidane, Jenna Ortega, Pusha T, Anitta, Hoyeon Jung, David Beckham, Jennie, and Stormzy.

Etihad Airways earns third consecutive five-star rating at APEX awards

Etihad Airways, the UAE’s national airline, has been rated as a Five-Star Global Airline by the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) for the third consecutive year. The rating recognises the airline’s excellence and was announced on 20 September at the APEX Awards Ceremony in Long Beach, California.The APEX Five Star Airline Awards were created based on neutral, third-party passenger feedback and insights gathered in partnership with TripIt® from Concur®, the world’s highest-rated travel-organising app. For the 2024 Awards, nearly one million flights were rated by passengers across more than 600 airlines from around the world using a five-star scale. The awards are independently certified by a professional external auditing company.Commenting on the recognition from APEX, Antonoaldo Neves, Chief Executive Officer, Etihad, said: “Our guests are at the heart of all we do, and we are immensely proud to retain our Five-Star rating for the third year in a row, thanks to their ratings and feedback. We strive to deliver world-class service for our guests, inspired by the traditional Emirati hospitality of our home in Abu Dhabi, and we will continue to push the boundaries of the industry even higher.”The recognition comes as Etihad prepares to launch three new destinations, with flights to Dusseldorf launching on 28 September, Copenhagen on 29 September and Osaka on 1 October. Additionally, Etihad’s network expansion has included increasing flight frequencies across a number of routes across Europe and Asia making travel even more convenient.Etihad’s award-winning guest experience offers the highest standards of service and hospitality regardless of the cabin, whether a guest chooses to fly in The Residence, Etihad’s unique three-room suite on the Airbus A380, or in First, Business or Economy cabins across the fleet.In Business class, guests will experience Etihad’s collaboration with Armani/Casa which features a range of dining and glassware designed with celebrated designer Giorgio Armani. The collection also offers luxurious bedding with a jointly branded blanket, pillow and bolster cushion that unfolds into a mattress topper for Etihad’s fully flat bed.Recently awarded as Best Economy Class in the Business Traveller Middle East Awards, Etihad Economy’s superior in-flight cuisine is served on unique dining equipment which was designed with sustainability and an elevated guest experience as core priorities. The dining equipment is fully reusable to reduce waste and is produced using a fully-closed loop recycling system which creates a circular economy. The dining ware is embossed with Etihad’s signature style further elevating the guest experience.

TikTok introduces measurement solution for advertisers

TikTok has launched Attribution Analytics, a new tool to help advertisers better understand campaign performance and user insight. It is a first-party measurement solution that analyses the full customer journey on the social platform, from awareness to action, providing insights into how users make purchases.TikTok has confirmed that it is planning to release a number of additional features for Attribution Analytics in the coming months, and support other campaign types to give advertisers transparency into their ad impact. The first feature that is announced as part of the initial launch is the Performance Comparison. This is a measurement tool that shows conversions over different timeframes, helping advertisers find the right attribution strategy for their business. Performance Comparison data will show the number of conversions that happen after seeing or clicking an ad, and how long it takes for these conversions to happen.In its blog post announcing the new tool, TikTok highlights the unconventional customer journey on the platform . It mentions, “The immersive nature of TikTok content means users often see and take inspiration from ads but don’t want to disrupt their browsing experience. Instead, they continue their browsing on TikTok and resume their purchase journey later."It also revealed that according to a post-purchase survey, 79 per cent of conversions that users credited to TikTok were missing from last-click models data.

Hypermedia enters a media partnership with Reem Mall

Hypermedia, the leading tech company in the digital-out-of-home (DOOH) industry in the region, has secured the exclusive out-of-home (OOH) Media Rights for Reem Mall, a world-renowned shopping destination. As of May 1, 2023, the partnership agreement designates Hypermedia with the task of installing, maintaining, and managing Reem Mall's complete media network.After achieving a milestone in unlocking the power of smart technologies with data analytics in the retail environment, Hypermedia- subsidiary of W Group, will be providing unique measurable impact indoors by providing consumer insights to advertisers!Hypermedia will be rolling out one of the largest digital networks ever seen in UAE Malls, with more than 200 digital signages and promotional spaces in Reem Mall. Not only is Hypermedia reinforcing its status as a leader in the UAE's OOH advertising landscape, but it's cementing its position as a regional leader in retail media and OOH digital transformation, expanding on the premise that the ability to offer real-time targeting and audience measurement is a breakthrough to indoor communication, and a game-changer globally to our industry."We are thrilled to secure this strategic partnership with Reem Mall. This milestone achievement underscores Hypermedia's commitment to growth and innovation in the DOOH landscape. By integrating our advanced digital media network with Reem Mall's cutting-edge facilities, we are keen on delivering unparalleled DOOH advertising experiences that will captivate consumers and redefine the shopping journey. This collaboration marks an exciting chapter for Hypermedia and reaffirms our position as a leading player in this industry," said W Group Chairman and CEO Habib Wehbi.Bruce von Kaufmann, Mall Director of Reem Mall, expressed his excitement about this transformative partnership, stating, "We are delighted to announce our partnership with Hypermedia for the deployment of an extraordinary digital network within Reem Mall. With over 200 state-of-the-art digital signs strategically placed throughout the Mall, we are set to create one of the largest and most immersive digital networks ever seen in UAE Malls. Through our collaboration with Hypermedia, we will seamlessly integrate captivating digital displays into our visitor journey, allowing brands and retailers to connect with our diverse audience in compelling ways."Reem Mall's ecosystem seamlessly connects retailers with customers, enabling innovative promotions and personalized deals for every shopper. By integrating audience measurement and analytics with Hypermedia, both are delivering customized recommendations and deals that cater to the unique preferences of each customer. As an illustration, Hypermedia's AI-enabled software, which integrates seamlessly with any Digital Signage CMS platform in Reem Mall, and the 24×7 data analytics services primed to deliver real-time audience insights will bring about more personalized messaging, making room for optimization, efficiency, and more accurate marketing strategies, leading to endless marketing measurable opportunities!This collaboration is set to create a new benchmark for DOOH advertising in the UAE, providing an enhanced and immersive shopping experience. First of their kind in the region and spearheaded by Hypermedia, these analytics tools will provide credible, real-time reporting on metrics, such as audience traffic, impressions, qualified views, and view times to validate ad performance and identify which ads are performing best. By pooling their expertise and resources, these two parties are taking media suppliers-brands-consumers liaisons to unparalleled heights and revolutionizing the digital journey for millions of visitors and shoppers to Reem Mall.Hypermedia is a boundary-pushing, innovation frontrunner in the OOH and In-store Retail Media space, and by being awarded Reem Mall's exclusive partnership for outdoor media rights, it is bridging the gap of campaign effectiveness in this day and age, through real-time audience data. With extensive industry experience and a forward-thinking approach, it's poised to create impactful and engaging DOOH advertising experiences within the captivating environment of Reem Mall.

FranGlobal joins forces with Arab Franchise Expo as market entry specialists

FranGlobal, Asia’s leading franchising solutions firm, is partnering with Arab Franchise Expo to be held between 21st and 22nd September 2023 at the iconic Queen Elizabeth II in Dubai. The event will foresee around 100-Plus Franchise Brands from 25 Countries and more than 20 Educational Seminars on Tap at Arab Franchise Expo 2023.FranGlobal has a reputation for working with various top global corporations helping them to enter and expand in Asia and Gulf countries. For the upcoming expo, FranGlobal announces their plans to take around a hundred UAE homegrown brands and start-ups and take them global.Gaurav Marya, Franchising mentor and Founder of FranGlobal, commented on their expansion and plans in the UAE. “We are rigorously working to bring several deserving brands to the UAE market, the country is a hub for innovation, and progress. Every business that enters the market rightfully has nothing but wins. At FranGlobal, we recognize the iconic and dynamic brands that are homegrown and starting from this country and we want to help them to global and for the world to see the massive growth of Arab brands and the potential brands from the Middle East possess.”Mr Marya also elaborated on their bold financial strategy. With aims to further empower the UAE’s innovation hub with a winning streak, they are dedicared to elevating homegrown icons onto the global stage.“We are looking to drive business investments of around USD 100 million and have a portfolio of the top global brands ready to jump into the thriving market in Dubai.” He added.Some of their top upcoming clients that are present at the Expo include, USA’s popular Atomic wings, Crunch Fitness which is also from the US and known for their training programs, Miller’s Famous Sandwiches, London Slush, Chai Garam, Dr. Alka’s Clinic, and Athos Health Spaces amongst many others. The event will feature more than 100 franchise brands – from emerging, franchise newcomers to medium-size companies and large, well-established franchisors – all segments of franchising that FranGlobal specializes in. The company’s objectives revolve around being a devoted strategist, growth enabler and implementation adviser to its existing and potential clients, enabling them to enter and conquer new markets.Appreciated by their esteemed patrons for their top-notch services like Franchise consultations and solutions, Market entry consulting, Partner identification and recruitment, Concept research and alignment and strategic investment services amongst more, FranGlobal has worked across major industries like consumer services, health and wellness, food and beverage, retail and education.With over two decades of experience taking brands to and from Asia to the world, the firm is associated envisions enabling start-ups to compete more effectively by providing market understanding, operation expansion and growth programs.

42 Abu Dhabi hosts coding hackathon in collaboration with Al Hathboor

42 Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital’s innovative and disruptive coding school that provides a unique peer-to-peer, gamified learning methodology, held a hackathon titled “AI See a Solution: Computer Vision Hackathon 2023” from 13-14 September. The hackathon was held in collaboration with Al Hathboor, a cutting-edge solutions provider dedicated to spearheading technological advancements for businesses and governments.This two-day hackathon aimed to foster innovation and creativity among students by challenging them to harness the power of coding to solve real-world problems using AI. The event kicked off with a workshop on the first day, focusing on Computer Vision using Python Frameworks, Python Libraries, Open-source Models, and Datasets. Through the workshop, students gained valuable insights and skills essential for the hackathon, ensuring they are equipped to tackle the challenge ahead.The team who won first place, including Ahmed Salem, Ghaiath Abdoush, Shatha Jadallah and Nousheen Ali, developed 'Sawt AlRu’ya,' an application which utilizes cutting-edge computer vision and AI technology to analyze live video streams, convert them into real-time textual descriptions, and seamlessly translate them into spoken words using a Large Language Model (LLM). By providing immediate audio feedback, 'Sawt AlRu’ya' empowers individuals with visual impairments to interact with their surroundings, effectively enhancing their daily lives and fostering inclusivity.The second-place champions, including Avazbek Rashidov, Timur Mazitov, Zubaydullo Abdirakhmonov, and Nauman Munir, developed "Visulaw", a tool which empowers users to capture photos of objects and instantly receive location-specific information about relevant fines and laws associated with those objects. This web application enhances user awareness and compliance with local regulations, fostering safer and more informed interactions with everyday objects.Marcos Muller Habig, Acting CEO of 42 Abu Dhabi, said: "We were thrilled to host the hackathon in collaboration with Al Hathboor, which served as an opportunity for our students to showcase their talents and unleash their creativity. The hackathon empowered 42 Abu Dhabi’s students to leverage their coding skills to develop advanced technologies which can drive meaningful change within the community. This cements our leading position as a talent incubator that is upskilling a new generation of coders who are equipped to accelerate the Emirate’s digital transformation and make a positive impact on society."Raj Sandhu, General Manager of Al Hathboor, said: "We at Al Hathboor are proud to collaborate with 42 Abu Dhabi in spearheading technological advancements through coding and practical sciences. AHB is pleased to be part of the very first Computer Vision hackathon in collaboration with 42 Abu Dhabi. We extend our appreciation to the participants and 42 Abu Dhabi Faculty’s unwavering support, and we look forward to future collaboration opportunities."42 Abu Dhabi is an innovative and disruptive coding school, launched in 2020 as an initiative of ADEK, to drive Abu Dhabi’s ongoing development through multi-faceted investments in business, innovation, and people.

India’s budget carrier Akasa Air to begin Middle Eastern flights

Akasa Air, a budget-friendly Indian airline, has secured authorisation to operate international flights. According to the reports, the airline will commence international routes in December, with initial destinations centred on the Middle Eastern nations.However, the airline awaits the allocation of traffic rights by the government and subsequent approval from the relevant countries. These traffic rights are typically granted bilaterally by governments to airlines of their respective nations."Akasa Air (M/S SNV Aviation Pvt ltd.) had sought approval for designation as a scheduled international carrier and subsequently requested to allocate traffic rights. The proposal was examined in consultation with DGCA. It has been decided, with the approval of competent authority, to allow Akasa Air (M/s SNV Aviation Pvt ltd.) to mount international operations subject to their continued compliance with the AIC 10 of 2022 dated 19.04.22," read the letter issued by S.P.R Tripathi, Under Secretary at the Ministry of Civil Aviation. "Further, as per DGCA, Akasa Air can apply for international scheduled air transport services. However, it is also informed that based on the traffic rights to be allocated to Akasa Air( M/s SNV Aviation Pvt Ltd.) by this ministry, the scrutiny of country-specific preparedness will be carried out by DGCA as per CAR Section-3, Part-II before permitting Akasa Air (M/s SNV Aviation Pvt ltd.) to operate scheduled international operations," the letter added

Dany Azzi appointed as ECD at The Network Communication Group

Dany Azzi has assumed the role of Executive Creative Director (ECD) and has also been appointed as a new board member at The Network. Communication Group. Dany is a senior creative leader with more than two decades of experience in the Middle East and GCC with leading multinational networks such as FP7McCann, DDB, Memac Ogilvy and Drive Dentsu.In his previous role, Dany Azzi served as the Executive Creative Director at FP7 McCann Riyadh. His diverse expertise spans across numerous industries and iconic brands, including Ford Motors, Samsung, Spotify, Mobily, STC, Jawwy, Uber, Henkel, Pepsico, Al Rajhi Bank, Al Safi Danone, and Aramco, among others. Under his leadership, these campaigns have garnered regional and global recognition, earning multiple industry awards and accolades.The Network Communication Group Chairman Roger Sahyoun said: ”Dany’s appointment further represents our commitment to the transformation and the growth of both AGA ADK and The NETWORK Communication Group, and solidifies our regional leadership to reach a position of creative excellence that is engrained in our DNA. Dany and I both share the same vision on the need to foster talent, embrace transformation, and develop a culture that is integrated, collaborative, innovative and most importantly always on--a vision to become the go-to destination for creativity, whether it’s for brands, talents or students.“Dany said: “I am thrilled to join AGA ADK and The Network Communication Group and would like to thank Mr. Roger for the trust and the opportunity. The Network Communication Group, with its legacy as a leading independent communication network that has a regional footprint with a global reach, offers me a unique opportunity to embark on a promising journey, to create brave ideas and to deliver meaningful work for a diversified portfolio of clients.”

