German CeBIT Show Ends, but International Offspring Abound

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With attendance reaching almost the half-million mark, organizers this year will take their success to other shows around the world.

 

CeBIT in Hannover, Germany, experienced a modest rebirth this year as show organizers reduced the time of the trade fair from seven days to six and took other steps to invigorate the format. Final numbers for participation by the end of the show affirmed that the effort apparently worked. Some 5,845 exhibitors from 77 countries participated, and attendance totaled 495,000, up 3 percent over last year.

 

The show was not just for Europeans, since 100,000 visitors came from abroad (about one in five). Attendees from both North and South America this year arrived in far greater numbers than in prior years. Exhibitors leaving the show reported departing with smiles on their faces, taking with them numerous leads and hard orders, or, as one writer put it, their order books were "bulging."

 

Show organizers have spawned smaller CeBIT events around the world, so if anyone wants a taste of this big boy, they can get a whiff without having to travel to Germany. Needless to say, these are much smaller shows.

 

Here is a list of the upcoming world CeBIT events:

 

  • CeBIT Australia 2008 (May 20-22, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Australia)
  • ISCe 2008 A CeBIT Event (June 10-12, Hilton Hotel Mission Bay, San Diego, California)
  • CeBIT Bilisim Eurasia 2008 (October 7-12, Tüyap Exhibition and Congress Center, Beylikdüzü-Istanbul, Turkey)
  • CeBIT Asia 2008 (October 27-30, Shanghai New International Expo Centre, Pudong/Shanghai, PR China)

 

Below is a continuation of the list of notable product highlights from the exhibit floor that we started to bring you in last week's TNT. Though many of these companies are European and may not be familiar in the United States, we thought it worthwhile to bring you a glimpse of what's going on across the Atlantic. (Many companies exhibiting are familiar but have European divisions.) Here is the second half of that products and solutions list, and we will have coverage of several keynote speeches from CeBIT in a future issue of i Technology Manager. Again, thanks to the CeBIT PR staff for compiling this information that we have edited for our readers here.

Text and Speech Recognition

Both the Voice Reader Home from Linguatec and the Vox 2.0 from Nomadic Solutions are able to convert text files into audio files. Using the Voice Reader, you can turn a PDF into an MP3 to play on your PC or iPod, while the Vox 2.0 converts texts received by SMS, GPRS, WiFi, or Bluetooth into the spoken word.

 

Language technology expert Linguatec showcased specialist solutions for the Voice Pro 11 speech-recognition program. This program builds on the new IBM Via Voice technology and recognizes speech with amazing accuracy. The company offers complete medical and legal editions of the software.

Language Translators

The PROMT Mobile 6.0 from Promt GmbH has no trouble translating text messages and even Pocket Word documents, emails, and Web pages and operates using the Windows Mobile platform for PDAs and smart phones.

 

Language technology expert Linguatec unveiled a world first at CeBIT. Shoot & Translate, the first translation software for cell phones and smart phones, uses the built-in camera and Internet access popular in today's cell phones to its full potential.

Disaster Relief and Medical Technology

Of the many applications on display at CeBIT, two deliver solutions relating to disaster relief and medical technology. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology have developed a system that helps to coordinate rescue efforts in the event of a disaster and keep those affected up to date with the latest information.

Electronic Risk Management Architecture (ERMA) aims to deliver flawless crisis management and is equipped with a range of functions to help keep damage and loss to a minimum.

 

The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architecture and Software Technology has joined forces with Berlin Heart GmbH to introduce an innovation test system that checks cardiac support devices and ensures they are working perfectly before being implanted in heart patients.

High-Stakes Gaming

CeBIT has its share of computer game technology, and several competitive events sponsored by Samsung and Intel have six-figure prize funds. Samsung's World Cyber Games (WCG) and Intel Extreme Masters II competitions could make a few players quite wealthy. Hundreds of gamers from 30 countries presented their eSporting credentials at the show.

