Monthly Archives: January 2015



Uber is expanding its business from car service for individual transportation to cargo business.

One of the most successful startups of the previous year, US based company, Uber seems to have paid attention to the discussions on the company’s potential on global logistics business. They have recently introduced UberCARGO on the company’s blog. With this service, both individuals and business owners can manage their deliveries by just calling a delivery car and proving the address details of the recipient.

The service is first launched in Hong Kong for beta users. Today Uber’s car service operates in 200 cities and it would be no surprise if the new cargo business takes up the world very soon.

Would You Like To Experience The Apple Watch Before Having It?

Pipes Apple Watch Demo

If you would like to experience the Apple Watch before having it, we have good news for you. Pipes has created an interactive web page to show how Apple Watch is working.

On the web site, you can see Apple Watch in the center of the screen with many different applications installed on it, like Shazam, Instagram, Maps, Apple Healthcare Apps and more. By tapping on each icon, you can see how the applications are working on the Apple Watch with their real interfaces.

It is a great presentation for the product as it is not only showing how the apps are working, it is also letting the customers to experience how the navigation and user experience is happening on the device.

Apple Watch is expected to be in the market in March, starting from $349 in US.

Book Your Calendar For ArabNet Beirut 2015

arabnet beirut 2015

ArabNet Beirut will take place from March 17th till 19th 2015 at Hilton Hotel, Beirut, Lebanon. This year, ArabNet Beirut focused on the “digital and creative industries,” and feature top speakers, executives, entrepreneurs, developers, designers and creative participants.

ArabNet Beirut 2015 will tackle discussions on digital’s opportunities across industries; such as fashion, banking, FMCG and luxury brands, and more.

Digital Media: How Journalists are Leveraging Social Media; Brands and Influencers; Governments  and NGOs leveraging Social Media; Online video production; FMCG, Fashion, and Luxury Brand Management and Online Marketing; Social Media Case Studies in Food & Beverage and Entertainment

eBusiness & Technology: Customer Service Online; Online Retailing and Commerce; Fashion and Luxury Commerce; Mobile Banking; and Regional Hardware Innovation

Design+Code: Usability and User Experience, APIs and Integration, Android, iOS and Windows Development, Visualization, Agile Software Development, Designing for Mobile, Lightning Talks and more

Competitions: ArabNet will run three competitions at the event highlighting rising talents in the region, who will pitch their startups, ideas and marketing talents during the Forum Days.

Book your calendar for Arabnet Beirut 2015 and register from here.

AstroLabs and Dubai Investment Development Agency Creating More Work Space For Startups

Dubai Startup Hub

Dubai is becoming  a real hub for startups everyday, not only offering great opportunities in terms of business but also providing great facilities and infrastructure for them as well. There are several initiatives being launch one after another to encourage startup ecosystem in the city, which is also parallel with the smart city vision of Dubai.

It has been announced that, AstroLabs and Dubai Investment Development Agency creating more work space for startups at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre in April.

AstroLabs is a member of the 20 global tech hub networks of ‘Google for Entrepreneurs’ and the only hub in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region. With this new concept, a collaborative co-working space and educational centre is provided at Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) to support the start-ups.

The new initiative is not an investment platform, but it is solving a huge problem for startups by providing them a better workspace, where they can also interact with the other players as well as the investors. This is a real hub for the startup ecosystem in Dubai to help them reach Global players. Also, with this initiative, global startups will be able to reach the middle east region to showcase their service abilities for MENA people.

As, we believe that Dubai is the right place for startups to link their abilities with the global players. It is not easy to start a business in Dubai because of high investment costs, but on the other hand, many global players are raising their eyes to MENA region to launch their services in Middle East countries. This means, there is a huge opportunity for collaboration with the local players and the international ones. On the other hand, local companies in Dubai are not flexible enough to launch innovation quickly. This is another opportunity for startups to show their abilities in the market with the support of big local players. Number of similar initiatives will increase in the near future and Dubai has the potential to be the hub for the region, not only for the Gulf countries but also countries like Turkey, India and Singapore.

UAE Users Are Adopted Well On Digital (Statistics)

UAE Digital Usage Statistics

Statistics show that UAE users are adopted well on digital services and devices. UAE is not only far front of other Middle East countries and but also competing the world’s most advance countries in terms of digital usage according to TNS’s Connected Life Study.

