Dipankar Zalpuri to lead Kaizzen in MENA region

Leading Indian PR and digital media agency Kaizzen has opened an office in Dubai as part of its global expansion strategy. The agency will offer PR and digital marketing solutions to businesses in the Middle East and North Africa region.Dipankar Zalpuri has been appointed as the President of the MENA region for Kaizzen. Being a seasoned professional, Zalpuri brings over 18 years of experience in communications. His expertise spans across digital marketing, content marketing, public relations, and events consulting and execution.  In his new position, Zalpuri will provide international brands and emerging startups with tailored PR and digital marketing strategies. Kaizzen Founder-CEO Vineet Handa stated: "With our expertise in creating compelling narratives and delivering tangible outcomes, we look forward to assisting businesses in the MENA region in establishing meaningful connections with their audiences."Nikhil Pavithran, Group President, Kaizzen, said: “Our agency's aspiration is not only to provide top-tier communication strategies but also become an integral part of the MENA business landscape.” Dipankar Zalpuri said: "I believe that MENA is a region that values innovation, building relationships, and entrepreneurship. I am determined to make a substantial positive impact in this region with this prestigious mandate. This confidence comes from the backing of passionate hard-work and exceptional dedication to deliver successful client campaigns that is encoded in the DNA of this remarkable organisation, right from the top. With the support of a diverse talented team, we will take forward the Kaizzen narrative of boosting businesses by creating appealing brand stories through comprehensive 360-degree communication strategies. Well, the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”The UAE foray marks a significant milestone, as it signifies the agency’s dedication to providing top-notch services to its clients, both locally and globally.

StartAD, Tamkeen celebrate Emirati women achievers in the UAE

Abu Dhabi: In celebration of Emirati Women’s Day, the second edition of the Emirati Women Achievers (EWA) initiative took place at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) exploring this year’s theme, We Collaborate for Tomorrow.         The event was organized by startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based startup accelerator powered by Tamkeen and anchored at NYUAD, along with the US Mission to the UAE, and the Arab International Women’s Forum.The event highlighted 23 high-achieving Emirati women spanning three generations who have excelled in a range of disciplines and contributed to the UAE’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Furthermore, through this initiative, 74 Emirati Women Achievers will be able to expand into a national network providing opportunities for collaboration and growth.Her Excellency Dr. Maitha Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, delivered a keynote address on behalf of Sheikha Fatima before the awards ceremony. Her remarks included a reference to Her Highness’s ongoing appreciation for the initiative, and her pride in the daughters of the Emirates who contribute to the past, present, and future of this young nation. Dr. Maitha emphasized Her Highness’s standing as a role model whose strength, determination, and vision for the role that women should play in all aspects of daily life, continue to drive the prosperity of the UAE, and serves as a model for humanity.

Study reveals the impact of emotional resonance on consumer behavior

Dubai: In a world where functionality often overshadows emotions, the concept of “emotainment” (Emotional Entertainment) is emerging as the new style of content to help people reconnect and reignite their creative spirit. Providing a thriving digital venue for this is TikTok, which leads the charge as the best platform for creating lasting emotional bonds with users.Making connections that genuinely resound with users and evoke positive emotions such as joy, happiness and inspiration is a challenge today, when few things feel novel anymore.For brands and marketers, this can be a challenge, as emotional resonance is the key to inspiring customer loyalty and shaping their behaviors. Crafting narratives that resonate with their target audience through a wide range of emotions – from empathy and nostalgia to inspiration and hope – is the way brands can create memorable impressions.To unveil the remarkable impact of emotional resonance on digital media platforms, leading research firms Ipsos and MediaProber conducted a first-of-its kind research study in 2023 on the Impact of Emotional Entertainment on Business outcomes in the United Arab Emirates, and also drew on data from the 2021 study: The Neuroscience Behind TikTok's Relevance study conducted by Ipsos and Neurons in the Middle East, North Africa and Türkiye.To understand the science behind emotional resonance, IPSOS and MediaProber used innovative research technologies that looked at different metrics, to identify moments with high emotional engagement while using digital media channels. The research revealed that users experienced about five of these moments across key digital channels during a 30-min session, with TikTok users having 1.2x higher positive feelings compared with other digital channels.TikTok also emerges as the clear leader in delivering high-quality attention, with users spending 92% of their time on it compared to 8% on TV (Percentage of time spent on TikTok vs TV - when given the choice between the two in a naturalistic multi-screening environment). TikTok’s short-form video content captures users' hearts and minds, holding active attention with 1.6x more time spent on each video (UGC & Ads) compared to other digital channels.Goosebumps-inducing content has an impact that lasts beyond the momentary physical reaction, uplifting users' moods long after using the platform. TikTok was the only platform to lift users' moods after using it, generating a 2.6x higher mood increase than other digital platforms, solidifying its status as a source of positivity and inspiration."This groundbreaking and first-of-its-kind marketing study examined the impact of high emotional moments on user experience and content engagement online, while also identifying business opportunities for brands to captivate audiences," said Bruno Ribeiro, Global Head of Research & Insights at MediaProber. "We looked at unique psychophysiological records from participants using digital channels to accurately detect moments with high emotional engagement. Our findings revealed how goosebumps-like moments are integral to a business strategy that aims to enhance user experience, content satisfaction, and brand impact.”Emotionally engaging content has been fine-tuned by users, encompassing an artful blend of native content, positive tone, human characters, and music – which delivers an authentic touch, engage users effortlessly with the platform's lingo and trends, elevate their followers’ mood and thus amplify emotional resonance, leaving a lasting impact on viewers."This scientific research on emotional entertainment clearly demonstrates the profound impact that emotionally engaging content can have on digital users, particularly on TikTok," said Ramesh Redekar, Director & Head of Brand Tracking, MENA - IPSOS. "And the effect goes beyond entertainment and engagement as users are driven to take action. This type of content not only enhances the overall evaluation of the platform but also uplifts users’ moods - Consequently, they are more likely to remember and respond to advertisements and develop brand affinity," he added.Emotional resonance on TikTok significantly influences shopping behavior. Ipsos’ 2022 Brand Shopping Motivation research study in UAE, KSA and Türkiye showed 68% of shoppers reporting that emotionally engaging content motivated them to shop on TikTok. Brands can leverage this emotainment prowess to elevate brand recall, loyalty, and purchase intent. With users actively engaged in consuming content, ads on TikTok are more memorable, generating 2x higher ad recall compared to other platforms.The 2023 study revealed that users who experience moments of high emotional resonance are 1.5x more likely to purchase a product or service across various digital media channels. Notably, on TikTok, the impact of emotional resonance is further amplified, making users more open to try, consider, and purchase a product or service.These findings highlight the immense potential TikTok offers for brands seeking to create authentic, emotive and lasting connections with their audience. By leveraging the power of emotainment storytelling, brands can inspire action and elevate the overall impact of their marketing efforts on TikTok.

RAK Ceramics to be the main sponsor of Emirates Club

RAK Ceramics, one of the largest ceramics brands in the world, unveiled its new main sponsorship deal with Emirates Club, the Ras Al Khaimah-based UAE football club. The announcement follows hot on the heels of the recent signing of the Spanish football legend Andres Iniesta by the club.In the upcoming ADNOC UAE Pro League, RAK Ceramics will play a pivotal role in elevating the club's new venture on the global stage as the most renowned brand from the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. Providing further support, RAK Ceramics aims to highlight the new chapter in the illustrious career of one of football's all-time greatest midfielders, Andres Iniesta.Iniesta's track record includes nine LaLiga titles, four Champions League triumphs with Barcelona, and the unforgettable World Cup-winning goal for the Spanish National team. His move to Emirates Club further ups the tempo in the UAE Pro League amid an upsurge in international football talent acquisition across the region, and will make for an exhilarating season.Iniesta and his Emirates Club team members proudly donned their RAK Ceramics-sponsored jerseys during their recent ADNOC Pro League match, with their next match set for Friday, 25 August.  Abdallah Massaad, Group CEO of RAK Ceramics commented on the partnership: “Football is more than a game; it's a global language that resonates with billions. Our partnership with Emirates Club, particularly during this vibrant phase of their journey, confirms RAK Ceramics' commitment to promoting the talent, enhancing the country’s excellence and taking up new challenges every day. As we embark on this exciting venture, we look forward to celebrating shared victories both on and off the pitch.”Yousef Abdullah Al Batran, Chairman of Emirates Club, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with a renowned brand like RAK Ceramics. Their commitment to excellence mirrors our ambition on the pitch. With the arrival of a football legend like Iniesta, this partnership couldn't have come at a better time. The future looks bright for Emirates Club as we chart a path towards a new era of success for the team.”

Gartner forecasts worldwide AI chips revenue to reach $53bln in 2023

Dubai: Semiconductors designed to execute artificial intelligence (AI) workloads will represent a $53.4 billion revenue opportunity for the semiconductor industry in 2023, an increase of 20.9% from 2022, according to the latest forecast from Gartner, Inc.“The developments in generative AI and the increasing use of a wide range AI-based applications in data centers, edge infrastructure and endpoint devices require the deployment of high performance graphics processing units (GPUs) and optimized semiconductor devices. This is driving the production and deployment of AI chips,” said Alan Priestley, VP Analyst at Gartner.AI semiconductor revenue will continue to experience double-digit growth through the forecast period, increasing 25.6% in 2024 to $67.1 billion (see Table 1). By 2027, AI chips revenue is expected to be more than double the size of the market in 2023, reaching $119.4 billion.<img src='\137d3399d9a72de4cc98376d7263e54b.png' class='content_image'>Many more industries and IT organizations will deploy systems that include AI chips as the use of AI-based workloads in the enterprise matures. In the consumer electronics market, Gartner analysts estimate that by the end of 2023, the value of AI-enabled application processors used in devices will amount to $1.2 billion, up from $558 million in 2022.The need for efficient and optimized designs to support cost effective execution of AI-based workloads will result in an increase in deployments of custom-designed AI chips. “For many organizations, large scale deployments of custom AI chips will replace the current predominant chip architecture – discrete GPUs – for a wide range of AI-based workloads, especially those based on generative AI techniques,” said Priestley.Generative AI is also driving demand for high-performance computing systems for development and deployment, with many vendors offering high performance GPU-based systems and networking equipment seeing significant near-term benefits. In the long term, as the hyperscalers look for efficient and cost-effective ways to deploy these applications, Gartner expects an increase in their use of custom-designed AI chips. Gartner clients can read more in “Forecast: AI Semiconductors, Worldwide, 2021-2027, 2Q23 Update.”Learn how to lead through change spurred by generative AI in the complimentary Gartner webinar “How CIOs Can Lead Through Generative AI's Business Implications.”

