93% of KSA firms have AI strategy in place or under development: Cisco

93% of KSA firms have AI strategy in place or under development: Cisco
Salman Faqeeh, managing director, Cisco Saudi Arabia.
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Updated 25 February 2024
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93% of KSA firms have AI strategy in place or under development: Cisco

93% of KSA firms have AI strategy in place or under development: Cisco

Ahead of the LEAP 2024 technology conference in Riyadh, Cisco announced the findings of its AI Readiness Index in Saudi Arabia. The index, which surveyed more than 8,000 companies across 30 countries, was developed in response to the accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence. The survey shows that 93 percent of organizations in the Kingdom have an AI strategy in place or under development, while only 8 percent consider themselves fully prepared to deploy and leverage AI.

Improving the efficiency of and increasing productivity was ranked among the top outcomes that companies are looking to drive through adoption of AI, with 47 percent of respondents in Saudi Arabia placing it on top of gains they expect from AI. Opening new revenue streams was the lowest on the list of expectations, as ranked by 30 percent of respondents.

On talent development, 31 percent of Saudi respondents ranked comprehension and proficiency of AI tools and technologies as the primary skill gap. The good news is that organizations are taking steps to address this gap. Among the organizations surveyed in the Kingdom, 82 percent say they are investing in training employees in this area.

On infrastructure readiness, the survey shows that a mere 12 percent of local organizations in the Kingdom have networks that are fully flexible to handle the complexity of AI workloads. Cybersecurity also needs increased focus, as 70 percent of respondents fall short of being “fully equipped” to detect and prevent adversarial attacks on AI models.

Salman Faqeeh, managing director, Cisco Saudi Arabia, said: “Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in recent years to establish itself as a leading player in the field of AI. The Kingdom recognizes the transformative potential of AI and has placed it at the center of its Vision 2030.”

He added: “At Cisco, we believe in the critical role of AI to revolutionize industries and drive innovation, and it has been an important element across our portfolio for over a decade. As the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority is working to implement the National Strategy for Data and AI, the insights from the index can help inform the prioritization across important pillars including strategy, infrastructure, data, governance, talent, and culture.”

This year, Cisco’s participation at LEAP, held from March 4-7, is revolving around the theme of “AI Unleashed: Shaping Sustainable Digital Evolution.” Visitors will be able to engage with subject matter experts at Cisco’s booth and discover demos to harness the power of AI to enable a sustainable, securely connected future.

Reem Asaad, vice president for Cisco Middle East, Türkiye, Africa, Romania, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, said: “Cisco has a long-standing presence in the region, working to advance national digital economies, develop infrastructure, strengthen cybersecurity, and build the region’s talent pool. This year at LEAP, we are excited to demonstrate the power of our portfolio to support our customers and partners in Saudi Arabia and beyond in leveraging our latest technologies to increase efficiencies and drive innovation.”


New Canon CX center boosts Saudi printing industry

New Canon CX center boosts Saudi printing industry
Updated 25 April 2024
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New Canon CX center boosts Saudi printing industry

New Canon CX center boosts Saudi printing industry

Canon Middle East, a leader in printing and imaging solutions, recently announced the establishment of a new customer experience center in Saudi Arabia, marking a significant step toward fulfilling the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. The initiative highlights Canon’s commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction and strategic partnerships within the region.

Since establishing a direct presence in Saudi Arabia at the end of 2018, Canon has rapidly expanded its operations in response to the country’s status as the largest GDP contributor in the Middle East. With more than 70 years of experience in the region, Canon’s expansion into the Saudi market includes the strategic opening of offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. This expansion not only solidifies Canon’s commitment to the Saudi market but also highlights the brand’s dedication to meeting the evolving demands of its customers with updated technology and state-of-the-art solutions.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and global supply chain disruptions, Canon Middle East has maintained a significant market share of 70 percent within just two years of operation. This achievement reflects the strategic importance of Canon’s direct presence in the country, which has been instrumental in ensuring the availability of products and providing unparalleled customer support. 

Shadi Bakhour, B2B business unit director at Canon Middle East

“Canon Middle East’s investment in the customer experience center represents our ongoing commitment to driving innovation and empowering the printing industry in Saudi Arabia,” said Shadi Bakhour, B2B business unit director at Canon Middle East. “Our goal is to exceed customer expectations through collaboration, knowledge sharing, and technological advancement, thereby contributing to the socioeconomic development of the Kingdom as outlined in Vision 2030.”

The customer experience center will foster innovation and collaboration, positioning Canon Middle East as a trusted partner in Saudi Arabia’s transformative journey.

“By doubling its revenues in just two years and investing in local initiatives, Canon demonstrates its dedication to not only meet but also exceed the expectations of Saudi customers,” the company said in a statement.

