gitexDUBAI: More than 3,600 companies from over 62 countries are taking part in the 35th edition of the Gitex Technology Week, which is taking place from October 18-22 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

This year's theme is "The Internet Future of Everything", revolves around the pillars of innovation, connected cloud, big data, mobility and security.

Out of the 3,600 companies, 30 per cent are from the UAE and around eight per cent from Gulf countries.

"For the past many years, 20 per cent of the companies used to be from the UAE and this year many are participating to reflect the strong demand for how Internet of Things technologies such as drones, robotics and 3D printing can impact daily lives and every industry vertical in the Middle East and beyond," said Trixie Loh Mirmand, senior vice-president of Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of the event.

Aisha Butti Bin Bishr, assistant director general of The Executive Office and Smart Dubai Taskforce leader, said that Dubai is committed to becoming a "global benchmark" for Smart Cities of the future.

"In the last two years, we have been working very closely with our strategic partners to meet the needs of all residents and visitors, from government to education and health care, through a connected and responsive citywide infrastructure.

By 2025, the global Smart Cities market will reach $3.3 trillion (Dh12.1 trillion), with nearly half of the world's 26 Smart Cities arising in emerging markets such as the Middle East.

"We are continuously reviewing and refining the latest technology innovations, from mobile apps to drones, to understand how we may adopt these tools to make city experiences more seamless, safe, efficient and impactful for all," she said.

Business differentiator

Dima Kandalaft, smart cities leader for Gulf and Levant at IBM, said that Internet of Things is the future and IBM has established an Internet of Things business unit by investing $3 billion in developing cloud - based services to serve the industries around the world.

"Over the past year, we have witnessed how technologies are moving from a business enabler to a business differentiator. This year is a milestone. Technology is becoming a game-changer. The digital transformation and the ability the technology allows right now are growing at a rapid pace," said Hannes Liebe, COO of SAP Middle East and North Africa.

By 2020, he said that there is going to be 50 billion connected devices globally and the business value surround it is going to be around $14 trillion. In the Middle East, the business value is around $2 billion.

Omar Boulos, regional managing director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa, said that digital transformation can boost competitiveness and economic growth, and researches show that unlocking this potential can add trillions to the GDP (gross domestic product) of top global economies.

"This region's appetite for innovation makes it uniquely positioned to take advantage of the digital opportunity," he said.