Posts tagged with "UAE"

Anta Al Batal illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Riot Games × VALORANT

Riot Games MENA breaks cultural barriers to unite gamers with the launch of Anta Al Batal a new music beat for VALORANT

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Anta Al Batal serves as an anthem for MENA teams vying for the ultimate prize at VALORANT’s professional and semi-pro tournaments

Anta Al Batal reinforces Riot Games’ commitment to regional gamers with first-of-its-kind Arabic music video; Creative Partnership with Dubai based Regional Record Label Sony Music Entertainment Middle East.

Riot Games MENA today unveiled a first-of-its-kind Arabic music video and track for gamers across the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, uniting its VALORANT fanbase under a common language, love of music and passion for gaming.

The VALORANT Music Beat ‘Anta Al Batal’ (You Are The Champion), produced and conceptualized by RIOT Games MENA and Sony Music Entertainment Middle East, brings together some of the Arab world’s biggest and emerging music stars; Moroccan rap sensation, Issam Harris; Egypt’s Trap Legend, Marwan Moussa; and female vocalist, Fafa, a rising star from the UAE and regional music scene.

Celebrating the passion of MENA gamers for VALORANT, which has quickly established itself as a fan-favorite in the first-person shooter community, Anta Al Batal is the latest milestone in Riot Games’ growing commitment to its Arab-speaking fanbase and follows the launch of the Bahraini servers, localization of VALORANT into Arabic and Strike Arabia.

Riot Games worked in partnership with Sony Music Entertainment Middle East to conceptualize the unique audio and video style of Anta Al Batal, that merged languages, melodies and cultural themes from Egypt, Morocco, UAE and beyond. The project took inspiration from the many cultural banners that exist across MENA, to unite gamers under their common passion for VALORANT and music.

Anta Al Batal serves as an anthem for MENA teams vying for the ultimate prize at VALORANT’s professional and semi-pro tournaments. Teams across MENA are gearing up for the second season of the Strike Arabia Championship in June and July for a spot in the Grand Finals. Winners of the regional tournament will earn the right to take part in VALORANT Last Chance Qualifier in Europe and potentially the global showdown that pits the world’s best teams and players against each other.

Anas al Hakim, Content Manager at Riot Games MENA, who masterminded creative direction of the music video, said: “Prior to online multiplayer games, music was the number one thing that transcended the MENA region. Now, with music and gaming we have a winning combination to unite our players through unique experiences that they can all enjoy. Our hope is that the bridges we build are not only between us but also with players from all around the world.”

Mike Fairburn, General Manager at Sony Music Entertainment Middle East commented ‘Music is a global connector – it binds us all and reflects the varied cultural narratives of our region. Our company culture is built around this positive force and with the Riot Games team, we found a perfect partnership focused on collaboration, as well as an openness to use music and gaming to make deep connections. We are incredibly excited and proud to share our collective creative efforts with the world”.

The vision behind Anta Al Batal was to create a celebratory moment in the region’s history of gaming, give VALORANT players a soundtrack that is truly theirs, and mark another significant milestone of Riot Games’ commitment to Arabic gamers.

About VALORANT:
VALORANT is a competitive 5v5 character-based tactical shooter for the PC developed by Riot Games. VALORANT is a precise and lethal multiplayer game with high-fidelity gunplay, a diverse arsenal of guns, agents with unique abilities, and competitively tuned maps for thousands of hours of play.

VALORANT is a free-to-play game and optimized to perform on a wide variety of PC hardware, allowing for a global audience to compete. Demonstrated by the game’s best-in-class game server quality, global infrastructure, and proprietary anti-cheat technology, Riot Games is committed to preserving the core tenets of the tactical shooter genre and upholding the competitive integrity of the gameplay experience.

