x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dyson helps to issue a dry-handed wave goodbye to dampness

Frank Kane wrote this piece with the driest, most environmentally friendly hands in the world, thanks to those dedicated people at the Edelman public relations firm.

I am writing this with the driest, most environmentally friendly hands in the world, thanks to those dedicated people at the Edelman public relations firm. Nothing seems too much trouble for them in their labours on behalf of clients.

Last week in this column, I wrote a gently sarcastic piece about a press release put out on behalf of Dyson, the British company that manufactures vacuum cleaners, among other things.

The PR had announced a brand new kind of hand dryer, the Dyson Airblade, to be installed first at the Dubai Duty Free tennis stadium. I suggested that, actually, I'd used this fearsome machine before, at Terminal 3 in London's Heathrow airport.

"You got it wrong," claimed an Edelman grandee with glee the day the piece appeared. "It's a brand new version, and much better than the old one that's at Heathrow. We'd be happy to show you the new one."

So this week at the Dome Cafe, my "office" on the Dubai International Financial Centre, a keen Edelman account manager by the name of Julie Wilder was setting up a demonstration hand drying session for me. What Ms Wilder didn't know about the Dyson Airblade V wasn't worth knowing.

"The engine makes a lower pitch sound so it's not as grating, it has a Hepa filter that kills 99.9 per cent of airborne bacteria, and it costs 97 per cent less to service and maintain than paper towels. And it dries your hands in 10 seconds," she gushed.

OK, the moment of truth. She plugged it in, waited a few minutes for warm up, then invited me to put my hands under its vents for auto-start. I was excited, I must admit. Would damp-hand misery be a thing of the past?

Quite a few heads turned as Dome waiters and customers heard the Dyson digital engine kick in. It might be quieter than the one I used in London, but it's still quite a shock to the ears.

After 10 seconds exactly, I removed my hands. They were drier certainly, but (and I apologise in advance to Dyson and Edelman for being the bringer of bad news) I still detected just the tiniest bit of dampness.

But just a couple more seconds under the air jet, and my hands were bone dry, I can happily report. What's a couple of seconds in the serious business of hand-drying? I am delighted, and grateful to Dyson and Edelman, that damp-hand days are behind me.




But PR is not always about momentous developments in the fast-moving world of hand-drying. Sometimes, the really interesting stuff doesn't get PR'd at all.

The other day, I was perusing the website of Tecom Investments, the Dubai company that runs successful ventures such as the Internet and Media City free zones as well as a string of other business parks in the emirates.

I noticed that Amina Al Rostamani has been named the chief executive of the entire Tecom operation, a promotion from her previous job in charge of the business parks.

She is a businesswoman of great skill and dedication who has been an integral part of Tecom's success story over the past 10 years, so the move is entirely appropriate. Congratulations to her.