Allianz appoints Jan Prechtl as regional head of entertainment

Jan Prechtl
Jan Prechtl
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Updated 23 January 2022

Allianz appoints Jan Prechtl as regional head of entertainment

Jan Prechtl

Effective March 14, Jan Prechtl will be appointed as regional head of entertainment underwriting for European and Ibero-Latam regions at Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty. Based in Paris, Prechtl will become a member of the Mediterranean and Africa Regional Executive Management Team, with additional responsibilities across the Ibero-Latam and the Central and Eastern Europe regions. He will report to Patrick Thiels, managing director of AGCS Mediterranean and Africa region, and Michael Furtschegger, AGCS global head of entertainment.
Prechtl, 41, is currently the key account manager at AGCS Switzerland, Division of Allianz Risk Transfer AG. Prior to joining AGCS in 2017, Prechtl was a senior key account manager at Euler Hermes Switzerland and a member of the Euler Hermes Super Platinum Club for his proven record of accomplishments.
Before joining the Allianz Group in 2011, Prechtl held several positions at Zurich Insurance Group. He has a bachelor’s degree in tourism and travel from the University of Tourism Management, Switzerland. He also holds certificates in advance studies for Commodity Professional, as well as Digital Insurance from University of Applied Science in Business Administration.
Thiels said: “I am delighted to welcome Jan to the Mediterranean and Africa Executive Management Team. He has wide experience and I am looking forward to having him lead entertainment for the Mediterranean and Africa region and across Europe.”
Furtschegger added: “I am glad that Jan joins our entertainment team. With his international mindset and gained entertainment experience in German-speaking markets, he is the right person to further develop our European and Ibero-Latam regions.”


Hyundai shares vision for self-driving robotaxis

Hyundai shares vision for self-driving robotaxis
Updated 16 May 2022

Hyundai shares vision for self-driving robotaxis

Hyundai shares vision for self-driving robotaxis

Hyundai Motor Company has launched a global manifesto campaign called “Innovation Begins, from Very Human Things” to share its vision for self-driving robotaxis. Motional, a global leader in driverless technology, will work in partnership with ride-hailing services to deploy the Level 4 autonomous vehicles across major US cities starting in 2023.

The all-electric Ioniq 5-based robotaxi, which was first unveiled at 2021 IAA Mobility to much acclaim, is an SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle that can safely operate without a driver. To make the robotaxi a reality, Hyundai partnered with Motional, to equip the award-winning Ioniq 5 with an array of hardware and software to provide safe and secure driverless operation.

Hyundai’s vision for the technology and customer experience resonates with the assertion that the Ioniq 5 robotaxi is “a mobility solution with humanity inside — not just without a human driver.”

In line with Hyundai’s brand vision of “Progress for Humanity,” the company’s aim for the robotaxi is to go fully autonomous while retaining a humanistic touch. This narrative is depicted through two videos of the recently launched campaign.

The two campaign videos emphasize the humanistic qualities of robotaxis, showing how they adopt safe driving behaviors and care for passengers. The first episode emphasizes the robotaxi’s actions resembling those of a careful, considerate driver and the second episode focuses on the robotaxi taking care of passengers from teenagers to disabled and elderly.

In the first episode, a female engineer working in an autonomous lab for the Ioniq 5 robotaxi is inspired by her childhood memories of her father always driving carefully and considerately. Then, she applies his driving qualities when working on safety technologies for the Level 4 autonomous vehicle, which is later seen stopping for a cyclist, pulling over for emergency vehicles, and safely making a left turn after yielding to oncoming traffic.

The second episode starts by showing a robot engineer-inspired teen taking a ride in the Ioniq 5 robotaxi with her friends after school. They are surprised and delighted to see that the car is driving by itself and one of her friends unbuckles his seatbelt, causing the car to alert him to buckle up, much like a parent would if present. The video highlights how the self-driving robotaxi represents a mobility solution that anyone, including teenagers, disabled and elderly, can safely take a ride under any circumstances.

Hyundai and Motional plan to begin transporting public passengers in the Ioniq 5 robotaxi in 2023, starting in Las Vegas and then expanding to major cities in the US and globally.


Infor & IDC to reveal KSA’s digital transformation insights

Infor & IDC to reveal KSA’s digital transformation insights
Updated 16 May 2022

Infor & IDC to reveal KSA’s digital transformation insights

Infor & IDC to reveal KSA’s digital transformation insights

Infor, an industry cloud company, and IDC, a leader in market intelligence, are revealing key insights about digital transformation for organizations involved in industrial manufacturing and distribution sectors at a series of dedicated roundtables in the Kingdom.

Experts from Infor and IDC hosted a roundtable in Riyadh on May 16, and will host two others in Alkhobar and Jeddah on May 17 and 24, respectively, where they will lead discussions on topics including the latest DX technologies, how organizations can embrace their digital transformation journey with industry-specific cloud ERP, and key predictions about the Saudi Arabian market.

