Friday December 08, 2023

Major tech event gets under way in Dubai

October 17, 2023
Above, visitors and participants during a previous GITEX Technology Week event at the Dubai World Trade Center in Dubai. — AFP
Above, visitors and participants during a previous GITEX Technology Week event at the Dubai World Trade Center in Dubai. — AFP

DUBAI: The world’s largest tech event ‘Gitex Global’ was inaugurated in Dubai on Monday. The event will continue till October 20. On the eve of the event, Gitex’s powerhouse startup show ‘Expand North Star’ also kicked off at the Dubai Harbour.

The venue of Gitex Global is massive and a combined 2.7 million square foot of exhibition space is hosting over 1,800 startups and scaleups from more than 100 countries. The extra space at Dubai Harbour is a result of the popularity the last Gitex event received with thousands of startups and companies showing an interest in attending the event to meet potential investors, clients, peers from the same industry and mentors.

On first day, the nine halls were filled with entrepreneurs and visitors. The gathering also features three sub-events targeting specific events: Fintech Surge, FutureBlockchain Summit, and Marketing Mania.

In Hall 9, right opposite the space reserved for the pitch competition, stands the small yet prominent Ignite booth from Pakistan. General Manager Corporate Affairs Adeel Aijaz Shaikh of Ignite -- which funds startups and innovative projects that utilize the 4th industrial wave tech -- told The News that the fund has brought “10 startups from all over Pakistan, which are doing amazing work in the fields of blockchain, 3D printing, agritech and edtech”. He said that the cohort includes “two women-owned startups – Explorer Bees and REDMARKER Systems.”

At a short distance from the booth is the Pakistan Pavilion where 12 different startups displayed their products. Senior Marketing Executive Sara Salman Saad from VentureDive said: “We are proud to be part of Fintech Surge at the Pakistan Pavilion. We are a full-service, technology-solution company, and we provide custom software for the financial services sector.” She expressed that the separate location for startups “is a great initiative. We love the (place’s) energy.”

Towards the end of the hall is a crowd of young people, anxiously waiting for their turn to try out the star of the hall – a racing simulator. In his conversation with The News, Business Development Manager George Machairas from Teleios said, “We have a high-end racing simulator.

Our product is unique because it can be fully customized; we don’t have anything ready-made. We will start making the simulator after a customer has placed the order with all the requirements. I’m proud to say that our simulator is closer to reality. I used to be a racing driver; while nothing beats reality, this is the closest you can get to reality.” Originally from Italy, Machairas moved to Dubai two years back to start the company. Speaking about the technological potential in Dubai, he said that “Gitex is a technological miracle.”

At the China booth a quadruped robot enthralled visitors with its tricks – climbing up the stairs, stomping his foot, and other dog-like tricks. Named X30, the robot is a creation of Chinese company DEEPRobotics. Its marketing manager Vera Huang said that the robot “is going to launch soon. Another robot – a smaller version – ‘Lite3’ is already in the market.” Both robots are operated through a controller. The robots are well-suited for security inspection, education research, etc.

The main attraction of the day was the first live stage demonstration of ARTEMIS, the world’s fastest-walking humanoid robot, developed by UCLA researchers. Dr Dennis Hong – the person behind the innovation – spoke to The News: “It is a human robot, which means it has a torso head, two arms, and two legs. This is a new type of robot that uses a new type of technology. An easy way to describe this is that it uses artificial muscles so it can change the force, and that makes it really robust. You can shove it, push it, and you cannot make it fall down.” When told (on a lighter tone) that the robot was similar to the one shown in a popular video game ‘SIMS’, which used to do almost all household chores, Hong laughed and said, “eventually [his robot can do that too].”

Across the media centre stands the stall of the Ingage Group of Companies from India. Its VR-powered platform ReWin is India’s first-ever digital therapeutic platform for stroke and musculoskeletal rehabilitation.

Founder and CEO Vijay Karunakaran said: “there are close to a billion disabled people in the world. It’s very important to work together to improve the quality of life of those people. Our platform is more focused on neuro- and orthopedic-disable people.