The third major tech show in less than three months, CeBIT will focus on software and services rather than hardware to ensure it retains its stature as a major event this year.
The arguments that many put forward for CES losing its luster -- we've moved from hardware to software and we're now moving from software to services -- is the reason why this event will remain valid.
When this year's International Consumer Electronics Show rolled around in January, many dissenting voices claimed that although it was still a fun event to attend, the no-expenses-spared tech extravaganza in Las Vegas had lost its way. Still focused on hardware, in an age where the operating system a PC, smartphone or tablet runs is equally, if not more, important than the size of its processor, many suggested that a show focused on gadgets and gizmos is no longer relevant.
However, although CeBIT, which officially opens its doors to the public on Tuesday, is already the third major technology event of a year that is little more than 60 days old, its major topics, themes and focus, allied with its sheer size, means that no one could make the same observation about the three-day event in Hanover, Germany.
The biggest focus of this year's event with be what CeBIT's organizers are calling the "Shareconomy," the move towards sharing knowledge, data, resources, infrastructure, the concepts and issues underlying all of the most important technology companies in business today, and therefore the software and services they offer consumers. What incredible breakthroughs are around the corner thanks to this abundance of shared data and access to platforms such as cloud computing? Just as important, what are the potential issues of the shareconomy? What are the risks to privacy and to users' personal data?
The Internet of Things will also be high on the agenda. The technology that enables a fridge to talk to a smartphone and for a tablet to potentially find a pair of socks is reaching a point at which services and features are about to go mainstream. Where is the industry going, what technological advances are driving momentum, and how will that improve consumers' lives?
CeBIT is also an opportunity for young, growing businesses to showcase their products and services and for the industry's great and good to come together to discuss trends and identify challenges and opportunities for the digital future. As well as more than 6,000 exhibitors, more than 100 talks and workshops are also scheduled over the coming week.