Aston Martin launches new online configurator

Aston Martin launches new online configurator
The new configurator simplifies the specification process, allowing customers to intuitively create their most desired Aston Martin.
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Updated 24 July 2021

Aston Martin launches new online configurator

Aston Martin launches new online configurator

Aston Martin has launched a new configurator, designed to elevate the luxury brand’s online digital experience for customers, fans and dealer partners.

A key component of the brand’s transformation plan “Project Horizon” is the rejuvenation of the customer journey, and the new configurator is an important part of that process.

The new configurator simplifies the specification process, allowing customers to intuitively create their most desired Aston Martin. New technologies have enabled the brand to remove the mundane and replace it with a pleasurable experience that offers greater flexibility and a level of convenience that is hugely valuable. For customers who wish to create a unique Aston Martin, the configurator also offers a full suite of personalization, which includes unique options and an extensive selection of paints, leathers and alcantaras.

Offering immersive 3D ultra-high-definition environments, the Aston Martin configurator provides customers with the ability to zoom in on the fine details of the car, which can then be viewed in a cinematic video that clearly shows the full exterior and interior specification chosen. A choice of beautiful backdrops, from a studio environment to real locations helps customers visualize their perfect car. This new, streamlined customer journey can even pick up the exact specification of a car that a customer has seen in an advertisement, recreating the exact look of the selected car.

The configurator is designed to engage, excite and enable the brand’s customers, wherever they are in the purchase journey. At any point in the online process they will be able to switch to personal interaction and schedule an online session with their local dealer who can assist with their configuration. Customers and fans can download a personalized brochure of their configuration, share their favorite configurations to social media and also choose to book a test drive at any point in the process.

Developed in partnership with the digitization experts MHP, the new configurator offers a highly personalized and visual experience, providing the ability to explore all options and custom features at an unprecedented level of detail and in real-time.

Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers said: “We will go above and beyond to deliver perfection to our customers. The experience of buying an Aston Martin should be as pleasurable as owning one and our new configurator has been created with this in mind. Our customers are very busy people, so it is our job to make the buying process as simple and as enjoyable as possible. This new configurator does that. Like many businesses, a proportion of our customers switched over to online buying during the pandemic, so we have improved this process to allow remote customers to receive the full Aston Martin experience.”

In 2020, the Aston Martin configurator saw more than 2 million sessions and this number is expected to grow for 2021.


SABB’s international remittances grow by over 50%

SABB’s international remittances grow by over 50%
Updated 1 min 29 sec ago

SABB’s international remittances grow by over 50%

SABB’s international remittances grow by over 50%

The value of international remittances executed through SABB’s digital channels up to August 2021 grew by more than 50 percent, and the market share of SABB in the retail international remittance market for individuals increased to 11.85 percent.

This is a result of the bank’s consistent efforts to provide the best digital services to customers and take advantage of the state-of-the-art technologies. SABB has developed international transfer services through its digital channels, in partnership with the financial technology companies MasterCard Send and Ripple. Thus, the bank allows its customers to transfer funds instantly and securely to international beneficiaries, whether to bank accounts, electronic wallets, or via cash delivery to more than 30 international destinations. Now, SABB customers can transfer to more than 170 countries and use 38 different currencies.

The improvements also included development of relations with correspondent banks to cover delivery of remittances on the same day for the selected currencies and providing a full remittance deposit service for beneficiaries for the US dollars corridor.

Bashar Al-Qunaibit, deputy managing director of retail banking and wealth management at SABB, said: “In light of the Kingdom’s rapid technological development in response to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and in implementation of the bank’s strategy aimed at digital transformation, SABB is focusing on accelerating transformation steps at all levels, including international remittances, which constitute an important pillar to provide a leading banking experience. On this basis, we have intensified efforts to enable customers to transfer international funds instantly and securely, according to the best technologies provided. We will continue to strive for ongoing development of all our products and services in a manner that ensures our leading position in the market and effectively supports our competitive strength.”

SABB has recently been named the “Best Digital Bank for Customers in Saudi Arabia in 2021” by Global Finance. This recognition is in appreciation of the bank’s efforts in developing innovative digital solutions that provide customers with an advanced digital banking experience. Notably, 86 percent of the total number of new current accounts in SABB were opened through digital channels. The number of new accounts opened digitally exceeded 100,000.