VALORANT quickly established itself as a fan-favorite among the global first-person shooter community after launching its closed beta in April 2020. The game made history on its first day, breaking viewership records with 34 million hours-watched in a single day, and surpassing 1.7 million peak concurrent viewers, a peak concurrent record second only to Riot Games’ 2019 League of Legends World Championship Finals. Over the course of VALORANT’s two-month beta testing period, an average of nearly 3 million players logged on each day to play. Fans also demonstrated their enthusiasm for the shooter by watching more than 470 million hours of VALORANT closed beta streams on Twitch, the world’s leading service and community for multiplayer entertainment, and Korean video-streaming service AfreecaTV.

About Riot Games:
Riot Games was founded in 2006 to develop, publish, and support the most player-focused games in the world. In 2009, Riot released its debut title, League of Legends, to worldwide acclaim. League has gone on to be the most-played PC game in the world and a key driver of the explosive growth of esports.

As League enters its second decade, Riot continues to evolve the game while delivering new experiences to players with VALORANT, Legends of Runeterra, Teamfight Tactics, League of Legends: Wild Rift, and multiple work-in-progress titles, while exploring the world of Runeterra through multimedia projects across music, comic books, TV, and more. Founded by Brandon Beck and Marc Merrill, Riot is headquartered in Los Angeles, California, and has 2,500+ Rioters in 20+ offices worldwide.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Riot Games.

Christian Erlandson illustration by Heather Skovlund (Photo Credit: Linden Bray) for 360 Magazine

Autofutura × Gforces Merge

LEADING AUTOMOTIVE SOFTWARE COMPANIES AUTOFUTURA AND GFORCES MERGE
 

  • Merger brings together Autofutura’s real-time data insight with GForces’ leading-edge e-commerce solutions, to create a new auto tech group
     
  • Created at a time of rapid digital acceleration in automotive retail, the new group enables car makers, dealers and finance providers to grow the lifetime value of their customers, by accelerating sales, simplifying the customer journey and improving customer retention

Two of the automotive industry’s leading retail software suppliers, Autofutura and GForces, have merged to form a new group. With the rapid acceleration of the digitization of the automotive sales process, the companies have come together to maximize sales efficiency and improve the way consumers buy cars.

The new group, backed by Inflexion Private Equity, sees the combination of Autofutura, the global, data-driven business intelligence provider, with market leading automotive e-commerce and omnichannel supplier, GForces. It also benefits from the expertise of the recently acquired Chrysalis Loyalty business, now an integral part of Autofutura.

The first of its kind in the industry, the new group aims to connect car maker, finance provider, dealer and consumer to optimize the entire customer journey – through the provision of software and data services.

The new group will be led by two highly experienced executives; data intelligence expert Christian Erlandson as CEO and automotive veteran David Riemenschneider as Chairman. Autofutura and GForces already serve 20 of the world’s leading car manufacturers and over 10,000 locations, across 96 countries. Headquartered out of the UK, its global presence includes offices in Australia, Canada, Germany, Vietnam, UAE and the USA.

Christian Erlandson, CEO, commented: “The digitization of the automotive sales process is accelerating at an unprecedented pace and now is the time to combine the expertise of Autofutura and GForces. By merging Autofutura’s data intelligence insight with GForces’ e-commerce solutions, there is huge potential to support our customers in streamlining the consumer journey, accelerating sales and driving revenue from the first transaction.”

Simon Turner, Managing Partner, Inflexion, said: “The combination of Autofutura with GForces unlocks a unique and highly relevant technology proposition for the automotive retail industry, against a backdrop of accelerating change and disruption for dealers and OEMs. We are delighted to be backing this team to create such an exciting auto tech group, by merging two outstanding private businesses with a long track record of growth.”

The newly merged group was advised by GCA Altium, Headpoint Advisors, Higgs & Sons and Taylor Wessing.

Purdue × Abu Dhabi work on cybersecurity of drones

By Jim Bush

Abu Dhabi has intentions of making the city a leading hub for technology and innovation in the Middle East.

Part of that evolution is utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, to assist with as many tasks as possible, from delivering packages to aiding in police operations to helping investigate crashes on highways to delivering high-value transports, like organs for transplant.

