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Report from CeBIT IT Tradeshow: 'Greetings from Spain open the world’s largest IT conference this year - in 3D'

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The CeBIT trade fair at Hanover in Germany, the largest computer tradeshow in the world, has always been chilly this time of year. So like always everybody rushes into the warm halls – there are 23 to choose from. After the traditionally slow first day the number of visitors picked up significantly on the second day. It was the usual game of shove and push in the aisles of halls 3 to 7, traditonally reserved for software solutions and research.

[caption id="attachment_3130" align="aligncenter" width="214" caption="CeBIT 2010 at Hanover increased its number of visitors by 20%"][/caption]

More visitors



“The number of visitors has increased by about 20% compared to last year”, said Ernst Raue, CEO of the Deutsche Messe AG, who organized the trade fair. Raue expects the number of visitors to pick up yet again at the weekend when a lot of school pupils and students are expected to search for the latest and greatest gadgets in the mobile, music, and gaming market represented here.

[caption id="attachment_3129" align="aligncenter" width="95" caption="Ernst Raue, CEO of Deutsche Messe AG"][/caption]

More youngsters



Indeed, a lot of young people could already be spotted on the first two days. They are not the ubiquitous“free bees” on the hunt for giveaways but youngsters trying to get information on the latest developments and products. For example, Microsoft Office 2010 and SkyDrive, as well als the brandnew “PC for Children” that Microsoft officials presented to chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel (she is a physiscist, not a physician) on her traditional walk around the halls.

Greetings from Spain



The evening before Dr. Angela Merkel had opened the fair to the general public, together with Spains prime minister José Zapatero. Spain is this year’s partner country, among the top five hightech markets of Europe. Last year’s partner “country” was California, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, naturally, said “Hasta la vista, baby!” – and presented a sophisticated robot. Zapatero, however, not being a terminator, did not repeat this phrase but invited everybody to the stalls of Spanish exhibitors – and to the beaches of his beautiful country.

Partner conferences



The increased number of visitors was also due to the fact that two new partner conferences were taking place at CeBIT, the music fair “CeBIT sounds!” (slogan: "IT meets Music"), and the SAP World Tour. The latter was especially interesting after the change of SAP’s top management shortly before the start of the fair. The two new co-CEO’s Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann-Snabe demonstrated affection for each other and vowed to be having fun in their new position. They also showed new products and solutions, especially for the mobile market.

E-Retailing



Since e-commerce comprises quite a few disciplines, it did not have a special hall reserved to the pertinent technologies and solutions. Under the labels of “Connected Living” (this year’s CeBIT slogan) and Webciety Web-based solutions could be found. To e-Commerce was only a tiny corner in hall 6 reserved where “Internet Experts” were to be found. For comparison’s sake: Half a hall (no. 8 ) was reserved for Green IT alone.

In interviews with security experts from Symantec and Trend Micro in security hall 11 it became clear that data and payment security, identity protection, phishing, botnets, etc. are growing concerns to e-shop operators and technology & solution providers. In order to implement security measures against such threats e-retailers have to increase their investment significantly (let alone the consumers).



In order to reduce the amount of this investment a growing number of e-retailers take recourse to managed host services or cloud services that take care not only of e-mail scanning, but also of website scanning and data backup . Not surprisingly, Symantec, Trend Micro and other vendors show rapidly growing numbers of clients in this area (+20% annually).

Conclusion



It remains to be seen if the organizers of CeBIT trade fair can reach the number of ca. 400.000 visitors they had last year. But the crowds walking the aisles of the 23 open halls prove that the economic crisis is over when it comes to gathering infoormation and looking for investment opportunities. Quite a number of exhibitors have testified to having made good business at the fair until Wednesday (March 4th), when the first half term was over.

If the concept of the organizers – diversification and innovation as well as partnering with new conferences – turns out to be a success this year’s CeBIT will send fresh and powerful impulses into the market, to enterprises and to consumers alike. The number of specialized conferences has grown (Mobile World in Barcelona, CES in Las Vegas, both focussing on end consumers), but currently (and hopefully for the next 25 years) there is only one general tradeshow comprising offerings for both businesses and consumers– CeBIT at chilly Hanover.
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