5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit concludes successfully

Keynote session in progress at the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015

Keynote session in progress at the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015

Dubai, September 17, 2015: The two-day Middle East Banking Innovation Summit featuring 20+ presentations, over 30 speakers and more than 450 attendees came to a successful closure on Tuesday. The 5th edition of this summit reiterated its position as the leading platform in the Middle East region for the bankers to engage in idea sharing on trends and technological innovations driving the industry. The summit commenced with premium sponsors Visa, Schneider Electric and IBM welcoming attendees to see the latest developments, develop new business opportunities and discuss pressing industry issues and challenges.

In tandem with the growing trend, Nilanjan Ray of NBAD’s opening address highlighted the growing need for banks and financial institutions to innovate and shared insights on the emerging payments landscape. Taking the discussion further on payments was Paul McCrea of Visa, who took the audience through the company’s strategy in developing innovative products and services. Placing a strong emphasis on innovation, he emphasized on how the payments industry has witnessed an unprecedented change with the introduction of new form factors.

Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead, Visa MENA, added, “Visa envisions a future where connected devices define the way people shop and pay, and that is what we have attempted to create with the connected car proof-of-concept, which was demonstrated at the Summit. In fact, we see a future where consumers can seamlessly make many of their everyday purchases from a ‘connected car’, such as petrol, parking, transit tolls, and drive-through purchases.”

Jonathan Duncan from Schneider Electric spoke on the data center infrastructure management and the benefits banks stand to gain from a connected infrastructure. On the other hand, IBM’s Naveed Minhas highlighted the importance of a digital studio and why banks need to leverage and deliver digital transformation.

The Day 1 panel discussion on Smart Payments Strategy was led by Amru Kotb of Cryptomathic and included inputs from industry experts Noor Bank’s Ehsaan Ahmed, Dubai Islamic Bank’s Dr. Haroun Dharsey and Gary Collins of Westpac Pacific.

Ziad Youssef, Vice President of ITB, Gulf Countries, Schneider Electric said: “In this digitally-driven age, financial institutions are expected to securely storage critical, sensitive data, be available round the clock, and efficiently leverage IT to deliver quality customer service at the touch of a button. Effective management of complex IT systems is thus a crucial component to the overall functioning of such institutions. To address these needs, Schneider Electric was happy to present our suite of datacenter solutions to the regional banking industry. The Middle East Banking Innovation Summit (MEBIS) 2015 was an excellent platform to highlight our value-add, and share hardware and software innovations which can develop enterprise in a strategic way.”

Westpac Pacific’s Gary Collins during his session elaborated on the need to innovate and design mass market product and payments in developing markets. Kartik Taneja of Standard Chartered Bank, explained the changing landscape and trends in the payments industry, supported with statistics and two noteworthy case studies on mobile wallets. Sessions on day 1 included speakers from Sestek, Collinson Group, Appello, Intellect Design Arena, CSC, Backbase and Entera as well.

Pedro Cardoso, Head of Multichannel and CRM, Emirates NBD kicked off Day 2 Summit with an extremely interesting session on addressing UAE’s success in digital payments. Apart from sharing remarkable insights on the payments industry in the UAE, he also launched the bank’s first social media banking product at the Summit. Called Social Banking, this service allows Emirates NBD customers to access their account and make transactions using Twitter’s direct mail service.

Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “We are thrilled by the response we have received from our sponsors and delegates and would like to extend our heartfelt appreciation for their support. In its fifth year now, the summit has grown tremendously in size and relevance. Over the course of two days, the summit covered pertinent industry topics, addressed emerging trends and provided a platform to showcase innovative offerings and solutions targeted to the banking sector.”

This year’s edition of the summit also featured an Innovation Lounge that provided 40+ sponsors and partners an opportunity to present their technological solutions. Additionally, the summit also offered two days of unrivalled networking opportunities that proved to be extremely valuable to the attendees.

Haadi Raad of Visa, Spinney’s Paresh Buch; Emirates NBD’s R. Sivaram and Sameer Soliman of Network International participated in a panel discussion on how digital payments is displacing cash in the real and virtual world. The panel discussion enabled an in-depth conversation and gave delegates valuable insights on the payments industry.

