CeBIT 2012 again showed it’s the flagship show for the ICT industry as not only new products and technologies were displayed but also more than seven million business talks were held. Chandragupta Amritkar reports from Hannover, Germany
Come March and most ICT professionals across the globe have CeBIT on their agenda. As always, during CeBIT, the German city of Hannover was very cold and, adding to the cold, there were rains for a couple of days. But all this did not deter 3,12,000 visitors from 110 countries and over 4,240 exhibitors from 70 countries displaying their techie products and know-how. Simultaneously, more than 1,500 seminars and workshops were held spread across five days.
The event saw tablets, ultrabooks, high-end gaming laptops, eye-tracking devices, rugged smartphones, smart homes (virtual living rooms with a pair of head-tracking VR glasses), Audi's new gesture-based entertainment system, servers, point-of-sale terminals, numerous apps, app for PC gaming and countless cloud-based solutions.
‘Managing Trust’ was the keynote theme across the board at CeBIT 2012. "CeBIT has addressed the keynote theme of `Managing Trust' at just the right time, successfully putting these issues firmly on the international agenda," said Ernst Raue, the Deutsche Messe Managing Board member in charge of CeBIT. More than 130 business and political delegations from around the world followed the CeBIT call to debate the key issues of trust and security in a digital world, among them EU commissioners Neelie Kroes and Viviane Reding.
Cloud computing was one of the hottest topics at the event. According to the results of a study presented at the show, suppliers of cloud solutions in Germany alone are set to record sales of around 5.3 billion euros this year – up 47 per cent on 2011 (source: the Experton Group). The cloud computing market is expected to grow to approximately 17 billion euros by 2016 – a rate that was duly reflected in the display of numerous market-ready products based on the cloud’s literally limitless online storage capacity. For example, the cloud can now be used to store a company’s entire accounting and sales system or a government office’s statistical data analyses and reports – data which would otherwise occupy many gigabytes of space on the organization’s own servers.
Private consumers can also keep their photos or videos on the cloud, freeing up costly space on PCs, tablets or smartphones.
Displays in the exhibition halls featured cloud solutions which put a top priority on protecting data from hacker attacks or other misuse. The security issue is also becoming more significant in other contexts. While 95 per cent of all ICT businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place for data mishaps, this is the case for only 50 per cent of companies in other sectors. CeBIT 2012 presented the full range of security solutions currently available for business and private users. These extended from a fully protected server farm to antivirus software for smartphones, e.g. as exhibited by Kaspersky Lab.
CeBIT also featured a vast range of hardware innovations. These included the first LTE smartphones from HTC and Samsung which can download data from the Internet up to 10 times faster than today’s 3G mobile phones. Network operators also displayed some exciting new services for fourth-generation mobile telephony – for example, professional cloud services and multimedia content streaming. Exhibits showcasing these products highlighted the extremely low LTE latency times for data downloads (approx. 30 milliseconds) as well as the increased capacity of the new 4G networks, allowing significantly more same-location users to enjoy the benefits of high transfer speeds.
Standout crowd-pleasers included stylishly flat ultrabooks from suppliers like Dell and new tablet computers from Samsung, Motorola and Huawei, equipped with super-fast quad core processors and HD-capable, multi-touch displays as used in high-end mobile phones. This year’s CeBIT also highlighted an interesting trend in apps: the growing proliferation of HTML5 apps enabling programmers and users to become independent of Android, iOS, Windows Phone and other download stores.
eCommerce was another hot topic with options, ranging from a user-friendly Webshop for mobile devices to conference lectures by some of the industry’s most visionary thinkers. CeBIT put the spotlight on innovative shop modules featuring Social Commerce as one of this year’s trend topics. Social Commerce allows customers to share their impressions of recently purchased products and aims to add an emotional dimension to the online buying experience.
Microsoft’s ‘Neustadt’ (digital city) project at CeBIT 2012 highlighted the ways in which today’s IT can be used in a networked urban environment to make administrative processes more efficient and user-friendly. Examples like municipal administration, education, civil defence in disaster situations and health were used to illustrate what eParticipation might look like in the not-too-distant future. CeBIT 2012 explored some potential scenarios for avoiding the need to go to an administrative office in person.
‘Urban living’ was the slogan of Fraunhofer’s appearance at this year’s CeBIT. From 6 to 10 March 2012 Fraunhofer City at CeBIT offered visitors more than 40 points of interest. Six tours took one through quite different areas – from a soccer stadium to an airport, from a museum to a city government office – letting one experience tomorrow today.
The event also included a number of exhibits featuring new ICT solutions and concept designs showing how seamlessly networked traffic flows and efficient data supply can be used to prevent gridlock on roads and city streets. Intelligent solutions of this kind are vital for the logistics industry as well as for controlling traffic lights and hazard warnings after a collision. Special automotive apps specifically optimised for in-vehicle use provide an instant display of important information on a head-up monitor or the navigation screen in the vehicle cockpit. From 2015, new vehicles will also be outfitted with a mobile radio chip providing access to in-car services and an automatic emergency call function.
CeBIT visitors were also clearly impressed with the wealth of creative ideas submitted by startups in the international CODE_n competition, which featured more than 400 entries from 42 countries. The top 50 contestants were invited to present their business models to an international audience at CeBIT.
Leading research organisations such as the Fraunhofer Institutes offered CeBIT visitors behind-the-scenes glimpses of some of their current projects. The exhibits and concept designs on display ranged from painting robots and a learning system based on the game of hopscotch to real-time analysis of a football match.
Another example was the ‘art guardian’ for protecting valuable works of art. Invisible sensors monitor temperature and humidity and detect any movements and gestures in front of a painting, all of which can be monitored by smartphone using intelligent IT.The next CeBIT will be staged from 5 to 9 March 2013 in Hannover.
Next Week: Gadgets and
Innovations at CeBIT 2012
Partner Country: Brazil
The 26th edition of CeBIT was inaugurated by the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Brazil was the CeBIT 2012 Partner Country and had over 130 Brazilian exhibitors. "It was a milestone in consolidating the image of the Brazilian IT industry abroad. We can divide the global projection of our industry before and after CeBIT 2012. In addition to promoting business and partnerships for our companies, attending the event in the condition of partner country helped us to reinforce the concept of Brazil as a provider of advanced technology and global reach in several segments, "says Arnaldo Bacha, executive vice president at SOFTEX organization that coordinated the Brazilian presence at the event.
India’s leading council for the ICT and electronics industry, Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) this year again organised participation of Indian companies at CeBIT 2012. From India there were 40 exhibitors (a few of them participating from their European office) of which 20 exhibitors participated through ESC. "We are quite pleased with our participation. With 2300 member exporters pan India we are the largest IT association in the country. Our aim is to provide an excellent platform for SME companies in India to reach a global market and this we do my giving discounted rates for participation at global events like CeBIT, GITEX in Dubai, electronica in Munich etc,” said an emphatic D K Sareen, ED, ESC.
There were quite a few first time participants and they were quite pleased. Some who had been participating for over 5 years had bigger booths and better presence. Some of the Indian exhibitors included - Citytech Software, CMC, Cyber Infrastructure, Cygnet Infotech, Gnostice Information Technologies, Hiteshi Technologies, Indus Net Technologies, InPhonity Networks, NeoSOFT Technologies, Radixweb, Technopark etc.