Leading movers and shakers from the world’s tech community are set to descend on Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) next week as GITEX Technology Week gears up for its most momentous edition yet.
GITEX Technology Week 2012 runs from October 14-18 under the theme “Where Technology Means Business”. Now in its 32nd year, GITEX Technology Week is widely regarded as one of the world’s top three international information and communication technology (ICT) events. GITEX Technology Week follows the highly successful consumer electronics retail show, GITEX Shopper, which experienced record-breaking attendance and sales this year. The overwhelming success of the event is evidence of the UAE and region’s buoyant sentiments and rapid adoption of new technology by businesses and the public.
The Middle East and Africa’s (MEA) ICT market is increasingly attractive and predicted to far outpace spending in developed markets with market liberalisation, strong competition and the dynamic demographics of the region. As developed economies experience a slowdown, global organisations and investors are looking to emerging markets such as the MEA for growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), IT spending in the Middle East, Africa region will surpass USD65 billion in 2012, growing at nearly 12% year on year. By comparison, Europe will see 1.2% growth in euros in European ICT purchases in 2012, shrinking the continent's share of the market according to a report by Forrester Research.
Helal Saeed Almarri, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the event, said: “GITEX Technology Week has always been a vital force in driving the ICT sector to generate both profit and performance in the industry, not only throughout the Middle East and Africa region but also on a global stage. As the momentum of traditional ICT markets slows down and reaches saturation in developed nations, the Middle East and Africa region offers lucrative opportunities for investors and global companies in a rapidly expanding industry.”
“Over its successful 32 years, GITEX Technology Week has been a catalyst and influence in growing technology tourism and strengthening trade ties with Africa as the continent experiences an ICT boom. It’s growing international impact has also led to the strategic co-location of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World 2012, the leading platform for high-level networking, strategic debate and knowledge-sharing for the global ICT community, which will take place for the first time in Dubai alongside GITEX Technology Week,” Almarri added.
GITEX Technology Week is an authority in the region and has proven each year its adaptability in presenting trending technologies and setting the current business agenda. As a leading ICT event in the region, Gitex has highlighted key focus areas including Africa and its burgeoning ICT market, start-ups and innovation in an SME Zone, the Consumerisation of IT, Big Data and the ongoing cloud phenomenon among others. With the ICT sector in the Middle East forecast to reach USD173 billion and 7.5% of GDP by 2015, according to Booz & Company, Gitex continues to play a lead role in the advancement of the technology industry by providing the ideal platform for business investment and future growth.
Keen interest and the presence of international companies at GITEX Technology Week has grown once again and represents more than half of the total exhibitors. Algeria, Denmark, Malaysia and New Zealand are among the countries exhibiting for the first time.
With over 80% of leading global ICT brands expected, featuring C-level executives in attendance representing ICT budgets of over USD50 billion, the exhibitors and speakers list is packed with industry heavyweights such as Cisco, Dell, Du, Etisalat, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard, Huawei, Kaspersky, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, RIM, Samsung, SAP and Symantec. Notable new exhibitors include Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE, Saudi Telecom Company, Sage, Vocalcom and African IT distributors Mitsumi.
The event will have new technology giants, over 130,000 industry professionals and more than 3,500 suppliers attending from 144 countries across five continents.
Government entities will also be out in force, with Abu Dhabi Police, Dubai E-Government, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Health Authority, Emirate of Abu Dhabi Judicial Department, Fujairah Free Zone, Ras Al Khaima Free Zone and Sharjah Free Zone all confirmed.
Following its regional debut alongside GITEX Technology Week last year, InfoComm MEA returns to the region. The event is a joint collaboration with Dubai World Trade Centre in an effort by the international association of pro AudioVisual and information communication industries to help AV professionals and end-users in the region to keep abreast of latest developments and expand their skills and knowledge.
DWTC estimates that 1,000 launches will take place during Gitex. Among the most eye-catching events is the official launch of a partnership between hip hop megastar 50 Cent and UAE-based company Shift LLC. The rapper is set to appear at Gitex for the Middle East launch of his SMS Audio headphones. Microsoft will be previewing Windows 8 which is expected to be generally available on October 26, as well as a number of locally relevant applications for citizens in the UAE.
True to GITEX’s trend-setting form, Big Data is likely to be strong on this year’s agenda. According to IDC's 2011 Digital Universe Study, Extracting Value from Chaos, which was sponsored by EMC, the world created a staggering 1.8 zettabytes (1.8 trillion gigabytes) of digital information last year. Over the next decade, the amount of information managed by enterprise data centres will grow 50 times in size, and the number of files at data centres will grow 75 times. GITEX’s Cloud Confex, featuring Hewlett Packard as its Diamond Sponsor, is the largest platform of its kind in the Middle East and is putting Big Data top of the agenda this year.
