By Faisal Kawoosa
First impression is not always the last impression. COAI with patronage from DoT and support from a number of flagship brands like Google, Qualcomm, Jio, Airtel and others had put up a good show in the maiden edition of India Mobile Congress.
One can always keep on criticizing for its sake and identify the weaknesses. However, it’s not easy to sell an idea in India where at times it becomes extremely challenging for event organisers to secure the mindshare from potential brands. There are very thin lines between events focused at business development, exhibition and branding. However, the sponsors expect more or less the same takeaways and ROIs, which is not the case.
The India Mobile Congress was a platform offering display and discussion around technology in the Indian context. The theme across the exhibitors was roadmap towards 5G. However, there would be a hop at what is known as pre-5G that would be a hybrid scaling up from 4G towards 5G.
The next edition of the IMC would definitely see a significant jump from the recently concluded first edition. There would be additions to the core that has been now put in place and those attending it next year will see a lot more value and interest in it.
Precisely, there are four areas that should be addressed in the subsequent editions of the IMC. They are dealt in detail below: –
Collaboration of Associations: For an event like IMC there has to be an interworking of so many industries and segments. Around mobile communications there is a plethora of industries that get integrated with it. These industries are represented by several trade bodies. In the first edition, apart from host COAI, only ICA was associated with the event.
Event like IMC needs representation of lot many industries. It should be the endeavor of COAI to on-board other bodies like NASSCOM, IESA, ELCINA, MAIT, IPCBA, SIAM and CEAMA on this platform. The industry is heading towards integration at business as well as solutions levels. So, it becomes important that the entire ecosystem is represented in such a forum. In fact, not only for this, there is a need to have an umbrella association of these respective industry trade bodies in the domain of technology. IMC could be the platform where all of these join hands in a formal goal oriented way leading to the formation of Federation or Consortium of Technology Associations of India.
SAAF Participation: Other than the domestic opportunity, for Indian brands to grow the next global markets become extremely important for their success. From various socio-economic parameters, South America (SA-) and Africa (-AF) are the markets of interest for technology brands of India. Through Ministries of Commerce and External Affairs and in collaboration with the embassies of countries in these continents, IMC can organise foreign delegations from these countries visiting the IMC so that these technologies could be showcased for business prospecting in these upcoming markets. Not all Indian brands can be on their own in these countries. It would be a great support from government and the industry bodies if they could organise such delegations visiting IMC helping Indian brands exposing to potential market opportunities. It will also give a fillip to Make in India and open up export channels.
APPistan: India is a nation of IT skills. We have seen a phenomenal growth of app ecosystem in the country. IMC would be incomplete without the presence of APP power of the country. It would be appropriate if the APP players are also given a chance to exhibit in the subsequent editions. This should not remain restricted to giants like Google and Facebook; there should be a mechanism to have participation of smaller players as well.
No Parallel Seminars: Information Technology and Communications has become so intricate that it is very difficult for a delegate to choose what needs not to be heard. Besides, people having diverse interests like analysts, bloggers (as mainstream media has an array of team to cover all the sessions) and students (wanting to explore all flavours) would want to participate in many of these discussions. Perhaps, IMC could consider having 4 discussions a day, 2 pre, and 2 post lunch so that all could be attended by the people interested in diverse topics.
One could always have so many permutations and combinations about how to organise an event. Eventually, keeping in mind the overall objective and resources at hand, it would not be possible to satisfy all the stakeholders. But, one can always attempt to maximize that can be done by being open to value additions in subsequent editions. It can only be concluded that COAI, ably led by its Director General Rajan Mathews achieved a commendable feat in the maiden attempt of organizing a show of such a magnitude.
The government has assured all support in making IMC a big success and industry would surely continue patronizing it. There were many references to the global platforms like MWC Barcelona, etc. and many industry stalwarts want to see IMC of that stature. However, what is important is that IMC becomes a global platform with its own unique aims and objectives of taking Indian technology global and bringing the best to India.
(The author is General Manager, Research & Consulting, at CyberMedia Research)