Digital transformation is a catalyst for positive development in India, notably in economic development. Technology plays a pivotal role as businesses adopt next-gen technologies, enhancing productivity across sectors. Exhibitions India Group is set to host the 31st Convergence India and 9th Smart Cities India expo that will showcase ground-breaking technological innovations and disruptive technologies. These events underscore India's commitment to embracing digital advancements and driving progress in both urban development and technological domains. In an exclusive conversation with Rajeev Ranjan, Editor, Digital Terminal, Ms. Chandrika Behl, Managing Director, Exhibitions India Group spoke about the upcoming expos, digital transformation, industry expectations and much more. Read below the excerpts:
Rajeev: Tell us about the 31st Convergence India and the 9th Smart Cities India expo organised by the Exhibitions India Group.
Chandrika: Since 1992, Convergence India has heralded the telecom and digital revolutions in India. During this time, it has remained at the forefront of promoting technological advancements in the fields of telecom, Satcom, broadcast, wired & wireless technologies, 5G & 6G networks, IT solutions such as Cloud, Big Data and analytics, AI, smart solutions, M2M, mobile & accessories, IoT, embedded tech, blockchain, and FinTech – the entire gamut of digital solutions. The 2024 edition of the expo celebrates what we have achieved thus far to help create a digital infrastructure through digital inclusion to bridge the digital, social and economic divide. It’s also an opportunity to showcase India’s growing popularity as a digital powerhouse and its ability to emerge as a clear leader.
The 9th Smart Cities India 2024 expo is a display of India’s emerging modernisation and development landscape by showcasing the integration of transformative technologies with the key pillars of urban development - green buildings, rooftop solar, renewable & clean energy, clean environment, clean water, water conservation, urban mobility, and the use of innovative ICT solutions for optimising resources that make cities smart and sustainable.
The two expos offer a comprehensive platform for domestic and overseas players, innovators, technologists and startups from all urban development segments, mobility, and smart & sustainable technologies to unleash the power of physical networking, expand business opportunities, and make new alliances. The expos focus on creating a modern India through landmark initiatives such as ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, ‘Startup India’, the ‘Smart Cities Mission’, ‘Swachh Bharat’, ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’, and other associated missions.
Rajeev: What should the industry expect from this year’s event?
Chandrika: Organised by the Exhibitions India Group and ITPO, the 31st Convergence India and the 9th Smart Cities India expo will be the go-to event for anyone associated with the digital and urban development space. Convergence India will showcase emerging and disruptive technologies and innovations in IoT, AI, design applications, blockchain, Big Data and analytics, Telecom/Satcom, 5G & 6G networks, E-commerce solutions, Cloud, Embedded Tech, Fintech, and more. Meanwhile, the Smart Cities India expo focuses on the latest technologies and solutions in green buildings, energy, transport, clean environment, etc. It explores their integration into urban development to make cities ‘smart’ and ‘sustainable’.
This year, the expo is bigger and better than ever, with over 1,200 participants from 35 countries, including 250 startups congregating on a common platform to exchange ideas and deliberate on the industry’s future. Up to 50 conference sessions will be organised alongside the three-day event, where senior speakers from various government departments, public sector undertakings, and private players will share experiences and provide input on the challenges faced by various sectors. Over 55,000 visitors will get a chance to interact, explore and make alliances in one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. The expo will also be graced by the presence of Ministers and senior dignitaries from the Government of India, along with industry leaders, Smart City CEOs, city planners, Mayors, Ambassadors and stakeholders from India and around the globe.
Rajeev: What will be the key attractions at this year’s event?
Chandrika: This year, we will showcase over 1,200 participants from 35 countries. Up to 250 startups will showcase their vision for the future. Up to 50 conference sessions will host speakers from government departments/ministries alongside private players from India and worldwide who will delve into the challenges facing us and chart a course for the future of various sectors. Notably, at this year’s event, we expect to welcome over 55,000 visitors who will get to explore the latest innovations and technology developments on offer today.
Key Attractions of the Expo:
· Country Pavilions from:
· The international conference will have concurrent sessions over three days and focus on the government’s initiatives to develop India into a digital economy. Interesting discussion areas will include AI-driven telecom; India as the next mobile manufacturing hub; a multi-stakeholder approach for circular cities; Indian gaming landscape; multimodal integration and mobility as a service; advances in green hydrogen value chain; metaverse; cyber security in the 6G era, etc.