Rupert Murdoch steps down, Lachlan to lead Fox, News Corp

Rupert Murdoch will step down from his roles as chairman of both Fox and News Corp, paving the way for his son, Lachlan Murdoch, to assume leadership at both companies. In a staff memo, the 92-year-old Murdoch cited the opportune moment for him to embrace "different roles" in the organisations. Murdoch will transition to the position of Chairman Emeritus for both firms in mid-November, after having launched Fox News in 1996. Today, Fox is the most-watched TV news channel in the US.  The transition is significant as it comes a year ahead of the US presidential election, in which the right-wing Fox News wields major influence. The network will be hosting multiple debates featuring Republican contenders for the 2024 White House candidacy.Lachlan Murdoch, aged 52, is Rupert Murdoch's son from his second marriage to Anna Maria dePeyster. The veteran media tycoon has been married four times, fathering six children, with the question of succession mainly revolving around his second, third, and fourth children: Elisabeth, Lachlan, and James. Lachlan, who in the past had emerged as the heir apparent in the late 1990's, had to leave the business in 2005 after differences of opinion with Fox News ex boss Roger Ailes. Lachlan returned to the News Corp board in 2014, holding important positions since then.James Murdoch, known for his more progressive viewpoints, left the media empire three years ago, citing what he called some disagreements "over certain editorial content" and other concerns about the company's direction. Elisabeth, aged 55, occupied different high-ranking roles within the business, but started her own TV company, Shine, responsible for producing popular shows such as The Biggest Loser, MasterChef, etc.The leadership transition arrives amid a turbulent year for Fox, marked by a significant settlement of $787.5 million with Dominion, a voting machine company, over its coverage of the 2020 presidential election.

UAE Government awards Yahsat AED 18.7 billion satellite contract

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PJSC (“Yahsat” or the “Group”), the UAE’s flagship satellite solutions provider listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (”ADX”, under symbol: YAHSAT, ISIN: AEA007501017) announced today that its government services arm, Yahsat Government Solutions (“YGS”), has received from the UAE Government (the “Government”), an Authorization to Proceed (“ATP”) to provide satellite capacity and managed services for 17 years. This mandate, valued at AED 18.7 billion (USD 5.1 billion), combines related operations, maintenance and technology management services of ground segment satellite systems and terminals currently provided under a separate contract.The mandate will replace two current agreements, the Capacity Services Agreement (“CSA”) and the Managed Services Mandate (“MSM”), which come to an end in November and December 2026, respectively. Under the new mandate Yahsat will provide the Government with secure and reliable satellite capacity and related managed services using the Al Yah 1 and Al Yah 2 satellites, currently in orbit, and supplement this by two new satellites, Al Yah 4 (“AY4”) and Al Yah 5 (“AY5”) which are expected to be launched in 2027 and 2028, respectively.The mandate reinforces Yahsat’s long-standing and unique relationship with the Government, dating back almost two decades since the company’s inception, highlighting its critical role as the preferred and trusted partner to the Government for the supply of secure satellite capacity and solutions. It also significantly increases the Group’s contracted future revenues to AED 25.7 billion (USD 7.0 billion), over 16 times its 2022 annual revenues, extending backlog well beyond 2040 and providing security and visibility over its future cash flows. Yahsat signed an Authorisation-to-Proceed with Airbus (“Airbus ATP”) in June 2023 for the construction of AY4 and AY5. This preserves the programme schedule and enables certain activities to commence, such as system requirements review, design work and procurement activities for long-lead items. The AY4 and AY5 procurement, including spacecraft, ground segment infrastructure, launch and insurance, will be funded by Yahsat’s own resources as well as other potential funding options which are currently under review. In addition, the award includes an advance payment from the Government of USD 1 billion to be received in 2024.Commenting on this key milestone, Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Chairman of Yahsat, said: “We are honoured to secure the continued trust of the UAE Government to provide critical, secure communication services for a further 17 years beyond 2026. This award is a testament to our long-standing relationship with the Government and the quality of service that we provide as we continue to strive to consistently exceed customer expectations. By complementing our existing fleet with Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 next generation satellites, we will be able to serve the government with new cutting-edge solutions that are not currently possible. The performance of the new satellites is expected to significantly surpass current industry capabilities including capacity, coverage and flexibility allowing us to offer a wide range of next generation applications to our end user. We are excited by this new journey and look forward to serving our customer with true operational excellence.”From his side, Ali Al Hashemi, Group Chief Executive Officer at Yahsat, said: “We are delighted to receive this mandate, which allows us to continue to provide capacity and related services to the UAE Government beyond 2026 using our current satellite fleet, and beyond 2040 on two new satellites, which are already under construction. This is a new chapter in Yahsat’s momentous journey serving the satellite communications requirements for the UAE Government.The AED 18.7 billion [USD 5.1 billion] mandate positions Yahsat for sustainable future growth, alongside other ambitious projects in the pipeline. Our financial position has never been stronger and we now enjoy a contracted revenue backlog of AED 25.7 billion [USD 7.0 billion] or over 16 times annual revenues based on backlog figures at the end of the second quarter. Representing one of the largest backlog multiples and strongest balance sheets in the industry, we remain optimistic about providing a broader, more diverse and cutting-edge solutions portfolio to both the government and our customers.”

Automechanika Dubai Awards attracts a record number of entries

The Automechanika Dubai Awards has returned for its third edition, celebrating and honouring the creme de la creme of the region’s automotive aftermarket and service industry.Held on the second morning of the three-day Automechanika Dubai, the Middle East and Africa’s largest international trade exhibition for the automotive aftermarket industry, from October 2-4 at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), this year’s awards have attracted a record-breaking 399 entries across ten awards.Now narrowed down to 30 finalists by an esteemed panel of regional and international senior industry judges, this year’s event also includes several new categories, including a special recognition award to be announced during the award ceremony with the exhibition on the morning of October 3.As the MENA region’s first-ever platform to recognise the people and organisations creating significant impact within the automotive sector, the 2023 awards celebrate service providers, people, digitalisation, products, and leaders making a difference in the industry.Mahmut Gazi Bilikozen, Portfolio Director at Automechanika Dubai organisers Messe Frankfurt Middle East, said, “Our awards this year very much reflect the changing nature of the industry - for the first time we are featuring an award for the digitalisation project of the year, as well as the digital product of the year."“Our new Start-up of the Year category also throws a spotlight on all the innovation we’ve seen in the sector in recent times, and interest has once again grown in our ground-breaking ‘Women in Automotive’ category.”Finalists for the Women in Automotive Aftermarket category are Mary Munyao, YNA Kenya; Nisreen Akhter, Star Composed Chemicals MFG LLC; and Shubhra Srivastava, GaragePlug Inc.For the new Digitalization Project of the Year category, the judges narrowed the entries to three finalists: GaragePlug Inc., Autobia and Arabian Automobiles Company. The Start-Up of the Year award puts Autobia, AutoSmart Technology and Ennoventure up against each other.The companies in the final three for the Digital Product of the Year accolade are AutoSmart Audit by Autosmart Technology, Encrypto by Ennoventure and Frondesk Digital Platform by Frondesk Technology and Solutions.An international line-up of finalists representing Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the UAE, and Australia will compete in the Product of the Year category. Brembo Beyond Geenance Kit, Encrypto by Ennoventure; GS27’s eco-certified care line ‘PURE’; the GuniWheel by Martech Corporation, SSL HD lighting by Hella, and UniClutch by Clutch Industries.Elsewhere, Al Shirawi Enterpises LLC, Munich Motor Works and Arabian Automobiles Company - Aweer, Royal Swiss Auto, Eurodiesel Services, and Orient Motors LLC have been shortlisted across the Bodyshop of the Year, Workshop of the Year - Passenger Cars, and Service Provider of the Year - Commercial Vehicles categories.Rounding out the awards, Performansion and D Luxe Car Care have been shortlisted in the widely anticipated Customization Specialist of the Year category. The Automechanika Dubai Awards 2023 are sponsored by Bridgestone Middle East and Africa. Jacques Fourie, Vice President and Managing Director, said, “Bridgestone is deeply honoured to partner with the Automechanika Dubai Awards 2023. In collaboration with the esteemed Automechanika Dubai platform, our goal is to foster diverse opportunities for individuals and organisations to thrive."“These awards serve as a testament to the hard work, dedication, and ingenuity of all participants. We recognise that success in this industry is not attained in isolation; it arises from collaboration, the pursuit of excellence, and the unwavering quest for improvement."“As Bridgestone, we eagerly anticipate continuing our journey of innovation and excellence, hand in hand with the dynamic automotive community. Together, we will address challenges and seize opportunities in a rapidly evolving landscape. We remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing the automotive industry to new horizons."Highlighting a recent report from market research analysts, Technavio suggests the region’s automotive market will accelerate at a CAGR of 6.74% between 2021 and 2026. “There is much to celebrate in our industry as the sector continues to go from strength to strength,” added Bilikozen.The landmark 20th edition of Automechanika Dubai is set to attract over 1,912 exhibitors from 61 nations, showcasing a diverse range of innovative products, services and technologies to a global audience of thousands.This year’s judges’ panel comprises:Graham Threlfall, Global Key Account Manager - Vehicle Refinishes, AkzoNobelAbdulla Rashed Obaid AlDahail Almheiri, Strategies and Organizational Excellence Office Manager, Dubai Government WorkshopNasir Saif Sultan AlSeeri, Head of VIP Vehicles Maintenance Section, Dubai Government WorkshopDr. Nima Mehrdadi, Vice President Aftermarket Middle East, Africa, CA & India, Managing Director, Hella Middle EastAlan Whaley, Founder and Chairman, AMENA ProfessionalVishal Pandey, Partner, Automotive & Mobility Practice, Glasgow Research & ConsultingMichel Malik, CEO, BodyShop News InternationalZuhri Yusof, Automotive Industry ExpertTufan Baysal, Director, Middle East/Africa/Eurasia Aftermarket EMEA, Niterra

YouTube unveils AI-powered tools for enhanced creative expression in MENA

YouTube has unveiled a suite of upcoming AI-powered capabilities that will help both new and established creators and artists globally including across the Middle East and North Africa to create, edit, and share content in bold new ways. These AI-powered tools, introduced at Made On YouTube, will help unlock powerful new forms of creative expression, take the friction out of the creative process, and allow YouTube creators to reach more viewers.Showcasing the limitless potential AI can bring to creators, artists and the creative industry, today’s key announcements include:  The introduction of Dream Screen, a new generative AI feature to unlock creative expression on Shorts: YouTube will introduce Dream Screen, a new experimental feature that allows creators to add AI-generated video or image backgrounds to their Shorts simply by typing an idea into a prompt for creators. With Dream Screen, creators will be able to generate new, fantastic settings for their Shorts that are only limited by bounds of their imagination.    Since launching Shorts in 2020, Shorts has now climbed to over 70B daily views globally from over 2B logged-in users every month.  YouTube is bringing Aloud, an AI-powered dubbing tool, into YouTube so creators easily reach audiences well beyond their primary language.    Available to select creators, the feature is currently being tested in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.  Next year, YouTube Studio will tap generative AI to spark video ideas and draft outlines to help creators brainstorm. These insights are personalized for each channel and based on what audiences are already watching and interested in.    YouTube has been testing early versions of AI-powered tools in YouTube Studio with creators, and more than 70 percent of those surveyed said it’s helped them develop and test ideas for videos.Tarek Amin, Director of YouTube in the Middle East and North Africa, said: “We’re committed to helping creators across the region to thrive on YouTube by helping them to take their creativity to new levels through these AI powered tools which were designed with content creators and their needs in mind”.YouTube CEO Neal Mohan said: “At YouTube, we want to make it easier for everyone to create. Building on our long track record of innovation and our strong expertise in AI, we believe these updates will enable creators to push the boundaries of creative expression -- by making the difficult things simple and impossible dreams possible. Today’s announcements are part of YouTube’s continued commitment to putting the creative power into the hands of billions of people. This is the start of a new era of creativity, and we can’t wait to see what our incredible community of creators and artists do next.”

