Embedded World 2008 Survival Guide

Feb. 21, 2008
The Electronic Design Europe team will be reporting again from Embedded World 2008 in Nuremberg. Our coverage will include video interviews with technologists exhibiting and demonstrating some of the most cutting-edge embedded electronic developments.

It’s an interesting coincidence for us in the business of modern B2B publications that printers and publishers have a long history in Nuremberg. Many of them worked with well-known artists of the day to produce books that were considered works of art.

Back in 1470, Anton Koberger opened Europe's first print shop in the city. In 1493, he published the Nuremberg Chronicles, also know as the World Chronicles (Schedelsche Weltchronik), an illustrated history of the world from creation to present day at that time. It was written in the local Franconian dialect by Hartmann Schedel and had illustrations by Michael Wohlgemuth, Wilhelm Pleydenwurff, and Albrecht Dürer.

Industrial heart

Undoubtedly, Nuremberg has many cultural and historic facets to it. For many people, the city is still associated with its traditional gingerbread (Lebkuchen) products, sausages, and handmade toys, along with the darker elements of Nazism.

But focusing on engineering expertise, did you know that the first pocket watches were made in Nuremberg in the 16th century. And, in the 19th century, the city became the industrial heart of Bavaria with companies such as Siemens and MAN establishing bases there. Nuremberg is still an important industrial centre with a strong standing in the markets of Central and Eastern Europe. Items manufactured in the area include electronic and electrical equipment, mechanical and optical products, motor vehicles, and printed materials.

But for the moment, let’s forget the immediate history of Nuremberg. Sure it was the location for the war crimes trial of some of the senior members of the Nazi party. And, it’s considered to be the city that Hitler declared as the natural centre for his fascist movement. But, Nuremberg has a much richer tapestry than that.

Archaeologists confirmed the existence of settlers in the area from the prehistoric age onward. However, it was not until 1050 that Emperor Henry III first logged Nourenberc (rocky mountain) in an official document.

For more on the history of Nuremberg, click here.

On a lighter note, how many people know Nuremberg as one of the great traditional toy centres of the world, and that it plays host annually to the International Toy Fair? And let’s not forget the lovely market square where every year Nuremberg stages a superb Christmas (Christkindlesmarkt) market.

Have a look at this site.

Rebuilt to original building plans

Nuremberg did have a pretty bad time in World War II. Over 90 percent of the historic Old Town was destroyed and, after Dresden, this was the German City that was most heavily bombed. But walk through the old part of the city today and you would believe that you are strolling through a 13th century town. All credit to the city of Nuremberg. They rebuilt the old town to exactly the same architectural designs of the original buildings and it really does look authentic.

Embedded World 2008

So what’s this show all about? Well you can expect to see technology that will span the following areas:

* New embedded modules * Embedded design process/tools and debugging * Embedded operating systems/application software * Software development, quality, and security * Wired and wireless communication * Bus systems in embedded applications * Embedded Internet/Internet security * Interesting embedded applications * Real-time systems and applications * Automotive and control applications * Recon?gurable systems * Application reports

Being there means getting there

For the overseas visito,r Nuremberg isn’t as accessible as its exhibition rival city Munich. Few flights go direct. An exception for English visitors is Air Berlin, which flies direct into Nuremberg from London Stansted. It’s good and it’s cheap. For long-haul travelers, the best bet is to either fly to Frankfurt and then transfer to another short flight to Nuremberg or take the high-speed train. Alternatively, fly into Munich and then get the high-speed train from there.

My recommendation is to fly into Frankfurt. The train station is part of the airport complex. Get into Frankfurt at about 10.00am, get over to the train station at about 11.30am, and enjoy a high-speed ride on the ICE to Nuremberg. It takes about 1.5 hours. Use the buffet car. The food is pretty good and you can sit back, relax, and consume as the train zaps you through the Bavarian countryside at over 200KMP…Prost!

For travel details, click here.

Now you are in Nuremberg

For exhibition visitors, my standard advice always applies about hotel accommodation. Do not stay near the exhibition. Forget ideas of morning efficiency and time pressures, meetings, and what have you. Stay as near as possible to the Alte Stadt, Nuremberg’s historic city centre. (And you know what? I t really isn’t very far from there to the exhibition grounds. See more detail in my getting to work section.)

The Alte Stadt is stunning—great architecture, charming pedestrian precincts, good restaurants and bars, picturesque churches, and, of course, the must-visit Bratwursthäusle, Nuremberg’s Sausage Eating House. Vegetarians are strongly advised not to enter this establishment.

Have a look at the menu.

Having risen to the challenge of the Nuremberg sausage (Nuremberg has its very own trademarked speciality sausage that must be tried and eaten with a challenging dollop of sauerkraut), you will surely need your hydration to be up to spec. There are scores of bars, but a visit to a microbrewery called Bar Fusser will satisfy most thirsts.

Finally, on the sustenance front, and for those that prefer the more sophisticated dining that’s often described as modern European in style (whatever that means), there’s the impeccable Sebald Restaurant. Very nice food, but not cheap. So make sure you’re cleared for that on your expenses budget.

Get to work

Okay, enough enjoying yourselves. Why are we in Nuremberg? Ah yes, the Embedded World 2008 exhibition.

Very easy to get to from the City centre. From the Hauptbahnhof (Main rail station), use the U Bahn train Line U1. Board the train heading to Langwasser Süd. It’s only six stops to the exhibition (at the station called Messe). The journey time is about 12 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof….hence, my advice to stay in the old part of town rather than some dull, faceless hotel near the exhibition.

For train details, click here.

Also on the above web page are guidelines about the fare structure. Unlike the Munich U-Bahn/S-Bahn fare structure that even Einstein would’ve failed to comprehend, Nuremberg’s system is a lot smaller and correspondingly easier to understand price-wise.

So you are at the show. It’s compact compared to the gigantic electronica techfest staged in Munich, but still boasts about 500 exhibiting companies. It’s easy to get around this event, but don’t expect to see all of the new technology that will be packed in there.

For stuff you miss at Embedded World, we at Electronic Design Europe will be reporting on the show with a mixture of magazine articles and technology video clips to be shot live at the show.

Find us at: europe.elecdesign.com and electronicdesign.com

And don’t forget to try those Nuremberg sausages.

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