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People Using Desktops More to Bank Online

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Despite mobile banking rising in popularity among UAE consumers, most prefer to conduct online banking through their bank’s desktop site, according to a survey conducted by compareit4me.com, one of the Middle East’s leading financial comparison site, in conjunction with RBBi. The survey, which compiled responses from almost 400 UAE residents, revealed that 36.3% of consumers prefer to access internet banking through a mobile or tablet app. However, traditional online banking proved to be the more popular option, with 42.2% indicating they prefer to access internet banking through their bank’s desktop site.

The results of the survey also confirmed that the vast majority (85.29%) of UAE consumers prefer online banking of any kind to visiting a branch, with over 80% citing convenience as the major factor in this preference. The statistics indicated that, although they show a large appetite for convenience when it comes to banking services, many UAE consumers are not yet sold on the merits of mobile banking versus traditional online banking conducted through a desktop website.

“The UAE’s banks have done a fantastic job in bringing mobile banking services to market with a vast array of innovative banking apps. But it appears that customers still view banking as a job to be done at a ‘proper’ workstation, through a desktop website. This could be down to a perception that desktop banking is somehow more secure, or it could be that consumers simply don’t realise that the majority of banking services are now available on mobile,” said Samer Chehab, COO of compareit4me.com. “If banks really want to attract more mobile users, our survey results indicate a need for greater education on the benefits of mobile banking. Concerns about mobile banking safety need to be addressed, and the convenience of having most banking functions available in your pocket needs to be pushed further.”

The survey results indicated that UAE consumers are generally satisfied with their internet banking services, with 44.4% of respondents claiming there is nothing that frustrates them about their internet banking experience. However, improvements could still be made; according to the study, 26.1% said that one frustration comes with the lack of access to all information online, while 18.3% said that online banking doesn’t give them access to the same services as visiting a branch does.

The survey also found that the majority of users (52.5%) are most likely to use internet banking for checking their account balance – something which is possible to do on both mobile and desktop online banking. Paying bills (just under 50%), transferring funds between accounts (34%), wiring money (27%) and downloading personal bank statements (25%) also featured highly on users’ lists of most likely activities to complete while banking online.

“It’s possible to complete all of these tasks via the mobile apps of the region’s leading banks. Given that our survey respondents indicated a preference for convenience when it comes to banking services, it seems strange that more consumers aren’t opting for mobile. We can only assume that users view simple banking tasks and more complex banking tasks in the same way – i.e. banking tasks can’t possibly be easy enough to complete with a few clicks on a mobile phone,” said Chehab.

Indeed, for more complex tasks, the survey indicated that users forgo online banking altogether. Almost 31% said that they were highly unlikely to request a loan or credit card through internet banking, and 43% said they were highly unlikely to use online banking for getting financial advice. Likewise, 41% said that it was highly unlikely they would use internet banking for managing their investment portfolio, while 26% said they would least likely order a cheque book online.

In terms of online banking products, Emirates NBD’s online banking service was used by the most respondents, with 27.8% claiming to regularly use the service. Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank’s online banking was second-most popular, with 17.2% share, while Dubai Islamic Bank rounded off the top three with 7.4%.

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Gaming

Microsoft to Buy Activision-Blizzard for $70 Billion

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Microsoft plans to buy the powerhouse but troubled video game company Activision Blizzard for nearly $70 billion, its biggest deal ever and one that places a major bet that people will be spending more and more time in the digital world. The blockbuster acquisition, announced on Tuesday, would catapult the company into a leading spot in the $175 billion gaming industry.

Games on virtually every kind of device, from bulky consoles to smartphones, have gained even greater popularity during the pandemic. Technology companies are swarming around the industry, looking for a bigger share of attention and money from the world’s three billion gamers.

In an industry driven by big franchises, Activision makes some of the most popular titles, including Call of Duty and Candy Crush. Yet the company has been roiled in recent months by an employee revolt over accusations of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Microsoft framed the deal as strengthening the company’s hand in the so-called metaverse, the nascent world of virtual and augmented reality. The metaverse has attracted huge amounts of investment and talent, though so far is more of a buzzword than a thriving business. Facebook renamed its parent company to Meta late last year to underscore its commitment.

But the focus on the futuristic metaverse belies the significance of the deal in the present: The acquisition helps Microsoft gain on its rival Sony in the long-running battle for gamers’ attentions and wallets by offering top titles. It also helps the software giant stay ahead of powerful newer competitors in gaming, like Amazon and Google.

