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How 5G will lead to new network paradigms,
writes Arabian Business Community in their Newsletter.
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6th Annual Middle East
Smart Landscape Summit 2018.
new job
Vanessa Butani
appointed new Director of Sustainable Business at Scandic Hotels.
Business Intelligence
Associated Luxury Hotels International Adds Sweden’s:
Gothia Towers to Portfolio and “ALHI Convention Collection”.
big business
American Express Global Business Travel
to acquire Hogg Robin Group.
Business Intelligence
Overnight stays: Innsbruck,
the Congress and Trade Fair City, achieves record results.
meetings develop cities
Reykjavik to host European Cities Talk
on morphing DMOs Business Models and engaging the city.
business intelligence
Arctic Circle Forum
boosts Faroese MICE sector.
at a new position
Heike Mahmoud
will be the new COO at Hamburg CCH.
Business Intelligence
Global Futurist Rohit Talwar
leads agenda for IBTM Arabia 2018.
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How 5G will lead to new network paradigms, writes Arabian Business Community

The Middle East region is on the cusp of experiencing 5G technology. A number of recent developments suggest that the Middle East may witness one of the earliest rollout of the commercial 5G services, the much-awaited fifth generation telecommunication technology, writes Arabian Business Community in their Newsletter.

The UAE is likely to be the first country in the region to launch 5G services after the country’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA) recently allowed service providers to start providing pre-standard 5G services in December 2017.

The UAE’s largest service provider, Etisalat is planning to conduct advanced field trials in the first quarter of 2018. The company has been testing the various aspects of 5G and has achieved a speed of 71 Gbps in a live trial in October last year.

According to a GSMA report, the Mena region will have more than 50 million 5G connections, covering around 30 per cent of the region’s population by 2025.

Unlike the previous technologies, 5G is not just about higher speed. It brings a unique combination of ultra high-speed broadband speed of 10Gbps with a latency of less than a millisecond. This opens up a host of new use cases, including real-time monitoring, autonomous driving, remote surgery and more. When compared to 4G technology, 5G networks would be much more pervasive, offer much higher speed, and will be able to support a plethora of devices.

Given the high-speed, reach and capacity it promises, 5G promises to be extensively used in almost all business verticals. From smart cities to smart transportation, 5G will add a new dimension to living in a highly connected ecosystem, with enhanced automation, monitoring, and tracking. With low latency, 5G would further increase the use of technology in critical areas like healthcare, public security, management of city and warfare. With better reach, 5G would enable data surfing at any altitude, any terrain, crowded or secluded places.

The transition to 5G services is not without challenges. It demands network transformation to enable service providers to meet the requirements of 5G. Most mobile communication services operate in the 600 to 2000 MHz frequency band, especially Middle East countries. For example, in the UAE, 3G services operate in 2100 MHz frequency, and 4G services run on 1800 MHz.

5G, on the other hand, would require, much higher frequencies for faster speed. However, there is a scarcity of higher spectrum band in the region. According to a Deloitte paper, in UAE there is very scarce spectrum as most ranges are utilized up to 275 GHz, with more availability present at the lower bands. While initially, the telcos will launch 5G in the lower spectrum bands, they will need to leverage Carrier Aggregation to overcome the limitation of the scarce and fragmented spectrum allocation at higher bands.

Achieving sub-1 ms latency level is a key technology challenge for popularity and viability of 5G services. To achieve this response time, the device between the user and content provider has to be within a one-kilometre range. This would require substantial investment in infrastructure on servers and distribution.

There is another challenge. The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which sets the standards of telecommunication technologies, came up with the first set of 5G New Radio standards only in December 2017. The standards need to be cleared in a final vote in September 2018 in Australia. The next set of 5G standards are likely to be cleared later this year. While the recent standards have expedited the process of 5G deployment, it is also true that 4G will continue to exist along with other technologies for quite some time.

The present-day monolithic and hardware-centric networks are not capable of meeting the demands of 5G network. The all-pervasive networks of the future, which will support billions of things need to agile, flexible and easily scalable. Innovative technologies, which enable these changes will need to be implemented for the successful rollout of 5G.

Network Function Virtualization, which is based on decoupling hardware from software, brings down the need for proprietary hardware and thus significantly brings down the cost. Technologies like NFV and Software Defined Networks (SDN) provide software-based network architecture which is easy to deploy, allows faster and easier rollout of services and is cost-effective at the same time.

Heterogeneous networks (HetNets) is another cost-effective yet efficient technology that allows different telecom network technologies such as 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE-A, to work in the same ecosystem, a key feature of the 5G services. HetNets extensively use small cells to densify the network for better coverage and speeds.

