MBZUAI and e& join hands to bolster AI talent, innovation and start-ups

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: On the sidelines of COP28 UAE, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the world’s first graduate research AI university, and e&, the global technology group, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The MoU aims to cement the UAE’s position as a hub of AI innovation through exploring collaboration in areas including AI human capacity building, developing industry-specific projects with tangible applications, including sustainability solutions, and venture capital funding for AI startups.Signed by MBZUAI’s Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations, Sultan Al Hajji, and Harrison Lung, Group Chief Strategy Officer of e&, the MoU will support e&’s advancement in AI talent sourcing and training via MBZUAI’s Executive Program (MEP), upskilling its in-house AI capacity. The two organizations will collaborate on research projects and co-develop use cases and joint go-to-market solutions to accelerate AI adoption for real-world applications.Sultan Al Hajji said: “Our partnership with e& combines a wealth of unique skill sets and strengths to develop cutting-edge AI solutions with the potential to overcome societal challenges and strengthen the UAE’s position as a hub for AI innovation. Together, we will enable e& to enhance its AI skills and capabilities while affording valuable research, employment, and internship opportunities to MBZUAI’s graduates and students, in addition to supporting a new generation of AI startups to build a more robust AI ecosystem in the UAE and wider region.”In addition, MBZUAI will work with e& to foster a startup ecosystem in the UAE by unlocking venture capital investment for AI innovation with a focus on sustainable solutions while providing access to the university’s startups.Harrison Lung commented: “We are thrilled to join forces with MBZUAI, demonstrating our firm commitment beyond just developing AI and sustainable solutions, but also through empowering individuals, promoting knowledge exchange, and raising awareness. This collaboration will elevate institutions at the forefront of this technology both in the UAE and worldwide.”MBZUAI’s stand at COP28 UAE is in the Green Zone at Expo City Dubai, until Dec. 12 – under The Greening Education Hub, organized by the UAE’s Ministry of Education, highlighting its research on how AI can address climate change, health, and education.

UAE consumers optimistic about future: Survey

United Arab Emirates: Optimistic Outlook in the UAEThe latest Toluna Global Consumer Barometer offers a comprehensive view of consumer behavior in the UAE, revealing that a noteworthy 64% of consumers are optimistic about the future, outpacing the global average of 43%. The study, which included 19 markets across the globe, provides valuable insights into the preferences behaviors of consumers in UAE compared to their global counterparts.Current Life Satisfaction and Financial ConcernsThe study showed that 58% of UAE residents reported higher satisfaction with their current life and greater optimism about their future, compared to the global average of 54%, however, one-fourth of the residents expressed concerns over personal financial security due to current global and economic circumstances.Proactive Financial Planning for Economic UncertaintiesWhen it comes to financial planning, UAE residents are proactively taking steps to navigate economic uncertainties. Specifically, 30% plan to cut back on spending on books and magazines, recognizing the abundance of online resources. Similarly, 30% intend to reduce expenses on luxury products or services, while 26% will trim their entertainment and subscription budgets. Additionally, 25% are opting to dine out less, 23% will be cutting back on leisure activities and hobbies, 19% plan to spend less on vacation holidays, and 21% will be reducing expenditures on beauty products.Guiding Grocery Shopping Behavior in the UAELooking ahead, the study also sheds light on expected grocery shopping behavior in the next three months. For UAE consumers, 'being healthy' emerges as a key choice driver, followed by price, brands, and quality. Additionally, 47% of UAE shoppers plan to reduce unnecessary purchases, 42% will compare prices online and offline, and 34% intend to switch to more affordable supermarkets. Other strategies include shopping more often to avoid waste and get the best deals (34%), visiting more stores in search of value (33%), shopping less often but in bulk (31%), switching to cheaper brands (31%), and changing the number of snacks purchased (28%).Impact of Energy Crisis and Inflation on Spending PlansMoreover, a significant 71% of UAE consumers stated that the energy crisis and inflation have impacted their current spending plans. Inflation emerged as a prominent concern among consumers. Worries regarding global market instability and housing/rental prices were also expressed, with 52% highlighting the rising cost of living, 51% concerned about the instability of global/financial markets, and 50% noting house prices/values as a significant factor. Additionally, 44% of consumers are focusing on saving more money due to economic uncertainty."Together, these findings reflect the current economic sentiment and consumer behavior in the UAE which we have been mapping out in successive waves of our Barometer." said Georges Akkaoui, Enterprise Account Director & Office Leader MEA at Toluna, “Amidst some positive signals, it's evident that consumers are seeking value and reliability with their choices. Brands that prioritize quality, affordability, and sustainability will resonate most with today's savvy shoppers, guiding them towards a future of satisfaction and trust; yet it's crucial to acknowledge the genuine concerns surrounding financial security and the impact of global economic factors on spending patterns."Anticipated Spending Behavior in the Next QuarterFurthermore, the study outlines anticipated spending behavior in this quarter. Notably, 34% plan to allocate slightly more towards groceries, 24% towards mobile phones, 31% towards vitamins and minerals, 17% towards food takeaway, 23% towards sports and fitness, 22% towards life insurance, private health insurance (24%), and gaming (16%).

MENA shoppers enthusiastic about online shopping but want delivery flexibility

Dubai, UAE: DHL eCommerce has completed a new Online Shopper Survey for 2023 to analyze e-commerce purchasing patterns across the globe, including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The Online Shopper Survey offers insights on where and why people shop cross-border, what they buy and spend on, their attitudes to delivery and returns, and why sustainability matters to online shoppers worldwide.The survey found that MENA shoppers were the most likely to buy cross-border (67%). But who delivers their goods matters – with customers expressing that they would abandon a purchase if not offered the delivery option they want. Furthermore, 69% said they wanted free, next-day delivery. They were also the most likely to demand free returns, with 1 in 3 still preferring to pay cash on delivery.Furthermore, a vast majority (81%) of MENA shoppers insist on knowing the delivery company before making a purchase. More than half (58%) of MENA shoppers only buy from sites offering free returns. Almost half (48%) cite better quality as the top reason to buy abroad. MENA shoppers were also among the least satisfied with local deliveries (85%).Yasmina Beloued, Regional Commercial Director Fashion & Luxury at DHL Global Forwarding, MEA, said: "This survey highlights how delivery providers play a crucial role in the online shopping journey and why delivery flexibility and transparency are crucial for customers. As the e-commerce market in the region is forecast to reach $57 billion in 2026 , it will be critical for online retailers to plug gaps in the consumer journey to ensure the best possible outcomes. Our report provides numerous and valuable insights into what Middle East retailers need to address to ensure customer happiness and successful customer journeys.”The survey highlighted a growing appetite for online shopping among UAE residents, as almost one fifth expressed shopping online at least once day. The survey identified swift delivery as a key priority for these consumers, with 45% saying that long delivery times frustrated them the most when shopping online. 54% of UAE customers also said free delivery would vastly improve their online shopping experience, and 96% said they would abandon their shopping basket if not offered their preferred delivery options.Customers expressed their displeasure at hidden costs when shopping online, with 42% of MENA shoppers only buying from sellers who rolled delivery charges into the cost of the goods. Sustainability was an important aspect for online shoppers too. The survey showed that customers in the MENA are willing to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to sustainable shopping, with 42% of UAE shoppers saying they would be willing to spend more for sustainable delivery.

Al-Futtaim IKEA embraces circular sustainability

United Arab Emirates, Dubai: Al-Futtaim IKEA, the region’s leading Swedish home furnishing retailer, today unveiled a 30-meter-long community table to celebrate Dubai Design Week. Made out of used furniture that would otherwise go to the landfill, the table will be open for public use from November 7th to the 12th in Dubai Design District. Not only is the community table a bold piece of art, but it is also functional, well-designed and signifies Al-Futtaim IKEA’s unwavering dedication to the Year of Sustainability, Innovation and the path leading to COP28.Thoughtfully designed and curated by IKEA designers and co-created with Adimas Bayu, an illustrator and upcoming doodle artist, along with Grade 5 and Grade 6 students of the Universal American School, this initiative is a testament to the Swedish retailer’s vision of using only renewable or recycled materials to offer fresh solutions to customers, extending the lifespan of products and materials. The table has a story to tell. It aligns with the core themes of conserving energy, preserving water, reducing food waste, and safeguarding biodiversity.Al-Futtaim IKEA has a vision and ambition in the markets it operates in - the UAE, Qatar, Egypt and Oman; to inspire and enable more than 70 million people to live a better everyday life within the boundaries of the planet by 2025. It also aims to become a circular climate positive business by reducing more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than the IKEA value chain emits by 2030. Dubai Design Week served as an ideal platform to showcase the retailors vision. Aligning with the UAE’s sustainability vision, it seeks to educate and encourage people to make choices that lead to a better everyday life.Vinod Jayan, Managing Director of Al-Futtaim IKEA in UAE, Qatar, Oman and Egypt said, ‘At Al-Futtaim IKEA, sustainability is one of the most important pillars that sets the foundation for what we do. We’re on a mission to make sustainability accessible to all, ensuring that sustainable living is not a luxury but a choice everyone can afford. For example, by changing to IKEA LED bulbs, we save 80% energy as compared to conventional bulbs. By using IKEA showers and taps, we can save up to 40% water with the special inbuilt aerator.’The community table is a great example of raising awareness among consumers on the importance of sustainability and the role they can play in contributing towards a circular economy. It encourages consumers to think about the life cycle of products and the value of reusing and recycling materials.‘As we craft this community table, IKEA's mission is crystal clear: we're championing Circularity. Our approach for designing and developing IKEA home furnishing products is to ensure that they integrate good function, beautiful form of long-lasting quality, while also securing sustainability and low price. We want to not only encourage people to protect the planet but also fosters a sense of community amongst artists. Together, we worked to inspire others to craft affordable, creative pieces off used and unwanted furniture’, he continued.In addition, Al-Futtaim IKEA has taken a step further by launching a Maker Space at Dubai Design District. This dynamic environment will showcase IKEA's sustainable furniture range, providing consumers with hands-on education on the functionality of these eco-conscious products. The space will allow customers with opportunity to gain valuable insights into energy conservation, water preservation, and food waste reduction, contributing to the crucial goal of protecting biodiversity.The Maker Space will also include workshops that will take visitors into the world of creativity. From transforming cushions to crafting collages from old catalogues, there's something for everyone. Come visit the Maker Space at building number 8 daily until November 12th, and experience these workshops for free. Don't miss this opportunity to unleash your artistic potential.

Du partners with Hayat Communications to deliver managed services across UAE

Dubai, UAE – du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), today announced a strategic partnership with Hayat Communications, a publicly listed organization in the Kuwait Stock Exchange. This partnership marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of delivering cutting-edge telecom services and expanding network capabilities.The collaboration between du and Hayat Communications brings together the expertise, resources, and experience of both organizations to provide innovative solutions and address the growing demands of customers across the UAE. With the telecommunications landscape evolving at a rapid pace, staying at the forefront of technological advancements is crucial, and this partnership ensures that both organizations can deliver on that promise.Fahad Al Hassawi, Chief Executive Officer at du said: "Our collaboration with Hayat Communication will enable us to enhance our network capabilities, provide innovative telecom solutions, and effectively meet the demands of our customers. We look forward to jointly shaping the future of telecommunications in the country and delivering exceptional services to our clients."The partnership will cover the entire du infrastructure, including mobile, fixed, fiber, and data center assets. With Hayat Communications' comprehensive market-leading delivery and managed services capabilities, du will be able to maximize return on investments for its clients and further expand its digital services offerings.Abdulraouf Alwazzan, Chief Executive Officer at Hayat Communications said: "We are thrilled to embark on this three-year partnership with du to deliver innovative solutions and leveraging our strong partnership to further extend du's digital footprint across the country. This collaboration will enable us to contribute to the digital transformation journey of du and provide comprehensive market-leading delivery and managed services capabilities to its clients.”Hayat Communications, established in 1997 in the UAE, has been a trusted partner of du since 2006, delivering numerous strategic infrastructure projects. The collaboration is in line with du's strategic aim to further expand its digital services and maximize return on investments for its clients, underscoring the company's commitment to innovation and excellence. Both organizations are excited about the opportunities ahead and look forward to jointly shaping the future of telecommunications in the country.

