Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor city hosts India's leading comedian Kapil Sharma

 Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City is ecstatic to have hosted India's renowned comedian and actor, Kapil Sharma, for an unforgettable weekend filled with luxury and entertainment. Kapil Sharma, celebrated for his wit and humor, experienced the best-in-class hospitality offered by the prestigious collection of hotels over the recently concluded weekend. Kapil Sharma is known for his hit television show "The Kapil Sharma Show" and an abundance of successful comedy performances. He enjoyed a truly extravagant experience during his stay at Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City. From a delectable spread of culinary delights to a lavish space to relax and unwind, Kapil Sharma was treated to an unforgettable experience.Saeid Heidari, General Manager of Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City, expressed his gratitude of hosting Kapil Sharma, saying, "We were thrilled to host Kapil Sharma at our hotel. It was an honor to have him experience the finest hospitality and luxury that Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City has to offer. We aim to provide our guests with extraordinary experiences, and hosting Kapil Sharma was a momentous occasion for us."Hilton Dubai Al Habtoor City is a part of the Al Habtoor City Collection that consists of another two landmark luxury hotels – V Hotel Dubai, Curio Collection by Hilton and Habtoor Palace Dubai, LXR Hotels & Resorts. Each of these hotels offers a unique blend of opulence, world-class dining, and unrivalled entertainment options, making them the preferred choice for travelers seeking luxury and sophistication in Dubai.

Ghawali from house of Chalhoub Group launches its new fragrance

Ghawali, a Chalhoub Group brand focusing on developing oriental niche scents, launched its new fragrance “9PM in Saudi” at its flagship store in Riyadh. Launched ahead of KSA National Day and in line with the brand’s efforts to support and empower local talent, 9PM in Saudi was launched in partnership with numerous local photographers, designers, and artists, with the latest scent celebrating Saudi Arabia’s dynamic culture and the local community during their busiest time of day.To empower local talent, Ghawali collaborated with numerous young Saudis including local photographer, Designless, who shot the overall 9PM in Saudi fragrance campaign, Saudi designer, PROUD Angeles, who created the fragrance’s capsule collection, and Saudi 4D artist, Amr Khaled, who did an original Instagram Reel for Saudi National Day.Forat Al Haider, Head of Beauty Innovation at Chalhoub Group, said: “We are proud to launch Ghawali’s new fragrance, 9PM in Saudi, which is a sensorial ode and celebration of Saudi culture and testament to the brand’s unwavering dedication to empowering local Saudi talent. This collaborative initiative epitomises a community-driven endeavour where we have created a platform for local creatives to showcase their work while paying homage to the Kingdom’s ambiance. The scent, a sensorial innovation, starts with sophisticated lychee as a top note, sitting above an umbrella of incense which contains two high-end versions of oud. Ghawali’s 9PM in Saudi fragrance encapsulates the soul, vibe and mood of Saudi Arabia while proudly fostering the growth and prominence of homegrown talents.”The launch of Ghawali’s latest 9PM in Saudi fragrance took place across an exclusive two-day event with VIPs, key customers, and leading media invited to discover the new scent and meet the capsule collection designer. Attendees also had the opportunity to have a one-on-one session with the brand’s creative director who delved into the capitvating story behind the perfume and its carefully selected ingredients.

UAE's brightest minds to enter Bybit's crypto hackathon in UAE

Dubai: African Media Agency(AMA)/- Bybit, the world's third most visited crypto exchange, is partnering with American University of Sharjah (AUS) to create an inter-college hackathon, empowering young people to develop new AI and crypto models. Dubbed the "CryptoAI BUILDER Challenge," this initiative represents a milestone in the partnership between AUS and Bybit, aimed at fostering the growth of Web3. Bybit believes that young people will play a vital role in creating crypto adoption and so it is the lead contributor to the AED 80,000 prize pool. The CryptoAI BUILDER Challenge is part of Bybit's commitment to be the world's Crypto Ark, offering a safe journey to the promise of a decentralized financial system, which is not controlled by any central power. During this event, numerous teams will compete to devise innovative technical solutions across various challenges encompassing artificial intelligence, gaming, and blockchain security. The registration period will begin on Sept. 29 and continue until Oct. 8. Interested students are encouraged to visit the official event website to sign up and secure their spot in this groundbreaking competition. From Oct. 9-13, expert judges will shortlist the most promising proposals. The culmination of the hackathon will be a live event, scheduled to take place from Nov. 3 to 5 at AUS. During these intense days of live coding and collaboration, participants will have the opportunity to refine their projects and present their final prototypes to a distinguished panel of judges. To enrich the participants' experience and provide valuable insights, a series of side workshops will also be organized throughout the hackathon. These workshops will cover various topics related to artificial intelligence and its applications in the crypto industry, delivered by Bybit experts and industry thought leaders. "The AUS-Bybit Hackathon is a strategic investment in the innovators of tomorrow," said Ben Zhou, co-founder and CEO of Bybit. "We're eager to see how the brilliant minds of today will leverage AI to push the boundaries of the crypto sector. Events like this are vital for nurturing the ideas that will shape blockchain's role in advancing financial technology." "We're excited to collaborate with Bybit for the CryptoAI BUILDER Challenge, offering UAE university students a unique opportunity to explore cutting-edge technology." said Dr. Imran Zualkernan, professor and head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at AUS. "By uniting top talent from across the nation, we aim to create an environment for exploring the synergy between AI and crypto, unleashing innovative potential. With support from Bybit, a leading name in the crypto space, participants will have access to valuable resources to shape the future of AI and crypto."

Schneider Electric to showcase software-centric industrial automation system

Dubai: Schneider Electric, a leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, will showcase its world-class digital energy, industrial automation, and sustainability solutions, many for the first time in the Middle East region, at ADIPEC 2023, October 2-5, Abu Dhabi, UAE.Schneider Electric will exhibit 21 solutions, products, and demonstrations to ADIPEC visitors, including the company’s flagship EcoStruxure Automation Expert. This technology is the latest version of the world's first software-centric universal automation system and will be officially debuted in the Middle East at ADIPEC.EcoStruxure Automation Expert is a cybersecure solution that enables digital-first industrial enterprises and factories, water and wastewater treatment facilities, and manufacturing plants to be more energy-efficient and future-proof. This solution presents a new approach to designing, building, operating, and maintaining industrial automation systems by enabling the separation of automation software from the hardware. The technology also automates low-value and repetitive tasks, thereby freeing up engineers to innovate and focus on other high-value work.Ahmed Khashan, President for Gulf Countries at Schneider Electric, said: “Our latest suite of innovative solutions, including the launch of our flagship EcoStruxure Automation Expert and a dedicated cybersecurity portfolio across the region at the event underscores our commitment to delivering more energy-efficient technologies that will transform the Middle East energy landscape.”He added: “Our goal is not only to help companies become more energy-efficient but also to support them in reducing energy and operational costs, with the goal of accelerating the energy transition."Schneider Electric’s recently launched Managed Security Services (MSS) offering will also be displayed. The new offering is a smart cybersecurity solution designed to support customers in operational technology (OT) environments and to address the rise of cyber-attacks post-COVID, which increased fivefold from 12% to 60%, according to a recent report by Deloitte. A spike attributed, according to the report, to the rise in remote working. This has heightened the need for innovative cybersecurity solutions to help minimize downtime, loss of intellectual property and other disruptions caused by system vulnerabilities.Through forging strategic local collaborations and introducing innovative solutions to the Middle East market, Schneider Electric is setting the stage for a more sustainable and resilient energy landscape. As a member of the Global Councils on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the company is actively driving climate action initiatives in the UAE, in line with the country's vision for sustainability.

Wasalt secures license from ‘Infath’

Saudi Arabia: Wasalt, a revolutionary real-estate online platform specialising in connecting buyers with sellers (brokers and landlords), today announced that it has acquired a license from the Entrustment and Liquidation Center (Infath) to organise and manage electronic and hybrid auctions. This collaboration further underscores the company's commitment to providing best-in-class digital services to enhance transparency and improve offerings in the Saudi real estate market.Licensed by REGA, the General Real Estate Authority in the Kingdom, Wasalt is a dynamic platform that provides a comprehensive range of online real estate services to ensure that users can benefit from convenient and unique experiences while advertising and searching for properties to buy, sell, or rent.Under the new collaboration, the sales agents at Infath will now be able to list their auctions on the Wasalt platform and seamlessly carry out asset liquidation operations. This involves facilitating the process of selling fixed assets, in addition to holding auctions, engaging in marketing, and advertising as required by the sales process. Commenting on the accomplishment, Ziad El Chaar, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors at Wasalt, said: “Wasalt is more than just an ordinary platform. It is managed by a group of pioneers in the technology sector who are committed to continuous innovation at every stage of our growth. The idea is to remain at the forefront of the real estate auction sector with leading technology solutions that provide customers with the best possible experience. Today, with this accreditation from Infath, Wasalt has further reaffirmed its leadership position, in offering seamless and specialised services, which ultimately results in a dynamic and distinctive auction experience." The platform provides real-time bidding services, enabling immediate and direct decision-making regarding asset awarding, thereby creating a unique auction experience. It also offers a smooth process for charging the electronic wallet in a safe manner and paying the deposit to participate in each auction. Users can also benefit from specialised support including guidance and counsel through every stage of the purchasing journey.In addition to real estate auctions, Wasalt features an exclusive range of properties for sale or rent across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All offers that are listed by licensed owners and real estate brokers on the platform are subject to monitoring by a team of distinguished experts who verify their quality and reliability before approval. Wasalt enjoys a strong reputation in the real estate market. It is well known as a comprehensive and integrated platform that provides a wide range of innovative services such as listing, searching, purchasing, renting, and marketing properties. Besides helping property seekers or investors find their dream properties from brokers or developers, it also provides customers with various digital solutions to assist them in their daily activities.

ABC Conclave unites Web3 leaders, innovators in Dubai's blockchain scene

Taking place on October 7-8, 2023, at the prestigious Dubai World Trade Centre, ABC Conclave welcomes blockchain enthusiasts, industry leaders, and innovators driving change in the blockchain space. The event offers a modern platform where the members of the vibrant 20,000+ Web3 community members can collaborate, learn, gain insights from industry experts, and explore the latest trends in blockchain, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, DeFi, and Web3.The largest Web3 conference also aims to highlight the growing role of communications in the technology sector. This year, Mary Pedler, the Founder of INPUT — a communications agency elevating tech and VC brands — will join ABC Conclave as one of the panel moderators.The event boasts an impressive lineup of speakers, including Ahmed Elmetwally, CEO and General Manager at Private Office of Sheikh Mohamed Bin Ahmed Bin Hamadan Al Nahyan; Dr. Zayed Al Hemairy, Blockchain, Cryptocurrency & ICO Expert at Bitcoin Inc.; Alex Chehade, Executive Director and General Manager at Binance; Mohammed AlKaff AlHashmi, Co-founder at Islamic Coin; Igor Bershadsky, Director of Business Development & Partnerships, Hacken, and others.Apart from the speaker presentations, ABC Conclave will offer interactive workshops, a hackathon, and insightful panel discussions to promote knowledge-sharing and strategic partnerships.“I believe that the most exciting progress happens when creative minds come together. With the diverse and talented lineup at ABC Conclave 2023, I'm confident that many great ideas will take root right here,” Pedler comments. As the moderator of the “Forging a Blockchain Oasis; Unveiling the Latest Trends in the Blockchain Landscape” panel, Mary will help the panelists explore how the landscape of blockchain education is evolving to cater to the needs of a rapidly expanding and dynamic industry.The event organizers also invite participants to explore the fusion of Web2 and Web3 gaming through esports tournaments, visit the exclusive FOMO lounge for valuable networking, attend the ABC Awards ceremony honoring trailblazers in the field, and join other engaging side activities, such as the music festival and cosplay events.“Web3 is more than a technology; it's a revolution. At ABC Conclave, we're not just hosting an event but creating a platform for this revolution to grow and thrive. We're bringing together the brightest minds in blockchain, digital assets, and fintech from across the globe for a two-day immersive experience in the heart of Dubai,” says Kirubakaran Reddy, Alphablockz Founder & CEO.

Saudi Awwal Bank receives "Best Bank for Small and Medium Enterprises"

Riyadh: Saudi Awwal Bank has received the "Best Bank for Small and Medium Enterprises in the Kingdom" award, issued by the international magazine Euromoney. The award comes as a recognition of the bank's steadfast commitment to empowering and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia.The commitment of “SAB” to the SME sector is evident through its support for the Financial Sector Program of Saudi Vision 2030, specifically tailored to SMEs."SAB" has taken significant steps in digital transformation and the adoption of innovative digital banking services for SMEs. This includes launching various digital services with multiple features, such as user management without the need for direct communication with the bank and advanced security features. It has also introduced a digital banking account opening service for SMEs, which received the "Outstanding Initiative for Opening and Managing SME Accounts" award at the 2023 SME Banking Innovation Awards. The bank also provides innovative financing programs tailored to SME requirements.Yasser Al-Barrak, Chief Corporate and Institutional Banking Officer, commented: "This award reflects our continuous efforts to provide the best services to SMEs in the Kingdom. Our investment in people, technology, and innovation not only demonstrates our commitment to growth and development but also our determination to meet the evolving needs of SMEs during this crucial period of their development. With each achievement, we always look forward to providing innovative banking solutions that meet the aspirations of small and medium-sized enterprises. As we continue to evolve to support them in expanding their business, our goal is not only to be the preferred partner but also to be the driving force behind their success.""SAB" is considered a partner to many SMEs, as it strengthens its collaboration with relevant entities to support these enterprises, such Monsha'at, Small and Medium Enterprises Bank, Kafalah Program, the Real Estate Development Fund, the National Information Technology Development Program, the Tourism Development Fund, the Industrial Development Fund, and many other entities.The bank also collaborates with the London Stock Exchange to provide a range of training and awareness sessions as part of the "SAB Academy" program for SMEs, which are offered through virtual seminars, regardless of whether the SMEs are clients of the bank. The academy aims to empower these enterprises with financial planning and financial education on the key elements of success.

