‘Humongous transformation’ predicted after huge attendances at Saudi technology event

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Visitors at the first Saudi International Exhibition & Conference for IoT at RICEC.
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A session on 'Contribution of IoT' in Progress at the RICEC Riyadh.
Updated 01 February 2018
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‘Humongous transformation’ predicted after huge attendances at Saudi technology event

RIYADH: The first Saudi International Conference for Internet of Things (IoT) concluded on a high note Monday after a very successful two-day run. It offered a perfect platform for product launches and demonstrations, and enabled sponsors and exhibitors to associate their brands with cutting-edge IoT technology.
Expressing great satisfaction at the successful conclusion of the conference, IoT exhibition and conference manager Fahad Algarni told Arab News: "We are glad to see the huge response from the visitors, participants, exhibitors and sponsors.
“Seeing the huge attendances at the workshops and the conference sessions, we are planning to double the capacity next time,” he said.
“This is a good sign for us to book more halls for exhibitions and areas for conferences here at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center for the next edition. This year we booked 5,000 square meters for the event, and we will double the arrangement next year.”
The exhibition will conclude on Tuesday, he said.
Ahmed Al-Thunayan, deputy minister for technology industry and digital capacities, visited the conference on Monday and expressed his pleasure at seeing the huge response at the first IoT conference. The ministry of telecoms and IT seeks to create an effective partnership to implement the digital transformation strategy in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
He underscored that the high-speed internet through optical fiber networks will connect more than two million houses throughout cities and villages in the Kingdom as the main initiative of the National Transformation Program (NTP-2020).
Bringing the maestros in the IoT industry together at one single platform, the maiden conference has connected hundreds of people in an unprecedented way. This is just the beginning of IoT in the Kingdom and a humongous transformation is certain to take place with the way IoT is growing, he said.
Speakers and participants underlined that the Kingdom has embraced IoT and a benchmark has been set up, with the latest business trends and processes and the emerging technologies all under one roof.
Companies participating at the event included Microsoft, GE, HP, Advanced Electronics Company, Mobily, STC, Philips, Manzel Express, Oracle and Cisco.
Muhammad Ali Imran, IT solution architect at HP, told Arab News: "I have seen young people attending this event with lots of enthusiasm. This is very good from the perspective of Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to empower youth and diversify its economy and society for sustainable development.”
Alaa Obiedat, a senior technology consultant at Oracle, said the conference was "of great help to both local and international participants for proper networking and involvement in what is going on in the IT sector here.
“It will further help in increasing fostering awareness about IoT in the Kingdom, and Oracle is willing to share its expertise as a global player.”
This first IoT conference proved to be a unique platform for everything on IoT as it brought together business leaders, executives, engineers, developers and IoT visionaries who delivered exquisite content on the innovative technology in the IoT industry which is transforming business strategies and changing the way we live, work and play.
The content ranged from the effective use of technology and its evolution over the years to the shift that needs to happen in the Kingdom to keep pace with the rest of the world.
The conference was packed, with 36 expert speakers from various parts of the world.
The essence of the event was keynote presentations, case studies and panel discussions on some of the most interesting topics of IoT and its influence in the Kingdom.


LuLu opens Saudi Arabia's largest store in Riyadh

Updated 38 min 12 sec ago
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LuLu opens Saudi Arabia's largest store in Riyadh

JEDDAH: LuLu Group recently opened its 150th hypermarket in Riyadh. It was inaugurated by Ibrahim Al-Omer, governor of Saudi General Investment Authority (SAGIA); Ibrahim Al-Suwail, deputy governor of SAGIA; along with Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan Al-Nahyan, UAE ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Yusuff Ali M.A., LuLu Group chairman; Shehim Mohammed, LuLu Saudi director; and other dignitaries and royal family members.
Located at the newly launched Atyaf Mall in Yarmouk, the hypermarket, the 13th in the country and the Kingdom’s largest, is spread across 220,000-square-feet.
Yusuff Ali M.A. said: “We are absolutely delighted to open our group’s 150th and Saudi Arabia’s 13 hypermarket in Riyadh and I am sure the shoppers here will be pleased by the new retail experience we have created. Through our internationally sourced quality products and enthusiastic staff, LuLu has been the most preferred destination for different nationalities and we will continue to preserve this identity with our new store.”
He added: “We see tremendous growth opportunities in the Kingdom and are glad to be part of the Vision 2030 by further expanding our presence here. We will open another 15 hypermarkets by 2020 at an investment of SR1 billion ($266 million) out of which five will be opened this year itself. This includes three hypermarkets in Riyadh followed by one each in Tabuk and Dammam. This is apart from the SR1 billion we have already invested in the Kingdom till now.”
The group currently employs more than 3,000 Saudi nationals, out of which 1,400 are women, amounting to 40 percent of Saudization.
“Our goal is to give employment to 6,000 Saudi nationals by the end of 2020. We have a very elaborate and effective multi-level training program, through which we not only train them here but also send the local recruits to other regions in the GCC and India for training in various departments. We have also tied up with Saudi vocational institutions and universities in this regard,” the LuLu Group chairman said.