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Technology / Data Centre

CeBIT saw some product announcements but is the giant trade fair still worth attending?

Despite losing the importance of other years, Hannover’s trade fair CeBIT has still seen big announcements from the European Commission, Vodafone, Huawei, SAP and others.

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei used CeBIT as a platform to launch new partnerships, products and IoT roadmaps.

In one of the largest stands at the fair, 3,000 sqm compared to Microsoft’s 2,000 sqm for example, the company announced, in partnership with Deutsche Telekom (DT), the launch of the Open Telekom Cloud for European enterprises.

Huawei will be providing the hardware and software while DT is hosting the services. The two companies have said they want to expand cloud offering in the continent and assume a greater role in the European cloud market.

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Anette Bronder, director of the digital division at DT, said the platform already has 200 users and that the company is working on "bringing more services to this product".

Eric Xu, Huawei Rotating CEO, said: "The strategic partnership allows each party to fully play to their strengths, providing enterprises and the industry with various innovative public cloud services that are beyond those provided by over-the-top content players."

Huawei has also opened its first European open lab in Munich, Germany, for cloud, big data, smart city and smart manufacturing R&D.

According to the company, T-Systems, SAP, Intel, Hexagon and 21 other companies have already expressed interest in the lab which is also built under the EC’s Europe 2020 digital strategy.

The lab will allow companies to test technical solutions in a real network environment.

Huawei also has four other labs in Suzhou, China (for bank, media and government research), Mexico (smart cities and AMI), Singapore (for the government’s IDA tech body and public transport provider SMRT) and Saudi Arabia (oil and gas).

In addition, the company signed a partnership with robots firm KUKA to develop smart manufacturing solutions for industrial markets in Europe and China.

It has also launched a Connected City Lighting Solution, which Huawei’s claims to be the first Io lighting product with multi-level intelligent control.

Yan Lida, Huawei’s enterprise business group president, said: "We like to focus [the company strategy] on three parts: developers, partners and finally international standards.

"The developers are the key for the [company’s] ecosystem. As for international standards, they are not enough, we just lack on them.

"For the new ICT to enable the transformation of industries we need to do more in the global international standards."

Speaking to CBR,exhibitors and visitors questioned the relevance of the giant event saying the show is at a stage where it needs to reinvent itself as other fairs such as MWC, CES and IFA have grown. CeBIT has been running since 1970.

Michael Adams, EMEA director of integrated data centres at Panduit, said that while the trade is still an important date in the tech calendar, it needs to find a new angle and reinvent itself.

Riaz Khan, director UKI & EMEA sales at network monitoring and analytics software company Savvius, told us: "CeBIT is a forum where you see and meet numerous vendors who you would not normally see in one place. It is also a forum where vendors launch new products and solutions, show case innovation and educate. Users sharing their views with vendors is incredibly useful as it often allows them to improve their product and solutions."

Elsewhere, the event saw announcements including Microsoft’s enhancement of Azure cloud services in Canada, Germany and the US.

Technologies such as 3D printing, VR and AI robots, such as Pebble, are also being exhibited at the tech show but with no new announcements.

Also at the fair, SAP unveiled a partnership with Vodafone to launch the IoT foundation bundle for SAP Hana. The bundle includes device management capability from Vodafone and is aimed at speeding up IoT ROI.

The collaboration aims to allow enterprises to connect and manage devices using Vodafone’s IoT connectivity platform and to collect and move data from the devices into the SAP HANA platform to support predictive maintenance as well as other use cases.

The technical certification of the integration between Vodafone and SAP HANA is supported by the new IoT foundation from SAP.

On Monday, Günther Hermann Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, used the show to announce that the EC has entered a three-year partnership with CeBIT to help further introduce the EU’s Digital Single Market strategy.

The commission has also laid down plans to bring down digital barriers across the EU and invited non-EU members, including Russia, Ukraine and Norway to join its Digital Economy roadmap.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to CeBIT on Tuesday.

Organisers have announced that the show will again be hosted in Hannover in 2017, from March 20 to 24.
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