Google’s video chatting app Duo is available in the UAE.
The app is Google’s answer to other popular video calling options, such as FaceTime, Skype and Facebook Messenger.
7DAYS.ae downloaded the app via the Android and Apple stores and tried it out between phones running off the different operating systems.
Duo isn’t much different from the other VOIP services, except that it gives a glimpse at who is making the call, helping the recipient decide whether to answer. Google calls this feature, “Knock, knock”.
Using the app is quite easy and works smoothly on both iOS and Android smartphones. It only needs a person’s phone number to connect and start a video call.
The video and audio quality is quite clear as well. However, the connection is dependant on the internet connection.
Some VOIP services, such as Skype, have been restricted in the past by telecom service providers in the UAE, who are concerned about the impact on their profits.
Google has been offering video calling through its Hangout feature for several years, but the internet company is now tailoring that service for business meetings.
Duo is being billed as a simpler, more reliable way to see friends and family as you talk to them.
Uber in the UAE has launched cash payment for its service.
The passengers will now get an added payment option in the app, so they can choose whether to pay by cash or card.
Uber will roll out the new cash feature gradually across the UAE.
The testing phase started this week in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
There are only a handful of places around the world where cash payment is an option for Uber users.
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Qatar already have the cash option and UAE is the seventh country in the MENA region to introduce cash.
Here’s how to switch between payment options:
1.Open the Uber app and tap set your pickup location
2.Switch between ‘CASH’
3.Or ‘CREDIT CARD’
4.As your payment option
5.Request your ride
UAE brand The Change Initiative is closing down after four years of operations.
The brand sent out a newsletter stating that it is to hold a closing down sale. It added that the store and the cafe will close on September 15, 2016.
The sale at the store, located on Sheikh Zayed Road in Barsha, has begun, with up to 90 per cent off.
The Change Initiative statement said: “After four years of helping residents discover a more sustainable, responsible, cleaner, healthier, ethical way of living, unfortunately, we will be closing down our retail operation. The current retail climate makes it impossible for us to financially sustain our business.
“The brand won’t disappear, however, we will focus our efforts into expanding our distribution department.”
The Change Initiative management has yet to respond to a request for further details.
Relocation firms say they are seeing their busiest summer in years as families return to their home countries, with some citing redundancies and the cost of living among the reasons.
The arrival of summer and the end of the school year is often a convenient time for families to leave if their time in the UAE has come to an end.
But some of the largest moving firms said they have seen a spike in business this summer.
Curt Clements, CEO of Move One, said the company has seen “an unusually high amount of expats leaving the UAE and the region in comparison to past years”.
He said: “This is about three to four times more than normal. The top 10 movers in the country would probably have packed out a 100 to 150 families per day in June.”
Earlier this year, Dubai Statistics Centre said the cost of education had risen almost 5 per cent in the first three months of the year, compared to the same period in 2015. Then in June, Dubai and Abu Dhabi rose in Mercer’s global ranking of the world’s most expensive cities to live in.
Clements said: “We are seeing an abnormally high amount of downsizing, where the family go home and the father or mother stay in Dubai and travel back monthly.”
Clements said that those coming into the UAE tend to be younger, single employees. “We are seeing a different mix of transferee,” he added.
Mike Arnold, from Santa Fe Relocations, told 7DAYS the number of leavers is up 20 per cent, with the UK, France, Australia and the US the top destinations. He said the number of incoming expats is 40 per cent of what was seen last year.
Meanwhile, Crown Relocations saw a 40 per cent rise in enquiring about moving in the first six months of the year. The firm’s number of actual moves rose by 25 per cent, suggesting some chose not to go after all.
General Manager Mark Neave pointed to “an erosion of disposable income”.
He said: “We have seen a trend of people leaving Dubai in recent months that have lived here for twenty years or more, as prices have increased over the last few years.
“There is also a trend for some companies to relocate their younger, single and more mobile employees overseas as this does reduce expatriate costs such as housing, schooling and visas.”
Chirantan Joshi, CEO of E-Movers, has also seen increased demand, but pointed out that the UAE is a transient country, and it is inevitable families will move on.