Microsoft Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella Visits UAE

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Microsoft Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella visited the UAE today to experience first-hand how the latest advancements in cloud and AI are supporting UAE organizations across every industry. While speaking at the Microsoft ‘AI, a New Era’ event, Nadella met with local business leaders, government officials and developers and emphasized the role of AI in unlocking new opportunities to accelerate the UAE's digital economy and transforming the lives of its people.“This new age of AI will drive innovation and has the potential to expand opportunity and growth around the world – including in the UAE,” said Satya Nadella, Chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “It’s inspiring to see so many developers and businesses in the Emirates already applying AI to address business and societal challenges.”Microsoft has had a presence in the UAE for more than 30 years and chose the country as the location for its first data centres in the Middle East. Microsoft’s cloud regions are considered a key driver behind the country’s digital transformation, serving as foundations for the deployment of modern technologies, including AI. A PwC report has predicted a US$320 billion AI industry in the Middle East by 2030 and singled out the UAE as likely to have the largest percentage share for AI in its economy out of any nation in the region: close to 14% of 2030 GDP.During his keynote, Nadella announced the upcoming availability of Azure OpenAI Service from the company’s UAE cloud datacentres. The service, which will be available later this month, provides access to a suite of powerful AI models, including GPT-4, Codex, and DALL-E 2, which can be used to develop innovative AI applications such as virtual assistants, content generation, code generation, image editing tools, and more.He highlighted some of the ways UAE organizations are leading AI transformation and innovation in key industries:  The UAE Ministry of Education is partnering with local start-up ASI, founded by 20-year-old Quddus Pativada, to develop a personalised AI tutor which will act as an Arabic and English study companion for UAE students to help them improve their learning beyond the classroom. The tutor will be rolled out across the UAE’s schools. The partnership aligns with the ministry’s drive to incorporate AI into the educational system, announced during the World Government Summit (WGS) 2023.The Department of Health in Abu Dhabi is developing a unified, digital experience for patients, which will allow them to provide holistic, on demand healthcare services in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. An AI powered patient assistant, running on Azure, will provide instant access to unified medical records and make searching for a doctor and scheduling appointments effortless.G42 released a Large Language Arabic Model, Jais, which will be available through Azure Services and will boost the ability to create original Arabic content for close to 100 million underserviced Arabic language internet users.DeepOpinion, co-founded by Dr. Ahmed Al-Ali, is embedding AI models in existing automation workflows running on Microsoft Azure and integrating with Microsoft Power Platform, allowing organisations to reduce repetitive tasks and reduce workplace accidents caused by human error.

Two-thirds of UAE tech leaders attribute increased business profitability to AI

The UAE is taking a proactive stance in the world of technology, leading the way in adopting innovative technologies. An impressive 89% of technology leaders in the UAE are confident that their current technology can effectively fuel business growth and enhance organizational development. This level of confidence surpasses that of their global counterparts by a significant 16%, as highlighted in the recently released KPMG UAE Tech report for 2023, titled "Tech Trailblazers: Navigating the Next Digital Frontier."The KPMG report emphasizes the UAE's dedication to using technology to reach ambitious business objectives, tackle challenges, and promote Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) priorities. Notably, 87% of tech leaders in the UAE are confident in their current technology's ability to advance the organization's ESG agenda, surpassing the global average by 15%. Additionally, a substantial 86% of UAE tech leaders believe that their organization's technology is simultaneously enhancing employee satisfaction, well-being, efficiency, and cost reduction.Mohamad Majid, Partner, Digital and Innovation at KPMG Lower Gulf said: “The UAE’s digital transformation leaders are committed to their innovation priorities and realizing value at pace, despite the headwinds of global economic uncertainty. This year’s KPMG UAE Tech Report provides insights into how the nation’s tech leaders are forging a path of innovation and technology-driven growth, setting a global example for strategic AI adoption, prioritizing ESG and cybersecurity, and advancing business technology.”The UAE's strategic focus on AI and machine learning (ML) and commitment to transformative technologies is shared by CTOs. Based on the KPMG study, a significant 53% of tech leaders in the UAE recognize AI as a key driver for fulfilling their short-term objectives. The study also highlights other technology preferences of respondents for achieving these short-term goals, with edge computing (43%) and quantum computing (41%) emerging as highly valuable options. Interestingly, the Metaverse, although at 29%, still showcases potential, suggesting that it's an evolving concept rather than an immediate competitor to innovative technologies.Remarkably, 43% of tech leaders attribute their belief in AI's potential to its demonstrated return on investment (ROI). In fact, two-thirds of CTOs attribute significant increases in profitability to AI initiatives.84% of UAE tech leaders believe that the benefits of XaaS technologies are worth the risks. This puts them 21% ahead of tech leaders around the world. XaaS, or "Everything as a Service," means getting various resources and services over the internet through subscriptions. It includes things like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and more. XaaS helps businesses adapt quickly to changing needs, save money, and stay up to date with regular updates and improvements.The report has also found that in the UAE, information security is a key driver of digital transformation due to regulatory requirements and rising cybersecurity concerns. More than half (56%) of tech leaders emphasize the importance of meeting customer demands for enhanced data privacy and cybersecurity in shaping their strategies.However, 47% of tech leaders in the UAE identify underdeveloped data management strategies as a hurdle to transformation (compared to the global average of 34%). Furthermore, 43% of respondents highlight the limitations of legacy technology, highlighting the necessity of innovative strategies that directly address these challenges.Tomorrow’s tech leaders envision digital evolution holistically, cultivating innovation across all industries. As the UAE sets out to achieve its centennial 2071 ambitions, technology breakthroughs can reshape the future of education, healthcare, tourism, manufacturing, and ESG.

BEL Group Selects Catch Communications as PR Partner for Regional Expansion

 Pioneers in the fresh produce sector, Bel Groupe Middle East have appointed Catch Communications to spearhead its PR and comms activity in 2023 leading into 2024 ahead of its regional expansion. With a mission to enhance their brand presence and market position in the GCC, particularly Saudi Arabia (KSA), Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bel Group has joined hands with Catch Communications to support on the comms front, build desired positioning & presence for their varied product segment and associated spokespeople.  Committed to providing high-quality dairy products that enhance the lives of individuals and families living in the GCC, Bel Groupe is a major player in the food industry through portions of dairy, fruit and plant-based products, and one of the world leaders in branded cheeses. Its portfolio of differentiated and internationally recognized brands includes The Laughing Cow, Kiri, Babybel, Boursin, Nurishh, Pom’Potes, and GoGo squeeZ, as well as some 30 local brands.  “We are thrilled to be on boarding Bel Groupe, our team of experts will execute strategic PR initiatives to strengthen Bel Group's market presence, run dynamic social media campaigns, leveraging Chef Heyam's expertise as a brand ambassador, as well as driving brand development and overseeing the content creation and management of select Bel Groupe’s social media platforms.” We are confident that our strategic insights and innovative approach will play a pivotal role in amplifying Bel Groupe’s presence regionally whilst ensuring it remains a household name.” added, Injeel Moti, Managing Director of Catch Communications. Catch Communications is an award winning integrated creative and content-driven communications consultancy that connects brands with consumers and businesses through high-impact, creative and value-added counsel across the MENA region in key practice groups including Consumer, Corporate, Hospitality, Social Impact & Education and Technology.

E& money and Ericsson partner to fortify the fintech service in the UAE

e& money has partnered with Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) for a strategic multi-year partnership to strengthen and expand their fintech platform. Through Ericsson’s leading fintech solution, the Ericsson Wallet Platform, will bolster e& money’s infrastructure, making it more secure and reliable to manage transaction processes effectively.Founded on cutting-edge security technologies and the principles of an open architecture framework the Ericsson Wallet Platform will provide secure and personalized financial services to a wide range of users through a variety of digital channels. The modernization and expansion of the platform marks a pivotal moment in e& money's evolution as it aims to become a financial super app in the region's flourishing fintech sector.e& money empowers citizens and residents in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with secure, convenient, and swift payment solutions delivered through an intuitive mobile application. e& money extends its services to encompass businesses and individuals from all segments of society facilitating seamless digital transactions and payments. The wallet offers a wide array of services, ranging from international and local transfers, prepaid cards, payment processing and gifting.Melike Kara Tanrikulu, Chief Executive Officer, e& money says: "Our collaboration with Ericsson is aimed at ushering in a new era of fintech reliability. This joint endeavour underscores e& money's commitment to enhancing digital experiences and equipping individuals and businesses in the United Arab Emirates with reliable financial solutions. With Ericsson's support, we aim to set new standards in fintech, transforming the financial landscape in the region."The Ericsson Wallet Platform supports over 400 million registered mobile wallets and processes more than 2.8 billion transactions worth over USD 40 billion every month through communication service providers and financial institutions globally. With open architecture and easy integration, the Ericsson Wallet Platform will enable e& money to discover new revenue streams and expand services as it advances digitization of financial transactions and fosters economic growth in the UAE.   Ekow Nelson, Vice President and Head of Global Customer Unit for e& at Ericsson Middle East and Africa says: "Our partnership with e& money is long-standing with a joint commitment to revolutionize fintech across the United Arab Emirates. We aim to empower individuals and businesses with secure, efficient, and inclusive financial services. Our Mobile Financial Services platform combine the power of mobile communication and financial services and will provide e& money with the tools needed to elevate its capabilities. This will allow e& money to offer easy-to-use and secure next-generation mobile money, digital wallet, and digital payment services. We are committed to supporting e& money in transforming the fintech landscape in the country, driving economic growth, and delivering convenient mobile financial services that are aligned to a digital lifestyle of today’s consumers.”With pioneering technologies and a shared commitment to financial inclusion and well-being, Ericsson and e& money remain committed to delivering secure and innovative solutions that empower and transform the region’s financial landscape.

Etihad Cargo appoints Soufyan Mouaniss as Director West Cargo Commercial

Abu Dhabi: Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, has promoted Soufyan Mouaniss to the role of Director West Cargo Commercial. Soufyan will lead all commercial activity for the carrier in the West region, including Europe and the Americas. He will be based in Etihad Cargo's head office in Abu Dhabi, UAE.Soufyan joined Etihad Cargo in 2019 as General Manager Benelux and Nordic region, and most recently was Area General Manager North and West Europe.Tim Isik, Etihad Cargo's Vice President Commercial, said: "Soufyan has been an influential member of Etihad Cargo's team and has achieved outstanding success in his previous roles. He has demonstrated his ability to deliver results, reaching financial targets and spearheading organisational growth in his regions. I am confident Soufyan will thrive in this new position and will play a pivotal role in expanding Etihad Cargo's reach in the West, which is a key region in the carrier's ambitious expansion plans."Commenting on his new role, Soufyan said: "I am delighted to take on this new challenge at such an exciting time for Etihad Cargo. As the carrier launches new routes and increases frequencies in the region, I look forward to working closely with partners and customers to ensure Etihad Cargo meets delivery promises and remains the air cargo partner of choice."Etihad Cargo recently announced the introduction of new routes for Europe as part of its winter schedule. The carrier now offers additional belly capacity to two new European gateways via four weekly flights to Copenhagen and three flights per week to Düsseldorf. The carrier is also offering increased frequencies to Munich, Rome, Madrid and Milan. The airline will launch a service to Boston, a fourth US gateway destination, in 2024. Additionally, Etihad Cargo operates four dedicated freighter services per week to Frankfurt, five to Amsterdam, and two to Chicago, supporting the airline's expansive passenger network with freighter capacity to fully meet the needs of partners and customers.

