Dubai: The UAE is driving the world of technological innovations with game-changing initiatives such as the first fully 3D printed office building and the Dubai Future Endowment Fund, which dedicates Dh1 billion to support innovative projects in the Emirate.

With cutting-edge technology at the heart of this global city, Dubai has inarguably become the world’s gateway for tech transformation.

Information and communications technology spending in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is forecast to reach $110.94 billion (Dh407.38 billion) this year, registering a year-on-year growth of 5.1 per cent, which puts the 36th edition of Gitex Technology Week at the centre of a thriving global ICT economy.

The five-day event, taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre from October 16, under the theme “Reimagining Realities”, will redefine how technology can transform businesses through cutting-edge showcases, international keynotes and dignitaries from around the globe in attendance.

“Gitex is at the global nexus of trade and technology innovation, with the UAE government a leader in using technology to transform daily lives and businesses. Gitex is the single most powerful and influential sourcing platform for tech solutions and innovations in the region,” said Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice-president for exhibitions and events management at DWTC.

Building on the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Gitex aims to shine a spotlight on Arab and international innovation and entrepreneurship through this weeklong showcase of global force, uniting young innovators from around the world to share, learn, experience and build lasting partnerships.

The show is gearing up to host the largest start-up event in the region, and the most global showcase in the world.

At the Global Startup Movement, more than 400 start-ups from 60 countries and over 1,000 entrepreneurs will gather in Dubai to sell and learn. While the UAE will be represented with 85 start-ups, 79 per cent of start-ups will hail from the rest of the world.

Fourteen government-led start-up delegations will attend the Global Startup Movement, including the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, and the US. Egypt, Hungary, Japan, Morocco, and Oman will bring start-up delegations to the GCC for the first time.

In the Gitex “Strut-Up” Pitch Competition, start-ups will go head-to-head to take home $160,000 in prize money across categories including Best Startup, Best Arab-led Startup, the Best Women-Led Startup and the Best Youth Start Up.

Over 200 investors and influential tech investment executives from Silicon Valley, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, including SoftBank Group International, 500 Startups, Accel Partners, Golden Gate Ventures, Middle East Venture Partners among others will arrive in Dubai to explore, discover, evaluate and potentially fund some of the most promising start-ups with a particular eye on regional talent. The illustrious funding ventures of these investors include global giants Facebook, Dropbox and Spotify among others.

Inspiring and empowering entrepreneurs, the Out-Talk Conference will host keynotes from start-up experts such as media mogul Troy Carter, who catapulted pop icon Lady Gaga and John Legend to global fame, now Global Head of Creator Services for digital music service Spotify; Evan Burfield, Co-Founder of start-up incubator and seed fund 1776; and venture investor Christopher Schroeder who recently wrote “Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East”.

Government entities from various Emirates are also showcasing their latest services and apps to improve citizens’ lives.

This year, the Smart Dubai Office is bringing a first-of-its-kind city experience to the event. By bringing together partners from public and private sectors, Smart Dubai is offering visitors a true smart city experience.

All participating entities will be showcasing smart services and solutions that are making Dubai a more efficient, seamless, safe, and impactful experience today, contributing to Smart Dubai’s citywide vision to become the happiest city on earth, powered by smart technology.

Wesam Lootah, Chief Executive Officer at Dubai Smart Government, said that Dubai is a global nerve centre connecting and setting new standards for Smart Cities around the world.

“The UAE government aims to demonstrate best practices in innovation — from network infrastructure and mobile citizen services, to signing game-changing public-private partnerships. Gitex provides the one-stop-shop for government leaders to exchange best practices in Smart Cities innovation,” he said.

Sharjah’s Department of eGovernment (DeG) has announced that it is hosting a workshop to bring together 30 of the emirate’s departments.

TRA will display its most recent innovations — including 12 projects employing the most advanced technologies for various purposes, including human and social development, health, education, and security, among many others. These projects help improve people’s quality of life and enable them to experience happiness, satisfaction, and comfort — all while hastening the nation’s smart transformation process.

Abu Dhabi e-Government, through the participation of 21 government entities, is preparing to showcase its array of digital achievements and innovations.

Abu Dhabi e-Government’s fifth consecutive participation at Gitex is organised by Abu Dhabi Systems and Information Centre (ADSIC) and coincides with the tenth anniversary of the launch of the Abu Dhabi e-Government.

