Saudi Arabian Airlines, SDAIA and SCAI team up to harness power of AI

Saudi Arabian Airlines, SDAIA and SCAI team up to harness power of AI
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Updated 16 September 2022

Saudi Arabian Airlines, SDAIA and SCAI team up to harness power of AI

Saudi Arabian Airlines, SDAIA and SCAI team up to harness power of AI

Saudi Arabian Airlines, known as Saudia, the Kingdom’s national flag carrier, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority and the Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence to utilize digitization and artificial intelligence solutions and cement the Kingdom’s global leadership in the field.

The signing took place in the Global AI Summit, which was held at King Abdulaziz Conference Center in Riyadh from Sept. 13-15, under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, chairman of the SDAIA.

Under the terms of the MoU, the three parties will establish a joint framework for utilizing the latest AI and emerging technologies to enhance customer experiences, in addition to exploring ways to collaborate on developing and deploying AI applications. The three parties have agreed to utilize advanced technology and natural language processing across Saudia’s customer care and digital channels.

Dr. Majid Altuwaijri, chief executive of the National Center for Artificial Intelligence, signed the MoU on behalf of SDAIA, while Ayman Al-Rashed, CEO of SCAI, and Dr. Khaled Alhazmi, Saudia’s vice president of operations and IT support, signed for their respective companies.

“We at Saudia are delighted to be joining forces with SDAIA and SCAI on developing and deploying advanced, sophisticated digital products,” said Dr. Alhazmi. “Throughout our digital channels, our never-ending quest to enhance our guests’ experiences has always been digital-first, and we will be working with emerging technologies, AI, and the Internet of Things to take the way we communicate with them to the next level.”

Al-Rashed, the CEO of SCAI, expressed his enthusiasm to be working with the Kingdom’s national flag carrier to enhance its customer experience using the latest in AI and emerging technologies.

“We discussed ways to develop and utilize AI applications to help accomplish Saudia’s strategic targets, including supplying them with SauTech, a voice-to-text system that is sure to elevate the experiences of Saudia’s guests,” said Al-Rashed.

“SCAI and Saudia will work together to use the system’s highly sophisticated speech recognition solution to improve their customer care applications.”

Dr. Altuwaijri, the CEO of NACI, stressed SDAIA’s intention to build a data-driven, AI-powered economy, saying: “Our mission is to unleash the latent value in big data to achieve the targets of Vision 2030.

“This MoU will help us diversify the sectors in which the Kingdom can develop and apply AI solutions and air transport is one of the key sectors to benefit from these technologies.”

Saudia announced earlier this week that it has been named strategic sponsor and official carrier of the Global AI Summit, a three-day event in which more than 200 speakers representing digitization and AI policymakers from 70 countries attended, together with investors and the top executives of major tech corporations.

Saudia’s sponsorship of the prestigious event underlines its commitment to the targets of Vision 2030, including establishing the Kingdom as a global leader among data-driven, AI-powered economies and applying cutting-edge AI solutions to ensure that its guests and staff benefit from the best possible service.

To celebrate the occasion of the Global AI Summit, Saudia offered attendees discounts of up to 20 percent on Saudia Holidays packages. 


ITC Infotech successfully completes 10 years of strategic association with SNB

ITC Infotech successfully completes 10 years of strategic association with SNB
Updated 05 December 2022

ITC Infotech successfully completes 10 years of strategic association with SNB

ITC Infotech successfully completes 10 years of strategic association with SNB

ITC Infotech, a leading global technology services and solutions provider, announced that it has successfully completed 10 years of strategic association with Saudi National Bank, the largest commercial bank in Saudi Arabia. ITC Infotech in these years has played a pivotal role in the bank’s modernization, digital transformation and growth journey.

Commenting on the relationship, Saleh Saleh, group chief technology and digital officer at SNB, said: “Our collaboration with ITC Infotech has been transparent from the start resulting in a fruitful and successful relationship. ITC Infotech’s deep domain experience has helped leverage growth and profitability in the rapidly transforming competitive landscape. It further enriched and expanded SNB’s digital capabilities that resulted in the successful delivery of a large array of technology projects. We, at SNB, strive to fulfill one of our strategic visions to be the best digital bank and we continue to be a premier financial and banking service provider in the region.”

Vishal Kumar, president and regional head, Middle East, Africa and APAC, ITC Infotech, said: “We are very pleased to have collaborated with SNB and have played a pivotal role in their digital transformation. This relationship is testimony to our proven capabilities and experience in anchoring the bank’s growth journey and fulfilling its vision. Our association with SNB will set a benchmark in the region and with our capabilities we will be able to contribute to the digital development of the financial and banking operations in the Middle East.”

