“The markets of the future are Web services, knowledge management and human resources management”

Ernst Raue
Ernst Raue

What are the main features that distinguish CeBIT from other IT and telecommunications trade fairs throughout the world and what is the secret of its success?

Raue: CeBIT’s success is down to its uniqueness. It is the only trade fair in the world to really offer a complete range of IT, telecommunications and software all in one place. There is no other event of its kind that offers the same wealth of information and can boast as many exhibitors and visitors. CeBIT is also a top-flight media event. Last year’s CeBIT played host to over 11,000 journalists from 70 countries.

How much pressure is the current economic situation in the IT industry putting on the event in 2003?

Raue: The current economic situation is naturally having an effect on CeBIT. Last year was the most critical in the history of the German IT and telecommunications industry. For the first time, the sector recorded negative growth. Many companies have dramatically reduced their marketing budgets and are monitoring the contents of their trade fair stands much more carefully than in the time of the IT and telecommunications boom. CeBIT 2003 is coping with these factors very well. The presence of around 6,500 exhibitors from over 60 countries makes it clear that this industry is supporting its leading trade fair and using it to help trigger a return to positive economic growth.

From what parts of the industry are you expecting the most exhibitors?

Raue: We are expecting the most exhibitors to come from the “Software and Services” sector, followed by “Telecommunications & Networks” and “IT Equipment & Systems”.

In which areas of the IT sector have new exhibitors been added and why are these companies interested in CeBIT?

Raue: One new addition is the entire spectrum of digital home-automation products. These range from digital TV and video equipment to audio, hi-fi and car audio systems, and to home security and control systems for automating buildings. These exhibitors are coming to CeBIT to meet their target customers – namely, dealers and distributors from all over the world.

“Human Resources” is another new area which is being given its own separate section for the first time in Hall 9 to reflect the growing importance of IT in personnel and time management. To complement this, the “CeBIT Job & Career Market” will also be in Hall 9 (formerly Hall 10).

Are there any up-and-coming new IT countries?

Raue: This year we are recording the highest growth in the Eastern European countries. For the first time, over 300 companies from this region have registered. The strongest nations are Russia, the Ukraine, Poland and the Czech Republic.

An entire hall is set aside for financial services. Why is there particular focus on this industry?

Raue: The financial services sector is becoming an increasingly important part of the IT and telecommunications industry. Online banking plays a key role in more areas than just the “classical” banking sector. Without electronic payment systems – and the software solutions that go with them – there can be no e-business at all. For instance, the “BANK FINANCE SYSTEMS” event in Hall 18 provides information about all aspects of banking and financial services. The main theme this year is “Mobile Business in Financial Industries”. Two special exhibitions are being organized within the presentation: “EMV – international standard for cards with chips” and “Solution City” with innovative individual solutions.

What are your estimates for the number of exhibitors and visitors at the coming CeBIT 2003 and what are these estimates based on?

Raue: We are expecting around 6,500 exhibitors. The number of visitors is hard to predict. Last year’s CeBIT received 674,000 visitors. The figure this year will probably be not much more than that, since European and American companies in particular have drastically cut their marketing budgets and are most likely cutting back on their employees’ business trips. However, the quality of the visitors is one thing we can be sure about. CeBIT attracts the “right” kind of people – high-ranking company representatives responsible for making investment decisions.

What do you see as the most important future IT trends?

Raue: The most important markets in the future will be Web services, knowledge management, human resources management, and voice control – all areas well represented at CeBIT 2003.

What’s your personal maxim?

“It’s not the size of the task that counts, but rather how we solve the smallest problem.”