CeBIT Sydney 2011 is coming up in just a few days. Is it worth part of all of a CIO's day to attend? Or is just another show with too many vendors in one place, clamouring for attention? We take a look at the program and exhibitors to highlight some of the more interesting places to visit so that the busy CIO can prioritise their time.
The first thing to note is that CeBIT is really two things. Firstly, it's an exhibition with hundreds of companies, large and small, setting up stalls. CeBIT's exhibitor list is divided into 17 categories covering areas such as cloud computing, geospatial, security and unified communications. Pop over to the Exhibition page (http://www.cebit.com.au/2011/expo) and take a look at the categories. That will let you target the most relevant booths for your needs.
One strategy we've employed in the past is to look at the exhibitors of most interest and contact them before the show. Then set up a private meeting. CeBIT is close to lots of restaurants and bars so it's easy to pop out for a short while for a private meeting. Also, some exhibitors, particularly those with large booths have set up their own private meeting spaces. The secret is to plan ahead.
With vendors of interest that are launching new products or services - ask for a press kit. Many will have kits under the table with extra information that goes beyond the standard flyers left out in the open.
CeBIT is also a conference with several different streams. This year, there are seven different one-day conferences running. Check out the Conferences microsite (http://www.cebit.com.au/conferences) for a list.
These are full day events but there are detailed programs available so that you can pick and choose which parts of the day will offer you the best value. The keynote addresses are usually given by industry heavyweights (the Executive Briefing has Senator Stephen Conroy and Optus CEO Paul O'Sullivan on the bill.
In addition to the content, we'd suggest ensuring you're there for one of the tea breaks or lunch so that you can network with your peers from other companies.
It's a given, in our view, that two technologies will dominate the show floor - cloud computing and tablets.
With the cloud, the market is now reaching a level of maturity where premium vendors are differentiating themselves from the wannabes. It's a sure bet that plenty of companies will be trying to link their product to the cloud in some way.
With tablets, Apple no longer has the market to itself with a plethora of vendors announcing new Android Honeycomb based units over the last month. If you're looking at deploying a tablet/slate solution in your business and aren't convinced that the ipad is for you then this could be a good opportunity to try a few different products out.
Who should you bring along?
If your time is limited, it might be a good idea to bring a colleague or two along. CeBIT is a great, inexpensive way to reward a junior staff member that is proving themselves on the job. Pick out a trend or two that's of interest and either bring them or send them to research and report back.
In the past, I've found that accompanying the staff member can give them a great boost. A day out with the boss can be a great reward.