For Middle East enterprises, 2021 will be ‘the Year of AI’, predicts Dataiku

Since its entry into Middle East market in early 2020, Dataiku’s innovative AI platform has helped regional organizations leverage the technology to build use cases to address industry-wide problems such as fraud, churn, supply-chain optimization, and predictive maintenance

Business intelligence driven by advanced machine learning will be a key differentiator for regional businesses as they try to position themselves in post-COVID-19 markets, according to Dataiku, a global leader in AI and machine-learning platforms.

Some Middle East countries, such as the UAE, had seen significant cloud-migration growth before the pandemic. But COVID-19 business practices, such as work-from-anywhere (WFA) and distance learning, accelerated the trend. As of December 2020, Deloitte expected growth in global cloud revenue to stay above 30% until 2025, and for 90% of the world’s enterprises to rely on hybrid cloud environments by next year.

The recent addition of regional cloud locations by global providers such as Oracle and Microsoft made it easier for organizations to make the transition. These businesses spent 2020 exposed to enterprise-grade technology suites, including advanced artificial intelligence that helped them adjust operational models and respond to market changes quickly.

Siddhartha (Sid) Bhatia, Regional Vice President, Middle East and Turkey at Dataiku believes that exposure to the benefits of such advanced capabilities will ensure that they become indispensable to competing players in several industries in the coming years. “We saw 2020 as the year of discovery of the benefits of cloud agility. But in 2021, I think we can expect to see Middle East businesses up their game as they stop merely trying to survive and look to thrive. So, I think we’ll see a significant number of organizations from different industries branching out into new use cases — 2021 will be the Year of AI.”

As organizations of all scales and industry bed in advanced BI solutions, Dataiku predicts that the formalization of AI in business workflows will follow, in the form of machine-learning and operations (MLOps). Just as DevOps integrates software development with day-to-day IT management, so advanced machine-learning capabilities will become part of the fabric of business through MLOps.

Bhatia oversees Dataiku’s recently established Middle East headquarters in Dubai, UAE. Leveraging a customer-centric engagement approach, the company has built a robust reputation across the region, empowering public and private enterprises with comprehensive AI solutions built on its innovative Data Science Studio (DSS) platform — a solution that democratizes data science by catering to a range of users, from the non-technical to statisticians and software developers. DSS is designed to remove friction in data access, cleaning, modeling, and deployment, leading to comprehensive information suites that greatly enhance operational efficiency, regardless of the scale or industry of the user base.

Dataiku’s Middle East client roster now includes more than a dozen large-scale organizations, including some of the largest airlines in the region, and majors from industries such as FSI, manufacturing and government. Implemented AI solutions for these clients have empowered them to address industry-wide problems such as fraud, churn, supply-chain optimization, and predictive maintenance.

The company’s entry into the Middle East and rapid growth comes on the heels of a US$100-million Series D investment round, which was completed in August 2020. This year, the company will focus on the expansion of its regional footprint. The company plans to double the size of its regional workforce by the middle of this year as its partner-centric go-to-market strategy continues to drive growth. Bhatia said, “We believe our channel program is central to our ongoing success. We build meaningful, lasting partnerships by carefully evaluating what each company gets from the collaboration, in terms of their individual strategy, capabilities, resources and offerings. Our partners range from large system integrators, global consulting companies and technology vendors to boutique houses focused on value-rich niche solutions.”

“After last year, many regional enterprises will find themselves at a crossroads,” Bhatia added. “They know that they need to become knowledge-based operators to drive future success, but they may feel at sea when trying to formulate a data strategy. Dataiku’s success has been built on understanding different stakeholders and their engagement level with actionable information. Our solutions bridge that spectrum, so no matter what you do, we can empower you to harness data and overcome real-world challenges.”

HPE Aruba Outlines 5 Focal Areas for Retail Industry Success

By: Jacob Chacko, Regional Director – Middle East & South Africa at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

As retailers adapt how they serve customers to meet immediate and long-term challenges, they are transforming their services to do more. Business transformation requires a network foundation, digital tools, and new streams of data to be analyzed. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are emerging as innovative ways to drive profitable business outcomes while driving IT process efficiency.

Below are 5 key areas that retailers need to pay attention to if they are to succeed in the new normal:

1. Start with great Wi-Fi. Mobility is key to ensuring customers and associates devices and applications work. Customers must be able to seamlessly connect to the store network and associates must be able to use their devices to find goods and assist customers quickly. IoT-enabled store solutions like check-out point-of-sale devices, product scanners, scan-and-go apps and digital signage depend on reliable connectivity. Capacity limits make it critical to move customers in and out of stores quickly to optimize turn times.

2. Get a competitive edge using IoT. IoT devices are critical to delivering a multitude of new experiences and driving new efficiencies. Mobile readers, sensors, and smart shelves can allow stores to maintain accurate inventory in retail time. Footfall sensors and location beacons provide real-time analytics for contextual and personalized offers while supporting a safe shopping experience.

3. Don’t guess on application performance. Connectivity and mobility are the foundation, but the applications that customers, associates, and warehouse staff use must also perform flawlessly. IT teams have long prioritized business-critical applications so they perform at peak. Guest traffic is separated from associates’ applications, and transactions and payments are highly protected. But even with these steps to ensure optimal application performance, the user’s network experience is often hard for IT to discern until there are vocal complaints. A better way to ensure that shoppers, associates, and other staff receive a quality network experience is give IT a real-time view of the end-user experience along with clear action steps to resolve any issues before a service ticket is opened. 

