A total of 6,300 exhibitors from over 70 countries are meeting in Hannover, Germany this year for CeBIT 2007. This is the oldest and most well-known technology trade fair in the world. This is not only a technological event, however, because the fair is an integral part of German history and culture.
A veritable alphabet soup of organizations has coordinated efforts to include their participating companies in CeBIT 2007. The Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) offered financial subsidies and information to Korean businesses interested in attending CeBIT. The Korea Electronics Association (KEA) also worked with its member companies to attend. The Korea Software Association (KOSA), not to be outdone, invited many of its members to the trade fair. Even the Seoul Business Association (SBA)
The plethora of Korean organizations that are working to participate in CeBIT has resulted in over 250 companies from Korea going to Hannover this year. This makes Korea the fourth largest exhibiting country in the fair. Taiwan holds the first slot with over 780 companies expecting to attend. China comes in at second, and the US holds the third place. However, Korean businesses have taken up a lot of real estate in the conference, topping their Taiwanese counterparts in square meters of CeBIT space. For instance, Samsung Electronics alone has rented over 2,000 square meters of floor space.
Trends like waves
Sun Lee, chief representative for Korea of HBI, said about the exhibition: "The change of technologies is amazingly fast. Every year, for example, we had the year of 1995 we had many many computer case manufacturers in CeBIT. After two years, none of them were there anymore. But suddenly so many mp3 players [were there], but then no more mp3 players anymore. The life cycle of one technology is now enormously short." He went on to explain that new technologies explode onto the CeBIT scene like waves wash to the shore.
Mr. Lee explained that several factors are involved in this phenomenon. He used as an example the conflict between mini-CDs and mp3 players. Japanese companies developed mini-CDs at the same time when Korean companies were developing mp3 players. During the first years, mini-CDs seemed to be very favorable and were very prominent in CeBIT. However, after two years their numbers were overtaken and supplanted by Korean-made mp3 players. In this way, CeBIT is good representative of the pulse of the world's technological advancement. This year, the trend seems to be convergence devices, according to Lee. Convergence is the watchword, and convergence companies are populating the conference in a deluge of innovations.
Forums within conferences within exhibitions
CeBIT 2007 will include over 1,000 conferences, conventions and forums. It is without a doubt the richest number of supporting events for any conference or forum worldwide. It is difficult to imagine how one delegate could attend a significant fraction of the events. In fact, some suggest a team of attendees from each company are required to take advantage of all the opportunities available in Hannover.
Organizational improvements in 2008
The event is the largest worldwide, and yet it is still easy to find one's way around. This is because the fair is divided into six sections. They are Business Processes, Communications, Digital Equipment and Systems, Banking and Finance, Public Sector Parc, and Future Parc. Will Berchtold, President of the German Association for Information Technology, appreciated its structure by saying: "One of the chief advantages of CeBIT is its sheer diversity. It showcases what's new in established technologies, while at the same time showing the major trends of the future."
But despite its excellence, the conference plans to improve itself in 2008. The duration of the show, for instance, is planned to be shortened to six days. The rates for exhibiting in the conference will be lowered, and the show will become more accessible to the public. New participation options for exhibitors will be implemented in 2008. Some of the 30 ideas are already being implemented in this year's exhibition. They are designed in order to help small and medium-sized exhibitors get information out about their business and find potential partners more easily.