Hannover. CeBIT 2016 may still be about eight weeks away, but it’s already shaping up to be a powerful showcase. “All the factors driving the rapid digitalization of business and society worldwide will be addressed in revealing presentations by leading international companies and organizations. This year’s CeBIT will feature a very strong content lineup that will further cement the show’s position as the world’s leading platform for digitalization,” said Oliver Frese, Member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe, on Wednesday in Hannover, Germany.

“As we move ahead with the reconceptualization of CeBIT, we are teaming up with our international exhibitors and partners to systematically enhance and position the event as the global hub for digital business,” remarked Frese. With its focus on the digitalization of business and markets, government, public administration and society as a whole, CeBIT is the only trade show in the world to cover every aspect of the Digital Transformation. Its lead theme, “d!conomy: join – create – succeed,” puts the focus squarely on people and their role as decisive players and creative designers, positioning them right at the center of the processes that are driving digitalization. Frese: “Digitalization is no passing fad. By means of its treatment of topics such as Big Data, Cloud, Mobile, Social Business and the Internet of Things, it is already having a huge impact on the value chains of virtually every sector of the economy. The interplay between all of these aspects of digitalization is generating unprecedented innovative momentum and promises major opportunities for companies across all industries and markets. And the good news here is that it is within the reach of each and every decision-maker to actively shape the Digital Transformation within his or her sphere of responsibility and influence.” The key is to understand the opportunities of digitalization and recognize the potential it harbors for efficiency gains, new value networks and new business models. “CeBIT’s unique value lies in the fact that all the key drivers of digitalization are hardwired into its DNA. It brings all the various aspects and facets of these drivers together at one convenient place and makes them transparent,” explained Frese.

The Internet of Things is a major catalyst of change in every segment of the economy. Various studies show that the number of Things connected to the Internet is set to skyrocket to around 50 billion in the near future. That’s 50 billion in addition to smartphones, tablets and PCs. Importantly, industry experts anticipate that up to 90 percent of all sales generated in this still fledgling business area will be in the B2B segment. Only 10 percent will be in the B2C segment. At CeBIT, this seminal trend will be reflected at the new IoT SOLUTIONS showcase in Hall 13. The applications on show at IoT SOLUTIONS will enjoy considerable thematic crossover with the solutions on display at the immediately adjacent Communication & Networks showcase.

Among the growing challenges with the Internet of Things, and indeed with Big Data and the Cloud as well, are the issues of trust and security. This can be seen from the steadily growing levels of investment in both physical security systems and intelligent cyber security solutions. It is also evidenced by the fact that the Business Security showcase in Hall 6 at the upcoming CeBIT will feature some 500 companies. The showcase will comprise an array of exhibits by international companies plus two forums.

Cloud solutions will feature more prominently at this year’s CeBIT than ever before. “The market has matured somewhat since the initial commercialization of cloud technology, and cloud solutions are now gaining traction as a mainstay of the digitalization trend,” explained Frese. According to a recent survey of more than 5,000 international top-level managers, the business world currently rates the cloud as the most important technology for the near future. This is mirrored at CeBIT. Frese: “CeBIT has steadily strengthened its position over the years as the world’s most important trade show for cloud solutions.” As proof of this, CeBIT 2016 will feature such leading cloud providers as Deutsche Telekom, IBM, SAP, Microsoft, Software AG, Amazon Web Services, and Salesforce. The Salesforce World Tour is being featured as an exclusive partner at CeBIT 2016, where it will fill two exhibition halls.

Today’s increasingly sophisticated cloud services call for ever faster data networks. But that’s only part of the picture. The growth of the cloud is also driving demand for increasingly high-performance data centers. The market for data center technology is worth multiple billions of dollars and, like the networks market, is enjoying exponential growth in investment. CeBIT is therefore continuing its partnership with DatacenterDynamics to create the world’s biggest data center event. Located in Hall 12, it will comprise an exhibition and a five-day conference with two speaking stages. Keynote themes include OpenStack, physical security, server technologies, high availability and energy efficiency.

