Dubai: Robotics, drones and 3D printing solutions stole the limelight as the curtains fell on the 35th Gitex Technology Week, the largest ICT (information and communications technology) exhibition in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.

Demonstrating the UAE’s role as a global hub for the latest technologies, Dubai-based DigiRobotics presented global launches of its CafeBot high-tech restaurant, with touch screen tables, robotic chefs and waitresses, and the TaxiBot driverless taxi with GPS location tracking.

The event also witnessed a number of bilateral agreements being signed with the aim of enhancing partnership and cooperation.

As part of Dubai’s aim to become the smartest city, Dubai World Trade Centre, for the first time, offered free Wi-Fi connectivity to the first 3,000 customers as part of the testing phase.

Khalid Al Hammadi, vice-president for events and services at DWTC, said that DWTC wanted to offer free Wi-Fi to the visiting customers as a pilot project.

“We made sure that 3,000 users get enough bandwidth at the same time,” Al Hammadi said.

More than 3,600 companies from over 62 countries participated in the five-day event.

“Gitex is growing from strength to strength each year. We find that the profile of visitors is improving each year, and this year has proven to be one of our most successful editions yet. We have used the event as a platform to engage and finalise contracts with public sector as well as private enterprises, and have had some extremely thought-provoking and illuminating conversations around the challenges that organisations face,” said Mohammad Areff, vice-president for MEA and Turkey at Avaya.

Best solutions

Platforms such as Gitex enable us to go back to the innovation labs with “real-world challenges”, and devise the best solutions for our market and customer needs.

“We are committed to remaining a part of Gitex in future, and will definitely be an active part of Gitex 2016,” he said.

From connected health to smart malls and digital oilfields, Omar Boulos, regional managing director for Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa, said that this year’s event has demonstrated the power of technology and the internet of things to transform the way we live and work.

As the exclusive digital transformation partner for Gitex, he said that Accenture is excited to continue to work with the Dubai World Trade Centre, and organisations in the Middle East, to help deliver solutions to convert this potential into measurable results.

Jeroen Schlosser, managing director for Equinix Mena, said that it always feels great to participate in the event.

“Our first participation was three years ago when we opened our data centre in Dubai and since then, we have only progressed. From simply recognising our brand last year to people actually coming and telling us that they would like to associate with us, we have indeed come a long way,” he said.

Andrew Lintell, director of sales and identity assurance for EMEA at HID Global, said that the event is a “technology melting pot” for the region and brings together visitors from the Middle East, Africa and even Europe, which makes it a “powerful platform for direct interactions with our partners, customers and prospects.”

Tremendous response

He added: “It has given us the opportunity to effectively interact with end users and senior decision makers to understand the challenges they face and help them with their specific requirements. We have had a tremendous response this year and are excited to return next year to showcase our latest technology innovations.”

Ramkumar ‎Balakrishnan, president for value distribution at Redington Gulf, said that the response has been quite positive. “We are seeing a change in the profile of the customers visiting us; it is more enterprise-driven this time. We are beginning to enter a period of change in the way IT is being purchased and used. However, a lot of small and medium enterprises do not really know how it will impact them. They see Gitex as a great platform to learn more about these changes and its impact,” he said.