Day 2 sessions included speakers from Comarch, Infrasoft Technologies, Oberthur Technologies, IMTF group and SAS speaking on boosting customer engagement with wearables and beacons; banking in the digital world; fighting e-commerce fraud; transforming compliance burdens into business benefits with digital onboarding and addressing customer’s unspoken needs.

The event was appreciated by attendees, with senior delegates commenting favorably at its close. Renee Tannous Loca, Vice President – Strategic Planning, First Gulf Bank, said, “The summit showcased interesting content from great presenters. The panel discussions showed how groups can work together effectively. It has been a fantastic networking experience.”

“A very well-organized and efficiently run event. The summit had a range of informative speakers from a cross-section of banking and technology sectors.” said, Mr. Andrew Baxter, Managing Director – Global Markets e-commerce, NBAD.

Mr. Anand Narayanan, Head – Demand Management and Project Delivery, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank said, “The participation was impressive. It was nice to see an innovation element demonstrated by most of the technology service providers. I look forward to this event next year as well.”

The Summit came to a close with a lucky draw that saw four winners take home exciting prizes ranging from a set of Sennheiser headphones, a priority pass offering access to 700 airport lounges across the word, an iPad and a 2 nights’ stay at Sofitel, Palm Jumeriah, Dubai.


2015 & beyond: How Visa is driving the future of payments

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA (Central Europe, Middle East and Africa), describes how Visa is breaking new grounds with its vision to keep consumers connected in a global village by constantly developing and innovating fast and simple ways for everyone, everywhere, to be pay and be paid easily and securely.

Imagine being stuck in traffic after work, and hungry, wondering how long it will be before you can get home and prepare dinner. Familiar? Now what if the car you were driving allowed you to order your dinner – and pay for it – AND notify the store to keep your food ready for when you whizz by. Sounds like something in the future? Not quite. What you just read is the Connected Car commerce experience that Visa, in conjunction with Pizza Hut and Accenture, unveiled at the World Mobile Congress (WMC) in Barcelona earlier this year. Led by Visa, the “Connected Car commerce experience” combines cutting-edge payment security and payment convenience with mobile and wireless technologies that turn an ordinary vehicle into a frictionless mobile payment machine.

For those of you who attended the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit in Dubai this September, you would’ve experienced the Connected Car for yourselves.

While the connected car concept is based on being able to order food on the move from a fast food restaurant, Visa Checkout – one of the components of the connected car concept – can work in many other every-day situations such as fuel, parking and vending machines.

Visa’s commitment to innovation is driven by the need to uphold Visa’s vision of building digital acceptance structures globally. With the expansion of eCommerce and new technologies, consumers want convenience and security when purchasing their goods. Visa Checkout – a recent Visa innovation – does just that.

Visa Checkout is a quick and easy payment service to pay for goods online, on any device, in just a few clicks. Since its launch in the US in July this year, response has been exceptionally positive.

We polled people who had actually used Visa Checkout and 95% of them felt it was very easy to transact with it and 96% felt it was very secure[1].

Visa Checkout is 22% faster than a traditional online checkout process. We believe because of the ease and convenience, conversion rates from customers who browsed to those who bought those items are 66% higher than when they use traditional payment methods. Coupled with the fact that an average Visa Checkout average transaction size is 7% higher, these all point to how people will use a technology that makes sense to their needs and which in turn increases online and mobile sales for merchants.

We recently launched Visa Checkout in both the UAE and South Africa, and apart from our other global markets, there are plans to roll out the service to seven additional markets within the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) region in 2016. More issuers around the world are also offering Visa Checkout. In the UAE, for example, Mashreq, Emirates NBD, Majid Al Futtaim Finance, Dubai Islamic Bank, and Emirates Islamic Bank are all offering Visa Checkout to their cardholders to enable fast, secure online shopping from anywhere.

While Visa Checkout is making strides in new markets, another of our new innovations – Visa’s Token Service – is fast becoming a global standard for enabling digital experiences. Launched in September last year, the Visa Token Service aims to keep online and mobile payments safe and seamless. Tokenization replaces sensitive payment account information (such as the 16-digits found on plastic cards) with a digital account number or token. Allocating a token or unique code to an online or mobile payment reduces the risk of fraud because the technology in its simplest terms does not allow sensitive data to pass through Visa’s secure network.