Deliveroo UAE joins forces with female Emirati artist to transform editions site

Deliveroo UAE has joined forces with Emirati artist Aysha Al Hamrani to reimagine the facade of Editions sites across the UAE. Through this unique collaboration, Aysha has provided Editions sites with a new visual identity that celebrates the profound connection between art and food by weaving in elements of the city’s distinct landmarks. The artwork for the Deliveroo Editions facade, designed by Aysha Al Hamrani, beautifully encapsulates the essence of Dubai, reflecting key cultural elements that resonate among residents. The vibrant and dynamic artwork features the journey of food from restaurant to customers, including riders in motion, chefs crafting culinary delights, joyful customers savouring their meals, and symbolic sites from the Emirati culture. Aysha’s artistry adds a playful and relatable dimension to the overall visual narrative, making it more engaging for the community. These elements artfully converge to represent vital pillars of Deliveroo’s marketplace including dedicated riders, great food, and connecting customers with their favourite cuisine. Aysha Al Hamrani, Emirati Artist said “Art has the power to transcend barriers and connect people on a profound level. Dubai’s art scene is flourishing and it’s an honour to collaborate with Deliveroo UAE to bring art to the forefront of everyday life. My artwork aims to celebrate the cultural diversity and culinary richness of Dubai while emphasizing the integral role food plays in our lives. Together with Deliveroo, I’m inviting residents on an urban journey to celebrate and appreciate the beauty in everyday moments in Dubai’s urban life, like the simple act of ordering food.” Taghrid Oraibi, Head of Communications at Deliveroo Middle East said, “At Deliveroo, we are on a mission to connect businesses and communities through a shared love of food. Dubai is a melting pot of cultures and flavours, and Deliveroo Editions is at the heart of this cultural exchange alongside our restaurant partners. Aysha’s artwork beautifully encapsulates the spirit of our Editions kitchens and the connection with our customers.” The collaboration between Deliveroo UAE and Aysha Al Hamrani is set to bring a burst of creativity and cultural celebration to the streets of Dubai. It exemplifies the company’s dedication to both the art of food and connecting communities, creating a visually enticing experience for all. Deliveroo Editions is a revolutionary delivery-only platform which transformed the culinary landscape for customers and restaurants throughout the UAE. Launched in 2017, Deliveroo Editions was one of the first concepts of its kind to be introduced to the market. Throughout the years, it has steadily expanded, consistently charting new directions and setting industry standards within the delivery-only kitchen sector. The platform serves as a testament to Deliveroo’s commitment to providing an unparalleled dining experience in the comfort of one’s home.

The Ritz-Carlton celebrates transformational travel with ‘Leave Better’ Campaign

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., has announced the launch of a new international marketing campaign, in regard to the continued evolution of the brand. Created in collaboration with longtime agency partner Team One, the ‘Leave Better campaign’ invites guests to embark on a powerful journey of self-discovery through thoughtfully tailored experiences and the genuine comfort and care offered by a stay at The Ritz-Carlton. With the promise of a transformational experience, guests will check out of The Ritz-Carlton greater than when they arrived.  Marking a fresh new direction for The Ritz-Carlton, the multi-million dollar marketing campaign captures how travel across the brand's hotels and resorts can become a catalyst for personal evolution. Leave Better illustrates that travel not only results in enriching memories but also has the power to evolve ones' sense of self.The Leave Better campaign will roll out in several languages across international markets, including the United States, Japan, China, Germany, the UAE and Saudi Arabia through a special partnership with Condé Nast network, truly tapping into a global audience. It will be seen across digital video, print, digital display and paid social. <img src='\292ff3ae55651f682e7d3699ef944b20.png' class='content_image'>"We are thrilled to introduce the Leave Better Campaign, which reflects our commitment to not only honoring our heritage as a luxury hospitality icon, but embracing the desires of our discerning guests," said Jamie Kerr, Senior Director Global Marketing, The Ritz-Carlton. "Through Leave Better, we invite travelers to journey with The Ritz-Carlton to places, moments and spaces that are marked by genuine care only we can deliver, and will encourage self-growth and discovery, staying with them long after they depart."The campaign's central question, "How will a stay leave you?", inspires consumers to envision the lasting impact of an experience at The Ritz-Carlton.It encourages guests to consider the memories they'll create, the connections they'll forge, the inspiration they'll draw, and the level of revitalization they'll experience that can only result through genuine comfort and care.Whether through enriching classes, cultural programming, hands-on culinary experiences, or more, there are endless opportunities for guests to tap into moments of exploration and discovery. Through a series of visually captivating advertisements across print and digital content, the campaign captures the brand's commitment to providing unforgettable and transcendent journeys.Leave Better is the latest phase in the brand's thoughtful evolution, which has seen The Ritz-Carlton expand into exciting global destinations such as Mexico City, Melbourne and Fukuoka, buzzing neighborhoods including NoMad in Manhattan, and the industry redefining launch of The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. The new debuts have rolled-out alongside a collection of comprehensive renovations, signaling The Ritz-Carlton's ongoing transformation as it welcomes travelers across generations and geographies. The evolution has also seen the unveiling of a new website for the brand, introducing an elevated digital experience that speaks to the future of The Ritz-Carlton.

Cannes Lions success: UAE's official representatives commemorate winners

The official representatives of the UAE at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Motivate Media Group and Motivate Val Morgan, hosted an awards ceremony on September 12 to honor the Cannes winners from the UAE. During the ceremony, Ian Fairservice, the Managing Partner and Group Editor-in-Chief of Motivate Group, and Avinash Udeshi, the Chief Operating Officer of Motivate Val Morgan, presented the Cannes Lions awards to the winning agencies in the UAE.Among the attendees at the award ceremony were Havas Middle East, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, FP7 McCann, and Impact BBDO.The 2023 Cannes Lions held particular significance for the Middle East region, as Ali Rez, the Chief Creative Officer of Impact BBDO, served as the first-ever Jury President from the MENA region. Impact BBDO was also honored as the MENA Network of the Year for the fifth consecutive year. They received several awards, including 1 Grand Prix for Print & Publishing, 1 Gold for Glass: The Lion for Change, and 1 Bronze for Creative Strategy.The UAE boasted the largest group of 18 Jury members overseeing the festival. This year's competition saw a substantial increase in entries, with 640 submissions from 22 UAE agencies, compared to 358 the previous year. Of these entries, 81 were shortlisted, and 21 received Lions, including 1 Grand Prix, 1 Gold, 6 Silver, and 13 Bronze awards. This accomplishment solidified the UAE's position as one of the top nations to receive numerous awards at the festival.Notably, the UAE also received awards for the first time in categories such as Glass: The Lion for Change, Entertainment for Music, and Creative Data. FP7 McCann secured the highest number of Lions, with 2 Silvers in Creative Data and Outdoor, along with 7 Bronze awards in various categories, including Brand Experience & Activation, Direct, Entertainment for Music, Industry Craft, Media, Outdoor, and Radio. The Us agency also achieved recognition with 3 Lions, comprising 1 Silver in Health and Wellness and 2 Bronze in Design. Havas Middle East was awarded a Bronze Lion in the PR category.In addition, Saatchi & Saatchi, a part of Publicis Groupe, received double Bronze awards in Health & Wellness and Creative Commerce, while Leo Burnett, another sister agency, earned double Silver awards for Creative Commerce and Creative Strategy.Notably, Jonathan Cruz from And Us, a member of the Young Lions Digital Competition UAE team alongside Saymon Medeiros, and Chloe Salloum from the American University in Dubai, who represented the UAE at the Roger Hatchuel Academy student programme, were also present at the event.

Uterra to invest USD 20 million in Ras Al Khaimah's organic fertiliser project

Uterra Middle East Agro Industries is investing USD 20 million in the next three years for the construction and development of Ras Al Khaimah’s first organic soil fertiliser project, which aims to revolutionalise agriculture, address environmental challenges and promote sustainability. A part of a multi-national UniPax Investment Group, Uterra has acquired a land plot of approximately 33,000 m2 in Al Ghail Industrial Zone to build a sustainable biosphere cluster. At the new facility, the company will produce high-efficiency micro-biological organic fertiliser for agriculture and carry out research and scientific work on the creation of unique methods of cultivating plants, medicinal and valuable fungi. The company will also be farming fruits, vegetables and berries, both indoors and outdoors, and conduct organic animal husbandry. The Uterra project implementation in the UAE aims to address several key objectives. First, it aims to produce and implement highly efficient and profitable organic fertilisers in both the UAE and the global markets. Second, the project aims to ensure that the residents of the region have access to sufficient quantities of high-quality, environment-friendly products. The ‘uTerra’ branded products will be developed without the use of pesticides. Additionally, they will have zero amount of harmful chemicals and genetically modified organisms (GMOs), promoting natural and healthy food sources. This will not only positively affect people’s health, but also reduce depletion of valuable soil resources. According to UniPax Owner and Uterra Founder Dr Anatoli Unitsky, the decision to establish his company’s operations in Ras Al Khaimah was influenced by several factors. “I am greatly impressed with Ras Al Khaimah’s vision for turning the emirate into a regional leader of socio-economic development. As for the location, the emirate offers convenient logistical solutions and the launch of Etihad Rail will also open up new possibilities. Additionally, the RAKEZ team has provided excellent support with all procedures of our new set-up, from the acquisition of our facility space to assistance in bank account opening.” RAKEZ Group CEO Ramy Jallad said, “We are thrilled to welcome Uterra into our diverse business ecosystem. We, at RAKEZ, are big supporters of innovation and sustainability in all aspects of business and Uterra’s plans align perfectly. By developing organic soil fertilisers, Uterra is not only providing a solution for environmental challenges, but also fostering a more sustainable agriculture sector in Ras Al Khaimah. This resonates with our commitment to the Year of Sustainability, facilitating more and more businesses that contribute towards a greener future. It’s not only about economic growth, but also about growing responsibly.”

Freshworks report reveals massive opportunity for IT leaders leveraging AI

Freshworks Inc. (NASDAQ: FRSH) today released the findings of its second annual “State of Workplace Technology” report, which found a 71% increase in the number of software applications on IT team’s work computers over the last year(1). To manage this spiraling complexity, the report found that IT pros - especially senior leaders and younger generations - are embracing AI to automate workflows and boost efficiency with 86% of IT pros reporting that their organizations are already using AI.AI is poised to save companies time and moneyWhile IT departments are expected to grow this year(2), it doesn’t mean they need to spend more. Freshworks found that companies in the U.S. could save $15,603 per IT employee each year using AI to eliminate time wasted on repetitive tasks. This means that an enterprise-sized company with at least 5,000 employees and an average of 200 IT professionals on staff could save a minimum of $3.1 million annually using AI. The survey also revealed: IT professionals are managing more software than ever and see an opportunity to simplify. The number of software applications on IT team’s work computers increased 71% over the last year. Despite this, IT professionals only use one third of the applications available to them daily (just eight out of 24), compared to half in 2022.IT teams put efficiency first. They rank ease of use and efficiency as top attributes of business software, ahead of feature suite, reliability and cost-effectiveness.AI eliminates repetitive tasks. IT pros agree AI frees up time otherwise spent on repetitive tasks (49%) and allows them to do more complex, meaningful work (45%). Moreover, IT pros estimate they could save more than five hours per week by using AI to complete repetitive tasks. “I’ve had a front-row seat to the mobile and cloud revolutions, and witnessed how both delivered powerful efficiencies that enabled IT teams to improve performance—without expanding costs,” said Dennis Woodside, Freshworks President. “We’re already seeing customers like Smartsheet and Sony Music Entertainment who plan to harness AI to substantially improve employee service, while saving on costs from legacy software accrued over time.” Senior IT leaders are bought into AIDirectors and above reporting higher use and organizational support for AI. Notable findings include: AI use is generally encouraged at work. Seven in ten (70%) IT directors and above say that use of AI is actively encouraged by their company, compared to 44% of team leads/managers and 21% of individual contributors.IT leaders are leading the way to adopt AI. More than nine in ten (91%) IT directors and above currently use AI to support their workload, compared to 66% of team leads/managers and 33% of individual contributors.There’s a youth AI movement. Newer generations are playing a pivotal role in AI adoption. Eight in ten (81%) of Millennial and 75% of Gen Z IT pros currently use AI to support their workload, compared to 57% of Gen X and 27% of Boomers. “Business leaders adopt software for good reasons—to improve operations—but over time may face an unintended consequence of accruing more applications than they need,” said Prasad Ramakrishnan, CIO at Freshworks. “Smart, simplified technology, paired with the power of AI, will do more to drive productivity and efficiency than legacy software has done in decades. IT leaders who embrace automation and technological agility to reduce complexity will be the ones whose teams come out ahead.”

Nissan delights customers partners with the ENTERTAINER business at Seamless KSA

Nissan KSA and the ENTERTAINER business, a leading global loyalty, and rewards solutions provider headquartered in Dubai, have come together to introduce a loyalty program to reward Nissan customers through enticing incentives. The announcement was made at the Seamless Saudi Arabia 2023 conference, a dynamic two-day event held in Riyadh that focused on global innovations in fintech, retail, and e-commerce. The ENTERTAINER app provides percentage discounts and buy-one-get-one-free offers at various restaurants, activities, and attractions in many cities worldwide.The partnership will empower Nissan to leverage the app’s broader reach, enhancing customer engagement, brand loyalty, and recurring business across different services, and more. All facilitated through app usage.The core objective of the loyalty program is to provide an appealing value proposition to Nissan's customer base, seamlessly integrating them into the Nissan ecosystem while incentivizing desired behaviours.Adib Takieddine, Managing Director, Nissan Saudi Arabia, said, "This partnership stands as a testament to our shared commitment to delivering customer experiences that ‘defy ordinary’. With Nissan's vast network of dealerships and service centres, combined with the ENTERTAINER business’s widespread reach, we aim to provide our customers with added value by simplifying their access to tailor-made deals that cater to their daily needs."Users can choose from a wide range of reward categories, track savings, and digitize their offers within the app.The move exemplifies Nissan’s innovative approach to business in the fast-changing digital landscape and emerging trends.Abdulilah Wazni, Director of Product, Marketing, and Customer Experience, Nissan Middle East and Saudi Arabia, said, “Today, digital tools are progressively becoming integral to every facet of life and business. Our collaboration with the ENTERTAINER business embodies this vision. Nissan wants to turbocharge convenience for customers with faster and more efficient processes. And by constantly evolving, we aim to exceed client expectations and deliver unrivalled value."Julian Morbidelli, General Manager - KSA, the ENTERTAINER business, added, “We are thrilled to implement a loyalty and rewards program in partnership with Nissan, a leading player in the Saudi Arabian automotive industry. We immerse ourselves in our consumers' lifestyle journeys to provide them with exceptional experiences, which helps enhance customer retention. Today, having a digital partner to streamline processes for seamless growth is essential. This is where the ENTERTAINER business comes in; we are dedicated to supporting Nissan’s success within the evolving tech ecosystem for better deals and increased growth.”With the app, users can have access to a range of helpful features that can make their driving experience safer and more convenient. These include the ability to add emergency contacts, around-the-clock roadside assistance, tracking of vehicle maintenance records, hassle-free servicing, and a document wallet for storing important documents. In addition, users can book appointments to test drive new Nissan vehicles and take advantage of Nissan's provided rewards to showcase their wheels at the best places for less.

