Category Archives: Other Tech News

Mobile World Congress 2015 Recap

We left a great show behind this year in Barcelona. Mobile World Congress once again proved that, it is the most important event about mobile where you find the latest products and the future trends about mobile space.

Of course, for most of the consumers, launch of Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge or HTC One M9 was the most important headlines from the show. But we believe that, there were more important products and services launched or showcased this year in the show.

For a quick summary:

  • Every year, we see less smart phones & Tablets in mwC. This year, samsung launched galaxy s6 and s6 edge, while htc announced HTC One m9 but the most interesting devices in this segment were Jolla tablet, black phone 2 and Lenovo Yoga tablet.
  • On the other hand, we see more wearables & Hearables, VR Head sets in the show this year. the important detail was, fashion brands were showcasing this year with their designs and partnerships with tech companies.
  • In payments area, Samsung Pay was the biggest announcement. Google announced their new platform Android Pay and Paypal announced the acquisition of paydiant. All send a clear message to Apple: “you are not alone in this space”
  • Smart cars, bicycles are announced as the connected smart solutions and underlined the importance of the connected ecosystem and internet of things.
  • Robots & emotional interfaces seems to be the new trend in product and service design.

We prepared a presentation for you as recap for Mobile World Congress 2015. Hope you enjoy it.

 

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 Modirates.com, 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.

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

Hotel My Phone

If you are following Modirates.com, 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)

facebook_video_statistics

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 Modirates.com, 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.

Gulf International Bank Launched Region’s First Direct Banking Service “Meem”

Meem by GIB

Meem by GIB (‘meem’), a progressive retail banking service provided by Gulf International Bank (GIB), was officially launched at an event in Alkhobar. With this announcement, Gulf International Bank (GIB) became the Middle East’s first online-only consumer banking business, seeking to diversify after almost collapsing during the global financial crisis and to tap into a young, tech-savvy population.

Called “Meem” – the letter M in Arabic – the new retail banking platform will offer personal finance products and credit cards in Saudi Arabia, the region’s largest economy.

Around two-thirds of the population are under 30, and the kingdom is the biggest user of YouTube per capita in the world and among the top 10 nations for Twitter use.

The new business will give Bahrain-based GIB – 97 percent-owned by the Saudi government – a more stable funding base, GIB Chief Executive Yahya Alyahya said at a launch event.

“It will be a mitigant for the bank against any potential financial crisis in the future so we will not face the problems that we faced in 2008, which took us to the point where the bank could have defaulted,” he told reporters.

“Dealing with retail is also profitable in itself, so that is going to enhance our profitability.”

GIB aims to have around a 3 percent share of the Saudi consumer banking market by 2020.

“Our strategy is to be a pan-Gulf universal bank, so after Saudi and when the proposition proves successful, we will move it to other countries,” Alyahya said, adding it could launch into another unspecified Gulf country by next year.

‘Meem’ has opened stores in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahran that enable customers to complete the account opening process and receive their debit cards immediately as well as withdraw and deposit cash, make transfers and do their own account maintenance.

It is also available on App Store with iPhone and iPad applications.

As Modirates.com, we believe that Meem is a good step for the region in terms of Digital Banking, as it will help to change the conventional banking experience towards to digital banking. We believe that young generation in the Gulf Region has different vision compared to their parents so the companies who is taking the first steps and continue investing on digital area will benefit more in the future.

Which Wearable Is Worth To Buy

which wearable to buy

The below article is originally published in venturebeat.com. It is one of the greatest articles related to wearables we have read so far so just wanted share it with you. But before the article, we also wanted to share our comments related to wearables in the market to help you decide on which wearable is worth to buy.

As Modirates.com, we have already used several devices including Samsung’s Gear, Fitbit, Jawbone Up 24, Nike Fuel Band, Pebble Smart Watch, CooKoo Smart watch, i’m Watch, Google Glass etc.. We used them not only for trying them but experienced them in real life for couple of months to see how they are adding value to our daily life. So far we believe that, although they are very fancy, wearables are not adding the expected value from them so much. There are several reasons behind it, like charging them, design issues, lack of applications, etc. If you want to buy a good wearable today, we suggest you Fitbit Charge or Jawbone Up 24 as the wristband and Pebble or Moto 360 as the smart watch. That’s all! Sorry for the others, but they are not worth to buy according to us.

Now, please read the article below, if you are thinking about buying a wearable or still waiting for Apple Watch.

Yesterday, I tried on 56 wearables. Fifty-six. And, unsurprisingly, most left me wanting more.

But, by subjecting myself to a torrent of trackers, Android wrist computers, and even a smart sweatband, I came to a few conclusions that you might find helpful — if you’re buying a wearable, or if you get a kick out of gadget-watching.

1. Only a few major players have it right

I haven’t tried on every single wearable ever made. But in total, I’ve worn over 60 to date. After trying on a few dozen, one thing became clear to me: There isn’t a lot of value in the wearables product category yet.

Translation: Wearables almost always suck.

Only a few companies seem to have taken the time to make strapping a “smart” gadget to your body feel somewhat natural. My top pick, the Fitbit Charge (believe it or not), features a piece of rubber, a simple display, and a few sensors. It’s simple, but it works, and I won’t be embarrassed when I see a picture of myself wearing it 5 years from now.

I can’t say the same about Samsung’s Gear S, which tries to do everything instead of doing one thing well. Android Wear still has time to advance and may dominate this category in a few years, but it is not there yet.

