Thales Emarat Technologies Teams up with Hub71

Thales Emarat Technologies Teams up with Hub71
A unit of France’s defence electronics group Thales, Thales Emarat Technologies, and Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 are joining forces. The two have joined teams to support innovation in the Emirates. According to AbuDhabuStartup.com: Hub71 is community of founders, investors and business enablers that form a unique technology ecosystem strategically located in Abu Dhabi. Named after the UAE’s formation in 1971, Hub71 is creating the optimal environment for transformative tech companies looking to maximize success, produce outstanding tech innovations and scale globally.
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Hub71 Technology Program

Given the recent news with startups in Abu Dhabi, we thought now would be a good time to highlight one of the programs the Abu Dhabi government has launched. The Hub71 program is an incentive program for startups that offers startups housing, office space, and health insurance. This startup incentives program does not take equity, something that is a rarity in the startup space. Launched recently, they aim to have more than 100 startups at Hub71 by 2023.
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ArabianBytes.com is back with a message of peace

After a long hiatus, this site is back to discuss the digital sphere here in the Middle East and around the world. As we all know, technology is changing on an almost daily basis, and reshaping how we think not just about the tools around us, but about language, culture and the world around us. The Middle East is even more important than it was when we first started this blog.
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Social Media – Helping Good Governments Get Better

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The Spirit of Giving

This Ramadan I was honored to be part of an enthusiastic charity team who dedicated several days a week to a number of charitable projects. While collecting money and distributing meals and clothing were the main objectives, we were lucky enough to spend some time with some families of the families that the project aimed to help, making me realize that giving supersedes monetary value. The search for families and individuals in need started three months before Ramadan.
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The Week That Was, August 15, 2013

YouTube to open its creative studio space in NYC in 2014 Google announced this week that it will be opening up their fourth YouTube creative studio space in New York City in October 2014. For those that aren’t familiar, YouTube’s creative studio is a place where anyone enrolled in its Partner Program can go and hone their skills and gain access to resources needed to help enhance their video’s production value.
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The Week That Was, August 1, 2013

Omnicom-Publicis Merge The biggest news this week is undoubtedly the merger of the world’s second-largest advertising company, Omnicom, and the third-largest, Publicis, together forming the world’s largest ad-holding company valued at $35 billion. This move puts the company above London’s WPP, with existing Omnicom CEO John Wren and Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy serving as co-CEOs of the new Publicis Omnicom Group that consists of a combined 130,000 employees and together generated a total of $23 billion last year.
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ArabNet Digital Summit 2013

ArabNet’s signature event, the ArabNet Digital Summit, was held in Dubai this year and had brought together over 100 speakers and 900 attendees in the 3 day conference (June 24-26). An arena where digital professionals and entrepreneurs in the MENA region gathered, the event took place in one of Dubai’s highlighted attractions, the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai’s Palm Island. The MENA region is one of the fastest growing regions in the digital sector, and the summit didn’t fail to transmit the development and future of the digital industry in the region.
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Mission: Bring Home SABRE Award Safely, Celebrate in Barcelona and Dance Salsa

The adventures of Robby Corrado & Tristan Hills-Bos Like Don Quixote, we left for Barcelona to reignite the chivalric ideal, whilst eat as much tapas our appetites could stomach, dance as much salsa our feet could bear, and pick up an award that we think had something to do with us approaching PR in the right way within the Middle East… After 15 months of managing PR activity across the Middle East, I’d be lying if I claimed this to be the most arduous task set by our leadership However, unlike the unobtainable romantic idealism of Don Quixote’s quest, what ensured was an appreciation of the profound reality of kinship held under the global roof of firm.
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The Week That Was, May 23, 2013

3D doll yourself ! Kick starting TWTW in a disturbing manner, a Japanese toy company called Clone Factory this week announced that people’s faces can now be printed toys! Yes, scary, but true. Basically the person has to sit in a chair surrounded by SLR cameras and have their picture taken in a sequence. Then a digital map of the subject’s head is extracted and printed into plaster. Read more here
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From the desk of Iain Twine

Friends, I would like to update you on a number of exciting new developments. In a snapshot; We are going to Africa We won another award We have got some fantastic new leaders and talent in the region And, I am saying goodbye Firstly, I would like to thank you all for your continued partnership and support over the last 4 years. We will celebrate our 5 year anniversary in the UAE this October, and look forward to inviting you all to help us celebrate this achievement.
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Interning – My experience

Where on earth have these two months gone?! I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. Often graduates snarl at the idea of being qualified and employed as an Intern. At a glance, this statement is understandable, but what most graduates like myself, fail to realise until completing an efficient internship is the importance and value internships have on our CV’s. My time has truly been an exciting and intense learning curve.
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The Week That Was, May 2, 2013

