Displaying items by tag: UAE

YouTube have chosen Dubai to open its tenth space which further illustrates the success the online video platform is enjoying in the MENA and UAE region. The Google owned company has expanded its business from funny cat video, to a broadcaster in its own right - producing high-quality shows that range from anything such as fitness experts uploading their fitness regimes - to culinary enthusiasts sharing their recipes for tasty meals.

Dubai will now get its very own YouTube state-of-the-art studio which will be opened next year. It follows on from the success of a content creator facility which was opened in London. The decision by management to select Dubai represents just how successful YouTube is in the MENA region. According to a YouTube spokesman the MENA region is second only to the US when it comes to the total amount of time spent watching videos. Watch time in the region has grown by 60% on year.

The MENA region also has one of the highest smartphone and internet penetration in the world and more and more people are watching videos on their phones – with YouTube revealing that mobile watch time grew by 90% in the Middle East in the last twelve months alone – whilst advertisers are also becoming savvy to its marketing potential – with the top twenty brands in the Middle East using the platform to market its products and services, increasing its spending by 65% in the process.

The Head of YouTube partnerships in MENA, Diana Baddar said: “The MENA region has one of the world’s most vibrant YouTube communities. There’s tons of excitement around YouTube because talented creators are producing content for passionate audiences. It’s a great opportunity for brands because on YouTube people choose what they want to watch and what they want to engage with, which is more interesting for brands. More and more creators are collaborating with brands.”

Content created for and by women has also significantly increased in the Middle East and is a growth area. YouTube are encouraging this in an effort to drive its strategy which is focused on creating more local content. The reason for this is primarily down to the success local content has had on the channel. Last year, all of the top ten videos in the region were by local female creators.

Ms. Baddar added: “Female content is one of the most promising content verticals on the platform. It’s growing as fast as TV content on the platform. A few years ago, we had very few female related channels, today there are thousands of them, and we are expecting that trend to continue to grow moving forward.”

The 2017 launch of the new content creator facility in Dubai will boost what YouTube calls the ‘creator ecosystem’ by providing creators with facilities and technical assistance, and by giving them a base from where they can network and collaborate with other creators, meet clients and attend workshops where they can develop their expertise.

Ms. Baddar concluded by saying: “We are happy to have our first space in Dubai, a place of vibrant creativity from fashion to technology and entertainment. YouTube is a home for all this content. We want to give opportunities to get hands-on experience from industry leaders, connect and meet fellow creators, spark new ideas and share experiences on how to succeed on YouTube.”

Published in Apps

Huawei and neXgen join forces to make region’s cities smarter

Written on Saturday, 10 December 2016 06:19

A leading global ICT solutions provider and a leading Smart City advisory have forged an allegiance specifically aimed at making cities in the region smarter. Huawei and neXgen have officially announced their collaboration which has been agreed in order to meet the ever-increasing demand for Smart City technology in the Middle East.

It has been enabled though its strategic partnership with Zain Group, neXgen is the trusted advisor and managed service provider to some of the most forward-thinking governments and enterprises worldwide. The strategic alliance agreement was signed between Terry He, president, Enterprise Business Group, Huawei Middle East, and Ghazi Atallah, CEO of neXgen Group - in the presence of Zain Group CEO Scott Gegenheimer, and Huawei Middle East President, Charles Yang.

Both Huawei and neXgen will cooperate in the Smart City Go-to-Market (GTM) across the region with emphasis on markets within Zain’s footprint. The collaboration covers the design, release and marketing of joint Smart City solutions for smart districts and logistics, smart safety and security, and smart healthcare services. The agreement also covers cooperation in Smart Internet of things (IoT), and Narrow Band IoT (NB-IoT) technologies.

“This strategic collaboration with Huawei, a global ICT leader, will bring readily deployable solutions for Smart Cities and Districts, enabling our clients across the region to leverage these innovative services in their digital transformation journey.  Delivering simple and effective services to our customers from our industry collaboration efforts is always our overarching goal,” said Ghazi Atallah, CEO of neXgen Group.

