The strategy for the UAE in this Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is to become a global hub for technology, and its contribution to technology advances was on display for the world to see at Gitex 2022 in Dubai last week. The event featured technology and innovations in 5G, AI, robotics, automation, FinTech, blockchain, smart cities, the metaverse and more. It was another piece of evidence that our generation is pushing the limits of vision, technology and a concept of a new future.
A technology hub attracting the investment dollars
The 5-day event showed off the region’s ability to attract financial investment, its desire to improve people’s lives in a digital future, and its ideal geographical location to make it a central technology hub for Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Approximately 100,000 people from over 170 nations attended Gitex and the multiple events running in parallel with the main technology trade show.
As technology partners for many promising startups, at itCraft we have noticed many venture capital funds in Europe taking a conservative approach when it comes to investing into the startup-up economy. However, the possibilities for entrepreneurs pitching to VCs the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have never been better with a record-breaking year of $2.6 billion in VC financing. With this ability to attract investment, the UAE is quickly becoming a technology hub worth taking note of.
Metaverse and Web3.0
While this article is not the place to go into the details of metaverse and web3.0 technologies, it was hard to ignore at Gitex. Everyone is talking about it. Metaverse technology is a key feature of Web3.0 because it is built using blockchain, and it will run on an international network of computers. While the core components of Web3.0 are blockchain, artificial intelligence, augmented & virtual reality, there will be a number of expectations by the market of Web3.0. For example, NFTs will be required to facilitate virtual transactions, and there is a demand for unrestricted access to the metaverse. Now is the time that web3.0 enthusiasts will continue to develop the technology, our business leaders will continue to identify gaps in the market. When these two world’s collide, the whole universe will know the effects of metaverse and web3.0.
An Industrial Revolution needs business analysts
The concept of 4IR was first introduced by Klaus Schwab in 2016 to describe the digital transformation taking place in society and business involving the crossover between technologies in the physical, digital and biological worlds. Emerging technologies, such as web 3.0, artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, IOT, driverless vehicles, 3-D printing are just some of the things driving digital transformation, but true economic growth happens when our business leaders understand how to leverage these technologies to solve real business and social problems.
In a discussion at Gitex with Rolando Zubiran, Global Lead of Metaverse Services at RR Donnelley & Sons, he suggested that true change comes only when decisive business leaders with business acumen and understanding of their markets and user experience adopt these new technologies to effect change. At itCraft, we couldn;t agree more. While we have some of the best software engineers in Poland, without a business model that creates real value and unmatched user experience, no digital product will be a market success, let alone having any positive impact in this world. For this reason, the role of a business analyst is critical to ensure that investment dollars are being spent in the right areas. Without the expertise it is incredibly difficult to commercialise the technology.
Leveraging knowledge to make change
An example of this business expertise creating change is with the Vienna-based FinTech startup Vipaso, whose CEO, Mr Peter Neubauer, has leveraged almost 40 years in banking payment systems to create Horizon, a solution that uses low-level bluetooth connectivity and tokenized encryption with Horizon’s backend to create an end-to-end, contactless payment system. It completely digitalizes the payment process with no physical card, no physical payment terminal. It is Peter’s expertise in this field which has allowed him to build a team which is contributing to financial inclusion in emerging societies.
Another standout transformational change present at Gitex was within the EdTech sector. Companies who have used e-learning platforms for training and coaching in the past are now taking it a step further by integrating the experience with 360-degree video learning, virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Research has suggested that immersive simulated learning environments are an effective method to increase the skills of learners.
With the changes to our lives brought on by COVID-19, including learning and the rapid advancement in digital technologies, at itCraft we predict a boom in this sector over the coming years, as evidenced by the early-stage success of BeeSpeaker using machine learning to help students navigate their way through language learning based on their experience of having a “native speaker in your pocket.”
Another tech event, another flying car…
For those of you old enough to remember the Jetson’s, July 31st 2022 represented the day George Jetson was born. The thought that sometime in the 2st century we would all be flying around in cars was everyone;s vision of the future. While the term flying car has been replaced with terms like “low-altitude air mobility explorer” we are still some way off this becoming the preferred method of transport for any of us. It is another example where technology is able to do some amazing things, but without market demand, there is no sustainable business model, and without a sustainable business model there is little chance of success.
Final thoughts on Gitex 2022 in Dubai
The step-counters certainly got a workout while walking around multiple huge halls. However, tech enthusiasts from all over the world must admit that the display of innovative inventions and technological advances on display at Gitex 2022 have proven that technology is not slowing down at all. In many events which itCraft has been to over the years, companies looking for financial investment has always been a key theme, but at Gitex the main theme was distributors. Innovation of 4IR products is being pushed out quicker than the market can accept it. Due to this, we can expect some startups to get mega rich and some will fall by the wayside, but what is truly evident is mankind’s ability to continue to push technology to the limits. Will we be driving flying cars in 2030? A lot has to happen between now and then but technology is moving head a massive rate of knots.