Sharjah Taxi launches first-of-its-kind ‘smart taxi’ in the Middle East

Sharjah Taxi launches first-of-its-kind ‘smart taxi’ in the Middle East
Khalid Al-Kindi, executive director of Sharjah Taxi
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Updated 03 August 2022

Sharjah Taxi launches first-of-its-kind ‘smart taxi’ in the Middle East

Sharjah Taxi launches first-of-its-kind ‘smart taxi’ in the Middle East

Sharjah Taxi, a subsidiary of Sharjah Asset Management Company, investment arm of the government of Sharjah, has launched a revolutionary “smart taxi,” a first in the Middle East, with the primary goal to harness artificial intelligence services for vehicle operations and safety. This action is in order to achieve the digital transformation plan of the emirate of Sharjah. The move also aims to raise the level of services provided to the public, in accordance with the highest global standards of security and safety.

Khalid Al-Kindi, executive director of Sharjah Taxi, said that the smart vehicles were equipped with sensors, cameras, a mobile data unit, and other devices connected to an integrated system, with the aim to continue developing work and control mechanisms. The pilot project benefits from best international practices in the field of intelligent transportation systems, which will undoubtedly contribute to increasing operational efficiency, and provide an integrated network of systems to report instant and accurate information related to transportation movement.

He said that intelligent transportation systems apply modern technologies in the areas of monitoring, information collection, control and means of communication, and utilize the full carrying capacity of road networks and other means of transportation. The system helps regulate flow of traffic, facilitate access to key places, monitor driver behavior, mitigate erroneous practices, and reduce meter manipulations. As a result, the number of trips and total wasted kilometers are reduced, ultimately reducing the rate of road accidents and environmental pollution, whilst raising operational efficiency. The company also benefits through a reduction in operational costs.

Al-Kindi explained that the launch of the smart vehicle will result in an important package of outputs, the most notable of which is monitoring driver behavior.

The system contributes to monitoring driver behavior through an intelligent system, with the ultimate aim of analyzing the causes and circumstances leading to erroneous practices, such as the use of mobile phones while driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, drowsiness and fatigue, or preoccupation with anything other than the road.

Technical equipment inside the vehicle enables the collection of various data including vehicle temperature, electronic parts condition, and more. This allows remote monitoring of the vehicle, allowing real-time interventions and appropriate actions as soon as possible.


Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle opens first CB2 store in KSA

Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle opens first CB2 store in KSA
Updated 01 October 2022

Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle opens first CB2 store in KSA

Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle opens first CB2 store in KSA

Majid Al-Futtaim, a leading shopping mall, communities, retail, and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia, has opened doors to its first CB2 store in Riyadh. Promising a highly curated collection of contemporary furniture and decor, the brand has made its much-anticipated arrival following the recent store launch of its sister brand Crate and Barrel earlier this year. The opening of the store on Sept. 15 marks an important milestone for Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle as it continues to enhance its retail offering in the Kingdom.

Located on the ground floor of Sahara Mall, the large showroom hosts a range of design-forward pieces that will inspire customers to elevate their own spaces at home. From velvet sofas to ivory embossed nightstands, CB2 offers a curated selection of unique furniture and decor that can be mixed and matched to suit any aesthetic. Customers can experience CB2 both in the Riyadh store or online at www.cb2.sa, where they can browse the full collection.

“We are proud to be introducing CB2 to the Kingdom for the very first time, expanding the brand’s physical and digital footprint to cater to customer demand,” said Fahed Ghanim, chief executive of Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle. “Our focus is on customer experience as we collaborate with leading designers and brands to create world-class brand encounters. The omni experience we serve to our customers will help them enjoy CB2 and establish deeper connections with the brand.”

“We are thrilled to be working with our partners, Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle, to expand the CB2 brand in the Middle East,” said Janet Hayes, CEO of Crate and Barrel Holdings. “We believe that the design-forward product collection will resonate with both the international and local
Saudi clientele who are inspired individuals searching for ways to creatively transform their homes.”

“Through our partner Majid Al-Futtaim Lifestyle, we’re excited to see our brand’s second international home in the Middle East,” said Ryan Turf, president, CB2. “Our collections are an evolving exploration of modern design. As with our recent opening in Dubai, we hope the store allows even more people to explore, dream, and bring their heart’s desire home.”

The new store’s assortments include indoor and outdoor furniture, kitchenware, bedding, lighting, rugs, accessories and more. Customers can also explore exciting collaborations with leading designers such as Kara Mann, Ross Cassidy, Jennifer Fisher, Paul McCobb, Lawson-Fenning, Mathew Williamson, and Azeeza — all known for their individual creative aesthetic.

To provide a seamless omnichannel shopping experience, CB2 offers its products online with free delivery across Saudi Arabia, cash on delivery, and other convenient payment methods via Tabby, which allow shoppers to pay later — at zero interest.


