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MEA Startups Gain Traction at AIM Startup 2019

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Over 100 startups and young companies mostly from the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) convened at the third edition of AIM Startup which runs in conjunction with Annual Investment Meeting, held in Dubai until the 10th April. Being held under the theme ‘Harnessing Global Digitization to Empower Startups and SMEs’, AIM Startup witnessed the participation from several MENA companies including Darajtee, 360 Moms, Tarteeb, Takalam, Akyas from Kingdom of Jordan; Wakoo, E-pill Box, Go Diving, Ideabot, Diabetic Wound Detector from State of Kuwait; and Telpay, Zayr, Adeeb Kids, Pocket Carage, Fastmovers from Oman.

In addition, companies from Lebanon included Formidable Industries, Groovy Antoid, Neotic, Lemonade Fashion, Lexyom and Augmental. Mutamer, Pick Logistics, Maya Clinics, Vigorous Antelope participated from Riyadh – Saudi Arabia and Firnas Aero, Bab Makkah, Men Wall, Tagit Games, Passioneurs from Jeddah – Saudi Arabia. Countries participating from Egypt included the likes of Garment IO, Epic VR, WideBot, ZeroPrime Can Waste, and VoXera, whereas the UAE witnessed the presence of companies as INVOIZ and several others.

These companies were selected during a roadshow pitch competition held in the region. The selected startups now have the opportunity to participate in the final pitch competition, where the best innovative minds in entrepreneurship will emerge as the winner of the annual competition and receive $50,000 seed money to support their project on the last day of the event.

While 360 Moms focused on its unique bilingual content and mamas reward cards, Men Wall- a local brand of Saudi Arabia provided shaving and grooming products made out of organic products through a subscription model. A spokesperson from the company stated, “Start-ups are doing well in Saudi Arabia and the government is offering the right support. We are here at this platform to raise funds worth 300000 riyals.”

Another highlight of the competition was Taklaam- an app developed to help individuals who suffer from stuttering. The app makes use of an internal speaker and a hidden microphone, permitting individuals to speak more clearly. In addition, INVOIZ, a UAE based-mobile app that encourages the use of e-receipts over paper was another highlight of the event.

In addition, Augmentalan educational platform that uses artificial intelligence, Zayran online platform that helps travellers connect to local experiences and BabMakkah, an online platform that provides authentic and high-quality products from Makkah were some other key participants at the event. At AIM Startup’s third edition, Khalifa Fund is also showcasing its innovative services and financing solutions for national SMEs.

Mouza Al Nasri, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Khalifa Fund, said: “KFED is always keen to participate in such important events to interact with various stakeholders and meet local entrepreneurs and owners of innovative SMEs. Our participation in this year’s edition of AIM Startup is aligned with our commitment to engage with Emirati entrepreneurs and help nurture their potentials, falling in line with our endeavours to create a more sustainable, innovative, and integrated society in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”

Dubai South was another exhibitor at the global forum. Shoeb Alrahimi – Vice-President of the Business Park at Dubai South said, “80 percent of the companies with Dubai South are SMEs and to support SMEs in the aviation sector we also waived fees for this segment. Our aim is to support young companies and our participation at the event is a testament of the same.” AIM Startup has over the years been counting on the continued support of the public and private sector to provide much-needed tools in learning and networking platforms for investors and entrepreneurs.

On the national level, the support comes from National Program for SMEs and Projects, Sheraa, Sharjah Business Women Council, Khalifa Fund, Dubai South, Wamda, Abu Dhabi Global Market, and many more. From the international level, AIM Startup is highly supported by BIAC, Wadi Makkah, Monshaat, Mohammed bin Salman College and in partnership with Korean Trade Association, Indian SME Chamber, Switzerland’s Solar Impulse Foundation, and Brazil’s Mango Venture.

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Events

Meta Connect 2022 Date Announced

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Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and Founder of Meta announced on his Facebook account the official October 11 event date for Meta Connect 2022. In the same post, the CEO also added a new image of Project: Cambria, the long-awaited follow-up to the Meta Quest.

Meta Connect, formally Facebook Connect, is an annual online showcase event highlighting the firm’s technology updates and roadmaps. Last year’s event was exceedingly notable because the Menlo Park-based firm publicly rebranded itself as Meta for the first time.

The event also saw Meta refocusing away from its social media foundations, moving the firm towards immersive Web3 technology and software. The Menlo Park-based firm set out its goals to create new XR technology and claim a foothold on the Metaverse.

The popularity of Metaverse technology has sky-rocketed thanks to last year’s Connect event. During the showcase, the firm introduced its vision of the Metaverse as an immersive social space where users can work and socialise.

Since the event, the firm has debuted its Horizons Metaverse globally. The Menlo Park-based also uses the fledging service as a testbed where budding immersive developers can design and distribute Metaverse content. The firm also supports Horizon developers with a series of XR funds and boot camps.

