- CeBIT 2016: Each and every facet of digitalization. Frese: "We are looking forward to a vibrant new CeBIT brimming over with powerful content"
Hannover. On 14 March, when the gates open on CeBIT 2016 in Hannover, Germany, people will be taking center stage as the creators, drivers and shapers of the digital transformation. CeBIT will feature hundreds of inspirational examples of digitalization in action, visionary startups from around the globe, and Switzerland as the honored Partner Country. "This year we're looking forward to a truly special CeBIT – a new, stronger-than-ever showcase brimming over with amazing showcases and forums," said Oliver Frese, the Deutsche Messe Managing Board member in charge of CeBIT, on Tuesday in Hannover. "With this year's program, CeBIT will considerably enhance its role as the world's leading event for the digitalization of business and society. Something that makes CeBIT truly unique is its special, concentrated mix of exhibition, conferences, networking platforms and community get-togethers – all of outstanding quality and unmatched throughout the international arena."
The lead theme for this year's CeBIT is "d!conomy: join – create – succeed," which puts people unequivocally at the center of the digital transformation. Frese: "In striving to lead their companies towards a successful future, people are the decisive factor; they need to choose wisely among the many choices presented by the digital transformation. Companies in all sectors of the economy need to act right now and lay the right groundwork by digitalizing their production and supply chains." Digitalization is transforming industries, value chains, business models, processes, products and communications. It is the mega-trend of our time.
And yet, as numerous studies attest, businesses – particularly those at the small and medium end of the spectrum – are still too tentative in their efforts to digitalize their business models and processes. "CeBIT is the best place for SME decision-makers from every sector to gain a comprehensive overview of the many opportunities arising from digitalization. As a reflection of this, this year's CeBIT features the first-ever SME Campus – a source of information and orientation expressly tailored to the needs of SMEs," said Frese.
CeBIT 2016 will make digitalization more tangible than ever before – not only for the benefit of SMEs. "Our international exhibitors and partners will present more than 400 application examples of digitalization and the Internet of Things," said Frese. "All this will reveal the great speed at which the Internet of Things is progressing, thus opening up huge opportunities just around the corner. Recent studies predict, for instance, that in just four years' time there will be 50 billion things connected to the Internet. 90 percent of this new multi-billion-dollar business will be in the B2B segment," added Frese. Visitors can take a virtual "Discover d!conomy" tour to immerse themselves in all the highlights, either using the CeBIT app or the CeBIT website.
More than 400 startups will be on hand at this year's CeBIT to show that even long-established business models and value chains can be fundamentally transformed by the disruptive power of digitalization. Frese: "SCALE11 alone will feature over 300 startups from more than 30 nations. They will be exhibiting there in Hall 11 alongside large, established corporations, such as Deutsche Bahn, VW, SAP, Schaeffler and the Association of German Banks. SCALE11 clusters in a single hall all the creative power of the entire startup ecosystem." The exhibits at SCALE11 will be complemented by a flanking series of conferences staged jointly by Deutsche Messe and the German Startups Association (BVDS). Highlights here include the "Best of CeBIT" Founders Fight Club competition in which young entrepreneurs will pitch their business ideas in a series of "bouts" in a real boxing ring, with the winner announced on the last day of CeBIT (Friday). There will also be plenty of opportunities for networking between startups and industry incumbents, thanks to events like the Captain's Dinner, held on the Thursday evening.
Numerous startups will be using CeBIT to present their cloud-based business models – and they will be in fine company, given that nearly all the major global cloud providers will be there, too. Among the big names present are Deutsche Telekom, SAP, Microsoft, IBM, HP Enterprise, Vodafone, Software AG and Amazon Webservices. Plus there's the US software provider Salesforce, which will be presenting its entire portfolio in Hannover. "That makes CeBIT the world's best trade fair for cloud technology. It will provide an excellent overview of this key segment of the digital economy," remarked Frese. No less impressively, this year marks the first time ever that the Salesforce World Tour is joining forces with CeBIT as the show's official partner. With a mega-showcase occupying Halls 23 and 19/20 and featuring a diverse array of exhibits, live demonstrations and conference formats, the Salesforce World Tour is sure to be a major attraction at CeBIT.
This year's Partner Country, Switzerland, will also be an absolute visitor magnet. Rated by market studies as the most innovative country in the world, Switzerland is fielding more than 70 companies with its CeBIT Partner Country showcase. "Switzerland will star as a primary driver of the digitalization wave, bringing a host of market-leading companies and exhibits to Hannover," said Frese. The digital sector is one of the mainstays of the Swiss economy. To put this in perspective: The country's digital exports outstrip its chocolate and cheese exports combined by a factor of twelve. What's more, Switzerland is one of the world's most innovative nations, with more patents filed per capita than any other country in Europe.
