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Issue: 17│January 2017


Blockchain – Disrupting Healthcare VAT in the UAE Performance Marketing: Is your Agency Ticking the Right Boxes?

A Good Night’s Sleep An Interview with Annunziato Marino, Manager, Lamflex Group

Published by

Corporate Banking Partner

Sole Automotive Partner

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January 2017 Robust RAK



CONTENTS 14 A Good Night’s Sleep

Choosing the right mattress is the secret to a good night’s sleep. In this interview, Annunziato Marino of the Lamflex Group shares his knowledge about the intricacies of the bedding industry and the secrets to a quality sleep and healthy body.

22 Winners Announced for RAK Free Zones Business Excellence Awards 2016

SPI Group is glad to be associated with the RAK Business Excellence Awards and congratulates all the winners.

24 Blockchain -

Disrupting Healthcare

Blockchain opportunities and advancements are changing the global face of healthcare – innovative leaders are quick to identify the change.





What do businesses need to do?

30 Make Way for a

Sustainable Business

A sustainable business needs long-term, strategic planning aligned with a focused business growth and positive environment. Read on to learn more.

32 Performance

Marketing: Is your Agency Ticking the Right Boxes?

This essential checklist helps you test and rate your agency; whether it’s truly helping your brand grow or just taking you for a ride.

34 Convergence of Energy and Information Systems

36 Ship Technology -

IoT on the Edge, in the Cloud and on the Wave

The transportation industry has been pretty active in the scheme of Internet of Things (IoT), and now even the conservative maritime industry is waking up to the benefits of its adoption and implementation.

38 Ras Al Khaimah’s

partnership with DIFC Courts boosts investors

A memorandum of understanding allows for judgments issued by the English speaking unit of DIFC Courts to be directly enforced by Ras Al Khaimah's courts, provided they fall under the DIFC Court jurisdictions.

The convergence of energy disciplines, environmental factors, and economic challenges is demanding a new focus on energy goals, the answer to which is an increased interaction and interdependency between the energy system and the information system.

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Issue: 17│January 2017


Blockchain – Disrupting Healthcare VAT in the UAE Performance Marketing: Is your Agency Ticking the Right Boxes?

A Good Night’s Sleep An Interview with Annunziato Marino, Manager, Lamflex Group

Published by

Corporate Banking Partner

Sole Automotive Partner

Publisher's Note

6 297000 080086

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P.O. Box: 10044, Ras Al Khaimah, UAE Tel: 07 - 2282555 Fax: 07 - 2264447

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Greetings Readers, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of UAE has announced 2017 as ‘The Year of Giving’. Focused on three major themes – strengthening social responsibility in the private sector, promoting spirit of volunteerism and specialized voluntary programs in all segments of the society, and strengthening the concept of serving the nation in the new generations – ‘The Year of Giving’ is all about building the youth of the nation and creating a strong foundation for the future of our country. ‘Giving’ is not limited to monetary benefits only. Every time one of us shares a bit of knowledge, we make a difference in someone’s life, to the society and to the nation as a whole. Each one of us has the capability to make a real difference around us. And that’s why, be it business or volunteering, let’s take part and give back to the environment. Science, technology, innovation, SMEs, and entrepreneurship – the Robust RAK magazine contains all of the above and more. An interview with the sleep honcho, Lamflex; a much-needed article on cyber security; and the latest updates on Ras Al Khaimah; are just few of the topics through which the magazine intends to contribute to the general pool of knowledge. Happy Reading! Shantanu Phansalkar, CEO & Publisher

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Robust RAK January 2017


Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts finalizes deal to manage beachfront resort on Ras Al Khaimah’s idyllic Al Marjan Island.


he Swiss hospitality firm’s first property in the emirate capitalizes on destination’s growing appeal as one of the United Arab Emirates’ holiday hotspots. Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has finalized a deal to operate the hospitality firm’s first property in Ras Al Khaimah – one of the United Arab Emirates’ most popular holiday destinations. The 550-key Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah, which is slated to open in 2019, will boast a prime beachfront location, offering guests an unrivalled


view of the Arabian Gulf and the picturesque Ras Al Khaimah coastline. Al Marjan Island is Ras Al Khaimah’s first man-made project, built to the tune of US$1.8 billion, and featuring a cluster of coral-shaped islands, creating a destination that is fast emerging as a top Middle East holiday hotspot. Mövenpick’s upcoming fivestar resort, which comprises 430 rooms and suites and 120 serviced apartments, will cater to the increasing number of local and global leisure travellers heading to this idyllic beach destination. Visitor numbers to Ras Al Khaimah are expected to surge 11% to reach more than 820,000 in 2016, according to the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development

Authority, which has set a target of one million arrivals by the end of 2018. “Mövenpick Resort Al Marjan Island, Ras Al Khaimah is a valuable addition to our portfolio and will provide leisure travellers with another compelling reason to visit one of the UAE’s most stunning holiday destinations,” said Andreas Mattmüller, Chief Operating Officer, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and South Asia. Al Marjan Island is close to RAK International Airport, served by scheduled carriers such as Qatar Airways, Air Arabia and Air India Express, as well as numerous European and Russian charter airlines, while the world’s busiest airport, Dubai International, is just 45 minutes by road.

January 2017 Robust RAK


RAK Properties awards AED 30 million contract for Ras Al Khaimah’s first Anantara Hotel.


AK Properties PJSC, Ras Al Khaimah's largest property developer listed on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange, has signed an AED 30 million enabling works contract with Al Nuaimi Group for its upcoming Anantara Resort & Spa within the Mina Al Arab development. The contract between Al Nauimi Group and RAK Properties includes piling and earthworks for a 306room resort, which will be operated by Minor Hotels under its Anantara brand when it opens in late 2018. The property will feature Ras Al Khaimah’s first Maldives-inspired overwater villas, four restaurants, a spa and other leisure facilities. RAK Properties Managing Director and CEO Mohammed Sultan Al Qadi said: “Once construction is complete, Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa will form a key part of

the international hospitality offering of our largest development in the emirate, providing visitors and residents with an iconic venue to relax and be entertained.” The Anantara Mina Al Arab Ras Al Khaimah Resort will be situated within a secluded and picturesque area with its own 9,000sqm private beach overlooking a stunning eco-reserve lined with mangroves. Nestled on a site measuring 73,664sqm within RAK Properties’ landmark development, Mina Al Arab, the hotel will be Minor Hotels’ first venture into the emirate. Among the featured amenities of the resort are various health and sports facilities, such as the world-famous Anantara Spa, swimming pools and a tennis court. Additionally, the property will include a ballroom with further events and meeting space, and a dedicated kids’ and teens’

club. In terms of its restaurant offerings, the resort will offer an all-day dining option, a Thai specialty restaurant, a seafood restaurant and an outdoor sun bar. RAK Properties continues to support Ras Al Khaimah’s key motto of becoming one of the region’s leading real estate, tourism, leisure and investment hub. Only a 45 minutes’ drive from Dubai International Airport, RAK Properties’ Mina Al Arab development has already established itself as one of the premier waterfront communities in the United Arab Emirates, contributing significantly to local economic growth. Earlier this year, the developer announced the next phase of Mina Al Arab with an investment of AED 5 billion. Measuring approximately 811,420sqm, the development will feature an international 5-star hotel, an international 4-star lifestyle resort, serviced apartments, a shopping mall, beautiful beach and waterfront apartments, villas and townhouses with a private beach clubhouse, and various beachfront al fresco dining and entertainment venues.


Robust RAK January 2017


Al Hamra launches affordable five-year payment plan for ready-to-move-in properties.


as Al Khaimah’s largest real estate developer, Al Hamra Real Estate Development (AHRED), has launched a new payment plan for its much soughtafter Al Hamra Village properties. Potential buyers can own properties in the luxury development from just AED 3,300

per month over a five-year period. This compares to AED 55,000 for the annual rent of a studio apartment in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lake Towers, AED 50,000 in Dubai Marina, and AED 70,000 in Jumeirah Beach Residence according to the Asteco Q3 2016 Dubai Real Estate Report. The report also highlighted a rise in Ras Al Khaimah prices, with average rents increasing by up to 2% between Q2 and Q3 in 2016. The new payment plan, with a range of property options including studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments, villas, and townhouses,

will appeal to buyers seeking attributes ideal for families, a peaceful, stress free environment and slightly slower pace of life with quality entertainment, dining, retail and education options. Barry Ebrahimy, head of commercial services, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for people to own a property in the luxurious Al Hamra Village development, which offers a quality build and a relaxed lifestyle. The pricing scheme is designed to provide outstanding value for money and the chance to live in one of the most enviable locations in the UAE.”

