Seems that everyone in the Middle East has a smartphone! At least, that was our impression at the Middle East Event Show in Dubai on 01 and 02 Jun. All the statistics that are bandied around like 50% of all business transactions taking place on smartphones by the end of 2012, seem much more credible in that part of the world if what we saw at the show was anything to go by.
Thinking about it, a remarkable number of people had two phones – an iPhone for personal use and a BlackBerry for business. Surprisingly few Androids in sight though. This of course is great news for people who make smartphone apps for the events industry – for us Gizmologists, all those phones are like mana from heaven considering the low penetration as yet of smartphones in some of our markets. But, and there is always a but, it was also apparent that the ‘smart’ bit of the deal has not entirely filtered through.
Many of the people we met simply use their devices as phones and are largely unaware of bells and whistles that are part of the smart package. ‘What’s an app?’ was a not infrequent question. That’s a bit like having a high performance car and never getting out of first gear! likely that it will take a while for event applications and other technology solutions to become embedded in the DNA of event participants in this part of the world.