The BMW Group shared its vision of the future digital experience, both inside and outside the vehicle, at the Consumer Electronics Show 2023 in Las Vegas. BMW i Vision Dee is the futuristic mid-size sedan with a new and pared-down design language. The name “Dee” stands for Digital Emotional Experience — and that is precisely its aim: to create an even stronger bond between people and their cars going forward. 
Future digital functions will go far beyond the level of voice control and driver assistance systems we are familiar with today. The BMW Head-Up-Display extends across the full width of the windscreen, providing a glimpse of the next vehicle generation. From 2025 onwards, this innovation will be available in the models of the Neue Klasse. The BMW Group has also refined its use of color-change technology. Having unveiled the BMW iX Flow Featuring E Ink, with the ability to change from black to white, at the last CES, BMW i Vision Dee can now curate its exterior in up to 32 colors.
“With the BMW i Vision Dee, we are showcasing what is possible when hardware and software merge. In this way, we are able to exploit the full potential of digitization to transform the car into an intelligent companion. That is the future for automotive manufacturers — and, also, for BMW: the fusion of the virtual experience with genuine driving pleasure,” said Oliver Zipse, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG. “At the same time, BMW i Vision Dee is another step on the road to the Neue Klasse. With this vision, we are looking far into the future and underlining the tremendous importance of digitization for our upcoming product generations.”
With its intelligent, almost human capabilities, BMW i Vision Dee accompanies drivers not only through real-life situations on the roads, but also in their digital environment.
“A BMW lives by its unparalleled digital performance. BMW i Vision Dee is about the perfect integration of virtual and physical experiences,” said Frank Weber, member of the board of management of BMW AG responsible for development. “Whoever excels at integrating the customer’s everyday digital worlds into the vehicle at all levels will succeed in mastering the future of car-building.”
The BMW Mixed Reality Slider, in combination with the advanced head-up display, is the digital highlight and central operating control of BMW i Vision Dee. Using shy-tech sensors on the instrument panel, drivers can decide for themselves how much digital content they want to see on the advanced head-up display.
The five-step selection ranges from analogue, to driving-related information, to the contents of the communications system, to augmented-reality projection, right up to entry into virtual worlds. In parallel, dimmable windows can also be used to gradually fade out reality.
The digital experience already begins outside the vehicle, with a personalized welcome scenario that combines graphical elements, light and sound effects. Natural language serves as the simplest, most intuitive form of interaction, enabling perfect understanding between humans and their vehicles. The headlights and the closed BMW kidney grille also form a common phygital (fusion of physical and digital) icon on a uniform surface, allowing the vehicle to produce different facial expressions. This means the BMW i Vision Dee can talk to people and, at the same time, express moods such as joy, astonishment or approval visually. BMW i Vision Dee can also project an image of the driver’s avatar onto the side window to further personalize the welcome scenario.
IBM has announced IBM Partner Plus, a new program that reimagines how IBM engages with its business partners through unprecedented access to IBM resources, incentives and tailored support to deepen their technical expertise and help speed time to market. The program is designed to fuel growth for new and existing partners, including resellers, hyperscalers, technology providers, independent software vendors and systems integrators, by putting them in control of their earning potential. IBM Partner Plus is central to the company’s Hybrid Cloud and AI strategy and aims to empower partners to help clients automate, secure and modernize their businesses.
IBM Partner Plus offers partners a transparent, simple, and modern experience. By growing technical expertise and demonstrating sales success, participants can progress to three tiers — Silver, Gold and Platinum — which unlock specialized financial, go-to-market support and education benefits. In the new program, badging will become the standardized measure of skills and validated solutions will demonstrate expertise. The enhanced IBM Partner Portal consolidates and tracks all expertise, revenue and deals globally, offering each partner a clear line-of-site into their progression through the program.
“IBM Partner Plus introduces a new way for IBM to deliver value to new and existing partners by helping them gain skills, grow faster and earn more,” said Kate Woolley, general manager, IBM Ecosystem.
