Welcome to the three ring circus

It's almost time once more for Gitex Technology Week, and while the show promises the usual mix of technology and business opportunities, this year's exhibition is also promising to deliver in triplicate, with three new sections for the show.

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By  Mark Sutton Published  August 9, 2007

It's almost time once more for Gitex Technology Week, and while the show promises the usual mix of technology and business opportunities, this year's exhibition is also promising to deliver in triplicate, with three new sections for the show.

Last year the creation of the GULFCOMMS section of the show was widely hailed as a success. The addition of the new Zabeel hall provided a dedicated space for telecoms exhibitors, giving them the space to demonstrate more service provider technology and offered a more focused event to visitors - in fact, GULFCOMMS alone received 23,000 visitors.

This year, the organisers of the show, Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) are looking to bring an even tighter focus to the exhibition, with the creation of three separate strands to the show, and an official conference on top of that. The three divisions - Business Solutions, Consumer Electronics and GULFCOMMS - mark the natural evolution of the industry.

IT is no longer just a handful of PCs in an office, IT is everywhere, from the largest enterprise data centre to the mobile phone in your pocket. While home users are happy to roll out wireless networks to link dad's laptop, the kid's desktop and mum's digital camera into one big online social network, many businesses are just as likely to be looking to close down unauthorised and unsecure wireless access to corporate data and to closely control authorised users rights.

Volumes of data may be shooting up exponentially from all sources, not least of all through unstructured data from home users, but the always-on, SOX compliant storage requirements of an international bank are as different to the requirements of another large enterprise in a field such as upstream oil exploration as they are to the detachable drive that backs up a student's digital music collection.

The growing diversity of the digital world is matched by the growing maturity of the region's IT markets. With a diverse and varied market, there is still the need for networking opportunities and marketing showcases, but the industry is now more discerning in its requirements. DWTC wisely spun the retail element of the show out into Gitex Shopper several years ago, and the event has been a big success. Gitex Consumer Electronics will still pack in plenty of ‘wow' - LCD TVs with screens over 100" in size, $3,000-plus gaming PCs and the much hyped Apple iPhone are all expected to be on show - but the whole exhibition is very much aimed at the qualified business visitor.

Yet another attraction for the high level IT decision maker is the addition of the Gitex Technology Week Global Conference. The conference, which is being held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), will make the most of the presence of visiting CxOs, to provide a valuable chance to hear and exchange views on the technologies and companies that are going to drive our industry for the next few years.

In 2006, Gitex drew in over 130,000 visitors - with the multiple attractions of the new show, I think it's safe to predict that 2007 will see that number grow again.

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