He said: “There are a lot of people here on projects, like in construction and teachers, who come on two year contracts.
“And a lot of these contracts are not renewed or negotiated.”
‘Claims of an exodus are overblown’
The CEO of one recruitment and HR firm has said many firms are still hiring and rumours of an “exodus” are exaggerated.
Trefor Murphy, CEO of Cooper Fitch in Dubai, said although the oil and gas industry has taken a hit, there is still strong demand for professionals in the UAE.
He said: “There is a huge amount of talk of an exodus from the UAE, I am not subscribing to this. As I go to DIFC, malls… etc, it’s a bit quieter but I think they are being frugal and minding their finances.”
He also said a “massive inflow” of firms into the UAE in the past three years would inevitably cool off.
Murphy said there are opportunities for young professionals and that many firms are looking for fresh blood with “different experience”.
How many of us have lost our smartphones or have come home to a flooded apartment, having to dish out thousands of dirhams as a result? Despite that, very few UAE residents buy home and personal belongings insurance policies.
Home insurance can cost you as low as Dhs19 per month, and can protect your property, belongings and home contents from very common accidents that we’re all exposed to here in the UAE.
MoveSouq.com and Qatar Insurance Company have shortlisted five very common accidents that a standard property, home contents and personal belongings insurance can cover:
You can get cash back if you crack your iPhone screen. Personal electronics such as phones, laptops and cameras can be insured under a ‘Personal Belongings Insurance’ by your insurance provider. As long as you have declared the value of your phone upfront in your policy, with its serial number, the next time you accidentally drop your phone, contact your insurance provider and they’ll reimburse you the replacement cost of your screen.
Stolen smartphone or laptop
Losing your phone or laptop comes with significant woes as you’ve lost your contacts, valuable photos and documents. But at least there can be some relief if you’ve insured them. With a simple police report reporting the theft of your phone or laptop, your insurance company will reimburse you for the value of your items. This coverage is also worldwide – so you’re covered if your phone, camera or laptop is damaged or stolen on holiday. Declare your items upfront when you buy your policy with their serial number, and you’re all set.
Accidental house fire
As much as you think “that’ll never happen to me”, house fires are one of the most common claims for home insurance in Dubai. Only a few days ago, a fire ravaged Sulafa Tower in Dubai Marina. In 2015, there were 188 fires in residential units in Dubai, that’s one fire every two days.
Cigarettes, unattended candles and electric fires can put your homes at risk. A standard property insurance can reimburse you for the repair costs, and also provide you with alternative accommodation while repairs are being made.
Burst water pipes
Burst water heaters and leaking pipes are a common maintenance issue in Dubai. A recent report showed that up to 80 per cent of Dubai apartments complain of maintenance issues each year. If there is any damage to your furniture or floors from an exploding water heater, burst water pipe, or leaking water hose, your property and home contents insurance can cover it, as long as your furniture has been declared in full when you purchased your policy.
Flooding from the rain
Thunder storms in the UAE have left many residential and commercial units flooded in its wake. A home insurance policy will protect your property from flooding and the damage caused. You can expect to be reimbursed for your repair costs, and also get alternative accommodation while repairs are taking place.
BlackBerry has launched its new DTEK50 Android smartphone that delivers security, privacy and productivity.
DTEK50 is BlackBerry’s second smartphone powered by Android, following the PRIV.The device is equipped with Android Marshmallow 6.0, and offers full Android experience in an all-touch design.
In a recent survey of Android smartphone users, BlackBerry revealed that two-thirds of Android smartphone users are somewhat or very concerned about the security of data on their mobile device.
DTEK50 encrypts all users’ information, including business critical data and personal data such as pictures, videos and contacts. Malware protection is also built-in along with back-up, wipe and restore capabilities.
Here’s a video of some of the key features on the phone:
Additional software provides users with visibility and control over which apps get access to personal info or device features such as the microphone or camera.
Security features include:
– Rapid Security Patching: BlackBerry has a record of being the quickest to deliver security patches, setting the bar in incident response and patch management to protect your device from malicious threats.
