A wide range of high-profile launches and tech news announcements have taken place at GITEX Technology Week 2012, further cementing the event’s position as one of the world’s leading information and communications technology (ICT) gatherings.
Organiser Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) estimates that 1,000 launches will have taken place when the 32nd edition of GITEX closes on October 18 tomorrow.
Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President at DWTC, said: “This year has been hugely encouraging in terms of the sheer volume of deals, previews, partnerships and announcements. We continue to build on our reputation as a go-to destination for global brands to unveil their latest, cutting edge technologies, not only to the region but also the world at large.”
One of the most talked about partnerships of the week came courtesy of Ajman Free Zone Authority (AFZA), one of the United Arab Emirates’ largest tax-free business parks, and Google. Google Apps is now set to provide productivity and communications solutions to AFZA’s more than 5,000 corporate customers.
Commenting on the decision, His Excellency Mahmoud Khalil Al-Hashemi, General Manager of Ajman Free Zone Authority, stated: “Our objective is to meet investor needs by facilitating business activity and providing a pro-business milieu for foreign direct investment. We are confident Google Apps will significantly improve collaboration, communication, and productivity within the free zone.”
Sébastien Marotte, Google’s Vice President Enterprise EMEA, added: "Implementing Google Apps will help Ajman Free Zone streamline internal and external communication, will raise security standards, and will help achieve savings on IT infrastructure costs.”
Throughout the week, Microsoft was a hot topic for discussion with the preview of its Windows 8 operating system. Dubai is one of the six cities in the world that will officially launch Windows 8 on October 26. The new operating system eschews the traditional Microsoft "start button", and is designed for interface via keys, mouse and touch.
Hip hop megastar and entrepreneur 50 Cent today presided over one GITEX’s most star-studded launches yet, announcing his partnership with UAE-based Shift to distribute his SMS Audio Headphones across the region. "Walking through GITEX is like walking through the future. Dubai is the perfect springboard to launch SMS Audio, because the Emirate is famous for its pursuit of high standards in everything it does. I'm honoured to contribute to that legacy through the quality of these hi-tech headphones," said 50 Cent at the event.
First-time exhibitor Saudi Telecom Company (STC) was also flexing its muscles at GITEX earlier in the week, revealing new partnerships with Ericsson and Wikipedia, among others. STC’s news announcements included the exclusive launch of the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE, the first Huawei 4G device in the world. Jiao Jian, president of Huawei Device in the Middle East, said: “In collaboration with STC, we are pleased to inaugurate a new phase of distinguished mobile devices and that are compatible with LTE system, with the launch of Ascend P1 LTE, and we look forward to expanding the horizons of our partnership via offering more products, services, and solutions that fulfil the Saudi market aspirations and that are consistent with the highest international standards.”
Chinese telecoms vendor and GITEX first-time exhibitor ZTE was generating plenty of buzz too through showing off its latest range of devices, including its full range of Grand series handsets, which includes one of the thinnest LTE devices on the market.
Another world first came from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which launched UAEpedia, the first comprehensive online encyclopaedia about the UAE. Using an open-source model, the site will allow the general public to contribute and modify content on everything from geography and history to economy, language, literature and beyond.
There was a strong focus on using technology to improve welfare throughout the week, with a partnership between Mobile Doctors and US networking company Cisco providing one of the standout demonstrations. Using Cisco TelePresence technology to deliver round-the-clock medical expertise to customers in the MENA region, Mobile Doctors uses a high-definition mobile telemedicine system to enhance access to quality healthcare, reducing the need for non-emergency cases to visit clinics and expanding the reach of healthcare services. “Amongst the many important events in our calendar, GITEX remains the largest and most anticipated platform every year,” said Rabih Dabboussi, General Manager, Cisco UAE.
Drawn by GITEX’s ability to break product news across the region in a big way, the UAE-based multinational satellite services provider Thuraya chose the event to launch its XT-Hotspot, the only Wi-Fi router on the market offering a plug and play solution enabling easy and affordable internet access with the fastest satellite data speeds of up to 60 kbps in the most remote areas.
US computer storage and memory specialists Kingston Technologies followed suit to unveil a trio of new PC performance enhancing products, including the enterprise-level SSDNow E100 solid state drive, which achieves up to 10 times the reliability improvement compared to client solid state drives (SSD), the HyperX Red memory modules available in 1333MHz and 1600MHz speeds and the gamer-friendly HyperX Predator memory modules running at 2666MHz.
UAE-based PC and consumer electronics manufacturer Touchmate also unveiled a range of tablets and accessories.
For Japanese electronics giant Panasonic, GITEX provided an opportunity to display its entire range of projectors, including the large-venue specialist PT-Z21KE, which contains 20,000 lumen 3-chip DLP, which is suited applications requiring extremely high brightness. The projector contains long lamp replacement cycles of up to 2,000 hours, 3D compatibility and installation flexibility.
“GITEX Technology Week still remains the region’s premier IT exhibition, and over the years it has firmly cemented its position as a global show. GITEX is vital for the industry and an excellent platform for Panasonic to launch and showcase our latest world class products to a discerning and influential audience,” said Anthony Peter, Director, Direct Communications & Customer Care (DCCC) Group Panasonic Marketing Middle East &Africa.
Meanwhile, over at the Sharp stand, the Middle East was able to get a first look at its latest products set to arrive in the region in 2013. A key highlight from the Japanese consumer electronics giant was the the new ultra large-size screens, which slot into the company’s existing line-up of LED displays, topped by the flagship 90-inch LED screen.
The transport sector was particularly active throughout the week, announcing a series of eye-catching technological overhauls.
Dubai Taxi Corporation revealed it was starting a smart taxi pilot project that would see vehicles kitted out with interactive ‘infotainment’ LCDs providing customers with access to the internet, important government services and smart advertisements.
Dubai International Airport Terminal 3 announced it would accommodate 28 smart e-gates at Dubai International’s Arrival section within four months, 14 of which will be installed this year and the rest by February 2013.
Now in its 32nd year and running under the theme “Where Technology Means Business”, GITEX Technology Week connects more than 130,000 industry professionals and over 3,500 suppliers from 144 countries across five continents, making it one of the world’s top three ICT exhibitions.
GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK is open to trade visitors and industry professionals only from 1pm – 7pm on Sunday, October 14 and from 11am – 7pm from Monday, October 15 to Wednesday, October 17 2012 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. On Thursday, October 18 of the show will open at 11am and closes at 5pm. Registration costs AED190 for a five-day pass. Due to an overwhelming response, one-day passes are available at AED80. For more information, please visit www.gitex.com.