Facebook facelift People get surgery for all different reasons; some because they genuinely don’t like the way a certain feature looks, some because of old age and, some… for the perfect profile picture on Facebook According to an article on Khaleej times, people are going under the knife to look picture perfect for Facebook. This may sound like an extreme decision for a minority group but, according to surgeons the “trend” commonly known as ‘the Facebook facelift’ is growing and is especially popular amongst school and college students of both genders in India.
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Festival Fever

As I sit in the trenches of yet another on-site media centre, surrounded by towers of press packs, media schedules and clippings, amid discarded coffee cups and granola bars I take a moment to reflect on the mechanics of Festival living – the craziness of 16 hour days, the adrenalin highs and lows of running a red carpet, the unpredictability of media management and the desperation involved in artist liaison management.
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The Week That Was, April 25th, 2013

Associated Press hacked On Tuesday the official website of the Associated Press was overtaken by the Syrian Electronic Army, shocking the cyberspace. The first tweet sent by the hackers was “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured”. Within a few hours of this tweet, the AP sent out a message from its Facebook account, informing users; “Please do not respond to news posted there in the last 20 minutes.
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The Week That Was, April 18th, 2013

Hi all, I am the other intern in Dubai. I enjoy writing and I am a big fan of blogging so I was thrilled to give this a shot. The topics I touched on for this week’s edition of TWTW are the following; twitter resumes, Youtubes celebration of video, the fusion of Shazam and fashion and lastly, Facebook video ads. Hope you enjoy it! #twusume – Twitter resume!? Having trouble finding a job, internship or any career opportunity?
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Gone in 6.0 Seconds

2012 was a pivotal year for online video. The numbers? Well, in 2012: 56% of consumer web traffic was video, YouTube users watched more than 36-billion hours of video and online video was the fastest growing ad format (+55%). Put simply, 2012 was the year of Gangnam Style. What about the regional statistics? There are 167 million online video views a day in the Arab region; putting the region in the number two spot in the world (behind the U.
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The Week That Was, April 11th, 2013

Hi readers! I’m an intern at in the Middle East, and I’m giving blogging on Arabian Bytes a try for the first time this week with the return of The Week That Was! This week, we’re looking at brain games and brain waves, Facebook is in real life, and Twitter for business, so without further ado, we start with… Twitter Tips for Business Success! With Social Media becoming an increasingly integral part of business these days, Twitter has re-launched Twitter for Business , an online resource where business ventures can get a better understanding of how to effectively incorporate Twitter efficiently into their business Strategies.
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The Year That Was, 2012

As the year draws to a close, we’re recapping on The Year That Was, bringing you some of the top Tweets, trends and stories that have hit the headlines this year! Top UAE Googles of 2012 What were the top Googled terms of 2012 by residents of the UAE? Well according to the internet giant, we’re an entertainment hungry bunch, with Gangnem Style, iPad3, and Olympics 2012 topping the list.
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Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and taste

The writer Wallace Stevens was appalled to find himself celebrating his 60th birthday. “A poet should be 30, not 60,” he wrote to a friend on receiving a congratulatory note. “It is incredible to me that I am 60.” What then would the great American poet make of a rock band, a secret agent and a public relations company that are either celebrating their own 50th or 60th birthdays’, all showing no signs of slowing down?
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Welcome to The Quarterly Issue Number 03

Here are the latest global trends! In this issue, the UAE trends are mentioned in 3 sections – social media, technology & digital and culture. The third edition of The Quarterly is the JCPR report covering the latest trends from around the globe including social media, technology & digital, brand & marketing, culture, good purpose, fashion & luxury, retail, food & drink, health & beauty and travel. These reports come from colleagues from across the world including UK, Germany, USA, Canada, Mexico, Africa, Belgium, Netherlands, UAE, India, Singapore, China and Australia.
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If we can’t understand Gen Y, we’ll never get Gen Z

The Millennial generation goes by many names. Trophy kids, millenials, generation y, mtv generation, digital natives, 8095ers. This is a group of people in which the oldest is 33 and the youngest are 18. They have experienced life defining moments around global recession, tsunami, arab spring, facebook, and smart phones. They will be the first generation that may be worse off economically than their parents. However, they are probably the most diverse and educated generation in history.
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The Week That Was, November 29, 2012