Arsenal and Sobha Realty announce new partnership

Arsenal has announced a new global partnership with Dubai-based luxury real estate developer, Sobha Realty, during a signing ceremony that took place at the Sobha Hartland Events Hall in Dubai.Ravi Menon, Co-chairman of Sobha Realty, Francis Alfred, Managing Director of Sobha Realty and Juliet Slot, Chief Commercial Officer of Arsenal F.C, were joined by Arsenal legend Sol Campbell to sign the multi-year agreement that will see Sobha Realty become the club’s Official Global Real Estate Partner.As part of this partnership, Sobha Realty’s presence will be at all men’s and women’s domestic games played at Emirates Stadium. It will also see Arsenal and Sobha Realty collaborate on initiatives to develop the sport industry in Dubai and beyond. This includes hosting football experiences, including youth football clinics, tournaments, and seminars.The luxury developer will also gain naming rights to The WM Club – a premium match-day hospitality suite at Emirates Stadium – which will now be known as ‘The WM Club, Presented by Sobha Realty.’Arsenal and Sobha Realty look forward to collaborating on projects to demonstrate their collective pursuit of progress over the coming years.Juliet Slot said, “I am delighted to be in Dubai to sign this agreement and officially announce our new partnership with Sobha Realty. It is important that our partners share our vision, and Sobha Realty’s strong heritage in the region and its unwavering commitment to always moving forward match our own ambitions as a club."This is our first Official Global Real Estate Partner, a further sign of our commercial strength, and ability to continue attracting new partners from a diverse field of industries and backgrounds. We look forward to working with Sobha Realty in the years ahead and supporting its growth as a brand across the world.” Ravi Menon stated, "Sobha Realty is delighted to be embarking on this exciting journey as Arsenal Official Global Real Estate Partner. Our collaboration with the globally recognised football institution is a coming together of shared values of both organizations as the‘ art of the detail’ meets the ‘art of football’."It demonstrates our unwavering commitment to the highest standards, driving sustainable economic growth, and access to international markets and talent. Having reached a significant milestone with this collaboration, we look forward to a successful and lasting future with Arsenal.”Francis Alfred said, “It is a momentous occasion for Sobha Realty to join hands with The Arsenal as their Official Global Real Estate Partner. Our collaboration is a crucial step towards promoting excellence and growth in both, real estate and sport."We have seen a heightened interest in Dubai Real Estate from UK consumers and with this partnership with Arsenal, we look forward to strengthening our brand in the UK & surrounding markets. We are very excited for this partnership and we hope to reach new heights and present a promising opportunity for Dubai's talented football community.”To celebrate the partnership, a 1000-strong drone show will light up the sky above Jumeirah Beach Residences in Dubai this evening (Friday, September 15). The 15-minute performance will showcase the rich heritage of Arsenal and both brands’ shared values.

BackLite Media partners with Place Exchange for programmatic OOH buying

Dubai-based digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising company BackLite Media has announced a partnership with Place Exchange, the SSP for programmatic out-of-home (OOH) media, to accelerate the programmatic transformation of DOOH in the UAE and increase opportunities for DOOH to be included in omnichannel marketing strategies.BackLite Media offers premium DOOH media opportunities across a diverse array of settings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, ranging from bustling highways like Sheikh Zayed Road to upscale malls and destinations. This expansive coverage across the UAE ensures that BackLite Media effectively reaches individuals throughout their daily journeys and at key destinations. The integration with Place Exchange enables advertisers to seamlessly tap into this extensive inventory through their DSPs with a variety of programmatic buying options, including open auction, programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace deals.Sean Gadsby, Head of Programmatic at BackLite Media, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Place Exchange, highlighting the potential to unlock new revenue streams and attract interest from global buyers. "Place Exchange is a prominent name in the industry, and we're eagerly anticipating the prospects this partnership brings on a global level. The collaboration with Place Exchange will empower our clients with unparalleled programmatic capabilities and a seamless workflow to incorporate BackLite Media in omnichannel purchases."“There is growing demand by local and global advertisers for DOOH inventory in this market,” said Nick Bennett, SVP of Partnerships at Place Exchange. “Through this integration with BackLite Media, they can now deliver high-impact OOH messaging to audiences throughout the UAE with scale, automation, and flexibility like never before.”The BackLite Media and Place Exchange integration heralds a new chapter in programmatic OOH media evolution in the UAE. This collaboration will enable advertisers to seamlessly leverage BackLite Media's comprehensive DOOH inventory while capitalizing on the benefits of programmatic buying and streamlined workflow integration. As the partnership gains momentum, it stands poised to contribute to the continued evolution of programmatic advertising in the UAE market.

Housing Bank enters the Metaverse

Housing Bank has announced the launch of its virtual bank in the Metaverse, making it the first bank in the Kingdom to enter this virtual world. It is also one of the pioneering banks in the region to adopt this cutting-edge technology. It will be available on two popular Metaverse platforms, namely the Decentraland platform and the Spatial platform.By establishing its presence on the Metaverse, Housing Bank demonstrates its commitment to staying at the forefront of adopting advanced technologies, as this investment in digital transformation is a key component of its strategy. With this launch, the bank is taking a significant step in its technical endeavors to incorporate technology in the banking industry and improve its customer relationship management.Through this pioneering initiative, the bank aims to reach a new generation of customers and provide them with a unique opportunity to enter the world of the Metaverse. This allows them to discover the first virtual bank in Jordan, marking a significant step towards the future, offering customers an opportunity to experience innovative technology that enables seamless communication and interaction that caters to their aspirations and interests, which is provided with ease and comfort from anywhere and at any time.Additionally, Housing Bank is collaborating with Innoarea, which specializes in developing virtual reality and augmented reality experiences, to get launched in the Metaverse. The company is part of the BMB Group, which is one of the most prominent information and communications technology services and consulting companies in the Middle East.Housing Bank, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year, continues to be a role model in the banking industry, achieving yet another significant milestone as it continues to lead the way in digital transformation by making significant progress in the field of technological development and digital services, in addition to launching numerous sophisticated and advanced services that keep up with the rapid changes brought about by the digital age.

Closed Captions Communications: Where sibling synergy fuels creative innovation

‘Closed Captions Communications’ is a branding studio with a difference. It is a brainchild of Serge and Sarah Trad, who have navigated the ever-changing landscapes of both clients and agencies, mastering the intricate realms of branding. With a combined wealth of experience in marketing, communications, journalism, and creative copywriting, the dynamic duo brings a fresh perspective to the world of branding and storytelling.Serge Trad, an award-winning marketing & communications consultant, has an impressive track record of spearheading marketing campaigns, driving business growth, and formulating customer-first strategies for global brands across multiple sectors. He has also been recognized as Dubai’s F&B Marketeer of the Year 2022. Sarah Trad, a journalist, editor, and copywriter, brings her creative flair and unparalleled storytelling abilities to the studio. She has also served as the Editor-in-Chief of prominent media/tech publications.In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Sarah Trad, Co-Founder of 'Closed Captions Communications,' shares insights into the journey of building their unique branding studio, the pros and cons of running a business with her brother, Serge Trad, and the challenges and triumphs they've encountered along the way. Sarah also discusses the startup landscape in Dubai, their approach to branding, and offers valuable advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.Could you share your career journey? As a journalist, how did you come up with the idea for your startup, 'Closed Captions Communications'? What inspired it?Words always meant too much to me. Holding a pen and paper, two of the first things a child is given for fun and learning, I found myself writing for the sake of how letters looked handwritten all while holding meaning when aligned in any specific manner.They say not all readers are writers, but all writers are readers; and I read and write a lot. From culture and art to global oil markets and regional economic and business news, my brain adapts fast to all of them. Apparently I’m a deeply curious person, something I discovered while improvising questions and entire conversations during interviews as a young journalist.On a random day last year, my brother reached out to me with the assignment to create the full verbal identity of a new restaurant that’s a month away from opening at The Palm Jumeirah. This was the first time I found myself in direct contact with branding; it was unlike other freelance projects or articles I had written before. The process was so enriching and satisfying that it pushed my creative writing to prevail over my journalistic side.Closed Captions Communications came to be out of a need to set our creativity free away from other professional commitments.Serge is the Director of Marketing at Addmind, one of the MENA’s biggest hospitality companies, and I’m a journalist with an intimate relationship with words. It was a matter of time for us to combine our talents and 10+ years of experience into a business we want to grow until we’re off this planet.You and your brother, Serge Trad, co-founded 'Closed Captions Communications.' Do you believe it's easier to run a business with a sibling? What are the pros and cons?Running a business is a massive responsibility on its own; managing it with a sibling, in my case older brother, is another challenge that needs a lot of conscious work and open conversations.If I am to list out pros and cons, the cons will all boil down to personal issues and communication while the pros will comfortably override and outweigh the cons.Any argument would de-escalate in the presence of clear, concise communication. Siblings have a heavy load on their backs since childhood, with fights, jealousy, and the need to prove and differentiate one’s self from the other. Once we see our siblings as our friends, or accept the fact that they’re not here to compete with or hurt us, the relationship will begin to self-heal.To jump from brother-sister to business partners usually requires a predisposition to having complementary talents that can be made profitable. Luckily, Serge and I have been nurturing this closeness in taste and interests ever since ever.Could you please provide some insights into your venture?We have a knack for plucking the soul out of a company, giving it a personality and tone of voice, dressing it in design elements that bring out its unique side, and wrapping it all under a brand that’s ready to tango with the world.Both you and Co-Founder Serge Trad are located in different cities, with you in Beirut and him in Dubai. Has this geographical separation posed any challenges for 'Closed Captions Communication'?After Serge and I had decided in all seriousness that we’re opening a branding studio, we needed to brand it. I hadn’t seen him in months, and we were handling all the legal papers over WhatsApp, which was a little odd to me considering Beirut is far from being the paper-free city Dubai is.It was Christmas and Serge decided to have me and parents over in Dubai for the holidays. On a taxi ride, he looks at me and says “Closed Captions Communications”. My eyes opened wide as I was taking the name in.The building of the brand happened over three months during which we only spent three weeks in the same city. WhatsApp and online calls were, and still are, our dearest friends, though being in the presence of each other rolls out an abundance of ideas that materialise into beautiful work like our latest campaign ‘Eat Your Heart Out’, but oh well, c’est la digital vie these days.Do you believe Dubai is a startup hub, welcoming both local and international startups? What factors make the UAE an ideal location for startups?Ahh Dubai, what a city of networking it is. I’ve never encountered a more serious city about business and economy; when a country elects a Minister of Happiness, you know something good is happening.Startups look at Dubai as their playground, just like Silicon Valley is inundated with weird experimental machines/apps/services and self-driving taxis.The UAE’s advantage over other countries in attracting startups would have to be the diversity in headquartered global companies, plethora of investors, the technological savviness of most residents who can switch to being users, and the constant programs and initiatives created by the government and big players to encourage the youth to materialise their ideas.Can you share any impactful experiences, whether positive or negative, from your journey of building your brand?The realisation that if I don’t do it there’s no one else to do it for me keeps me on my toes. As a business owner, I’m going to be doing everything from scheduling calls to preparing legal contracts to working on an outreach marketing strategy to looking up administrative tools and techniques and so on. It’s a lot of skills, learning, and research. Luckily I have Serge as a Co-Founder and his extremely straightforward work ethics to guide my dreamer mind and take a heavy load off my shoulders.How did you navigate and overcome the challenges you faced?An open and positively flexible mentality is how one can jump over hardships and move towards solutions. Sometimes, people only have to seek a betterment to their stagnant state for a snowball-leading change to take place.In times like these, technology has your back, AI is at your service, search engines have the answers to your questions, and experienced professionals can guide you through muddy waters. Even health issues (physical or mental) can be worked on if they’re affecting your workflow. Just seek the help need and don’t let old habits dictate how you lead your life now.What key points about startups would you like to share with the readers?Numbers say over 90% of startups fail within or after a year of their launch. I say one has to be more reasonable than a dreamer. Find a problem and solve it, but have this problem be worth the trouble. It’s cool to add “CEO” or “Co-Founder” to your LinkedIn title but not cooler than helping people and the planet lead a better life through the solution you’re putting all your time and effort and money into

HAVAS RED adds four new beauty brands to its portfolio

Havas Red Middle East has expanded its beauty and wellness division by signing on four new prestigious brands, which are Laneige, Luxuria Group, Sculpted by Aimee and Swiss Arabian Perfumes to its portfolio .The agency’s high standards, creativity and innovation have been rewarded with these wins as the dedicated Havas Red team is tasked with handling PR, communications and influencer relations for the brands.The exciting additions to Havas Red’s diverse portfolio showcase the agency’s versatility and expertise in the industry, solidifying its position as a communications leader in the beauty and wellness sector.Laneige, from South Korea, is a cosmetics brand with a rich history in skincare innovation. Launched by Amore Pacific in 1994, the brand’s name translates to “the snow” in French, embodying its commitment to skin hydration and radiant, pure beauty. Luxuria Group, based in Dubai, has established itself as a key player in the luxury beauty market across the GCC region. As a distributor of international luxury beauty brands, Luxuria Group specializes in niche fragrances, skincare, and haircare. Havas Red’s partnership with Luxuria Group is anchored in a shared vision of enhancing the beauty and wellness landscape. Sculpted by Aimee is an award-winning Irish makeup brand founded by makeup artist Aimee Connolly. With a dedication to quality, innovation and inclusivity, the brand speaks to individuals who view makeup as a means of self-expression and empowerment. Carrying a legacy rooted in a blend of Western and Oriental craftsmanship, Swiss Arabian Perfumes is a brand that epitomizes the celebration of cultural diversity. Founded on the concept of duality, the brand empowers an emerging audience to embrace their identity by drawing inspiration from the drama and grandeur of the East, as well as the power and dynamism of the West. Dana Tahir, Managing Director, Havas Red Middle East, said: “Laneige, Luxuria Group, Sculpted by Aimee and Swiss Arabian Perfumes each represents a unique facet of the industry, from cultural fusion to scientific innovation and artistic expression. With these new partners in our client roster, we continue to reinforce our agency’s unwavering commitment to excellence, and we look forward to creating meaningful and impactful communications with the brands.”

