"If you’re looking for a folk festival, you’re in the wrong place," says porschmann. Cebit is supposed to be the place where industries meet, companies come together and business is initiated. For such a fair, masses of curious people, who walk through the halls, are not necessary.
The cebit, which has remained in the public memory from the high times at the turn of the century, is a thing of the past. In the peak year 2001, almost 8100 companies exhibited in hanover. The IT boom attracted around 850,000 visitors. For some rough exhibitors this was too much. They grumbled about the "tutentrager" and "ballpoint pen jager" and demanded a change of direction. In addition, the bursting of the internet bubble and economic turbulence then put pressure on the companies’ budgets. Year after year, more and more companies have decided that they can do without.
Meanwhile, the number of exhibitors seems to have stabilized at over 4000. Visitors this year were down twelve percent to 280,000. Porschmann stresses that the current slumps are not a problem for the financial well-being of cebit. "The cebit is in such a position that it can finance its further development from its own resources."The measurement value for him is "trade visitors per exhibitor per trade fair day", as well as the "decision-maker density" – i.E. The proportion of relevant managers from different sectors. His plan: cebit should be an interface between the IT sector and traditional industries, whether automotive, energy or healthcare.
Applause for this course from industry association bitkom. And the major exhibitor microsoft is also satisfied with the cebit: "this year, too, it was the platform for us to exchange ideas within the IT sector, to engage in dialog with industry and political representatives, partners and, above all, our users and new customers," explained christian illek, head of the german office. The organizer of the start-up program code_n, ulrich dietz, noticed more interest from industry in the young companies this year.
"The task of cebit is first and foremost to support the interests of exhibitors. This is working well," says porschmann, member of the trade fair board. His plans for next year include: even more attention for start-ups, a stronger focus on the congress program and more activity in online media to transport the cebit to auben. "Interested consumers" could also discover a lot at today’s cebit, porschmann promises. But the reality is that they have to search harder for things that are relevant for them.
With around 280,000 visitors, the cebit still attracts significantly more people than the likewise annual mobile world congress in barcelona a few days earlier. The mobile summit set a new record this year with 72,000 trade visitors and journalists. The four-day event also shows what decision-maker density is: in barcelona are the heads of the most important mobile operators, top managers of the gerate manufacturers like nokia leader stephen elop, or top people from internet companies like google’s android head andy rubin.