Green computing finds its place at Cebit
Cebit is taking
on a green tinge this year, with the Climate Savers Computing Initiative playing
a central role at the trade show, which opens March 4 in Hanover, Germany.
The climate initiative aims to reduce IT's carbon dioxide emissions from computer
operations by 50 percent between 2007 and 2010. The group, led by PC manufacturers
Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo, among others, will present energy-efficient
IT products in a special "green village," and a central information
point in Hall 9 will point visitors to other companies with environmentally
friendly products. Showgoers can also take away a green IT guide produced with
the help of IDG's Computerwoche magazine.
Climate Savers will hold a news conference Monday evening to laud the environmental
efforts of some companies -- while those featured in a Greenpeace event the
next morning can expect the opposite treatment: the campaign group in recent
months has focused on uncovering IT manufacturers' use of pollutants.
The environmental interest of some of the "green" products highlighted
by show organizers is a little obscure: a solar-powered flashlight and a banknote
sorter figure on the list.
Other products won't save the earth, but will at least allow us to document,
or measure, how much damage we're doing to it. For those who want to keep tabs
on how much of the earth they've seen, the latest locating devices will also
be on hand. In addition to GPS (Global Positioning System), some add GSM (Global
System for Mobile Communications) functions for transmitting data, offering
a way to keep track of loved ones, according to one vendor. Or maybe unloved
Hot specs for today's trackers include strong magnets to keep the unit on a
vehicle and a tough form factor so the device can endure extreme weather. Many
devices are also very small to stay hidden from view.
The new emphasis on saving energy and reducing emissions is just one of the
changes at this year's show, which runs from Tuesday through the following Sunday.
Previous shows have run Thursday through Wednesday. The new schedule will make
life simpler for professional IT users, the organizers said.
This year 5,845 exhibitors from 77 countries are attending, a little down on
last year's 6,153 exhibitors from 79 countries. The strong euro has discouraged
some overseas exhibitors, organizers said, although that hasn't bothered the
Chinese: After Germany, China is now the most-represented country with 500 exhibitors,
France is also strongly represented this year: It is this year's featured country.
One of the opening speeches will come from French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Another famous straight-talker is Steve Ballmer, who will be speaking on the
theme "innovation for people and the environment" at a Microsoft event
on the eve of the show.
(With additional reporting by Jeremy Kirk in London.)