Advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) are transforming the Middle East’s facilities management market by improving efficiency and enhancing performance standards, according to industry leaders and experts speaking at MEFMA Confex 2019 in Dubai.

The annual conference and exhibition, organised by the Middle East Facility Management Association (MEFMA), attracted strong participation from facilities management companies and professionals from the region, while the Dubai Association Centre (DAC) supported the event as a strategic partner.

MEFMA is non-profit professional organisation working to unifying the facility management industry in the Middle East by conducting research, providing educational programs and assisting corporate organizations in creating sustainable facility management strategies. The association is also a registered member of DAC.

MEFMA Confex 209 Dubai, the largest event of its kind in the region, featured speeches, presentations, panel discussion and case studies highlighting a wide variety of business trends, issues and challenges impacting regional facilities management firms, as well market opportunities that can be further explored.

During the conference, Atiq Juma Nasib, Senior Vice President of Commercial Services at Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dubai Chamber), underlined the pivotal role that associations are playing in supporting Dubai’s transition to a knowledge-based economy and smart city vision, asserting that MEFMA’s establishment under the Dubai Association Centre has provided the association with the support and resources that have enabled it to launch and expand its activities in the region.

He pointed out that events like the MEFMA Confex make an important contribution to the economy as they attract international visitors who bring extensive expertise and provide an ideal environment for such professionals to share knowledge and network with their counterparts in Dubai.

Nasib noted that the theme of the conference aligns with the strategic plans and policies that have been put into place by the UAE government which aim to facilitate the adopting of innovative technologies such as blockchain, 3D printing and artificial intelligence. He added that there are several factors that are driving the growth of the global facilities management industry, including the rising demand for rationalising spending, increased consumption of energy, and stronger focus on boosting operational efficiency, adding that regional players should adapt to such trends to remain competitive.

He explained that the Dubai Association Centre (DAC), a joint initiative of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Department for Tourism and Commerce Marketing, and the Dubai World Trade Centre, is fully committed to assisting professional associations that are keen on establishing a presence in Dubai and leveraging the emirate as a hub to expand their footprint in the Middle East, adding that since DAC’s establishment in 2014, the number of registered associations in Dubai has grown rapidly to reach 60.

For his part, MEFMA President Jamal Lootah said: “We are honoured to be organising the annual MEFMA Confex with high-profile officials from the public and private sectors in attendance – particularly from Dubai Chamber. We have set our sights on forging strong partnerships between leaders in the facilities management industry to take their services to a new level of excellence and innovation.”

“We confidently and optimistically look forward to the period ahead, which is set to be marked with cooperation towards improving performance across the facilities management sector in the GCC, which is currently valued at USD37 billion,” added Lootah.