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|August 26, 1998||
Well begun is only half doneMadhuri Velegar K and Priya Ganapati at Pragati Maidan
The India Internet World Conference began in earnest today. The halls were squeaky clean, the exhibitor stalls looked straight out of a Dusseldorf trade fair catalogue and the Nescafe-sipping participants walked around with satchels bulging with brochures.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu did the honours by lighting the traditional lamp and inaugurating the exhibition. Microland Director Pradeep Kar then gave him a quick tour of the venue.
The lectures had a good start and were well attended but by the afternoon there were many delays. One scheduled seminar on 'packaged Internet services' was first delayed then cancelled. It was to be taken by Rakesh Mathur, CEO, Junglee Corporation. He dropped out due to procedural work in the US following the acquisition of his company by amazon.com.
The other seminars were a mix of being either too technically oriented or leaning to the all too familiar facts and figures about the Internet, something a few delegates complained about.
The pace was hectic but most of the lectures today were more interesting than those held in the pre-conference sessions yesterday.
Digital commerce was tracked by David Yuen, regional director, ISEC, South Asia, Oracle. He was highly technical in his treatment of the subject and spoke more on the network economy architecture and less on how it would help create digital commerce.
The afternoon sessions were slightly delayed but Joel Maloff, founder and president, Maloff Group International, had an interested bunch of executives trying to learn about Net benefits.
Maloff actually had a tough time when he couldn't get a bite to eat at lunch because, hold your breath, there were no plates.
"This has never happened to me and I've attended a good number of conferences around the world," he complained.
Melanie Hills, founder and president, Knowledgies, took her seminar in two parts. She spoke on the competitive advantages to be gained through Intranets and extranets and made it interesting with personal experiences. However, even she was a tad unhappy as she said "There is no information on how the other speakers fared, no press cutting are put up and here I'm being asked to grant 4-5 minute interviews!"
The other two events of the afternoon concerned the government.
The first was on the national information infrastructure by S Ramakrishnan, senior director, DoE, and head of the information infrastructure division. The second was a panel discussion on cyber laws that did not say anything that the audience hadn't known about. Except perhaps, news of a bit of projects undertaken by different state governments to wire up a few departments. In this context, a case study on Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh was presented.
In fact, both the panel sessions were badly handled. Either the speakers were not properly briefed or their selection was mismatched, like in the case of the Internet and news media session. No insights were gained from either of the panel discussions.
Dewang Mehta, executive director, NASSCOM, kind of saved the day. He gave lecture on opportunities and challenges for the software market. Though it was slightly poor on content, it was witty.
Another interesting seminar was the one conducted by Chris Vandenberg of Microsoft who spoke about how the personal Web could be implement and the issues crucial to developing it. It was worth the 45 minutes and more.
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