BPG's CX Strategy Nets Iconic Brands and GCC Business Wins

Award-winning agency BPG (Bates PanGulf, part of WPP) is entering Q4 2023 with incredible growth numbers and several high-profile strategic wins for its specialist MarCom services in UAE, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman. BPG’s ‘digital first, integrated by intent’ positioning has paid off handsomely – with over 50% revenue growth, amounting to annualized revenues of $13m to $15m.Avi Bhojani, Group CEO, BPG said: “More than four decades in business have shown us that innovation, agility and customer-centricity determine the survival of the fittest. Today, the brands that are loved are the ones prioritizing customer experience (CX), through a blend of culture, processes and data. BPG 3.0 is here to support the shift in thinking around customer journeys and focusing on their needs. It is an exciting time at BPG as we bring together our incredibly talented and motivated integrated team to serve some of the region’s most iconic brands.”This year, BPG has bagged some of the most coveted regional pitches, winning brands such as Trojena - The Mountains of NEOM, Wasl, Darna Rewards by Aldar, Uber, Talabat Kuwait, and more. Building on its exceptional experience in finance and banking, BPG won strategic branding projects for First Abu Dhabi Bank. Other new business wins include Bank Dhofar, RAKBANK and Sohar International Bank, who just acquired HSBC in Oman. The multi-practice mandates encompass integrated marketing, communications, influencer marketing, creative advertising, PR, branding, media services, digital and performance marketing, social media, and content management. The exciting pipeline of new business wins has been supplemented by expanding mandates from long-time clients such as Ooredoo, Central Bank of Kuwait and Diraya with Kuwait Banking Association, Wooden Bakery, and Domino’s Pizza. BPG’s social media practice has steadily expanded, bagging new clients such as Porsche UAE (Al Nabooda), Titan Watches, and DMCC.The agency’s CX practice, integral to BPG 3.0, has also been one of its fastest growing, having extended and delivered CX strategies and assets to clients across Dubai, Kuwait and Oman. BPG has secured over $2m worth of annualised revenue, for CX projects varying in scope from designing and refreshing websites and building sales enablement apps to UX/UI optimization.BPG 3.0 was born after a significant, game-changing creative win in Saudi Arabia. BPG is working on a unified customer experience through its full-service hubs in UAE and Kuwait, supported by BPG Cloudworks – a borderless remote team that stretches from North America and Europe to Egypt, Lebanon, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. This strategic transformation is inspired by culture, powered by insights, human by design and integrated by intent. In 1995, BPG 1.0 was born after winning an integrated mandate from the Dubai Government. BPG 2.0 emerged in 2003 after winning mandates for public advocacy andcreating centres of excellence and offices around the world.Souheil Arabi, Group Chief Operating Officer, BPG and CEO, BPG Kuwait said: “BPG 3.0 is coming to life as our business is growing in every dimension: teams, services, revenues, and clients. This has been a year of tremendous activity and achievement with some notable wins for our team – which we look forward to celebrating next month at our 27th Annual Offsite, one of BPG’s most cherished traditions. We are doubling down on embracing relevant and appropriate AI tools into our day to day lives, and excited about the role of CX in brand building.”BPG has continued on an expansion trajectory, with 35% growth in its talent pool across UX, content, creative, PR and media. The agency continues with its landmark BPG NXT graduate training program and has just hired four NXTers in Dubai and two in Kuwait from over 800 qualified applicants. Running since 2006, BPG NXT identifies and nurtures young talent, giving them opportunities to shine. With this program, BPG has given the regional MarCom industry over 100 outstanding professionals.Darius LaBelle, President, BPG UAE said: “Our ambition is not to be the biggest agency, but the smartest and most valuable one built around our clients’ needs. The BPG CX Multiplier, through which we use data and human insights to deliver targeted personal messages across digital and physical channels, has been one of our most successful solutions. We look forward to driving impactful results for our clients, with integrated teams in content, comms, media, data, experience, and brand on every brief.”

TrailRunner International hires Seth Hand as Managing Director and Head of ME

The global strategic communications advisory firm TrailRunner International today announced the appointment of Seth Hand as a Managing Director and head of the firm’s Middle East business. Hand brings more than 20 years’ experience, including 15 years in the Gulf region. He joins TrailRunner from Edelman Middle East, where he served as Managing Director for the Middle East and led the regional corporate reputation practice. “We are excited to have a leader of Seth’s experience, caliber, and character coming on board as we grow our business internationally, in the Gulf, and in the broader Middle East North Africa region,” TrailRunner International CEO Jim Hughes said. “Our focus at TrailRunner is on delivering for our clients and on creating great career opportunities for ambitious, hard-working communications professionals. We are pleased to have found in Seth a leader who sees the world the same way we do and who will help us find the best ways for TrailRunner to contribute to the broader success of this incredibly dynamic and critically important part of the world.” “When TrailRunner International approached me to lead their market entry into the Middle East, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Hand. “With offices across the U.S. and in China, TrailRunner has established a strong reputation as a high-impact firm with an unusual commitment to client service and to its incredibly tight-knit team. I believe TrailRunner’s approach to delivering best-in-class strategic communications counsel will be welcomed by clients across the region and I look forward to the work ahead as we build and grow here.” Headquartered in Dallas/Fort Worth, TrailRunner International was founded in 2016 and today has offices in New York, Nashville, Shanghai, and Truckee, Calif. To date, it has supported clients in the region with teams drawn from its U.S. and China offices. Before Edelman, Hand held other senior leadership roles in the Gulf region, including at Finsbury, where he was regional managing director for the Middle East, Grayling, where he served as director for new market development, and H+K Strategies, where he was an account director. A native of Scotland, Hand graduated from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in corporate communication.

Speakers announced for the PRCA MENA Conference and Digital Awards 2023

PRCA MENA, the leading Public Relations Communications Association of the Middle East and North Africa, is thrilled to introduce the lineup of speakers for the highly anticipated PRCA MENA Conference 2023. This one-day event is scheduled to take place on November 8th, at the Movenpick Hotel & Residence in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.In alignment with the growing international engagement of Saudi Arabia, PRCA MENA has selected a panel of industry experts who are actively contributing to the country's transformation. Moderated by One Group’s Samya Hussain, some confirmed speakers include Mark Lamb from APCO Worldwide, Khansa'a Abu Naji from Meshbank, Nour Taher from intella, Hisham Jabrah from Hunak, Marco Binenti from Global Think Group, Abdulrahman Al Obailan from TTP, Anas Agag from New Native, Ahmed Al Abdulkarim from Bayan for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, among other renowned names which can be viewed here. Additional speakers will be unveiled in the upcoming days promising a diverse range of perspectives and insights.The PRCA MENA Conference 2023, organised in cooperation with One Group, PRCA MENA strategic partner, promises to be an unmissable event, offering a platform for robust discussions, knowledge exchange, and networking opportunities. Industry professionals and stakeholders from across the region and beyond are invited to join us on this momentous occasion.Stay tuned for further updates and announcements as we continue to shape an event that reflects the dynamic landscape of public relations and communications in the MENA region.

iSTYLE to open two more Apple Premium Partner stores in UAE

Following the resounding success of iSTYLE's first Apple premium Partner store in Dubai Marina Mall, iSTYLE will open two more Apple Premium Partner (APP) stores - one at Deira City Center in Dubai and the other at City Centre Al Zahia in Sharjah this weekend. The new outlets follow the global concept of Premium Partner stores, making them the perfect destination to shop the entire ecosystem of Apple products and accessories in a spacious and welcoming environment. The stores' professional teams speak multiple languages to give customers the best personalized service.Established in 2005, iSTYLE has 13 Apple Premium Reseller stores and will now have 3 new Apple Premium Partner stores, two in Dubai and one in Sharjah, taking the total count to 16 stores across the UAE. The store in Deira City Center is located on level 2, and the City Centre Al Zahia store is on level 1. "Our Apple Premium Partner stores will take the customer experience to the next level for all visitors across the two Emirates. We cater to the needs of all types of customers, including business enterprises and invite everyone to visit our new stores to enjoy the complete Apple product ecosystem and the full range of accessories and services. iSTYLE is a highly experienced retailer with over 60 dedicated Apple points of sale in 13 countries (Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa). It is part of the Midis Group with over 50 years of experience representing the leading global technology vendors in the Middle East, Europe, and Africa." said Nicolas Daher, General Manager, iSTYLE- Middle East and North Africa."Look for our new stores with the distinct new design where you can feel excellence in every detail and finish. Opening of the two stores gives residents and visitors easy access to experience the latest Apple products, exclusive workshops, group demo sessions and an Authorised Apple Service Center . Our professional iSTYLE team will be delighted to introduce all the features and benefits of the Apple products and services and help you to integrate Apple into your lifestyle." says Julia Manzyuk, Retail Manager, iSTYLE UAE.

W7Worldwide's inspiring tribute to Saudi Arabia's journey on National Day

In commemoration of the 93rd Saudi National Day, which is celebrated annually on September 23rd, W7Worldwide, an independent marketing communications consultancy agency in Saudi, has unveiled a captivating 1.05-minute video titled "What Leadership Looks Like in Saudi Arabia?" The video serves as a tribute to the Kingdom's outstanding accomplishments in 2023, achieved through the determination of its people and the visionary leadership that envisions a future marked by progress, development, and prosperity. Saudi Arabia, under the banner of Vision 2030, has solidified its position as a key player on both regional and international stages, undergoing remarkable transformations across various domains - from economic and technological advancements to sports and societal changes.Space ExplorationThe video commences by highlighting Saudi Arabia's historic achievements in space exploration. It follows the extraordinary journey of Saudi astronauts Rayyanah Barnawi and Ali Alqarni to the International Space Station, culminating in the successful landing of their spacecraft in the Atlantic Ocean. Their mission, which encompassed 14 research projects on microgravity, promises significant benefits for humanity and positions the Kingdom at the forefront of space exploration. Notably, Rayyanah Barnawi made history as the first Arab woman to orbit the Earth.International AwardsThe video shines a spotlight on Saudi Arabia's young talents who participated in the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) competition in the United States. An impressive 35 students from the Saudi Science and Engineering Team made the journey, returning with an impressive tally of 22 international awards. This achievement underscores the Kingdom's commitment to fostering excellence in education and scientific innovation.Sport ExcellenceSaudi Arabia's dedication to sports excellence is another highlight in the video. As part of the Vision 2030 initiative, the Saudi Pro League has attracted top international football stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar da Silva, and Karim Benzema, making it a premier destination for talented players. The Roshn League has captivated football fans worldwide, being broadcast in over 100 countries by 40 channels. Additionally, Saudi Arabia's investment in major golf events reflects its ambition to promote and popularize the sport on a global scale.Communication AchievementsThe video showcases Saudi Arabia's strides in the communication and technology sector, ranking 2nd among G20 members and 4th globally in Digital Systems Preparedness. This achievement is attributed to the nation's commitment to building a sustainable regulatory framework and embracing digital collaborative regulation to empower the digital economy. These efforts have bolstered the performance and productivity of various vital sectors.Ambitions and AccomplishmentsEmphasizing Saudi Arabia's pursuit of global leadership, the video conveys the message that the country aspires to elevate its name proudly across various domains, including the economy, politics, society, sports, technology, and legislation. It also highlights the empowerment of Saudi women and the encouragement of youth to take leadership roles in shaping the nation's future.The Saudis' DeterminationThe video concludes with a profound quote from His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, and Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: "The Saudis' strength is like that of Mount Tuwaiq, unbreakable unless this mountain is leveled and equaled to the ground." This quote symbolizes the unwavering determination of the Saudi people and the unbreakable bond between wise leadership and its citizens, with Mount Tuwaiq serving as an enduring testament to resilience and strength.W7Worldwide's video is a tribute to Saudi Arabia's remarkable journey and its unyielding commitment to progress, unity, and prosperity as it celebrates its 93rd National Day under the theme of "We Dream and Achieve."

Usetech is a bronze sponsor of GITEX 2023, the largest technology event in Dubai

GITEX Global, one of the largest technology events in the Middle East, will be held in the UAE from October 16-20, 2023, bringing together cutting-edge companies and startups under one roof.Usetech will present software development services, independent testing, IT consulting, business process automation and integration, design and engineering of design systems (UI, UX, and CX), and deep expertise in modern technologies to a wide audience:— Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Services, like analysis and consulting; AI project planning and development; Implementing an AI solution together with Machine Learning or Data Science; Model Development and Training; Integration and Deployment.Based on your needs and requests, we analyze your company's existing AI solutions using current technologies and tools, and advise the business on the implementation of AI-based solutions. Usetech can also support the seamless integration of ML models into existing systems and workflows. We help you deploy models in the cloud or in-place, depending on your needs.— Big Data Services. We provide a couple of Big Data development offerings to pave your project road to success. Cloud and cluster computing technologies and modern tools that we use will help us reach effective results. As part of this service, we can offer: Data engineering, Data analysis and visualization, Data and pipeline migration, Customer behavior, Fraud detection and security.We help businesses analyze the data and draw the right conclusions, as well as properly visualize it and present it to decision makers.— Data Science Services. Doubting in the need of using Data Science in your business? Or can't properly obtain and analyze data? Usetech can provide you with a consultation and highlight the benefits of Data Science for your business.— IoT Development Services, and BI Services. Usetech helps businesses become more efficient with these solutions and increase profits. Our experts, who have extensive experience in different areas and with different projects, will help improve business strategy and business behavior with BI and IoT solutions.During the event, you will be able to personally communicate with product and service architects, familiarize yourself with the products on demo stands, discuss implementation plans, agree on testing and ask questions. Our team will show you already implemented cases and digital products in real time, as well as select solutions tailored to your tasks and business.Usetech team will talk about the following products:Teal HR provides HR services to small and medium-sized businesses. It emphasizes the importance of HR automation and how it can benefit companies of any size. We offer a range of services, including HR management, payroll, and employee benefits. Teal HR also provides a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate, making it simple for businesses to manage their HR needs.UseBus AI-Integration is an integration platform with artificial intelligence that allows to form a unified IT landscape for companies of any size and from any industry. The platform's intuitive interface allows you to build your first corporate integration within 30 minutes of getting familiar with the platform. Architects, analysts, developers, and other specialists will be able to reduce time to market. Your business will become faster than your competitors, freeing up time and money to conquer new horizons. And Usetech team will help you do it.Octopus is an automatic server hardware balancer. With the help of Artificial Intelligence technologies, Octopus provides optimal mode of data center system resource consumption, allows you to increase server performance and save data center resources by at least 30%.Usetech team will be waiting for you at booth H26-4 in Hall 26, will answer your questions, and will also present branded gifts. Besides, every GITEX visitor will be able to take part in the drawing of valuable prizes.

