Articles Archives — Page 2 of 7 — Carrington Malin

November 5, 2020
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Legendary marketing pioneer and author Philip Kotler defines brand positioning as ‘the act of designing the company’s offering and image to occupy a distinctive place in the mind of the target market’. Positioning is a critical component in the promotion of any venture, from advertising and public relations, to sales and customer relationship management (CRM), even having an impact on the structure and policies of growing companies. Founders tend to work hard on positioning their ventures, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

In these days of Internet learning, it’s easy to read about the role of positioning, see examples of what it looks like and find out how to go about developing your own positioning statement. It’s something that’s top of mind for all founders, whether they realise that it’s positioning or not. Finding a process that works for you can help you crystalise your value proposition and create a clear positioning statement.

Nevertheless, developing strong positioning that differentiates your brand from competitors and aligns exactly with your business strategy, is easier said than done. Our end result in developing brand positioning is defining how we could like our customers to think and feel about our brand, but for this actually to be the case, positioning must work well across every aspect of our brand, marketing and communications.

If your business proposition is not receiving the recognition that it deserves, internally or externally, this could be due to a weak point in your positioning strategy. Here are five reasons why your brand positioning may not be working for you.

Continue reading this story on SME10x.com.


October 21, 2020
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The Saudi national AI strategy was announced today at the virtual Global AI Summit by Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) president Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi. The National Strategy for Data & AI (NSDAI) includes ambitious goals for skilling-up Saudi talent, growing the nation’s startup ecosystem and attaining global leadership in the AI space. It also aims to raise $20 billion in investment for data and AI initiatives.

Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, President of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) today gave a brief introduction to some of the key goals of Saudi Arabia’s national AI strategy, now named the National Strategy for Data & AI (NSDAI). Speaking at the inaugural Global AI Summit, he advised that Saudi Arabia has set ambitious targets for its national AI strategy, including a goal of attracting $20 billion in investments by 2030, both in foreign direct investment (FDI) and local funding for data and artificial intelligence initiatives.

As detailed by Dr. Al-Ghamdi, the Kindgom aims to rank among the top 15 nations for AI by 2030, it will train 20,000 data and AI specialists and experts and it will grow an ecosystem of 300 active data and AI startups. He also urged participants in the virtual event to challenge themselves, to think and work together, and to shape the future of AI together for the good of humanity.

Formed last year, with a mandate to drive the national data and AI agenda, the SDAIA developed a national AI strategy which was approved by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in August 2020. No details of the National Strategy for Data & AI were shared until today.

According to an official SDAIA statement, the NSDAI will roll-out a multi-phase plan that both addresses urgent requirements for the next five years and contributes to Vision 2030 strategic development goals. In the short term, the strategy will aim to accelerate the use of AI in education, energy, government, healthcare and mobility sectors.

Saudi National Strategy for Data & AI goals
Source: Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA)

Six strategic areas have been identified in the NSDAI:

  • Ambition – positioning Saudi Arabia as a global leader and enabler for AI, with a goal of ranking among the first 15 countries in AI by 2030.
  • Skills – transforming the Saudi workforce and skilling-up talent, with a target of creating 20,000 AI and Data specialists and experts by 2030.
  • Policy & regulation – developing a world-class regulatory framework, including for the ethical use of data and AI that will underpin open data and economic growth.
  • Investment – attracting FDI and local investment into the data and AI sector, with a goal of securing a total of $20 billion (SAR 75b) in investments.
  • Research and innovation – the NSDAI will also drive the development of research and innovation institutions in data and AI, with an objective of the Kingdom ranking among the top 20 countries in the world for peer reviewed data and AI publications.
  • Digital ecosystem – the new national AI strategy also aims to drive the commercialization and industry application of data and AI, creating an ecosystem with at least 300 AI and data startups by the year 2030.

Over the past year, SDAIA has established three specialised centres of expertise: the National Information Center, the National Data Management Office and the National Center for AI. It has also begun building perhaps the largest government data cloud in the region, merging 83 data centres owned by over 40 Saudi government bodies. More than 80 percent of government datasets have so far been consolidated under a national data bank.