Partnering with device players is critical to enable simple payment experiences. Visa’s Token Service underpins Apple Pay and Samsung Pay – neither of these two innovations would be what they are without tokenization. It’s the finest example of security by design.

In addition, Visa Token Service makes it simpler for issuer banks to launch their own mobile payment service. We’re excited about the potential of Visa Token Service powering digital payment experiences, and have already started supporting our partners in CEMEA, starting in the UAE, in their tokenization journey. Through our work with several issuing banks across the region, consumers will be able to use their mobile devices securely and conveniently for in-store payments, whether through their bank’s own mobile apps or eventually third party wallets.

More recently, we announced Visa Digital Enablement Program (VDEP), which builds on our secure Visa Token Service technology and adds a turn-key, toll-free commercial framework. The program connects Visa issuing banks to current and future digital wallet providers without the need to directly contract with a multitude of different vendors.

Through VDEP, financial institutions, merchants and technology companies can drive growth through a simple, scalable commercial construct with no pass-through fees between technology partners and financial institutions. Google, with its Android Pay payment solution, is Visa’s first international program partner in VDEP.

In August, Samsung also joined VDEP. By joining this program, Samsung will be able to ensure financial institutions can offer Samsung Pay in a convenient and scalable manner, which will ultimately help accelerate the availability of Samsung Pay for consumers around the world.

Visa transactions initiated from a consumer device using Android Pay or Samsung Pay will work at any merchant that accepts Visa payWave contactless payments. Issuers will need to sign the VDEP Agreement to use the Visa Token Service to participate in Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and other third-party solutions as they become available, or to enable their own issuer-branded mobile payment apps.

With the expansion of Visa’s Digital Solutions, where does that leave the humble credit card? Could plastic be facing extinction? While the Visa Token Service and Visa Digital Enablement Program are paving the way for electronic payments, many consumers to date still rely on plastic for in-store payments.

While plastic cards are still the main way people transact electronically, the humble plastic card has also evolved. In-store payments are changing with the greater acceptance of contactless payments. Our research indicates that Visa payWave contactless technology is 60% faster than chip signatures and 42% than using a PIN[2]. Contactless payments are growing at triple digital rates in several CEMEA markets, and popularity is growing. For example, Visa payWave already represents 20 percent of transactions in Georgia.

Visa is striving to find the balance between scalability and simplicity. As part of our commitment to innovation, Visa is constantly analysing the market to create products and services that meet the changing needs of consumers. At the same time, however, innovation is not about being bigger and better than our competitors but about continually making the payment journey simple and safe for our customers. Creating a product that adds value to a customer’s life is what dictates how we innovate at Visa.

[1] Millward Brown Visa Checkout Customer Experience, March, 2015; commissioned by Visa. Based on data from an online survey of 1,241 U.S. consumers.

[2] Study by The Leading Edge, commissioned by Visa and conducted in 2010 in the Metropolitan Sydney area, Australia.

5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit Starts Tomorrow

Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Keynote session in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Dubai, September 13, 2015: The stage is set for the 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015, the largest banking technology summit in the region, with Visa as the Title sponsor. The summit draws together the who’s who of this industry for intense discussions on ideas, trends and innovations that is driving the Middle East region’s banking industry. Over 450 participants from across the GCC are expected to attend the two-day summit that is set to begin tomorrow at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa in Dubai. With the core agenda to discuss and influence the growth of the banking technology landscape in the region, the summit will bring together global perspectives that will shape the industry.

The day 1 session of the summit will begin with Mr. Nilanjan Ray, Managing Director – Global Consumer Banking, NBAD’s address on Trending Themes on Innovation: Where do Banks Stand?, that will be followed by a series of sessions and a panel discussion on Smart Payments Strategy that will involve Amru Kotb, Senior Vice President – MEA, Cryptomathic; Dr. Haroun Dharsey, SVP- Head of Technology & Projects, Dubai Islamic Bank; Ehsaan Ahmed, Head of GTS and Corporate Strategy, Noor Bank; Gary Collins, Head Mobile Banking, Westpac Pacific and Jassim Al Tamimi, Head of Payment Solutions & Business Innovation, Commercial Bank of Dubai.

