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2 Mar, 2011

ITB 2011 Curtain-Raiser 1: The Technological Revolution

The 45th ITB Berlin due to open in the German capital on March 9 will be dominated by two ongoing revolutions:

  • The technological revolution which is transforming the way the industry does business; and
  • The global geopolitical revolution which will see the emergence of a new world order.

Both revolutions are fraught with dangers, challenges and opportunities for the travel & tourism industry.

In this first curtain-raiser for the ITB Berlin, Travel Impact Newswire begins with a focus on the technological revolution. Although the ITB Berlin will see numerous exhibits of technological products and services, the real innovations are on display this week at the CeBIT 2011 in Hannover. They are designed to provide “solutions” to everything from assessing the damage from natural disasters to helping shoppers “shop” even when the shops are closed.

The following list of new technologies to come have been compiled from the press releases posted on the CeBIT website. As a snapshot indicator of trends to come, the listing is intended purely as a valuable time-saving service for my readers. Travel Impact Newswire accepts no responsibility for the veracity of the claims made by the individual vendors.

A report on the second (geopolitical) revolution will appear on 3 March 2011.

With this dispatch, Travel Impact Newswire is proud to welcome its first sponsor, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and its spectacular website www.tourismthailand.org. For readers planning a vacation, MICE event or anything from a meditation retreat to a golf holiday, pls click on the sidebar alongside to check out the fabulous range of Thai products and services, options and special deals.

ITB 2011 Curtain Raiser 1: The Technological Revolution

Shop till you drop

There’s nothing better than a bit of window shopping. After closing time, rather than just browsing window displays, customers can now also get information on the products and even make purchases “through” the window. This is possible thanks to the Interactive Shop Window. Developed by the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute in Berlin. Scientists will be demonstrating how passersby can select and buy products via a screen installed behind the shop window using only simple gestures. Four small cameras attached to the window use interactive gesture recognition to continuously record the positions of the potential customer’s hands and eyes.

Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute

Thieves don’t stand a chance with the security agent for laptops

Laptops store a lot of sensitive data, such as contact details, holiday snaps, important correspondence and private e-mails. Many people are scared by the thought that their computer could fall into the wrong hands. Computrace Agent from the U.S. company Absolute Software significantly increases the chance that a stolen laptop will be recovered. Installed on the computer, Computrace Agent maintains daily contact with Absolute Software’s monitoring centers around the world. This close contact makes it possible to obtain specific details, such as the physical location of the stolen laptop and any activities that occur post-theft. Absolute Software works closely with local police agencies, providing them with the information they need to help recover the stolen property and catch the thief.

Absolute Software / brainworks

Staying in control with social media monitoring

An innovation originally intended for private communication is now an attractive option for companies, too. The vast majority of businesses now use social medial platforms such as Facebook, Xing, Twitter and YouTube for marketing purposes. The Dresden-based company Social Media Evolution (SME) is exhibiting its social media monitoring tool which enables businesses to keep a check on exactly when their company and products have been talked about on social networks, which platform has been used and how they have been rated.

Social Media Evolution

Talk to your PC more — Voice operated controls make it happen

Afinion is taking the project management tool Microsoft Project to a whole new level with its latest offering – ProVokale. This low-cost software enhancement provides the world’s first voice-operated project management solution. ProVokale allows users to issue key commands to manage their project data using nothing but their own voice. Users simply say what they want to do instead of having to click their way through endless menus or type instructions on keyboards. This voice input option makes even complex commands far easier to issue. As a result, project managers will be able to look after their schedule quickly and efficiently.


Netviewer shows how to hold the perfect web conference

Visual real-time communication is the latest must-have technology. Web conference solutions enable Internet users to share screen views. As a result, they are able to work on documents together without sitting next to each other at the computer. Web conferences save time and money because there is less need for staff to travel. This also helps the environment and raises productivity. Karlsruhe-based Netviewer AG is showcasing its web conference technologies. More than 18,000 businesses – including Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom, Siemens and BMW – use Netviewer solutions. Lectures, examples and discussions will highlight the full range of cutting-edge web conference solutions.


State-of-the-art digital pen conquers the classroom

Interactive teaching technologies are still in short supply, but now students and teachers can benefit from BenQ’s innovative PointDraw technology. The IT manufacturer is exhibiting the MP780ST, a projector that beams texts and images onto any surface. The really clever feature is the digital pen that enables teachers to make freehand additions to lesson notes and subsequently process this information.

Thanks to an integrated USB reader, it is even possible to give presentations without a computer. The BenQ MP780ST offers a flexible alternative to permanent whiteboards. The package includes a short-distance projector, a PointDraw pen and the requisite interactive software. The great thing about the pen is that teachers and lecturers can write on the projection surface or make changes to a PowerPoint presentation from a distance of up to eight meters. An integrated button on the pen works in the same way as the left mouse button.


