India Internet World Debuts

Internet experts from around the world gathered
today in New Delhi to launch India’s first edition of U.S.-based Mecklermedia Corp’s Internet World
series of conferences and trade shows.

“This national gathering of Indian and international experts is
well-timed to address the needs of Internet professionals hoping to
develop and harness the Internet market in India,” said Pradeep Kar,
Chairman and Managing Director of Bangalore-based networking solutions
company Microland, in a panel

The India Internet World ’98
conference, co-hosted by Microland, is being held at Pragati Maidan in New
August 25-28. It is billed as India’s first conference exclusively
focused on Internet/intranet business.

India has a handful of government ISPs, but an imminent privatisation
of the ISP market is expected to boost the current user base from
500,000 online users to over a million next year.

“There already seems to be a lot of awareness and media attention
regarding the Internet. The challenge is now to go beyond ‘possible’ or
‘doable’ Internet solutions to ‘useable’ and convenient solutions,”
said Tom Burns, Director of Intel’s Asia Pacific Content Group.

T.R. Anand, General Manager for IBM Global Solutions (India), said that
the growth of the Net in India would boost business potential,
educational opportunities, and consumer choice. “The Internet explosion
in India will have a multiplier effect on the entire economy,” Anand said.

India built a worldwide reputation as a source of skilled
information workers with a sound grounding in high technology. “But the
challenge now for India is to go beyond technology solutions to
business solutions,” said Ian Hughes, Computer Associates’ Country
Manager for South Asia.

In addition to providing Indian companies with increased exposure to
the global market, the Net is also expected to help them become more
competitive and efficient.

“Technologies like the intranet can help Indian companies benchmark
themselves against global information age companies, and transform them
into learning organisations finely tuned to the needs of the customer,”
said Stacy Plemmons, Vice President for Enterprise Accounts
Organisation at Hewlett-Packard.

Melanie Hills, well-known author of Web business strategies bestsellers
like “Intranets as Groupware,” said Indian companies who are just
beginning to embark down the Internet path may actually have a bit of
an advantage in learning from some of the mistakes that the early
adopters may have made.

“For instance,” she said, “some of the early adopters of the Net did not pay
adequate attention to Web-enabling their back-end processes and
integrating them with their Internet front-ends for e-commerce. Though some
of them were taking orders through World Wide Web
sites, they had to re-key this information for back-end systems, thus
creating time lags and extra work in processing this valuable information.”

“Today, a company can devise one comprehensive strategy encompassing
intranets, extranets and the World Wide Web,” Hills added.

As in other parts of the world, challenges still need to be
addressed regarding e-commerce legislation, inter-state taxation,
copyright protection and online payments, the speakers acknowledged.

The panelists are part of a high-powered line-up of speakers who will
deliver 60 conference sessions in five parallel streams at India
Internet World ’98.

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