World Mental Health day: How Apple has Prioritized Wellness In Its Brand New Updates

Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)
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Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)
Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)
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Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)
Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)
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Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)
Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)
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Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)
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Updated 06 October 2021

World Mental Health day: How Apple has Prioritized Wellness In Its Brand New Updates

Apple has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app. (Supplied)

RIYADH: How much would you be ready to give up to gain an entire life-time of emotional wellness ahead of you? though it doesn't cost that much to gain the benefits, more and more people are willing to take or find the time to invest in their minds.

We are living in the age of easily-available distractions, and the prolonged nature of the pandemic has made us even more addicted to technology. Even if it has eased hardships of repeated lockdowns; we picked up some unproductive tech habits, and our phone became a magnet pulling us to check for missed work emails or breaking news, or even social media updates. The pandemic has increased our dependence on technology but as with food intake, a planned consumption can help. According to research, an average individual spends more than five hours a day on a device. Someone working or learning from home, much more. 

Though hard to visibly identify or quantify with medical readings, Mental health affects a person’s overall wellbeing and stability. And as technology companies are increasingly criticized for their role, whether real or perceived, in damaging our mental health, there’s pressure to find solutions.

To that end, Apple already has a comprehensive line-up that promotes good health, including Apple Watch, Apple Fitness+, and the Health app, but it would seem the tech giant is placing even more importance on wellness and in particular, mental health with new features. Some of you might already be familiar to some of the existing "wellness" features like Screen Time, an iPhone app that keeps tabs on the amount of time a user spends on their device, and Breathe, an Apple Watch app that guides users through a brief deep breathing exercise.

We are highlighting here for you interested new Health and wellness features pertaining to iPhone and Apple Watch that will help you keep your sanity!

iOS 15

The latest operating system from Apple brings “new ways to stay connected, and powerful features that help users focus, explore, and do more with on-device intelligence”. This bring major updates to FaceTime, a new ‘Focus’ feature to reduce distraction, and more ways to explore the world using Maps, Weather and Wallet.

Focus
“Focus is a new feature that filters notifications and apps based on what a user wants to focus on. Customers can set their device to help them be in the moment by creating a customised Focus or selecting a suggested Focus, which uses on-device intelligence to suggest which people and apps are allowed to notify them,” Apple says.

Apple also revealed a new notifications experience that allows you to filter notifications according to how important they are for each individual user. Of the new features, Apple says: “To help reduce distraction, a new notification summary collects non–time-critical notifications for delivery at a more opportune time, such as in the morning and evening. Using on-device intelligence, notifications are arranged by priority, with the most relevant notifications rising to the top, and based on a user’s interactions with apps. Urgent messages will be delivered immediately, so important communications will not end up in the summary, and it’s easy to temporarily mute any app or messaging thread for the next hour or for the day.”

Health for the Whole Family

The health app already allows you to set up emergency contacts, and note important information like your blood type, allergies, heart health and sleep. Now, you’ll be able to share this data with your family with a “new sharing tab that lets users share their health data with family members, caregivers or a care team”. That should bring you a certain peace of mind

watchOS

Apple Watch users will be excited to hear of updates that offer “greater access with Wallet, more capabilities with the Home app, new workout types and an updated Breathe app”.

New Workouts

Apple Fitness+ is an incredible personal trainer on your wrist, but two new workout types are set to make it even better for both your body and mind. Tai Chi and Pilates are much-loved practices for balance, breathwork and mood-boosting. Apple says: “These new workout types are supported by powerful, validated, custom-built heart rate and motion algorithms to provide users with accurate metrics.”

Breathe and Reflect

Apple Watch users will be familiar with the Breathe app, but in the future, this is set to become a whole new mindfulness offering. “Now more than ever, people are recognising the importance of finding small moments in their day to be more mindful. In watchOS 8, the Breathe app becomes the Mindfulness app, featuring an enhanced Breathe experience, plus a new session type, Reflect.”Like Breathe, Reflect lasts one minute but instead of merely pausing to inhale and exhale, the app will pose a mindful and thought-provoking question designed to remove you from the distractions around you and help you feel centred and refreshed, for example: “Reflect on one thing you’re grateful for and think about why you appreciate it so much”.

