CeBIT in German “Centrum für Büroautomation, Informationstechnologie und Telekommunikation ” means “Center for Office Automation, Information Technology and Telecommunication” in English, is one of the most important Computer exhibitions in the world.
CeBIT was started on 1986 as a nine days exhibition, which lowered to eight days in 2003, became seven days in 2005, then just six days in 2008. This year, 2017, CeBIT was only for five days open to the public. The next year CeBIT (2018) will only be open for four days, and the schedule will be moved from March to June, one month before Summer. Does that mean that the physical exhibition format is dying?
Actually, CeBIT is not alone in losing popularity. Comdex Full’s physical exhibition in the USA was closed a long time ago. Comdex was started in 1979 and ended in 2005. Comdex’ website redirects now to INTEROP, organized by TechWeb, under UBM (United Business Media Group), and only focuses on CIOs and CTOs, as a professional technical forum.
Another example is Computex in Taiwan, which is facing a similar situation. Traditional computer hardware is not sexy anymore, and many new products or technologies are widely available on the Internet. So why do we need to spend time flying to Taipei and walking around through the physical halls?
How is CeBIT going to react on the challenge? CeBIT CEO Oliver Frese has announced a radical change of the CeBIT format. In 2018, the fair will take place for the first time in the Summer (June 11 till 15), and it will have a make-over: “The Cebit 2018 is to be a Festival!” Frese said.
CeBIT will become an “event platform”, which will be divided into three different events: (1) “d! Campus”, (2) “d! Conomy” and (3) “d! Tech” .
With new ways of communications via internet, mobile and social communities, the ways of doing business is changing a lot. CeBIT’s originally computer hardware focus needs to adapt. Many exhibitors went to other trade fairs, such as IFA in Berlin, with a focus on consumer electronics, or the Mobile World Congress, attracting the entire mobile communications sector to Barcelona, (see zeit.de).
IFA and Mobile World Congress are still getting attractions, so CeBIT with physical exhibition can still have market, but it needs to innovative enough, cooler, funnier and more social.
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