Fujairah, UAE, 16 May 2012: In addition to direct meetings between vendors and retailers, DISTREE Middle East (ME) is renowned for bringing international keynote speakers to the region, offering deep insight into a wide range of topics from retail trends to products and technology. This year’s event will host more than 20 speakers addressing the 580 delegates.

The conference programme commenced with a GfK keynote by Dr. Rudi Aunkofer on Global High Technology Markets covering cloud, mobility, lifestyle and infrastructure. He was followed by Bill Brownell, General Manager of Worldwide Retail Services at Microsoft; Jack Lee, Corporate VP Lenovo Group and General Manager Lenovo Middle East and Africa, plus Nassir Nauthoa, General Manager GCC at Intel.
Bill Brownell of Microsoft provided delegates with an update on the company’s powerful product roadmap including Windows 8, Office 15 and Windows Phone 8. Brownell also covered the opportunities that exist for the Middle East retail channel and how best to sell Microsoft’s retail portfolio to consumers.

Lenovo’s Jack Lee focused on the ‘PC+ era’, discussing Lenovo’s expanded device offerings and progress into the ecosystem of cloud, services and applications. He was followed by Intel’s Nassir Nauthoa who shared the company’s vision on the future potential for Ultrabooks.

In addition to keynote speeches, DISTREE ME will host several Retail Academy sessions across all three days. Topics covered include:

  • Using Generation ‘Y’ to Target Generation ‘Y’, moderated by K.S Vasudevan of Navolabs. This session will highlight real case studies demonstrating how real business data can be used to influence marketing strategy and increase sales.
  • Customer Centricity, moderated by Professor Piyush Sinha, Professor of Marketing and Chairperson at the Centre for Retailing at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA).
  • How to Select New Products, hosted by Mark Needham, Chairman at Widget. This session will focus on a standard method that can be applied to the evaluation of a new technology product’s potential.
  • Predicting Future Vendor Winners, moderated by Howard Davies of Context, will leverage CONTEXT’s wealth of channel data to demonstrate which vendors and product categories are performing best and identify the areas expected to display the strongest growth during the year ahead.
  • Building Retail Brand Equity by leveraging Category Innovation: This session will be hosted by Kevin Lalonde, President at Accelerate International, who will discusses the importance on leveraging category innovation to build retail brand equity through multiple channels and store formats. It promises to be a thought provoking session that bridges category management best practices with the retail format and multiple channels of distribution.
  • Evolution of Category Management: Impact of Digital Convergence. As lines between key IT, telecoms and consumer electronics (CE) categories merge, David Lewis of GfK will discuss whether category management in the Middle East region needs to evolve to include a broader macro perspective to optimise a retailer’s total sales.
  • Multichannel Models. This session, moderated by Ryan Mackey, takes a practical, concrete look at the strategy maps and balanced scorecards retailers can use to align themselves around the multichannel opportunity.

The Retail Panel debate will also return after its successful launch last year. This year’s panelists include Ahmed Fayed from eXtra; Ashish Panjabi from Jacky’s; Jumbo’s Nadeem Khanzadah and Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO at Souq.com.

The GameStream12 keynote address is being delivered by Dr. David Reeves, COO at Capcom Entertainment in Europe and former CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Dr. Reeves will focus on the history of video gaming in the Middle East, where the market currently stands and how the future might play out. The GameStream12 Alliance is made up of Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation, Red Distribution and Pluto. The GameStream12 retailer awards will also be handed out during this session.

This year’s event is backed by Intel, Lenovo and Microsoft as Platinum Sponsors, with BDL, Dell, Grand Stores, Kaspersky and Norton by Symantec participating as Gold sponsors. Asbis, Cisco, Max Electronics, Samsung and Targus are Silver Sponsors of DISTREE Middle East 2012.


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