Visitors try out the Samsung Gear VR at the 37th Gitex Technology Week at the Dubai World Trade Centre Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Archives

Hosting more than  150,000 technology professionals, enterprise leaders, public sector officials and entrepreneurs representing more than 140 nations, Gitex Technology Week is among the world’s most influential technology exhibitions, helping game changers share a cohesive vision of a technology-enabled future. Starting today and running until Thursday at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Gitex Technology Week has constantly reinvented itself to attract the best brands in a world that is evolving.

New exhibitors at Gitex this year include Google, Amazon Web Services, Alibaba, Wipro, Toshiba, Mimecast and Emirates Digital Wallet. 

The Gitex Future Stars programme, in its second edition that runs concurrently is the Middle East and North Africa’s largest platform for start-ups and will see emerging technology being showcased by more than 700 firms from within the region.

“To win in a disruptive economy, businesses must understand how the emerging technology of today will mean valuable opportunities in the future,” says Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President, Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre and the organiser of Gitex Technology Week. “This week is dedicated to education, innovation and sharing of technology and ideas that will shape the businesses of tomorrow.” 

Leading the charge, Dr Verner Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com, the world’s largest internet company by market capitalisation, will discuss the firm’s meteoric rise in the last two decades during a keynote address. Surgeon Dr Shafi Ahmed, who used VR to broadcast surgery live to over 54 million viewers, and Ben Silverman, creator of hit TV series Planet of the Apps, are among the other names taking the stage. 

What’s in store?

A series of events at the Tech Week will see the best minds from the sector discuss and collaborate on a range of topics. The Vertical Days Conferences hosts eight dedicated power conferences covering eight key verticals, featuring industry practitioners in health, retail, smart cities, finance, transport and logistics, education, tech leadership and digital marketing will host 126 speakers across 230 sessions. 

Other events include the Gitex Student Lab Competition that explores next generation technology projects and Gitex Tech Talks, offering free-to-attend insights on advancements in technology including topics such as big data, blockchain cities and building smart and secure financial networks. 

Boost progress

Gitex Technology Week allows up and coming techpreneurs the opportunity to meet and mingle with the world’s best minds. A series of conferences promotes this stand, including the Gitex Majlis Lounge hosting exclusive programmes for 
the industry’s top C-level executives; ConneXions Lounge, allowing Gitex participants the opportunity to hold closed door meetings, and Global Source@Gitex, which lets participants and visitors access an online portal enabling buyers with live projects to find the right vendor.

Other events include Ministry Connect to facilitate exclusive meetings and connections with country delegations including China, Nigeria, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE; Gitex Live, streaming  the sights and sounds of Gitex on 53 screens on the show floor; GSM Exchange, a trading platform for mobile phone distributors, wholesalers and retailers; and XLabs: Live discussions and demos of the capabilities of augmented, virtual and mixed reality in key industries including tourism, automotive, real estate and education.

UAE in focus

Gitex Technology Week will also showcase what the recently announced government initiative UAE Centennial 2071 envisions through a five-decade plan with Area 2071, an ecosystem to design the future and bring together government teams, creative individuals and innovative companies to create solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. 

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will also showcase their soon -to-be launched self-flying taxis. 

“With projects like the flying taxis… we aim to move towards the future by bringing about increased safety standards, environmental friendly solutions and cost efficiencies at scale,” says Khaled Al Awadhi, Director, Automatic Collection Systems, RTA.

Frontier technologies

With the Middle East AR and VR market set to grow to $6 billion (Dh22 billion) by 2020, frontier technology will be a hot topic at Tech Week this year with brands of the likes of HTC showcasing HTC Vive, which it says will revolutionise the way people consume visual content.