In a recent IDC survey, 72 percent of Saudi organizations cited cloud as being fundamental to driving innovation and digital transformation in their businesses, while a study from QuantAlign Research revealed that Saudi Arabia’s cloud market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35.5 percent between 2021-2030 to reach a value of $10.5 billion in 2030. Saudi Arabia’s government is also encouraging digitization efforts as part of diversification plans under Saudi Vision 2030.

Investment in cloud solutions also necessitates the adoption of specialized, industry-specific cloud-based software solutions to maximize the potential of companies’ transformation efforts.

At each of the roundtables, experts including Hamza Naqshbandi, IDC associate vice president, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain; Phil Lewis, Infor senior vice president, solution consulting; and Khaled Al-Shami, Infor vice president of solution consulting, Middle East and Africa, will offer a detailed look at the Saudi market and share key insights about the state of digital transformation and application modernization underway in the Kingdom. The events also feature keynotes and panel discussions, including speakers from AWS, Saudi Diesel, AutoWorld, and Zagzoog, who will share insights about their digital transformation journeys.

The events provide insights into how modern technologies can enable businesses to quickly scale up and spend less time managing infrastructure, giving them more time to focus on strategic initiatives.

“Saudi Arabia is a dynamic market with huge growth potential. The government is committed to developing and diversifying the economy under Saudi Vision 2030, and this is stimulating further investment from the private sector,” said IDC’s Naqshbandi.

“Organizations in Saudi Arabia are increasingly interested in cloud solutions and digital transformation, which makes it the perfect time to raise awareness about the need to develop continuous transformation plans and to embrace industry-specific digital solutions that give the best results for the nuanced needs of different industries,” said Infor’s Al-Shami.


Saudi Arabian Airlines operates world’s longest net-positive flight

Saudi Arabian Airlines operates world’s longest  net-positive flight
Updated 16 May 2022

Saudi Arabian Airlines operates world’s longest net-positive flight

Saudi Arabian Airlines operates world’s longest  net-positive flight

Saudi Arabian Airlines operated the world’s longest net-positive flight, thanks to a partnership with enviro-tech business CarbonClick and aviation consultancy SimpliFlying.

On May 12, Saudia offset a total of 346 tons of carbon emissions, including radiative forcing impacts by a factor of two, for commercial passenger flight SV227, from Jeddah to Madrid, making the flight net-positive.

Operating with a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the flight time was five hours and 55 minutes. Flight SV227 departed from King Abdulaziz International Airport at 10:30 a.m. and arrived at Adolfo Suárez Madrid–Barajas Airport at 1:35 p.m. local time.

This flight is Saudia’s entry into the Sustainable Flight Challenge, an initiative by SkyTeam, one of the world’s three major airline alliances. All SkyTeam airlines are being challenged to go above and beyond by finding the most sustainable way to operate one single flight in their existing networks.

The challenge seeks inspiration from the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race from London to Melbourne.

The flight is also equipped with the world’s first in-flight sustainability lab, where passengers can contribute ideas on how air travel can become “greener.”

Saudia’s participation in SkyTeam’s Sustainable Flight Challenge is part of a broader commitment by the airline to continually improve its environmental performance.

“The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 will see 100 million visits to Saudi Arabia by the end of the decade,” said Saudia CEO Captain Ibrahim Koshy. “A cornerstone of that vision is for the Kingdom to be a leader in sustainable and even regenerative tourism.

“As Saudi Arabia’s national flag carrier we have a key part to play in making that happen. As a result, operating the world’s longest carbon net-positive flight is just the start of an ambitious sustainability program that we will be implementing.”

“Saudia has decided to go above and beyond to not only ensure that this flight was carbon-neutral but net-positive. This partnership can serve as a model for the future,” added Shashank Nigam, CEO of SimpliFlying.

CarbonClick has been selected by SimpliFlying and Saudia as the offsetting partner for this challenge. CarbonClick will offset flight SV227 by applying the contribution from Saudia to the generation of clean wind electricity for communities in India.

Michelle Noordermeer, chief operating officer at CarbonClick, said: “Saudia is setting a huge example by showing what can be done now, carbon offsetting, and using quality carbon credits as a powerful way to remove carbon and neutralize the impacts of radiative forcing.”


Nala: The first-ever AI medical platform in Arabic

Nala: The first-ever AI medical platform in Arabic
Updated 16 May 2022

Nala: The first-ever AI medical platform in Arabic

Nala: The first-ever AI medical platform in Arabic
  • Nala founder Othman Abahussein spells out how developers with a vision can create health impact through apps

RIYADH: Headquartered in Riyadh, Nala is Saudi Arabia’s leading digital health service for chronic conditions management and the first-ever AI medical platform in Arabic. The app offers tailored digital care programs, virtual access to dedicated doctors, bluetooth health devices, and prescriptions delivery.

