Friday, November 13, 2015

Learnings from GITEX 2015

What is GITEX?
Launched in 1981, GITEX is the ICT business gateway to the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia Region. Focused on providing exhibitors with high ROI through direct business opportunities with decision makers, GITEX has maintained its position as the industry’s trend setting authority. GITEX continually identifies the hottest global IT trends and incubates these into the event either as new sectors or conference programs. The sectorization of GITEX has enabled new companies to participate in identified trends as well as giving visitors the opportunity to engage, learn and implement the advances in the industry. GITEX’s role in the ICT industry is pivotal for the re-export market. It is an annual international trading hub for the global technology sector. GITEX acts as both, an inbound sourcing platform for the entire Middle East region and the eminent source for anyone interested in doing business in the region.
Key Market Trends in the Middle East 
  • With over 2.2 billion smartphone users worldwide, the mobile market easily outnumbers the broadband internet market. This, combined with advances in smartphone technology, means the mobile device is the future of all advertising.  As device manufacturers provide handsets with embedded applications such as Facebook and You Tube, the groundwork has been laid for greater UGC (user generated content) and as such, it will become the ultimate advertising platform that will reside in people’s pockets, no matter where they are or when they access their phones.
  • The Net Generation in the Middle East:  Born after 1977, the Middle East presents a unique swathe of Net Generation users, for whom all things digital come as second nature and who therefore embrace technological advances and who are prepared to spend higher than average proportions of their income on media and content consumption.
  • Traditional media (print) still plays an important role in the Middle East due to the established newspaper reading culture.
  • Literacy plays an important role and has a direct impact on traditional printed media and there are wide differences from country to country in the region. For example in Morocco and Yemen the average literacy level is around 50%, compared to 90% in Kuwait, UAE and Qatar. This results in disparities from country to country where literacy levels are low and visual mediums such as TV have a higher importance attached to it, compared to print media.
  • Broadband penetration – low and slow broadband penetration remain major constraints to the wholesale adoption of modern media methods and again vary from country to country. Typical barriers to improvement in this sector include cultural barriers, high retail pricing and poor telecommunications access network infrastructures.
  • Despite the high costs of implementing and developing telecommunications access network infrastructures across large geographical areas, the mobile phone is rapidly emerging as a rival means to broadband access and internet content delivery and is increasingly providing an alternative way of watching TV on the go via IPTV technology.
  • Broadband penetration in the Middle East will grow strongly, supporting social network growth and e-commerce development.
  • Tablet adoption will rise quickly in the region as multiple devices enter the market, creating new content opportunities.
  • Facebook will open up new opportunities for Arabic language marketing.
  • The swelling numbers of consumers online across MENA will force more consumer brands, retailers and consumer service companies to embrace digital.
  • The Arab world’s online shopping market will become broader-based, providing consumers with new choice and web ventures with new opportunities.
  • Online Arabic language content will remain an issue of concern for the region, but opportunities for Arabic content will continue to grow, perhaps faster than ever before.
  • Independent online media launches will continue, whilst traditional media continue to procrastinate about online.
  • A new generation of specialized blogs will emerge in the Middle East
  • We will see more social change and social initiatives driven by online media, with people finding new ways to work together to achieve community objectives.
Top 5 Tech Trends from the GITEX Shopper
1 Multi-device lifestyles: Mobile devices are becoming an indispensable part of everyday life both at home and at work, as our world becomes increasingly digitized and connected. It is now commonplace for people to not only own more than one device, but also to use more than one device simultaneously, such as browsing social media on a smartphone while watching TV.
2 Wearable Tech: The wearable technology market is gaining traction with everything from fitness and health related products to smart watches and audio-wearable tech. These products are becoming increasingly complex, able to provide significant levels of information and contribute to quality of life – whether convenience, time management, enjoyment, or critical health monitoring. 
3 Mobile Commerce: The growth of mCommerce is changing the way consumers purchase goods and services, with the use of handheld devices such as smartphones and laptops leading to a surge in both markets.
4 Social photography: With one out of every four people around the world now regularly accessing social media, social photography is driving demand for smartphones, tablets and digital cameras. While smartphones and tablets provide the fastest sharing option of moments, digital cameras offers the highest quality pictures which can now also be shared thanks to new technology such as inbuilt WI-Fi.
5 Interconnectivity: As homes get smarter, the tech industry continuously produces devices capable of “communicating” with each other, such as TVs, smartphones, computers and refrigerators which are revolutionizing the way we live our lives.