· Other significant attractions include Experiential Zones, global product launches, curated marketing support, business matchmaking, a City Leaders Conclave, and industry awards.
· Curated B2B meetings during the show. This value-added service will assist exhibitors in establishing new business engagements and creating lucrative business opportunities through one-to-one interaction.
· The expo has received support from the following ministries & govt. campaigns: Digital India, Skill India, Smart Cities Mission, Swachh Bharat Mission, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Ministry of Jal Shakti, Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Ministry of Science & Technology, Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC).
Rajeev: Please share something about the co-located expos.
Chandrika: The 2024 expo aims to bring together the latest technology innovations and trends in the fields of telecom, Satcom, broadcast, wired/wireless technologies, 5G & 6G networks, IT solutions like Cloud, Big Data and analytics, AI, smart solutions, M2M, mobile & accessories, IoT, embedded tech, blockchain, Fintech, digital gaming, and much more.
Co-located Expos and Pavilions:
· Mobile India expo is India’s largest, longest-running and most trusted trade show for mobile devices, Accessories, hearables, wearables & lifestyle gadgets ecosystem, providing a robust buyer-seller platform to all industry players. Heralding the growth in the industry, Mobile India has witnessed exponential growth over the last six editions. The focused business profile of its high-quality buyers and exhibitors makes the Mobile India expo a unique platform for brand owners & manufacturers to network with emerging brands, distributors, wholesalers, stockists, department stores, corporate buyers & end users – enabling participants to showcase cutting-edge technology, create strong brand awareness and develop a robust distribution channel.
· The Internet of Things India expo will be the focal point for established businesses, startups and tech talent to meet with top investors, influencers and professionals. It will showcase IoT innovations in cloud and big data, virtual and augmented reality, artificial intelligence, smart cities, design applications, enablers, Industrial IoT, data analytics and many other disruptive technologies for enterprises.
· The Embedded Tech India expo provides a platform to showcase the latest trends & developments in the Embedded Technology ecosystem that power smart devices, smart manufacturing, smart transport, smart industries, smart homes, smart cities, IoT devices and demonstrations showcasing the reliability of electronic systems, IoT applications, distributed intelligence, microcontrollers, sensors and solutions for smart future and other technology solutions.
· FinTech India expo Showcases Companies and institutions involved in financial technologies, including Blockchain, Digital Banking, E-Wallets, Payment Gateways, Point of Sales (PoS) & Payment Solutions, Cyber Security, Banking & Insurance Solutions, Accounting & Auditing Solutions, E-commerce Solutions, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Transactional Platforms, Data Analytics and more.
· The Digital Gaming India expo will showcase emerging trends and technologies in the gaming sector, from software solutions in Animations, VFX, Software Developers, Cloud Computing, Digital Gaming Services, etc. & also focus on hardware components in Chipsets for Motherboards, Console Gaming Platforms, CPU Manufacturers, Desktop Gaming Platforms and more.
· Startup Hub Pavilion - at the 31st Convergence India 2024 expo will feature over 250 startups, bringing innovations across the different verticals of emerging technologies, ICT, and Smart Cities technologies. There will be mentoring sessions from the pioneers of the ecosystem, specially curated conference sessions, a Start Pitch Competition, and an Investor and startup meet. Startups will generate B2B leads and build meaningful business relations with industry stakeholders.
Rajeev: What kind of audience is expected to attend the expo?
