Ericsson, stc to explore cloud RAN, 5G deployment in KSA

The MoU between Ericsson and stc was signed at Mobile World Congress 2023 in Barcelona, Spain. The partnership aims at exploring deployment options for 5G services.
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Updated 06 March 2023

Ericsson, stc to explore cloud RAN, 5G deployment in KSA

Ericsson and stc have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore deployment options and future network architectures for delivering 5G services. Signed at Mobile World Congress 2023, the MoU seeks to support stc in its goal to seamlessly evolve toward cloud-native technologies and open network designs, thus increasing the flexibility of stc’s 5G infrastructure to accelerate delivery of services while scaling up 5G offerings.

Under this MoU, stc and Ericsson will also examine how future network architectures will enable a variety of new 5G use cases in Saudi Arabia, in line with Saudi Vision 2030’s national objectives to build cutting-edge digital infrastructure. 

stc aims to implement open, resilient, and secure network designs by exploring novel 5G deployment models and different network architectures. This involves driving cloud radio access network discussions and providing the latest Ericsson Fronthaul 6000 solutions. Cloud RAN is a cloud-native software solution that handles compute functionality in the RAN. 

Bader Abdullah Allhieb, infrastructure sector VP, said: “In our journey to provide enhanced 5G services to individuals and businesses across Saudi Arabia in line with Saudi Vision 2030, we are constantly exploring future network architectures based on the principles of openness, intelligence, automation and security. In particular, the cloudification of RAN opens exciting opportunities for us and our customers. We look forward to collaborating with Ericsson to explore new models for network performance while ensuring the operational excellence that our customers expect from stc.” 

Håkan Cervell, vice president and head of customer unit stc, Saudi Arabia and Egypt at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, said: “We are pleased to sign the memorandum of understanding with stc, to explore how the adoption of cloud RAN solutions can help stc optimize their 5G bandwidth, operate networks more efficiently, and improve overall network performance. We look forward to collaborating with stc to identify new ways of deploying cloud-native networks virtually everywhere, on any cloud, and any server platform for increased network flexibility, faster delivery of services and greater scalability.” 

Ericsson and stc started collaborating on 5G technology in 2019 and continue today with the goal of rapidly promoting the adoption of 5G in the region and accelerating the Kingdom’s digital age.

Future-forward thinkers: ROSHN Hackathon winners revealed

Updated 1 min 4 sec ago

Future-forward thinkers: ROSHN Hackathon winners revealed

ROSHN Group, a Public Investment Fund-backed company and Saudi Arabia’s leading mixed-asset real estate developer of integrated urban communities, announced the winners of the ROSHN Hackathon at Cityscape Global in Riyadh.

For the “New Venture Ideas” track, EcoFit won first prize for their cutting-edge development and received a prize of SR350,000 ($93,300), while the Wajid team secured the second place and received a prize of SR150,000. In the “Established Startups” track, NeoROSHN claimed the first prize worth SR350,000, while the JMM Innovation team won SR150,000.

Each track offered a first-place prize of SR350,000. In addition to the cash prizes, the winning teams will also be invited to attend Innovation and 10x Thinking training at Google workshop and the Saudi Arabia Google Cloud Launch event.

“The ROSHN Hackathon embodies our unwavering commitment to innovating for the future. It’s not just about real estate; it’s about ushering in groundbreaking technologies, setting unprecedented standards, and nurturing entrepreneurs and budding economic sectors across the Kingdom. Through the pioneering solutions proposed by these forward-thinking entrepreneurs and startups, the hackathon aims to elevate the quality of life for residents and tenants. We are focused on translating innovative ideas into tangible, state-of-the-art solutions tailored for everyday needs. I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the participants, especially our victorious winners, for showcasing such creativity and resilience,” said David Grover, CEO of ROSHN Group.