Customer Relationship Management

SAP, one of the largest software providers in the world, reported it signed up 21 new partners in China, German, France, and the UK for its Business By Design continued rollout. The on-demand software solution, which costs as little as $149 per user per month, targets small and medium businesses with a complete solution that covers these areas:

 

  • Financials
  • Customer relationship management
  • Human resources management
  • Supply chain management
  • Project management
  • Supplier relationship management
  • Compliance management
  • Executive management support

 

Mesonic presented five new service-oriented CRM products, including CRM Sales for sales and marketing purposes and CRM Support, which features call-center and help- desk functions. Since all data can be accessed online, the products let workers operate from anywhere, anytime.

 

The Cobra Web CRM program runs directly online. You don't have to install it if you want to synchronize contact data; all you need is a browser. The Cobra Mobile CRM is based on Windows Mobile and can be used with Smartphones and BlackBerries.

Navigation Devices

A new generation of navigation systems can be controlled by speech alone and can also take photos. Some models can even make phone calls. Cutting-edge devices such as the Garmin Nüvifone appear to do everything.

 

The Falk F Series describes local landmarks, works out currency conversions, and even can help decipher a foreign language. This may be more suitable for Europe than in the U.S.

 

The Scout Navigator from Merian not only lets users enjoy pictures and videos of local sites, but also plays audio texts featuring the travel writings of literary luminaries.

The Stylish Mouse

Have you ever imagined using a mouse as thin as a credit card or one with an ergonomic design in elegant black and silver? Consider a mouse with no buttons and no scroll heel.  Users can select their favorite mini mouse from the new range of ultra-stylish models.

The key features of any mouse are size, design, and user-friendliness. That's why the M930 Bluetooth mouse from Hama is both ultra-small and super-slim. When not in use, the mouse fits neatly into a PC card slot where it self charges.

 

Genius has a new mouse that has no buttons or wheels; the mouse is moved using a tilting action while a sensor on its surface "feels" scrolling movements.

 

Ergonomic design is the key at Gembird, which features a different and more comfortable black rubberized surface.

Driving-Based Insurance

International Telematics has introduced a new concept in insurance. The "pay as you drive" model features software technology whereby a computer monitors driving behavior and then calculates a tailor-made vehicle insurance premium based on the driver's habits and frequency behind the wheel.

 

During your journey, a telematics box receives and evaluates GPS signals. Data is collected and sent to the insurance company, which then calculates a personalized premium. Under the system, drivers who use their vehicles infrequently or travel only short distances would pay less; the insurance premium is dependent on the individual's driving characteristics.

Auto Emergency Systems

Another pioneering telematics application is the eCall emergency system, which, similar to GM's OnStar, automatically puts out an emergency call and transmits the GPS data of the vehicle in the event of an accident.

New-Generation Webcams

Featuring flash, infrared technology, and dual lenses, the Web cams of tomorrow are both high-tech and stylish. Web cams such as the Laplace from Speed-Link ensure that users enjoy crystal-clear images at home or in the office. Expect razor-sharp pictures from the new Genius Slim collection with its night-vision infrared technology, while the "Double Lens" Web cam from Hama bears a resemblance to Star Wars' R2D2.  The camera features two lenses for close-ups and wide-angle shots.

Internet Radios

Internet radio is all the rage in Europe, and whatever kind of music you're into, from the blues to big band, Internet radio brings music from around the world into your living room. Olympia has broken new ground with its first collection of Internet radios. The radio logs onto the 'net via WLAN but also plays back music files stored on the PC. Hama and Terratec also showed how users can receive literally thousands of stations, including their local favorites, via the Wireless Internet Radio.

RAID Storage

RAID systems for small companies as well as home users usually have two hard drives. This allows users to choose whether data should be mirrored for top-level security or distributed to both drives for maximum memory utilization and an increased data rate. The new ReadyNAS Duo from Netgear can, for example, be used as a stylish network memory to store up to 2TB of data or 1TB if you use optional RAID 1-data mirroring. Raidsonic's ICY BOX IB-NAS4220-B is also a RAID system revealing a top-quality design for home and office networks. It is easy to configure via Web browser and provides space for two 3.5" SATA hard drives.