– DTEK™ by BlackBerry App: Enables users to automatically monitor their OS and apps to know when their privacy could be at risk and to take action to improve it. The DTEK app also tracks applications and notifies you when someone is: taking pictures or videos without your knowledge, turning your microphone on, sending a text message, or accessing your contacts or location.
– Hardware Root of Trust: BlackBerry’s manufacturing process uses a proprietary technique that adds security from the start, allowing for the tracking, verification and provisioning of DTEK50.
– Secure Boot Process: Starting with the root of trust, each stage of DTEK50’s secure boot chain must first verify that the next component is fully intact before proceeding, ensuring your device has not been tampered with since the last restart.
– Android OS hardening: BlackBerry provides additional security patches, improved random number, address space generation and certificate pinning to make it more difficult for attackers to target a device by scrambling application/system memory.
– FIPS 140-2 Compliant Full Disk Encryption: Protects your private information, like pictures or bank information, from being stolen if you were to lose your phone.
Other features include:
– BlackBerry Intelligent Keyboard: DTEK50 has a smart keyboard designed to learn from users and increase typing accuracy and speed. It provides word suggestions as you type and includes up to three languages, letting you flick them into place for faster conversations.
– BlackBerry Hub: This unified inbox is an irreplaceable tool for consolidating all of your messages in one place – whether it’s email, calendar, social or phone calls.
– Customisable BlackBerry Convenience Key: With the press of a button, the Convenience Key provides quick access to your most used applications and more.
– Expandable Memory: With support for micro SD cards up to two TB, DTEK50 provides the flexibility to add affordable and hot-swappable memory to download, install, capture and share as your needs evolve.
– Camera: DTEK50 is engineered to deliver professional-looking photos with an 8MP front facing camera and a 13MP auto-focus rear camera. Plus, features like Phase Detection Auto Focus and a dual-tone LED flash are designed to help the camera focus instantly and accurately for blur-free, realistic looking photos, even in low light.
DTEK50 is expected to be available in the UAE and KSA in the coming weeks from leading retail stores and will be available at a suggested retail price of Dhs1,199 and SAR 1199.
The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) has signed a marketing deal with leading German tourism firm TUI.
The deal is seen as a major coup to help strengthen Ras Al Khaimah’s position as a major tourist destination with the German market.
“Germany remains a key source market for Ras Al Khaimah and this prestigious partnership with TUI will further strengthen our distribution base and highlight our distinctive product offering to potential German visitors,” said RAKTDA CEO Haitham Mattar.
Mattar, who is masterminding a plan to attract one million visitors per year by 2018, added: “The cooperation will raise awareness of Ras Al Khaimah as a premier leisure destination by leveraging our core product pillars of genuine Arabian experiences, heritage, great beach resorts, adventure tourism and diverse natural landscapes.”
Mahpar Azarpira, head of TUI’s partner marketing, said: “Ras Al Khaimah is a destination with great potential for Germany.”
One person was injured in an explosion on Tuesday in the Al Maskan building in Karama.
A Dubai Civil Defence spokesman said the blast was caused by a leak from a gas pipe located in a restaurant in Karama at 7am.
“One person was injured. We managed to control and extinguish the fire within five minutes,” they added.
Eyewitness Steven Elleroa said:“I heard an explosion at 6.50am, the entire building shook and there was smoke everywhere.
“There was damage all around but police were here within 10 minutes.”
Allan Lopez, who works in nearby business Farm Fresh, usually opens at 7am but was still waiting to get the all clear from the authorities at 9.30am, such was the level of damage caused by the explosion.
Durga Yadav, the security guard at the building who works for Service Plus, was the first person to raise the alarm.
[shareprints gallery_id=”87820″ gallery_type=”masonry” gallery_position=”pos_center” gallery_width=”width_100″ image_size=”small” image_padding=”5″ theme=”dark” image_hover=”false” lightbox_type=”slide” titles=”true” captions=”true” descriptions=”true” comments=”true” sharing=”true”]Speaking to 7DAYS, he praised the emergency services for their prompt response, saying they were on the scene within minutes.
Another female resident of the building, who asked not to be named, said she thought it was an earthquake.