Besides several thousand product innovations, this year’s CeBIT will profile a number of exciting new digital business models. For instance, the show will feature over 350 international startups, at least 250 of which will be participating in Hall 11 at SCALE11, Europe’s No. 1 platform for startups. These young, up-and-coming enterprises will be joined at SCALE11 by a number of big market incumbents and organizations that are committed to being part of the ecosystem which exists around and nurtures startups. These latter include Deutsche Bahn AG and the Association of German Banks.

The SCALE11 platform also features two stages and a real boxing ring where startups will pitch their ideas to trade visitors and investors, plus a series of workshops in which seasoned experts will share their expertise on starting new businesses. This year, SCALE11 will revolve around 15 theme areas to enable visitors to quickly find the technological innovations and ideas they need to grow their business. And in keeping with its importance, SCALE11 has as its official patron none other than Germany’s Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Sigmar Gabriel.

This year, for the first time, CeBIT will feature a central hub dedicated to an emerging transport technology with a bright future – drones. Drone technology is spawning myriad new business models in a whole range of areas, including logistics, agriculture, government administration and private security contracting, to name but a few. In 2016, CeBIT is picking up on this trend in grand style with the “DRONEMASTERS Summit@CeBIT” event, which it is staging in partnership with DRONEMASATERS, Berlin. Comprising an exhibition, a multi-day conference program and a flying arena in Hall 16, the Summit will center around drone-based business applications.

One of the world’s big innovators in drone technology is the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich). The Institute will be demonstrating its innovation credentials at several locations at CeBIT, including the Hall 6 central pavilion operated by this year’s Partner Country, Switzerland. Featuring around 60 Swiss companies, the Swiss Partner Country showcase will span more than 1,700 square meters of exhibition space and profile Switzerland as a world-class center of innovation in digital technology. There will also be a sizeable Swiss contingent among CeBIT’s visitors, with the umbrella organization for Switzerland’s various ICT industry associations, ICTswitzerland, chartering daily flights to Hannover from Bern and Zurich.

Switzerland’s highest-ranking official, President Johann Schneider-Ammann, will be participating at CeBIT 2016 on Monday 14 March. In the company of Germany’s Deputy Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, the Premier of the German State of Lower Saxony, Stephan Weil, and the president of Germany’s BITKOM ICT industry association, Thorsten Dirks, President Schneider-Ammann will speak at the opening of the new CeBIT Welcome Night in Hall 9 on Monday evening, in the presence of over 2,000 international VIP guests. Once the formalities are over, Nick Hayek, CEO of Switzerland’s Swatch Group, will bring the Welcome Night program to a close, and the guests will proceed to Hall 8 for the informal networking and party component of the CeBIT opening day. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, has confirmed her attendance on the Tuesday of CeBIT, when she will take part in a two-hour walkabout of the show and experience the innovative power of the digital economy first-hand.

As in past years, the CeBIT Global Conferences will again provide a comprehensive overview of all the key issues and challenges along the road to digitalization of business and society. With three speaking stages and a five-day program lasting for the full duration of CeBIT, the CeBIT Global Conferences will star around 200 speakers from around the world. Participating in broad array of event types (discussion panels, talks, presentations, etc.), the speakers will show the way forward to the digital future with a rich offering of information, innovation and inspiration. The proceedings will get under way on the Monday morning with a high-level conference on progress toward the EU’s Digital Single Market, featuring EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger and various high-ranking figures from the realms of government and business. Other figures of international note who have confirmed their participation at the CeBIT Global Conferences include Konica Minolta CEO and President Shoei Yamana, Silent Circle Chief Scientist Phil Zimmermann, Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, the Chairman of the Board of Management of Allianz SE, Oliver Bäte, and many others besides. The Friday program of the CeBIT Global Conferences is given over to “Rock the Blog” – a global forum by, for and about blogging professionals. Last year’s Rock the Blog premiere attracted over 600 bloggers.