Porsche pleased with first year after IPO

 Porsche AG is looking back on its first year after its much-anticipated IPO on 29 September 2022. “Today, we can say that our IPO has been a huge success. It’s good for our customers, our shareholders and our employees as well,” says Chairman of the Executive Board Oliver Blume. “With the greater entrepreneurial freedom and flexibility, we are able to set our own priorities. We can also act more quickly and with greater focus. In a dynamic and challenging global environment, that’s more important than ever.”After going public, Porsche established individual partnerships in the field of software, for example with Apple and Mobileye. “Forward-looking steps of this nature are an important part of being able to continue to exceed the expectations of our customers with desirable products and unparalleled Porsche experiences in the future as well,” says Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board and Board Member for Finance and IT. “Autonomy helps us to accelerate even faster and thereby inspire our customers even more. This benefits not only our shareholders, but also our employees.”On 29 September 2022, Porsche’s Chairman of the Executive Board Oliver Blume and his deputy Lutz Meschke rang the stock exchange bell on the trading floor of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. It was Europe’s biggest IPO by market capitalization. Just three months later, in December of that year, Porsche AG gained fast entry to the leading German stock index (DAX). “The fast entry was a testament to the great confidence of the capital market in our brand, our product strategy and our business model,” says Lutz Meschke.Porsche has repaid that trust in recent months: in the first six months of 2023, the sports car manufacturer posted significant gains in Group sales revenue, Group operating profit and deliveries. “The demand for our sports cars is strong worldwide,” says Blume. As we continue to implement our strategy of modern, sporty luxury, we are consistently investing in our product portfolio, innovations and our digital ecosystem. We want to make our products even better, even more unique, and even more appealing than they are today. We are focusing on limited editions and expanding our Sonderwunsch programme, among other priorities. We believe that we are very well positioned for the future – including on the important topic of sustainability.”Porsche shares popular with private investorsPorsche’s ambitious goal is for more than 80 per cent of all new cars delivered to customers in 2030 to be all-electric. Porsche's first all-electric sports car Taycan contributes to this. In addition, the model lines will be gradually converted to battery electric powertrains from 2024 onwards. The all-electric Macan is scheduled to be delivered to customers in 2024. The all-electric 718 is planned for the middle of the decade. The all-electric Cayenne is expected to roll out to dealers shortly thereafter. Porsche is also planning to expand its product portfolio upwards with an all-electric SUV positioned above the Cayenne. The shareholder structure of Porsche AG remains globally broad-based and stable. Lutz Meschke: “We’re particularly pleased with the great interest from private shareholders. Many of them do not own a Porsche, but can now be a member of the Porsche family as a shareholder. By going public, we’ve made Porsche more tangible.”Financial markets around the world have come under pressure in recent weeks. One reason for this is the increasing uncertainty regarding possible measures by central banks. At the same time, developments in China are being followed with a degree of concern. This also influenced the price of the PAG911 share. Despite the still very challenging macroeconomic situation, Porsche has confirmed its forecast for the current financial year and subsequent financial years: if the global economic and supply situation does not worsen significantly, Porsche expects a Group operating return on sales in the range of 17 to 19 per cent at the end of fiscal year 2023. This forecast is based on the assumption of sales revenue in the range from 40 to 42 billion euros. In the long term, the sports car manufacturer is aiming for a Group operating return on sales of more than 20 per cent.

Dubai to host exclusive B2B event showcasing European fresh fruits

An exclusive B2B event is set to take place on October 10, 2023, at 16:30, at the prestigious International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) in Dubai. The event, hosted within the framework of the European program "EU Fresh Fruit Gift," promises to be a unique opportunity for participants from various sectors, including Horeca, importers, distributors, wholesalers, grocery chain representatives, bloggers, and journalists, to engage with representatives of contributing organizations.Attendees will have the privilege of savoring delectable cherries from Greece and blueberries and raspberries from Romania, all while exploring potential collaboration prospects. This gathering will also provide insights into the European program "EU Fresh Fruit Gift" and its initiatives, with expert chefs from ICCA Dubai on hand to analyze the products' merits and create enticing dishes featuring the promoted fruits.The EU-funded "EU Fresh Fruit Gift" campaign is dedicated to promoting fresh European cherries and blueberries from Greece and Romania among consumers in India, the UAE, and the UK. Key participating organizations include the Agricultural Cooperative of Rachi Pieria "Agios Loukas" (AC Rachi) from Greece, serving as the coordinator, and The Association of South Fruit Producers - FRUCTPROD from Romania.Photo by Nica Cn on Unsplash

Hudayriyat Island hosts Pink October activities for UAE women

Hudayriyat Island, Abu Dhabi’s premier leisure and sports hub developed by Modon Properties, invites the women of the UAE to participate in a packed calendar of activities to mark Pink October. Observed every year since 1985, Pink October aims to raise awareness about breast cancer. Throughout the month, organizations around the world are focusing on educating the public about the condition, the importance of regular screenings for early detection, and the support options available. With 2.26 million new cases and 685,000 deaths, breast cancer became the most commonly diagnosed cancer globally in 2020. However, the number of women who have died of breast cancer has decreased by 43% since 2020 thanks to early detection, treatment improvements, and greater awareness of the condition.This October, Modon Properties is organizing the fourth edition of its awareness campaign that seeks to spread positivity, spark conversation on the importance of breast health, and encourage the community to take action on this critical issue.The UAE community wholeheartedly embraces the mission of raising awareness for breast health, and Modon Properties takes immense pride in inaugurating its fourth annual campaign dedicated to this vital cause. With this year’s awareness drive, the company seeks to inspire women to proactively evaluate their own breast health while encouraging their loved ones to follow suit.Hudayriyat’s month-long program will kick off with sunset yoga, taking place on the overwater cycling bridge with the island’s famous sunset as the backdrop. The session will be followed by a social hour, where women can bond through their shared experiences over mocktails, smoothies, and healthy bites. <img src='\a33ac3eb031b107ad8a607dbd4917b5f.png' class='content_image'>As part of Hudayriyat Sport’s Dragon Boat series, two women’s races – 200 m and 500 m – will run the second week of October in Marsana. The third week will give space to the world’s fastest-growing sport – padel – and most popular sport – football – with a double women’s tournament at 321 Sports. The event will be organized by an all-women team, including umpires and ball kids, with Emirati padel champions and Hudayriyat Sport Ambassadors Alia Taher and Aisha Alawadhi in attendance. Those who don’t play padel or football but are nimble on a skateboard can join the Skate for Pinktober event at Skate Park at Circuit X on the same day.As a culmination of October’s She Rides series and the final fixture in Hudayriyat Island’s Pink October women’s sports events calendar, the Women’s Cycling Championship will tackle a 50 km route with the finish line at Bab at Nojoum. Winners can look forward to exciting prizes.After the cycling race, Hudayriyat Sport Sheroes will bring together the winners of all previous events of the month at Bab Al Nojoum to take their rightful place on the winners’ podium. The special ceremony will draw the participation of cancer survivors and distinguished athletes.In addition to the sports events, a Pink Mobile Clinic will set up on Hudayriyat Island on October 14 and 21, offering complimentary breast cancer screening in partnership with SEHA. <img src='\23f62494827b7d30dc5ada588790aca0.png' class='content_image'>Through encouraging women to participate in sports activities, the destination aims to promote a healthy and active lifestyle that plays an important role in the prevention of breast cancer and other life-threatening conditions. It also seeks to boost grassroots engagement of women in sports.

Artificial Intelligence impacting Forex Trading for enhanced security

With Artificial Intelligence integrating its avant-garde capabilities in almost every sector; it comes as no surprise that it also was in the spotlight at the sixth edition of Forex Expo 2023. Held recently at the World Trade Center in Dubai, the exhibition witnessed an intriguing mix of global trading and forex companies sharing knowledge on the AI revolution and its positive impact on the new generation of traders.To share their experience with AI integration in Forex and Trading; Evest, the region’s leading online trading firm hosted a knowledge session, ‘Unleashing the Power of Artificial Intelligence with Evest’ at the summit. The session highlighted AI’s crucial ability to process and analyze huge amounts of data. which further enables chatbots to provide accurate forecasts and an overview of market movements. In a time-sensitive environment that demands quick turnaround and precise decision-making; AI is ably helping traders adjust their trading strategies to balance risks.Speaking at the event, Ali Hassan, CEO of Evest, said: “AI has revolutionized various industries at unimaginable speed and forex trading is no exception. That’s why at Evest we always strive to keep pace with industry developments and quickly learn to surf the tides. Since Artificial Intelligence is so deeply involved across industries; it can analyze news articles and social media posts to determine emotions and potential events which may affect the market. These insights are proving to be timely tips to traders that help them stay on top of developments.”Contributing his views on the recent developments in international markets, Ahmed Osama, Chief Analyst at Evest, said: “The US Federal Reserve announced its interest rate decision recently and left the benchmark interest rates at 5.5%, which is quite high. Chairman Jerome Powell mentioned that there would be no reduction in the US interest rate indicating that the tightening policy of the US Federal Reserve continues. This attracted major changes in market movements where the US dollar rose strongly and surpassed the dollar index. The US dollar traded at levels of 106, which negatively impacted gold trading, which is trading around $1,900.”He further added: “Prevailing trends reveal that the USD will remain strong as compared to other currencies and gold unless some decline appears in the American labor markets. This can hint at a reduction of American interest rates soon. However, the markets expect the recently announced policy to continue which may lead to a rise in the value of gold."The session also discussed the declining positions of the Euro and Pound Sterling in forex trading. The cessation of the decline in inflation led to a state of weakness, as inflation reached 5.2%. However, experts believe that the markets may see strong rises for the Euro this week as updated news on inflation rates is awaited. Expectations indicate a decline to 4.5%, which may positively improve the Euro’s position in international markets. As for Pound Sterling trading, the members of the Bank of England were divided and the majority wanted to stabilize the interest rate. This decision led to the continued weakening of the Pound Sterling despite the decline in inflation to 6.7%. After expectations indicated that it would rise and exceed the 7% levels again.

GainAccess Sports & Entertainment LLP appointed by MATCH Hospitality

MATCH Hospitality Asia has today confirmed that leading sports travel agency, GainAccess Sports & Entertainment, has been appointed as its Sales Agent in India for the sale of the Official Hospitality Programme of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. The 18th edition of the tournament will take place from 12 January to 10 February 2024.GainAccess is one of the leading sports travel agencies in India specialising in servicing both consumer and corporate clients with travel, leisure, ticketing, hospitality programmes and accommodation services for major sporting events.MATCH Hospitality Asia is the exclusive global rights holder appointed by the Asian Football Confederation to produce, promote and sell, either directly or via a network of sales agents, of?cial commercial ticket-inclusive hospitality packages for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023. MATCH Accommodation Asia has also been appointed as an official accommodation agency and an official Ticket & Accommodation Package provider for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.Rakesh Rajendran, Co-Founder of GainAccess, added: “GainAccess is honoured to act as an Official Sales Agent for the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Official Hospitality Programme in India. Thanks to this agreement, our company will bring this territory a lot closer to the most coveted football competition in Asia”.GainAccess will also offer various services in conjunction with the hospitality packages, including flights, accommodation, transport and social events.Enrique Byrom, CEO of MATCH Hospitality Asia, said: “MATCH Hospitality Asia strongly believes in the unique potential of the AFC Asian Cup 2023. I am delighted to announce our decision to appoint GainAccess in an exciting new chapter in our long-standing relationship”. John Parker, Director of MATCH Hospitality Asia, said: “India represents an important territory within our overall strategic sales operations for the AFC Hospitality Programme and, working in partnership with GainAccess, we are extremely optimistic that many Indians will travel to Qatar to support their national team at the Asian Cup Qatar 2023™.”

Fatema Al Afeefi joins Du as head of employee experience and HR digitalization

du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunication Company (EITC), has appointed Fatema Al Afeefi as the new Head of Employee Experience and HR Digitalization. In her new role, Al Afeefi will be responsible for leading the strategic initiatives aimed at creating a positive employee experience and driving digital transformation within the organization.With a background in human resources and HR leadership, Al Afeefi brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her new role at du. Prior to joining du she served multiple well-known entities such as HSBC Etihad Airways and Emirates Airlines, where she successfully developed and implemented various HR strategies to drive employee engagement and foster a culture of innovation.As part of its inclusive culture and diverse workplace, du continues to prioritize Emiratisation by creating opportunities for UAE nationals and recognising their contributions to the company. Currently, Emirati employees make up 40.9% of the total workforce at du, with 50% of UAE Nationals in leadership positions. With a vision to foster local talent, achieve gender balance, and reflect the multicultural fabric of the UAE in its workforce, du has appointed Al Afeefi to help attract and hire the right talent. Al Afeefi's extensive experience in HR and her leadership capabilities align with du's strategic direction.Furthermore, du has a dedicated learning and development team that prioritizes the training and upskilling of UAE nationals. Through programs such as the Leadership Academy, du empowers Emirati employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their careers and contribute to the organization's success.

