Convergence Sets In

The
most visible trend reflected in CommsIndia ’97 was the
convergence of technologies, especially in voice and data.

CommsIndia has become a forum for various
constituents of the Indian communications industry and the first
venue on the itinerary for international corporates intending to
play the communication game here.

CommsIndia is the mood indicator of the
industry in present times—a la carte of the boom that
is to come in 1998. If the subdued mood among the stalls were
indicative of the slight pessimism that has crept into the
mindset of the industry, the excitement during the heated debates
showed the industry’s concern.

Organized during 9-11 December 1997, the
exhibition took off with the inaugural ceremony in the indoors of
Hall No. 18 at the Pragati Maidan Complex in New Delhi. The event
was inaugurated jointly by Justice PB Sawant, chairman, Press
Council of India, and AV Gokak, chairman, Telecom Commission.
Prem Behl, the president and CEO of Exhibitions India, the
organizers, welcomed the visitors to the show.

Though
the show took off on a damp note, with rains lashing the venue
during the morning hours of the first day, the momentum soon
picked up and the mood changed to that of enthusiasm and purpose.
Exhibitors, visitors, conference speakers, delegates, and
professionals assembled from over 30 countries. CommsIndia
continued to be a mixed bag of big and small exhibitors. However,
some big industry names were conspicuous by their absence.
Motorola, Nokia, and Tata Lucent being the notable ones.

If there was a flavour during the CommsIndia
this time, it was mobile satellite services, with as many as four
major consortiums brandishing their corporate image in all glory
and trying their best to create a mindshare among the
predominantly industry crowd. Iridium, which is all set to start
its services in the later part of this year, even went to the
extent of exhibiting some of the handsets to be used. With a few
of them looking like gizmos straight out of a science fiction
movie. Globalstar, not to be beaten, occupied one of the biggest
stalls in the hall. With Satphone and ICO trying to match them,
the battle for the skies has surely begun.

The
ubiquitous, almost to the extent of emerging the official,
technology of the event was Wireless In Local Loop (WILL). The
various WILL standards present were CDMA-based, floated by
Qualcomm, Hyundai, and DSC Communications; D-AMPS-based, by
Ericsson and Tellabs; DECT-based, by Alcatel, Ericsson, Italtel,
and Shyam Telecom; and PHS-based, by ArrayComm. Each exhibitor
tried explaining the pros and cons of his solution with respect
to others.

Equally opportune was CommsIndia ’97 for
the test and measurement companies. HP, Wandel & Goltermann,
AIMIL, Fastech, Tektronix, Subex, and Wavetek all were displaying
their various products in the exhibition. Transmission companies
were present with equal might. Alcatel and Ericsson had crowds
converging to their stalls. Punwire and Shyam Telecom were the
notables among the Indian companies which stood out.

Computer telephony segment
was represented by Dialogic, Voxtron, and Siemens Information
Systems Ltd. While Fujitsu and Mitel displayed their
semiconductors for various communication purposes.

All three days, discussions were held during
the conference hours—1000-1400 hours. The topics on
discussion were privatization, networking technologies, spectrum
management, satellite technologies, Internet, and wireless. The
speakers included N Vittal, chairman, Public Enterprise Selection
Board; RN Agarwal, wireless advisor, ministry of communications;
Per Hjerppe, director Internet Business Group, Asia-Pacific,
Digital; Anand Pillai, country manager, Bay Networks; Graham
Davey, director, government relationships, Motorola India; and
Virat Bhatia, director, AT&T India. Held in two tracks
hand-in-hand, not all were sufficiently packed with audience. Two
of the topics which raised dust and storm this time were spectrum
management and Internet policy and operations. There were lots of
hullabaloo and inquisitiveness among the audience on the
occasions where the two above-mentioned topics were discussed.
However, audiences were lacking in both numbers and interest when
most of the other topics were discussed.

CommsIndia ’97: The Participation
Profile
Categories Companies Purpose Of
Participation
Response
WLL Alcatel, ArrayComm,
Ericsson, Qualcomm Italtel, Tellabs, Hyundai, ITI, Shyam
To showcase their
products and olutions for potential buyers
Good
Transmission
products
Alcatel, Ericsson,
Qualcomm, DSC, DMC, Bosch, Mitsubishi, Tellabs, Shyam,
Punwire
To showcase their
products and solutions for potential buyers
Fair
CTI/telecom IS Dialogic, SISL,
Voxtron, Stratus, Satyam
To spread awareness
about their solutions and identify resellers
Poor
MSS Globalstar, ICO,
Iridium, Satphone
To spread awareness
about their services among the industry
Very Good
T&M AIMIL, Fastech, HP,
Subex, Tektronix, W&G Wavetek
To showcase their
products and solutions for potential buyers
Fair

All in all, CommsIndia ’97 was "not
bad". The crowd was not lesser than expected, in spite of an
unexpected downpour. And a fair amount of companies who were
looking to build brand image went back happy. Equally, though,
there were a number of companies who did not get what they were
expecting from the event. The ones who came with specific and
immediate business purposes.

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