Over the last decade, ITC Infotech has harnessed its deep-domain expertise and capabilities to deliver best-in-class technology consulting solutions that help clients overcome challenges and accelerate growth in the Kingdom. The company will continue to stay committed to empowering clients meet Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 goals. 

 


SABB partners with Visa’s Cybersource for e-commerce acquiring business

SABB partners with Visa’s Cybersource for e-commerce acquiring business
Updated 04 December 2022

SABB partners with Visa’s Cybersource for e-commerce acquiring business

SABB partners with Visa’s Cybersource for e-commerce acquiring business

Saudi British Bank has announced a strategic partnership with Visa’s Cybersource payment gateway and risk platform, with the aim of fostering the bank’s growth in an evolving and dynamic e-commerce space.

This partnership will enhance the overall capabilities of SABB’s payment gateway, and most importantly, enhance network uptime, which will also supplement the bank’s payment gateway proposition. SABB will leverage Visa’s payment technology to offer its existing merchant network and explore new opportunities through a simplified onboarding journey and advanced platform functionalities, enabling merchants to provide customers with a frictionless, robust and secure payment experience.

“Through our partnership with Visa, we look forward to implanting the additional benefits offered by the Cybersource payment gateway, which will in turn reinforce our e-commerce strength. This initiative is evidence of our commitment and ambition to support the payment ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. I believe this will enable the e-commerce businesses to grow and expand further,” said Yasser Al-Barrak, chief corporate and institutional banking officer at SABB.

With the Visa Cybersource payment gateway and risk platform, SABB will be able to support businesses in meeting increasing demand from consumers for seamless and secure digital payment options online. According to a 2021 Visa survey, more than 60 percent of consumers surveyed in Saudi Arabia said they prefer to shop and pay online, rather than in store.

“Embracing digital payments and a potentially cashless society is where the future lies. Visa is investing in our global assets, infrastructure, and digital capabilities to support businesses in their digital transformation and we are committed to supporting the Saudi government’s digital commerce ambitions,” said Ali Bailoun, Visa’s regional general manager for GCC cluster — Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman.

“We are very proud to partner with SABB, one of the leading e-commerce acquiring banks, to ensure that businesses in Saudi enjoy a range of domestic and international benefits that will enable them to deliver the seamless, secure e-commerce experience consumers are seeking,” he added.

Cybersource is a Visa company that offers a complete portfolio of online and in-person services that simplify and automate payments.

 Through global reach, local expertise, modern capabilities, and commerce insights, the company offers flexible, secure and creative commerce solutions for everyday life.


Americana announces investor allocations for Saudi-UAE IPO

Americana announces investor allocations for Saudi-UAE IPO
Updated 04 December 2022

Americana announces investor allocations for Saudi-UAE IPO

Americana announces investor allocations for Saudi-UAE IPO

Americana Restaurants International Plc, the largest out-of-home dining and quick service restaurant operator in the Middle East and North Africa and Kazakhstan, has announced investor allocations and the revised timetable for its initial public offering — the historic, first-of-its-kind concurrent dual listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange and the Saudi Stock Exchange.

As announced on Nov. 24, the final price for the shares to be sold in the offering has been set at 2.62 dirhams ($0.70) per share in the UAE and SR2.68 ($0.71) per share in Saudi Arabia.

The concurrent book building process generated orders of approximately $105 billion in aggregate from qualified institutional investors as well as individuals and other investors in a number of countries, including the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The UAE retail offer and the KSA retail offer were oversubscribed by approximately 48.2 times  and 2.8 times, respectively, and the institutional offer was oversubscribed 65.5 times, resulting in an aggregate oversubscription level of 58 times. A total of 283,245 retail subscribers are participating in the offering in Saudi Arabia.

Following the conclusion of the concurrent book building process, 80 percent of the offering (2,021,671,944 ordinary shares) has been allocated to the institutional offer; 10 percent to the UAE retail offer (252,708,993 ordinary shares), and 10 percent to the KSA retail offer (252,708,993 ordinary shares). Americana Restaurants allocated a minimum of 1,000 offer shares to each subscriber in the UAE retail offer and a minimum of 892 offer shares to each subscriber in the KSA retail offer.

The IPO will be concluded through a dual listing process on ADX and the Saudi Exchange, with admission of the offer shares to listing and trading now expected to be on Dec. 12, subject to receiving all required regulatory approvals.

Mohamed Ali Rashed Alabbar, chairman of Americana Restaurants, said: “This is a proud day for all at Americana Restaurants, a testament to the immense value that has been created by the business since inception and, more recently, through its transformation journey. For the offering to be priced at the top of the range is a clear demonstration of the opportunity that we present to investors, and that was further proven by aggregate oversubscription of approximately 58 times.