The hackathon showcased a dynamic gathering of 16 teams, hailing from both the Kingdom and outside. These teams adeptly navigated challenges across three pivotal sectors: the evolution of software solutions, the unveiling of groundbreaking products, and the transformation of infrastructure and compliance. The participant pool, teeming with tech aficionados, real estate experts, budding college visionaries, and prop-tech trailblazers, became a melting pot of innovative minds. All were united by a singular mission: to ideate transformative solutions addressing the pressing challenges of the real estate sector. Ensuring a rigorous and fair assessment, a carefully curated panel of experts with profound roots in the Saudi real estate, housing, and technology sectors undertook the responsibility of judging.

The essence of this hackathon resonates profoundly with ROSHN’s foundational ethos, serving as a marker of the confluence of diverse perspectives, collaborative ventures, and an indefatigable spirit of innovation. Such attributes not only pave the path for the future of real estate but also mirror ROSHN’s steadfast commitment to empowerment.

CityScape, a premier international real estate event, recently marked its inaugural appearance in the Kingdom, unfolding at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Center. ROSHN took center stage as founding partner of the event.

Young changemakers tackle societal issues at ‘SHAPEATHON’

Updated 24 September 2023

Young changemakers tackle societal issues at ‘SHAPEATHON’

Global Shapers Jeddah Hub successfully organized SHAPEATHON, a social entrepreneurship hackathon that brought together passionate changemakers to develop innovative solutions for local societal challenges in three main tracks: Environment and Responsible Consumption, Health and Well-being, and Upskilling for the Future.

The Jeddah Hub is a part of the Global Shapers Community, a World Economic Forum initiative that aims to spark dialogue, action, and change. Jeddah Hub is made up of a pool of talented and driven Saudis youths coming together from diverse educational and professional backgrounds, including entrepreneurs, doctors, engineers, creative industry people, artists, corporate professionals, and athletes.

Over three days from Sept. 14-16, participants of the hackathon received mentorship, attended workshops, and worked collaboratively to develop their innovative concepts and prototypes. The final day culminated with participants presenting their solutions to a panel of judges, comprising industry experts and community leaders.

Speaking on the success of the event, Sarah Alharthey, curator of Global Shapers Jeddah Hub, said: “SHAPEATHON represents the power of collaboration and innovation, as it brought together a diverse group of passionate individuals to tackle pressing societal issues across multiple critical domains.” 

She added: “The event’s success highlights the remarkable potential for impact-driven projects that can contribute to the realization of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, fostering empowerment within the nonprofit sector and nurturing the aspirations of emerging social entrepreneurs.”

SHAPEATHON was hosted by the University of Business and Technology, with support from sponsors, OLO, resal, and Vibes Offices. TAM served as the knowledge partner, providing valuable insights and resources to the participants. The event also secured partnerships with renowned institutions, including the University of San Diego and The Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge.

The event successfully fostered an environment in which young innovators and social entrepreneurs could thrive. The hackathon was an ideal platform for impact-driven individuals to explore their creative potential and make a difference in their communities.

“We are thrilled with the success of SHAPEATHON,” said Ahmed Abulela, project leader of SHAPEATHON. “It is a testament to the talent, passion, and dedication of our community. We look forward to building on this momentum and to supporting our participants in their entrepreneurial journeys to make a positive impact in Jeddah.”

LuLu Group opens food processing and export hub in Italy

Updated 24 September 2023

LuLu Group opens food processing and export hub in Italy

To further boost its sourcing operations and to bring in high-quality products for its large chain of hypermarkets, Abu Dhabi-based retail giant LuLu Group officially opened its world-class sourcing, food processing and export hub in Italy.

