By Emeka Aginam
No fewer than 4,157 exhibitors fromÂ from 68 different nations around the worldÂ converged this morning at theÂ Â CeBIT 2010 annual ICT trade exhibition taking place in Hannover, GermanyÂ showcasingÂ digital world.
With the participation of Nigerian business community andÂ â€œConnected Worldsâ€ as its keynote theme and a rateÂ participation running at the same level as last yearâ€™s event, the annual trade expo, Ernst Raue, member of the Managing Board of Deutsche Messe said isÂ ready to take off this morning.
â€œIn 2010 CeBIT will once again serve as the digital industryâ€™s most dynamic marketplace. Hannover is the place where providers, users and political representatives come together to network.
â€œCeBIT is coming at exactly the right time. In some segments of the ICT market, the mood is gradually beginning to pick up, since the investment backlog over the past 18 months is gradually beginning to dissolveâ€ he said.
The industry naturally, he said,Â still has to deal with the economic crisis, adding thatÂ CeBITâ€™s traction remains unbroken.
â€ A recent sample survey of ICT users commissioned by CeBIT revealed that the willingness to invest had gone up substantially over the past few weeks. â€œCompanies from Germany and abroad are now tackling ICT projects which had been put on ice in 2008 and 2009 as a result of the global economic crisis. This development will become tangible at CeBIT,â€ he explained..
For one thing, he said that almost 300 companies will be participating for the first time at this yearâ€™s CeBIT, including Google, the American Internet service provider Amazon Web Services, the Japanese music instrument manufacturer Roland, the Spanish telecommunications group Telefonica and the British manufacturer 3M Touch Systems.
More than 100 firms, according to him,Â are returning to CeBIT after taking a break from the event, including AMD, Ericsson, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Terratec and Trend Micro.
This yearâ€™s CeBIT, he addedÂ is focusing on the fundamental trends in the world of ICT, above and beyond the individual components in the digital supply chain.
â€œMany exhibitors have integrated the keynote theme of â€˜Connected Worldsâ€™ into their own presentations,â€ he reported. â€œCeBIT 2010 will offer an impressive demonstration of how the borders between work and leisure, mobile and stationary, online and offline continue to disappear. For hardware and software solutions, the same description applies: continually easier, continually faster and continually more integrated, or networked.â€ he said.
At the new â€œBroadband Worldâ€ pavilion, produced jointly by the BITKOM association and Deutsche Messe, the exhibitors said thatÂ companies will be showcasing approaches to mastering the challenge of rapidly growing data volumes in our networks.
This includes the opportunities offered by the next generation of mobile communications, LTE (Long Term Evolution). â€œHigh_performance, stable and fast access to the Internet is becoming an increasingly critical factor in international competitiveness.
A log jam in the Internet due to growing data volumes, Raue saidÂ constitute a brake on growth,â€ commented Raue.
â€œThe new â€œCeBIT Sounds!â€ event represents the entry of music at CeBIT. â€œThis is not just about music, but also about the creation of joint new business models between the music industry and the ICT sector. This is a multi_billion dollar market.
â€œIn times where the big music companies are experiencing a drastic decline in sales and revenues, the parties involved need to discuss and embark on joint new pathsâ€Â declared Raue.
The topic of â€œgreen ITâ€, explained,Â continues to yield new content areas. â€œWith the support of BITKOM and the Federal Ministry of the Environment, CeBIT will feature the aspect of â€œgreen through IT. There is an enormous amount of â€˜green leverageâ€™ which intelligent ICT systems now have to offer their user industries.
â€œ Companies in Hall 8 will be demonstrating that the ICT sector has the right tools for solving many of our climate protection challenges,â€Â Raue said.
CeBIT, according to him,Â has also made a concerted effort to expand its offerings for small and medium_sized enterprises (SME).
Apart from numerous solutions designed to make SME processes more efficient,Â he said thatÂ there will also be a special television studio – the â€œSME Studioâ€Â Â dedicated to covering issues of vital interest to SMEs.
While explaining thatÂ Â CeBIT was also increasingly developing into an international knowledge hub, he said. â€œLeading minds from the ICT industry across the globe will be speaking at the CeBIT Global Conferences. This event has advanced to become the most high_caliber conference for the entire ICT sector.
Participants include Flickr co_founder Stewart Butterfield, Telefonica CEO Cesar Alierta Izuel and Dr. Werner Vogels, Vice President of Amazon. Anyone who wanted to know the topics that would be preoccupying business and society over the next few years had to visit the CeBIT Global Conferences, said Raue.
â€œWe are also excited about the speech by the new co_CEO at SAP, Bill McDermott. SAP is already taking advantage of CeBIT like no other company this yearâ€ he added.
And for high_tech fans, CeBIT 2010 features myriad attractionsÂ from the new electronic personal ID card and numerous innovations from universities and research institutes, to IT applications for medicine and the latest trends in mobile communications and laptops.