Dubai: The five-day Gitex Technology Week is showcasing live demonstrations of next-generation technology solutions from governments and international companies that will transform the Middle East businesses.
The 37th edition opened doors on Sunday and was inaugurated by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.
Watch: Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, visits Gitex
Spread across an area of over 1.4 million square feet, the organisers expect over 100,000 visitors from more than 70 countries to take part, apart from more than 126 speakers and 4,100 exhibiting companies which will redefine how technology can transform businesses through cutting-edge showcases, international keynotes and dignitaries from around the globe in attendance.
“Gitex remains a great opportunity for us to connect with our customers and partners and highlight how we are meeting their needs through technology-driven innovations in the cloud,” said Tarik Taman, General Manager for IMEA at Infor.
As the Middle East moves towards greater economic diversification, he said that cloud will form the fundamentals for increased competitiveness in key industry verticals as overall expenditure on digital technologies continues to rise.
“We are already seeing the digital transformation drive sweeping various industries with CIOs prioritising investment in the cloud,” he said.
Ahmad Auda, managing director for Middle East and North Africa at VMware, said that digital transformation is the top priority for Middle East chief information officers. Successful digital transformation is not a one-off IT project, but should be a continuous business journey centred on customer, consumer, and citizen experiences.
Gitex Future Stars
Entering its second edition, Gitex Future Stars has grown over 65 per cent since its launch last year. MENA’s largest and most global start-up event, it will see the latest in emerging technology from 700 start-ups that may be scouted by one of the 250 venture capitalists and investors attending the event.
GALLERY: Gitex Technology Week in pictures
Walid Faza, COO of Wamda said that Wamda shares the conviction that collaboration is the key to drive the world’s innovation road map. While corporate entities have the funding and scale to bring new ideas to life, start-ups have the agile business ideas and potential to address evolving business challenges and create new models for growth.
The start-up event will give young innovators a once in a lifetime chance to be first-movers, with funding opportunities to springboard their dreams into reality throughout the week, including over Dh1.2 million in cash and prizes across a number of competitions.
Credit: Scott Shuey
“As an organisation, we believe that entrepreneurs are critical to realising innovative solutions that can drive business and encourage concrete change. The Accenture Innovation Awards winners embody these values and expect that their ideas have the potential to make a lasting impact in the region,” said Xavi Anglada, managing director and Accenture Digital lead in the Middle East and Turkey.
“With the UAE government focused on nurturing entrepreneurs in their quest to building a knowledge-based economy, we are committed to developing an ecosystem that supports disruptive thought in the digital space. This talent will be critical in transforming ideas into viable businesses, and will ultimately redefine the way in which we look at problems,” he said.
Tom Pegrume, Vice-President of Emerging Markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa at Hitachi Data Systems, said that Middle East smart cities saw an initial rush of excitement five years ago, and are now shifting from installing the technology infrastructure to an era of Big Data analytics, gaining new insights that can enhance operational efficiencies and quality of life across transport, health care and energy.
“Central to smart city success is for governments to adopt an open data platform, which shares citywide data on a single platform. Bold governments worldwide, led by Copenhagen, Denmark, have in turn monetised this platform, with a City Data Exchange that charges for organisations and developers to access and use the data,” he said.
Moreover, he said the biggest challenge facing Middle East smart city leaders is breaking down barriers to share data between the public, private, and academic sectors.
“Smart city leaders also need to upskill staff to become data scientists and app developers to analyse city data to drive social innovation and new digital revenue streams,” he said.
Lowdown on Gitex Week
What's going on: About 4,100 companies from more than 70 countries are taking part in the 37th Gitex Technology Week
Venue: Dubai World Trade Centre
Date: Sunday to Thursday, October 7-12, 2017
What to see: This year, there will be a focus on start-up tech firms at the co-located event — Gitex Future Stars — showcasing first-movers, game-changers and dream-makers from around the world sharing in the vision of a technology-enabled future.
Watch out for: Augmented reality, virtual reality, blockchain or virtual currency, digital payments, machine learning, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, software bots, internet-of-things, smart home solutions