Other very solid wearables include the Pebble and the Withings Activité. Also, I will say, the steel Sony SmartWatch 3 feels quite nice on the wrist, even if it’s a bit heavy.

2. Smartwatches and other wearables usually do too much, or too little

Samsung, LG, Sony and the rest of the Android Wear crew all suffer from feature bloat. I don’t want my smartwatch to double as a phone, but that may be a personal preference.

On the other end of the spectrum, simpler gadgets are often limited by sub-par software. Even Fitbit suffers from this problem (I wish it would just integrate with Strava and Runkeeper), to some degree.

3. Not everyone is looking to Apple for direction

The race to launch the next big wearable doesn’t feel like a gold rush. It feels like the aftermath of a gold rush, where Samsung and others are hunched over a shallow stream sifting for flecks — as a fruit company looms.

A lot is riding on the Apple Watch, and many in the tech industry seem to believe that Apple already has a hit on its hands, but I’m not sold. It surely won’t flop, but something about a wrist computer feels inherently niche (for now). I say this having never personally used Apple’s.

I bet companies like Samsung are feverishly waiting to see how well the Apple Watch is received. But some companies are content in playing a specialized role. The SmartMonitor SmartWatch, which detects epileptic seizures, will never target the masses. Likewise, goofy, non-smartwatch experiments like the Narrative Clip, serve far too specific a purpose to branch out and mimic Apple.

The wearables category is still young, and there’s no shame in grasping at straws if there’s a chance someone will build something that makes life a little easier. It’s easy to be pessimistic, but there’s also plenty of potential. In any event, while we wait for this category to evolve, it’s entertaining to watch the puzzle pieces slowly come together.

Earth Timelapses By European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst

This post is not related to Mobile or Digital Services, but this is something you should really watch.

I don’t know how lucky you are to get a chance to go hospice and shoot your own photo’s or videos of the Earth. The reality is, you are even luck enough if you have an astronaut friend who did this before, so you can have a chance to listen the experience from the first hand. But don’t worry, if this is still not the case for you, you can experience this great moments from the Earth Timelapses By European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst below.


Watch Earth roll by through the perspective of ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst in this six-minute timelapse video from space. Combining 12 500 images taken by Alexander during his six-month Blue Dot mission on the International Space Station this Ultra High Definition video shows the best our beautiful planet has to offer.

Marvel at the auroras, sunrises, clouds, stars, oceans, the Milky Way, the International Space Station, lightning, cities at night, spacecraft and the thin band of atmosphere that protects us from space.

Often while conducting scientific experiments or docking spacecraft Alexander would set cameras to automatically take pictures at regular intervals. Combining these images gives the timelapse effect seen in this video.

Watch the video in 4K resolution for the best effect and find out more about Alexander Gerst’s Blue Dot mission here: http://www.esa.int/BlueDot

Follow Alexander Gerst via http://alexandergerst.esa.int

What Does Crowd Economy Mean For UAE

Crowd economy

On digital of things, everybody is asking the same question: What is next?

There are different trends (we also shared some of them with you here and here) but when and how they will effect our market is still the biggest question.

As Modirates.com, we believe that, one of the most important trends for the UAE market will be crowd economy. We will describe why it is important but first of all, let’s take a look, what does crowd economy (it is also called as shared / collaborative economy) means:

“The sharing economy (sometimes also referred to as the peer-to-peer economy, mesh, collaborative economy, collaborative consumption) is a socio-economic system built around the sharing of human and physical resources. It includes the shared creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption of goods and services by different people and organizations. These systems take a variety of forms, often leveraging information technology to empower individuals, corporations, non-profits and government with information that enables distribution, sharing and reuse of excess capacity in goods and services. A common premise is that when information about goods is shared, the value of those goods may increase, for the business, for individuals, and for the community.” (Wikipedia)

As you can understand from the above definition, crowd economy is all about sharing services. Sharing things is not something new for human being. We started sharing thoughts first, than we shared food, we shared life and everything we had basically. Today, it is much more easier to share things, thanks to the digital world! Previously, we were sharing things with people around us, now our borders widened, we can reach any people all around the world and this means, we can share more.

For companies, this is bringing a huge opportunity. 2014 was the year for the ones, who took this opportunity really well like Uber, Airbnb and even the Dubai based company Carpool. All these examples showed that, the platforms, which are creating the crowd economy are growing faster than any other business.

When it comes to UAE market, this opportunity is even higher. Most of the companies in the UAE are just moving to Digital and still have a lot to do to achieve world class standards. If they choose the way to move traditionally about creating their space in the digital world, which means investing individually to create all the services from scratch, this will take a huge time for them to catch the digital train. But, if they focus on their core business and share them with more specific digital services, they will benefit more in a shorter time period. Not only time, but also from the cost perspective, this will reduce the costs, especially in terms of initial investment costs.

This means collaboration of companies. For example, API sharing is becoming more important everyday. Big companies, who has the power but not enough flexibility to move faster should focus on creating the open APIs to serve their core services. Small companies, like tech startups, who are less powerful but more flexible will be able to take these APIs and focus on user experience. With this collaboration, it is an absolute win-win model for both sides and even for the end users.

More important, this can be implemented in all sectors, not only for specific ones. Today, especially in US, there are many examples working perfectly in health sector, cities (governmental areas), financial sector, tourism, transportation and more.

Watch the video below to see how crowd economy evolved just under 1 year and what is expected in 2015.

 

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