October 19, 2015 – The 35th Gitex Technology Week, the largest ICT exhibition in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia and the third largest in the world, opened doors to trade and businesses yesterday.
The five-day event, which was inaugurated by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, is showcasing live demonstrations of next-generation technology solutions from governments and international companies that will transform Middle East businesses in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.
More than 3,600 companies from over 62 countries are taking part in the exhibition being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The event is also expected to welcome more than 140,000 visitors from over 140 countries, including more than 20,000 C-level executives.
In support of Smart City innovation, the event will be themed around the key pillars, innovation, connected cloud, big data, mobility, and security, along with the return of the Google CSI Lab.
The event is expected to witness a number of bilateral agreements being signed by the government entities and the private sector, with the Dubai Smart Government Department (DSG) fielding 36 government entities.
IBM is at the show focusing on how cities can implement cognitive solutions to enhance their services and citizens’ experience through the building of safer communities, provision of cleaner water, more efficient transportation systems, healthier neighborhoods and smarter buildings.
Dima Kandalaft, smart cities leader for the Gulf and Levant region at IBM, said that Internet of Things is the future and IBM has established an Internet of Things business unit by investing $3 billion (Dh11 billion) in developing cloud –based services to serve the industries around the world.
“Over the past year, we have witnessed how technologies are moving from a business-enabler to a business-differentiator. This year is a milestone. Technology is becoming a game-changer. The digital transformation and the ability the technology allows right now are growing at a rapid pace,” said Hannes Liebe, chief operating officer of SAP Middle East and North Africa.
By 2020, he said that there will be 50 billion devices connected globally, with the accompanying business value around $14 trillion.
“It is the pace we haven’t seen in the past. However, we are seeing a challenging economic growth and weak oil price. Therefore, some organisations insist on cutting down on investment. But clearly, we believe that the digital economy is one thing that no one can shy away from, and the Middle East economies have to embark on this to embrace digital transformation. The governments in the Middle East are driving the major change,” he added.
With the regional digital economy set to double to $30 billion by 2018, he stressed that real-time analytics of data will allow companies to reduce business complexity and make it simple.
Omar Boulos, regional managing director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa, said that digital transformation can boost competitiveness and economic growth, and research shows that unlocking this potential can add trillions to the GDP of top global economies.
“This region’s appetite for innovation makes it uniquely positioned to take advantage of the digital opportunity,” he said.