From the beauty of its houses to the richness of its history, the governorate of Al-Majaridah in Asir region, is a unique gem of Saudi Arabia.
The village’s early residents excelled in agriculture and astronomy. Using abstract calculations, they were able to create an agricultural calendar, one of the most famous and oldest of its kind in the Kingdom.
The houses are built in a distinct architectural style and are nestled in a vibrant landscape of mountains, valleys, caves and vast fields, where celebrations and folk dances are often held. The area features an abundance of fragrant shrubs and herbs including wormwood, buddleja polystachya, caralluma, lavender, dodonaea, thyme and basil, as well as trees such as junipers, Christ’s thorn jujube and almond.
Al-Majaridah is characterized by the height of its mountains and the variation in its temperature throughout the seasons.
The village sits amid fertile lands supplied by wells that hold enough water for residents and their farms, some of which use irrigation and others that employ the “falaj” system, which evenly distributes rainwater between the farms.
Al-Majaridah’s early community excelled in agriculture, cultivating a wide range of fruits such as pomegranates, apples, prunes, barbary figs, apricots, grapes, peaches, berries, and all kinds of legumes. It was also known for its ghee and honey products.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s high-tech platform Footlab to launch in Saudi Arabia
Partnership with Portuguese legend Rui Costa is the world’s first indoor football measurements, performance and training park
Footlab has signed an agreement with Kingdom’s Confrontation Entertainment company
Updated 06 February 2023
Saudi entertainment company Confrontation Entertainment has signed an exclusive franchise agreement with Footlab, a partnership by Cristiano Ronaldo and Rui Costa.
Footlab, a cooperation between the Portuguese football legends through Ronaldo’s tech company 7EGEND, started from an idea to bring to life a blend of e-gaming, real-life football and technology. It is headquartered in Lisbon, Portugal, and opened in 2018.
At the platform, players can train, compete and keep track of their real-time performance data within different stations in the park, which are all connected in a digital ecosystem.
Footlab was designed with the next generation of football players in mind, providing players and trainers with the tools they need to measure and track performance in real time and use that information to create personalized development.
The technology behind it was developed in-house by Sports Scientists, a team of software and hardware engineers, UX designers, AI and data experts, to deliver the world’s leading football data-driven experience.
Luis Parafita, Footlab world CEO, expressed his gratitude for entering the Saudi market through this agreement. “Sports is an integral component of Saudi Arabia’s transformative Vision 2030, and we are thankful for the unconditional support of our partners and the perfect timing to launch Footlab in all (of the) Kingdom, having Cristiano here and world attention for what lies ahead.”
“Footlab aspires to change the game in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he pointed out, “with elite facilities and coaching staff dedicated to the analysis and development of players, empowering teams and groups of friends with challenges, to test and improve their cognitive, physical and technical skills.”
Ahmed Madani, Confrontation Entertainment CEO, said the growth of the sports and entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia made this an ideal time to introduce innovative projects such as Footlab in the market.
He said this partnership was aligned with the Quality of Life Program, one of the Saudi Vision 2030 realization projects “which encourages the private sector to contribute to the development of the entertainment and sports sector, by offering an abundance of new experiences that contribute to raising the quality of life.”
Tech giants from around the world take center-stage at Saudi Arabia’s LEAP conference
Second edition of the event, being held over Feb. 6-9, to have more than 700 leaders in technology and tech investment in attendance
LEAP’s inaugural conference broke the record for largest tech event ever held, with this year looking to be even larger
Updated 06 February 2023
RIYADH: More than 700 leading experts in technology investment from 50 countries are set to speak during the second edition of the LEAP technology conference, which will take place at Riyadh Front Expo Center from Monday to Thursday.
The conference is organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, and UAE-based IT services and consulting firm Tahaluf.
It aims to spark discussions on artificial intelligence, the digital transformation and advancements in the field of technical and innovative entrepreneurship through immersive learning, storytelling sessions and lectures.
“The first edition of LEAP was surprisingly more than I expected from a debut event. I am excited to see how this edition will make an even greater impact on our industry and the creative economy,” Sujoy Cherian, group CEO of Option 1 Events, an event technology and content company, told Arab News.
“Besides speaking on the panel for future live events, I am honored with the opportunity for a solo session to share my insight on some of the latest in tech for hybrid events and content creation,” he added.
Cherian, a creative technologist and serial entrepreneur, is just one of the hundreds of speakers from more than 400 global and local technology companies speaking at the event.
Executives from Saudi Aramco, NEOM, Microsoft, Oracle, Huawei, Zoom, Ericsson and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are among the roster of speakers.
International tech figures include G.V. Ravishankar, managing partner of Sequoia Capital India; Tim Ringel, an investor and advisory board member at Adit Ventures; and William Bao Bean, general partner of venture capital firm SOSV.
Former world boxing champion Anthony Joshua, astronaut Susan Kilrain and West Ham United Football Club vice-chairman Karren Brady to also speak at LEAP.
Executives from leading firms such as Saudi Aramco, NEOM, Microsoft, Oracle, Huawei, Zoom, Ericsson and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are set to deliver speeches during the conference.
Some of the world’s leading tech figures will take to the Investor Stage, including G.V. Ravishankar, the managing partner of Sequoia Capital India, Tim Ringel, an investor and advisory board member at Adit Ventures, and William Bao Bean, general partner of venture capital firm SOSV.
Former world boxing champion Anthony Joshua, astronaut Susan Kilrain and West Ham United Football Club vice-chairman Karren Brady will also speak at the conference.
Some of the talks set to take place at LEAP will shed light on the creative economy, education, retail, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, future energy, smart cities, and health tech.