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January 2017 Robust RAK

RAK NEWS Located in the New Ras Al Khaimah, Al Hamra Village is just 45 minutes away from Dubai, offering attractive ownership costs across the company portfolio. The integrated community comprises over 4,000 residential units, five luxury hotels, Al Hamra Golf Course, Al Hamra Marina and Yacht Club and Al Hamra Mall, plus a diverse range of international restaurants to choose from. Ebrahimy said: “We are very close to 100% occupancy at Al Hamra Village, with only a few remaining units left, that is why we have decided to launch this campaign and help people renting make the transition into home ownership. “We’re an attractive proposition for investors, end users and tenants. These are not off-plan or under-construction properties investors will receive after three-to-five years - these properties are ready to move in now. Investors can move in after making the down payment and enjoy the property, while making the regular payments over the next five years, unlike buying off-plan where investors still pay rent while making payments on the new property, therefore saving on this additional expenditure.”

Robust RAK January 2017


IHG and RAK Properties recommence InterContinental Mina Al Arab.


nterContinental Hotels Group (IHG®), one of the world’s leading hotel companies, announced the recommencement of the InterContinental® Mina Al Arab Resort in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) in partnership with RAK properties PJSC, Ras Al Khaimah's biggest property developer listed on the Abu Dhabi Stock Exchange. The Ras Al Khaimah hospitality market saw a ten per cent increase in visitor numbers from 2015 to 2016 making this the ideal time to recommence the development of IHG’s second multi-feature resort in the UAE, due to strong year on year


growth in the tourism sector. The new hotel aims to open in 2019 and the 350-room luxury development will help boost Mina Al Arab’s offering as a top tourist destination in the United Arab Emirates. The hotel will be located on the recently announced Mina Al Arab Island development, which is RAK Properties’ next major development in Ras Al Khaimah and is focused on building a social hub including touristic, residential, and commercial properties. Featuring a variety of luxury rooms and suites, InterContinental Mina Al Arab Resort is the perfect

escape for guests wanting to relax and unwind. The resort is just an hour’s drive from Dubai and is located on the beachfront of Ras Al Khaimah, forming part of the Mina Al Arab leisure beach resort by RAK Properties. It features a well equipped gym, health club and spa, as well as two pools and a collection of retail outlets. Boasting a number of specialty restaurants and an all-day dining restaurant, guests have a range of food and beverage options to choose from. Mohamed Sultan Al Qadi, Managing Director and CEO of RAK Properties spoke of the property

January 2017 Robust RAK

RAK NEWS saying, “The development breathes life into the serenity of the emirate, while keeping true to nature. The upbeat hub of the development, and the newly signed partnership with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) will continue to set the bar, by providing an array of 5-star facilities and entertainment outlets, allowing for residents and visitors to enjoy the best of what Ras Al Khaimah has to offer. We will be announcing the groundbreaking of the project shortly.” Pascal Gauvin, Chief Operating Officer, India, Middle East and Africa, IHG also commented on the news saying, “This hotel will mark the second resort in the UAE and demonstrates our continued commitment to expanding our luxury InterContinental brand in

sought after locations across the Middle East. We are delighted to be partnering with RAK Properties on this hotel and excited to be part of the Mina Al Arab development. Ras Al Khaimah is quickly becoming the UAE’s desired destination for getaways, nature, and relaxation and once open, I’m confident that InterContinental Mina Al Arab Resort will be the first choice for tourists visiting the UAE as well as residents looking for a relaxing and fun getaway.” Mina Al Arab’s newest island development will cover 811,420 square meters, and feature a 5-star resort, 4-star lifestyle resort, serviced apartments, shopping mall, beach and waterfront apartments, villas, and townhouses with a private beach clubhouse, and al fresco

dining and entertainment venues. InterContinental Hotels & Resorts is the largest luxury hotel brand globally. Across the Middle East, there are 25 InterContinental properties open and an additional 9 properties due to open within the next three to five years*. The InterContinental Fujairah resort will be the first InterContinental resort in the UAE and is expected to open in 2017. Suite # 1104, Level 11, Ontario Tower, Business Bay, Sheikh Zayed Road Tel: +971 4 551 9341, Fax: +971 4 551 9306 - Email:

Robust RAK January 2017


A Good Night’s Sleep

Annunziato Marino, Lamflex’s Manager


January 2017 Robust RAK



Choosing the right mattress is the secret to a good night’s sleep. In this interview, Annunziato Marino of the Lamflex Group shares his knowledge about the intricacies of the bedding industry and the secrets to a quality sleep and healthy body.

he Lamflex Group was born in Italy over 50 years ago, thanks to the ancient and refined manufacturing skills and knowledge of its founders. The craftsmanship of the product, the choice of design, and the attention to detail has made Lamflex synonymous with excellence associated with the Made in Italy tag in the bedding sector. Over the years, the knowhow, specialization, attention to detail and above all, the desire to meet customer needs, have led Annunziato Marino, Lamflex’s Manager, to want to improve the standards of the product in terms of quality and comfort, transforming an idea into effective reality. The growth of knowledge and the continuous observation of the market have helped in creating and gratifying a wide customer portfolio, from the distributor that seeks competitive and standardized products, the hotel that requires a guaranteed and certified product, to the small consumer who aspires to own a high quality solution wellness and relaxation custom product. The continuous research of raw materials in partnership with leading manufacturers, has allowed an increasingly incisive growth in terms of the finished product quality. And the use of increasingly advanced technologies, i.e. instruments and equipments used in their production cycle, guaranteed a constant production of excellent workmanship at affordable prices while maintaining the highest standards of quality. Today, Lamflex offers the best solutions for hotels, resorts, hospitals, ships, schools, shopping avenues, and homes, right from furniture design till the after-sales

service. The experience gained so far, as well as professionals in the company sector, can definitely guarantee the efficiency of the service, product quality and technical and commercial competence. For some time now, the Lamflex Group, based in Florence, has collaborated with prestigious Italian partners in the industry, taking competitive actions and winning, which till date has provided an opening in different sectors and markets. Annunziato Marino has always seen collaboration as a strong and forceful instrument from marketing and communication point of view, be it for the product and/or the company. "The selection and placement of logistics of decentralized offices in the territory, is part of the company valuations", says the logistics manager. "The proximity to the territories, both national and international, is a strategy in which the team has always believed in and has received investments in recent years. These choices are due to the desire to be in contact with the territories that utilize our products and where the before and after-sales service can be managed professionally and efficiently, as our business tradition has always taught us.� The idea of having an international showcase has however, in recent years, been of interest to the Lamflex Group. The company is deemed ready to tackle new markets, and the management, welcomed the opportunity to start a cooperation strategy on an international platform, thus beginning a preliminary phase of territorial expansion by activating a real network of collaborations.


Robust RAK January 2017

COVER STORY The process of collaboration with One1info started some years ago, and it has allowed the Lamflex Group to approach the business conditions on a global platform. Thanks to its vocation of international consulting and deep knowledge of marketing, One1info determined Lamflex’s approach to UAE, where the company has set up its Middle East location, and to all the countries in the Gulf. This has enabled Lamflex to appear as an increasingly efficient and credible organization in countries that had minimal/no information about their presence and capabilities. The professionalism of the working group of One1info has enabled Lamflex to synergize with the companies operational in the sector, and have a broad vision of market opportunities in all those countries where the One1info organization is present with its offices and its professionals. The collaboration with One1info has also led to the opening of its decentralized offices on the


Italian territory, so as to bring the competence and experience of the company to Italian organizations wishing to venture into the international market. It was the result of a continuous market research and gradual inroads, as well as active conviction and corporate creed that led to the collaboration of Lamflex with the company "Golden Falcon" that operates in the UAE and in all the Gulf countries. The Lamflex Group thus began an action of marketing and communication at a global level combined with the professionalism and strong work ethics of the "Golden Falcon" team, who aimed at representing the Lamflex Group with the highest standards of quality and warranty the presence of the Italian brand on the shores of UAE. This synergic cooperation has successfully re-affirmed the ‘Made in Italy’ brand in the foreign soil, and we are proud to represent the high manufacturing standards and the Italian entrepreneurial

tradition through the collaboration with Lamflex. "A goal reached, thanks to the policies pursued by our company" expresses a member of Lamflex, which highlights how important it is to approach internationalization and create a difference. "It is assumed that business decisions should necessarily switch from structural investments to innovation. However, we’re aware that currently our companies are unable to reach their maximum potential because the economic situation doesn’t allow it. For this reason, the solution is to initiate a synergy with the organization which may optimize the business efforts on the international scene, as was the case between the Lamflex Group and One1info. An organization is responsible for choosing its partners, but only through a careful professional analysis, else it wouldn’t be able to achieve its set goals and commitments,” says Annunziato Marino.

