Exhibition Showcase Talks To Simha Shastry, CEO, Prime Events & Conferences

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We started our journey as a Voice and Internet Solutions company for the events & exhibition industry as the participants badly needed voice and data connectivity. Every event used to be challenging as circuits had to be obtained by DoT/BSNL and had to help them to catch up to our speed. Major milestone in 1996 was setting up of the International Media Centre and 18 Venue Media Centres with dynamic scores available for the Media at the Man Media Centre in Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore for the Fourth National Games, The Opening and Closing Events and Venue Management. The same year we had Miss World 96 where we set up and managed the International Media Centre at Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore. Strategizing, Planning, Designing and Executing Benefit Cricket Ticketed Matches for State, Indian and International Cricketers.

ES. What was the scenario and ecosystem of our industry when you started your journey?
Simha. The scenario was as exciting as today and more challenging due to non-availability of desired skills and expertise, learning from trial and error and innovating every time. There was no ecosystem except for few tent houses. The Ecosystem grew rapidly from 2000 onwards when events & shows started becoming larger and more professional and global giants started venturing in India.

ES. Who was your inspiration?
Simha. My inspiration has always been JRD Tata, with whom I share my birthday and Jack Welsh, the Company I worked for, International General Electric Medical Diagnostic Division. Jack Welsh’s mantra of Speed, Simplicity and Confidence is ever inspiring and a barometer. Always look for Simple Solutions, Execute with Speed and with Confidence.

ES. What were the biggest challenges that you faced?
Simha. The biggest challenges were Inventory, Skilled Manpower and Engineering. Constantly Innovating, Reinventing and Upskilling our Vendors, partners and throwing up new challenges was the way to overcome these challenges.

ES. Please share with us your most exciting project till date
Simha. The most challenging assignment was AeroIndia 2009 where we installed 160+ IPCameras Fixed and PTZ over 25 sq kms and bring the entire camera signals flawlessly to one Central Control Room and live Video Production with 8 cameras with about 12 kms of fibre laid for the event exclusively apart from Audio and Video Solution and distribution of the live content on 8 large screens across the venue. I also fondly recall our first major project which was Miss World 96 with Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited where we setup the International Media Centre and AT&T free calls network for the Contestants to their homes, calls sponsored by AT&T 000113 everyday. We also setup the data link for the online studio setup by the South African Agency for uplinking LIVE around the World, a challenging experience and flawless integration. Thanks to our Department of Telecom for all their support at that time.

ES. Similarly, please share your most difficult project till date which you executed successfully?
Simha. In terms of difficulty is setting up the perimeter displays for both Kolkata and Mumbai Marathons which included setting up the Venue Studio for Content Creation, Editing, Animation and Delivery as there we had only 4 hours to setup about 2500 sft of LEDs and link them through OFC and deliver flawless experience. Thanks to our Teams, we pulled it off successfully. Since then, we have been doing that every year and the thanks for confidence reposed in us by our clients and sponsors.

ES. What have been your biggest learnings in this business?
Simha. Find Solution To Every Problem

ES. What message you will like to give to the youth?
Simha. Knowledge is the key, Keep learning and be dedicated and loyal to your work. Integrity is the Key for Success.

ES. Please share with us your take on this situation our industry is facing today?
Simha. The Pandemic has been a major disrupter of the whole Industry around the World. As our Industry is all about Gatherings, things will definitely not be the same and will take over 2 to 3 years to start getting back to normal.

ES. What do you see the roadmap ahead for exhibition industry?
Simha. The Exhibition Industry is in the process of reinventing using virtual technologies and Innovations around the World. The physical attendance to any Events or Exhibition will see a drastic reduction, however the surge from online will definitely add more business opportunities for the Organisers and Exhibitors. Hybrid Events & Exhibitions will be the order for future. The Exhibition industry will bounce back to normalcy in about 3 years, however apprehensions shall prevail. The Industry will be more responsible by using Eco friendly materials and reducing the Carbon footprint of an Event and Exhibition and integrated waste management. Upcycling will be the new order for stall fabricators thus recycling and cost reduction.

ES. What kind of losses (financial and opportunities) have your organisation incurred during these times?
Simha. In terms of the lost opportunities and cancelled/ postponed Events, Exhibitions and other events is to a tune of One million USD at least.

ES. What can be the recovery guide for exhibitions
1. Restructuring costs and cash flows
2. Being responsible for conducting green events & exhibitions
3. Reducing wastage and Carbon footprint.
4. Major thrust on Cleaner & Sanitized spaces
5. Upcycling & recycling
6. Establishing integrated audit, feedback and control mechanisms

ES. What is your take on Virtual exhibitions
Simha. Virtual Exhibitions are here to stay and will be definitely spearheading the engagement experience of the audience using VR,AR, AI and Robotics. Intelligent facial recognition technologies using deep learning algorithms will transform the exhibitor/attendee relationship matrix.

ES. What do you feel can be the pros and cons of virtual exhibition
Simha. Emotional connect is a major point that shall be missing, that will get compensated by technological advancements in engagement. Companies shall be having their own periodical launches, engagements and using AI enables Digital Marketing & Outreach.

ES. What do you suggest to industry peers who are facing stress in these times
Simha. These are definitely difficult times for many industries, entrepreneurs should keep their head above the water by cutting costs, disposing unwanted items, focus on GIG incomes, stay healthy and fit, above all have faith in the Almighty.