Smart SMB January 2020

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PUBLISHED BY Business Media International REGISTERED OFFICE: Office 10, Sharjah Media City EDITOR IN CHIEF Raman Narayan Mob: 971-55-7802403 SALES DIRECTOR Ankit Shukla Tel: 971-4-2618885, Mob: 971-552572807 EDITORS Diksha Vohra Tel: 971-4-2618885, Mob: 971-506395616 Baraka Jefwa Tel: 971-4-2618885


ACCELERATION INTO THE FUTURE We have just emerged out of a decade that brought forth significant upheavals on the technology and Business fronts. It is safe to presume that the next ten years will be more tumultuous and we must expect nothing less than a roller-coaster ride. Challenges for Businesses will come in the form of dwindling returns on some activities as the market shifts. Businesses that keep pace with innovations in their Business models and delivery of services will stay a step ahead. On that note, it is always a matter of joy to learn about innovative Businesses that are helping rethink existing Businesses and enabling a digital version of the same. Digital has enabled delivery of services from food to electronics and almost everything else at your doorstep. In this issue, we have a conversation with a company that is the region’s first and largest vehicle servicing network that enables vehicle owners to remotely book their cars for service and repairs. The company offers car service, car repair, recovery & breakdown, Flat tire, Flat battery and car washing service and has seen number of bookings grow by 25% month on month. In the course of our past several editions, we have been tracking several such Businesses across verticals from Food to fashion and entertainment that are taking the lead in transforming the business models in their respective domains. There has never been a paucity in terms of such Businesses in this region, which goes to prove that indeed the region is quite ahead in terms of adopting disruptive models. Proactive adoption of technologies have played a pivotal part in this journey ahead of those businesses. From AI to IoT and other technologies that we keep talking about, they are all coming together to build a future that is smarter than we envision even currently. In the next ten years, we would have galloped further ahead on the transformation journey.

CIRCULATION MANAGER Bhawana Bhatia Tel: 971-4-2618885

R. Narayan SALES R. Subramanyan Tel: 971-4-2618885 FINANCE Akhilesh Pandey Tel: 971-4-2618885

Editor in Chief, Smart SMB

Management Chairman S.N. Tiwari

CEO Saumyadeep Halder

Publisher Raman Narayan

Managing Director Ankit Shukla

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to validate the accuracy of all information included in the magazine, the publishers wouldn’t be liable for any errors therein Copyright@2019 Business Media International LLC. All rights reserved.

January 2020 / SMARTSMB



CONTENTS Cover feature

Feature Picking speed






Companies hope Expo 2020 and similar large regional initiatives will boost Business growth and accelerate digital transformation









column Vertical outlook











Market Monitor




Dubai Electronic VEEAM INTRODUCES Security Center ENHANCED ACCREDITED SERVICES PARTNER PROGRAM announces SeWith Veeam Accredited Service Partner (VASP) services, members can differentiate their offerings, achieve value realization and drive customer journey success Veeam Software, the leader in Backup solutions that deliver Cloud Data Management announced the launch of its enhanced Veeam Accredited Services Partner (VASP) program to strengthen its partners’ capabilities to sell, deploy and support Veeam solutions, and ensure customer satisfaction. This transition seamlessly aligns with Veeam’s go-to-market model and enables Veeam’s partners to provide a direct service delivery model to Veeam customers. According to the 2019 Veeam Cloud Data Management Report, 71 percent of the senior business and IT business decision makers surveyed agreed that technology will be the most important factor of their Digital Transformation. As product implementations become more sophisticated, Veeam recognizes the growing customer demand to identify partners, system integrators or freelance consultants that are able to deliver high-quality professional services and technical implementations related to Veeam solutions. The new program restructures the Veeam professional services department to a channel alignment model, dedicating internal resources exclusively to VASP members. With Veeam’s enhanced VASP program, members can now differentiate service offerings and drive customer success. “Today, data management is imperative to an organization’s growth. To remain competitive, leaders need qualified professionals to implement and manage the technologies that will enable them to transform into more intelligent businesses,” said Danny Allan, Vice President of Product Strat-

SMARTSMB / January 2020

curity Standard for Electronic Biomedical Devices Across Dubai

Standard to further safeguard sensitive patient information within healthcare sector

Danny Allan Vice President of Product Strategy, Veeam

egy at Veeam. “Veeam is committed to delivering a business model that is fully focused on its partner ecosystem and providing the highest level of service for its customers. With these enhanced capabilities to our partner ecosystem, partners are equipped with the tools to shape and control the solution transaction and customer journey.” The new program offers a number of benefits to its members, including creation of new business and revenue opportunities for Service Partners, resources that enable partner sales teams to win larger, more complex deals, enhanced partners capabilities and delivery skillsets, accelerated customer Time-to-Value (TtV) with deeper integration as well as access to continued education around Veeam capabilities and services, along with beta testing for new functions.

Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC) in association with Dubai Health Authority (DHA) announced the launch of Security Standard for Electronic Biomedical Devices (EBMD) across the emirate. This move, affecting healthcare facilities and medical device manufacturers and suppliers operating within Dubai, is geared at limiting breaches within the healthcare sector and protecting sensitive patient information. Adherence to this standard will ensure a minimal risk framework, as well as fortify the sector’s digital infrastructure against the recent rise in cyber-attacks on healthcare institutions around the world. The launch was inaugurated during a press conference held today in Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, and was attended by Mr. Amer Sharaf, Director of Compliance, Support and Alliances at Dubai


Electronic Security Center; Dr Bushra Al Blooshi, Director of Research and Innovation at Dubai Electronic Security Center; Dr Amani Al Jasmi, Director of IT at DHA and Eng. Nasser Al-Bloushi, Chief Information Security Officer from Dubai Health Authority. “DESC is proud to continue its cooperative efforts with DHA in its ongoing success of digitization initiatives in the healthcare sector to constantly develop and further enhance policies and standards to safeguard sensitive patient information and all electronic biomedical devices being used in Dubai,” said H.E. Yousuf Al Shaibani, Director General at Dubai Electronic Security Center. As per the new guidelines, EBMD offered within Dubai will now be categorised into four major classes based on the nature of the device. Devices falling under Class I and Class II will have to meet general security standards, while specialised devices falling under Class III will have to meet specific standards based on risk assessment. Highly sensitive devices falling under Class IV will have to adhere to a much stricter set of standards. The new EBMD Security Standard is largely rooted in the IoT Security Standard also developed by DESC. Worldwide standards were also consulted while developing these regulations including the Australian Regulatory Guidelines for Medical Devices, the European Union Medical Devices Guidance Document, Medicines Regulations of New Zealand and regulations followed in the US and Canada.


KERRY LOGISTICS LAUNCHES REGIONAL OPERATIONS IN BAHRAIN Investment in Bahrain is part of their GCC regional footprint expansion plans The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) – the investment promotion agency for the Kingdom of Bahrain – has announced that one of Asia’s largest third-party logistics provider, Kerry Logistics Network, has launched operations in the Kingdom. The Hong Kong-headquartered company, which manages 60 million square feet of logistics facilities over 53 countries and territories, investment in Bahrain is part of their regional footprint expansion plans to enhance access to key markets such as the Saudi market – the Gulf’s largest market. As well as access to Saudi Arabia and the opportunity to scale across the wider $1.5 trillion GCC markets, Kerry Logistics cited the EDB as part of their decision-making process in launching operations in Bahrain. Raymond Cheng, Director – Middle East & Africa at Kerry Logistics said: “Bahrain’s access to the region is unrivalled, as is the support we received from the EDB. There is enormous potential to grow and scale our services across Saudi Arabia, the GCC and beyond. The Kingdom has acted as a commercial bridge between the East and the West for thousands of years. In today’s increasingly digital and hyper-connected world, it is the ideal regional logistics hub.” Hussain Rajab, Co-Chief Investment Officer – Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics at EDB said:“Attracting a company of the size of Kerry Logistics required seamless collaboration and work between the Economic Development board Bahrain, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce & Tourism and the Ministry of Transportation and Telecommunication to support the company in every stage during the setup

Hussain Rajab Co-Chief Investment Officer – Manufacturing, Transport and Logistics, EDB

process. The rapid access to key decision-makers enjoyed by businesses, large or small, when looking to set up in Bahrain is unparalleled. We call it our ‘Team Bahrain’ approach and it embodies the access and connectivity that really sets Bahrain apart. I’m delighted to have seen it in action with Kerry Logistics, who will be a fine addition to our logistics ecosystem.” Bahrain enjoys easy access to GCC markets via Saudi Arabia by the 25km King Fahad causeway, and with a second causeway to Saudi Arabia in the planning stage. Also due for completion in the first quarter of next year is a new terminal for Bahrain International Airport, which will increase annual capacity of passengers to 14 million from 8 million, and cargo capacity to 1 million metric tonnes per annum. With continuous improvements to its air, sea and road networks, Bahrain has positioned itself as the region’s de facto logistics hub, where several global logistics leaders, including DHL have based their regional operations. January 2020 / SMARTSMB



New Mimecast Research Finds Data Loss is Primary Concern for Financial Industry New Regulatory Requirements tied to Brexit and GDPR are Causing the Financial Industry to Reprioritize Compliance Initiatives Mimecast announced new research commissioned by IDG Research on the factors leading financial services organizations to reprioritize how they manage compliance. Financial services organizations like retail banks, investment firms and insurance companies have always operated under stringent regulations and controls. However, increasing regulatory frameworks and evolving security threats are making compliance an increasing priority within these organizations.


Mimecast and IDG Research surveyed financial services professionals to understand their compliance efforts and what they consider critical priorities. Nearly all respondents (92%) reported that compliance management has become an increasingly high priority over the past two years. Organizations’ compliance strategies for supervision in the coming year are being shaped most heavily by new regulatory requirements (45%) and a growing number of cybersecurity threats (39%). When asked which compliance regulations will have the largest impact over the next 12 months, respondents noted those related to third-party collaboration, cloud storage and legislative orders such as Brexit, GDPR and

Additionally, compliance management can be time consuming, in fact eightynine percent said the amount of time their compliance teams spend maintaining audit readiness has increased over the past two years. Organizations are looking to reduce the complexity of compliance supervision over the next year. Almost half of respondents cited they intend to improve integration and collaboration between internal teams, streamline processes so IT can focus on higher value activity, and improve their ability to document compliance supervision processes in the coming year.

Regardless of industry, data loss is an ongoing struggle most organizations face. For the financial organizations surveyed it’s the number one concern, largely due to the ever-evolving threat landscape. More than half (58%) cited data loss as their organization’s biggest concern regarding non-compliance, and 49% said their organization had been impacted by data loss in the past 2 years.