Security for biometrically recorded data

Gait, body size, handprint, facial structure – there are any number of biometric characteristics that can be recorded. However, archived biometric reference data is incredibly sensitive – and can even be irrelevant to actual identification. This makes it all the more important to ensure biometric data is protected efficiently. The Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD) in Darmstadt will be exhibiting Template Protection, a process that protects biometric data by preventing users from making inferences about biometric information.

Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD)

The motivational personal trainer for your living room

Everyone knows how important it is to get enough exercise and keep fit. The ideal thing, of course, would be for personal trainers always to be on hand to ensure that exercises are geared to the user’s needs and are performed correctly. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) in Erlangen are presenting an electronic fitness trainer that, in addition to motivating users, also keeps a close eye on the exercises they perform. The Fitness Assistant takes the form of a sensor suit that records movements and transmits the results to a computer or smartphone where the data is analyzed.

Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS)

Practical, light and reliable: The new slate tablet PC from Fujitsu

Slate tablet PCs are very practical devices thanks to their compact and lightweight design. They fit easily in your pocket and even allow you to work for long periods standing up. Also, you can pop it in a docking station and expand your slate tablet PC with a keyboard, printer, mouse and disk drive. Fujitsu will be presenting a slate tablet PC primarily aimed at business customers. It has a touchscreen as well as a camera on the front and one on the back for scanning barcodes or holding video conferences. And there’s no need to worry about security because this device has an integrated fingerprint scanner too.


Scavenger hunts in the 21st century

Scavenger hunts have long since arrived in the new millennium – in the form of geocaching. The University of Osnabrück will be presenting a position-based smartphone game. Students have developed this app for smartphones with the Android operating system and iPhones. The game uses all the technologies available with the latest smartphone generation, such as GPS, compass, position sensors, camera, Internet connection and the OpenGL graphic interface. What really sets this game apart is that player reactions in the real world can be combined with elements from the virtual world. For example, a treasure can be integrated into a real camera image.

University of Osnabrück

Security for biometrically recorded data

Gait, body size, handprint, facial structure – there are any number of biometric characteristics that can be recorded. However, archived biometric reference data is incredibly sensitive – and can even be irrelevant to actual identification. This makes it all the more important to ensure biometric data is protected efficiently. During CeBIT 2011, the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD) in Darmstadt will be exhibiting Template Protection, a process that protects biometric data by preventing users from making inferences about biometric information.

Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD)

Mirror mirror on the wall…

Ladies confront no shortage of choice: To go with the red or pink lipstick, eye shadow with a pearl effect or just mascara and a little eyeliner? And which shade of powder or foundation best suits  skin tone? Questions upon questions that show it is not always easy to find the make-up best suited to a particular type. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken will be on hand to help. They have developed a program that selects make-up to suit the photograph of a face and shows the results on screen. It uses a database of made-up faces to generate suggestions to bring out the best in eyes, lips and skin color. The computer is said to recommend make-up designed to complement different facial features because, as we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder…

Max Planck Institut für Informatik MPII

My chip and I — new range of ID cards

The new electronic ID card stores data on a chip, which makes it Internet-compatible. This opens up new opportunities but also creates security risks. With this in mind, IT security specialist KOBIL is unveiling its new range of ID cards. KOBIL PA enables contact-free communication thanks to state-of-the-art chip card technologies. The electronic card and the new KOBIL products, which the company has developed in collaboration with its subsidiary FlexSecure GmbH, open up a whole host of applications including access control, time recording, eGovernment and patient admissions.


My robot will be deputizing for me today

The new Jazz robot series from the French manufacturer Gostai will be on show. Europe’s No. 1 provider of service robots and AI solutions will be demonstrating what makes its mini robots stand out from the crowd. Standing just one meter tall, these mobile machines are equipped with a camera and connected to the Internet via WLAN, enabling them, for example, to stand in at a meeting for an employee who is off sick or to act as the eyes of a boss who is based in Paris but wants to inspect a construction site in New York. The secret behind these technical all-rounders is telepresence. With the ability to work at night, these robots are also a real asset to security teams. Prices for a Jazz robot start at € 7,900.


No chance for cyber criminals

The modern world offers criminals previously undreamt-of possibilities such as the theft and misuse of data, both of which can hit the affected companies hard. Trend Micro provides innovative support for anyone wishing to protect themselves against cyber criminals. Based in southern Germany, the company ensures the risk-free exchange of digital data. Trend Micro has applied for a patent for its new security technology. This solution keeps the data encryption process separate from management of the associated data keys. If online criminals do succeed in obtaining data despite all the security precautions, it is useless to them.

