Dazzling display of IT marvels


By Issac John (issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com)  www.khaleejtimes.com

DUBAI – GITEX, the Middle East’s most eagerly-awaited annual ICT spectacle, opened on Sunday at the at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre with a magnificent display of technological marvels by more than 3,500 companies from 57 countries.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President
His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President

His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the event, which is marking its 31st edition this year as the region’s most veritable showcase for the latest ICT trends and futuristic technologies.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai;  Shaikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority; Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation; Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates airline and Group; Helal Saeed Almarri, Chief Executive Officer of the Dubai World Trade Centre; and other officials accompanied Shaikh Mohammed.

Top cyber-security, digital marketing, card technology and telecoms organisations and IT professionals which are showcasing their latest wares drew hundreds of IT aficionados even as the gates opened on Sunday morning. One of the new features of this year’s exhibition is the CyberSecurity conference, where visitors can see presentations and tutorials from the world’s foremost experts on cybercrime and electronic security. Featured companies and organisations include Abu Dhabi Police, McAfee, Norton, aeCERT and Black Hat.

Another crowd-pulling highlight of the show was the Global Leaders Summit that featured some of the most respected authorities in their field, including keynote speaker Chris Dedicoat, Cisco president for EMEA, and Pranav Mistry, a visionary inventor.

During his tour of the event, Shaikh Mohammed launched the second generation of the E-Dirham (G2 E-Dirham) and unveiled the new logo for the system. He also activated a pre-paid “Al Hasila” card pertaining to the G2 E-Dirham system during his visit to the Ministry of Finance’s stand.

Shaikh Mohammed visited the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority stand where the utility announced its new grand prize — an eco-friendly Lexus “green car.”

In the presence of Shaikh Mohammed, etisalat unveiled ePlus, a next-generation technology portal that will allow subscribers to make high-quality video and voice calls, leveraging Voice-over Internet Protocol technology in addition to utilising social networking applications and e-commerce.

The UAE’s second telecom operator, du, used the opening day to launch its Emirati Plan — a new mobile offering from du designed exclusively for UAE nationals in the presence of Shaikh Mohammed. Du Chief Executive Officer Osman Sultan, accompanied by Chief Commercial Officer Farid Faraidooni, explained ways in which the plan would benefit UAE nationals in ways beyond fulfilling their communication needs.

The five-day show, which is expected to attract more than 130,000 visitors, drew IT companies for the first time from Kazakhstan, Latvia, Malta, Morocco, Palestine and new national pavilions from Bangladesh, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Scotland and Spain.

A new addition to GITEX this year is InfoComm Middle East & Africa, a joint initiative by Dubai World Trade Centre and InfoCommAsia, which is meant to provide a showcase for the latest in professional audio-visual technology.

GITEX provides an opportunity to network with industry peers. Every evening, the show will host i-Meet networking sessions in Shaikh Rashid Hall between 5.30 and 8.30pm. More info