“This partnership is in line with our strategy to build an ecosystem that involves various industry players to enable an open, better connected world. This alliance allows us to capitalize on neXgen’s regional presence and know-how while addressing the ever-growing appetite for smart city solutions in Middle East,” said Mohamad Sharara, president of Zain Key Account Dept, Huawei ME.

Huawei comes with valuable experience in Smart City solutions, featuring the most extensive product line in the industry. Huawei has deployed Smart City solutions in over 100 cities in more than 30 countries worldwide, cooperating with over 1,100 technology providers and 800 services and system integrators.

neXgen Group specializes in extending smart city technology solutions as a service to governments, real estate and enterprise customers across the region and has been actively involved in flagship projects such as Smart Dubai and Smart Riyadh, contributing its regional consulting expertise and in-country Smart City managed services.

Published in Telecom Vendors

A UAE business has secured a lucrative digital contract in its attempts to create an online shopping empire. Alabbar Properties has entered into a joint-venture with Milan based online luxury fashion retailer Yoox Net-a-Porter (YNAP) in a deal worth a reported €130 million (Dh505.5m). It is remarkably the third digital deal secured by Alabbar Properties as the global property company seeks to stake its claim to the region’s underserved, but fast-growing e-commerce market.

The latest announcement comes just a fortnight after the group launched the US$1 billion e-commerce platform, Noon.com, which is expected to commence trading in January. In addition to this, the chairman of Emaar Properties, Mohamed Alabbar led two investor groups into buying a combined 16.45% stake in Dubai-based global logistics provider Aramex- a company which delivers large volumes of goods bought online from the UAE region.

He had already invested €100 million in reserved capital increase into the Italian company this year through his Alabbar Enterprises Company. The new Dubai-based joint- venture between Alabbar and YNAP will not start trading in the GCC for another year as it continues to integrate and test its technology platforms.

Speaking about the joint-venture, Mr. Alabbar conceded that it was a risk, but said that rewards are plain to be seen – and that they expect the luxury sector in the region to grow at 10 % per-annum – which is also five times the global average.

Mr. Alabbar said: “I want to promote the rewards of the digital space to private businesses and businessmen. If you do not have space in the digital world you die. Our digital tech fund is part of our duty to invest, support, help and grow. Our horizon for the digital space is five to ten years. I think we will still see the same amount of luxury retailers in Dubai Mall in five years if we get it right. I hope to see collaboration between ourselves and the traditional luxury retailers to the benefit of both parties.”

The joint-venture may look to expand its operations to the wider Middles East and African markets in the future, but for now, it is initially focused on the GCC states. Analysts say there is a very high growth potential in the luxury market in the Middle East - and the joint-venture should be a huge success because e-commerce in the region is largely underserved due to the fact that there is simply not enough local e-commerce websites.

UAE based telecommunications firm du have launched a large social media campaign which focuses on making users aware of the potential dangers posed by posting information online.

The social media awareness campaign is entitled #PostWisely - and du created a series of hard hitting videos that emphatically delivers its message to UAE residents about the threat of disclosing their personal information on social media platforms. The series of short films are being shown in cinemas feature monologues from actors - that are incredibly based on real-life crimes that occurred in both the UAE and the US.

In one short film created by du, they reenact the account of one UAE resident who believed it was harmless if he posted an image of his airplane ticket on Instagram. However, the luxury villa in which he lived in was subsequently cleared out by thieves who ransacked his property and made away with a whole host of expensive items – including a watch worth $150,000.

In its second video, du issue an even tougher message, again based on real life events. It features a scruffy looking man in a dingy home posing as a young boy who offers to help a young girl with maths, after sending her a direct message online.

