Politics playing to packed house, IT fair a flop show
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Billed as Asia's premier IT event, Bangalore IT.in, the annual information technology trade fair, has slipped in the popularity rankings in recent times. The latest edition, the tenth, that kicked off on October 29 has been overshadowed by the politics in Karnataka and dipping attendance by local IT giants.
Enthusiasm for the event in the last two years remained confined to Indian states attempting to put themselves on the IT map and real estate companies looking to capitalise on the software boom. Mainstream software and hardware companies have been missing from the scene.
While this latest edition is focused on 'Leveraging Asia's Unique ICT Ecosystem' and much of the talk sessions have been planned by the industry itself, attendance at the event has been poor. Out of the nearly 200 expected participants in the exhibition, barely 60 turned up on the first day of the event. Organisers blamed the new location of the event at the Bangalore International Exhibition and Convention Centre on the outskirts as the reason behind the drop in participation. Earlier, the event was held at the more central Palace Grounds.
Infosys CEO Kris Gopalakrishnan, Nasscom president-elect Som Mittal and Bangalore's first MNC IT company Texas Instruments head Bobby Mitra were conspicuous by their absence on the opening day, given their link with the state IT core committee.
The last time the event created ripples was in 2005 when several big billing companies like Philips and others threatened to boycott the event because of the Karnataka Government's failure to improve infrastructure in Bangalore. In 2006, the event was more low-key but still saw sizable participation by local companies.
"The current edition has been lacking in enthusiasm since it comes in the backdrop of insufficient political drive to make the event a success," said former president of the Bangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry Ananth Koppar. Director of the Indian Institute for Information Technology at Bangalore S Sadagopan also blamed the political churning in Karnataka for the lacklusture event.
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