The day 2 session begins with Pedro Cardoso, Head of Multichannel and CRM, Emirates NBD focusing on UAE’s Success in Digital Payments. The panel discussion, sponsored by Visa will focus on Today’s Smart City: How Digital Payment is Displacing Cash in the Real and Virtual World, involving panelists Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Payments & Innovation for Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA), Visa; Paresh Buch, Regional Finance Manager, Spinney’s; R. Sivaram, SVP – Head of Retail Assets and Cards Business, Emirates NBD and Samer Soliman, Executive Vice President – Product and Innovation, Network International.

Over the course of the two days, the Summit will feature more than 30 key banking and technology influencers, including top names such as Paul McCrea, Vice President, Head of Products, Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa (CEMEA), Visa; Jonathan Duncan, ITB MEA Director for Integrated Solutions & Data Center Applications, Schneider Electric; Gary Collins, Head Mobile Banking, Westpac Pacific; Naveed Minhas, Banking Industry Leader MEA and Turkey, Global Business Services, IBM; Amol Shah, Head of Bancasurrance Products, Consumer Banking Group – FGB and Kartik Taneja, Global Head – Credit Cards, Standard Chartered Bank, to name a few.

The Summit is supported by more than 40 sponsors who will showcase their product innovations and solutions at the Innovation Lounge, making it a hub to collaborate with industry peers and connect with other like-minded people in the industry.

More information about the summit can be found on the event website at http://www.bankinnovation-me.com/

Exploring GCC’s Banking Growth Opportunities at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit

Panel discussion in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Panel discussion in progress at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014

Dubai, September 8, 2015: The 5th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2015 is one of the region’s largest banking technology summit, which is all set to take place next week in Dubai. The summit has been boosted by Visa as a Title Sponsor. Featuring some of the most influential and notable minds in the banking and technology industries globally, the summit will explore how the region is leading the evolution of banking. In all, over 450 delegates will be gathered on 14 -15 September 2015 to identify opportunities, develop strategies and learn how to tackle the challenges in this domain.

Marcello Baricordi, General Manager UAE and Global Accounts Lead Visa MENA, said, “The financial system is at an interesting crossroads today, as traditional banking is expanding across multiple levels of engagement. At Visa, we understand that innovation is at the core of this evolution, which is why we are focused on providing our financial clients with the tools to understand and adopt new technologies that enable innovation and a progressive banking environment. We are pleased to partner with the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit this year and look forward to gaining and sharing insights into how the banking sector can navigate through these changes and further our goals for advancing groundbreaking innovation in the industry.”

An eclectic mix of topics pertinent to the banking industry are in the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit’s session line up this year. Over the course of two days, the summit will feature presentations and panel discussions from over 30 industry experts who will focus on some of the latest technological innovations that is set to revolutionize the banking industry and will offer a perspective on the trends and developments witnessed in this industry. The summit also presents two interactive discussions by a panel of experts on the future of the payments industry.

Ahead of the Summit, Mr. Brad Hariharan, Regional Director, Expotrade Middle East, said, “The Middle East banking industry is evolving tremendously and in the face of such transformation, our summit will be a platform for regional and international heavyweights to address challenges and showcase the latest innovations that will boost the banking industry in the region.

In addition to Schneider Electric and IBM as Diamond and Platinum sponsor respectively, the summit has more than 40 sponsors and exhibitors who will be showcasing a range of innovative solutions designed to help the banking industry and significantly improve efficiencies at the Innovation Lounge.

Ziad Youssef, IT Business VP – UAE, Gulf Countries, Schneider Electric, said,One of our focus areas is to build a strong network in the banking sector and we believe that for Schneider Electric, a company committed to developing sustainable energy management solutions, this forum is the perfect opportunity for us to share our knowledge, product offering and solutions. Today, every organization no matter how well established, is searching for better ways of optimizing their resources and how they can transform their Data Centre infrastructure to a more smart, responsive infrastructure – one that they can relate to, communicate with and grow with minimal expenditure. As Schneider Electric, we propose not to alter an organization’s entire Data Centers, but to provide extremely convenient solutions that boost productivity and reduce operating, capital and maintenance expenditures over a period of time.”

