Saudi Arabia, Iraq discuss economic opportunities in Jeddah meeting

Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih in a meeting with Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi in Jeddah on Thursday. (AN photo)
Updated 11 August 2017
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Saudi Arabia, Iraq discuss economic opportunities in Jeddah meeting

JEDDAH: Saudi Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al-Falih discussed economic opportunities in a meeting with visiting Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi.
Al-Falih told Arab News that they discussed Iraq’s huge mineral reserves, which have yet to be explored or invested in.
They also discussed the country’s fertile agricultural land as Iraq is rich with water, he added.
Al-Falih said Al-Luaibi, who was accompanied by a high-level delegation, affirmed Iraq’s commitment to reducing oil exports to shore up prices. Al-Falih said they agreed to open offices for big Saudi corporations in Iraq to assess the market, with the aim of exporting high-quality Saudi products directly rather than via third parties.
This will be facilitated by the opening of border crossings between the two countries, the Saudi minister said.
Companies that stand a good chance of entering the Iraqi market include the Saudi Basic Industry Corp. (SABIC), the Saudi Arabia Mining Co. (Maaden) and Saudi Aramco.
Al-Luaibi told Arab News that his visit to the Kingdom was successful.
He expressed delight at the projects he saw during his visits to SABIC, Aramco and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yabu.
He said he highly valued the chance to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who stressed the Kingdom’s keenness in Iraq’s security and welfare, and highlighted the importance of bilateral cooperation in the fields of investment, trade, industry and agriculture.
Al-Luaibi said anticipated bilateral investments may exceed tens of billions of dollars, adding that this is a strategic objective for Iraq.
He said his country’s oil policy matches the Kingdom’s in terms of reducing exports, adding that Iraq’s exports currently stand at 195,000 barrels per day.


Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

Updated 20 August 2018
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Meet the Dubai ad men who pay you to sit in traffic

  • Blockchain technology challenges traditional outdoor media
  • Adverts connect to driver mobile phone

LONDON: A new startup founded by UAE-based entrepreneurs is in the process of test-running a blockchain-based technology that could help people turn their cars into mobile advertising vehicles.
It could challenge the use of traditional advertising methods such as outdoor billboards, the founders of The Elo Network claim.
The platform — which has been set up by Mohammed Khammas and Mohammed Bafaqih and incorporated in the Cayman Islands — will enable people to be paid for displaying adverts on the side or back of their vehicles while they go about their daily routines of driving to work, the mall or doing the school run.
The adverts will feature low-frequency bluetooth ‘beacons’ that connect to the drivers' mobile phone which will be able to monitor when the driver is in the car and where the car is being driven.
There is a minimum threshold for the number of miles being driven a day, but the main prerequisite is that the driver is in the car. Drivers will still be paid even if stuck in a traffic jam.
Advertising clients will be able to put out requests that drivers head to a particular area — for instance to be close to a new brand launch — with drivers being paid up to 4 or 5 times more than their standard rate if they accept.
While the concept of paying people to use their cars for advertising is not new, it is the use of blockchain technology that will make The Elo Network particularly grounding-breaking in the advertising world, its founders said.
“Billboards are very expensive and static and don’t give you the KPIs and insightful information that brands want these days. You solve that by getting them that data,” Bafaqih said.
The Elo Network collates detailed data by tracking the movements of the drivers and their day-to-day activities. Data points such as a particular area’s population density can been collected.
The information will be encrypted ensuring that the brand will never know the identity of the driver, said Bafaqih.
“It creates data sets that didn’t exist before. You don’t have to worry about privacy but at the same time the brand can know about your patterns. They can know where you go in mornings, where you drive, what normal patterns are created in certain areas and countries,” he said.
This level of detail is increasingly important for brands looking to run targeted campaigns, and it is something that traditional billboards are unable to offer.
The technology will also be used to overcome the payment problems that other similar car advertising schemes have faced.
“Historically what happens, where there is a authority that is issuing payments, it causes a lot of problems. There can be disputes on how much they (the drivers) are owed or how many miles were driven or what campaign someone has done,” he said.
Under the Elo Network program, the blockchain technology allows you to create so-called “Smart Contracts” — which is a software protocol that enforces and verifies the performance of a contract.
“It says driver A is going to be paid — for example — a dollar per mile — so as the person drives he starts receives ‘IOUs’. Those IOUs are convertible at any time,” he said.
With no ‘middle man’ involved, the driver is able to redeem their IOUs and get paid as and when they want.
The network is currently at ‘proof of concept’ stage and is test-running the platform with a number of brands. It is anticipated that the network will be rolled out to the public toward the end of this year and early 2019.