As, we summarized some of the statistics for you to show where we are standing as UAE in the Digital World:

  • The average adults in the UAE owns at least four devices — smartphone, tablet, PC or laptop
  • UAE people already adopted using personal health services, connecting the car or home to other devices or the internet, using a 3D printer, and even using wearable technology, such as a smart watches and wristbands
  • The social media usage per day is reaching up to 5 hours, 3.3 hours in average.
  • Men use more devices and services than women in the UAE
  • 96% the UAE residents have a social media account and 67% are using it on a daily basis
  • Facebook and Youtube are the top social media platforms, while Whats App has the highest growth rate.
  • 93% of UAE residents have Facebook accounts and the monthly active users are 53%, followed by Google+ at 73% penetration rate and 27% monthly active users, Twitter at 64% penetration rate and 27% monthly active users, LinkedIn at 49% penetration rate and 22% monthly active users and Instagram at 26% and 10% monthly active users (According to DU)

We believe that the numbers are promising but there is one important issue in the UAE. The ownership and the active usage rates shows that, although the penetration is high, the adaptation is not the same in the UAE. The gap is even bigger for the local services like mobile banking, m-goverment and e/m-commerce services. The reason is the lack of quality for the services compared to the others in the world. As UAE, if we want to convert penetration into adaptation more, we need to focus on the quality of the services more, otherwise, global players will get more share from the pie and this is a real threat for the local services in the country.

UAE Reached 80% Penetration In Social Media Usage

UAE Social Media Penetration

UAE reached 80% penetration in social media usage and have the highest social penetration rate in the world according to Fahad Al Hassawi, chief commercial officer at Du. According to Al Hassawi, this number is only 24% in Middle East and an average user is spending 3.3 hours daily on social media in the UAE. After the UAE, Singapore comes next at 59 per cent while Australia and UK have 57 per cent penetration rates each. Al Hassawi also said that 96 per cent of the UAE residents have a social media account and 67 per cent are using it on a daily basis.

These great numbers are also making the Telecom operators to provide special packages to their customers, who want to access social networks more through their mobiles. This is why, Du recently announced the free data package plans for social media users on pre-paid plans. They are also planning the same for the post paid users and working on the new post paid SIM to enable this.

As, we believe that data will be focus of Telecom Operators in the upcoming years as currently, instant messaging already took over the SMS and voice communication is also under threat because of VoIP (Voice over IP) services. With iOS 8 and new iPad Air 2, Apple already showed their plans about the SIM-less world and other players like Samsung seems to be interested on the same as well. Currently, TRA is controlling this for Telcos and for sure, this will not become a reality for the UAE for the near future but Telecom Operators needs to be prepared for this change to protect their business. They need to get more customers on board in terms of Data usage so this move is very important milestone for the UAE. This is also bringing great opportunities for other companies to be involved in partnerships with the Telecom operators to push their mobile offerings.

Can Facebook Workplace Version Be Useful In UAE?

Facebook At Work For UAE companies

Facebook recently announced that they have been piloting a version of its leading social network tailored for getting jobs done in workplaces instead of tuning into the lives of friends and the pilot is running in various countries now.

“Facebook at Work” smartphone applications appear in Apple’s online app store and the Google Play shop for Android-powered mobile devices, but can only be accessed by a few companies collaborating with the social network.

Facebook at Work has news feeds, chats, groups and other features that can be found on the widely-used social network, but sharing can only be done with people inside a particular company.

As, we believe that this can be an opportunity for the companies in UAE to replace and convert their intranet services into a more social friendly version to increase the  employee engagement. The service is also offering mobility, which is not available for most of the intranet services in the companies. There were several examples already in the market since the born of social media and several companies tried to adopt this in various countries before. The thing is, most of these integrations done very early, even, the companies were not able to define the real benefit of this services before launching them internally. However, most of the trends for the near future shows that, employee engagement is getting more important to increase the efficiency and quality of the outputs in various departments inside the organizations. The thing is, all of us are now more adapted to use social networks now and we want to use similar interactions in our work space, where we are spending most of our time. It is easier to communicate with people internally, to discuss about our own professional areas and share experience, especially in big organizations where thousands of people working. In UAE, where different people from various cultures are meeting in the same working environment, this will definitely help organizations to increase the engagement between employees and as a result will create efficiency while increasing the quality of the outputs. The only thing is, the scope needs to defined well and the organization needs to create specific customization based on the company profile, sector and culture. We need to remember, Facebook is currently an open platform where specific add ons and applets are being developed for the target audience so the same should apply for the Facebook At Work service for every company.

Saving, a Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolution


We all want to save, don’t we? But most of us find this a hard decision to make.

Every month, we do various mental calculations; I have spent this much, I still have to pay this much of bills, then I have this trip, a bit of shopping, a few dinner reservations, a couple of other payments and yes, here is what I will be left with. And now, how do I save this? Where do I invest my money, which account is the best, will I access my savings the moment I need, will the bank charge me and many more similar thoughts may keep our head busy. Then we find this too complicated and decide to think about it next month. And the next month starts with a similar thought process.

Saving would be very easy if there was someone who would analyze all our current spending, calculate upcoming bills and other expected spending by analyzing the trend during the previous months, calculate our free to spend money and suggest us the portion that we can move to savings this month. In other words, we all need a financial coach that knows as very well, thus can think like we do, replicate our thought processes and recommend us how much to spend or automatically save each month.

