GCC’s biggest banking technology summit to direct major IT spend

Over 400 C-level executives, IT experts, retail banking specialists and finance heads have confirmed to attend the region’s biggest banking technology summit, taking place on 29th – 30th of September 2014 at the Jumeirah Emirates Tower in Dubai, UAE. With heightened competition for tech-savvy customers in the market, banks with outdated systems and products are coming under pressure to invest in core banking technologies, fraud prevention solutions and data analytics software and will be looking to discuss these requirements at the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2014.

In its 4th year the event is gathering major local players including Emirates NBD, Dubai Islamic Bank, Arab National Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Doha Bank, and RAK Bank amongst international leaders HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Citibank to share case-studies, challenges and learn where to target IT spend in the coming year.

The Middle East is projected to reach US$243 billion by 2018, which will represent 5.6 percent of worldwide IT spend estimated by Gartner, with $211 billion in 2014 alone. Tech giants Kaspersky, SAP, MasterCard, Nettitude, Temenos and HP will be looking to take advantage of the positive development and will be showcasing innovative solutions as banks prepare to modernize and digitize.  

In the next three to five years, you are going to see a significant technology rollout among the banks that operation in the region with back office operations moving to the cloud,” said Farhad Irani, Mashreq Bank’s Head of Retail Banking in an interview with The National earlier this year. “It’s a fast-growing market, very high tech market, very amenable to innovation. Banking and payments have a very exciting opportunity in that context in being able to wow customers with solutions.”

Google reports UAE having the highest usage of smartphones in the world at 75 percent; a trend that will push more business online and to mobile channels to keep up with customer expectations. As banks prepare for the onset of digitization across the organization, new challenges in cyber security and increased regulatory requirements are brought into the limelight. Topics of major consideration for the industry also include Big Data analytics, core banking optimization, mobile and social marketing, regulatory compliance and new payment solutions, and will be key focusses at the summit to be held in September. 

The banking sector in the Middle East is one of the world’s fastest growing markets, and with increased competition within this region it is no surprise that the Summit is growing in size once again,” says Charlene Corrin, Producer of the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit organized by Expotrade. “It’s a very important platform for the banking industry decision-makers to connect with peers and technology vendors to learn how to apply innovation and focus IT spend where it is most needed.” 

Expotrade is a global conference and event organizer with its head office based in Melbourne, Australia. Expotrade has delivered some of the largest, most successful B2B industry conferences and events in industries including Big Data, banking & finance, solar energy, lighting, smart cities and construction.

For more information, visit http://www.bankinnovation-me.com

New lighting technology upgrades to reap big savings across Australia

Councils across Australia are planning major works to replace inefficient street lights and relight public domains in a bid to cut costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Municipal Association of Victoria over 80 percent of its councils are currently transitioning to energy efficient lighting, and it has partnered with consultants Ironbark Sustainability to deliver the world’s second largest street light replacement program, which aims to save up to $340 million.

Local government authorities, developers, contractors and lighting industry professionals from around the country will be gathering in Melbourne next month at the Australian Smart Lighting Summit to discuss similar projects and share best practice strategies and challenges to achieving the desired energy and cost savings.

As part of a revolutionary LED retrofit project City of Sydney has replaced over half of its public domain lights and has already achieved more than a 40 percent energy reduction.

“The City of Sydney was the first Australian City to trial LED lighting covering various locations including pedestrian, vehicular and mixed use areas”, says George Angelis, manager of the city’s infrastructure & traffic operations.

“We trust others can learn from the City of Sydney’s experiences and results, and make further steps towards improved sustainability in lighting.”

With public lighting accounting for one-third of the city’s annual electricity bill energy-saving schemes are being backed by the NSW Government, which has announced a grid-wide roll-out in 41 councils across Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter regions. City of Melbourne has also recently updated its Public Lighting Strategy, which aims to ensure the city is inviting, interesting and safe during the evening, and attract more activity into Melbourne’s laneways, parks and squares.

Local councils and developers will be looking to gain valuable lessons from the success of cities abroad such as Abu Dhabi Municipality which is currently replacing 600,000 streetlights to LED fixtures, leading to an estimated saving of up to $140 million.

“The long-term benefits are key to justifying early change where possible”, says Martin Valentine, Lighting Expert at Abu Dhabi City Municipality who is giving a presentation at the upcoming Australian Smart Lighting Summit.

“The challenge is not with the rapidly changing technology itself and the obvious improvements in both the sources and ‘smart’ controls. It is ensuring it is understood exactly what one wants to have and the lighting designed and applied appropriately.”

“Also if a region with such extreme environmental conditions as Abu Dhabi can be seen to have successfully embraced new lighting technologies like LED, I hope it might give some assurances for other similar challenging locations”, says Valentine.

Leading manufacturers including Philips, Gerard, SLA, Ledified and GE will be attending the Summit to showcase their latest technologies, and take advantage of the growing market. Nigel Parry of lighting manufacturer OrangeTek Limited will be sharing experiences from the United Kingdom, working alongside local authorities that have embarked on successful LED replacement programs.

The 2-day conference commences at 9am at Melbourne Convention Centre on 18 August 2014. For more information visit http://www.lightingconference.com.au.