The summit hopes to accomplish how technology has played an instrumental role in changing the banking landscape in the region.

Mr. Naveed Minhas, Banking Industry Leader MEA and Turkey, Global Business Services, IBM opined, “As we know it, banking is at the tip of a digital disruption and transformation. Digital has the potential to create value and if not done well, even destroy value. How does a bank embrace digital in a manner that maximises value and deliver meaningful customer experiences? I am looking forward to meeting the attendees at the conference, listening to their challenges and sharing our point of view on how a Digital studio can address the region’s Digital Banking agenda.”

Global conference producers, Expotrade organize the two-day Middle East Banking Innovation Summit that will be held on 14th and 15th September 2015 at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa, Dubai.

More information about the summit can be found on the event website at http://www.bankinnovation-me.com/

How Big Data is Supporting the Smart City Boom

Panel discussion in progress at Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

Panel discussion in progress at Arab Future Cities Summit Dubai 2014

The global internet population grew 18.5% this year, with 3.2 billion people being connected to the internet globally this year. With the popularity of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube, the volume of data generated on a daily basis is astronomical. Facebook, the most popular social media platforms globally, has a subscriber base of over 1.49 billion monthly active users. What might have earlier been a herculean task to measure and analyze the massive avalanche of information available from these sources, is now simplified with the help of big data.

Now, consider this in the real world. Presently more than 50% of the world’s population are living in cities across the world and this number is further expected to increase. In the face of this rapid urbanization, the exponential amount of data generated in these cities is definitely astounding. Given this, governments, now, more than ever, have realized the need to equip themselves to become the city of the future. With governments across the globe collaborating with private companies to harness the power of Information Technology, the concept of smart cities has seen an incredible rise. We have seen how cities across the globe are integrating cutting-edge technological solutions and services to their existing infrastructure to improve governance and provide a more efficient system. Seamless conjunction and real-time sharing of information between a city’s key operations that include healthcare, infrastructure, education, transportation, utilities such as power, water and waste management, emergency services such as fire and police is pivotal to create the city of the future.

Equipped with this colossal amount of data generated, cities have the opportunity to leverage the power of cloud, big data and Internet of Things (IoT) to manage the data arising from multiple sources, beef up their services, and adopt a Smart city approach that will not only empower citizens but also significantly improve their quality of life on a daily basis. According to an industry report, a staggering $8.8 billion is spent annually by the global smart city technology market.

In the Middle East, Dubai is leading the way in becoming a smart city. Touted as the fourth most popular city in the world, the city is expected to receive about 14.3 million international visitors this year. To meet with the growing demand of visitors and with the Expo 2020 win for Dubai, the government of Dubai has invested heavily in ramping up its infrastructure. The Dubai government has earmarked AED 3 billion, during this year, to implement smart city projects as part of its vision to become one of the smartest cities in the world. Undertaking initiatives that link city administration, public safety, education and health care under three core pillars of Smart Life, Smart Economy and Smart Tourism, the Dubai government is setting a new paradigm for smart city implementation.

Connecting people, data and processes through the Internet of things, the Dubai government will generate information in real-time that will provide tremendous value and help boost the productivity of the city’s multidimensional operations. Data management and analysis will promise greater effectiveness and significantly increase the operational efficiency of all citizen centric activities. In fact, recently, the Dubai government also signed an agreement with Barcelona City Council to share their best practices for creating smart cities.

Dubai’s smart city initiatives and strategies will be discussed at the two day Arab Future Cities Summit, held under the patronage of Dubai Municipality, on 2nd and 3rd November 2015 at Sofitel, The Palm Resort & Spa. City municipality heads along with leading regional and international industry experts will come together to throw insights and delve deeper into the opportunities available in making Dubai a smart city by 2021.

You will find more about event details at http://www.smartcitiesdubai.com/

-by Mr. Rohan Sharma, Head of Sales, Expotrade Middle East