Parents Name Their New born Baby ‘Hashtag’ A brand new Hashtag has made the rounds on the social media circuit, the likes of which has never been seen on any social network before. A new born baby girl has been named ‘Hashtag’ by her mother, a report on Mashable.com has said, after the hashtag ( # ) symbol, used to mark keywords or topics on Twitter. However, instead of taking to Twitter, the mother posted the news via Facebook post, which to us suggests her apparent #Fail.
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The Week That Was, October 18, 2012

Social network for women with breast cancer With October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, the team at Arabian Bytes has been fascinated this week by the launch of the first social network that directly connects women facing the illness. MyBreastCancerTeam is a social networking site that seeks to address the fears and questions women and their families, face by allowing connections to other women in the same situation. “When you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, you have this overwhelming desire to find other women, just like you, who have been through this,” Mary Ray, co-founder of MyBreastCancerTeam.
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The Week That Was, October 4th, 2012

**First **** LinkedIn **MENA office opens in UAE Exciting news for the Middle Eastern business world this week as LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 175 million members worldwide, announced the opening of its first office in the Middle East and North Africa. Located in Dubai’s Internet City, the office will serve as regional headquarters to over five million members in the Middle East and North Africa, one million of which are based in the UAE, where a team of approximately half a dozen will support the growing membership and client base.
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The Week That Was, September 27th, 2012

The new MySpace Having already brought ‘sexy back’, Justin Timberlake is at it again this time bringing back the old and largely forgotten MySpace. With new and improved appeal, the teaser video released this week offered us an insight into what the ‘new MySpace’ will look, feel and function like, and to our pleasant surprise….it looks brilliant! Debuting a left-to-right timeline frame (evidently with tablets in mind), emphasizing visual imagery and media player capabilities for playlist compilation, it seems that MySpace is going back to its roots utilizing music as the main attraction point.
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The Week That Was, September 20th, 2012

59% of Emirati Twitter users are women This may sound like a surprising statistics, but according to a recent independent study by Emirati journalist, Ahmad Al Mansour, 59% of Emirati Twitter users are female in comparison to 41% of male Emirati users. The study was conducted to gain deeper insight into the factors contributing to the burst of Twitter growth in the region, specifically the UAE. Other interesting findings show that Emirati’s mainly use Twitter as a social networking platform to meet and connect with others, and have largely only taken to Twitter within the last couple of years.
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The Week That Was, September 6th, 2012

The cost of buying followers With the practice of purchasing Twitter followers growing in controversy, particularly around certain presidential campaigns currently taking place, senior Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdullah has declared the act as ‘dishonest and mendacious’. According to the Guardian this condemnation followed a Saudi Marketing company’s admission that it had sold “bundles” of Twitter followers, Facebook fans and YouTube “likes” to “sportsmen, businessmen, poets and clerics”. Deemed a fatwa (a religious opinion considering something unacceptable or immoral), Sheikh Abdulla expressed that the buying of followers is not only shameful, but also sad, sinful and dishonest.
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The Week That Was, August 30th, 2012

Remembering Neil Armstrong The world was hit with the sad news of Neil Armstrong’s passing this week. News that the first man on the moon had died shocked and saddened many, with news of his death soon becoming a worldwide trending topic. Words such as “hero” and “great American” were frequently used in the heartfelt messages Tweeted by the likes of Richard Branson, Piers Morgan and retired astronaut, Mark Kelly.
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The Week That Was: August 16, 2012

A dirty QWERTY, regional social TV, Facebook postcards and top-Tweeting cities? It must be time for our weekly wrap-up! Social TV UAE based companies Arabi on TV and SkyGrid have collaborated to develop Touch TV – the first free application to watch TV shows on Facebook, according to a report in Gulf News. The app, which works on all major operating systems, is designed to tap into the way people in the region access social networking sites for entertainment.
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The Week That Was: August 9th, 2012

Is Facebook dying? In its first report as a public company last week, Facebook announced that it has lost $157m from April to June. Shares have now fallen to a new low of $23.71 compared to the initial price of $38 when Facebook first became listed on the Nasdaq in May. On top of this, it has been estimated that Facebook has over 83 million illegitimate accounts, adding to the growing concern about the effectiveness of Facebook as a marketing and advertising platform.
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The Week That Was: July 26th, 2012

First off, on behalf of the Arabian Bytes team we would like to wish all our readers Ramadan Kareem – we hope that your first week of the Holy Season has been pleasant so far. So firstly, we’re following on from last week’s report, bringing you another social Ramadan story from Google. Google Puts Social Twist on Ramadan Traditions With the Ramadan YouTube channel reaching over 10,000 subscribers in a week, it appears Google’s initiative to socialize Ramadan has been a hit.
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The Week That Was: 19th July, 2012