The actor says, “I know maths is tough, but I can help if you want. I’m very good at maths. The girl responds positively to his offer, and then the video shows the man saying, “Yes, I know how to get to your villa, and tonight, you’re home alone which is great.”  It was confirmed by du that the film was tragically based on a real life crime in the US in which a 14-year-old girl was brutally murdered.

Humaida Al Khalsan, Director of Corporate Communications Projects at du said, “The instances in the videos we released really happened – and that’s very scary.

“We did huge research and we saw what was happening, people share a lot of information and they don’t even know who their followers are. “People are putting their boarding passes on social media, with the barcode showing and anyone can get all of their information off that barcode – their names, numbers, where they live and so much more.”

It was also revealed by du that having surveyed a pool of 500 people – it established that 75% of respondents polled have been befriended or followed by people they don’t normally interact with.

Al Khalsan added, “We actually went on a colleague’s social media profile and took all her information that was available. “We put it all in a presentation and showed it to her – we were able to tell which days she went on holiday and where she went. “She was so scared and she completely changed the way she used social media after that.”

Published in Telecom Operators

Danish tech firm NERVE caused a stir at this year’s 2nd International Conference on Future Mobility in the UAE. NERVE showcased some of the company’s latest in electric and driverless vehicle technology, set to completely disrupt urban transportation models the world over, such as its Smart Cruiser, a next-generation and multifunctional public transport solution; and the world’s fastest autonomous motorcycle.

Smart, green and multifunctional, Smart Cruiser is an intelligent electric vehicle with flawless suspension and robot technology, giving it unmatched high-speed, all-terrain capability. Already being piloted for roll out in Copenhagen, the bus can ferry people from A to B, distribute goods, clean the streets and even double as civil defense tool. In some versions, it also boasts a pair of touch sensitive robotic arms, directed by a control center, and capable of helping children, the elderly and the visually impaired to get on and off with safely and with ease.

Also on display at Future Mobility this year was NERVE’s renowned Autonomous Street Racer motorcycle, currently the world-record holder for the quickest electric motorcycle in the world. The motorcycle is expected to play an important role in the future of traffic management, police mobility and even emergency response infrastructure.

The 2nd International Conference on Future Mobility was inaugurated today by H.E. Dr. Rashid Bin Ahmed Bin Fahad, UAE Minister of State. During the conference, NERVE Founder and CTO Soeren O. Ekelund delivered an informative speech focusing on the delicate balance between people, society and technology, and how each must be considered to achieve a more sustainable future.

Commenting on the occasion, NERVE’s Founder and CTO Søren O. Ekelund said: “It’s great to be taking part in one of the region’s most important transport events. This is a unique opportunity for us to showcase some of the best of our creations to Dubai and the wider region, and to initiate important conversations with public and private sector partners about the future of transport and mobility in the UAE. Dubai is an ideal platform for testing new ideas and innovative technologies, and our research indicates that products like the Smart Cruiser and Autonomous Street Racer motorcycle could be optimally deployed here. If Dubai is to become a hub for sustainability, it needs technology to support that ambition.”

Headquartered in Denmark and with a regional office based in Dubai, NERVE traces its origins to 2002 and is committed to creating a better world through technology. The company works with governments and private sector corporations around the world to provide cutting-edge solutions to challenges affecting a broad number of sectors, including transport, urban planning, civil defense and energy. NERVE and its sister companies continue to act as developer, subcontractor and dealer to for Danish Railroads, Tesla, Jaguar, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Google and more.

Published in Gadget

Dubai-based business tycoon Mohamed Alabbar, prominent in the real estate and property development industry of the United Arab Emirates and former director general of the Dubai Department of Economic Development, announced on November 13 the launch of a $1 billion regional e-commerce site in a joint venture with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and other Gulf investors, called Noon.com.

