GITEX 2013 to nurture regional growth
Middle East IT spend to hit $192bn in 2013
Global and regional ICT decision-makers from 150 countries are gearing up for the 33rd edition of GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK, with the grand opening taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre next week.
This year the event welcomes new country participants from Belarus, Brazil, Finland, Kenya, Lithuania, Serbia, Slovenia, Tunisia and Ukraine among over 3,500 exhibiting companies and 130,000 visitors.
Now firmly established as Middle East Africa and South Asia region's top ICT event - and one of the most influential in the world - GITEX attracts 80% of the world's leading ICT brands from across the globe, according to event organiser DWTC. This year the event sees a 26% increase in international exhibitors and a 12% increase in exhibitors overall, compared with 2012.
Dubai Internet City is a strategic partner in this year's event, which will run from 20-24 October under the theme "Let's Create, Disrupt and Re-imagine Together".
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Doha are the Middle East and North Africa's three most networked cities, according to a recent report from technology company Ericsson, while Gartner reports that IT spend in the Middle East continues to skyrocket, and is projected to reach $192.9bn in 2013, a 5.5% increase from 2012. By 2016, Middle East IT spend is predicted to stand at $223bn.
Speaking at the GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2013 press conference, His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and CEO, Dubai World Trade Centre, said: "We are proud that GITEX, under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has enabled and influenced many public and private businesses and industries, and helped create a new digital ecosystem in the country.
"Long established as the region's premier ICT event, GITEX has succeeded in providing unmatched return on investment. This is achieved through direct business opportunities with global and regional ICT players, insights delivered from every sector of the industry, and the latest technologies and innovations that are showcased.
"The event is constantly evolving with each edition to stay in tandem with cutting-edge developments and to offer knowledge-sharing platforms that visitors simply cannot get anywhere else."
Almarri was joined on the GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK press conference panel by Google, Huawei, SAP, Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SIEPA), and the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MoPA).
The growing international influence of the event has resulted in an Official Country Partnership with Serbia, under the auspices of the Serbia Investment and Export Promotion Agency. The partnership is set to boost trade links and increase visibility for the country's many promising ICT companies.
Slobodan Markovic, Export Promotion Advisor, SIEPA, said: "Serbia is the official country partner of GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK, and SIEPA has helped drive record levels of foreign investment in the country. Our largest-ever presence at GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK demonstrates the success of Serbia's fast-growing ICT sector, and the increasing trade ties with the UAE, as billions of dollars are invested in Serbia's businesses.
"Reaching a global audience at GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK, we expect to drive more partnerships and ventures between Serbia and key stakeholders, transforming Serbia into one of Europe's technology leaders."
The show has also attracted a major new international partnership this year, as the GSMA Mobile 360 Series comes to the Middle East for the first time. The co-located GSMA Mobile 360 Series is expected to attract high-profile executives in the mobile industry, as well as key regulatory and government representatives.
GITEX will also welcome back InfoComm MEA for the third successive year to assemble the widest range of audio-visual (AV) systems and technologies in the region.
GITEX TECHNOLOGY WEEK 2013 has been structured around three segments: GITEX WORLD with 12 dedicated sector-based industry platforms; GITEX EDGE featuring a range of new competitions, networking and knowledge-sharing forums; and GITEX TRENDS addressing the most pressing ICT issues on the planet.
Among the features appearing for the first time is the Big Data Conference. Supported by Diamond Sponsor Accenture and Platinum Sponsors Commvault and Huawei, the event is the first stand-alone session on what is one of the ICT industry's most compelling and challenging trends. Worldwide, IDC estimates that spending on Big Data technology and services will likely grow from $3.2bn in 2010 to $16.9bn in 2015, representing a CAGR of 40%, or about seven times that of the overall ICT market. According to IDC, over 40% of CIOs in the Middle East are currently scoping investments in analytics and Big Data technologies in 2013.
In a bid to support local talent, the Cloud Awards will put a spotlight on cloud computing's contribution to the business community, while the GITEX Hot Stuff Awards is the largest consumer electronics gadget event in the region, according to DWTC. Adding to this competitive spirit is the Student Lab competition, which is sponsored by the UAE Ministry of Presidential Affairs (MoPA) and held in association with Google.
A new knowledge-sharing platform set to make an appearance is the free-to-attend Smart Sessions. Sponsored by Kaspersky Lab, a dedicated theatre will feature panel debates, discussions and interactive presentations. Smart Session topics include mobile apps solution trends, SME entrepreneurship, social media and cyber security.
Also new at GITEX this year is the GSM Exchange, a specialised trading platform for mobile phone distributors, wholesalers and retailers. The organisation is representing a wide range of mobile distributors and showcasing mobile products from across the region at GITEX.
As ever, Cloud will feature heavily. Now in its fourth year and taking place on 22 October, Cloud Confex, which is supported by Diamond Sponsor Etisalat and Platinum Sponsors Accenture and F5, is "the largest and most influential event of its kind in the Middle East," says DWTC. Regional appetite for the emergent technology suggests it will be a big draw. Gartner predicts the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is projected to experience one of the highest global growth rates for public cloud services, increasing from 2012 to 2013 by 24.5% to $462.3m. The UAE's cloud market in particular is primed for annual compound growth of 43.7% until 2016, according to a recent report from technology-focused market intelligence firm IDC.
Also returning is the Digital Strategies Forum on 23 October, which is sponsored by Gemalto and focuses on how the rules of business are being upended in a new, consumer-empowered era.
Another feature making a return to the expo is the GITEX Consumer Tech feature, which brings an eye-catching array of entertainment and leisure hardware, software and accessories, whereas the Network and Security Sector is looking forward to welcoming the world's top names dealing with biometric technologies, anti-virus/anti-spam solutions, security tools and services. GITEX Card Technology, meanwhile, has been updated to tackle everything from near-field communication to radio frequency identification (RFID) and beyond.
Throughout the show, the new Content Hub, sponsored by Lincoln, which is also the provider of the event's Official Technology Car, will provide live newsfeeds, social media alerts, interviews, breaking news and industry updates under one platform.