Times Internet acquires BCCI broadcast rights for US, Canada, MENA, SEA

Times Internet expands its leading cricket distribution positions in North America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia regions, by acquiring the exclusive rights to broadcast India’s home bilateral series from September 2023 through March 2028.In North America, Willow TV’s position across the United States and Canada will be further strengthened. Alongside the BCCI rights, Willow also distributes more than 10 other boards and tournaments, making Willow the leading cricket destination in North America.In the Middle East, Times Internet has developed a strong position, now holding the rights to distribute the IPL alongside the BCCI rights, giving any cricket fan a year-round calendar of the highest quality cricket offerings in the region. Times partnered with Noon, Etisalat, and Cricbuzz to distribute the IPL in 2023, and will look to establish its distribution partnerships in the Middle East region further.In Southeast Asia, this is Cricbuzz’s first rights package in the market, and the rights will be distributed on its own platforms as well as other distribution partnerships. Commenting on the occasion, Satyan Gajwani, Vice Chairman of Times Internet: “We are proud to partner with [PITCH or VIACOM], as well as the BCCI again. Willow TV has a longstanding position as the home of cricket in the U.S.. With our foray into the Middle East, I’m confident that Cricbuzz and The Times of India Group will be able to bring a best-in-class consumer viewing experience to more cricket fans around the world.”Willow TV is the only 24x7 cricket channel available in the U.S. and offers several hundred days of live match competition each year. Willow also operates the world’s leading portal for live Internet streaming of all Cricket events at and on the Willow TV app.Cricbuzz is the global leader in cricket news and content. Cricbuzz offers news, live information, historical data, opinion, video and audio content on international cricket and premier T20 and domestic cricket tournaments.Times Internet is the largest Indian internet network and the digital venture of The Times of India Group, India's largest media and entertainment group. Times Internet reaches over 580 million unique visitors monthly across news, entertainment, sports, local, e-commerce, classifieds, startup investments, local partnerships, and more.

Boutique Group signs MoU with Sommet Education

Boutique Group, a hospitality company fully owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, merging the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's culture and heritage with contemporary elegance to develop historic and cultural places into ultra-luxury boutique hotels, has signed an MoU with Sommet Education, a leading international network of hospitality management and culinary arts schools. Sommet Education encompasses prestigious institutions such as Swiss originated hospitality business schools Glion Institute of Higher Education and Les Roches, together with culinary and pastry arts school École Ducasse.Boutique Group is a one-of-a-kind hospitality company developed to deliver a unique ultra-luxury Saudi experience that contributes to the local economy and enhances the Kingdom’s position as a leading cultural tourism destination in line with the Vision 2030. The collaboration between Boutique Group and Sommet Education will focus on three main areas: training programs, recruitment, and internships.Sommet Education will support Boutique Group through customized and bespoke training pathways, enabling Boutique Group employees to benefit from Sommet Education's vast experience in crafting hospitality programs, tailored to the talent development of the company’s employees.As Boutique Group continues to recruit talent, locally and internationally, Sommet Education has the opportunity to play a significant role through its established network to ensure that the unique talents from its Hospitality schools join the Boutique Group’s team.Boutique Group will offer internship programs for students, providing them with invaluable hands-on training and experience. In turn this will help to establish a talent network, ensuring a flow of passionate individuals who are familiar with the company's ethos and standards.CEO of Boutique Group Mark De Cocinis, and CEO of Sommet Education Benoît-Etienne Domenget met in Abu Dhabi at the Future Hospitality Summit and Arabian Hospitality Investment Conference 2023, to sign the MoU on September 26th, 2023. Boutique Group is a platinum sponsor of FHS & AHIC 2023, an international platform where the world’s most influential hospitality investment decision makers connect, exchange knowledge and explore new partnerships, making the venue a fitting place to solidify the agreement.Mark De Cocinis, CEO, Boutique Group, said: “Partnering with Sommet Education was a natural next step for us. Their commitment to delivering top-tier hospitality management and culinary arts schooling directly aligns with our goals of cultivating industry professionals and fuels my enthusiasm for fostering Saudi talents. Through innovative training, we aim to nurture possibility and inspire the visionaries who will drive our industry forward.”Sommet Education is a leading international network of hospitality management and culinary arts schools offering the highest quality of education and training, aligning with industry best practices and standards. It is the only education group with two in the Top 5 globally-ranked institutions for hospitality education and by employer reputation (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023).Benoît-Etienne Domenget, CEO of Sommet Education, said: "We are excited about our collaboration with novel pioneers, Boutique Group, as it enhances our potential to revolutionize how hospitality professionals are developed. We spark new heights of greatness for generations of leaders via collaborative programs that combine our recognized expertise.”Signing the MoU confirms the expansion of an already fruitful partnership. Boutique Group previously engaged the educational institution to deliver Medh’Yaf – a hospitality immersion program that focused on the luxury hospitality landscape, techniques to develop and bring to life cultural heritage, and how to deliver the ultra-luxury experience, to more than 70 of their employees.

WILD signs MoU with UN Global Compact Network Saudi Arabia

WILD (Women in Leadership Deliver) the GCC-based female networking platform, has signed a significant MoU that forms a new partnership with the United Nations Global Compact Network Saudi Arabia to drive forward SDG5 gender equality in the Kingdom, aligning with the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives.Since its launch in KSA in 2022, WILD has made a positive impact across the female leadership space in the Kingdom. Establishing its foundation in the UAE in 2018, WILD has cemented itself as a credible and popular platform for female leadership, across industries. Through this groundbreaking new alliance, WILD and the UNGC, KSA are joining forces to amplify the voices of women leaders, drive transformative change, and champion the advancement of women across the region. The partnership aims to create a powerful platform where women can connect, inspire, and support each other on their leadership journeys.As part of the partnership, WILD will actively contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, particularly those related to gender equality and women's empowerment. Through targeted programs and initiatives, WILD and the UNGC, KSA will work hand in hand to ensure that women have equal opportunities to thrive in leadership positions, contribute to decision-making processes, and shape the future.Saudi Arabia has made tremendous progress in empowering its working women. As the nation diversifies its economy, gender equality is a core component of this diversification and huge trajectory of the growth anticipated.Women in KSA are leading the way across multiple sectors. The technology industry has a higher female participation rate than other regions globally. Saudi women over ranked European women standing at 28% compared to 17.5% in Europe. Entrepreneurship is of huge interest to those looking to start up their own ventures and KSA is ranked the 3rd highest of women holding entrepreneurship roles globally."We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the United Nations Global Compact Network Saudi Arabia," said Emma Burdett, Founder and CEO of WILD. "This collaboration represents a bold step forward in our mission to empower women leaders worldwide. Together, we will break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create a more inclusive and equitable society for all."The WILD vision and mission is set to influence many lives over the coming years through its female leadership community, leadership programs, events and initiatives. WILD will be utilizing Saudi talent in alignment with the vision requirements and to be relevant to local needs. "As a Saudi female leader, I appreciate the direction and the realization efforts of Saudi Vision 2030 to empower Saudi women. Moreover, I understand that the journey isn’t easy; and it doesn’t begin/stop at landing a senior role, but it's a combination of little and major steps with so many conversations in between that women need to realize and be prepared for. For that, I’m glad to announce the partnership between UN Global Compact Saudi Arabia and WILD to deliver a range of organizational programs that will help businesses identify the gap of female leadership, create the right governance and culture for growing female leadership, and bridge local and global networks to share success stories and best practices.” said Maryam Telmesani, Board Chair of Global Compact Network Saudi Arabia.

Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan highlights the power of storytelling

The media should place a greater emphasis on climate action, especially by utilising the art of storytelling, to inspire positive change and shape a sustainable future, Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, President and CEO of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA) told delegates on the second day of the Arab Media Forum.In her call to regional media, Sheikha Shamma, who is also a business leader, entrepreneur and author, said: “The media serves as the bridge that connects us all, and my message to media professionals today is to prioritise climate activism and environmental reporting for a better future.”In the session titled ‘Media and Sustainability’, Sheikha Shamma emphasised that the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators had conducted studies and recognised a significant gap in climate change coverage within Arab media. It was found that Arab media should play a more active role in addressing climate change, with a particular emphasis on storytelling, she noted.Sheikha Shamma explained that in response to this identified gap, the 'Climate Tribe' platform was introduced. The platform is specifically designed to showcase the stories of remarkable individuals who are making a difference in the field of climate action.She said that the digital platform features videos and narratives about climate heroes who are making a positive impact. She also mentioned that the platform is scheduled to be launched in Arabic, and extended an invitation to share stories related to climate action, both from the UAE and beyond, to be featured on the platform.Sheikha Shamma said that studies indicate that young people are less inclined to engage with stories that have a gloomy and bleak tone, primarily because these narratives predominantly emphasise negative elements. Instead, stories should focus on climate action and solutions, emphasising that each individual can make a tangible difference. “We all need to take responsibility for the environment,” she remarked.During the session, Sheikha Shamma took the occasion to announce the launch of an environmental lexicon that seeks to help people understand the terminology related to climate change. She emphasised the importance of a bilingual lexicon, particularly in light of the UAE's hosting of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP 28), and encouraged the sharing of words related to the environment to enrich this resource, underlining that addressing climate issues is a shared responsibility that demands collective effort.Sheikha Shamma also discussed the objectives of the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators, a think tank and accelerator committed to aiding the country's shift towards a green economy. She also elaborated on the UICCA’s launch of the UAE Carbon Alliance, a coalition of partners dedicated to advance the development of a carbon market ecosystem.When asked about the origins of her passion for the environment, she said that her love for nature began in her childhood. She said that despite her great-grandfather, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, being told that planting trees in this land wouldn't work, “he went ahead and did it anyway”. “We are now reaping the rewards of his vision, living in the paradise we see today. I consider it my duty to carry forward his legacy, and together, we can achieve the seemingly impossible task of transitioning to a green economy.”

Dubai Media Inc unveils comprehensive development plan for news, TV, and digital

Dubai Media Inc (DMI) has announced a comprehensive development plan for its news, television and digital sectors. This was revealed at a press conference held by DMI at the 21st Arab Media Forum in Dubai. The plan seeks to enhance DMI’s professional, human, technical and infrastructure capabilities. DMI CEO Mohammed Al Mulla said: DMI’s new initiatives align with the vision and directives of Ahmed bin Mohammed for the positive transformation of the media sector in the UAE and the region“The new plan places the highest importance on investing in human resources, empowering young media professionals, and enhancing their role in development”Dubai Media Academy DMI has announced the launch of the Dubai Media Academy aimed at fostering skills of young media professionals and guiding them towards fulfilling media careers. Dubai Media Studios for Creative Production aims to support emerging talent and content creatorsDMI will launch a dedicated events company to organise popular art and music programmes.In line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Second Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, to further develop the media sector in Dubai and support the growth of the media and creative sectors in the Arab world, DMI has revealed details of a comprehensive plan to realise its new strategy.Details of such initiatives that form part of the plan were revealed at the press conference. To be implemented in the coming months, the plan seeks to enhance DMI’s professional, human, technical and infrastructure capabilities.His Excellency Mohammed Al Mulla, CEO of DMI, said at the press meet that the initiatives align with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed for the positive transformation of the media sector in the UAE and the region. The new plan places the highest importance on investing in human resources, empowering young media professionals, and enhancing their role in development.The new initiatives seek to enhance the next generation’s participation in shaping the media of the future and giving them more influential leadership roles. He highlighted DMI’s commitment to disseminating high-quality content about Dubai globally, while preserving local and Arab values.The new plan will encompass all media platforms as part of the organisation’s commitment to fostering the production of high-quality content and raising Dubai's stature as the region’s preeminent economic and media hub. The strategy also envisages transforming DMI into a leader in Arab content production and a pioneer in deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) in media.The CEO said that the Dubai Media Academy will foster skills and guide the youth towards fulfilling media careers. The Academy is poised to open new educational avenues and promote academic and professional training. Apart from preparing graduates for tomorrow’s media industry, the Academy seeks to raise standards of academic expertise and specialised media research in the UAE.DMI also announced the launch of several other strategic initiatives to revitalise the media landscape in Dubai, including the establishment of the Dubai Media Studios for Creative Production, which aims to support emerging talent and content creators and foster collaboration and job creation in the creative sector.The company is also launching a dedicated events company to organise popular art and music programmes that will be broadcast regionally, with the aim of enhancing creativity and cultural appreciation in society.Salem Belyouha, Chief Content Officer of DMI, said: “The next phase of DMI’s growth will see it increasingly focusing on developing creative content This effort is being driven by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed’s vision to establish Dubai as a major hub for content production in the Arab world.Belyouha said DMI’s plan has placed a special focus on developing economy-related content, which will support Dubai's growth as a major global financial and economic centre. The drive to enhance the quality of economy-related content supports the goals of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan to establish the emirate as the best city to live, work and visit and the objective of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33 to consolidate Dubai's position as one of the world’s top three cities, he added.Khadija Al Marzouqi, Director of Digital Media at DMI, said the organisation’s digital capabilities are being enhanced to diversify content streams in a way that reflects Dubai's cultural and social diversity and its emergence as a global metropolis. As part of this objective, DMI seeks to attract distinguished Emirati and Arab media personalities and position Dubai TV as a preferred channel for regional audiences with varied high-quality programming.Sarah Al Jarman, General Manager of TV Channels and Radio at DMI, highlighted the organisation’s plans to introduce new media personalities to its television channels. Sama Dubai TV will continue to enhance its coverage of local affairs and the UAE’s rich cultural heritage, by developing a variety of new programmes.DMI’s new plan seeks to develop a deep pool of Emirati and Arab media talent in line with the organisation’s new goals. Dubai TV aims to serve as a global window to discover Dubai’s achievements and architectural landmarks. The channel aims to establish itself as a preferred source for television programming among regional audiences.Ahmed Abdullah, the Senior Programmes Manager at Dubai TV, stated that the new programmes will feature renowned Emirati and Arab media personalities, with the objective of establishing Dubai TV as the best option for viewers seeking diverse content.Saud Al Derbi, Editor-in-Chief of Al Bayan newspaper, highlighted DMI’s holistic development vision aimed at revitalising Dubai’s news media and enhancing its competitiveness. He highlighted DMI’s plan to feature prominent writers from the Arab world, especially economic analysts and commentators.  Reem Al Marri, Director of the News Centre at DMI said the organisation’s new plan seeks to transform Dubai’s news media sector with a focus on ensuring balanced and comprehensive reporting to solidify DMI’s reputation as a credible source of news and raising Dubai's stature in the global news media landscape.Emarat Al Youm newspaper will continue to focus on local affairs in its unique style, with a versatile approach towards covering topics that touch people's lives. The newspaper seeks to convey an accurate image of Dubai’s developments across economic, cultural, art and sports sectors.Mona Busamra, Editor-in-Chief of Emarat Al Youm newspaper, spoke about the exciting phase of transformation in Dubai’s news media sector. She emphasised DMI’s commitment to providing high-quality journalistic content and enriching its content with the contributions of eminent Arab writers and creatives.Reem Alieh, Director of Brand Management, DMI, said the organisation’s transformation will be reflected in a revitalised corporate brand identity. This branding overhaul is part of a concerted effort to present a multifaceted, dynamic image that is aligned with the innovation and technological advancement taking place within the media landscape of Dubai.