Creating such an artificial intelligence should be the easiest for banks and yet only a few are doing this. Banks know about their customers’ spending and income patterns the best; they have all the data they need. They know each customer’s scheduled payments for the month, can analyze their average monthly spending from all accounts and cards, calculate the average incoming money and even guess the total spending by the yearend with seasonality effect. Banks can also suggest the best way of saving for their customer by observing the customer’s existing portfolio, average monthly free to spend amount and previous saving habit. It is all about building this intelligence that can analyze the past data and sense what will happen in the future.

Banks can even get smarter if they can run such algorithms real-time and recommend customers how to utilize their money instantly as they spend or earn. For instance, after a spending with card, bank can instantly send me a push notification displaying the new free to spend amount and if I have enough funds, can suggest me to save on-the-go with one click for a similar shopping need for next month. It always feels good to save after spending.

Recently, I have come across Digit, a San Francisco based start-up that helps users to save by analyzing their checking account, spending habits and income trend and calculate an amount to set aside periodically. If the user has more balance in their account compared to previous months and can survive the month after paying the upcoming payments, Digit automatically saves a certain portion for the user. They not only do the thinking for the user but also the saving part as well. It is all about building the correct algorithm that can do the right analysis. The downside of the service is that the users do not get any earnings for their savings. This is simply a smart digital piggybank and will surely get smarter as more user data flows into their system. Banks can definitely do more than just sending out e-mails with promotions on their saving accounts. They need to get smarter and deliver experiences that can naturally be a part of their customers’ lives.




Hotel My Phone: Share Mobile Devices Like Sharing Your Apartment On Airbnb

Hotel My Phone

If you are following, you know how we believe in crowd economy or sharing economy and all the services related to that model. Hotel My Phone is working on the same principle as many other sharing economy model. With Hotel my Phone, sharing mobile devices is now possible like sharing your apartment on Airbnb.

Hotel My Phone is an application, which is useful when your phone is not with you. Yes, there is nothing wrong with that sentence as it is exactly describing the benefit of the service. If you forget your phone at home or lost it or your phone is out of battery, you just ask your friends to barrow you their phones, which also have Hotel my Phone application. For the first time when you use the app, it is saving your information on its servers and once you log in the app from another device, you can use that device as your own mobile to make phone calls or send SMSs. But don’t forget, you need to pay to activate these services.

As we said in the beginning, crowd or sharing economy is creating great opportunities for everyone. We believe that we will see more initiatives in 2015 as we mentioned this as one of the biggest trends of the year.

12 Important Statistics That You Need To Know For Your Facebook Campaigns

Facebook announced 12 important statistics that you need to know for your Facebook Campaigns. The numbers are related to video and photo sharing. (Are you surprised about that? We hope you are not while Instagram is shining among all the other social media platforms)


According to Cisco, mobile video traffic will increase 1,400% from 2013 to 2018 and will be 69% of all mobile data consumption all around the world. While the data connectivity quality and speed increasing, the prices are also going down and Telecom Operators are offering great deals by bundling the latest devices with data packages. As a result, we all posting, sharing and “Like”ing more videos on social platforms.

According to Facebook:

  • In the last 2 years, video watching increased by 532% on mobile devices through Facebook
  • Video sharing increased by 75% all around the World, while this number is 934% in US
  • Number of videos shared on news source (both by individuals and companies) increased 360% yearly.
  • Everyday, 300 million people is sharing 79 million photos&videos on Instagram
  • Everyday, 350 million photos are being uploaded on Facebook
  • 65% of Facebook videos are being watched through mobile devices world wide.
  • In the past 1 year, number of videos shared on the news feed on Facebook has been increased by 360%.
  • Since July,2014, everyday 1 billion videos have been watched on Facebook, daily. This means, everyday visitors to Facebook is watching at least 1 video everyday!
  • US Adults are spending 20% of their time on Mobile by visiting Facebook and Instagram
  • 76% of US Facebook users are claiming that they are tend discover new videos on Facebook.
  • 20% of Facebook users are sharing the videos they watch on Mobile
  • Woman watch more video than man on Facebook.

Great numbers, aren’t they? But what does it mean for your business? Facebook also make suggestions for you to take the attention of the audience.

  • Present a huge creativity through your videos
  • Try to create short videos, but if you believe that you have a good story, than go for a longer video as long videos with good stories make a greater impact.
  • Your videos should be followed both with sound turned on and while turned off. If needed, use subtitles.
  • Focus on your campaign target, try to reach all range of devices by using photo or video.

As, we want to underline that, there is a huge opportunity in the Gulf Region for agencies, who focus on Video technologies. These companies should take the opportunity to create great videos for companies, who want to increase their presence in social media. Currently, lack of creative agencies on video marketing in the Gulf region is resulting as high costs and long waiting times for companies, who wants to have more presence in social media.

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