Across a space of 1.4 million square feet, organisers expect over 100,000 visitors from 150 countries to take part, apart from 4,000 exhibiting companies and 230 speakers.

The key speakers at the event are Dr. Phyllis Schneck, the chief cybersecurity official at the United States Department of Homeland Security; James Barrese, former CTO at New Money company PayPal; Aseem Puri, CMO at Unilever; Paul Clarke, CTO at Ocado, the world’s largest online grocer; Dr. Rafael Grossmann, the first doctor to use Google Glass in live surgery; Keith Kaplan, CEO of Tesla Foundation; Robert Scoble, a San Francisco-based technology expert, among others.

LohMirmand said that technology is no longer limited to the IT department — every industry needs to understand how digital transformation can drive competitiveness, from cloud-based mobile apps to robots, drones, and 3D printing.

Omar Boulos, regional managing director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa, which will serve as Exclusive Digital Transformation Partner, said that the digital space is evolving at a rapid pace, and organisations need to understand how they can best leverage digital technologies to support their organisations.

He said that Accenture will be sharing global and regional best practices and insights into how to harness the power of digital, particularly smart technologies that have the ability to transform how each and every one of us lives and works.

“The UAE government has made strong progress in taking citizen transactions online. The next step of digital transformation has the potential to make the UAE a global leader and innovator in economic competitiveness, citizen happiness, and environmental sustainability,” said Tayfun Topkoc, Managing Director for the UAE at SAP.

Shinichi Wakita, Managing Director, Panasonic Marketing Middle East and Africa said that the show is the ideal platform for us to showcase our industry-leading products and solutions that help reinforce business efficiency.

“We are bringing exciting technologies and path breaking products that will make perfect ‘BusinesSense’in the field of visual display, smart communications, and surveillance solutions,” he said.

Baher Ezzat, Middle East Regional Director at Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, said that Gitex continues to be an imperative event in the region for those working in the IT industry and for businesses that are in search of the latest and most-advanced technology products and solutions.

“We look forward to showcasing how we can help companies connect networks and transform businesses, helping them reimagine realities and implement technology that is easy to use and cost-effective,” he said.



What to expect

• Panasonic will showcase for the first time outside of Japan, its latest innovation BalloonCamTM, combining a drone and large balloon for recording mega-events and close interactive customer experiences. It will also showcase products that make perfect ‘BusinesSense’in the field of visual display, smart communications, and surveillance solutions.

• Samsung will take reality to a new level with the mission to set the world record for the most participated virtual-reality coaster.

• Huawei to showcase its latest product innovations from cloud data centers, developments in the software-defined networking (SDN) space otherwise known as Huawei’s Agile Network, digital banking, smart hotels, to other solutions that are digitally transforming businesses.

• Condo Protego will give insights and demonstrate with leading global vendors the latest flash storage and cloud-based data management and cybersecurity solutions to reduce costs, scale for growth, and drive revenue.

• The TRA’s booth will present a smart engineering building model through a virtual reality device and will demonstrate ways to operate green buildings that run on clean energy. The virtual reality section will feature a game area for visitors while the augmented reality techniques such as reading a book in a projector and browsing through the book’s pages without lifting or moving them physically through an ‘Optic Centre’. It will also display the second phase of the ‘Taghtia’ initiative which aims to measure the quality of network coverage in developing areas of the country to address consumer complaints concerning weak signals and fulfil their expectations.

•  The TRA will also present the Drones for Good Award and the UAE Artificial Intelligence and Robotics for Good Award. The award gives Dh1 million for the winner in each competition for the national category and $1 million for international winner.

•  Sharjah’s Department of eGovernment (DeG) will provide details of its latest applications for Sharjah, including digital links between government departments to increase connectivity and improve the flow of information, and high-level cybersecurity systems to effectively protect and secure data during storage, retrieval, and transmission.

• Microsoft will showcase its HoloLens augmented reality headset, the first fully self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to interact with high definition holograms in your world.

• The two-day (17 and 18) GSMA Mobile 360 Series will cover the latest innovations developing in the region while outlining specific topics such as 5G, Connected Living, Identity, IoT, Privacy and Security. Attendees will hear from thought leaders from across the region and representatives from the largest MNOs, the most influential technology suppliers and industry movers and shakers.