Seven tech start-ups to watch in the Middle East
Dubai might be the start-up hub of the Middle East thanks to its abundance of accelerator programs but there are plenty of tech start-ups throughout the rest of the region. Here are seven technology companies in the Middle East that you need to watch.
This sports technology company based in Lebanon has developed a product that allows swimmers to track their heart rate, calories burned and more to increase training optimisation. In the past it’s been difficult to track a swimmer’s activity, the challenge has been creating a device that’s both accurate and waterproof. Instabeat is the first waterproof device that connects to a swimmer’s goggles to provide accurate tracking and feedback.
This interesting app gives users are idea of how strangers and friends might perceive them. Instead of getting people to post anonymous feedback about you, the app turns it all into a game. The goal is to bridge first impression gaps and breakdown stereotypes. In a way, it performs as a dating app but the idea is to get people connecting over interesting questions that are difficult to answer on appearance alone, such as favourite band.
This taxi app was one of the first to achieve funding through Gaza’s only start up accelerator program – Gaza Sky Geeks. It’s been described as ‘Uber for the Middle East’ although users have to be connected to Wi-Fi to find a ride.
Wasselni face dramatically different challenges to most young companies — poverty, travel restrictions, and a limited infrastructure damaged even further by last summer's conflict between Israel and Hamas. Despite these challenges, Gaza's start-up movement is gaining a lot more attention.
This is a platform that allows people to connect with local doctors and access top-notch medical information. It focuses on making information easily accessible and understood. Its team of in-house editors and independent doctors help curate information so users can find what they need quickly and easily. With its comprehensive approach and varied content formats, Sohati proves online medical references that are simplified and accessible to anyone, anywhere.
This is a service that allows people to learn anything and teach anything. It was born out of a need to learn little things like setting up a fish tank, as well as the larger need for entrepreneurs to learn further business skills. It all works on a skill-swap basis that allows people to get stuff done for free in exchange for their skills or favours.
This is a mobile-only classified site that mostly deals with car sales. Despite the Middle East having cheap fuel and big roads, car buyers are still price conscious when it comes to buying a car. This mobile site allows people to find prestige vehicles at low price points.
This service helps Muslim travellers to find halal food while flying, manage daily prayers and also helps travellers perform their annual Haj to Mecca/Medina.
This kind of innovation is just going to continue to grow in the Middle East with more and more funding becoming available to new technology businesses.
GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud
GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.
In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade.
“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.
Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.
By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.
One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.
“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.
Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs.
“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.
The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment.
The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.
One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.
“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.
“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client.
“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”