Time to pay our dues to the IT experts

Another year has gone by and we are all still using our computers, mobile phones and televisions.

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By  Mohammed Aly Sergie Published  September 6, 2007

Another year has gone by and we are all still using our computers, mobile phones and televisions. However, the information and communications technology sector that touches us all on a daily basis is one which few of us pay much attention to. We demand that our phones work and that our calls are clear, and they are; we send millions of emails all around the world, and we are confident that they are delivered; and we access all sorts of information from the ethereal world of the internet, and our appetite for information is satiated.

Because most of the time electronic devices work without a glitch, IT professionals and industry take a back seat. People don't pay attention to the techies, and the media are mostly allergic to geek talk. Politics, wars, finance, and celebrity are conflict-prone and therefore more interesting, but the IT crowd is silently enabling us all to live in the information age. While the tech business may be boring to some, it is indeed a profitable economy of scale.

Politics, wars, finance, and celebrity are conflict-prone and therefore more interesting, but the IT crowd is silently enabling us all to live in the information age.

A quick glance at the world's rich list verifies where the money is. Bill Gates has been in the top spot for over a decade, but has recently ceded the throne to Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire who made his fortune in telecoms. So it is no surprise that the region is abuzz with GITEX, the largest annual tech exhibition in the Middle East. Equally impressive is Sheldon Adelson, currently number six on Forbes rich list, who made his first fortune by creating Comdex in the 1980s - running a 70% profit margin on renting exhibitor spaces and later sold the show to Japan's Softbank for US$862m.

This year we are taking a different approach to our annual IT supplement. In this special edition, Arabian Business examines the latest news, gives you an in-depth overview of GITEX and the ICT industry in the region, and three feature sections that scratch the surface of the sector: mobile devices, business solutions, and new products.

Looking at a wide variety of products and services such as internet and network security, smart phones, e-government gateways and flying mice, may conjure feelings of knowledge of the sector, but there is too much to know and learn. Visitors at this year's GITEX will be able to evaluate what is written in this supplement for themselves. Enjoy this year's show.

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