The formation of the SDAIA follows the adoption of the government’s ‘ICT Strategy 2023‘ in 2018, which aims to transform the kingdom into a digital and technological powerhouse. The government identified technology as a key driver for its Vision 2030 blueprint for economic and social reform. Digitisation and artificial intelligence are seen as key enablers of the wide-ranging reforms.

Artrificial intelligence, big data and IoT are also pivotal for the massive $500 billion smart city, Neom, announced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2017. Infrastructure work on the 26,000 square kilometre city began earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the authority has been using AI to identify opportunities for improving the Kingdom’s government processes, which may result in some $10 billion in government savings and additional revenues.

More than fifty government officials and global AI leaders are speaking at this week’s Global AI Summit, which takes place today and tomorrow. The online event coincides with the year of Saudi’s presidency of the G20.

Download the National Strategy for Data & AI Strategy Narrative – October 2020 (PDF)

Watch the NSDAI promotion video from the Global AI Summit (Youtube)

Updated 23 October 2020


September 5, 2020
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The Saudi national artificial intelligence strategy is to be launched at the Global AI Summit, which will now take place virtually from 21-22 October*, according to a statement from the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) on Friday. It was disclosed in August that the national AI strategy presented by the authority (since named the National Strategy for Data & AI) had been approved by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. PWC has forecast that AI could contribute $135 billion (or 12.4%) to Saudi Arabia’s GDP by the year 2030.

Established by royal decree in August 2019, the SDAIA was given the mandate to drive the national data and AI agenda for transforming the country into a leading data-driven economy, and has developed Saudi Arabia’s national AI strategy over the past year. Although the details of the plan have been kept under wraps, the new strategy is expected to contribute to 66 of the country’s strategic goals, which are directly or indirectly related to data and AI.

The SDAIA has already reached a number of milestones since its inception, establishing three specialised centres of expertise: the National Information Center, the National Data Management Office and the National Center for AI. It has also begun building one of the largest data clouds in the region by merging 83 data centres owned by over 40 Saudi government bodies. More than 80 percent of government datasets have so far been consolidated under a national data bank.

Meanwhile, the authority has been using AI to identify opportunities for improving the Kingdom’s government processes, which may result in some $10 billion in government savings and additional revenues.

Originally slated for March 2020, the Global AI Summit will discuss AI, its applications, impact on social and economic development, plus global challenges and opportunities. The event aims to connect key decision makers from government and public sector, academia, industry and enterprise, tech firms, investors, entrepreneurs and startups.

October’s virtual summit will be organised into four tracks:

    • Shaping the new normal;
    • AI and governments;
    • Governing AI; and
    • The future of AI.

The Global AI Summit aims to tackle the challenges faced by countries around the world, from technical to ethical. Details of the agenda and speaker platform for the Global AI Summit have yet to be announced, although the presentation of the Saudi national artificial intelligence strategy is bound to be a highlight.

*Updated 17 September 2020

Also read: Saudi national AI strategy announced with investment target of $20 billion – 21 October 2020


August 16, 2020
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The Indonesia National AI Strategy, now known as Stranas K.A. (Strategi Nasional Kecerdasan Artifisial), has been published. The new strategy was announced by the Minister of Research and Technology and head of the BRIN (the National Research and Innovation Agency) Bambang PS Brodjonegoro in an television address made last Monday to mark the country’s 25th National Technology Awakening Day. The minister also launched an electronic innovation catalogue, helping Indonesian technology developers to market their offerings and sell to government procurement offices.

Transforming Indonesia into a Fourth Industrial Revolution economy has become focus for the government over the past few years and the necessity of creating a digital-savvy workforce has become a top priority. Stranas K.A. aims to tie together many of the country’s digital initiatives and maps closely to Visi Indonesia 2045, the country’s broad economic, social, governance and technology development strategy. The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy Framework provides an at-a-glance view of how these different goals are held in context.

Stranas K.A. aims to support five national priorities, where the government believes that artificial intelligence could have the biggest impact on national progress and outcomes.

Health services – With 268 million people living across 6,000 of Indonesia’s total 17,504 islands, delivering a consistent standard of healthcare is a national challenge. The archipelago also faces increased risks from global disease outbreaks such as SARS and, recently, Covid-19. The country’s response to the pandemic has already somewhat accelerated plans for smart hospitals and health security infrastructure.

