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Cisco launches Innovation and Experience Center

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Cisco launched a state-of-the-art Innovation and Experience Center (IXC) at its Middle East regional hub in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The center will serve as a hub for open innovation and showcase what is possible with digital transformation in sectors that range from retail and hospitality to healthcare, education, and financial services.

The IXC is a first of its kind worldwide in that it combines innovation capability with a customer experience showcase to bring digitization to life for Cisco’s customers and our partners. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the latest Cisco® solutions applied to real-world, real-time scenarios and get a 360-degree view of technologies that deliver tangible business outcomes.

“In today’s highly dynamic, fast-moving world, we must accelerate our pace of innovation like never before,” said Chuck Robbins, chief executive officer, Cisco. “Our new Innovation and Experience Center takes a unique approach that will help governments and businesses across the region develop solutions leading to greater opportunities for citizens and customers in the digital age.”

The center was inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, together with Chuck Robbins. Robbins had earlier delivered a keynote address to senior UAE government officials.

“We are keen on cultivating a culture of excellence, innovation, and creativity in our bid to firmly establish Dubai among the most innovative cities in the world,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority. “Innovation has become a strategic imperative that not only drives growth for our economy, but also plays a critical role in the pursuit of happiness for citizens, residents, and visitors of our nation. Cisco’s decision to base its Middle East Innovation and Experience Center in Dubai reflects the city’s stature as an emerging, dynamic global innovation hub and will support the region’s organizations and businesses to raise the bar for innovation.”

The IXC is being developed at a time when the region is experiencing an accelerated pace of digitization across sectors and as governments hasten their drive toward diversification and the development of knowledge-based economies. Businesses will be able to see digital transformation in action at the center, gaining a better understanding of how disruptive technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality can transform their business and operations and solve challenges.

“Innovation and the transition to digital are high priorities for governments across our region,” said David Meads, vice president, Middle East and Africa, Cisco. “The Innovation and Experience Center is a statement of our intent and illustrates our commitment to the region. The center aligns closely to the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy and will serve as a platform to accelerate the digital journey for our customers and enhance their competitiveness in the digital era.”

The Innovation and Experience Center is part of a global network of Cisco Innovation Centers and hubs and will work closely with the network and Cisco’s partner ecosystem to push forward new ideas and foster creative approaches that improve business outcomes for local and global organizations.

Beyond interactively showcasing Cisco’s latest solutions across multiple architectures, the ultramodern facility will feature interactive technology demonstration labs, where Cisco and its partners will develop customized solutions adapted to the specific needs of industries in the region. Some of the sectors to be featured in the IXC include healthcare, retail, education, hospitality, transportation, utilities, banking and financial services, and oil and gas.

Serving the entire Middle East region, the virtual experience facility will extend over 9000 square feet and offer live in-person and remote demos on Cisco’s solutions. The IXC will also facilitate closer collaboration between Cisco’s channel and global industry partners to cultivate a dynamic ecosystem across the region.

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HID Recognized for Its Design Expertise as Bahrain’s ePassport Wins Multiple Prestigious Awards

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HID has recently achieved global recognition for its Bahrain ePassport project, clinching several top honors. These include the distinguished London Design Awards, the High Security Printing Award, and the iF Design Award. This suite of praises reinforces HID’s leadership in security design, showcasing its innovative approach to integrating cutting-edge security features with aesthetic and cultural elements.

Craig Sandness, Senior VP and Managing Director for Citizen Identity at HID, shares, “Our design philosophy is centered around seamlessly weaving security into the fabric of the document’s design. The Bahrain ePassport is a prime example of this approach, where innovation meets artistry. This is not just our success; it’s a shared victory with our Bahraini partners, local artists, and calligraphers. Together, we’ve crafted a document that is as secure as it is symbolic of Bahrain’s rich heritage.”

The Bahrain ePassport, celebrated for its innovative design, marks a milestone in document security by introducing the world’s first document-embedded hashtag, #teambahrain. This feature is more than a nod to digital savviness; it’s a strong symbol of national unity and a testament to HID’s ability to integrate modern digital elements with traditional security measures.

