Internet, wireless drive top themes for CeBIT '01

It's the 15th year that CeBIT -- officially "Welt-Centrum für Büro-, Informations- und Kommunikationstechnik," or World Centre for Office, Information and Communication Technology -- is taking place as an independent fair. The expo grew out of the hundreds of IT and telecommunications exhibitors that were taking up an increasingly large chunk of the annual Hanover Trade Fair, and was launched as a separate event in March 1986.

This year a total of 8,015 exhibitors -- up from 7,892 last year -- will fill over 420,000 square meters of floor space.

A random sampling of new and recent products that exhibitors will be plugging at CeBIT:

- Fuji Magnetics's DVD (digital versatile disc) RAM, which can store 4.7GB of data on a single-sided and 9.4GB on a double-sided version

- Lucent Technologies's WaveStar high-capacity, all-optical router, which the company says offers more than 10TBbps of total switching capacity, or ten times the world's total Internet traffic

- Reima-Tutta Oy's Smart Shout, a wearable belt that integrates an adaptor, processor, speaker and microphone, for hands-free mobile communication

- Sanyo's IDC-1000Z iDshot digital disc camera, capable of 730MB of recording capacity; its 50mm magneto-optical disc can capture 120 minutes of movies or about 11,000 still images, the manufacturer says

- Spectronic's multimedia mobile phone, with built-in digital camera, Web browser, e-mail and fax functions

- Via Technologies's enhanced 750MHz Cyrix III processor, aimed at low-cost PCs

- Xircom Inc.'s GPRS (general packet radio service) wireless modems, offering wireless data download speeds of 53.6Kbps and transmit speeds of 26Kbps to 28Kbps

CeBIT has grown so much in recent years that the organisers plan to expand the fair by a day next year. CeBIT 2002 will run eight days, from Wednesday to Wednesday, Deutsche Messe said.

Information about CeBIT can be obtained via the Web site http://www.cebit.de/.

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