January 2017 Robust RAK

COVER STORY How did Lamflex get started? What is the background of the company? The Lamflex Group was founded in 1960, and was created exclusively with strict artisanal production characteristics for the construction of mattresses with spring structure. Since its inception, the founding members, mattress-making masters, have stressed on quality and efficiency. In 1984, the members, thanks to the experience accumulated over the previous twenty years and to a consolidation of the market, decided to approach it as an industrial craft, adapting to the changes in the industry and technological innovations in the production process, investing in companies and thus acquiring a prominent position on the national scene in the production of mattresses and accessories. In 2001, we decided to install a new production facility that automates approximately 90% of the manufacturing processes, realizing a plurality of LAMFLEX products, thus affirming the brand in terms of reliability and quality. The quality of materials, the craft process, the originality of the fabrics and attention to customers are some of the features that have made the company strong in the manufacturing sector under the Make in Italy philosophy. Thanks to our vocation and our credibility in the market, I can certainly say that today Lamflex is a solid group that believes and invests in the knowhow and the growth of markets, and always attentive to customer satisfaction and the different requirements of the sector by providing customized products and certificates (hotel - clinics naval - residential). I am proud

to represent 50 years of history, passed down for generations, am proud to be born and raised in Lamflex, and equally proud to be able to improve and grow the business in other markets, without neglecting the value of tradition while producing and refining every single procedure in order to make the product unique and innovative.

Is UAE the first international branch for the company? Why did Lamflex Group decide to set up their first international office at Ras Al Khaimah? We started this process a few years ago. It was with a bit of curiosity and entrepreneurial spirit that we started to analyze UAE and its business potential. It was not the first time that a foreign market was proposed to us, but it was only in the UAE that we saw something different – a land of attractive and profitable opportunities. So we decided to install our first international office here. We finalized the Ras Al Khaimah Free Zone, as compared to the other states in the UAE the costs are more economical,

and with the state experiencing a boom in the tourism and industrial sectors, they are winning factors for our business and market. In addition, Ras Al Khaimah services are efficient; the system favors the settlement of foreign operations and is a strategically important place. The internal policy of the state is very active and supports the development of infrastructure that is essential for those who must develop business. Not only did we receive a professional coaching at Ras Al Khaimah, we were also delighted at the hospitality and made us feel at home. This kind of attitude and service helps those who must develop business away from their territory. And we owe it to One1Info, an UAE company and Lamflex’s longtime collaborator. In fact, thanks to their professionalism, we were able to penetrate the local and surrounding areas and know all their aspects. It is a collaboration that is extremely beneficial to us and ensures its presence on all phases of work and development.

How is the sleep industry


Robust RAK January 2017

COVER STORY similar and/or different in Italy and UAE? Though there is a marked difference between the products of our industry in Italy and the UAE, it has reduced to a great extent than it was in the past. This is because many companies, both European and non-European, who have settled in the territory have brought technological innovations to their products and processes, though we did find some differences in relation to the manufacture, materials research and design. Italy is an expert in finishing and personalization. Not only the Italian companies, but almost all European companies have elevated their standards of production because the customer is more careful and exacting than before when choosing an essential thing for their daily life like the mattress. Today the materials we use reflect the standards for hygiene and transpiration of the mattress; we use quality fabrics, and non-toxic products. There is a substantial difference between some production processes in terms of technological innovation and implementation of training of the workforce. Craftsmanship is an essential skill in our industry and combined with the latest material and machinery technology it can enhance the quality of the end product immensely. In my experience, the mattress production industry of UAE misses the skill and knowledge that is typical to the craft made in Italy which would help to increase and improve production standards.

How has the bedding and mattress industry evolved over the years?


Over the years, the mattress and accessories sector has evolved significantly. A significant part of this evolution can be attributed to the media who have started making the public aware of the importance of bedding and mattresses along with specific product information. Especially in the last decade, this increased information has changed people's habits; they are more attentive to materials and products that are

the latest trends in the industry. Our company is focused on the search of innovative and cuttingedge materials, equipments and patents. Add that to our constantly evolving and competitive marketing strategies such as improved product structural design and specialized staffing, it allows us to open new markets and reach newer segments. Till date, we have been able to provide a high range of adjustable models for resting purposes; we’ve also optimized our turnaround time, as it is fundamental to the industry that needs to meet increasingly tight production times, thanks to a dense network of partners and professionals. The assistance and after-sales service, the application of innovation in design and the combination of technology and handicraft are some of the primary strengths of the Lamflex Group, especially in a field that’s invaded by experts and non-experts.

What are the main challenges faced by a customer in their search of an ideal bedding solution and how does Lamflex address those concerns? comfortable without being allergic, and prove to be of adequate support for all types of postures assumed during sleep. The sleep industry is gradually waking up to the benefits of a proper sleep leading to a boom in the mattress industry. How are you handling and adapting yourself with this renewed interest on sleep and the new crop of entrepreneurs invading the bedding technology and solutions market? Keeping a close eye on the market helps us in anticipating

Most often, the client does not consider the purchase of the mattress as a fundamental choice. In spite of spending an average time of 5-7 hours on the mattress per day, they often tend to evaluate it based on price rather than its features and benefits. It is important to consider the quality of sleep; sleep and rest often are not factors that coincide if you make a mistake buying the mattress. You need to rely on an established brand that guarantees the product and its materials, and pays a lot of attention to the type of tissue

January 2017 Robust RAK

COVER STORY incorporated in the mattress as it is mostly low quality fabrics that cause sleep problems. The mattress should have an excellent transpiration system that ensures the regeneration of materials included in the product. In our showroom, the customer can try our products, choose and participate in the implementation of the mattress, which are personalized and tailored to their needs. Adjacent to the showroom, distributed over an area of 3000 square meters, we have the production zone. We also have expert physiotherapists in our team who work both in the production phase of products and in the sales phase. We are absolutely ready and efficient to address any problem or change in customer requirements.

Can you describe a bit about the materials and technology used in the products manufactured by Lamflex Group and their benefits pertaining to the customers? Our materials are selected and tested in collaboration with Italian companies who are industry leaders in the production of raw materials. All materials used in our production process are certified and tested by specialized laboratories that guarantee its quality and longevity. Initially, Lamflex used the Bonnell spring, traditional and reliable; to manufacture spring mattresses but then converted to High Density to give more elasticity to even the most simple spring units. We also use the pocket spring, which has a flexible, independent and responsive spring system, thus creating a structure and support that distributes the body weight

differently in different regions. The other material we use is the flexible polyurethane foam. Its main characteristics are elasticity and resilience, requirements that make it able to withstand considerable deformation under stress and returning to its original size when the weight is removed. The density of the semi-finished product, varies according to the method of processing, and determines the rigidity and insulation capacity, as well as its flexibility. For some years, there is a widely used Memory Foam, which distributes the weight uniformly across the contact area and provides physiologically correct and comfortable positions. It minimizes pressure points, hence improving the flow of blood circulation and allows the body to rest without stress and muscle tension. The unique structure makes it highly transpiring and fresh, avoiding the formation of humidity. We create the fabric in 3D, which is presented as a three-dimensional fabric in which the two surfaces are woven in network. A fundamental characteristic of the product is the high breathability thanks to the mesh structure and the orientation of the wires. Main features: • Hygiene

• Support for body and anti-

sinking effect • Water repellent • Transpiration • Adaptation to the anatomical forms

Absolutely natural fibers and polyester grade Materials capable of providing comfort through the use of mixed

fibers, natural and synthetic; textiles those make for an enjoyable effect of freshness and are created out of antibacterial, anti-fungal and antimicrobial materials. All these different properties are due to special fibers inserted within the tissue or essences and applied directly on the surface of the finished product, bamboo fiber, silver fiber, aloe essences or oils from the tea tree, cellulose fibers or fibers characterized by particular sections that favor transpiration. The new technology used is the system of cold foam, which consists in welding the layered materials that make up a box structure by means of the high temperature rubber release. A perfect welding prevents the deformation of the mattress, and ensures stability of materials over time. It is an innovative technique and an absolute winner in the sector.

What are the current trends in the sleep industry and how does the future of sleep technology look like? Current trends in the production of mattresses are to build products that are closer and closer to the needs of comfort and well-being of people. The industry is constantly researching and studying more and more capable and technologically viable solutions. The sleep solutions should not only be durable, but also meet the various needs of rest which change from individual to individual becoming more and more subjective. We tend to create more attractive products and unique designs while retaining the features of craftsmanship that is synonymous with quality for the end customer. Technological breakthroughs into new materials in recent years, have allowed manufacturers to implement products in terms of quality and efficiency appreciated by our end customers. The future technology


Robust RAK January 2017

COVER STORY will be increasingly focused in the development of new machinery and materials that will allow us to improve our products.