Ramadan is just around the corner and preparations are fully underway, so let’s jump to our old favourite YouTube and the corker they’ve come up with for this year’s Holy Month. Ramadan TV on YouTube With viewing figures for popular Arabic soaps set to go through the roof this Ramadan, YouTube has had the brilliant idea to launch an online channel dedicated to Ramadan shows. The channel is set to host over 50 Arabic shows, allowing people to keep track and catch up on their favourites during the month.
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The Week That Was: 12 July 2012

Little Monsters; The Social Network!? It can only mean one thing… our weekly Arabian Bytes wrap-up! Tweet-a-meet with Qatar Airways Qatar Airways are taking their Tweeters travelling! In an innovative Tweet-a-Meet campaign, the airline is offering two friends, separated by distance, the opportunity to physically meet in one of their favourite travel locations. The campaign asks followers to pick a Twitter follower to team up with, and Tweet about one of the 117 Qatar airline destinations around the world using the hashtag #tweetameet, in order to potentially win tickets to the destination.
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The Books a PR should have on their bookcase, and maybe even read one day…

So, fresh off our reading list, a colleague asked me “what is the one book a PR should read”, what’s the best “guide to PR”. I said – and please correct me if you disagree – that to my mind no such one book exists. The textbooks I’ve looked at have always seemed either too basic or too theoretical. So much of what we do is based on a combination of intelligence and experience.
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The Week That Was: 14th June, 2012

A big shout out this week goes to Matthew Weiner, he is the prodigy behind Mad Men. This week AMC aired the season 5 finale of Mad Men. I highly, highly, highly recommend everyone (especially those that work at an agency) to watch the show. Aside from the show’s talented cast, excellent costume designer and dramatic story line, Mad Men perfectly depicts the agency life like no other TV show or movie in Hollywood – especially in terms of handling clients, staff and everyday work life.
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Board (er) Line Decision Making

Given the economic circumstances of today, companies are increasingly under pressure. This pressure is being firmly applied at the top of organisations. CEO’s, once loved, trusted and adored are now constantly in the firing line. Whether it be over executive pay, company performance, false CV’s, the list goes on. This pressure on CEO’s is coming from many angles. Shareholder activists are no longer dudes in long socks and an anorak who have a specific random bugbear.
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Twitter use in the Arab Countries

Following a recent Arabian Bytes post looking at Facebook use in the Arab world, we have come across this rather nice infographic by Shusmo looking at Twitter use in the region: Image source: Mashable Created in March 2012 using data from a Dubai School of Government report on Arab Social Media, the infographic shows that there is total of 1,311,882 active Twitter users in the Arab world. KSA is the country with the highest proportion of Twitter users with 393,000 marked as active, followed by Kuwait with 235,000 and Egypt with 215,000 users.
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The Week That Was: 7th June 2012

With the celebrations of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee just wrapping up, the final day of the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) about to kick off in Los Angeles and the opening game of the Euro 2012 a mere one day away, it’s been an eventful week around the world. In local news, the UAE’s media landscape has undergone some interesting changes, which we’ll shed more light on in this edition of TWTW.
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The Week That Was: 31st May, 2012

We are kick-starting TWTW with a twist in light of last week’s Facebook special, introducing….. Face-who? Come meet our soon-to-be new social media friend, Salamworld It’s Facebook, with a ‘halal’ twist! The new social networking site, Salamworld, is set to launch during Ramadan this July. Based upon Islamic ideals, the site ‘hopes to bridge cultural, traditional and sectarian barriers and bring Muslims together in one online community’ (source The National).
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مؤشرات على حيوية وفاعلية الاهتمام بالقضايا النبيلة في الإمارات العربية المتحدة

كشفت الدراسة السنوية الخامسة التي أجرتها شركة إدلمان لإستشارات العلاقات العامة حول الاهتمام بقضايا المجتمع ودعم الأهداف النبيلة، والتي تجرى في دولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة منذ العام 2010، كيف يساهم الاهتمام بالقضايا النبيلة في تحديد تفضيلات المستهلك وولائه للشركات والعلامات التجارية. على صعيد الفكر والتطبيق، تتفوق أسواقنا على المتوسط ​​العالمي في هذا المجال في 6 طرق رئيسية هي: أكثر من نصف سكان الإمارات يعتقدون أن مسؤولية “الناس من أمثالي” لمعالجة القضايا الاجتماعية زادت خلال العام الماضي
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The Week That Was – Facebook Update: May 24, 2012

