The 2nd annual HITEC Dubai, now the world's largest hospitality technology exposition and conference brand, recently came to a close on December 6th. This year's showcase garnered a great deal of anticipation from hospitality leaders, as the Middle East is fast becoming a favorite tourist destination to MICE and shopping travelers given its investment in airports and infrastructure and interest in hosting large-scale events. Dubai is expected to have 155,000 new rooms by 2020, with a further 10,000 plus rooms that need to undergo refurbishment prior to the Expo 2020 event. With Dubai being leveraged as a hotspot for massive industry growth and evolution, HITEC Dubai was created to provide Middle East buyers with access to top hospitality solution providers across the globe. Throughout the two-day expo, participants were expected to engage in a top-notch education program and witness the exciting debut of the latest (and greatest) in hospitality technology. Not only that but for the first time in Dubai, HFTP's expanding Entrepreneur20X (E20X) competition was introduced to give startups the opportunity to present their breakthrough business concepts to the industry. This year's show recorded more than double the number of attendees along with the debut of many new prominent exhibitors. And of course, all of this comes just in time for 2018 to come to a close, providing hoteliers with the tools they need to truly empower their infrastructure for 2019. So, what did you miss at HITEC Dubai this year? We've included some of the highlights below: IDS FX1 Launch IDS was especially thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our intelligent, cloud-based hotel platform, FX1, which offers chain and independent hotels an integrated solution that operates across front office, housekeeping, incident management, CRS and POS modules. Not only that, but it offers an open API to ensure seamless integration with various applications across a hotel's operational structure. This is the world's first 'intelligent hotel platform,' and HITEC represented the perfect opportunity to extend reach across the region and support the rapid growth which Dubai's hospitality industry is currently experience. With the platform also offering access to 24/7 support (backed by a comprehensive, 365 days/year support center), hoteliers can trust in true, anytime availability as they become familiar with the platform and the ways in which it can enhance their offering. Binu Matthews, IDS CEO, looks fondly on the HITEC launch, "We had a great launch with FX1 with a great deal of interest coming in from both chains and groups. Seeing how well our enterprise cloud and mobile solutions were received by industry leaders, we are excited to continue this momentum into 2019." GBM and IBM Introducing VR and AI Solutions Not only that, but Gulf Business Machines, known as the number one provider of IT solutions, showcased their partnership with IBM as they look to break into the hospitality realm with VR and Watson based AI solutions. GBM has built much of their success on leveraging industry-leading technologies to drive real business results for clients, so witnessing their vested interest to branch into hospitality with emerging technology is truly exciting. A New MC: Promobot Over the course of the two-day expo, regional and international case studies were featured in tandem with panel discussions and demonstrations from 70+ other solution and service providers. Amidst all the industry interest surrounding the widespread emergence and exploration of artificial technology (AI), an intelligent humanoid robot named Promobot was even given the unique opportunity to take center stage. With Promobot leading the proceedings, it's no surprise that AI-powered robots and their impact on hotels were a major discussion point throughout the conference. Throughout each demonstration, it became clear that robots represent a cost-effective, future-friendly opportunity to use sophisticated technology to enhance the guest experience across all touch-points. In fact, a report released by McKinsey & Company recently suggested that by 2030, as many as 800 million workers globally could be replaced by robots. But, don't be mistaken, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), robots in the workplace could create double the jobs they destroy (133 million jobs created, to be exact). Hospitality CRM on Dynamic Platforms We are also witnessing the rise in Hospitality CRM hosted on Dynamic Platforms, with the help of Microsoft. These platforms are promised to provide a solid foundation that helps to address industry-wide requirements and pain points, while effectively streaming hotel operations. This will help hoteliers to automate sales, enhance marketing and customer care processes, and implement their CRM strategy on a more reliable and robust platform. With Dubai representing a global hub of innovation and technology development (especially with the implementation of large-scale conferences such as HITEC), it becomes especially important to utilize the power of disruptive technology with strong partnerships, such as GBM and IBM. With big players investing their resources into the curation of an enhanced guest experience, through means of AI, VR, intelligent PMS/CMS and more, the future of global hospitality has never looked better.