Nitesh Agarwal chronicles Urban Company's Middle East success story

In this exclusive interview with Adgully, Nitesh Agarwal, Regional Head of Urban Company in the Middle East, sheds light on the company's journey in the region. Since their entry into the Middle East market in 2018, Urban Company has prioritized delivering premium services. Starting in Dubai, they've expanded their offerings across the UAE and KSA, offering services in approximately 20 categories. With a partner network of 32,000 professionals, Urban Company is now Asia's largest tech-enabled home services marketplace. According to him, Urban Company's success in the UAE can be attributed to a multifaceted approach. They prioritize customer-centricity, utilize technology to enhance service quality and affordability, invest in training, and consistently innovate. Excerpts:Can you share with us the journey of Urban Company in the Middle East?Urban Company entered the Middle East market in the UAE in 2018. Over the past five years, our commitment to providing a premium service experience has been our guiding principle. We started with Dubai in the UAE because of the potential that we saw in this market. We started with launching part-time cleaners, one of the popular categories here, slowly expanding our services to Abu Dhabi and Sharjah in the UAE and Riyadh and Jeddah in KSA. We now offer services in around 20 categories across UAE's home, beauty & wellness verticals.We are currently Asia’s largest and highest-rated tech-enabled home services marketplace with a partner network of 32,000 hand-picked service professionals.What, according to you, are the factors that have made Urban Company successful in the UAE?Urban Company's success in the UAE can be attributed to a multifaceted approach. Firstly, we prioritize customer-centricity above all. By harnessing the UAE's impressive 99% internet penetration rate, we've cultivated a deep understanding of the local consumer landscape, allowing us to fine-tune our services for maximum appeal.The UAE's service industry landscape, teeming with both organized and unorganized providers, presented a unique challenge. Traditional brick-and-mortar salons, technicians, and cleaning providers often offer services at competitive prices. However, the growth projection of the on-demand home services sector, anticipated to expand by 9.7% by 2026, indicates a promising trajectory, especially for digital platforms like ours.Our strategic utilization of technology has been a game-changer. It's allowed us to continually enhance our service quality while ensuring affordability—a key to customer retention in this market. Moreover, we place immense emphasis on training, considering the World Economic Forum suggests re-skilling half of the global workforce may be inevitable by 2025.Lastly, innovation has been a cornerstone of our strategy. Introducing tools like steam mops in our cleaning category, for instance, has empowered us to surpass customer expectations, solidifying our reputation as industry pioneers. In short, our success in the UAE stems from a blend of customer focus, affordability, rigorous training, and consistent innovation.What services do you offer, and which ones are the most popular?We offer a bouquet of high-quality services, such as salon, nails and spa at home, cleaning, plumbing, handymen, appliance repair etc., through our mobile app and websites.While cleaning was initially 85% of our offering, by 2023, services like beauty have grown in demand, with a significant portion of women preferring at-home beauty treatments, reflecting a shift from traditional salon visits.What is the procedure for joining Urban Company as a professional in any field?In the UAE, we focus on delivering hyper-localised services, and vendor onboarding is an ongoing process. Urban Company has a structured approach towards partner development and well-being centred around four key pillars: improved earnings, safety net, training and wealth creation.In the UAE, we work with vendors to improve the living standards of the workforce, upskilling, increase salaries and give incentives to them, as employee engagement is essential for great customer satisfaction.There is a thorough and objective selection process for every single service professional. Joining Urban Company involves a rigorous four-stage process. Candidates undergo screening, review of documentation such as Visa and licenses, detailed technical and soft-skill training given by on-payroll industry experts in real-life simulated set-ups, and final evaluation.This meticulous process ensures that all our professionals deliver services aligned with our high standards. We also incentivise service professionals on the basis of customers’ experiences.Urban Company believes in delivering a remarkable customer experience and we are constantly on the lookout for innovative measures to give the best to our customers. The global online on-demand home services market is estimated to reach $4.1 trillion by 2027, with more service providers and vendors introducing and enhancing sustainable, scalable and convenient services for modern customers.Are primarily women your clients for salon services, or do men also avail of your services?While women represent a major segment of our beauty services, the changing dynamics show that 30% of beauty services are consumed by men.What obstacles hindered your growth, and how did you overcome them?Our journey in the UAE, while rewarding, has not been without its set of challenges. When we entered the market, we faced a fragmented competitive environment, intensified by the presence of organized competitors, quite unlike the scenario in our home base, India. Many competitors lured customers with low prices, often compromising on quality. The pandemic further reshaped consumer behaviour, prioritizing health, hygiene, and high-quality services. Amidst this, consistently evolving consumer behaviour and rising expectations meant that we had to be agile and responsive.To navigate these obstacles, Urban Company took a multi-pronged approach:• Diversification and Quality: We expanded our service range to cater to the varied demands emerging from the pandemic, including increased demand for part-time cleaners, salon services, and wellness provisions.• Innovation and Technology: Introducing steam cleaners and scrubbing machines allowed us to redefine cleaning standards in the UAE. Furthermore, our tech-driven checks ensure our partners always utilize genuine products and adhere to our rigorous standard operating procedures. By investing in ongoing innovation, tools, and products, like our disruptive hourly cleaning service and signature pedicure, we've consistently raised the bar.• Training and Partnerships: Our emphasis on continual training ensures our partners are equipped to offer top-tier personalized services. Regular retraining, based on dynamic user feedback, keeps our services aligned with consumer expectations.• Digital Engagement: Recognizing that modern consumers are digital-driven, we've optimized our user interface, payment gateways, and overall digital experience to be hassle-free and intuitive. This has been pivotal, as even a single negative feedback in today's digital age can shift the trajectory of our business.In essence, while challenges like the pandemic, competition, and evolving consumer behaviour posed hurdles, our unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and consumer-centricity has been the cornerstone of our resilience and growth in the UAE market.What is your vision for the company? Where do you see it in five years?Our vision is to establish ourselves as the largest on-demand home services marketplace by focusing on delivering an unparalleled experience to our users. With the UAE market projected to grow by 9.7% annually until 2026, we foresee a 10x growth in this region alone. Hence, with a focus on experience, we have invested heavily in the selection of service professionals with extensive training in real-life simulated set-ups and deep investments in bringing the most cutting-edge tools and products to our users.

UAE calls for global consensus on AI governance

Dubai: The UAE’s AI minister on Wednesday urged countries to come to a consensus on AI governance sooner than it came to the Paris Agreement, which took years to take shape and come into force.His Excellency Omar Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy & Remote Work Applications, said at the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI that countries need a fresh approach to governing AI.“I think the current global discussion on AI governance is a non-starter. Instead of attempting to govern the technology, we can govern the use cases,” he said.During the assembly – which witnessed over 2000 attendees coming big tech companies and consultancies such as Microsoft, Deloitte, PwC, IBM – Dubai Future Foundation launched the Dubai Generative AI Alliance, a new alliance of tech companies to help Dubai accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies and build one of the world’s most advanced and effective tech-enabled governments.Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of DFF, called on companies and innovators to join the alliance, which will focus on developing innovative technology pilots by leveraging AI, the metaverse and Web3. The Dubai government also launched ‘Dubai AI’, a generative AI-powered digital city concierge. The city-wide digital platform will offer comprehensive information and services, covering health, business, and education, to residents and visitors. It will transform government services, the assembly heard.The assembly also heard how the global banking sector could benefit by as much as USD 400 billion from the boom in generative AI.The global platform heard from experts from international tech corporations and consultancies. PwC said automation in the workplace is imminent, with generative AI likely to be able to execute everyday tasks, such as booking flights and generating reports autonomously, on a large scale within the next 18-20 months.Deloitte's leading digital expert said nuclear fusion, climate action and drug discovery will be some of the main beneficiaries of generative AI, while the industrial and pharmaceutical sectors are among those quickest to adapt to the emerging technology.Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ Chief Operating Officer, said by November, the airline will “empower cabin crew to leverage [generative AI] through delivering training on complex models”.

UAE’s rising stars head to Arab Youth Hackathon final during COP28

Dubai:  PepsiCo and the Arab Youth Center (AYC) have announced three teams from the UAE for the Arab Youth Hackathon final, following a three-day bootcamp hosted by PepsiCo, PepsiCo Foundation, Plug and Play and AYC. The regional entrepreneurship program aims to create smarter solutions for climate-related issues in agriculture, circular economy, water security, and renewable energy. The bootcamp took place at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, where finalists received mentorship through curated workshops from industry and subject matter experts. The first day kicked off with sustainability activities and introductions to help set workshop objectives, followed by an ideation assignment to help identify the strongest ideas. Over the next two days, participants learned more about design thinking, evolving an idea into a viable product, and green communications, complete with mentor-led working sessions. This extensive training culminated in a final pitch to a judging panel of five experts across the innovation, sustainability, and business development spectrum to hone in on the top three winners from the UAE. The entries were evaluated based on their sustainability alignment, ability to reduce emissions, and the magnitude of impact on areas under the four pillars of the competition (Water, Agriculture, Climate and Circular Economy).Esaal, SolAir, and Krabby are now set to compete against other regional challengers at COP28, as part of the Arab entrepreneurship program. Esaal, represented by a trio of founders from the United Arab Emirates University, includes Reem AlMussabeh, Alhasan Farajallah, and Anas Al-Tomili. Their idea revolves around a digital analytics platform, aiming to revolutionize business decision-making. Esaal eliminates paper receipts and transforms them into smart digital receipts, offering actionable insights.SolAir, led by founders Keegan Cobb and Azzan Farooq, both from the American University of Sharjah, boasts an innovative concept. They have developed an autonomous device that utilizes pressurized air to linearly clean solar panels, all without the need for water. This innovation aims to maintain solar panels at their maximum efficiency, contributing to sustainable energy solutions.Krabby, a team led by founders Harsh Garg, Sanober Sarfaraz Ahmed, and Anurag Kumar Jha from BITS Pilani, presents an autonomous coral restoration service. Employing artificial intelligence, Krabby identifies healthy coral fragments and transplants them to suitable locations, contributing to coral reef preservation.Aamer Sheikh, CEO – Middle East at PepsiCo said, “Through the Arab Youth Hackathon, we are advancing COP28’s goal to promote youth engagement in climate action. There is incredible innovative potential in the region, and we believe we have a role to play in creating an environment for young people’s collective action and innovation to be supported and accelerated. We’re inspired to see the caliber of young climate challengers in the region and look forward to working closely with our partners to support entrepreneurs at all business stages.”Mr. Sadeq Jarrar, Executive Director - Arab Youth Center said, “The Arab Youth Hackathon is a vital initiative to engage young people and capture their visions. It also harnesses the creativity and potential of promising talent in our region. Through this initiative, we are working to empower young people to find effective solutions to pressing climate challenges.” He added. “Youth’s valuable participation in the twenty-eighth Conference of the Parties (COP28) is an affirmation of the will of Arab youth to lead a meaningful transformation towards a sustainable future, and we look forward to seeing their creative imprint on the global stage.”Jordan Bray, Country Director UAE, Plug and Play said, “We are genuinely excited by the outstanding ideas showcased by the UAE's young innovators during the Arab Youth Hackathon. Fostering regional talent is at the core of Plug and Play's mission, and we believe in these young innovators' potential to create a more sustainable future. Congratulations to the three UAE finalists, and we eagerly anticipate their contributions to the global dialogue at COP28. We have full confidence that their innovative solutions will drive meaningful and lasting change on an international scale.”Finalists from Egypt were announced last week, with Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia expected to follow in the coming weeks. The finals of the competition, featuring 15 of the most promising solutions from the five countries, will be happening in the Youth Hub taking place on the sidelines of COP28 in Dubai. The three best innovators will receive an equity-free seed fund from the PepsiCo Foundation to launch their businesses, worth $30,000 for the winner, $20,000 for the runner-up, and $10,000 for the second runner-up. In addition, they will participate in a one-month incubation program that will help them develop and scale their groundbreaking ideas and ensure long-term success.

E& money launches prepaid card with cash rewards

Dubai:  e& money, the fintech arm of e& group, today announced the launch of the e& money card, a digital first card for the UAE market promoting financial inclusivity and advancing the vision of fostering a cashless economy.e& money card enables every resident in the UAE to obtain a card within 10 seconds by simply logging into the e& money app. Every customer is instantly issued a 16-digit Mastercard branded e& money card, ready to be used for seamless payments and ATM access. There are more than 180,000 digital cards issued until now since the launch in March.e& money is set to transform the way UAE residents manage their finances, empowering them to make secure transactions worldwide. It ensures an exceptional user experience by effortlessly integrating the e& money card with Apple Pay, Samsung and Google Wallet offering customers the convenience and speed of contactless payments. Furthermore, customers can also request the physical version of their cards for free during the launch period, which will be delivered to their doorstep within just a few days.The e& money card offers the most rewarding prepaid card loyalty programme in the UAE, providing customers with one per cent cash rewards on all card spends during the launch period until the end of 2023. This reward is unique for a prepaid card, as it is typically associated with credit cards. Moreover, customers can conveniently access cash rewards through the app, either by transferring them to the main wallet account as real cash or redeeming them in the unique e& money loyalty catalogue with the best deals including gaming and entertainment vouchers and many more.Khalifa Al Shamsi, Chief Executive Officer, e& life, said: “The launch of the e& money card marks a significant milestone in our mission to reshape the future of financial services in the UAE. By combining cutting-edge technology, seamless user experiences, and attractive benefits, such as instant digital issuance and cash rewards, we are redefining the way people access and manage their finances. Our aim is to empower individuals from all walks of life, fostering financial inclusion and enabling them to embrace the advantages of a cashless society.”e& money's commitment to customer satisfaction goes beyond its existing offerings. The company has plans to introduce new card products in the near future, catering to customers' diverse payment needs and ensuring a great payment experience for their daily transactions.“With the launch of the e& money card, we are reshaping the future of financial services in the UAE,” said Melike Kara, CEO of e& money. “Our goal is to empower all individuals, regardless they are banked or not, by providing instant access to a rewarding prepaid card that offers cash benefits. As e& money, we are proud to launch this digital first card as the first telco-backed issuer in the UAE. The e& money card portfolio is set to revolutionise the payment landscape and digital experience of consumers.”As e& money continues to innovate and expand its offerings, it remains dedicated to delivering customer-centric solutions and ensuring the utmost satisfaction of its users.

Du launches cyberbullying awareness campaign aimed at schools

Dubai: du, from Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company (EITC), today announced a campaign in collaboration with Beat the Cyber Bully to educate UAE students about the risks of cyberbullying and the importance of its prevention. The campaign will involve visiting private and public schools across the UAE and conducting engaging workshops tailored to different age groups, ensuring a comprehensive approach to raising awareness.Adel Al Raees, Head of Corporate Communication at du said: "We are honoured to spearhead this vital campaign to combat cyberbullying and raise awareness among students and educate the parents. As a responsible digital telco, we firmly believe it is our duty to ensure that young people have a safe and positive online experience. This initiative aims to empower students to take a stand against cyberbullying, fostering a culture of respect, empathy, and responsibility in the digital world."The workshops will equip students with the essential knowledge and tools to identify, report, and prevent cyberbullying, while simultaneously promoting a secure and inclusive online environment. The campaign addresses the growing concern over the prevalence of cyberbullying and its detrimental impact on young people in today's increasingly digital age.In addition to the school visits, the campaign will also incorporate an SMS campaign and informative content on du’s social media platforms to raise public awareness. It will initiate competitions with prizes to further engage the community, and informative sessions specifically designed for parents to help them effectively understand and address cyberbullying. du has also partnered with UNICEF as part of its unwavering commitment to promoting online safety for children, reinforcing the significance of this initiative.The cyberbullying campaign by du is currently ongoing till the end of the semester, with plans to conduct informative workshops to educate students and parents to spread awareness across various schools in the UAE. The company is devoted to making a positive impact on the lives of young people and cultivating a more secure and inclusive digital space for all.

