Since its 1981 launch, the Gulf Computer Exhibition (Gitex) Technology Week has become a can’t-miss event for ICT professionals and increasingly entrepreneurs not only in the UAE but also the region.
The 36th edition of the show begins tomorrow and runs until Thursday with Reimagining Realities as its theme. More than 146,000 ICT professionals, 20,000 C-level executives, and over 3,500 exhibitors from various countries are expected to attend.
Research giant Gartner says IT spending in the Middle East is projected to reach $212.9 billion (Dh782 billion) in 2016, up 3.7 per cent from last year, making this Gitex more significant and regionally relevant than ever before. Here are the main trends.
GITEX Start-up Movement
The Gitex Start-up Movement aims to make Dubai a hub for start-ups by using a Dh2-billion fund, part of the UAE National Innovation Strategy, with a view to accelerating this growth towards a sustainable knowledge-based economy.
One of the speakers is Troy Carter, Global Head of Client Liason at Spotify, prolific tech investor and Manager of John Legend (and formerly Lady Gaga).
More than 400 start-ups have the opportunity to showcase their ideas to industry leaders and pitch to win prizes such as Start-up Champion, Best Youth Start-up and Best Women’s Start-up, to initiate rapid business growth. The event will allow entrepreneurs to network and build relations with investors to partner with too. Start-up talks and mentor clinics aim to set entrepreneurs and their companies on to the path towards sustained success.
AR, VR and AI
The augmented reality, virtual reality and artificial intelligence industries are expected to be worth a combined Dh551 billion by 2020. No wonder more than 2,000 sq m of the show is dedicated to these sectors. Today, AR, VR or AI, are usually thought of as mere gimmicks or toys but they’re so much more. Their integration into business has not been tapped at all. Imagine being able to use AR to show the detailed construction of a building even before its built, or using artificial intelligence in factory machinery across various industries.
Gitex Technology Week will enable businesses to see the economic value of integrating AR, VR or AI with their activities.
Smart Living and Wearables
Smart fridges, tables, watches, belts and more already exist. What’s next in an industry with the potential of being worth Dh3 billion by 2018?
More than 50 suppliers will showcase their smart living and wearable offerings along with exclusive show tours. There will also be a dedicated Connexions Majlis Lounge — a space reserved for senior executives and managers to network and do business.
Dubai is looking to be a leader in 3D printing by 2030, with a completely 3D-printed office being unveiled in the week following the announcement in April. The structure is the world’s first fully functional 3D-printed office building, made using a 20-foot tall 3D printer.
Some of the world’s leading companies in the space will be at Gitex showcasing their latest innovations. Apart from networking and learning, don’t forget to check out the world’s longest live 3D-printing demonstration.
The biggest news in robotics at this year’s Gitex Technology Week is the announcement of Dr Soliman Fakeeh Hospital from Saudi Arabia investing Dh1 billion in a medical facility offering robotic surgeries in the UAE.
Meanwhile, Digirobotics is demonstrating the first 3D-printed autonomous vehicle built by robots.