“Compliance is not a one-time thing, it’s an ongoing effort that organiza-

Garth Landers Director Product Marketing, Archiving, Mimecast

tions need to monitor at every level of their business,” said Garth Landers, Director Product Marketing, Archiving at Mimecast. “The explosion of data combined with the fact that everyone is a technology user has put a lot of pressure on financial service firms to get compliance right. As new rules and regulations come into play, it’s even more important for organizations to ensure they have the right people, processes and technology in place to maintain compliance.” Earlier this year, Mimecast launched Mimecast Supervision, a solution that helps financial services organizations address supervisory compliance requirements, such as SEC, FINRA, FCA and other regulatory constraints. As part of the Mimecast Cloud Archive, Mimecast Supervision includes intelligent review, optimized reporting and custom workflows that help improve productivity, simplify compliance and reduce organizational risk.

National Bank of Fujairah hosts first Design Thinking Workshop for SMEs Devid Jegerson Head of Customer Experience and Platform Development, NBF

SMARTSMB / January 2020

Attendees included SMEs across various sectors - audit, accountancy, e-retail, beauty, trading, engineering and chemical distribution

National Bank of Fujairah (NBF) PJSC hosted the first edition of its Design Thinking Workshop in Dubai that brought together small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across business verticals to discuss wide ranging is-



Roundtable examines new opportunities for startups in Dubai Organised by Dubai Startup Hub, recent roundtable brought together public and private sector stakeholders who shared recommendations for supporting the growth of startups

es around the world and other Dubai Chamber-related events and activities which both startups and entrepreneurship ecosystem enablers can benefit from. During the brainstorming session, participants elaborated on the missed opportunity of promoting Dubai as a preferred hub for startups and agreed to collaborate to provide reliable data related Dubai’s startup landscape which can be used by entrepreneurs and investors in the UAE and abroad. In addition, several entities proposed a new form of cooperation between co-working space and licensing authorities.

Dubai Startup Hub, an initiative of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, recently hosted a roundtable entitled “Entrepreneurship in Dubai: The Big Picture 2020” which brought together several public and private sector entities to identify new ways of aligning efforts to expand and enhance support to startups in Dubai. The roundtable, held at Dubai Chamber’s headquarters, was joined by representatives from Startup Bootcamp, the Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED), STEP Conference, Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (Dtec), Singaporean Business Council, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Nook, The CoWorking Popup, Expo 2020

sues such as banking requirements, transactions, fees, operations, VAT compliance and regulatory law. The interactive session was aimed at collecting feedback from SMEs to help NBF build a platform that will be an exclusive digital space co-created with SMEs to understand and address their needs better. Devid Jegerson, Head of Customer Experience and Platform Development,

Dubai, Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3), GITEX and LetsWork, who shared their plans for 2020 and participated in a brainstorming sessions where they highlighted synergies and collaboration opportunities. Dubai Startup Hub revealed its achievements for 2019, including its successful collaborations with 10 ecosystem partners during the year, enabling it to serve a wider network of startups and entrepreneurs through various programmes, initiatives and events. Participants were briefed on main services and benefits available to members of Dubai Startup Hub, the role of Dubai Chamber’s representative offic-

said: “The Design Thinking Workshop is a fundamental step to fulfilling our goal of building a unique SME community and banking platform in the UAE. The discussion and insights from these sessions is a strategic process to understand SME needs and create bespoke banking solutions. The workshop reiterates our commitment to develop a dedicated online community for SMEs to interact with peers, share knowledge and gain access to bene-

Addressing the participants, HE Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber, explained that the roundtable supports Dubai Chamber’s comprehensive entrepreneurship strategy and ongoing efforts to nurture and develop Dubai’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. “We are working closely with our partners in the public and private sectors to create and identify new ways to better serve startups in Dubai and help entrepreneurs unlock new growth opportunities. We look forward to seeing many more ecosystem partners come on board for future roundtables and building on the progress we have already achieved,” said HE Al Ghurair.

ficial resources on government policies.” Positioned as a community platform for SMEs by SMEs, NBF’s SME banking platform will leverage the latest business solutions and skilled expertise, and will evolve into a unique space for SMEs to access banking requirements, find and interact with peers, and create ideas that can address specific business challenges. January 2020 / SMARTSMB



IT SECURITY BUDGETS LOWER THAN AVERAGE IN 45% OF SMBS AND 50% OF ENTERPRISES, KASPERSKY IT SECURITY CALCULATOR REVEALS Kaspersky IT Security Calculator shows what budget and company SUR¿OH XVHUV ZDQW FRPSDUH ZLWK PDUNHW DYHUDJH According to statistics from the Kaspersky IT Security Calculator, budgets at 45% of SMBs and 50% of enterprises are below the average spend — which is $205k for small and medium and $8m for enterprise businesses. This is even though cybersecurity spending is growing year-on-year with almost 9% growth in 2019, according to Gartner report.

Globally, IT security budgets are demonstrating positive dynamics: as a number of analyst reports show, they continue to grow year on year. Kaspersky’s own survey of almost five thousand organizations across the world confirms this trend with 70% of respondents showing they expect their IT security budget to increase in the next three years.

Knowing how much money is spent on IT security across the industry allows companies to understand where they are in the market, to compare their budget with other players and even improve planning. The Kaspersky IT Security Calculator helps businesses receive these insights. It is a free web tool where IT security managers can view the average budget for cybersecurity in their region and industry and compare this to budgets in their organization.

However, statistics from usage of the Kaspersky IT Security Calculator in October 2018- 2019 revealed that some businesses are not keeping up with this trend, as their IT security spending is even lower than average. This is seen in 45% of calculations for SMBs and 50% for enterprise users of the tool. Overall, budgets for SMBs were reviewed more actively (46%) than for enterprises (38%) and very small companies (16%). For small and medium

businesses the budget issue can be even more complicated: it’s not only about money but also about the alignment of the budget planning process. It can be challenging because of demands on human resources and expertise in relevant cybersecurity risks and protection methods for different business services. “Budget planning is a very important process for companies as proper investments ensure a company is ready to meet current cybersecurity challenges and threats. Though it may be a complex task which demands a good understanding of business needs towards cybersecurity, how to address them and how much it can cost,” commented Sergey Martsynkyan, Head of B2B Product Marketing, Kaspersky. “We at Kaspersky try to give organizations insights to help them with this process. Along with the report on IT security economics we prepare annually, the IT Security Calculator gives a glance on average cybersecurity spending, as well as specific threats and advice on protection measures”.

PULSE SECURE EXPANDS PRESENCE 7KH OHDGLQJ SURYLGHU RI VRIWZDUH GH¿QHG 6HFXUH $FFHVV VROXWLRQV FRQVROLGDWHG LWV PDUNHW ZLWK its popular Zero Trust-based Secure Access solutions Pulse Secure, a leader in providing Zero Trust-based Secure Access solutions continues to see significant growth in the region with its solutions which deliver protected connectivity, operational intelligence and threat response across mobile, network and cloud environments. The company’s popular Access Suites, offered as software on virtual, cloud or physical appliances, allows customers and services providers to provide easy, compliant application and resource access with centralized visibility and SMARTSMB / January 2020

authorization leveraging their existing infrastructure. This Suite is also available to Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs) with accelerated, cost-effective means to differentiate and build out their service portfolio.

the company’s foundation of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) for hybrid IT environments while delivering provisioning simplicity, security posture fortification and lower total cost of ownership.

Introduced in 2019, Pulse SDP provides direct device-to-application trusted connectivity only after successful user, device and security state verification, including geo location and behaviour-based anomaly detection. The software-driven solution extends

In October 2019, Pulse Secure was the recipient of the Software Defined Vendor of the Year award at the CRN Channel Awards 2019 , in recognition of its business development in the UK channel.



Invest in Sharjah highlights emirate’s growing influence as a regional FDI hub Sharjah–Europe Business Roundtable sheds light on pro-investor policies and business-friendly environment to 6 European business councils in the UAE The Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), an affiliate of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) organised a Sharjah – Europe Business Roundtable, at the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently, to explore interests with 6 European business councils based in the UAE, and to introduce emerging prospects in a variety of sectors attractive to European investors. The roundtable served to highlight sectors which have been playing increasingly important roles in enriching Sharjah’s FDI appeal, such as transportation and logistics, light manufacturing, travel and leisure, environment, technology and innovation, healthcare, education and research, start-ups and SMEs. Prominent attendees included HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Shurooq; Taina Sateri, Trade Counsellor Delegation of the European Union to the UAE and Oliver Oehms, CEO of the German Emirati Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK). The event also saw the participation of HE Dr. Khalid Omar Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Media Free Zone (Shams); HE Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park; HE Saud Salim Al Mazrouei, Director of the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority and Sharjah Airport International Free Zone (SAIF Zone); Salim Omar Salim, Director of Sharjah Publishing City Free Zone; Mohammed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office; and Ammar Alul, Managing Director of Schuco Middle East Windows & Façade Systems LLC, in a panel session where they shared local business expertise and shed light on the new and evolving opportunities in their respective

sectors to the European delegation. The roundtable was moderated by Ali Kanani, Member of the Swiss Business Council. Sharjah has been collaborating with the European business community across several sectors including trade, culture and tourism over several years. As of November 2019, the number of European companies registered in Sharjah include 423 from France; 396 from Germany; 148 from Belgium; 96 from Spain; 86 from Portugal; 92 from Switzerland; and 18 from The Netherlands. These numbers continue to grow due to the Sharjah government’s pro-investor policies and strategic budget allocations, For instance, out of the approved 2019 budget of US$9 billion for Sharjah, 23 percent has been dedicated to the development and improvement of its infrastructure, and 41 percent has been committed towards the economic development sector. HE Marwan bin Jassim Al Sarkal, Executive Chairman of Shurooq, noted the importance of the roundtable in offering European investors the opportunity to take a closer look at Sharjah’s rapidly diversifying economy and to showcase its major projects, such as the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park), which is a centre for innovation and applied sciences research; the Sharjah University City, Sharjah Media City (Shams) and our other free zones such as the Sharjah Airport Free Zone and the Hamriyah Free Zone, with customised services. Al Sarkal explained: “Our trade relations with Europe goes back 40 years. A key area where we seek to create partnerships are with Europe-based tech, R&D and education firms. The EU

is a world leader in research and development, and has some of the highest-rated universities and research institutions. It also has one of the most robust systems of intellectual property protections.” He continued: ”There are competitive advantages in partnering and investing in key projects such as the Sharjah Sustainable City, which is currently redefining sustainable living in Sharjah, as well as our three leading property projects under the “Sharjah Eagle Hills” which are Maryam Island, Kalba Waterfront and Palace Al Khan, all valued at AED 4.7 billion. These projects, along with other leading real estate projects such as Al Jada and Al Mamsha projects, all present huge opportunities for EU investors in Sharjah.” Al Sarkal highlighted the role of the newly launched Sharjah Investor Services Centre (Saeed), a one-stop shop for setting up business in the emirate functioning out of Al Qasba. He added that Sharjah was at the cutting edge of being a leading platform supporting thousands of global businesses with new ideas, technologies, and prosperity, and thus a strategic, investor-friendly base for European firms to succeed in serving new markets. January 2020 / SMARTSMB




Companies hope Expo 2020 and similar large regional initiatives will boost Business growth and accelerate digital transformation By R. Narayan

he decade that has passed us by has been tumultuous and has had far reaching changes across how business is run with Technologies coming to have a far greater say and sway on the processes and outcomes. Businesses are using more digital technologies than ever before and this is an irreversible process going ahead.


