March 2, 2009

CeBIT Set To Open In Hannover This Week

International guests have gathered in Hannover, Germany for the 2009 CeBIT Consumer Electronics fair.

This year the focus will be on introducing products to help business partners weather the economic recession.

Since opening the gates in 1986, CeBIT has been relatively overshadowed by rival electronics fairs such as IFA in Berlin and CES in the US.

About 4,300 firms from 69 countries are set to show off the latest products, according to CeBIT. The fair has seen a 25 percent drop in vendors, but is expecting some 495,000 visitors this week.

"Given the depth of the world economic crisis, this number of 4,300 (exhibitors) represents a success," said Ernst Raue, managing board member of Deutsche Messe, which is responsible for organizing CeBIT as well as other German trade fairs, according to Reuters.

This year, CeBIT has partnered with the state of California, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is expected to appear in Hannover to officially open the fair Monday night alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"The high-tech sector is still pretty well positioned compared with other industries," Bernd Rohledder, managing director of IT industry association Bitkom, told Reuters.

This year's CeBIT will focus on so-called "webciety", which stands for a combination of the "World Wide Web" and "society".

"This new word stands for the key technological development of our age, as the Internet - like no other medium before it - continues to permeate all areas of our lives, changing the rules of the game and shifting the balance of forces," CeBIT explained.

"Almost 20 years after the first fundamental brainstorming for the World Wide Web, the networked society has become a reality - and is on the threshold of yet another new development phase."

Additionally, CeBIT will focus on so-called "green IT." Companies will present their Green-IT-solutions in a designated area. Products will include "energy saving notebooks for everyone across energy efficient data centers to high-end-videoconferencing in HD-quality and sustainable visions for the future."

The largest number of vendors dropping out of CeBIT are from China, Taiwan and South Korea, Raue told Reuters.

"A lot of these smaller companies have closed down," the Deutsche Messe board member explained, adding he was looking forward to a very efficient fair with less company marketing.

Dutch company Endless Ideas plans to unveil the newest version of its BeBook electronic book reader at CeBIT on March 6. The new BeBook model will feature WiFi and 3G cellular data link, a touchscreen display and RSS support, the company said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Fortune Magazine reported that media publishing giant Hearst Corp. has plans to release its own electronic reader for periodicals as a competitor to Amazon's wildly popular Kindle book reader "against a backdrop of plummeting ad revenue for newspapers and magazines and rising costs for paper and delivery."

CeBIT will run from March 3 to March 8.


Image Caption: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will open the ceremonies. Courtesy UPI


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