This Week’s GITEX In Dubai Expected To Attract 170,000 Attendees; Satellite Event Planned in Berlin For May 2025

October 18, 2023 by Dave Haynes

In this part of the world we all tend to regard CES in Las Vegas each January as the mother of all tech trade shows, but there’s a bigger one run each year an ocean and many time zones away – GITEX in Dubai.

That show is on this week and it is a monster. More than 6,000 exhibitors across 41 halls and tents – with 170,000 attendees expected. All the over-the-top bling you see in the Dubai skyline and in public spaces like malls and airports extends into this show – with massive, digital display-filled stands and custom creative.

I was thinking about going this year – even had a hotel booked – but the air fares were crazy-expensive and, in the end, it looks like a lot of work. I avoid CES because of the jacked-up costs and line-ups for everything, and this looks similar.

But my friends at German language content partner Invidis have a couple of people over there – Florian Rotberg and Stefan Schieker – and they are sending back observations and lotsa photos.

At 250,000 m², the exhibition space grew by 35 percent compared to the previous year – which is why this year the trade fair was expanded to include an additional location at the harbor. The inner-city DWTC exhibition center looks like a bazaar even on the first day of the trade fair.

The masses push their way through the halls – even having to go through security checks like at the airport to access the exhibition center. No fun in the open air at 35 degrees when the trade fair starts in the morning. But the effort is worth it; because the trade fair offers many innovations that cannot otherwise be experienced.

For many years, the trade fair stand of the UAE’s largest telecommunications provider Etisalat (e& Group) has been a visitor magnet and a Gitex highlight. There is no single phone on show, but rather IT and IoT innovations between prototype and series production. The trade fair stand is decorated with Mercedes prototypes as well as an autonomously flying Volocopter. Sorted by vertical markets, Etisalat and partners will show the latest IOT solutions.

Ameria from Heidelberg is also taking part this year. Trend scouts from Etisalat discovered the innovations of the German no-touch digital signage provider. At the trade fair stand, interactive digital signage solutions from Ameria for retail, banking, hospitals and hospitality are integrated into the stand concept. Interaction without a touchscreen meets the taste of the region – wow and an innovative human-machine interface.

The top topics at Gitex are IOT solutions and “Everything as a Service”. Whether Huawei, HP or Cisco – almost all IT solutions are offered as a monthly subscription. A business concept that is already much more widespread in Europe and North America than in the Middle East.

Digital signage at Gitex

Digital signage providers are hardly represented with their own stands – no wonder given the high demand from exhibitors. An exception is Navori – which has had its own branch in the region for over ten years. Digital signage solutions from Samsung, LG, Sharp/NEC & Co. are represented at distributor partner stands.

The growing number of Chinese exhibitors has been striking for years. Hisense, Huawei, many Chinese LED providers as well as the Chinese CCTV providers Hikvision and Dahua are present with their own digital signage solutions. The Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent are becoming increasingly important for China’s suppliers, as markets in Europe and North America are becoming increasingly difficult for Chinese suppliers to develop for political reasons.

One interesting announcement coming out of the show this week is a plan to run a satellite show in Berlin, starting in May 2025.

I think were I going to go to a GITEX, I’d probably suck it up and go all the way to Dubai. The mother show will invariably be bigger, and Dubai is one of those places you have to see to believe. Architecture and infrastructure that goes up with only a passing nod to silly things like capital budgets.

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