“We are looking forward to the next step of our growth journey and working toward future value creation. We are equally proud to have taken the final step toward a historic first-ever concurrent dual listing on ADX and the Saudi Exchange — further enhancing the depth and maturity of the UAE and Saudi capital markets. We look forward to welcoming our new shareholders in December.”


stc supports research and innovation with new partnerships

stc supports research and  innovation with new partnerships
Updated 03 December 2022

stc supports research and innovation with new partnerships

stc supports research and  innovation with new partnerships

stc Group, the region’s leading digital enabler, participated in the recent Sustainable Partnerships Conference held in Riyadh, where it signed a number of partnership agreements with several Saudi universities, to support research and innovation projects in the technical field in the Kingdom.

Foremost of its partnerships signed at the event is that with King Saud University. It includes the establishment of a chair for scientific research in the field of artificial intelligence, aiming to find solutions to technical challenges facing the private sector.

stc also joined forces with the Saudi Telecommunications Engineering Society, Prince Sattam bin Abdulaziz University, and Taif University. The aim is to develop the communications sector by innovative means, develop engineering communications, and raise the scientific and professional level of communication engineers in the Kingdom. The partnerships will also contribute to the digital transformation of the universities’ services and projects.

During his session, stc Group Chief Strategy Officer Abdullah Abdulrahman Alkanhl highlighted the group’s pioneering role in encouraging research and innovation through several of its initiatives, including the InspireU program, which the group launched in 2015, to support emerging entrepreneurs and university students. The program succeeded in graduating 75 startups that provided more than 600,000 direct and indirect jobs. The group also supported direct investments in the research and innovation area through venture capital funds, with its contribution of $500 million to STV Fund.

“We recently elevated the value of investment to $800 million,” added Alkanhl.

stc Group believes the partnerships will encourage the exchange of scientific and technical knowledge as well as support the development of educational programs, joint research projects and innovative activities such as competitions and hackathons. Moreover, stc seeks to enrich the registered intellectual property content.

“The signed partnerships stand out as one of the main elements for achieving our goals in sustainable development in the field of research and innovation, as our strategy revolves around enabling more vibrant sectors in the Kingdom. This will facilitate and accelerate the process of digital transformation because of its positive impact on public interest, whether on individuals, society or the business sector,” said Alkanhl.

The two-day conference, held under the theme “Research and Innovation Towards A Prosperous Economy” was part of an initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Education to foster ties between Saudi universities and the industrial and development sectors. More than 50 cooperation and research partnership agreements were signed between universities and various sectors at the event.


Thakher Development inks deal with Banque Saudi Fransi

Thakher Development inks  deal with Banque Saudi Fransi
Updated 03 December 2022

Thakher Development inks deal with Banque Saudi Fransi

Thakher Development inks  deal with Banque Saudi Fransi

Thakher Development Company, the master developer of the upcoming Thakher Makkah project, has signed an MoU with Banque Saudi Fransi, under which the company’s customers can avail a range of different financing solutions, including off-plan financing. The move is in line with Thaker’s constant efforts to fulfill its customers’ needs and aspirations by delivering optimal solutions, services and products.

The MoU was signed by Karim Hashem, vice president for finance and investment at Thakher, and Attaf Faiz Ramadan, regional branch network manager at Banque Saudi Fransi.

“We are proud of this cooperation with Banque Saudi Fransi that shows and asserts confidence in the development work carried out by Thakher,” said Hashem.

He added: “It also comes in the context of the partnerships that Thakher has with financing agencies and other companies to provide the best options and products for its customers and to achieve best results in line with Saudi Vision 2030.”

FASTFACT

The move is in line with Thaker’s constant efforts to fulfill its customers’ needs and aspirations by delivering optimal solutions, services and products.

Meanwhile, expressing his pleasure over the signing of the MoU with Thakher, Ramadan said: “The MoU comes as part of Banque Saudi Fransi’s efforts and keenness to strengthen the economy and provide various financing solutions that suit all customers’ needs, as well as to support and develop the real estate sector to achieve the objectives of Vision 2030.”

Thakher Makkah supports the ambitious vision of Saudi Arabia, which aims to host 30 million Umrah performers and 6 million pilgrims by 2030.

The project spans an area of more than 320,000 square meters. Upon completion, it will include around 100 land plots for hospitality, residential, commercial, and service-related purposes. Residential and hotel apartment units will be available in various categories, and the units will also be available for ownership.

Among the international hotels that will open in Thakher Makkah are Radisson Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson, and Novotel Hotel, which will be the largest in the world in terms of the number of rooms.

The second phase of Thakher Makkah is expected to be completed by 2024.

Thakher Development Company aims to change the real estate development scene in Makkah. The company’s vision is to contribute to the sustainable development of Makkah and to become the preferred destination for visitors to the holy city.

The Thakher Makkah project will provide 15,000 direct jobs and 18,000 indirect jobs, while the total value of the project is estimated to be SR26 billion ($6.93 million).