Gitex Technology Week and ITU Telecom World 2012 opened their doors to top professionals to boost businesses and share knowledge during the five-day events at the Dubai World Trade Centre, or DWTC.
Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council for the Dubai Government, officially opened Gitex Technology Week on Sunday. Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated ITU Telecom World 2012, which is being held for the first time outside the United Nations.
Both events are taking place until October 18.
Thousands of trade and business visitors streamed through the DWTC’s doors within the first hours of what is expected to be Gitex’s most globally influential edition yet. Over 140,000 industry professionals and more than 3,500 suppliers from 144 countries across five continents are expected throughout the week. More than half of the total exhibiting companies are international, with countries like Algeria, Denmark, Malaysia and New Zealand debuting at the show. This year, Gitex’s focus extends to Africa, seeing an increase in exhibitors from African countries including Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. “Gitex is the region’s unrivalled platform for industry players to capitalise on the steady growth of the region’s ICT market as global and regional investors look to the lucrative emerging markets such as the Middle East Africa for business and opportunities. This year, Gitex once again establishes its role as the regional industry authority to bolster investment, technology and innovation while identifying the drivers that will shape future growth in the ICT sector,” DWTC chief executive officer Helal Saeed Almarri said.
Over 80 per cent of leading global ICT brands, featuring C-level executives representing ICT budgets of over $50 billion, are attending Gitex this year. The exhibitors and speakers list is packed with industry heavyweights such as Cisco, Dell, du, etisalat, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard, Huawei, Kaspersky, Microsoft, Nokia, Oracle, Research in Motion, Samsung, SAP and Symantec. Notable new exhibitors include Chinese telecommunications equipment company ZTE, Saudi Telecom Company, Sage, Vocalcom and African IT distributors Mitsumi.
The day also kicked off with a packed industry briefing on the oil and gas sector. These offer industry professionals insights, knowledge exchange and high-level experts on the impact of the latest ICT developments in key sectors including oil and gas, banking and finance, education, healthcare and government.
ITU Telecom World
Adding to the stature of Gitex this year is the strategic co-location of the International Telecommunication Union Telecom World 2012, the leading platform for high-level networking, strategic debate and knowledge-sharing for the global ICT community, which takes place for the first time in Dubai alongside Gitex Technology Week.
The event, hosted by the Government of the UAE, focuses on the radical transformation of the ICT sector and its implications for the industry, and for the world in general.
In a message, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “ITU Telecom World 2012 brings welcome attention to megatrends such as ageing populations, the emergence of new economic and industrial powers, and a plethora of new technologies that are dramatically changing the way we live, learn, entertain ourselves and do business.”
The opening ceremony featured Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) chairman Mohamed bin Ahmed Al Qamzi, etisalat CEO Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, Qtel Group chairman Shaikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Saud Al Thani and ITU secretary-general Dr Hamadoun I. Touré.
“It is a great honour to host ITU Telecom World 2012 here in the UAE, the first country to invest in 3G, and a country which is proud to be implementing next-generation networks and technologies to support smart education, smart government and the knowledge-based economy. Countries will never advance unless we believe in the possibilities of the future and work towards achieving this future together at events such as this,” Al Qamzi said.
Dr Touré agreed that there could be no more appropriate location for an event, which centres on forging and embracing the future of ICTs than “the magnificent, futuristic — and well-connected — city of Dubai”. He noted that mobile will continue to rein supreme thanks to wireless technology and that regions that are currently least wired will be fully connected with wireless technologies in less than five years’ time.
According to the UN eGovernment survey, the UAE progressed from 49th place in 2010 to 28th in 2012 in the eGovernment development index. The TRA also completed a survey of the ICT sector in the UAE during 2012, showing that mobile penetration reached 158.4 per cent, broadband penetration was at 11.3 per cent while fixed-line penetration was 23.5 per cent, indicating the UAE leads the region in the ICT sector and in the adoption of new related technologies.