Enticing Thailand

The land of beautiful beaches, great viewpoints, temples, nightlife and countless excursions

Shereen Shabnam

While Thailand is popular as a holiday destination to many, it was more of a wedding destination for me during my first visit when I tied the knot in Hat Yai and felt grateful for the many memorable experiences as we headed to Krabi soon after for some sand, sea and beach life. The Krabi region is one of the most beautiful areas in southern Thailand.

Our trip was full of countless surprises, from meeting friendly people who married us, to becoming food-obsessed with the countless choice of food all around while losing count of the country’s many glittering temples and the lazy days spent on tropical beaches.

Visiting Thailand a number of times since that first trip, we came across bustling cities and tropical forests dramatically different from the turquoise sea we initially went in search of. The foodie experience of course is the best in Nakhon Sawan where seafood is in abundance.

We also hosted an exhibition in Bangkok not long ago. As the capital of Thailand, Bangkok can be overwhelming the first time but there is so much to do that you wish you had more time. The best option is to plan ahead what you would like to experience as there is so much on offer from food experiences, cultural sites, river tours and the best shopping if you like retail therapy.

If you like monuments of the past, I suggest heading to the historic town of Sukhothai and the UNESCO World Heritage site and discover lost history and ancient treasures. Another popular destination is Chiang Mai that offers the best of nature in from of jungle treks, hot springs, waterfalls, old town visits, festivals and vibrant markets.

No visit to Thailand is complete without going to Phuket which is Thailand’s largest island and a popular holiday destination. It has a great nightlife, plenty of restaurants and good base to do island hopping across to Koh Phi Phi, Koh Yao Yai and Kon Bon,

My husband is a big fan of Koh Samui as well. This is the third largest tropical island in Thailand with beautiful beaches and it had less tourists in the past when he ventured there a number of times. Today, Koh Samui is full of life and caters to tourists looking for an idyllic island holiday with various water activities but that old island charm still remains.

Synonymous with the exceptional service and authentic hospitality, Thailand has always offered us an experience that will remains memorable forever. For me, being married there at short notice with the hospitable locals is one memory I will always cherish.

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A Look at the Knowledge Worker of 2030

Immersive screens, virtual desktops and AI assistants will boost the next wave of end-users

By: Andrew Brinded, Senior Vice President EMEA Sales, Nutanix

To understand what end-user computing may look like in 2030, first think about how you work today and consider how you worked 10, 20, 30 years ago. And if you’re lucky enough to be too young, ask a colleague.

The Seventies. The knowledge worker of the 1970s had a fixed-line telephone, sheaves of paper documents, possibly a typewriter, memos for written communications, a legion of clerks, a typing pool and precious little other information infrastructure.

The Eighties. As hairstyles got shorter, the office expanded to include early personal computers. IT began to talk more to end-users and business analysts’ requests for data to be hauled off mainframes and mid-range servers became more frequent.

The Nineties. Cheaper PCs, laptops, the web, local-area networks, email, mobile phones and client/server IT made this the decade where personal productivity soared.

The Noughties to now. Smartphones abounded, WiFi became ubiquitous, tablets soared, and office workers were released from the shackles of their desks to be effective from anywhere, often selecting their own devices too. Architects design spaces for workers to bump into each other, brainstorm and co-create with far-flung colleagues and partners.

But what of the knowledge worker in 2030? Where will this person work from and what tools will s/he use to become optimally effective? It’s a fair bet that this person will need to be creative because nobody wants to compete with China (or Indonesia or any low-cost economy) on price, so innovation will be key. It’s also likely that co-creation and co-curation will become more important, so we need tools and spaces that are fun, funky and conducive to getting creative juices flowing. Here are some ideas of what we might see.

Everything is virtual. Desktop PCs will disappear almost entirely except for power-user workstations. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) will prevail because users will want to see their working environment from any device, whether that’s a laptop, tablet, phone, smart watch, smart speaker or something else. We can expect ubiquitous compute capacity everywhere: in domestic appliances, in-car infotainment systems, perhaps baton or cylinder computers with roll up flexible screens, smartphones that can double as PCs, Star Trek-style smart microphones that we pin to clothing.

Streaming is everywhere. Once, a lack of support for advanced graphics was the criticism of VDI but that argument is becoming obsolete. Google’s cloud-based Stadia games platform will even support 8k streaming at 150 frames per second. That could mean the computer of the future effectively returning to be a dumb terminal and with hardware costing perhaps tens of pounds rather than hundreds.