Does everybody know what time it is? For my American friends it is not Home Improvement’s ‘tool time’, but it’s our favorite TWTW time! This week’s TWTW has a particular theme and I am sure has been a popular talking piece – it’s Mark Zuckerberg and everyone’s guilty pleasure Facebook. Facebook CEO rings opening bell on IPO day On Friday May 18thMark Zuckerberg became a billionaire from the Facebook IPO. In the early hours of the IPO day, Mark rang the opening Nasdaq bell from Facebook’s HQ in Menlo Park, California.
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6 Signs that The Power of Purpose is Alive and Well in the UAE

Our, conducted in the UAE since 2010, revealed how the Power of Purpose is driving consumer preference and loyalty for corporations and brands. From ideological and intentional standpoints, our market is ahead of the global average in 6 key ways: More than half of UAE residents believe the responsibility of ‘people like me’ to address societal issues has increased over the past year Almost 6 in 10 think that we have more power and influence to make a difference on those issues than compared to five years ago.
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At the MEPRA social media forum in Dubai

MEPRA, The Middle East Public Relations Association held a social media forum at the Westin Hotel in Dubai last week to discuss the state of social media in the public relations industry. The forum featured speakers who were present to deliver introductory sessions into the world of social media and its uses within the communications industry. With a room full of aspiring social media gurus, the audience was in for a treat.
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Facebook users in Arab Countries

In the wake of Facebook’s stock market flotation on Friday, here is a neat infographic by Khaled El Ahmed detailing the use of Facebook in the Arab world so far this year. Source: Wamda Facebook use in the Arab world has grown exponentially over the last few years, with an approximate total of 43 million Arabic speaking users today. According to the infographic Egypt is leading the forefront, with users in May 2012 totaling 10,643,740; this is followed by KSA with 5,333,360 total users.
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The Week That Was: May 17, 2012

Today we’re rounding up TWTW with a mixture of mouldy sandwich bags, a Google Street View photo bomb, Facebook billionaires and “Sabotage” kids, bringing to you some of the most fun and extreme PR and digital stories from the week. Enjoy! Value of Facebook to reach $100bn? Trading in shares for the social networking giant Facebook is expected to commence Friday, and having recently raised the bar to which it hopes to sell its shares from $28-$35 to $34-$38, it is estimated that this could potentially position the value of Facebook at a cool $100bn!
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The Week That Was

So much great news to condense into one small space this week, but here’s a selection of some of the best! YouTube channels on the rise in Middle East According to a report in The National, the popularity of the online video sharing website YouTube has increased ‘phenomenally’ in Arab countries, with particular growth in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and Syria. The Arab Media Forum 2012 which wrapped-up on Wednesday in Dubai discussed the growing presence of YouTube in the region during a session entitled ‘The YouTube Channels…Individual Platforms that Compete with the Satellite Stations’.
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The Week That Was: Reloaded!

After taking a short hiatus, The Week That Was is back in full force, bringing a roundup of the best, most awesome, and on occasion downright shocking PR and digital stories from around the globe! Kick–starting TWTW, we’re going straight to our old friend Facebook, whose weekly news is never too far from the Arabian Bytes radar. This week they bring us not one, but two great pieces. Facebook in organ donation push
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Arabic volunteers strive to boost Arabic e-content

Taghreedat, the Arab initiative extending 10 Middle Eastern countries in support of Arabizing digital content, is set to introduce the first Arabic Tech/Web 2.0 Dictionary. According to Gulf News, so far over 2,500 people have volunteered to take part in this new global glossary which will standardise Arabic definitions of online e-terms, such as “spam”, “twittering” and “retweets”. As quoted in Gulf News, Co-founder of Taghreedat Sami Mubarak, says_, “The glossary will break a big barrier because many users resort to combining English terminology with the Arabic text, so we want to change that and introduce the first Arabic technology and social media glossary,”_
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UAE-Tube Live; MENA Second in Content Consumption

In a recent story about the launch of the UAE-centric YouTube site, YouTube.co.ae, Google’s Managing Director of Middle East North Africa, Ari Kesisoglu, confirmed that, “Youtube users in MENA upload one hour of video per minute. There are 167 million video views a day in MENA, putting the region in the number two spot in the world , behind the US and ahead of Brazil.” This staggering rate of digital content consumption was reciprocated by Google, who activated the UAE version of the online video portal to further support local and regional content.
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Twitter in Arabic: Now a reality

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5th Arabian Business Forum: Notes and Impressions

I was fortunate enough to be invited, and able, to attend the 5th Arabian Business Forum. A well put together event at the Armani Hotel, the forum featured debate and discussion from representatives of Dubai government and business. The general sentiment of the discussion was quite subdued with real concerns about the European economy versus the strength of ASIA and the impact this will have on the UAE (and Gulf) in the short-term.
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The Week That Was