Surveys and financial forecasts have predicted salary increases for UAE workers – but many readers are questioning whether they will ever see such hikes.
The Willis Towers Watson Salary Budget Planning Study is based on 6,500 responses from firms in 100 countries, including the UAE. It says business owners predict giving their staff an average salary hike of 4.6 per cent for 2017, and will up wages by 4.9 per cent this year in the UAE.
A similar survey of 600 large firms in the GCC by Aon Hewitt last September found a similar planned rise for 2016, including 5 per cent in the UAE.
RELATED: Good news for salaries in the UAE
And while some may be fortunate to see such a raise, the firms and employees that 7DAYS spoke to have their doubts.
Dilip Khatwani, CEO of Dubai-based facilities management firm Reliance FM, said small businesses are feeling the squeeze. He said: “Our margins are shrinking, however, commercial rents are increasing, there’s an increase in petrol and parking.
“We do intend to give pay hikes to keep our team energised but the increments cannot be the same as previous years.”
Louis Miles, a business owner in Dubai, wrote on the 7DAYSUAE Facebook page that rising rents also make salary increases hard to manage.
He wrote: “My shop’s rent just went up another 10 per cent this renewal. Also as of this year we have to pay 15 per cent tax upfront (to DIP) in order to get the Ejari, which is required to renew the trade licence and all our government transactions.”
He added: “Our customers rent their own apartments leaving them with less spending money.”
And some residents said they have even had to take a pay cut to keep their job.
Facebook user Naeema K said: “My salary, instead of increasing, has decreased. My employer said that they need to cut costs.”
The Willis report found that in the Middle East, Lebanon will see the highest increase in pay at 5.4 per cent in 2017, down slightly from 7.1 per cent predicted this year.
For 2016, the study found Zambia had the lowest – at minus 13.6 per cent for 2016.
North America, home to two of the largest economies in the world, was due to see a rise of just 1.6 per cent for 2016, the study said.
The chairman of The Emirates Group has described the challenges that conflicts in the Middle East pose to airlines operating in the region.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum was speaking as the aviation holding firm, which counts Emirates Airline and ground services firm dnata among its subsidiaries, posted record financial figures on Tuesday, making more than Dhs8 billion in profits for the first time.
Sheikh Ahmed said the firm’s performance is impressive given the challenges. He said: “Be it Paris, Brussels or Yemen, geopolitical situations do affect our business. For example, our route to Seychelles or to an African destination was changed because of the closing of Yemen air space.
“We have to take a longer route, we cannot control these situations. Today we fly to Beirut in three and a half hours – which is normally a two hour and 45 minute flight. The effect is certainly there and we have to continue to deal with it.”
Sheikh Ahmed said that companies affected by the drop in oil prices have made cutbacks, which has had an impact on Emirates.
He said: “Our drop in revenue is due to the low oil prices and seat capacity decline as companies are downsizing first and business class travel.”
Last year 11,000 new employees joined the group’s 80 companies, bringing the staff figure to 95,000. Emirates flew 51.9 million passengers last year. In 2016, 36 new aircrafts will be added to the fleet, 26 will be phased out.
Sheikh Ahmed continued: “Emirates and Dnata are competing on a global stage and can’t afford to be complacent, that’s why we invest in world-class facilities, modern aircrafts, improving our product and developing our people.
“At Dnata, we expect to fully integrate operations of our new acquisitions through our partners at Amsterdam airport… ground service in Brazil acquired in December 2015, Italy ground handling and in America.”
Falling oil prices, the strong US dollar and countries employing protectionism are among the major challenges that the Emirates Group will face in the year ahead.
Sheikh Ahmed said: “Looking at the year ahead, we expect that the low oil prices will continue to be a double-edged sword – a boon for our operating costs, but a bane for global business and consumer confidence.”
He added that the strong US dollar, in particular, against major currencies will remain a serious challenge.
“As will the looming threat of protectionism in some countries,” he added. “However we enter the new financial year with confidence.”
He went on to add: “Our profits show that our investment in private services and in our people continue to pay off. “We are investing so much of our profit back into the business.”