Riyadh's Mazadak partners with MoEngage to expand services

Mazadak, a Riyadh-based auction application known for its exceptional service to both sellers and buyers, has announced its strategic partnership with MoEngage, a renowned marketing automation and customer engagement platform.Currently, the social commerce brand caters to an audience inclined towards luxury items like cars, watches, jewelry, and even jets. Moving forward, Mazadak will branch out into more categories like NFTs and real estate to address different segments. MoEngage aims to help Mazadak in engaging with both segments.Ayman Alkhalili, the Marketing Director at Mazadak, expressed his optimism about the partnership, saying, "While we have been serving a specific segment of individuals and B2B clients, our vision is to broaden our horizons and provide diverse options for all. We are committed to addressing key challenges such as personalized communication and delivering the right message to the right audience based on their preferences. This is where we believe MoEngage can play a pivotal role."MoEngage will also help Mazadak in tracking the behavior of the customer. By gaining insights from different customers, the auction app will be able to create accurate segments, leading to better engagement and higher conversions.Following the integration phase, Mazadak is gearing up to implement the RFM method and other data analytics techniques to gain deeper insights into customer preferences.Regarding the seamless integration, Ayman Alkhalili, Marketing Director at Mazadak, remarked, "The transition to MoEngage has proceeded smoothly and systematically. We are well on track to complete the onboarding process by September."“We are stoked to be the proud partners of Mazadak. The brand has always kept a customer-centric approach and with the help of our partnership, we further plan to strengthen it”, said Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success at MoEngage.Mazadak joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Azadea, Jazeera Airways, Alsaif Gallery, Apparel Group, Airtel, Ola, Oyo, and Mashreq, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.

Veeam achieves International Common Criteria certification for cyber resilience

Veeam® Software, the leader in Data Protection and Ransomware Recovery, today announced the Veeam Data Platform has achieved Common Criteria certification from the National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) and listing on the NIAP Product Compliant List (PCL), signifying a significant step towards reinforcing data security and ensuring confidentiality, integrity and availability of sensitive and critical information. Common Criteria certification assures partners, customers, and governments of Veeam’s commitment to quality and risk mitigation, and validates alignment with the most stringent cyber security regulatory requirements. In turn, this provides proven competitive advantage, fosters trust, and reflects dedication to long-term viability. More than 450,000 enterprises around the world rely on Veeam - the #1 provider worldwide in the Data Replication & Protection software market - to ensure cyber resilience and rapid recovery from ransomware and cyber-attacks.Common Criteria is a gold standard in cybersecurity, a collaborative effort developed in partnership with numerous countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Singapore and the United States. This international endeavor combines the expertise of these nations to create a unified framework for evaluating the security attributes of IT products. It's a testament to global cooperation in the face of a common adversary: cyber threats.“State and government agencies are deploying Veeam technologies at record levels. As they continue to be a target for cyber incidents, which threaten national security, critical infrastructure, privacy, and citizens, agencies are turning to us for the most reliable, secure and proven solutions as the #1 trusted and preferred vendor,” said Anand Eswaran, CEO at Veeam. “Combatting cyber threats requires cross-industry partnership and the Common Criteria certification is a great example of how government bodies have come together to ensure technology meets the best standards to keep organizations safe. Veeam is dedicated to working alongside partners and alliances to innovate and create a united front against cyber threats and attacks. We are proud of the results of this rigorous testing and product evaluation, and that Veeam is a part of this global effort.”Attaining Common Criteria certification requires exhaustive testing, evaluation and validation. Each aspect of the product – from code lines to security mechanisms and operational functionalities – is meticulously examined to ensure alignment with exacting criteria. The demands of this certification process reflect the relentless efforts required to strengthen cyber resiliency as cyber-attacks and ransomware threats continue to accelerate.The Veeam Data Platform delivers more advanced data security, recovery, and hybrid cloud capabilities across the entire IT environment – Multi-Cloud, Virtual, Hybrid, Physical, SaaS (M365, Salesforce) and Kubernetes. Veeam Backup & Replication v12, the foundation for the Veeam Data Platform, provides best-in-class secure backup and fast reliable recovery from every cyber threat including ransomware, to keep business resilient and running. Through this platform approach, every environment however complex, can be secured and recovered rapidly when it counts most, defeating ransomware attacks and ensuring maximum efficiency and reliability for DoD networks. Veeam Data Platform Advanced Edition pairs the expansive backup and recovery features of Veeam Backup & Replication with powerful monitoring, analytics and compliance capabilities of Veeam ONE to provide users with intelligent monitoring and observability to identify and resolve any backup or recovery problems before they begin.

Snap to organise its global lens fest for AR developers

Snap has announced its Lens Fest Awards for AR developers. The event, to be live-streamed on November 9, 2023, will bring together creators, developers, and partners to celebrate augmented reality technology.This fest is an opportunity to bring together the vibrant Snap AR community of visionaries, innovators, and dreamers that are collaborating to push boundaries, redefine what’s possible with augmented reality, and build businesses along the way. The virtual sessions and networking will allow the global creator community to connect, learn and acknowledge best-in-class AR. Creatives can submit their lenses to compete with the world’s top AR creators at the Lens Fest Awards.The voting process will include judges from the Snap team who will bring their expert perspectives to select their favorite AR experiences this year.The categories include Breakthrough lens of the year, Snapchat lens of the year, Best of camera kit, and moonshot.

Mary Smiddy joins MSL Middle East as Communications Business Lead

MSL Middle East, a strategic communications agency and part of Publicis Groupe Middle East, has announced the appointment of Mary Smiddy as Business Lead at MSL Middle East. A senior communications leader with more than twenty-five years' experience in strategic consultancy, she has delivered high-impact communications strategies and campaigns representing multinational corporate, consumer & healthcare clients, throughout Europe, Asia and across the Middle East Region. In this role, Mary will be responsible for overseeing strategic client business, Publicis Groupe agency integration, and continued growth for MSL Middle East. Formerly, she was Senior Vice President at ASDA’A BCW Middle East, leading the regional Health & Wellness division."We are delighted to welcome Mary to the MSL Group. She is joining at a pivotal time, when earned media is growing in importance for the market and for Publicis Groupe. Mary’s regional and international experience will make her a go-to asset, complementing the Groupe’s ‘Power of One’ approach to integrated marketing and communications”, said MacLean Brodie, CEO, MSL Middle East .Among Mary’s notable career highlights are as the Global CEO of specialist communications agency, Tonic Life Communications, and with Weber Shandwick as Senior Vice President – Health & Wellness in Sydney and Singapore. Mary Smiddy, said: “I’m thrilled to join MSL at such an important time in its growth trajectory. The ‘Power of One’ approach encourages full agency integration within the Publicis Groupe, ultimately helping clients capitalize on the strengths of several channels as part of a holistic marketing & communications strategy.”

Keko Dubai set for transformation with new leadership

The creative agency Keko Dubai has named Patrick Pesch as Managing Director, and Alberto Rader as Executive Creative Director. As a result, the brand is poised for a fresh transformation under its new management team.By leveraging their collective expertise and creative vision, Keko aims to transform the way brands connect with audiences in the region.Launched in 2019, Keko Dubai is a creative agency that specialises in influencing modern affluent consumers with contagious creativity. The company is known for providing its clients growth solutions across the whole customer journey with a shared mission to bring the most compelling, engaging and relevant creativity into the world.Patrick Pesch has two decades of experience in international marketing and strategic management. Prior to joining Keko, Pesch was serving as Marketing Director of Porsche China and Ferrari Greater China. He was instrumental in developing the Chinese market for luxury sports car brands. His deep understanding of cultural nuances, consumer behaviours, and market dynamics has helped him develop effective strategies tailored to specific regions and target audiences.Joining as Executive Creative Director is Alberto Rader, who brings a wealth of experience and a forward-thinking approach to lead the creative team at Keko Dubai. Rader brings a vast amount of experience, having worked for top global clients such as Absolut, Porsche, Burberry, Converse, and Johnnie Walker, at various agencies in the role of Creative Director across Asia and Europe, where he most recently was leading the creative team of Paysafe.Brigitte Kemper, CEO, Keko Global, shared her excitement about the new Dubai team. She said: “Their exceptional leadership skills and unwavering commitment to excellence align perfectly with our global vision. With their guidance, Keko Dubai is poised to reach new heights and deliver exceptional results for our clients.”

Celebrate afternoon movie fun with Roxy Cinemas’ ‘After School Club’

Afternoons just got more fun! Roxy Cinemas invites young movie buffs to the new After School Club – an exciting after-school experience dedicated to kids and teens.  Playing the latest and greatest family, animation, and adventure movies, specially curated for kids of all ages, movie fans and their parents can watch their favorite characters come to life while enjoying UNLIMITED popcorn and a regular juice or soda for just AED 59.The After School Club starts right after school from Monday to Friday. For parents who prefer not to join in on the movie fun, can conveniently drop off their little ones at the ultimate after-school hangout spot.Available in Silver and Gold experience, the After School Club at Roxy Cinemas in Dubai Hills Mall, City Walk, The Beach, and Al Khawaneej Walk locations from 3:30pm to 5:30pm.Hop on board for an epic after-school adventure at Roxy Cinemas. It's non-stop fun, excitement and unlimited popcorn.This week’s line-up includes Gran Turismo, The Adventures of Jurassic Pet 2 and Cats in the Museum. Visit or via the Roxy Cinemas app to check out the latest movies playing.Follow the Roxy Cinema’s social media channels for the latest updates:Instagram: @TheROXYCinemasFacebook: @TheROXYCinemasBottom of FormTerms & ConditionsThe offer is valid from Mondays to Fridays onlyThe offer is valid for select movies from 3.30 to 5.30pmThe same price applies to the guardian – and yes, they are also eligible to get unlimited popcornNot available at Roxy Cinemas in BoxparkPopcorn can be refilled at the concession counters

Matific's EdTech Platform Embraced by 750+ UAE Schools for New Academic Year

As the new school year kicks off, Matific, a leading provider of interactive mathematics resources for students and a multiple award-winning global maths platform,  has observed a significant expansion and increasing impact with more than 750 schools across the UAE now integrating the platform into their educational programs. This development aligns seamlessly with the UAE government's digital education initiatives under the ‘We the UAE 2031’ vision, which outlines a 10-year development plan, including the establishment of an agile school system equipped with advanced educational technologies.The MENA region’s edtech industry has witnessed significant growth and innovation in recent years, with government initiatives focusing on enhancing education by leveraging technology — the industry is projected to be worth $7 billion by 2027. At the onset of the pandemic, the UAE government launched specialised edtech portals to support remote learning, successfully moving 1.2 million students online. Among MENAP countries, the UAE is the only country that has achieved a primary education level of over 60% for children, setting the perfect stage for edtech platforms like Matific.<img src='\136d570a7372381c06f7e243bcbf9dfb.png' class='content_image'>Key Highlights from Matific’s UAE data reports:Students have exhibited a substantial improvement in maths results during the academic year 2022-2023, especially in higher grades. Grade 6 students showed an impressive 38.7% improvement.Students achieved an average score of 3.6 out of 5 on the Matific platform, which is very close to the global average of 3.72. This highlights the adoption of edtech and a strong emphasis on education in the UAE has prepared its students to excel on the global stage.Of all maths activity tasks undertaken, UAE students had a completion rate of 69% compared to a global average of 64%. This is a positive sign, highlighting that students are diligent, motivated, and more engaged in their maths learning in the platform.A striking 41% of the learning time was immersed in Adventure Island, Matific's cutting-edge AI-driven personalized learning platform, where every student receives a tailored lesson plan. These statistics underscore the profound impact of personalised education, affirming that when educational journeys are uniquely designed for each child, the path to achievement is brilliantly illuminated.Matific's platform is available in 60 countries and supports 40+ languages, ensuring accessibility for a broad range of learners. This includes localisations in Arabic, to serve all curriculum-aligned mathematics activities in the UAE.<img src='\219b208913edb4ed396c04b59ee0b3ac.png' class='content_image'>Craig Shotland, CEO, Matific, commented: "The UAE's swift adaptation to technological advancements in education, especially in mathematics, is commendable. Matific's growth in the country, both in terms of adoption and the tangible improvement seen in student outcomes, highlights the potential of integrating innovative tools into the learning process. Harnessing gamified edtech platforms provides an engaging and effective pathway to enhance mathematics instruction, building a strong STEM foundation, which is estimated to cover 75% of jobs by 2050. Our primary aim remains to empower both educators and learners, and the positive feedback from the UAE is a significant milestone in that journey.”Aisling Grogan, Primary Maths Lead, Bateen World Academy - Aldar Education, commented: “We have just begun using Matific in our school, and it has been smooth sailing in the setup. The Matific Team has been extremely helpful in answering all of my questions and queries. The platform offers fun, interactive activities, and the children are eager to log in to complete school work. They love seeing the immediate feedback! As a teacher, it is extremely useful for tracking student engagement and progress. Matific caters to all learners needs, with enough support for lower abilities and challenge for higher abilities. It strengthens parental engagement as students can log in at home to complete homework assignments, and it is mapped to the IB curriculum. I would highly recommend it if you are looking for an inquiry-based programme.”Consistently evolving its offerings, Matific will soon be launching the powerful Admin Dashboard globally, which equips educators with a comprehensive view of the platform’s usage across the school. The feature provides essential data points, such as the total number of initiated activities, time spent on tasks, and the frequency of student and teacher logins. The tool also offers insights into each class's performance and identifies areas that require immediate attention, thus enabling quick and informed academic interventions.