Looking ahead, 2020 seems to be a year of reckoning for the region and there is a lot riding on major events lined up such as Expo 2020 happening later this year in Dubai. Investments and projects driven around such major milestone events will be key drivers of growth. Sakkeer Hussain, Director, Sales & Marketing, D-Link Middle East & Africa says, “The market outlook for the UAE is positive for the next 12 months, compared to previous years, and I am optimistic that 2020 will be the biggest growth year yet. The development of emerging technologies will massively drive the growth of the regional market. As advanced technologies become more easily accessible, organizations are getting exposed to more efficient ways to run their businesses. The advent of cloud, AI, 5G and other connectivity solutions are enabling regional firms to accelerate their revenue goals. The increased and intelligent use of data and analytics will further help companies to scale. Additionally, major global events during this year such as the Expo 2020 taking place in the UAE and G20 Summit hosted by Saudi Arabia, will further be catalysts for the overall progression of the region.” The benefits of Expo 2020 are likely to continue further as it gives the impetus to several verticals leading up to the event with larger projects executed for boosting infrastructure and SMARTSMB / January 2020

Sakkeer Hussain Director, Sales & Marketing, D-Link MEA

services. The benefits accrue to both larger players and smaller companies who maybe getting a piece of the action. Job creation is likely to see a good boost as well. According to a report by EY, Expo 2020 Dubai and its legacy are expected to contribute Dhs122.6bn of gross value added (GVA) to the UAE’s economy from 2013–2031. The report continues to point out that Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to attract 25 million visits and participants from 190 countries from October 2020 to April 2021. During this period, it is expected to contribute approximately 1.5 per cent of the

UAE’s annual forecast gross domestic product (GDP). Khwaja Saifuddin, Senior Sales Director, Middle East at Western Digital comments, “The long-term investment in Expo 2020 will result in the creation of jobs directly and indirectly as well as different sectors benefiting during different phases of the project. For instance, prior to the event, the construction sector stands to benefit with on-site and off-site contracts while visitor expenditure is expected to be the key driver of the economic contribution during the event. We are confident that the influx of visitors and par-


ticipants will in fact impact business growth with significant potential for technology advancements and innovation via collaborations.” Digital transformation initiatives will play a significant part as well in keeping the demand on the higher side as

plexity of workloads.” Ali Shabdar, Regional Director, MEA for Zoho says,”Thousands of SMEs are planning to start and expand their operation in the country and leverage the Expo wave to boost their growth in 2020 and beyond. The influx of busi-

Khwaja Saifuddin Senior Sales Director, Middle East, Western Digital

far as ICT investments go. He adds, “Digitizing initiatives will continue to flourish moving forward, with IT spending in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) set to reach $83.7 billion in 2020, according to IDC. The quest for digital transformation will also drive investments in big data and analytics, among others, which is also expected to be a key area of investment in 2020. Enterprises across business verticals will head into this year looking for solutions that will give them a competitive advantage. Data infrastructure needs to be re-architected to address the growing scale and com-

nesses and people will create more opportunities for the country, estimated to generate a staggering USD 30 billion.” He adds, “ We will continue our impressive expansion into the MEA region, with the GCC and South Africa leading our growth, and the rest of Africa showing tremendous promise. UAE in particular, has been one of our fastest growing markets globally and we believe it will continue with the Dubai EXPO 2020 and Dubai Vision 2030 shaping the next decade. According to Sakkeer, the event will


help raise Dubai’s profile on the global playground and boost the region’s advancements economically, boosting attempts to attract investments and move away from the reliance on oil. It will also serve as the perfect avenue to showcase the region’s innovations from a technology perspective. SMBs will also be positively impacted as they are expected to receive AED 4.7 billion in investment during the pre-Expo phase. Expo 2020 is supporting approximately 12,600 job-years, while also meeting the event’s objective to nurture a culture of innovation and support small businesses, as per recent news reports. Additionally, a Gulf News report states that 20% of the Expo’s direct and indirect spend will be assigned to SMEs based in the UAE, to create a long-term economic impact, matching UAE Vision 2021 – facilitating the growth of SMEs. He elaborates, “Expo 2020 will have a significant economic impact for the country. Largely due to the outpouring of visitors for Expo, Dubai is expected to become the second most visited city in the world in 2020, according to a report by PwC. The report forecasts about 23 million visitors in 2021. This will result in increased business across different verticals, more use of public infrastructures, surge in services and technology, and so on, to cater to the requirements of these visitors. While the excitement created by the Expo will eventually diminish as visitor numbers shrink and expat staff hired for the event leave, experts believe that long-term investments resulting from the event and economic impact will reverberate into the following years, leading to a positive investment climate.”

Demand for Tech solutions Digitization and better network connectivity will drive demand for faster, enhanced solutions across storage, networking & infrastructure, software etc, all of which add up to enhance IT operational excellence for companies. According to Khwaja, with the increased adoption and used cases of artificial intelligence, machine learnJanuary 2020 / SMARTSMB



ing, and big data analytics, there will continue to be strong exabyte growth in read-centric applications in the data center. This will drive the need for better performance, capacity and cost-efficiency of storage tiers. He adds, “To meet these high-growth workload demands, data center architecture will continue advancing toward a model where data storage solutions will be consistently provisioned and accessed over fabrics, with the underlying storage platforms and devices delivering to a variety of SLA’s, aligned with specific application needs. This will also continue to drive strong growth in capacity enterprise HDD. Driven by this insatiable growth of data, this mainstay technology will see new data placement technologies, mechanical innovation, intelligent data storage, and new materials innovations that will enable new capacity points and total cost of ownership (TCO) scale for the foreseeable future.” The future is bright for data-enabled intelligence. In 2020, we will likely see a growing number of organizations capitalizing on smarter use of the information we create, capture and store while also making sense of the massive amounts of data generated by artificial intelligence and machine learning workloads. "Businesses have a winning strategy if the elements of the right infrastructure, information architecture, skills and processes, and partnerships, are put into place to ensure data availability and analysis. This, in turn, will open a world of new possibilities with data across sectors and verticals in the upcoming year.” According to Ali, as the privacy concerns are growing among consumers, the challenge for businesses will be to provide personalized experience without infringing the privacy. In such cases, Artificial Intelligence will turn out to be a key technology as it can be used to provide hyper-personalized experience. He adds, "Zoho offers an array of ap-

SMARTSMB / January 2020

Ali Shabdar Regional Director, MEA, Zoho

plications in every business area, all built on the same technology stack. Businesses can get all the software they need from one place, and do not have to deal with integration issues that arise for those using software from different vendors Zoho solutions are easy to use and customizable for unique business needs, making it easier for businesses to digitally transform the way they work.” On the networking business front, the networking business has evolved considerably over the years. The wave of digital transformation is compelling organizations to modernize their IT infrastructures to create efficient business environments. Small and medium businesses are increasingly realizing that they can avail advantages of enterprise-grade networking solutions thanks to changing business models. No longer is it out of reach for them in terms of cost or accessibility. Also,

”Thousands of SMEs are planning to start and expand their operation in the country and leverage the Expo wave to boost their growth in 2020 and beyond. The influx of businesses and people will create more opportunities for the country, estimated to generate a staggering USD 30 billion.”


with advancements in technologies, SMBs are understanding how vulnerable they can be to security attacks, further encouraging them to invest in security solutions. We have observed SMB and SOHO segments increasing their IT budgets a bit more with each passing year.

storage, the convergence of compute, and the growing adoption of flash. As enterprises and service providers in the region evolve their infrastructures to incorporate these new technologies, there is an increasing demand for comprehensive storage solutions with higher capacity and reliability.

– from silicon, to flash drives and all the way to our systems. Moving into NVMe, a great fit for low-latency workloads such as databases, transaction systems, virtualization, and other performance hungry workloads, Western Digital delivers solutions for far better capabilities and efficiencies.”

Sakeer says, "They are looking for strong, stable and fast Wi-Fi connections to support other technologies. They are looking to improve business efficiencies through automation and smart technologies. The foundation technologies powering the growth of global smart home / office segment include Internet of Things (IoT) and smart devices, aided by fast Wi-Fi connections. According to a report by research firm IDC, spending on IoT technologies in the Middle East and Africa is set to reach $17.63 billion by 2023, as governments and organizations prioritize and invest in digital transformation projects.”

WD with a very extensive range of storage solutions is geared up to face the wave of transformation that is sweeping through the storage domain. WD arguably ended the year with leadership positions in capacity enterprise hard drives, 3D flash technology and branded retail products while achieving significant gains in client solid state drives. The manufacturer is looking forward to the increased adoption of emerging technologies which furthers the momentum for its NVMe enterprise solid state drives.

Zoho, within the software industry, has a brand that is getting stronger with each year globally and now leads in several areas of solutions it offers. In the Middle East, it has a growing market share and reach across mid-market and larger enterprises alike.

As robust, fast and reliable Wi-Fi connections are essential to the smooth operation of a smart home or office or building, D-Link has made Mesh routers available for home Wi-Fi setups, that can be the answer to most Wi-Fi challenges. It has also customized offerings to specifically target SMB / SOHO customers. The storage industry is facing a wave of transformation, stemming from cloud architectures, software-defined

Khwaja says, "With a robust product portfolio and expanding customer engagements, we expect to continue to deliver storage innovations across the board as we move into 2020. Committed to innovation, Western Digital continues to meet the needs of a diverse customer base in the region. We deliver a full portfolio of compelling, high-quality storage solutions with customer-focused innovation, high efficiency, flexibility and speed, with the aim of enabling them to maximize the value of their data. We are in a unique position that we engineer and innovate across the technology stack


Ali says, "Zoho offers a unique platform of world-class software that cater SMEs and enterprises alike. More and more businesses rely on our software for their success and creating an all-encompassing customer experience will be key to our growth. Further expansion in the region, providing better localized products and support, boosting our network of partners, and helping the public and private sector keeping their data safe, secure, and in the location of their choice will be at the core of our efforts.” Across different domains of technology solutions, the transformation is a given and vendors who have keep pace, offering solutions that address capabilities to embrace digital transformation, have upbeat prospects in the new year.

January 2020 / SMARTSMB




SmartSMB explores upcoming trends, challenges and changes in 2020 through the eyes of two contrasting sectors - Manufacturing and Food. While growth is certain, read on to find out how, and to what extent, is the Expo2020 expected to affect these industries. ack in 2014 when the Expo2020 was announced, it seemed too far fetched. While the Expo2020 was a much anticipated event, and preparations had begun on full swing, it didn’t seem quite near as it does today. We’re finally in 2020, a few months away from the Expo which is expected to change the future of the UAE completely. With almost 25-million people being expected to travel to the UAE during October this year and April next year, two key industries which would feel the change are manufacturing and the food and beverage industry.