“We’ve heard from partners that they want a simplified experience that helps them win with clients. I’m confident these changes and our continued investment in our ecosystem will make IBM the partner of choice across the industry, and together we can drive growth for partners, clients and IBM.”
IBM Partner Plus results from the company’s journey to put partners at the center of IBM’s go-to-market strategy and act as a growth engine to help capture the $1 trillion hybrid cloud and AI market opportunities. IBM has invested in elevating the role of partners and accelerating partner-led sales by enabling the ecosystem to become a preferred route to market, offering clients an optimal mix of technology, services and consulting expertise. To drive continued growth, IBM will increase its capacity to support partners by doubling the number of partner-facing brand and technical specialists to help them prospect and win additional client business.
“The Partner Ecosystem is at the heart of IBM’s growth strategy, and the new IBM Partner Plus program is the next step in our mission to grow with partners, as together we co-create and help our clients in MEA to transform their business,” said Zaidoun Arbad, vice president, Partner Ecosystem IBM MEA. He added: “The program demonstrates IBM’s investments in its partners’ ecosystem to motivate, support and reward partners who invest with IBM, by helping them win with clients and meet their growth goals.”
As we increasingly rely on artificial intelligence and technology, mobile applications have become our daily companions and the first assistant for all our needs. From shopping, communication and transportation to making reservations and other tasks, they save us time and hassle in just a few clicks.
AppGallery, the official application distribution platform for Huawei devices, is among the top three app marketplaces in the world, as it offers many useful and important applications, both local and international. Among these new applications, GBox allows Huawei users to enjoy a better experience when downloading and using a number of Google applications.
GBox basically acts as a third party application to facilitate the process of finding and downloading apps on Huawei devices. GBox includes Google Maps, Google Search, Uber, YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
By downloading applications supported by GBox, the user will be able to get a significantly improved experience in terms of settings, login process and other services.
It should be noted that GBox is a third-party application that is commonly used on Android devices in general and is now available on the AppGallery store from Huawei. It has been thoroughly tested and verified for the safety of its use by AppGallery, and at the same time guarantees all the privacy and security of the individual user.
Gbox also contributes to greatly improving the experience of Huawei users throughout the login and subscription process along with other services, in addition to bringing a number of improvements to WhatsApp, such as a more precise location determination, synchronization of messages in the cloud, opening map links and redirecting to Google Maps and other useful improvements.
Huawei AppGallery offers many different applications across 18 diverse categories, and it has been able to achieve record numbers and serve more than 580 million monthly users in more than 170 countries.
AppGallery further enhances its user experience by providing reliable, official support to everyone, by upgrading its customer care experience through an enhanced hotline service and live chat service in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and South Africa. On the other end of the line, a team of experts can quickly respond to queries regarding AppGallery apps and resolve any issues that users may encounter. For more details, click here.
AppGallery strictly protects users’ privacy and security while providing a unique and smart experience on par with Huawei products’ exceptional quality and value. As the world becomes more connected, AppGallery’s openness can bring everyone closer together by offering a wealth of communication options.
Globally, sustainable business and responsible consumerism is gaining momentum. A wide range of industries are working hand in hand with the public and financial sectors to create business, product and service solutions to adhere to goals set out by the Paris Agreement. Simultaneously, there is a rising consciousness among consumers of the impact of their choices on the environment and communities. The urgency to secure global net-zero by mid-century and limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees has never been stronger. 
The travel and tourism industry has long been involved in a drive toward sustainability, however, the growing urgency to create positive change is accelerating efforts toward responsible tourism. In fact, a global study commissioned by IHG showed that COVID-19 has increased awareness of responsible travel more broadly, with 60 percent of people saying the pandemic has made them more socially and environmentally conscious about their impact on the world when traveling. Moreover, with the world traveling more locally during the pandemic, consumers are showing an overwhelming appetite to show care for the communities around them and choose a hotel brand that operates responsibly.
