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Divsha Bhat

Technology Editor

Divsha is based in Dubai and writes about cutting-edge technology. She used to be technology editor at Gulf Business

Divsha Bhat
An Ooredoo shop in Tunis. Tunisia is one of the countries where the company intends to improve connectivity

Ooredoo to spend $1bn upgrading overseas networks

Qatari telecoms group Ooredoo is to spend $1.1 billion upgrading its mobile coverage and quality of servies in a number of key overseas markets. Over the period 2024-26, the company will allocate substantial sums to improve connectivity in Algeria, Tunisia, Gaza and the West Bank, Iraq and the Maldives.  Ooredoo’s operations in Gaza have been […]

VC firms expect Mena investment will pick up again this year after a slump in 2023

VC firms ready for Mena investment rebound

Venture capital companies expect investment activity in the Middle East and North Africa to rebound this year after a slump in 2023, with startups in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates likely again to dominate dealmaking. In 2023 there were 517 VC deals in the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. They raised a […]

The UAE has issued a warning to users of Google Chrome to update the browser to avoid security breaches

UAE authority issues security alert for Google Chrome users

The UAE Cyber Security Council has issued a high-risk alert for those using the desktop version of Google Chrome browser. Google released Google Chrome security updates last week to patch several high-risk vulnerabilities that could allow attackers to remotely execute code on affected systems or compromise sensitive data. The UAE’s council recommended updating to the […]

A mobile phone user in Dubai. The UAE has regions with poor connectivity, which Yahsat is hoping to improve

Yahsat introduces smartphone to satellite connectivity

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company – Yahsat – has launched a “direct-to-device” strategy aiming to connect smartphones and internet of things devices to satellites, irrespective of their location. UAE-based Yahsat plans to introduce voice and messaging services before expanding to texting and internet of things capabilities on smartphones by 2025, it said in a statement. […]

AI cybersecurity arab woman computer screen

Mena cybersecurity spend grows to $3.3bn to fight AI crime

Spending on cybersecurity and risk management in the Middle East and North Africa will rise 12 percent in 2024 to $3.3 billion, the research group Gartner is forecasting. The rise in spending is a reaction to the growing use of generative AI to create fake information and fake images for use in cybercrime. Shailendra Upadhyay, […]

Around a quarter of UAE and Saudi shoppers are frustrated when they are not offered free delivery

Free delivery is decisive for UAE and Saudi shoppers

Among the myriad discounts and perks offered by the Gulf’s retail sector, one factor that stands as a vital consideration for UAE and Saudi shoppers is free delivery, a report has found. A survey by the buy-now-pay-later platform Tabby found that free shipping outweighs the allure of customer loyalty schemes. In all, 29 percent of […]

Adult, Female, Person Personalised precision medicine has the potential to transform treatment of chronic and genetic diseases scientist personalised healthcare lab science

Gulf embraces a personalised approach to healthcare

The Gulf is shifting towards a more personalised approach to healthcare, but the growth of the sector faces challenges in terms of talent and data management according to experts.  Traditional medicine tends to address only the initial health issues without tailoring solutions to the unique requirements of each patient, says Vadim Fedotov, CEO of Bioniq, […]

Heading to the same store or somewhere new? UAE consumers believe companies should offer tangible rewards for their loyalty

The perks and pitfalls of the UAE’s retail loyalty sector

When customers consistently fly with Emirates or buy their daily coffee at Tim Hortons, the chances are high that they are members of a loyalty programme – and companies deploy them to ensure they return to the brand. But UAE consumers are increasingly discerning about the brands and products with which they interact.  “The direct […]

Green Data City CEO Olivier Ohnheiser and Sohar Freezone CEO Omar Mahmood Al Mahrizi sign the agreement for a data mining centre

Oman invests $210m in Sohar data centre project

Oman’s Sohar Port and Freezone has signed a land-lease agreement with Green Data City to develop a data computing centre. The facility aims to provide hosting, processing and data mining in the free zone, reported the state-owned Oman News Agency. Green Data City is a data miner, which means using computers and automation to search […]

These workers at a factory in Manama, Bahrain, could soon be enjoying a three-day weekend if the government goes ahead with proposed changes

Kuwait and Bahrain propose changes to working week

Lawmakers in Kuwait and Bahrain are pushing for major amendments to the working week, aiming to improve workers’ rights and boost the work-life balance in the two Gulf states. In Bahrain, the focus is on extending the weekend to three days: Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  “There is an urgent need to keep pace with global […]

Abu Dhabi crown prince Sheikh Khaled bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan at the launch of AI71, the company developing the large language AI model Falcon

Abu Dhabi sets up council to regulate AI

Abu Dhabi has established a new artificial intelligence council as part of efforts to regulate the technology and create research opportunities.  The Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Technology Council (AIATC) will be responsible for developing and implementing policies and strategies related to AI research, infrastructure and investments and advanced technologies in the emirate, the Abu Dhabi […]