SmartSMB speaks to representatives of two well-known brands - Mr Thomas Philip, Managing Director of Petrotek representing the manufacturing industry, and Mr Arjun Raj Kher, Head of Branding & Marketing, Hitchki, Vivaaya Restaurants Management LLC, representing the Food & Beverage Industry, to find out what they’re looking forward to in the new year.

Business in last two years better or worse? Thomas: We grew with the market, and that’s what worked for us. We increased our product and stock lines, thereby increasing our presence in the market and that’s why we witnessed growth.

Arjun: Better, of course. It was great to see that gourmands are getting more conscious about understanding what’s on their plate. It has definiteSMARTSMB / January 2020

ly gotten better with new trends like sustainable zero waste food, nitrogen infused foods, increase in micro dining , rise in the global cuisine and eco friendly packaging. In 2020, the industry will continue to move towards out-of-the-box experiences for everyone.

will come together for this extravagant event. It will be a great opportunity for everyone to showcase their

Now that 2020 is here, and we're all waiting for the Expo2020, how are you expecting the future events to affect/change things in your particular industry? Thomas: I am quite certain that we’ll get to see the launch of many new ventures and subsequent excess production owing to the increased demand with the influx of many tourists and traders. As far as we are concerned, our products and services are geared up for the same.

Arjun: We are thrilled for Expo 2020 as it's going to be a global celebration. Millions of people from around the world

Arjun Raj Kher Head of Branding & Marketing, Hitchki, Vivaaya Restaurants Management LLC


achievements and connect with other talented people who have come to showcase their brilliance through art, culture, technology and innovation. Looking forward for this year's Dubai's theme of Expo 2020 which is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. I look forward to 2020 with a lot of excitement. The stage has been set over the past few years to finally experience food for the art that it is, going beyond the basics. We are sure to see a significant shift to more plant-based ingredients, as the demand for it is constantly on the rise.

As far as technology is concerned, we've seen rapid advancements and subsequent challenges in all industries. How has technological advancement affected your industry and how do you plan to overcome the same this year? Thomas: In my opinion, technological advancements have only helped us improve the quality of our products because there is an increased demand for the same. So I don’t think see it as a challenging situation. With Artificial Intelligence and advanced machinery, we can produce more and better products. The logistics industry has also undergone a massive change and we’re now able to transport our products quicker and in new markets. So we’re able to achieve our goals which otherwise seemed too far.

Arjun: Technology is increasingly contributing to the food industry. It has helped manufacturers produce better quality and ensure consistency in food. There is also a sudden rise of robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing in the food industry in many countries which will go global very soon. It would be very interesting to see how these take over in the future.

Any particular trends you're expecting to witness in your industry this year?


Thomas: Yes, the industries are trying to move out from conventional old fashioned production units to high-tech equipment creating a demand for superior performance and products.

Arjun: As a business, I would bet on experiential dining as people will look for something extraordinary for the times they decide to step out for meals. Restaurants will have to keep upping their game to beat the comfort of home deliveries. Progressive nostalgia, which we championed at Hitchki, will continue to dominate as people look for the comfort of the old in a new packaging.

In terms of cash flow and revenue growth, are you expecting that the Expo2020 will help increase the same to a great extent? Thomas: While I don’t anticipate a huge change in cash flow because of how the global economy looks, I am expecting a growth of 14% from last year at least for our business.

Arjun: Expo 2020 will play a significant role in the hospitality sector and it is definitely going to help boost the food industry as it’s a global event.

Your top 3 strategies for 2020.

Thomas Philip Managing Director, Petrotek

Thomas: Having a continuous supply chain , increasing stocking facilities, adding more service members to the service team and also having a stronger technical sales team are among our areas of focus.

Arjun: We will innovate with regional cuisines from all over the world. We shall experiment more with Indian fusion dishes as it’s going to be in trend. We will also look to add Keto, Vegan and Organic dishes to have more variety in the menu and cater to every crowd.

January 2020 / SMARTSMB




By Diksha Vohra

UAE is all set to make a grand move into the future of logistics through Qafila, the re-gion’s first digital freight forwarding company. In a candid conversation with SmartSMB, founders Atif Rafiq and Jithin Manoharan discuss their brand, the inspiration and their take on digital transformation.

Atif Rafiq

You’ve come a long way. What were you both into before you launched Qafila? Atif: I am from the freight forwarding Industry, having lived and solved logistics problems across three continents - Asia, North America & Africa over a decade. In my previous role as a direc-tor of Al Sharqi, I used to lead the strategic direction for the organization through expansion across Africa, where I helped company establish an office in Tanzania. I also led the orga-

SMARTSMB / January 2020

Jithin Manoharan

nization to get recognition and accolades including Dubai SME 100, Maersk Platinum award, among others.

freight forwarder and we are solving the age-old problem of visibility & transparency in the supply chain.

Jithin: I was an entrepreneur with

Freight is the backbone of international trade. And in that world, there is no company big enough to move a freight shipment all the way from its origin to its destination. A single pallet of goods has to pass between 6-7 companies for shipment. Today, this is all managed over phone, paper and, in some countries, by fax. The transactional cost is phenomenally high as data is still trapped in organizational

strong background in technology and digital media. Qafila marks my second successful venture in UAE after Ubrik Media, a specialist digital media agency during the early days of digital media in GCC. What gap did you see in the market that you decided to launch Qafila? Atif: Qafila is the region first digital


silos and there is room for error at every step of this process. When we saw this and other broken parts of this process, we felt that there should be a better way and we knew that software had a key role to play to solve these massive inefficiencies. In 2018, our Co-Founder, Jithin Manoharan, and I started Qafila (incubated at In5) to enhance customer experience, streamline operational efficiencies and provide around the clock customer support in the freight forwarding sector. Since last year, we have embarked on a journey to bring the same ease and convenience of shopping online or booking a taxi to moving freight by sea. We started moving freight, filling in the gaps and inefficiencies with real-time data to provide visi-bility, transparency and making the system more reliable, thus offering a fully managed service, with a single point of contact.

Tell us what is Qafila exactly. What is your vision for the brand? We have a lot of freight forwarding companies in the UAE. How is yours significantly different? Jithin: We are trying to create frictionless user experience through a single platform that gives customers and shippers visibility and transparency into the shipping process 24/7; 365 days a year. It is also worth noting that Qafila bundles all freight carriers into a single database, which it offers free to its customers that want to better plan, organize and track their shipments. We are still in the relatively early stages of the business and our primary area of focus has been to deliver the service we promised starting with sea shipments and we are in the process of add-ing air, LCL (less than a container load) and other segments to this. This will mean that we can widen our customer profiles to include smaller businesses. So, we can assume that

our primary pillar of profit will be the same as any freight forwarder running a traditional business but we would be saving time in terms of man-hours and money for our clients. We have just started scratching the surface of a 2-trillion-dollar global Logistics and Transporta-tion industry. There is air, land, warehousing, e-commerce logistics, and so much more to do with the data collected around shipments that will help companies optimize their supply chain now that they have a fully end to end digitalized shipment journey. We plan to release all of these along with many other features to release over the next couple of months.

What are some of the challenges that you are facing in terms of expanding your brand and reaching out to your target market? Jithin: Being the very first one in this sector in this region, is both exciting and terrifying because we need to educate our customers first, build awareness and trust before we make a sale. The industry is fragmented and highly competitive where supply chain is viewed not as a competitive advantage but as functional business unit and hence business leaders do not put supply chain digitization as their priority as some are still debating its benefits.

Atif: In the long term, adoption of new technology like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, on-demand mobility, robotics automations, drones, 3D printing and Augmented Reality will change the dynamics of the supply chain, resulting in either inventing a new business model or different engagement models within the supply chain. Building the back-end architect, acquiring talent and keep rolling fresh and relevant features to our clientele would be our biggest challenge on in the long term.

How was your experience dealing with the Accelerator


Program you were a part of? Do you recommend the same to other startups? Atif and Jithin: We have been fortunate to be part of Intelak’s Aviation accelerator program and that is what piqued our interest to join the accelerator. As part of the program, we were able to access and network with key individuals at Emirates Airlines, Dnata, GE & Dubai Tourism that make up Intelak; get opportunities to be mentored and trained by employees of the founding members of Intelak which helped us grow and improve our skills in presentation, legal, man-agement & investor relations. We do recommend Intelak for the opportunity of networking and mentoring in the key areas that they focus on which are aviation, tourism and travel. It gave us the opportunity to also meet cur-rent and former alumni who are going through the same process as we are and helps us to learn from their experiences. Three outstanding features of your mobile application which have never been seen be-fore in the market. 1) Fully transparent pricing 2) Visibility 3) One window operation for your logistics

Are you planning on expansion in any other countries apart from the UAE? How does the year 2020 look out for you? Atif and Jithin: At the moment, we are focusing on United Arab Emirates as we continue to test and roll out new features since the UAE really gives startups like us access into the other middle east countries. While the UAE gives us a home ground advantage since both our founders have been schooled and living in the UAE for more than a decade, our ultimate goal is to be a brand that is synonymous for logistics across the gulf.

January 2020 / SMARTSMB





Amel Gardner, regional vice president – Middle East, Africa & India (MEAI), Epicor Software Corp. speaks about the company’s outlook in the region and the focus on the industrial sector

Do you think ERP has a central role as an enabler of digitalization? Thanks to the advent of IoT and cloud technology in 2019, the buzzword “connected enterprise” has emerged as what is touted as the ultimate goal of any enterprise that seeks to apply the advantages of modern technology. As CIOs work with line of business (LOB) stakeholders to achieve the coveted status of a “connected enterprise” and implement various new technologies to create intelligent environments within connected digital ecosystems, it’s imperative that organizations implement a robust, modern ERP solution to serve as the digital core ― one that is architected to support the flow of data, streamline processes, and make work more intuitive and collaborative to users, suppliers and partners.

Will cloud based ERP see more traction elaborate on some key possibilities you see in the segment? With regards to increased adoption of cloud-based ERP solutions, based on our discussions with customers, there is definitely an appetite for moving to the cloud. To cite just one example, last year, General International Group, a provider of specialized engineering services to the UAE & Africa market, selected Epicor ERP in the Cloud and deployed the system on the Azure platform to help optimize operations and introduce new operational efficiencies. Furthermore, the cloud-based ERP solution from Epicor will open the door to newfound efficiencies in business continuity, cybersecurity and risk management, as well as carry the benefit of 24/7 support and disaster recovery. The cloud model is also expected to deliver up-to-the-minute upgrades, faster time to value, and significantly lower capital and human resource investments for General International Group.

Please elaborate on the growth in business across segments in the region from Epicor's perspective? Driven in large part by several government initiatives ― like the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 ― to transform from an oil-based to a knowledge-based economy, over the last few years, we have seen strong growth in the UAE industrial sector. In fact, accordingly to the UAE Ministry of Energy and Industry, the industrial sector contributes around 9.5 percent to the country’s GDP, with a forecasted growth of 4.5 percent in the last five years.

