The first edition of DIGICONF came to The Dubai World Trade Centre on the 22nd May 2013 and I was lucky enough to share the bill with speakers representing Yahoo, Edelmann, Hill and Knowlton, Dubizzle and Hilton Worldwide.
Just knowing that the event was actually going on was a great thing for me as it shows that the region is slowly but surely starting to wake up to the idea of Digital. Being asked to speak at it was even better. I used the opportunity to really highlight exactly how far behind the curve the UAE actually is when it comes to creating and implementing holistic digital strategy. DIGICONF was set up in one of the ‘room’s off to the side of the main hall and had a cool lay out with some soft double sofas, bean bags, and tables and chairs. I arrived a little early and caught the end of @marksoohoo from Edelmann’s presentation and caught all of Rishi Saha’s presentation on content marketing. Unfortunately our friend Artour Severinov from Hilton Worldwide had to pull out at the last minute, but that did mean I managed to get on a little earlier. Which also meant there was still quite a few people in the room 🙂
The presentation ran through where the rest of the developed world is when it comes to digital and the next generation of the internet. Tim Berners Lee invented it and is now looking at how to ask people to put their data on the internet so that we can start to make sense of knowledge and intelligence online. We 3.0 is one of those phrases that has been coined by marketers and effectively been neutered so it’s pretty much meaningless now. But what it does represent when you remove the marketing fluff, is the direction the internet is moving in. The Semantic web as it’s often referred to, is upon us in the more developed markets. In the States Google Glass is being trialled by real people as a pre cursor to being widely available to the general population in very near future. What this represents is a different way we will look at information provided to us through what we know as the internet now. But it will be different, the big boys are out there trying to make it a much more natural experience for us mortals to create, engage with and consume content. And this all revolves around meta data. The way we view our world is going to change quite drastically over the next few year. We will be able to access far more information that we ever had and this will pose a new challenge for companies when they are looking at creating the content for their consumers and prospect.
With this in mind we then moved on to how far behind the UAE actually is when it comes to the world of Digital. Being generous we are about 10 years behind the curve and that really is being generous. The majority of companies here are still stuck somewhere between web 1.0 and web 2.0 – but they don’t realise this and have no idea that their haphazard approach to Digital is ultimately going to fail. Yes there are some elements beyond our control, specifically from an offline infrastructure perspective, that are preventing a speedy surge forwards, but most of all it’s a complete lack of education and understanding of Digital, from a consumer angle and a supplier angle too. This ‘gap’ is one we truly believe can be filled using education and it’s something that we at Maximum Net Gain really do believe in. We back this up with our consultancy/training approach to Digital Marketing strategy and by being one of the lecturers with the Digital Marketing Institute Middle East who are leading the way in the region with their accredited courses in digital.
By the way, if you would like a copy of the presentation slides from DIGICONF, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll fire it through – it’s quite a large file so have uploaded it to send space and we will forward you a download link as soon as we get your email.