Sleeping Respiratory Rate

You can already track your sleep and heart rate, but the new software will help users reach sleep goals further by tracking sleeping respiratory rate, which is the number of breaths per minute.


New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh
Updated 29 November 2021

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

New indoor entertainment city ‘Sala Hub’ opens in Riyadh

Sala Entertainment, a Vida Holding company, has announced the opening of “Sala Hub,” the largest indoor entertainment city at Riyadh Boulevard, as part of Riyadh Season events. The opening ceremony was attended by Fahad Al-Hokair, Abdul Rahman Al-Hokair and Mohammed Attia, CEO of Sala Entertainment.

Entertainment constitutes a significant part of the services and tourism sectors, which are among the pillars of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The opening of Sala Hub comes as part of the great transformation witnessed by the entertainment sector in the Kingdom, which has provided unprecedented opportunities for businesses that are active in the entertainment industry, including both local and international companies.

“The opening of Sala Hub aligns itself with the motto of ‘Imagine More’ that has been coined for this year’s Riyadh Season, as Sala Hub provides an opportunity to soar high into the world of imagination and enjoy fun experiences in an unusual and unforgettable manner,” a statement said.

Visitors to Riyadh Season can enjoy many exciting games and activities that are available for the first time in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, such as Zero Gravity, Air Race, Nebulaz, Drift Race, VR Bumper Car, Sky Race, Wave Up, Double Deck Carousel, Sky Tower, Blenderz, Super Jumper, Skyline Coaster and Roller Glider.

Sala Hub’s indoor entertainment area occupies around 4,500 square meters divided into many sections covering the needs of all family members. There are sections designated for major rides, redemption games, video games, VR games, skills games, sports games, kiddie rides, a party room, as well as a food and beverage area, an Immersive Tunnel and the stage.

Sala CEO Attia said: “Today we are strengthening our presence here in this Riyadh Season, a presence of which we are very proud. Our vision is to raise Sala Hub to the level of a global leader in branding, while we aspire to provide unique and high-quality entertainment replete with diverse experiences in order to meet the needs of our guests in Saudi Arabia, the GCC and around the world in the future.”

“As part of our values, which we consider the principles that guide us in our endeavors to provide everything that enhances the experiences of all family members, we affirm our commitment to providing global standards in terms of health, safety and security, as well as unique experiences for every member of the family,” he added.

The new Sala Hub is part of the plans developed over the past years by the company to expand its business at the national level. The destination aspires to be part of the efforts aimed to improve the quality of life in the Kingdom, support employment, strengthen the economy and contribute to the achievement of the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

Bob’s Famous, KidZania Jeddah, Billy Bees, Sala City, Sala Laser Tag, Sala Karting, and eBlue are some of the brands operating under Sala Entertainment, through more than 26 branches across the Kingdom.


IHG partners with TRSDC to open InterContinental Resort Red Sea

IHG partners with TRSDC to open InterContinental Resort Red Sea
Updated 29 November 2021

IHG partners with TRSDC to open InterContinental Resort Red Sea

IHG partners with TRSDC to open InterContinental Resort Red Sea

Global hospitality company IHG Hotels and Resorts has announced the signing of a management agreement with The Red Sea Development Company, an affiliate of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, to open the InterContinental Resort Red Sea in the Kingdom. Situated within the premium Red Sea Development destination, the new InterContinental Resort is scheduled to open during Phase 1 of The Red Sea Project’s development. Activity for the first phase of development is well underway and is on track to be completed by the end of 2023.

Haitham Mattar, managing director, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG, said: “With a strong legacy in the country, we remain committed to leveraging the growth opportunities that are aligned with Saudi’s Vision 2030 and the priority destinations highlighted within the Saudi tourism strategy. We are excited to partner with The Red Sea Development Company, one of the world’s most ambitious regenerative projects, to strengthen our offering in Saudi Arabia and collaborate on sustainability related initiatives to protect the natural, historical and cultural environments that make this destination unique. These initiatives are in line with IHG’s Journey to Tomorrow, a 10-year action plan focused on commitments to drive change for people, communities and the planet.  We also look forward to building scale in the Kingdom to deliver a landmark development that will cater to the needs of diverse guest profiles expected to visit the country in the coming years.”

