Live: Updates From Gitex 2014

DAY 3

6.20 pm
See what was we spotted (and heard) flying over our heads… Drones!
drone 1
drone 2
And with that we come to the end of day three and our live blogging session at Gitex. Visit www.gulfbusiness.com for all the latest news.
5.15 pm
Day three has been busy with some major launches! The latest to visit were Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Sheikh Mansour also enthusiastically tried some smart solutions that were on display at Gitex 2014.
sheikh Mansour
5.00 pm
Dubai Smart Government (DSG) has announced that it has registered around 34,000 users in its MyID service that provides people a sign-on to access Dubai government entities’ services. It is also integrated with the Emirates ID card, the DSG said.
The service follows the directives of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, to provide a single PIN to each customer in line with his “Dubai Government Towards 2021” initiative, enabling customers to have a single sign-on to all government services and interact with them on smartphones or via the internet.
Customers of 10 major local government entities can now register in the service to obtain a single sign-on (username and password) related to MyID, which gives them access to more than 250 services provided by these entities and complete their transactions electronically.
4.30 pm
Dubai’s healthcare sector is also increasingly becoming smart with authorities launching a number of applications at Gitex. Dubai Health Authority (DHA) will soon have a smart pharmacy system, which will be fitted with a robot to arrange and dispense medicines, a top official has said.
“Pharmacists simply need to store medicines into the robot’s vault before the machine sorts out the medicines according to the near date of expiry and arranges them in specific shelves based on the barcode of the medicines,” said Essa al Maidoor, director general of DHA.
“The machines dispense the medicines and the pharmacist simply needs to give it to the patient. The system cuts the patient waiting time by 90 per cent and is highly beneficial to both healthcare facilities and patients.”
The system can handle between 15,000 to 100,000 medicines depending on the size of the system. Regularly used medicines are put into the high speed channel and in this channel up to 100 medicines can be dispensed within 30 seconds. Medicines that are not commonly used are stored in shelves and 15 products can be dispensed in less than 10 seconds.
4.00 pm
The UAE’s telecom regulator TRA is on a roll this Gitex. The latest we hear is that the TRA has unveiled an app that provides services such as device verification, report SMS marketing, signal coverage and much more to users.
“We are pleased to announce TRA’s first ever mobile application in the region’s most anticipated ICT event. The UAE TRA App will be available for download in approved smart phones and will enable our continued efforts to improve services within the telecommunications sector,” said Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director general of TRA.
The TRA said that it is expecting a lot of interest in the app which is available and free to download for Android devices and will soon be developed with compatibility for iPhone devices.
3.15 pm
With the UAE seeking to reduce its carbon footprint, a new app launched by the UAE’s Ministry of Environment and Water and du at Gitex now aims to educate people on how to track their emissions. The app, which will be available for free on iOs and Android by the end of this week, will help users calculate consumption of power, water, transportation, waste and carbon emissions.
The Carbon Footprint App will also provide tips on how to reduce emissions, and is designed to showcase the UAE’s various landscapes, Salma Tahnoun Alyammahi, the project coordinator at the Ministry of Environment and Water, told Gulf Business.
It took roughly three months to develop the app, she said, and also confirmed that they are working on two more versions.
“The app will certainly build more awareness among residents and eventually help the UAE cut its carbon footprint,” she added.
Here’s a picture –
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2.40 pm
The UAE’s Telcommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has announced that it has released an updated version of its online encyclopedia UAEpedia at Gitex.
The new UAEPedia is designed as a collaborative information base on the UAE. The new website builds upon the well-known Wiki open-source model, allowing controlled collaboration across the public and private sectors to contribute and enrich the content.
A range of new offerings in the updated version include mobile apps for Android and iOS devices, augmented reality covering a variety of UAE monuments, interactive maps with directions, location-linked QR-codes, smart browsing, UAE timeline and Instagram-like photo albums where users can upload and share their own photos or videos.
The website will also include ‘UAETube’ – a video streaming platform comprised of video content, uploaded and shared by users; ‘UAECinema’ – an archive for videos and documentaries relating to the the country including cinematic films produced by local producers; ‘UAECalendar’ – a calendar that notifies users of the UAE’s key dates in history; ‘UAEMap’ – a location-sensitive interactive map highlighting places featured in articles and events listed in UAEpedia and providing directions and links to informative articles and ‘UAEQuote’ – a portal displaying quotes by the UAE’s greatest individuals, selected by the UAEpedia curators.
1.00 pm
It seems like Dubai is leaving no stone unturned in making its transition into a smart city. Dubai Smart Government Department (DSG) announced that it has implemented the second phase of the smart employee app on smart phones and tablets for Dubai government employees.
Officials announced that the app is now available to more than 20,000 employees over 40 government entities. The app will include many options such as leave management, absence and attendance records, payroll, team hierarchy and search for employee. Other features include alerts, writing notes and user customisation of some aspects of the app.
“It helps government entities save time and cost, considering that the app is a shared service; and saves the time of the employee and the manager in following up the employees’ affairs, thereby serving the objective of bringing happiness to people, irrespective of their segments and categories,” said Ahmad Bin Humaidan, DSG director general.
Here is a picture of a DSG official demonstrating the new smart employee app at Gitex.
smart app
11.00 am
Software firms have been launching a number of smart solutions at Gitex as they look to woo customers in the UAE as the country aims to go smart.
Global software and communications firm Avaya launched a new portfolio of solutions called SmartConnec, which include a VENA Fabric Connect network, one-click mobile video, and a brand new Virtual Teller Machine end point, ready for government and financial services deployment.
Earlier on Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum paid a visit to learn about Avaya SmartConnect.
The company is also conducting live demos of its latest solutions at its stand today.
Sheikh Hamdan and the Dubai Police
10.20 am
The talk around town is that the halls at Gitex are less crowded this year, although the stands look bigger and brighter. That seems in line with what we earlier pointed out – organiser DWTC forecast that the event see over 100,000 professionals – that’s 50,000 people short when compared to last year’s visitor predictions.
But while numbers may be smaller, there is certainly no shortage of announcements. So far this morning, Chinese firm ZTE has launched a range of payment solutions including phone POS (point of sale), photonic and DTV (Digital TV) payment products; Polycom has unveiled subscription based video collaboration solutions for organisations in the UAE and network solutions provider Aruba has launched an enterprise-grade gigabit wifi solution in the Middle East.