What is the vision of Lamflex Group and where does it see itself in the next 5-10 years? I definitely see myself in the territory of Ras Al Khaimah, thanks to a partnership with a local manufacturer of mattresses and accessories that is about to start. I have always believed in cooperation and I think they are a strong point for the companies and their goals, so the vision of Lamflex is certainly high on an international scope. The collaboration with our new production and the One1Info partners, are definitely a springboard for Lamflex for the

countries in Gulf and in all areas where they are already present. We are ready to attack the market, in terms of quantity and quality, know-how, experience and ability to deal with other local entities have allowed us to present Lamflex through production and marketing in different environments, from homes to hospitals, and hotels to ships. The next few years are characterized by heavy investment in terms of development, market studies, search for innovation and improvement of production processes, and I must add that I hope will achieve much more in the following years.

Finally, how does Lamflex Group plan to contribute to the overall growth and

development of Ras Al Khaimah and UAE? The UAE definitely represents the international market and is of major importance. We consider this area as the ‘gateway’ for our expansion in the markets in the Gulf. We intend to contribute to the growth of the territory that welcomes us with our know-how and skills, making it our production and commercial base through which we’d expand to other countries. We’d like to export the know-how of our entire industrial group to Ras Al Khaimah thus contributing to the overall business development of the emirate.




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MAKE IN UAE SUMMIT Thought Leadership in Manufacturing


MAY 11, 2017, Emirates Towers, Dubai



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Additive Manufacturing

Develop Insights into how advanced technologies may help create new business models & opportunities

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Aluminium & Fabrication Metals

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Robust RAK January 2017


Winners Announced for RAK Free Zones Business Excellence Awards 2016


SPI Group is glad to be associated with the RAK Business Excellence Awards and congratulates all the winners.


t was an extraordinary evening of business recognition and excellence at the gorgeous Rixos Bab Al Bahr as Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ) and Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA) awarded the top 10 winners with the first joint RAK Free Zones Business Excellence Awards on 19th January 2017. These 10 organizations have shown relentless commitment and organizational excellence towards improving and strengthening the socio-economic future of Ras Al Khaimah. The award winners and runnersup were selected through a systematic assessment process by an independent judging committee from the IPE. “We have been organising the Business Excellence Awards for three successive years now, but the gratifying feeling of showcasing the hard work of passionate companies never gets old,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of RAK FTZ and RAKIA. “Knowing that we have played a vital role in nurturing

these truly admirable companies makes me very proud”. The recipients of the 2016 RAK Free Zones Business Excellence Awards are:

Best New Startup

Salaty, a provider of prayer essentials for women and children

Best New Technology

Burkert Middle East, a manufacturer of measurement and control systems for liquid and gases

Best Small Business of the Year

Stafford Associates, one of the oldest distance learning providers in the Middle East

Fastest Growing Company - Small

Synergy International, a technical resource engineering company

Fastest Growing Company – Medium & Large

International Armored Group, an

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armored vehicle manufacturer with unparalleled safety and performance record

Best Industrial Company of the Year – Small Size Spatial Composite Solutions, one of the global leaders in providing cabin crew training simulators

Best Industrial Company of the Year – Medium size Naturelle, a manufacturer of FMCG products for the various brands of Dabur International

Best Industrial Company of the Year – Large size ARC International Middle East, one of the leading producers of glass tableware products

Best Contributor to Ras Al Khaimah Development

Utico, the largest full-service private utility in the Middle East

Best Corporate Social Responsibility

Future College FZE, an academic infrastructure provider The ceremony also honored the runners-up including D Raama Clothing, Experio International, Kersten Middle East, Abiya Building Materials Trading, TAG Middle East, Global Processing, Ocean Rubber Factory, CORE, and Mahindra Emirates Vehicles Armouring. Speaking on the occasion, Ramy Jallad, CEO of RAK FTZ and RAKIA, commended the winners saying, “We received a huge number of remarkable applications this year, but the names we revealed tonight were the ones that truly exceeded expectations in serving their respective stakeholders and the community of Ras Al Khaimah. Congratulations to all the winners. I wish that their journey to excellence continues and serves as an inspiration to other

businesses in the UAE”. He also said that both the free zones would continue to support and uplift the businesses in emirate with the aim of consolidating RAK’s position as a highly attractive business destination for investors from all over the world. “This 2017, RAK FTZ and RAKIA will roll out major developments, but the motivation of why we do what we do will always stay the same – and that is to keep innovating the business-friendly environment that we provide to our clients. Facilitating their growth so they can reach new milestones will always be on the top of our list,” he concluded.


Robust RAK January 2017


Blockchain -

Disrupting Healthcare Healthcare Digital Transformation

Jean-Luc Scherer Founder, Innoopolis

Blockchain opportunities and advancements are changing the global face of healthcare – innovative leaders are quick to identify the change.


Every industry is nowadays going through a digital transformation journey and technologies like cloud, IoT and mobility are speeding up that process. Healthcare is no exception to that. As everything gets connected digital transformation will disrupt current value chains and enable new eco-systems, but a big challenge for this vision to materialize is trust and security. Add privacy concerns to that and you might end up in a situation where opportunities in the healthcare industry are not realized because we have concerns from both, the patients as well as the service providers. This is where blockchain comes in handy, and its impact on healthcare could be particularly significant.

What is Blockchain and why does it matter? So what is blockchain? In its simplest definition, blockchain is a distributed public ledger; a database of transactions with a set of rules as to how the ledger gets appended, achieved by distributed consensus of participants in the system. You keep track of transactions in a distributed way, where all participants have a copy of the ledger and can potentially

validate any future transactions. An important element of the Blockchain implementation will be signatures to validate the integrity of the data. Historically, Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) has been one of the fundamental technologies to power such data signatures, but it does not scale. The dependency on a central authority to stamp and validate signatures creates serious limitations for large-scale scenarios and is also vulnerable to attacks involving quantum computation. This is where Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) comes to the rescue. It is designed to provide scalable digital signature-based authentication for electronic data, machines and humans. Unlike traditional approaches that depend on asymmetric key cryptography, KSI uses only hash-function cryptography, allowing verification to rely only on the security of hashfunctions and the availability of a public ledger commonly referred to as a blockchain. So with KSI blockchain we can have a strong infrastructure that can secure the integrity, the validity of data and transactions. Let’s see how we can apply that to healthcare.

Securing Integrity of Electronic Health Records (EHR) As standards for Electronic

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Health Records have matured, they have specified what can be shared and how, but they haven't really solved the issue of securing the transactions and how to make that process open and transparent. And more and more data is produced every day. With the evolution of technology, there will be more and more connected devices that will collect data about us, our health and wellness. A research report from Enterprise Service Group from 2012 had estimated that by now the average hospital would generate about 665TB of data. 80% of this information would be unstructured data in the form of videos, images and emails. The amount of data is huge and largely untapped. To put things in perspective a single CT scan represents about 1GB of data, while an X-ray takes about 30MB.

All this data will be available in digital format, and lead to massive amount of data, which if mined properly will dramatically improve healthcare. But mining the data also means sharing that data, aggregating data sources and providing access to stakeholders anywhere and anytime. Doctors around the world could for instance benefit from instantly accessing patients records, comparing them with records from other patients. A key question then is where do you store this data and how do you share it in a secure and reliable way. Now, part of this answer is given by hyperscale cloud technologies which will allow you to provide storage at unbeatable costs, but then, can you trust that data? What if it is compromised? What if your healthcare data leaks outside the circle of trusted

physicians? What if that data is altered? These are some of the reasons why healthcare providers tend to keep the data on their own data centers and within their own closed eco-system. Blockchain and KSI will secure that data cannot be tampered. You will have a full chain of records of who created the data, who accessed it and who modified it. Each data piece in the cloud data center will be signed and transactions on that data can be audited. As mentioned earlier, blockchain and KSI will be used to provide a hashed signature of an EHR when it is in a known good state. By monitoring the time-stamped hashes, the system can then verify that the EHRs have not been altered. Any change means something about the EHR itself has changed, and that might represent an attack that can be checked by security staff. So combine KSI, Blockchain, EHR policies and even Open Data, and you have a solid and distributed infrastructure where data can be shared and its integrity secured. With Open Data you can even expose the data to third parties if there is consent and you can create new transactions that could be linked to that blockchain.

Enabling Health Information Exchange and Settlements The benefits from blockchain are that you can now reliably share information between service providers, decide who gets access


Robust RAK January 2017

HEALTHCARE to what data, have a trace of all transactions and make sure nobody has tampered the data. You can now easily link Doctors, Hospitals, Pharmacies, Insurance companies, and anybody who is related to the healthcare ecosystem. Doctors will have seamless access to your health records as well as your insurance policy. When the doctor writes a prescription the pharmacy will not only have access to the prescription and your insurance information, but also information about allergies or other conditions that might interfere with the prescribed medicine. This will reduce the risk of bad treatment and fraud, and also speed up the claims process. Since all information is available and all transactions are linked, that whole process can be automated and settlements could be done automatically without even having to ask for a claim.

