Tugce Ergul, co-founder of Angel Labs; Alexander Galitsky, managing partner at Almaz Capital; and Alessandro Piol, partner and co-founder of AlphaPrime Ventures, during the 2016 ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai on Monday.
Dubai - The 2016 ArabNet Digital Summit brings together 1,200 government leaders, enterprise decision-makers, innovators and investors
While it is often a smart idea to invest early on in the latest trends in innovative technologies, companies around the world should remember that there is a chance that such technology wont add much by way of value to a company's core competencies, an expert points out.
Speaking at a panel discussion at the fourth edition of the ArabNet Digital Summit, Tugce Ergul, co-founder of Angel Labs, noted: "I think that it is very important to note that as global technology trends are happening - dictated by the main hubs such as New York, Berlin, and London - they might not be necessarily relevant in a local context."
"This is almost a mistake that we see being made in business ecosystems in several parts of the world. People stop investing in what they are really good at, and they start following global trends, because virtual reality is popular all of a sudden. Adopting or investing in virtual reality might make sense for a technology company, but if you are a textile production company in Sri Lanka, for example, your focus should be on investing in technologies that cater to your main expertise," she explained.
Speaking on the latest global trends in the technology sphere, Alessandro Piol, partner and co-founder of AlphaPrime Ventures, added: "What we are seeing developing over the past couple of years is how to use large amounts of data to do things. The other important trend that we are seeing, which started over 10 years ago with the smartphone, is the application of wireless across the board that is merging software technologies with the physical sphere. This includes a variety of different areas such as drones, self-driving vehicles, smart applications such as voice activated devices in homes, and virtual reality, in what can be described simply as a merger between the physical and the virtual."
Held in strategic partnership with Digital Media Services, the 2016 ArabNet Digital Summit brought together 1,200 government leaders, enterprise decision-makers, innovators and investors to connect and discuss the future of digital in the region.
"Today, excelling in digital is a key driver for competitive advantage, business growth and customer satisfaction," noted Omar Christidis, founder and CEO of ArabNet, during his opening speech. "The ArabNet Digital Summit delves into the way digital is transforming public and private enterprises, from smart cities, to connected lives, machine learning, big data, corporate investments, and much more."
Digital media and advertising innovation were again key themes this year, as the summit featured a range of panels ranging from native advertising to video distribution. In the entrepreneurship space, over $750 million was invested in more than 450 tech startup deals in the Mena region between 2013-2015, according to ArabNet's latest research report, 'The State of Digital Investments in Mena', which is sponsored by Dubai Internet City. The UAE captured the lion's share of deals, with double the number of any other market, cementing itself as a key hub for digital startups.
The summit also included the fourth edition of the Digital Showcase, allowing young digital enterprises a platform for growth - with 35 participating companies. For the second year in a row, ArabNet also collaborated with 500 Startups to bring Silicon Valley expertise to Mena entrepreneurs.
In addition, the ArabNet Summit is hosting the inaugural edition of the Smartpreneur competition, where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas for supporting the smart city transformation of Dubai. The competition was organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, with final pitches taking place at the summit, and the winners set to be announced during the summit's closing ceremony on May 31.