Massive immersive screens. With such great streaming quality, screens may be one of the hottest areas of end-user computing change. It’s possible that we will go from today’s curved OLED screens to immersive pod units where we are transported into another world of crystal-clear audio and life-like visuals. Your colleague in the US takes a virtual seat in a simulacrum of a meeting room alongside you and calls are finally perfect, thanks to faster broadband and clusters of routers.

Alexa and her friends are coming to you. Voice assistants will become critical to the business user interface, meaning we can control everything from anywhere, hands-free. Bolstered by AI, search will be simplified. Can’t find that file? Just say: ‘Computer find me that document I wrote about end-user computing in 2030’… and there it is.

Instant computing. Faster boot sequences helped by advanced memory will make computing faster than ever with fewer irritating wait states. Storage becomes less important if streaming dominates but NAND Flash and similar technologies will help with lightning-fast caching and buffering.

Autonomic self-correction. Security and error detection will advance to the point that helpdesk calls are reduced to a minimum as AI and Machine Learning detect and anticipate signs of imminent failures or vulnerabilities and take action without user action.

Long-lasting power. Advanced battery chemistries will let computers run for days on end while solar and wireless charging become ubiquitous.

Faster input. Tools such as Otter provide the ability to transcribe meeting notes with high degrees of accuracy, while Zoom offers a transcription service for conferencing sessions. Expect more automation of clerical tasks such as automatically storing files in a logical place or anticipating next actions based on previous behaviour.

Homes that look like offices, offices that look like homes. For 20 years, designers have created office spaces that bring out the ‘kidult’ in all of us. Games rooms, comfy sofas, work-out rooms and running tracks abound, but now the tide is turning the other way as the design experts figure out how to bring work capabilities into domestic spaces. So, look out for pull-out pods and desks, beds that turn into workspaces, TVs that morph into computers screens and more.

Some of this may sound fanciful and the truth is that it’s hard to predict progress with any great degree of accuracy, but think of how working life has changed over the decades and these ideas are far from absurd. In order to win the battle for talent, companies need to provide attractive working environments and great tools for the incoming generation of workers. By tapping into the innate human capacity to innovate, companies that offer the best environments will excel and win over the best people.

Attractive discounts offered by Line Investments & Property malls for summer in Northern Emirates

Line Investments & Property (LIP)malls announces ‘Spend and Win’ promotions for summer and Eid holidays till 31st August 2021

The shopping mall and management division of Lulu Group International, Line Investments & Property (LIP) announces the launch of a “Spend and Win” summer promotion campaign across three Malls in Northern Emirates; RAK Mall, Lulu Mall Fujairah and Mall of Umm Al Quwain from the 15th of July until the 31st of August 2021.

The 7-week ‘Spend and Win Summer Promotion’, that covers the Eid holiday period will see shoppers win Laka Gift Vouchers worth AED 50,000 in daily prizes and rewards on social media channels like Mall’s Facebook and Instagram. The attractive discount offers from retailers provide a perfect opportunity to get gifting ideas for ‘Eidiyah’ as well as options for those taking gifts away to friends and family back home for the summer holidays.

Lulu Mall Fujairah has retailers such as Adidas, REO, Jawhara, Basicxx, Brands World, V Perfumes, Iris Optical and The Perfect Time offering either discounts of up to 75%, Buy One Get One Free offers or vouchers during the summer.

Shoppers at RAK Mall can also enjoy discounts of up to 75% and special offers at Homes R Us, Nazih, Matalan, Basicxx, Lifestyle Fine Jewellery, Time center and Yateem Optician. Homes R’Us will be giving half back to customers spending AED 500 and above.

At Mall of UAQ, Jawhara is offering 50% off on selected diamond and pearl jewellery while BAsicxx is offering a AED30 voucher back for every spend of AED 150. Special discounts are also offered at Bath and Body Works, Oud Elite, V Perfumes and Max. Shoppers can also enjoy holidays with mouthwatering meals at KFC and Shakespeare & Co. All Line Investments & Property Malls place great emphasis on safety measures regarding COVID-19, ensuring the public areas remain a safe place to shop and dine in.

Curating a Sensation of Surprising Notes

Mustafa Alasali, Founder and Owner of Mavroki

By Shereen Shabnam

The art of creating a signature scent requires not just knowledge and insights into the fragrance industry but a passion for the opulent world of fragrance. We speak to Mustafa Alasali who launched his brand Mavroki in 2018, a niche luxury French perfume house that is now one of the region’s pioneering forces in the perfume industry. We find out more about his mission to offer luxury with uniqueness via an uncompromising high-quality product.

Tell us about Mavroki and what made you venture into the fragrance industry?

Working in diamonds and luxury products for more than 22 years, led me to evolve and explore new expansions of our business that can complement the lifestyle our brands offer and help us always meet our customers’ expectations.

