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Highlights of Day 1 of GITEX Technology Week 2017
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Highlights of Day 1 of GITEX Technology Week 2017

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The 37th edition of GITEX Technology Week 2017, opened its doors today with over 4100 companies exhibiting at the show from over 70 countries. The event was inaugurated by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

Over the next five days, a whole lot of companies will be launching new products and solutions at the event. Here are the top highlights from Day 1:

Amazon.com Keynotes at GITEX Technology Week

Dr. Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer at Amazon.com made his first regional keynote at GITEX Technology Week. Dr. Vogels highlighted the Amazon.com story – how a company grew from a bookstore to one of the world’s fastest growing enterprise IT providers.

Speaking on how an experimental mindset helps drive continuous innovation on a worldwide scale, he highlighted how digital acceleration can create new opportunities and extolled entrepreneurs to work on things that truly differentiate their businesses. At this afternoon’s keynote, Dr Vogels said that the most disruptive businesses in the Middle East are powered on cloud.

Dr. Vogels expressed his excitement to announce that the company is building a presence in the Middle East, which will allow it to harness the power of technology to create a rich featured infrastructure platform for startups and big businesses in the region.

Accenture Leads Digital Transformation Dialogue
Mike Sutcliff, Group Chief Executive of Accenture Digital at his keynote address highlighted the role technology will play across the private and government sectors. The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) was called out, and the need for businesses to build technology competencies rapidly.

“Artificial Intelligence has evolved to a stage where it can offer simple solutions to sophisticated problems. Today, AI is being used in myriad ways across diverse industries like automotive, manufacturing and even retail—a development that was unfathomable a few years ago. We expect AI to take an increasingly central role in many organization’s digital presence – companies must therefore embrace this technology, and their competency in this discipline, seriously,” said Mike Sutcliff, Group Chief Executive of Accenture Digital.

BlackBerry Launches BlackBerry Motion

On the opening day of GITEX Technology Week, TCL Communication officially unveiled their newest BlackBerry smartphone with the launch of BlackBerry Motion, an all-touch smartphone designed to empower the most challenging, on-the-go lifestyle.

Coming to the region in the second half of October, this all-new BlackBerry smartphone continues the heritage of offering customers the best in reliability, productivity, privacy and security.

“The launch of BlackBerry Motion allows us to further diversify our product offering, delivering new experiences while remaining steadfast with the privacy, reliability and productivity that have made BlackBerry so iconic over the years,” said Alain Lejeune, Global General Manager for BlackBerry Mobile.

Huawei Innovation Day Makes a Splash at GITEX Technology Week
Huawei held the Middle East edition of its global event, the 2nd Annual Middle East Innovation Day in Sheikh Maktoum Hall. Themed “Exploration, Lights the Way Forward”, it hosted a high-profile panel of international and regional government and industry representatives, focusing on the role of ICT in driving digital transformation and building sustainable knowledge-based economies in the region.

“The Middle East is a historic center of exploration and innovation, and we are incredibly excited to leverage this heritage and tackle the challenges faced in order to realize the full spectrum of digital realities here,” said Space Lee, Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications, Huawei Middle East. “Huawei remains committed to driving the digital ecosystems, and to continue to push for active and open collaboration with local partners in order to serve the region’s national visions and deliver on the promise of digital transformation.”

26 Startups Participate in Day One of Supernova Challenge Semifinals
As GITEX Future Stars opened, over 700+ innovators startups from 75 countries including Japan, Italy, Sweden, Spain, South Africa, Nigeria, Bulgaria, UAE, and India engaged with investors, fellow entrepreneurs and technology leaders. Day one of the Supernova Challenge kicked off with over 26 startups pitching in the semifinals.

Entrepreneurs from the UAE and around the world are participating in the challenge to win financing and other prizes. In addition to the top prize – the Best Global Startup – category, participants can win across categories including sectors and geographies.

Addressing MENA’s Unicorn Aspirations
Moderated by Christopher Schroeder, Author of Startup Rising and a leading voice in the region’s innovation ecosystem, the fireside chat on “Unicorn Breeding Ground-Fantasy or Reality?” saw discussion on the region’s potential and pressures to create the next unicorn after Careem.

With participation from Ankur Shah, CFO, Careem, Maria Barsuk, Head of Venture Capital Investment Program, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Dr. Sayd Farook, Advisor, Director General’s Office, The Executive Office, the discussion saw high engagement from aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to receive funding advice from the best in the business.

Investment in Social Innovation set to Accelerate: Expo Live
Speaking at GITEX Future Stars, Yousef Caires, Vice President of Expo Live reiterated the organisation’s commitment to social impact and social enterprises. Presenting on, “Green is the New Black,” Caires highlighted how the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will act as a blueprint for the future of social innovation.

For private investors and government, social investing is a significant opportunity, which will spur innovators to create solutions for the world’s challenges.  Stressing on the importance of private participation, Caires highlighted that social entrepreneurs need to be incentivized, and by unlocking capital, entrepreneurs will be encouraged create solutions for impact in larger numbers.

Chris N. Fernando Chris N. Fernando is the Chief Editor of Channel Post Middle East and Africa. He is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is easily excited by the smallest of technologies around. He is an Android fanboy at heart, who also owns an iPhone, a Windows Phone, and a BlackBerry. Though he uses a MacBook Pro at work, he also uses a Windows PC, an Xbox One and an Xbox 360 for all his gaming requirements. True gadget lover at heart!