UAE Cyber Security Council chairman Dr. Mohamed Al Kuwaiti speaks at the recent Intersec conference in Dubai. The UAE is the Mena region's leading AI developer

Mena IT spend expected to reach $184bn this year

IT spending in the Middle East and North Africa is projected to increase by four percent in 2024, as companies focus on upgrading software and embracing generative AI. Spending is estimated to reach $183.8 billion, a slight increase from $176.8 billion in 2023, according to US tech company Gartner. The use of generative AI will […]

Visitors at the 2024 Intersec safety and security conference in Dubai, where the latest video surveillance tech was on display

Saudi is ‘young market’ for video surveillance tech

Demand for video surveillance technology is expected to grow rapidly in Saudi Arabia over the next few years, industry experts have said. “Saudi Arabia is a new and young market for video surveillance, and regulations are still being drafted,” Ettiene van der Watt, regional director at Swedish manufacturing company Axis Communications, told AGBI last week […]

UAE Cyber Security Council chief Dr Mohamed Al Kuwaiti

UAE ransomware attacks decline but payout size grows

Ransomware attacks in the UAE have declined significantly but the amount of money being demanded has risen, according to the Gulf state’s Cyber Security Council chief Dr Mohamed Al Kuwaiti. Speaking at Intersec, the security and safety conference in Dubai, Dr Al Kuwaiti did not disclose specific numbers, but cybersecurity company Kaspersky has reported a […]

Vikas Chadha jumbo, dubai shops

Dubai is building bricks-and-mortar appeal, says Jumbo CEO

Dubai will remain a stronghold for bricks-and-mortar shopping despite the increased competition from online retailers, according to the chief executive officer of the UAE conglomerate Jumbo Group. “The city’s unique market dynamics, such as demand for luxurious goods, coupled with a significant tourist influx contribute to the continued relevance of physical stores,” Vikas Chadha told […]

Machine translation of Arabic has improved greatly and developers are now looking at devices that provide real-time translation

Making sense of Arabic machine translation

Some estimates indicate the Arabic language consists of more than 12 million words. While the exact figure is much debated by academics, to put it into perspective the Oxford English Dictionary contains around 273,000. Arabic “has dozens of dialects and millions of unique words, and there are many ways to say the same thing,” says […]

Chatbots are increasingly common but when complex issues arise, customers want to speak to a human being

For Gulf businesses, chatbots are a difficult conversation

In an era in which chatbots are on the rise, attempting to reach customer support often proves to be a frustrating experience in the Gulf.  My recent encounter with a prominent UAE bank highlighted this reality, as the default option of AI chatbots – a computer programme that allows humans to interact (by voice or […]

In the past two years, 73 percent of UAE organisations surveyed about data security fell victim to successful ransomware attacks

Half of UAE businesses feel at risk from data attacks

More than half of UAE businesses still perceive themselves at risk from data security threats, a new report has found. The Data Risk Management 2023 UAE report by Veritas Technologies showed that in the past two years 73 percent of organisations surveyed fell victim to ransomware attacks. That is substantially higher than the global figure […]

An actor in the process of creating a synthetic facial reanimation video, or deepfake

Reality still beats deepfake technology … for now

Technology experts are confident that artificial intelligence-generated deepfakes will not dominate or replace human talent. “It sounds tremendously fake, even when it sounds ‘real’,” Ahmad Haffar, the voice behind Dubai Metro and managing partner at Mindloop Studios, told AGBI. Deepfakes are manipulated videos, images or audio recordings created using AI. They are increasingly commonplace in […]

mobility startups UAE

Tech startups shape future of UAE mobility sector

Technological advances and evolving consumer demands are bringing massive growth to the UAE’s mobility and logistics startup sectors. Logistics startups in the Middle East and Africa raised $5.9 million in funding in December, according to venture capital firm Wamda. This ranked the sector third behind “cleantech” (technology designed to reduce negative environmental impacts) and fintech […]

Drones exhibition Abu Dhabi 2022

UAE’s drone sector flies high but challenges persist

As the drones sector in the UAE continues to grow, Microavia, a Dubai-based drone company, is using its drones to explore for critical minerals in Central Asia and Kazakhstan.  These drones, equipped with AI and computer vision technology, conduct geophysical surveys at low altitudes, providing cost-effective geological information compared with ground-based exploration. The story is […]

PayTabs is a payment solutions provider with offices across the Middle East. Its recent collaborations make it a fintech company to watch

Top 10 fintechs to watch in 2024

Fintechs are big business in the Middle East. An increasing number of financial companies are integrating technology into their services and products, meaning the market is forecast to treble from $1.5 billion in 2022 to $4.5 billion by 2025, according to McKinsey & Company. Here are 10 fintech firms to look out for in the coming […]