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 ones, too.
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 organisers said.