DAY 2

5.50 pm
As part of its ongoing announcements at the GITEX, UAE telco du unveiled a range of Smart Home services and bundles at the exhibition.
With the new bundles, which will be available soon, customers will be able to choose from various options with a speed of up to 100 Mbps. As part of its new services, du’s customers will also get free local and national calls, Basic TV with multiscreen, and Subscription Video On Demand, and depending on the package they choose, higher speeds, premium channels as well as a Mobile dongle or WiFi LTE Router.
Earlier today Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Al Rashid, deputy ruler of Dubai, was seen at du’s stand as the company’ CEO Osman Sultan explained the range of du’ smart services.
Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum
5.30 pm
Ajman is planning to announce and implement a string of new smart initiatives in line with its overall 2021 strategy for development, a senior official from the emirate’s municipality disclosed today.
He said that the emirate is planning to unveil ‘connected government’ and ‘smart parking’ solutions within the next three to four years. The smart strategy will also be closely aligned with the ‘happiness meter’ that was launched two days ago.
The biggest advantage for Ajman is its small size, which will help easy and quick implementation, he added.
4.30 pm
With one of the highest social media penetration rates in the world, the UAE has been attracting tech companies keen to tap into the country’s social media boom. Tint, a silicon valley start-up that specialises in aggregating social media posts to display them, has announced its first overseas expansion to the Middle East at Gitex 2014. The company has chosen Dubai to base its operations and expects to see a strong demand for social media aggregation from the regional companies.
On being quizzed about why Tint chose Dubai as a market to expand into, company’s head of growth Brandon Ancier says: “We are the only company in the Middle East market that provides this service till date. Also retail, tourism, hotels are sectors in the UAE where Tint can be used to create engaging campaigns.”
Prior to its expansion, the start-up already counted Middle Eastern firms such as Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, utilities giant DEWA and The Dubai Mall among its clients.
2.40 pm
Saudi Arabia and the UAE posted the highest levels of malware detections in the Middle East over the past year, according to a new report from Trend Micro.
For the top 10 malware detections alone in each country, the Kingdom counted 11.01 million instances, and the UAE counted 10.26 million instances, from June 2013 to May 2014, the report said.
Several experts we spoke to agree that cyber security remains a formidable challenge for the region’s IT industry.
2.00 pm
Following the launch of the ‘happiness meter’ in Dubai – which will measure public satisfaction in government services through the use of electronic devices connected to a central network, one public entity has unveiled a new measure which will probably bring joy to many residents.
The Dubai Municipality has joined hands with du to make wifi available across all public parks and public beaches in the city, it was announced at Gitex. The launch came along with the unveiling of the Municipality’s new Parks and Beach App, which provides information on the emirate’s parks and beaches, weather conditions, entrance fee and amenities at the site.
1.30 pm
As the UAE’s m-government initiatives pick up pace, digital security service provider Gemalto is forecasting a rise in demand from the governments to develop mobile solutions. One of the top concerns being voiced by the governments is that the data that is being generated for marketing needs to be secure, a company executive told Gulf Business.
Secondly, the messages that are being distributed should be differentiated from spam to add value to the government services.
12.15 pm
Groundbreaking if they go through with it: We just heard that the UAE government is planning to launch a single point sign-in platform to access services across the country. Following that, people can conduct online transactions related to any emirate through that one single platform. Launch date for the service has not been disclosed yet, but we will keep a tab on it.
10.50 am
While Gitex is primarily a tech show, it’s not been all boring stands and talk of clouds. Here are some interesting characters we bumped into -
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HOSPI, Panasonic’s new healthcare robot
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Dubai Police dogs in action
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No explanation needed here!
10.20 am
Day two has started with news from digital security specialist Gemalto, which has released a new Smart Travel solution that will allow travellers to use e-visas to travel.
The solution, when implemented by governments, will allow travellers to apply for their visas through eGovernment platforms. They will then receive an electronic version of their visa on their near field communications (NFC) smartphone and simply drag and drop the eVisa from the phone to their electronic passport.
The move will not only benefit travellers, but also visa issuing authorities, airport and customs officials, the company said.
Sounds great, but until it is actually implemented, be prepared to wait in the queues!