With autonomy, though, comes risks of hackers and complications between interacting agents.

A group of Purdue University researchers have been tasked to make sure drones and their systems could operate securely, safely and efficiently in the United Arab Emirates capital. Inseok Hwang, a professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics, is principal investigator on a three-year, $2.3-million grant from the Technology Innovation Institute in Abu Dhabi to study the application of secure drone swarms in urban environments.

The project requires expertise in autonomous vehicles, control, sensing, virtual reality and security. James Goppert, a visiting assistant professor in the School of Aeronautics and Astronautics and managing director of the UAS Research and Test Facility, and Dongyan Xu, the Samuel D. Conte Professor of Computer Science and director of CERIAS (Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security), Purdue’s cybersecurity research and education center, are co-principal investigators on the project.

“We will address this problem in a highly integrated, interdisciplinary way,” Hwang said. “We will consider it from the program level to the high-level network of systems, so we accomplish the hierarchic way from the very detailed lower level, the software and hardware level, to the large network of vehicles and from the single vehicle to multivehicle. So it’s multidimensional. That’s one of the unique pieces of this project.”

The project will utilize one of Purdue’s unrivaled assets, the UAS Research and Test Facility. The 20,000-square-foot, 35-feet high facility, located at Hangar 4 of the Purdue University Airport, features the largest indoor motion capture system in the world and offers unique capabilities for novel research.

Goppert will build a mixed reality environment, combining a virtual reality urban environment with a scaled physical model of the city. The drones will fly and navigate the city, and the environment can be programmed to simulate a wide range of settings, including weather, traffic and urban development, to test the drones’ applicability and agility. The testing will be done with single vehicles as well as swarms, which could include 10 drones.

Hwang said he hasn’t seen any research done using mixed reality to this scale. Neither has Goppert.

“Our unique capability is that we have such a large environment to do it,” Goppert said. “Just running so many vehicles at once is going to be a challenge. In the past, several vehicles have been used. But if we’re going to be running swarms where each vehicle needs a rendered virtual mixed reality image, that’s going to be really computationally challenging. That’s what we’re pushing forward.

“We thought we could try to bring it as close to real-life as possible to get as many of the bugs worked out before they actually deploy such a system. We can do it all in software, but there’s an added advantage in bringing it closer to reality by making some of it actual robots.”

Hwang and Xu will have a multitiered approach from the cybersecurity and robustness standpoint. Xu will investigate from the cyber perspective of security, encryption, authentication and peer-to-peer communications. Hwang will develop a mathematical model and use the control theoretical solution approach, assessing potential cyberattacks on the systems and working to design a controller in such a way that the system becomes more resilient to attacks.

“This project reflects exciting synergies between two areas of technical excellence at Purdue: aeronautics and astronautics, and cybersecurity,” Xu said.

Ultimately, all of the research will be integrated and pieced together around the state-of-the-art test bed, which could happen toward the end of the second year of the three-year grant.

With a variety of drones tasked with different assignments, “how do we make sure they play well together?” Goppert said. “We’re trying to simulate that within our facility.”

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://purdue.edu/.

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Dubai marathon, uae, 360 MAGAZINE, Ruth Chepngetich

DUBAI MARATHON

ALL EYES ON STANDARD CHARTERED DUBAI MARATHON AFTER FORMER WINNERS ARE CROWNED “WORLD’S BEST”

Following the crowning of Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon winners Lelisa Desisa and Ruth Chepngetich as Marathon Runners of the Year, all eyes will now turn to the 21st staging of the Middle East’s premier marathon on January 24 and the potential emergence of new running talent.

The 2019 ‘Best Marathon Runner’ award was made to both Desisa and Chepngetich by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) at the end of a year that saw them both add Marathon World Championship titles to their already impressive CVs.

But it was on the flat and fast streets of Dubai that Desisa of Ethiopia and Kenya’s rising star Chepngetich first made their marks in the record books – just two of a growing number of world-class distance runners to launch their careers in the emirate.

