Cybertech in Dubai
The fact that the Israeli security conference was moved to Dubai is not only a historical event. For me, it was the perfect opportunity to get to know the IT hotspot Dubai better.
Dubai to host the first Cybertech Global
The first Cybertech Global, an international exhibition and conference for the cyber industry, was held in Dubai from 5 to 7 April 2021. The 8th edition of the largest security networking event outside the US was hosted by the Dubai Electronic Security Center (DESC). The staging of the global event not only underscores the city's success in handling large-scale international events securely, but also Dubai's position as an international centre for cyber security technology and innovation.
The country's cybersecurity strategy is among those initiatives launched by Muhammad bin Raschid Al Maktum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to provide integrated protection against the threats of cyberspace and to promote innovation in cyberspace as well as the emirate's growth and economic prosperity.
Organised by Cybertech, the event attracts high-level stakeholders, start-ups, government agencies and organisations from around the world each year to promote existing and new business opportunities and discuss current challenges in cyberspace. In total, 50 delegations and 52 companies participated in the event in Dubai.
Developments in the Arab region
For me, Cybertech in Dubai was a wonderful opportunity to get a concrete overview of the developments in the Arab region. I have been following the developments in the IT sector for a long time and it is exciting to see how they are trying to force the successful transition from the oil trade to the construction industry and from there to the information economy.
A few decades ago, the Emirate of Dubai was pure desert, except for the port. Very early on, the ruling family recognised that the oil-poor country could not live off the oil trade in the long term. With the help of a management consultancy, the Dubai modern project was therefore launched. Within a few years, an economic miracle emerged in Dubai, mainly based on real estate projects that normally cannot be realised in a desert. However, the sand beneath the city is so saline that it provides the stable foundation needed.
Challenges in financing & sustainability
Allegedly, most of the land on which Dubai was built now belongs to wealthy families from Abu Dhabi. The tallest building was originally to be called Burj Dubai. Thanks to a cash injection from Abu Dhabi, the building is called Burj Khalifa, after the ruler there. In order not to overload the regional sewage system, the tallest building in the region has no connection. Regularly, a huge column of orange tanker trucks transports the remains of the last meals from the building's wastewater tanks to the disposal site.
Dubai has committed itself to sustainability. Currently, huge photovoltaic plants are being built to make the country energy self-sufficient in the foreseeable future. Ironically, a coal-fired power plant was commissioned years ago, which also went into operation last year. After all, Dubai has nothing to give away.
Development of new business fields
Because even the real estate boom cannot last forever, people are looking for new business fields, which they have found in information technology, for example. There is bitcoin-friendly government regulation to establish the standard globally in this area as well. One of my company holdings, is currently setting up the annex. Cybertech Global in April 2021 was therefore a welcome opportunity for me to take a closer look at the country and its people.
On the sightseeing tour through the old town, I was accompanied by a colleague from Vienna and a former Mossad agent. She helped us negotiate at the markets and in the shops. To my great surprise, there were no difficulties with the Iranian traders. The Mossad agent even said that it might take a while, but their relationship would also normalise at some point.
Earlier than others, the rulers of Dubai have realised that the oil boom will come to an end. There is enough money. A new future is needed. Can you buy the future? My podcast guest Fabian Dagostin was born and raised in Dubai. Through the founding of his start-up "Street Life", he has experienced the developments of the last few years at first hand. With Fabian, we take a look behind the scenes of the new IT hotspot.
Allegedly, Europe has missed the boat in digitalisation. Today, the digital world is dominated by Amazon, Google, Facebook & Co. These companies seem invincible to us - just like Nokia, Kodak or MySpace back then. I call this the "illusion of the factual". Yet Google has no future at all.
Interactive West is the largest digital conference on Lake Constance. After a one-year break from Corona, IAW21 took place again in its usual form on 21 September 2021. Hundreds of participants were there - and I was there as a speaker.