How Big Data is Growing the Gulf’s Event Space

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As Big Data grows in prominence, its embrace is being felt across diverse markets. Earlier this summer, IBM announced that its SmartCloud technology had been chosen to build and manage the public cloud service for Capitalonline Data Service, one of China’s premier Internet data centre service providers. Not to be outdone, Tata Consultancy Services – India’s largest software services exporter – has pledged to scale its investment in the Internet of Things on the back of a forecast from Gartner that the big data/cloud/mobility market will be worth $1.9 trillion USD in 2020.

And then there’s the Middle East. Speaking from Dubai’s Gitex Technology Week in October, Accenture’s Valerio Romano told Neil Churchill of Gulf Business of the trend for larger Middle Eastern banks and telecom companies to invest in cloud partnerships alongside developing their own technologies. These trends have created new revenue streams that Romero says will propel the Gulf’s digital and telecoms markets forward.

Statistics are on his side. Weeks before Romano’s predictions, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) released its 5th Measuring the Information Society (MIS) report, which assessed ICT use, access and skills across 157 global economies. In 2012, Bahrain achieved the 8th highest increase in IDI value and ranked 11th out of 110 countries for mobile broadband affordability.

What makes the Gulf region’s big data focus stand out? Access to capital and the acceptance of digital are stated as the two key factors. But perhaps the single strongest factor that has driven big data adoption across emerging markets concerns the embrace of mobile data as untapped revenue. Across emerging markets, mobile devices outnumber landlines and computers in strong numbers. The Upstream Emerging Markets Mobile Attitudes report found that more than 75% of the world’s six billion mobile phones are found in emerging markets. As this aspect of the telecoms sector grows, the Gulf can expect to see an increase in relevant events and conferences.

These issues will be highlighted at iTECH Gulf, that will be taking place in Bahrain on the 9th and 10th of April 2014,  where IT spending in the Northern Gulf region will be one of the most prominent issues on the inaugural event’s agenda. Managing Director of Hilal Conferences and Exhibitions, Jubran Abdulrahman in an interview to Khaleej Times stated that ICT is expected to contribute $372 million to Bahrain’s economy by this year’s end, after providing seven percent of national GDP growth in Q2 of this year.

The opportunity for events like  iTECH Gulf is immense, not only because of the Gulf’s telecom advancements, but also for the additional wealth that such conferences can bring to host cities.

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