Over 100 leading global and regional ICT professionals are set to take the stage at the ArabNet Digital Summit 2012 to share their expertise on the latest trends and topics in the field of online business. The Summit, to be held from March 27th to 31st in Beirut, Lebanon, will bring together leading experts from the global web and mobile industries with digital professionals and entrepreneurs from across the Arab world.

The dynamic line up of speakers will include respected professionals from well-known organizations such as Osama Bedeir, Vice President of Payments at Google; Shervin Pishevar, Managing Director at Menlo Ventures; Amina Belghiti, Head of Platform Partnerships, New Markets EMEA, Facebook; and Barry Wacksman, Chief Growth Officer at R/GA. Presentations will provide in depth insight into a wide spectrum of topics such as entrepreneurship, investment, the future of media and advertising, interaction through social media platforms, and the affect of the latest technology trends on the digital market.

“We are creating a platform for the exchange of ideas between individuals at all levels of the industry with the aim of generating true forward movement for the many strong public and private sector initiatives shaping the region’s online markets,” stated Omar Christidis, Founder of ArabNet. “The region is seeing remarkable growth in the online space and major new opportunities are opening up daily. We’re aiming to harness that energy at the Summit.”

Over the span of the five-day summit, speakers will focus especially on fields such as commerce that have witnessed major shifts to online, and adopted new models in order to keep pace in an increasingly digital world.

“E-commerce in particular has developed at a stupendous rate over the past year. Websites like MarkaVIP and Jadopado have been experiencing remarkable growth both in terms of customer acquisition and revenues” explains Christidis

The region has also seen the proliferation of vertical sales websites like Mumzworld, an e-commerce site dedicated to mothers, and Run2Sport, the first online sports apparel shop in the Middle East. The latter alone secured a USD 2.5 million investment from Souq.com, a Jabbar Internet Group company.

“Of course the telecom industry remains a key player in the tech sector, with mobile operators looking to increase and expand their revenue streams through creating and monetising content” adds Christidis.

The ArabNet Digital Summit 2012 is garnering huge interest from the Telecom industry. This year Saudi Telecom Company (STC) joins ArabNet as a Strategic Partner, with Lebanese Mobile Operator Alfa sponsoring the event. The Summit will also host a Telecom Executives Panel that features speakers from STC, Vodafone Egypt, and Oger Telecom.

The future of media will be addressed as well in light of the latest developments in web, placing special emphasis on the convergence of television and online media, SmartTVs and on-demand content, and the evolution of news reporting through crowdsourced information and citizen journalism.

The ArabNet Digital Summit 2012 kicks off with Developer Days, extended to run over the first two days of the event. Developer Days will include tutorials, workshops and talks by global leaders Facebook, Google, Microsoft and major regional development houses. New additions include community organised Lightning Talks and the free and open to all OVERNIGHT competition where developers are challenged to build a web or mobile application in under twelve hours.

The five day summit will be split up into four parts: two Developer Days (March 27th – 28th), which will host technical discussions and workshops for programmers; an Industry Day (March 28th) focused on how web and mobile applications are transforming travel and tourism, banking, education, and healthcare; two Forum Days (March 29th – 30th), which will bring together digital business leaders in the region to cover the latest web and mobile trends and technologies and feature pitches by some of the region’s top entrepreneurs; and finally, a Community Day (March 31st) open to the public and focused on raising awareness about the power of digital.

About ArabNet

ArabNet is the hub for Arab digital professionals and entrepreneurs to connect and learn. It’s activities aimed at building the web industry and supporting entrepreneurship in the region include:

An annual summit in Beirut, widely acknowledged as one the largest digital gathering in the MENA region, with a track record of bringing globally-renowned speakers to discuss the latest topics in the field, as well as successfully connecting entrepreneurs and startups with funding and incubation through the Ideathon and Startup Demo competitions.

The ArabNet RoadShow, which held free training workshops for over 1,500 entrepreneurs across the region to teach them to successfully develop their business plans.

It’s newly launched Developer Program, which connects developers with potential employment at the region’s digital startups.

The Startup Database Program, which connects startups with investors.

ArabNet website, which has been redesigned to be the leading reference for digital businesses in the Middle East, featuring news, analysis and a growing database of startups, developers and entrepreneurs.

More about ArabNet can be found at: http://arabnet.me/



Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.

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