Bureaucractic reform – With a civilian civil service of about 4 million, reforming the government’s highly centralised administration remains a significant challenge. Indonesia is lagged in implementation of digital services, according to the United Nations E-Government Development Index (EGDI), ranking below Borneo, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. President Joko Widodo has promised to create a citizen-centric digitised service government (Pemerintahan Digital Melayani) in the next five years.

Education and research – Education is integral to Visi Indonesia 2045 and the move towards online schooling during the Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the country’s digital divide. The pressures of the digital economy are also recognised by development plans. According to the government, Indonesia needs a digital workforce of 113 million by 2030-2035.

Food security – According to President Widodo, food security remains Indonesia’s top priority and the Food Security Agency focuses on three main areas: food availability, food accessibility and food utilisation. Food, agriculture and fisheries government departments and agencies have already begun using satellite technology, machine learning and smart farming to better plan, forecast and manage agricultural production and natural resources.

Mobility and smart cities – The number of people living in Indonesia’s urban areas is now close to 60 percent and is expected to rise to 70 percent of the total population by the year 2050. The government currently plans to develop 98 smart cities and 416 smart districts, under Indonesia’s 100 Smart Cities Plan.

Indonesia National AI Strategy, August 2020

Meanwhile, the Indonesia national AI strategy identifies four key focus areas:

    1. Ethics and Policy
    2. Talent Development
    3. Infrastructure and Data
    4. Industrial Research and Innovation

Indonesia is already one of South East Asia’s biggest investors in artificial intelligence, with IDC’s 2018 Asia-Pacific Enterprise Cognitive/AI survey finding that 25 percent of large organisations in the country have adopted AI systems (compared with 17% in Thailand, 10% in Singapore and 8% in Malaysia).

Smart cities, one of Stranas K.A.’s five top priority areas, have been identified as a fundamental building block for Indonesia’s Industry 4.0 future. Last year President Widodo announced plans to create a new futuristic smart city capital on the island of Borneo, to replace Jakarta. The new capital will rely heavily on sustainable smart city systems, cleantech and infrastructure run by emerging technologies such as 5G, AI and IoT (Internet of Things). Originally slated for completion by 2024 (pre-pandemic) and estimated to cost $33 billion, the project reportedly received an offer by Japanese multinational investor SoftBank Group to invest up to $40 billion.

The Indonesia National AI Strategy details a programme roadmap for both its four key focus areas and the five national priorities, for which it considers plans as short-term (2020-2024) and longer-term (2025-2045). All in all, the strategy document identifies 186 programmes, including many that aim to develop the plans, pilot schemes, policies and regulations, plus checks and balances, necessary to drive the overall strategy.

Underpinning the acceleration of Indonesia’s artificial intelligence journey, Stranas K.A. includes plans for national standards, regulations and an ethics board to ensure that usage of AI is in accordance with the country’s Pancasila values system.

The development of the 194-page National Artificial Intelligence Strategy was coordinated by the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology or BPPT, a non-ministerial government agency under the coordination of the Ministry for Research and Technology, and was widely anticipated to be announced in July or August. A wide variety of public and private sector organisations contributed to the plan including government ministries, universities, industry associations and national telecom providers.

Although many of the programmes and initiatives detailed in the Indonesia National AI Strategy can be found in existing government strategies, plans and policy, Stranas K.A. is nevertheless highly ambitious. The success of the overall plan will likely rest heavily on how many of the foundation programmes it is able to get off the ground during the next 4-5 years.


August 12, 2020
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The Saudi national AI strategy has been approved, according to comments made by Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) president, Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi this week. As reported by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Sunday, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has approved the Saudi National Strategy for Data & Artificial Intelligence (NSDAI), which has been prepared over the past year by SDAIA.

According to Dr. Abdullah, the new strategy will enable government and private sector programmes to contribute towards the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Overall, the authority expects the new strategy to contribute to 66 of the country’s strategic goals, which are directly or indirectly related to data and AI.

SDAIA was established by Royal Order no. 74167 in August last year, giving the authority the mandate to drive the national data and AI agenda for transforming the country into a leading data-driven economy. The decree also ordered the authority to establish three specialised centres of expertise: the National Information Center, the National Data Management Office and the National Center for AI.