Amel Gardner RVP – Middle East, Africa & India (MEAI), Epicor

At Epicor, we believe we have a unique value proposition for businesses in the industrial sector ― specifically manufacturers and distributors ―that are looking for an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to address their unique pain points and serve as a growth platform. For example, in our business, the three key pain points our manufacturing customers face are labour shortages, downtime on the assembly line, and risk & compliance. Epicor's digital collaboration tools, MES & IOT tools, and BI-embedded dashboards, user-friendly reports and data analytics help customers solve these problems. In fact, over the course of 2019, we’ve helped several leading regional manufacturers transform their operations and we will look to building on these successes heading in to 2020.

What would be some key priorities for the company to boost growth in the region? For most companies, growth is now closely tied to adoption of latest technologies. In 2019 we saw businesses find real use cases for technologies like AI, IoT and RPA. As these new technologies are introduced and explored in 2020 and beyond, it will inevitably have the potential to displace current job positions. But if organizations really want to drive growth, rather than replacing their existing workforce, they need to focus on up-skilling/re-skilling their current employees so that their staff can move up the organization value chain. One of the major challenges in the industry is the dearth of skilled labor. So whether it is a long term staffer or a new hire, spending the time to skill the individual on the job, will help businesses mitigate the skills-gap, and translate to success in the long run.




By Diksha Vohra

With the onset of digitization, several payment merchants and gateway providers have begun offering their services, and have gained much popularity in the B2C sector. But is the B2B sector too now choosing to transact large amounts through online mediums? SmartSMB explores. t was the end of 2019 and Neeru had to close her books. She opens her laptop and starts scanning through her list of pending payments from her clients and suppliers each. On the side, she has also opened her Zbooni app to track the transactions made.


For her pending payments, she immediately reaches out to the respective clients, sends them a reminder along with a link through which they could safely clear the payment online. She has been a loyal customer of Zbooni and prefers to make every single transaction, big or small, online. “It's easy and seamless,” says Neeru Sharma, Managing Director at Marya Leadership Academy. “It's made my collections process easy and definitely efficient.” Previously, where Neeru would have to issue invoices to clients with her bank account details, requiring them to visit an exchange and transfer funds to her, today she sits back in her office utilising her time more productively giving her clients a peace of mind as well. “Many of my clients prefer to pay by credit card and hence this method is the easiest,” says Neeru. “Also, I have a lot of international clients and this method not only makes it easier for me

SMARTSMB / January 2020

to collect payments but also for them to pay. These days, many people buy products online so yes, I do believe there is increased comfort in buying online.” Like Neeru, many UAE based businessmen are choosing to buy and pay online, resulting in a decline of traditional modes of payments like cheques and cash. There are two clear trends, from cash to card and now from card to no physically present card. As per published reports, the UAE’s e-commerce market is projected to hit $17.8 billion this year, compared to just $2.5 billion in 2014. That’s close to a seven-fold jump in just six years. Moreover, UAE’s internet penetration, which is at 99%, out of which 63% choose to shop online. A typical UAE consumer spends about 7.5 hours online per day so it’s understandable that digital commerce and cashless payments were identified as top government priorities in UAE Vision 2021. “At PayTabs, our merchants range from startups to enterprises so the transaction amount varies but on average, the typical average ticket size of our transactions is about USD 120,” says Punit Thakker, Senior Vice-President, Global Business Development & Strategy, PayTabs. “Our consumers are given the option to pay in alternative pay-

Punit Thakker Senior Vice-President, Global Business Development & Strategy

ment options whether for large or small transactions. We support and process subscriptions through recurring payments, thus expecting increase in scalability of revenue and merchant receivables. These functionalities and options are not available with cheques or through other payment gateways.” The options make B2B transactions more convenient. However, with online payments the question of security definitely remains. With so many



scams and frauds happening around, are online payments actually secure? Ashraf Atia, Chief Operating Officer, Zbooni says: “When it comes to credit cards here in the UAE, the level of frauds is significantly lower than the western countries. The reason for that is the 3D secure aspect which uses the concept of an OTP or a One Time Password that comes as a text message from the bank when you use your card online before the transaction is completed. This pushes the entire liability on the card holder as it needs for the card and the phone to be in the hand of the user. Hence there cannot be a claim of the card not being there or any other fraud as the transaction cannot be done without the One Time Password which comes on the user’s phone.” In the western countries, the frauds are higher because they feel that this fail-safe of 3D secure would slow down their commerce and that the fraud insurance would protect them from these. Moreover, the inconvenience of traditional methods of payment outdoes its benefits. Neeru says: “I have no idea why people still use cheques. Honestly, after I started using online payments, collecting and depositing cheques is a pain.” Ashraf adds to it saying: “If I have to issue a check to someone, I need it to be signed by the person designated to do that. Then I have to physically give the check to the other person. Even after all this, there is no guarantee that the check is worth the money mentioned as the fund backing the check and the amount it says may not be there. Isn’t it better that I pay by credit card and there is a guarantee that the bank is going to pay you regardless of anything? It is also more convenient to both parties involved in the transaction, hence the traditional side kind of goes down because it is simply a better way to do for everyone.”

Ashraf Atia Chief Commercial Officer and Co-Founder, Zbooni

However, Punit agrees that changing consumer mindset and habits to adapt to digital payments is a key challenge for payment gateway service providers like them. “For example, the UAE Ministry of Economy has estimated that e-commerce constitutes just 10% of total sales in the UAE. Further, a joint survey undertaken by Google and consultants Bain & Co, also found that 44% of UAE consumers prefer cash-on-delivery when buying online because of a reluctancy to pay online. So, educating and creating awareness amongst the end consumer is a pain point in our industry. Other challenges faced by global payment providers are hurdles with local regulators (restricted LOBs, cross-border transactions, local entity requirements, etc.).”

creasingly becoming popular and the more swiftly businessmen adapt to the new trends, it would not only save them time but money too. In terms of the future, with the much Expo2020 coming up and with the recently launched Digital E-commerce strategy, Punit feels that this would be a great opportunity to tell the world that Dubai is open to Global e-commerce. “With Mastercard as Dubai Expo 2020 Official Payment Technology Partner, facial, fingerprint recognition payment systems and seamless cashless payments are some of what the 25 million expected visitors can look forward to. Expo2020 is likely to introduce new technologies such as microchip payments and AI-integrated payments.”

In conclusion, digital payments are in-

January 2020 / SMARTSMB



PICKING SPEED Bahrain is accelerating in terms of adoption of newer technologies and consolidating as a leading Business hub ahrain is well on course towards adopting newer technologies across its market and also retains a unique position in the region as a leading Business hub. Bahrain is also seen as a FinTech hub for the region and has been a pioneer in regulating emerging technologies.


Dr. Jassim Haji, President of AI Society of Bahrain says, “Bahrain is establishing itself as a future ‘Digital Hub’ for the Middle-East and planning to export its innovations, programs creation and support to the region. With hundreds of Computer Science, AI, MIS and future science graduates every year and availability of local talents, the kingdom can position its self as Estonia of Middle-East in Technology. The advantages of multi-languages, talent, creativity, understanding of culture and cost, it can occupy a main center for technology exportation by top technology companies. Bahrain Development Board (EDB), provides strategy and support for future of Bahrain in the area of Technology and Artificial Intelligence.” According to Joji Jacob, Chief Information Officer, Yusif Bin Yusif Fakhro Company BSC For the GCC region says, the most cost-effective destination for business is in Bahrain, where minimal operating costs, a beneficial tax structure, and a welcoming culture converge to create an unparalleled net benefit for the financial services, ICT, and Manufacturing & Logistics sectors. He mentions that recent reports by KPMG highlight how corporations worldwide are giving Bahrain a second look as the key market for smart expansion within the Gulf. Bahrain’s market, although small, hosts a range of IT companies within the areas of IT services, IT distribution, SMARTSMB / January 2020

Dr. Jassim Haji President of AI Society, Bahrain

IT consultancy, data management systems, software developers and customer support centres. In terms of ICT readiness, Bahrain offers very competitive and affordable ICT services in the region. Joji adds, “Having been the first country regionally to fully deregulate its telecommunications market, Bahrain continues to pioneer by becoming the first economy in the GCC to adopt a cloud-first policy. Bahrain’s government is committed to accelerating the transition to the cloud, enabling a more forward-thinking approach to data management as well as expanding business opportunities. In terms of new technologies, Joji says

that edge computing is on the rise as well as Multi cloud which is becoming more of the Norm. Besides, there is a growing interest in augmented reality technologies. He elaborates, “The region is witnessing a growing interest in virtual reality technologies and the creative talent behind it. A strong gaming community that allows Bahrain to host a yearlong calendar of gaming events and activities where companies showcase their games. With more than 15,000 attendees, Bahrain is proving to be a great location for creatives.” There is traction towards adopting AI technologies in different Business processes. Chatbots have been


“Monitoring data and progress can seem tiresome and unnecessary, especially when you are personally watching your employees and company. But remember that monitoring the data on your new tech is the most efficient way to measure progress toward your goals.” the easiest way of integrating these breakthrough technologies that enhance Business processes. Dr. Jassim adds, “Obviously Chatbot is the start for many sectors in the region and especially Banking, However there are different levels and we will witness Machine Learning lead and drive ‘customer loyality’ in many financial and private sectors. Moreover, “predictive analysis by AI” is being heavily developed in business verticals and across the industry. I believe Quantum computing promises to revolutionize many aspects of computer science and could be used to supercharge AI in 2020. Plus we will witness more focus on ‘Facial recognition’ in both private and public sectors, with Artificial Intelligence is increasingly being employed to help recognize individuals and track their locations and movements.” In terms of challenges, he mentions that the region has made good advance of adopting these technologies, in the government sector specifically. “In the MENA region, several countries have made big advances towards smart cities and smart governments,


and have institutionalized AI in government ministries and academia. The region has been an early adopter of AI techniques and methods. However, local business still have not grasped importance of adopting AI in their business and understanding many beneficial outcomes.” The road ahead is not without challenges. Among them, there is a need to have a seamless integration of new technologies as part of the underlying infrastructure. Joji says, "New technologies must be integrated into current business processes to utilize its full potential. Buying the new technology is not enough. After purchase, your existing systems and procedures need to be adjusted to incorporate the new technology in a way that limits disruption and the need for additional training, while still taking advantage of all the new tech has to offer.”