The rollout of 5G services requires massive investment in infrastructure to make it a commercially and technologically viable service in the future. According to a Deloitte research, mobile operators across the Middle East will invest $50 billion in network infrastructure over the period 2017-2021, much of which will be in 4G network upgrades with a portion going into 5G trials and commercial launches. The telcos in the region will do well to explore newer technology concepts, such as NFV, to ensure that the networks are ready to turn exciting 5G use cases into reality.

 

6th Annual Middle East Smart Landscape Summit 2018

The 2018 edition of the Middle East Smart Landscape Summit will be held at the at the Sofitel Dubai, The Palm Resort and Spa, Dubai, UAE, from May 7 to 8, 2018.

Now in its sixth year, the event will bring together over 400 senior landscape and design architects, senior engineering consultants and urban planners, government and municipal officials and project developers to explore the opportunities and challenges in turning a city green.

The event programme will explore a range of industry-related topics including; adopting a landscape-driven design approach to transforming Dubai; rediscovering outdoor environment through play-spaces; building a sustainable green-blue infrastructure; and street and urban landscape architecture design.

Recognised as the only landscape-focused conference held in the UAE, the summit will also include a segment on playground equipment and structures.

Vanessa Butani appointed new Director of Sustainable Business at Scandic Hotels

Vanessa Butani has been appointed new Director of Sustainable Business at Scandic Hotels. Vanessa has broad experience from working with sustainability, corporate strategy and business development, most recently at Electrolux and before that with Plan International and Accenture. She will start her new position at Scandic Hotels in March.

– Scandic is famous for its sustainability initiatives and has had a great influence on the whole industry when it comes to reducing the environmental impact. I´m excited to be able to take Scandic to the next level of leadership within both environmental and social sustainability, says Vanessa Butani.

Scandic has worked with a clear sustainability agenda for almost 30 years and has been a pioneer in the hotel industry when it comes to setting best practices for reducing water and energy use and waste. In recent years, its focus has been on social sustainability where Scandic drives and supports projects for inclusion and integration in all of the company’s markets.

– We are very happy to welcome Vanessa to Scandic. Sustainability is integrated in everything we do and something we hold close to our hearts. With Vanessa joining the team we will further establish our position as the leading sustainable brand within and outside of the hotel industry, says Even Frydenberg, President & CEO at Scandic Hotels Group.

Vanessa will be responsible for continuing Scandic’s work to optimize its operations and reach Scandic’s sustainability goals, as well as forwarding the company’s ambitions to drive sustainability within the entire hotel industry. This includes working with sustainability in all parts of the organization and setting the strategy for the coming years.

For more information about sustainability at Scandic Hotels, visit scandichotelsgroup.com/sustainability/

Associated Luxury Hotels Adds Sweden’s: Gothia Towers to Portfolio and “ALHI Convention Collection”

Associated Luxury Hotels International (ALHI) recently expanded its worldwide portfolio, options in Europe and “ALHI Convention Collection” with the addition of the acclaimed Gothia Towers in Gothenburg, Sweden. Together with the adjoined Swedish Exhibition & Congress Centre, Gothia Towers is Europes largest fully integrated hotel, exhibition and congress facility, and one of Europes five biggest hotels. ALHIs distinguished membership portfolio features more than 250 luxury and upper-upscale hotels and resorts around the world, which are either independent or are with an independent hotel brand, and which specialize in serving meetings and incentive programs. ALHI now represents Gothia Towers to the North American and European meetings, conventions and incentive market, according to ALHIs Chief Sales Officer Mark Sergot.

With this new addition, ALHIs luxury portfolio includes 38 distinctive hotels and resorts in Western Europe; 13 in Eastern Europe; more than 150 in the USA and Canada; 33 in Asia; 13 in the Middle East; 9 in Africa; 16 in the Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean region and Mexico; and 4 in South America. ALHIs portfolio also features 23 luxury cruise ships appropriate for meetings and incentive programs, and Destination Management Companies (DMCs) in 100-plus locations worldwide.

Ideally situated in the heart of Gothenburg in the center of Scandinavia, Gothia Towers provides the perfect location for experiencing the sights, restaurants, shopping and nightlife of the vibrant city and picturesque region. Offering 1,200 guest rooms, most of which provide magnificent city views, the hotel also features 60 meeting rooms with a total of 441,320 square feet of meeting and exhibition space. Meeting options include the 21,527-square-foot Congress Hall, which can seat 1,500 guests, and a 40,902-square-foot Exhibit Hall. In addition, the hotel offers five restaurants, including Heaven 23, which provides panoramic views from the top floor of Tower 1, as well as the critically acclaimed gourmet restaurant Upper House Dining & Lounge. The hotel is just a short walk to the citys celebrated The Avenue boulevard, the Liseberg amusement park, Universeum science center, and the Museum of World Culture. Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport is only 20 minutes away

“Gothia Towers is a truly impressive hotel, with incredible meeting and exhibit space, first-class accommodations and a great location,” said Sergot. “It is an outstanding choice for large conventions but also fantastic for smaller meetings. Plus, Gothenburgs strategic location between Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm make it very accessible for groups too. We are very proud to showcase this remarkable hotel to the meeting and incentive marketplace in North America and Europe.”

