stc launches Center3 for Kingdom’s digital economy

Center3 was inaugurated in the presence of senior executives of the company. The new company will own digital infrastructure assets, data centers, and submarine cables among others. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 October 2022

stc launches Center3 for Kingdom’s digital economy

Leading digital enabler stc Group has inaugurated one of its largest and significant projects, Center3 — the digital regional center for the Middle East and North Africa.

The new company will be the owner of the digital infrastructure assets owned by stc group, including data centers, submarine cables, international points of presence, and internet exchange points.

The inauguration took place in the presence of Prince Mohammad bin Khalid Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the board of directors of stc Group, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha, and a number of other senior executives of the company.

Center3 will be a group of carrier-neutral data centers and a provider of international communication for the telecommunications sector through a submarine fiber optic network. It aims to develop digital businesses and enhance investment opportunities in international communication services and data centers by providing the latest communication and hosting technologies and raising there capacities to meet the needs of the markets across Asia, Europe, Africa, and the rest of the world.

“The stc Group launched Center3 to enhance the digital system, which in turn will contribute to enhancing the Kingdom’s position as a regional digital center. This launch is in line with our strategy to expand the scope and markets to achieve digital empowerment,” said Olayan Alwetaid, CEO of stc Group.

“At Center3, we aim to build an integrated ecosystem of cables and data centers that seeks to attract hyper-scalers, big data, and local and international service providers,” said Fahad Al-Hajeri, Center3 CEO.

He added: “Center3 will provide data center services, international communication and internet exchange services through its assets. We will work to achieve the company’s vision of making the Kingdom the main digital hub connecting the three continents Asia, Europe, and Africa as well as leading the largest share of internet exchange and data traffic in the region.”

With the launch of Center3, stc Group have completed the digital system pursuit by launching a number of companies in the fields of cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, internet of things, and digital infrastructure.


Digital innovation driving KSA healthcare transformation

Updated 28 November 2022

Digital innovation driving KSA healthcare transformation

Royal Philips, a global health technology company, has announced the publication of its Future Health Index 2022 report: “Healthcare hits reset: Priorities shift as healthcare leaders navigate a changed world.” Now in its seventh year, the FHI 2022 report, based on proprietary research from almost 3,000 respondents conducted across 15 countries, explores how healthcare leaders are harnessing the power of data and digital technology as they look to address their key challenges coming out of the pandemic.

The report provides a clear indication of strong momentum in innovation within Saudi Arabia’s healthcare system. Expanding patient care, unlocking the power of digital health, and leveraging strategic partnerships have emerged as top priorities for Saudi Arabia in its journey toward Vision 2030. 

“Over the past two years, pressure on the healthcare industry has been unrelenting. Today, as we emerge from the pandemic, we see healthcare leaders embarking on a reset — refocusing on several new and existing priorities, from addressing staff shortages to extending care delivery, to leveraging big data and predictive analytics, as they navigate new realities in medical management. Telehealth and digital health records have emerged at the forefront of driving technology-led transformation in healthcare in Saudi Arabia,” said Mohamed Sindi, CEO of Philips Healthcare Saudi Arabia. 

The FHI 2022 Saudi Arabia report highlighted three priorities for healthcare leaders as they strive to further expand access to care and deliver better patient outcomes:

Expanding care through digital health technologies

In the post-COVID-19 world, people continue to demand care beyond the hospital walls, making it necessary for healthcare leaders to continue to invest in technology and focus on enabling their workforce to support this. With many digital health tools already implemented, broader innovation is at the top of leaders’ priority list. One-fifth (22 percent) of Saudi leaders cite extending care delivery beyond the hospital walls as a top priority today and 26 percent expect to prioritize it in three years’ time. Digital and telehealth investments by healthcare leaders will also reduce staff workloads, thus improving staff retention and satisfaction, which is an important priority for 23 percent of leaders with 29 percent expecting it to remain a priority for the next three years.

Driving efficiency through innovation and partnership

With digital health now firmly embedded in healthcare delivery, it is imperative for healthcare leaders to unlock the next level of data utilization that will improve the efficiency of care delivery. The FHI Saudi Arabia 2022 research revealed that healthcare leaders are nurturing strategic partnerships with health technology companies for access to various kinds of expertise. Thirty-three percent of leaders seek partnerships that provide support in healthcare management services, as well as data analysis, 32 percent want partnerships that support technology integration, while 29 percent seek support in shaping a strategic vision.