Joji Jacob CIO, Yusif Bin Yusif Fakhro Company BSC

Joji also highlights the need to win over staff while undertaking larger transformation initiatives. One of the challenges that need to be addressed is indeed the need to win staff over to the new technology. “Some people love learning how to use new technology. Others resent the change to what they consider tried and true systems and processes – a workflow they can do with their eyes closed. For the new technology to be successful in your company, you will need to win over your staff to its use. Ideally, you can make them see its benefits and get them excited about those benefits. But even if they are not enthusiastic, everyone in your company that you expect to use the tech needs to do so,” he says. He also highlights that the staff needs to be trained to work with the new technologies. Joji adds, “Every new technology adopted by your company is going to require training so that your employees can use it. Just because the new tech is similar to something you used before, or it claims to be “user-friendly,”

does not negate the need for training. Training is an expense, and it is an area where some businesses get cold feet after spending so much on the new technology. Do not fall into this common trap. Include training costs into your estimates before you adopt the tech, and follow through on the training.” Finally, one of the greatest things about new technology is that you can control numerous data points to get a clear picture about its usage and effectiveness. He says, “Monitoring data and progress can seem tiresome and unnecessary, especially when you are personally watching your employees and company. But remember that monitoring the data on your new tech is the most efficient way to measure progress toward your goals.” January 2020 / SMARTSMB



REPEAT BENEFITS Omar Aslan Gurel, CEO and co-founder of Repeat, a frequency based personalized pricing platform for the hospitality industry speaks discusses some highlights of the company’s unique solution By Baraka Jefwa

Kindly describe REPEAT and take us through the journey of you actually launching the app to the market? Repeat is the world's first smart loyalty platform for restaurants that dynamically rewards customers for their frequency and spend. Basically, we ensure that restaurants offer their best prices to their best customers. The idea came in July 2017 during a holiday with my wife back at my home town of Izmir in Turkey. we would have dinner at the same restaurant for three consecutive evenings when on the last day, I jokingly told the owner that I should get a discount because of the frequency of my visits to his establishment. He immediately extended a 25% discount to us wearing a big smile on his face. This was my light bulb moment, when Repeat started taking some shape and form in my mind. The next step was for my team and I to make sure we had a strong MVP – minimum viable product - for the F&B sector. It took us about six months to be able to validate it. So, by December 2017 we managed to raise seeding capital, by mid 2018 we set up the company and in January 2019 we launched operations upon some very strong foundations from where to build on.

What gap did you spot in the F&B industry that prompted the introduction of REPEAT to the market? The problem in the F&B industry is that the customers always want lower prices and the merchants want customers to visit and spend more. So, the wants SMARTSMB / January 2020

Omar Aslan Gurel CEO and co-founder, Repeat

of customers and merchants clash and are incompatible by nature. Current discount offers based on vouchers, two for one offers etc do not help. Just ask any restaurant owner or operator what they think about such schemes and they will all agree that they are good in the short term but bad for the long term. They practically give food away for free, a practice that literally eats into their margin. And they don’t build loyalty because customers visit them simply to have free food, usually at the busiest time for the outlet, and once the offer expires or is no longer valid, they don’t come back.

Repeat has come to change all that; through our smart loyalty algorithm, a person who goes back to a restaurant after three days gets a better price than someone who goes back after three weeks. Similarly, somebody who spends AED 2,000 a year in a restaurant gets a better price than somebody who spends AED500 per year. It is a very fair way for restaurants to price their product according to their customers; behavior. We call this ‘the price integrity principle’.

What challenges did you go


through in setting up REPEAT? How did you mitigate these challenges? The main challenges were finding and recruiting the right talent, converting investor interest into funding and finally educating your target audiences about the need to change and embrace the digital revolution. These are the three main challenges that entrepreneurs around the world have to face. In Dubai’s case, one major challenge for a consumer-based start-up is of course always the size of the market due to the small number of the population of the UAE. After your proof of concept stage in the UAE, it is imperative to not lose time and to expand regionally, or internationally as soon as possible. I have been an entrepreneur for the past 13 years since I was 19. Repeat is my seventh venture I have always loved being involved with new ideas and doing things for the first time. So, I have faced the same challenges before and this experience was proven to be very helpful as I used it as a guide to help me overcome them a bit easier.

What has been the uptake of the app so far in terms of

both merchants and end users? How do end users and restaurants benefit from using REPEAT? We started with one client and four people less than 12 months ago. Today, we have more than 500 restaurant partners, 60,000 app downloads. Ninety of these outlets are exclusively on Repeat’s platform. We expect to have 2,000 restaurants by the end of 2020. This strong adoption comes as no surprise when you consider the tangible B2B and B2C benefits we provide. We have created a win-win situation for both consumers and merchants whereby restaurants increase their revenues while giving incentives and rewards to their most loyal customers according to their frequency and spend. The sooner you visit a restaurant again the higher the reward you receive as a customer. For restaurant owners we effectively provide an always-on marketing solution that promotes their businesses and helps them increase revenues by helping them bring customers back sooner through tailored rewards based on how often they visit and the size of their bill. We offer enhanced customer insights, complete control of their profile in real time and flexibility to set


up their own tier structure and pricing based on branch-specific variables and performance. The core four pillars of Repeat are all about bringing new customers, bringing back customers faster than they naturally would, increasing the average cheque size and to provide data for intelligence and re-engagement purposes. For end users, Repeat is free to use, unlike most foodie apps which require hefty upfront payment. Rewards are personalised according to end user behaviour and preferences because the sooner they visit their favourite restaurants, the better price they get. And they get freedom of choice because they can use the app at any of the restaurants currently on our platform.

What makes REPEAT stand out from the competition interms of other apps? We are the only food app in the world that guarantees revenue increase for our restaurant partners. We offer a unique solution which can be tailored to fir the individual needs and requirements of each business and in this way, it is appealing to a diversified audience of restaurant types. The success of our business is direct-

January 2020 / SMARTSMB



ly linked to customers’ commercial success, so we feel totally committed to them because their fortunes are linked to ours. And it works both ways, because our customers feel the same due to the tangible returns, they get, which can be as high as 18% in revenue increase for all transactions going through the app.

ent teams that make up REPEAT and their duties? How do you keep your teams motivated?

What innovative features does repeat offer its customers both from the merchant side and end user side? With the funding in hand what should your customers and partners alike expect from you in the future?

All our employees who complete one year start receiving shares in the company and these employees are considered partners in the business. When you feel that you are a shareholder of a company and not just an employee it changes everything.

Our product development and tech teams constantly innovate in order to ensure Repeat remains ahead of the game. Currently we are finalizing a raft of new upgrades and new functionalities which will further enhance the benefits received by both our consumers and restaurant owners. Thanks to one of these enhanements we are able to distinguish the customer journey between instore and outstore customers which means on the one hand that we will be encouraging nore people try restaurants for the first time and on the other hand help merchants acquire new customers. We are also about to launch a new promotion mechanism which will help restaunts channel their entire communication with their data base through Repeat’s sophisticated push notofications, SMS and email system. We are also introducing a new virtual coin-based mechanism which will allow consumer to redeem points to pay for menu items or get further discounts on their alredy discounted bills. A brand new app design is also on its way to make the user experience a lot more fun and engaging. And we are expanding into new vericals such as spas and activities. So a lot is happening at the moment to ensure Repeat maintains its competitive edge for years to come.

Kindly talk about your differSMARTSMB / January 2020

Our business consists of management, sales and marketing, tech, product and finance.

REPEAT has been in the media a lot lately due to Your recent series A funding round of $2.5 million. Kindly explain the process you went through to secure the funding? What are the plans you have for the money? In total, through our seed and Series A rounds we have raised and received commitments for a total of US$4.5 million. Investors understand that Repeat is truly transforming the way loyalty management can positively impact the bottom line of merchants worldwide. The global loyalty management market is currently growing at a CAGR of 23,3%. Investors understand numbers and believe in our potential as we are set to expand by 100 times in revenue and deliver our shareholders a ten times ROI by 2024.

Has it been easy? No! But investors, private or institutional, can tell if you have an idea that solves a real problem and if you have a team who are experts in their field and fully aligned behind the mission and vision of the company, then if you are persistent, they eventually back you. We will be using this funding to expand in the UAE market and to solidify our international expansion strategy. After these milestones are achieved our aim is to stat raising our Series B funding round by 1st of April 2020 to help us with our international expansion plans which as of today include the UK and the USA.




Ozair Puda, CEO and Founder of (Startup), the region’s first and largest vehicle servicing network that enables vehicle owners to remotely book their cars for service and repairs speaks to Smart SMB about their services.

Discuss the genesis of this business as a concept and further up to going operationally live? is the UAE’s first and largest vehicle servicing network that allows consumers to service their cars without leaving their home or workplace and without disrupting their busy schedule. We save the consumers time and money by sourcing the parts at discounted prices from over 30 plus parts distributors that sell genuine or aftermarket parts. We also negotiate on the labor rate with the workshops to ensure consumers are not overpriced or paying more than they should. All servicing and repairs come with 12 months warranty. Consumers can easily book online or via the android or Ios app. The current services offered by are car service, car repair, recovery & breakdown, Flat tire, Flat battery and car washing service.

How is the business seeing traction in terms of demand? Having officially launched in March 2019 we have seen our revenue grow by 20-30% month on month. Our number of bookings have also grown by 25% month on month. We started with one employee in March 2019 and now have 17. The demand is growing every month.

What are the advantages over conventional channel of service repairs? Are pickup/ delivery taken care of by service my car? “Service My Car” is here to give the best experience for the consumers with no hidden cost and to make sure the consumer is saving time and money. Our priority is to keep consumers safe on the road and reduce accidents that SMARTSMB / January 2020

occur due to fault or poorly maintained cars. We aim to collect the car, service it and deliver it back within 48 hours. We understand the needs of the customers either it be servicing or repair. We send their car to one of the garages on the network who has trained, experienced and qualified staff who maintain the agency standard. We also check that our workshops are insured and certified by regulations authority such as iso9001 on a monthly basis. Collection and delivery is included free with every service and like other companies, we do not drive the customers vehicles. We send a vehicle transporter to reduce any accident or speeding tickets/fines.

Are there any specific contracts offered for consumers for their personal cars and Businesses who may have fleets? Currently we provide three packages online which are the Basic 200 AED, Full 350 AED and Major service 500 AED. These prices exclude service parts as every car has a different price for parts. Ferrari parts are much more expensive then Toyota parts and therefore we charge for the parts after the service. For individual consumers we are working on yearly service contracts which will be available soon. Our current clients who have a fleet of vehicles are given a discounted business rates based of their needs. We have fleet customers ranging from 10 vehicles to 600 vehicles. For consumers we always have discount codes and promotions which can be found online at or via our Instagram How many garages are registered with the portal and do they offer any preferential rates for services offered to people who come through your portal? We currently have over 80 workshops

Ozair Puda CEO and Founder,

on our Network. Our service is available in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah. For the ease of the customer we have a set labor rate which is 150 AED per hour for every workshop. All our services and repairs come with free 360 degrees health check and 12 months parts and labor warranty.

Does the service offer any consultancy over which garage to pick especially in case of specialist services required for more detailed repairs? When a booking is received it goes through a filter and criteria’s must be matched. such as vehicle brand, number of booking at that time in the workshop and the distance from the collection location to the workshop. Example if the car is a German brand it will go to a German vehicle specialist. If the specialist has a heavy workload on that day it then goes to the next specialist who is further away by distance.

Discuss expansion plans? We will be expanding into Oman and Saudi by the end of 2020 and Kuwait and Bahrain by 2021.