Gen Z in the UAE lean towards hybrid work and engage in side hustles

Dubai: A recent report from the Oliver Wyman Forum – the think tank of strategic management consultancy Oliver Wyman – analyzes what makes Gen Z tick, and as part of its ongoing analysis it has discovered that Gen Z-ers in the UAE overwhelmingly prefer hybrid work (meaning the ability to work in the office on some days, and remotely on others). They are also especially motivated to advance in their careers. Understanding what makes Gen Z tick, and what incentivizes them, is important for today’s business and government leaders because they currently make up more than a quarter of the global population – and will comprise 27% of the workforce by 2025.The report focused on the age 18 to 25 cohort, and key UAE findings include:Side hustles42% of the Gen Z surveyed in the UAE have formal or informal jobs on the side, compared to 27% of the non-Gen Z respondents.Gen Z in the UAE who have side hustles are primarily incentivized by a sense of connectivity and community, with 49% citing that as their main motivation to do the extra work.In contrast, non-Gen Z in the UAE with side hustles indicated they are driven more by personal passion.Almost 10% of Gen Z in the UAE earn money through investment income.Return to office70% of Gen Z in the UAE prefer hybrid work environments, while only 15% prefer 100% remote options.Meanwhile, non-Gen Z in the UAE are 40% more likely than Gen Z to want a full return to office.Retention and job satisfactionGen Z employees in the UAE are 19% more likely than those in the US to be actively or passively seeking new jobs.Non-Gen Z job-switchers and job seekers in the UAE were primarily motivated to search for other opportunities by better compensation first, followed by better advancement and growth opportunities, and better work-life balance. In contrast, Gen Z are more likely to leave their jobs for advancement and growth opportunities, compensation, and better benefits and perks.Adel Alfalasi, Head of the UAE at Oliver Wyman, said: “The in-depth Oliver Wyman Forum report shows that Gen Z exhibit significantly different behaviors and motivators than even young millennials, who are only a few years older. Gen Z want transparency, personalized attention, equitable treatment, and options when it comes to how they work. The pandemic taught us that we cannot continue to work in the same way – and organizations that became more nimble and agile during the pandemic should use those same skills to adapt to Gen Z’s unique needs. This generation will drive changes that lead to a more adept private sector, but also a more agile public sector. Organizations that take this cohort seriously now will find themselves ahead in the years to come.”Ana Kreacic, Partner and Chief Knowledge Officer at Oliver Wyman and Chief Operating Officer of the Oliver Wyman Forum, said: “At over a quarter of the global population, Gen Z is set to become the world’s highest-paid spending power and to create large shifts across the public and private sectors in the next decade. Our understanding of their values, needs, and behaviors, and their potential impact is nowhere near where it needs to be. This research will help shape future discussions for more inclusive outcomes and goals while identifying opportunities and risks for business and society.”

Public cloud’s contribution to UAE economy to reach $181bln by 2023

Dubai: Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an, Inc. company (NASDAQ: AMZN), commissioned a new report quantifying the relationship between public cloud computing adoption, national productivity, and economic growth in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The report highlights the potential for the UAE to unlock USD $181 billion in additional economic value over the next decade (2023-2033), or 2.5% of the UAE's cumulative GDP by accelerating adoption of cloud.The study, performed by Telecom Advisory Services LLC, and directed by Raul Katz, Director of Business Strategy Research at the Columbia Institute for Tele-information (Columbia Business School), provides a cutting-edge econometrical method for calculating the aggregate productivity gains realised by economies that adopt cloud computing. It extends previous economic research focused on firm-level productivity by establishing cloud adoption as a driver of national productivity and economic growth.Unleashing the Economic Power of Cloud Computing in the UAEIn 2021, public cloud adoption made a significant impact on the UAE's economy. According to the report, it contributed 2.26% to the country’s GDP, generating an economic value of USD $9.5 billion, the largest public cloud contribution to GDP in the region. This "productivity" effect is in addition to the "construction" effect of building and operating cloud infrastructures in the UAE, which, in the case of AWS UAE Region, are projected to contribute $11.2 billion to the UAE economy by 2036 and support nearly 6,000 full-time equivalent jobs annually.In the MENA, the UAE is where cloud adoption is driving the most economic growth in terms of spillovers. The report finds that a 1% increase in cloud adoption by UAE organisations will result in a 0.21% (USD 854.7 million) average GDP growth, which is three times the MENA average and the highest in the region. Over 91% of this impact, can be attributed to the national productivity gains or so-called “spillover effects” on the economy, while the remainder (9%) is driven by cloud spending from UAE public and private organizations. As an economic stimulant, cloud computing is 17% more effective in the UAE than mobile broadband.Yasser Hassan, Managing Director, Commercial Sector, MENAT at AWS, said: "The findings of our report highlight the tremendous opportunity for the UAE to accelerate economic growth and position the country as an attractive and influential economic hub, in line with the government's “We the UAE 2031” vision launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. As cloud computing continues to gain momentum, it is imperative for the UAE to continue to support cloud adoption and develop a skilled workforce to enhance the country's competitiveness on a global scale. With the support of AWS, the UAE can accelerate its digital transformation and unlock new opportunities for economic growth and social development."The study demonstrates that the economic impact of cloud computing is guided by returns to scale, - greater adoption of cloud computing will lead to proportionally greater productivity gains and economic impact.The UAE has ambitious plans to diversify its economies through digitization. In 2021, 43% of organizations in the UAE region adopted cloud computing, versus 49% in Western Europe and North America. With the government's focus on digital transformation, it is well-positioned to become a hub for cloud computing in the region.“The widespread adoption of cloud has already led to increased efficiency, cost savings, and job creation in various industries. As more businesses and organizations continue to migrate to the cloud, the economic benefits are expected to grow even further,” added Yasser.The report identifies four key advantages of cloud computing: First, it enhances business efficiency and effectiveness, streamlining processes and improving outcomes; second, it offers access to a wide range of services, enabling businesses to leverage advanced technologies; third, it boosts productivity by facilitating collaboration, mobility, and agility within the workforce; fourth, cloud computing promotes environmental sustainability by reducing carbon emissions per unit of data transmitted

Electronic retailer EROS announces exclusive partnership with Dreame

Dubai: Eros Group, a leading distributer and retailer in the UAE, today announced its partnership with Dreame, a smart consumer technology company that specializes in innovative vacuum cleaners that promises to revolutionize the way people clean their homes.This partnership will enable Eros Group to sell and distribute Dreame’s innovative product line exclusively in the UAE. Dreame’s high-performance cleaning appliances such as cordless, robot and Wet& dry vacuum cleaners - leverages astrodynamics technologies to navigate and clean any home with unmatched precision and efficiency. The device uses state-of-the-art sensors to detect and avoid obstacles, ensuring a thorough and seamless cleaning experience. Its products are engineered using powerful technology, airtight structure, and streamlined architecture to create a powerful suction that can easily remove dust accumulated in crevices and can be used on a variety of surfaces such as hardwood floors, thick carpets, and beds.In addition to its advanced cleaning capabilities, all its vacuum cleaners are designed to be highly durable and long-lasting, with a robust construction that can withstand the rigors of everyday use. It is also energy-efficient that consumes minimal energy while delivering maximum cleaning power.Mohammad Badri, Director, EROS Group said, "Eros Group has always been committed to providing customers with the latest and most innovative products in the market. We are proud to partner with a company like Dreame that meets the needs of modern households, with its advanced technology and user-friendly vacuum cleaners. We are excited to introduce their highly advanced product line to our customers in the UAE."Kevin Wang, General Manager, Dreametech said, " Dreame Technology ("Dreame"), a fast-growing company leading in smart home-cleaning technologies. We believe that our products are game-changer for anyone seeking a more convenient and efficient clean. Its advanced automation features and powerful cleaning capabilities make it the perfect companion for busy households, and we are confident that it will transform the way people approach cleaning. We can't wait to see the impact advanced robot vacuum and mop has on the lives of our users, and we are proud to offer such an amazing product at an accessible price point. We are excited to introduce their highly advanced product line to our customers in the UAE."Dreame’s vacuum cleaner is now available for purchase at EROS’ retail stores across the UAE as well as online.

Emrill appoints director to enhance growth and market presence

Dubai: based facilities management (FM) services provider, Emrill, has appointed Dean Harnden as business development director. In his new role, Harnden will focus on developing and implementing strategies to further develop and grow Emrill’s services in key sectors in the UAE. He will be responsible for building and maintaining key stakeholder relationships while increasing efforts to deliver service excellence in current and future contracts.With 23 years’ experience in the FM industry, Harnden has worked in the UAE, Australia and the UK, managing numerous high-profile clients and contracts. Before joining Emrill, he led a team of over 20,000 employees and was integral in increasing revenue across the business and creating and maintaining value partnerships with key stakeholders and clients. His extensive experience includes contract negotiations, growth and operations, soft FM services, as well as developing and implementing specialised marketing and communications strategies to increase brand awareness in the industry.Commenting on his recent appointment, Harnden said: “It is a pleasure to be working with Emrill, an organisation that has such a stellar reputation in the region’s FM industry. Their award-winning team has consistently delivered quality FM services while constantly evolving as a business with continuous improvement as a key strategy across every level of the business.”With his expertise across aspects of FM and support services, Harnden aims to maximise profitability while upholding Emrill’s core values and expanding business operations in critical sectors. He will deliver industry-leading services and exceed client requirements across sectors including residential, commercial, industrial, master communities, aviation, logistics, healthcare, retail, hospitality, education, and leisure.Emrill’s CEO, Stuart Harrison commented on Harnden’s recent appointment: “Having worked on both the operational and commercial side of FM, Dean has experience across several facets of the industry, including major events, security, maintenance, and customer service. This unique industry perspective will undoubtedly prove advantageous to Emrill and contribute to new projects and retaining current contracts. We are delighted to have him on the team and look forward to working with him on developing and growing our business further.”Harnden concluded: “My goal for 2023 is to exceed Emrill’s growth targets. While FM is a competitive industry, I am confident that with Emrill’s extensive resources and dedicated team of experts, we will exceed our targets for the year and maintain our reputation as one of the region’s preferred FM service providers.”

100% sustainable and eco-friendly Men’s fashion brand relaunches in the UAE

Dubai: 22Ahead, a men’s fashion brand based in the UAE, today announces the relaunch of its men's fashion label with a renewed commitment to producing 100% sustainable and eco-friendly products. With a strong emphasis on environmental responsibility, the brand is setting new standards for ethical fashion practices and inspiring consumers to make conscious choices.Saad Tariq, Founder and CEO at 22Ahead said: “Originally established in October 2022 as a high-end online fashion brand, we have undergone a remarkable transformation in response to market trends and the urgent need for positive change in our society and the environment. Embracing the vision set by the UAE's leaders for 2023, as the year of sustainability, we have embraced a complete shift towards sustainable practices and are incredibly proud of our new approach to market.”At the heart of 22Ahead's ethos is the use of 100% organic fabrics. Every garment in their collection is crafted from high-quality organic materials, ensuring both style and sustainability. These fabrics carry important certifications such as the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), OEKO-TEX, and the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).But sustainability doesn't stop at the fabrics. 22Ahead takes a holistic approach by utilising 100% recycled and recyclable packaging materials. By minimising waste and promoting a circular economy, the brand actively reduces its environmental footprint.As part of its dedication to environmental conservation, 22Ahead has established partnerships with organisations like One Tree Planted. For every article sold, the brand commits to plant one tree in areas around the world that are most effected by deforestation and are ecologically vulnerable. With every purchase, customers can be confident that their fashion choices align with a greener future. In addition, the brand donates AED10 to eco-friendly or charitable organisations, with each sale.To promote circularity and reduce waste, 22Ahead offers a unique Clothing Return Program. Customers have the option to return clothes after 6 months, receiving an AED 50 website voucher in return. The returned clothes are then donated to those in need in the UAE or beyond, ensuring that clothing is repurposed and benefiting others.Education is a crucial component of 22Ahead's mission. Through weekly tutorials and blog posts on their social media pages and websites, the brand empowers consumers with knowledge about eco-friendly best practices. By sharing valuable information and tips on sustainable fashion choices, 22Ahead enables individuals to make informed decisions that align with their values.Transparency and accountability are core values for 22Ahead. The brand provides an annual impact report that highlights its environmental initiatives and showcases the collective efforts of customers in making a positive difference. By sharing this report, 22Ahead ensures that customers can see the tangible results of their support and encourages other fashion brands to embrace transparency.Beyond their products, 22Ahead actively engages in community activities focused on the betterment of society and the environment. By organising events and collaborating with environmental organisations, the brand raises awareness and drives meaningful change. Through these efforts, 22Ahead aims to inspire individuals to take part in creating a more sustainable future.With its relaunch as a sustainable and eco-friendly fashion label, 22Ahead invites fashion enthusiasts to embrace purchase decisions that make a positive impact on the planet. By choosing 22Ahead, consumers can align their values with their style, contributing to a more sustainable future. It's time to redefine fashion and embrace a brighter tomorrow with 22Ahead.