Investments in AI for improved care delivery 

Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics help to identify trends, optimize processes, and reduce costs. Saudi Arabia is on par with the European average when it comes to the use of predictive analytics, with 48 percent of healthcare leaders currently utilizing or in the process of adopting such technologies. More than three quarters of respondents believe that predictive analytics can improve staff experiences as well as patient outcomes. One in four (26 percent) of Saudi Arabia’s healthcare leaders say that improving tech infrastructure in their facilities is the most important priority if they are to fully unlock the power of data. 

Saudi Arabian healthcare leaders are also committed to AI-based technologies, with 46 percent investing in these technologies this year and 66 percent planning to invest in 2023.


With move to EZDubai, Mumzworld eyes regional expansion

Updated 28 November 2022

With move to EZDubai, Mumzworld eyes regional expansion

EZDubai, a fully dedicated e-commerce free zone strategically located in Dubai South’s Logistics District, has welcomed Mumzworld, the largest online baby shop in the Middle East, which will be expanding its operations. A signing ceremony to announce the expansion was attended by Mohsen Ahmad, CEO of the Logistics District — Dubai South; Mona Ataya, CEO of Mumzworld; and other senior executives from both entities.

The new facility will span 8,152 square meters and will be located in a rapidly expanding free zone for major e-commerce players and last-mile service providers. The move is expected to further strengthen Mumzworld’s footprint and bolster its operations for continued hyperscale. EZDubai will support Mumzworld in running an effective fulfillment center through bonded and non-bonded activities to expedite inventory turnover. This will assist the company in managing, optimizing and creating new warehouse operations to support its aggressive regional and global growth strategy. 

Ahmad said: “Mumzworld, the pioneering online marketplace in the Middle East, is a wonderful addition to our portfolio. Our continued efforts aim to create an excellent environment for such specialized companies and boost the region’s e-commerce sector. The new fulfillment center will significantly expand Mumzworld’s capacity to continue to deliver best-in-class customer demand and satisfaction, enabling the company to deliver products quicker, especially with our proximity to last-mile partners.”

The new facility seeks to optimize every consumer touchpoint and elevate the e-commerce industry by consistently providing customers with a distinctive, personalized, practical, and seamless experience. In addition to fostering long-lasting relationships with customers, this effort will push the boundaries of innovation and improve operational excellence and efficiency to save costs.

Ataya said: “This new built-to-suit fulfillment center at Dubai South represents an important milestone for Mumzworld. The brand is at an important point of hypergrowth, and our partnership with EZDubai will further consolidate our path forward. The facility is strategically located and effectively enabled to allow us to cater to growing customer demands and continue to provide an exceptional online shopping experience in the region.”

The state-of-the-art facility and enablers within this locale will allow us to continue our aggressive expansion plan across the region more seamlessly and efficiently.”

The 920,000-square-meter, purpose-built e-commerce hub in Dubai South is designed to attract the world’s leading e-commerce companies and create a benchmark with its infrastructure. The e-commerce zone, which was launched in 2019 by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, aims to promote the emirate’s position as a hub for global e-commerce.


SCE, Schneider sign deal to expand engineering training

Updated 27 November 2022

SCE, Schneider sign deal to expand engineering training

Schneider Electric, a global leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Council of Engineers to launch an accredited training program to build digital skills across energy and automation systems.

Both partners will provide specialized training courses for SCE’s membership. Doing so will create highly skilled professionals, strengthen the economy, and ensure that one in five private sector engineering jobs are held by Saudis.

“As the world moves toward a green power transition, we are committed to working with regional partners to ensure today and tomorrow’s generation of engineers has the skills and technologies they need for a new era of energy management. The Saudi Council of Engineers is one such trusted partner in this endeavor as we focus on delivering top-quality training within the Kingdom,” said Mohamed Shaheen, cluster president, Schneider Electric, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Abdulnasser Saif Al-Abdullatef, secretary-general of the SCE, said: “We are committed to promoting engineering within Saudi Arabia and upgrading its standards with a view to enhance the level of engineering talent and encourage innovation and creativity in the field. Our collaboration with Schneider Electric builds on our commitment and strategic efforts in this regard. Through a concerted and collaborative top-quality training in the Kingdom, we hope to build the next generation of engineers in Saudi Arabia.”

The MoU builds on a collective vision to enhance the capabilities of engineering and technical talent across the country, as well as to facilitate an exchange of engineering expertise and knowledge that will play a key role in the successful delivery of the Kingdom’s ambitious construction pipeline.

Schneider Electric aims to drive digital transformation by integrating world-leading process and energy technologies, end-point to cloud connecting products, controls, software and services, across the entire lifecycle, enabling integrated company management, for homes, buildings, data centers, infrastructure and industries.


Ensuring a long drive for electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia

Updated 27 November 2022

Ensuring a long drive for electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia

Transportation is a major polluter, causing a significant chunk of greenhouse gas emissions. Greener ways of getting goods and people around are urgently needed and leaders gathering at COP27 in Egypt must make this a focus.