“The region is accelerating its adoption of digital platforms, and today’s virtual reality technologies are already making radical changes to the way business sectors operate and how individuals collaborate with one another,” says Nikitas Glykas, President MEA, HTC. Other firms in the mix include VR film studio GigaWorks demonstrating its 360-degree camera technology on Gitex’s dedicated AR/VR platform XLabs and Dubai’s official Blockchain City Advisor, 
ConsenSys, providing insight into the future of blockchain technology in the region.


Extending its influence around the world, Gitex Technology Week welcomes over 4,100 exhibitors with first-time exhibitors from Finland, Georgia, Guatemala, Luxembourg, and Syria on show. We highlight some of the big contingents at the show:

 French Tech pavilion, Hall 4, Stands C436 and D410, DWTC

Upto 20 leading French tech firms will see representation at Gitex Technology Week courtesy Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy. The companies will share their expertise across a variety of fields, from 5G networks and smart cities to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.

Breakthrough French technologies on show at the pavilion include the Wistiki Bluetooth tracker, live video solutions from a smartphone developed by Plussh, as well as a personal multi-user cloud that can save data in a partitioned space via Helixee by Novathings. ARTS Energy (disruptive tech for telecom and backup applications), 2CSRI (CCTV applications) and SquareWay (cybersecurity) are spm of the other brands in the mix.

“We see GITEX to be the region’s strongest platform to share knowledge and to showcase the best in French technologies, and are offering exhibitors a tailored programme to support their development in the Gulf,” says Fayssal Majid, head of the French Tech pavilion at Business France. 

 Jetro Stand, SU- Japan, New Zabeel Hall, DWTC

It will be an exciting and eventful week for the Japanese contingent at Gitex Tech Week this year with the Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro) showcasing seven of Japan’s most successful entrepreneurs for the first time in the UAE at the show. Jetro, which facilitates business between Japan and the world, has invited renowned tech entrepreneur Paul Kenny to mentor the select group that hopes to make their mark now in the Middle East.

“This mentorship programme that Jetro has provided to these standout start-ups will be instrumental in their growth journey and in supporting them to expand the reach of their businesses in the Middle East,” says Kenny. Gitex is the region’s leading technology trade show and offers great visibility for these companies as well as massive opportunities to meet with investors, he adds.

While showcasing their innovations, the techpreneurs will also get a chance to actively engage and share experiences with their UAE counterparts as part of their business matching agenda. The seven Jetro startups attending the Gitex Global Startup Movement include I-Medex (medical sensor), Challenge (earthquake detector), Mamorio (bluetooth tag), Site Sensing (location technology), Momo (intelligent smartphone cover), Primesap (healthcare IOT) and Smartmedical (voice AI software), who have developed a product that can measure happiness levels by the tone of one’s voice. 

 Invest in Holland pavilion, Stand SR-i21, Sheikh Rashid Hall, DWTC

It will be a show of force for the Dutch at Gitex Technology Week this year. The Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) and its partners, Innovation Quarter (IQ) and Amsterdam In Business (AIB) will provide a window for investment in The Netherlands to both technology entrepreneurs and firms from the region.

“This year, at GITEX we will focus on IT security and software as well as smart city solutions offered by Dutch companies to meet the connectivity challenges of metropolitan and urban areas. This is in line with Dubai’s Plan 2021 to transform the emirate into a smart city,” says Cees Keft, Executive Director, MENA, NFIA. Dutch firms at the pavilion will include Upinion, with its latest messaging application that allows it to be in touch with its customers and seek and get answers in real time, and technology firm Munisense, offering a smart city solution for water management and that deploys an end-to-end system for remote water management. The system also monitors water quality, volumes, and flow in combination with precipitation and evaporation.


What: Gitex Technology Week
Where: Dubai World Trade Centre 
When: On till Oct 12; Oct 9-11: 11am-7pm; Oct 12: 11am-5pm
Entry: Online one-day ticket: Dh115; online five-day ticket: Dh250; onsite one-day ticket: Dh60; onsite five-day ticket: Dh315
For more visit Gitex.com