Speaking at the launch of the SDAIA’s new brand identity in March, Dr. Abdullah talked of an ambitious and innovative Saudi national AI strategy that would optimise national resources, improving efficiencies and enabling the creation of diversified economic sectors. However, no details of the plan have yet been shared publicly.

The SDAIA has already been using AI applications to analyse government processes and procedures, with its initial assessment being that the opportunities identified could generate more than $10 billion in government savings and additional revenues.

The authority has also established a national data bank consolidating more than 80 percent of government datasets (or 30 percent of total government digital assets) and has rolled-out a G-Cloud (or Government-Cloud) aimed at building one of the largest data clouds in the region through the merger of 83 data centres owned by over 40 Saudi government bodies.

According to a 2017 study by PWC on the global impact of artificial intelligence, AI could contribute $135 billion (12.4%) to Saudi Arabia’s GDP by the year 2030, being the second-highest predicted share for the contribution of AI to GDP in the Middle East region after the UAE.

The timing of the national AI strategy approval comes just a few weeks in advance of the planned Global AI Summit organised by the SDAIA, which is currently scheduled to take place in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, 14-15 September.

Updated 16.57 hrs 12 August 2020

Also read: Saudi national AI strategy announced with investment target of $20 billion – 21 October 2020


August 11, 2020
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Will AI replace human creativity? Or help them take creativity to the next level? It could simply depend on how we choose to use it.

Those that know me well will know that I have become obsessed with how artificial intelligence will impact brands, communications and consumers. Last week, I was inspired by an article by The Drum‘s Brands Editor Jen Faull, which explored the current state of AI in creative work and asks the question “Will artificial intelligence replace human creatives?”

It’s a great question to ask, because no one really knows the answer. Rephrase the question slightly and ask “could artificial intelligence replace human creatives?’ and I’d argue that the answer is, most definitely, yes (obviously, leaving aside the question of “when?”). Is AI destined to take over the creative brief entirely and replace human creatives and creative processes? I’d say that, at the end of the day, this is largely going to be up to us to decide.

The meteoric rise of so called artificial intelligence – which, these days, is used synonymously with the many applications, systems and devices powered by machine learning – is as impressive as it is scary. And, as with most up and coming technologies, it’s often very difficult to differentiate the reality from the hype.

Will AI replace creatives?

By all accounts, AI is by no means ready to fill our creative boots. We can train AI systems to learn things from data sets, analyse trends, make recommendations and actually create outputs of different kinds, including “creative work”. However, AI hasn’t yet been able to even convincingly mimic the complexities of human thought and creativity. Some would argue that it is only a matter of time before that data too is assimilated. Imagine an AI system trained on the experiences, thoughts and dreams of the planet’s top 100 advertising creative professionals? It could happen, just not quite yet.

Today, AI systems have been used to produce original creative advertising work with, at best, moderate success. However, AI is much better at targeting, deploying and optimising advertising assets. There are also an increasingly wide range of tools becoming available to inform, analyse, optimise and fast-track creative projects. As AI voice becomes ubiquitous, using those tools is going to become more intuitive and seamless – and so better to assist creative development.

Inspired by the article on The Drum, I posted some further questions on Linkedin last week – “Will AI fast-track the training and development of creative professionals? Or will AI’s efficiency strangle that essential pipeline of new creative talent that would have traditionally developed up through the ranks?”

‘You can’t box creativity’

A variety of advertising, marketing and technology professionals responded in comments and via messaging. You can read all the comments in full on my post from last week here. Meanwhile, it could be useful to summarise some key points here. Although there was consensus that AI is nowhere near ready to take over human creative work, I was interested to find that there were also some quite divergent opinions.

From some, there was certainty that AI could not and will not replace human creatives. Sherif El Ghamrawy at Photovision Plus believes that “there will always be certain things that remain uniquely human that no machine will ever be able to truly replicate”, citing emotion and imagination as key differentiators. Ramesh Naidu Garikamokkala at PAGO Analytics agrees that AI is not going to replace the role of our emotions.

Ibrahim Lahoud of Brand Lounge also seems to be in agreement with this, sharing that AI could fast-track training and development of creatives, but that’s where he draws the line. “AI can create a logo where human creatives will create a brand. AI can analyze shapes and colors where humans can read emotions.”

