Early this week, the Centrum der Büro- und Informationstechnik (CeBIT) or Centre of Office and Information technology show, possibly the world’s largest expo for ICT industry, opened in the German city of Hannover presided over by the German Chancellor and Spanish Prime Minister.
The show started as part of the Hannover Messe (Hannover Fair) that began way back in 1947; started in part by the British government with the view to boosting the economic advancement of post-war Germany.
The CeBIT ICT expo, starting in 1986, has been run as a separate show reaching its peak in 2001 with 8,100 exhibitors and 840,000 visitors. Last, year partly due to the prevailing fears economic meltdown 4,229 exhibitors took part and 370,000 visitors.
In total, there are 4,157 companies from 68 countries taking part in the expo exhibiting their products or network solutions this year in the 27 different exhibition halls of which 200 are new this year.
In her opening remarks, Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted as saying that her government aimed to give 75 percent of German family access to advanced Internet links at the speed of 50 megabits per second by 2015.
“It’s important that we trigger more enthusiasm for engineering and mathematics. If people don’t feel it’s worth going into these areas, there’s no job waiting afterwards” she said.
“In certain parts of the technology industry, the mood is brightening, because the investment freeze from the past 18 months is just beginning to thaw. Particularly exciting this year will be the CeBIT sounds.
We are trying for the first time here to bring the music industry, musicians and IT companies together,” Hartwig Von Sass, CeBIT spokesman was quoted as saying.
In an effort to attract exhibitors, for the first time this year, the organizers Deutsche Messe AG partnered with Lufthansa to sell flight tickets discounted at 20 percent to foreign visitors.
The organizers also hired out prepackaged stands which meant that companies did not have to ship material display stands, reducing the costs of display by as much as 50 percent.
In fulfillment of Bill Gates’ description of an ultra-portable PC at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in 2005, interest was in Microsoft’s mini PC project, Origami.
Samsung showed off its first, book-sized computer the Q1 expected to cost about 1,000 Euros when on sale. The handheld computer has a 7-inch touchscreen and a 40 gigabyte hard drive.
It has an Intel Celeron processor, runs the tablet edition of Windows XP and uses Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to communicate.
The Q1 has a Bluetooth keyboard and a card that lets it use mobile phone networks. Samsung said the Q1 could do everything a regular PC could do. Q1 uses two modes: one involves using it as a small PC using Windows operating system and the second is a media device that allows users to watch video or listen to music irrespective of whether the operating system is tuned on.
Q1 also includes a digital media broadcasting receiver for TV programmes broadcast for mobile gadgets.
CeBIT has been synonymous with inventions and innovations with tens of thousands of patents registered each year. Perhaps more befitting because Germans are known for their inventions; Karl Benz designed and built the world’s first internal-combustion engine for the automobile in 1885,Werner von Braun invented the V-2 Missile 1936; Gottlieb Daimler invented an engine that allowed for a revolution in car design in 1885; Rudolf Diesel invented the diesel fueled internal combustion engine; Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the alcohol thermometer and the mercury thermometer in 1714; Edmund Germer invented a high pressure vapor lamp; Otto von Guericke discovered the nothing we call a vacuum; Johannes Gutenberg is best known for the printing machine that used movable type; the unit of frequency of a radio wave - one cycle per second - is named the hertz, in honor of Heinrich Hertz; Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel started the first kindergarten (School garden of children) in 1837; Konrad Zuse created the first freely programmable computer; he laboratory Bunsen burner was invented by Robert Wilhelm Bunsen in 1855; German chemist Felix Hoffmann rediscovered aspirin in 1899; X-rays were discovered in 1895 by Wilhelm Konrad von Roentgen; Paul Nipkow proposed and patented the first electromechanical television system in 1884; Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays; Germans Max Knoll and Ernst Ruska co-invented the electron microscope; Charles Proteus Steinmetz invented an alternating current motor; the first electric elevator was built by the German inventor Werner von Siemens in 1880; Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin developed the zeppelin; the rigid dirigible a lighter-than-air-vehicle and the list goes on and on.
Inventions and innovations are products of majorly two processes; the unwavering desire to solve a burning persistent issue and chance through continued utilization of an existing product or service.
There are many issue solutions and Rwandan youth and the-not-so-young have the potential to find solutions to these problems. What may be lacking is to challenge them to put their imagination to finding solutions.
Many Rwandans have made discoveries, inventions and innovations including computer programs but many keep these ideas and innovations to themselves for fear that other people will “steal” them and call them theirs.
Others do not know what to do with their ideas with peers telling them ‘such things’ have been done before. The government of Rwanda has done many things to help improve the lives of its citizens and it would be good if an Innovations and Inventions Show was organized at the national level for the Rwandans and later possibly foreigners to meet, patent and exhibit them.
It is from such shows that financing to turn ideas and dreams into products and services. It is in such shows also that partnerships of likeminded people are made.
Exhibitors in such shows should come from different fields and domains; professional and academic scientists, computer enthusiasts, audio and visual electronic equipment dealers, musician, fabricators, industrialists, architects and anyone with an innovation or invention to exhibit.
Initially, the show could be organized by the Ministries of Youth and Education in conjunction with Rwanda Development Board, Universities, Technical Colleges, Research Institutes and the National Bureau of Standards. Awards could be given out to be the best innovations or ideas based known criteria.
It might be interesting how much untapped talent and potential Rwandans have.
So much praise and recognition have been heaped on the known successful Rwandans; it is time to search and develop the unknown talent that is waiting to be discovered.