„D!conomy – no limits“: with this slogan the organizers of CeBIT 2017 aimed to position the fair as the main event for digital transformation. Furthermore, the statement underlines the tremendous opportunities for business organizations and the society which go hand in hand with digitalization. During five days of extensive networking, showcasing and debating, more than 3000 exhibitors, 200.000 participants and around 200 speakers with a combined speaking time of more than 2000 hours came together at the grounds of Hannover Messe. The fair has been opened by the political prominence, i.e. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Prime Minister of partner country Japan Shinzō Abe.
WHAT WERE THE MAIN TOPICS?
The focus topics of this year’s CeBIT were Artificial Intelligence, Cloud, Cyber Security, drones, Virtual Reality and 5G networks. Apart from that, partner country Japan had a huge impact on the fair and furthermore, an entire hall was dedicated to the subject Internet of Things.
INTERNET OF THINGS?
The prominent position of IoT on the fair grounds underlined a commonly accepted assumption: IoT will play a key role in the development of digitalization and it will disrupt existing structures of the economy. “The fair provides a great exhibition not only of products, (…) but additionally, it offers the possibility to realize and assess (…) the cause of changes and developments in the structure of the economy.” Indeed, the citation of Ludwig Erhard, former Chancellor of the German Federal Republic and often famed for his role during the German “economic miracle”, from 1958 seems slightly outdated. If one takes a closer look though, it becomes apparent that the quote can be applied to the context of CeBIT 2017 regarding the development of the IoT market. Currently, experts estimate that there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020 and therefore, business organizations have a strong interest to remain up-to-date regarding the development of new business models and applications.
Whereas there is a consensus that IoT will inevitably bring upon profound changes, it remains to be seen in the future how these changes will be reflected by practical applications. With the help of numerous exhibited IoT applications, particularly in hall 12, visitors and stakeholders had the chance to get a view on the practical side of IoT.
THE FUTURE OF CEBIT
Next year’s edition of CeBIT will launch a new concept and for the first time the fair will take place during summer. It will be split into three main areas. The d!conomy section will address the digital transformation of businesses, d!talk will comprise numerous presentations and panel debates and d!tec will be the platform where start-ups can present their ideas and innovations. Whereas the future of the digital world will remain in focus, the event makers intend to position the fair as a festival of innovations. In this manner, the event character is highlighted as opposed to the concept of a more traditional trade fair.