The annual Hannover based fair CeBit attracts over 300,000 visitors with every self-respecting IT vendor taking aim. The event appeals to an unusual mix of audience with students and families visiting the fair in an attempt to collect as many bags, gadgets and well, 'free' food, while on the complete opposite side of the spectrum some very serious business is being done by the hundreds if not thousands of IT companies represented at the event.
With the focus across the event dominated by Cloud and Mobile technologies, it wasn't surprising to see much of the content around the fair focused emphasizing trust in these emerging trends. Many of the executives and IT professionals I spoke with indicated that they are in early phases of implementing projects such as BYOD however, time is running out as the need to address the digital native coming to the workplace is now!
The most appealing of all halls was hall number 2 on the north side of the complex. With IBM, Dell and Symantec taking up a substantial piece of floor space it clearly represented the interests of the Strategic IT audience. Symantec had its full Protection portfolio on display covering Security, Data Protection (Backup and Archiving), User Authentication, Infrastructure Operations, Storage and Availability Management, .CLoud services and the Norton products. A highlight attracting a lot interest from attendees, press and analysts alike was the O3 Cloud Information Protection Platform positioned to protect and manage information and identities accessing Cloud based services.
Speaking with many of the partners supporting the Symantec presence the feedback was unanimous; "Symantec where have you been these last 6 years", we have never had so many great conversations with customers and partners, as a Fortune 500 IT company, you belong at CeBit!"
An invitation the visit the spectacular (restricted access) Vodafone hall showed how important security has become for the telecom industry. Symantec was very strongly represented giving Vodafone customers an opportunity to discuss the full scope of our Mobile portfolio and debate strategies of BYOD and Mobile Cloud requirements.
CeBit presents itself as the biggest IT fair in the world and although the general feel, branding, and attendance is German oriented, there was a genuine amount of foreign visitors roaming the hallways. I met with Dutch, Swiss, American, French and even Middle Eastern visitors who make up the estimated 30% of the attendees. This is a massively important event for the German economy demonstrated by a visit from Angel Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, and various other dignitaries.
Perhaps a small but interesting side step in the context of a shift in IT industry dynamics, I watched with amazement how Intel filled an entire hall to create an atmosphere mirroring a large pop concert while on the opposite side presenting their new ultra book technology. Coming back to my opening comments it is fascinating to see how Consumerization and the digital natives aren't just affecting the developments in Mobile but also in how major IT players like Intel are starting to position their brands differently to adapt to this morphing of business and consumer interests.
Until next time!