Business investment in Western Australia has risen 35% drawing industry leaders to last week’s Conference in Perth

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25th September 2013, Perth, Australia: Last week key stakeholders gathered in Perth to discuss resource and infrastructure updates in Western Australia; this meeting of the minds has been running annually for the past 3 years at the Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre. As Western Australia’s economy is driven by the mining and construction sectors; this Conference covered the following areas – the State Aviation Strategy, Pilbara, Regional Development, Economic Sustainability and much more.

Over two days the Conference attracted over 260 CEOs, Directors, Project Managers and Consultants from government, construction and mining sectors. Nicole Lockwood, Associate Director, KPMG was a standout speaker on day one and again on day two for her contributions to the Panel Discussion. She identified that the event fostered the importance to centre dialogue about what is possible with strong governance, strategy and leadership.

Pilbara was a hot topic of discussion at the Conference; the Pilbara region covers 500,000 square kilometres in the centre of Western Australia including areas such as Dampier, Karratha, Tom Price, Port Headland, Onslow, Paraburdoo and Newman. Dr Ken King from Pilbara Development Commission discussed the 2035 plan where the Pilbara region will offer a sustainable and diverse economy. Already 4 years into making this 2035 plan a reality, numerous projects are happening in the region.

Sue McCarrey, Deputy Director General Policy and Planning, Department of Transport discussed the State Aviation Strategy for Perth Airport this comes at a time where the Western Australia’s economic growth is high, FIFO deployment is increasing and congestion and delays at Perth Airport is unavoidable. The objectives for this strategy are to support economic and social development and provide a sound framework for policy setting, future planning and investment.

Participants shared their experiences – Sonia Sinclair, CFO, Australia Cultural Heritage Management stated that she found the Conference to be a stand out, providing valuable insight to local and state projects, industries and Government. Jeff Miller, CEO, Civil Contractors Federation WA commented that the Conference enabled delegates to get the right information, from the right people in a timely fashion.

Key industry suppliers were at Conference, this included Projectlink, SAI Global, Complete Corporate Health, ACHM, C.R Kennedy, Ausco, Acciona and Humes. The Conference also hosted other vital speakers which included: Roger Johnston, CEO, Port Hedland Authority, Paul Gale, A/Director State Workforce Planning, Department of Training and Workforce Development WA, Simon Skevington, Project Director Reform, Department of Mines and Petroleum and many more.

16-17 September 2014 marks the 4th Annual Western Australia Resource and Infrastructure Conference, more details about this year’s event and updates for next year’s Conference can be found at www.wainfrastructure.com.au.

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Increased focus on the customer driving Middle East banks to innovate

Ashraf Shokry, CIO Ajman Bank at MEBIS 2012

Ashraf Shokry, CIO Ajman Bank at MEBIS 2012

In the Middle East the battle between banks to attract and retain customers is on with increasing investment into IT expected in 2014. In an environment of tightening margins and regulation challenges banks are moving from transaction-centric to customer-centric operating models to satisfy the increasing demands of tech-savvy customers with mobile banking services, data and risk management becoming key to innovation.

“The importance of creating competitive advantage and improving organizational growth through innovation cannot be understated in today’s fast changing and turbulent world”, said Paul Steenkamp, Head of FNB Innovators and Employment Branding at First National Bank (2012 BAI-Finacle Global Banking Award for Most Innovative Bank of the Year) who is visiting Dubai in October to give a presentation at the 3rd annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit (MEBIS).

“Innovation deals with helping organizations stay competitive, and in most cases outsmarting competitors in order to reach the identified plausible/desirable future”, said Steenkamp, who aims to inspire the Middle East’s banking industry with the dimensions of leadership, strategy, structure, culture, process, people and rewards that have driven innovation performance at First National Bank.

Customer-centricity is one of the topics expected to spark keen interest at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit (MEBIS) being held at the Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa on 7 – 8 October. The largest event of it’s kind in the region, over 350 senior bankers and technologists will brainstorm solutions and witness presentations and panel sessions from top executives of Mashreq Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Emirates NBD, Al Khalij Commercial Bank, Wells Fargo Bank, Standard Chartered, National Bank of Fujairah, Noor Islamic Bank, National Bank of Kuwait, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Doha Bank, Commercial Bank of Dubai and Emirates Islamic Bank.

Other international guests presenting at the Summit include Steve Monaghan, Chief Innovation Officer at DBS Bank (Singapore) and distinguished author and corporate image expert Naseem Javed (Canada).

Customer-centric banks aim to know each customer, providing better service and using specialized analytics to deepen the relationship and create tailored solutions for long-term loyalty. Big Data, which is the large volume of data being generated from day-to-day business activities, is being used to better understand clients and develop solutions that fit their needs.

