What tech will we get by Expo 2020 time?
Imagine living in a world without internet. Almost impossible, isn't it? Yet for anyone aged 20 or up, that was once a reality.
Now imagine living in 2020 - the year Dubai hopes to bring the World Expo to the emirate.
What do you see?
Well, down at Dubai’s electronics extravaganza GITEX, 7DAYS asked the leading lights in the world of gadgets and gizmos in the UAE to gaze hard into their crystal balls for some 2020 vision of what the next big thing will be.
“Maybe we would be looking at an iPhone 12 by then,” jokes Neelesh Bhatnagar, CEO of retailer Emax, before adding that portability will be key.
So much so, that you may never need to frantically search for the television remote control down the back of the sofa again.
“Convergence of technology will be a significant change,” he says.
“You may not need five or six gadgets in your house. Maybe just an all-in-one gadget will do the trick.”
Technology is very mobile now - and centres around devices, agrees Alexander Rauser, CEO of digital agency Prototype Interactive.
“But seven years from now, the way we carry our devices will change,” he insists.
“For example, you may not need to touch your device to connect - you could just be accessing it from your earring or belt.”
Now that’s hi-tech - but what does Vishesh Bhatia, CEO of Jumbo Electronics, see?
“We have driverless metros, but maybe by then we’ll have driverless cars,” Bhatia says. With a bill to bring driverless cars to roads in California signed just last week, today’s science fiction could well and truly become 2020’s reality.
The bill was inked at the headquarters of internet search giant Google - which has been testing its own fleet of 12 autonomous computer-controlled vehicles for several years.
When it comes to science fiction, Hollywood and the comic book industry have always moved ahead of the tech world.
“I would be happy if half of what I’ve seen in Iron Man could be on show,” says Jacky’s COO Ashish Panjabi.
“For now though, I’d be happy to see a tablet that I can fold away and fit into my shirt pocket,” he adds. By any measurement we’re living within the most advanced technological era of all time.
And with the dizzying array of gadgets on display at GITEX this week, industry insiders believe the tech show will play an important role in influencing the bid for Expo 2020. “My feeling is that if there’s any event like this (GITEX) that takes place then it’s good for Dubai because this gets reported globally and it then defines Dubai as ‘the’ venue for events, exhibitions and expos,” says Bhatia.
Thoughts that are firmly echoed by Emax man Bhatnagar. “I believe an event like GITEX will definitely help in the bid,” he says.
“Over the past 20-plus years that it has been around, it has become an international event - and today the buzz is all about technology.” Dubai is not only a city incredibly well positioned to host the event, according to Rauser, but also, if you look at the emirate in terms of technology adaptation, there is always a huge desire to be first.
“From biometrics at Dubai airport, to the latest speed cameras, to introducing iPads in schools - they are always at the cutting-edge of technology,” says Rauser of the emirate.
“For people who still have questions about this city, the Expo will be the perfect opportunity to show what Dubai really is.”