Y International Italia, the sourcing division of LuLu Group, was inaugurated by Guido Guidesi, Italian minister of economic development, in the presence of Yusuffali M.A., chairman and managing director of LuLu Group. Also present on the occasion were Roberto Rizzardo, head of FDI department of Invitalia; Valerio Soldani, director of Italian Trade Agency; Naser Al-Khaja, charge d’affaires at the UAE Embassy in Italy; Dr. Nasser Al-Balooshi, Bahrain ambassador to Italy; Cesare Trevisani, chairman of Arab Chamber of Commerce of Italy; Mohamed Althaf, director of LuLu Group; Allessandro Simone, country head of LuLu Group in Italy; and other officials. 

This move by the LuLu Group will further boost its sourcing operations not only from Italy but also from nearby European countries, ensuring uninterrupted supply and price stability of food products.

Ideally located at World Trade Center Malpensa Airport in Milan, the state-of-the-art facility will primarily focus on sourcing, processing, storing, packaging and exporting of top-quality food products from Italy to more than 255 LuLu Hypermarkets spread across GCC countries, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

The focus categories include cheeses, chocolates, fruit jams, sweet and puff pastries, organic pasta, infused extra-virgin olive oil, and high-quality sea salt from well-known Italian brands. Apart from packed food, the center will also source and export a wide range of fruits and vegetables, including apples, grapes, kiwi and olives. 

Minister Guidesi expressed excitement on the opening of LuLu Group’s new project in Italy and assured the highest level of support and cooperation, which he said would further enhance trade ties between Italy and the Arab world. Speaking at the inauguration, Yusuffali said: “As a key partner in the food security sector in the Middle East, it is our ongoing strategy to set up our own sourcing and food processing units around the world to ensure uninterrupted supply and ensure competitive pricing by eliminating middlemen. 

“Italy has some unique cuisines, a vast variety of fruits, vegetables and various commodities and we are working closely with the Italian Trade Agency to boost the export of these products to our hypermarkets. We will be working closely with all stakeholders to promote the Italian brands by organizing Italian food festivals across our hypermarkets.” 

He added: “We will be initially exporting worth 50 million euros ($53.4 million) and expect to reach 200 million euros in two years. We are tying up with farmers cooperative societies to source fruits and vegetables, which will surely have a very positive impact on the agricultural sector of Italy. In addition, this project will also generate significant employment in Italy.” 

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE, LuLu Group has an annual turnover of $8 billion and employs more than 65,000 people from 43 different countries. It is ranked as the No.1 retailer in the Middle East and North Africa region and as one of the Top 50 fastest growing retailers in the world by Deloitte. 

LuLu Group has similar food processing centers in the UK, US, Spain, Turkiye, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and South Africa among others.

LuLu, Ariel celebrate National Day with Guinness record

Updated 24 September 2023

LuLu, Ariel celebrate National Day with Guinness record

LuLu Hypermarket, the Kingdom’s fastest growing and largest retail chain, and Ismail Abu Dawood and Procter and Gamble Limited, manufacturers of products such as Pampers, Tide, Ariel and Herbal Essences, partnered to celebrate the 93rd Saudi National Day with a Guinness World Records title.

In partnership with Ariel Saudi Arabia, LuLu made an eye-catching formation in the shape of the number 93, using 16,494 Ariel detergent packs. The feat bagged the Guinness World Records title for the “Largest Packaged Product Number.”

The event, which took place at the Alawwal Park Stadium, Riyadh, on Sept. 19, was attended by popular Saudi actor Yousef Al-Jarrah. Guinness World Records officials were present to authenticate and certify the attempt. The LuLu and Ariel teams had been working for days on a logistics and design blueprint to build the formation.

To mark LuLu’s role in the progress of Saudi Arabia, the retail giant is partnering with Albir Charity to donate 6,000 packs from the display to families in need. This will also be part of the LuLu ESG effort. Of the remaining packs, more than 10,000 lucky customers shopping at LuLu stores in Riyadh on National Day, will get them for free on a “first come, first serve” basis.

