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It's CeBIT Time Again


In a couple of days the technology world will descend on Hanover in Germany to attend the annual CeBIT show. CeBIT is quite possibly the most important IT Expo on the calendar these days, with COMDEX looking like a pale shadow of its former self.

CeBIT is one of those events that is endured by the people that have to be there, and adored by those that don’t. I personally look at CeBIT as a bit of a force majeure; a cyclone that spins in Hanover and sucks in almost everyone in the IT industry. I can’t say I’m looking forward to spending days wandering around massive halls, desperately trying to make sense of booth numbers that seem to follow no logical pattern. I know that my feet will be ready to give up by the end of the second day and that my head will be pounding from information overload within hours, but I also know that there is nothing that would stop me from being there.

You see, there are very few people that last long in this business without being truly passionate about technology. Technological innovation never ceases to fascinate me, and every time I start to get jaded and think that I’ve seen everything there is to see, something else comes along and rekindles my interest. And it’s at events like CeBIT that I tend to discover those new innovations that sustain my love affair with technology.

CeBIT is a stage for every technology company in the world. It’s a place where, for want of a better phrase, the research and development departments can show off. And where better to show off than in an environment where all your peers, and the media are there to see it?

There’s been a lot of talk about the demise of the trade show, due to the massive expense and logistical nightmares associated with such a beast. But I can’t see the trade show going the way of the dodo for some time to come. I’ll admit that the weaker examples of the species may find themselves victims of natural selection, but the result will be enhanced support for the survivors.

Wandering around a show like CeBIT gives you back your perspective on the technology industry. It makes you remember that it’s not an industry completely dominated by monopolies and cartels, and that small, obscure companies can still come up with ideas that leave the big boys wondering what that huge R&D budget was spent on.

But the biggest issue I have with CeBIT is that it’s pretty much impossible to see everything there is to see. For an IT journalist like myself, I have to be careful not to fill up every minute of my time there with meetings, leaving myself no time to wander around in search of that elusive innovation.

Yes, there’s a lot that I don’t like about CeBIT; it’s mentally and physically tiring and when the show closes each evening my working day starts as I begin writing about everything I’ve seen. But like I said, there’s nothing that will keep me away from Hanover this week, because deep down I know that if there’s anything new and exciting in the world of technology right now, that’s where it will be.

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