Yet another week is done and dusted, so let’s close it out in style with some of the week’s craziest, coolest and hottest stories. After sifting through some of the wildest content to cross my desk in a while, I was faced with a dilemma—there’s just too much awesome material to post for just one “…Week that Was.” However, I’ve done my best to narrow it down to a few finalists.
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The Week That Was pt 2

“You know, I have one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads! Now evidently my cycloptic colleague informs me that that cannot be done. Ah, would you remind me what I pay you people for, honestly? Throw me a bone here!” Dr Evil may not the greatest role model one could have but I absolutely share his passion for toys. I love technology and always have.
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The Week that Was: Yahoo! Maktoob, Tweetback and Group Buying in the Middle East

It’s that time of the year again. Ramadan is just around the corner and each time I think about it, I have a rush of excitement. The Arabian Bytes team take this opportunity to wish everyone Ramadan Kareem. May this holy month of usher upon you peace, harmony and prosperity. So, below are some of the top digital stories I would like to share this week: Yahoo! Maktoob launches richer Ramadan content
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The Week that Was: Influence, Social Fundraising, Authorship and More…

Welcome again to our weekly edition of the hot and happening news from the digital world. This week has been really exciting for us, with the official launch of BlogLeveland re-launch of TweetLevel and all the conversations it stirred up around social influence, instantly after its launch. For more details, please check out our Arabian Bytes article here. Below are some of the other interesting social media / digital stories that caught my eye this week:
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New Digital Tools Gauge Online Influence Across the Middle East

The social influence of tweeters and bloggers in Middle East is playing a vital role in shaping the society, whether it’s by initiating a social movement, influencing to buy a new product and people turning to them for latest news. When you’re embarking on a campaign, one of the most important goals is finding social media influencers. If you can get relevant and well known influencers behind, it gives your campaign an invaluable edge.
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A Busy Week for Facebook

This week has been an eventful Facebook week, “coincidentally” following on from the release of new social network Google+ last week. The main highlights of the week; Arabic to overtake English as number 1 language in Middle East Following a recent study commissioned by Middle Eastern PR agency Spot On PR, results have indicated that within a year, users in the Middle East will be using Facebook in Arabic more than any other language.
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The Week That Was: All Google, All the Time

It’s a short week for those of us in the UAE, but there’s still plenty to highlight in this special all-Google edition from the week that was. Google Launches Google+ The much-hyped Google social network, dubbed Google+, is now open for a public beta and invites to the Google+ network are already going fast. Once inside, users will notice some striking similarities to Facebook, or as some commentators have uncharitably put it, a “clone.
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“Why did you break up the encounter with my pet python?”

Along with his Morland cigarettes, Walther PPK and Savile Row suits, it seems that James Bond has another favourite brand: The National newspaper. In Carte Blanche, the latest instalment of his thrilling adventures, written by Jeffery Deaver, an American thriller writer, Chapter 26 begins: “James Bond had his coffee and water in front of him as he sat with The National newspaper, published out of Abu Dhabi. He considered it the best newspaper in the Middle East.
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The Week That Was…

Welcome to our weekly edition of what’s hot in digital and social media. As always, the news and latest developments in the digital world have been overwhelming and really exciting. Here are some of the news pieces that caught my attention: Mubarak fined for information shutdown Hosni Mubarak was ousted in an uprising in Egypt in January 2011. A Cairo court yesterday fined the ousted president and two ex-ministers $US90 million for a mobile and internet shutdown during the uprising.
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The Doha Debates: Discussing the Arab world’s issues

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Doha Debates; a well-known series that is produced in Doha, Qatar by the Qatar Foundation and aired monthly via BBC World news. The aim of the debates: to enable the outside world to catch a glimpse of the issues affecting the Arab world, and provide a free forum for discussion. Launched over seven years ago, the programme – which is filmed in front of a select audience of students and high-end university scholars – identifies tough local issues and pulls in senior level politicians and academics from across the world to discuss, debate and take questions from the audience.
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The Week That Was… May 26, 2011

Oh, such a dramatic week. First, Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs – now known to have had an affair with Welsh model Imogen Thomas – put his foot in it by attempting to sue Twitter after some of its users posted his name despite the fact he had taken out an injunction preventing UK media from naming him. The only problem is that it caused so much outrage that Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming used parliamentary priveleges to name him anyway.
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The Fahad Al Salem Center Inaugural Forum

