Gitex Technology Week 2012 Provides Launch Pad For ICT Companies In Dubai

A wide range of high-profile launches and tech news announcements at Gitex Technology Week 2012, further cementing the event’s position as one of the world’s leading information and communications technology (ICT) gatherings.

Organizer Dubai World Trade Center (DWTC) estimates that 1,000 launches will have taken place when the 32nd dition of Gitex closes on October 18.

Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President at DWTC, said: “This year has been hugely encouraging in terms of the sheer volume of deals, previews, partnerships and announcements. We continue to build on our reputation as a go-to destination for global brands to unveil their latest, cutting edge technologies, not only to the region but also the world at large.”

One of the most talked about partnerships of the week came courtesy of Ajman Free Zone Authority (AFZA), one of the United Arab Emirates’ largest tax-free business parks, and Google. Google Apps is set to provide productivity and communications solutions to AFZA’s more than 5,000 corporate customers.

Commenting on the decision, Mahmoud Khalil Al-Hashemi, General Manager of Ajman Free Zone Authority, said: “Our objective is to meet investor needs by facilitating business activity and providing a pro-business milieu for foreign direct investment. We are confident Google Apps will significantly improve collaboration, communication, and productivity within the free zone.”

Sébastien Marotte, Google’s Vice President Enterprise EMEA, added: “Implementing Google Apps will help Ajman Free Zone streamline internal and external communication, will raise security standards, and will help achieve savings on IT infrastructure costs.”

Throughout the week, Microsoft was a hot topic for discussion with the preview of its Windows 8 operating system. Dubai is one of the six cities in the world that will officially launch Windows 8 on October 26. The new operating system eschews the traditional Microsoft “start button”, and is designed for interface via keys, mouse and touch.

Hip hop megastar and entrepreneur 50 Cent presided over one Gitex’s most star-studded launches yet, announcing his partnership with UAE-based Shift to distribute his SMS Audio Headphones across the region. “Walking through Gitex is like walking through the future. Dubai is the perfect springboard to launch SMS Audio, because the Emirate is famous for its pursuit of high standards in everything it does. I’m honored to contribute to that legacy through the quality of these hi-tech headphones,” said 50 Cent at the event.

First-time exhibitor Saudi Telecom Company (STC) was also flexing its muscles at Gitex earlier in the week, revealing new partnerships with Ericsson and Wikipedia, among others. STC’s news announcements included the exclusive launch of the Huawei Ascend P1 LTE, the first Huawei 4G device in the world.

Jiao Jian, president of Huawei Device in the Middle East, said: “In collaboration with STC, we are pleased to inaugurate a new phase of distinguished mobile devices and that are compatible with LTE system, with the launch of Ascend P1 LTE, and we look forward to expanding the horizons of our partnership via offering more products, services, and solutions that fulfil the Saudi market aspirations and that are consistent with the highest international standards.”

Chinese telecoms vendor and Gitex first-time exhibitor ZTE was generating plenty of buzz as it shows off its latest range of devices, including its full range of Grand series handsets, which includes one of the thinnest LTE devices on the market.

Another world first came from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), which launched UAEpedia, the first comprehensive online encyclopaedia about the UAE. Using an open-source model, the site will allow the general public to contribute and modify content on everything from geography and history to economy, language, literature and beyond.

There was a strong focus on using technology to improve welfare throughout the week.

The Saudi Gazette