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All roads lead to the CeBIT fair in Hannover

After MWC in Barcelona, Spain, businesses (and the tech community) next set course for Hannover, Germany, to pick up the latest IT trends at CeBIT (16 – 20 March, 2015). Now Germany is known for its engineering and manufacturing prowess, but it is also keen to do business with companies that are seeking the latest IT solutions. The CeBIT tech fair has been running since the 1970s, first as part of the Hannover Messe fair, and now as a standalone trade fair, since 1986.

Why should anyone be so excited about CeBIT and what does it have to offer? Well, from what I’ve seen on previous visits there, the whole city of Hannover comes alive during CeBIT week, and then a month later for the Hannover Messe show. Both shows have the backing (and investment) of the German government, with Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel (and other country premiers) inaugurating these international trade fairs. CeBIT is supported by a partner country, and this time it is China. India is partner country for Hannover Messe 2015 (13 – 17, April) — Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be inaugurating the industrial trade fair with Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel.

And then there is so much to see at CeBIT. The expo takes place in different halls, each being the size of a football field. This time there are 20+ halls, with some devoted to the conference and special sidebar events. The last show in 2014 was attended by 334,000 visitors. At its peak during the dot-com boom, CeBIT had 850,000 visitors and an exhibition area of roughly 450,000 square metres or 5 million square feet. Well, it’s scaled down now, but one still acknowledges that the show is enormous; all those halls are filled with the latest gadgets, business solutions, and cutting edge, technology innovations. There’s more than enough for any techie or business leader to absorb.

More than 600 exhibitors are expected at the CeBIT Expo this year. There will be participation from 3,400 enterprises from 70 countries. And the event will be covered by over 4,000 journalists and bloggers from around the world.

The overarching theme for CeBIT 2015 is D!conomy – The Digital Transformation. And it’s all about the sweeping digitalization of the economy and its impact on society and business.

“Only CeBIT is capable of providing people with a complete overview of the digital supply chain,” commented senior exhibition executive Oliver Frese, during the opening session of the CeBIT Press Preview on 29 January in Hannover. The international media event featured some 30 enterprises, from global concerns to innovative startups. It attracted approximately 100 journalists from Germany and abroad – including several from China.

CeBIT Global Conferences

CGC is an important part of the CeBIT tech fair and provides a 360°overview of the digital industry. It’s where you get to listen to visionaries and thought leaders. This global network of business leaders, forward thinkers and social innovators reveals, explores and debates trailblazing technologies and how they will shape the year ahead – for the benefit of both the working world and society at large. The panel discussions, seminars and workshops at CGC offer rich insights on the latest technologies, and how these will impact various industries.

Some of the key speakers at CGC 2014 were: Steve Woznaik, co-founder Apple; Jimmy Wales, founder, Wikipedia; Mark Shuttleworth, founder, Canonical; Eugene Kaspersky, co-founder, Kaspersky Lab. There were 200+ speakers and 100+ hours of conference programming last year. Three tracks and a five-day conference can pack in a lot for anyone to absorb in a week! In 2014, the conference itself had 2,300+ participants and 29,000+ online participants.

This year the “rockstar” keynote speakers are: Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group; Jun Lei, Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Xiaomi Tech; Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys; Glenn Greenwald (Gatekeeper of Edward Snowden’s NSA information); and the world’s most famous hacker, Kevin Mitnick. The speaker line-up also includes many C-suite executives from Fortune 500 companies. We see more emphasis on security this year. For a change, there are some influential editors and bloggers included on the speaker roster.

CGC will also host the DataCenter Conference that will be produced by the London-based DataCenterDynamics. Featuring some 150 exhibitors, the event will showcase the latest technologies and solutions involving data centers. The integrated three-day conference titled “DatacenterDynamics Converged” will showcase more than 100 speakers in four different conference tracks.

Sidebar events

With so much happening at CGC and at the CeBIT Expo, I am hoping to attend some of the exciting sidebar events at CeBIT this year:

Opening ceremony – The Opening Ceremony for CeBIT takes place on Sunday, 15 March 2015 at 6 p.m. at the Hannover Congress Center (HCC). This ceremony will be presided by high profile luminaries such as Stefan Schostok, Lord Mayor of the City of Hannover; Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of the German Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media e.V. – BITKOM; Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group; Dr. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany.

CeBIT Jobs and Careers – specialists from the IT sector get in touch with potential employers. Around 47% out of 210,000 trade visitors of CeBIT 2014 were interested in training and professional re-orientation (source: visitor survey CeBIT 2014). Location: Hall 9.

Scale 11 – an event that unites startups with investors and established businesses. From the seeding phase to exit planning – this is the place where young enterprises will find the right partners. Location: Hall 11.

Developer World – Software and web developers, software architects, analysts and testers can find new tools and the latest expertise in Hall 11 at CeBIT.

“Rock the Blog” on Friday, 20 March – CeBIT is bringing together bloggers and entrepreneurs. The global digital community’s leading exhibition is dipping deep into the blogosphere this year, creating a new event devoted to blogging – by and for bloggers and representatives of industry, geared to blog specialists as well as beginners and anyone who just wants to know how a good blog works. The “Rock the Blog” event at the CeBIT Global Conferences is a networking venue where creative bloggers meet marketing specialists, SEO experts meet PR pros and new media meet tried-and-tested methods. “Rock the Blog” is a joint project of Deutsche Messe and Blappsta, the blog app developer, and takes place on Friday, 20 March, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., on three different stages in Hall 8.

Social Business Arena @ CeBIT –  The networking hub for social business experts is entering the second round. The spotlight at this year’s Social Business Arena @ CeBIT will be on the process of digital transformation and the resulting consequences for communication and cooperation in an enterprise. The Arena – a three-day speaker’s conference, networking event and marketplace for solutions and services – will draw the leading experts on topics like the “social intranet”, social collaboration, Enterprise 2.0, social business and the future of workplace organization. In Hall 4, 16 – 18 March.

CeBIT IT research Lab – From 16 to 20 March, CeBIT 2015 will be offering exclusive insight into the work of renowned research establishments and forward-thinking companies. In Hall 9 the focus is firmly on “Research & Innovation”.

IT, Business, 100%

I’ve often been asked what “CeBIT” stands for? Well, CeBIT is a German language acronym for “Centrum für Büroautomation, Informationstechnologie undTelekommunikation”, which translates to Center for Office Automation, Information Technology and Telecommunication. In the 1970s, CeBIT was an office automation show and then in the 80s it became IT-centric, when computers went mainstream.

To keep it simple, I like to expand CeBIT to “Center for Business IT” – after all, CeBIT’s new tagline is IT, Business, 100%.

Watch out for more CeBIT coverage on this site from 16 March onwards.

CeBIT Global Conferences AGENDA
http://www.cebit.de/event/cebit-global-conferences/CGC/60782

CGC Speakers
http://www.cebit.de/en/conferences/cebit-global-conferences/speaker-2015/

CeBIT Press Releases
http://www.cebit.de/en/press-service/press-releases/pressreleases-deutsche-messe/

CeBIT Job and Career
http://www.cebit.jobandcareer.de/content/index_eng.html

History of CeBIT
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CeBIT

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Brian Pereira

Brian Pereira has over two decades of journalism experience. He is the former Editor of CHIP and InformationWeek magazines in India. You can write to Brian at: brian9p@gmail.com Twitter: @brian9p Linkedin: https://in.linkedin.com/in/pereirabrian

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