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One of the biggest technology exhibitions in the world is GITEX. It amazes you with the technologies you see every year both on hardware and software levels. The last year 2007 was a big failure for many reasons, but this year it was much better. Still I think it did not really recover from the “2007 disastrous fail”, but there were fair ups against downs in it.

 

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No wonder that every time I go to Dubai it looks different than the previous visit. A real amazing city of a: none stop, high rate and constant development. This year the development, maybe, was too much for a small city like Dubai to take. There were a lot of places that I couldn’t breathe because they were unusually over crowded and full of people of all kinds. The story comes really unbelievable when I spent a full hour waiting for Taxi in an area that is supposed to be full of Taxis “Emirates Mall” on a Thursday night. Of course on a weekend first night you might expect traffic but this year it was really too much. I started to wonder how people can get to their gobs every morning. Anyway, still, Dubai is a wonderful city. The issue is: If you are a visitor, you should dedicate 3-4 hours of your day for transportation. I was joking about this to my hotel receptionists that “finding a wife is easier than finding a Taxi, and your best friend here is a Taxi driver”. I hope the enormous project of the subway metro will solve this.

Inside GITEX 2008

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Yes. A big disappointment at the Microsoft stand it was. The stand was completely unrecognizable. I passed by it three times looking for it and never realized I passed it. It was not till I purchased the GITEX guide to know where exactly it resides. It appeared that the stand was named “Microsoft Dynamics”. They obviously went on industry focus this year, which fine, but they should not lose their identity or focus on one industry that is not as market major point.

Every year you could easily recognize Microsoft’s stand by its very clear big logo rising up towards sky. This year it looked like a bunch of small stands for Microsoft’s partners residing near each others. Even the Dynamics logos were small and hidden. The seminars also were dull and very few people attended, and I think many seminars were cancelled as I passed many times there were should be seminars and the stand was totally quiet.

I went there to ask about MS Dynamics and SharePoint integration and special web parts for this purpose as I heard they exist. They pointed me to the man “in the black suite” who was busy when I came to ask talking to some other attendee, I just turned my face for a moment and this “black suite” man disappeared never considering me there waiting him. I left the stand and never got back again unless passing by while walking through to other stands.

The sum up is, I think Microsoft should not participate this year or participate really like old days. Days when the stand was full of people, and the destination of many professionals athirst for knowledge and information. I heard my self saying to my self: “Industry Focus? A company like Microsoft with all this history of products and, recently, enterprise products and services? What the heck they were thinking?”. I started to believe that Microsoft will not stay the same after Bill Gates. A vision of a man might die when this man just leaves.

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I used to think that Adobe should not be into development in terms of core code programming, especially after what happened with CFM and the very unimpressive improvement of Action Script in the Adobe’s first release, as the new owner, of Flash in the CS3 product line. But I was amazed when I attended the seminar about Flex. A very rich user interface interactivity with a solid and really impressive backend code. This could be the real competitor to Silver Light as it can integrate easily with any database, and I believe with a little push, can also integrate with SharePoint technologies. Some impressive live demos by Andrew Shorten, Adobe UK were presented to show the real amazing capabilities for Flex.

I also attended the new Adobe File Maker Pro presentation and I was also amazed by the improvement the software achieved since it joined the large Adobe family. File Maker now can connect to mostly all types of databases, read tables, views or procedures and generates wonderful highly customized files of all types. I started taking this product seriously and thinking about a possible integration with SharePoint. Let’s see.

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The new comer to GITEX this year, Google inc. (UK), has made an interesting appearing. Though their stand was small and within the concourse of DIC (Dubai Internet City), but it was enough to attract many people, with both personal and business interest, to their humble but remarkable appearance this year. I met some of their Enterprise representatives and I had a clearer vision about their solutions. I was especially interested with their analytics product “Urchin”, the software used for their very famous free service “Google Analytics”. I started seriously thinking about this product for my web customers who asked for Google analytics services.

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It is not the first time that Canadian the companies participate in GITEX. This year there presence was much bigger and more noticed. The offers there were really good for business seekers. I noticed a company called “Storage Appliance” that is doing a “click free” backup solution. This product, in words, is DVDs or HDs that does automatic backup once you insert / connect them to your PC or laptop. I liked the technology as it makes it easier for anyone with the minimal technology knowledge to backup their files. They don’t have to install any software or learn any new complicated skills. Just plug and backup. You can check their website on: http://www.goclickfree.com/. I also found another French company doing similar thing but only for CDs and DVDs. Seems that this new technology will be the next big market hit.

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I wasn’t in Oracle stand for long but I noticed that this year they were more focused on localized solutions. They have a partner, apparently in Palestine, who developed a solution called “Hulul” for business automation purposes that is fully Arabized and very neat from the user interface view. I liked that branding especially the name “Hulul”. It is simply the straight Arabic translation for the English word “Solution”, but sometimes simplicity is the key to success. This Oracle partner that lies under tough political circumstances succeeded to attract everybody to the product through the simple and meaningful name, would they succeed spreading their solution in the area? We shall wait and see.

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No doubt that Etisalat, the major telecommunication and internet services provider in UAE, has always the lion’s share in every GITEX, but this year was really different. They didn’t have the lion’s share only but also greatest interest in the halls of GulfComms because of the real amazing job they did. Their stand was an exhibition by itself; they introduced a lot of really useful and up to the point seminars. The break times they entertain the audience with some quizzes and prizes and the amazing thing: the traditional dance shows they perform on stage from all around the world. They really delivered the message that they can connect every one on the planet making it more and more a smaller village.

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You can’t go to the GITEX computer shopper and expect it to be less noising than a busy street in Manhattan. This year was no exception, though it was much more than I can take. I spent only one hour as I really couldn’t breathe. I went there planning to get some things I wanted like every year, unfortunately it was impossible for me to shop within this madness. I believe the shopper in a very important part of GITEX but it is time to really organize it more. I remember when few years back the GITEX management moved it to the Expo which was a very good planned step to take this load off the main exhibition. I hope they will soon find a solution for the crowded place that grows more crowdy every year, and I have faith they will.

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A final word to say that regardless of the difficulties that I faced in Dubai and in GITEX still I think Dubai is an amazing city, and GITEX is a real one of a kind exhibition in the world. I don’t know if I will be able to attend the next GITEX but I hope it will be better and better year by year.