Recently, a significant increase in the number of users of SABB’s digital channels has been noticed. The bank has successfully managed to transform a wide range of its services and manual operations to its digital platforms. More than 130 banking services are currently provided to retail customers through the SABBMobile application. SABB is one of the first banks to obtain approval of the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia — within the framework of the experimental environment SandBox — to provide the service of updating customer data electronically (Know Your Customer) through digital channels without the need to visit the branch. This service has contributed positively to enhancing customer experience and currently represents 60 percent of the total customer updates.


Kitopi announces new managing director for KSA

Kitopi announces new managing director for KSA
Updated 3 min 51 sec ago

Kitopi announces new managing director for KSA

Kitopi announces new managing director for KSA

Kitopi, a managed cloud kitchen platform, has announced the appointment of Sabine El-Najjar as managing director for its Saudi market.

El-Najjar’s appointment follows Kitopi’s recent closure of its series C funding round, which catapulted it to unicorn status in July 2021.

In her new role, El-Najjar will drive the next phase of Kitopi’s growth in the Kingdom. In particular, she will be focusing on building the capabilities of Kitopi KSA across all aspects of the business such as driving Kitopi’s expansion to reach all corners of the country, bringing the best brands to the Kingdom and developing the next generation of leaders locally.

An MBA graduate from the London Business School, El-Najjar has an extensive track record across both industry and consulting. Prior to joining Kitopi in January this year, she was a senior engagement manager at management consulting firm McKinsey and Co., where she has worked on large-scale business and digital transformations for private corporations, banks and government entities in the GCC.

Founded in Dubai, in January 2018, Kitopi’s mission is “to satisfy the world’s appetite.” Kitopi KSA launched in September 2019, and became the company’s regional headquarters in July this year. Kitopi KSA currently operates more than 20 kitchens and has over 400 employees across Riyadh and Jeddah.


TEDxAlQuoz inaugural event launches in Dubai

TEDxAlQuoz inaugural event launches in Dubai
Updated 13 October 2021

TEDxAlQuoz inaugural event launches in Dubai

TEDxAlQuoz inaugural event launches in Dubai

On Oct. 23, TEDxAlQuoz will launch its first event under the theme “Humanity and Interdependence” that seeks to reflect people’s current spirit through a series of captivating talks, artistic performances and networking opportunities. The event will take place at Warehouse Four in Dubai’s Al-Quoz district. Tickets are on sale on the event’s website.

The independently produced event, operating under a license from TED, is organized by volunteers and aims to create a forum to inspire and spark dialogue among the Dubai community through thought-provoking talks. The event is produced with the support of venue partner Warehouse Four and cultural partner Dubai Culture and Arts Authority.

Some of the speakers include athlete and Guinness World Record holder Dareen Barbar, award-winning photographer Waleed Shah, survival skills instructor Arnaud Laviolette, sustainable fashion influencer Amanda Rushforth, and renowned psychologist Dr. Saliha Afridi. A number of artists, including Emirati singer Arqam, are also scheduled to perform at the event.

Commenting on the theme of the event, organizer and curator Rihane Hassaine said: “TEDxAlQuoz aims to re-explore the meaning of interdependence within society and encourage a reflection on how we can all nurture the spirit that has rooted our modern societies and contributed to social change at a local, regional and global scale.”

TedxAlQuoz will present yet another platform to further attract, support and retain talents in the area as well as to ensure that culture is available through the emirate of Dubai for everyone. This comes in line with Dubai Culture’s strategy, which seeks to strengthen the emirate’s position as an integrated dynamic hub for creative people from all over the world and position it as an epicenter for creativity and cultural dialogue.

TEDx is a grassroots initiative, created in the spirit of TED’s overall mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading.” TEDx brings the spirit of TED to local communities around the globe through TEDx events. These events are organized by passionate individuals who seek to uncover new ideas and share the latest research in their local areas that spark conversations in their communities.

TEDx events include live speakers and recorded TED Talks, and are organized independently under a free license granted by TED. These events are not controlled by TED, but event organizers agree to abide by its format, and are offered guidelines for curation, speaker coaching, event organizing and more. More than 3,000 events are now held annually.


