Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gitex is here...alive and well, so be there

I missed the recent Cityscape and I would miss this year's Gitex as well as I cannot bear the traffic jam all the way to the 'last parking spot' available.

I have skipped Gitex for a long time...except meeting friends on the side line of the show.

This year the Dubai World Trade Centre is expecting 130,000 visitors. Exhibitor space is sold out with 3,300 companies from 83 countries, including Malaysia attending the show.


Gitex is alive and well, so be there

Today is the opening day of Gitex. That means for the past week companies have been scrambling to finish preparations, public relations companies have been hounding journalists trying to set up interviews for their clients, and journalists have been fighting to get interviews with the CEO de jour.

But for all the mania that surrounds the event, there is always the gossip and dire predictions. I've heard it all. Gossip such as "all the major companies are pulling out" and "the show can only last five more years" is easy to find, but the phrase "it's just too expensive" has got to top the list.
Mostly, that's all rubbish. Gitex is alive and well. As my college economics professor used to say, "If the event was sold out, you weren't charging enough."

And Gitex is sold out - 13,000 companies will be there this year, and as one businessman told me last week, "Even if you don't have a booth, you have to be seen at Gitex."

The big names are certainly showing up, too. Intel will be there, showing off their 80-core computer chip. AMD will be there, demonstrating what they call "the world's fastest graphic card". Microsoft, Symantec, Dell, Sun Microsystems, HP, Ford (and yes, there is a technology angle to Ford being there) and RIM will all be on hand.

By the way, RIM will be launching the BlackBerry Bold at the show, but the BlackBerry Storm, a touch screen handset similar to the iPhone will, similarly to the iPhone, not be coming to the UAE. According to RIM's press agency, the company has made an exclusive deal with Vodaphone for the Storm, so once again, an exclusive deals keeps a trendy new device out of the country, grey market aside.) This year will also see the introduction of the world's largest web companies: Google. The Silicon Valley giant will be there mainly to build up relations and push web advertising.



Return to form
So don't listen to the rumours. Okay, last year's show wasn't the best ever, but this year the show looks to make a return to form.

The only thing I am dreading is the crowds. There will be an estimated 130,000 this year, which means there will be traffic. Please be kind everyone, and try the expanded park and ride services. Shuttle buses will be running from the major malls, hotels and DIC.
While I know that the Mall of the Emirates or Deira City Centre are not what you'd call an ideal place to find parking, remember how much competition you'll have trying to find that one, last parking spot.

This week's show is sure to be exciting, interesting and avoidable chaotic, but it would be nice if I didn't encounter that before I get through the door.

This year will also see the introduction of the world's largest web companies: Google. The Silicon Valley giant will be there mainly to build up relations and push web advertising.

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