Atteline launches new Sustainability division

Dubai: Atteline, an award-winning integrated communications agency founded and headquartered in the UAE, has announced the launch of its new sustainability specialism, solidifying its commitment to environmental and social responsibility across its consumer and corporate divisions. With this significant milestone, Atteline has pledged to become B Corp certified by 2024, making the agency the first UAE-headquartered integrated communications agency to achieve this prestigious recognition.B Corp certification is a globally recognised certification that demonstrates a company's commitment to meeting rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Atteline is dedicated to integrating sustainable practices into its business operations and fostering positive change in the communications industry.To lead this new division and champion the sustainability goals of the organisation, Atteline has appointed Malaika Fernandes as Sustainability Ambassador and Strategic Counsel. She said, “We are thrilled to launch Atteline's Sustainability Division, fueled by a passionate team with a vision to amplify voices for good and drive meaningful change in the UAE and beyond. By embracing more sustainable practices and pursuing B Corp certification, we align purpose with action and embark on a transformative impact journey. As a certified B Corp, we will be among businesses leading a global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy - we welcome a new era of conscious communication."Atteline's pursuit of excellence in these areas has been bolstered by key initiatives such as:In 2023, Atteline became a United Nations partner agency. Together with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Atteline supports awareness and advocacy efforts around the displacement crisis in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to forge additional support for the growing needs of those displaced by war, conflict, persecution, and the effect of climate change and natural disasters.Atteline supports sustainable action by offsetting its staff’s carbon footprint, personally and professionally, through a monthly carbon reduction plan for four key projects:The reforestation of mangroves in the Marovolavo Planting Site (Madagascar)Forest preservation of the Canandé Reserve (Ecuador)Forest preservation of the Narupa Reserve (Ecuador)A wind farm project in Tamil Nadu (India)Atteline acts in full transparency through its online digital assets and sustainability platform, which showcase all aspects of the agency's climate action on a customised widget that provides real-time updates from CO2 offset to tree planting.In 2020, Atteline took on its first pro bono client Azraq, a non-profit marine conservation organisation registered with the Community Development Authority in the UAE on a mission to safeguard and protect the oceanic ecosystem.With a seven-year track record in delivering marketing and communications campaigns with social purpose, such as Gulf for Good, Atteline continues to work with governments, charities, and other organisations to deliver work that makes a difference. Forward-thinking employee initiatives, which include:A hybrid work modelAdult-to-adult mental health first aid-trained employees[1]Inclusive workplace designExtra days off for marital ceremonies, a volunteer day for every member of staff, and recognition of all staff religious holidaysMonetary psychiatric treatment supportDesignated CSR and Sustainability Ambassadors - Stephanie Dafeta and Dushane Solomon.Atteline has a can and bottle collection system with Bee’ah, the region’s leading sustainability pioneer, renowned for groundbreaking environmental innovations and smart solutions for future-ready cities. Additionally, Atteline works with pack creation for the Philippine Overseas Labour Office (POLO) to aid mistreated domestic staff. Furthermore, the full Atteline team is encouraged to use their voice for good by advocating for issues and passion points in the press, on roundtables, and via speaking and profiling opportunities that matter to them and the community. To date, this has resulted in 105 pieces of coverage on women in the workplace, inclusivity, race, charity, mental health, and industry best practices to name but a few.Sophie Simpson, Atteline’s Managing Director and Founder, said the company's decision to establish a dedicated sustainability division and pursue B Corp certification was part of its ongoing commitment to be at the forefront of social and environmental performance; through transparency and accountability to ensure that all of Atteline’s business practices are a force for good.“In the UAE and the wider Middle East region, B Corp-certified companies are still relatively few. By aligning our operations with the B Corp principles, we strive toward new standards of corporate responsibility and implore other organisations to strive collectively towards a more sustainable future for the communications industry in the UAE and beyond,” she said.To achieve B Corp Certification, Atteline must meet a score of at least 80 points on the B Impact Assessment, an evaluation of the company’s positive impact, and pass a risk review, an evaluation of the company’s negative impact; change its corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders; and exhibit transparency by allowing information about its B Corp Certification performance to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab Global’s website.“As we embark on this journey, we also remain dedicated to amplifying the voices of purpose-driven brands and championing sustainability through innovative communication strategies. By establishing its sustainability division and striving for B Corp certification, Atteline is poised to shape a more sustainable future for the communications industry in the UAE and beyond,” Simpson said.As a certified B Corporation, Atteline will meet high standards of positive social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. The certification will look beyond the agency's services and assess the overall social and environmental impact of the company and its employees.

The Geek Studio expands into the UAE

Dubai: The Geek Studio, a full-service marketing and advertising firm from India, has announced its expansion into the UAE, marking a significant step in its strategic global growth. Committed to reshaping the essence of marketing and challenging industry conventions, The Geek Studio aims to captivate international audiences, further cementing its position as a premier, highly-trusted agency network globally.The Geek Studio offers comprehensive marketing and advertising services, ensuring a holistic approach and dedication to out-of-the-box marketing is supported by its principles that embrace ingenuity, client-centric focus, and data-driven creativity while harnessing the power of tech innovation with cutting-edge cyber security and technological products and solutions.The Geek Studio's UAE office, established in Jumeirah Lake Towers in June, is an extension of its existing headquarters in India. Now serving as its global hub, the Geek Studio Dubai will facilitate connections with counterparts in critical markets and bolsters its network of international agencies. With ever-expanding collaborations worldwide and exceptional expertise in domains such as hospitality, F&B, travel and tourism, education, and real estate, The Geek Studio's UAE-base now ensures global reach, with expansion set to include MENA, MEA, SEA, EU, UK, US, Japan, and Russia.With recognition as one of the world's top-5 deep fake analytics companies, The Geek Studio's expertise enhances the quality and security aspects of every marketing and advertising service. The studio employs AI-powered analytics and manual insights on emerging platforms to empower brands to flourish in the dynamic digital landscape, guiding them toward unparalleled success on a global scale.As a valued partner in the marketing landscape, cybersecurity and tech solutions provider, The Geek Studio takes pride in sharing its proficiency with esteemed entities worldwide. Among its distinguished clients, The Geek Studio has significantly contributed to the cybersecurity and technological resilience of Warner Bros in the digital landscape. Additionally, they have partnered with renowned international brands, including BookMyShow, providing cybersecurity and technical solutions. Other notable clients include Hona, Hyundai, Mercedes0 Benz and Grami Studios, forging creative campaigns that resonate with both local and international consumers and clientele.The agency's global partnerships also include LeadSpot Global, which involves a collaboration on diverse campaigns to amplify engagement, growth, and international brand presence. An additional notable stride in expansion consists of a co-investment with Terrific Live, an innovative influencer-based e-commerce live shopping platform set to launch this month. This partnership heralds an exciting online shopping experience, benefiting buyers, brands, and influencers alike."This strategic global expansion is a testament to our unwavering commitment to excellence and our passion for pushing the boundaries of creativity," said Santosh Kumar, CEO at The Geek Studio. "We're thrilled to bring our innovative approach to diverse markets, creating meaningful brand experiences that resonate with audiences worldwide, with Dubai as our hub."Aligned with their strategic international expansion plan, The Geek Studio's UAE presence is poised to leave an indelible mark on the global scene. With a vision to redefine marketing norms and an unwavering belief in the potential of marketing and technology, the agency stands ready to revolutionize the industry, breaking cultural barriers and delighting audiences worldwide.

The UAE government partners with Mastercard to accelerate adoption of AI

Dubai: The UAE’s Artificial intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications Office and Mastercard today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities and readiness in the region. An initial focus of the effort will be dedicated to battling financial crime, securing the digital ecosystem, and driving inclusive growth in the UAE and beyond.H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications emphasized the UAE government's dedicated efforts towards strategic collaborations with the private sector and leading international companies. These collaborations have been recognized as pivotal catalysts for expediting the adoption of Artificial Intelligence, a crucial component of the nation's journey towards digital advancement and prosperity.His Excellency pointed out the significance of bilateral cooperation. He emphasized the importance of realizing the aspirations outlined in the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031. This strategy aims to consolidate the UAE's position as a leading hub for Artificial Intelligence. Concurrently, it seeks to foster the development of comprehensive technology-driven frameworks within priority sectors.Furthermore, His Excellency praised Mastercard's efforts in adopting AI, as well as their inauguration of a global center dedicated to Artificial Intelligence and advanced technology within the UAE.Investing in Enhanced InnovationThe signing of this partnership comes as Mastercard unveiled its latest global Centre for Advanced AI and Cyber Technology in Dubai. In addition to developing AI-powered solutions to fight financial crime, the Centre will focus on securing the digital ecosystem and driving inclusive growth. It will also serve as a hub to nurture and hire local AI talent, including data engineers and data scientists, with a remit to accelerate AI innovation globally and service customers all around the world from the UAE.“AI plays a critical role in our operations, powering our products and fuelling our network intelligence to improve digital experiences, while reducing financial fraud and risk,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “The combination of this latest Advanced AI Centre and our partnership with the Government of the UAE will deliver greater value for our customers and ultimately reinforce trust in the digital ecosystem.”Mastercard's new centre – drawing on the company’s technical knowledge and expertise – will support a new Innovation Hub in the Emirate of Dubai. Under this program, governments and businesses from across the region will collaborate on new efforts to support the continued digital transformation."The UAE is a global leader in developing innovative technologies to foster economic growth and drive digital transformation. For more than 35 years, Mastercard has been investing in the UAE to harness the power of technology for the good of the nation. By embracing the power of AI through this new partnership, we are ushering in the next generation of transformative technology, and actively supporting the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031,” said Dimitrios Dosis, president, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.The Middle East is undergoing a rapid technological shift. According to IDC, investments in digital transformation are expected to double over the next few years in the Middle East. PwC estimates that AI will contribute $320 billion to the region and more than $15 trillion to the global economy by 2030. AI has the power to address some of today’s most pressing challenges, including reducing fraud while helping more people access financial services.Heritage of AI InnovationThis Centre in Dubai is the latest in a series of investments Mastercard has made in Advanced AI, with existing centres in the US, Canada and India. To date, Mastercard has made use of AI most significantly and successfully in its efforts to enhance cybersecurity and user experiences. By applying a sophisticated AI engine, Mastercard protects more than 125 billion transactions from fraud every year – at speed and scale.However, today we stand at the precipice of yet another transformative leap in technology, fuelled by the accessibility of generative AI. With its ability to create new content and predict a wholes series of next steps, it has the potential to transform customer experiences, enable personalized interactions and reshape industries.At Mastercard we are using generative AI for many purposes, including through synthetic transaction data to supercharge fraud detection and boost approval rates. Our Centre in Dubai will help us develop these new and ground-breaking use cases, and with this knowledge we plan to establish additional Advanced AI Centres across the globe, to drive continued innovation.