Gothia Towers becomes ALHIs second member hotel in Sweden, joining Stockholms luxurious 130-room Hotel Diplomat on the waterfront of the Stockholm Harbour in the citys cultural, financial and shopping district. ALHIs portfolio also features another outstanding option in Scandinavia, with scenic Copenhagen, Denmarks Tivoli Hotel & Congress Center, offering 679 guest rooms and suites and 43,055 square feet of meeting space. The hotels impressive Tivoli Congress Hall offers capacity for up to 2,400 participants, and an additional 52 meeting facilities and two auditoriums can accommodate events of up to 5,500 people.

Gothia Towers also becomes ALHIs 30th option in the “ALHI Convention Collection,” which consists of ALHI hotels and resorts which offer 500 or more guest rooms and/or suites, at least 50,000 square feet of meeting space and one or more ballrooms of 20,000 square feet or more. Other exceptional options in this luxury brand collection include the Bahamas 3,400-room Atlantis, Paradise Island; Atlantic City, New Jerseys 2,800-room Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; Connecticuts 2,230-room Foxwoods Resort Casino and 1,563-room Mohegan Sun; Georgias 1,059-room Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center; and the 1,001-room Omni Dallas Hotel in Texas. Florida options include the 1,504-room Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 1,000-room Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando, 1,000-room Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando and 1,501-room Rosen Shingle Creek. Outstanding Las Vegas choices include the 4,004-room ARIA Resort & Casino, 3,933-room Bellagio, 3,220-room Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, 5,000-room MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, and 3,044-room Mirage Las Vegas.

ALHI, established in 1986, is the leading independent Global Sales Organization serving the meetings and incentive marketplace, providing one-call access for its distinguished membership. Hired and authorized by member properties, ALHI features a distinctive portfolio of exquisite resorts, luxurious city center business hotels, historic grand landmark hotels, lifestyle hotels, boutique hotels, luxury cruise ships and Destination Management Companies (DMCs). ALHIs 24 Global Sales offices in North America and Europe provide extensive Global Sales services, valuable expertise, local connectivity, market intelligence, and account advocacy for meetings and incentive programs of any size and scope worldwide. alhi.com

American Express Global Business Travel to acquire Hogg Robin Group

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), a leading global travel management company, has today announced it will acquire Hogg Robinson Group (HRG) PLC, a global B2B services company specialising in travel management, in a recommended all-cash acquisition of the entire issued, and to be issued, ordinary share capital. The acquisition is conditioned on receipt of antitrust and other regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.

Both American Express GBT and HRG have made significant investments in people and technology in recent years. The combined group will offer clients and travellers a more comprehensive range of travel management products and services. The acquisition is expected to:

Accelerate growth by utilising complementary footprints and solutions to provide additional benefits to clients

Create the ability to combine two advanced travel technology and development platforms to create better products and services to serve clients and travellers

Deliver synergies through cost savings and scale benefits; and

Leverage each company’s existing infrastructure and technology capabilities to maximise efficiencies across the business

View the full stock exchange announcement here

Doug Anderson, Chief Executive Officer, American Express GBT, said: “The complementary geographical footprints of each company will improve the global scale and reach of our business, enabling us to achieve efficiencies across a best-in-class platform and accelerate growth. The technology roadmaps of each business provide a powerful platform from which to drive future innovation. We will deliver a superior client and traveller experience through fully-integrated travel management solutions, including booking and expense management products.

David Radcliffe, Chief Executive Officer, HRG, said: “This transaction represents a good deal for shareholders and stakeholders. I am particularly excited and heartened by American Express GBT’s reassurance that it will be utilising the best talent and technology from within both organisations to create a truly world-class, leading-edge organisation, which will bring benefits to our clients, colleagues and supplier partners alike.”

Greg O’Hara, Chairman of the Board, American Express GBT, said: “The Board of Directors of GBT strongly endorses the acquisition of Hogg Robinson. Significant customer, operational and financial benefits are expected. This will enable the Combined Group to focus on additional value creation for customers and the marketplace, while generating new efficiency and growth opportunities for the business. I am excited at the prospect of creating a truly world class travel management company using the best available talent from both Hogg Robinson and GBT. Customers and travellers will benefit from the Combined Group’s complementary geographical footprint and technology offering. This combination will unlock meaningful value for all stakeholders.”