The announcement comes during InterContinental Hotels and Resorts’ diamond anniversary celebrations, marking 75 years of luxury travel with a celebration of rich heritage, iconic hotels and exclusive experiences.

Set within one of the world’s most ambitious luxury tourism developments amidst an archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands, InterContinental Resort Red Sea will offer guests sweeping views of the desert and dramatic mountain landscapes.

Each of the resort’s 210 sea-facing rooms will provide immediate beach access, allowing guests to step out onto the sands of the Red Sea from the terrace. Moreover, the resort will feature seven different gastronomic experiences, sprawling pools and recreational facilities, a spa, a health club, and meeting and events spaces for leisure and business travelers and groups.

John Pagano, CEO, TRSDC and Amaala, said: “Given IHG’s global expertise and strong legacy in the Kingdom, we are delighted to partner with them to bring world-class hospitality to our guests at The Red Sea Project. IHG is the ideal partner to build our hospitality offerings, shaping guest experience and taking it to the next level. With their understanding of the local landscape, high standards of quality, their impeccable service and clear focus on sustainability and responsible travel, we are confident that this partnership will see best-in-class results and we look forward to welcoming guests to this luxury leisure destination.”

In addition to The Red Sea Development, PIF is developing several gigaprojects across Saudi Arabia including Qiddiya, Amaala, Riyadh Central, Diriyah Gate, Jeddah Downtown, Rua Al-Haram, Rua Al-Madinah, AlUla, NEOM, and King Abdullah Financial District.

IHG currently operates 37 hotels in Saudi Arabia across five brands including InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites and Voco. A further 23 hotels are in the development pipeline, due to open within the next three to five years.


SABB goes live with instant USD payments for corporates using Ripple technology

SABB goes live with instant USD payments for corporates using Ripple technology
Updated 29 November 2021

SABB goes live with instant USD payments for corporates using Ripple technology

SABB goes live with instant USD payments for corporates using Ripple technology

The Saudi British Bank has launched an instant cross-border transfer service for the US corridor through blockchain payment technology powered by Ripple. The launch of this service was announced during the fifth edition of the Future Investment Initiative, led by the Public Investment Fund, held on Oct. 26-28 in Riyadh. Ripple-powered solutions continue to be part of SABB’s strategic plan aimed toward digital transformation and enriching customer experience and aligned with Vision 2030 and the Financial Sector Development Program.

SABB is not only the first Saudi bank to join Ripple’s network for blockchain technology, but is also the first bank in the region to offer near real-time USD settlement for its corporate clients. This expansion of the solution to cover the US corridor is the third one through Ripple, post the successful activation of this technology for the Indian rupee and Lankan rupee in early 2019. With the Kingdom’s enhanced focus on digitally enabled solutions, SABB aims to continue to bring innovative solutions to its customers in the country.

Majed Najm, deputy managing director corporate and institutional banking at SABB, said: “SABB has always been at the forefront of adopting cutting-edge technology solutions, providing the best banking services and tailoring solutions that save time and effort for our customers. Such initiatives also help in maintaining our leading position in achieving the ambitions of the bank’s customers and in supporting SABB’s vision to be the leading global bank in the Kingdom.”

Brooks Entwistle, managing director of RippleNet in APAC and MENA, added: “Over the past few years, Ripple has built the first in-market solutions leveraging blockchain technology to revolutionize cross-border payments. We’re excited to bring this to market in partnership with SABB and to continue our longstanding partnership to the benefit of corporates and consumers alike in the region.”


Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla
Updated 28 November 2021

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant opens doors in AlUla

Acme restaurant, which specializes in international cuisine, has announced the opening of its third Saudi branch in AlUla, in line with its ambitious expansion plan for the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia’s UNESCO World Heritage Site was chosen as the restaurant location because of its growing importance on the regional tourism map as it continues to receive an increasing number of visitors every year.