Financial professionals optimistic about AI: ACCA

 Financial professionals share a sense of optimism about digital transformation including artificial intelligence (AI). The Digital Horizons survey – which garnered 1,074 responses from the Association of Chartered Accountants (ACCA) members across the globe - saw a range of key organisational benefits in adopting digital technologies including flexibility/adaptability, quality of products and services, sustainability performance, transparency, and regulatory compliance (72%). Fazeela Gopalani, Head of ACCA Middle East, said, "Our members in the Middle East have always been forward-thinking and adaptable. This report demonstrates their readiness to embrace AI and other digital technologies. It's an exciting time for the accounting profession in our region."However, the report also noted that financial professionals still see the main benefit of technology as offering efficiency/process improvements: 52% ranked efficiency, internal process optimisation or cost savings in their top three objectives when adopting new technology. Only 18% included competition-related reasons, such as responding to customer demands, enhancing market insights, introducing 24/7 capabilities, or maintaining competitive advantage. Cost remains the top challenge when adopting technology, but organisational culture also remains a critical factor in successful adoption. The survey did see a more mixed response to how technology supports personal objectives. Productivity (cited by 85% of respondents), collaboration (76%), and career development (65%) were all strong but fears over job security were apparent, and only 30% saying technology was supportive in that respect. The impact on career development was notably positive, with many roundtable discussions revolving around access to learning and more flexible opportunities. The ACCA members show a high level of trust in artificial intelligence (AI). 70% agreed with the statement ‘AI can increase the amount of time I have to focus on business-critical tasks’ – only 9% disagreed, with 15% neutral. They were less sure of the idea of AI performing business critical tasks (50% agreeing, 21% and 22% disagreeing or neutral) but even so the numbers reflected a sense of optimism. Although just under one-fifth report the implementation of AI within their organisation, and another 8% are trialling initiatives, there are clearly great aspirations and a considerable opportunity to leverage these new capabilities. Gopalani added, "Accounting professionals all over the world need to think beyond mere efficiency gains. We should strive to gain a deeper understanding of the value of AI, adapting our skills and practices to fully harness its potential."

Adware and banking risks most prevalent in MENA region: Kaspersky

Kaspersky released a new report on mobile cyberthreat dynamics in Q2 2023, which indicates that threats for mobile devices are growing. While users increasingly rely on their mobile devices to share personal data and connect to corporate networks, the number of mobile threats detects particularly in the Middle East, Turkiye, Africa region increased by 5% in Q2 2023 compared to Q2 2022. All these threats were blocked by Kaspersky mobile solutions.Threat statistics in the report come from Kaspersky solutions running on Android devices. This mobile OS holds a dominant market share in the Middle East, Africa and Turkiye. Apple devices are not immune to cyberthreats (with the Triangulation attack uncovered by Kaspersky as the most recent example), but are difficult to monitor due to OS specifics.Among the most prevalent mobile threats that were detected in the Middle East, Turkiye and Africa region are adware and mobile banking threats. In Q2 there was a significant rise in adware detects in the region compared to Q2 2022: 94% in Nigeria, 49% in Turkiye, 27% in South Africa, 39% in Kenya, 6% in the Middle East. Banking trojans, which are used to hunt for data related to online banking and e-payment systems, are another concerning threat for mobile users. Specifically, Turkiye saw twofold increase (102%) in Trojan-Banker detects in Q2 2023 compared to Q2 2022.For a more detailed analysis of these threats read the report by Kaspersky.“With the growing adoption of smartphones and mobile banking in the Middle East, Turkiye, Africa region, cybercriminals are likely to further increase their targeting of mobile devices. We can expect a surge in phishing attacks, mobile malware, and malicious apps disguised as legitimate financial services. Cybercriminals will continue to exploit social engineering tactics, such as SMS phishing and voice phishing, to trick mobile users into revealing sensitive information or downloading malicious content. Individuals and organizations in the Middle East, Turkiye, and Africa should prioritize mobile cybersecurity measures, including robust antivirus software, regular updates, user education, and vigilance against social engineering tactics to safeguard their mobile devices and sensitive data,” comments Anton Kivva, Malware Analyst Team Lead at Kaspersky.To protect yourself from mobile threats, Kaspersky recommends:Download apps only from official stores like Apple AppStore, Google Play or Amazon Appstore. Apps from these markets are not 100% failsafe, but at least they get checked by the moderators and there is some filtration system — not every app can get onto these stores. It’s worth looking through user reviews of an apps to see if there is any negative feedback on its functionality.Check the permissions of apps that you use and think carefully before permitting an app, especially when it comes to high-risk permissions such as Accessibility Services.A reliable mobile security solution like Kaspersky Premium can help you to detect malicious apps and adware before they start behaving badly on your device.Update your operating system and important apps as updates become available. Many safety issues can be solved by installing updated versions of software.Kaspersky calls on the mobile industry to enhance cyber protection at all levels, including security for users, by providing tailored cybersecurity services. Kaspersky Consumer Business Alliances enable companies to offer their customers complete cybersecurity portfolios by backing them with Kaspersky's global support and expertise.

City Farm seeks to increase its sales revenue in the USA market

Mahmoud Lamei, CEO of City Farm, said that his company actually began its work in supplying products into the American market since 2021, and at that time it achieved annual sales amounting to $28 million, rising to $35 million in 2022, which prompted it to increase its targets for the current year, in light of the remarkable demand for the products. He explained that the company works in the field of exporting Egyptian agricultural products to various American markets, and has a strong presence in the states of New York, New Jersey, Florida, Chicago, Texas, and Michigan. Lamei pointed out that the company supplies several agricultural products to American markets, most notably molokhia, okra, taro, green beans, spinach, falafel, green beans, and grape leaves, in addition to bottled juices and peas. He confirmed that Arab and Egyptian customers represent the largest percentage of sales in the famous commercial chains in the United States, while there is a demand from some other nationalities to buy goods that are considered popular in Egypt, such as falafel, molokhiya, and peas.He noted that the company is in the process of conducting an ambitious expansion plan aimed at establishing a presence in the European and Gulf markets in the coming period based on the quality of the Egyptian product, in addition to exploiting its remarkable presence in the American market. He explained that his company has subsidiary arms in the Egyptian market. It has agricultural lands with an area of ??120 acres in Menoufia Governorate, which are cultivated with several agricultural crops in order to secure the raw material needed for export, while it is strongly studying to increase that area by purchasing lands ready for reclamation and cultivating them later to raise production capacity. He stated that the company is open to adding any famous Egyptian goods or products that wish to be present in foreign markets. For example, pickles and dried fruits are exported, in addition to some famous brands of snacks, tahini, and hummus, in addition to spices and hot drinks. Lamei said that the total production capacity exported from Egypt is approximately 1,300 tons annually, and work is ongoing to increase that quantity, in line with the government’s policy to increase the value and quantity of exports as they are an important source of foreign currency. He stated that the company relies on the ports of Alexandria and Damietta to export products to America, which are received in the ports of New York, New Jersey, and Florida. He explained that City Farm's total investments amount to $250 million, represented by annual sales and transportation assets . He added that the company has a separate brand for canned juices that it manufactures for others in one of the specialized factories in Sadat City, and that it is considering establishing a factory to provide this service in light of the increasing demand for products abroad. It is worth noting that the latest data issued by the American authorities showed an increase in Egyptian exports of food industries to about $345 million during the year 2022, led by shellfish, vegetables, and dried fruits, especially strawberries. He stressed that Egyptian companies have export opportunities available in the American market, especially citrus fruits, juices, olive oil, and artichokes. The American market is considered one of the most important importing markets for Egyptian food products, as the American market occupied second place in the ranking of the most important countries importing Egyptian manufactured foods in 2022 out of total Egyptian exports, which amounted to 4.2 billion dollars in the same year. He believed that the increase in the volume of exports comes from the expansion of the export of crops with an export surplus, especially vegetables and fruits, and promotion in foreign markets with a move towards markets in Africa, the East and South Asia region, and some Latin American countries. He stressed that the economic development plan touched on this matter, and this is due to the importance of expanding agricultural exports and the hard currency it will provide for the state in one of the sectors that characterize Egypt, while the expansion of exports opens new horizons and increases the provision of direct or indirect job opportunities.

SkyTeam appoints Evgenia Starkova as Head of Marketing and Sustainability

Amsterdam: SkyTeam has welcomed Evgenia Starkova as Head of Marketing and Sustainability, a newly-created position that strengthens the global airline alliance’s commitment to delivering a more seamless, integrated and responsible journey. Starkova will lead a team of 12 and oversee Customer Experience, Sustainability, Loyalty, Business Development and Commercial Partnerships. Starkova brings more than two decades of strategic, multi-national experience to SkyTeam gained across biotech, fintech and medical not-for-profit organizations. She joins the alliance from CCV Group in Arnhem, the Netherlands, where she was Head of Marketing, Communications and Sustainability.Patrick Roux, SkyTeam CEO said: “We are delighted to have Evgenia’s energy, enthusiasm and strategic expertise on board as we work to transform SkyTeam through 2027, placing an even greater focus on greener travel and customer excellence.” Evgenia Starkova, said: “My experience of managing change and transition has shown me just how rewarding strategic turnarounds can be. I am inspired by the passion of the people here at SkyTeam and excited to work in an industry that connects people and cultures across the world.” Born in Russia, Starkova has lived and studied around the world and holds a Master’s degree in International Communication Management from De Haagse Hogeschool.

Hilton continues to lead on food waste reduction efforts

Dubai: Hilton, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) West Asia, Winnow, and ne’ma The National Food Loss and Waste initiative, has launched a first-of-its-kind Green Breakfast initiative. The launch follows the success of Hilton’s Green Ramadan campaign, which saw a 61 per cent reduction in post-consumer food waste across the brand’s properties in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.Hilton’s Green Breakfast aims to significantly reduce food waste across breakfast operations in 13 UAE-based hotels, effectively providing a blueprint for food waste management across the local hospitality industry. The pilot project kicked off in August with the installation of production and plate waste systems across participating hotels, where baseline data was recorded and will be updated through November 2023. Hilton, ne’ma, and Winnow are working on the ground to develop best practices for the entire industry to follow.FAO and UNEP studies have revealed that one third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, accounting for eight to ten per cent of global carbon emissions and totalling a one trillion dollar problem. The group’s breakfast campaign aims to tackle these challenges in line with the United Nations’ Sustainability Goal 12.3, which commits to halving food waste at the consumer level by 2030. The activity falls under the Recipe of Change initiative led by UNEP West Asia with the support of the GO4SDGs initiative, and ne’ma - The National Food Loss and Waste initiative which is a collaboration of The Presidential Court, Emirates Foundation, and Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.By proactively tracking and measuring food waste, as well as implementing interventions or nudges that direct consumer choices, Hilton will be contributing to the global food index via UNEP and will also be supporting food waste reduction targets in the UAE through collaboration with ne’ma.Hilton continues to prioritise food waste reduction as part of its ongoing ESG ‘Travel with Purpose’ initiatives, which bring responsible tourism to the forefront of the group’s hotel operations. Breakfast provides a unique opportunity to address food waste concerns, as it is the one unifying F&B experience in all hotels that also contributes the most to food waste around the world. With Hilton serving an estimated one billion breakfasts per year – and the 13 UAE-based properties serving 1.8 million in the same period – the first meal of the day allows for the most guest interaction and education.Emma Banks, Vice President, F&B Strategy & Development, Hilton, EMEA, said: “As a leading international hospitality brand, Hilton shoulders a responsibility to improve the industry and its approach to responsible tourism. Hilton Green Breakfast is the latest pioneering initiative launched by the group, which will see the foundations laid for effective food waste management across local and regional hotel F&B operations. The campaign also serves to support Hilton’s ongoing commitment to creating a global food waste reduction programme, with the market-leading pilot initiative driving closed-loop operations ahead of Hilton’s participation in COP28.”Khuloud Hasan Al Nuwais, Chief Sustainability Officer of Emirates Foundation and ne’ma National Steering Committee Secretary General, commented: “The UAE is experiencing remarkable growth, and with that comes an ever-increasing demand for resources, including food. To ensure a sustainable future, we must confront the issue of food waste head-on, which is why bold initiatives such as Hilton’s Green Breakfast are so crucial, and we are proud to play our part by helping to implement these kinds of innovative solutions that foster awareness. By collaborating with our partners and the community, Emirates Foundation and ne’ma are committed to reducing food waste, promoting responsible consumption, and inspiring a culture of sustainability in the UAE and beyond. I applaud Hilton, as a global hospitality leader, for showing the industry the way forward and tackling head-on a multifaceted problem with significant environmental, economic, and social consequences.”Marc Zornes, CEO, Winnow added: "Through our collaboration with Hilton on the Green Breakfast initiative, we're taking tangible steps towards addressing the global food waste challenge. The results from Hilton's Green Ramadan were commendable, and we're optimistic about making an even greater impact as gear up for COP28. Together, we're setting standards for the hospitality industry to drive meaningful change." Participating hotels include Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, Waldorf Astoria Dubai International Financial Centre, Conrad Dubai, Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers, The WB Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton, Canopy by Hilton Dubai Al Seef, Hilton Dubai Jumeirah, Hilton Dubai Palm Jumeirah, Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort, Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Hampton by Hilton Marjan Island, Hampton by Hilton Dubai Al Seef, and DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai - Business Bay.