The acquisition is conditioned on receipt of antitrust and other regulatory approvals and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------About American Express Global Business Travel

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) equips companies of all sizes with the insights, tools, services and expertise they need to keep their travellers informed, focused and productive while on the road. With approximately 12,000 employees and operations in nearly 140 countries worldwide, GBT empowers customers to take control of their travel programmes, optimising the return on their travel and meetings investments, while, more importantly, providing extraordinary traveller care.

 

Learn more at amexglobalbusinesstravel.com


American Express GBT is a joint venture between American Express and a consortium of investors formed by Certares. The Certares-formed group includes Qatar Investment Authority, funds managed by BlackRock, Certares itself and Macquarie Capital. American Express GBT is a joint venture that is not wholly-owned by American Express or any of its subsidiaries (“American Express”). “American Express GBT”, “American Express” and the American Express logo are trademarks of American Express, and are used under limited license.

 

 

 

About Hogg Robinson Group

 

Hogg Robinson Group is a leading global B2B services company specialising in travel, payments and expense management. We help companies, governments and financial institutions manage and control their expenditure. We combine high-quality service delivered by experienced staff with the very latest digital solutions based on our own technology. Our aim is to provide superior service and technology solutions that add real value to our clients and meet their unique requirements.

 

About Certares

 

Founded by Greg O’Hara in 2012, Certares brings together a team of experienced private equity and industry professionals with deep domain, investment, transaction and operating experience. Its investing activities focus on travel and tourism, hospitality, business and consumer services.

 

 

Overnight stays: Innsbruck, the Congress and Trade Fair City, achieves record results

With 3.2 million overnight stays, more tourists stayed overnight in Innsbruck last year than ever before, as the latest tourist statistics show. Innsbruck, the major city in the Alps, is now only second to Vienna in the whole of Austria. One reason for this, according to Christian Mayerhofer, CEO of Congress Messe Innsbruck (CMI), is the strong MICE sector.

Innsbruck – Austrian tourism continued to grow by 4.2% in the summer season from May to October 2017, according to Statistik Austrias most recent survey. With 74.87 million overnight stays, Austria achieved its best result since 1993 (77.4 million). The undisputed leader is the Province of Tyrol with more than 21 million overnight stays in summer, with its capital Innsbruck recording a new record of 3.2 million overnight stays for the full year. Innsbruck comes second after Vienna in the ranking of Austrian cities.

 

Tourism location Tyrol: "Congress Messe Innsbruck an important player"

Christian Mayerhofer, CEO of Congress Messe Innsbruck (CMI), confirms that the MICE sector is contributing to this success with the wide range of cultural, sporting and leisure activities in the Olympic region. He states that major international associations and companies value Innsbruck very highly as a trade fair and conference destination, commenting: “Innsbruck is able to maintain its position as a top destination and compares favorably with international competition, not least because of its unique combination of mountain scenery and urban landscape, the short distances and excellent air, road and rail links. Im very pleased that the Congress Messe Innsbruck is an important player in tourism in Innsbruck and Tyrol and is able contribute to the pleasing development of the city as a popular destination.”

 

More overnight stays due to the many international fairs and congresses

In the spring of 2017 INTERALPIN, the worlds leading trade fair for alpine technologies, alone drew visitors and exhibitors from more than 85 countries to the city. As Mayerhofer explains: “Innsbruck and the surrounding communities were virtually fully booked on the three days of the fair.” The congress business has also had a strong presence in CMI premises in recent months. The CMI director reports that Congress Messe Innsbruck clearly reinforced its appeal on the international conference scene with the major congresses of the European Society of Thoracic Surgery (ESTS) and the International Society for Diabetes in Childhood and Adolescence (ISPAD). Around 3,000 participants from all over the world traveled to Innsbruck for the two congresses.

 

Strong seminar and conference business

In addition to the trade fairs and congresses, numerous international seminars, conferences and corporate events also played their part in attracting large numbers of visitors to the city. Werner Verocai, CMI procurator, reports: “The Cutting Pro Competition run by Tyrolit, a major manufacturer of abrasives, the Shell RED conference, road shows by companies such as UNIQA, Opel and Munich Airport, and the Partylite National Conference with around 1,000 participants are all good examples of the special conference highlights that contributed to positive overnight stay statistics.” Whether the winter season which has enjoyed a very strong start can once again beat Tyrols record last winter (over 26 million overnight stays, Landesstatistik Tirol), will be seen by April at the latest.