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December 6, 1997


Was it worth the while?

R Vijay Shankar at Pragati Maidan

On the fourth and final day of IT India '97/Comdex, most of the participants said their expectations from the exhibition and seminars had been met.

Despite the chilly Delhi weather, crowds thronged the various stalls and the estimates for the number of visitors are close to 75,000.

Was it worth the while?
The summing up
Microsoft wins
Quite often, said many of the exhibitors, crowds of "general visitor" would land up during business hours, making it difficult to transact serious deals.

Competitions, prizes, presentations on cutting-edge products and demonstrations of a sophisticated range of goodies were responsible for the high degree of enthusiasm among the serious as well as casual visitors.

Curiosity and awareness interest was the underlying spirit among the visitors, majority of whom were under 25 years.

Microsoft India bagged the 'Most popular stall' award in the ‘Giga Stall’ category. Says Neeraj Shaabi, marketing manager, Microsoft India, "We estimate that the number of visitors to our stall was over 35,000 during these three days."

About 70 per cent of the visitors to the Microsoft stall, he said, came with a serious business interest. Besides, there were also a number of government and defence personnel who made inquiries about communication solutions.

The trade community, Shaabi says, landed up in particularly large numbers, considering how busy the Microsoft partnership desk has been in the last three days.

The presentations have been extremely popular, he said. Was it worth the while? "Yes. Certainly," Shaabi says. "We spent about Rs 2.5 million on the stall and the response has been overwhelming." It has been possible, he added, to forge a larger number of industrial relationships and to demonstrate our products. But, he felt, the stall exposure may not really make sales happen in a predictable way.

Epson’s Senior Marketing Executive G Harikrishnan feels that the participation has helped in enhancing awareness among the user population.

Epson’s market share moved from 4 per cent to 24 per cent last year.

Also, Epson could, at one place, demonstrate its entire range of products including the latest 1440 dpi printer (photo quality colour), digital camera XGA high resolution and the LCD multimedia projectors.

Harikrishnan claimed "We are more than satisfied with the mind share and the interest generated. Sales are only a secondary objective of our participation."

Samsung India Liaison Office's Assistant Manager Arvind R Vohra said, "The quality of the crowd could have been better though." The stalls attracted a few thousands of visitors of which, said Vohra, less than 20 to 30 per cent came with a serious professional interest.

Samsung won the award for the 'Most innovative stall' in the 'Giga Stall' category. The display of storage devices such as CD-ROMs/hard disks and networking products attracted keen interest, Vohra claimed. "We are happy with the participation," he said.

Not all is well, though. Harish Sharma, Branch Manager, Vintson Industries Limited, (annual turnover 1996-97 Rs 750 million), thinks participating at IT India '97/Comdex is not worth the while.

"True," he says, "there has been a large visitor turnout. But less than 20 per cent of the crowd had a serious business interest."

Vintson does computer peripherals manufacturing. Its products include motherboards, keyboard, monitors and modems. It is the sole distributor of Logitech mice and Microtech scanners in India.

"We are sure we had over 7,000 visitors," Sharma says. "That is the number of the gifts, a fur mouse, that we gave to all those who visited us." However, he maintained that "it may not be such a great idea to participate the next time", he concluded.

Creative Technology, Singapore, Marketing Manager Paul Seow said the sound blaster card AWE 64 and the Creative PCDVD technology in MPEG 2 format were a great success at the show.

"Our target is the end user and the presentations we have made to demonstrate our technology has received tremendous response," Seow claimed. Over 15,000 people have visited the Creative stall and, according to Seow, 20-30 per cent are prospective customers. "Awareness is growing for our technologies. It is certainly worth being here," he assured.

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