Securing IoT Device Configurations and Software We have been talking so far about the validity and integrity of data in the context of EHRs. Our concern about integrity needs to go beyond that. It is not only about EHR data but also about machines and operating systems, software and configurations. Of course you will have plenty of security measures in place to create security perimeters and policies, encrypting connectivity, but you will never be able to prevent against everything. For instance, all the medical devices and connected objects that will provide healthcare data. How do you protect these? And how do you know these devices have not


been tampered with? What if the device measuring your heart rate is compromised? What if somebody had replaced the software on your connected insulin dispatcher? The consequences could be lethal and you might not even be aware that a crime has been committed. What matters for IoT devices is protecting what’s inside it – ensuring that the software operating inside the device and its configuration have not been compromised. If the device is compromised then securing the communication from it won’t matter. In a recent report by AT&T, "Exploring IoT Cybersecurity", the company logged that they have seen an increase by 458% of IoT vulnerability scans over the last two years. The threat is real and it is only going to increase. Here with blockchain and KSI, we have a way to deal with the real problem and that is not to protect against all attacks, but to make sure that you are fully aware of the integrity of a system and its connected IoT devices. With KSI Blockchain you can link the software producer with the device producer, the service staff, the device and the service provider. You can link all transactions made on the device, you can sign the software, the configurations and the transactions. This means that breaches can be detected almost instantly as long as you monitor signature changes. You can also use these mechanisms to certify devices and to void warranties if an unauthorized person reconfigures a device. The auditability and traceability will greatly reduce insider threats.

The Future of Blockchain and


I believe the convergence of technologies will further increase the number and variety of use cases that will benefit from blockchain. Looking at the healthcare system, our focus here was primarily electronic healthcare records, IoT devices and data exchange, but there are many more that I could think of. Much of the paper work done today as part of the administrative process could be simplified; it is not only about registration and basic data, but even for signatures, like the signature required from a legal guardian to perform surgery on a child. You can connect various databases, for instance, connecting organ donors across the globe could be simplified. Notarizing documents would probably not be needed anymore. The possibilities are endless. It is also interesting to observe how this will evolve here in the UAE. I had the opportunity to participate in a few meetings of the Global Blockchain Council in Dubai, and I can say that the interest and traction around this topic is tremendous. Almost every industry is represented. The UAE's agenda for blockchain is aggressive and they want to pilot a number of projects to ensure faster adoption. Telecom operator Du recently announced that they will run a pilot on EHR using blockchain infrastructure. Monitor these pilots closely. I would like to hear more from other experts! What projects do you know of that use blockchain in the healthcare context? What type of adoption do you see of this very hyped technology? Do you think healthcare will be an early adopter or do you see other industries moving faster with blockchain?





Corporate Banking Partner

Sole Automotive Partner

Interactive sessions with business icons

February 1, 2017 - Grand Hyatt Hotel, Dubai

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to interact with two of the biggest business icons

Magnus Olsson son Co-founder, Careem m

H.E. Abdul Baset aset Al Janahi CEO, Dubai SME

For more info visit: or visit Garden Area 1, Grand Hyatt

Welcome to the 25th mega edition of Global Business Series. Be a part of our epic silver jubilee celebrations. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to partake in an up-close and personal interactive session with UAE’s two biggest business icons. Get to know their story – their vision, struggles, failures, inspiration and defining moments that have transformed them to the icons they are today. Timing : 7 pm - 9.00 pm (followed by dinner)

Entry: By invitation only Dress code: Formals

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Exclusive logistics partner

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Conceptulized & Organised by

Robust RAK January 2017


VAT in the UAE What do businesses need to do?


CA. Manu Nair, FCA, CMA CEO, Emirates Chartered Accountants Group


alue Added Tax (VAT) is a tax on consumption and it applies to almost all goods and services. Most managements are aware that the GCC governments have decided to adopt VAT as an effort to diversify the economy and generate revenue. UAE will also adopt VAT which applies to almost all goods and services except basic food items, healthcare and education. So, it will not only impact consumers but also businesses across the region. VAT is a widely discussed topic among business owners that raises an important query – how should they be prepared for VAT before it hits them? Their concern is the impact of increase in cost of doing business in the region. It might require more time for business owners to get accustomed with the new system and make a shift from the existing operating structure. They may have to screen their existing suppliers and invest more in manpower to ensure that the right talent is available in the organization. Though the burden normally lies on the ultimate consumer, the business entities need to change the systems, processes and procedures to comply with the new legal requirement expected to be implemented by the government effective from 1st Jan 2018.

Normal requirements under VAT system that companies need to comply with: • At the time of purchase of goods or availing of services – ensure that in case of taxable items, the tax has been properly charged (input tax) by the supplier and details given in the invoices. • At the time of sale or provision of services – apply the rate on the sale value and reduce the amount of input tax to arrive at the amount to be paid. • Pay the tax due to the Govt. within the stipulated time. • File VAT returns with the Govt. authorities by providing relevant information requested within the stipulated period. • Maintain proper stock, invoices, accounts, VAT returns and other relevant records to justify the tax paid at the time of purchase.

The above requirements demand more control and safety on stock, invoices and records, ensure proper filing system, modification/ upgradation of software, compliance of due dates for collection, payment and remittance of tax, filing of VAT returns to Govt. etc. In the UAE, the SME business sector does not have a stringent financial system and operating

January 2017 Robust RAK


policies. As a result, SMEs are going to face challenges implementing the new tax laws as compared to the larger organizations which are normally operated with proper operating policies and structures. It will be a massive effort for the SMEs to cope with the requirements of the provisions of the new law. Every businessman need to maintain proper books of accounts and incorporate VAT into their accounting systems. They need to keep accurate records to demonstrate that they have applied the VAT rules correctly. The role of the accountant will be very important for the compliance of VAT. Maintenance of accounts and records is very important as per new the commercial company law. Information System will have to take an important role in this. Accounting software needs to comply for ease of business flow and maintain a stringent legal compliance. Every organization should properly educatetheir employees, well in advance before VAT is

implemented. Remember that VAT is going to be considered all across the region but at different dates. That’s why companies operating in other GCC countries should keep track of VAT and understand the tasks that need to undertake for a smooth transition. They must examine the impact of the special rules on intra-GCC supplies and ascertain whether the current business models need to be restructured according to the provisions of the VAT rules. VAT can add an extra cost to the business. There can be instances where the VAT paid to suppliers is not refunded from the supply chain downstream. Furthermore, non-compliance with tax laws may also attract severe penalties. All businesses must undertake a review of their current contracts to determine if VAT has been appropriately addressed or not. An implementation of VAT law would require a complete revamp of present practices and will insist on a higher degree of financial

transparency and accounting discipline.

Every business will need to maintain proper booksof accounts and will need to incorporate VAT into their accounting systems. They will need to keep ccurate records to demonstrate that they have correctly applied the VAT rules.


Robust RAK January 2017


Make Way for a Sustainable Business


SIMON HODGES Chartered Secretary and a Member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators

A sustainable business needs long-term, strategic planning aligned with a focused business growth & positive environment. Read on to learn more. 30

vast amount of support material is provided to entrepreneurs who are starting a new business or for those companies that are subject to laws and regulations that require them to implement systems and processes to formalise the governance process. However, for most business leaders the issue for them is not how to start the business or even how to comply with governance codes, but simply how do they ensure their business survives? For many, their business looks very different from what it did during the start-up phase. It may have more employees, operate out of more than one premises or even carry out business in more than one country. In all of these cases, the management’s approach to the business must develop in line with the expansion if they want to maintain business sustainability. Fortunately, there are signs that tell you if this is not happening. First, the leader will be working very long hours “fire-fighting� dayto-day issues; second, the business will be performing erratically, evidenced by numerous minor mistakes causing frustration in the workforce; and third, the financial results will not meet expectations with cash flow, profit levels or top line revenues seemingly stuck at a level or in very slow decline. If your organisation is plagued

with one or more of the above issues, here are some thoughts as to how that will affect your business. If the leader is spending all their time on day-to-day issues, they are not looking forward and planning for the future. As a result, the business is stuck. An organisation where the leader is not actively planning for the future is likely to be on a path of slow decline. Often, especially if the business has grown quickly, there will be inconsistencies in the way a product or service is delivered to the customer or client. These incidents are usually put down to staff errors. However, more often than not, they will be a direct result of misunderstandings about individual roles and what is expected of them. As a result, service levels suffer leading to reduced confidence and floundering trading activities. It can be difficult to interpret financial results, mostly because the changes are quite small and the focus is erroneously on carrying out the bookkeeping tasks of a financial accountant rather than using the financial planning skill of a management accountant. Businesses, where cash flow has become an issue or bottom line profits and/or revenues are static or growing slower than anticipated, should recognise what those warning bells say about the health