Does Microsoft OFFICE 2016 make life easier?

It’s been the one thing that has existed on virtually every computer - essential for home accounting, homework for the kids, sending personal emails and doing important projects at home for work or college. At this stage, it’s safe to say that it’s part of the family.
Now, Microsoft has released Office 2016.  These apps are the latest addition to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription service, their most comprehensive solution ever. Office 2016 isn’t just about Word, Excel and PowerPoint. The new and enhanced productivity suite has a lorry-load of incredible and helpful new tricks and features that are designed to make your life (and work) that much easier.
Microsoft applications of the past introduced you to the very concept of computing, but now they are reinventing what it means to be productive online. Be that connecting, creating and sharing with friends and colleague all over the world. All of which is doable on every type of device - no longer confined simply to your laptop.
Microsoft believes that you do — but more importantly, it wants you to get on the new way of thinking about Microsoft software: constantly updated, available in the cloud, and getting new features all the time. But that vision will take time to pan out. Right now you should make your choice to switch based on whether or not you really want the new features.
Office 2016 allows several people to work together on documents and incorporates a “Groups” section into its software that makes it easier for people to collaborate on projects. It also adds a “Tell Me” tool to Word, Excel and others that allows users to quickly search for functions instead of navigating Office’s labyrinth of menus, makes improvements to Outlook that prioritize important emails, and deeply incorporates Skype, the internet chat and video call service. New features in Windows 10 such as Cortana also integrate with the software, allowing the personal assistant to read and search your files to improve features such as the calendar.
Creating, collaborating, together with real time co-authoring
One of the biggest additions to the new Office 2016 is real-time co-authoring in Word. For the first time, you can now work on the same document at precisely the same time as potentially multiple friends and family members - not only that but you can see it all happen as they type. All of the changes are stored on one of Microsoft’s Cloud services and you can view and edit everyone’s revision history too.
Clutter be gone
Don’t you just love the work that your Spam folders are doing? They take in all the emails you never want and store them away from your eyes so you don’t have to worry about them. That’s what Clutter aims to do on more broad level. For example, if you never open emails from that online retailer you subscribed to, now they will be bundled together alongside those daily ‘funny’ emails your uncle sends you.
 Skype integration
Sometimes you just need to have a chat with the people to collaborate. Before, you had to either call, email or use a third-party app or software to get your point across. Now, Microsoft have added the ability to chat from inside the apps so you can collaborate instantly, via Skype.  For example, start video or voice) from within Microsoft Word or Outlook - so no need to open or click between any other apps/windows. Just one click and you’re there - making collaboration seamless.
Tell me something you need
Sometimes, remembering the smallest things can be the hardest. If you hate formatting documents and trying to remember how to carry out a function like text indentation, a feature you may only use once in a blue moon. Now Office has come up with a solution. That solution is Tell Me. Simply enter a text command and Office will instantly figure out what needs doing and fix it for you. Want to change font to Arial? Simply enter “change font to Arial" and click on the corresponding command in the Tell Me search bar. Simple.
Smart Lookup is pretty smart
Ever been in a document before but need to check the spelling or definition of a word? Now, all you have to do is highlight the text or phrase, right click and select Smart Lookup in Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook. Office will then correlate all the most relevant info for you to use - all in your current window, meaning you won’t have to pop between applications and potentially get lost amongst a sea of cat videos. It can also be used for more complicated tasks like gathering info on cities, backing up your statements, checking dates and much more.
Away with the cloud(s)
When you sign up to Office 365, you get 1TB (that’s 1,000GB’s) of cloud storage. This is really an incredible offering - perfect for you or your family backing up your family photos, videos, documents, files or anything for that matter. This could all but eliminate the need for you to lug around those hefty storage hard-drives and better still, when it’s in the cloud, it’s easily accessible all over the world and on any device. And just to put that 1TB into perspective, other popular online storage clients only give you 25GB of storage. Not bad?
Sharing made simple
With the growing need to be able to share anything and everything - Office 2016 now enables you to share right from your document with a click of a button. This may sound simple (and it is), but this new feature will save you a lot of time.
Perfect for all the family
If you sign up to Office 365 for the year, you only have to pay for one user. That includes new Office 2016 apps for PC and Mac as well as installation on PC or Mac, tablet and phone. You’ll also get that shiny 1TB we talked about and expert Office technical support included. Not to mention the fact that Office 365 is now always updating it’s features so as soon as they become available, you’ll have them. You can also pay monthly, should you need to.