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Gaming

Free Fire Announces its First Crossover of 2022 with Assassin’s Creed

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Garena has announced a new crossover event that will bring content from Ubisoft’s award-winning video game series, Assassin’s Creed, into Free Fire. The crossover unites one of the most popular video game franchises and one of the world’s most popular mobile games.

Assassin’s Creed is well-loved by gaming communities globally, and this partnership builds on Free Fire’s strategy to deliver content that excites. Free Fire players in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region can look forward to a dedicated in-game experience that will see the iconic characters from the Assassin’s Creed franchise introduced into the world of Free Fire.

The crossover is set to come to life for players in March 2022.

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Cars

Peugeot Shows Off the 9X8 Hybrid Hypercar

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Much more than a racing car, the PEUGEOT 9×8 is already an iconic object, an aesthetic and technical revolution, an ultimate design adventure. Matthias Hossann, PEUGEOT Design Director, has placed it in brutalist architecture before it tackles Endurance race tracks in 2022. This was an opportunity for the fashion and supercar photographer Agnieszka Doroszewicz, to play with the light and the concrete’s contrasts. Her photographs are a metaphor for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a mythical race in which the light changes as the hours go by.

To create the new 9X8 Hybrid Hypercar, the PEUGEOT Design team went hard out. They imbued it with all the contemporary aesthetic codes specific to the marque: a feline stance, fluid lines enhanced by signs of sportiness, sleek and structured flanks, and, of course, the characteristic three-clawed luminous signature of the Lion. Slim and sleek, the PEUGEOT 9X8 arouses emotion and embodies speed.

ULTIMATE
Designing a racing car is the ultimate dream of every automobile designer. The probability of that dream ever coming true was up until now close to zero: rather than the marque’s style and identity, performance was the prime consideration, so much so that racing cars had become morphologically almost indistinguishable from one another. The designers’ work was limited to small details and the livery.

“The PEUGEOT 9X8 was born along with the DNA of the new Hypercar regulations (LMH) wanted by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, the organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Fédération internationale de l’Automobile, presenting the fundamental traits of a PEUGEOT. This car will stand as a milestone in the history of Endurance racing.”, says Matthias Hossann, PEUGEOT Design Director.

Another distinctive sign of PEUGEOT’s expertise and style is evident in the 9X8’s cabin which is based on the marque’s characteristic i-Cockpit concept. Just as for a series model project, the care taken with the interior design was matched only by the demanding level of requirement for the exterior: the driver and the fans in front of their screens must feel as though they are in a PEUGEOT beyond any shade of a doubt. Moreover, the entire PEUGEOT 9X8 cockpit was designed to provide the highest degree of ergonomics and intuitiveness for drivers.

NO WING
The most striking feature of this concept, and one that for many sums it up, is the absence of a rear wing, which gives it its unique morphology. When the PEUGEOT 9X8 was created, a huge amount of effort was put into the rear end. Following the original sketch of a somewhat lunging car, a slightly pointed cabin appeared, along with the very particular wrap that we see today over the rear wheel.

ELECTRIC
PEUGEOT has already won at Le Mans with two cars of two different generations: the 905 with a V10 petrol engine in 1992 and 1993, and the 908 with a V12 HDi-FAP engine in 2009. Once again, it is with the technology used that the PEUGEOT 9X8 marks the beginning of a new era.

For its four-wheel-drive hybrid propulsion, the PEUGEOT 9X8 has certain similarities with several models in the PEUGEOT range, such as the PEUGEOT 3008 or the PEUGEOT 508. It combines a V6 2.6-litre twin-turbocharged 500 kW (680 HP) internal combustion engine at the rear with a 200 kW (270 HP) electric motor/generator in the front.

VIRTUAL
The PEUGEOT Design team also called on leading-edge technology. To create the volumes, the designers use 3D tools and CAD (Computer-Aided Design). With this technology, it is also easy to share files with the engineering teams. Once the volumes are in place, then comes the virtual reality stage where a virtual reality headset was used to show the complete Peugeot 9X8 to the engineering team.

NIGHT
To ensure that the PEUGEOT 9X8 is unlike any other and can be easily identified day and night by everyone, the PEUGEOT Design team added luminous components to the work on the silhouette. For the light signature, the three claws – present on all of PEUGEOT’s current production cars – was the obvious choice. Putting them on the front of the 9X8 Hypercar was not a hassle, but putting them on the rear required a lot of work. And integration of the three light claws in separate composite components created gaps through which air is extracted.

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