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SME SUSTAINENCE of services. However, an SME has one major advantage over a large business; it is minutely attentive to its customers or clients’ each and every need. If that service is spread too thinly, it will not have the required effect. It is important to revisit the target market and review the unique selling proposition to service it. • Understand your business. This might seem a bit strange but it is amazing how many businesses do not recognize that changes have taken place in their organisation as a result of its growth. It is important to review your products and services, so the financial contributions of each are understood thereby allowing for a greater focus on the stagnant areas.

of the business. Why are these scenarios so common, even though they apparently need just a degree of common sense rather than the development of a particular skill? One reason can be that as businesses grow, they develop a lot of different products and services. Some will be more successful than others; some will be more profitable than others. If a business doesn’t understand these dynamics, then it might spends considerable efforts on activities that are not particularly beneficial to the financial health of the organisation. If an organisation faces any or all of these issues, the following five suggestions can help them in the process of creating a sustainable environment. • A business’ success depends on its employees. It is very unlikely that one or even two people,

however talented, can achieve a sustainable business beyond the start-up phase. The action point here is to review the tasks of each staff member and ensure their tasks and objectives are relevant for the purpose. • Communicate your vision for success. If a business has clear objectives, it will be easier to design a plan for effective implementation. If the vision is locked away in the mind of the leader, it will most certainly result lead to employees interpreting the vision in their own way that can materially affect the performance of the business. So make sure that all employees understand your vision and are part of the success story. • Understand your market and provide a product or service that someone would want to buy from you. As businesses grow, it is tempting to deviate to other forms

• Determine a core team with individuals who have the skills to take on particular tasks, thus allowing the leader to concentrate on the company’s future. The action point is to identify if the potential lies within your existing team or you need to bring in outside talent, either on a full time or on a projectby-project basis.

This work focuses on creating an organisation that is fit for purpose. Many entrepreneurs fear creating such an organisation because they believe they will lose control of their business. The reality is that a business is unlikely to move forward if it doesn’t embrace the need for such a development. Done correctly, it will in fact increase the ability to control the direction of the business. For many, not establishing a formal organisation is the right decision, but for those with a desire to achieve broadening targets it is critical to the success of their vision.


Robust RAK January 2017


Performance Marketing:

Is your Agency Ticking the Right Boxes?

Lukas Krejca (@lukaskrejca) Digital marketer working for Facebook Marketing Partner, ROI Hunter.


hoosing the most appropriate marketing channel to grow your business is key to an efficient use of your marketing budget. One of the main advantages of digital vs traditional marketing channels is the ability to track and measure the performance of your marketing activities to a great level of detail. Unlike traditional channels (e.g. billboards, radio ads, flyers, etc.) where money is invested based on an estimate of potential reach that each of the channels claims it can


Dr Rodrigo Perez-Vega (@rpvega) Lecturer in Marketing at Henley Business School.

marketing, you can track and pay based on the performance of your ad, and this is why performance marketing investment is growing significantly in all major markets, including the GCC region. In fact, according to research by Orient Planet Research, a regional consultancy, online advertising spending in this region is expected to grow faster than the world average in the next five years, while achieving a 25% increase in this year alone. Under these circumstances, SMEs cannot afford to waste increasing amounts of money by not using performance marketing correctly.

How to make the most of performance marketing? offer, digital channels are by far the most accountable, affordable and accessible marketing channels currently available to the SMEs. In digital channels, not only do you have access to the actual number of times your message is displayed on a screen or clicked on; but by cross-referencing with expenditure in each channel, you can also have a clearer vision of the returns you are getting on your investment while making sure that you are putting your money on the most profitable channels. In digital

Performance marketing in the UAE is like the latest Lamborghini; everybody wants it, many people talk about it, but at the end, it is very rare to see it in action. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about Google AdWords or Facebook Advertising, most advertisers use soft or no metrics at all when it comes to analysing their campaigns. They are satisfied with “something is happening� but they do not really care whether they are getting some returns on their investment or not. There are some e-commerce

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DIGITAL MARKETING (return-on-investment), CPA (costper-acquisition), CPL (cost-per-lead) or similar as your KPI (definitely not number of clicks-per-visits, costper-click or click-through rate).

Using performance metrics in reporting

companies who do not use Google Analytics. They do not analyse what is happening on their own website. Every website should have its goal and every single dirham invested in performance marketing should bring you few more. Clients are not demanding performance services. So, they are not receiving it. However, there is a great opportunity for SMEs to increase their market share as many big companies are also struggling. This is not a question of money. If your budget is limited, it becomes even more important to use it for channels and campaigns that can bring you the highest outcome possible. Stop spending money on channels where you cannot measure their performance. You just need to start asking the right questions. For example; What is the lowest profitable ROI for us? What type of campaigns give us better results (=business)? Can we generate more revenue if we invest more on this channel as opposed to another one? Knowledge on how to set up and run the most efficient campaigns as well as the appropriate measurement of outcomes is also key to profitable performance marketing activities. Unfortunately,

many times SMEs outsource these activities to agencies that are themselves clueless about the entire procedure. For this reason, we would like to point out five things that you should make sure your current agency is doing to get the most out of your performance marketing campaigns.

Five things you should be making sure your agency is doing You should always work with people and vendors you trust. At the same time, you should be able to check anytime if they are doing the best for you. How is the performance of your agency when it comes to the below-mentioned points?

Having performance targets and KPIs “What is the goal of your campaign?” This should be the first question of every agency before they start working with your Google or Facebook Ads. When speaking about performance marketing, your answer should be about real performance. It should be about getting new customers. You should use metrics like ROI

Every performance campaign report should answer a simple question: “Are we achieving our targets (based on recommendations above)?” No matter how many slides and beautiful graphs your agency creates, what you should focus on are performance metrics.

Account access Do you have non-stop access to Google AdWords or Facebook accounts? Can you check your campaigns any time? No? Why? All performance campaigns should run in client's account, and the client should give access to the agency – not vice versa.

Direct payment to Google/Facebook PPC systems like Google AdWords or Facebook Ads work on an auction basis, and usually, there is no valid reason for an agency paying media fees on behalf of a client. You can link your credit card to both the platforms and stay aware of all expenses incurred.

Testing new trends Performance marketing is about testing, reporting, optimisation and testing. This process never ends. You should use the latest trends in your campaigns; rather, your agency should regularly inform you about the latest features in Google/ Facebook and recommend the best that would work for you.


Robust RAK January 2017


Convergence of Energy and Information Systems


Dr. Steve Griffiths Vice President for Research, Interim Associate Provost, Masdar Institute of Science & Technology


he global energy system is rapidly changing. As energy supply is being diversified and distributed, localized energy production is becoming increasingly prominent. However, the energy system is not changing in isolation. Rather, energy sector evolution is being substantially influenced by advances in connected and intelligent systems capable of shaping the way energy is produced, distributed and consumed. Advancements in sensing technologies, communication networks and computational power are in fact creating a bridge between the world of physical objects and the world of information to drive innovation in the energy sector. This is remarkable given that the energy sector has historically been one of the least innovative sectors due to an emphasis on leveraging proven technologies to provide energy reliably and at least cost. Now, however, the convergence of energy systems with connected, intelligent information systems has opened opportunities for new energy sector business models and value propositions. On the supply side, distributed and connected energy systems will increasingly drive renewable energy and energy

storage adoption for energy selfgeneration and consumption as well as participation in virtualized energy production and supply networks. On the demand side, intelligent buildings and intelligent transportation systems are reshaping energy supply and demand while simultaneously providing increased levels of comfort, safety, productivity and health. Intelligent buildings capable of sensing, analyzing and optimizing temperature, air quality, sound and ambient lighting can improve occupant health and productivity while reducing energy consumption. Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) utilize sensors and analytics to optimize transportation routes, minimize the friction between modes of transportation and support increasing levels of vehicle autonomy. These ITS impacts collectively improve transportation safety and productivity while providing the opportunity for reduced energy consumption in the transportation sector. Autonomous vehicles are particularly interesting because of their alignment with vehicle electrification, which is a central topic for energy system innovation.