Salesforce announces the new Einstein 1 platform

Dubai: Salesforce has announced the Einstein 1 Platform, which features major advancements for Salesforce Data Cloud and Einstein AI capabilities, all built on Salesforce’s underlying metadata framework. A trusted AI platform for customer companies, the Einstein 1 Platform gives companies the ability to safely connect any data to build AI-powered apps with low-code and deliver entirely new CRM experiences.“A company’s AI strategy is only as good as its data strategy,” said Parker Harris, Co-Founder and CTO, Salesforce. “We pioneered the metadata framework nearly 25 years ago to seamlessly bridge data across applications. It’s the connective tissue that fuels innovation. Now, with Data Cloud and Einstein AI native on the Einstein 1 Platform, companies can easily create AI-powered apps and workflows that supercharge productivity, reduce costs, and deliver amazing customer experiences.”Why it matters: Customer data is highly fragmented. On average, organizations use 1,061 different applications, yet only 29% of them are integrated. Enterprise data stacks have grown more complex, and prior computing revolutions – cloud, social, and mobile – have generated massive, siloed islands of customer data.Salesforce’s original metadata framework helps companies organize and understand data across Salesforce applications – the equivalent of having a common language so different applications built on the core platform can communicate with each other. It now creates a unified view of the data across an enterprise regardless of how that data is structured in disparate systems by mapping it to the Salesforce metadata framework.This allows organizations to customize every user experience and action their data using a variety of low-code platform services – including Einstein for AI predictions and content generation; Flow for automation; and Lightning for user interfaces. These customizations are instantly available to the rest of the organization’s core applications without having to write costly and brittle integration code.Additionally, Salesforce delivers automatic upgrades three times per year, and the metadata framework prevents any integrations, customizations, or security models from breaking. Organizations can easily add, extend, and build on top of Salesforce as the platform evolves.This allows organizations to customize every user experience and action their data using a variety of low-code platform services – including Einstein for AI predictions and content generation; Flow for automation; and Lightning for user interfaces. These customizations are instantly available to the rest of the organization’s core applications without having to write costly and brittle integration code.Additionally, Salesforce delivers automatic upgrades three times per year, and the metadata framework prevents any integrations, customizations, or security models from breaking. Organizations can easily add, extend, and build on top of Salesforce as the platform evolves.Einstein 1 Data Cloud Supports Big Data Scale and High Speed Automation to Power a New Wave of Data-Driven AI ApplicationsData Cloud – Salesforce’s real-time hyperscale data engine – unifies and harmonizes customer data, enterprise content, telemetry data, Slack conversations, and other structured and unstructured data to create a single view of the customer. The platform is already processing 30 trillion transactions per month, and connecting and unifying 100 billion records every day.With the new Data Cloud now natively integrated with the Einstein 1 Platform, companies can unlock siloed data in entirely new ways; create rich, unified customer profiles; and deliver entirely new CRM experiences. Data at Scale: The Einstein 1 Platform has expanded to support thousands of metadata-enabled objects per customer, each capable of having trillions of rows. In addition, Marketing Cloud and Commerce Cloud, consumer-scale technology stacks that joined Salesforce’s Customer 360 portfolio via acquisitions, have been re-engineered onto the Einstein 1 Platform.Automation at Scale: Now massive volumes of data can be brought into the Einstein 1 Platform from other systems and immediately made available as actionable Salesforce objects. Flows can be triggered by any change on any object at scale, whether it’s an event coming from an IOT device, a computed insight, or an AI prediction – up to 20,000 events per second – and can interact with any system in the enterprise, including legacy systems, through MuleSoft.Analytics at Scale: Salesforce offers a variety of insights and analytics solutions for different use cases — including Reports and Dashboards, Tableau, CRM Analytics, and Marketing Cloud Reports. With the Einstein 1 Platform’s common metadata schema and access model, all of these solutions can work on the same data at scale — providing rich insights for any use case.Salesforce also announced that every customer with Enterprise Edition or above can now get started with Data Cloud at no cost. Customers can started ingesting, harmonizing, and exploring their data with Data Cloud and Tableau to extend the power of their data across every line of business and jumpstart their AI journey.Einstein Delivers a Generative AI-powered Conversational Assistant – Baked Seamlessly Into the Flow of Work To Drive Significant Productivity Gains Salesforce’s next generation of Einstein brings a conversational AI assistant to every CRM application and customer experience, including:Einstein Copilot: A new and trusted out-of-the-box conversational AI assistant built into the user experience of every Salesforce application. Einstein Copilot will drive productivity by assisting users within their flow of work, enabling them to ask questions in natural language, and receive relevant and trustworthy answers that are grounded in secure proprietary company data from Data Cloud. In addition, Einstein Copilot proactively takes actions and offers additional options beyond the user’s query – such as providing a recommended action plan after a sales call, checking a consumer’s order status, or changing the shipping date. Einstein Copilot Studio: An easy new way for companies to build an entirely new generation of AI-powered apps with custom prompts, skills, and AI models to close sales deals faster, streamline customer service, auto-create websites based on personalized browsing history, or turn natural language prompts into code, as well as hundreds of other business tasks. Einstein Copilot Studio also provides configurability to make Einstein Copilot available for use across consumer-facing channels like websites to power real-time chat, or integrate with messaging platforms like Slack, WhatsApp, or SMS.Salesforce also announced that every customer with Enterprise Edition or above can now get started with Data Cloud at no cost. Customers can started ingesting, harmonizing, and exploring their data with Data Cloud and Tableau to extend the power of their data across every line of business and jumpstart their AI journey.Einstein Delivers a Generative AI-powered Conversational Assistant – Baked Seamlessly Into the Flow of Work To Drive Significant Productivity Gains Salesforce’s next generation of Einstein brings a conversational AI assistant to every CRM application and customer experience, including:Einstein Copilot: A new and trusted out-of-the-box conversational AI assistant built into the user experience of every Salesforce application. Einstein Copilot will drive productivity by assisting users within their flow of work, enabling them to ask questions in natural language, and receive relevant and trustworthy answers that are grounded in secure proprietary company data from Data Cloud. In addition, Einstein Copilot proactively takes actions and offers additional options beyond the user’s query – such as providing a recommended action plan after a sales call, checking a consumer’s order status, or changing the shipping date. Einstein Copilot Studio: An easy new way for companies to build an entirely new generation of AI-powered apps with custom prompts, skills, and AI models to close sales deals faster, streamline customer service, auto-create websites based on personalized browsing history, or turn natural language prompts into code, as well as hundreds of other business tasks. Einstein Copilot Studio also provides configurability to make Einstein Copilot available for use across consumer-facing channels like websites to power real-time chat, or integrate with messaging platforms like Slack, WhatsApp, or SMS.

Top US authors sue OpenAI over ChatGPT training

A group of prominent authors has taken OpenAI to court in federal court in Manhattan, accusing the company of unlawfully utilizing their literary works to train its widely popular AI conversational model ChatGPT.The group comprises writers such as John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, George Saunders, Jonathan Franzen, and George RR Martin, the writer of "Game of Thrones."  This class-action lawsuit, filed by the Authors Guild on Tuesday, is the latest in a series of similar suits filed by writers, visual artists, and source code owners against providers of generative AI technologies. In addition to the Microsoft-backed OpenAI, there are parallel lawsuits in progress against Meta Platforms and Stability AI, centered around the data utilized for training their respective AI systems.OpenAI and its defenders of AI argue that their utilization of data gleaned from the treasure-trove of the internet falls under the gambit of fair use, as per the US copyright law.The lawsuit alleges that the datasets deployed by OpenAI to train its large language model in response to human prompts comprised of text from the authors' books which may have been taken from online "pirate" book sources.An OpenAI spokesperson stated that it 'respects' authors' rights and is having productive conversations "with many creators around the world, including the Authors Guild."

Fashion and lifestyle conference Hia Hub returns for its third edition

The highly anticipated Hia Hub is back for its third edition from 3-7 November 2023, in Riyadh’s JAX District. Hia Hub is set to bring together some of the world’s most celebrated industry pioneers, artists, experts, and brands, all converging to showcase the latest trends in fashion, beauty, art, design, and luxury. As the region’s largest fashion and lifestyle conference, Hia Hub aims to inspire the upcoming generation of fashion and beauty entrepreneurs through engaging discussions, masterclasses, workshops, interactive exhibitions, and live performances. Building on the notable success of Hia’s inaugural event in 2021, Hia Hub’s second edition came in 2022 as a flagship conference in the region. It featured a lineup of 13 talks and panels along with three masterclasses led by renowned leaders in fashion and beauty such as Image Architect Law Roach, Celebrity Makeup Artist Mary Phillips, Supermodel and Actress Amber Valetta, Fashion Designer Zac Posen, and Entrepreneur and Digital Influencer Karen Wazen. In addition, the event boasted nine workshops, four exhibits, and forged 34 partnerships with major international brands like Piaget, Richard Mille, Michael Kors, Threads, Shiseido, Swarovski, and Tanagra. Bigger and bolder, the third edition of Hia Hub will pay tribute to the contributions the Arab community has made to the world of fashion, art, and design. Alongside the planned interactive exhibitions, retail opportunities and entertainment, including live musical performances, Hia Hub is joining forces with the Saudi Fashion Commission’s annual event, Fashion Futures, to expand the conferences programming and deepen collaboration. Established in 2019, Fashion Futures is a leading platform for learning, facilitating discussions and fostering global exchange within Saudi Arabia’s fast-growing fashion ecosystem. In 2022, the event gathered fashion enthusiasts to engage in insightful conversations on entrepreneurship, innovation, sustainability, diversity and culture. This year, Fashion Futures programme will focus on three main themes, including owning your story, revolutionizing the industry, and fusing purpose with creativity. It will also host additional retail activations by local Saudi brands and feature pop-up events around Riyadh. More details to come in the upcoming months. Mike Fairburn, Managing Director of SRMGx, the creators and organizers of Hia Hub and the experiential arm of SRMG, said: “Hia Hub is back for its third edition. It’s bigger and bolder this year, bringing together some of the regional and global fashion industry’s most accomplished business leaders, designers, celebrities, and icons, alongside leading fashion houses and brands. It is a truly unique 5-day event – a dynamic programme of seminars, talks, workshops, masterclasses, and live performances – that blends the latest trends and perspectives in fashion, art, design, music and contemporary culture. At SRMGx, our mission is to foster deeper connections with audiences and cultures by creating impactful and cutting-edge live experiences. We connect brands with new audiences through the creation of unique live and experiential formats, such as Hia Hub - an original conference designed and programmed around our iconic brand, Hia Magazine.”Burak Çakmak, CEO of the Fashion Commission, said: “With the return of Fashion Futures, we are taking another step towards driving the development of Saudi’s fast-emerging fashion industry, unlocking opportunities and supporting our most promising creative talents. We look forward to welcoming some of the best and brightest minds to join us at Hia Hub this November.”Guests can register at to apply for early bird tickets and be the first to learn about workshops, masterclasses, and panels.This year, Hia Hub will introduce a range of tailored ticketing options, including an all-access VIP ticket, which will provide guests with exclusive backstage access and priority admission to all masterclasses, as well as general admission tickets and individual day passes.

Dandelion unveils an exclusive new meeting ground for UAE’s opinion leaders

Dandelion International Diplomatic Business Club is making its presence felt in Dubai by opening its UAE chapter in the city. The grand opening will take place in an invitees-only event to be held at Belcanto Restaurant at Dubai Opera on September 21, 2023.A closed gathering for about 120 selected invitees, the opening ceremony is expected to be attended by a number of high-profile guests including consuls, ambassadors, politicians, investors, entrepreneurs and innovation leaders from different countries. The countries of origin of this elite group of guests ranges from the UAE, Oman, Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Morocco, Egypt to Singapore, India, Nigeria, Cameroon and many more.Dandelion is a highly selective platform that seeks to spark innovation and promote greater cooperation in the global business community. Dandelion members are either invited by the Club’s management or recommended by existing members, and enjoy a host of exclusive services geared towards international business development, starting from business and investment consulting to legal and accounting services, banking and cryptocurrency services to a startup incubator and even an insurance fund to cover business risks.In the words of Dr. Dmitry Zaytsev, the Founder and the moving spirit of the Club, “Dandelion is all about big ideas. It is a carefully designed, no-nonsense meeting ground for the best minds in business.”Dandelion Co-founder and reputed author Sergey Dvoryanov added, “There’s a reason we call ourselves Dandelion: we want to birth ideas that will spread all over and transform the world.”The Club expects to cover 50 countries in the near term, and its future initiatives include a Spiritual Platform for opinion leaders, a global automotive rally and an investment platform.