Switzerland will be represented by its top-ranking political representative, President Johann Schneider-Ammann. He and Germany's Vice-Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, will jointly welcome more than 2,000 invited guests at the CeBIT Welcome Night in Hall 9 on the evening of the first day of CeBIT (Monday, 14 March). The Welcome Night is a new event that replaces the Opening Ceremony traditionally held on the evening before CeBIT. Other Welcome Night keynotes will be given by Günther H. Oettinger (EU Commissioner), Johanna Wanka (Germany's Minister of Education and Research), Stephan Weil (the Premier of the State of Lower Saxony), and Thorsten Dirks (President of Germany's Bitkom association). The formalities will end with an eagerly anticipated presentation by Nick Hayek, the CEO of Switzerland's Swatch Group, who will speak on innovation and disruption from the vantage point of Switzerland's watch industry.
On day two of CeBIT, Swiss President Schneider-Ammann will formally welcome Germany's Chancellor, Dr. Angela Merkel, to Switzerland's central Partner Country Pavilion in Hall 6. Together with over 100 VIP delegates from government and business circles, the two political leaders will then go on a two-hour joint walkabout of CeBIT.
Switzerland is also the home of the top keynote speaker at this year's CeBIT Global Conferences: Phil Zimmermann. Zimmerman is an internationally recognized expert and highly sought-after commentator on matters relating to cryptography and digital security technology. In 2015, accusations of mass surveillance on the part of the U.S. secret services prompted him to relocate his current company, Silent Circle, from the USA to Switzerland. Another of the speakers is Dr. Wolfgang Huber, a former Chairman of Germany's Evangelical Church. Among much else, he will address the question "Is happiness digital or analog?" Allianz SE CEO Oliver Bäte will also take the stage to talk about the digital transformation of his company and the financial sector in general. Other CeBIT Global Conferences speakers include such internationally acclaimed digital leaders as Xu Ming, Vice-President of ZTE, Shoei Yamana, President of Konica Minolta, and Hans Vestberg, President of Ericsson. And from the USA, the self-styled biohacker and cyborg Amal Graafstra will talk about the implantation of technical body enhancements. Attendees keen to experiment will even be able to receive microchip implants, right then and there.
The CeBIT Global Conferences will be formally opened on Monday, 14 March, by Thorsten Dirks, the president of Germany's ICT industry association Bitkom. One of the keynote addresses on that day will be delivered by Günther H. Oettinger in his capacity as the EU Commissioner responsible for the European Union's Digital Agenda for Europe program. Oettinger and key representatives of the digital economy will discuss the latest progress towards achieving the EU's Digital Single Market. Other discussion topics include the legal and regulatory environment for new technologies.
On Monday, holders of normal CeBIT admission tickets are entitled to attend the CeBIT Global Conferences as well as a host of other in-hall presentations and discussions without additional charge. "Digitalization is a vast topic, and there is an enormous need for quality dialogue on the opportunities and challenges it brings. That is why we have expanded our forum and conference lineup to a record 2,000 events spread over five days. This collectively makes CeBIT the world's most important congress for the entire digital economy."
Meanwhile, at the DRONEMASTERS Summit in Hall 16, visitors will be able learn about the business applications of a technology that is still relatively young. It will be the first time that the summit has been staged at CeBIT. Drone technology is spawning a steadily growing array of new business models, not to mention a growing number of questions about how the technology and its uses should be regulated. As well as a conference and exhibition, the summit will feature an airshow and competition.
There's no doubt that government agencies and departments can also benefit from drone technology, but at the moment, in Germany at least, eyes are set more on the important and pressing task of digitalizing government processes and citizen services. These sorts of issues are top of the agenda in Hall 7 at the Public Sector Parc – a special display featuring presentations by the German federal government's IT Planning Council and representatives of many of the country's state governments. The display offers added value in the form of the Public Sector Parc Forum, which has a diverse program closely tailored to the needs of public-sector decision-makers seeking to prepare for the digital transformation.
Data security is another important topic, and one receiving major emphasis in two high-powered forums in Hall 6. In total, more than 500 security providers at CeBIT will be presenting their solutions for virtually every challenge faced by businesses today.
Data security is also a very hot topic for decision-makers in marketing and sales, especially in connection with customer data collection and use. Another motivating factor in "going digital" is that only marketing and sales operations that chose to go this route can remain successful in the long run. More than 300 exhibitors are using CeBIT to showcase the latest solutions for marketing automation, customer relationship management, big-data analytics and direct marketing. Highlights here include the Digital Marketing & Experience Arena in Hall 4, which will feature a diverse array of product displays and expert presentations addressing the digital customer journey and related topics.
As in 2015, some 3,300 exhibitors from 70 nations will be presenting their innovations and groundbreaking business models in a rich array of theme clusters, conferences and forums. Frese: "CeBIT covers each and every facet of digitalization. It provides input and impetus for sound digitalization strategies and investment on the part of businesses and the public sector. And it facilitates top-echelon political discourse on digital policy. In short, CeBIT 2016 perfectly sets the stage for all the decision-makers and creators intent on shaping the course of the digital transformation."