Homegrown seafood chain announces AED 10mln expansion

Dubai: The UAE’s famous homegrown seafood chain, Golden Fork, has announced its intent of opening 20 more outlets across the country by 2024.The AED 10 million expansion plan of the iconic family friendly brand will see branches activated in Deira City Centre’s exciting new Food Central food hall, Motor City, Al Ain Mall, Mega mall in Sharjah and Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi. Already having opened their doors are Golden Fork outlets at Dalma Mall, City Seasons hotel in Deira, Lulu Mall in Fujairah, Dubai Silicon Oasis and Mushrif Mall.All these new outlets will showcase the brand’s new contemporary interiors whilst serving the fare that has made Golden Fork a household name in the UAE for more than 45 years. The menu will include favourites like Cajun Seafood, Prawn Biryani, Goan Fish Curry, Seafood Mixed Grill, Fried Shrimp, and the signature Bouillabaisse soup, which has been savoured by a whopping 15 million customers over the years.Also refurbished and given a major makeover is the original Golden Fork restaurant at Al Rigga, which opened in 1975 and has catered to 2 million patrons. A new hall that can accommodate as many as 80 people has been added to the facilities, ideal for private gatherings and corporate events.“Golden Fork’s high loyalty factor is courtesy good, wholesome food, exacting hygiene standards and a reputation for sensible pricing. We have also been synonymous with a relaxed, leisurely ambience that beckons customers from different parts of the world with great dishes served with ladles of love, a sprinkling of warmth and a dash of nostalgia,” said Shanavas Mohammed, partner, Golden Fork.“We have a strategic plan for this expansion and are setting about it in a studied manner. As the UAE gets more community-centric, we are ensuring that the delicious food, exemplary Golden Fork service and cozy, warm ambiance is always just around the corner,” he added.Mohammed also shed light on the brand’s ongoing sustainability initiatives.“Our focus will always be on sourcing seafood responsibly and using sustainable packaging materials. On both counts we are uncompromising. We are totally committed to environmentally friendly practices. This approach is the key to our corporate strategy.”Integral to this major expansion, the company has also received approval to set up in Saudi Arabia and plan to open 3 outlets in Riyadh by the end of this year with 10 outlets set to open by the end of 2024.YOU MIGHT ALSO LIK

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

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

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

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

Vodafone, 14.6% owned by UAE’s e&, to cut 11,000 jobs

Dubai: Vodafone Group plc, which is 14.6% owned by UAE telecoms company Etisalat, now known as e&, is to cut 11,000 jobs worldwide over the next three years, as it pares back costs to compete with rivals, the UK-based company said on Tuesday.In its full-year earnings report Vodafone Group CEO Margherita Della Valle said the company’s performance had “not been good enough”.The job cuts equate to 12% of the Vodafone’s global workforce of 90,000, and follow an annual profit forecast cut last year, as well as a cost cutting plan of more than 1 billion euros ($1.089 billion) to cope with soaring energy bills and inflation.Della Valle said: “To consistently deliver, Vodafone must change,” adding that the organisation was being simplified, cutting out complexity to regain competitiveness.“We will reallocate resources to deliver the quality service our customers expect,” she said.Statements to Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) last week said e&’s group CEO Hatem Dowidar would join the Vodafone board and remain there as long as the company maintained its current 14.6% stake. The statements added that e& would become a cornerstone shareholder in Vodafone Group plc.e& also said last week that it would jointly explore a series of collaborations with Vodafone, starting with offering cross-border digital services and solutions to multi-national customers, and a range of other services including fixed and mobile connectivity and cloud based services.

ZOOM launches “ZOOM Millionaire” campaign in partnership with Idealz

Dubai: United Arab Emirates: ZOOM, UAE’s leading home-grown convenience store chain, in partnership with Idealz, the first-of-its-kind ‘shop and win’ online platform, announced the “ZOOM Millionaire” campaign, which is in line with its continued efforts to reward customers.The co-branded spend and win campaign will offer customers the chance to win AED 1 million in cash upon spending a minimum of AED 20 at any ZOOM C-store, standalone store or at the metro station outlets. Additionally, a total of 6 lucky winners will stand a chance to win AED 10,000 every week.Running until June 15th, customers spending AED 20 at any ZOOM store will receive a unique code on the receipt. By scanning a QR code at the cashier’s desk, or visiting and submitting the unique code, customers will be entered into a draw hosted on the Idealz platform for a chance to win AED 1 million in cash as well as weekly cash prizes of AED 10,000. ZOOM has evolved as a leading UAE-brand, delivering enhanced customer retail experience and service excellence, in addition to its rewarding promotions and offers. Located at every ENOC and EPPCO service station in the UAE, ZOOM offers quick snacks and refreshing drinks in addition to a selection of everyday products and services. ZOOM has expanded to over 250 stores across the emirates, including 50 stores located at Dubai Metro stations, and serves over 90 million happy customers every year.Launched in 2009, ZOOM has become part of everyday life for the UAE residents, offering access to a wide range of products on-the-go. ZOOM has a variety of formats ranging from service station C-stores to mini-marts and stores on the Metro network as well as large scale standalone supermarkets in several residential communities and high-end locations, such as Burj Khalifa as well as at the human-centric city of the future-Expo City Dubai.ZOOM accepts a variety of payment methods including VISA, MasterCard, ENOCPay, Nol Payment, Nol Top-up and Dubai Now. Customers can also claim points through the YES rewards programme and get access to exclusive offers and promotions.

Nutanix appoints Raif Abou Diab as Country Manager for UAE

Dubai: Nutanix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTNX), a leader in hybrid multicloud computing, today announced the appointment of Raif Abou Diab as Country Manager for UAE, Oman, Pakistan and Yemen.In his role, Raif is responsible for ensuring strong business growth and excellence of operations across the region, leveraging Nutanix’s globally renowned expertise to meet the aspirations of government bodies and private sector organizations.With over 2 decades of experience in Information Technology, Raif brings a wealth of expertise and insights to the job, and will play a critical role in strengthening Nutanix's position as a leading provider of cloud computing solutions. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Raif stands at the forefront of the fastest moving technology and digital transformation trends including Artificial Intelligence, Edge solutions, Hybrid Multiclouds, IoT, and customer investments shifting to the information age and digital economy.Prior to joining Nutanix, Raif held several leadership positions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Dell EMC, where he was responsible for driving growth and delivering outstanding customer experiences. He holds a BSc in Computer Engineering, and is widely recognized for his strategic vision, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion for innovation.Speaking about the appointment, Mohammed Abulhouf, Senior Director & GM EMEA Emerging Markets at Nutanix commented, “Raif is a seasoned IT veteran with an illustrious career working at top global tech giants, where he was instrumental in planning and executing strategic initiatives that greatly contributed to the success of those companies. We are excited to now have Raif leading the business, overseeing our regional channel ecosystem, and interacting directly with commercial and enterprise customers. We believe that he will play a key role in chartering the next stage of growth for our company in the region.”"I am delighted to be joining Nutanix at such an exciting time in the company's growth journey," said Raif. "Nutanix has established itself as a leader in hybrid multicloud computing, and I am thrilled to be part of a team that is committed to delivering world-class solutions and services to customers in South Gulf."

Mirchi Dubai's Preeti Phalke on AI host and the bright future of radio

In this exclusive interview, Preeti Phalke, Director of Programming for Mirchi Dubai, speaks to BF Firos, Associate Editor at Adgully, about the station's use of AI technology for their radio presenter, AIRAH, and how it has been received by the audience and advertisers.She also shares Mirchi's approach to content creation and staying relevant in the UAE's competitive radio market, as well as the unique advantages that traditional FM radio stations offer compared to streaming platforms. Preeti also speaks about the role of technology in the evolution of radio and the future of the entertainment industry as a whole. She also shares the station's plans for future growth and expansion.Preeti is sure that radio is here to stay in spite of streaming platforms. According to her, the biggest difference between radio and streaming platforms is the human touch. "Especially when people are away from home, a radio station that speaks their language can comfort them in ways unknown," Preeti says. Excerpts:Can you tell us more about AIRAH, the world's first AI presenter on a commercial radio station? How does it work, and what inspired the creation of AIRAH?Airah stands for Artificial Intelligence Radio Host. She is a voice clone of our radio presenter Sanchari. We are using a text-to-speech AI voice technology. The major reason for introducing Airah was our jock Sanchari went on maternity leave and it did not make sense to hire someone temporarily and for the interim.How has the audience/stakeholders like advertisers responded to the launch of "Mirchi on AI" and the addition of AIRAH? Have you noticed any changes in listener engagement or feedback?Airah has managed to create a buzz and intrigue in the market for sure. Advertisers at first were unsure, but many technology-fronted or inclined companies are coming forward to advertise on the show. We are also getting rave reviews from listeners. The general lack of knowledge about AI has some listeners doubting that AI will replace real presenters. The majority has welcomed this fresh change.The UAE is home to a very active FM radio listening community. Mirchi is known for its diverse and engaging content across languages. How does the station approach content creation, and what sets it apart from other radio stations in the UAE?Mirchi in the UAE comes with its legacy from India. While all radio stations play popular Hindi film music, Mirchi in the UAE has the freshest jocks, and we try to focus on content relevant to the South Asian expats in the country. We are more Bollywood-centric as well.The radio industry has faced many challenges in recent years, such as the pandemic and the rise of digital media and streaming services. How has Mirchi adapted to these changes and continued to remain relevant in today's market?To begin with, radio did not suffer so much during the pandemic. With the lack of new TV content, OTT still being unaffordable to many, radio was the only source of entertainment. In the UAE, jocks were live unlike in India. They were essential workers according to the government here. Programming was more focused on giving out relevant information about the situation, defying any myths around the virus and entertaining a mass away from home and locked up. It was a tough phase. But radio is always the trusted medium in times of crisis.About staying relevant, innovation is the key, always. The radio consumption patterns have changed dramatically post pandemic, and radio, being a live medium, was quick to adapt to it. People were more into nostalgia (the reason why Friends, Ramayan and Mahabharat were re-watched) they sought comfort in the old things and Mirchi could give them that via music and talk. Now they want to feel alive and Mirchi has returned with full glory on ground with events, contests and travel. We have created a show where the listeners get to host an hour on radio on weekends.What unique advantages do traditional FM radio stations offer when compared to streaming platforms? And what strategies do you use to keep your content fresh and engaging for your audience, especially in a market as competitive as the UAE's?Streaming platforms are just music playlists without the talk. The biggest difference between radio and them is the human touch. Especially when people are away from home, a radio station that speaks their language can comfort them in ways unknown. During the pandemic, RJs would open lines for people to talk with them. It was their only respite.In a market where there are 56 frequencies in all languages imaginable., Mirchi has stood out for its pioneering ideas. We have taken 30 listeners on an all-expense paid trip to European destinations; we did concerts to engage with listeners and also went to schools and colleges for a musical talent hunt. All of this is to build our one-on-one connect.Can you speak about the role that technology has played in the evolution of radio? How do you see technology continuing to shape the future of radio and the entertainment industry as a whole?In the AIR days, presenters would manually play spool tapes, then later, began queuing CDs until Mirchi came and introduced radio computing software that enabled presenters to play everything from music to ads in a pre-fed computer programme. No other medium has adapted to technology like radio has. Whether we want to admit it or not, technology is an inevitable part of our lives. Telephone devices getting smarter is keeping the entertainment industry on its toes. With new innovations like smart homes, immersive technologies, ChatGPT etc, people are indulging themselves with technology more than ever. I think the next big steps in entertainment tech will be Holographic movie projections. Radio is already on its way to becoming more visual. Presenters are SEEN as much as heard, AI will enable personalisation may be in the future perhaps enabling targeted advertising.Contrary to popular fear, technology is only here to make us work smartly instead of taking the long route. AI voices will open a wide horizon of possibilities for radio. To me, the way I see it is, jocks can go on leaves without having to worry their replacement will be loved more than them.Mirchi has been a leader in the radio industry for over a decade. What do you attribute to the station's success, and what are your plans for future growth and expansion?Mirchi UAE has big plans for the future. One such area of focus would be IPs; we are actively getting into scalable associations that bank on real-time engagement. We are currently in the middle of the first junior edition of Mirchi Jam. After an immensely successful season of Mirchi Jam the university edition, we have opened the stage for MIRCHI Jam junior, which will feature talented school student performances from across the UAE. We intend on driving the station and its potential with more of these innovative concepts as they build a higher recall with our listeners and advertisers alike. A lot more technological innovations are in store which will be revealed with time.Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or initiatives that Mirchi is working on in the region? What can listeners expect in the coming months and years?Mirchi listeners can expect a lot of new exciting events this year. The Mirchi UAE listeners will get to experience a whole new product with some fresh young voices. A lot more buzz from the AI presenter as well.

