Start-up of the Week: Beauty app connects customers with makeup artists and photographers

Updated 19 September 2018
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Start-up of the Week: Beauty app connects customers with makeup artists and photographers

  • The FRH app offers its services in Saudi Arabia, in both Madinah and Makkah regions

JEDDAH: Keeping up with the 2030 Vision and supporting Saudi women was behind the concept of the FRH app, which connects customers with professional makeup artists and photographers.
Kholoud Al-Mehdar, public relations director of FRH Application, said customers then rated and reviewed their experience with the service provider.
“The FRH app is targeting Saudi Arabia for starters, then expanding in the Middle East. The crowd-sourcing industry is ever growing in the Arabian market, and FRH is hunting that market share through connecting people who are looking for good service and cheap prices together with their targeted professionals without any subscription fees,” Kholoud said.
The FRH app offers its services in Saudi Arabia, in both Madinah and Makkah regions, and will expand to the rest of Saudi Arabia and the Middle East as the business expands.
FRH launched in January, enabling people to connect easily through instant messaging via the app and the rating service as well for the provided services. The application is free. The services that can be found through this app are for makeup, hair, hair removal, tattoo, nails, skin care and for photography.
“We had the idea almost a year and a half ago where we thought about all the problems facing ladies and beauty artists and photographers in Saudi Arabia. These problems include: Having a lot of upcoming weddings, engagements, parties and not enough time to prepare for them. Also, there are so many good makeup artists that people don’t know about and many photographers whose talents are hidden from the public,” Kholoud said.
She added that people generally did not trust those who worked individually, and for these services peers tended to provide lot of suggestions on who to choose.
“The best ones are so expensive and the cheap ones use bad-quality materials or take bad-quality pictures,” she said. “All these problems were facing women in the present time, since most of the services are now done online, people communicate and have everything done in seconds. So why not booking makeup artists and photographers online as well?
That’s when she and her team started working on the idea of FRH app to solve these problems and to help service providers and customers connect through an elegant and simple platform.
Kholoud is from Madinah, Saudi Arabia. She holds an MA in TESOL from Adelphi University and is a certified makeup artist from Make Up For Ever Academy in New York.
FRH team’s vision is to change the standard rate of service locally through providing quality service and to become a leader in the industry.


Amazon aims to make Alexa assistant bigger part of users’ lives

An overhauled Echo Dot smart speaker boasts much-improved sound and design while keeping the $50 price tag of the original. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 21 September 2018
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Amazon aims to make Alexa assistant bigger part of users’ lives

  • Alexa has gotten smarter, more conversational and even intuitive during the past year as teams at Amazon work hard on getting the digital assistant to better understand people
  • Alexa uses artificial intelligence to identify patterns in the lives of users, factoring in habits, weather, time of year and more

SEATTLE: From the kitchen to the car, Amazon on Thursday sought to make its Alexa digital assistant and online services a bigger part of people’s lives with an array of new products and partnerships.
Updates to the Internet giant’s Alexa-infused Echo smart speakers will allow them to tend to microwave cooking and even have “hunches” regarding what users may want or have forgotten.
When Alexa is told “corn on the cob,” a digital Echo speaker starts an AmazonBasics microwave oven in a faux home demonstration room, setting the preferred time and voicing what it is doing.
But when asked to add 30 seconds, Alexa paused and then started to play songs by the band “Thirty Seconds to Mars.”
Such misunderstandings are routine enough with smart speakers that they have become fodder for humor, and even cropped up while Amazon devices and services senior vice president David Limp showed off new devices in a nearby building a short time earlier.
Alexa has gotten smarter, more conversational and even intuitive during the past year as teams at Amazon work hard on getting the digital assistant to better understand people, according to Limp.Alexa is even developing a personality, complete with a favorite pet or beer.
It has also learned to understand whispers, responding in equally hushed tones in a feature to be rolled out in the coming weeks.
Amazon on Thursday teased a coming feature called Alexa Hunches that is designed to infuse the digital assistant with intuition. For example, when a user bids Alexa a good night, it might respond by mentioning they forgot to lock a door.
Alexa uses artificial intelligence to identify patterns in the lives of users, factoring in habits, weather, time of year and more. To know what is happening with other smart devices in a home, the Echo speaker needs to be connected to them.
Amazon recently passed the 20,000 mark for smart home devices made by the Seattle-based company or partners.
“We are really at a tipping point for the smart home,” Limp said while unveiling a cornucopia of new devices.
An overhauled Echo Dot smart speaker boasts much-improved sound and design while keeping the $50 price tag of the original.
Amazon added Echo equivalents of stereo components for home sound systems, along with improvements to its online music service, with partners including Spotify, Pandora, and Deezer.
Limp unveiled a “frustration free setup” platform intended to grow into a framework that any smart device maker can use to make getting gadgets to talk to Alexa as easy as plugging them into an outlet.
“That is not going to happen overnight,” Limp said. “As we imagine a future that has thousands of these devices in your home, this is going to become absolutely essential.”
And, of course, there was the $60 microwave, which Limp contended was a strong test because of how much microwaves interfere with wireless connectivity used by devices to communicate.
A freshly announced Alexa Guard service synchronizes with Echo speakers in the home and security cameras from Amazon-owned smart doorbell maker Ring.
When Echo speakers are set to guard mode, they listen for breaking glass or the sound of alarms from smoke or carbon dioxide detectors and send alerts to smartphones or even security companies.
Ring cameras can also be connected to Echo devices with screens, letting people see who has come calling, demonstrations showed.
A new Echo Show device boasted twice the screen display area as its predecessor, and Fire TV Recast that acts as a digital recorder for traditional television broadcasts.
Not satisfied with being built into new cars, Alexa will be able to work in older models with an Echo Auto device that can be affixed to dashboards and reach the Internet through smartphones.
“Amazon launched today what I believe is the industry’s largest assortment of home automation products and added meaningful improvements to its services,” said analyst Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights and Strategy.
“The company once again separated itself again in the smart home space from both Google and Apple by adding new devices and capabilities.”