The grand opening of CeBIT took place on Monday, March 5. This year Brazil is the official partner country of CeBIT.
Speakers at the opening included:
- David McAllister, Prime Minister of Lower Saxony
- Professor Dieter Kempf, President of the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media, BITKOM
- Eric E. Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google
- H.E. Dilma Vana Rousseff, President of the Federal Republic of Brazil
- Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany
Dieter Kempf predicted a flat growth for the German ITC market of 1.5% to $151 billion Euros, mainly caused by the financial crisis in Europe. Eric Schmidt reminded the audience of the importance of removing barriers on the internet to enable open information exchange. Currently, around 40 countries have implemented online censorship, but censorship cannot be absolute. Dilma Rousseff spoke of how the growth and stability of Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world, are based primarily on the massive build out of ICT infrastructure. Rousseff also expressed concern over the financial crisis that the European Union is facing at this time. Finally, Angela Merkel opened the show and underlined the important role of ITC, which has contributed to the current strong economy in Germany.
One thing that struck me is how big the show still is! But, compared to its best year in 2001 which drew over 850,000 attendees and 8,000 exhibitors, CeBIT is much smaller now with 399,000 attendees and 4,200 exhibitors. This makes for a much more relaxed experience. You still can get affordable accommodations in Hannover or a table at one of the restaurants in the evening. And you can enjoy the luxury of free seats on the local train to the exhibition fairgrounds.
The setup of the fair is still organized as a converged ITC event with the main theme of ‘managing trust.’ It was split into the following areas:
- CeBIT pro (professional): business IT; business Communications and networks; ICT infrastructure
- CeBIT gov (government): public sector; health and viability; urban solutions
- CeBIT lab: research and vision; new technologies; resource and careers
- CeBIT life: ICT solutions for the digital lifestyle
In all these areas, cloud computing and data security were the hot topics. Another highlight was the area of smart cities, grids and houses in the CeBIT gov section. A more efficient and greener environment is possible by making infrastructure more intelligent with the help of ICT. In the CeBIT lab, many new and helpful applications were on display that build on sensors in homes, on the road or in clothing. These sensors require an online connection with the related applications.
The telecommunications section of the exhibition was organized by BITKOM and was centered on the broadband world. Almost none of the major infrastructure vendors participated directly, but many were represented by their system integrators/distributors. A global SIP-based VoIP provider presented its offerings in very innovative demonstrations. Customers are able to sign up for the provider’s services on a monthly basis, without any long-term commitment, and this should help ensure good, high-quality services.
Head of Field Marketing, EMEA