H.E. Sheikh Suhail Al Maktoum to present UAE sports strategy at SIF

Abu Dhabi: His Excellency Sheikh Suhail Bin Butti Suhail Al Maktoum, Executive Director of the Sports Development Sector at the General Authority of Sports, will present the UAE’s national sports strategy at the Sport Industry Forum 2023 in Abu Dhabi next week.In an exclusive session for the Sport Industry Forum, more than 200 senior attendees will learn more about the strategy and how it impacts sport, community, health and education in the UAE.Other highlights include an onstage Q&A with former Manchester United F.C. legend Dwight Yorke and a rare and unique opportunity for attendees to see the UEFA Champions League, Premier League and F.A. Cup trophies, which will be on display at the Forum on day two.Officially supported by the Department of Community Development and the Convention & Exhibition Bureau - Abu Dhabi, the Sport Industry Forum takes place on 4-5 October at The WB Abu Dhabi by Hilton on Yas Island.This year the event will be held alongside the NBA Abu Dhabi Games. CEOs of both teams, Cynt Marshall of the Dallas Mavericks and Ethan Casson of the Minnesota Timberwolves will share leadership lessons from their time leading major sports organizations.Other speakers at the Forum include His Excellency Mohammed Al Hashimi, Executive Director of the Student Wellbeing Sector at Emirates Schools Establishment; Her Excellency Dr. Omniyat Al Hajeri, Executive Director of the Community Health Sector at Abu Dhabi Public Health Centre; and Shaima Alhusseini, CEO of Saudi Sports for All Federation.To register for the forum please visit

New Balance partners with Amy Roko as ambassador

The renowned global sportswear brand New Balance announces its collaboration with the Saudi cultural icon, Amy Roko, as its new brand ambassador. In joining New Balance, Amy will work closely with New Balance to foster the engagement of women and empower them through various initiatives.New Balance recognizes Amy Roko as a prominent figure leading change in the region as she fearlessly challenges societal rules and norms. Through her influential presence on various digital platforms, she has initiated thought-provoking conversations on important topics, such as gender equality, self-expression, and breaking stereotypes.With her unique sense of humor, authenticity, and relatability, Amy has connected with women from all backgrounds, empowering them to embrace their individuality and break societal expectations. By freely discussing sensitive issues and advocating for inclusivity, she has created a safe space for dialogue and has become a role model for countless women seeking inspiration and the confidence to pursue their dreams. Through her visionary outlook and determination, Amy will represent the region's consumers who crave change and embrace a futuristic perspective as she perfectly aligns with New Balance's ethos of fearless independence. She embodies the brand's spirit and will serve as a compelling ambassador, encouraging women to express themselves authentically and confidently.In her role as New Balance's ambassador, Amy will be the face of various local campaigns, with a particular focus on showcasing some of the brand's classic kicks such as the 550 and 530. Through these campaigns, Amy aims to amplify New Balance's message of self-expression, encouraging women to break barriers, redefine standards, and embrace their unique style.The partnership between New Balance and Amy Roko represents a powerful union that seeks to revolutionize the sportswear industry by challenging the norms and inspiring women to embrace their potential. Together, they aim to create a future where women are celebrated, empowered, and given the platform to drive change.

Interbrand promotes Hector Saracho as Executive Director Strategy

Interbrand, a leading brand consultancy, has announced the promotion of Héctor Saracho to the position of Executive Director Strategy. He has been serving as Head of Strategy for six years. With his promotion, Saracho will assume strategic leadership responsibilities for Interbrand across Iberia, the Middle East, and Latin America. He will report directly to Nancy Villanueva, the CEO of Interbrand, for these regions.Nancy Villanueva, the CEO, stated: “Interbrand is currently at an exciting strategic juncture. The practice of branding is undergoing a redefinition due to a highly volatile landscape, which demands that brands adopt new approaches to management. This compels us to strengthen our service offerings to provide a comprehensive response to our clients’ evolving needs, and Héctor is an indispensable part of this mission. In his new role, Héctor will be responsible for enhancing our renewed strategic methodology, known as Interbrand Thinking, which assists brands in addressing consumer needs by liberating them from industry constraints and expanding into new realms and sources of growth.”Héctor Saracho, the newly appointed Executive Director Strategy, remarked: “It is an honor to continue growing within Interbrand and to contribute to the vision of a globally expanding strategic consultancy. From my new position, I will continue to champion innovation in branding, something that has always been a hallmark of this company, while simultaneously supporting the growth of our clients. “Throughout his professional journey, Saracho has strategically worked with major brands spanning various sectors. His extensive career has unfolded within different organisations with a global presence, initially based in London at UBS Investment Bank and Millward Brown (WPP), and later in Madrid at Young & Rubicam (WPP) and What If. Prior to joining Interbrand in 2017, he held the position of Head of Strategy and New Business at the digital consultancy Genetsis.

From Science to Politics: 'The Vaccine War' Offers a Mixed Perspective

Based on the book 'Going Viral' by Prof. Balram Bhargava of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), The Vaccine War narrates the intriguing development of India's indigenous vaccine called Covaxin with all the internal as well as external challenges encountered during its making...Publicised as India's first bioscience film, producer- director Vivek Agnihotri and team deserve a huge applause for putting the spotlight on our unsung heroes - the scientists at ICMR and National Institute of Virology (NIV), who toiled day and night for months to combat the formidable enemy called Corona. The fact that majority of these scientists were women also makes it a pertinent subject of women power. The film is a must see only for that...Vivek Agnihotri's political leanings are well known and no surprises, he layers his script with an elaborate sub-plot of an almost evil journalist (Raima Sen) plotting against the desi vaccine on orders of the foreign pharma conglomerates hell bent on arm twisting India. While a particular obscure media portal has indeed been indicted of spreading fake news, there were ten other major media channels promoting the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' initiative at that time. The Vaccine War forgets this and instead paints the whole media as anti-establishment. In the climax, they are actually equated to terrorists, which is seriously not done!! Assuredly, the casting is perfect and Nana Patekar and Pallavi Joshi, appearing together after three decades since Trishagni (1989), are truly outstanding. Girija Oak and Sapthami Gowda pitch in sincere performances. It is interesting as well as ironic to watch the extremely pretty Raima Sen in such a vicious role and boy, does she nail it. Kudos!! The Vaccine War soars and roars till the time it stays true to its source content of how Covaxin was developed in record time and ended up saving countless lives across the globe. The minute it switches gears to the toolkit narrative, it somehow withers and dithers...Nevertheless, this is a relevant film of our time which leaves us with a positive message that India CAN do it. Covaxin, Chandrayaan, G20... we have seen it happen in last few years. Three cheers to that!! Ratings on some key aspects* : 1. Acting : 4.5/5 2. Direction : 4/53. Music : 3.5/5 4. Story, Screenplay and Dialogue : 3/55. Cinematography : 3/56. Editing : 3/5 7. Costume Design : 3/58. Special Effects and VFX : 3.5/59. Action : NA10. Production Quality : 3.5/5#SNRating for #TheVaccineWar : 3 & 1/2 stars out of 5. - Sumeet NadkarniLiked the review?Click on the link below and like the #SNRatings page to subscribe to honest and unbiased reviews of all latest movies : can also follow us on Twitter handle : @sumu76in* - The overall film rating is not a simple average of all ratings on key aspects but a weighted average of the ratings where some crucial aspects (like direction, acting, story and screenplay etc) are assigned more weightage than others. #TheVaccineWar #Docudrama #HindiMovie #BollywoodFilm #VivekAgnihotri #PallaviJoshi #NanaPatekar #RaimaSen #GirijaOak #BollywoodReview #Filmreview #TheatricalRelease #OTTRelease #Hotstar #SNRatings#SNRatings barometer:1 star = Poor1 & 1/2 star = Below average/ Avoidable2 stars = Average2 & 1/2 stars = Above average/ Risk it3 stars = Good enough/ Endurable3 & 1/2 stars = Definitely worth a watch4 stars = Very good5 stars = Masterpiece/ Outstanding.

Hollywood writers end strike after five months

Hollywood writers have ended their strike after almost five months. “The WGA reached a tentative agreement with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers on a new three-year Minimum Basic Agreement. On September 26th, the Negotiating Committee, the WGAW Board and WGAE Council all voted unanimously to recommend the agreement. It will now go to both guilds’ memberships for a ratification vote. Eligible voters will be able to vote from October 2nd through October 9th, and will receive ballot and ratification materials when the vote opens,” stated The Writers Guild of America (WGA) in a statement.There is a separate dispute involving actors, who are concurrently participating in the strike. The agreement may offer a potential solution to end their strike, as the WGA deal seeks to address the same concerns.“The WGAW Board and WGAE Council also voted to lift the restraining order and end the strike as of 12:01 am PT/3:01 am ET on Wednesday, September 27th. This allows writers to return to work during the ratification process, but does not affect the membership’s right to make a final determination on contract approval,” the statement added.The writers began their strike on May 2. On July 13, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) members also joined, resulting in the lengthiest strike to impact Hollywood in many decades. Their strike primarily revolved around disputes concerning compensation and the integration of AI within the industry. Kevin Klowden, an economist at Milken Institute, estimated that the strike has cost the US economy almost $5 billion.

Ali Rez to lead SWANA Chair in the International ANDY Awards

The ANDY Awards, renowned for recognizing exceptional campaigns that push creative boundaries to achieve groundbreaking work, has announced that Ali Rez, Chief Creative Officer at IMPACT BBDO, will assume the role of SWANA Chair for the 2023-2024 Regional Competition.This competition is unique in its approach, as it eliminates rigid categories, allowing ideas to transcend boundaries from all corners of the globe.Ali Rez stands as the most awarded creative leader in the Middle East. He currently oversees creative output for the IMPACT BBDO Group across the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan. In a historic achievement, he became the first jury president from the Middle East at the Cannes Lions and, in 2023, secured the Middle East's first Best-in-Show for Bravery at the ANDY Awards.Ali Rez shares his thoughts on the honour, stating: "It's an honor to serve as the SWANA chair alongside an incredible panel of jurors, all dedicated to recognizing the paramount principle in our industry: the big idea."The Regional Chairs for all areas have been announced and include:  AFRICA: Steve Babaeko, CEO & Chief Creative Officer, X3M Ideas  APAC: Tara Ford, Chief Creative Officer, The Monkeys  EUROPE: Richard Brim, Chief Creative Officer, adamandeveDDB  GREATER CHINA: Alice Chou, Chief Creative Officer, Dentsu Creative Taiwan  LATAM: Joaco Cubria, Partner & Chief Creative Officer, GUT  SWANA: Ali Rez, Chief Creative Officer of IMPACT BBDOTiffany Rolfe, Global Chair and Global Chief Creative Officer of RGA, will lead the Global Jury for her second year as Chair.The ANDY Awards Regional Competition serves as the crucial first step in a two-part vetting process. Initially, entries are reviewed free of charge by a jury representing creative leaders from the region. These jurors delve into the cultural context to assess whether the work has the potential to make a big impact and be shortlisted. Shortlisted works then have the opportunity to compete in the Global Competition in the new year.

Barbara Soltysinska on virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars in marketing

In our ongoing series focused on gaining insights into the virtual influencer landscape in the Middle East region, Adgully recently interviewed Barbara Soltysinska, Co-founder & CEO of indaHash. indaHash is a social media marketing app that connects more than 120,000 influencers with global brands. As a leading figure in the marketing landscape, So?tysi?ska delves into the transformative world of virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars. She shares her perspectives on the impact of these digital entities on advertising and marketing in the UAE. Barbara explores the unique opportunities they offer compared to traditional marketing approaches, sheds light on successful campaigns, addresses cultural sensitivities and ethical considerations, and offers a glimpse into the future of this dynamic industry. Excerpts:How do you see virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars reshaping the advertising and marketing landscape in the UAE? What unique opportunities do they offer compared to traditional marketing approaches?Virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars remain a fresh addition to the marketing and advertising realm in the Middle East. Currently, virtual influencers in the UAE serve more as intriguing entities rather than dominant influencers, particularly when considering their follower count, engagement rates, and overall activity. For instance, the most recognizable Meta Kira boasts under 4k followers. Compared to globally recognized computer-generated influencers, there's substantial room for growth in the Middle East. Also, talking about virtual influencers, it is more challenging to define where they should belong. There is a pretty recognizable profile of @iamxalara, which defines itself as being based in Istanbul, but was created by a UAE-based company. This niche presents exciting opportunities for artists, NFT creators, and brands alike.Given the UAE's recent influx of NFT enterprises, many of which are eager to craft their own metaverses, I anticipate a significant expansion in this domain within the region. With only 35 Instagram-verified profiles of this kind worldwide, it's evident that the arena isn't oversaturated yet. In the past, creating virtual influencers was a costly and time-consuming endeavor for companies and creators. However, thanks to the rapid advancement and widespread adoption of AI content generation, companies like Midjouney, the landscape has undergone significant transformation.The biggest opportunity lies in brands that can own their influencers. What is very interesting is that a lot of top virtual influencers come from Brazil and the top one who has over 6.4M belongs to Magalu, one of top brazilian retailers.Let me name some opportunities lying in virtual influencers:-> Brand Safety - Virtual influencers, as controlled entities, provide a protective barrier against potential controversies that could harm a brand's reputation.-> Consistent Branding - Virtual influencers can be customized in terms of their actions, speech, and appearance to ensure they consistently align with the brand's ideals. Look at the example of Barbie!-> 24/7 Engagement: Virtual influencers ensure round-the-clock interaction with audiences, maximizing reach across time zones and guaranteeing uninterrupted delivery of marketing messages.-> Cost-efficiency: Despite an initial investment, virtual influencers can be more economical in the long run, eliminating costs like travel and accommodation.-> Digital Integration: They easily blend into platforms like video games, VR, and AR, growing sectors in the UAE.-> Narrative Innovation: Virtual influencers resonate with the UAE's tech-forward trajectory, interweaving traditional Emirati culture with a vision of the future.Can you share examples of successful campaigns or initiatives that have leveraged virtual influencers or AI-driven avatars in the UAE? What were the key factors contributing to their success?NooNoouri, a virtual influencer, was featured in Harper’s Bazaar Arabia's July 2018 edition. For this, she was dressed in a Zuhair Murad dress and posed against Dubai's Burj Khalifa backdrop. This campaign marked her debut in the magazine, specifically in Mohammed Sultan's Best Dressed List. It's significant to note that high-fashion brands were exploring the virtual influencer space as early as 2018. This initiative successfully merged high fashion with emerging digital trends. Another more recent collaboration is Meta Kira attending the launch of the NFT shop in the Mall of Emirates, thereby reaching the niche of people interested in the space. At the end of the day, reaching the right audience with the right message is most important, regardless of whether the influencer is virtual or not.In a region known for its diverse culture and values, how do virtual influencers and AI avatars adapt to local sensitivities and preferences? What strategies should marketers employ to ensure cultural relevance and authenticity?The definition of authenticity for virtual influencers is different. It is more about transparency and making audiences aware that they are interacting with a virtual entity and not a real person. The challenge lies in ensuring this transparency without diminishing the influencer's appeal. The rest of the rules, such as delivering the right message, producing quality content, reaching the right audience at the best possible time, and maintaining the right frequency, remain the same for the entire influencer marketing space.What are the key challenges and ethical considerations associated with using virtual influencers and AI avatars in advertising and marketing, and how are these being addressed in the UAE?I believe that just as brand collaborations must be disclosed, the fact that an influencer is virtual should also be clearly indicated. A more significant concern, in my opinion, especially on platforms like TikTok, is the use of deepfakes. They pose a serious danger and should always be prominently labeled.With the rapid advancements in AI and technology, what trends do you anticipate in the evolution of virtual influencers and AI-driven avatars in the UAE's advertising and marketing industry over the next few years? How should businesses prepare for these changes?I believe each of us might have our own avatar to use in a virtual world, interacting with a community of people who also use their avatars. If this occurs, the adoption of virtual influencers will likely accelerate, further blurring the line between offline and online experiences. Businesses should investigate and consider how they can adapt to their needs in this new space, stay curious, and experiment. This isn't a short-term fashion or fleeting trend; it represents a major and profound shift that's on the horizon. Whether they like this change or not, it is happening.