Astra Tech partners with Etihad Airways to launch flight bookings on Botim

Dubai: Astra Tech (Astra), a leading consumer technology holding group based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed a partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, that will enable customers to book flights through BOTIM, the MENA region’s leading VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) solution, which was recently relaunched as an Ultra app. The partnership was signed today at the Arabian Travel Market, between Etihad CEO Antonoaldo Neves and Astra Tech’s Founder, Abdallah Abu Sheikh.With this partnership, Astra Tech and Etihad are providing customers with a fresh and hassle-free approach to booking flights. Through the BOTIM GPT module developed by Astra Tech, flights and other travel-related services are integrated into the Botim app, offering a convenient and innovative way for customers to book Etihad flights.The partnership aims to enhance the travel experience for customers by focusing on promotions and financing solutions, underscoring the companies' steadfast commitment to delivering innovative and customer-focused solutions that meet the evolving needs of today's travelers. Working together, Etihad and Astra Tech will provide customers with a comprehensive and integrated travel experience that simplifies the process of booking flights and accessing other travel-related services. The integration of flights into the Botim app enables customers to enjoy a more convenient and all-inclusive travel experience, making it easier than ever before to plan their travels.Antonoaldo Neves, CEO of Etihad Airways, said: “Etihad is excited about this new partnership with Astra Tech, as it provides a unique opportunity to launch flight bookings on Botim, a communications platform that families and friends use to stay connected. By integrating flight bookings into the application, Etihad becomes a part of the conversation, making it convenient for guests to book flights without leaving the platform. Additionally, the integration of new payment options, including installment plans, simplifies the booking process for customers. Etihad is committed to staying at the forefront of the constantly evolving digital landscape by exploring and adopting innovative solutions, such as GPT-enabled flight bookings, to deliver the best possible experiences to its guests.”Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Astra Tech’s Founder and Botim’s CEO, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Etihad Airways to bring this innovative solution to our customers. This partnership will allow us to offer a never-seen-before feature to BOTIM users. We are revolutionizing the way people will book flights by making it as easy as asking a question. This represents our ability to connect people, not only virtually but physically, all around the world using the latest technology in artificial intelligence.”Earlier in the week, Astra Tech (Astra), announced the launch of Botim 3.0, The platform is now an all-inclusive digital platform for its users by combining fintech, e-commerce, GPT, and communications into a single user experience. Botim is a powerful digital tool meant to ease every user's life through access to services such as Botim Money for peer-to-peer transactions and international transfers, Botim Stores with access to 100,000+ stores including, and advanced video services such as tutoring and telemedicine later this year. Botim 3.0 is available to users around the world, providing the world’s only seamless and open access to communicate and transact to and from the MENA region.

DIFC to host the inaugural Dubai FinTech Summit

Dubai: Dubai is set to host the first-ever Dubai FinTech Summit on May 8 and 9 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, First Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE. The Summit will be organised by Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), the leading international financial hub in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia (MEASA) region. The event will take place at Madinat Jumeirah and will bring together over 5,000 global FinTech C-suite executives and technology experts to discuss the latest innovations and challenges in the sector. The global FinTech sector is rapidly growing and is predicted to be valued at $305 billion globally by 2025, according to Research and Markets, an intelligence and market analysis firm. In the MEASA region, the industry is expected to double in value from $135.9 billion in 2021 to $266.9 billion in 2027, according to the 2022 report by DIFC FinTech Hive. The Dubai FinTech Summit will offer a unique platform for startups, investors, and industry leaders to connect and capitalise on the growing FinTech market in the region and beyond. The MENA region’s FinTech startup and venture capital landscape is booming, with over 800 FinTech startups worth $15.5 billion, according to data by Dubai alone is home to over 20% of the world’s FinTech businesses, according to the UAE Fintech Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecasts (2023 - 2028) Report by Mordor Intelligence. The FinTech Summit will feature a series of panel discussions, fireside chats, and over 100 FinTech exhibitors. Mastercard’s 2022 Digital Payments Index report reveals that digital payments are gaining traction in the MENA region. More than 85% of respondents reported using at least one emerging payment method in the past 12 months, indicating a shift away from cash-based transactions. Among MENA countries, the UAE stands out as being ready to embrace a cashless society. According to the event’s co-host sponsor Visa, 52% of UAE consumers are already cashless or plan to be by 2024. The Summit will feature a lineup of distinguished speakers from both local and international arenas. Notable speakers include HE Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy; Bill Winters, Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered; Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple; Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Bank Singapore; Jenny Johnson, President and CEO of Franklin Templeton; and Brian Armstrong, CEO and Co-Founder of Coinbase, among others. Mohammad Alblooshi, Head of DIFC Innovation Hub and FinTech Hive, underscored the importance of the Dubai FinTech Summit. “Nearly 60% of all FinTech companies in the GCC are currently based in the city. With the industry growing at an unprecedented rate, it is crucial for stakeholders to gather and discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The Dubai FinTech Summit promises to bring together the most prominent figures in the industry, with an agenda that will captivate and inspire audiences worldwide.” The Summit will offer attendees a platform to participate in discussions and exchange ideas on emerging trends, regulatory frameworks, and future possibilities. The event will feature discussions on a range of topics, including ‘Building the Economies of the Future’, ‘Crypto and the Evolving Regulatory Framework’, ‘The World of Finance: Where are the Women?’, and ‘Building a Resilient and Sustainable Financial Sector in the Age of Disruption’. Participants will have the opportunity to gain valuable insights on these critical issues from industry leaders and experts. The panel discussions will offer a platform for experts to share their insights on current and future issues in the FinTech industry and explore how they can shape the future of the financial sector. The agenda promises to be informative and insightful, providing valuable opportunities for networking and collaboration among participants.

Hertz UAE takes the lead on electric vehicle, digital transition

Dubai: Part of the Al-Futtaim Automotive Group, Hertz UAE is the official franchise of Hertz - one of the world’s largest car rental brands. The well-established national franchise now aims to be at the forefront of the green mobility transition, having already become the first car rental brand in the country to introduce fully electric vehicles in its portfolio.Today the car rental giant has over 11,000 vehicles in operation in the UAE, 15% of which are either fully electric or hybrid vehicles. Volvo and Polestar feature within Hertz’s green mobility portfolio, with plans to soon include the BYD range. BYD is the world’s leading new energy vehicle (NEV) manufacturer having sold nearly 3 million NEVs till date; the brand was recently introduced into the UAE with Al-Futtaim Automotive as their regional distributors.Hertz UAE has plans to further electrify the range, which makes a definitive statement, as they have the most diverse car rental offering in the market - ranging from small sedans to luxurious full-size SUVs, from commercial pick-up trucks to large passenger buses. Conducting nearly 20,000 transactions a month from its widespread network of 13 branches across the country, Hertz UAE has the capability to drive EV adoption at scale. The company believes the UAE is the perfect platform to steer this transition, as the country is strongly committed to making headway towards the UAE Net-Zero 2050 Strategic Initiative and shape a modern, digital economy with sustainability at its core.Taking a cue from the future mobility aspirations of the country, Hertz UAE also launched its digital platform early in 2021 and introduced new products like Drive Green part of the Flexible Monthly Packages to meet the rising demand for innovative mobility solutions from customers. Today, 70% of new business opportunities come from the digital channels while online booking has nearly doubled since the platform’s launch.Hertz is participating at the Arabian Travel Market 2023, the region’s leading travel and tourism event that is putting a spotlight on Net Zero Travel this year as its main theme.Hertz UAE is also present at the event to showcase the new fully-electric Polestar 2 for its fleet partners and share how they are localizing Hertz’s global sustainable mobility strategies. Managing Director of Al-Futtaim Finance and Hertz UAE, Alexander Maas shared, “Electrification, technology, and innovation are the inevitable future of the mobility sector. We are proud to have partners like Hertz who believe in setting bold strategies to continue leading the way forward. Our focus remains on fulfilling our electric vision by ensuring we deliver a whole support system, a fully functioning ecosystem, to all our electric and hybrid vehicle customers – be they corporate or individual renters. At Al-Futtaim Automotive, we have also introduced our own brand of charging technology and unique new packages like Drive Green, which allows customers to rent electric or hybrid vehicles from one month to several months on their own terms, completely hassle-free. This will help make the switch to green mobility, more convenient and seamless.”Starting from 1st May, for two weeks, Hertz UAE will feature its Drive Green service with a cutting-edge display of electric and hybrid vehicles including the Polestar 2 and the Volvo XC40 at The Zone by Al-Futtaim – the new automotive experiential hub located at City Walk Boulevard, Building 10.

Live events agency Identity opens two UAE offices

Dubai: Identity, a global full-service events company with over 20 years of blue-chip experience, announced the expansion of its business to the Middle East with the opening of two new offices in the United Arab Emirates. Building on the successful delivery of some of the largest HMG-led events including the G7 Summit, COP26, and the NATO Summit, Identity is bringing production expertise coupled with innovative broadcast technology to deliver the world’s largest hybrid events to the Middle East.The UAE is a hub for major events, from corporate conferences to world-class sporting events, and this launch will position Identity to continue meeting the growing demand for top-tier event planning and management in the region.Michael Gietzen, CEO, Identity Group, said, “The region is rapidly becoming a global hub for entertainment, business, and sporting events, and the UAE is a natural home for Identity’s offices. The global events industry has witnessed a positive shift, particularly in the region, with the ushering in of COP28 ascending global conversations to new heights from the heart of the UAE. As we continue to drive influential events, the appetite for human experiences beyond the digital realm is needed more than ever to strengthen the fabric of communities and society. The UAE is the perfect hotspot for the Identity team and industry practitioners alike to propel in a fast-paced region like the Middle East.”Ryan Perkins, General Manager, Identity Middle East, said, “We are thrilled to announce Identity’s UAE offices, bringing us closer to our regional partners across the Middle East. This expansion is a testament to our commitment to delivering exceptional experiences for our clients. We look forward to leveraging our expertise in delivering live experiential events and pioneering the human experience, supporting the UAE’s burgeoning position as a safe, secure, and accessible hub for global gatherings and a top choice for international business, entertainment, and cultural events.”Identity is working on significant projects won in the region alongside public sector organisations, with exciting opportunities on the horizon.Following Identity’s success in the UK and Europe, the agency has now expanded into the UAE with offices in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Shaping its organisational structure in the UAE to create new market space, Identity harnesses a unique understanding of both clients and suppliers across the spectrum of the industry continuing to design a positive impact across its UAE business.

ME's influencer marketing domain will hit $1.3-billion valuation in 2023

Dubai: YAAP, a new-age specialized content and influencer marketing company, has launched ‘The State of Influencer Marketing in UAE 2023’ report, in conjunction with the leading media and news outlet Khaleej Times. The comprehensive report, a first-of-its-kind deep dive into Middle East’s burgeoning influencer marketing domain, was launched at Khaleej Times’ marketing conclave, TRIBE - The CMO Connect, held on 27th April.Launching the report, Sadia Akhter, Partner at YAAP, said the ‘The State of Influencer Marketing in UAE 2023’ holds a mirror to the status quo of the domain in the region. “Influencer marketing has gained significant ground in the Middle East, particularly the UAE, necessitating marketers cut across sectoral lines to explore its viability for their businesses. At this juncture marked by heightened interest, lingering hesitancies, and a lack of clarity on potential ROI, our detailed report will be of great consequence, providing much-needed answers and little-known statistics,” Akhter opined. The report estimated the Middle East’s Influencer Marketing domain to reach a valuation of $1.3 billion by 2023 while underlining the supporting trends, technologies, and tailwinds. YAAP’s research methodology included attaining sector-wide perspectives of CMOs, marketing heads, and digital marketers from leading brands in the region. A few findings reinforced the UAE’s competitive edge globally in influencer marketing and the absorption of supporting technologies. A resounding 76.9% of marketers said that influencer marketing is a top priority for their brand after social media, revealing the growing traction of “influencing” within the branding and advertising industries. While overall influencer marketing budgets have grown considerably in 2023, about 76.5% of marketers have channelled the investments from TV, print, and outdoor to influencers, in a telling revelation about the domain’s prospects.  Interestingly, a whopping 79.3% of respondents felt mid-tier influencers are most important to deliver their brand message, with a majority also underscoring the prominence of socially conscious influencers. The technological imperative found emphasis as 71.8% of marketers expressed they measure the engagement of their influencer marketing campaigns. Broadly, the research hinted at the increasing role of AI in influencer marketing in 2023, with virtual or CGI influencers primed for an uptake. “Today, influencer marketing is like Facebook was in 2008 — at its nascency compared to its full potential, with early movers gaining a competitive edge and others experiencing a fear of missing out (FOMO). For the marketing industry, it is a tangential moment with influencers beginning to chart a new course. ‘The State of Influencer Marketing in UAE 2023’ report is a reliable guide for those aspiring to venture in that direction with greater clarity and actionable insights,” expressed Arshad Zaheer, Senior Partner at YAAP. YAAP was recently in the news following its strategic partnership with leading US-based influencer marketing agency Tagger Media. That development was preceded by the acquisition of Crayons Communications, a reputable advertising agency in the Middle East, and an impressive top-line growth of 97% and a 5X jump in profitability for FY21-22. YAAP’s portfolio includes esteemed clients such as Coca-Cola, Visit Dubai, Lufthansa, RuPay, American Express, Disney, Amazon, and Square Enix.