One of the companies that will discuss the creative economy during one of the many orbital talks is Sparkup, a real-time engagement platform for live streams and hybrid events. “Our experience combines virtual audience technology and interactive live streaming to offer attendees a front-row seat on an event and allow them to react in real-time,” Vincent Bruneau, founder and CEO of Sparkup, told Arab News.
The company is working toward scaling and integrating its real-time engagement platform, bringing the concept into different environments. “It’s quite exciting because virtual and hybrid events are becoming very popular, people are now used to it and it forces you to innovate, to level up your game and imagine what should the next experience be like,” Bruneau said.
The investors’ platform is expected to witness multiple investment deals with global tech industries.
The changing landscape of the Saudi design industry
Designathon competition encourages designers to consider modern challenges
Updated 05 February 2023
RIYADH: The first Designathon competition was recently held in Riyadh, gathering 500 designers and specialists to solve key issues facing the design industry, including social impact, health and sustainability.
Organized by the Architecture and Design Commission on Feb. 2-3, it brought together local creators to compete for awards collectively worth more than SR500,000 ($133,000).
Sumayah Al-Solaiman, CEO of the commission, said: “It is the designer’s role to really advocate for not just themselves but also society and the planet. We made sure that we have that responsibility reflected within the three tracks.”
Coming in first place in the wellness track was team “Sabeel,” followed by team “Mumtir” in second place, and team “Khutwah bi Khutwah” in third.
The sustainability design track’s winning teams were “Wasm” in first place, “Table Mo1” in second place, and team “Waste No More” in third place.
• Coming in first place in the wellness track was team ‘Sabeel,’ followed by team ‘Mumtir’ in second place, and team ‘Khutwah bi Khutwah’ in third.
• The sustainability design track’s winning teams were ‘Wasm’ in first place, ‘Table Mo1’ in second place, and team ‘Waste No More’ in third place.
• Finally, the social impact track awarded first place to team ‘Dreams,’ second to ‘Rans Team,’ and the third winning spot to ‘Hayyak.’
Finally, the social impact track awarded first place to team “Dreams,” second to “Rans Team,” and the third winning spot to “Hayyak.”
The initiative aims to encourage up-and-coming designers to consider real-life modern design challenges that truly impact community members, create awareness around participatory design concepts, and highlight the role of design in resolving global issues. Participatory design is a cooperative method that looks at solutions that involve all stakeholders, with a focus on the procedure of design rather than the style itself.
“This time, we will be learning from everything that happens. We want to use that design methodology and hear from all the participants (regarding) their experience…and how we can improve it for next editions,” Al-Solaiman explained.
One of the participants, Huda Al-Qahtani, is a senior architecture student at Prince Sultan University who is interested in the art behind design and its role in enhancing the microclimate.
“I actually was interested in the well-being track and the social impact track. For well-being here in Saudi specifically, we don’t have any chances for walkability or cycling. It’s very hard, whether you’re considering the width of the streets or the climate,” she told Arab News.
Al-Qahtani expressed her excitement at the new initiatives that cater to the growth of the local design scene. “I feel very proud. Now I’m seeing more opportunities in Saudi than...abroad,” she said. “It’s (expanding) very fast, which makes me relieved…Even the architecture here in Saudi is gaining its identity back.”
Raghad Fathaddin, one of the sustainability track mentors, told Arab News: “What (the Designathon) is telling us all as citizens of this nation is that there (are) new ways of thinking, and that’s what we’re calling upon in order to achieve the Saudi Vision 2030 and sustainable development goals.
“I’m very impressed by the ideas I’m hearing…Our nation shouldn’t be underestimated. I’m excited for our future.”
Al-Solaiman noted the possibility of expanding on the three tracks in the future, increasing the number of participants, or even venturing into a different city.
The Designathon is one of 33 initiatives undertaken by the commission, most of which look at enhancing education and job opportunities, incentivizing the design sector, highlighting the economic value of design and content development, and fostering community engagement and support.
Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu delights fans in Jeddah
Making his first ever appearance in the Kingdom, Sanu thrilled the audience of mostly Indian expats, serving up renditions of more than 20 songs
Updated 05 February 2023
JEDDAH: Bollywood singer Kumar Sanu wowed the crowds on Friday night as the latest celebration of Indian culture drew to a close.
Sanu was the star of the show for the two-day music festival at the Equestrian Club in Jeddah’s Al-Frosyah district, which was organized by Good Hope Events in cooperation with the General Entertainment Authority.
Making his first ever appearance in the Kingdom, Sanu thrilled the audience of mostly Indian expats, serving up renditions of more than 20 songs.
“I have been waiting to perform in Saudi Arabia and here we are in Jeddah for the first time,” he told his adoring fans from the stage.
“We have a great crowd and I am happy to see you enjoying the night.”
Also on the bill were Rachna Chopra, Biplab and Afsal, who helped ramp up the crowds with a host of Bollywood numbers.
“I am amazed by the energy that flowed from you guys,” Chopra told the crowd.
Fan Nadia Azmi, who went to the gig with friends, said: “We all are privileged to have Sanu among us in Jeddah today. We all have grown up listening to his songs since the ’80s and ’90s.
“It is wonderful to listen to him live today. I want to thank Saudi Arabia and the organizers for their efforts in making this possible.”
Junaise Babu, chairman of Good Hope Events, said the festival had been a huge success.
“It was a great feeling to see so many men, women, young and old, not only Indian expatriates but also other Asians enjoying the various musicians we brought.”
Amrina Qaiser, who introduced Sanu on stage, said: “It was an amazing experience hosting such a mega event in Jeddah for the first time.
“I felt overwhelmed and I was lucky enough to interact with the king of melody from Bollywood, Kumar Sanu.”