Tight security, the Chancellor, and a mechanical man

CeBIT: The German Chancellor is determined to strengthen his country's information society. But was he upstaged by Sony's new robot?

At the opening ceremony of CeBIT on Wednesday evening, the German chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, said that general economic conditions in his country were better  than a year ago  --  and that it is his government's duty to strengthen Germany as an "information society".

"Successes are already visible. But we want to have more and to become better still," Schroeder said.

Security is significantly tighter at this year's CeBIT compared to earlier years, following last week's terrorist attacks in Madrid. Regular show visitors have noticed a large increase in the number of police officers patrolling the Hannover show ground.

Chancellor Schroeder was joined on stage by Kunitake Ando, president and chief operating officer of Sony.

Ando told the opening ceremony that the show "marks the real start of the era of broadband convergence," and said that he believed that the technology would soon revolutionise the way people accessed and interacted with digital content.

Despite appearances from Schroeder and Ando at the opening ceremony, the show had already found its star turn. Sony has brought one of its QRIO robots to CeBIT, and the model was attracting plenty of attention during Wednesday. QRIO stole the show at Sony's press conference ahead of the Opening ceremony, when he told reporters that he was keen to visit Germany again.

"I've been working on my running and kicking, and I'm keen to play in the [Football] World Cup in 2006," QRIO told a press conference.