The CeBIT Global Conferences are back in March with a brand-new, eye-catching showcase – the Loft. The world's leading conference on the digital economy features plenty of discussion on the issues and trends that are shaping and driving the digital transformation. And this year, the organizers of the Conferences are adding a new dimension to the discussion by making the digital transformation accessible to all of our senses. The new Loft showcase in Hall 8 comprises nine distinct but seamlessly connected rooms that illustrate how we can expect to live and work in the future. The featured installations are not just about showing the new digital technologies per se; they are also indicative of the ways in which we will use them. Visitors to the Loft will learn how microchip implants, far from turning us into scary cyborgs, can add real value to our future lives; how social robots win new (human) customers; and how 70-million-year-old dinosaurs can be brought back to life.
The themes covered by this year's Loft showcase range from robotics, virtual and augmented reality, big data and "application car," right through to technology that gets under our skin – literally. The Loft will explore the likely future impact of the digital transformation on work, science and research. In addition, the Deutsche Welle studio, the F- Secure Lounge and the CarUnity display by Opel will each occupy a room.
Biohacking: technology under our skin
The digital transformation is giving rise to a new phenomenon – the implantation of technical body enhancements, aka biohacking. But what are these "Dangerous Things," and what do they get used for? One example is a chip implant between the thumb and index finger that is the size of a rice kernel and can be used to pay at the supermarket or open doors with a simple gesture. In one room at the Loft, Amal Graafstra, the founder of Californian company Dangerous Things, and Patrick Kramer, the founder of German company digiwell, will talk about these and many other uses of implants and what life as a cyborg could be like. Visitors are also welcome to try out the technology themselves – Graafstra and Kramer will be happy to implant microchips into the hands of aspiring cyborgs, right there and then. The procedure is very similar to that used in body piercing studios.
Social robot redefines the customer experience
The occupant of one of the nine Loft rooms is Pepper, the world's first humanoid robot with the ability to understand and appropriately respond to human behavior. Pepper can drive traffic, greet customers with endless enthusiasm, recommend products and services, and analyze big data in real time. Pepper was developed by Aldebaran/Softbank Robotics.
Virtual Reality: from gaming to business
Another room is all about virtual reality. VR technology is already fairly common in gaming and entertainment, but how can businesses use it to communicate with their customers and deliver an outstanding customer experience? The VR room at the CeBIT Global Conferences' Loft showcase offers a number of activities for visitors, including participation in an experiment involving the interactive website of mobile payment provider PEY. Visitors to the room will also get an exclusive sneak preview of Soulpix's new VR game, EDEN, as well as a VR adaptation of "Design in Experiences" – a short film by Hardy Seiler which won the European Design Award.
Augmented reality brings dinosaurs back to life
Tristan the T-Rex is one of the best-preserved specimens of his kind in the world and regarded as a unique find by paleontologists. His skull, which weighs in at several hundred kilograms, is particularly well preserved. Tristan's full skeleton and his nearly intact skull with its full set of 4.7 inch teeth are on display at Berlin's Humboldt Museum. At the Loft at this year's CeBIT Global Conferences, visitors can see a section of Tristan's famous skull as well as an animation of Tristan, himself. The animation, which was meticulously created from a vast dataset, will be brought to life and sent stalking the Loft and the CeBIT Global Conferences by way of augmented reality technology. Essentially, Tristan will appear just he was around 70 million years ago, albeit in a rather different environment.
Big data board meeting as a virtual reality experience
When important decisions have to be made, it's critically important to have access to all the relevant data and to be able to analyze it on the fly. One of the rooms at the Loft will host a pretend executive board meeting at which all the board members (aka visitors) have all the requisite data right in front of them and can work on it collaboratively. The aim is to visualize the data in such a way that the ramifications of decisions can be quickly and clearly identified. 2D visualization is fast approaching the limits of its capability as data sets continue to change and become ever more complex. At the Loft, the executive board meeting participants will experience the solution to this problem first-hand as Internet data from a blockchain is visualized as a hologram right before their eyes.
Admission to the Loft showcase at the CeBIT Global Conferences is free of charge for CeBIT visitors.