Jad Hindy at MRM/McCann noted (via messaging) that you can’t box creativity or confine it within a standard process. He says “ideation can’t be AI-ed, but the creation of assets can.”

Some of the futurists out there, do believe that AI could replace human creativity sometime in the future. Although, as Steven Gare of AI Blockchain Service puts it “defining AI in this context is pure speculation at this time”.

Most professionals agree that AI does promise to both empower and change the creative process, including career development. Lahoud’s take is that “AI will not replace creatives, but will rather be an incredibly powerful assistive tool that will act as an extension to their boiling minds”. Kassem Nasser, American University of Beirut, agrees and says that AI “is a technology that will open new challenges and opportunities to our minds not replace them.”

Meanwhile, Robert McGovern at Horizontal Digital notes that new AI tools could help with brainstorming, idea generation and connecting different concepts together, plus fast-tracking research work.

‘Think of AI as an exoskeleton for brains!’

In my mind, how creative professions – and creative industries as a whole – adapt to the arrival of AI and other new technologies is going to play the deciding role in determining whether we are empowered to create greater things or get used to accepting what AI creates for us. A point well made by Gowri Selka from Volantsys Analytics Inc., “it is critical for humans from all backgrounds of career to gain new skills and leverage these technologies to their benefit.”

For sure, the clock is ticking. AI and related technologies are developing at a pace that we’ve never experienced before. Like it or not, change is absolutely the only constant that we can look forward to. As Jürn-Christian Hocke at Select World urges, “we have to think about the new dealt cards NOW.” And says, creatives must learn what creativity and creative careers will look like in the future.

“Think of AI as an exoskeleton for brains!” is Lahoud’s advice for creatives. And, I think, he’s hit the nail on the head here.

As the capabilities of AI continue to grow, the creative process may look less and less like the process of old. However, whether this process remains human centric, is going to depend on how we frame AI’s future role. If AI is to super-charge human creativity, it’s up to creative professionals to take firm hold of the controls and remain at the very centre of the creative process. Time to suit up!

This story was originally published on Linkedin

Read the Arabic language version here: نظرة على مستقبل الإبداع


July 22, 2020
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This month saw the issue of the new Dubai drone law, which aims to govern future drone services and pave the way for a commercial drone services ecosystem that allows both drone delivery and flying taxis.

Dubai has been at the forefront of the adoption of cutting edge drone technology like drone taxis – but until the new Dubai drone law was issued this month, commercial flight was strictly restricted.  Now, commercial drone operations in the UAE may be ready to take off.

Dubai, the commercial capital of the United Arab Emirates, this month issued a new law to govern future drone services and pave the way for a commercial drone services ecosystem that allows both drone delivery and flying taxis.

Dubai’s futuristic skyline, advanced digital services and affinity with technology are now well known and its government declared an interest in drone services early on. Government sponsored innovation labs have developed prototype delivery drones, while the public transport authority was among the first in the world to conduct test flights with autonomous aerial vehicle developers EHang and Volocopter.

Until now UAE federal aviation regulations have restricted drone usage to specific fly zones and controlled commercial scenarios, allowing photography, inspection and survey services, but prohibiting any beyond line of sight operations. The new Dubai-specific law provides a framework for Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to develop procedures, systems and regulations to allow a broader range of drone usage.

Importantly, Dubai’s new law will allow Dubai Civil Aviation Authority to roll-out its Dubai Sky Dome initiative, which is being developed to provide the physical and virtual infrastructure needed for a full spectrum of drone services. The authority has already invested in the development of an air traffic control system to manage drone traffic and will specify air corridors, height restrictions and radio frequencies.

Although no details about implementation have yet been released, the news has been welcomed by the technology and innovation sector. On the whole, progress on future drone regulation worldwide has been slow and all drone operations that involve beyond line of sight flights have been permitted by governments by exemptions to existing laws. If Dubai moves quickly to address the detail required to implement the law fully, then it could well position itself as a centre of investment and innovation in the sector.

This story originally appeard on DroneLife.


July 14, 2020
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As policymakers across the globe struggle with how to define and implement regulations for future commercial drone services, the new Dubai drone law could help turn the emirate into an R&D hotspot.

