Pollies pounce on CeBIT Australia

Published on the 24/05/2017 | Written by Donovan Jackson


Cebit2017

Tech event focuses on cybersecurity, cloud and big data analytics, and political innovation…

German export CeBIT Australia is underway at Sydney’s Darling Harbour International Convention Centre this week, with this year’s business technology event – hailed as the largest in the Asia Pacific region – claiming to ‘entice leading minds into conversations about shaping the future of the business technology landscape’.

Funnily enough, prominently hailed among those leading minds shaping the future business technology landscape are politicians from the NSW Government. That’s because the NSW Government is a partner in the event, which is to say, NSW taxpayers are propping up the poor, hard done by technology industry by contributing to the show (although the press statements do not make clear how much – we have asked).

A quick recap on CeBIT: one of the world’s longest running computer expos, it started in Germany in 1970. That odd name stands for ‘Centrum für Büroautomation, Informationstechnologie und Telekommunikation’; in English, ‘Centre for Office Automation, Information Technology and Telecommunication’. CeBIT is just fine, then.

In Australia, CeBIT has run for some 16 years, with other ‘regional’ CeBITs taking place in China, Turkey, the USA and India.

Expected to attract some 15,000 attendees, CeBIT Australia promises to show the ‘latest and greatest in business technology’ through 350 exhibitors and various StartUp elements. Some 200 industry luminaries are sharing insights across the eight conferences, international keynotes, six Strategic Panels and three Showfloor Theatres. And of course, expect some networking and social events.

More on those StartUp elements: over 75 start-ups are featured on the exhibition floor showcasing innovations including driverless pods, hand-gesture screen technology, holographic displays, car emergency call out software and digital cyber defence software that thinks like the human brain (addled then, one imagines).

Without hint of irony – probably because it came in a press statement – politician Matt Kean, NSW Minister for Innovation, said: “People often say government involvement stifles innovation, but nothing could be further from the truth in NSW. Our state has the largest technology sector and highest number of technology start-ups in Australia and we’ll be showing our best of both on the NSW stand, and in the StartUp Zone.”

Okay then. Because of the NSW government, or in spite of it?

One just has to look at the tired old example of Uber in a slightly different light to appreciate that politicians are more often associated with red tape and sandbags than they are with innovation. To the NSW’s government’s credit, it was among the first states to ‘legalise’ the app back in 2015 – but Uber’s travails in Australia are well known and serve as a case in point of government reluctance to allow individuals the right to access and use innovative technology.

Bleating about poor hard done by taxi drivers? Who will bleat for poor hard done by limited in choice customers. Not the innovative politicians, surely.

And then, of course, there is the government innovation on display for all to see with the NBN.

CeBIT Australia continues to Thursday 25 May. Keen to pop along?

Questions or comments...

  1. Mike Kirkby

    CeBIT is run purely as a commercial operation. It exists to make money for CeBit Germany. The software and hardware vendors pay twice the going market rate for a booth at other tradeshows here in OZ. It’s the vendors that make CeBIt a financial success. We were once a long term supporter of CeBIT (for nine years) but we realised 3 years ago that it was a poor spend for our marketing dollar. Paying through the nose to have 15000+ random people wander past your stand, many just looking for giveaways. Instead we now spend half that money attending a targeted trade show just for our vertical where we know that 200+ people will be very interested in what we have to show them.

    Mike K- no longer a CeBit believer.

    Reply

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