Miral launches robust group CSR strategy with over 80 initiatives

Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences, today announced the launch of its robust Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy for the group, focused on creating positive impact across society. Inspired by its long-standing commitment to the people and communities it serves, the strategy will launch and implement over 80 economic, social and environment initiatives and programmes over the next two years, across the business and all the Group’s subsidiaries - Miral Experiences, Miral Destinations, Yas Asset Management.Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, Group CEO, Miral, commented: “Miral has always been committed to creating world-leading experiences that not only accelerate the realization of the Emirate’s tourism growth and contribution to the industry’s ecosystem, but also to have a positive impact on the communities in which we operate. With the launch of this new group strategy and framework, we are underpinning our commitment, making it integral to how we operate and ensuring that we are taking crucial action across our entire business, to benefit three key groups – people, community, and the environment – helping to achieve our long-term goal of sustainable development. By aligning our focus areas with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we can help establish and promote Abu Dhabi’s leading position as a global destination in eco-tourism and sustainable tourism.”In the last few years CSR has seen increasing relevance to businesses and stakeholders across the world. In the UAE, the CSR UAE Fund was formed in 2018 with the vision to establish the UAE as a global leader in Corporate Social Responsibility. As such, Miral has developed its group strategy to focus on contributing towards society and the environment through innovative and sustainable community interventions, closely aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and overseen by a dedicated steering committee. Over the next two years, Miral Group will aim to become a more socially responsible organization by promoting, supporting, and implementing more than 80 strategic and transformative initiatives for the communities in the areas it operates, underpinned by robust measurement mechanisms for continuous improvement.The group strategy is devised under eight key pillars which directly align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals – Skill Development & Livelihood, Education, Social Welfare, Health & Wellness, Promotion of Sports, Arts, Culture & Tourism, Environment and Animal Welfare. These pillars are also aligned with Miral Group’s brand pillars which it launched along with its new visual identity in October last year – people, the importance of the commitment and passion of Miral’s employees to bring to life its ideas and how Miral is dedicated to their development; community, how Miral’s experiences and destinations positively impact the communities and cultures it serves; and environment, reflecting how Miral considers the environmental impact of its destinations and experiences and balances growth with a sustainable future.Miral Group will continue to announce and launch new initiatives under its group CSR Strategy over the coming months as well as key progress milestones. Guided by its ambition to be a customer-centric, progressive, and efficient organisation, beyond its group CSR commitments Miral’s strategy for the next five years will be fuelled by its focus on continuing to grow and develop Yas Island as a successful destination as well as delivering new leisure and entertainment destinations and ventures that generate sustainable value, while contributing to the diversification of Abu Dhabi’s economy.

Amazon unveils next generation Echo Show 8

Amazon today introduced a new Echo Device designed for even more personalized, proactive and intuitive Alexa experiences at home with the next-generation Echo Show 8. Dr. Raf Fatani, Regional General Manager, Alexa, Amazon MENA, said: “We are thrilled to bring the latest Echo Show 8 to our customers in the region, a true upgrade on previous generations. The improved processor and enhanced audio with more powerful cameras will make for better and clearer video interactions. The Adaptive Content feature adjusts on-screen content based on proximity to the device – a real gamechanger that makes it even more easy to seamlessly integrate the new Echo Show 8 into our customers’ daily lifestyle.”Echo Show 8—New Design, Spatial Audio, and built-in smart home hub The new Echo Show 8 has been upgraded inside and out. A new industrial design, includes with edge-to-edge glass and soft curvatures, while an improved processor delivers even faster display responses than the previous generation. An enhanced audio experience provides improved clarity and bass, with room adaptation technology and spatial audio processing for optimal room-filling sound. Video calls are even better with a centered 13-megapixel camera, plus an enhanced audio pipeline which minimizes background noise from around the home. Additionally, a built-in smart home hub includes support for Zigbee, Sidewalk, Thread, Bluetooth, and Matter, enabling easy control of compatible lights, locks, and sensors. All-new home screen experience with Adaptive ContentEcho Show 8 features Adaptive Content—a new home screen experience that uses on-device computer vision technology to adjust on-screen content based on a customer’s proximity to the device. With this experience, a customer positioned across the room will see content that is easily viewed from a distance—such as a simplified news headline or a large clock display—with the screen automatically transitioning to a more detailed view as they approach the device. If the customer is enrolled in visual ID, the content will also be personalized to them, highlighting things like a recent playlist. Adaptive Content will be available on Echo Show 8 (2nd and 3rd generation) next month and roll out to other Echo Show devices next year.Built with Privacy in MindEcho devices are designed with customer privacy in mind and include multiple layers of privacy controls. Echo devices include built-in camera shutters and a microphone on/off button. Customers have full control over their voice recordings and can view, hear, or delete them at any time.

Safexpay ventures into Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Qatar

Mumbai: Safexpay, a leading digital payments company, announces the expansion of its tailored suite of payment solutions in three key GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman to cater to the unique needs of businesses and consumers in the region. This strategic move represents a significant step forward in Safexpay's mission to reshape the future of payments, solutions and foster innovation in these dynamic Middle Eastern markets.The product offerings in these nations encompass a comprehensive range of solutions designed to cater to specific market requirements. . These include, a White Labelled Payment aggregation, Payouts solutions, contactless payments like Facial Recognition-Based Payments, and Single-Click Checkout features viz. Aasaan.To support its expansion into the GCC region, Safexpay has strategically partnered with prominent organisations in the UAE, such as Magnati, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Paynest, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Rakbank and Network International. These partnerships are instrumental in enabling Safexpay to on-board merchants seamlessly and provide tailor-made solutions for their businesses, ensuring that their expertise and value proposition reach the right players in the market.Safexpay is committed to investing approximately 10 million USD in the GCC region to ensure the success of its operations and provide world-class payment solutions. The company anticipates remarkable growth in the GCC region, with expectations of achieving an annual growth rate of 80-100% by 2025."Our focus has always been on creating a global network effect and contributing to the fintech and techfin space by innovative solutions. The decision to target Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman was a natural progression for Safexpay. The GCC countries, including the UAE, Qatar, Oman, and KSA, are witnessing exponential growth in contactless payments and are actively exploring innovative ways to serve consumers and businesses. This presents a significant opportunity for Safexpay to make a meaningful impact. We aim to on-board around 5000 merchants over the next 2-3 years, further cementing its presence in these markets, our value proposition is offering omnichannel platform for merchants, which is first of its kind in GCC markets" stated Ravi Gupta, Founder and CEO at Safexpay.With an estimated count of 4 million Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the substantial prospective customer market extends across Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE. Safexpay envisions becoming the preferred payment service provider for customised solutions in the fintech space within the region. It embodies the “India to the world” sentiment with commitment to establishing an indelible mark in the international fintech space by catering to the unique needs of businesses and consumers in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman. Moreover, Safexpay has set its sights on further expansion into neighbouring markets once its presence is well-established in the GCC region. This expansion plan aligns with the company's strategy of creating a strong foothold before broadening its reach.

UAE small businesses eye global expansion as key to growth, Visa study finds

Visa (NYSE: V) today revealed findings from the seventh edition of its Global Back to Business Study, which found that a majority of surveyed small and micro businesses (SMBs) plan to prioritize cross-border sales as they look to scale to new geographies. Additionally, the survey found that a growing number of consumers are embracing cashless transactions, with nearly 75% of surveyed shoppers predicting they will use digital payments more frequently this year.“It used to be that only big businesses could scale to access customers across the country or around the world, but today’s small business owner can be virtually borderless,” said Dr. Saeeda Jaffar, Visa’s SVP and Group Country Manager for GCC. “At Visa, we’re seeing the small business mindset shift from survival mode to growth mode, as SMBs harness the power of digital payments to improve efficiencies, reach new audiences and simply thrive in today’s increasingly digital world.”Looking beyond pandemic-era challenges to the full arc of opportunities ahead, Visa’s Global Back to Business Study surveyed small business owners and consumers in ten markets, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and United States (US). Key insights include:The world is their marketplace. Ninety-three percent of surveyed business owners in the UAE cited expanding into new geographies as a focus for growth (compared to 79% globally). A high number (83% vs. 72% globally) of consumers said they already feel comfortable buying across borders.Leaving paper behind. While 100% (vs. 95% globally) of small business owners surveyed planned to be cashless “someday,” 42% (vs. 51% globally) planned to make that shift in the next two years. Consumers lead this shift, with 51% (vs. 55% globally) of those surveyed predicting they will use digital payments more in the coming year.Shopping small. Seventy percent of consumers (vs. 49% globally) intended to shop more at local businesses this year as they look to support the local economy (54%).Shopping sustainable. An overwhelming 92% of UAE shoppers say a business’s sustainability practices have at least somewhat of an impact on their decision to purchase from them (compared to 68% globally). Nearly all (96%) are willing to pay more for products or services to ensure they are sustainable (vs. 77% globally).The To Do list. Business owners cited offering new products or services (44%), investing more in marketing (42%), and increasing social media presence (41%) as the top opportunities to reach new customers, with 37% eyeing accepting new forms of payment as a crucial area that can help them improve their business.Powering SMB Growth Globally, Year-RoundSmall businesses are anything but small to Visa. Through a variety of localized programs and solutions, Visa enables small business owners to meet the rapidly changing demands of global commerce and consumer needs. Visa offers numerous payment services designed to help SMBs pay and get paid, including Visa Business credit and debit cards through associated financial institutions, business and payment management tools, fraud and security services, among many other solutions. Visa also provides financial education and business skills training, including Practical Business Skills globally, in addition to initiatives like She’s Next.In 2020, Visa Foundation announced a five-year, $200 million strategic commitment to support the establishment and growth of thriving small and micro businesses with a focus on women entrepreneurs. Through its investments and grant-making activity, Visa Foundation partners with organizations that provide catalytic capital, capacity building and support services. Additionally, Visa Foundation uses capital as a tool to enable the flow of investment capital to gender diverse SMBs.Additional resources for small and micro businesses can be found on the Visa Small Business Hub.Methodology: Visa Global Back to Business StudyVisa’s Global Back to Business Study was conducted by Wakefield Research in March/April 2023 and surveyed 2,250 small business owners with 100 employees or fewer in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, UAE, and the US. The consumer section surveyed 1,000 adults ages 18+ in the US, and 500 adults ages 18+ in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and UAE.

Anchanto unveils growth plans to sustain Middle East's e-commerce appetite

 E-commerce and logistics SaaS company Anchanto confirmed its successful expansion in the Middle East with the successive signing of local retail and logistics leaders Jeebly, Between, and Digitalstores. With this, Anchanto is set to become one of the leading providers of e-commerce and logistics solutions in the region, less than 18 months after its launch.Vaibhav Dabhade, Co-Founder and CEO of Anchanto, said: “The Middle East’s e-commerce journey is at a turning point. On the logistics side, we are witnessing a wave of traditional logistics companies and last mile carriers turning towards e-commerce fulfilment services. On the retail front, consumers are showing a strong appetite for offline and online shopping, leading distributors to implement strong Omnichannel strategies." He added that "both situations require businesses to accelerate the digitization of their operations by implementing purpose-built solutions that are agile, scalable, and stable enough to fuel their growth. This is where Anchanto comes in and finds success”.Anchanto’s expansion relies on three important pillars that the company plans on strengthening. First, with the hiring and growth of a local team, the SaaS company benefits from a unique proximity with its customers and can offer them close post-sales support and local expertise, two essential advantages considering the strategic importance of its clients’ projects. Second, the development of local alliances. After collaborating with local consulting companies and associations, Anchanto will be launching new strategic partnerships. Finally, investing into the connectivity of its products to the local sales channels and carriers, a key component and differentiator of Anchanto’s offering.Abdalla Alshamsi, CEO at Digitalstores said "Anchanto's seamless and swift integrations with our current systems, along with their established carrier and channel connections, played a pivotal role in our decision-making process. As our company, Digitalstores, experiences rapid growth and evolving requirements, the international experience, flexibility, and regional UAE presence of Anchanto's teams also offer us the assurance to advance our operations effectively.”Anchanto's future expansion plans include growing the Dubai team and expanding to neighboring countries in the Middle East including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.According to Abhimanyu Kashikar, Anchanto COO & Co-Founder, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the obvious next step of our expansion into the Middle East. Word of the successful signing and onboarding of household names in the UAE travelled to the KSA and allowed us to fast-track the signing of our first clients there. Every third contract we sign in the region, is from KSA. We are now doubling down our product development and hiring efforts to better serve this market and accompany its spectacular e-commerce growth”.

