By Andrew Seymour
There will be host of announcements during this year's GITEX Technology Week.
There will be an affluence of announcements aimed at catching the channel's attention during this year's GITEX Technology Week, with a host of leading ICT names set to unveil compelling new offerings for Middle East partners.
GITEX returns on the 18th to 22nd of this month, once again bringing with it a number of key sections to encompass the entire ICT community, including Business Solutions, GulfComms and Shopper, as well the Global Conference Programme.
A major adaption to this year's show is the relocation of the consumer electronics section to new halls at the front of the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.
"The expansion of the venue will allow the show to implement new features such as Smart Office and Smart Home, which will showcase the latest technology in the environment it is designed for," said Helal Saeed Al Marri, director general of the Dubai World Trade Centre, organisers of the show. "Also new this year are the Vendor Theatres on the show floor where new solutions can be presented to the market."
One of the most eagerly-awaited announcements this year is the launch of Windows 7. Visitors to Microsoft's booth will be able to gain a sneak preview of the new operating system before it is officially rolled out in the region on the fifth day of the show.
Not to be outdone, software rival Oracle is gearing up for the Middle East debut of its Fusion Middleware 11g application family, which is designed to improve IT efficiency and enhance investments in CRM, ERP and other applications.
Fellow industry bellwether HP will also be giving the channel a glimpse of the latest products that it believes will provide partners with tasty margins. Its new TouchSmart PC series, which runs on internally-developed software for touchscreen machines, is poised to be one of its major technology highlights. Elsewhere, brands such as Epson, Adobe, Symantec and Sonicwall will be updating partners on the latest solutions and initiatives available to the Middle East market.
A strong distribution contingent is expected once again, with leading names from the broadline and enterprise space looking to target new trade customers by touting their product portfolios. Mindware claims its participation will focus on educating the channel about value added distribution, while Logicom plans to use its appearance as an opportunity to meet with major vendors and expand its customer base.
"We also plan to discuss strategic initiatives pertaining to inventory management, product management, marketing and training," explained general manager Nicholas Argyrides. "We have 12 separate booths within our 200-metre square stand for our partners at this event."
Other distributors that are set to feature prominently at GITEX include Aptec, Computerlinks, Adaox and TopNet, a Jebel Ali-based supplier of networking and telecom products. "We are a four-year-old company and many of our vendor partners have entered the market through us," revealed managing director Kandasamy Ganesan. "We want to promote the awareness of these products and solutions in the region."
Another company that is looking to use GITEX as a way to further its regional aspirations is Arabian Business Machine (ABM), the Middle East sales agency for Apple. Its objectives remain simple, according to marketing manager Nathalie Khouri. "We are exhibiting during GITEX to bring product knowledge and awareness of Apple products," she said. "We also plan to meet with our existing channel partners over the course of the week."
While financial issues are likely to feature at the heart of many conversations taking place this year, Al Marri insists the downturn has at least highlighted the importance of securing face-to-face engagement with regional clients. "We are therefore experiencing many new companies coming to the show, and former exhibitors returning including Aastra, Dell, Integrated Telecoms Company (ITC), ITIDA, Kaspersky and McAfee," he said.