CEER to establish electric vehicle brand site at KAEC

Ceer, Saudi Arabia’s first electric vehicle brand, has signed a land purchase agreement worth 359 million Saudi Riyals with Emaar, the Economic City, for land at King Abdullah Economic City (“KAEC”) that will be used to develop Ceer’s manufacturing facility for electric vehicles. The site, located in Industrial Valley (IV) in close proximity to King Abdullah Port in KAEC, will cover over 1 million square meters. Once complete, Ceer’s manufacturing facility will create thousands of direct and indirect high-skilled jobs, the majority of which will be filled by Saudi nationals. Construction at the site will begin early 2023.The company, which is a joint venture between the Public Investment Fund (“PIF”) and Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (“Foxconn”), will manufacture a portfolio of technologically advanced sedans and sports utility vehicles at the factory in KAEC. Ceer vehicles are scheduled to be available from 2025 onwards. The factory will be state-of-the-art, featuring the latest technologies to ensure manufacturing efficiency whilst minimizing energy and water usage. Ceer will work towards making the factory a zero waste to landfill site. Ceer’s Chief Executive Officer, James DeLuca, said: “We have found a place that meets all our needs. KAEC offers us a great location with world-class logistics, effective access for our global and Saudi-based suppliers, and an ideal location to base and develop our future workforce. KAEC will become our manufacturing hub as we work towards creating the first electric vehicle brand for Saudi Arabia and the wider region and, in doing so, contribute in a meaningful way to Saudi Vision 2030.”The establishment of Ceer comes in line with the PIF strategy to focus on unlocking the capabilities of promising sectors in Saudi Arabia, including the automotive sector, as well as creating opportunities for the growth and diversification of Saudi Arabia’s economy.“We are delighted to welcome Ceer to KAEC and to help make history by building the first automotive manufacturing hub in Saudi Arabia and the wider region,” said Cyril Piaia, CEO of Emaar, The Economic City, the master developer of KAEC. “KAEC is aiming at integrating into Vision 2030 initiatives with the vision to be a global manufacturing center, and we are spearheading the creation of an electric vehicle automotive industry that will be both innovation-focused and have sustainability at its heart. We cannot wait to see the cars of thefirst Saudi electric vehicle brand coming out of Ceer’s factory at KAEC in a couple of years’ time, and we are proud to be able to contribute to a project that supports so many facets of Saudi Vision 2030. This agreement is in line with KAEC’s new strategy to welcome third-party anchor investors, developers,and operators to realize their projects and ambitions in the city and accelerate its development.”

The UAE’s real estate sector continues to record strong growth

Activity levels across the UAE’s real estate sectors have continued to record strong performance in Q3 despite a backdrop marked by rising global headwinds.Looking at the UAE’s office sector figures, as demand has increased market-wide, we have seen performance in Abu Dhabi’s office rents also improve, with average Prime, Grade A and Grade B rents recording growth rates of 1.4%, 2.9% and 5.5% respectively in the year to Q3 2022. In Dubai, the total number of commercial Ejari contracts (lease contracts) registered in Q3 2022 increased by 47.6% year-on-year. As a result, average rents in all segments of Dubai’s office market have recorded rental growth, with Prime, Grade A, Grade B and Grade C rents increasing by 16.5%, 10.5%, 9.9% and 10.2% respectively. Given the lack of availability of stock and heightened demand levels, we expect rental growth to remain relatively strong over the remainder of the year, with the Prime and Grade A segments of the market expected to outperform.  In the residential sector, average property prices in Abu Dhabi increased by 3.2% in the year to September 2022, with average apartment prices rising by 3.3% and average villa prices increasing by 2.7%. Rents in the capital’s residential market decreased by 0.5% on average in the year to September 2022, with apartment rents increasing by 0.3% and villa rents by 1.2%. In Q3 2022, Abu Dhabi’s transactions data registered an increase of 37.5%, compared to the prior year. In the year to date to September 2022, 3,164 new units have been completed and delivered in Abu Dhabi, a further 5,516 additional units are projected to be delivered over the course of the year.In Dubai, average property prices increased by 8.9% in the year to September 2022, where average apartment prices rose by 8.0% and average villa prices rose by 14.3%. Over the same period, average rental rates recorded their highest growth rate on record, with average rents in Dubai increasing by 26.6%, with average apartment and villa rents increasing by 26.7% and 25.5% respectively. To date in 2022, 20,847 new units have been completed and delivered in Dubai. A further 33,756 under-construction units are expected to be completed by the end of this year, however, we expect that some of these completions are likely to be pushed into 2023. The total volume of transactions in Dubai’s residential market reached 8,020 in September 2022, up 47% from a year earlier. In the year to date to September 2022, total transaction volumes hit the highest level since 2009, reaching a total of 63,143 transactions, which represents an increase by 56.2%. Looking ahead, we expect the rate price growth to continue to moderate on average. However, we expect that price performance in prime communities will continue to outpace the wider market.Looking at the hospitality sector, the UAE’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) continue to showcase resilient performance levels, despite total visitation still remaining below 2019 levels and an increased key count. Year-on-year in the year to date to September 2022, the average occupancy rate increased by 7.9 percentage points. Over the same period, the ADR increased by 34.6%, and as a result we have seen the average RevPAR increase by 52.0%. Average RevPARs across the UAE, in the year-to-date to September 2022, now sit 15.7% above 2019 levels, over the same period. Over the remaining three months of the year, we expect visitation to the UAE to see a marked increase. This will be underpinned by what is traditionally the start of the high-season and events such as The FIFA World Cup in Qatar and Abu Dhabi F1 Grand Prix, where this combination is likely to push occupancy and rates to record levels.The UAE’s retail sector continued to see visitation levels trend up over the course of Q3 2022. As at Q3 2022, retail visitation in Abu Dhabi and Dubai stood 18.6% and 20.4% above their respective pre-pandemic baselines. In Dubai, 6,031 new retail Ejari contracts were registered in Q3 2022, down 3.1% year-on-year, and 9,635 contracts were renewed, up 10.5% from a year earlier. In Dubai. demand from occupiers still is largely originating from the food and beverage and entertainment sectors, with licensed units still attracting the majority of this demand. We have also seen an uptick in demand beach clubs and family entertainment centre occupiers in Q3 2022. In Abu Dhabi, retail activity has remained subdued during the third quarter, even as COVID-19 related restrictions were eased in the capital. Where there is new demand, we are seeing this concentrated towards either new or repositioned destinations which are offering experience-focused retail destinations. Given these backdrops, Rental performance continues to diverge between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. In the year to Q3 2022, rental rates in Abu Dhabi remained stable, whereas in Dubai, average rental rates have increased by 32.5%.The UAE’s industrial and logistics sector continues to see a significant level of activity, despite a lack of quality stock hampering the market. As a result, occupiers are increasingly having to concede to requirements and timetables set out by landlords, and incentives offered are very limited. With stock levels depleted, we are starting to see some landlords, principally Free Zone landlords, beginning to develop new industrial and warehousing stock. Examples of upcoming and recent completions include developments in Dubai CommerCity, JAFZA Logistics Park and Dubai South. Total Ejari registrations in the sector increased by 9.4% in the year to Q3 2022. On the back of this market backdrop, in the year to Q3 2022, average rents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai increased by 2.6% and 11.2% respectively. Looking ahead, we expect the rate of rental growth to continue to increase, particularly with available stock continuing to lag significantly behind demand, we expect this to be the case in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.Taimur Khan, Head of Research – MENA at CBRE in Dubai, comments: “Despite mounting global headwinds, the UAE’s real estate market is almost uniformly going from strength to strength and we have continued to see strong performance and activity levels over the course of the third quarter of 2022. There is little doubt that we will see weakening global macroeconomic conditions impact economic activity in the UAE. However, the UAE’s fiscal position, easing of business and residency regulations over the course of the year and safe-haven status are expected to dampen the scale of the impact. As a result, we expect that given the fundamentals underpinning the market, UAE real estate activity and performance will remain fairly resilient going forward.”

India TV now available in UAE

India TV, India's highest-watched Hindi News channel has expanded its global footprint by launching itself on E Life- UAE's premium Content Platform from Etisalat. The channel is available on eLife Asiana packages: eLife Asiana, Asiana Lite, Asiana Lite, and Asiana Premium both on IPTV + OTT platforms (IPTV & Switch TV) on Channel no: 549.  After establishing a leadership position in the Indian Tv market, India TV is looking to expand its International & Digital Footprint and this launch in the UAE, is a natural step in that direction. The channel is already available in North America and will be soon launching across major other markets with significant diaspora audiences, to keep them connected with News back home. The channel is looking to innovate with Local Content and launch major shows across local time zones to create better affinity for the brand.People of the Indian diaspora living in the UAE can watch India TV round-the-clock for news coverage on India and the rest of the world, by connecting through eLife. India TV has shows like ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ (on weekends) and ‘Aaj Ki Baat’ (on weekdays) hosted by Rajat Sharma, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of India TV, which is very popular among the masses. With its nationwide network of journalists, India TV has been telecasting round-the-clock news bulletins, current affairs programmes and talk shows for the last 18 years.Ritu Dhawan, Managing Director, India TV, said, “India TV’s aim is to inform and empower global Indians with accurate, in-depth, unfiltered, fact-based journalism without any bias, outrage, or sensationalism and establishing India TV as the best and most trusted place for news. Making India TV available in the UAE is one more step towards our goal. India Tv has appointed NKN Media FZC as its exclusive Ad Sales and Distribution partner in the region. NKN Media will solicit brand partnerships and offer advertising solutions.eLife TV offers a wide variety of services & offerings including 590 + TV channels through premium TV packages from all major TV providers from around the globe. They also have Video-on-Demand and Subscription Video On Demand with over 10,000 hours of content, unmatched experience and an impressive track record with content providers, guaranteeing top-notch content from Major Hollywood Studios, Bollywood and the latest Arabic productions. eLife TV customers enjoy the latest movie titles as we currently have the largest library in the UAE with a choice of more than 600 of the latest & all-time favourite movies from Hollywood, Arabia and Bollywood in HD and 3D.

UAE Ministry of Economy partnership with FOODICS

The UAE Ministry of Economy has announced today a strategic partnership with FOODICS, the leading cloud-based restaurant technology and payments platform in the MENA region, aimed at achieving a strong partnership between the public and private sectors in order to foster SME growth locally and globally.The Ministry and Foodics will together promote mutual exchange and cooperation to support SMEs in the F&B sector with services and products geared to expedite their inception and growth by embracing innovation, adapting new technologies, optimizing corporate strategies and boosting business operations.As part of the agreement, the two entities will collaborate on several initiatives to support SME growth. Some of these activities will include workshops that will enable selected UAE based F&B enterprises to optimize strategies and business operations, improve supply chain management, boost sales and marketing strategies as well as financial performance. Foodics will also offer exclusive rates and benefits of its products and solutions through the Ministry’s Entrepreneurial Nation platform, and will facilitate industry and market insights to catalyze and ease the growth of the sector and its stakeholders.Ahmad Al Zaini, FOODICS CEO, commented, “Fostering the growth of the wider entrepreneurial ecosystem has always been part of our company's DNA, and, today, we are thrilled to be able to extend our efforts to the UAE F&B sector through our collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Economy. I would like to personally thank HE Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri for his inspiring vision and his trust in Foodics, and I look forward to, together, strengthening the UAE’s status as a destination for global business and entrepreneurship in the F&B sector.”FOODICS is officially recognized by the Saudi Central Bank (“SAMA”) as a FinTech company. Since its inception in 2014, Foodics has successfully processed over 6 billion orders through its platform. It also raised a record US$170 million in its series C funding round, boosting its innovation capabilities to better serve business owners.