DAY 1

6.30 pm
Day one is almost up, although it’s still quite busy (and cold!) in the media centre.
While day one saw strong crowds and lots of announcements, several companies have slated new launches for day two as well. So stay tuned to this space for all the latest news tomorrow.
6.00 pm
Dubai Smart Government has announced the launch of a new mDubai app, which will allow the public to communicate with the government departments and entities. The new app, which was unveiled by Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai’s crown prince – provides smart services classified under 11 categories: bill payment, security and emergency cases, health, travel and transport, finance, consumer rights, job and employment, visas and residences, Islamic affairs, housing and public affairs.
Image
Ahmad Bin Humaidan, director general of Dubai Smart Government, said: “All those who have accounts with mPay or MyID can access the mDubai app to settle the fees of Salik, Nol, Etisalat, Du DEWA, in addition to traffic fines and many services provided by Dubai Municipality and Dubai Customs. They can also donate to Al Jalila Foundation and Dubai Cares, access information on flights, shopping malls, taxi booking service and health services including medical appointments and other medical services. In addition, they can access visa services, religious services, consumer rights, Dubai Police security services, postal services, weather reports, government centres and many more services.”
5.30 pm
The 3D printing industry is booming in the UAE and the Middle East, according to Ashish Panjabi, COO of Jacky’s Group. The cheapest machine during Gitex last year was $10,000, and today, the company has one retailing for Dhs5,550.
The technology is getting cheaper, more accessible and more useful, Panjabi says.
4.55 pm
It is not all about apps and smart applications at Gitex as hardware firms too have grown in the past year. According to Khalil El-Dalu, general manager of Japanese electronics firm Epson, the company has seen around 17 to 18 per cent growth in the sales figures of video projectors in the UAE market.
“The growth was focused in the education market, mainly due to the government’s e-learning initiatives,” he told Gulf Business at the sidelines of the exhibition.
“Another area of growth for Epson was the sale of retail receipt printers, where we grew 22 per cent. That is due to the booming retail industry in the UAE and the need for more points of sale in the outlets. We are a part of it through the receipt printing.”
Epson also showcased its recent innovation Moverio BT-200, an augmented reality device that projects content on the viewer’s entire field of vision. Experts say the device is already popular among visitors in museums as the device is quite helpful in providing a closer view of the works in display.
moverio BT.jpg
1.45 pm
Japanese corporate Panasonic just concluded a press meet where the company unveiled a slew of new products and services including the two healthcare robots (mentioned earlier), a range of smart agricultural solutions, smart living initiatives and new projectors.
The company’s consumer business is still the main driver of growth in the Middle East market, according to Shinichi Wakita, MD of Panasonic Marketing MEA. But he told Gulf Business that the company is now focusing on boosting its B2B business, and aims to double its overall size in the MEA market to over $1 billion by 2018.
1.20 pm
As always cyber security continues to be a rife topic at Gitex with experts foreseeing a surge in investments to the sector.
“The cybersecurity market in the Middle East in 2014 is estimated to be valued at $1 billion, which is almost an eight per cent growth from 2013,” Amer Chebaro, regional manager, Gulf and Levant, Symantec told Gulf Business.
“Globally our business in information security systems is growing but Middle East represents a substantial market for us.”
He added that Symantec, which split into two companies last week, is also investing considerably in mobile solutions to tap into UAE’s m-government initiatives.
More details to follow.
12.10 pm
Panasonic just unveiled REYSONE and HOSPI, its new generation robots for the healthcare industry.
12.00 pm
Smart government is the hot topic again at Gitex. We are hearing that up to 180 new smart government apps will be launched here. However, Magad Eid from Nexthink, an IT analytics provider, believes that just launching apps might not be enough – more consumer awareness needs to be created.
10.40 am
With ICT becoming the focus point for private and public sectors in the Middle East region, it’s no surprise that the 34th edition of the annual Gitex Technology Week is expected to be a busy one.
According to organisers, the 34th edition of the event will see over 100,000 professionals (less than last year’s 150,000) from 150 countries converge at the Dubai World Trade Centre from October 12-16. A total of 3,700 exhibiting companies from 61 countries are here to discuss and showcase latest developments across the show’s four themes: smart, cloud, big data and mobility.
Stay tuned, as Gulf Business will be meeting a lot of industry leaders and bring you all the new launches and latest insights from the show.

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