Policymakers have long been struggling with how to introduce laws to govern future commercial drone services. Whilst high profile drone delivery trials and flying taxi test flights take place around the world with increasing frequency, all such activities are authorised via exemptions to prevailing aviation and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) laws. Manufacturers and drone services startups have been able to test their concepts, but not finish their business plans. Even where laws have been drafted, like the EU, implementation has dragged.

Therefore, the announcement that Dubai has issued a comprehensive new law to govern the development of the drone industry and commercial drone services is welcome news for drone firms. As the CEO of one international drone delivery services company commented last week, ‘the devil is in the detail’, but the passing of the new law has been bolstered by the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA) announcement that much of the expertise, process and systems required to implement regulations have already been developed.

DCAA has already invested in technology to underpin a Dubai Sky Dome initiative, which will create a virtual airspace infrastructure and ecosystem for commercial drone use. Meanwhile, Dubai Aviation Engineering Projects (DAEP) will set specifications, standards and conditions for new drone infrastructure, in order that private operators can take the initiative and build their own drone airports.

Dubai’s drone law makes it clear that the all parts of the ecosystem are to be supported and regulated, to include manufacturing, imports, distribution, drone services and skills. With safety concerns at the fore, the UAE has already regulated the import, sale and manufacture of drones and so provides a safe market for manufacturers, largely free from fakes and grey market imports. The combination of these factors means that we can expect high standards to be set for the future development of the sector and skills to be at a premium.

Now Dubai has the law to govern the development of a drone services sector and a strategy to develop and manage the drone ecosystem, the emirate is better positioned to attract investment and drive innovation. So, where are the opportunities?

Rapid development in drone technology over the past few years has already given rise to a number of Dubai-based startups providing devices, specialised services and software systems. A limiting factor has been that regulation has not allowed drones to fly in public city spaces or ‘beyond line of sight’. When these factors change, this will pave the way for a wide variety of drone services.

Obvious opportunities for a new drone delivery services market include the manufacture of drones and drone parts, development of drone control and operation systems, security of drone aircraft and systems, training and certification, construction of drone airports, repair and maintenance, plus the operation of the delivery services themselves.

There are also a variety of industry sectors that could provide opportunities for drone delivery services. It is well known that Dubai has a highly advanced logistics industry, including a number of global logistics firms that are already testing drone delivery in Europe and the U.S. Dubai’s thriving ecommerce and home delivery market is another obvious candidate for drone delivery, given Amazon’s investment in developing delivery drones and services.

However, just as some of Dubai’s existing specialised drone services have built businesses on serving the needs of verticals such as oil and gas, construction and surveying, new drone delivery services could serve different niche markets too. Medical deliveries have been in the spotlight during the past few months, as drones have been used in some part of the work to make contactless deliveries of urgent medical items. In addition to the healthcare sector, there are potential requirements for drone delivery across range of industries such as automotive, construction, engineering, government, real estate and Dubai’s diverse services sector.

Besides the drone delivery market, the RTA’s plans to introduce flying taxis may clear the way for more investment in passenger drones. The RTA has already been in talks with a number of different potential partners and conducted a high profile flight test with German aircraft manufacturer Volocopter in 2017.

Some of the most exciting opportunities may well have yet to be identified. Without regulation and air space control, there can be no development of a strong, fully functioning drone services sector and, without that, both R&D and market development cannot really move forwards. If Dubai can move quickly to kick-start this sector, then real world trials, service launches and new customer requirements will, no doubt, help fuel innovation.

This story first appeared on SME10x.com.


July 9, 2020
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The roll-out of Dubai’s new drone regulations and Dubai Sky Dome initiative will be watched closely by policy makers, aviation regulators and smart city planners worldwide.

Last Saturday, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as Ruler of Dubai, announced the issue of a Law No. 04 of 2020, outlining new regulations governing drone activity in the emirate. The new law promises to make Dubai a commercially-friendly environment for drone services, manufacturing and innovation.

It is well publicised that ecommerce, logistics firms and drone delivery startups have been trialling drone delivery services for years in Asia, Europe and in the U.S., but governments have moved slowly to solve regulatory issues.

