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Highlights on CeBIT: Big Data, Social Business, Mobile, Cloud, Security
This year’s CeBIT enhanced its business profile as the world’s leading IT event for decision-makers from all sectors of the economy. Among the keynote themes addressed were Digital Transformation, the Internet of Things, IT Security and Unified Communications.
The digitization of the economy is proceeding apace. CeBIT 2015 highlighted the immense opportunities afforded by the “d!conomy”, but also the immense effort required to become “digitized” – in other words, the keynote theme was right on target. A stroll through the halls confirmed the tradeshow’s unique coverage of the entire bandwidth of digitization as well as its distinctively consistent focus on IT innovations geared to business applications. The beneficiaries of this year’s enhanced business focus included some 3,300 exhibitors from 70 nations, among them global players like Huawei, ZTE and Xiaomi from China (the 2015 Partner Country), as well as major corporations such as Deutsche Telekom, IBM, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Intel, Samsung and Vodafone. The list of CeBIT exhibitors also featured several prominent return participants, including Alcatel Lucent Enterprise Deutschland, Konica Minolta, Rittal and Schneider Electronic. Prominent newcomers included Amazon Webservices, Dropbox and Tesla Motors, which showcased its fully integrated, self-driving electric sports car.
Here we are reporting the official communication from CeBIT, deepening the main themes and trends discussed during the keynotes:
Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 More and more machines, products and everyday items are going to be fitted with sensors and wireless chips, enabling them to communicate with each other. But making the Internet of Things a reality hinges upon having uniform networking standards. The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) was represented at this year’s CeBIT, showcasing a data protocol for the integration of smart grids, self-driving cars and factories in Europe. All of this, however, calls for extremely high-speed data flows. In this context, Vodafone gave CeBIT visitors a foretaste of its future 5G mobile telephony network, designed to reach speeds of more than 10 gigabits per second and provide for real-time response. Commercial implementation is set for 2020.
The multifaceted nature of the “Internet of Things” mega-trend was vividly illustrated by a wide range of exciting showcases at CeBIT. ThyssenKrupp partnered with Microsoft to present an integrated monitoring system for elevator systems that provides feedback on the technical status of the equipment, keeping breakdowns to a minimum. IBM demonstrated the example of a cruise ship company which has integrated all ship crew members and other employees using a smart cloud, thus optimizing cooperation throughout the firm. Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom featured B2B solutions for the “Economic Miracle 4.0”, along with a sports bike equipped with intelligent sensor technology and a mobile communications module which not only alerts the owner to the need to replace worn-out parts, but also sends an SOS to emergency services in the event of a biking accident. The CODE_n competition for startups also addressed this topic, giving tangible form to “Industry 4.0” integrated technology with four industrial robots, which could be seen transforming polystyrene cubes into a series of unusual objects of art.
Research & Innovation Research has always been an important focus at CeBIT, and the 2015 event again featured a number of leading research institutions highlighting their ground¬breaking design concepts. A research consortium headed up by the Hasso-Plattner Institute presented an IT system with the capacity to perform intelligent analysis of large volumes of data to help check the spread of dangerous infectious diseases like Ebola. Other institutes exhibited concepts for integrating all kinds of business areas and markets. Researchers at Saarland University, for instance, have addressed the current trend towards making use of the human body as an extended user interface: By applying a silicone-rubber sticker fitted with sensors (resembling a tattoo) to a person’s arm, a larger smartphone input surface is created.
IT Security Ever-growing data volumes and the ongoing process of digital transformation continue to put the spotlight on IT security, and many exhibitors presented new solutions in this field. The Fraunhofer Institute for Applied and Integrated Security (Fraunhofer AISEC) has developed a security solution for the centralized, fully protected management of components in tomorrow’s complex networks. Security topics were also high on the agenda at several high-caliber conference events, including the CeBIT Global Conferences. A talk by journalist Glenn Greenwald even featured a live video link to Edward Snowden in Moscow, well-known for his revelations on the activities of the American intelligence agencies. Snowden advised CeBIT visitors to be exercise caution with their data. Another highlight was a live demo by professional hacker Kevin Mitnick, once on the FBI’s most-wanted list and now a valued consultant for governments and businesses around the globe.
Unified Communications Networks of all kinds – telephony, video conferencing, smartphones and smart buildings – are now being used to transport many different types of data as the basis for complex communication and control processes. Yet these systems also have to be user-friendly. This is where concepts such as “unified communications and collaboration” (UCC) come into play, merging multiple channels of communication into a single application. Numerous CeBIT exhibitors presented products and services in this area, from Auerswald to digitalSTROM. At the latter’s stand, visitors could see a Microsoft Kinect console, providing an example of how control processes could well operate in the smart home of the future. In the kitchen, for example, merely holding a pot underneath the faucet tells the console – fitted with an infrared sensor and camera – that you intend to do some cooking, and the pot is automatically filled with water.