Casio to develop localized calculators, training programs

Casio to develop localized calculators, training programs
Updated 13 October 2021

Casio to develop localized calculators, training programs

Casio to develop localized calculators, training programs

Casio Middle East FZE, the regional subsidy of Casio Computer Co. Ltd., alongside Mahmoud Saleh Abbar Co, the distributor of Casio products in the Kingdom, has partnered up with the Saudi Association for Mathematical Sciences to provide teaching materials for students of all levels, as well as support with various training programs for teachers.

For more than 30 years, Casio has been working around the world for the further enhancement of mathematics learning, by using the Casio calculator as a tool of educational technology integration. Also called “Gakuhan,” the program will see Casio collaborate with education officials and teachers to develop localized versions of scientific calculators and create teaching materials that make use of scientific calculators, based on local curriculums and textbooks. Casio will also conduct special training so that teachers can run classes using Casio teaching tools.

Takashi Seimiya, managing director at Casio Middle East, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with SAMS to bring our technology to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia alongside Mahmoud Saleh Abbar Co. SAMS has been a leading scientific, cultural and educational resource in the field of mathematics and teaching methods in the Arab world, so proved a natural fit for this collaboration. Together with SAMS, I am looking forward to the development of scientific research and mathematical knowledge through the use of Casio calculators and to supporting educational initiatives for many years to come.”

Ayman Tawfiq, general manager at Mahmoud Saleh Abbar Co, Casio’s distributor in Saudi Arabia, said: “It is indeed our aim that this collaboration would add significant value to the development of math and science education through knowledge sharing for the teachers, and by extension, students in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Mahmoud Saleh Abbar Co. will continue extending support to Saudi students and educators to ensure constant enhancement of math learning and facilitating the training program.”

As the only company undertaking the Gakuhan program around the world with scientific calculators, the collaboration with JISR sees Casio develop training systems that allow teachers to train using their products, support online education of the usage of the Casio calculator emulator, support math competitions by offering a gamified solution, and support teachers, in order to make students’ lives simpler. The program will also connect teachers with each other to exchange their experiences while also supporting activities within classrooms through the Casio Teachers Forum.

Dr. Reem Al-Hefthi, vice chairman of the board of directors at SAMS, said: “Casio has indeed supported and sustained the professional development of mathematics through our contest.”

Last year’s contest was a success, the participants showed a great deal of creativity and excellence. Thus, we are really looking forward to upcoming events that will target different levels of the mathematical society, including students in general education, graduate students and university educational staff.”


UAE-based businessman appointed to World Tourism Forum board

UAE-based businessman appointed to World Tourism Forum board
Updated 13 October 2021

UAE-based businessman appointed to World Tourism Forum board

UAE-based businessman appointed to World Tourism Forum board

The World Tourism Forum Lucerne has appointed Adeeb Ahamed, managing director of Abu Dhabi-based Twenty14 Holdings, to its global advisory board.

For over 10 years, the WTFL has been bringing together industry experts, CEOs, investors and startups, establishing itself as a prestigious global platform for exchange. By fostering cross-generational collaboration, new ideas and solutions emerge to benefit tourism today and in the future.

Ahamed, who owns a slew of iconic properties across the world, including the Great Scotland Yard in London, Waldorf Astoria — the Caledonian in Edinburgh, Pullman Downtown Dubai and Port Muziris in Kochi among others, joins a select group of the industry’s top stakeholders and decision-makers who will collaborate on solving future challenges in the travel and tourism industry.

The advisory board is an international body of experts responsible for assuring the quality of the WTFL. It determines the themes for the forums and decides on the general content by including current global topics and addressing cultural differences. Some of its prominent members include: Franziska Bitzi Staub, head of finance department, Lucerne; Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and CEO, The Indian Hotels Company Limited; Geoffrey Lipman, president, International Council of Tourism Partners, and co-founder, SUN; and Isabel Hill, director of National Travel and Tourism Office, US Department of Commerce Office, among others.

On Nov. 15 and 16, WTFL will host an “Innovation Festival” in Andermatt, in which Ahamed will also take the stage. At the hybrid conference, well-known personalities, such as Klaus Schwab (founder of World Economic Forum), Laura Meyer (CEO of Hotelplan), Peter Fankhauser (CEO of PETRAF Ltd. and former CEO of Thomas Cook Group), Shannon Ghuian (chief sustainability officer at TTC), Niall Ferguson (historian and author) and Alex Lampert (CEO of GuestReady) will discuss the tourism industry’s current challenges and demonstrate how these can be tackled with forward-thinking solutions.