The Flying DAF hosts inaugural camp for world’s elite squash players

Some of the world’s best squash players descended on Dubai this month for the inaugural Flipper Devices Camp of Champions, a high-performance training camp designed to attract the top professionals from across the globe to the emirate.The camp, organised by The Flying DAF Squash Academy with the support of Dubai Sports Council and the UAE Squash Association, was divided into two phases at the J-Club, at Jumeirah Beach Hotel, with the objective of positioning Dubai as a global base for the sport.The first phase was led by former Men’s World No2 Rodney Martin and included an impressive line-up consisting of current Women’s World No1 Nouran Goharl, World No5 Amanda Sobhy, and Men’s World No6 Marwan El Shorbagy. Phase two, meanwhile, hosted reigning world champion and No4-ranked Mostafa Assal, as well as No11 Karim Gawad and World No12 Youssef Soliman.“Since we launched the academy year, the response has been phenomenal,” said Kanzy El Dafrawy, CEO and Founder of The Flying DAF, and a former World No21. “Our vision is not just to make an impact and grow locally, but also globally. The Flipper Devices camp in Dubai is the first step towards making the city the world’s ultimate squash hub; a home for top-level professional squash players from around the globe.“Dubai is the perfect place for athletes to be based, considering they have access to the best equipment, sources, and training programmes – complemented by the emirate’s geographical location, which makes it very easy to travel to tournaments worldwide.”Al Dafrawy added: “Jumeirah Beach Hotel and the J-Club have been extremely supportive to us throughout this camp, giving us a space where we can run local and global events, and ultimately leverage this camp by offering a high-end and luxurious stay to our professional athletes.”H. E. Mohammed Mubarak Al Mutaiwei, President of UAE Squash Association, commented: “I express my appreciation for the distinguished presence of Champions of the game within the UAE, particularly in the emirate of Dubai.“My sincere gratitude to DAF Academy for their exceptional initiative in hosting one of the most formidable international camps in the sport of squash. This gathering, showcasing the pinnacle of talent within the sport, underscores their firm commitment to improve the sport.“We recognise the endorsement of all clubs and academies throughout the UAE that are dedicated to furthering the Federation's mission and elevating the country's standing at both regional and global levels.”Squash is one of the world’s fastest growing sports, played in more than 185 countries. There are more than 1,500 courts accessible in the UAE.

Mastercard partners with Rochester Institute of Technology in Dubai

With AI playing an increasingly transformational role across our lives, Mastercard and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Dubai have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to foster talent in the region and advance AI innovation globally.This partnership will empower the next generation of RIT graduates to become leaders in AI and advance both parties’ strategic alliances in the region. Drawing on its deep technical knowledge and its applications in the industry, Mastercard will host guest lectures and workshops for students and over time co-develop an AI-focused curriculum. RIT students will also have the unique opportunity to visit Mastercard’s latest AI Centre in Dubai, connect with industry leaders and prepare for careers in AI.“Today’s students have the opportunity to embrace the possibilities that AI unlocks – they will drive the next wave of innovation in AI to solve real world problems,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard. “Together with RIT, we are pleased to prepare future leaders to transform customer experiences, reshape industries and build trust in the digital ecosystem using the power of AI.”This MoU signing follows Mastercard’s latest partnership with the UAE government and the launch of its Advanced AI and Cyber Technology Centre in Dubai. In addition to developing AI-powered solutions to fight financial crime, the Centre is focused on securing the digital ecosystem and driving inclusive growth through strategic partnerships.“RIT Dubai shares Mastercard’s commitment to technological innovation,” said Dr Yousef Al Assaf, President, RIT Dubai. “Our collaboration with Mastercard enables us to provide real-world experiences to our students, preparing them to embrace and lead the next phase of digital advancement.”Mastercard has a history of innovation in AI, most significantly in its efforts to enhance cybersecurity and protect the digital ecosystem. RIT Dubai is a global campus of the esteemed Rochester Institute of Technology in New York, one of the world’s leading technology-focused universities. Mastercard has invested in the UAE for more than 35 years, supporting the region's commitment to digital transformation.The partnership also builds on Mastercard’s commitment to doing well by doing good and fostering opportunities for individuals who want a growing career with impact. In collaboration with RIT, Mastercard will help develop the next wave of AI talent to accelerate innovation and deliver even greater value to our partners.

Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open 2024: A spectacular return to the UAE tennis scene

Following the resounding success of its inaugural edition in February 2023, the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open proudly returns for its second edition in 2024, reaffirming its status as a premier tournament on the global tennis calendar. The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and IMG today announced the event is set to take centre stage once again from 3 to 11 February 2024, at the iconic Zayed Sports City International Tennis Centre in Abu Dhabi.The Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open has quickly earned its place among the most prestigious tournaments in women's tennis. The event's significance lies not only in its impressive $900,000 prize fund but also in the coveted ranking points at stake. With 28 players in the singles draw and 16 formidable teams in the doubles draw, this tournament will showcase exceptional talent and fierce competition.Hosted in partnership with Mubadala and presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the WTA 500 signifies a remarkable convergence of sports excellence and entertainment. The tournament spans nine exciting days, taking tennis enthusiasts on a journey from the opening qualifiers to the thrilling finals on Sunday 11 February 2024. In the heart of Abu Dhabi, the 2024 Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open will serve as an unrivalled showcase of tennis prowess.Nigel Gupta, Director of Tennis Events at IMG and the Tournament Director at the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, commented: “Our vision for this event goes beyond tennis. We are dedicated to curating an exceptional experience that aims to transcend the boundaries of sport, uniting fans and athletes alike in the spirit of excellence. With the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open, we are looking to create a lasting legacy for tennis, fostering a deeper connection between the community and the sport we all love.”Steve Simon, WTA Chairman and CEO, added: “We’re delighted to see the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open return to the calendar next season, which will officially kick-off the exciting Middle Eastern portion of the 2024 calendar. The event is known for its excellent organization, passionate fans, dedication to women’s professional tennis and is truly becoming a favourite among WTA players, who always feels welcome in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”As the event becomes a fixture in Abu Dhabi's sporting calendar, it continues to exemplify the Emirate's commitment to hosting world-class sporting events. The impact extends far beyond the court, as the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open inspires young sporting generations and unites the tennis community.Beyond the on-court action, the Fan Village promises an immersive experience for fans of all ages. Attendees can meet their favourite players during special appearances, partake in family-friendly entertainment, participate in contests to win exclusive prizes, and indulge in a delectable array of offerings from various food venues. With kids' tickets starting at an affordable AED 50 and adult tickets at AED 95, the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open reinforces that it truly is an event ‘for all’. Tennis fans can witness world-class matches at competitive prices and enjoy outstanding entertainment, making it an ideal outing for families and sports enthusiasts alike.The Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open is more than a tournament; it's an experience, a celebration of tennis, and a source of inspiration for future generations of athletes and fans. To be the very first to gain access to tickets, subscribe now at Subscribing will give tennis fans first dibs on the best seats in the house and the first opportunity to purchase tickets.

VMLY&R Commerce makes new appointments for expanding digital commerce

VMLY&R Commerce, a global end-to-end “Creative Commerce Company”, has appointed Toseef Butt as Regional Commerce Director and Head of CaaS and Leanne Bird as Global Program Partnerships Lead.The company is known for serving demand from clients for data-driven e-commerce and performance services, talent and technology, in support of business sales growth and brand building through commerce. The agency is taking inspiration around Commerce as a Service (CaaS) to strategically package its bespoke digital commerce offerings and end-to-end managed-services across DTC, retail media, Amazon & marketplaces, digital-shelf, content and commerce advisory.  For this it has appointed Toseef Butt as Regional Commerce Director and Head of CaaS for MENA region. A seasoned digital commerce and retail media specialist with a 14-year track record in both the UK and Dubai. Butt will be accountable for growing the digital commerce sales across all channels. He is known for his expertise in data-led, consumer-centric strategies, and has a depth of knowledge across the region’s retail media providers, and focus on the delivery of precision, efficacy of measurement and optimisation to grow client’s businesses.Among his recent accolades, Butt architected the successful local D2C performance media launch for renowned brands like H&M, Mothercare, Victoria’s Secret, and Huawei. The second appointment is of Leanne Bird as Global Program Partnerships Lead. She has more than 15 years experience on the tech and agency side in delivering operational excellence across a range of clients to create integrated functional effectiveness and orchestrate business development through a team of agency and partner experts. As a highly commercial and operationally focused professional, she is responsible for setting up and structuring the ‘Commerce as a Service’ global team. Leanne Bird will bridge the gap between VMLY&R Commerce and key agency partners like Amazon, Stripe, Google, Meta to develop drive training, accreditation across the agency’s talent, and to continue the co-creation of class leading and value adding innovations with key WPP partners. She will be based in Sea Containers in London.

Ogilvy survey unravels B2B influencer marketing's role

A striking 92 percent of senior marketing professionals in an Ogilvy survey concur that employing B2B influencers for hyper-targeted marketing or personalized messaging constitutes an effective strategy for elevating brand consideration and customer acquisition. Nearly half (49 percent) believe that influencers help their brands attain a more credible, believable, and trusted opinion than they could achieve independently. Notably, four in ten respondents noted that influencer campaigns have resulted in improved leads or sales.The latest report by Ogilvy, titled 'Influencing Business: The Global Emergence of B2B Influencer Marketing,' offers a worldwide perspective, having surveyed marketing leaders spanning Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and the Americas.Approximately 75 percent of respondents are already incorporating B2B influencer marketing into their strategies, with a remarkable 93 percent planning to intensify their utilization of influencers in the near future.The report sheds light on both the commonalities and distinctions in the functioning of business influence across various cultures and global regions. In collaboration with Opinium Research, LinkedIn, and Onalytica, the report draws insights from a survey conducted by Opinium, which involved 550 senior marketing professionals across 11 countries, providing a clear picture of the extent to which influencer marketing is currently employed.Furthermore, the report encompasses a series of in-depth interviews with Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) from prominent organizations such as LinkedIn, Dell, EY, IBM, Boots, and Ben & Jerry's.Rahul Titus, the Global Head of Influence at Ogilvy, emphasized the evolution and exponential growth of the influencer marketing landscape. Titus noted that the Creator Economy is projected to reach $500 billion by 2027, and with the ongoing evolution of eCommerce, both entrepreneurs and businesses are harnessing the potential of influencers to not only boost sales but also launch new ventures. He highlighted the crucial role of carefully chosen influencer partnerships in how businesses consume, validate, and act upon information. However, Titus also pointed out that not enough brands are forging the deep, meaningful, and intricate relationships with influencers that their audience demands.The report underscores that while the use of influencers in consumer communications often calls for trendsetters and tastemakers, the B2B sector requires credible expertise firmly grounded in established experience, contributing to professional opinions.Looking at platforms, beyond LinkedIn, 50 percent of B2B marketing teams regard YouTube as the next most significant platform for influencer campaigns, closely trailed by Facebook (48 percent) and Instagram (46 percent). Other platforms such as WhatsApp (14 percent), Reddit (seven percent), and Telegram (nine percent) exhibit untapped potential for engaging professional audiences when utilized effectively.The report emphasizes the importance of selecting the right influencer, ensuring alignment of their voice and values with the brand's, and investing in cultivating robust, meaningful, long-term relationships. Additionally, the report points out that employees can also serve as valuable influencers, representing an underutilized marketing resource.Notably, interviewees featured in the report emphasized the value that influencers bring to B2B marketing due to their credibility.Saad Abdullah, General Manager of Marketing at Al-Futtaim Toyota and Lexus in the UAE, stressed the brand's responsibility to leverage the right voices capable of making an impact, delivering results, and shaping the future of influence.The report also delves into regional campaigns, illustrating how the evolution of influence in the Middle East aligns with global trends while incorporating unique characteristics influenced by culture, language, and technology. For example, Saudi Arabia ranks first globally in terms of interest and appetite for B2B communications, with 100 percent of surveyed businesses employing some form of B2B influence in their communications and marketing strategies. The UAE closely follows, with 96 percent. The report cites an example of an education campaign launched by Ogilvy and GEMS Education to promote understanding and positive impact among GEMS school students before exams. This campaign involved 26 unique influencers and leveraged a local psychology clinic, adding credibility and enabling deeper conversations with a wider audience.