ArabyAds, VIDAA bring CTV Ads to Hisense smart TVs in the UAE, KSA

ArabyAds, the leading global technology company, and VIDAA, a global leader in smart TV operating systems, announced an exclusive advertising partnership on VIDAA-powered Hisense smart TVs in the UAE and KSA today. The cooperation between the companies will provide ArabyAds exclusive access to Hisense inventory for Connected TV advertising within the UAE and KSA.Hisense CTV offering includes prominent display inventory on the VIDAA OS Smart TV home screens and premium content streaming video inventory on millions of large TV screens at homes across the Middle East and Africa.“We are happy to bring audiences on Hisense smart TVs for Connected TV advertising in the region. Hisense is amongst the top 3 smart TV brands in the middle east and this partnership adds to our penetration, and strengthens our market leadership in the MENA region”, said Mahmoud Fathy, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of ArabyAds.Yaniv Gruenwald, President of VIDAA, said, “We are thrilled to partner with ArabyAds, the leading advertising technology company in the Middle East. At VIDAA, we aim to empower advertisers and brands with our innovative smart TV platform that adapts to local needs and preferences. Together with ArabyAds’ technology and market expertise, we will create a powerful and engaging Connected TV advertising experience for the region. We are confident that this partnership will be a growth opportunity for both parties and for our customers, who will enjoy more relevant and personalized content on their TVs powered by VIDAA.”Since last year, ArabyAds has already established itself as a market leader in the Connected TV advertising space and has successfully worked with advertisers, agencies, and government organizations to deliver cutting-edge campaigns across the region. Using the ArabyAds Connected TV advertising platform, advertisers can target audiences with first-screen advertising experience on home screens, TV app stores, and native apps.

Akasa Air: India’s newest airline sets sights on Middle East destination

India’s newest airline, Akasa Air, is planning to launch its international operations, with the Middle East and Southeast Asia regions currently on its radar.Akasa Air, which celebrated its one-year anniversary earlier this month, has now shifted its focus to launching its international routes since the August delivery of its 20th aircraft that allows the low-cost carrier to fly overseas based on requirements set by Indian authorities.Speaking to India’s CNBC-TV18 this week, the airline’s co-founder Aditya Ghosh shed more light on Akasa Air’s global expansion. “We’re the fastest airline in India ever to have reached the point at which we are going to start international operations. We think that the five to six-hour range is ideally suited not just to our type of aircraft, but also where the demand sits — the SAARC countries, Middle East, and Southeast Asia,” he stated.Ghosh did not highlight which countries the airline was targeting in the Middle East.The airline has been eyeing an international launch this year, alluding to its plans at the Paris Air Show in June where Akasa Air placed an order for four Boeing 737 Max jets, as a follow-up to a 72 aircraft order book, which includes 23 737-8s and 53 high-capacity 737-8-200 aircraft. The airline said at the time that it was on course to announce another significant three-digit aircraft order by the end of 2023, while also launching its international operations before the end of the year.

Saudi Digital Experience Maturity Index improves to 80.6%

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia's Digital Experience Maturity Index has registered a surge to 80.68% in 2023 from 77.26% in the previous cycle, the country's Digital Government Authority (DGA) announced on Wednesday.This increase is the result of the development of government platforms and their role in improving the quality of life, facilitating business, and enhancing competitiveness, DGA said releasing the results of the Digital Experience Maturity Index for 2023, with the participation of more than 134,000 beneficiaries.The digital government platforms in the Kingdom are witnessing a rapid growth, enhancing competitiveness and facilitating the entry of companies and institutions into the local market in line with the Kingdom's goals to encourage investment through smooth and high-quality services.DGA clarified that the index focused on measuring the maturity of 24 digital platforms with four main perspectives, which are beneficiary satisfaction, user experience, resolving complaints, and technologies and tools. There are also 19 axes that fall under these 4 perspectives that measure various areas of digital experience.The results of the top 10 digital platform are as follows: Ehsan platform achieved 89.40%, followed by Absher with a slight difference at 89.28%. The General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) Platform showed 88.10%.Sehhaty platform ranked the fourth on the list by achieving 86.50%, followed with Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority platform at 86.09%, and Tawakkalna 85.35%. DGA noted that all of these platforms reached the advanced level of maturity.DGA said the Etimad platform achieved 83.20%, Najiz 83.04%, Saber 82.44%, and Saudi Business Center 81.59% — all falling under the competent level of maturity.DGA Governor Eng. Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Suwaiyan has pointed that the Digital Experience Maturity Index aims to increase the level of the beneficiaries' satisfaction, enhance their digital experience, improve interaction with them in accordance with the strategic directions of the Digital Government, and to achieve the goals of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030.Eng. Al-Suwaiyan praised the development of the digital government platforms in Saudi Arabia, and its role in improving the quality of life, facilitating business, enhancing competitiveness, and achieving efficiency in government work.This contributed to the Kingdom's progress in international indicators, Eng. Al-Suwaiyan said, stressing that this reflects the unlimited support that the digital government enjoys from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, and Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman.The DGA announced on 14 March, 2023, the start of the second index cycle, which included an evaluation of 24 digital platforms compared to 12 digital platforms in the previous cycle.© Copyright 2022 The Saudi Gazette. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. ( The content of this article is syndicated or provided to this website from an external third party provider. We are not responsible for, and do not control, such external websites, entities, applications or media publishers. The body of the text is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis and has not been edited in any way. Neither we nor our affiliates guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views or opinions expressed in this article.

Womena launches 'Eh El-E’laqa?', relationship podcast with Mint, Omar Samra

Dubai:  Womena, the award-winning platform dedicated to creating compelling women-focused content, has launched a relationship podcast series titled "??? ????????" (Eh El-E’laqa?), hosted by Mint and Omar Samra. In line with Emirati entrepreneur Elissa Freiha’s vision for Womena, which focuses on stories that inspire social change, the podcast offers a glimpse into how the couple navigates through key relationship matters like boundaries, finances, and intimacy. The goal of the podcast directed by Womena's Chief Media Officer Amira Salah-Ahmed is to open up a conversation around relationships and change the narrative around existing dynamics between partners. It provides insight into how one couple is trying to live more authentically while forging a self-defined path.The title "??? ????????"(Eh El-E’laqa?) translates to "What's the Relationship?" and aptly encapsulates the overarching theme of the show. The relationship podcast with Mint and Omar Samra explores the intricacies of relationships while challenging partnership norms. Mint is the founder of Egypt’s PoleFit aerial arts school, which was the region’s first ever aerial arts school at the time of launch. Omar is an adventurer, speaker, entrepreneur and the first Egyptian to conquer Mount Everest and the 7 Summits. From tackling subjects such as mental health and breaking gender norms, discussing intimacy and blended families, all the way to managing in-law relationships, the podcast addresses a range of topics that resonate with listeners from all walks of life. The podcast boasts a compelling lineup of episodes, each designed to spark insightful conversations. The show's debut episode was an introduction to Mint and Omar, how they met, and why they wanted to make this podcast. It was then followed by Episode 1 titled "The Conscious Relationship," released on July 31st, that set the tone for a series of thought-provoking discussions. The podcast's inaugural season, consisting of 11 weekly episodes, also includes a bonus Q&A session to engage directly with the audience. Episodes are released every Monday, and 4 episodes are already available on all podcast platforms and Womena's YouTube channel (with English subtitles)."??? ????????" (Eh El-E’laqa?) extends Womena's commitment to creating compelling and inclusive content that inspires people to think differently about the choices they can make in their lives. By amplifying the voices of trailblazing women and men, Womena offers fresh perspectives that celebrate diversity, dismantle stereotypes, and highlight the strength, confidence, and tenacity of its audience. Elissa Freiha, Founder, and Executive Producer at Womena, expressed her excitement about the podcast's launch, saying, "At Womena, we're not just telling stories; we HIGHLIGHT paths forged by others that challenge norms and inspire change. ‘??? ????????’ (Eh El-E’laqa?) is a platform for open and honest conversations around love that pave the way for a more accepting, equal and empowered society.”Director of "??? ????????" (Eh El-E’laqa?) Amira Salah-Ahmed said, “We're grateful that Mint and Omar trusted us with the intricacies of their relationship, the challenges they faced, and their whole journey. When you're trying to do something substantive on a topic like relationships and marriage, especially in our part of the world, it takes a high level of vulnerability because you're talking about things people usually talk about amongst close friends, if that. The more examples we see of people living their lives authentically, the more spaces and conversations it opens up. It's not meant to be a template for everyone to follow, but it's one solid example of how one couple is tackling this kind of relationship in a quickly changing world. We want to start a constructive conversation that might change the narrative around certain dynamics in our society, and to inspire people to live the life they want." Speaking about the new relationship podcast, hosts Mint and Omar Samra said, "Despite what society may often think, relationships don’t have to look or be one way. We wanted to create this podcast to delve deeper and look differently at topics we mostly take for granted. Through this journey, we hope to inspire others to craft their relationships in a way that works for them, away from societal pressures. We wanted to saay that relationships can endure, inspire us, help us grow, and all while maintaining our identity and independence."Listeners can access the podcast on major platforms and watch all episodes on Youtube, where they are available with English subtitles to ensure a broader reach to audiences both within and outside the region. Through the "??? ????????" (Eh El-E’laqa?) podcast, Womena continues to lead the charge in fostering meaningful dialogue and encouraging positive change in the community.

