Many tend to see CeBIT as the "third big tech event in three months" and fail to see the intrinsic value of a happening that is now resolutely zeroing on business technology.
We catch up with Oliver Frese, member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe, to look at some of the highlights of the event which will start on 10 March and will last five days.
Of particular interest to anyone interested in entreprise topics is CeBIT's focus this year on a new catchword, "Datability". As a reminder, we've giving away 200 e-tickets for CeBIT. So grab them while you can.
TechRadar Pro: This year's CeBIT motto is Datability. What do you associate with this term?
Oliver Frese: Databiliy means the possibility of managing large data volumes responsibly and sustainably. There is naturally a connection to Big Data. We have discussed in detail with companies and our partners that CeBIT 2014 is focused primarily on solutions with Big Data at the core.
IT providers are already offering concrete technologies, services and products available today that help answer the question: What do I do with Big Data? That is why we decided to bring the theme of Datability center-stage. CeBIT exhibitors are presenting concrete solutions, services and products for the healthcare, transportation and energy sectors, for example.
TRP: The Big Data theme showed another, darker side this past year with the NSA surveillance controversy. This increases public awareness, but does it not also require you to approach the topic with particular sensitivity?
OF: First of all, what the secret services do is a political and not a technical issue. However, you cannot really talk about Datability without addressing the security aspects – that is obvious. In our talks with exhibitors we have agreed that Big Data as a solution – such as I described above – is the central focus.
This means demonstrating how Big Data can be of concrete use. It is very clear, however, that the data security and data protection aspects are also timely, so these will also be among the central themes of CeBIT. Datability is the core focus of the show, and will naturally include the related security topics.
TRP: Great Britain is the CeBIT 2014 Partner Country. What do you expect this partner to contribute to the fair?
OF: Great Britain is coming to CeBIT as a strong and innovative IT nation. Great Britain and Germany together are the two European ICT market heavyweights. After Germany, Great Britain is the second largest ICT market in Europe.
Together the two countries generate revenues of €265 billion, nearly one-tenth of the entire global market. German and British companies stand to gain equally from their interactions at CeBIT. Small businesses and start-ups in particular have excellent opportunities for generating important international contacts in Hannover.
TRP: What are the CeBIT 2014 highlights for you personally?
OF: Our Datability theme features prominently throughout the event. I am especially excited about the technologies and solutions for utilizing large data volumes responsibly, and what our exhibitors have to offer in the area of data security.
I also look forward to our CeBIT Partner Country's participation. Great Britain is a strong and innovative IT country presenting young start-ups alongside established companies in the industry. And of course, to the opening speeches by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister David Cameron.
TRP: You have expanded the conference program, for which a separate admission fee is being charged for the first time. Can visitors expect more this year?
OF: Absolutely. Visitors to CeBIT Global Conferences have 70 hours of programming to choose from in 2014, with more than 100 international speakers from business and politics.
We are looking forward to the many prestigious presenters. It is they who make CeBIT Global Conferences such a unique event.
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky Lab and Hamid Akhavan, CEO of Unify, are among those who have confirmed their participation to date.
The presentation by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is sure to be another highlight, and we will be able to confirm several more big-name speakers in the next couple of weeks.