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As specific examples of reinforcing alignment, autonomy can provide electric vehicles with greater range while electrification will allow autonomous vehicles to recharge wirelessly using technology that relies on charging pads mounted on both the ground and the car. Wireless charging is already available for consumer electronics and is now emerging as a viable technology for vehicles. As a further link between energy and ITS, vehicles that are both autonomous and electric can directly benefit distributed renewables by playing a key role in intelligent energy storage. Intelligent energy storage, which in the case of electric vehicles is battery electricity storage, allows renewable energy, for instance, rooftop solar photovoltaics, to power buildings and charge electric vehicle batteries with the available sunlight. When renewable energy is not available and electric vehicles are parked, vehicle batteries can supply power.

Dubai is a city extremely well-positioned to achieve the described unification of energy and intelligent systems. Dubai’s ambition to become one of the world’s most connected and sustainable cities is exemplified by the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to achieve 25% of energy production from solar energy by 2030 and additionally calls for mandatory rooftop solar panels on city buildings in the same timeframe. Dubai’s energy strategy is complimented by a recently announced Autonomous Transportation Strategy that targets 25% of all personal trips in Dubai to be via autonomous vehicles by 2030 with particular emphasis on autonomous metro, autonomous buses, autonomous taxis and other autonomous transportation modes used in the first and final stages of trips. Hence, distributed clean energy and intelligent transportation are becoming inevitable for the UAE

and Dubai is serving as a catalyst. However, additional innovation for enabling technologies is required to realize this holistic smart city vision. In Gartner’s latest report on emerging technology trends, smart machine technologies connected by enabling platforms are projected to lead technological disruption in the next decade. The same report nevertheless suggests that the “plateau of productivity” for key technologies, such as Internet-of-Things (IoT) platforms and Smart Data Discovery, is 5-10 years away and for transformational technologies, such as fully autonomous vehicles and general purpose machine intelligence, the plateau is projected to be more than 10 years away. Hence, application-inspired research and development (R&D) remains essential to bringing these disruptive technologies to the market. At the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, applicationinspired R&D is our core philosophy and our research focus areas (which include energy, microelectronics and smart systems) are at the leading-edge of energy and information technology R&D. However, the research projects we undertake are aimed not just at furthering scientific understanding, but also gaining insights that can transform early-stage technologies into commercially viable innovations. For this reason, we now have R&D partnerships with more than 50 leading local and international organizations, many of which are focused on energy and intelligent systems. Such R&D efforts are targeted toward helping Dubai and the broader UAE achieve global leadership in the multitude of innovation pursuits the country is now undertaking.


Robust RAK January 2017


Ship Technology IoT on the Edge, in the Cloud and on the Wave


Prof. Dr. Volker Bertram, World Maritime University

Mary Etienne Business Development Director, Maritime, Shipping and Offshore, Dell OEM

ow is IoT and IT technology impacting the maritime industry? While it is true that industrial controls and equipment on ships have always generated a lot of data, the big difference is that we are now using IT technology to connect to the marine equipment and access this operational data. As sensors become smaller, more robust and cheaper to acquire, we predict that they will be literally ‘everywhere’, in the hull, main engine, and auxiliary machinery and even small equipment items, gathering and collecting data for analysis.

Predictive Maintenance, Augmented Reality and 3D Printing

The transportation industry has been pretty active in the scheme of Internet of Things (IoT), and now even the conservative maritime industry is waking up to the benefits of its adoption and implementation.


This monitoring and data analysis will definitely make ships easier to operate. Examples include condition-based maintenance systems (equipment monitoring in real time to remotely service products via the Internet so parts can be swapped out at the next port of call, thereby avoiding operational down time and costly delays), preparing 3D printing or guiding repairs by people without expert knowledge of the system, and using Augmented Reality for intuitive guidance.

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INTERNET OF THINGS some user interaction; effectively, it is the same technology used in video games. This technology is fast gaining popularity especially for interior designing and training. Take Transas, for example, who have worked with Carnival and Dell EMC OEM to build the world’s largest marine training simulation centre, providing capacity to provide bestin-class training to 6,500 deck and engineering officers per year while reducing hardware by 77 percent and energy consumption by 30 percent.

Connectivity & Security

The 3D models will be updated as the ship is built and modified over its lifecycle. In Augmented Reality, computers overlay a live image with computer-generated information. For example, a building block may be shown with a part to be installed, illustrating how both fit together. The fitting of parts will then become very intuitive, reducing assembly times and errors.

Smart Ships: Minimum Crew-Sizes Along with reduced workload in the engine room due to cleaner fuels, we believe that these advances will allow further reductions in minimum crew sizes. Expect to see smart ships with automatic collision avoidance, automatic berthing, a selfmonitoring hull, engine and cargo; the ability to sail autonomously for a limited time in certain conditions, and even no-crew drones for specific applications, such as, shortdistance ferries, tugs and fireboats.

Automated Data-Driven Decision-Making Whether ships are operated locally or by remote control, operational decisions will be data driven. For example, AIS (Automatic Identification System), a satellitebased data exchange allows the tracking of virtually all cargo ships for vessel routing, taking into account the weather, traffic situation and port capacities along the route.

Simulation & Virtual Reality The scope of simulations is already expanding beyond the classic stability, strength and hydrodynamics into aerodynamics, fire, ice-breaking, evacuation, manufacturing, energy generation and consumption in the ship system. When human interaction is important, we will increasingly use Virtual Reality as a key technology. Virtual Reality uses 3D models of the world with fly-through or walkthrough capabilities, and typically

Connectivity is also growing in importance. For example, in the case of Navarino Telecom, innovative cloud technology on board is increasing productivity, lowering ship to shore communication costs and increasing data speeds by up to 50 percent. With IT becoming an indispensable part of shipping, cybersecurity is becoming a concern, both for autonomous and manned shipping, with technology following a similar approach to that deployed for other large assets, such as power plants and traffic control centres. Some predict that all these advances in IT will ‘revolutionise’ shipping. However, sensors, computers and telecommunications are not new to shipping, and we believe the evolution to aggregate and gain more intelligence from equipment will continue, albeit at an accelerated pace. We expect that we will see ‘more’ of the same trends as in the past decades; more exchange of data and collaboration between stakeholders. The difference is that this unique combination of technologies will enable the next wave of innovation.


Robust RAK January 2017


Ras Al Khaimah’s partnership with DIFC Courts boosts investors


January 2017 Robust RAK



he attraction of Ras Al Khaimah as one of the UAE’s top investment destinations has been boosted by new legal steps designed to promote economic growth, secure foreign investment, and protect assets of investors and residents. The legal package, signed on Dec 15, 2016 at the Al Dhait Palace and witnessed by His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, allows for judgments issued by Dubai’s English-language DIFC Courts to be directly enforced by Ras Al Khaimah’s courts, provided that written contracts explicitly opt-in to the DIFC jurisdiction. The new agreements pave the way for Ras Al Khaimah government bodies, as well as companies, investors and individuals, to choose the DIFC Courts and the DIFC-LCIA Arbitration Centre to resolve disputes. In addition, the DIFC Academy of Law will provide customised, world-class legal training for Ras Al Khaimah students and young professionals, in line with His Highness the Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah’s vision for investing in his people. His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi said: “For those who invest, work and live in Ras Al Khaimah, the additional choice of this proven Englishlanguage legal system offers more prospects for future progress. For investors, we speak the language of international commerce, and for businesses we offer greater certainty and confidence in a legal system recognisable around the world. Individual residents can have even greater trust that

their property and assets will be secure here. Taken together, today’s changes are another great example of our vision of the Emirates working hand-in-hand to make the UAE a world-class place to do business.” The collaboration between the Arabic civil law and English common law legal systems comes as Ras Al Khaimah seeks to further increase the thousands of foreign-owned companies already operating there. The changes will complement Ras Al Khaimah’s existing Arabic-language court system. The DIFC Courts, established nearly a decade ago as part of the DIFC, have proven highly successful in earning investor trust through offering the protection of a familiar international legal system. Dr. Michael Hwang, SC, Head of the Dispute Resolution Authority (DRA) and Chief Justice of the DIFC Courts, said: “Giving businesses and individuals choice as to how to resolve their disputes is an extremely effective tool to drive foreign direct investment and commerce in Dubai. Ras Al Khaimah’s economy has flourished in recent years. Now, through our cooperation, the emirate is able to offer a full suite of dispute resolution services. Today’s announcement is good news for all investors, businesses and property owners in Ras Al Khaimah, with parties free to choose the legal system to best suit their needs.” Today’s agreements underline Ras Al Khaimah Government’s commitment to provide choice to help companies and individuals solve business problems. Through working together, Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai have reached a major milestone on the road to the UAE’s

2021 Vision of efficient and swift commercial justice. The economy of Ras Al Khaimah is already widely diversified. A tourism hub, the emirate is home to some of the country’s largest manufacturers including RAK Ceramics, Julphar – Gulf Pharmaceutical Industries, Ashok Leyland and Gulf Cement Company. More than 500 manufacturers and thousands of SMEs are located in Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority’s two industrial parks, while Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone is the base for over 8,600 international companies. The DIFC Courts administer an English-language common law system that complements the UAE’s Arabic-language civil law system. They have since become one of the world’s most connected courts, with enforcement agreements in places with many of the UAE’s key trading partners. The DIFC Courts’ world class bench of judges, exceptionally efficient processes and service-oriented culture has earned the confidence of the international business and legal community. In 2015, the main court handled cases valued at approximately AED 4.46 billion, with virtually all international in nature, while the Small Claims Tribunal’s workload nearly doubled to 216 cases.


