Dubai kickstarts world's first live tech event amid pandemic with GITEX Tech Week
GITEX Technology Week serves as an umbrella for the region’s leading technology shows, including GITEX Future Stars, the region’s largest tech startup event; the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC), the region’s most renowned cybersecurity conference & exhibition; Future Blockchain Summit, the leading platform for ransformative technology; and the inaugural edition of Marketing Mania, the new platform for brand marketers.
Dubai, the futuristic business capital and global transport hub of the United Arab Emirates, welcomed more than 1,200 innovative tech enterprises, startups and government entities from more than 60 countries, including Israel, in the world’s first live tech event amid the pandemic, the 40th GITEX Technology Week.
Placing strict safety and health protocols, all visitors and participants wore masks while observing social distancing throughout the five-day event (6-10 December 2020) that drew more than 200 of the most active investors and VCs and over 350 speakers from 30 countries.
GITEX Technology Week serves as an umbrella for the region’s leading technology shows, including GITEX Future Stars, the region’s largest tech startup event; the Gulf Information Security Expo and Conference (GISEC), the region’s most renowned cybersecurity conference and exhibition; Future Blockchain Summit, the leading platform for transformative technology; and the inaugural edition of Marketing Mania, the new platform for brand marketers.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said tech industry is crucial to the world’s successful transition to the future.
“Technology is an important tool to enhance people’s lives and enable them to overcome challenges and turn them into opportunities. As the region’s technology hub, we seek to create a highly conducive environment to promote greater investments in the sector and attract the world’s best talent to develop innovative solutions that can help us strengthen our progress towards sustainable development,” Sheikh Mohammed said in a Tweet.
Crown Prince of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who opened the event, said GITEX Tech Week is one of a series of initiatives Dubai is taking to inject confidence back into vital sectors, regionally and internationally, while reinforcing Dubai’s role as a global hub for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration in the tech industry.
“By hosting the world’s only live global technology event in 2020, Dubai and the UAE have demonstrated global leadership in accelerating economic recovery in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” Sheikh Hamdan said.
“With its strong management of the pandemic and comprehensive precautionary measures, the international technology community considers Dubai as one of the safest destinations to host global events of this magnitude. The positive response to the event also shows that the world’s tech industry looks to the emirate as a key player in revitalizing networking, partnership building and knowledge sharing in the sector,” he added.
GITEX brought under one roof tech driven nations like Japan, France, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, USA, UK, Belgium, Brazil, Italy, Hong Kong, Poland, Romania, India and Nigeria, which had pavilions of their own showcasing different companies.
In all, some 90 local and international government entities participated in the event.
Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the French economy, launched at the event its first ever virtual showroom, the French Design Corner Middle East, exclusively dedicated to interior design professionals and architects in the Middle East to showcase their unique creations and designs such as furniture, decorative items, home accessories and more.
“While waiting for the much-awaited better days more conducive to in-person meetings, entrepreneurs, architects, decorators and interior design professionals can connect virtually through the French Design Corner Middle East, which aims to offers a space to explore exceptional French designers and know more about the French luxury industry, in a short moment of sharing knowledge and enriching experiences for all,” said Frederic Szabo, Managing Director, Business France Middle East, noting that “Made in France” has become synonymous with quality, style, and know-how.
Dubai Customs, a vital component of the emirate’s economy, showcased its latest smart blockchain and AI based innovations and services, setting the tone of future tech in the region and beyond
“We always aspire to introduce new things that dazzle the world and disrupt the trade and transport sectors in fulfilment of the national ambitious UAE Centennial 2071 Project, the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031, and Dubai Paperless Strategy 2021,” said Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs.
Global telecom giants Huawei, du, Etisalat, Nokia, others, also participated in the event, drawing curious crowds in various products and gadgets they have showcased.
Uber and Hyundai Motor Company’s Uber Air Taxi prototype, which was first unveiled in Las Vegas, was a hit at the event.
This electric-powered air taxi can accommodate several passengers in one lift. With speed of up to 180 miles/hour, it is designed to take off vertically, transition to wing-borne lift in cruise, and then transition back to vertical flight to land.
AI, Cloud, 5G, Digital Economy & Cybersecurity
With memorable moments of face-to-face business networking and discussions, forums, fascinating tech experiences and content, tons of live hacks and demos, GITEX Technology Week concluded with an interesting future where innovations will rule, setting the stage for five Smart Cities mega-trends of 2021—AI, cloud, 5G, digital economy, and cybersecurity.
Leading UAE-based IT infrastructure and information management consultancy and solutions provider, Condo Protego, said the UAE is leading innovation in the world’s SMART Cities market which is expected to reach US$546 billion by 2027.
Condo Protego said AI is already widely being used for facial recognition in airports, predicting utilities spikes, and preventing disease outbreaks. Organizations also now use AI with machine learning algorithms and real-time analytics to optimize their insights.
In digital transformation, data storage, data analytics, and hybrid cloud environments can combine to deliver the biggest business benefit.
As data storage drops in cost and increases in performance, organizations can adopt affordable, flexible, and scalable high-performance storage infrastructure. Data storage plus virtualization can enable remote and hybrid working and learning.
Ultra-fast 5G mobile broadband networks are the foundation for the Internet of Things, Internet 4.0, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution while 5G can enable autonomous vehicles that safely reduce traffic, smart factories, and mega-events, Condo noted.