Computer fair Cebit deceased – not quite unexpected

Computer fair Cebit deceased – not quite unexpected

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

In view of the declining number of space bookings for Cebit 2019, the organizer Hannover Messe wants to “streamline its event portfolio”, as the company announced in a press release. The Cebit’s industry-related topics are to be continued at the Hannover Messe. Separate, focused specialist events are to be developed for each of the other subject areas.

Cebit had its best time around the turn of the millennium – with 800,000 visitors, it was the world’s largest B2B trade fair for digital topics. Major exhibitors regularly included IBM, Hewlett-Packard, SAP and the usual suspects among telecommunications companies. Over time, the fair began to suffer from its own success: The arrival of digital technologies in the consumer world and the massive expansion of the target group as well as the differentiation of topics led to an over-extension of the event. This led to a “flattening” of the offer; as a result, both the number of exhibitors and visitor interest declined continuously.

The organizers had recently completely rebuilt the trade fair and moved it from rainy March to summer. At the same time, they tried to change the character of the exhibition – instead of a dry business show, it was to be a conference and festival event. However, in the age of digitalization the former super show of computing had lost its unique selling point. In addition, important exhibitors such as Microsoft stayed away from the event, and the trade fair found itself in a graveyard spiral. Only 120,000 visitors attended the last event this year; the organizer did not want to tell whether it had made a profit.

The Association of the German Digital Industry, Bitkom, expressed its regret for the demise of Cebit. But the association immediately used his funeral speech to invite to an event of its own, which at least in part could possibly take the inheritance of the deceased aunt Cebit: On April 11, Bitkom wants to hold a “hub festival” on Artificial Intelligence in Berlin.

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