CeBIT (or SnowBIT as it is often called by those that have experienced it) is one of the great institutions of the computing world. I first went (multiple times) in the 1980s and early ’90s, as a vendor of monitors and in 1995 I went for the first time as press. I managed to delegate the visit to others in some of the intervening years, but attended most of them. Over the last few years, the event has significantly declined in scale and importance. I said a number of years ago that it was just becoming a regional German IT show and this year it was even quieter and less interesting for those of us that are not obsessed with SAP, big data and the IoT.
Last year, China was the “partner country” and had some interesting discussions with BOE, CEC Panda and TCL, but this year, they didn’t come back (although a sales person from TCL was in the reseller area to ‘promote the brand’). Samsung was also only in the reseller area – last year it was the only significant display vendor with a big presence.
We also noted that there were fewer senior or European level staff on booths, although this could have been because being there on Monday probably meant travelling on the Sunday (as we did). The staff we met were local sales staff and often had weak knowledge in depth of their products, which was frustrating.
As in previous years, there were large areas occupied by small booths of small Chinese suppliers. In some of these areas, there seemed to be almost no visitors. I have seen very bored sales people at CeBIT many times (I remember a card game going on in one document handling booth many years ago, over the weekend!) but have seldom seen the show as quiet on a main day. If I had come all the way from China at considerable expense, I’m not sure I would be very happy! It seems to me that there is an opportunity for a separate event that meets the needs of this kind of company. It might be cheaper just to run an event in China and fly qualified buyers out for free!
Anyway, I will have to think long and hard about whether it’s worth going at all next year – a decision that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago.