12th October – Day three of the 42nd edition of GITEX GLOBAL, the world’s largest tech and start-up event, witnessed an exclusive interaction of His Excellency Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy with the GITEX audience along with some exciting announcements such as the UAE’s first metaverse hospital, biggest unicorns of the world congregating under one roof to share funding advice, and a sneak peek into how robotics is transforming surgery.
His Excellency Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy began Day 3 proceedings at GITEX GLOBAL 2022 with a briefing on how the ministry is forging a business environment that attracts investments, tourism and talent, and stimulates research, development, and innovation. His Excellency said that the “fuel” for any economy is talent, while the UAE is making “huge” investments in research and development and supporting talent development through its focus on science and technology. Sharing the country’s macroeconomic outlook, he noted that the UAE experienced one of the fastest recoveries from the COVID-19 pandemic, while foreign trade surpassed AED 1 trillion in H1 2022. The UAE expects 6.5% GDP growth by the end of 2022, including a rise of 4.3% for the non-oil sector, he said.
Thumbay Group, a diversified international business conglomerate, announced a number of futuristic initiatives at GITEX GLOBAL. The group is working on building a full-fledged virtual hospital in the metaverse to provide patients with an immersive healthcare experience. From multiple doctors consulting a case in a virtual clinic to first aid and preventive health programs using AR/VR and AI technologies, the metaverse hospital aims to provide state-of-the-art healthcare backed by cutting-edge technology and research. Phase one of the project is expected to go live by the end of 2022.
A total of 230 operations have been carried out in the UAE using Da Vinci surgical robotics since 2019, the first Emirati surgeon licensed to use the technology told the GITEX GLOBAL audience. Dr Muna Kashwani, specialist at the gynecology department of Al Qassimi Women and Children Hospital in Sharjah, said that operating the Da Vinci technology enabled her to carry out highly precise and effective bloodless operations using just a single-entry point. Robotics can play an important role in the future of surgery, she said, with a transatlantic operation already having been carried out in France using Da Vinci technology operated remotely from the US. She added that autonomous robotic operations are already possible for hard tissue such as bone.
GITEX GLOBAL, through its start-up event, North Star is hosting the biggest unicorn meetup of the year in Dubai, with 35 unicorns from 15 countries looking to explore new opportunities and expand in one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.
In a fireside chat hosted by Bina Khan, co-founder, angel investor and strategic advisor at Summit Venture Partners, Toon Gyssels, COO of UAE-based cloud kitchen company, Kitopi advised entrepreneurs not to be distracted by “shiny new things.” Gyssels gave the example of an ill-advised foray Kitopi made into grocery delivery at the height of the pandemic. The venture’s eventual failure was an expensive, but a crucial learning moment, Gyssels said.
Zhong Xu, Co-founder and CEO of Deliverect, a service that integrates food delivery orders, implored start-up founders to bootstrap. “You do not need funding,” he said. “Funding makes you go slower because you are forced to listen to a lot of noise when you don’t need to.”