There is also a need for airspace to be managed safely, securely and effectively for drone usage, both controlling the flight paths of drones in city areas and ensuring that they don’t interfere with civil and military aviation. The complexities of managing drone traffic, public and private liabilities, and the number of different stakeholders that must be involved and coordinated with, has led some regulatory processes to simply grind to a halt.

Dubai now seems to be ahead of the game. The new Dubai drone law paves the way for Dubai Department of Civil Aviation (DCAA) to implement its ‘Dubai Sky Dome’ initiative, which aims to create a virtual airspace infrastructure and ecosystem for commercial drone use. It appears that an awful lot of work has gone into finding solutions for the practicalities of drone airspace management and supporting a drone ecosystem.

The new law could allow Dubai to leapfrog the global competition and kick-start a whole new industry that is right at the forefront of innovation. The Dubai Sky Dome looks set to underpin the flying taxi services planned by the RTA, allow commercial drone delivery services and establish Dubai as an ideal location for global drone ventures to test, trial and launch their products and services.

In addition to encouraging local and global drone startup ventures to establish themselves in Dubai, we can also expect the Dubai Sky Dome to become somewhat of a Petri dish for global policy makers in aviation, smart cities and R&D. Let’s see how fast it grows!

This story first appeared on Linkedin


March 16, 2020
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The coronavirus pandemic seems to have cancelled ‘business as usual’, however this could present an opportunity to refocus your marketing effort.

These days, it doesn’t matter where you work or what you do for a living, business has changed as a result of Covid-19 and the response of governments, companies and the public to the new viral threat. In fact, some may feel that their business has been turned upside down!

While you naturally put the health and safety of your customers, employees and other stakeholders first, you’ll also be mindful that every business needs to take measures to ensure productivity, revenue and profit. However, the reality is that your customers are probably grappling with changes to their own lives at the moment. So, simply calling them up to find out if they would like to buy more of your new product or service could prove to be highly counterproductive.

In the meantime, recognise that your regular day-to-day business has changed. This doesn’t mean that people won’t be buying at all, just that they may not be buying what they normally buy in the same way as they normally buy it. This also means that the demands placed on your marketing team will change. So, could this be the perfect time to review and refocus your marketing effort?

If you believe that your marketing team could have time on their hands during the next couple of weeks, here are five ideas to take advantage of the current disruption to ‘business as usual’ and refocus your efforts.

1. Review goals and refocus your team

The media and marketing environment has changed dramatically during the past few weeks. This means that what your marketing and communications teams are doing has changed too. Some tasks simply won’t get done, while others will take more work. This is the time to double down on those tasks or campaigns that you know can be productive, perhaps take another look at those projects that you previously weren’t able to spare resources for or experiment by trying some new ways of doing things.

2. Learn more about your customers

Although this may or may not be a good time to sell to all your customers, that doesn’t stop you updating your company’s knowledge of their needs, challenges, preferences and behaviours. In fact, their circumstances may have changed during the past few weeks, making it timely to check your marketing assumptions. You may even find that some customers have more time to answer your questions than they did a few weeks ago.

3. Find new ways to engage your stakeholders

In general, people are spending more time at home, which impacts their day-to-day routines, consumer behaviour and media consumption. As a result, there may be opportunities to engage with customers differently (and I don’t mean just doubling your online advertising spend). The same goes for employees, business partners and other stakeholders.

4. Create new customer offers

There’s no reason not to use the changes in business environment to help inspire some marketing innovation. Are there ways that you can create value-added offers, reward customer loyalty or otherwise differentiate your offerings now, or in the future? In addition, are their any ways, taking into account the current health emergency, that you could make it easier for customers to do business with you?

5. Audit your website content

When was the last time that you reviewed your website content from a customer engagement point of view? Does your website engage effectively with customers throughout the buying cycle, from discovery to post-sales? A review could be especially timely in the current environment where customers may defer some purchases and so spend more time in the learning and consideration phases of the marketing funnel. If you can keep them returning to your website in those phases, then you are more likely to increase your chances of selling to them.

As anyone reading the news will know, the business environment is constantly changing and adapting as the world adjusts to the new pandemic. For sure, this throws up lots of new obstacles for business and will affect some companies more than others. It will also present opportunities for some businesses to do things differently. Taking the time to review and refocus now, could put your marketing team in a position to identify and take advantage of those new opportunities.

This story was first published on SME10x.com.