The new site is expected to go online in January with 50 percent investment from the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund and the rest from around 60 investors led by Alabbar, who currently leads the UAE’s real estate giant Emaar. Speaking at a press conference, Alabbar said distribution centers will be set up in the Saudi cities of Riyadh and Jeddah, as well as a large warehouse the size of 60 football stadiums in Dubai.

“We expect to become a world player but will concentrate firstly on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” said Alabbar. His company Emaar was behind the construction of the world’s tallest tower in Dubai – the Burj Khalifa. Eventually, Alabbar expects the online retail site to reach Egypt, the most populous Arab state, by the end of next year or in early 2018.

Bloomberg reported that Alabbar said Noon.com would be traded on stock markets after five to seven years. Alabbar has hopes to see the site become “the Amazon of the Middle East,” to compete against the region’s existing e-commerce site Souq.com which was launched in 2005. Noon plans to sell products including fashion, books, home and gardens, sports, electronics, health and beauty products, personal care, children’s items, and baby products.

Published in Finance

Dubai is a global leader in using digital initiatives to deliver Smart City projects, the CEO of the enterprise application software firm SAP, shared during his recent UAE visit. “Data is the currency of the 21st century - everything revolves around it. The insights we gather will help us shape a vision for where we must go,” he said.

“How do you make people happier? How do you make societies more successful and our environment more sustainable? This is where the world is going and technology will lead us. Nobody knows that better than the leadership in Dubai,” said Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP SE, at the Dubai International Project Management Forum, organized by Dubai RTA, DEWA, Emaar, and PMI.

In the Internet of Things era, sensors and mobile devices are creating data to be analyzed to save time and costs, and enhance efficiency of citizen services and staff productivity. Dubai’s leadership has adopted future government innovations, such as online and mobile citizen services.

“Having delivered record-setting mega-projects, Dubai has the vision and experience as a future government leader to ensure that mega-projects such as Smart Dubai and Expo 2020 are delivered safely, on time, and on budget,” said Tayfun Topkoc, Managing Director, SAP UAE.

Real-time dashboards can provide governments with instant insights on the effectiveness of citizen services, providing more informed decisions that can enhance quality of life across key industry verticals such as banking and finance, education, healthcare, hospitality, transport, and travel.

“Dubai’s leaders understand that cities are increasingly run like data-driven businesses, with future government tools enabling citywide visibility and efficiency, economic competitiveness and citizen happiness, and empowering youth to be leaders in the Digital Economy,” added Tayfun Topkoc.

Published in Government

Yahlive, the Abu Dhabi-based satellite joint venture between the world leading satellite operator SES and UAE satellite company Yahsat, announced on August 16 that it has signed a contract renewal with the BBC World Service. As part of the ongoing agreement, the BBC will continue the broadcast of its Persian and Arabic television channels as well as the radio programming from its Arabic and Afghan services to audiences across Yahlive’s wide and culturally diverse footprint.

Commenting on the strength of the partnership, Sami Boustany, Chief Executive Officer, Yahlive said: “Yahlive is one of the fastest-growing regional satellite broadcasters in the region. Working closely with partners such as the BBC is core to our mission to bring viewers a mix of culturally relevant programming. The continuation of our partnership with the BBC is reflective of this and is a significant component of our growing channel portfolio.”

Nigel Fry, Head of Distribution, BBC World Service said: “The BBC has a strong history of offering a variety of news, business, sport and documentary programming. Since our first signed agreement in July 2014, the continued partnership with Yahlive has given us an opportunity to share our world-class content with more viewers and listeners across the region.” 

The BBC remains a key broadcaster in some of Yahlive’s main coverage regions such as the Middle East and South West Asia. Viewership has significantly increased across Yahlive’s Farsi-speaking viewers in the region.  Between 2014 and 2015 the total number of viewers over direct-to-home and terrestrial networks grew by approximately 45% from 26 million to over 37 million.

Yahlive delivers a selective choice of premium television channels through its free-to-air platform and has become the market leader for Farsi-speaking audiences in the Middle East and South West Asia.