We aim to make metaverse technology accessible to all: Shaffra’s Alfred Manasseh

“Our goal is to democratize metaverse creation, similar to how platforms like WordPress simplified website development. We plan to support the gaming ecosystem and leverage AI tools for various applications. Ultimately, we aim to make metaverse technology accessible to all users, including SMEs, and expand our reach beyond the MENA region,” says Alfred Manasseh, Co-Founder and Chief Metaverse & Operating Officer of Shaffra, the first company in the MENA region offering Metaverse-as-a-Service, enabling companies to have metaverse strategies and presence. Shaffra provides its technology to organisations to be able to build their own metaverses and to empower businesses in various verticals. In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Alfred Manasseh shares insights into the company's mission to democratize metaverse technology, its unique position in the MENA region, and its vision for the future of the metaverse. From pioneering metaverse-as-a-service to transforming industries, Shaffra is at the forefront of reshaping how we interact with the digital world. Excerpts:Can you provide an overall idea about Shaffra’s metaverse-as-service offering, and how it differentiates itself in the MENA region? How receptive is the MENA region when it comes to the adoption of metaverse?Initially when we were at the ideation phase of our startup, Shaffra, our project goals were completely different. We were about to launch a crypto exchange geared for businesses, and that's where the name Shaffra comes from. In colloquial Arabic here in the region, it means code or crypto.Now, when we initially set out to launch our project, our primary goal was to develop a unique business model that would harness global talent. To achieve this, we envisioned running our operations entirely in a virtual environment. However, as we delved into the available options for making our operations completely virtual, we couldn't find anything that fully met our expectations. It was at this point that we made a crucial decision: let's create our own solution. With three co-founders on board, one of whom boasts technical expertise gained from working at Nintendo and developing gaming engines, as well as experience in handling large web data applications, we embarked on building our virtual world or proof of concept (POC), whichever term you prefer. During this process, we recognized that the potential for growth in the metaverse within our region far exceeded that of the crypto exchange industry.Can you name some of your major clients in the region?When we started, we were fortunate to participate in a challenge in Abu Dhabi, which led to our first client, Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism. I can't disclose specific projects, but we're working on about three to four different initiatives for them, scheduled to launch in January 2024. These projects cover areas such as employee interactions, resident interactions, marketing, and tourism. Another client we're currently working with is Omantel in Oman, a telecom company. Their initial focus is on enhancing customer service experiences. We're also in discussions with various banks, telecom companies, and government departments, although I can't provide details at this time.What industries or sectors do you see benefiting the most from Shaffra's metaverse solutions and what specific challenges do they face that your technology aims to address?The primary sector we target is the service aspect of the metaverse. For instance, our work with Omantel transforms how telecom companies serve customers. This concept can extend to police departments, where residents interact with law enforcement, or banks, where customers engage and learn in novel ways. We aim to enhance digital experiences and interactions, making them more engaging and dynamic compared to traditional websites. As for challenges, adoption remains a hurdle, but by working closely with corporations and governments, we aim to create experiences that benefit both organisations and users. We believe the metaverse is the future of the Internet, offering enhanced access to information and efficient interactions.How does Shaffra leverage blockchain technology to ensure the security and integrity of virtual assets within the metaverse?While blockchain can be part of the metaverse, it's not a requirement. We can use blockchain to facilitate transactions and experiences, and we are blockchain-agnostic. However, direct integration with blockchain systems can limit metaverse adoption since not everyone is familiar with crypto wallets like MetaMask. We believe in blockchain's potential but acknowledge that it can currently hinder widespread metaverse adoption. We prioritize accessibility for all users, including those who may not be well-versed in blockchain technology.Could you share some success stories or case studies where Shaffra solutions have had a transformative impact on organisations in various verticals?Certainly, one of our ongoing projects is with a telecom company in Oman. By transitioning their physical branches to virtual ones, we aim to save them significant overhead costs. Additionally, we're implementing AI-driven customer service tools, making the customer service journey seamless and efficient. We can integrate with various tools and APIs to personalize interactions based on customer data. This approach not only reduces costs but also boosts customer satisfaction and loyalty.What trends do you foresee in the adoption and development of metaverse technology in the MENA region and globally?We believe the metaverse is the next evolution of the Internet. Just as websites evolved from static pages to dynamic platforms, the metaverse will transform how we interact with digital content. With remote work, accessibility, and changing social behaviours, the metaverse is poised to become integral to our lives. As technologies like VR, AR, and AI continue to advance, the metaverse will offer efficient and engaging digital experiences.How does Shaffra envision the future of metaverse interactions and experiences? And what role do you see your company playing in shaping this future?We anticipate multiple metaverses coexisting rather than a single dominant one. Companies and organisations will build their own metaverse experiences. Standardization in protocols, 3D standards, and AI will guide metaverse development. Shaffra aims to make this technology accessible, initially to large corporations and governments, and eventually to SMEs and the general population. We see ourselves as pioneers in shaping the metaverse's backbone and infrastructure, creating a framework for widespread adoption.Some say that the metaverse was hyped beyond its actual worth, leading to skepticism about its long-term viability. What is your perspective on this criticism, and where do you see the metaverse heading in the future?Hype often surrounds new technologies, but early applications may not fully reveal their potential. Similar skepticism existed during the early days of websites. Over time, the metaverse will evolve and become an integral part of our digital lives. With younger generations growing up in virtual environments, their expectations for engagement and interaction differ from static websites. The metaverse represents a natural progression of the Internet and social behaviours, and we believe it is here to stay.What is your vision for Shaffra, and where do you see yourself two years from now? Please elaborate on your expansion plans in the days ahead?Our vision involves a multi-phased roadmap. In the initial phases, we focus on onboarding large corporations and governments in the MENA region. We aim to create an ecosystem around these clients and simplify the journey for SMEs to join and create their own metaverse experiences. Our goal is to democratize metaverse creation, similar to how platforms like WordPress simplified website development. We plan to support the gaming ecosystem and leverage AI tools for various applications. Ultimately, we aim to make metaverse technology accessible to all users, including SMEs, and expand our reach beyond the MENA region. We envision a future where Shaffra plays a pivotal role in shaping metaverse development and adoption.

AW Rostamani Group becomes official Royal Enfield distributor in UAE

Royal Enfield, global leader in the midsize motorcycle segment (250cc - 750cc), today announced plans to further strengthen its presence in the Middle East and Africa region with the appointment of AW Rostamani Group as its official distribution partner for the UAE region. With the newly formed alliance Royal Enfield will further widen its presence in the UAE. AW Rostamani Group today inaugurated its first Royal Enfield store at Umm Suqeim St. Dubai.Speaking about the partnership with AW Rostamani Group, Yadvinder Singh Guleria, CCO of Royal Enfield, said, “We have been focused on growing the midsize motorcycle segment in the middle eastern markets for almost a decade now. In a bid to extend the Royal Enfield pure motorcycling experience to the riding community in UAE, we are excited about our strategic partnership with AW Rostamani who bring a wealth of experience and a strong presence in the market. With this new alliance, customers in the UAE can look forward to easier access to our wide portfolio of exciting motorcycles. This collaboration represents a significant step in our growth strategy, and we are excited about the opportunities it will bring to our valued customers.”Located in Umm Suqeim St. Dubai, the newly inaugurated store will have iconic Royal Enfield motorcycles including the Super Meteor 650, Hunter 350, Scram 411, Classic, Meteor, Interceptor, Continental GT, and the Himalayan. The store will also have the complete range of Royal Enfield apparel and accessories. A dedicated service centre has also been set up for Royal Enfield customers in Al Quoz to ensure that customers receive seamless after sales service experience. To cater to the evolving demands of the riding community in the region, the company plans to set up additional branches in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the coming months.Michel Ayat, CEO of AW Rostamani Automotive, said: “We were pleased to forge a partnership with Royal Enfield, a venerable motorcycle manufacturer with an illustrious legacy. The demand for bikes in the UAE is on a steady rise, and we remain steadfast in our belief that this alliance profoundly caters to and elevates the aspirations of the burgeoning community of motorcycle enthusiasts nationwide.”Demand for Royal Enfield motorcycles across the UAE region continues to rise as the brand establishes itself as global leader in the midsize motorcycle sector (250cc-750cc), exponential growth in Royal Enfield’s International markets has seen production increase to 832,179 motorcycles in FY 2023 and registered motorcycle sales at 834,895 units (standalone), up by 38.4% from 602,268 (standalone) in FY 22.Delivering the brand philosophy of ‘Pure Motorcycling’ in every aspect of ownership experience, Royal Enfield’s showroom in the city intends to create a robust ecosystem comprising of highly differentiated retail experience, aftermarket capabilities, rides and community events and other adjacencies that bring to life the heritage and world of Royal Enfield.

Truecaller Reveals New Brand Identity and Enhanced AI Fraud Prevention Features

Truecaller today announced a corporate rebranding and launch of a brand new app icon that will be instantly recognisable on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. The timing of the new brand identity aligns with a significant transformation taking place in the digital space. At the heart of this rebranding is Truecaller’s renewed sense of purpose, energy, and enthusiasm.Commenting on the announcement, Alan Mamedi, Co-founder and CEO, Truecaller said, “We are excited to unveil our new brand identity and logo. It signifies our continued commitment to our users and our focus to constantly evolve and improve, every day.”“Our mission, to protect communication for all, is what guides us to develop new anti-fraud solutions like Search Context and engineer improvements to improve user privacy. ”He added.As part of this refreshed identity, Truecaller users also get a powerful new anti-fraud feature called Search Context, as a part of the Truecaller AI Identity engine. While looking at the search results for any number, Truecaller users will be instantly notified if the name for the number has been recently changed or is being changed frequently. The app also classifies this contextual message into three colour categories: blue, for a neutral change, yellow, which could be potentially suspicious if the name has changed more than 3 times in the past 7 days and finally red, indicating multiple and frequent name changes which are highly indicative of fraudulent and scammer activity. This message will be shown to all Truecaller users on all search results across Android, iPhone and Truecaller web.Truecaller introduces new Anti Fraud Feature – Search ContextThe new branding identity is orchestrated by leading global brand consultancy, Interbrand and it will be rolled out in Egypt over the coming weeks. To see the new app icon and changes, users need to update to app version 13.34 or newer on Android and version 12.58 or newer on iOS. Editor’s note: Over the past 14 years, Truecaller has cemented its status as the market leader in call identification solutions. There is a global community of trust that enriches communication for a staggering 356 million users across the globe. This growth reflects the increasing recognition of Truecaller’s initiatives and hardwork in addressing the most pressing issues when it comes to proliferation in global scam and frauds of all kinds.

Prince relaunches in the UAE with Leader Sport partnership

Prince, a global racquet sports and lifestyle brand, today announced its return to the UAE market through a strategic partnership with Leader Sport, the leading sports distributor across the Middle East and North Africa region. Leader Sport will distribute, and manufacture Prince branded products throughout 15 countries across MENA. The partnership marks a significant milestone for Prince as it seeks to establish its presence and deliver premium products to racquet sport enthusiasts in the UAE. As part of its re-entry into the market, Prince is launching an assortment of products, including racquets for Tennis, Padel, Squash and Badminton, as well as Court performance products and accessories. These products will be made available at select Leader Stores, and Healthy Sport locations across the UAE. The new Prince collection caters to the growing demand for racquet sports equipment in the UAE, providing athletes and enthusiasts with top-of-the-line products designed to elevate their performance on the court. Racquet sports are amongst the fastest-growing sports in the world and the UAE continues to invest in state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure to promote the sport, boasting numerous world-class courts that host prestigious international tournaments like the Dubai Tennis Championships and World Super Series. In addition to the collection, Prince has signed an exclusive sponsorship agreement with leading tennis and padel club in the UAE , Hubb Sports Club at Dubai Silicon Oasis.

Toby’s Estate Unveils MENA Region’s 1st Fully Digital Contactless Coffee Shop

Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters, a specialty coffee concept from Australia that is operated by the Pinnacle Group in the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC), announced the inauguration of its first fully digitized and contactless coffee shop, making it the first such specialty coffee shop in the Middle East and North Africa region.Located where Toby’s Estate Coffee Roasters first started in the GCC in 2016, specifically in the Mubarak Al Kabeer Street in the Sharq area of Kuwait City, the contactless shop enables flexible customization whereby customers easily choose their preferred coffee drink, add-ons and food items, while baristas work behind the scenes to prepare the order, ensuring the brand’s commitment to exceptional quality before delivering through a dedicated window a few moments later. Customers can place their orders through the newly launched Toby’s Estate mobile app which allows them to conveniently pre-order and pick up from their order at the contactless shop or any closest Toby’s Estate location, or by simply using the virtual screen at the contactless shop.Speaking of the new concept, Tareq Alshaikh, Chief Executive Officer of Pinnacle Group, said: “Today, we’re digitizing the coffee experience as part of our commitment to making your highest quality, made-to-order coffee convenient, all thanks to our proprietary mobile app and the strategically located contactless shop at the intersection of the financial district. Thousands of employees working nearby can now enjoy their coffee break on a typical fast-paced day. We look forward to expanding this new concept within Kuwait and the GCC as well.“Toby’s Estate has, without a doubt, become synonymous with an authentic specialty coffee experience with a unique design flair in the GCC area. Offering something to suit every taste bud while providing a holistic quality experience: from bean sourcing, packaging and shipping to the cup and beyond.”The shop was redesigned to complement the purpose of the new service model and with the architectural design that Toby’s Estate has come to be known for. The brand’s architectural style features a harmonious and cohesive aesthetic, using natural materials in neutral colors, while incorporating greenery and specific touches that speak to the local community and culture. In addition to a fast, contactless service, customers can also enjoy their coffee outdoors during the cooler months.Since the Kuwait-based Pinnacle Group signed the franchise agreement with Toby’s Estate, the Group has opened 12 locations in Kuwait in addition to operating two cloud kitchens and a coffee truck for catering, and has expanded its reach to two other shops in Dubai, two in Saudi Arabia and one in Qatar.Founded by three visionary entrepreneurs hailing from Kuwait, the Group maintains the same forward-thinking vision in growing the brand by staying true to its commitment to product excellence, ethical sourcing, and operational finesse. The brand believes in its responsibility to ensure that its trade has a positive impact on everyone involved, from the producer to the customer.Toby’s Estate makes available its selection of specialty coffee, brewing equipment, merchandise and more, for customers to shop and enjoy the unique flavors and ambiance of the brand in the comfort of their own homes.??????

BackLite Media and Place Exchange Collaborate for Programmatic OOH Advancements

BackLite Media, the leading digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced a partnership with Place Exchange, the leading SSP for programmatic out-of-home (OOH) media, to accelerate the programmatic transformation of DOOH in the UAE and increase opportunities for DOOH to be included in omnichannel marketing strategies.BackLite Media offers premium DOOH media opportunities across a diverse array of settings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, ranging from bustling highways like Sheikh Zayed Road to upscale malls and destinations. This expansive coverage across the UAE ensures that BackLite Media effectively reaches individuals throughout their daily journeys and at key destinations. The integration with Place Exchange enables advertisers to seamlessly tap into this extensive inventory through their DSPs with a variety of programmatic buying options, including open auction, programmatic guaranteed and private marketplace deals.Sean Gadsby, Head of Programmatic at BackLite Media, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership with Place Exchange, highlighting the potential to unlock new revenue streams and attract interest from global buyers. "Place Exchange is a prominent name in the industry, and we're eagerly anticipating the prospects this partnership brings on a global level. The collaboration with Place Exchange will empower our clients with unparalleled programmatic capabilities and a seamless workflow to incorporate BackLite Media in omnichannel purchases."“There is growing demand by local and global advertisers for DOOH inventory in this market,” said Nick Bennett, SVP of Partnerships at Place Exchange. “Through this integration with BackLite Media, they can now deliver high-impact OOH messaging to audiences throughout the UAE with scale, automation, and flexibility like never before.”The BackLite Media and Place Exchange integration heralds a new chapter in programmatic OOH media evolution in the UAE. This collaboration will enable advertisers to seamlessly leverage BackLite Media's comprehensive DOOH inventory while capitalizing on the benefits of programmatic buying and streamlined workflow integration. As the partnership gains momentum, it stands poised to contribute to the continued evolution of programmatic advertising in the UAE market.