Oliver Frese (Chairman of CeBIT): "Moving the IT industry forward requires a steady stream of new momentum and the courage to look for new approaches"
This year, everything in the IT industry revolves around big data. Even CeBIT, the world’s largest IT trade show, will cast a spotlight on this megatrend next year. In this vein, CeBIT’s main theme for 2014 will be “Datability” – the ability to process huge data volumes at incredibly high speeds and responsibly use that data over the long term. Oliver Frese will be in charge of next year’s trade show. The new head of CeBIT hopes to set a new focus and plans to concentrate on business customers and key decision-makers. Mr. Frese talked to us about his plans and expectations for CeBIT 2014.
Janina Benz: As the new head of CeBIT, you are responsible for the new strategic positioning of the largest IT trade show in the world. In 2014, CeBIT will focus 100% on business. The aim is to shift business customers to the forefront again. Why did you think it was the right time to head in this new direction?
Oliver Frese: The visitor patterns identified over the last few years speak volumes: If we look back to 2008, 75 percent of our visitors were specialists. In recent years, this percentage has risen to 82. Of that number, 30 percent were key decision-makers; that is, chairmen, managing directors, department and section heads. What does that tell us? CeBIT is attracting top-notch visitors who are ready to invest. In close collaboration with our exhibitors, we have decided to use this development as a basis for shifting the focus of CeBIT back to its core strength – and that is 100% business.
Janina Benz: Young companies are also becoming increasingly significant for CeBIT. That’s why the partnership between CeBIT and CODE_n is so important. CODE_n alone brings in 50 international startups each year. What role do startups play in the global IT industry?
Oliver Frese: Moving the IT industry forward requires a steady stream of new momentum and the courage to look for new approaches. Startups are often more dynamic and flexible than large corporations. That’s why they play such a decisive role in designing future IT solutions. The last decade has seen mere startups quickly grow to become successful companies, even global players. Examples include myTaxi, airbnb and Google. At CeBIT, we use CODE_n to give developers from around the world a platform to present themselves. It’s how we support them on the road to making it big.
Janina Benz: This year’s CODE_n Contest motto is “Driving the Data Revolution.” Big data startups have until the 31st of October 2013 to apply. What do you think of the “big data” megatrend?
Oliver Frese: Big data is definitely one of the major challenges of our times. It is an excellent theme for the next CODE_n contest. That’s one of the reasons why “datability” is the hot topic for CeBIT 2014. Datability is an amalgam of the big data megatrend and the possibilities for its sustainable and responsible implementation. The intelligent analysis of data volumes is opening up new areas of potential business for companies, achieved through things like more efficient organization of their processes or optimized use of resources. But it even affects patients in the health care sector, travelers or online shoppers – everyone can benefit from datability. At the coming CeBIT show, this topic is sure to weave its way through the entire event and conference program.
Janina Benz: Our contest is geared, in particular, toward young companies from the fields of telecommunications, health care, logistics, energy, automotive etc. New and innovative solutions are no longer just coming out of the IT industry. What do you make of this increasing fusion of industries?
Oliver Frese: Increased networking across different sectors reveals enormous potential for all industries. This topic will become prevalent at CeBIT in the coming years. The fact that IT forms the basis for intelligent manufacturing shows how important CeBIT is for all areas of industry, not just for the IT sector.
Janina Benz: I’d like to close with a personal question. The coming year will mark your first year as chairman of CeBIT. What do you look forward to the most?
Oliver Frese: I look forward to implementing the CeBIT concept with clear topic clustering in the individual trade show halls. I also look forward to a close dovetailing of the show and the first-rate CeBIT Global Conference, as well as the presentation and discussions that will focus on the theme of datability. I particularly look forward to the interaction between our exhibitors and the international specialist visitors from more than 90 countries. There’s one thing I’m sure of: CeBIT 2014 will certainly stimulate growth for the international IT industry.
Janina Benz: Thank you for your time and this pleasant chat.