Trend Micro

No more care homes – innovative technology helps the elderly with everyday tasks

The term “ambient assisted living” may not exactly roll off the tongue, but assistance systems for healthy, independent living are a real boon. Cutting-edge technologies will help the elderly and enable them to stay in their familiar surroundings for as long as possible. The IT industry urgently needs to provide solutions to the challenges of demographic change. By 2035, Germany’s population will be one of the oldest in the world. More than half of its citizens will be over 50. CeBIT lab, Hall 9, and CeBIT Sports & Health , Hall 19.

No need to delete data — STRATO has it covered!

It’s a familiar story. Sooner or later, you have to delete photos, texts and videos from your home computer due to a lack of memory space. STRATO’s HiDrive online hard disk solves this problem. STRATO will be unveiling a new additional function. HiDrive users can now invite friends to store photos or videos of their last vacation together on their HiDrive. This makes it easy for STRATO customers to share large files without clogging up their inboxes.


The new ultra-secure USB stick

USB sticks don’t have to constitute a security risk. ProSoft has launched the “DataTraveler Vault Privacy – Managed” integrated encryption hardware from Kingstons. Kingstons is one of the world’s largest providers of memory devices and ProSoft acts as distributor. The new data safe protects information using powerful 256 bit AES encryption technology and only allows access to data after a password has been entered. A major plus is that the password rules can be defined centrally. For example, a password can be made to expire automatically after a certain number of days or a certain number of logins. The composition of the password can also be defined.


White IT helps in the fight against child pornography

Pedophiles who use the World Wide Web to spread child pornography must be stopped, but the Internet’s supranational structure hampers effective prosecution. The White IT alliance of Lower Saxony’s Ministry of the Interior and Sport is presenting strategies to tackle online child pornography effectively, demonstrating that measures need to go beyond blocking the relevant websites. A holistic strategy for fighting child pornography is required to ensure prevention and victim protection. Legal, technical and political solutions need to be combined.

White IT

Women in agriculture — Leave their tractors to attend CeBIT

Women in agriculture may live rurally, but they are certainly not behind the times. This is a particularly attractive proposition for women living in rural areas with an interest in IT. As part of a model project sponsored by the German government and the European Social Fund, many women have received training in IT and the Internet with a view to acting as IT specialists for other women based in the countryside. The training includes basic tips on the monitor and mouse, skills in PC-based association management and user training for specific programs (www.it-landfrau.de). NLV members can get the free trade fair tickets from their local association branches.

Niedersächsische LandFrauenverband Hannover (NLV).

Paperwork getting on your nerves? ALPHA COM will do your filing for you!

At CeBIT 2011, ALPHA COM is demonstrating that outsourcing of document management now involves much more than simple scanning. The Hamburg-based company is exhibiting various service concepts, for example to significantly reduce doctors’ day-to-day workload. The ALPHA COM portfolio ranges from customer service support and electronic personnel files to automated purchase invoice processing. For 30 years now, the service company and systems house has been providing solutions for the photo-optical and content-based storage of documents, data and drawings. The company has more than 600 employees at ten sites in Germany.


Retro look with high-tech features

There’s good news for frequent phone users who prefer the good old traditional telephone from the 1960s to the latest smartphone. It’s back – the bright orange phone with dial that was once found in virtually every home. Cellphone manufacturer Sagem has relaunched the model under the name “Grundig Sixty” -but with great-looking high-tech features. Two touch-sensitive keys are used to navigate through the menu of the DECT phone with integrated answering machine. The numbers dialed are displayed in luminous white against a black background. 13 LEDs produce light effects when dialing. The cordless phone sits on the cradle just like the old fixed line phones.


Robust cases and bags — Innovative technology needs the right packaging

It goes without saying that everything at CeBIT 2011 revolves primarily around bits, bytes and innovative technologies, such as new smartphones and tablet computers. However, this all requires the right packaging. It’s no good having high-tech products if they aren’t protected and can’t be transported safely. Parat from Remscheid has a whole range of suitable solutions and will be displaying its wares at the fair this year. These include special notebook carts, cases and bags to keep important and expensive devices safe and sound. Parat will also be presenting cases made of thick-walled polypropylene, which are virtually indestructible. All Parapro cases are 100% waterproof, dustproof and airtight. These special cases are designed so they can be stacked without slipping.


Bye-bye to waste paper

Thanks to eID, data can now be sent securely to authorities. eID stands for the electronic identity of citizens, as stored on the new German identity card. Intelligent eID forms are far easier for applicants to fill out and reduce the amount of administration work. Citeq – IT service provider to the local authorities of Münster, Germany – is exhibiting eID forms from the cloud. Local authorities can use these new forms without having to first put in place the IT processes otherwise required for online data transfer. As a result, Citeq’s solution could bring online forms into far broader use.


Avoiding prying ears — SecuVOICE makes BlackBerrys secure

Secusmart is a leading supplier of secure mobile voice and data communication solutions. At CeBIT 2011, it is exhibiting a product for smartphones from BlackBerry and Nokia that is being launched this summer. SecuVOICE is based on the tried-and-tested Secusmart Security Card, which reliably protects phones against hacking and guards against “man-in-the-middle” attacks, whereby a third party connects in between two callers without their knowledge.

The new SecuVOICE solution supports BlackBerry smartphones from version OS 5.0 and, in conjunction with the Secusmart Security Card, provides a secure connection to Nokia cellphones. The fact that the Secusmart Security Card has been used by the federal authorities and major listed companies in Germany since the end of 2009 is persuasive proof of this system’s quality.


Low-cost surfing on your smartphone – wherever you are

People are increasingly leading their virtual lives through their smartphone instead of the office or home computer. To keep mobile surfing, e-mailing and networking costs down, Deutsche Telekom is introducing two highly competitive flat-rate data tariffs for its prepaid cellphone customers. There are two options: The “Xtra Handy DayFlat” tariff is ideal for anyone who uses their smartphone to access the Internet only occasionally. And the “Xtra Handy Flat” tariff is intended for people who surf and send e-mails on the move more often.


Indian Entrepreneur to get first “”Leader in the Digital Age Award”

Vineet Nayar, the first ever recipient of the LIDA Award, will be presented with his award at CeBIT 2011. Nayer is CEO of the global engineering and IT company HCL Technologies, based in Delhi (India).  The “Leader in the Digital Age Award” is being presented for the first time. A panel of experts led by Lower Saxony’s Minister for Economics Jörg Bode declared Nayer the winner. He pioneered the revolutionary corporate philosophy of “employees first, customer second”, which recognizes employees as the most important capital a company has.

Magical protection from viruses

Anti-virus software house ESET is once more unveiling brand new products at this year’s CeBIT. And who better to showcase the new anti-virus software than renowned Berlin magician and presenter Christian de la Motte, who will of course be bringing his own tricks, humor and personality to proceedings. He will also be showing users how they can keep their computer or network even safer, without having to blow the bank. New to the ESET portfolio is ESET NOD32 Antivirus Home for LINUX desktops. And ESET Mobile Security for cellphones will soon also be available for the Android operating system. What’s more, visitors to CeBIT 2011 will be among the first to get a closer look at the new version 5 of ESET’s flagship ESET NOD32 anti-virus software and ESET Smart Security.


Penetrating the data jungle

At large companies, it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain an overview of the huge volumes of data spread across various storage media and to avoid breaking the link between these. ConWeaver GmbH – a spin-off of the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD) in Darmstadt – is to demonstrate how the networking of a company’s entire information landscape can be both customized and intuitive. Data can be accessed quickly and easily from all employees’ workstations.

ConWeaver GmbH

Computer games acting as therapists and private tutors

Five computer games have been nominated for the Serious Games Award 2011, including “Winterfest”, an educational game developed by Fraunhofer researchers to help people with reading problems, and “Zappelix zaubert”, a game of skill created by Dr. Helmut Bonney for use in ADHS therapy. The winner will be crowned on 4 March. The other nominees are “Universum der Ozeane”, an interactive application from ZDF that enables users to explore underwater worlds, the historical adventure “Generation Zero” from Reality Twist GmbH and the educational math software “Fragenbär: Richtig Mathe lernen, Eisalarm auf Plumitopia” from Spielend Lernen Verlag. The award comes with a total prize fund of EUR 22,500 and is organized by nordmedia.

Serious Games Award

Fighting bacteria —New technology helps prevent epidemics

As a result of globalization and climate change, infectious diseases can now spread faster than before. This threat needs to be countered. A team of scientists at Leibniz Universität Hannover’s L3S Research Center is currently developing “Medical EcoSystem – Personalized Event-based Surveillance”, an early-warning system for infectious diseases. The Medical EcoSystem scans texts from Internet forums, online networks, blogs, and radio and TV broadcasts for signs of clusters of infectious diseases. This data is then passed on to health organizations such as the Robert Koch Institute for verification.


Eco mouse helps the environment

Everyone knows how much environmental pollution is caused by technical garbage, mostly metals and plastics. But it doesn’t have to be this way, as Fujitsu is showing with its biodegradable computer mouse. The M440 Eco is made from renewable materials – including the lignin-based plastic substitute Arboform and the cellulose acetate Biograde – and is therefore 100 percent recyclable. The only conventional thing about the M440 Eco is its standard USB connection to the computer.


Free entry to CeBIT 2011? No problem with the new “Perso”!

Forget VIPs, now is the time for eIDs! The new German identity card (Perso) has an intelligent core that includes our electronic identity (eID). It will be making its first major public debut at CeBIT 2011, where visitors with the new identity card will be admitted free of charge. To open the gate to the world’s most important event for the digital industry, all visitors have to do is activate the online function on their chip card. Inside, numerous IT companies will be on hand to highlight the whole range of potential applications that await eID in the future.

Faster, more complex, greater networking — The rise of the digital world

It sounds like the perfect scenario for the modern world – a planet where everyone is networked, where everyone has access to the information and data they need within seconds, and where business processes, commerce, logistics, transport and finances are linked via smart networks. IBM will be presenting its ideas for a “smart planet”, demonstrating how work processes and environments can be optimized and how IT infrastructures can be adapted to meet ever-changing requirements. This is the only way to filter out efficient, reliable data from the deluge of information available today and to exploit the benefits of the “smart planet” to the full.


New charger that uses no energy in standby mode

The Idapt i1 Eco is a green universal charger. This new universal charger from Spanish manufacturer Idapt, an expert in innovative adapters, is not only extremely versatile, but also looks good. And unlike most chargers, the idapt uses no electricity in standby mode. The idapt i1 Eco will be making its European debut at CeBIT 2011. Another advantage of the universal charger is that it can be plugged into the mains socket at home or into your vehicle to draw energy from the onboard network. And it is not only eco-friendly in the way it works. According to the manufacturer, the entire production process is environmentally friendly, with individual components, for example, being are made of recyclable materials.


Drowning in data? MyMedia has the answer

Users of the World Wide Web can easily lose their way. The objective of the award-winning European project MyMedia is to help consumers get their bearings when confronted by masses of multimedia information. MyMedia develops recommendation systems for multimedia applications such as web TV/radio and online shopping. The system suggests new and potentially interesting content based on user histories. Hildesheim University is one of the partners involved in the project.


Controlling network storage anytime and anywhere with the iPhone

On a business trip, in the car or just out and about – from now on, iPhone users can monitor their own network attached storage (NAS) on their cell phones. There is now no need to boot up a computer to do this as Apple has released the new Thecus Dashboard 2.0. The application will be demonstrated at CeBIT 2011 and will be available as a free download from Apple’s App Store. Convenient and more user-friendly than ever before, iPhone users can now monitor the status of their NAS and access information stored on their home or office network via their phones.


Cybersport championships — Grand final for eSport champions

It is equivalent to the Champions League in soccer, but takes place in the virtual world of computer games rather than on real grass. You can be there as the world’s best professional gamers go head-to-head at the Intel Extreme Masters. The grand final will be taking place at CeBIT 2011. On 5 March, eSport champions from Europe, Asia and America will be doing battle at the Intel stand. Professionals from the Electronic Sports League, which was founded in 1997, will be pitting their wits against one another in PC games such as Counter-Strike, Starcraft 2 and Quake Live for total prize money of 400,000 U.S. dollars.

Intel Extreme Masters

A hearing and thinking pen

Anyone wanting to make a note of something today turns either to pen and paper or to a computer mouse and keyboard. However, the Echo smartpen from U.S. manufacturer Livescribe combines the best of both worlds. In addition to writing and transferring what has been written to the computer as a text document via a USB stick, it can also see and hear. Livescribe will be demonstrating the benefits of its smartpen, particularly for people who spend a lot of time taking notes at conferences. Users write on special paper printed with coordinate systems taking the form of small, inconspicuous dots. This way, the pen recognizes what is written and can convert it into a text document on a computer. The pen is also fitted with a microphone to record conversations. As a result, Livescribe’s smartpen is able to combine the written and spoken word, so that clicking on a word makes the device jump to the correct point in the recording.


Climate protection cuts costs — From the product planning phase onwards

Environmental sustainability is now a stamp of quality for companies. This potential ought to be harnessed to greater effect in the IT industry, too. Environmental management information systems (EMIS) could be put to much better use in future by integrating them into the product life cycle as early as the planning phase. ertemis, or the European Research and Transfer Network for Environmental Management Information Systems, has set out to do just this. ertemis wants to speed up the transfer of knowledge in this field and harness the considerable potential that exists for conserving materials and energy and ultimately cutting costs. It also has the support of the University of Oldenburg.


Cellphone check-in at tomorrow’s SmartAirports

Frequent flyers should take note. A research team from the German state of Lower Saxony is working hard to perfect the SmartAirport of the future, revolutionizing check-in processes for passengers and their baggage. The idea behind the model is for travelers to check in via cellphone and be allocated a slot for handing over their baggage. The major challenge for the system, which is based on three research projects at the NTH (Niedersachsen Institutes of Technology) School for IT Ecosystems, is to ensure that passengers check in both themselves and their baggage on time.

“Innovation Lower Saxony” pavilion

Anyone for tennis?

Do you fancy a game of table tennis against a robot or playing golf on a virtual ergometer – in the middle of CeBIT 2011? You can at Sports & Health. This year, Hall 19 is being transformed into a huge fitness studio to provide all manner of activities for visitors to try out. Key players include Barmer GEK, Stiftung Deutsche Sporthilfe and the media partners ZDF and Bild am Sonntag. Germany’s nationwide health initiative “Deutschland bewegt sich!” will be presenting an active program on a huge showtruck with the help of a few famous faces, including long jumper Heike Drechsler.

Sports & Health

An eye in the sky — The new Quadrocopter reveals all

Even in the 21st Century, mankind is often defenseless against natural disasters. However, the help given to victims is steadily improving. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) are exhibiting an unmanned mini helicopter. This new development will enable users to inspect disaster-stricken regions from the air using cameras and infrared sensors. And the Quadrocopter’s reconnaissance flights will provide answers to crucial questions – Where is the source of the fire? Where could people be trapped? Where are toxic gases coming from? The device transmits data and images to a ground station in real time via a video downlink. Information can then be transferred directly to rescue teams.

Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB)

A smart room that thinks for itself

The SmartControlRoom has the ability to think for itself and helps tackle natural disasters, plan major events and protect buildings against terrorists. It has a large video wall, video cameras on all the walls and microphones. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) are presenting their innovation. The SmartControlRoom responds to the people in the room. Information from incident rooms is displayed on the large video wall, which is controlled by gesture and voice recognition. Simply pointing a figure brings up maps in various scales, the current positions of the teams deployed, infrared shots or videos.

Fraunhofer-Institut für Optronik, Systemtechnik und Bildauswertung (IOSB)

A pleasure to (be)hold — An android smartphone with no edges or corners

Android smartphones are definitely growing in popularity. Acer is showcasing a model with rounded edges that fits perfectly into the palm of your hand and also takes top-quality videos and photos. The Liquid MT is powered by an 800-megahertz Qualcomm processor and runs on the Android 2.2 operating system. In addition to a user-friendly 3.6-inch touchscreen, Acer’s Liquid MT also incorporates Bluetooth, a media player and a browser with flash support. The digital camera takes pictures with a resolution of five megapixels and shoots videos in HD quality. What’s more, transferring data from the Liquid MT to computers or flatscreen TVs couldn’t be easier.


A PC for monitoring the home

Did I turn off the stove? Did I leave the bathroom window open? And did I really lock the door? Everyone asks themselves these kinds of agonizing questions just as they’re on the freeway heading off on their vacation. But in the networked home of the future, such worries will be a thing of the past. The Berlin-based Connected Living innovation center will be presenting its concepts for ultra-modern living at the special Smart Home show. In homes of the future, all appliances, regardless of manufacturer, will be networked and centrally controlled. And their occupants, with utmost convenience whilst out and about, will be able to check on their cell phones whether they did actually lock the front door and switch off the stove.

Berlin Innovation Center Connected Living

Is man or machine more intelligent?

IBM’s new supercomputer Watson has added a new dimension to this almost philosophical debate. For the first time, a computer has succeeded in beating the very best contestants in America’s general knowledge quiz show Jeopardy. IBM is bringing its very own mastermind to CeBIT 2011. Watson uses a semantic search engine to find relevant data and is able to decipher puns, hidden meanings, irony and the like that feature in the show. Until now, the human brain has had the edge here. Anyone who is interested in seeing what Watson – named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson – looks like and how it works can do so at CeBIT. IBM is exhibiting the supercomputer, which matches the computing power of around 7,500 well-equipped computers, in Hall 2.


Green traffic logistics

The large number of trucks traveling on highways each day do nothing to promote the cause of climate protection. This is where “green logistics” comes in – in other words, helping contain emissions by making transportation solutions greener and more environmentally friendly. PTV AG will be demonstrating exactly how this works at CeBIT 2011. The Karlsruhe-based company’s xServers use intelligent software solutions to help optimize trips and routes, make HGV transportation more efficient and avoid empty runs.


Help – my house is smarter than me

The house of the future will contain as many as 50 technical devices that communicate with each other. All to organize and facilitate the day-to-day life of its inhabitants. The association will be presenting intelligent home networking solutions in the Smart Home display area. These include washing machines that can evaluate electricity tariffs and start the wash cycle at the cheapest point, lights that automatically switch themselves on when it gets dark and CD recorders that remember family members’ favorite songs.

Smart Home display area

High end from Acer — New multimedia notebooks

Movie fans who don’t want to be limited to either the movie theater or their home TV will love the new “Aspire Ethos” notebooks from Acer, which are on show. The “Aspire Ethos” series is aimed squarely at entertainment fans. Since the manufacturer has chosen to build its new line with high-quality hardware, the new notebooks boast “Core i5” and “Core i3” Intel processors. This high-spec configuration is further enhanced by a hard disk with a storage capacity of up to 1.5 terabytes. And the 21.5 inch full HD 1920×1080 pixel display brings your favorite high-resolution movies to life. These luxury multimedia centers deliver the ultimate home theater experience with a realistic picture, professional sound and cutting-edge controls.


In deep water? Help is on hand with a new unmanned submarine

In the wake of natural disasters, information is needed as quickly as possible. Has a pipeline been damaged? Does the dam show any evidence of cracks? Is the port facility still in good working order? An unmanned mini underwater vehicle can provide answers to these questions and many more. The Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) has developed the mini submarine that can dive down to 6,000 meters. Mobile robots perform similar tasks on land, inspecting buildings and tunnels and recovering people and objects at risk.

The Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB)

Intelligent shopping in the supermarket of the future

Things are changing in the supermarket, too. In the future, there will be no more price tickets on shelves that have to be renewed and changed around only to slide out of place or fall off. The plastic price tags will be replaced with high-tech displays, while intelligent assistance systems will provide support for employees and customers alike. The German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) will be unveiling the latest developments from its innovative retail laboratory.

One such example is an instrumented series of shelves that recognizes all the different kinds of fruit and vegetables. Screens then display the type, origin, grade and price of the products and give tips on how to use them. If the shelves are changed around, the displays adjust automatically. Also on display will be the RFID gate that replaces the cash desk. This clever system automatically recognizes the products in a shopping cart. The next logical step is that shoppers in the future will be able to pay for their shopping with a single fingerprint.

German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence

Innovation in Lower Saxony — The host region flexes its muscles

The world of IT is coming to Lower Saxony and so it is only right that the host region should take to the floor. Using three stands at CeBIT 2011, the region’s representatives will provide an insight into some truly fascinating areas of IT. In Hall 9, the “Innovation Lower Saxony” stand will be showcasing all the latest developments from universities, research institutes and Transferstellen – organizations that help bridge the gap between theory and practical application. Meanwhile, in Hall 7, ingenious telematics solutions for vehicles, aircraft and logistics will take center stage. Finally, visitors to the “Mittelstand im Mittelpunkt” (SMEs in focus) exhibition in Hall 6 can find out more about services and products from small and medium-sized enterprises based in Lower Saxony.

“Innovation Lower Saxony”

IT and fun in one: “Loaded with Music” gets the party started

It’s not just IT specialists who can boost their career at CeBIT 2011 – new bands can also take center stage. The IT music fair “CeBIT sounds!” has joined forces with the Volkswagen Sound Foundation to present the “Loaded with Music @ CeBIT sounds!” band contest. The four best new bands will be given the opportunity to play live on the CeBIT sounds! stage. Famous faces such as Cassandra Steen, the former Glashaus singer, and H-Blockx will also be getting the party started at CeBIT. The winning band will be announced on Saturday on the last day of the fair. In addition to performing live at CeBIT sounds!, the winning band will also be given the chance to perform at the Volkswagen Sound Foundation’s Bandfactory in the fall.

“Loaded with Music @ CeBIT sounds!”

Just dive in: New submersible to explore the deep sea

Did you know that scientists know less about the deep sea than they do about the moon? But that is all set to change soon thanks to the new Tietek Demonstrator from the Fraunhofer organization. Four Fraunhofer Institutes have collaborated to develop the first fully autonomous underwater vehicle for deep sea use. Fraunhofer will be presenting their revolutionary underwater vessel. The submersible will make it easier to do things like check and repair underwater infrastructures such as offshore wind turbines and oil rigs. The Tietek will also make it easier to search for precious raw materials deep beneath the ocean surface.

Fraunhofer Gesellschaft

Just in time: CeBIT app is out now

In addition to the CeBIT website that is optimized for mobile terminals, Deutsche Messe has now launched an app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. At around 20 MB, the CeBIT app requires a certain amount of storage space but, in return, it provides a wealth of information and services covering all aspects of CeBIT 2011. Officially known as CeBIT2go, the app facilitates fast access to all exhibitors, products and the trade fair program. The app is ideal for visitors, as it simplifies the search for manufacturers on-site by providing important information such as the hall or stand number and contact details. It also provides access to Twitter and Facebook. Visitors can download the CeBIT app from itunes.apple.com/de/app/cebit2go. An Android app (version 2.2) is also available.

Limitless possibilities — the Playstation cellphone from Sony Ericsson

There’s good news for gaming fans who like to pursue their hobby on the move. Xperia Play from Sony Ericsson, which will be on display in Planet Reseller at CeBIT 2011, is the first Playstation-certified smartphone. It promises a real gaming experience – with excellent stereo sound. Xperia Play has the control buttons found on a Playstation, a 4″ touchscreen display, stereo sound, multiplayer functionality and a 5-megapixel camera. It is based on the Android operating system. Thanks to image optimization software developed by Sony for TV sets, Xperia Play delivers excellent picture quality. In addition to simple touch operation, Xperia Play also has four buttons at the front that gamers can use to start a search or return to the main menu, for example.

Sony Ericsson

Look me in the eye!

Successful communication needs eye contact. However, videoconference participants tend to be recorded by a camera positioned above the on-screen picture of their counterpart – and their eyes never meet. But the Berlin-based Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute is bringing a solution to CeBIT 2011. The “Virtual Eye Contact Engine” is a video conferencing system that creates high-resolution 3D models of conference participants in real time, thereby delivering reassuring eye contact throughout meetings.

Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute

Channel hopping made easy — Digital TV guide provides a clear overview

The lines separating Internet and TV are becoming increasingly blurred. Flatscreens are appearing in more and more living rooms and taking on the role of multimedia terminals – while TV users have to pick their way through a huge mass of channels and programs. Help is at hand though, thanks to the hybrid receiver and TV portal specialists at VideoWeb, which is based in Karlsruhe, Germany. VideoWeb is bringing the first comprehensive hybrid and web-based electronic program guide in Germany to CeBIT 2011.

VideoWeb customers receive the new digital TV magazine free of charge on their HD televisions. However, other TV fans with HD-capable sets can also take advantage of the new hybrid EPG (electronic program guide). What makes this service different is that it gathers its data from the Internet, and not from a satellite. In future, program information will be much more detailed, will include pictures – and will be available three weeks in advance instead of just one.


Controlling network storage — Anytime and anywhere with the iPhone

On a business trip, in the car or just out and about – from now on, iPhone users can monitor their own network attached storage (NAS) on their cell phones. There is now no need to boot up a computer to do this as Apple has released the new Thecus Dashboard 2.0. The application will be available as a free download from Apple’s App Store. Convenient and more user-friendly than ever before, iPhone users can now monitor the status of their NAS and access information stored on their home or office network via their phones.


Cool and foldable: The new laptops and tablet PCs from Asus

Anyone who works a lot with computers knows how much strain it puts on the wrists. This is where the new Lamborghini VX7 laptop from Asus promises rapid relief as it supports the wrists with a padded leather wrist rest. The Taiwanese company will be exhibiting more laptops packed with special features against the backdrop of Lamborghini cars. An example is the Eee Pad Slider, a modern tablet PC that folds up neatly. The Slider also has a slide-out keyboard, two cameras and a touch-sensitive 10-inch screen.


Cubeware gets you on the move

Today, mobility – and therefore speed – count for everything. Business intelligence specialist Cubeware from Rosenheim, Germany, is bringing a first to CeBIT 2011, and will be showing how reports and dashboards created with Cubeware can be transferred to mobile devices for interactive data analysis. This new functionality is based on Cubeware’s Mobile Service Architecture, which enables users to work with smartphones and tablets from any supplier – from Apple and Blackberry to HTC, Palm and Microsoft. Cubeware can already be used as a Windows client or as a web client, for example with the Safari browser on iPads. In the future, reports and dashboards will also be available via web services and will be suitable for use with a whole range of apps.


Early-warning systems — Last-minute rescue

Early-warning systems are extremely important in case of disasters such as floods, industrial accidents or tsunamis. It is vital that the warnings reach people in the affected areas before it is too late. Fraunhofer ISST (Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering) will be presenting a new generation of early-warning technology. Imagine the scene: You are at home and a major industrial accident occurs nearby. Toxic gases escape, sparking fires that threaten to spread to neighboring areas. Warnings are broadcast immediately on television and text messages are sent to the cellphones of nearby residents explaining how they can protect themselves. The new multi-channel and multi-hazard technologies from Fraunhofer ISST ensure that the warnings reach people in all walks of life – within seconds.

Fraunhofer Institute for Software and Systems Engineering (ISST)

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