Renee Welsh, CEO of Embed Image Credit: Sony Thomas

A revolution is under way in the world of family entertainment centres (FECs) in the Middle East, which is transforming the way audiences engage and operators manage their businesses. At the forefront of this change is Embed, a leader in cashless technology and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. On the sidelines of DEAL 2024 exhibition in Dubai, Renee Welsh, CEO of Embed, said that cutting-edge technologies are not only enhancing audience engagement but also transforming operational efficiency across the Middle East and North Africa.

With the pace of technological advancement and the rising global trend of cashless payments, FECs face the dual challenge of meeting customer demands and optimising operations. “The reality is that guests are very demanding,” Welsh said, adding that with technology moving at such a fast pace, and cashless payments increasing globally making it easier and seamless for customers, operators need to look at how the technology is impacting their operation and improving it, as well as how to provide a seamless experience that would make guests want to come back, “which is ultimately what you want to achieve”.

Embed, which has been in the industry for 23 years, has a three-fold approach to its technology offering. “We look at how we engage the customer pre-visit, during the visit, and post-visit,” she explained. The Embed Mobile Wallet plays a central role, allowing guests to reload their cards before arrival. “The data shows that 60 per cent of customers are reloading their card prior to arrival. This early engagement enables operators to generate revenue even before guests set foot in the venue. During the visit, Embed’s technology focuses on providing a seamless experience for guests. “Once guests arrive, it’s about how easy it is for them to start enjoying themselves, playing games, and socialising. The goal is to create memorable experiences that encourage guests to spend more time and money at the FEC.

Post-visit, Embed’s STATS product offers powerful business intelligence capabilities. STATS enables operators to analyse data, personalise promotions, and drive repeat visitation. “Our BI capability enables operators to be intentional about marketing to their guests,” she added.

In the data-driven world of FECs, Welsh said Embed’s STATS dashboard is a game changer. “Data is critical to determine how a business is performing. STATS provides real-time analytics, allowing operators to make informed decisions on revenue and performance.”

Discussing the popularity of the Mobile Wallet, Renee pointed out, “There are three critical things driving guest behaviour.” Firstly, the convenience of skipping queues appeals to today’s impatient consumers. Secondly, the ability to activate game reloads before arrival enhances the guest experience. Thirdly, the security and comfort of having funds loaded into the Mobile Wallet drive increased loyalty and repeat visitation.

Embed’s Mobile Wallet received accolades, winning the Most Innovative Application of Technology at the 2023 MENALAC Awards. Looking ahead, Welsh hinted at continued innovation, focusing on hyper-personalisation and leveraging technologies like artificial intelligence to enhance operational efficiency and guest experiences.

Welsh also touched upon how the latest innovation from Embed, the SmartTOUCH+ promises to elevate the guest experience further. With enhanced features and lightning-fast performance, this cashless card reader sets a new standard for FEC hardware. “The speed of our technology is crucial to guest experience,” she said. “The SmartTOUCH+ unlocks the power of the reader in a much better way than we could before, future-proofing FECs.”

Stressing Embed’s commitment to gender parity and diversity, Welsh spoke passionately about creating a culture where all voices are heard. “We have 50 per cent gender parity on our executive team,” she said. “We encourage everyone to have a voice, and we push women to step up, even if they don’t feel fully ready.” She reflected on her role as a female CEO, acknowledging its impact on the team’s courage and confidence. “By seeing me in this position, it gives people more courage,” she explained. “It’s a byproduct of having a female CEO, and it encourages women to identify more with leadership roles.”

When asked about advice for tech companies on integrating social responsibility, especially in supporting women in tech, Welsh highlighted the clear benefits. “Female-led teams show better profitability,” she emphasised. “Encouraging diversity yields more success, avoids groupthink, and enriches product development.”

To know more about how Embed continues to lead the industry into a new era of seamless, engaging, and profitable entertainment experiences, visit