The rise of the BYOD (bring your own device) phenomenon is gaining momentum at Gitex with the Consumerisation of IT Forum and will examine the associated security and logistical implications. Dell is a Strategic Sponsor of the highly anticipated forum. The Middle East’s receptivity for BYOD was illustrated by a recent study by networking vendor Aruba Networks, which noted that 80% of companies in the region allowed some form of access to personal devices – the highest in the world. Featuring prominent experts from Dell, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), Hewlett-Packard, and Google, the agenda will focus on challenges, benefits, policy frameworks and legal issues surrounding BYOD.
New at GITEX: SME Zone, International Zone and Focus on Africa
Intent on boosting the MEA’s burgeoning SME potential, GITEX Technology Week is officially launching its SME Zone following last year’s successful trial run. Sponsored by security software giant Symantec Small and Medium Enterprise, an SME Zone Partner, and tailored to maximise return on investment, the new feature will serve as a conduit for SME Information and communication technology (ICT) businesses from MEA to engage with a high concentration of influential investors.
This year Gitex also introduces the International Zone, a platform dedicated to giving more than 30 specific country groups the chance to present their most innovative technology products and seek profitable cross-border sales and collaboration.
Africa in Focus is one of the most prominent new highlights at this year’s GITEX, serving to amplify the importance of the continent’s burgeoning economic potential. GITEX has seen a 23% increase in exhibitors from African countries including Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. Strong trade delegations are expected from countries like Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, Lesotho, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Focused conferences line-up
Bolstering this year’s conferences line-up is a series of Industry Briefings. Borne of out of a demand for more industry-focused peer-to-peer discussions, GITEX Technology Week has introduced exclusive Industry Briefing sessions for Oil and Gas, Banking and Finance, Education, Healthcare and Government sectors. SAP, which is among the market leaders in enterprise application software, is a Strategic Sponsor of the Industry Briefings at GITEX Technology Week this year.
The Digital Strategies Forum, which aims to equip businesses to monetise opportunities in digital marketing, mobility, social media and the internet, will have Jonathan Labin, Country Manager MENA of Facebook, discussing how businesses can benefit from the large volume of data available on social networks in the social data revolution. Gemalto, which is among the leaders in digital security, is a Strategic Sponsor of the forum.
The conferences line-up also includes Cloud Confex and the Consumerisation of IT Forum.
Taking its cue from IT technology’s rapid shift from utilitarian tool to lifestyle accessory, GITEX Consumer Tech will offer a strong line-up of entertainment and leisure hardware, software and accessories to a Middle East audience. The UAE’s consumer electronics devices market is estimated to reach a value of USD3.8 billion in 2012 and is expected to increase to USD4.8 billion by 2016, according to Business Monitor International’s UAE Consumer Electronics Industry Report. The headline sponsor is GCT MEA, a distribution company and solution provider in the field of IT.
Also set to draw crowds is GITEX Mobile Apps & Content World. According to a recent report by Juniper Research, the mobile app market is expected to exceed USD67 billion in four years, more than double 2011’s USD31 billion total. The MEA region is set to play a starring role in this boom, with GITEX’s Mobile, Apps and Content sector forecast to grow by 40% this year.
The smart card revolution, which has impacted ATM cards, public transport payment cards and mobile phone SIMs, will be the focus at the GITEX Card Technology segment where solutions, new technologies and business opportunities will be discussed. The segment will build on last year’s noteworthy 66% rise in visitors from the banking and finance sector.
GulfComms continues as the most established and influential industry symposium of its kind, the widespread uptake and potential of 4G revolution and LTE technology across the MEA region is likely to dominate. The headline sponsor of the event is Vocalcom, which is among the leading contact centre solution companies.
Government @ GITEX is also going from strength to strength, drawing the region’s largest gathering of government bodies dealing with ICT issues. Global market research and consulting company International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts IT spending by the government sector in MEA will increase by 15.1% year on year in 2012 to reach USD7.41 billion.
Back by popular demand is the GITEX Digital Marketing offering, where leading marketers, media and creative agencies connect with top regional and international web, email and mobile solution providers. According to market researchers Econsultancy, 58% of MENA marketers are increasing their digital marketing budget in 2012 while 81% plan to increase investment in social media.
Also returning to GITEX this year is the Business Solutions segment where exhibitors focused on network and security, hardware and software will offer their products and services. In addition, the Mobile Apps Seminars and Cyber Security Seminars are set to spark constructive debate.
Enhanced networking platform and on-site analytics
This year, all GITEX attendees will benefit from an enhanced version of ConneXions, an event-specific virtual community inspired by the interface of social media applications, which is sponsored by Microsoft. Users can browse profiles of visitors and exhibitors online, set appointments, manage personal diaries and create matches with the best potential clients, all before the show. On-site, ConneXions kiosks and staff will assist visitors to find the right products, services and exhibitors for their business needs.
WebSight Computer Systems, as the official Analytics Partner of GITEX Technology Week 2012, will oversee data collection at the venue aimed at performance analysis, which will aid in formulating exhibition strategies for the coming years.
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. For more information, please visit www.gitex.com.