Second Time Around

India Internet
World ’99, organized by Bangalore-based Microland in association US-based
Penton–which acquired Mecklermedia, the original organizers of Internet
World worldwide-saw 100 exhibitors, spread over 125,000 sq ft, as against
45 participants exhibiting across 55,000 sq ft of area last year. The
number of participants also increased to 1,800 conference delegates and
20,000 business visitors as compared to 1,200 delegates and 8,000 business
visitors last year. There were also 60 conference sessions. The third
day also saw a deluge of general visitors, indicating the all-pervasive
interest in internet technology. The show is considered to be the third
largest outside the US and the largest in South East Asia. The show included
2Mbps live internet enabled backbone for high speed access and internet
cafés. Next year, the show will be held at the same venue on September
27-29. The hall has been booked for four more years–a positive indication
of the way the industry is going to shape up.

An active government…

At the inauguration, Ravindra
Gupta, Secretary, Department of Electronics, said that the ISP policy
has given much encouragement to internet usage in India, with 23 category
A, 58 category B and 80 category C licenses having been granted so far.
Some of the operators are already operational. Another welcome move is
the permission for private operators to open international gateways, five
of which are expected to come up by November and five in March. Cyber
laws, another of his initiatives, is expected to see the light of the
day once the new Parliament convenes after elections. This is expected
to take care of EDI, electronic transaction of documents, digital signature
and cyber crimes and punishment.

In addition to this,

The Department
of Telecommunications has agreed to install fiber optic cables in every
development block for the internet backbone. Currently, 125,000 km of
cables is available. An education and research network has already been
established with World Bank assistance. This will be upgraded to 8Mbps
and 2Mbps, respectively. The Department of Defense has also been involved.

Could be better

The show
included five tracks of conferences and seven keynote addresses. However,
unlike last year’s attraction of Sabeer Bhatia of Hotmail fame, this year
was a lack-lustre show with the best alternative in Bo Peabody, the 28-year-old,
co-founder of Tripod, and Ram Shriram, VP, Business Development, Amazon.com.
Despite this, the sessions were well-attended. The five tracks included
Electronic Business, ISP World, Business Applications on the Net, Internet-The
New Medium and Web Developer’s Forum. While the topics were current and
of interest, like Cyber Laws, How to set up your company for e-commerce,
Building Internet Community Centers, some sessions were not as useful
as the topic suggested. There were several changes in the schedule of
the sessions too, though the organizers managed to give the revised session
details.

Crowd puller

The exhibitors
were primarily website developers. However, what was heartening was that
India-specific content was the focus of most, setting to rest doubts about
the success of internet in the country. www.i2inet.com, www.driveindia.com,
Sourcerer, www.webdunia.com, were
some of the sites launched at the show.

The other
buzzword was Business-to-Business applications with several companies
like DBS Internet and Mahadev.com claiming to be developing web solutions
specifically meant for the B-2-B type of requirements on the internet.
Global Trust Bank launched its internet banking services and will allow
trading of its demat scrips. Bharti BT announced a tie-up with Trend Micro
for virus-free mails. Also present at the show were ISPs like VSNL, Satyam
Online, Bharti BT, Wipro Net and Global Electronic Commerce. Bharti BT
also announced off-peak hour rates for browsing while Wipro Net launched
its services for corporates.

Several stalls
used crowd pulling tactics like Mahadev.com, where a magician was the
attraction. Ecode.com had lucky draws…

Your view, Mr...

As one of
the exhibitors said, the show was good from three aspects–the crowd, for
poaching employees from other similar companies and for getting to know
new ideas.

A DQ
Report with inputs from
Abhay Singh, Lata Kuttappan-Chandradeep, Manisha Singh,
S Meera, Shweta Verma and Yograj Varma.

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