Sleeping in the office with Omniyat’s futuristic plans

Ehab Shouly, marketing director and senior vice president, Omniyat Properties, talks to CW about the fusion of construction and IT, and the importance of sleeping at work.

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By  Zoe Naylor Published  July 29, 2006

|~|132int200.gif|~|Shouly says that Omniyat is planning to launch three more projects in Dubai’s Business Bay this year, and two more during the first quarter of 2007.|~|What is the background of Omniyat Properties? Omniyat Properties’ parent company, Al Masa Holdings, was set up in 1995 and evolved into a leading IT distributor for the Middle East and North Africa. The success of its core business enabled it to diversify not only into other technology-driven interests such as business solutions, hardware manufacturing, software development networking solutions, and also into real estate. Omniyat Properties was created in 2005 as the dedicated property development arm of Al Masa Holdings. The focus of the company is to utilise the years of IT experience and, with the addition of a strong property development team, combine the two disciplines in order to create some of the most technologically advanced projects both regionally and internationally. We realise that in a busy working environment it is important for everything around us to be efficient and reliable, so we strive to create not only a state-of-the-art working environment, but also a unique and creative lifestyle element that will help people to dovetail work and play all in one place, thus increasing productivity. Omniyat recently launched The Binary — what will differentiate this project from the others in Business Bay? With this project, we put ourselves in the shoes of the corporate bodies and companies that will choose to have their offices in The Binary, and asked ourselves: what do these companies really want to achieve? The answer was simple: a more productive, efficient and creative staff. Then we started looking at the negative factors that influence this and set out to overcome them. We studied the surroundings and the problems companies face in Dubai due to the constant traffic jams. We found out that employees wasted a lot of time when they left the office building during the day to run errands, so we put in features that ensured that they didn’t need to leave the building. We also put in relaxation areas to help them become more productive. We have placed a lot of emphasis on the lifestyle aspects of The Binary. Therefore we have developed a unique concept known as OYSTER, which stands for Offices Yielding Superior Targets Through Efficiency and Relaxation. This will incorporate facilities such as the Tranquility Zone, which offers an artificial beach on the roof; Nap-Shells (a closed sleeping pod for power naps); an oxygen bar and an internet café. On the ground floor there will be a Robo-Café, where a robot will prepare whatever you want with complete precision. Is this an example of the company drawing on its IT experience? The techniques that we employ in the design of the towers are entirely technology focused from start to finish. From the initial ideas stage, the building is designed with IT in mind and each project is unique in what it has to offer technologically. We fuse technology and IT with the actual building as soon as construction begins, instead of waiting for the building to be complete and then placing an IT system in it. This means that the IT infrastructure, or ‘cyberstructure,’ in each of our projects is integrated throughout the whole structure and not simply in select areas. To combat the problem of the constant need for IT upgrades we have ensured that the technology that we use can be fully upgraded with ease so that it never becomes outdated or redundant. What other projects are you currently involved with in the region? So far we have launched three projects in the UAE, but we are currently working on other developments that will bring the value of our projects in Dubai alone to US $1.3 billion (AED5 billion). Do you plan to launch more projects in Business Bay? We have a lot of faith in the Business Bay master development and think it’s one of the best master planned communities in Dubai. So we have acquired a few plots of land there, which we are currently developing. We will be launching three more projects in the Business Bay this year and a couple more at the beginning of 2007. These will include offices, hotels, and ultra-luxurious residential projects. Does Omniyat focus solely on projects in Dubai or do you cover the wider GCC? Our plan was to focus on Dubai in the first two years of our operation, then gradually move on to the other emirates and then the rest of the Gulf and the Middle East. We are currently studying two projects in Abu Dhabi and Ajman. We might launch projects in emirates other than Dubai before the first two years of our existence. Our plan is not to be the biggest property developer, but the developer of choice in the region. We are constantly looking at new opportunities in Dubai and the other emirates, and are being approached by master developers who see Omniyat as adding value to their master developments through our unique brand of high-tech lifestyle projects. For example, Omniyat is now known as the best developer of office towers in the region because we take a holistic approach to offices and put ourselves in the shoes of the end user. We have a creative approach to development that no other developer has taken. Creative design elem-ents seem to be a key feature of your projects — is this how you plan to set yourself apart from the myriad of other developers here? We plan to set ourselves apart from other developers by not only having unique designs for each project, but by offering a unique working and living environment. The design and development of the projects as a whole, both in design and infrastructure, will be completely different compared with other developers. We offer state-of-the-art technology seamlessly blended with futuristic architecture. Our main focus is on differentiation, luxury, quality and premium positioning to offer innovative products together with world-class service. As we offer a complete solution from start to finish, this is how we will set ourselves apart from other developers in the region.||**||

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