GITEX Tech Week
Will this year's GITEX Tech Week be able to bring back the zest from the previous years? Image Credit: GNTECH

2020 will be remembered for many things, but the year has also been a tipping point for technology. The pandemic has already accelerated digital adoption by a shocking seven years, according to a new McKinsey survey of executives. The next developments in our sci-fi future will be displayed in Dubai this week, when GITEX Technology Week 2020 becomes the world’s only major live, in-person tech event to be held this year.

Scheduled to take place from December 6th to 10 th, 2020 at the Dubai World Trade Centre with strict coronavirus safety and hygiene guidelines, the show will also showcase Dubai’s smart city achievements while welcoming the UAE’s first major Israeli business delegation.

The venue has certification from the Bureau Veritas SafeGuard, which verifies its compliance with the highest hygiene standards. In line with local health regulations, visitors can expect to wear masks, to have their temperature taken and to be asked to maintain social distancing.

Beyond that, GITEX is expected to be business as usual – or indeed, as close to usual as possible. The tech community is certainly out in force at the event, putting the latest post-pandemic gadgetry on show and hoping to finish the year on a high. Over 1,000 exhibitors from 60 countries have confirmed their participation, including tech majors, start-ups and government agencies. Another 200 investors and venture capitalists promise to attend, as do another 350 speakers – including comedian John Cleese – across different platforms. And some 50,000 global delegates will be able to connect with each other and interface with events using an AI-enabled show app.

“GITEX has received outstanding support from the global technology community to realise the only live technology event of the year. It's an unequivocal testament to the wider confidence that our business partners have in Dubai and the UAE,” says Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority and Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Nirmal Kumar Manoharan, Regional Sales Director at the enterprise IT software firm ManageEngine, says he hopes simply to catch up with customers and partners. “While technology has been a net positive for our operations, we certainly did feel the economic and psychological impact of the pandemic. Though the situation is still unpredictable, our participation is a way to communicate our commitment to our customers.”

Four other shows are co-located with GITEX Technology Week this year, including the start-up event GITEX Future Stars, cybersecurity seminar GISEC, the Future Blockchain Summit and Marketing Mania. Together, they form one giant conference spanning 10 tracks from artificial intelligence, smart cities and future mobility to education and healthcare.

With the inaugural UAE-Israel Future Digital Economy Summit on December 7, the week also forms the backdrop for the first event in the UAE to welcome an Israeli delegation since diplomatic relations between the two nations were normalised. Ministers, policy wonks and business leaders from both nations will share their innovation roadmaps at the event. The summit will anchor four days of meetings for a delegation of 200 Israeli entrepreneurs, scientists and bureaucrats to the UAE. Annual trade between the Israel to the UAE could reach $4billion, Israeli ministers say.

But GITEX 2020 will also highlight Dubai’s smart city ambitions. “GITEX Technology Week is an ideal opportunity to get a closer look at international smart city trends and explore best practices and success stories in the sector,” says Younus Al Nasser, Assistant Director General of Smart Dubai, and CEO of the Dubai Data Establishment. The initiative will present Dubai’s use of advanced technologies to make people’s lives easier and happier, while tackling the effects of the pandemic. “These services have demonstrated their effectiveness in addressing global challenges such as the COVID-19 outbreak, where they offer solutions to curb the impact of such crises on various sectors.”

If there’s a test case for events in the #newnormal, GITEX Technology Week 2020 will be it.

GITEX Tech Week 2020: What you need to know

When: Sunday December 6 to Thursday December 10.

Time: 11am to 5pm (Day 1); 10am-5pm (Days 2-4)

Cost: Individual tracks cost Dh250. All-access costs Dh1,000 but the Israel-UAE summit is extra.

Where: Dubai World Trade Centre

Contact: 800DWTC (3982) or