ITP.net’s tech 2017 round-up: May
Zomato hacked, Emaar's Mohamed Alabbar acquired two companies and Dubai Police welcomed a robot
The month opened with ITP Media Group's Channel Middle East Awards which celebrated the industry and its dedication to the development of the regional channel. The event attracted over 380 IT leaders from the vendor, distributor, reseller and retailer community across the Gulf region.
Among the retail sector, and shortly after the Amazon and SOUQ.com acquisition, talks around Emaar Properties chairman Mohamed Alabbar's Noon e-commerce site became hot news. Though talks of Noon began in November 2016 with the plan to launch in January 2017, by May it was perhaps unclear where the company was at.
In a surprise twist of events, e-commerce platform JadoPado had announced it had been acquired by a large regional business. It was later revealed that the company was in fact acquired by Emaar with JadoPado CEO Omar Kassim citing that ‘Mohammed Alabbar's vision to make digital a cornerstone of his future strategy led us to believe that this was the right call and will help propel our business to the next level'.
Kassim thereafter became the chief technology officer at Noon.com, however he shortly after quit. During the same time, sources had also revealed that dozens of Noon.com employees had been let go amid delays in the roll-out. Also during the same time period, Emaar acquired a 51% stake in fashion site Namshi for $151m.
In other news, Dubai was paving waves in new technologies. Dubai Police welcomed its first operation robot policeman called Robocop. Robocop is embedded with Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and smart technologies which makes it capable of detecting an individual's emotions and facial expressions and also has the ability to change its own expressions and greetings to put people at ease. Additionally the emirate launched its very own font, which was Microsoft's first font to be created by a city and named after it.
WannaCry made its debut in May, affecting a total of 99 countries. Cybercriminals had tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain legitimate invoices, job offers, security warnings etc., or what is known as social engineering. Though the region escaped the brunt of the attack, it was a wake-up call for organisations to patch any vulnerable Windows systems.
Apple also made headlines in May as it was the first and only company in the US to have topped the $800bn mark in market capitalisation, which was a surprise as sales in the iPhone 7 were below forecasts.
The month ended with restaurant and food delivery app Zomato fall victim to a massive security breach resulting in 17 million user records stolen. The company did reassure its customers that no financial details and passwords had been stolen.