Robust RAK January 2017


Mr. Ahmad Al Asadi, Art Manager, One1info


January 2017 Robust RAK


Embracing Visual Media Our professional services include: • Conceptualization & directing Art is the creation of a person’s mind. It represents the myriad of cultures and their effervescent colors. Art can be intellectual, perceived through our senses, tangible or intangible, conventional or abstract. We always try to search for art in our daily lives; it’s important primarily because it is irreplaceable in our lives. And the foundation for a successful artwork is always the right combination of hard work and imagination. My career and the experience that I had gained through years of study and practice, has helped me understand the concept of art. My relentless pursuit to reach the highest level of professionalism, the mistakes I made on the way, the success achieved, and the cumulative experience of my artistic expressions has aided me in building a sense of what is desired by the customer and how

to translate that imagination on to paper. My real work is transferring the unsaid to something concrete, translating imagination into reality. My quest for a supportive environment led me to One1info. com. The company has been extremely supportive of my abilities, my passion and ambitions and encouraged me to showcase my skills in the global market. The collaboration with One1info has led to a variety of services across sectors. For every dream to be a reality, we need to focus on a goal and work towards achieving it. One1info shares that vision with each of its clients. As a company, we approach artwork in a completely different way; we create an identity in the industry, focus on effective commercial performance, and finalize art deals based on our extensive experience and the ability to merge creative with the commercial.

• Movies including short films and animation for kids • Documentaries • Pre-production • Scriptwriting, storyboarding, animatic, character design, background design • Production • Modeling, texturing, rigging, 2D & 3D animation, motion graphics, stop-motion, visual effects, green screen, live- action shooting, rendering, compositing • Post-production • Voice recording, music composition, sound design, sound mixing, editing • Advertising and graphic designs


Robust RAK January 2017





feel innovation can drive a more competitive economy



feel innovation can create a greener economy

feel innovation is the best way to create jobs

Go Green



feel we should bring volume to society as a whole, not only to individuals




feel partnership is more important than stand-alone success

Improve Lives

can successfully change citizens' lives in the next 10 years in

90% 87% 84% 84%


Health Quality

Job Market

Environmental Quality

WHAT DRIVES INNOVATION? 65% 66% 65% Value of Innovation

believe that innovation will happen when the general public is convinced of the value that innovation will bring to their lives

58% Private Investors

believe that innovation will occur when private investors are supportive of companies that need funds to innovate


Universities & Schools

feels that innovation happens when local universities and schools provide a strong model for tomorrow's leaders

Budget Allocation


believe that innovation can brew when government and public officials set aside an adequate share of their budget to support innovative companies

Patent Protection

agree that innovation can occur when the protection of the copyright laws and patents are effective

Government Support


think innovation can occur when governmental support for innovation is efficiently organized and coordinated

January 2017 Robust RAK




Every year, the Global Innovation Index ranks the innovation performance of nearly 130 countries and economies around the world. Each country is scored according to 82 indicators.


2 3










3 2






1 2

























January 2017 Robust RAK


Acer Predator 21X – Beast of a Gaming Laptop


cer’s monstrous Predator 21X is made for the serious gamer with deep pockets. Boasting a -21inch curved display, two Nvidia GTX 1080 graphics cards with SLI (both of them being world’s first) and Tobii eye-tracking software, the Acer Predator 21X is technically impressive and extremely powerful. A gaming powerhouse, this 8kg heavyweight has a beautiful mechanical keyboard replete with Cherry MX switches and RGB illumination, a must-have for hardcore gamers. And with five fans to cool it down (three of which are AeroBlade metal fans for advanced cooling), overheating isn’t an issue. The Acer Predator 21X gaming laptop will be launched in Feb 2017 with a starting price of 8,999$.


Robust RAK January 2017


1st Edition Travel Bag by Hardgraft


jetsetter’s delight, the 1st Edition Travel Bag by Hardgraft is a classic hold-all with beautiful vegetable tanned leather and rugged yet fine wool. Made in Italy, the outer shell of the bag folds around its interior case lined with wool felt and in that gap lays a series of pouches for accessories like headphones, books, and other important bits for a weekend vacation or business trip. The interior case has plenty of room for a couple of clothes, a DSLR, a laptop and more. The beautiful contrast between the outer tan and inner wool creates a luxurious look and the stiff flooring at all the right places makes it enduring and long-lasting. Priced at 1,200$ USD, the Hardgraft 1st Edition Travel Bag is a worthy investment.


January 2017 Robust RAK


Porsche 911 Soundbar – The High-powered Sound System


he Porsche 911 Soundbar is a powerful high-end speaker system carved from an original Porsche 911 GT3 silence and exhaust unit. These are the same German-made mufflers that are used for the sports car but never installed.

Featuring a 2.1 virtual surround sound system along with a Dolby digital decoder and DTS TruSurround signal processing, the sound of the Porsche 911 Soundbar can compete with the Porsche in your garage. Wireless and powered with Bluetooth technology, the soundbar has a -200watt output along with a user-control bass and treble system. The soundbar even has a LipSync function for precise voice synchronization and a beautiful LED display panel to round it off. Priced at around 3,500$, the Porsche 911 Soundbar is every gear-head’s fantasy come true.


Robust RAK January 2017


John Varvatos Oud Cologne – Scent of the Orient


ohn Varvatos Oud goes back in time to weave together oriental references of perfumery with the deeply mysterious presence of oud oil. This sensual blend of traditional yet modern aromas cloaks the wearer with a rich, long-lasting signature. Encased in a gleaming golden net, the flacon exudes an air of intriguing luxury. Notes: Top: sweet tobacco, Levantine cypress, hyssop, clary sage, juniper berries. Middle: Persian saffron, royal cinnamon Laos, Malabar pepper, Sri Lanka cardamom, Zanzibar clove bud, Osmanthus absolute, Turkish rose absolute, Egyptian jasmine absolute. Base: authentic oud oil, Lebanese cedarwood, Andalusian labdanum, myrrh, opoponax, frankincense, black leather, amber.


January 2017 Robust RAK


Rolex Yacht-Master II – Charting its Own Territory


esigned to meet the needs of a professional sailor, the Rolex Yacht-Master II features the world’s first programmable countdown with a mechanical memory. A statement of sophistication, this watch is an apt accessory for a man in a position of power and success. A signature of true Rolex, the watch incorporates gold and has a 44 mm stainless steel casing. A part of the exquisite Oyster collection, the watch’s red-contoured countdown arrow and blue hour markers displays a beautiful contrast against its flawless white dial making it both readable and aesthetic. Equipped with 4161 caliber, this self-winding mechanical regatta chronograph is a result of over 35,000 hours of development with a price to match.


Robust RAK January 2017


Leica M10 – The Maestro Reinvented


eica’s latest successor in the M Series, the M10, is a perfect blend of Leica’s old photographer-friendly ergonomics with the new innovation in technology. The slimmest digital M of all times, the Leica M10 has an updated design and streamlined operations for the photography purists. The ISO is now ranged between 100 and 50,000 with the ISO setting dial on the top plate for better control and discreet photography. And the improved viewfinder has an increased field of view and magnification that makes shooting very comfortable for people who wear glasses.

A 24 MP sensor, 2 GB of buffer memory, an advanced processor, WiFi and remote app support are just some of the other key features of this masterpiece - the Leica M10.



Help beat the heat with A/C vests this summer Given the challenging summer conditions in the UAE, we have helped laborers by distributing 500 A/C cooling vests at the Al Manar mall extension construction site, managed by Sun Engineering & Contracting. The specially made vests are designed to reduce the wearer’s body temperature by 5 to 7 degrees for up to 8 hours. They are made of submersible material which need to be submerged in cold water for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the laborers put them on, they start to feel the cooling effect of the vest within minutes. To learn more, visit our YouTube channel. Together, we can beat the heat. For further information on this initiative, please contact us at

600 54 0009 | |

Robust RAK issue 17  

Science, technology, innovation, SMEs, and entrepreneurship – the Robust RAK magazine contains all of the above and more. An interview with...

Robust RAK issue 17  

Science, technology, innovation, SMEs, and entrepreneurship – the Robust RAK magazine contains all of the above and more. An interview with...