Top KSA and UAE trends emerging in 2023

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Poly shares the upcoming smart KSA and UAE trends for 2023.Trend 1: The advent of the smart city will boost smart workingSmart working, aka hybrid working, is equally popular among employees and employers because it boosts productivity. Almost 70% of the UAE firms believe that failing to address their hybrid work procedures and strategies will result in employee turnover and an inability to recruit new talent.We are moving a step further as a world and seeing the conversations around smart cities start at the same time. The linear city "The Line" in Saudi Arabia has been proposed with the objective of facilitating a perfect work-life balance for its residents.The same trend is getting quite prevailing in the UAE. Arising from the Emirati government's vision for 2021, one of the most important priorities is to establish a sustainable environment and infrastructure that achieves the goals of the future.The first smart city to be launched in the UAE goes back a decade ago. Masdar City is the first smart and sustainable city in the region. This progressive city benefits from a blend of advanced technologies and methods from the architecture of the city to the utilization of solar energy to depend on sustainable and renewable resources.We are entering an era of smart living where smart working will become non-negotiable. This requires smart working methods and tools to empower this change.Bob Aoun, Sales Director at Poly, says, “The entire KSA is a progressive region. We no longer have an excuse to not believe in hybrid working or smart working. For example, 33% of companies are seeing productivity gains from hybrid working in excess of 50% within the UAE itself.” Trend 2: Work smart, not hardSmart working has put the power in the employees’ hands, and autonomous decision-making is on the rise as more people are adopting hybrid working patterns. However, the lack of sufficient resources for hybrid work enablement, such as technology, policies, and manager training, ultimately disempowers employees. Only 51% of organizations globally have taken steps to prevent people from feeling like they need to be always on. Weakened organizational culture leaves the workforce demotivated and unwilling to go the extra mile – ‘quiet quitting’.Companies should provide employees not only with flexibility in working conditions but also armor them with the technology and communicate how to utilize the technology to their advantage. Technology should equalize hybrid working experience no matter where the job is done from, rather than causing overwork and burnout.Bob Aoun, Sales Director at Poly, says, “Don’t just give employees the technology and let them figure it out. It is extremely important to communicate to employees regarding the company culture, rules of engagement, and especially training managers who are responsible for people management. 10% of UAE organizations have seen employee burnout, and 13% have seen a reduction in employee engagement because everyone worked from a different location.” Trend 3: Factories’ automationAs the KSA works to establish several smart cities, there is a tendency within the kingdom toward factory automation. The main objective is to benefit from AI technologies and smart innovations, reduce costs, and raise efficiency.In the near future, around 4000 factories all over the KSA will be largely dependent on automated machines and smart technologies. This is part of the recently launched ‘The Future Factories Program, initiated by the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources.The Saudi government aims to utilize the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) to achieve considerable progress in its production sector, through the blend of various innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, robots, 3D printing, and the internet of things to establish a strong economy based on the latest technologies and innovations.In the UAE, the government announced in October 2021 the plan to harness the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The purpose of this plan, The Projects of the 50, is to raise productivity and deliver more innovative products using automated systems during the coming fifty years in an initiative that is unprecedented in the region.   These automated systems that will be managing functions in several factories would enable employees to have more flexibility in their working hours and pattern. According to the new Poly study, Recruit, Retain and Grow, 88% of UAE companies believe that employees should be allowed to request flexible working hours from day one. Furthermore, Over half (56%) of all organizations, and 69% of UAE-based organizations, believe that if they don’t address their hybrid work processes and plans, they’ll start to lose staff and be unable to attract new talent.Bob Aoun, Sales Director at Poly, says, “The operation of factories and various production facilities which relies on AI- technologies became a vital element in the success of the production in any given sector. This move is crucial to increase profit and maintain growth and sustainability.” The three new trends in KSA and the UAE reflect the future vision of the country to have a progressive lifestyle from all aspects. The transformation towards relying on cutting-edge technologies has become crucial for the advancement of any country. However, the provision of the required tools and devices plays a significant role in this regard.

Aruba launches networking industry’s first enterprise cloud-instance in UAE

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, today announced the much awaited launch of the company’s Enterprise Cloud instance in UAE. The new deployment is in response to the increasing appetite of enterprises in the country for cloud-based networking that provides resilience, efficiency, automation and flexibility of business. The Cloud instance will provide in-country data residency and enable local enterprises to maintain proximity to their data. Zeeshan Hadi, country manager, UAE at Aruba provides insight on the launch saying, “We have witnessed an acceleration in the demand for cloud services in the UAE, as organizations seek to modernize and transform their IT infrastructures and architectures in order to support a hybrid workforce. According to a report by Ken Research, the UAE Cloud services market is set to grow at a CAGR of 16.9% in terms of revenue generation, over the period 2021-2026. However, one of the key barriers to cloud adoption has been around data residency, and concerns over data that is stored in a cloud hosted outside the borders of a country, especially when it relates to customers operating in regulated industries like government, healthcare and financial services. The launch of our UAE Cloud instance is a momentous achievement and will go a long way in allaying these concerns. This signals another landmark in our ongoing pursuit to better serve our customers and partners in the UAE.”The launch comes on the back of the UAE government’s Federal Personal Data Protection (PDP) Law introduced early this year that places new regulations around the processing of personal data for individuals in the UAE. Besides the issue of data privacy, having cloud services hosted close to UAE customers translates to better and faster network and application performance, ultra-low latency, and thereby the best user experience. The company’s flagship Aruba Central platform that provides AI-powered, cloud-managed networking for branch, campus, remote, and data center networks will be hosted on the local Cloud instance. As the management and orchestration console for Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform), Aruba Central provides a single point of control to oversee every aspect of wired and wireless LANs, WANs, and VPNs across campus, branch, remote, and data center locations. AI-powered analytics, end-to-end orchestration and automation, and advanced security features are built natively into the solution. Live upgrades, robust reporting, and live chat support are also included, bringing more efficiency to day-to-day maintenance activities. Built on a cloud-native, microservices architecture, Aruba Central delivers on enterprise requirements for scale and resiliency, and is also driven by intuitive workflows and dashboards that make it a perfect fit for SMBs with limited IT personnel. The solution is also integrated with HPE GreenLake, providing a consistent operating model and single platform for IT executives to view and manage their compute, storage, and networking infrastructure for unmatched efficiency and improved cost controls. Recently the company has added Client Insights to the Aruba Central Foundation License, providing customers with a service for detecting and provisioning devices at no additional cost. The platform has also been bolstered with four new AI features that tap into Aruba’s massive data lake to give more actionable networking and security information to partners and IT administrators. “We are excited about today’s announcement, enabling our customers to consume Aruba Central in region, and providing an easier way to extend their network from edge-to-cloud – all enabled by a seamless, unified wired, wireless, and SD-Branch infrastructure. Leveraging Cloud technologies enables us to deliver solutions that use Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at scale, resulting in what we call Aruba Self-healing AIOps. The benefit for customers is that problems are automatically surfaced and fixed before end users or business performance are impacted, without requiring any manual effort on behalf of IT operators,” concludes Lars Koelendorf, Vice President, Solutions & Enablement, EMEA at Aruba.

UAE, Germany sign new energy agreement

The United Arab Emirates and the Federal Republic of Germany have explored paths to advance cooperation to new heights in the energy, sustainability and investment sectors.This came at a roundtable meeting held today on the sidelines of the working visit of the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and his accompanying delegation to the UAE.Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, led the UAE's delegation to the roundtable meeting, while the German side was headed by Dr Franziska Brantner, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. Mohammad Ali Al Shurafa, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, attended the meeting along with officials from both sides.Al Zeyoudi underscored during the meeting the promising opportunities up for grabs to further consolidate cooperation between the two nations, noting that UAE is determined to establish a diversified knowledge-based, innovation-driven economy, an area where, he said, Germany has come a long way in over the years.For her part, the German minister said that UAE has always been a strategic partner for her country, and that there are prospects for consolidating cooperation between the two nations in multiple sectors, including clean energy, sustainability and climate action, among others.

UAE cabinet approves new law regulating public-private sector partnerships

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, chaired the UAE Cabinet meeting held at Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi.The meeting was attended by H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance; H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; and H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Court. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: "I chaired the Cabinet meeting at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi. We reviewed the UAE’s competitive and development indicators. Our commercial and development sectors surpassed pre-pandemic growth." Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid noted: "Under the leadership of my brother Mohamed bin Zayed, the UAE has managed to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Our country has become globally prominent for its significant economic growth and development." Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum added: "The number of global indices topped by the UAE rose from 121 to 156 indicators. We ranked among top 10 in 432 global indicators, compared to 314 pre-pandemic. We are the first in the world in terms of security and safety, infrastructure, flexibility of regulations, and more."He said: "The UAE’s foreign trade exceeded AED 1 trillion, compared to AED 840 billion pre- pandemic and this year’s economic growth exceeded 22%."He added: "Our tourism sector’s revenues surpassed AED 19 billion in the first half of 2022. The total number of hotel guests reached 12 million, achieving 42% growth, and we expect a strong tourism performance in this winter season."His Highness noted: "During the Cabinet meeting, we approved a new law enhancing partnership between government and private sectors... Also, we approved the licensing of the first electric cargo aircraft in the region fully powered with clean energy."The Cabinet meeting reviewed the achievements of the country at the global level, where the UAE ranked first in 156 global indicators for the year 2022, compared to 121 indicators in 2020. Also, the UAE has ranked among the top five in 288 global indicators this year, compared to 189 in 2020. The UAE has been among the world’s top 10 list in 432 indicators, compared to 314 in 2020.The Cabinet also reviewed the UAE’s significant growth in economic and trade indicators, as the Constant Price GDP growth rate for the first quarter of 2022 reached 8.4%, with a total of AED 399 billion, compared to AED 368 billion in the same period of 2021. The UAE’s foreign trade recorded a leapfrog of more than 50%, with a total of AED 1.060 trillion during the first half of this year, compared to AED 702 billion in the same period of 2020.The Cabinet reviewed the achievements of the tourism sector in the country in the first half of the year 2022. The results showed an increase in tourism's contribution to the national economy by 12%. The number of hotel guest establishments increased by 42% with a total of 12 million guests, compared to 6.2% before COVID-19 pandemic. The total revenues of the sector amounted to AED 19 billion, during the first half of 2022.New opportunities of partnership with the private sectorThe Cabinet approved the issuance of a federal law regulating the partnership between the federal authorities and the private sector in the UAE. The law aims at organizing partnership between both sectors, encouraging the private sector to participate in development and strategic projects, increasing investment in projects of economic and social values, and enhancing the competitiveness of projects in the local, regional and global markets.The banking sector supporting financing programs The Cabinet approved a suggested federal law decree to amend the Federal Law No 14 of 2018 regarding the Central Bank and Organization of Financial Institutions and Activities, aiming to achieve a balance between rights and duties in the banking sector.The amendment on the federal law also aims at ensuring compliance with the directives and decisions of the Central Bank, and limiting the phenomenon of financial stumbling, legislations for medical facilities and veterinary profession.Also, the UAE Cabinet meeting approved amendments on the Federal Law regarding private health facilities, including gradual administrative and financial penalties on violating medical facilities.The Cabinet approved the issuance of a federal law concerning Practice of Veterinary Medicine Profession. As per the law, practicing this profession requires a license to practice the profession, and a public registry in the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to register veterinarians and those working in the veterinary paramedical professions in the country.The Cabinet meeting agreed on the procedures of temporary licensing to operate a new type of cargo aircraft, within the UAE Regulations Lab at the General Secretariat of the UAE Cabinet. The temporary licensing aims to achieve the requirements of alternative and green energy, and reduce shipping costs on both suppliers and consumers.The Cabinet approved the restructuring of the Emirates Youth Council 2022, headed by Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui. The Cabinet also approved adding all professions related to medical and health sector in the country within "Nafis" programme.Also, the Cabinet approved several international agreements with a number of friendly countries, including Spain, Indonesia and Jamaica, as well as an agreement with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Emirati media exec wins global award for outstanding UAE campaigns

Khaled AlShehhi, the UAE's government media officer's executive director of marketing and communication, won this year's World Media Award (WMA) for content leadership and innovation. The award is given by the World Media Group, a London-based publisher alliance that includes well-known media organisations such as The Atlantic, BBC Global News, Bloomberg Media, Reuters, and The New York Times. AlShehhi will be honoured at this year's World Music Awards in London in September.Individuals that produce "exemplary content-driven campaigns that demonstrate brand boldness, originality, and innovation" are given the prize. "Khaled AlShehhi wowed our judges with the sheer range and complexity of the campaigns he has executed," World Media Group CEO Belinda Barker remarked. An Emirati media executive has won a global prize for outstanding UAE advertisements. AlShehhi was a driving force behind numerous major UAE efforts, including the conversion of the Burj Khalifa into the world's largest contribution box, which reached over 4.5 billion people and raised over 1.2 million meals for those affected by the epidemic.Among the media executive's other notable efforts is the "Double Moon" campaign for the UAE's first Mars expedition. The initiative was a "regional first," with the release of a limited-edition passport stamp made of Martian ink for UAE tourists. AlShehhi also worked on a tourist film titled "A winder through my eyes," which featured the UAE as seen through the eyes of a blind person. The advertisement was praised for "breaking typical tourism content limits."The Emirati media executive also assisted in the branding of the UAE media office. “My goal has been to transform the way the UAE Government communicates by producing original innovative and creative content that positively impacts the lives of people locally, regionally and globally, so it’s truly an honour for me – and of course my team – to see our work recognised by our peers,” AlShehhi stated.Fedex's managing director for brand and customer experience design, Kaat Vanderheyde (2021), UBS' chief marketing officer, Johan Jervoe (2020), and Audi AG's worldwide media management, Christine von Hoerde, are previous recipients of the prize (2019).