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CeBIT 2002: A litmus test for tech market recovery

Krishnan Thiagarajan

HANNOVER, March 12

THE single largest fair for the information technology and telecommunications industry, CeBIT 2002, gets under way at Hannover tomorrow. In a relatively uncertain economic climate, this eight-day long event from March 13 to 20 is slated to be a litmus test for the resurgence of technology market worldwide.

In the past, this fair has primarily been used as a platform for catching up with the latest trends, forging business relationships and creating greater scope for investments worldwide. But this year around, this event will provide an ideal platform for industry players, policy makers and investors to engage in a fruitful dialogue on the current state of the technology industry and the plans for the future.

At the opening ceremony to be held on March 13, the key note speaker will be Mr Steve Ballmer, President and CEO of Microsoft. The German industry is being represented by Dr Volker Jung, President of the Berlin-based German Association of Information Technology, Telecom and New Media (BITKOM).

CeBIT will be officially opened by the German Chancellor, Mr Gerhard Schroder. Initial indications provided by the fair organisers are that the fair will attract around 7,962 exhibitors (marginally lower than 8,093 in 2001).

Out of this, foreign exhibitors are expected to be 3,043 from as many as 60 countries.

Among the foreign exhibitors, the big contingents will be from Taiwan ( 594 exhibitors), US (345) and UK (281). Among the countries expected to show a dramatic rise in representation is China, whose exhibitor number will swell to 72 from 25 in 2002. The Indian contingent is also to be represented in good measure.

As the largest meeting point for the IT and telecom industry professionals, the three-core focus areas will obviously be `Information technology',

`Software, Internet solutions and services' and `Telecom and networks'.

The other display categories will include Automatic data capture, Vision systems and voice processing, IT engineering solutions, Banking technology and financial services, Future parc — Business meets research and New technology.

In addition, the CeBIT fair also proposes to present themed presentations, which will cover the key issues titled:

  • The World of Solutions' — examining new software product and services and their potential applications in the area of e-business

  • `enac Europe'— Software solutions for central government, state government and business community

  • `Network Information Centre' — trends and applications in computer networking

  • `IT Security' — Issues and future of IT

  • `Banking Finance System' — for the professionals from the financial services industry

  • `Equity World'— bringing together investors and technology companies seeking to raise capital and to lend the techie flavour and deliberate over the future of the industry.

    CeBIT is slated to house four `Exchange Stands' namely, Linux , Blue Tooth, Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) and Fibre Channel exchanges.

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