The Greatness of GITEX Global 2022 and life hacks for taking maximum from networking at tech conferences
This year, the GITEX Global 2022 conference was held on 10–14 October. The conference, as always, took place at the Dubai World Trade Center with the participation of TechRadar Pro. Perhaps GITEX is not yet a vastly known conference among Europeans as, say, CES in Las Vegas or Web Summit in Lisbon. Still, the organizers are putting an effort to change that and make GITEX the main technological event of the year not only in the MENA region but also in the whole world.
This was the 42nd GITEX conference, the first exhibition was held in 1981. The popularity and authority of GITEX in the region are so high that the exhibition began to be held in other countries as well: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, and India. In May next year, it will be held in Africa.
GITEX GLOBAL brings together 7 events from technological industries: AI Everything, North Star Dubai, Fintech Surge, Future Blockchain Summit, Marketing Mania, and two new events joining the list in 2022: Global DevSlam and X-VERSE.
I would like to single out AI Everything — one of the largest and most influential events in the world dedicated to artificial intelligence. The AI Everything conference is organized by the UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work. Its goal is to promote a more detailed understanding of modern artificial intelligence technologies, strengthen its long-term potential, and expand the global AI ecosystem.
This year, GITEX Global attracted more than 120,000 attendees, 5,000 companies from 170 countries, and more than 1,000 speakers and covered all 186,000 square meters of the Dubai World Trade Center.
The region’s technology leaders have set a course for Dubai’s digital transformation, including improving consumer lifestyles, and government & business services. This year’s conference focused on IoT, digital security, Big Data applications, and cloud technologies. In the field of IoT, local specifics, which are extremely important for the UAE, are fully taken into account.
The smart city is one of the most significant topics of GITEX. Smart cities should be built according to the 4P principle: public, private, people, and partnership. In general, the topics of Smart Things and IoT have given a significant place at the exhibition — both individual suppliers and the largest operators offer their solutions here.
The UAE wants to be not only a financial but also a technological hub in the Greater Middle East region. Bets are placed on technologies such as AR/VR, 3D printing, IoT, smart cities, 5G, and artificial intelligence: these were the most popular new-wave technologies presented at the GITEX booths.
At the same time, the direction on which they are betting the most in the UAE is AI. And Emirates has every chance to take the position of the new technological leader in this breakthrough industry.
The main difference between GITEX and other large technology conferences is that, in addition to giant companies and startups, there is a separate “state” pavilion, where hundreds of state institutions from the entire region, ministers, and public sector officials present the main digital initiatives, innovations, and projects of the year, and also announce public-private technology partnerships and showcase their achievements in the digital transformation of the UAE.
The Dubai Government Pavilion brought together 33 government organizations, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Dubai Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Department of Tourism and Economy, the Dubai Sports Council, the Department of Education and Human Development, the Department of Legal Affairs, the Department of Finance, the Dubai International Financial Center ( DIFC), Security Industry Regulatory Agency, Dubai Government Human Resources Authority, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Community Development Authority, Dubai Health Authority, Aviation Authority, Dubai Airports, Dubai Judicial Institute, and many other government bodies.
Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Oman, Sharjah, and Bahrain had similar stands.
States and cities are represented at the conference as separate tech companies.
And this breaks the patterns of the bureaucratic system, the black box model of management, which is familiar to most of Europe. Technological progress makes it possible to build a transparent state that is “easy to use” for citizens. And, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a win-win.
Currently, most of the technologies to which the exhibition is dedicated are entering the stage of technological maturity. Therefore, at GITEX, a lot of attention is paid to practical issues of their application — for example, improving the traffic situation after the appearance of smart cars, virtual reality as a means to improve surgery and education, artificial intelligence in various services, including, as already noted, public ones.
THE SCALE OF THE CONFERENCE
If we compare the scale of the conference in numbers, this year GITEX announced itself very loudly and confidently: 120K visitors from 170 countries. For comparison, Web Summit this year will gather 70k, and CES — 80k visitors.
And while the Web Summit (which will take place from November 1 to 4 this year in Lisbon, Portugal) is more tied to technology but less tied to Portugal, GITEX encourages participants to start a business here and work with local companies. CES (which will be held from January 5 to 8 next year in Las Vegas, USA), encourages working specifically with the USA.
The total time of presentations this year was 500 hours. Attendees heard from more than 1,000 government ministers, global technology leaders, and experts who shared their views on key trends in the technology industry.
No matter how much you want to listen to all the speakers, there are only 24 hours in a day. In the midst of the technology conference season, I want to share life hacks on how to get the most out of such events and not get lost in the crowd of people and information.
- My first recommendation is to spend the conference time only on the conference. Reschedule/cancel all non-conference work meetings, calls and questions. Networking and the constant flow of information require a lot of energy and focus.
- Acquaint yourself with the conference before your arrival. Get to know the participants and communicate on your social networks that you will be at the conference, so you can create a list of people you want to meet in order of priority in advance. I usually create a long list and a short list of meetings.
- Think about getting to the venue of the event before it starts. You need to think about this in advance. When 100,000 people go to one place, traffic jams reach their maximum: 10 out of 10. You can spend a lot of time standing in them. It is better to arrive earlier.
- Bring water, charge all your gadgets, and bring your business cards in case your phone goes dead.
- After arriving at the conference, try to go around the location as much as possible on the first day in order to better navigate the place and have an idea of the location.
- The most important thing after the conference is to connect with all the people you talked to. Add to LinkedIn and write a message to everyone, already creating an additional personal connection.
- After busy days filled with constan tmeetings, be sure to give yourself time to recover and plan a rest for at least 1–2 days in silence.
- Attending such conferences can help you build connections with potential partners, and it’s also a great opportunity to learn about new technologies and trends. I wish you great networking and useful acquaintances! Take the maximum and a little more from the conferences.
I hope everyone, who plans to visit Web Summit and CES, will make successful and productive connections!