In line with one of the Kingdom’s initiatives for Vision 2030, related to digital healthcare transformation, the platform provides its users with instant access to personalized healthcare through a mobile app. “Over 200,000 patients with chronic conditions have used Nala, and we are on track to serve 1 million,” said Othman Abahussein, founder and CEO of Nala. He added: “Nala is now the most preferred method to treat diabetes for insurance companies and government payers. Our whole team is in Riyadh, and all of our human capital investments go into local talents. We made a bet on local talent, and we are very proud of that.” 

Featured multiple times by the Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and the winner of numerous awards, Nala has doctors licensed by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties and is consistently top ranking in app stores. The company also recently raised more funds that it intends to use to continue to grow its user base and further strengthen its position as the region’s top digital health service.” 
Asked about what inspired him to create the Nala app, Abahussein said: “I had just sold my first company, and I wanted to work on something with an impact. I then went through a personal event that made me think, maybe chronic conditions are a perfect application for mobile digital health. I knew I had the required knowledge and experience to venture into app development; in addition I always believed Apple technologies and specifically the iPhone was a marvel of human engineering with many serious capabilities — not gimmicks — and would work well with my vision. This is how I decided to develop in an iOS environment at first.”

“Besides providing app creators with the ultimate distribution channel (App Store), Apple has a very active and supportive developer community that will help you with insights on how to improve your app and make your solutions even more effective,” he said.

“Our main mission is to provide exceptional health care experience while maintaining a significant low cost for patients and preserving their medical privacy. Developing on the iOS platform allowed us to design Nala’s databases in a way medical data is stored without personal identifiers; this way no one can access the patient info without the patient’s consent.”

Abahussein added: “Our first versions were exclusively in Arabic, so it’s an Arabic-first app. We later added an English translation and we plan on adding other languages soon (Urdu and Hindi). There were no challenges in creating an all-Arabic app other than picking the right fonts.” 

On keeping his app up-to-date despite new trends and constantly changing user behaviors, he said: “We stay close to technological developments and its impact on user behaviors; conferences like WWDC are very important for us to discover new capabilities and update our user experience accordingly. We also make sure to keep a short development cycle to ensure that our app is always up-to-the-minute.” 

Asked about his top tips for developers who want to create a successful app, Abahussein said: “Be obsessed with the problem, not the solution. Everyone can code! Don’t be intimidated by the platform, techniques or environment as you’ll always find the required resources to support you on your journey, especially if the app you want to create is worth it and solves a problem within its field or community.”
 

 


Saudia wins Best Stand Design & People’s Choice Award at ATM

Saudi Arabian Airlines’ team members receive an award at ATM 2022.
Saudi Arabian Airlines’ team members receive an award at ATM 2022.
Updated 15 May 2022

Saudia wins Best Stand Design & People’s Choice Award at ATM

Saudi Arabian Airlines’ team members receive an award at ATM 2022.

The Saudi Arabian Airlines stand stood out for its futuristic and eye-catching design among 1,500 exhibiting companies at the Arabian Travel Market 2022 in Dubai as it was crowned the winner of Best Stand Design and the People’s Choice Award at the popular Best Stand Awards.
Using vivid colors and futuristic design elements, the three-level Saudia stand featured a mesmerizing and immersive staircase.
For the Best Stand Design category, the judging panel, including Matt Gibson, CEO, UpThink; Andrew Wingrove, group director, Motivate Media Group; Joe Mortimer, editor-at-large, Destinations of the World News; Philip Wooller, area director Middle East and Africa — STR; and Paul Johnson, editor, A Luxury Travel Blog; focused on identifying a stand with a creative design that makes the best use of available space and appears inviting from a visitor perspective.
Danielle Curtis, exhibition director ME, Arabian Travel Market, said: “Arabian Travel Market is once again proud to celebrate the best of exhibition stand design and event experiences with the return of the Best Stand Awards. A common theme highlighted throughout the exhibition halls this year was the ability to create an immersive experience that offers an engaging and imaginative look into the company’s products and services.”
The coveted award for Best Stand for Doing Business was awarded to Jumeirah International for its inviting and aesthetically brilliant design that incorporated a busy and stimulating environment for networking and business. Runner-ups in this category included Turkish Airlines, Ras Al-Khaimah and Al-Mousa for their creative use of technology and installations.
Judges selected the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi stand for the Best Stand Feature award for its ability to pull in the crowds from the exhibition floor, while the Dubai Tourism, Saudi Tourism Authority and Emaar Hospitality Group stands were all highly commended in this category.
The Best New Stand award was won by Ishraq Hospitality, who made their debut at the show this year, for their wooden design reminiscent of the desert landscape.
The final award was the Best Stand within the ATM Travel Tech, which shines a light on the importance of technology to the industry and rewards exhibitors with a tech focus. TBS/Vbooking’s innovative design impressed the judges for its immersive metaverse experience.
The winners of this year’s awards were presented with their awards on the exhibition show floor on May 11.
Launched in 2015, the Best Stand Awards were created to recognize creative design, people skills and the business-friendly appeal of exhibiting companies’ stands at ATM.