Chandrika: There will be a wide display of the latest technologies on display, such as:
Technologies on Display:
· IT & Communications: GPON / FTTH products (ONT, OLT), Android / iOS Apps for WiFi Management, FTTx Infra, Unified Communications & Enterprise Telecom Products, 5G xHaul Timing Aware Switch, Network TAPs & Packet Brokers, 5G Infrastructure – Test & Verification
· Satellite Communications: Satellite IOT Network Communication, iNetVu mobile antennas, VAST systems with one button, motorised and automatic
· OTT / IPTV: AndroidTV, Media Player, Video streaming Solutions, Video Delivery over IP, Headend in the CLOUD, Middleware, Cloud Streaming, Cloud Distribution, Video Appliances
· Broadcast, Content Distribution and Delivery: Set-Top Box, DTH Antenna, Satellite Receiver, Media Storage, CDN, Head End & Cable TV, Cable SMS, ISP AAA Server & CRM Application
· IoT / AI / ML, Data Analytics & Big Data: Industrial Cellular Router (4G/5G), Industrial Switches, PoE LAN extenders, Media Converter, IOT Hardware Manufacturer, IOT Gateway, IO Cards and Customized Products, Routers, Gateways, Telecom Monitoring Solution and Energy Meters
· EmbeddedTech: Electronic Components, PCB, Electronic Manufacturing Services, Server Motherboard, Desktop Motherboard, Memory products, DashCam (DVR)
· FinTech, Cyber Security & Surveillance: Lending Solutions, Insurance Solutions, Retail Solutions, e-Learning & Immersive Technology, Payment Aggregator, Treasury Management, Spend Management and Corporate Cards Platform, CBS, POS Solutions & Equipment, Risk Assessment and Digital KYC
· Mobile Accessories: TWS, Wireless Speaker, Headset, Wireless Headphone, Power Banks, Mobile Battery, USB Cables, Touch Screen, LCD, Connectors, Plugs and Jacks, RF Connectors, Charger Connectors, Neckband Headphones, Mobile Phone Charger, Wired Earphone
· Digital Gaming: Gaming Application Software's Keyshot, AR/VR Equipments Apps & Games, Games Developer, drones, cameras, telescopes & gaming consoles
Rajeev: How has Convergence India impacted the IT/ICT industry in India?
Chandrika: In recent years, the Government of India has made several policy decisions to create an environment conducive to investments and industrial growth. The call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ resonated alongside ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’. The introduction of ICT into the day-to-day functioning of the government, large-scale penetration of the Internet across the country, a boost in communication technology, ownership of mobile handsets, etc., are just a few of the achievements.
Convergence India has been leading the digital revolution from the forefront by showcasing breakthrough technologies, innovations, trends and best practices in the fields of telecom, broadcast, 5G & 6G networks, Cloud, Big Data & analytics, AI, IoT, Embedded tech, FinTech, and much more. The IT/ICT and IoT sector was barely recognisable when the expo was introduced. Today, India is ranked third worldwide, with over 600,000 cloud experts across all verticals, including technology. Indian IT firms have delivery centres worldwide, and the IT and BPM industry is diversified across verticals such as BFSI, telecom and retail. This was achieved through strategic alliances between domestic and international players.
Rajeev: Please share your views on how Digital India has impacted the lives of ordinary citizens.
Chandrika: The Government of India launched the Digital India Programme to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The programme is centred on three key vision areas - Digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, governance and services on demand, and digital empowerment of citizens. The overall goal is to ensure that digital technologies improve the life of every citizen, expand India’s digital economy, create investment and employment opportunities, and build digital technological capabilities in India. Digital India acts like a bridge between the government and citizens by transparently delivering substantial services to the beneficiary. In the process, India has emerged as one of the leading nations using technology to transform the lives of its citizens.
Digital India has also created an ecosystem for successfully implementing E-Governance across departments to ensure the electronic delivery of services. The process has created a transparent environment for the common man to review the government’s local, State or national performance. For example, JAM Trinity (Jan Dhan-Aadhar-Mobile) has emerged as the face of Digital India. Besides Aadhaar providing a 12-digit biometric and demographic-based unique online identity for every citizen, it has become the basis for millions to avail of financial and other subsidies, benefits and services. Similarly, through technology uptake, the Jan-Dhan Yojana has given access to various financial services, like basic savings accounts, cheap credit, insurance, and pensions, to the weaker sections and low-income groups. Meanwhile, there has been an impressive growth in the number of mobile users in the country, with India emerging as the second-largest market in the world.
Today, digital technology is part of our daily lives and encompasses almost everything. Digital technologies have advanced more rapidly than any innovation in recent history, changing how business is done and transforming societies. Technology can be a great equaliser by enhancing connectivity, financial inclusion, access to trade and public services. For example, in the health sector, AI-enabled frontier technologies are helping to save lives, diagnose diseases and extend life expectancy. In education, virtual and distance learning environments have opened new opportunities for students who would otherwise be excluded. Data pooling and AI are used to track and diagnose issues in agriculture, health, and the environment or to perform daily tasks such as navigating traffic or paying a bill.
Access to the Internet and connectivity has allowed entrepreneurship to blossom even in the remotest parts of the country and seeded the idea of startups. The youth use social and online platforms to transact business with clients anywhere in India or overseas. As opportunities grow, so does the desire to achieve more, thus creating innumerable job opportunities. This trickle-down effect is vital to creating a thriving society.