CeBIT Hannover is the largest trade event of any industry in the world, and has for more than 25 years been considered the most important ICT event on the industry calender. The event is held across more than 20 giant exhibition buildings on a fairground the size of about 11 football fields. Shuttle buses are required to ferry visitors around the event because of its large expanse.
In 2008, CeBIT attracted more than 5,900 exhibitors and 495,000 business visitors through its doors. CeBIT 2009, which runs from March 3-8, is expected to be opened by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, EU President Jose Manuel Barroso, and Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Senator Conroy plans to play a lead role in on-going discussions with European Union authorities in the giant Framework Program, the EU’s primary instrument for funding research and development across Europe.
Included in the Australian delegation to CeBIT – which is being led by Hannover Fairs Australia managing director Jackie Taranto – is NICTA chief executive Dr David Skellern, a CeBIT regular and one of Australia’s most successful ICT sector entrepreneurs.
Ms Taranto applauded Senator Conroy’s decision to engage with the global ICT sector at CeBIT, saying the development of the digital economy in Australia was critical to future economy growth.
“Senator Conroy’s presence in the Australian delegation to CeBIT adds significant weight to an already strong delegation,” Ms Taranto said. “The European Union is the world’s largest single market, and has tended to be overlooked by previous Governments.”
“The political weight that Senator Conroy adds to the delegation will certainly help demonstrate that Australia is serious about engaging with Europe in serious trade and research-based relationships.
Senator Conroy will join a CeBIT Hannover conference program with a speaker list that includes Intel chairman Craig Barrett; European parliament President Dr Hans-Gert Pottering; Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner; and Linked-In founder and chief executive Reid Hoffman.