4. Spend your time on innovation, not on network management. It is rare for every store to have an IT staff member. But it is common for IT to get bogged down into network management, rather than innovating with new digital use cases. A cloud-native, single-pane-of-glass network management solution can allow IT staff to work remotely while maintaining visibility and control over all vital network services. Cloud-managed networks enable retailers to scale back the network when the need for temporary drive-through or pop-up services pass—or scale up quickly as needed. Whether the site is a store, warehouse, or corporate headquarters, IT should be able to ensure a secure, high-performance network across all locations, including teleworker home offices.

5. Extend indoor services to outside. With the popularity of curbside pickup and the need to provide touch-free experiences, many retailers need to extend their Wi-Fi outdoors without compromising connectivity to applications and devices that associates need. Associates need mobile POS systems and inventory scanning devices to assist customers, while maintaining secure connectivity to payment transactions.

Aruba’s Edge Services Platform (Aruba ESP) addresses all these imperatives of the retail industry. It is the industry’s first AI-powered platform designed to automate, unify and protect the edge for businesses of any size or type. Aruba ESP includes attributes of Unified Infrastructure, Zero‑Trust Security, AI Powered Operations (AIOps), and Flexible Consumption/Financing Models. These attributes are designed for the unique challenges facing retail, including being able to adapt quickly for unknown future use cases. Aruba’s technology solutions provide retailers tested and proven integrations to support staff communications, electronic shelf labels, shopper analytics, real-time data and inventory management, and predictive machine maintenance.

Redefining Luxury Travel

Turkish Airlines’ state-of-the-art lounges

Shereen Shabnam

Using Istanbul as a stopover when I head over to my Spanish home is a lot more fun now as the stop in Istanbul breaks the journey and gives us an opportunity to experience the luxuriously revamped airport lounges that Turkish Airlines is famous for amongst seasoned travellers.

The newly expanded airport lounges align with the Turkish Airlines’ brand of luxury and offer travellers a more rewarding airport experience. When flying with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul Airport, Business Class passengers and Economy passengers with Miles&Smiles membership can make use of one of the 2 international lounges, the Business Lounge or the Miles&Smiles Lounge depending on their eligibility, or they can use the Domestic Lounge for domestic flights.

The Business Lounge sprawls across 5,800 sq.m, seats 765 guests, and is easily one of the most well-equipped lounges in the world. With 13 private suites, shower cabins, a Turkish museum, a movie hall, and a variety of delicious Turkish food, the lounge offers world-class refinement and promises a one-of-a-kind experience.

The Miles&Smiles Lounge, designed for Turkish Airlines’ frequent fliers, also offers a diverse range of entertainment which make the transit between cities the best part of the journey. Open 24 hours, passengers can spend their downtime at the cinema, console gaming or use the spacious children’s playground where the fun never ends.

Meeting rooms and a library are also available. Turkish Airlines’ Miles&Smiles Lounge has an area of 5.600 m2 and can seat up to 765 people. The lounge houses 11 suites with 11 showers, comfortable couches and delicious treats of Turkish and world cuisines.

The Domestic Lounge is accessible through a special entrance gate located outside the terminal and is designed to help passengers relax and revive. With a brand-new children’s play area equipped with game consoles, and an interactive gaming experience, the lounge offers parents a chance to enjoy a stress-free experience as the play corners are overseen by a dedicated Turkish Airlines supervisor.

A selection from the Istanbul Modern Collection can also be seen at the Turkish Airlines Lounge in the airline’s brand new hub, Istanbul Airport. Turkish Airlines and Istanbul Modern entered into a cooperation to introduce Turkey’s modern art to the world.

As the Turkey’s first modern and contemporary art museum, a special selection from the Istanbul Modern will be displayed in Turkish Airlines Business Lounge at Istanbul Airport. Spanning 130 square-meters, the exhibition titled “A Selection from the Istanbul Museum of Modern Art Collection” will bring significant examples that represent four main dispositions of modern art of Turkey together.

Made possible with the collaboration of Turkish Airlines and Istanbul Modern, collection selections will be renewed three times annually within the project. Within the exhibition there will be varied type of artworks ranging from the early 20th century landscape painting tradition to the abstract paintings of artists looking for a synthesis between eastern and western arts during 1950s.

Housing the works that illustrate the daily life presence of figure painting, the exhibition will also display compositions that interpret cultural values of Anatolia with a new perspective.

Now with an advanced new hub and superior facilities, Turkish Airlines’ goal remains to continue expanding globally by increasing both its destination and fleet numbers, while providing passengers with unparalleled customer service in-flight and on the ground.

Parfums de Marly Launch Delina La Rosée for Spring

Spring is upon us, and whether or not you’re going to be focused on spring cleaning and changing up your wardrobe or beauty closets, there’s no doubt it’s time for new, new and more new stuff. This means that if there was ever a time to switch up your perfume collection, now would be best.
Enter in Delina la Rosée from luxury French perfume house, Parfums de Marly, a sensorial delight, capturing nature’s most captivating marvels, the beauty of fresh blooms, in a fragrance. This fragrance is a treasure trove of surprising notes that embody a timeless olfactive narrative with a touch of freshness that delicately brightens the skin from morning to night.