GITEX 2015 – Dubai welcomes the world

Brid-Aine Parnell

Friday 16 October 2015

The Middle East’s top IT event will show how IoT and smart city solutions translate to business applications across Big Data, cloud, mobility and security.

Since its inception back in 1981, the annual GITEX Technology Week has grown from a small event in one part of the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to a vast conference, exhibition and trade show that takes over the entire venue.

This year, for the 35th anniversary edition of the show, organisers DWTC are expecting over 130,000 visitors to the UAE emirate to take in the IoT and 3D printing displays on the show floor; experience robotics and drone demos in the new GTX Horizons section; and listen to over 80 IT professionals at the event’s conferences.

It’s a somewhat bewildering array of topics, but it’s all organised around the central themes of Big Data, MobilityCloud and Security. And, for enterprise visitors, it’s all about the key verticals of retail, oil and gas, banking, education and healthcare.

While it’s the robots and the drones flying around the show that are bound to grab the headlines, the technologies that will catch the enterprise eye are likely to be those derived from smart city applications and Internet of Things solutions.

Dubai’s Smart Government department (DSG) will have a stand with 36 government divisions participating, showing the smart apps, services and solutions it offers as part of the emirate’s bid to be seen as a world leader in the smart city sector.

“Our stand will provide a real opportunity for visitors from all sections of society to be familiar with the latest smart government service apps and solutions provided by Dubai Government to reflect the connected smart government that will contribute to positioning Dubai as a knowledge-based, integrated and creative smart city in the 21st century,” explained His Excellency Ahmad Bin Humaidan, director-general of DSG, in a statement. “These apps and solutions will be tested live on the stand to enable visitors to see how efficient and smooth they are.”

Part of the move towards smart city solutions includes smart healthcare and smart education, with wearable devices, IoT solutions and the cloud all featuring heavily in the show.

According to Frost & Sullivan, the cloud computing sector in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries is expected to grow from $118.5m in 2014 to $668.5m by 2020. And GITEX sees connected cloud technology as a large part of that.

“Spearheaded by regional investment and development, the Middle East continues to be a significant pacesetter in driving forward innovative discussion, implementation and knowledge exchange around IoT agendas,” argues Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president of DWTC.

“Our roster of world-renowned thought leaders and global technology companies reflect the strong demand for how Internet of Things technologies such as drones, robotics and 3D printing can impact daily lives and every industry vertical in the Middle East and beyond.”

Strategic partner SAP will also be highlighting the importance of Big Data for businesses in the region, with demos of its analytics solutions and speakers at the GTX Ignite conference. The firm claims that the most pressing issue facing Middle East firms is business complexity, which is causing them to lose ten per cent of their profits each year.

“In order for Middle East organisations to succeed in the Internet of Things era and remain competitive in the digital economy, they must embark on a complete re-imaging of their business across three dimensions: business models, business processes and how to organise work within their organisation,” suggests Hannes Liebe, COO of SAP Middle East and North Africa.

“With the regional digital economy set to double to $30 billion by 2018; real-time analytics of data will allow companies to reduce business complexity and run simple,” Liebe continues. At GITEX Technology Week, we will showcase roadmaps to support the digital transformation and demonstrate the power of Big Data analytics for real-time insights as the immediate entry that can drive digital growth and simplify business processes from re-imaging the boardroom to Smart Cities and connected sports.”

Cybersecurity continues to be a big topic for IT professionals globally and the Middle East is no exception. GITEX will see companies from Trend Micro to FireEye showcasing products and solutions to secure business networks in the IoT age.

“We are gradually moving more towards a world in which everything is connected, calling for a change in the way we perceive and think about cybersecurity,” states Ray Kafity, vice president for Middle East, Turkey and Africa (META) at FireEye.

“Considering how rapidly the region is becoming urbanised, and with the idea of Smart Cities slowly coming to fruition, I think that GITEX 2015 will be an unprecedented opportunity for the cybersecurity industry to address the challenges of an increasingly digitised society,” he pursues.

From security to robots to the cloud, GITEX Technology Week is once again looking to live up to its name as the top IT event in the region, while promoting the region itself as a place at the cutting edge of new technologies like IoT and smart cities.