Meta Connect, formally Facebook Connect, is an annual online showcase event highlighting the firm’s technology updates and roadmaps. Last year’s event was exceedingly notable because the Menlo Park-based firm publicly rebranded itself as Meta for the first time.

The event also saw Meta refocusing away from its social media foundations, moving the firm towards immersive Web3 technology and software. The Menlo Park-based firm set out its goals to create new XR technology and claim a foothold on the Metaverse.

The popularity of Metaverse technology has sky-rocketed thanks to last year’s Connect event. During the showcase, the firm introduced its vision of the Metaverse as an immersive social space where users can work and socialise. Since the event, the firm has debuted its Horizons Metaverse globally. The Menlo Park-based also uses the fledging service as a testbed where budding immersive developers can design and distribute Metaverse content. The firm also supports Horizon developers with a series of XR funds and boot camps.

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Gadgets

Bytedance Reveals Full Pico 4 XR Headset Specs

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Pico Interactive has revealed in a tweet on Thursday its upcoming Pico 4 headset along with a series of specifications for the head-mounted display (HMD).

The tweet shows the following features along with updates on the company’s website:

  • 5300 mAh high-capacity battery
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 processor
  • Adreno 650 graphics processing unit (GPU) and 8 GB of RAM
  • Ultrawide pancake optics with a 105-degree field of view (FoV)
  • Colour passthrough mixed reality (MR) visuals
  • Motorised Interpupillary Distance adjustments of 62-72 millimetres
  • 4K+ Super-Vision Display of 4320 x 2160
  • 6 degrees of freedom (DoF) with submillimetre positioning and millimetre tracking accuracy
  • High-Fidelity spatial audio
  • Hypersense haptic controllers with vibrations from 50Hz to 500Hz
  • Weighing at just 586 grammes with its strap included, the standalone device can also tether to gaming PCs for top virtual gaming experiences at 90Hz refresh rates and 1200 pixels per inch (PPI).

Pico’s SLAM infrared optical positioning system also taps the headset’s visual sensors for tracking body positions and movement for added precision. Additional features include a PICO motion tracker with 3DoF positioning for monitoring legs, arms, and other body placements for lifelike motion capturing.

Pico’s PICO OS 5.0 will also integrate TikTok social media posting for communication and updates with online friends in real-time, along with sharing VR video feeds. The software’s Pico Video app will also provide avatar-based VR concerts, 6DoF interactive films, theatre, live interest, and other experiences.

The OS will also include Sports Centre, which leverages the company’s CalSense fitness algorithm for accurate calorie management and workout routines. It will also provide data statistics, workout plans, and social workout connectivity with other users.

The Beijing-based firm will launch for purchase across South Korea, Japan, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and many other European spots, but has not yet pinned a US release date and aims to open sales in Singapore, Malaysia, and China at later dates, according to reports. According to resellers, the device will cost £379 and £449 for the 128 GB and 256 GB models, respectively.

The news comes after Pico teased audiences with fresh announcements on the Pico 4 via TikTok and YouTube, noting that the upcoming headset would likely target consumers and enterprises. Formerly titled Project Phoenix, previous data from US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) filings revealed the standalone device used an Android Q OS and Qualcomm processors, among others.

Pico also released its Neo3 Link headset in late May for £399, with preorders shipping in early June. The headset has been widely seen as a direct competitor to the Meta Quest 2, with the most recent device challenging Meta Platform’s upcoming Meta Quest Pro, or Project Cambria enterprise-level headset.

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Gaming

World War 3 Launches in Open Beta Test in MENA and Turkey on September 29th

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The 4 Winds Entertainment (T4W) announced the launch of the open beta of their first major game World War 3 in MENA and Turkey. The open beta is a major milestone for the team involved, which first starts with a switch to a free-to-play model on Steam, but also the launch of the MENA servers, full localization in Turkish and Arabic including voiceovers, and a handful of local currencies supported.

World War 3 launches in Open Beta Test (OBT) starting September 29, with a head start for Closed Beta Test owners on September 26, together with a new content update, a reworked Smolensk map, and a transition to a free-to-play distribution model on Steam.

Developed by The Farm 51, World War 3 is a tactical online multiplayer FPS where the world is your battleground. Outgun the enemy in thrilling, team-based skirmishes with a vast arsenal of weapons, vehicles, gadgets, and drones at your disposal.

“As T4W, our approach to this game, and every upcoming project we have in development, is to use games as a cultural bridge between underserved regions and the rest of the world.” Said Steven Huot, CEO of The 4 Winds Entertainment. “We wanted to make sure local players experience the game to the same extent as any global one, with the inclusion of local servers, localized content.”

With World War 3, the studio has combined its signature tactical gameplay and playable realism and worked hand in hand with the team at The 4 Winds entertainment to create in-game customization options that resonate with the regional players including an initial batch inspired by modern Turkish and Arabic militaries.

The game is rated GCAM 18+, NMC 16+, PEGI 16, and ESRB T for Teen.

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