The UK IT channel will be significantly lighter in number this week as CeBIT, Europe’s premier IT fair, gets into full swing.
Kicking off today, the five-day, Hanover-based event promises to be roughly as big as last year, when 4,292 exhibitors from around 69 countries and 400,000 visitors showed up.
As if the 450,000 square metre event area doesn’t already take a heavy enough toll on the calf muscles, this time attendees can take part in the ‘CeBIT Run’ - a 3.5km circuit taking in selected exhibition halls.
This time around, 4,157 firms from 68 nations will tout their wares - a far cry from the show’s 2001 peak when 8,100 exhibitors showed up. Visitor numbers are expected to be roughly flat on last year.
However, organisers Deutsche Messe remain buoyant, stressing that 300 companies – including Google, Telefonica and Amazon Web Services – will be participating for the first time.
The show was officially opened last night by German chancellor Angela Merkel, Spanish president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and SAP’s Bill McDermott – a late replacement for Léo Apotheker who resigned as SAP chief executive last month.
This year’s ‘Connected Worlds’ theme has been worked into many of the exhibitors’ presentations. Also new are the Broadband World pavilion and CeBIT Sounds event.
Ernst Raue, member of the managing board of Deutsche Messe, said: “CeBIT 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 pick up, since the investment backlog over the past 18 months is gradually beginning to dissolve."
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