Intended to drive innovative growth in the banking and finance sector the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2013 (MEBIS) has attracted record interest from vendors including event Diamond Sponsor Lexmark and Gold Sponsors Xerox, BT, Voicetrust, Seclore and Prologix which will be showcasing solutions to aid banks in the region, one of the fastest growing in the world.

“The banking vertical heavily relies on data, security and internet presence with web access to customer. Banks are going to invest in security solutions with SSL offloading, remote connectivity solutions, business continuity solutions, and most important customer experience management”, said Aditya Sahaya, Director Business Development at Prologix.

Banks IT spend is expected to increase in 2014 to remain competitive in the ever-changing market although implementing new technologies and processes is proving a complex task for banks in the region, many of which are considered underdeveloped. New regulatory requirements and rising transaction volumes is putting pressure on banks to upgrade to digital platforms and increase material IT spend.

The Middle East Banking Innovation Summit (MEBIS), organized by Expotrade Global, is an invitation-only event for senior banking professionals and technologists. The 2-day Summit will involve panel discussions, roundtable sessions and presentations focused around innovative growth and technology for banks in the Middle East region.

More information on the event can be found at: www.bankinnovation-me.com

Solar Qatar

Solar technology to meet Qatar’s energy commitments and new 200MW plant

Solar Qatar

With the aim of developing Qatar into the solar hub of the Middle East, over 200 government officials, key decision makers and invited international experts will gather in Doha this November to discuss strategies and planned solar energy projects for the region.

Solar Qatar Summit 2013 is set to take place on 18 – 19 November under the patronage of His Excellency Eng. Essa bin Hilal Al-Kuwari, President of Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation ‘Kahramaa’ which has been charged with the task of delivering a 200MW solar energy plant project by 2020. Qatar plans to generate 20 percent of its energy from renewables over the next decade and announced at last years’ United Nations Climate Change Conference COP18 that it would seek tenders for a 1,800MW solar energy plant in 2014.

Eng. Saleh Hamad Al-Marri, Head of Renewable Energy Technologies Section at Kahramaa will be giving a detailed update on the strategy and technology requirements for upcoming solar projects in an exclusive presentation at the Solar Qatar Summit. Qatar’s Minister of Industry and Energy, His Excellency Dr. Mohammed bin Saleh al Sada stated earlier this year that the initial phase of the 200MW solar programme would see pilot plants generating 5MW-10MW, with a 2012 estimated cost of $30 million.

Experts from world leading solar technology developers DuPont, BASF and NEOCIT will also be giving presentations at the Summit and showcasing solutions aimed at helping Qatar achieve its ambitious renewable energy goals. With financial resources at its disposal and one of the world’s highest irradiation rates the targets are not unobtainable, although current technology challenges involving high temperatures and dust are restricting progress. A number of international companies are now getting involved in research and development projects to address the issues.

The first phase of the 200MW solar project is expected to be tendered in the first quarter of 2014 by Kahramaa as the sole transmission and distribution system owner operator for electricity and water in Qatar. Solar energy is a main focus for Kahramaaa as it works to ensure sustainability, economic growth, social development and environmental protection as part of the Qatar National Vision 2030. Work is currently underway on the construction of Kahramaa’s Awareness Park which will demonstrate the processes of electricity generation and water desalination as well as serving as an education center for children.

Qatar has promised a carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup in 2022, which is expected to draw around half a million visitors, boosting infrastructure spending and construction across the State. Qatar is racing to develop efficient solar-powered cooling technology for stadiums, is pioneering research in solar desalination, manufacturing and supplying polysilicon solar solutions and constructing energy-efficient ‘passive houses’. As many as 2,072 photovoltaic panels and 37 inverters are currently being installed on the Msheireb Downtown Doha buildings which claims to be the world’s first sustainable regeneration in a downtown area of a major city.

Consisting of more than 20 sessions including presentations, case-studies and panel discussions from invited industry organizations such as Qatar Green Building Council, Qatar Environment & Energy Research Institute, Research Centre for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment at Masdar Institute and Qatar Electricity and Water Corporation the Solar Qatar Summit will communicate best practice strategies and opportunities for key stakeholders.

Other sponsors showcasing their solutions at the event include Conergy, Jakson, Jinko Solar, AREVA, Al Emadi Solar, Bonfiglioli, TEL Solar, Arkema, SunEdison and Greenergy Solar Industries. The event is being organized by Expotrade Global, under the patronage of Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation and with support from Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning, State of Qatar.

More information on the Solar Qatar Summit 2013 can be found at www.solarqatarsummit.com.