Show time!

GITEX Technology Week 2007 promises to be a great show even two months ahead of time, as vendors finalise their plans and work on the essential logistics fuelled by the faith that RoI would come either in quality end user leads or in effective branding.

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By  Sathya Ashok Published  July 8, 2007

Three years of writing on IT in the region and it still surprises me to see the kind of excitement that GITEX can generate.

Over the last two weeks, I have been talking to a whole lot of networking companies on their plans for the big event. Two months ahead of the show, most of them had a clear and concise idea of what would be in stock during the week. This included new product launches planned ahead to be right in time for the show, focus on various market segments and crucial meetings with customers, end users and all-important partners.

It was evident from most conversations that the exhibiting companies had been investing quite a bit of time and effort into planning and organising for GITEX Technology Week 2007. A few even mentioned that they had started planning for the big event a year ahead - just as GITEX Technology Week 2006 shut its doors.

There were, of course, some vendors who were not too sure of what they would be focusing on during the event and there were others who will not be a part of the show this year. However, they remain a negligible minority.

There are certain evident reasons for the enthusiasm that prevails around the show. The world over, while most other IT shows are on the decline, GITEX has proved to be one of the healthier exhibitions that continues to grow in terms of exhibition space, exhibitors and visitors year after year.

Clear segmentation of products and solutions at the show along with the organiser's willingness to change according to the demands of the times has ensured that the event, far from going stale, still provides a strong marketing, branding and networking opportunity for vendors old and new in the region. GITEX Technology Week 2006, especially, was a huge success with the vendor community, as many felt that they had received a record number of serious end users, which had helped sales through the rest of the year.

GITEX has also encouraged the growth of a set of sub-events around the show, which add value, focus and recognition to the people who constitute the IT industry of the Middle East.

One of the more noticeable ones this year is the ACN Arab Technology Awards 2007, the first of its kind, which will take place on 9 September. The Awards will recognise and reward the best enterprise implementations and players of the year as judged by an impartial jury consisting of some of the biggest IT names in the region. (Log onto www.itp.net/arabtechawards for more details on nominations and the judging process.)

More than anything else, GITEX acts as an acknowledgement - and a rather grandiose one - for the growth of the IT industry in the region and as a fast-paced, quick point, one arena meeting place for anybody who wants to know anything about a particular vendor in the region.

All of these factors contribute to making GITEX not only the biggest IT show in the region but one that most vendors want to be a part of so much that they work on it from show-end to show-beginning year after year. Some work at it because they believe that the RoI in terms of visitors is worth the effort, others do so because it is an essential branding opportunity that should not be missed.

Whatever the reasons though, from the looks of it, GITEX Technology Week 2007 promises to be the largest and best of the events yet, even in the face of a few critics.

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