“As Saudi Arabia progresses toward achieving its ambitious Vision 2030, Canon Middle East remains committed to supporting the nation’s goals across various sectors. With opportunities for growth abound, Canon is poised to capitalize on mega-deals and initiatives that drive the Saudi economy forward.”


Experience innovation and elegance with Nissan’s sedan trio

Experience innovation and elegance with Nissan’s sedan trio
Updated 24 April 2024
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Experience innovation and elegance with Nissan’s sedan trio

Experience innovation and elegance with Nissan’s sedan trio

When it comes to automotive excellence, Nissan has a lineage that spans decades, with each of its sedans — the Altima, Maxima, and Sunny — telling a story of meticulous design and engineering tailored to meet the unique needs and aspirations of drivers. Crafted with an emphasis on the driver’s experience, these models reflect Nissan’s commitment to diversity, ensuring there is a sedan for every customer, regardless of their lifestyle, budget, or aspirations.

The sleek and stylish Nissan Altima, with its fuel-efficient engine, ensures a drive that is as economical as it is powerful. This sedan does not just move you from point A to B; it does so with an unmatched blend of efficiency and flair, whether for city commutes or for longer trips. Equipped with intelligent driving aids and comprehensive protective systems, it offers peace of mind, safeguarding every journey and providing a driving experience that is secure and profoundly enjoyable. Sealing the deal, the Altima’s design, characterized by clean lines and an aerodynamic shape, further solidifies its position as a symbol of modern automotive design.

The Nissan Maxima, on the other hand, takes the concept of a four-door sports car and infuses it with luxury and high-performance capabilities. Boasting a powerful engine that delivers exhilarating acceleration and a refined interior that includes luxury features often found in premium segments, the Maxima is a testament to Nissan’s ability to blend performance with style. As impressive under its hood as it is on the outside, it is engineered for drivers who demand more from their vehicles — more power, more comfort, and more advanced technology — illustrating the result of the blending of engineering and luxury without compromise.

For those seeking practicality without sacrificing quality, the Nissan Sunny offers an unbeatable proposition. Its spacious interior and fuel-efficient engine makes it an ideal vehicle for families and individuals alike. However, what really puts the Sunny a notch above the rest is its affordability, ensuring that quality and reliability are accessible to a broader range of customers. It is a model that proves Nissan’s dedication to offering versatile options across various budget ranges, making the joy of owning a well-crafted vehicle a reality for more people.

In addition to its forward-thinking approach to automotive design, Nissan consistently demonstrates its commitment to customer-centricity by prioritizing the evolving needs of the drivers. By incorporating cutting-edge technology and advanced features, Nissan not only enhances the driving experience but also ensures that each journey is safer, more comfortable, and more enjoyable. The seamless integration of intelligent mobility features across models such as the Altima, Maxima, and Sunny underscores Nissan’s dedication to innovation and its focus on exceeding customer expectations.


WakeCap and OpenSpace partner to transform Saudi construction

WakeCap and OpenSpace partner to transform Saudi construction
Updated 23 April 2024
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WakeCap and OpenSpace partner to transform Saudi construction

WakeCap and OpenSpace partner to transform Saudi construction

In a landmark move set to transform the construction landscape of Saudi Arabia, WakeCap, a Saudi-based provider of smart solutions for construction project management, and OpenSpace, a US-based leader in reality capture and AI-powered analytics, announced a strategic partnership aimed at making cutting-edge global technology easily accessible to the local market.

WakeCap provides real-time insights into worker activity and equipment usage through its smart hard hat solution. These data are designed to help project owners make informed decisions to enhance site safety, streamline workflows, and optimize project execution.

OpenSpace, an AI construction tech company, helps commercial builders operate more efficiently and with less risk.

This strategic partnership between WakeCap and OpenSpace is set to revolutionize the Saudi construction sector. By providing direct, local access to world-class technologies, it creates a centralized hub for all construction technology needs, enhancing operational efficiency across the board. The partnership between the two solutions further aims to provide more transparency on Saudi construction projects and to enable better decision-making and project management. This collaboration also addresses the challenge of talent scarcity, by allowing for more efficient resource utilization. Remote progress monitoring and tracking capabilities further reduce the need for frequent site visits, fostering smarter work practices that align with the demands of today’s fast-paced construction environment.

Dr. Hassan Albalawi, CEO and co-founder of WakeCap, said: “At WakeCap, we are deeply committed to setting the industry standard for data-powered site visibility, and our partnership with OpenSpace is a testament to this. Together, we are poised to propel the Saudi construction industry into a new era of transformation, marked by greater transparency, efficiency, and reliance on cutting-edge technology. This collaboration is more than a partnership — it’s also a pledge to empower Saudi companies with the necessary tools to thrive in a competitive market. By combining our expertise, we offer local access to global technological advancements, simplifying procurement, and ensuring these innovations are tailored to meet local requirements.”