Qatar Airways ramps up excitement for Expo 2023 Doha

DOHA, Qatar – As the global anticipation for Expo 2023 Doha rises, Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is proud to announce its role as the Official Strategic Partner for the landmark event. Set to be the first A1 International Horticultural Exhibition in Qatar, the Middle East, and North Africa, the prestigious partnership underscores Qatar Airways' commitment to bringing global attention to Expo 2023 Doha and promoting Qatar as a premier travel destination.Expo 2023 Doha, which is expected to attract an estimated 3 million visitors from around the globe, will take place in the picturesque Al Bidda Park, overlooking the azure waters of the Arabian Gulf. The six-month event will run from October 2023 to March 2024 and will offer visitors rich experiences, from beautiful gardens and thought-provoking talks, to arts and cuisine, as well as a focus on innovative solutions to mitigate desertification.To celebrate the partnership, adorned with the Expo 2023 Doha emblem, an exclusive aircraft livery is set to be unveiled by Qatar Airways in the coming month.Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “The upcoming months promise an array of cultural, environmental, and innovative experiences in Qatar for visitors from around the globe. As the Official Strategic Partner for Expo 2023 Doha, we look forward to welcoming international guests to Qatar, offering them our signature hospitality and connecting them to this monumental event.”Travellers onboard Qatar Airways will also be treated to an unforgettable experience that starts with a horticultural welcome video and continues throughout their inflight journey, providing them with celebratory artwork and exclusive healthy dining options, which will be rolled-out across both Premium and Economy Cabins on select routes.Discover Qatar, the Destination Management Company of Qatar Airways, is offering complimentary entry vouchers to all international travellers for the duration of the Expo 2023 Doha. This includes stopover packages where options range from the Standard Stopover, showcasing 4-star hotel accommodations starting at USD 14 per night, to the Premium Stopover, presenting 5-star hotel selections from USD 23. For those desiring the pinnacle of luxury, the Luxury Stopover offers lavish 5-star hotel stays, inclusive of breakfast, with prices starting from USD 81.

Rise Up summit promises enriching insights

Dubai: The dynamic arena of mobile applications, often referred to as the 'App Wars,' has captured the tech industry's attention, as businesses maneuver to excel within an ever-shifting digital landscape. In an endeavor to illuminate the strategies, challenges, and opportunities within this vibrant landscape, a compelling fireside chat featuring prominent industry experts is set to captivate attendees during the much-anticipated Rise Up Summit, scheduled at Address Dubai Marina from September 13 - 14, 2023.Rise Up is not just an event – it's an opportunity to immerse in a world of innovation, connections, and transformative insights. A unique summit tailored for the new generation of marketers, Rise Up promises to foster thought-provoking discussions, ignite innovative ideas, and provide networking opportunities that are second to none. As part of this captivating event, there are many discussions and fireside chats scheduled which will delve deep into the latest trends in the marketing world.Interested can know more about the event and speakers by visting: fireside chat, featuring Zeeshan Sajid Amin and peers, will deliver a concise yet impactful 20-minute session, featuring:Expert insights into effective strategies for app successReal-world examples spotlighting brands that excel in the App WarsA glimpse into the world of user acqusion tactics on mobile appsActionable takeaways to elevate app marketing strategies

Yas Island Metaverse Initiative launches virtual tourism experience

Yas Island has launched a virtual exploration platform, offering international visitors access to the emirate’s iconic landmarks. The users’ digital avatars provide a journey through attractions and cultural sites, showcasing Abu Dhabi as a leading tourism destination. The initiative is part of a pioneering collaboration between the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), Aldar, Miral, twofour54, and Ethara.The virtual Yas Island experience was developed by Super League and breaks through on Roblox, accessible at Yas Island Tycoon - Roblox. Users’ digital avatars take a journey through key Abu Dhabi landmarks on Yas Island and beyond, including SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit, Etihad Park, Aldar Square, twofour54’s Yas Creative Hub, and an Experience Abu Dhabi dedicated area featuring Louvre Abu Dhabi, Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Sir Bani Yas Island, Al Ain Oasis and Al Jahili Fort. Participants will be able to traverse the 25-square-kilometre virtual site and experience a playable, socially engaging world designed to entertain and inform audiences globally.Throughout a blend of interactive experiences, immersive environments, games, and soon to come one-of-a-kind events, players can explore and build cultural and entertainment attractions within Abu Dhabi. As users progress through the virtual destination and its attractions, they will experience more adventures such as theme park rides, driving across Yas Island in race cars and constructing virtual homes. Customisable avatars and surprise awards are part of every player’s personalised adventure. The gamified experience will continually evolve with new partnerships and experiences. Saeed Al Fazari, Strategic Affairs Executive Director at DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “This immersive adventure in the virtual realm is the latest example of Abu Dhabi’s commitment to utilising innovation and creativity to reach ever wider audiences. While we have shared Abu Dhabi with millions of visitors in the real world, today marks the start of a new phase in our journey. Everyone, wherever they are, can experience the emirate from the comfort of their own home. At DCT Abu Dhabi, we have been on a mission to progress, protect and promote the emirate as a leading tourism destination, and by offering virtual experiences, we aim to share Abu Dhabi with the world in a new way, inspiring curiosity and excitement about everything the UAE capital has to offer.”  Taghrid Alsaeed, Executive Director of Group Communications and Destination Marketing at Miral, said: “In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, it is imperative to remain relevant to all guests, including those in the virtual realm. The launch of Yas Island’s digital experience is an exciting step in Miral’s commitment to digital transformation, harnessing advanced technology to deliver highly personalized and memorable experiences. While Yas Island has already solidified its position as a global entertainment and leisure destination, we are excited to be able to welcome a new category of customers, and we look forward to offering exceptional and immersive digital experiences that redefine the boundaries of entertainment.”Rashed Al Omaira, Chief Commercial Officer at Aldar Development, said: "The virtual Yas Island experience unlocks new opportunities for a global audience to explore the island as a world-class destination to live, visit, and work. The effective use of innovative content creation not only enables us to tell the story of Abu Dhabi but also allows people around the world to become immersed in it. We are excited to see people interact with Aldar’s assets on Yas Island in the virtual world and hope it inspires them to take a trip to Abu Dhabi soon.”Mark Whitehead, CEO of twofour54, said: “Through our community of leading international and regional media businesses, we see first-hand that demand for content that tells Abu Dhabi’s inspiring story has never been higher. The opportunity to explore one of the emirate’s most vibrant destinations using a highly interactive platform is a perfect way to meet this demand. It is yet another demonstration of virtual content creation happening in Abu Dhabi.”Saif Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO of Ethara, said: “At Ethara, our ambition is to be the gatekeepers of first-to-market events and to unlock unique opportunities in events, activations, and entertainment. We are delighted to be part of this unique and innovative experience and are proud to be leading the way for the event industry in the region. The virtual Yas Island experience is in line with both our vision at Ethara and Yas Island’s to highlight itself as a global creative hub and leading entertainment destination. We are constantly seeking ways to deliver thrilling experiences for our fans, and delivering moments that matter.”Visit the Yas Island virtual experience at Yas Island Tycoon - Roblox.

Julien Gonzalvez appointed GM of Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas

Abu Dhabi: Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel And Villas, renowned for its unparalleled luxury and world-class hospitality, announces the appointment of Julien Gonzalvez as its new General Manager. With a wealth of experience managing Hyatt branded properties around the globe, Gonzalvez's strategic leade rship will steer Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel And Villas to new heights, driving exceptional guest experiences and overseeing the property's operations.Julien Gonzalvez brings an impressive background to his new role, with a 25-year career in the hospitality industry. Throughout his 25-year career with Hyatt, he has taken on several leadership roles at upper-upscale and luxury properties in Asia, and most recently in the Middle East, gaining a wealth of experience in multi-cultural markets.Notably, Gonzalvez was a vital part of the iconic Park Hyatt Saigon opening team in 2004 and later the Park Hyatt Seoul before successfully launching the luxury Grand Hyatt Abu Dhabi and Residences Emirates Pearl in 2017. Since 2020 and most recently, he was the General Manager at Hyatt Regency Doha Oryx and lead the team through a remarkable period for the hospitality industry in Qatar - the World Cup event in November 2022."I am honored to take on the General Manager role at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel And Villas," said Julien Gonzalvez. "I am truly excited about leading this exceptional property and working with the amazing team to continuously create memorable experiences for our guests and World of Hyatt members.”In his new role, Gonzalvez is committed to focusing on elevating guest experiences at Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel And Villas, and further enhancing the hotel's reputation as a luxury resort destination on Saadiyat Island and in the region. Gonzalvez studied in France and earned a diploma in Hotel Management from the School of St. Chely D'Apcher.

Game developer Sandsoft Games appoints Pasqual Batalla as COO

Riyadh: Sandsoft Games, the mobile-first game developer, publisher and investor powered by AAA talent, has appointed Pasqual Batalla as Chief Operating Officer (COO). He joins from Socialpoint, a Take-Two and Zynga mobile games studio. The senior hire follows the recent hire of Ahmed Sharif as CTO from Meta and furthers Sandsoft’s rapid growth trajectory as it aims to become a top games company. Based in Barcelona, Pasqual will drive Sandsoft’s operations across its teams in Riyadh, Barcelona, Helsinki and Shanghai, steering global publishing and internal game development activity.  Pasqual joins Sandsoft following seven and a half years at Socialpoint, including more than three years as COO. At Socialpoint, he successfully managed the studio and business operations of the Dragon City developer, achieving significant growth in profitability. With his history of building and developing high-performance teams, Pasqual brings a wealth of experience to Sandsoft and is also an active investor, advisor, and board member in the thriving Barcelona startup ecosystem.  David Fernandez, CEO of Sandsoft Games, commented: “Pasqual joins the executive team during an exciting period of growth for the company, which is particularly visible in our publishing arm currently. He’s a well-known and respected leader in the global games industry and his extensive experience fits our strategic vision to reach gamers across the world with the very best content.” Pasqual Batalla, Chief Operating Officer at Sandsoft Games, commented: “Sandsoft has all the ingredients to become a leading company in the games industry. It has a very much people-first approach to business and I look forward to working with the team, supporting them to bring engaging games to diverse players around the world.” Sandsoft Games recently announced its partnership with Jam City, one of mobile gaming’s most successful publishers, to support the global launch of DC Heroes & Villains and publish the title in the Middle East and North Africa markets.