I have just returned from a four day trip in Kuwait after having helped set up the digital channels for The Fahad Center Inaugural Forum and must say I had a very interesting time. The Forum titled “Renewing Dialogue for Peace and Advancing Freedom and Human Rights in Today’s World” was a two day event hosted by Kuwaiti Sheikh Fahad Al Salem Al Ali Al Sabah, and featured a number of prominent world leaders from all over the globe.
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The ME Journalist Survey 2011: What the region’s media really wants

If we ignore the fact that some journalists are just impossible to please – I’m not naming any names, but you know who you are; at least you should do… And if you don’t give me a call, and I’ll put you straight – there are some interesting findings in the Insight/MediaSource Middle East Journalist Survey 2011. Its aim is to establish how happy journalists are with the way they receive information from both the public and private sectors, and to provide a “snapshot” of the mood in journalism across the Middle East.
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The Week That Was… May 19, 2011

As always a busy week, but top of your reading list should be coverage of the 2011 Arab Media Forum by our own Arabian Bytes team. Check out Day 1 coverage from Alanood Al-Feel and Day 2 coverage from Rachel McArthur. On to the news… Netflix Now The Largest Single Source of Internet Traffic In North America Netflix has had a busy week. First, a study from Sandvine shows the video streaming website now accounts for 29.
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Arab Media Forum 2011 – Day Two

Continuing with its theme, Arab Media: Riding out Storms of Change, the concluding day of the Arab Media Forum 2011 provided some insight into how media is expected to evolve in the region following the Arab uprising. In a session entitled, Media in a Shifting Arab World, one of the key changes highlighted by the panel’s speakers was the rise of the “citizen journalist” – the concept of members of the public playing an active role in breaking news, as well as collecting and reporting information to professional journalists.
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Arab Media Forum 2011 – Day One

Prominent Emirati commentator and journalist Sultan Al Qassemi. With such a huge following on Twitter, was he tweeting updates during the Arab Media Forum? The tenth Arab Media Forum kicked off this morning in the presence of 2,400 media personalities and experts from the Middle East region, and Arabian Bytes was there to catch all the action from Day One. After being officially opened by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the two-day forum – which is taking place at the Grand Hyatt Dubai – began with a keynote speech by Egypt’s Minister of Culture, Emad Abu Ghazi (who attended after Egypt’s post-revolution Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, apparently pulled out at the last minute).
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The Week That Was… May 5, 2011

There is never a shortage of news in the digital realm, and this week was no exception. Here were some of the landmarks this week: Microsoft Buys Skype Photo taken by Johannes Hemmerlein under the freedom of panorama And so it’s official, Microsoft has brought the video conferencing site for a reported $8.5 billion. Microsoft has clearly expressed the potential of Skype for both consumer and business customers. Read more here
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TedxAlAin

Last Saturday, May 7 I was one of the lucky attendees of TedxAlAin which took place at the Municipality Theatre in Al Ain. When I first heard about the event I was immediately intrigued. I’ve never been to Al Ain, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. As soon as the bus pulled in to the city I knew I was in for a great experience. I was taken aback by the aesthetics of the city – in complete contrast to the fast paced lifestyle of cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Al Ain is scenic, green and relaxed.
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The Week That Was… May 5, 2011

So, it has been quite the Walt Disney week, hasn’t it? A royal wedding, a papal beatification, and the death of a prominent terrorist. Introducing the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge Last Friday’s British royal wedding was reportedly watched by 2 billion people worldwide, which shows a 1.25 billion increase in 30 years since Prince Charles’ wedding to Lady Diana. When it comes to social media; the U.S.A generating most of the social media buzz (55.
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Next on Facebook’s Checklist: Advertisers

Hot off the launch of Facebook for Journalists, Facebook has moved on to a different constituent, this time advertisers. The company is now hoping to create a better and more lucrative relationship with advertisers via a brand new stand alone community site called “Facebook Studio“. This new channel on Facebook allows advertisers and users to view advertisements by a variety of big-name brands, and interact with them through the traditional Facebook features (i.
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Facebook: A View From The Inside

So I would like to start off by making two statements. Number one: Yes, Facebook is a company that you can actually work for. And two: No, I was not featured in the Social Network movie – I joined quite a while after those alleged events took place. Abu Dhabi was, however, somewhere I never expected to be this time last year when I was getting ready for my first day at Facebook.
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The Week That Was… April 14, 2011

The UAE becomes first Arab country on Twitter’s trend countries This week, Twitter announced it was expanding its local trends feature on the website, adding 70 new countries and cities to the resource – one of which is the United Arab Emirates. In a Twitter blog post, the social network revealed: We first launched Trends as a useful way for people to find out what topics are being talked about around the world, right now.
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Facebook Launches Page for Journalists