Making his marathon debut in Dubai in 2013, Desisa won in 2.04.45, while in January 2019 the diminutive Chepngetich produced one of the best women’s performances of all time as she stormed to victory in 2:17:08, now the fourth fastest in history.

“Over the past ten years or so, the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has consistently produced race winning times that rival and often exceed the Marathon Majors,” said Event Director Peter Connerton.

“The city is now firmly recognised as hosting one of the fastest routes in world athletics. Established elite athletes as well as up-and-coming runners are always keen to take part in what is the first major event of the new year. With the benign weather conditions, excellent road surfaces and a flat course, the athletes know they can target a personal best and even a new course record in Dubai.”

While the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon has been held in various parts of the city – with race routes that have included both the Sheikh Zayed Road and Downtown Dubai – in recent years the race has settled on a home stretching out along the city’s Jumeirah Beach Road in the west with a finish in the shadow of the seven-star Burj Al Arab Hotel.

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, the 2020 event is expected to see more than 30,000 runners sign up to take part.

 The race – the 21st in the event’s history – will again see the runners compete in the same location with competitors spread across three races, namely a 4km Fun Run, the hugely-popular 10km and the traditional Marathon distance itself.

Entries are already building up as runners from home and abroad get set for the biggest mass participation sporting event in the region. Runners looking to sign up and take part in any of the three categories can do so online at www.dubaimarathon.org

In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Holding, Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police and the RTA.

2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

Former champions Lemi Berhanu and Worknesh Degefa will be among the powerful elite line-up when the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon celebrates its 20th edition on the streets of the UAE on January 25.

The two Ethiopians – winners in 2015 and 2017 respectively – are key figures in the roll of honour of the Middle East’s biggest mass participation event, the only IAAF Gold Label Marathon in the region.

Lemi has performed well on the global stage but his best performances have always been on the flat and fast streets of Dubai. As well as winning the title four years ago in a time of 2h:05m:28s, he set his personal best at the event when as defending champion he finished runner-up in 2016 in 2h:04:33.

Still only 25, Lemi has also competed at World Championship level and at the Rio Olympics in 2016. Like an increasing number of elite runners, he has also prospered at the marathon distance in China, winning the Hengshui title with 2h:08m:51s in September 2018, the Xiamen Marathon in 2017 (2h:08m:27s) and the 2014 Taiyuan Marathon (2h:13m:10s).

Held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and staged under the aegis of the Dubai Sports Council, the 2019 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon will welcome a number of the world’s best athletes as the marathon celebrates its 20th anniversary with elite fields in both the men and women’s races.

Among the leading elite women in the line-up, Worknesh Degefa who stunned the athletics world in 2017 by winning on her marathon debut in Dubai. The Ethiopian caused quite an upset beating a strong field of experienced marathon runners in a time of 2h:22m:36s although she was disappointed 12 months later.

Running in the defence of her crown Worknesh set a new personal best 2h:19m:53s yet failed to break into the top three as the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon once again proved its strength in depth with four women breaking the 2h:20m – the first time the feat has ever been achieved in one race.

“It’s very unusual that a runner will break the 2:20 mark and not win a marathon,” said Event Director Peter Connerton. “But that just shows how deep the quality runs in our elite fields. Last year we had seven men break 2h:05m – a unique result in marathon history – so the athletes competing in Dubai know they have to be at their very best to get among the medals.”

The elite marathon athletes will get their race underway at 6am on January 25, five minutes after the wheelchair athletes take to the course. The mass marathon field will face the starting gun at 7am with the 10km Road Race beginning at 8.30am and the 4km Fun Run at 10.30am. Runners looking to register can still do so by visiting the official website www.dubaimarathon.org.

In addition to Standard Chartered as title sponsor, the Dubai Marathon is supported by the Dubai Sports Council, adidas, Dubai Eye 103.8FM, Aquafina and Gatorade, Dubai Holding, Dubai Police, Dubai Municipality and the RTA.