Walaa Insurance taps Software AG for digital integration

Walaa Insurance taps Software AG for digital integration
Updated 01 October 2022

Walaa Insurance taps Software AG for digital integration

Walaa Insurance taps Software AG for digital integration

Saudi insurance company Walaa Insurance has entered into a strategic technology partnership with Software AG (Frankfurt MDAX: SOW) to transform its technology landscape. Software AG’s hybrid digital integration platform will allow Walaa to launch new products, services and channels in the Saudi market with an enhanced customer focus. The technology partnership will allow Walaa’s existing and new customers to experience innovative products and digital services across multiple channels.

This cooperation announcement was made last week in Riyadh during a handshake ceremony between Abdullah Albar, head of IT, Walaa Insurance, and Philippe La Fornara, president EMEA, Software AG. The event was attended by key executives of both companies.

Albar said: “Technology is a critical enabler in fueling our business priorities. Embracing innovation driven by Software AG technologies will act as Walaa’s central nervous system and will enable us to connect both external and internal APIs through a unified integration platform, powering our ecosystem and elevating our business competitiveness through enhanced delivery capabilities and customer experiences. In line with the leadership’s Vision 2030, this is our contribution toward a growing digital economy for our customers in Saudi Arabia and the broader region.”

Mamdouh Alolayan, country manager, Saudi Arabia, Software AG, said: “The fast-paced technological change in Saudi Arabia is advancing and reshaping all sectors including the insurance sector. We are pleased to support Walaa’s aspirations to upgrade its digital framework with an emphasis on interconnectedness and interoperability of services aimed to grow and revolutionize end-user experiences. Our API management platform and webMethods will open doors for a modern and global platform with newer business opportunities for this insurance giant in the years to come.”

Software AG’s transformative technologies will enable Walaa Insurance to fully harness the power of data in an age of fast-changing customer expectations and the evolution of the insurance sector. The insurance company will drive increased value for the segment continuing to stand out in today’s innovative and new business model dynamics.

Headquartered in Alkhobar, Walaa Insurance serves clients all over the Kingdom through three regional offices and more than 70 retail offices.


Gravita: A co-working space like never seen before

Gravita has hosted numerous international companies like AstraZeneca, PwC, Microsoft, P&G, Dior and more.
Gravita has hosted numerous international companies like AstraZeneca, PwC, Microsoft, P&G, Dior and more.
Updated 01 October 2022

Gravita: A co-working space like never seen before

Gravita has hosted numerous international companies like AstraZeneca, PwC, Microsoft, P&G, Dior and more.

Jeddah recently witnessed the opening of Gravita, an ultra-modern co-working space located in the heart of the city’s commercial district on Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz Street.

Gravita gathers like-minded professionals from different disciplines ranging from freelancers to entrepreneurs in startups, SMEs and large enterprises in a revolutionary co-working space.

Spread across 3,200 square meters, Gravita is the largest co-working space in Jeddah by far, covering the entire 9th floor of the prestigious Jameel Square, which is one of the most distinguished commercial squares in the city, hosting numerous international companies in its offices including AstraZeneca, PwC, Microsoft, P&G, Dior and more.

The concept behind Gravita was conceived by its mother company Hadia Abdul Latif Jameel Group, which ranks amongst the top Real Estate Investment and Development Companies in the western region of the Kingdom for the past two decades.

HALJ Group is well renowned for its excellence and commitment to developing cutting edge hospitality, commercial and residential buildings with projects spanning across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

An international designing company worked cooperatively alongside an in-house team of designers.  They helped bring Gravita’s vision to life by giving each section a generous amount of space with the utmost privacy, allowing natural flow of light in a modernist style with a panoramic view of the beautiful coastal city.

Exquisite materials were carefully curated to furnish the premises to  make it contemporary and ergonomic. 

Gravita is tech-oriented and connected by a smart portal that is a key utility for the tenants right  from the moment they approach the parking area till late working hours.

The great efforts put in by Gravita ensure that a premium service is offered, characterized by personalization and context-based support with professionalism being at the core of every interaction.

It revolves around knowing the members individually and catering for their needs in a quick and smooth manner in order to innovate their experience and elevate the sense of community and partnership.

The vision behind Gravita goes beyond merely being a co-working space provider and embraces the idea that a stunningly designed place offering amenities and services like no other, combined with a well curated experienced team paves the way for professionals to perform better at their jobs and enables them to thrive and their ideas to flourish.

This unique space gives an opportunity to be surrounded by motivated and self-disciplined individuals that seek creativity and innovation in their efforts towards successful commerce, communication across all levels, networking, and design thinking.