Dubai is emerging as a key hub in a new world being shaped by disruptive trends

Dubai is emerging as a key hub in a new world being shaped by disruptive global trends, a distinguished expert on geo-political and geo-economic issues said at a knowledge session organised by the Dubai Press Club (DPC) for media professionals on Wednesday.Rapid urbanisation, the growing middle class and unprecedented connectivity are some of the biggest trends that are redefining the future, Afshin Molavi, Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Foreign Policy Institute and former Dubai-based journalist, said.During the event held at DPC, attended by several media leaders and professionals, Molavi provided a comprehensive examination of these trends, underscoring their significance for journalists seeking to grasp the evolving dynamics of our world.The gathering forms part of a series of knowledge sessions hosted by DPC throughout the year in line with its commitment to promoting knowledge exchange and sharing ideas and insights on vital issues impacting the industry.The discussion centered on the often overshadowed yet pivotal trends that are quietly shaping the global landscape. These trends encompass a wide range of factors, such as demographics, urbanisation rates, the burgeoning middle class, and more, he said, collectively wielding a profound influence on our future. He emphasised that these trends bear both immediate and long-term consequences that can significantly impact news and world events.Molavi discussed how the Middle East will continue to retain its profound significance in today’s world, anchored by its strategic location and its rising status as a hub of global trade and investment. The Middle East is an important area, he said, and it “will continue to be for decades to come, and part of it is because it is at the centre of everything - trade flows, investment flows, people flows. It’s in the middle of the world, a major logistics and trade hub, and it will matter for those reasons. We are seeing the younger generation showing resilience, dynamism, and entrepreneurial spirit,” he said.The session also delved into the relationship between West Asia, which includes the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and East Asia. Molavi emphasised the dynamic interdependence that has been steadily evolving between these two regions.‘Disruptive Trends’Highlighting vital global demographic shifts, he said that a staggering 85% of the global population resides outside the Western world. While global poverty rates have plummeted from 37% in 1990 to a mere 9% today, Molavi cautioned that the COVID-19 pandemic has, in some instances, reversed these gains. He also underscored the astonishing pace of urbanisation, with 1.5 million people migrating to cities each week. Currently, more than half of the world's population resides in urban areas, and projections indicate that by 2050, this figure will surge to 68%, underscoring the vital role of cities as economic powerhouses.He also delved into the far-reaching ramifications of the rise of the global middle class, set to reach 5.3 billion by 2030. Molavi also spoke about the rapid adoption of smartphones. From zero smartphones in 2007, the world is expected to reach 6 billion smartphone users by 2025, marking an unprecedented pace of technological adoption.“Change is inevitable, and disruption is around the corner. If anyone knows that change is inevitable, it is the people who live in Dubai,” Molavi remarked.Discussing the state of globalisation, he said that despite some notions suggesting its decline, the world is more interconnected than ever before.Molavi also brought attention to India's remarkable demographic and economic trajectory. India is poised to surpass China as the world's most populous nation in 2023, a demographic shift with profound global implications. He also highlighted India's robust economic growth, with an average forecasted real GDP growth rate of around 6% over the next five years. This rapid economic expansion underscores India's growing significance, not only on the global stage but also as a key player in the economic dynamics of the UAE and Dubai, he noted.

US-based reputation house to showcase AI based online performance ecosystem

Riyadh: The Confluence Of The Pandemic And Digitalization In Saudi Arabia Has Further Fueled The Surge In Interest Towards Online Reputation Management Services. Online Reputation Management Market Size Is Forecast To Reach A Staggering Sar12.754 Billion (usd3.4 Billion) By 2030 Globally. Industry Leaders Confirm That 44% Of A Business's Value Is Tied To Its Strong Reputation.“The rapid digital transformation of Saudi Arabia is ushering in cyber threats while presenting new opportunities for specialized technology companies to establish themselves in the Saudi market. At Seamless, we are wholeheartedly committed to contributing to Kingdom’s success story. Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 digital drive shows an urgent need to address online reputation management for the public and private sectors and for individuals from both sectors,” said Nikita Prokhorov, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Reputation House.Seamless conference and exhibition, taking place from September 4th to 5th 2023 at Riyadh Front Exhibition and Convention Center, will cover the latest innovations in payments, fintech, retail, e-commerce, home delivery and digital marketing.Reputation House, one of the pioneers of the online performance and reputation management industry, is set to showcase and explain how and why Online Reputation Management (ORM) will boost by 2030. In addition, the company will demonstrate its innovative solutions at Seamless Saudi Arabia, the Saudi edition of Dubai-based Seamless Middle East.Nikita added: “It's important to note that a significant 25% of the company's revenue is derived from programs designed to enhance the reputation. The ORM industry is experiencing rapid growth, and the digital world is evolving in response. To stay ahead, companies must quickly adapt, leverage advanced technologies, and create innovative solutions. The ability to seize emerging opportunities and adapt to the changing landscape is crucial for establishing leadership in this dynamic field of reputation, and every field. It's clear that we're seeing major trends such as rising demand, industry maturation, and increased investment.Reputation House’s Nikita will share his insights on the first day, September 4 at 12 noon. He will talk about Online Reputation Management (ORM) at the E-commerce University Stage located in the Digital Marketing Zone of Seamless Saudi Arabia.Nikita concluded: “Reputation House has set ambitious goals to enter the Saudi Arabian market. The company will assist both private and public sectors in safeguarding, establishing and maintaining their online reputation through our advanced solutions, applications, and specialized consulting services. We are expecting to forge new partnerships at the show.”Seamless has invited international companies with the latest knowledge to take to the E-Commerce University stage. The sessions aim to provide actionable insights.Reputation House will showcase its products and services at booth number AA62 shell scheme in the Digital Marketing Zone at Seamless Saudi Arabia, taking place from September 4th to 5th, 2023.The company’s team of experts will be available for orientation sessions to demonstrate how its innovative solutions can play a pivotal role across various sectors.

ChatGPT: BenefitPay is Bahrain’s #1 payment app

Manama: BENEFIT, the Kingdom’s innovator and leading company in Fintech and electronic financial transactions service, announces that BenefitPay has been named the most popular payment application in the Kingdom, according to industry leading Artificial intelligence (AI) language models, such as “ChatGPT”.The state-of-the-art language models are trained on a diverse range of sources and has analyzed vast amounts of data including books, articles, code repositories, and social media posts. According to the data online, BenefitPay emerged as the most popular payment app in Bahrain, cementing its status as the Kingdom’s favorite mobile payment platform.On the occasion, Ahmed Al-Mahri, Head of Business Development & Services in BENEFIT said, “BenefitPay has been progressing the digital payment scene in the Kingdom for a long time now and has become an inseparable part of people's daily lives. So, it comes as no surprise that ChatGPT picked up on the popularity of BenefitPay in Bahrain. It is, however, a great reaffirmation of our core objectives and overall goal of streamlining transactions throughout the Kingdom.”The BenefitPay app has undoubtedly revolutionized the payment landscape in Bahrain. The app's innovative features, seamless transfers, instantaneous payments, secure transactions, and highly intuitive user interface, have made it the most widely used and earned it the top spot, as confirmed by Chat GPT's analysis and other key AI Bots.This milestone highlights BENEFIT’s dedication to providing the best payment experience and its unwavering commitment to its users. The BenefitPay app continues to redefine digital payments and make them accessible for all; fulfilling its role as the payment app of choice throughout the Kingdom.BenefitPay remains the Kingdom’s pioneer and this is reflected in terms of usage with 40 million accessing of the platform monthly. In 2022, the platform saw over 240 million Fawri+, over 10 million Fawri transactions, and 468 thousand Fawateer transactions, beside other services such as petrol station payments, remittance, and balance inquiry transactions.

Sharjah Government Communication Award receives a record 1,530+ entries from 37

Sharjah: The Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB), has announced an exceptional surge in participation for its Sharjah Government Communication Award (SGCA) 2023, with over 1,530 entries from 37 countries worldwide. The submissions come from communication innovators, spanning governmental, semi-governmental, private, and individual contributors. The winners will be announced during the International Government Communication Forum (IGCF) taking place on September 13th and 14th at Expo Centre Sharjah.This year, 314 submissions were carefully scrutinised and selected from the record-breaking number of entries, and will participate in the tenth edition of the award. The submissions include 91 entries from the United Arab Emirates and 223 internationally. The top 5 participating countries in the award excluding the UAE are Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Syria, the SGCA entries also attracted a diverse participation including from Algeria, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Canada, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, India, Iran, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malawi, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Russia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.Within the Arab categories, the ‘Best Communication Targeting Youth’ category received the highest amount of submissions with 53 entries. The ‘Best Spokesperson’ category received an impressive 41 entries, followed by the ‘Best Integrated Communication Campaign’ award with 37 entries. Notably, the ‘Best Social Responsibility Campaign’ and the ‘Best Communication for Reputation Building and Management’ also received a high amount of interest with 33 and 25 entries respectively.Globally, the ‘Best Food Security Programme Communication Plan’ registered the highest participation with 31 submissions. The ‘Best Communication through Media Content’ award followed suit with 19 entries, and both ‘Best Communication Strategy for Crisis Management’ and ‘Best Communication Practices or Campaigns Addressing Developmental Challenges’ categories each garnered 15 participations. The ‘Best Applied Scientific Research in Government Communication’ award rounded off the list with 13 entries.A platform for communication innovationsAmidst the dynamic shifts in communication, this year's award celebrates communication pioneers across 26 categories. These include 12 Arab and 14 international categories in modern communication, including creative campaigns, crisis management, youth and sport programmes, and more. The Award spotlights Arab values, influential figures, media and drama, art, and pioneering research.The SGMB has emphasised that the increasing demand for award candidacy reflects its global status and adaptive approach. By expanding categories and embracing government communication's developmental role, it resonates with both public and private sectors.Qualitative advancementsCommenting on the growing interest in the Sharjah Government Communication Award (SGCA), HE Alya Al Suwaidi, Director of SGMB, said: “Since its debut edition, the award has resulted in impactful, qualitative advancements, beginning from championing the best practices of government communication, utilising communication tools to address societal needs and to staying attuned to local and global communication developments. This commitment underscores our pursuit of communication excellence and its pivotal role in serving public interests.”She added, “The Sharjah Government Communication Award has provided a unique platform for communication pioneers and experts in the region to explore leading global practices in this realm, and to showcase exemplary utilisation of modern technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and big data. The award has dynamically forged the way for an everlasting transformation in communication. Today, SGCA stands as a global benchmark for recognising excellence among government communication practitioners worldwide.”The submissions for the tenth edition of the award came to a close on August 15th. A distinguished jury is now meticulously evaluating entries. The winners will be announced and honoured in a glittering ceremony during the IGCF 2023.