7+( /$7(67 &,62 +($'$&+( ˳ ,27 Dr. Mike Lloyd, RedSeal CTO discusses some steps the CISO can undertake where traditional techniques don’t seem to have an answer in securing IoT infrastructure bulb to the internet (and yes, people do), you can bet the network functionality will be the cheapest version the manufacturer can get. Within that cheap functionality, security is one of the first things to go.

Dr. Mike Lloyd CTO, RedSeal

There’s a saying in the security world: “if it’s on the network, it belongs to the CISO.” And CISOs have risen to the occasion, developing and honing a bag of tricks that work reasonably even in the face of morphing attacks and unwitting employees. But now, with increasing numbers of very different devices connecting to the internet, CISOs are realizing that their standard bag of tricks doesn’t work on the Internet of Things (IoT). First, what do we even mean by Internet of Things? I’ve discussed this with several experts in the area, and I find those thinking about security have the best definition – “it’s IoT when we can’t get standard telemetry.” That is, the best definition I’ve encountered for the Internet of Things is about blindness and lack of knowledge. We now have the technical means to cheaply put just about any device online. But that very cheapness is part of the problem – IoT devices compete on price and are hemmed in by strong cost constraints. If we connect a light-

One of the key tricks in a CISO’s bag is updating applications early and often with the latest fixes. But they can’t update a lightbulb, or an industrial turbine, or every medical device in a hospital. Security and patching infrastructures don’t exist for these special-purpose IoT devices. It requires specific expertise and adds expense to keep up with the endless findings of security researchers. As a result, nobody is responsible for managing security updates for all the Things we’re bringing to the Internet. Other CISO tricks involve installing security agents on every device and scanning networks for known vulnerabilities. But you can’t install a security agent onto an insulin pump, or an industrial controller, or a lightbulb. And, you can’t use vulnerability scanning – the main method for finding known security weaknesses in traditional IT infrastructure. If you do, at best a traditional scanner will struggle to identify the special-purpose device, but at worst, it might even crash the fragile Thing you’re trying to identify. So, what can our CISO do in this world where traditional techniques don’t work well? It’s not as if a typical organization can just refuse to go along with IoT – these devices are proliferating rapidly. I’ve found that the best strategies are segmentation and resil-

ience. Segmentation makes sure that IoT devices have no access – even indirectly – to the outside world. These endpoints cannot be trusted and can’t be forced to run whatever control software you want. Instead, you must contain them, keeping these fragile and risky devices away from each other and anything else they could harm. That is, as the endpoints get dumber (due to their focus on doing one job well), the network must get smarter. Network perimeters aren’t dead. Rather, they’ve gone everywhere. We now need internal perimeters around all the uncontrollable endpoints in our networks. Resilience is also key, because perfect protection and containment are not possible. Experienced organizations balance their efforts between protection and recovery, recognizing that incidents are inevitable, but serious damage is not. Resilience means understanding your infrastructure ahead of an attack, thinking through how an incident could spread, and building response and containment plans, just the way first responders anticipate and practice for the inevitable bad days. IoT presents novel challenges for today’s CISO. The three-step strategy recommended here starts by understanding the categories of IoT devices that you use (whether you planned to or not). Next, realize that standard techniques we use to control general-purpose computers don’t work, and so we have to rely on segmentation. Third, we cannot expect to stop all incidents, so having a well thought out containment plan, based on real knowledge of your environment, is essential to damage control. This is how CISOs can deal with the IoT headache and deliver resilience in this complex new world.

January 2020 / SMARTSMB



TRANSFORMATION IN STORE Assaad El Saadi, regional director – Middle East, Pure Storage makes a few significant predictions As we march on into a new year, and a new decade, here are some of the key technology trends we expect to see, specifically as it relates to the storage industry.

Storage will continue to see upheavals Customers Will Demand A Subscription to Innovation with As-a-Service Business Models As-a-Service models have existed since the beginning of public cloud. For most consumers of storage, hybrid cloud is the reality and the future - and they are looking to get the best out of both worlds; to drive simplicity and automation from their on-premise infrastructure so they can manage it like they manage the cloud, and to get the same enterprise capabilities and control in the cloud, as they have on-premise -- both in a flexible, subscription-based as-a-Service model. In 2020, the demand for as-a-Service in storage will increase and organizations are speaking with their wallets with more investment in OPEX models, but successful models need to balance both the operations and purchasing aspects. From an operations perspective, key attributes include standardization (vs snowflakes), on-demand access, API-driven management, and limitless scale. On the consumption side, key traits include a pay for what you use model, bursting capabilities (flex up/down as needed), and a non-disruptive evergreen experience, services can be grown/ evolved over time without disruption. And all this delivered as a 100% payper-month OPEX service.

The Re-emergence of Object SMARTSMB / January 2020

Storage Object Storage has shaken off its roots as cheap-and-deep cold storage and has started to emerge as the new form of primary storage. Originally conceived to support the management of extremely large datasets (beyond what traditional file systems could handle), Object Storage has become the storage standard for cloud-native applications - for its ability to support highly parallel and distributed access to large data sets. As applications are developed or re-platformed for cloud-friendly architectures, Object Storage will become the natural choice for enabling applications to decouple and disaggregate applications and their compute resources from a pool of shared storage. This pattern has taken hold not only in custom SW development but also with large software vendors such as Splunk and Vertica.

Modern Analytics Has Reached Rocketship Status Fuelling the growth for modern analytics is more affordable infrastructure options such as more powerful CPUs, consumption-based infrastructure, available both on-prem and in the public cloud, and lower priced flash memory. There is also a significant

Assaad El Saadi Regional Director – Middle East, Pure Storage

growth in stream analytics platforms, both open source (Apache Flink, Apache Beam and Spark Streaming) and commercial (Splunk DSP) replacing more and more batch-based processing platforms. Modern analytics can now reach larger scale with cloud native analytics architectures comprised of stateless servers and container and high-performance S3 object stores. Additionally, the unbridled growth of data sources including smart devices (smart home, wearables, connected cars, industrial internet, etc.) will drive


the adoption of modern analytics in order to drive more insights.

Flash Will Defy the Impossible with Next-Gen Media Like QLC Since the introduction of flash, it’s largely been relegated to Tier1, performance-centric applications, but with new solid state technologies such as Storage Class Memory (SCM) and QLC coming online and stratifying the memory space, flash is really poised to break out and address whole new swaths of data. On the high-end, with the combination of SCM and highspeed protocols like NVMe-oF, shared storage arrays can now provide server-based storage like performance to the most latency-sensitive applications. This set of applications is one of the last holdouts sitting on DAS which can now get all of the data-services common to shared storage (data protection, data reduction, etc) - it’s now possible to get the top-end performance and rich data services. At the same time, the impending introduc-

tion of QLC is bringing flash to tiers of storage that have largely stayed on magnetic disk to date. This cost reduction enables all applications to take advantage of the benefits of flash beyond performance: simplicity, reliability, and reduced data center power and space.

AI Operations Will Go From Advisory Roles to Automated Action As Customers Want a Hands-Free Approach Organizations will be more open to AI making decisions for them. Customers want to set policies and let the vendors implement the policies, which is partially driven by the declarative nature of Kubernetes and container management. The simplicity of containers will enable organizations to define a state, and the container will be the catalyst. The technology should then drive and deliver insights within the whole environment. AI will be applied to efficiently finding where the predictive model performs poorly and augmenting data


for that feature space. This is critical for AI applications like anomaly detection and automatic root cause analysis to scale and be applicable in more contexts.

Containers Are Breaking Into Mainstream, Requiring Persistent Storage Options Containers were born to make deploying stateless applications as simple and low-overhead as possible. But as the emergence of kubernetes and the endorsement of containers by VMware is rapidly expanding container usage towards mainstream applications, delivering persistent storage for containers is critical to enable databases and applications to re-platform for containers. 2020 looks to be the year that most enterprises evolve their private and hybrid cloud platforms beyond VMs, deploying an enterprise-wide container strategy, including building the storage foundation that enables stateful, mission-critical applications to embrace containers.

Pure Bridges the Divide Between Public, Private Cloud via Storage Layer Customers Leverage Cloud Economics for All Use Cases Pure Storage, the data solutions leader delivering a modern data experience, has announced major additions to its Cloud Data Services portfolio that helps customers more impactfully deploy hybrid clouds. These solutions enable portability of applications to and from Amazon Web Services (AWS) with minimal re-architecture, and allow customers to leverage public cloud economics for any use case. “Private and public cloud storage too often operate in separate worlds,” said Rob Lee, Chief Architect, Pure Storage. “As more and more customers adopt hybrid cloud, it’s critical that their infrastructure is optimized for data mobility. Pure’s Cloud Data Services exist to bridge the divide for customers and

deliver the full value of data across any project or initiative.”

Cloud Block Store for Amazon Web Services Cloud Block Store (CBS) for AWS, delivers true hybrid operations for customers by providing consistent data services, resiliency and bi-directional mobility. Now generally available, CBS is enterprise-grade block storage delivered natively in the public cloud, and provides a unified management and consumption experience. Cloud Block Store enables mission-critical applications to run in the cloud seamlessly, and makes cloud storage more

powerful for web scale applications.

CloudSnap for Azure Purity CloudSnap maximizes the cloud’s potential for backup storage with intelligent, efficient data transfer to the cloud. CloudSnap, a cloud backup technology enabled with AWS, is now available as a multi-cloud solution and can be leveraged in Microsoft Azure. Additionally, CloudSnap offers rapid recovery on-premises, or in the cloud to Cloud Block Store, to help customers meet demanding service level agreements (SLAs) and compliance policies with array and volume-level recovery that is both easy and cost-effective. January 2020 / SMARTSMB



2FA: DOUBLE DOWN ON YOUR SECURITY “Amer Owaida”, Security Writer at ESET discusses why the second authentication factor though might be a minor inconvenience, but it provides a major security boost letters, numbers, special characters and so on, we still tend to recycle our passwords or use minor variations of them. That being said, passwords have their limitations. They are only a single barrier between your account and a hacker. Two-factor authentication (2FA), also known as multifactor authentication (MFA), is a simple way to add an extra layer of security to your accounts. What do we mean by the two factors? To understand that, you need to know the three classic authentication factors, often referred to as “something you know, something you have, and something you are”. The first are things like passwords, PINs and lock screen patterns. The second are things like physical keys (brass or RFID), electronic tokens and SMS codes, while the third are biometrics such as fingerprints, retinas and faces.

Amer Owaida Security Writer, ESET

ith past years riddled with security breaches, it is high time we evaluated the way we secure our online presence. The usual way to secure most of your digital accounts is by using a password, no question about it. The problem is you have tens – even hundreds – of accounts you need to secure. How do you go about it? Do you have a unique password for every service you use?


