Monday, March 09, 2009

CeBIT 2009 - Aftermath

So, how was this year's CeBIT computer fair? The media have been rather pessimistic beforehand. 25% less exhibitors, 20% less visitors, but despite the worlwide economic crisis you'll find confidence everywhere ... at least now.

This year, I visited CeBIT only for a single day as exhibitor as well as a visitor. On friday, March 6th 2009, there was 'startup day' at the HPI booth in hall 9, B.10., and we presented our video search engine yovisto (well, it was almost only Jörg who did the presentation, while I was playing 'visitor'...). As every other year, for me hall 9, the 'future parc', is the most interesting hall of all 26 (!) halls. BTW, did you now that the Hannover fair area is the largest in the world? In hall 9 you could find the latest research of universities and research institutions (as well as some government and public administration...).

One thing that was pretty obvious was that hall 9 was not as crowded with exhibitors as the years before (at least in the rear areas this could be realized pretty heavily). I also was a little bit disappointed about our former booth at the joint exhibition stand of the universities Thüringen, Sachsen, and Sachsen-Anhalt (=Mitteldeutschland), because there was nothing really interesting to see, and most exhibitors were busily sitting in front of their computer screens.....presenting their 'backside' to the visitors and avoiding contact...not really inviting at all. No wonder, if they don't make it in the run for excellence...

But, on the other hand, I really liked the exhibition stands of the Fraunhofergesellschaft and the THESEUS research programme. Esp., at THESEUS (user scenario CONTENTUS) they demonstrated the workflow for digitalization, restauration, and indexing audiovisual media (...just my subject). While digitalization and restauration work pretty well, the indexing capabilities are still rather limited. You might search for 'similar' motives, but identifying individual persons is still subject to ongoing research.

After all, I was really happy to stay just for one day. Some of our co-workers had to stay for the entire week (my sincere condolences!). Was it worth while? For one single day, of course yes it was!

P.S. Alas, there really was a Latvian company that showed 'brains' in various colors.... ;-)


Hannes Carl Meyer said...

Harald, what is your opinion regarding the progress of german r&d efforts in semantic technologies?

I'm currently writing an article about the impressions I got at the CeBIT last week concerning the semantic technologies topic.

I was a bit disappointed...


Harald Sack said...

@Hannes_Carl_Meyer: You're right, there was only little to see about semantic technologies. Obviously, there were several presentations and exhibitions about THESEUS and THESEUS related projects in hall 9, which showed state of the art deployment of semantic technologies....but mostly only with well known examples. Besides this large semantic search engine research program, I would like to mention two smaller companies that apply semantic technologies: ConWeaver - offering customized semantic search services for corporate search (also in hall 9 together with Fraunhofer) and Quitera (hall 6) offering a web based semantically enhanced bookmarking and social tagging service (
Of course, I would like to see more semantic applications. But, the industry is somehow rather 'conservative'. Even in academia, there is still a significant number of colleagues, who consider 'Semantic Web' somwhere between 'esoteric' and 'cabalistic'......