Coca-Cola Arena partners with international ride-hailing service, Yango

Dubai: Concert and event goers can now enjoy a seamless guest experience at Dubai’s home of live entertainment owing to Coca-Cola Arena’s latest collaboration with popular ride-hailing company, Yango. As an official partner of the arena, Yango will provide premium ride experiences catering to different requirements, at affordable prices.To elevate the event experience, guests can use the Yango app and choose from comfortable Business, Business XL for groups, and Premier ride options. Yango app users will receive a 20 per cent discount upon booking their first ride for pick-up or drop-off services to enjoy their favourite artists perform live at Coca-Cola Arena.Commenting on the partnership, Mark-Jan Kar, General Manager of Coca-Cola Arena said, “Yango’s commitment to smart tech, great service and convenient options aligns with our objective to ensure unforgettable guest experiences for the season ahead with mega events such as Trevor Noah, KISS – End of the Road World Tour and Bryan Adams on the calendar.” Islam Abdul Karim, General Manager, Yango GCC commented, “Our app launched in the GCC towards the end of 2022, and since then our company is developing actively and continues to grow. In line with UAE’s sustainability goals our app uses its own mapping and routing system along with sustainable safety features. We have an impressive car fleet including Lexus ES and Mercedes-Benz S-class to provide high-level service and the utmost comfort to our passengers.”“Coca-Cola Arena is an iconic event venue, and we’re proud to tie up with them to ensure both residents and tourists have a hassle-free commute and enjoy memorable experiences at the arena,” added Karim.Yango is available for free download on Android and iOS in English, Arabic and many other languages.

Amy Samir Ghanem and Hassan El Raddad Join OSN+ Campaign

Dubai: OSN+, the ultimate destination for premium entertainment, announces the dynamic Egyptian husband and wife acting duo, Amy Samir Ghanem and Hassan El Raddad, as the latest faces of its “No More FOMO” campaign, bringing a comedic take on the dreaded feeling of FOMO in an all-new viral video. The team is also highlighting an easier way to now access the platform and all its exclusive, premium content in Egypt. Amy, renowned as Egypt's most famous young comedienne, possesses a unique blend of shyness, easy-going nature, wit, and charm that endears her to audiences. Her comedic talent shone brightly from the start, capturing people's attention with just two scenes in Ahmed Helmy's movie, Assal Eswed, which marked the beginning of her successful acting journey. Hassan El Raddad, a gifted Egyptian actor and former professional footballer, brings his charismatic presence and versatility to the 'No More FOMO' campaign. With a diverse portfolio of works in both films and television, including notable projects like “Zana'et Settat”, “My Spiritual Twin”, “At Gunpoint” and “Meet Haq”, Hassan has proven his ability to excel in various genres, making him a sought-after talent in the entertainment industry. “As fans of OSN+ and its amazing content library, we were thrilled to be working on the ‘No More FOMO’ campaign. Now with an added subscription plan in Egypt and so much content to scroll through, from HBO exclusive content and classics to the latest Turkish series and Arabic dramas, its hard not to be constantly fighting over the remote,” Samir Ghanem said. Viewers in Egypt can now subscribe to a more accessible “Standard Plan” in an aim from the platform to bring greater choice to its customers in terms of pricing and commitment. The plan offers the OSN+’s enhanced features and premium content, including the option to download, the number of profiles generated, and will also feature a reduced price and Standard Definition (SD) quality for slower internet connections. Directed by the renowned Egyptian director, Omar El Zohairy, the "No More FOMO" campaign features original songs that humorously portray the fear of missing out (FOMO) on the latest content. The campaign has also brought together other prominent Arab celebrities, such as Aseel Omran, Bader Alshuaibi, Ascia Alshammiri, and Taha Desouky, to bring this feeling to life.

NKN Media sets the stage for a trio of spectacular events & landmark expansion

Dubai: NKN Media, a prominent 360-degree communications company, is all set to captivate the UAE's media landscape with various impactful events and strategic expansions. These initiatives reaffirm NKN Media's commitment to delivering exceptional media experiences that resonate with diverse audiences.NKN Media, in partnership with India Today, proudly presents the Icons of the UAE Awards. This distinguished award ceremony, slated for September 27th at the prestigious Taj Exotica, The Palm, Dubai, celebrates the achievements of 14 exceptional entrepreneurs in the UAE. Backed by India Today's Aaj Tak channel, this event promises to inspire through compelling 30-minute episodes.Abdul Majid Khan, CEO & Managing Director of NKN Media, highlighted the agency's ambitious expansion and establishment of new offices. "Our growth journey continues with the establishment of our new office in Media City Dubai, a testament to our dedication to serving our clients on a global scale. As we extend our footprint to Singapore and gear up to set up operations in New Jersey, we are poised to bring NKN Media's unique blend of media services to diverse corners of the world. This strategic expansion aligns with our vision of creating impactful media experiences that transcend boundaries and resonate with audiences worldwide.”Continuing its commitment to honoring excellence, NKN Media is launching the Best CEO in Real Estate Awards. This event recognizes visionary real estate tycoons who have reshaped the UAE's real estate landscape and their exceptional contributions. This will be celebrated in a grand gathering that underscores their remarkable achievements.In an audacious leap forward, NKN Media introduces a pioneering concept to the UAE: the region's first startup funding reality show. Scheduled to air in December, this innovative platform holds the potential to set the entrepreneurial ecosystem ablaze. Aspiring startups will have the unprecedented opportunity to showcase their ingenuity, passion, and ideas to a wide audience, potentially securing the investments that can drive their dreams to fruition.As NKN Media extends its footprint into dynamic markets like Singapore and New Jersey, the company's unwavering dedication to delivering exceptional media solutions stands resolute. These strategic expansions exemplify NKN Media's commitment to not only staying at the cutting edge of innovation but also nurturing a vibrant and thriving media landscape in every market they touch.

Brazen MENA makes three appointments for next phase of growth

Dubai: Brazen MENA has added three exceptional hires to its team as it enters its next phase of growth as a mid-sized PR agency. Account Manager, Amina Ehsan; Senior Account Executive, Kristina Fernandes and PR-Coordinator, Marry Joy Lastra have all joined Brazen MENA after a summer of exceptional growth. Ex-ITP, with more than six years of experience, Saudi-born Amina previously looked after LPM, while leading across the Maldives Tourism board. She will be heavily involved in the management of senior clients, as well as developing and nurturing the junior team. A UAE born and bred native, Kristina joins from Al Masaood Group and will flex her excellent little black book of media and influencer contacts to deliver best-in-class results the agency has become renowned for. Last, but certainly not least, Marry Joy, will act as a team support ensuring all accounts teams run like clockwork. Furthermore, as a member of AMEC, she will lead Brazen MENA’s evolvement as it develops a newer and far more sophisticated method of media evaluation.  Louise Jacobson, Managing Partner of Brazen MENA comments: “At the heart of Brazen MENA is its people. We always have, and always will, continue to prioritise a positive, inclusive company culture, injected with a huge sense of fun – and after each one performing exceptionally in their interviews, I’m excited to be welcoming this wonderful trio of superb PR talent. I can’t wait to see Amina, Kristina and Marry Joy grow and prosper in their new roles.”<img src='\8d087b472411e768adb9385335671ed9.png' class='content_image'><img src='\34bf90714ee7b7b6fd9879c4d9bded1c.png' class='content_image'><img src='\ede8d05f0a2aa1647a3787a4d3c8558a.png' class='content_image'> Brazen MENA has a roster of leading global and local clients including Marriott International, Dubai Economy and Tourism, Hilton, Sunset Hospitality, Battersea Power Station and The First Group.

Fusion5 makes three new appointments

Fusion5, a leading media solutions agency, has appointed Ramy Mouganie, Kareem Abdel Samad and Lea Tannous in the team.Ramy Mouganis would be the new Client Relationships Director, whereas Kareem Abdel Samad would join as Associate Media Director; and Lea Tannous would be Media Planner. The management as Fusion5 has been excited with the three appointments. Fusion5 believes that the introduction of three exceptional professional will make the organisation more consumer-centric as well as data-driven. With their expertise, the organization would be committed to deliver bespoke marketing solutions for its clients.