Sam Badrah, director of sales, Middle East and emerging at OpenSpace, said: “We are excited to officially announce our partnership with WakeCap to help accelerate digital transformation in the construction sector across Saudi Arabia. Together, we can challenge the status quo in the region to help companies build smarter.”


Honor leverages power of AI for next-level smartphone experience

Honor leverages power of AI for next-level smartphone experience
Updated 23 April 2024
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Honor leverages power of AI for next-level smartphone experience

Honor leverages power of AI for next-level smartphone experience

Honor is pioneering the future of smartphone user experience through cutting-edge AI integration into its flagship models. The company’s latest, Magic6 Pro, serves as a testament to Honor’s AI-driven innovation, with various industry-first applications of this revolutionary new technology.

The very concept of how consumers interact with their smartphones is rapidly evolving, with more nuanced and meaningful interactions becoming the norm. Recognizing the transformative power of AI, Honor has taken great strides to integrate this technology into its smartphone ecosystem, delivering a visionary user experience in the global markets, including the Middle East and Africa.

Honor’s vision to revolutionize AI in smartphones is no easy feat, yet the company has already made significant steps in this field, and continues to explore and test new limits with each new product lifecycle. Honor attributes this rapid evolution by adopting a four-layer AI strategy, with each layer designed to maximize the potential of AI in smartphones. Through this strategy, Honor aims to unify different devices under a single AI-powered ecosystem, thus enabling seamless connectivity and resource allocation no matter what device is being used. By reimagining the smartphone operating system with the introduction of MagicOS 8.0, Honor aims to create a more intuitive system that is tailored to individual preferences and use, so that every device experience is unique to its user.

With extraordinary advancements in photography capabilities, display quality, performance, and user experience, the Honor Magic6 Pro again sets a new industry benchmark and delivers an unparalleled flagship smartphone experience.

The Magic6 Pro’s upgraded AI Falcon camera system is now backed by powerful AI algorithms, which help users to capture photographs with intricate details. Compared to the Magic5 Pro, the Magic6 Pro brings with it several new innovations to the AI Motion Sensing algorithm, pioneered by refinements from Honor’s R&D team. While the previous version of this tech relied on only 270,000 images to train for detecting actions such as jumping, walking, and running, the upgraded version uses a dataset of nearly 8 million images across 10 different scenarios, resulting in much smarter AI capabilities.

To help improve user sleep patterns, the phone’s Circadian Night Display leverages AI to adapt to each user’s nighttime usage and adjust color temperature accordingly.

By far the greatest example of AI innovation comes from the Magic6 Pro’s MagicOS 8.0, which harnesses AI in a multitude of unique ways. Magic Portal for example, utilizes AI to understand and comprehend user messages and behaviors, and recommend a system app accordingly. A simple drag of a message from a chat can lead to directions for a nearby coffee shop, or quickly add a future meeting to your calendar. For privacy and security, the AI Privacy Call 3.0 feature helps to minimize sound leakage by leveraging the power of AI and directional sound technology, so that phone calls can be made without worrying about the call being heard by people around you, especially in an elevator or car.

Honor Magic6 Pro is available for purchase in Black and Epi Green for SR3,999 ($1,066). Upon purchase, consumers will get free gifts worth SR2,158 including Honor Watch GS 3, Honor Care+ and more. Consumers can get the Magic6 Pro through the Honor Experience Store, Honor’s online store, Jarir Bookstore, eXtra, stc, Zain, LuLu, Amazon, Noon and other stores.


King’s College Hospital London names CEO for Jeddah facility

Claire Smith, CEO of King’s College Hospital London - Jeddah
Claire Smith, CEO of King’s College Hospital London - Jeddah
Updated 23 April 2024
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King’s College Hospital London names CEO for Jeddah facility

Claire Smith, CEO of King’s College Hospital London - Jeddah

King’s College Hospital London announced the appointment of Claire Smith as the new chief executive of the hospital’s new facility in Jeddah, making her the first female British CEO in Saudi Arabia.

Prior to King’s College Hospital London, Smith served as CEO for HCA Healthcare UK, Joint Ventures, a private company in the UK. However, her journey began as a nurse, and her dedication and devotion to the sector propelled her to climb the ranks.

With more than 30 years of experience, Smith brings a wealth of knowledge in clinical, operational, and administrative areas in addition to her deep passion for serving the community, making her a perfect fit to uphold the hospital’s core values and visionary model of integrated care.

Smith’s mission extends beyond healthcare; she believes in connecting with patients on a human level, ensuring that their feedback shapes the hospital’s services around their actual needs.

When asked about her vision for Jeddah, she said: “Fundamentally, healthcare is always about serving the community in which we operate. It’s wonderful to come to Jeddah and work with so many people from Saudi Arabia and from around the world. The aspiration is to ensure that we serve our community and deliver exceptional healthcare.”

Under Smith’s leadership, King’s Jeddah is poised to introduce the best of international healthcare standards to the region, driven by a commitment to excellence, innovation, and person-centered treatment.