What is the USP of your latest fragrance collection?

Our latest collection has the most unique ingredients, where we sourced each element from different places in this world.

What fragrances do you love personally?

I have a passion towards the fusion and complex yet natural perfumes, that make you guess and wonder the notes of the olfactory. Also this means you can smell something different every time you use them. These types of perfumes are not only a pleasure to smell but also have a therapeutic effect -I made sure every scent we create has the same impact.

How is your business divided between Men and Women? And what characterizes your perfume?

It is more females focused; every perfume has its own personality.

Which is your bestseller in the region?

It depends on the season, every season has a different hero. We have recently launched Daz, which is a female Eau de parfum with a timeless olfactive narrative. It has a touch of freshness to delicately brighten the skin from morning to night through its vibrant radiance and a stirring blend of fruity and floral notes.

Can you talk about building a niche fragrance brand in a tightening distribution landscape?

According to studies, perfumes and beauty products sales will increase more than 50% by 2026 which give us a push to create more products. The niche segment has been a solid ten to fifteen-year emerging trend in perfume. And although many successful brands have emerged over this period, it is now almost at saturation level, with many being taken over by big corporations, historically involved with perfumes. Today, to build a niche fragrance brand in the current climate there are many entry barriers. These include two key aspects. Firstly, the know-how, we are talking specifically about luxury here, it takes a lot of skill, passion and technique to establish a signature brand in this market. The distribution itself is the second factor, concerning the saturation, it is hard for new brands to enter the distribution market and this is further amplified by the big corporations who are in much control of this distribution.

What does it take to be successful in this field?

To be successful in this business, you need these three main traits. Firstly, the mastering of the juice – a very coherent, innovative, out of the box and precious fragrance signature is essential. You have to know how to be good at it and there is no success without good juice. Secondly, the story – as we are talking niche we are not relying on a celebrity or big marketing campaigns but rather relying on quality, selectivity, creativity and exclusivity. You have to work around the marketing side of things in the niche sector and it is often very intangible. Hence, your storytelling is imperative and must relate to all your values. Thirdly, the distribution. Without a good model it is very difficult to succeed, alongside, of course, good financials. Personally, I also believe that the pandemic gave us the edge (and time) to launch new products when most of the niche brands were hesitant to do so. No risk, no glory.

What is your advantage of being a French brand?

It is synonymous with luxury, which supports the conception and the lifestyle associated with it, and that transmits into what we do as a brand. Furthermore, we are closer to the source of the perfume’s origin.

Can you explain why understanding the importance of your brand values is important to building a profitable business?

Without a long-term perspective, being honest, and transparent with your values there is no way you can build a successful long-term business. We have created every product with patience and love and are telling a beautiful story that relies on very solid values. Lastly, we are daring. We can pivot and make quick decisions when necessary, and this has bolstered our growth.

What are the advantages of your brand to be able to compete and attract the consumer? And how does the business environment help? As it is a highly competitive region in regards to perfume.

You have to be able to tell a good story. And we have a fantastic story to tell at Mavroki. People want to dream about what they wear, to incarnate the ‘spirit’ of a brand, and ultimately feel special. Therefore, the story you tell is very important. To be able to make it in this competitive market you have to be consistent in your offering, you can’t jump from one perfume to the next without remaining true to your signature. We use the high-end natural ingredients to create our perfumes in addition to the luxury and high-quality packaging. All of the above cannot be achieved without a synergetic team that has one objective and vision, to always give the best outputs.

In a recent study for Fraicheur.com, Beauty industry losses are expected to reach 175 billion dollars in 2020 due to working from home and therefore the decrease in makeup and cosmetics products use in general. Does this apply to the perfume market? And what are your expectations for this market in 2021?

With 2020 is behind us, I have a strong faith in the future. As per our expectations for the market in the next few years, we believe that it will continue to grow. Regarding this industry losses and I can’t speak on behalf of others, I can only say that Mavroki hasn’t been affected during the pandemic.

Being independent in a market dominated by giant groups must be challenging. What are your day to day challenges and advantages of being an independent brand in the perfume industry?

Being independent is an advantage as it gives us flexibility and speed when it comes to major decisions. You are much more agile. Developing and enhancing in addition to creating the most unique products for our customers are our only challenges.

What about e-commerce? To what extent does e-commerce work in the perfume industry?

Digital transformation is happening across all the industries, and is one of most fast-growing sectors. You cannot leave behind the customers’ needs and expect to have a profitable business; therefore, we see that e-commerce and online shopping are the present and the future of all sales platforms.

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