Published in Satellite Industry

The UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has called on all smart mobile and device users and warned them about playing online electronic games that request for their geographical locations, which could be used against them for criminal activities.

The warning was issued in the light of the growing popularity of online games such as Pokemon Go, which according to the TRA, invades the privacy of users and allows criminal elements like hackers to spy on them and know when they are in isolated places-giving them the opportunity to rob them of their possessions or cause further harm.

Eng. Mohamed Al Zarooni, TRA Director Policy and Programs Department, said, “Some of these virtual reality games depend on new geo-positioning technology to track the locations of users and tap into their smart phone cameras, which makes the privacy of users open to predators. The TRA is warning all smart mobile and device users against using these applications in sensitive private places to ensure that their privacy and safety is secure.”

According to the TRA, these games utilize virtual reality technologies to give users the capability to add virtual images on their smart phones. As such, the augmented reality captured on the screen becomes a mixture of real life integrated with elements of virtual reality. This technology is being used in different areas, entertainment, games, engineering, health and education.

The TRA explained that using these virtual-reality games with geo-positioning technology, such as the new Pokemon Go game does, can result in the invasion of user privacy, as well as being victim to criminal software, phishing software and malware that clones games. The TRA also warned against the illegal download of these games, even before they are made available in official application stores.  These illegal software and applications can cause damage to the operating system of smart phones, or be used for spying on its users. The TRA advised all game fans to wait until the game applications are officially available across official application stores.

Al Zarooni noted that virtual reality games can be entertaining and educational if it is used in the proper way as it can be used to visit, learn and discover new places.

Adel Al Muhairi, Manager, National Computer Emergency Response Team, TRA, stated, “The engrossment of game users into these games could possibly lead them to unknown places where unlawful criminals could be waiting for them. These games could also cause injury if used while driving or walking. The proper use of virtual reality technology offers many beneficial features and advantages, yet, if it is not used correctly, it could have negative repercussions.”

Al .Muhairi called on parents to join their children in discovering these new tech games to learn more about them so they can evaluate the dangers. He also asked to avoid using the camera options for these games, especially while at home. He encouraged parents to decide on what games are appropriate for the age groups of their children.

Published in Government

UAE’s telecommunications sector leads the Arab community

Written on Thursday, 14 July 2016 13:25

The UAE is ranked ahead of all Arab states in the 2015 Networked Readiness Index (NRI) issued by the World Economic Forum, and twenty-third among all 143 countries assessed, moving up one position from twenty-fourth place in 2014.

International indices ranking a range of information and communication technology (ICT) indicators demonstrate the robust nature of the UAE’s telecommunications sector and the government’s success in leveraging advances in information and communication technologies to drive economic productivity and social development.

Internationally, the UAE is ranked first in ICT use and government efficiency, first in mobile network coverage, in terms of the percentage of the population covered, first in the importance of ICT to the government’s vision of the future, first in the impact of ICT on access to basic services, second in impact of ICTs on new services and products, second in government procurement of advanced technology products, fourth in laws relating to ICT, fifth in the impact of ICT on new organizational models, seventh in mobile phone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants, and seventh in firm level technology absorption and in business-to-business internet use.

In terms of the individual indicators analyzed, the UAE ranked first among Arab states in business-to-consumer internet use, e-participation index, internet access in schools, secure internet servers, low software piracy rates and percentage of software installed.

UAE companies are also actively involved in satellite telecommunications regionally and globally. Thuraya in which Etisalat is an investor, is providing reliable and robust satellite communications, using Thuraya IP and satellite handheld phones, in many of the world’s remotest locations.

Another UAE company, the Mubadala-owned Al Yah Satellite Communications Company, or Yahsat, is the region’s first hybrid military and commercial satellite company. Yahsat’s satellites provide complete satellite communications solutions to 140 countries across the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Central and South West Asia.

Published in Government
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