Streaming platform Anghami gets $5 million investment from SRMG Ventures

Riyadh: SRMG Ventures, the venture capital arm of SRMG, has today announced a $5 million investment in Anghami, the leading music and entertainment streaming platform in the MENA region. An investment by the MENA region’s largest integrated media group in Anghami marks a significant development in the region’s rising music and audio industry. SRMG Ventures will bolster Anghami's growth trajectory through its extensive media reach, content library, and portfolio of leading assets in audio/podcasts and enable it to capture a larger share in the fast-growing sector that is forecasted to reach $700M in 2026.Anghami has established itself as the region’s leading music and entertainment streaming platform. With 120 million registered users (a significant increase from 75 million users in 2021), a substantial subscriber base and a catalogue comprising more than 100 million songs, Anghami is the go-to platform for Arabic and International music, podcasts and entertainment.Since launching in 2012, Anghami has broadened its portfolio beyond music streaming. It now provides in-house productions, branded music and video content, concerts and live events, a record label for Arab artists, podcasts, a music lounge with live entertainment, exclusive and original Arabic content, along with its renowned music streaming service.SRMG Ventures’ investment in Anghami reflects its unique and leading position in the promising music and audio segment of the media industry. The MENA music and audio industry is forecasted to grow at a CAGR of 11%, outpacing the global market. This rapid growth, further highlighted by the rising prominence of Arab stars and local talent, coupled with the strategic presence of international labels including Warner, Universal, and Sony, is cementing MENA's position as a pivotal player in the global music landscape.Anghami’s breadth of data and its leading distribution capabilities present compelling collaboration opportunities with SRMG. Billboard Arabia, the latest addition to SRMG’s media portfolio, will introduce several charts using data from the leading digital streaming platforms – including Anghami – to highlight the artists and songs driving the global and regional music industry. In addition, Thmanyah, Independent Arabia, and Hia, all notable audio content creator outlets under SRMG, are already present within the Anghami platform, setting the stage for continued collaboration between SRMG and Anghami.Jomana R. Al-Rashid, CEO of SRMG, said: “Audio consumption is growing fast in the MENA region. In 2022 alone, the market size for audio increased by 35%. This demand coupled with the commercial opportunity it presents makes digital audio and media one of the investment priorities for SRMG Ventures. These opportunities are also demonstrative of our strategy and commitment to support and develop the media ecosystem, act as a catalyst for further growth and enhancement of SRMG’s offerings and services. Today, Anghami has been able to secure one of the largest user bases in audio streaming in the region, and has developed an impressive platform with extensive technological capabilities – a testament to the leadership of founders Elie Habib and Eddy Maroun. We’re looking forward to working closely with the Anghami team to realize our shared vision of elevating the region’s media and entertainment industry.”Eddy Maroun, Co-founder & CEO of Anghami, said: “This investment from SRMG Ventures marks a significant milestone for Anghami. We have continually evolved to meet our audience’s changing demands and support the region’s rising entertainment and music industry. Working together with SRMG, a leader and innovator in regional media, Anghami will be able to unlock further opportunities to champion the music ecosystem. This partnership will propel regional artists to greater heights, expand their global reach, and create new touchpoints for our users and artists alike.”SRMG Ventures’ investment in Anghami aligns with the Group’s strategy to invest in businesses and areas of commercial growth, focusing on media creators, immersive and interactive entertainment, and digital media platforms and enablers that are at the forefront of technological and creative innovation. SRMG Ventures inaugural investments included Telfaz11, a Saudi based creative media studio, and Vuz, a leading VR-enabled social media application. As part of the investment agreement, SRMG will be invited to join Anghami's board of directors and will have the opportunity to increase its investment in Anghami in the future.

Elias Pertoft announced as General Manager of Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte

London:  Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island is delighted to announce the appointment of Elias Pertoft as General Manager of the soon-to-open resort. He brings a wealth of luxury hospitality experience spanning over 16 years across Asia and the Caribbean. Elias will lead a team of motivated individuals to create a unique sense of place for guests, and curate one-of-a-kind experiences. Jan van der Putten, vice president, Operations, Africa and Indian Ocean, Hilton said: “I am pleased to welcome Elias to his new role, as we open the first Waldorf Astoria resort in the Seychelles. Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island is set to become a unique, eco-friendly destination, and reaffirms Hilton’s Travel with Purpose commitment to drive responsible travel and tourism across our value chain and operations.” “With Elias’ expertise and passion for hospitality, I am confident that under his guidance, the resort will take guests on a transformative journey that not only indulges in the beauty of Seychelles but also focuses on its preservation and prosperity” added Jan. Slated to open in late 2023, Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island will feature a collection of 50 seafront villas, each equipped with its own private pool and personal concierge. It will also offer six exquisite restaurants and bars, exceptional spa facilities and conservation and nature safaris. Elias Pertoft, general manager, Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island, said: “I am thrilled to be working on the one-of-a kind Platte Island and leading a team dedicated to conserving the rich ecosystem that surrounds us. Our guests will have an extraordinary experience as they join turtle patrols, witness hawksbill turtles laying eggs and embark on blue safaris to spot whales, manta rays and much more. We eagerly await the arrival of our guests to this remarkable destination where nature's wonders and luxury hospitality intertwine harmoniously.” Since starting his career working for Aman Resorts on Moyo Island in Indonesia, Elias has carved a successful career, working at a range of prestigious hotel brands. In 2017, as Managing Director of the Rosewood Luang Prabang, Elias led the property to being named the number one destination resort in Laos by TripAdvisor and the 10th best hotel in the world by Condé Nast Traveller. As General Manager at Necker Island, Elias reopened the private island resort after a rebuild following hurricane Irma. Waldorf Astoria Seychelles Platte Island is set to create a new benchmark for luxury in the region and lies just over 130 kilometres south of Mahé, in a pristine atoll fringed by palm forests, migratory seabirds and over 700 hawksbill turtles, protected by its own lagoon and coral reef. Set against the backdrop of paradise, guests will be able to enjoy world-class fly fishing, exhilarating surfing, and captivating scuba diving adventures. Enthusiasts of marine wonders will be captivated by the 14 kilometre-wide lagoon and an aquatic haven serving as a nursery for a kaleidoscope of underwater creatures. The resort embodies sustainable luxury and is powered by solar energy. In partnership with the Island Conservation Society, WaldorfAstoria Seychelles Platte Island is committed to preserving Seychelles' natural splendor, while also providing the perfect getaway for guests seeking the ultimate holiday adventure.

Abu Dhabi now available for virtual exploration

Abu Dhabi:  Yas Island is ready to be discovered by a global online audience as it launches unique virtual experiences today, allowing users from around the world to digitally explore Abu Dhabi’s premier entertainment and leisure hub and other iconic landmarks in the emirate. The initiative is part of a pioneering collaboration between the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), Aldar, Miral, twofour54, and Ethara (formerly Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management and Flash Entertainment).The virtual Yas Island experience was developed by Super League (Nasdaq: SLGG) and initially breaks through on leading platform Roblox, accessible at Yas Island Tycoon - Roblox. Users’ digital avatars take a thrilling journey through key Abu Dhabi landmarks on Yas Island and beyond, including SeaWorld Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit, Etihad Park, Aldar Square, twofour54’s Yas Creative Hub, and an Experience Abu Dhabi dedicated area featuring Louvre Abu Dhabi, Mamsha Al Saadiyat, Sir Bani Yas Island, Al Ain Oasis and Al Jahili Fort. Players will be able to traverse the 25-square-kilometre virtual site and experience a playable, socially engaging world designed to entertain and inform audiences globally.Throughout a blend of interactive experiences, immersive environments, games, and soon to come one-of-a-kind events, players can explore and build cultural and entertainment attractions within Abu Dhabi. As players progress through the virtual destination and its attractions, they will experience more adventures such as theme park rides, driving across Yas Island in race cars and constructing virtual homes, to name a few. Customisable avatars and surprise awards are part of every player’s personalised adventure. This gamified experience will continually evolve with new partnerships, collaborations and experiences. Rashed Al Omaira, Chief Commercial Officer at Aldar Development, said: "The virtual Yas Island experience unlocks new opportunities for a global audience to explore the island as a world-class destination to live, visit, and work. The effective use of innovative content creation not only enables us to tell the story of Abu Dhabi but also allows people around the world to become immersed in it. We are excited to see people interact with Aldar’s assets on Yas Island in the virtual world and hope it inspires them to take a trip to Abu Dhabi soon.”Mark Whitehead, CEO of twofour54, said: “Through our community of leading international and regional media businesses, we see first-hand that demand for content that tells Abu Dhabi’s inspiring story has never been higher. The opportunity to explore one of the emirate’s most vibrant destinations using a highly interactive platform is a perfect way to meet this demand. It is yet another demonstration of virtual content creation happening in Abu Dhabi.”Saif Rashid Al Noaimi, CEO of Ethara, said “At Ethara, our ambition is to be the gatekeepers of first-to-market events and to unlock unique opportunities in events, activations, and entertainment. We are delighted to be part of this unique and innovative experience and are proud to be leading the way for the event industry in the region. The virtual Yas Island experience is in line with both our vision at Ethara and Yas Island’s to highlight itself as a global creative hub and leading entertainment destination. We are constantly seeking ways to deliver thrilling experiences for our fans, and delivering moments that matter.”Visit the Yas Island virtual experience at Yas Island Tycoon - Roblox.-Ends-About the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu DhabiThe Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors, fuels economic progress and helps achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organizations that define the emirate’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the emirate’s potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture, creative and tourism industries.DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought.

Sharjah Chamber launches 'Back to School Offers

Sharjah: The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) today launched the "Back to School Offers" as part of its ongoing Sharjah Summer Promotions 2023, offering Sharjah students and parents remarkable deals on school supplies with significant discounts of up to 75% on various top-quality products in the school and educational segments.Set to run until September 3, the event will see vast participation from shopping malls, bookstores, and stationery stores throughout all cities within the Emirate of Sharjah. Shoppers are in for a plethora of shopping surprises, including steep markdowns and invaluable deals on a broad spectrum of school essentials, encompassing clothing, school bags, stationery, and pens.Abdulaziz Mohammed Shattaf, Assistant Director-General of the Communication and Business Sector at the Sharjah Chamber, emphasised that the annual "Back to School Offers" is a pivotal initiative that the Sharjah Chamber ardently organises, underscoring its commitment to social responsibility. This initiative aims to assist parents and students in procuring essential school supplies.Shattaf highlighted the economic significance of the event, which will not only stimulate the retail sector but also fortify the market for stationery and school supplies. Moreover, he noted that the "Back to School Offers", comes as a part of the broader "Sharjah Summer Promotions", which has been attracting a rising number of visitors, leading to a noticeable uptick in shopping activity.For his part, Ibrahim Rashid Al Jarwan, Director of Economic Relations and Marketing at the SCCI, said: "This year, the 'Back to School Offers' showcases an unprecedented collaboration of shopping malls, libraries, and stores. It's our endeavour to offer parents and students unmatched opportunities to secure all school essentials at competitive prices. The fervent competition and eagerness of participants have further enriched the event with a plethora of promotional deals and captivating discounts.”In collaboration with Zawaya Walk Centre and Jarir Bookstore, the "Back to School Offers" stands as a highlight of the Sharjah Summer Promotions 2023. Year after year, the Chamber underscores its commitment by ensuring this event remains a top priority.

