CeBIT through the eyes of a journalist
When a journalist has just four days to cover a mega event like CeBIT, it can be an extremely challenging task. CeBIT Hannover is a five-day event with both a conference and expo running concurrently on all five days. The Conference has three parallel tracks with interesting sessions running right through the day. And if you want a complete update on the latest in business technology, you’ll have to walk through some 20 plus halls, each one as big as a football field!
To give you an idea about just how big CeBIT is: The 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.
I’ve attended and covered CeBIT Hannover three times, and I can tell you that the key to absorbing the most important aspects of the event is solid pre-event preparation.
To begin with, one should do a media registration at least a month before the event. Once you do that, you start receiving press releases and other important information, almost daily. The CeBIT Newsletter Services team does an excellent job of keeping the media informed. In addition, one should also browse the News & Trends sections on the site www.cebit.com
Download and study maps of the exhibition grounds. And go through the conference agenda, chalking out the sessions you want to attend. The three conference halls are at one location and in close proximity. But one should note the dates and times of sessions.
You arrive at CeBIT fully prepared armed with a list of press events. In that sense, you hit the ground running. Don’t miss the opening ceremony, which opens a day before CeBIT. That day also includes important Press briefings – so try to arrive a day earlier. On arrival, head straight to the press center and collect your Press ID and locker key (refundable deposit).
Walking around the huge campus can wear your legs out by the end of the day. So CeBIT offers a Press Shuttle service – mini-vans will take you around the grounds. But you need to show your press ID.
And all that walking and talking will make you hungry. So you can head to the Press Center and avail of meals in the Press Café on the ground floor. Media persons can avail of a 50 percent discount on all meals.
The Press Center has information desks and friendly staff at all levels. Be sure to head there at the start of each day and look for a print-out that summarizes the day’s press events. These events are usually held in the adjoining Convention Center (look for CC on the map).
The first level at the press center has pigeon holes or rather trays filled with all the CeBIT press releases. If you subscribed to the CeBIT Newsletter Service, then you also receive these by email. And another section has trays with brochures and press material from various exhibitors. Be very discreet when picking these up as they will add a lot of weight to your luggage. I usually spend the last evening going through all the material I’ve gathered, choosing what I want to take back home, and discard the rest.
The second level at the press center is the “Quiet Zone” – it’s the place where journalists are hard at work, filing their stories.
There’s excellent (and free) Wi-Fi connectivity with fixed line Internet available at the press center. And free Wi-Fi connectivity is also available in the conference halls.
The press center is open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, so you can sit back late and file your stories.
And there are café’s and clean toilets on all levels.
Announcements for press events are made on the PA.
Thousands of journalists attend CeBIT from all over the world. And the experienced CeBIT team is very helpful in providing assistance for Visas and accommodation.
I must say, CeBIT offers excellent facilities for media persons, who are treated like royalty!
The writer attended and reported on CeBIT 2015 in Hannover (16 – 20 March).