Open Source Annual

The Open Source Annual is a reference work for the open-source community. The Open Source Annual offers a rich variety of texts from high-profile authors on all aspects of the subject. Information technology, economics, law, and sociology provide the backdrop for important new debates on open source. Professor Bernd Lutterbeck and the Open Source Annual project team from the Informatics and Society department of the Technical University Berlin have managed to establish the annual as a successful standard reference work because it is a key source of information for scientists, IT managers, and public-sector administrators. The group was exhibiting at CeBIT.

Flash Memory Video Cameras

In the age of You Tube and vlogging (blogging via video), video cameras for everyday use are becoming increasingly popular. Instead of recording onto DV cassettes, DVDs, or hard drives, the new cameras use an integrated flash memory or SD card. With no moving parts prone to error that consume large amounts of energy, Canon's FS video cameras are robust and efficient. Another innovation was Toshiba's GSC-A100F, an ultra-small hard-drive camcorder with full HD resolution.

Microsoft's Coffee Table PC

Cross a PC with a coffee table and the result is a new Microsoft product called the Surface Computer. Microsoft brought a bit of the future to CeBIT with the new device that has no mouse. The device is like a giant iPhone: a huge, touch-sensitive display. If successful, this innovation could revolutionize office work. Bill Gates says he is confident the future belongs to these touch-sensitive super PCs. The company's latest invention that was displayed is called Surface and is a product resembling a coffee table but with the added feature of a 30-inch display. Integrated infrared transmitters detect every gesture and movement of your fingers, enabling images or files to be sorted on the screen with a single hand movement. (The company chose to introduce Internet Explorer 8 at its own Mix 2008 conference running concurrently in Las Vegas.)

High-Speed Satellite Internet

Accessing the Internet is possible today, but the best speeds leave much to be desired. A new solution zooms data through the 'net at lightning speed, 32 times faster than ISDN. The result of collaboration between ASTRA (Europe's largest satellite operator), the European Space Agency (ESA), and Hamburg-based StarDSL, a new satellite-based Internet access service features an integrated backward channel. For a flat rate, anyone can surf the 'net at DSL speed. The solution is ideal for working in rural areas or anywhere access to cable or DSL is impractical.

Linux Programs

The penguin is a very apt choice [VM1] as a symbol of the open-source operating system Linux. LinuxPark was organized by show organizer Deutsche Messe and Linux New Media AG. During the first four days of this year's event, visitors were able to delve into topical issues such as green IT, security, and Software as a Service (SaaS). Attendees will enjoy a program of events this weekend in LinuxPark that includes presentations on Web 2.0 and multimedia applications.

Simple, Low-Priced PCs

CeBIT is highlighting the growing trend toward creating PCs that are simpler than the norm. Increasingly, users are discovering they don't really need super-complex PCs. The current favorite is the Asus Eee PC that retails for as little as $300. The replacement for its Eee PC 4G, the Eee PC 900 costs about $100 more but has a larger display and more memory. The Thin Economic Office (TEO) from "christmann informationstechnik + medien GmbH" is an uncomplicated system in a stylish outer garb ranging from bright pink to jet black.

Digitizing Robot

The best way of preserving the written word for future generations is to convert it into digital format. An innovative robot has been built that works tirelessly and quickly to do just that, and it requires very little human intervention. Working with the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB) in Lower Saxony, Treventus Mechatronics GmbH has developed an electronic librarian. This machine is working on the SUB project "Qualitative Mass Digitization of Cultural Assets," which aims to digitize the cultural and scientific treasures of Lower Saxony. The robot is able to work 10 times faster than conventional scanners. Despite its speed, the robot works very carefully and processes works that, for conservation reasons, would otherwise never have been considered for digitization or only under the very strictest of conditions.

A Glimpse of the Future

While the above highlights are just a fraction of the many solutions on display at CeBIT 2008, they may give us a glimpse into the direction that European and larger U. S. firms will be taking over the next 12 months.

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