Technology plays key role in tackling challenges

Experts at the ABLF Talks event taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai - Photo by Shihab
Experts at the ABLF Talks event taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai - Photo by Shihab

Dubai - The ABLF Talks at the Dubai Cares pavilion will highlight the need for hosting dialogues that showcase the integral qualities that define modern-day leaders as they seek to guide their organisations and countries responsibly



by

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Mon 25 Oct 2021, 5:55 PM

Technology has played a key role in not only keeping people connected and businesses running during the Covid-19 pandemic, but also keeping them entertained and happy, experts said at the ABLF Talks event on Monday.

Taking place at Expo 2020 Dubai, as part of the 15th annual edition of the ABLF Leadership Series in 2021, the sessions brought together several industry experts to highlight regional challenges and the role that technology has played across various industries.

Maaz Sheikh, CEO and co-founder of STARZPLAY, highlighted how the Covid-19 pandemic had created an opportunity for brands to really focus on the needs of different types of customers. He also highlighted how the streaming service had logged in record numbers during the lockdowns. “In terms of consumption, we grew more in three weeks of April 2020, than we did in the six years before that. The end of May 2020 was our peak, and we sustained that for a little bit before numbers started to fall slightly, and then in the last month and a half, we picked up again and surpassed that Covid-19 peak.”

“The first thing that we did was try to understand how the behavior and interests of people were shifting,” he explained. “The first thing that was very obvious for us was that we needed to do more of what we had been doing. Content that we had planned to bring in at the end of 2021, we ended up bringing that in at the end of 2020 or early 2021. We partnered with Discovery to carry more documentaries and reality TV shows.”

Right now, he says that the platform is focused on producing its own shows. “We are working on a local version of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’. Another learning curve for us was anime; we had dabbled in it a little bit, but this gave us an opportunity to realise just how passionate many anime fans are and we are working on bringing them more content. For us the big thing is doing more original content; there is a demand for truly original content. The other is more sports such as cricket and football. We made a commitment to cricket fans even before the T20 World Cup and we are going to continue with that, in addition to bringing in more local football.”

Similarly, Olivier Crespin, CEO and co-founder of Zand, UAE, said that it is important to focus on what customers are looking for at one moment in time. He noted that their needs are constantly changing, which is why it is critical for brands to welcome constant feedback from their customers.

“When we asked people what they want, they replied that they want things to be simpler,” he explained. “Nowadays, with mobile phones, you have access to information in a matter of a few minutes, and people want this to simplicity when they are making payments or transferring money; they don’t want to visit a branch or wait in line. Also, people want to be seen as an individual with products and services that are catered to their unique needs.”

Dr Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares, said that Dubai Cares’ association with the ABLF Talks comes as part of their belief in supporting leadership conversations that promote the idea of responsibility and leadership. “We look forward to hosting ABLF Talks sessions at the Dubai Cares Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai where we are engaging a global audience to learn more about the transformative power of education towards achieving the SDG4. The ABLF Talks agenda at our pavilion will further highlight the need for hosting dialogues that showcase the integral qualities that define modern-day leaders as they seek to guide their organisations and countries responsibly.”

Malini N Menon, president and co-founder of the ABLF, added that the ABLF Talks Hybrid is a culmination of a year-long effort that has seen over 100 global leaders gather virtually in thought-provoking dialogues about urgent socio-economic issues.

“With the unstinting support of Sheikh Nahyan Mabarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Co-existence UAE, the UAE Ministry of Economy and Dr Tariq Al Gurg, CEO of Dubai Cares, these conversations are now reaching a more streamlined audience of change-makers and experts at the Dubai Cares Pavilion,” she said. “As a strong believer in the power of collective discourse leading to concrete solutions, I look forward to the next five editions of the ABLF Talks through the months of the Expo 2020 Dubai.”

rohma@khaleejtimes.com


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