Dubai: Twenty Italian startups are participating at Gitex Future Stars 2020 showcasing innovations in ICT, AI, Smart City, MedTech and Agritech. This year the Italian pavilion has almost doubled in size and the number of participants now stand at 20, compared to 10 companies that participated last year.

Technology highlights at the Italian pavilion include blockchain solutions to solve the issues of counterfeit products, use of artificial intelligence (AI) to complement personal services in the Horeca (food services and hotel industry) sector, semantic web and sentiment analysis digital solutions, platform to expedite “digital transformation” in healthcare applications, solutions for vertical gardens, smart farming solutions and contact-tracing and social-distancing systems and more.

As a nation with a history of innovation and creativity led by masters such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Italians have a unique sense to match innovation with solutions that make life better, and this sensibility has extended into the technology sector, making Italy a fast growing technology hub in Europe.

Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the United Arab Emirates, says, “Thanks also to a very advanced regulatory framework to promote the establishment and growth of new innovative enterprises with a high technological value, the number of Italian start-up companies has boomed over the years, with 11,500 start-ups registered in Italy as of July 2020. Despite these difficult times, we are therefore happy to bring to Gitex Future Stars, a number of Italian start-ups who are keen to present their innovative solutions to an inspiring ecosystem of companies, active investors, venture capitalists and visitors from over 60 countries.”

According to Amedeo Scarpa, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE and Director of ITA, “Italy is a country with a tradition of innovation, historically supported by industries like automotive and fashion, but we also have a fast-growing tech ecosystem. With the onset of the pandemic, the importance of technology in keeping us all safe and connected with minimal disruption to work, has become more evident than ever. Italy started pursuing a strategy of digitalization when the pandemic struck, offering several rounds of stimulus for the technology sector this year. Technology is the future and, not by chance, 18 per cent of new Italian start-ups are founded by under 35. At the Italian pavilion in Gitex Future Stars, visitors will get a true picture of the new Italian Leonardos and their creative and innovative tech solutions. Follow us on social media every day: @ITADubai”
Dubai: A digital payment enabling company, IDEMIA, has acquired Pcard, a card personalisation bureau in Saudi Arabia. The former will now be able to offer an “expanded” range of card payment services and solutions to the Kingdom’s banking and payment sector.

The International Smart Card Factory Company – or Pcard – was founded in 2008 and offers smart card personalisation, mobile banking, digital wallets, and card inventory tracking and management. It currently serves nine domestic banks.
“This acquisition stems from our commitment to improve the lives of hundreds of millions by enabling trusted and secure access to financial services for everyone,” said Julia Schoonenberg, Senior Vice-President for MEA territory, Financial Institutions, IDEMIA, which is headquartered in France. “We do this by providing innovative solutions that enable a unique, secure and convenient payment experience to the end consumer.

“Pcard is the perfect fit for us.”
It was in 2016 that the Saudi government announced the move towards a cashless economy. As a result of these efforts, the number of cashless PoS (point-of-sale) transactions in 2019 reached 1.6 billion, a rise of 57 per cent over the previous year, while contactless PoS transactions hit 918.5 billion in 2019, an increase of 442 per cent in 2018, with bank cards and smartphones representing 57 per cent of these.

The kingdom is expected to have over 6.4 million credit cards and 28 million debit cards in circulation by 2023.

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