Dr Werner Vogels CTO Amazon and other tech gurus at Gitex 2017

By Arun Shankar   8 October, 2017
Dr Werner Vogels CTO Amazon and other tech gurus at Gitex 2017

As Gitex Technology Week grows its worldwide influence, the event welcomes over 4,100 exhibitors, with companies from Finland, Georgia, Guatemala, Luxembourg, and Syria exhibiting for the first time.

The most global edition of the region’s flagship expo will host technology gurus that have shaped the modern world’s ICT landscape. The event will begin with a keynote from Dr Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer of Amazon.com the largest Internet company by revenue in the world. Set to top $1 trillion in market capitalisation by 2027, Dr Vogels will discuss how Amazon progressed from a startup in 1994 to the fourth largest employer and the world and the future they imagine.

Also taking the stage at Gitex during the week will be surgeon Shafi Ahmed, who used virtual reality to broadcast a live surgery to over 54 million viewers; Ben Silverman, former Chairman of NBC and creator of the hit TV show Planet of the Apps and; Erik Mendelson and Grammy award-winning producer Winston DJ Blackout Thomas, co-founders of blockchain music production firm RecordGram and winners of TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield.

Building on its massively successful launch last year, Gitex Future Stars is set to be the biggest ever confluence of the global start-up ecosystem. International VC powerhouses and investors including international super investor firm Andreessen Horowitz, Candace Johnson from SES & the European Angel Investor Network in France, and Mo El Bibany from the Rising Tide Fund in the US will be chief among venture capitalists and investors on site searching for the next-big-thing in technology.

As Gitex Technology Week grows its worldwide influence, the event welcomes over 4,100 exhibitors, with companies from Finland, Georgia, Guatemala, Luxembourg, and Syria exhibiting for the first time. Gitex Technology Week’s Vertical Days Conferences will include over 126 speakers, 230 sessions with experts from 8 key industry verticals featuring experts from across health, retail, smart cities, finance, transport & logistics, education and digital marketing.

Entering its second edition, Gitex Future Stars has grown over 65% since its launch last year. MENA’s largest and most global startup event, Gitex Future Stars will see the latest in emerging technology from 700 startups that may be scouted by one of the 250 venture capitalists and investors attending the event.

With fashion, music and film taking over the startup scene, Gitex Future Stars will have engaging Creative Economy content throughout the week. Benji Rogers, CEO and Founder of Dot Blockchain Media will be taking the stage to discuss the future of blockchain musicians; Patrick Grove, Co-founder & Group CEO of Catcha Group and co-founder and Chairman of iflix, will be speaking on building a great disruptive business and; Sophia Amoruso, the founder and CEO of Girlboss Media and bestselling author who will speak on her entrepreneurial success in the fashion industry. Powered by Red Bull, the Creative Economy Program will host a series of interactive workshops, sessions and onsite installations at the show.

“Gitex Technology Week and Gitex Future Stars aim to inspire corporations and innovators to be bold in their strategy, adopt new technology and be first-movers in their industries. To win in a disruptive economy, businesses must understand how the emerging technology of today will mean valuable opportunities in the future. This week is dedicated to education, innovation and sharing of technology and ideas that will shape the businesses of tomorrow,” said Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of Gitex Technology Week.

Gitex Future Stars will give young innovators a once in a lifetime chance to be first-movers, with funding opportunities to springboard their dreams into reality throughout the week, including over AED 1.2 million in cash and prizes across a number of competitions. In a regional first, Gitex Future Stars will also feature a dedicated corporate buyers programme in partnership with Wamda, the leading platform for entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa.

“There is no better time than now to be a part of the Middle East entrepreneurial landscape. The startup ecosystem is thriving not just with ideas, but also with innovative startups and investors looking to help businesses scale up and expand. According to the World Economic Forum, startup investments in MENA will near $1 billion in 2017. This combination of innovators and availability of capital, and startup accelerators, will play a key role in cultivating a new generation of companies, thereby ensuring that the Middle East, and particularly Dubai play a key role in the global innovation economy,” said Fadi Ghandour Executive Chairman of Wamda Group, Founder of Aramex.

Winners of the Accenture Innovation Awards at Gitex Future Stars will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Silicon Valley. Winners of the Fintech and Social Impact categories will also be fast-tracked to the live presentation stage of Expo Live’s Innovation Impact Grant Programme. The grant programme from Expo 2020 Dubai will provide winning projects with grants of up to $100,000 and a chance to showcase their innovations at the next World Expo.

The recent announcement of the government plan UAE Centennial 2071 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, and Ruler of Dubai, aims to put in place a vision that extends to five decades and prepares the nation for future generations. Area 2071, an ecosystem to design the future, brings together government, creative individuals, innovative companies and people from all walks of life to create solutions to the world’s most pressing issues, will be showcased at Gitex Technology Week. In the UAE, the Roads and Transport Authority will showcase publicly for the first time their soon to be launched self-flying taxis.

“Technology has been at the very foundation of mobility and with the evolution of technology, how we travel is changing rapidly. With projects like the Flying Taxis, the RTA is committed to truly enabling the future of transport in Dubai, thereby establishing a new benchmark for mobility. Through the use of technology, we aim to move towards the future by bringing about increased safety standards, environmental friendly solutions and cost efficiencies at scale,” said Khaled Al Awadhi, Director, Automatic Collection Systems, RTA.

Technology that will continue to elevate future-facing cities and change realities for generations to come will be on showcase at Gitex Future Stars, including a 100% electric flying water taxi from French startup Seabubbles. At Gitex Technology Week, UAE headquartered DarkMatter will once again demonstrate security solutions to protect businesses and governments from the increasing threats of a connected world.

“Partnerships with leading global technology providers are essential for DarkMatter’s go-to-market strategy. Gitex Technology Week is a key platform for the firm to network with CIOs and CISOs from the region and around the world. The cyber security landscape has become increasingly complex, and as emerging technologies are implemented and digital transformation takes on new forms and shapes, we need to build our future-facing cities and businesses on a foundation of data security and trust,” said Rabih Dabboussi, Senior Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Business Development, DarkMatter.

The Middle East augmented reality and virtual reality market will grow to $6 billion in value by 2020. virtual reality powerhouse HTC will be showcasing the HTC Vive, which is set to change the way people consume visual content.

“The region is accelerating its adoption of digital platforms, and today’s virtual reality technologies are already making radical changes to the way that business sectors operate and how individuals collaborate with one another. During Gitex, we are excited to showcase how Vive is now at the forefront of pushing virtual reality to the mainstream by continued improvements to the virtual reality hardware, the industry’s leading virtual reality subscription service, and investments in new developer platforms,” said Nikitas Glykas, President MEA, HTC.

Frontier technologies will be on showcase throughout Gitex, with virtual reality film studio GigaWorks demonstrating their 360 camera technology on Gitex’s dedicated augmented reality, virtual reality platform XLabs and Dubai’s official Blockchain City Advisor, ConsenSys, giving insight into the future of blockchain technology in the region.

“There should no longer be any debate about the impact of digital on the way organisations can reinvent their businesses across all industries. Gitex Technology Week is an opportunity for leaders and experts across government, transport, healthcare, marketing and education to understand how digital can benefit them. As the Exclusive Digital Transformation Partner of Gitex, Accenture will provide its global insights and launch a new initiative that simultaneously benefits up-and-coming talent, while benefitting the organisational innovation agendas,” said Omar Boulos, regional managing director for Accenture in the Middle East and Turkey.

Gitex Technology Week 2017 will run from 8-12 October 2017 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

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