Tom Ford reopens at fashion avenue in the Dubai Mall

DUBAI: American luxury fashion house TOM FORD announces the reopening of their Dubai boutique in partnership with Chalhoub Group at Fashion Avenue in The Dubai Mall. Showcasing the complete world of TOM FORD, the 880 square meter regional flagship boutique, run as a franchise operation for Zegna Group’s TOM FORD fashion business, spans across three floors and offers the full range of products for both men and women, including ready-to-wear, leather goods, fragrances, beauty, eyewear, and underwear.Outfitted in the signature TOM FORD palette of greys and deep brown with chrome and glass accents, the distinctive boutique interior is modelled after the brand’s Madison Avenue flagship in New York City. The luxurious collections are presented in an environment that exudes the TOM FORD experience in stately clean lines with chrome and mirror finished interior complete with sleek display cabinets in refinedmaterials such as Cala Paonazzo marble and Macassar ebony. The discreetly partitioned walls create a sumptuous sense of privacy along with an atmosphere of exclusivity and refined comfort for its discerning clientele.To indulge in the epitome of luxury from the brand, the Dubai boutique offers the ultimate sartorial experience of TOM FORD’s made to measure garments. Through the made to measure service, clients can create a custom suit through a private one-on-one appointment. The master tailors at TOM FORD atelier devote weeks of craftsmanship to cutting, constructing and finishing each immaculately constructed and beautifully finished men’s suit using exquisite material from the world’s finest millsTOM FORD is located at Ground Floor, Fashion Avenue, The Dubai Mall, Financial Centre Road, Downtown Burj Khalifa, Dubai.

Honeywell research indicates AI will shape global retail over the next 12 months

Abu Dhabi: According to a new survey released today by Honeywell, nearly six in 10 retailers plan to adopt artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and computer vision (CV) technologies over the next year to enhance the shopping experience offered within stores and online. The research also indicates that retailers see this new technology as complementing and enhancing their workforce and not eliminating jobs.Honeywell’s AI in Retail survey involved some 1,000 retail directors across the Middle East, the United States, Europe and Africa in leadership roles – including IT, operations, and customer experience. Some of the key findings about the state of AI, ML and CV technologies today include:38% of those surveyed are using these technologies for select use cases or regions35% are using them on a larger scale24% are in a pilot phase or in discussionsOnly 3% said they were not using these technologies at allNearly half (48%) of respondents identified AI, ML and CV as the top technologies expected to have a significant impact on the retail industry over the next three to five years.“In the Middle East’s fast-developing retail environment, there is greater attention on the customer experience along with increased need to innovate in a hyper-competitive environment,” said Minda Xu, Vice President and General Manager for High Growth Regions, Safety and Productivity Solutions. “New technologies like AI, ML and CV have the potential to enable retailers to deliver personalized experiences, optimize operations, improve inventory management and prevent fraud – all of which enhance customer satisfaction and can lead to increased sales and profitability.”The Middle-East retail industry is forecast to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4.0 percent from US$ 360.4 billion in 2020 to US$ 438.5 billion in 2025[1].AI to enhance customer experience, efficiencies and moreThe convenience of online purchasing with fast delivery and curated in-store shopping options have raised consumers' expectations. Surveyed retailers said they are highly motivated to implement new technologies that help them achieve their goals. The top three reasons leaders gave for deploying new technologies included:Improving customer experience (59%)Driving greater productivity (49%)Achieving cost efficiencies / return on investment (ROI) (44%)Survey respondents predict that AI, ML and CV will bring the greatest value to four key functions in retail: automating and supporting day-to-day tasks, such as picking and scheduling; supporting customer service, including live chat, for digital channels; creating targeted customer marketing campaigns and improving inventory management.AI to complement the future workforce, despite some barriers to adoptionStudy findings suggest that most retailers see AI, ML and CV primarily as tools to augment and maximize their workforce, rather than to replace employees. Only 7% of those surveyed said their primary purpose for these solutions would be to reduce human labor. The new technologies can enable better utilization of the workforce through predictive analytics, which can lead, in turn, to improved job satisfaction and more time to focus on higher-value tasks.Despite the large potential impact of the new technologies – AI, ML and CV – the survey data indicates three primary barriers to widespread adoption:Budget restrictions (39%)Difficulty in demonstrating business value (29%)Lack of internal expertise to maintain the technology (21%)“The importance of attracting and keeping customers and employees has never been greater,” said Xu. “As AI continues to evolve, expect an exciting future where innovative technologies unlock new levels of efficiency, engagement and satisfaction in retail.”

MBC Group join hands to promote local film industry

In the latest push to foster an organic movie industry in the kingdom, the Saudi Film Commission has partnered with the MBC Group to hone local talent and create new opportunities for them through grassroot initiatives.The memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two entities will create training and employment opportunities for Saudi talent in TV shows and films that MBC will produce, while also facilitating their production shoots in the country.Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has been actively pushing the country’s film industry into the spotlight with the announcement of high-profile partnerships and funds to attract key international players.At the 2023 Cannes Film Festival in May, Saudi Arabia’s Cultural Development Fund announced two separate grants that would collectively spend $180 million in developing the local film industry, while also fostering an environment that appeals to cash-rich Hollywood production houses.Separately, the Saudi Film Commission launched Daw last year on the sidelines of the country’s the Red Sea International Film Festival, an initiative aimed at supporting local filmmakers and creating quality local productions. Daw also offers financial grants for Saudi-based production companies looking to produce short films or feature films in the kingdom. Aside from funding, Saudi Arabia also offers a tax rebate on film shoots, similar to the ones offered by Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which provides up to a 40% cash back incentive for productions that recruit crew and talent from the kingdom, while also promoting the cultural and geographical landscape of the country.In the recent past, movies such as Gerard Butler’s Kandahar, along with Cherry, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, have been shot in AlUla. NEOM has also proved itself popular with film units, with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan shooting for him upcoming project Dunki at the destination, along with Rupert Wyatt who filmed Desert Warrior there with Anthony Mackie

Brand Dubai launches new #DubaiDestinations guide

DUBAI: Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), has launched a new #DubaiDestinations guide that features a selection of the city's top child-friendly restaurants and cafes.Titled “Kid-Friendly Restaurants and Play Areas in Dubai”, the guide presents a handpicked list of eateries that offer scrumptious cuisine for all ages and dedicated play spaces for children.With Dubai seeing increasing demand for dining options that cater to the needs of families, the guide provides an exclusive selection of restaurants and cafes that combine delectable food with safe and fun-filled play areas. The restaurants listed in the guide are especially suitable for families with young children.The interactive guide is the third among a series of guides issued by Brand Dubai as part of the latest #DubaiDestinations campaign. The campaign aims to showcase the city's top-rated summer experiences and highlight unique attractions that make Dubai a one-of-a-kind summer destination.The new guide also features a second section listing some of Dubai’s best kids’ entertainment centres that offer dining options, further reflecting the campaign’s efforts to put the spotlight on holistic family experiences.Shaima Al Suwaidi, Director of Brand Dubai, said, "We are delighted to introduce the 'Kid-Friendly Restaurants and Play Areas in Dubai' guide as part of the #DubaiDestinations summer campaign. Consistent with Dubai's growing profile as the world’s best city to live, work and visit, the new guide presents an array of eateries that offer exquisite culinary experiences for all ages, coupled with exciting play areas for children. As part of the campaign's commitment to highlight Dubai’s family-friendly attractions, the guide also provides a select list of children’s entertainment centres with food outlets. One of the key objectives of the #DubaiDestinations campaign is to showcase Dubai’s diverse facets as a summer destination, and the new guide is part of our efforts to raise the profile of places that provide enjoyable experiences for the family.”The latest #DubaiDestinations summer campaign highlights the attractions and experiences that make the emirate a top pick among global destinations this season. The collaborative campaign, implemented by Brand Dubai weaves together compelling content from diverse stakeholders and creatives, to tell the story of Dubai’s emergence as one of the world’s best summer destinations.Running until August 2023, the campaign encourages residents and visitors to discover Dubai’s diverse leisure, dining, adventure and family-friendly activities in the summer months.The #DubaiDestinations campaign is being rolled out over digital, broadcast, print and outdoor media to ensure it reaches large sections of local and international audiences. Brand Dubai is implementing the campaign in cooperation with various stakeholders and the creative media community.

Almosafer partners with MoEngage for personalized engagement

KSA: Saudi Arabia’s leading travel company Almosafer (part of Seera Group), has partnered with MoEngage, a marketing automation and customer engagement platform, to drive meaningful engagement with its travellers using an insights-led strategy.Founded in 2012, Almosafer’s consumer travel platform offers travelers seamless experiences for domestic and international travel bookings through its omnichannel offerings. Currently catering to KSA and other GCC audiences, the brand will leverage MoEngage’s platform to create personalized messaging, ensuring continuous customer engagement at the right place and time.“We understand the importance of trust when it comes to booking travel services. Our customers can rely on us to deliver on our promises, ensuring they receive the services they booked with confidence and peace of mind. Additionally, we also realize the research that goes behind booking a service, and we intend to provide assistance there as well with the help of MoEngage”, said Pallav Singhvi, VP Consumer Travel - Almosafer.Apart from meaningful customer engagement, Almosafer will leverage MoEngage’s capabilities, such as advanced segmentation, automation, and personalization capabilities. This will enable the brand to craft highly relevant and impactful campaigns whilst delivering the right messages to the right customers, maximizing the effectiveness of engagement efforts.Almosafer joins the growing list of 1200+ global companies across 35 countries, such as Azadea Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Landmark Group, Apparel Group, Airtel, Ola, Oyo, and Mashreq, that trust MoEngage to deliver a consistent experience across multiple devices and touchpoints.“We are excited to join hands with a leading brand that focuses on engagement across the customer journey lifecycle. Establishing a sound customer customer engagement strategy can lead to a long-term relationship and MoEngage will be more than happy to assist Almosafer in doing so”, said Sweta Duseja, Director of Customer Success, META - MoEngage.