On April 5, Justin Osofsky, Director of Media Partnerships at Facebook, announced through a blog post: _“_Today we’re launching a new Journalists on Facebook page to serve as an ongoing resource for the growing number of reporters using Facebook to find sources, interact with readers, and advance stories.” Essentially, the people at Facebook are extending an olive branch to journalists, with whom they have often had a rocky relationship. To say that Facebook and the press have had a complicated relationship since the social network’s launch over seven years ago is probably an understatement.
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The Week That Was

Welcome to the first of our regular weekly round-ups of things we’ve spotted this week of interest to us and what we do here. Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday Twitter. The micro-blogging platform turned 5 this week. Going from 1 to 200million users in that time and a valuation in the region of $10 Billion (bubble anyone). Whilst 5 years can seem like 50years in technology terms, in the history of Twitter I can’t help thinking we’re still at the start – as Brian Solis says
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Here comes the Sun.

Living in a country where the sun shines pretty much 360 days of the year I’m often surprised at the waste of this super (and dependable) resource. When half the homes in Wiltshire in the UK (authors exaggeration of the truth) are laden with solar panels (trying to warm a kettle the two times a year the sun comes out to play) it seems insane that no-one really bothers out here.
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Tweeting a revolution in real time

Being here in the Middle East we’ve been able to witness history unfold at a rapid pace over the past few months. From Tunisia to Egypt and now Libya, it seems impossible that news can move any faster than it already is. But now Al Jazeera has gone a step further and released a mesmerizing new tool that tracks tweets about Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain in real time. Apart from being fascinating to watch, it’s also an interesting tool to see topics and trends as they evolve in real time.
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GUEST POST: Capacity Middle East 2011 – Preview: Cooperation, Connectivity and Competition

Instability in some parts of the Middle East is not slowing the regions hunger for connectivity and the rapid growth of its telecoms sector._ _ On February 28ththe telecoms carrier community will again meet in Dubai at Capacity Middle East to discuss drivers for growth and how telecoms is shaping regional development. At last year’s event carriers took turns making the case for why their operating areas deserved to be the hub for the region.
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Everything is intelligent

The internet of things or the outer web has been much talked about already, and from my perspective, is an intriguing future. The idea that objects will all have an IP address is a powerful and exciting image for someone working in the field of technology marketing – the possibilities for application are almost limitless. I can see a real race of innovation taken place around this – indeed reading the BBC Tech section today I saw this story about RFID application in clothing as a bootlegging deterrent.
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Our memorable social websites

Mashable.com released a lovely infographic about the history of social media that got us here at Arabian Bytes reminiscing about the very first social networks we started using regularly. Image courtesy of Flickr, rishibando, as seen on Mashable.com Do you remember the first website that got you all excited about connecting to others across the world? Or the first chatting service you were hooked on, whilst other family members complained about how the telephone was never free to use anymore (RIP the humble dial-up modem).
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Call that a war? That’s not a war at all!

An interesting study has just been released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development arguing that the potential risk for a cyber war is over-hyped. This study, which was reported by theBBC is evidently the first in a series of reports that look at incidents that could cause global disruption. This jumped out to me as a story, as I currently live in a region where tensions run high in some countries, and and indeed the recent Tunisia up-rising has, by some, been referenced as the Middle East’s first cyber war.
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2011 Middle East Trends

The spate of 2011 prediction articles that have been rolling out to mark the New Year make for some enjoyable reading. Below are some links to trends I’ve found particularly interesting. Of course, I couldn’t resist throwing in three of my own about the Middle East so here they are… Social buying heats up (more) in Middle East In an already crowded field including GoNabit.com and Cobone.com, the granddaddy of social buying sites, Groupon, has recently launched a UAE site at Groupon.
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Regional social networks: Could they work?

Ben Flanagan from The National recently wrote an interesting article about Middle Eastern social networking sites. Do you think a local website can be as big as an international one in the Middle East? Let us know your thoughts. Article Excerpt – Click here for the full article Local social networks have home advantage in taking on big boys By Ben Flanagan There are more than 600 million faces on Facebook, and the number of regular users is expected to rise to 1 billion in the next few years.
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Salaamu Alaykum

Welcome to ArabianBytes.com! We’re kicking off this blog to share, discuss, and occasionally pontificate on the state of the digital sphere here in the Middle East and around the world. As we all know, technology is changing on an almost daily basis, and reshaping how we think not just about the tools around us, but about language, culture and the world around us. The Middle East is poised to be an important region for growth in the digital market, which is where Arabian Bytes comes in.
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