Sharjah Waterfront City

By Amardeep Singh

New Waterfront City to Rock the UAE

It’s usually Dubai that earns the name for developing illustrious projects that claim world records and massive reception. The same can be said for the rest of the Emirates as well. The United Arab Emirates’ history is interspersed with its geography that extends from the longest shorelines to the highest dunes in the Gulf region. Residents and inhabitants will commonly find themselves immersed in these natural formations. Such is the philosophy behind the Sharjah Waterfront City which is being proclaimed as a destination of beauty.

True to its title, the project has captivated investor interests for its lucrative design which has combined the best and beautiful aspects of a natural foundation set aside a coastal creation that can only be described as ‘out of this world’.

The Dh25 billion project is split over six phases over eight natural islands. Phase I consists of 321 villas on Sun Island which have already been sold out- a testament to Sharjah’s rising
position as a real estate haven. The islands will consist of 1500 three, four, five, and six-bedroom villas as well as 95 mid-rise and high-rise towers, 14 hotels and serviced apartments.

Dusit and Kempinski are two hotel brands that have been roped in to set up world class destinations. Sun Island will occupy 205592.9 sqm of total area while the villas will take up 95566.09 sqm of area. The Crystal Lagoon water theme park will also be a part of the mixed use development.

Phase II will see the construction of commercial units and two hotels. The Waterfront City is Sharjah’s next step in providing state of the art living accommodations for a rapidly growing populace that drives the economy of the Emirate. To further augment the living experience and to cut down on environmental damages, all units have a solar water heating system, aluminum shade parking, home automated technologies and holocron roof slabs.

Anticipated for completion by the end of 2018, Phase I will just be the beginning of what is being called the third biggest real estate project in the Middle East, bringing something amazing for residents, shoppers, nature lovers, sports junkies and luxury heads.

14 MINIMALIST TRAVEL POSTERS

Minimalism is all the rage at the moment thanks to writers like Fumio Sasaki, so why not apply that approach when planning your next vacation? There’s so much information out there that it can seem overwhelming when you start researching places to go, with so many offers, travel guides, blogs, photos, videos, podcasts and all the rest. Sometimes you just need to drown out the noise and focus on what’s important.

That’s why Expedia has created these minimalist travel posters to help you see the essential elements on 14 of the top vacation destinations in the world. They’ve picked out the most important aspects of each destination, namely where you should go first, what food you should eat and where you can get that one stunning and shareable photo for your Instagram or Facebook page.

If you go to Berlin, for example, a whistlestop tour using these posters would take you to the aptly-named Panoramapunkt for a panoramic view of the TV Tower, followed by a trip to the past at the historic Brandenburg Gate. For food options, currywurst is a spicy taste of Berlin life and culture, while you can finish your stay with an energetic and symbolic bike ride down the Mauerweg, which follows the route of the old Berlin Wall.

Swapping Germany for South Africa, Cape Town has plenty to offer, even in the snapshot form of a minimalist visit. Speaking of snapshots, Bloubergstrand is the place to go to get that iconic photo of Table Mountain while you’ll also want to keep your camera to hand when you’re at Boulders Beach so you can get a shot of the penguins. Yes, there really are penguins there. The Neighbourgoods Market in Woodstock is a good place to get souvenirs, while the recommended dish of the trip is potjiekos, a traditional meat stew.

As you’ll have seen from these two examples, there’s so much you can fit into even a minimalist travel poster if the destination is as exciting as Berlin or Cape Town. Others getting the minimalist treatment include Havana, London, Paris and even the Serengeti and Siam Reap, the Cambodian home of 800-year-old temple Angkor Wat. You can probably guess what the iconic photo from that trip would be.

So check out all 14 of these minimalist travel posters from Expedia and see which of the legendary destinations captures your imagination. Given that you can take in all the sights in just one day, you could even do a tour…