Based on this study, IHG launched its Journey to Tomorrow 2030 responsible business action plan to help shape the future of responsible travel — supporting our people and making a positive difference to our local communities, while preserving our planet’s beauty and diversity. We are working with government entities, industry bodies, owners and partners across the world to make a positive difference, including various ministries and private sector partners in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has embraced the future and is working diligently to evolve into one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism destinations, embedding sustainability at the heart of its travel and tourism-related developments under Vision 2030. The hospitality sector is facilitating these developments with sustainability-led brands as well as environment and community-centric operational practices and guest experiences.
However, in order to ensure that Saudi Arabia’s sustainable tourism offer truly materializes and is able to scale profitably, it is imperative that the national talent pool is able to support the offer and related industries in the near to long term.
As an example, concepts such as “regenerative tourism,” currently being led by The Red Sea Development Company, which focuses on restoring, revitalizing and renewing both ecosystems and communities in tourism destinations, are putting Saudi Arabia at the centerstage of the global sustainable tourism landscape. As we move to develop InterContinental Red Sea Resort and Six Senses Southern Dunes, The Red Sea, we are conscious that a dearth of talent specialized in regenerative practices will be required as this development takes shape and opens to guests. 
According to STR, more than 30,000 hotel rooms are currently under construction in the Kingdom and industry experts expect to see the completion of over 300,000 hotel rooms by 2030. Many of these hotels and resorts will be based on new concepts related to net-zero carbon building, biodiversity, automation and smart technologies. Hospitality roles in front office, sales and marketing, HR, IT, finance and housekeeping will remain critical to delivering guest experiences, and companies such as IHG are consistently building talent pools to fulfill this talent requirement. 
The industry already has a robust environmental management process in place. IHG has long deployed the IHG Green Engage System, an innovative online environmental sustainability system that gives our hotels the means to measure and manage their impact on the environment and we continue to evolve this system and other measures. Future hotels and resorts will require an additional breadth of multi-dimensional talent to run efficiently and sustainably in the near to long term. This means that in the next few years, the tourism and hospitality sector will need Saudi talent with educational backgrounds or work experience in specialized engineering, smart technology, biotechnology, marine biology, health and wellness, responsible procurement, destination marketing, community management, sustainability communications among other specialties. 
Each of these roles has scope for further specialization and progress. As an example, an environmental engineer managing energy and carbon efficiency for a single hotel can be promoted to a cluster, area, market or a corporate role. Most importantly, each of these roles will offer pride and job satisfaction in bringing the true hospitality of Saudi Arabia to life.
In addition to thinking of existing, progressive and rewarding roles in the growing industry, it is important for Saudi youth to think about areas of specialization related to future developments. IHG is currently working with multiple educational institutes and vocational centers to provide hospitality training and is committed to developing a robust talent pipeline for the industry.
We encourage Saudi youth to look into these opportunities and help the government and the private sector in establishing Saudi Arabia as one of the world’s most progressive and sustainable tourist destinations.
Not wanting to be left out in the era of digitization when intelligent automation rules the roost, the water parks sector has been exploring new technologies to improve its operations.
Organizations all over the world are looking to create touchless experiences to streamline operations and reduce costs.
WhiteWater, the world’s largest supplier of water parks and services, has expanded beyond the world of attractions with a software arm called Vantage. Vantage was awarded the 2022 International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions Impact Award for its ability to simplify the entrance process for guests and operators. Vantage enables guests to obtain their water park passes from the comfort of their homes, eliminating long entrance lines at the turnstile.
Jeremy Gray, vice president of business development at WhiteWater, said: “The implementation of technology in the entertainment space not only helps create a safer experience for guests but gives park operators more insight into the overall guest experience, enabling them to leverage that to make more money.”
He added: “Knowledge is power. With technology comes access to data points that can provide suggestions on how best guests can enjoy the park by helping to improve services and their overall experience. At times, it could be just about having an additional ice cream cart during a month of higher demand or deploying more staff to an area that is overloaded.”
