JEDDAH: Nigerian conjoined twins Hassana and Hussaina were on Thursday due to arrive in Saudi Arabia for a “delicate” separation procedure being carried out free of charge on the directives of King Salman.
Yahaya Lawal, Nigeria’s envoy to the Kingdom, said the monarch had sent a flying ambulance to transport the twins and their parents to Riyadh, where the surgery would take place.
The ambassador expressed his country’s gratitude to the king and told Arab News that the twins, born in hospital to a Nigerian couple, shared vital organs, including a liver.
“King Salman’s order to lend a generous hand to the family of the Siamese twins has delighted millions in Nigeria. The federal government through the presidency in Nigeria, on behalf of all Nigerians, has applauded this humanitarian gesture of the Kingdom.
“The government also expressed its sincere appreciation for this significant humane touch,” Lawal added.
The envoy also expressed his nation’s appreciation for the leading role taken by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center in helping to make the trip possible.
He said: “We remain ever grateful to the Kingdom, and we hope the operation, which will be conducted in the next few days, God willing, will be a successful one.”
The plane carrying the twins and their parents was flying from the northern Nigerian city of Kano to Riyadh where Lawal noted the youngsters would undergo a “very delicate separation operation.”
Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, general supervisor of the KSrelief, recently met Lawal in the Saudi capital to discuss aid and relief issues, and projects being run by the center in Nigeria.
During the meeting, the ambassador praised the humanitarian work being conducted by Saudi Arabia, via the center, throughout the world.
RIYADH: Deloitte is participating for the first time as a designated innovation and emerging technology partner at LEAP 2023, and has highlighted an initiative that is assisting the Kingdom’s firms and projects with their sustainability efforts.
The second edition of the event, being held from Feb. 6-9, hosts more than 700 leaders in technology and investment from 50 countries.
During the event, Deloitte’s CEO Mutasem Dajani, told Arab News that one of the tools on display at their booth is “GreenLight, which enables organizations to figure out decarbonization, regardless of where they are on the sustainability spectrum.”
“We are working with the leading project owners and developers in terms of the transformation that’s going on across the giga-projects in the Kingdom. And we’re really proud of that work that we’re doing,” he added.
“We feel it’s not only transforming the society and the communities, but also people’s individual career prospects through the work experiences that we offer.”
Visitors can also learn about drone- and robot-hacking.
The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with MOZN, a technology company that has created AI solutions for fighting financial crime and bolstering the financial services industry in Saudi Arabia and across the Middle East, said Dajani.
MOZN announced earlier that it is participating as a Bronze Sponsor in the conference. They are showcasing their myriad AI-powered offerings, including financial intelligence products and solutions to address compliance, natural-language understanding and risk challenges for organizations in various industries.
In a comment earlier, Dr. Mohammed Alhussein, founder and CEO of MOZN, said: “We are thrilled to return to LEAP 2023 and demonstrate our innovative AI-powered products and solutions to a global audience of disruptive tech professionals.”
Dajani said he was proud of the “leap of faith that the Kingdom has taken in terms of positioning itself around technology in … the new digital economy in the Middle East and Africa.”
Deloitte has hired over 3,000 professionals across the region in 18 months to respond to growing market demand.
Some of Deloitte’s speakers during LEAP include Dr. Amira Khattab, a partner for cyber and strategic risk, Saudamini Dubey, lead partner for digital transformation, and Costi Perricos, the firm’s global AI leader.
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.