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Scenes from CeBIT: Robot sculptors, smart bikes, wheat fields, and more on show in Hannover

Germany's CeBIT trade show is one of the biggest dates in the enterprise technology calendar. Here's what going down in Hannover this year.
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By ZDNet Staff on
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1 of 10 ZDNet Staff/ZDNet

CeBIT started life over 30 years ago as part of the Hannover Fair trade show.

While it's stayed true to its enterprise tech roots, it was eventually spun off to become a standalone event.

Since then, it's seen speakers such as Bill Gates - launching Windows 95 - take to the stage. This year whistleblower Edward Snowden is due to make an appearance.

Image: CeBIT

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2 of 10 ZDNet Staff/ZDNet

CeBIT opened its doors on Sunday evening, with German chancellor Angela Merkel addressing delegates at the opening ceremony and calling for greater ties between Europe and China over technology.

The event, which is held in the Hannover Congress Centrum, will run until Thursday and over 200,000 visitors are expected.

Image: Deutsche Messe

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Alibaba CEO Jack Ma was also at the opening ceremony, using his keynote to demonstrate new technology to allow consumers to authenticate purchases using facial recognition.

Image: Deutsche Messe

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Over 4,000 companies are exhibiting in CeBIT's 20 or so separate halls and pavilions this year.

Exhibitors are grouped together in themes such as digital business, security, and networks.

Image: Deutsche Messe

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Among those exhibiting is Germany's SAP, whose stand features a display on how its software products can be used in agriculture - demonstrated with a real field of wheat.

Image: Deutsche Messe

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Deutsche Telekom, Germany's biggest telco, used its stand to show off an "intelligent bicycle", which comes equipped with a SIM card, motion sensors, and microcontrollers. The tech onboard is designed to help prevent the bike being stolen, or alert emergency services if its rider has been in an accident.

Image: Deutsche Messe

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Telco Vodafone Germany used CeBIT to announce its launch of VoLTE technology in the country, and talk up the carrier's interest in 5G.

Vodafone CEO Jens Schulte-Bockum discussed the next generation of mobile networks on stage with Vodafone chair of mobile communications systems at Dresden Technical University,  Professor Gerhard Fettweis.

Image: Deutsche Messe

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Chairman and CEO of Xiaomi Lun Lei used the show to reportedly reveal that the smartphone maker is planning to start selling its handsets in Europe - but didn't reveal a launch date.

Image: Deutsche Messe

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As well as more established names, CeBIT has a section dedicated to fledgling IT companies.

The Code_n section in Hall 16 showcases 50 promising tech startups from around the world, including a maker of "emotional social robots".

Image: Deutsche Messe

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With this year's Code_n being themed around the Internet of Things, the hall is playing home to Robochop, an installation that allows users to command a robot to fashion objects out of polystyrene blocks. Read more about how it works here.

Image: Deutsche Messe

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