Saudi National Digitization Unit partners with GE to intensify pace of digital transformation

Deema Alyahya of NDU and Hisham Al-Bahkali of GE signing an MoU in the presence of Abdullah Alswaha, minister of communications and information technology, and Rania Rostom, CEO, GE MENAT. (AN photo)
Updated 15 November 2017

Saudi National Digitization Unit partners with GE to intensify pace of digital transformation

RIYADH : Saudi Arabia entered into an agreement with GE, the world’s leading digital industrial company, to drive industrial diversification and to support the youth in helping to move forward the Kingdom's digital transformation.

The Kingdom's National Digitization Unit (NDU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GE on the sidelines of the MiSK Global Forum on Wednesday. The MoU was signed by Deema Alyahya, acting CEO of the NDU, and Hisham Al-Bahkali, President and CEO, GE Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.

The first activity under this MoU took place during the Forum under a workshop hosted by Rania Rostom, Chief Innovation Officer, GE MENAT. It focused on the importance of sensors, data and analysis to connect critical machines in energy, health care, aviation and manufacturing.

The NDU and GE will collaborate in accelerating digital transformation across critical industries including health care, water and mining. Moreover, GE will train Saudi youth to obtain the advanced skills needed in digital and software development.

The agreement will also target digital skills supporting Saudi youth to drive the digital transformation of the Kingdom in line with the goals set under Vision 2030.

The partners will, for example, leverage GE’s digital applications such as Asset Performance Management, which tracks and optimizes assets, and ServiceMax, which allows field service engineers’ time to be utilized more efficiently.

Commenting on the agreement, Alyahya said: “As the tech-savvy Saudi youth play a defining role in achieving [Saudi Vision 2030], we at the NDU focus on promoting our national talent and helping build innovative digital business models that will establish Saudi Arabia as a pioneering digital nation.”

Al-Bahkali said: “As an industrial technology company that now draws on digitization to support partners in the Kingdom, we see this MoU as a strong platform to share our learning and resources, especially with the Saudi youth.

“With a focus on digital industrial diversification, innovation and talent development, we will work with the NDU to create a thriving digital ecosystem in the Kingdom that creates high-quality jobs for youth and supports the development of a high-value supply chain led by young Saudi entrepreneurs.”

The NDU is also working on smart cities solutions in order to realize Vision 2030’s goal of building the new hub for the Arab world and has signed an MoU with NXN, a leading smart city consulting and digital service provider in the Middle East and Africa.


Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

Updated 17 November 2019

Arabic anime voice actors prepare for new show at Riyadh expo

  • Waheed Jalal's voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations

RIYADH: Visitors to Riyadh’s first anime expo stopped by the first panel on Saturday unaware that they would be leaving the stage with memories renewed of their favorite voice actors of all time.

Waheed Jalal and Jihad Al-Atrashi will forever live on in the hearts of fans of “Grendizer” and “Treasure Island (Takarajima),” the two shows that introduced the Arab world to anime in the 1970s.

Jalal, whose voice acting as “Treasure Island” antagonist John Silver has captivated generations, expressed how delighted he was to be with the audience.

“I want to thank you and your Kingdom of generosity and culture,” he said.

Al-Atrash, who portrayed Duke Fleed, echoed his sentiments: “You are great people with great values, thank you to the people of the Kingdom that stand next to people of all nations.”

Jalal was touched by the audience’s love and warm welcome, “You guys are the reason we continued this far, without you it wouldn’t have been possible,” he told them.

“We’re persevering to this day because people loved these characters we portrayed so much, our other works pale in comparison,” he added.

Jalal said that the reason “Grendizer” remained with so many people is because of the values and morals depicted in the show, teaching generations to be loyal and loving to their nation and their people.

Artist and creator Ibrahim Al-Lami. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)

The voice acting pair talked about the importance of speaking in formal Arabic in these shows. Jalal said it’s because “you’re presenting to the entire Arab world.”

Local dialects would be difficult for others to understand, so we must all aspire to perfect our formal Arabic, added Jalal.

Before concluding the talk, a teaser was played of the first Saudi anime “Makkeen” by artist and creator, Ibrahim Al-Lami, who announced that 60 percent of the work was completed through local efforts.

“We’ll introduce a new work that is by our people, written by our people and voiced by our people,” he said to the audience.

The work will feature characters voiced by Jalal and Al-Atrash, who have become symbolic to the Arab anime world. “I told them, this work wouldn’t be complete without you two,” said Lami on his choice of voice actors. “We want these works to see the light of day. We need to provide the new generations with tales of our own,” added Al-Atrash when asked why he wanted to partake in the anime.