Gravita opens a new perspective on the way workspace is defined and its direct effect reflecting on the high level of productivity, self improvement, and passion that goes into a profession.

 

 


voco first Riyadh hotel to offer EV charging station

voco first Riyadh hotel to offer EV charging station
Updated 28 September 2022

voco first Riyadh hotel to offer EV charging station

voco first Riyadh hotel to offer EV charging station

voco Riyadh, owned and operated by the InterContinental Hotels Group, has launched an electric vehicle charging station, as part of a series of new initiatives to protect and preserve the environment. In doing so, voco Riyadh has become the first hotel in the Saudi capital to offer an EV charging point.

Green initiatives such as these have made voco hotels around the world popular among tourists and guests looking for environmentally-friendly accommodation options.

M. Allaf, regional general manager of IHG and general manager of voco Riyadh, said sustainability is one of the most important priorities of voco hotels in the Kingdom. “voco aims to be the leading destination for sustainable tourism in the Kingdom, in line with Vision 2030 goals, which have placed sustainability among its most important pillars, as the Kingdom aims to reach zero-carbon neutrality by 2060.”

He added: “voco is a brand built on sustainability, and it continues to take sustainable measures with regard to carbon, energy, waste and water. voco cares about our planet as much as it takes care of its guests. voco’s care for the environment is seen in practices such as serving guests drinks in biodegradable glasses and cups or providing them with the opportunity to refresh and bathe under energy-efficient ventilated shower heads.”

The new EV charging station is also in line with the Saudi government’s direction toward supporting and developing the electric car industry. In May, the Saudi Ministry of Investment announced an investment of more than SR12.3 billion ($3.27 billion) to build a Lucid Motors EV factory in Saudi Arabia, with an annual production capacity of 155,000 cars. The move reflects the Kingdom’s global commitment to promoting a green economy and reducing carbon emissions.

Allaf said that voco has taken several other proactive measures to reduce carbon emissions, save energy and water, and reduce waste. “voco is a unique example of a green hotel model in the Kingdom, and it will continue to promote long-term sustainability and care for the planet in the communities where it operates,” he added.

Among its green initiatives is the use of large packages containing shampoo, soap and other toiletries for guests, which help reduce plastic waste. Moreover, voco uses recycled materials for various purposes and glass water bottles instead of plastic ones. Personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, razors and others are made with biodegradable materials.

Recycled plastic bottles are used in guest rooms, transforming plastic waste into high-quality bedding. By November 2019, this initiative had recycled more than half a million bottles.

In order to reduce the use of paper and benefit from digital transformation, the IHG Hotels and Resorts application provides visitors with the ability to book more than 5,900 hotels and resorts within the IHG Group around the world, including voco Riyadh and Alkhobar. The hotels also plan to eliminate plastic cards and digitize reservations to reduce plastic consumption.

The IHG Green Engage program features 200 eco-friendly solutions to improve sustainability practices at a global level.


NMC-KIA sponsors Taif racing season activities

NMC-KIA sponsors Taif racing season activities
Updated 28 September 2022

NMC-KIA sponsors Taif racing season activities

NMC-KIA sponsors Taif racing season activities

National Marketing Company, the official dealer of Kia cars in the western region of Saudi Arabia, is a strategic sponsor of the Taif Equestrian Club, which is currently hosting the 39th Taif racing season at King Khalid bin Abdulaziz Square in Hawiyah, located 15 km from Taif.

With a large number of spectators in attendance, the season, running from June 16 to Oct. 8., comprises a total of 384 races, and several valuable new contests have been added to the calendar. One of the contests, titled “Race Kia,” saw “Roga 3” winning first prize, outperforming all the other competitors.

NMC presented a KIA K5 car to the winner. Hassan Al-Shamrani, chief executive of NMC, handed over the car in the presence of Adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Prince Khalid Al-Faisal and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Supreme Equestrian Authority Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal.

The officials ensured that all the arrangements for the competitions were in place, in line with the directives of the leadership and the goals of Vision 2030 to advance all sports activities, including horseback riding.

A display stand showcased the latest Kia cars at the event, allowing attendees to discover the newest offerings and even submit a purchase order after conducting a test drive.

By participating in the event, NMC-Kia aimed to strengthen its presence in the city of Taif, which is one of the most important cities in the Kingdom and a destination for those looking for pleasant weather, fresh air and scenic views.

Al-Shamrani said that supporting sports activities of all kinds is part of the company’s main goals, “where we seek to support and empower those who aspire to grow and develop in line with the Kia slogan ‘The Inspiring Movement.’”

“We are also keen to provide integrated services to Kia customers and provide points of sale in all governorates and cities of the western region in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he added.

Al-Shamrani said that earlier this year, NMC-Kia opened an integrated “3S” (showroom, service and spare parts) branch in Taif.