The interiors at Acme’s latest outlet represent a mix between the past and the present, taking inspiration from its surrounding desert. The dining tables are designed in a unique shape and the outdoor seating is comfy and traditional.

Acme in AlUla will offer guests a unique gastronomic experience that blends international flavors with a touch of AlUla’s deeply rooted ancient history. Dishes can be made to order as well.

The restaurant can accommodate more than 100 persons at a time.

Abdulelah Al-Naddaf, CEO and owner of Food Concepts Company, said that the opening of the AlUla branch is an important step in the growth of the Acme restaurant chain. He said the region is attractive in all aspects and motivates to achieve success, especially in F and B projects.

“The city of AlUla has begun to strongly flex its muscles in the field of domestic tourism during the past few years, as we have noticed after studying the success that can be achieved in this region, especially in restaurant projects,” he added.

“We are ready to receive visitors and tourists on all upcoming occasions, as Acme is eagerly waiting for them in this charming and natural picturesque location.”


Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid
Updated 28 November 2021

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance & technology in focus at ABLF Talks Hybrid

Tolerance, constructive dialogue and peace will be the engines that drive economic and social growth, said Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al-Nahayan, minister of tolerance and coexistence, UAE, at the second hybrid edition of the ABLF Talks at the Dubai Cares Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

The monthly leadership series, held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahayan and in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Dubai Cares, a UAE-based global philanthropic organization, saw a lively discussion by world leaders on the virtues of tolerance and inclusivity, and their role in meeting the sustainable development goals.

In the keynote address, Sheikh Nahayan highlighted how the UAE was driven by its belief in constructive dialogues and concern for each other’s welfare. “Tolerant societies are more open, innovative and economically prosperous while tolerant businesses are more successful. We in the UAE, consider ourselves to be the example of the truth of these statements,” he added.

The role of the Expo 2020 Dubai was also spotlighted as an event that not just motivated people to redesign and reshape their future but also served as a platform to learn, discover and appreciate the relationship between individuals and the world around them. “Our country is a land of opportunities. We will continue to be a dynamic hub of a vast, vibrant and ever-accelerating global market that serves over 2 billion people in the Middle East, Africa and beyond,” Sheikh Nahayan said.

The panel discussion that followed focused on the impact of the pandemic on the UN SDGs, especially in the education sector. Featuring Dr. Tariq Al-Gurg, commissioner general for the Dubai Cares Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai and chief executive of Dubai Cares; Dr. Dena Assaf, the UN resident coordinator, UAE, and the deputy commissioner-general, UN; and Majid Al-Usaimi, UNICEF national ambassador and president, Asian Paralympic Committee; the conversation veered on the need to democratize technology to bridge the huge gaps in society.

“COVID-19 has accelerated united efforts toward SDGs, but at the same time, it has also created a huge digital divide. If you have a shared vision and a global agenda but not enough technological connectivity or adequate force or funding, these goals cannot be achieved. Therefore, universal access to connectivity is critical,” said Dr. Al-Gurg. While listing out the various initiatives by Dubai Cares that aim to enhance children and youth’s access to education and creating opportunities for youth empowerment, he also announced the objectives of the upcoming RewirEd Summit, which is led by Dubai Cares in partnership with Expo 2020 Dubai and in close coordination with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and a host of global stakeholders. Taking place at Dubai Exhibition Centre from Dec. 12-14, the largest education summit of its kind aims to rewire education for a prosperous and sustainable future.

Delving deep into the UN’s efforts to tide over the challenges posed by the pandemic, especially in poorer economies, Dr. Assaf spoke about the need to engage with communities in a multi-level, multi-cultural and holistic manner while ensuring that technology is not used in a one-size-fits-all approach. “From the UN’s perspective, we work on the principle of — ‘no one should be left behind,’” he added, outlining the huge difference in access among various groups in different countries.

Meanwhile, Al-Usaimi brought the issues faced by people of determination to the forefront and the role of sports in building opportunities and communities.

Stressing on the need to use technology and research to identify the needs and customize programs for their benefit, Al-Usaimi said: “Our aim should be to get everything — money, technology and expertise — toward the achievements of the same goal.”