More electric vehicles are expected to hit the roads soon, followed swiftly by electric trains, hydrogen-powered planes and more sustainable shipping. By 2035, the largest automotive markets are expected to be fully electric — hardly a surprise as EVs tend to be up to four times more energy-efficient than the internal combustion engine-based vehicles.

When Saudi Arabia announced plans to achieve net-zero status by 2060, widespread adoption of EVs was always expected to go up a gear. With more than 15 million vehicles in Saudi Arabia in 2020 and nearly four-fifths of these being cars and other light vehicles, numbers are expected to go up in the coming years.

This is critical because the transportation sector consumes more than a fifth of the country’s total energy use, claims the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center. The Saudi government clearly — and rightly — wants to promote EVs in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

The Kingdom plans to ensure that 30 percent of the vehicles on the roads of Riyadh are electric by 2030. EV adoption is also fundamental to meeting the Saudi Green Initiative objectives, which include reducing carbon emissions by more than 278 million tons per annum by 2030.

In pursuit of this goal and wider economic diversification, boosting domestic production of EVs has come into sharp focus: The Kingdom plans to produce 150,000 EVs annually, and just rolled out its first homegrown electric vehicle brand Ceer, which will create 30,000 jobs and add billions of dollars to the economy.

Offering a comprehensive nationwide charging infrastructure to precede the introduction of EVs in the Kingdom has become paramount.

The recent EV Auto Show in Riyadh provided a glimpse of things to come — from promoting electric mobility to charging technology and the infrastructure required to make it possible.

We were proud to debut Schneider Electric’s EVlink Smart Charger in Saudi Arabia for the first time at the EV Auto Show to highlight our electric mobility and sustainability goals, alongside Abunayyan Trading Corporation, one of the most trusted names in the energy and water space in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf. This technology helps highlight the benefits of managing heavy EV energy load and reiterates our priority on renewable energy sources.

This technology stands out with its smart charging experience at home, in buildings, for fleets or in transit, helping customers and partners set the path of efficient planning and execution of projects — by going beyond the charging station and getting a comprehensive solution for an efficient EV charging experience.

The Saudi government is ramping up its efforts to develop EV infrastructure in a bid to increase efficiencies within the EV ecosystem in the Kingdom. Strategic partnerships are central to these efforts and as a key player in energy and automation, we see great value in partnering with government-backed giga-projects and smart cities to support and power the future of mobility in the Kingdom.

• The writer is cluster president, Schneider Electric, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.


Geidea launches CFP program to boost role of Saudi women in fintech

Updated 27 November 2022

Geidea launches CFP program to boost role of Saudi women in fintech

Saudi fintech company Geidea is launching an open and fully sponsored training program in partnership with The London Institute of Banking and Finance to support women in fintech in Saudi Arabia.

The six-week part-time course begins in February 2023 and is open to women who work in tech, fintech, or financial services. GeideAct is part of the company’s commitment to accelerate building an inclusive fintech sector. Graduates will receive a Certified Fintech Practitioner qualification.

The program covers key fintech topics, including how fintech impacts business models across banking and finance, different strategies for growth, and how risk and regulation affect fintech development across the globe. Participants will also learn about the latest technologies and how they impact product design and distribution.

Renier Lemmens, group CEO at Geidea, said: “By providing women in Saudi Arabia with access to training and development, GeideAct delivers a more inclusive, and diverse Saudi fintech talent bank. GeideAct is all about accelerated learning, and as the largest fintech in Saudi Arabia, we are giving back to a vast pool of young talents to help them to become future fintech leaders.”

The CFP program is for early to mid-career professionals and entails twice-weekly 45-minute sessions for six weeks, so that working professionals can fit their studies around their schedules.

Lemmens added: “We view the CFP qualification from LIBF as the first of many GeideAct programs. The program enables women to participate in the growth opportunities that the fintech sector offers. We are launching the GeideAct program in Saudi Arabia, and planning to introduce the initiative across all markets where we operate.”

Kareem Refaay, managing director of GCC and MENA at LIBF, said: “Leveraging over 140 years of excellence in the banking and finance industry, LIBF is delighted to partner with Geidea. Through collaboration on the Certified Fintech Practitioner qualification and the provision of world-class faculty expertise, we look forward to advancing female professional development in Saudi Arabia’s fintech sector.”

Course enrollment requires intermediate English language skills and a managerial role with exposure to fintech, technology, or financial services.

Interested participants can submit their application online via https://careers.geidea.net/job-invite/1002/ before Dec. 16; places are limited.