Business was booming at GITEX Technology Week 2012, with the event attracting overwhelming crowds, showcasing eye-catching launches, sparking influential debate and facilitating a host of business connections.
As the event drew to a close, exhibitors hailed the event for its ability to successfully combine return on investment (ROI) with incisive insight into the latest issues and trends and were keen to book their spots for the next edition.
GITEX returns to Dubai World Trade Centre in October next year. Exhibitors reported an increase in the volume and quality of buyers, C-level executives and clients they interacted with and expressed strong satisfaction with the ICT platform that GITEX has provided.
Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the event, said: “The Middle East’s ICT industry is among the most dynamic in the world, and global decision-makers expect access to the key players, as well as a roadmap for how the latest trends will play out, at GITEX Technology Week each year. This year GITEX has once again attracted the leading industry players and driven ICT business deals and partnerships with genuine impact.”
Microsoft, which used the event to preview its highly-anticipated Windows 8 platform, also sounded a positive note. “We are thrilled at our participation at GITEX 2012 and have seen a lot of interest from visitors so far,” said Samer Abu Ltaif, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf.
“Our latest Windows 8 and Cloud innovation were on showcase to enable visitors to experience the latest technology from Microsoft. Our partnership with DWTC is long-standing and we are continually participating at GITEX to showcase our products to the region’s IT industry and consumers.”
German enterprise market software leader SAP was a new notable presence this year, having recently announced an extensive four-year investment plan across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to create jobs, certify consultants, up-skill local talent and localise its solutions.
“GITEX Technology Week has a scope, scale and influence unrivalled in the region. This year’s theme is ‘Where Technology Means Business’ is an apt and inspiring summation of the event and, as one of the world’s leading business software companies, we were delighted to be in the thick of the action, contributing to key discussions and sharing our latest innovations in analytics, cloud, database technology and in-memory computing. We’ve made many business connections throughout the week and look forward to partnering with these companies to drive sustainable innovation and growth across the region,” said Sam Alkharrat, Managing Director, SAP MENA.
Chinese telecoms vendor ZTE was another GITEX newcomer leaving with a positive impression. “ZTE continues to consolidate our market-leading position in mobile broadband, optical transmission, optical access and core network telecommunications segments in the Middle East,” said Hu Xuemei, CMO, ZTE MEA. “ZTE has gained a lot of value from participating in GITEX, which has given us the opportunity to launch and demonstrate these solutions to potential enterprise and government customers in the region.”
US software security giant Symantec was among the big names reporting a successful year, having used the event to showcase its latest innovations and thought-leadership. “Information protection and security is top of the mind for chief information officers (CIOs) and businesses in the Middle East. GITEX gives us the opportunity to connect with our current and prospective customers about these concerns and explain how Symantec can help them minimise their risks,” said Johnny Karam, Regional Director Middle East and French-speaking Africa, Symantec.
“This year we showcased a range of security, availability, mobile and cloud solutions in line with growing IT trends, sponsored the SME Zone, addressed key challenges that SMBs face in the region and participated in the Cloud Confex, sharing information about Symantec’s cloud hosted services. We look forward to participating in GITEX for many years to come as a key annual event for Symantec in the region.”
Etisalat was another satisfied exhibitor, praising GITEX’s ability to reach the audience that matters. Etisalat’s showcased their 300 Mbps speed on the 4G LTE network, the NFC/Flous display, and augmented reality demonstration.
“Our aim of participating at GITEX 2012 was to showcase our latest technological advances and to build relationships with key business partners, both current and new. To this end, we are very happy with the keen interest in our stand and the products and services we were highlighting,” said Ali Al Ahmed, Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Etisalat.
“Many companies visited our new offerings such as eLife, Cloud, Managed Web Security Services, Near Field Communications (NFC), Emirates Energy Star and 4G LTE. The products and services we displayed at GITEX 2012 will translate into cost savings and productivity efficiencies for business, and greater entertainment options for families,” said Al Ahmed.
Visitors locally and from across the world also reflected on a positive week’s worth of information gathering and networking. “GITEX is one of the biggest technology exhibitions that I have seen. There have been many interesting conferences on cloud computing and Big Data, and it provides a fantastic platform to meet a diverse range of exhibitors and thought-leaders,” said Dominic Thornton, Account Director, MU Mobile, Manchester United Limited.
Akhilesh Sathyavan, Commercial Specialist – US Consulate, was among the scores of visitors lauding GITEX’s new programme additions. “GITEX is always a great show, and all aspects of the exhibition are ideally structured so information is shared and business can be done. The SME Zone was a particular highlight this year and did a good job in highlighting the importance of these types of businesses in driving innovation and creating jobs across local economies,” he said.
“I’ve been attending GITEX for the past 15 years, and this year has been a lot busier. There are a larger number of powerful multinational companies and the conversations, conferences and exhibitions on offer have left much more of an impact,” said Muhannad Qader, Business Development Manager, ME Region, Sagemcom.
Fawaz Al-Shaikh Khazaal, General Manager, Apex Computer Services, agreed, adding: “I’ve been coming to GITEX for years now and this year is the best yet. There are concentrated areas for companies and products, so it is easier to hone in on what you are interested in.”
GITEX welcomed new technology giants, over 130,000 industry professionals and more than 3,500 suppliers attending from 144 countries across five continents. New country participants included Algeria, Denmark and New Zealand. 625 new exhibitors were present, including SAP, STC, ZTE, Vocalcom, ZTE and Sage.
There was big product news throughout the week, ranging from hip hop megastar 50 Cent launching his SMS Audio Headphones with local distributor Shift to Ajman Free Zone Authority teaming up with Google.
Over 80% of leading global ICT brands were present, with C-level executives in attendance representing ICT budgets of over USD50 billion. The exhibitors and speakers list was packed with industry heavyweights such as Cisco, Dell, Du, Etisalat, Facebook, Google, Hewlett Packard, Huawei, Kaspersky, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, RIM, Samsung, SAP and Symantec.
New GITEX additions keeping the brand fresh included a dedicated SME Zone (a conduit for SME ICT businesses from MEA to engage with a high concentration of influential investors) Africa in Focus (a spotlight on the continent’s booming ICT industry), and the International Zone (a platform dedicated to giving more than 30 specific country groups the chance to present their most innovative technology products and seek profitable cross-border sales and collaboration).