DMCC Crypto Centre and Bybit announce $100,000 hackathon

Dubai: DMCC – the world’s flagship free zone and Government of Dubai Authority on commodities trade and enterprise – and the global crypto exchange Bybit have announced the launch of a USD 100,000 hackathon to further the development of the thriving Web3 ecosystem in Dubai.Announced during an event held exclusively for DMCC Crypto Centre members, the hackathon will take place in Dubai on 22 November 2023 and is the latest milestone between DMCC and Bybit since both sides announced a strategic partnership in June to accelerate the mass adoption of crypto and web3 in Dubai.With a total prize pool worth USD 100,000, the hackathon is specifically geared towards fostering crypto innovation in Web3 and will be the first of this scale in the MENA region. During the final stage, up to 10 teams will compete to develop creative technical solutions to a range of challenges within the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), gaming and information security.Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, DMCC said: “Dubai is fast consolidating its position as the most important Web3 hub in the region, and the DMCC-Bybit hackathon is the perfect testament of this in action. As Dubai continues its transition into an innovation-driven and knowledge-based economy, furthering the development of Web3 technologies is vital. This will be the largest hackathon of its kind in the region, pioneering the latest technical innovation in areas such as AI and gaming. We are delighted to continue our partnership with Bybit as we look to boost our Web3 community at DMCC Crypto Centre.”Ben Zhou, Co-founder and CEO of Bybit added: “Tapping into the high levels of Web3 innovation taking place in Dubai is a key pillar of our strategy as we continue growing our global market share. This partnership with DMCC is enabling us to do exactly that, so we are excited to host the largest hackathons that this region has seen and further build our symbiotic relationship with the DMCC Crypto Centre.”This year in June, DMCC partnered with Bybit to provide financial support totalling AED 500,000 (USD 136,000) for new crypto businesses looking to set up at DMCC Crypto Centre. In turn, Bybit became the listing partner for the Crypto Centre, with the company providing dedicated support for crypto firms looking to list digital assets on one of the top global exchanges. Headquartered in Dubai, Bybit is the world’s third most visited crypto exchange with over 15 million users.With over 550 members, DMCC Crypto Centre is a comprehensive ecosystem for companies that develop Web3 and blockchain technologies, and associated value-added services, providing everything that crypto businesses and entrepreneurs need to set up and scale their operations.Hackathons are competitive technology and coding events in which individuals or teams try to accomplish a goal or number of tasks. Applications for the DMCC Crypto Centre-Bybit Hackathon can be made via

CNN Academy Abu Dhabi opens with climate masterclass

CNN Academy Abu Dhabi welcomed its third cohort of students on Friday 22nd September, leading with a climate reporting masterclass from Chief Climate Correspondent, Bill Weir moderated by Becky Anderson, Managing Editor, CNN Abu Dhabi, and Anchor. The interactive session, hosted at the Yas Creative Hub, explored how to engage audiences, the importance of science, informing people about solutions to environmental challenges, and looking ahead to COP 28. It marked the beginning of a 12-week journalism training course, which will have an emphasis on climate storytelling and provide unrivalled access to experts from the world’s leading news organisation. To date, 46 participants have been trained through CNN Academy Abu Dhabi, including 22 Emiratis.The latest group of 30 participants for CNN Academy Abu Dhabi includes 16 Emiratis and 14 UAE residents from 12 different countries, including Egypt, France, India and Syria. They will join weekly live workshops from CNN Abu Dhabi staff plus weekly masterclasses delivered by professionals around the world. These will be hosted at The Community Hub, part of twofour54’s Yas Creative Hub in Abu Dhabi, which is adjacent to the CNN bureau.The Academicians will have access to extensive media technology facilities, equipment, infrastructure and student liaison support from the creative lab, part of the talent development division of Creative Media Authority and Abu Dhabi’s content champion. Digital learning will also take place via the custom-built CNN Academy hub, which features a wealth of learning resources created by CNN’s global anchors, reporters, production, and technical teams. The extensive course will equip the aspiring journalists and content creators with valuable media industry skills.The programme will culminate in the second annual CNN Academy Newsroom Simulation. This will be held this year against the backdrop of COP 28, from December 3rd to 10th, where the participants from the CNN Academy Abu Dhabi group will also be joined by participants from other CNN Academy programmes taking place across the globe.Becky Anderson, Anchor & Managing Editor, CNN Abu Dhabi, said: “With COP 28 almost upon us, and during a year in which we have seen some incredibly dramatic and alarming climate stories, there could scarcely be a more important moment to bring climate storytelling into focus. CNN’s Climate Unit has been on the frontline of so many of these stories, so to have Bill Weir address this group was a fantastic opportunity. He is a consummate storyteller, with deep knowledge of the science behind the climate crisis as well as first-hand experience of reporting in extreme environments and the devastating aftermath of climate-related disasters. It was the perfect way to begin our 12-week CNN Academy training, and I’m sure it will have been as inspiring for our Academicians as it was for me.”Alia AlZaabi, Finance Student, Zayed University said “Day one at CNN Academy Abu Dhabi felt like a 'right place, right time' moment. As the UAE preps to host COP 28, I'm not just learning to tell a story; I'm learning to tell the story of the greatest existential crisis of our time. We went beyond creating catchy content and into ethical journalism and its role in creating informed communities. This not only meets but also exceeds the expectations I had walking in.”

Everdome makes a metaverse landing on Mars

Everdome, the Dubai-based interplanetary metaverse project, has announced its first landing on their digitally reimagined Mars, as they take as their 500,000-strong community and partners, including OKX, Pierre Gasly and Alfa Romeo F1 Team, to their new web3 civilization on the Red Planet.Since its inception in early 2022, Everdome has been steadily building a metaverse project promising immersive hyper-reality experiences in visuals and storytelling.This Mars landing follows on from their first rocket launch experience at the end of 2022, and represents the completion of the first layer of their metaverse destination.The heart of the Everdome story is a journey from a near-future spaceport, located in the United Arab Emirates at the picturesque Hatta mountains, from where their web3 pioneers will embark first to their interplanetary spaceship ‘’Everdome Cycler’’ and then onwards to a new outpost for humanity on Mars. The Mars landing stage will see Everdome landholders and NFT holders complete their journey to Mars by taking part in a descent to the Martian surface in the ‘’Everdome Phoenix;’’ rockets, which detach from the ‘’Everdome Cycler’’orbiting Mars.They will first land at Jezero Spaceport, before enjoying some majestic Mars scenery as they ride across the planet’s surface on the Mars Magnetic Rail, heading for Everdome City. Everdome’s city on Mars is placed in Jezero Crater, a location chosen by NASA for its contemporary space missions. Once arriving in Everdome city, the pioneering Evernauts will now be able to experience the city headquarters, including first looks at their AI powered heart of the city, the Tree of Life.The city includes various land plots in six distinct districts, all offering specific possibilities for related brands, businesses, personalities and individuals to engage with old and new audiences alike in immersive experiences previously impossible in the confines of web2.This Mars landing is the culmination of months of creation and development, and represents the completion of Everdome’s first stage of their live metaverse interplanetary experience. More information on the Mars landing, and the Everdome project can be found here.Everdome CEO Jeremy Lopez said: ‘’Our first landing on Mars represents a huge milestone for our project, marking the beta launch of our extraordinary metaverse experience. Now we work to improve metaverse accessibility and increase engagement to reach wider audiences.’’Scheduled for October 28th 2023, this pioneering interplanetary metaverse experience is just the start for Everdome, as they work on a series of products aimed to increase the accessibility and adoption of metaverse and web3 technology.

Confluent unveils data streaming for AI

Confluent, Inc. (NASDAQ:CFLT), the data streaming pioneer, today announced Data Streaming for AI, an initiative to accelerate organizations’ development of real-time AI applications. To help companies unlock the full potential of AI with the freshest contextual data from across their business, Confluent is expanding partnerships with leading companies in the AI and vector database space, including MongoDB, Pinecone, Rockset, Weaviate, and Zilliz. It is also demonstrating product innovations that incorporate the latest advances in AI into its platform, with capabilities like a generative AI-powered assistant that helps generate code and answer questions about the data streaming environment. “Data streaming is foundational technology for the future of AI,” said Jay Kreps, CEO and Cofounder, Confluent. “Continuously enriched, trustworthy data streams are key to building next-gen AI applications that are accurate and have the rich, real-time context modern use cases demand. We want to make it easier for every company to build powerful AI applications and are leveraging our expansive ecosystem of partners and data streaming expertise to help achieve that.” Build a real-time data foundation for modern AI with Confluent The Confluent Data Streaming for AI initiative aims to help organizations quickly build and scale next-generation AI applications with a shared source of real-time truth for all operational and analytical data, no matter where it lives.Expanded partnerships Connect with Confluent Technology Partners: Confluent is partnering with MongoDB, Pinecone, Rockset, Weaviate, and Zilliz to provide real-time contextual data from anywhere for their vector databases. Vector databases are especially important as they can store, index, and augment large data sets in formats that AI technologies like LLMs require. Through these integrations, Confluent Cloud’s fully managed data streams can now be accessed directly within these partners’ platforms, making it even easier to use real-time data for AI-powered applications. This is just the start as Confluent looks to extend its partnerships in the AI space with the Connect with Confluent program.Public Cloud Partners: Confluent is building on its strategic partnership agreements with Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure to develop integrations, proof of concepts (POCs), and go-to-market efforts specifically around AI. For example, Confluent plans to leverage Google Cloud’s generative AI capabilities to improve business insights and operational efficiencies for retail and financial services customers. And, with Azure Open AI and Azure Data Platform, Confluent is planning to create a Copilot Solution Template that enables AI assistants to perform business transactions and provide real-time updates, benefiting industries such as airlines and transportation.Services Partners: Confluent is launching POC-ready architectures with Allata and iLink span Confluent’s technology and cloud partners to offer tailored solutions for vertical use cases. Developing, testing, deploying, and tuning these AI applications requires a specific skill set. These partners deliver that to alleviate the guesswork around building real-time AI applications, drastically speeding up time to value. Product innovationsConfluent AI Assistant: To help teams get contextual answers they need to speed up engineering innovations on Confluent, the Confluent AI Assistant turns natural language inputs—like “What was my most expensive environment last month?” or “Give me an API request to produce messages to my orders topic”—into helpful suggestions and accurate code that’s specific to their deployment. This is made possible by combining publicly available information, such as Confluent documentation, with contextual customer information to provide specific, timely responses. It will be available to Confluent Cloud customers in 2024. AI for Apache Flink® SQL: Over the next several months, Confluent will announce a series of updates to its newly announced Flink service for Confluent Cloud that bring AI capabilities into Flink SQL. On the main stage of Current, the data streaming industry event, Confluent will demo how Flink can make OpenAI API calls directly within Flink SQL. This unlocks endless use cases, such as rating the sentiment of product reviews or summarizing vendors’ item descriptions. It will help alleviate the complexities of stream processing, accelerating time to insight.

Donna Benton returns as CEO to lead ENTERTAINER’s new growth phase

The Board of Directors at the ENTERTAINER has announced the return of Donna Benton as a shareholder and the company's new Chief Executive Officer, effective today. Donna, who founded the ENTERTAINER in 2001, will lead a dynamic new growth strategy.Recognizing the exciting challenges ahead, the Board is confident that Donna's return will steer the company back to its illustrious position. With a vision to surpass previous achievements, the ENTERTAINER is poised to offer consumers unparalleled benefits, driving increased footfall and spend for the merchants.Donna Benton brings with her not only a renewed sense of purpose but also a wealth of experience and a strategic vision to reinvigorate the company and position it as an industry leader once again. Her strategy includes a simplified, highly attractive 2-for-1 offers, valid annually from January through December.Hisham Alrayes, Chairman of the Board, expressed his confidence in Donna’s appointment, stating: "We are pleased to have Donna back as a shareholder and as our new CEO for the ENTERTAINER. With her broad and unique expertise, we believe will be extremely valuable for the company."Donna Benton expressed her deep attachment to the organization, saying: "Returning to a company that I love, knowing that it needs me, is a decision driven by both passion and a sense of responsibility. There is an indescribable attachment to the organization, a deep-rooted affection that stems from memories, relationships, and shared experiences I have had within the 17 years of owning and operating it."Donna Benton originally founded the ENTERTAINER and played a pivotal role in its success before her departure in 2018. Her return marks a significant milestone in the company's journey, and her unique vision will accelerate the company’s growth once again.

Magnite expands measurement partnerships across EMEA

Magnite, the world’s largest independent sell-side advertising company, today announced an expanded suite of measurement partners across EMEA. AudienceProject, Digiseg, Happydemics, and Innovid are among the providers Magnite is working with to equip buyers and sellers with the appropriate tools to streamline omnichannel measurement activation.As TV consumption shifts from linear to digital, measurement is key to enabling connected television (CTV) to achieve its full potential. Magnite is building a portfolio of partnerships with technologies designed to help buyers and sellers solve for fragmentation as the industry reevaluates how to optimise across all screens. Magnite’s relationships with these measurement providers help buyers and sellers across EMEA access solutions to help inform business decisions.“The importance of measurement across all formats will help advertisers better understand the performance ROI of their ad campaigns, helping them to improve outcomes and ultimately unlocking more ad budgets that will go to publishers,,” said David Snocken, VP, Strategic Partnerships at Magnite. “We believe that having access to a wide variety of measurement tools is crucial to fuel advertising’s growth. Magnite is intent on working with trusted partners who can help simplify measurement activation and facilitate more transparent programmatic transactions between buyers and sellers.”“At AudienceProject, we want to help advertisers allocate their ad budgets more efficiently with cookieless and privacy-safe cross-media measurement,” said Martyn Bentley, Commercial Director, UK at AudienceProject. “Our platform empowers advertisers to make confident marketing decisions and reach their audience more effectively based on independent, comprehensive cross-media measurement. We value our partnership with Magnite, delivering for their clients and innovating for the future.”“Digiseg is one of the largest independent data providers in the world, founded on the principle to segment the entire internet,” said Søren H. Diensen, CEO at Digiseg. “Our core audiences help advertisers evaluate campaigns and websites and can also be used to target online advertising. Working with Magnite allows us to provide quality measurement solutions across their client base.” “Happydemics strives to provide the advertising market with a seamless, unique measurement methodology based on campaign exposure, across all media such as CTV,” said Virginie Chesnais, CMO at Happydemics. “Working with Magnite allows us to deliver future-proofed KPIs for advertisers to drive brand lift, and better invest in increasingly saturated markets.”“As the TV video mix continues to diversify, CTV is taking an increasingly larger role. Understanding streaming’s ability to drive incremental reach above and beyond linear has become a top priority for advertisers,” said Andrew Longworth, VP of Advanced TV at Innovid. “By working with Magnite, we’re helping to ensure that advertisers and publishers in the UK and Germany have access to independent, real-time measurement across linear and CTV to inform optimisations that maximize campaign reach.”