What was CeBIT Australia all about?

I’d heard about CeBIT before – a conference/exhibition that tech savvy or geeky people go along to check out the latest technology gizmos and gadgets.

Less gimmicky than I thought – it is truly an exceptional showcase of the latest technology for businesses and individuals.  It covered the entire spectrum of business technology solutions from critical processes such as Business Intelligence, IT Security and ERP software (which is Kilimanjaro’s expertise), to the latest Web 3.0 developments, Enterprise Mobility, Cloud and emerging technologies.

As we approached the 3 giant halls at the Sydney Exhibition Centre filled with a diverse range of exhibitions we decided to divide and meet back for lunch after two hours.   There was a huge amount to cover in those two hours; more than I could imagine.   We were given lanyards that were scanned on entry and  off we went.

The areas of interest to me were Cloud computing, Digital/Social, seeing the CeBIT StartUps and of course, heading to the Business Process Management/ERP space to see what our competitors are up to.

We wandered about chatting to various stalls about their products and services.  GOOD caught my eye as they had an interesting stall, as did SMSGlobal.   Salesforce had a strong presence as did the NBN and CSIRO (except that we weren’t allowed to actually go inside their display) and Pronto had a large P that was looming above like a cloud.  And just about every stall we loitered around attempted to scan my visitor pass. It is an ingenious way of adding people to their mailing list!

In the business sphere, MYOB showcased its capacity to build apps for companies using its cloud-based accounting software. It said more than 200 developers were on board adapting its application programming interface. They did mention MYOB EXO is software suitable for larger enterprises.

OK, so it’s not all about the free stuff but the popcorn at Salesforce was quite good!   In the space of those  two hours I talked to the lovely people at Referron.  I heard a 30 second pitch from  Matt in a kilt from Vimily – a new concept video app that might change the way businesses create videos for campaigns, client testimonials etc.  We heard a salesy spiel from GoCatch about their useful taxi app which helps passengers locate nearby taxis.  Issue was a new start-up about two guys who have created an online magazine platform where you can literally create your own magazine.  Oh and some more free lollies and a miniature whiteboard from SPS Commerce!

There was a distinct flavour of international presence with dedicated pavilions for international companies from countries  such as China, India, Sri Lanka, Germany, Canada and Switzerland.   I had the opportunity to chat to an Indian-based Software developer who claimed that he could offer the service of a software developer for no more than $12 per hour or $1500 per app/project.

The quirky gadgets and emerging technologies such as a 3D computer printer were fascinating but made me wonder what would be the use of such a device? There was a also an “eye massager” that uses air pressure, multi-frequency vibration, heat compression and other factors to give your eyes a workout, but its benefits are literally in the eye of the beholder!

There was a lot that we didn’t see -it would have taken a whole three days to absorb the detail and go to every stall and display.   Whilst the exhibition was happening there were also  three separate conferences held each day for cloud computing, the crunching of big data and cyber security.  There was a special “pitch your idea” buzz going on for new tech start-ups that was captured by people using the Vimily app. You can view the 30 second pitches here.

This was the last to be held at the Sydney Conference and Exhibition Centre since they will be constructing a new Centre over the next 3 years.  And for those wondering what CeBIT actually stands for it is  Centrum für Büroautomation, Informationstechnologie und Telekommunikation which would literally translate as “Center for Office Automation, Information Technology and Telecommunication” in German.

The opportunity to go along to the CeBIT exhibition was a huge eye-opening experience that left me feeling a little overwhelmed but also hopeful for a bright and exciting future in the new digital economy.  It also gave me the opportunity to check out the competition as well as get a feel for what is trending and emerging as the mainstay.