Sunday, 23 June 2013

ArabNet - The Dubai Digital Summit

It starts tomorrow - ArabNet's Dubai Digital Summit - three days of conference, workshop, developer competition, roundtable and other information sharing stuff. It's a pretty packed agenda - there are over 120 speakers (including li'l ole me) and there are expected to be upwards of 800 attendees gathering at the aesthetically interesting Atlantis Hotel on the Palm.

The three-day conference is at the core of a number of other activities, including ArabNet's 'Digital Showcase'. This excellent initiative gathers over thirty young digital companies from around the region and provides them with a platform to show their wares at ArabNet - and includes brokered meetings with media buyers, banks, telcos and other business enablers. There's also the final of ArabNet's developer competition which will bring together winners from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan in a final face-off to crown the best developer in the Middle East. My money's on the Jordanians...

The actual conference consists of three tracks - a Forum Track and a Workshop Track - then on day one a Startup Track and day two an Industry Track, which splits into verticals and is more 'solutions' oriented and day three a Roundtable Track. Someone with a highly advanced sense of humour has put me moderating the banking panel on the industry day, which should provide a few laughs if nothing else...

There are four industry round tables taking place in the Roundtable Track, which will tackle key issues in the development and expansion of the Middle East's digital industry. I'm chairing the one on advertising, "Growing digital adspend", which should be interesting as the invited attendees for what is intended to be a productive brainstorming session represent all sorts of interests - mainly vested! - in the way this important sector is developing in the region.

As anyone who's been to ArabNet in Beirut will attest, there's a 'vibe' to the event that is truly infectious, a coming together of smart people who share a passion for something that is at the heart of exhilarating and often breakneck change and transformation. There's a grin-inducing cocktail of dynamism and innovation in the air.

So all in all it promises to be a busy, intense and fascinating week - and if you are interested in mobile, online, digital, social or anything touching the online and digital industry in the Middle East, you would be mad not to be there*.

Oh, and you can catch my presentation on addressing the 'content crisis' at 5pm on Wednesday and see quite how neatly I manage to wave in the inevitable plug for Beirut - An Explosive Thriller.

* Disclosure - Spot On is the PR partner for ArabNet but as you'll all know by now, this blog has never represented my day job. I'm bigging up ArabNet because I'm a fan, not because I'm shilling for them.
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