Dubai: Potential start-up stars and top-notch scientists from Google and Alibaba will headline the upcoming Gitex Technology Week in Dubai, opening October 14, under the theme of “Experience Future Urbanism”. Also opening on the same day is Gitex Future Stars, where more than 850 start-ups get to show their wares to 1,500 plus investors and corporate buyers.
Developers of space tech will also be on show aiming for the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre’s Innovation Cup, one of four industry-sponsored Innovation Cups.
“Advances in digital, communication, and even biological technologies aren’t just transforming the way we interact with each other, they are fundamentally shaping how we experience the city around us,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice-President Events Management at Dubai World Trade Centre.
In all, 5,000 odd firms will take up 1.4 million square feet of floor space, with more than 100,000 visitors expected to show up at the turnstiles. Speakers will include Cassie Kozyrkov, Google’s Chief Decision Scientist, who will deliver the keynote at the Gitex conference.
Artificial Intelligence will be another to share in the limelight, with Wanli Min, Chief Machine Intelligence Scientist at Alibaba, on hand to talk about how his City Brain software made Hangzhou in China the world’s first city to manage its entire public service delivery through AI. It has helped reduce traffic wait time by 15 per cent and can allow emergency responders to react within one second of an accident taking place.
More than 100 companies from 20 plus countries will display AI-led tech, which is a near 50 per cent increase on 2017. Visitors will be able to experience innovations from Dubai Police, Smart Dubai, Etisalat and Microsoft, already key players in a market forecast to be worth $1.4 billion by 2025.
Gitex Technology Week’s eight conference verticals — smart cities, retail, energy, finance, digital marketing, mobility and logistics, education and health care — will examine how tech is transforming both industry and the way of living.
This year’s event will also host experts from Twitter, Alibaba, Amazon and LEGO. Amazon’s Vice-President for Global Innovation Policy and Communications, Paul Misener, will cite examples to illustrate how the company has sustained customer-focused innovation.
The other cutting-edge technology that will be profiled and talked about is 5G, with the region expected to invest $50 billion in related infrastructure in the next few years. There will be live trials from Etisalat and du as well as Saudi Telecom Co., while Huawei will unveil its own AI strategy and host Gitex’s first 5G ecosystem conference.
The Gitex Future Stars will have a prize pool of more than Dh1 million for those who come up with the best ideas. This will include the Gitex Supernova Challenge with $180,000 up for grabs.
The event’s annual Innovation Cups are competitions run by government and industry leaders from Accenture, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM,) the Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) and King’s College Hospital, London, which ask start-ups to come up with new tech and ideas to meet the challenges posed by the government and corporate entities.
The Mohammad Bin Rashid Space Centre Space Innovation Challenge will cast its eye for the most impressive tech innovation related to space travel and exploration. Entrants will be given the chance to bag a MoU with MBRSC plus an opportunity to collaborate on future UAE government space projects. Plus, there will be $30,000 in cash available.
A first ever for Gitex
Gitex Future Stars will host Micro Mutek.ae, the electronic music festival and forming part of the show’s Creative Economy Programme. It will feature a selection of leading audio-visual artists, who will show how the intersection of music, art and innovative technology can push contemporary music and creativity into new dimensions.
Mehdi Ansari, Co-Founder of Mutek.ae, said: “The Middle East is demanding access to digital creativity, specifically audiovisual content, which is the commitment and focus of our second annual gathering. The chemistry between Mutek.ae and GFS is incredibly powerful and allows us to infuse the technology start-up scene with innovative digital artistry, which is a growing trend within the international contemporary music scene.”