Miral, a UAE-based creator of immersive destinations and experiences, began to integrate the facial recognition technology on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi with FacePass, enabling guests to access the park and process transactions through digital identification. This has not only saved time, but has also enhanced guests’ safety and well-being, thanks to the touchless interaction.
A recent YouGov survey showed that for 96 percent of businesses in Saudi Arabia, customer experience is a top priority. This is because a great customer experience breeds loyalty and boosts happiness. Technology can assist this by creating an added layer of personalization to pleasantly surprise visitors. Moreover, digital transformation is a key pillar of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and will continue to be an area of growth within the country.
At WhiteWater water parks, by using Vantage’s technology, guests are able to play their favorite songs while enjoying their preferred rides at the venue. It is also able to help prevent more than one guest from being at an attraction at the same time with its “tap in” feature, which is used to get the stoplight to change color and get the go-ahead to ride.
Gray added: “Saudi Arabia has a unique opportunity to create the most advanced water parks in the world. Because the country is working to build these projects from scratch, there is an opportunity to build technology from the very beginning to make the water parks easier and safer to run.”
Ticketing is only a small part of the picture. Versatile technologies have triggered a deluge of creative and operational advancements in water parks, offering operators new options for improving guest experiences as well as safety. With Vantage, parents can use the technology to their benefit and work to put parameters on which rides their children can use, ultimately limiting access to rides that might not be appropriate for young children.
Stella Stays, an award-winning proptech company disrupting the global residential real estate sector with its innovative business model, has announced the launch of its second tech-enabled residence in Saudi Arabia.
Five months after the launch of Stella Stays Riyadh Olaya Tower 1, its first concept residences in the Kingdom, the proptech company is continuing its impressive growth trajectory with the opening of the second building — Stella Stays Riyadh Olaya Tower 2.
The newly launched tower further represents the company’s “Show Up and Start Living” concept, boasting 80 units over 16 floors, offering modern, fully equipped apartments and a co-working space, along with other recreational, commercial and community amenities.
The tower is conveniently located in North Riyadh, within 16 minutes of Riyadh Airport, 10 minutes to King Abdullah Financial District, 10 minutes to Kingdom Tower and seven minutes to Riyadh Park Mall.
Meanwhile, the first Olaya Tower operates at full capacity within eight weeks of opening its doors, becoming the property of
choice for business travelers, residents, and tourists seeking modern accommodation and a seamless experience.
Residents and guests at the Olaya towers are able to navigate their entire journey — from booking and managing their stays, checking in, and controlling smart home systems, to ordering a wide range of guest services — through the Stella Stays app. Payment terms are flexible and can be made through various methods, including debit, credit cards and cryptocurrencies.
“With Vision 2030 in full swing and the recent announcement of winning the bid to host the Asian Winter Games in 2029, Saudi Arabia is set to accommodate more than 100 million visitors and double the population of Riyadh by 2030. With the vision to create the future of living and hospitality, Stella Stays has developed the technology infrastructure and capability to support Vision 2030 as a reliable residential and hospitality partner,” a statement said.
The development of its Saudi portfolio reflects Stella Stays ambition to disrupt the Kingdom’s hospitality sector by partnering with real estate developers and property owners to unveil a new category — residential hospitality. The proptech company’s savvy business-model offers property owners hands-off management with real-time analytics, delivering significantly more income and less operational costs than traditional hotel models.
Mohannad Zikra, CEO and co-founder of Stella Stays, said: “We are pleased to have witnessed exceptional demand for our tech-enabled branded residences — which offer residents and guests a modern, community-driven lifestyle — in the city of Riyadh. We look forward to further expanding in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, providing our solutions to residents and real estate developers, assisting the government for the years to come, as the population and the economy grow exponentially.”
Stella Stays is a successful startup story from the Middle East. The proptech company has grown exponentially since its inception in 2019 and is now present in six markets, namely Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Turkiye, Bahrain, Egypt and Canada, with more than 1,000 contracted units.