“We are excited to aim for a Guinness World Records title dedicated to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the occasion of the 93rd Saudi National Day,” said Shehim Mohammed, LuLu Saudi director. “It is an exercise that frames the progress of the Kingdom and LuLu’s role in it. The top detergent brand, Ariel, produced by our project partner P&G, is manufactured in the Kingdom and, like LuLu, it showcases the development of industry and business in modern Saudi Arabia. We have also built our charity and ESG initiative into the event, thus reaching out to families in need and also our valued customer base.”

Turki bin Moammar, Saudi government relations and public policy senior director at P&G, expressed the multinational conglomerate’s happiness at partnering with LuLu for this landmark event. He said: “At P&G, we are committed to helping create a better world for future generations by driving initiatives across our brands and operations that help the communities we operate in. Our longstanding collaboration with LuLu offers both organizations an opportunity to demonstrate the power of brands to enact positive change. This imaginative effort to mark Saudi National Day with a Guinness World Record is sure to capture the hearts of the public while also serving the noble cause of charity. We look forward to building on this coalition through future initiatives with trusted and mindful partners.”

The project was also applauded by Fahad Al-Nashwan, assistant secretary-general at Albir Charity. He said: “Charity is one of the pillars of Islam and on the joyful occasion of Saudi National Day, what better way to join in celebrations than this, where families in need are served. We thank LuLu Hypermarket and P&G for reaching out in this imaginative way.”

Meanwhile, celebrity guest Al-Jarrah said: “I am very pleased to be here on this special day to celebrate the 93rd National Day and to participate with my brothers at LuLu Hypermarket and Ariel in achieving the world’s largest number, and I congratulate them on receiving the Guinness certificate.”

On Sept. 19, the display was inaugurated in the presence of LuLu top management led by Mohammed, director of LuLu Saudi. The P&G team was led by bin Moammar.

Noug, Kingdom’s first camel milk brand, opens Riyadh store

Updated 23 September 2023

Noug, Kingdom’s first camel milk brand, opens Riyadh store

RIYADH: Noug, the first Saudi brand to specialize in camel milk products, has opened its first branch in Riyadh’s Al-Malqa district.

Noug is a trademark owned by Sawani, which specializes in the camel milk sector in the Kingdom and is one of the Public Investment Fund companies.

Noug was established as part of Sawani to enable the growth of the camel milk sector and to contribute to the development of a sustainable local production system.

The brand offers a range of camel milk products including cheese, butter, yogurt, gelato, laban, cream, and other derivatives of camel milk.

Noug’s camel milk also comes in a variety of flavors including chocolate, dark chocolate with orange, lavender, and cardamom milk flavors.

Commenting on Noug’s flavors, Abdullah Al-Malki, a Riyadh resident, said: “It is a beautiful thing to see, something the Saudi market has been waiting for, for decades.” 

He added: “It tastes great, and the most important thing is all of its products are free of food additives.”

Noug’s first branch in the Saudi capital offers easy and quick services for its customers through a camel milk dispenser machine, which is loaded with a selection of milk flavors to choose from and dozens of empty containers to store the milk.

The selected milk container then goes through a sanitization process, where the product is sanitized before it is dispensed.

“The sanitization step of the machine gives me a sense of assurance, and I don’t have to clean the bottle before pouring milk, which is something I have been doing since the pandemic,” said Sarah Alotaibi, a Riyadh resident.

The official opening of Noug’s first branch took place on Sept. 9, and in the coming months, Noug camel milk and its derivative products will be available in local markets.

Through Noug, Sawani aims to provide high-quality milk products to local and international markets, introduce consumers to the nutritional value and health benefits of camel milk products, raise the production capacity of camel milk and its products, and offer innovative products made from natural camel milk to contribute to enriching the dairy products market in line with the consumers’ taste in the Kingdom.

Camel milk has been part of the Kingdom’s rich heritage and traditions for centuries, and through Noug, Sawani is preserving this long heritage at the heart of the Kingdom, combining the finest traditions and nutritional values with locally produced camel milk.