The giant CeBIT trade fair in Hanover, Germany has a higher New Zealand profile this year, with 15 local IT companies exhibiting and greater support from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise than in previous years.
The New Zealand presence includes Navman, Right Hemisphere, Animation Research and the newly created Supercomputing Centre in Wellington, headed by former Weta Digital CTO Scott Houston.
The local exhibitors are at CeBIT under the banner "New Zealand, New Thinking" and NZTE spokesman Mike Booker says the branding will give the New Zealand cluster "more critical mass."
Rod Drury, chief executive of enterprise email intelligence provider Aftermail, says the benefits of going to CeBIT as part of the New Zealand contingent include the chance to make a "first foray" outside the UK, Aftermail's main overseas base.
"We're ready for our next round of expansion and CeBIT will let us see what's happening in Europe beyond the UK and identify potential partners to work with."
The "New Zealand, New Thinking" umbrella is a good one, he says.
"New Zealand is one of the few countries where you can crystallise a number of companies into a single brand."
Aftermail is also looking at entering the US market and CeBIT will be "a test" before it does that, Drury says.
NZTE business services manager Hans Frauenlob says NZTE has committed approximately $500,000 to CeBIT, some of which has gone towards the pavilion that will house the NZ stands.
"[The pavilion] will be re-usable for other events."
He says the investment in CeBIT is worth it "because it's a unique opportunity to launch 'New Zealand, New Thinking,' as a brand.
In recent years, there's been talk that big, general IT trade shows such as CeBIT and Comdex are too broad and that the better option is to exhibit at smaller, niche shows, but Frauenlob says "there's a trade show for every vertical and sub-vertical" and that a big show like CeBIT is still worth exhibiting at.
CeBIT is on in Hanover, Germany this week, until March 16.