HID’s work on the Bahrain ePassport has been recognized across several categories in the London Design Awards, including Gold awards in Service Design for Government, Cultural, and Best User Experience categories, underscoring the project’s excellence in functionality, cultural sensitivity, and user engagement. The High Security Printing Award for Best New ePassport for EMEA and the iF Design Award in the Publications and Communications category further validate HID’s skill in creating secure, user-centered design.

The collaboration between HID, Bahraini authorities, and local artisans highlights HID’s commitment to incorporating local culture into its security designs. This partnership approach not only enriches the document’s aesthetic appeal but also enhances its acceptance and significance among citizens, demonstrating HID’s leadership in creating identity solutions that respect and celebrate cultural heritage.

“As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Bahrain ePassport, we look forward to continuing our journey of innovation,” adds Sandness. “We invite governments and organizations worldwide to join us in this journey of creating secure, innovative solutions that pave the way for the future of identity documentation.”

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Fitness First Marks Mother’s Day with Four Days of Free Access

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As Mother’s Day approaches, Fitness First is proud to honour and celebrate all mothers with a special gift of health and wellness. From 21 to 24 March, Fitness First invites all mums to enjoy complimentary access to its state-of-the-art facilities at any of its UAE-based clubs.

Recognising the invaluable role of mothers in our lives, Fitness First is opening its doors to mothers of all ages and fitness levels, offering them the opportunity to prioritise their well-being and embark on a journey to better health. Whether it’s a rejuvenating yoga session, an invigorating cardio workout, or a strength training class, Fitness First provides a wide range of fitness options tailored to meet the diverse needs and preferences of every mother.

In addition to offering access to top-notch gym facilities and equipment, mums visiting Fitness First during this special period will also have the opportunity to participate in group fitness classes led by certified instructors, and connect with other like-minded individuals in a supportive and motivating environment.

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Visa-free countries for UAE residents looking to book last-minute getaways this spring term break

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As UAE schools gear up for the upcoming spring term break starting from 25 March, residents are planning for their well-deserved getaways, ready to embark on new adventures and explore the world. Global travel marketplace, Skyscanner recommends these visa-free travel destinations for UAE residents this spring term break.

Ayoub El Mamoun, Skyscanner Travel Expert, invites families and adventure seekers alike to explore these captivating visa-free destinations

Seychelles starting from AED 2,711 – “A tropical haven with pristine beaches and lush greenery, Seychelles is perfect for family retreats. Explore Anse Lazio’s white sands or snorkel in vibrant coral reefs for a blissful escape.”

Georgia starting from AED 1,703– “Steeped in rich history, Georgia welcomes UAE residents to explore ancient monasteries, stunning landscapes, and vibrant cities. Georgia is becoming a regular tourist haunt for UAE residents given the sudden influx of Georgia tour packages and the family activities to be experienced.”

Jordan starting from AED 1,752 – “A treasure trove of ancient history and natural wonders, Jordan is a captivating family destination. From the rose-red city of Petra to floating in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea, Jordan promises a timeless family adventure.”

Malaysia starting from AED 1,903 – “A melting pot of cultures and landscapes, Malaysia invites families to explore bustling Kuala Lumpur, beautiful Langkawi beaches, and vibrant neighborhoods in Georgetown. Trek lush rainforests in Taman Negara or dive into the colourful underwater world of the Perhentian Islands. Try Skyscanner’s multi-city search too to explore all that Malaysia has to offer.”

For travellers still deciding on a destination to visit this upcoming break, a Skyscanner ‘Everywhere’ search is one of the easiest ways to be inspired. Ordered by cheapest price, a search to ‘Everywhere’ shows travellers all the destinations available for your desired travel departure.

Skyscanner’s Everywhere search tool reveals return flights to visa-free destinations such as Thailand from AED 1,891, Philippines from AED 1,932, Azerbaijan from AED 1,634 and Malaysia from AED 1,976 round trip.

With the convenience of visa-free travel to various destinations, the options for an unforgettable getaway are endless. So pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready for a stress-free holiday.

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