World's biggest IT fair shoots for the clouds

The world's top high-tech fair opens Tuesday with the IT industry in bullish mood, preparing to wow visitors with head-spinning futuristic gadgets and the latest in 'cloud computing' technology.

More than 4,200 tech firms from 70 countries are expected to attend this year's CeBIT - the self-styled "Davos of high-tech" - with many of the big names that stayed away during the global financial crisis returning to Germany.

Google, IBM, SAP, Microsoft, HP and Dell are among the top companies setting up their stalls in Hanover, northern Germany, for the five-day event that is likely to attract around 350,000 punters and self-confessed technology geeks.

"CeBIT 2011 is the heart of the digital world and will show how rapidly the pulse of the IT industry is beating," said Ernst Raue, board member of Deutsche Messe that organises the event.

As the event approached, BITKOM, which represents Germany's telecom and high-tech sector, forecast a 4.8-percent gain in the global IT market to 2.6 trillion euros ($3.6 trillion) this year, driven by double-digit growth in China.

Despite the optimism, however, the CeBIT fair is not the global showcase it once was. Exhibitor numbers are up only fractionally on last year and at the height of the dot.com boom, more than 8,000 firms set up shop at the show.

The major theme of this year's fair is cloud computing which "runs like a leitmotiv through the different exhibitions," according to BITKOM president August-Wilhelm Scheer.

Firms will be hoping to move cloud computing - the idea of storing data online rather than physically on users' machines - from the realms of the IT world into consumers' everyday lives, said Scheer.

"Cloud computing is going to change IT and its business model enormously. We expect cloud computing sales in Germany to quadruple by 2015," he said.

Other hot topics at the exhibition will be web security, high-speed Internet and bringing 3D computing into everyday life.

But as ever at the CeBIT, it won't be all work and no play.

Firms will be bringing with them a huge range of eye-popping futuristic gadgets to amuse visitors.

The latest robots will be on show, from one that plays table tennis to a "RoboThespian" that recites Shakespeare, to a metal colleague that stands in for you in meetings, showing your face on its monitor.

This year's CeBIT will also have a special section on sports and technology, featuring an "intelligent sensor suit," a full body tracksuit that monitors athletes' movements and enables them to improve training routines.

And there will be no lack of quirky gadgets, from the relentless alarm clock that won't stop until its pressure sensor knows for sure you are out of bed to remote control devices that can be operated using just the power of thought.

Also during the fair, top computer gamers from Europe, Asia and the United States will face off for the title of world video game champion 2011, with a prize of 130,000 dollars at stake.

The show will be officially launched on Monday evening by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who will also hold political talks afterwards likely to focus on Turkey's EU accession bid.

On Tuesday, when the fair opens to the wider public, Merkel and Erdogan will take a traditional turn around the grounds to view the stalls.

Turkey, this year's "partner country," is bringing around 100 companies to the show.

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

    SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

    He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
    Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

    'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

    Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
    Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

    Why patients must rely less on doctors

    Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
    Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

    Flesh in Venice

    Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    11 best anti-ageing day creams

    Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever