LONDON—The Station is in Her Majesty's backyard today and tomorrow, meeting a few IT companies and doing some sightseeing. One of the highlights of the latter: visiting the Abbey Road studios in St. John's Wood, where the Beatles did their recording magic in the 1960s.
But we digress: We're here a few days ahead of CeBIT 2009, by far the biggest consumer IT show in Europe—although it also has a strong enterprise IT section.
CeBIT and a few other big events—including a huge machinery expo—are essentially the reason the German city of Hannover exists. Deutsche Messe, the organizer and promoter, is the biggest business in this city.
On this trip, we're also going to visit SeaNodes, the ultra-progressive virtualized storage company in Paris, and the Ferrari corporate data center facility near Bologna, Italy. We introduced SeaNodes to eWEEK readers in 2007.
The worldwide recession has taken its toll on the conference this year. Travel budgets have been trimmed. The number of exhibitors will be down by about 25 percent, organizers said.
About 4,300 firms from 69 countries will be on hand to display their wares, down from 5,845 companies in 2008, the hosts said. However, the organizers are not above putting a little spin on the whole thing.
"Given the depth of the world economic crisis, this number represents a success," Deutsche Messe board member Ernst Raue said in a press statement.
Of course, who's to say he's wrong?
Raue said some companies are returning after a long absence from the event, including Nokia Siemens Networks. There are some newbies; about 200 exhibitors are attending for the first time.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the conference's guest of honor and will open the event March 2. CeBIT ends March 8. California's new CIO will be speaking here, and yours truly will be covering it.