Perhaps, a significant number of you SMARTSMB / January 2020

will answer “no”, which would not come as much of a surprise. Far too often people tend to keep their passwords simple, so they can be easily remembered. Nothing can underline this more than the fact that “123456” was ranked as the most commonly used password of 2018. If we adhere to the established (although now recognized as seriously flawed) practice of creating strong passwords such as including uppercase and lowercase

You have now probably guessed that a 2FA system requires you to pass authentication challenges that require responses from two different factors. That could be a PIN code (something you know) and a fingerprint scan (something you are), or a retina scan (something you are) followed by entering a code from a security token (something you have). As passwords have traditionally been used for online services, they tend to be one of the factors still required in 2FA schemes for such services. Hence, a 2FA system combining a password and the possession of another factor makes it difficult for hackers to access your account since they will be missing one of the pieces of the puzzle.


There is a variety of 2FA systems for services to use. What most of them have in common is that a one-time code is generated on, or sent to, an authentication device so you can input it together with your password, thus providing you with access to your account. The most common 2FA method used by popular online services is a text message with an authentication code sent to your phone. It is not the best and most secure method, but it is still better than not having one at all.

purposes. The choices are many; just choose the one that suits your needs the best. Most popular sites offer two-factor authentication options, but few require 2FA for login. Generally, you will have to locate a site’s 2FA options and enable them for yourself. They can be usually found in the settings or privacy sections of the website. The sites will walk you through setting up a 2FA


method, sometimes offering more than one option. If you’re not sure if a website or service offers 2FA you can check for it here. If you’re wondering if 2FA is bulletproof, there have been rare occasions when it has been bypassed. But in most cases, it provides a great extra layer of security against various attacks that attempt to scam you into revealing your login credentials.

Then there are authenticator apps that you can use that can be paired with your accounts. These apps keep on generating authentication codes that are valid for only a limited period of time. For example, each code is valid for only one minute. Google, for instance, has been experimenting with a new form of 2FA that does away with the need to enter keys manually, transforming your phone into a security key itself. Alternatively, some companies provide hardware solutions of their own that you can use for 2FA

ESET, A LEADING CHOICE AMONG ENDPOINT PROTECTION PLATFORMS ESET announced that it has been named one of the 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Endpoint Protection Platforms, as reported by Gartner.

5 across all criteria, recognizing the solution for ease of implementation, reliability, timeliness of vendor response, and quality of technical support.

This distinction is a ranking of vendors by verified end-user professionals – which includes IT professionals or business users who have had experience purchasing, implementing or using the enterprise solution they are reviewing. It takes into account both the number of end-user reviews, and the overall user ratings.

ESET received recognition within the Mid-size Enterprise (50M – 1B USD) category, with a Network and Security Administrator in Healthcare remarking that the solution offered “simple initial implementation” and “offers a variety of configuration options”. Mid-size enterprise users further commented that “the experience was easy to follow and the representatives made the process flawless for us”.

253 enterprise-grade users rated ESET Endpoint Security a score of 4.6 out of

Chief Business Officer Ignacio Sbampato commented, “ESET is extremely proud to be named as one of the 2019 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for Endpoint Protection Platforms. To us, this recognition is a testament to our dedication in providing enterprises with reliable, cutting edge security solutions. Endpoint protection is critical for businesses now more than ever, and it is paramount that our users are protected. To see such a positive response from customers and to know our solutions are keeping organisations safe is why we do what we do.”

January 2020 / SMARTSMB



PANASONIC’S NEW ADDITIONS TO I-PRO EXTREME RANGE Panasonic Marketing Middle East and Africa (PMMAF) has announced an expanded security product and solution portfolio aimed at addressing the region’s growing demand for intelligent security and surveillance systems. Heading the new launches is the WVX6533LN, a Full-HD 1080p iA PTZ Network Camera with long-range infrared. The Japanese manufacturer is also releasing brand new H.265 Series Multi-Sensor Network Cameras that feature four repositionable lenses, each with 4K image sensors. Completing the brand’s enhanced security offerings is a more powerful and more intuitive FacePro WV-ASF950, which now comes with the Unregistered Face Detection feature. FacePro is

Panasonic’s an ultra-powerful Facial Recognition Software that uses Deep Learning algorithm to identify faces otherwise difficult to recognize using conventional video surveillance technology. The WV-X6533LN, part of the i-PRO EXTREME series, can capture high quality images automatically, even in very challenging and fast-changing surveillance environments.

Highlights: • Its heavy-duty pan/tilt gear mechanism offer a long life cycle and are designed to minimise blind spots at areas where a wide area needs to be

monitored. • The Intelligent Auto (iA) PTZ Dome camera also offer Clear Sight Coating, while its built-in long-distance IR LED produces a clear monochrome image at 0 lux conditions up to 350 m. • With an outstanding Intelligent Zoom Stabilization feature, the WV-X6533LN allows increased visibility in blurred conditions. • Intelligent Auto, meanwhile, automatically adjusts key camera settings in real-time when monitoring challenging scenes, reducing motion blur of moving objects.

DBS-2000 SERIES NUCLIAS CLOUD-MANAGED SWITCHES D-Link Nuclias is an innovative cloud networking solution that allows you to centrally manage your entire network from anywhere, any time through its intuitive portal interface or mobile app. Featuring a full range of cloud-managed access points and switches supported by zerotouch deployment, Nuclias enables small businesses and enterprises to quickly deploy and build a powerful and versatile global wired and wireless network.

SMARTSMB / January 2020

The DBS-2000 Series Nuclias Cloud-Managed Switches are deployed as pre-managed, zeroconfiguration switches controlled through the D-Link Nuclias cloud. They are bestin-class switches designed specifically for enterprise environments. Designed to be managed through the D-Link Nuclias cloud, DBS-2000 Series switches are easily set up with the help of the intuitive D-Link Nuclias browser-based or mobile app inter-

face. Centralized cloud management allows for zero-touch provisioning, enabling businesses to quickly configure, deploy, maintain, and expand their network remotely. Configuration settings can be set up, managed, and deployed through the cloud anytime, anywhere through any web browser or the dedicated mobile app, meaning devices can be deployed at a remote location without any need for trained on-site



TOSHIBA DT02-V SERIES SURVEILLANCE HDDS Toshiba Gulf FZE announced the DT02-V Series of Surveillance HDDs, its new series created for digital video recorder (DVR) and network video recorder (NVR) platforms. The versatile capacity allows solutions designers to customize the storage capacity that best aligns with image resolution and data retention period requirements. The new series utilizes the latest magnetic recording technologies to achieve high areal density, helping to improve reliability compared to the prior MD04ABA-V Series. With up to 6TB capacity, the new DT02-V Series supports a maximum of 32 high-resolution camera streams and is suitable for use in leading surveillance DVR and NVR platforms with as many as eight drive bays. It also provides a variety of capacity options while improving reliability for high resolution surveillance video streams. The DT02-V Series 4TB samples are available from today, 6TB samples will be planned from Jan 2020, and a 2TB

sample is expected to be available in March 2020.

Highlights: • The DT02-V Series, delivers up to 6TB of storage capacity, and is designed for use with leading surveillance DVR and NVR platforms • The DT02-V Series is designed for robust 24/7 operation at HDD temperatures as high as 40C for 600,000 load/ unload cycles, at rated workload of 180TB a year. • Includes a SATA 6Gbit/s interface with a 128MiB cache to help minimizing frame drops, and a robust mechanical platform designed to achieve a 1 million-hour MTTF. • Applications include Surveillance Video Recorder(SVR), Network Video Recorders (NVR), Entry- and Mid-Range Surveillance NVR (SNVR), Super Digital Video Recorder(SDVR) and Hybrid (analog and IP) SDVR platforms

staff. Using D-Link Nuclias, businesses can now more effectively organize their entire wireless network, manage multiple switches simultaneously, and monitor live network statistics.

Highlights: • Zero-touch deployment • Intuitive web and app-based interface2 • Real-time at-a-glance network information • Management of multiple sites and devices through a single pane of glass • Over-the-air firmware updates through the cloud • Instant alerts and notifications January 2020 / SMARTSMB



STEADY GROWTH FORECAST FOR TECHNOLOGY JOB ROLES THROUGH 2023 Data and Machine Learning Positions will lead demand According to the first Worldwide Technology Employment Impact Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), information and communications technology (ICT) full-time employment (FTE) will reach 55.3 million worldwide in 2020, an increase of 3.9% over 2019. IDC expects ICT FTE to maintain this pace of growth over the 2019-2023 forecast period, reaching more than 62.0 million in 2023 with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8%. The Technology Employment Impact Guide represents IDC's best estimates of technology FTE by standardized role group, role, industry, region, technology, and digital transformation type (DX or non-DX). The employment demand estimates are based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative data from several primary and secondary sources which are used to determine a FTE (demand) forecast for each specific role by industry and by region. IDC's technology employment job roles are roles that are stable over time — a person can, as part of an occupation, perform several roles and split his/her time across several roles. The combination of roles for an occupation may vary over time between industries and organizations, even though the activities performed by a role remain relatively stable. Within ICT job roles, activities are performed within projects, programs, and lines of business related to development of software, hardware, or related services. ICT job roles can be found in any industry, enterprise, or organization and are not related only to the ICT services, software, and hardware industries. The largest role groups are the applications group, containing eight roles related to software development and management, the other IT/technical group, which includes five graphic, multimedia, and Web design roles, and

SMARTSMB / January 2020

the technical support group with five roles. Together, these three groups will account for roughly three quarters of all ICT FTEs throughout the forecast. The cybersecurity role group will see the fastest growth with a five-year CAGR of 9.6% while the other IT/technical role group will remain essentially flat with a 0.1% CAGR. Of the 40 technology job roles covered in the guide, three will account for nearly one third of all ICT roles throughout the forecast: software developer/ engineer, user support specialist, and systems analyst. The fastest growing roles will be data scientist (13.7% CAGR), machine learning design/development/engineer (13.6% CAGR), and data engineer (12.9% CAGR). The guide also looks at the impact digital transformation (DX) is having and will have on skills and roles within an organization. DX-related job roles are those that focus on extracting and developing the value and utility of information, making business operations more responsive and effective, accelerating workforce transformation and optimization, applying an omnipresent and multidimensional ecosystem approach to customer experience, and optimizing products, services, and experiences to deliver value to partners, customers, and employees. Non-DX job roles typically focus on less strategic activities and primarily help to

support day-to-day operations. Today, DX roles make up 40% of technology FTEs, but IDC expects this share to reach 52% by 2023. "Digital transformation (DX) technology investment is the driving force behind IT investment. The IT skill set needed to deliver DX projects is changing, with some of the fastest growing demand for IT roles centered around data and intelligence," said Craig Simpson, research manager, Customer Insights & Analysis Group. "We are moving away from IT employees being focused around basic IT installation and maintenance roles and shifting toward roles that can build database architecture and functionality to derive intelligence and insights from an organization's DX efforts." "As industries fully embrace digital transformation, new skills and roles are needed to shape technology roadmaps, and support and implement these changes," said Eileen Smith, program vice president in IDC's Customer Insights & Analysis Group. "Discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing and banking are expected to employ the most FTEs for these digital transformational efforts, as they look to technology roles in areas like applications and technical support to design software and services to enhance the customer experience."

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