Ubaid Ahmad, Marketing Head – Bangalore International Exhibition Centre

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“Bengaluru being the Silicon Valley of India has some of the largest software companies coming to BIEC for their events including for product launches and corporate events. Some of the big names to mention a few include events by SAP, Google, Sales Force, Herbalife, Target, One Plus, etc.”

ES. Please tell us about your professional journey. What milestones did you reach on your way to the top which stands out as the most significant?

Ubaid Ahmad. I am working as Senior Director- Marketing Head BIEC (Bangalore International Exhibition Centre) overseeing all the exhibitions and events that are held at (BIEC) which is Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA’s) own venue. My association with IMTMA and BIEC dates back to 2007 when the exhibition venue was built in Bengaluru. Today after completion of 15 years BIEC has evolved as one of the most important destinations for exhibitions and industry events in India and hosts close to 50 events a year. Being an alumni of AMU, right from my childhood days I wanted to carve out a niche in marketing field and I was blessed to see my dreams come true when I graduated in Economics and did MBA in Marketing. While working in the exhibition industry I obtained the prestigious Exhibition Management Degree from UFI, France. This perhaps helped me in my endeavours as a Qualified IMS Auditor for QMS- ISO 9001:2015, EMS- ISO 14001:2015 and OHSMS-ISO 45001:2018 standards. Apart from being an Executive Committee member of IEIA (Indian Exhibition Industry Association) I am also associated with several other events and exhibition related groups across the globe.

Before joining BIEC I worked for some reputed national and international prestigious organizations such as TDI, Shamal Media, Star Television, etc. Some significant milestones in my professional journey include launching CCTV advertising in India, conceptualizing the marketing and promotional plan for the first Hindi and Urdu FM station HUM FM in Middle East. I was also the core team member to launch the first 24 hour FM Station, RADIOCITY in India.

ES. You have been unanimously elected in the governing board of ICPB (Indian Convention Promotion Bureau) for the period of 2022-24. How do you see the role of ICPB in promoting the MICE industry in India?

Ubaid Ahmad. It is indeed a prestige and honour for me and for BIEC to be in the governing board of ICPB which is recognized as the only national apex body for promoting India as a competent and credible MICE destination. ICPB already plays a great role in bringing together various Indian state governments, hotels, airlines, exhibition and event organizers, tour and travel operators, and so on. In addition to projecting India as a conference destination, ICPB works towards developing conference traffic to India and organizing programmes to create awareness on the role and benefits of congresses and conventions and realize our national objectives. During my term I will continue to work closely with ICPB in its endeavour to establish highly developed convention centres throughout India and make the country a preferred MICE destination for the world.

ES. BIEC has been in focus for hosting diverse range of events. Please tell us other features that sets BIEC apart from other venues.

Ubaid Ahmad. BIEC which is India’s premier exhibition-cum-conference facility is designed to organize international B2B exhibitions and high impact MICE successfully. Spread in a 57-acre lush green surroundings BIEC arguably is one of India’s largest exhibition venue with a built-up area of over 1,10,000 square metres having an indoor exhibition space of 77,200 square metres in 5 state-of-the-art exhibition halls to showcase the largest, latest and the best. The most modern and state-of-art exhibition halls 4 and 5 are 17,500 square metres each. These covered column-less, air condition exhibition halls have a span of 75 mts. and length of 234 mts. The height at the centre is 18 mts. and at eaves are 9 mts.

With strategically designed rigging points each hall can also host events of up to 24,000 pax. These are well complimented by 3 other exhibition halls, a 5,600 square metres multi-facility conference centre spread over 6 halls that can accommodate several parallels sessions. Other amenities include a 7,500 square metres food court with fine dining hall and choice of cuisine, an entrance plaza with 40 plug-and-play registration counters, ample parking space for more than 5000 cars, and floor capacity of 10-30 tons per square metre and large power supply to ensure heavy machinery works ceaselessly. BIEC is the only venue of its kind in India to provide approximately 3,00,000 square metres indoor and outdoor space for a large-scale show like EXCON. As India’s first LEED Certified Green Exhibition and Conference Facility, BIEC’s Hall 4 and 5 was awarded Gold Ratings by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC). In stark contrast to typical industrial sites, BIEC is a cool green campus marked with self-sustenance in terms of water, waste water treatment facility and other green initiatives. Around 35% of the BIEC campus is Green. Nurturing for progress, BIEC has also been contributing to the transformation of the locality around it and raised the standard of living in the surrounding localities.

ES. BIEC hosts various regional, national and international conventions, meetings and trade shows. How do you overcome the challenges in initiating conducting and the events?

Ubaid Ahmad. Going beyond the business of exhibition, BIEC has connected India to industries worldwide and supported the country’s efforts in competing in the global market. Exhibitions and events from a cross-segment of industry sectors such as construction, woodworking machinery, space, jewellery, agriculture, IT, electrical and electronics, medical, education, and many other industries are held here. Apart from hosting its own flagship IMTEX which is South and South East Asia’s largest exhibition, the venue is used for major exhibitions such as IIJS Premiere, EXCON, IndiaWood, ACETECH, STONA, Agritech, Didac India, Expodent, and many more.

Bengaluru being the Silicon Valley of India has some of the largest software companies coming to BIEC for their events including for product launches and corporate events. Some of the big names to mention a few include events by SAP, Google, Sales Force, Herbalife, Target, One Plus, etc. Recently BIEC hosted OnePlus. For the first time, the launch event took place across the globe simultaneously in the cities of Bengaluru, London and New York. We also hosted SAP 50 Year Celebrations with more than 24,000 attendees. The 67th Filmfare Awards South 2022 was held for the first time at BIEC on 9 October 2022 to celebrate the finest performances from the entire South Indian Film Industry including Telugu, Tamil, and Kannada and Malayalam industries. Leading film personalities including actors, directors and technicians graced BIEC for the awards night. Films that were released on the big screen during 2020 and 2021 were celebrated on the occasion.

The Government of India and the Government of Karnataka have held some of their flagship exhibitions and events at BIEC. BIEC hosted the 14th convention of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas organized by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in January 2017. This was a historic occasion as both the then President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee who gave the valedictory address and the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi who delivered the keynote address and the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Shri Siddaramaiah who also addressed the gathering, came together for an event at BIEC. Other events held by the government include the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart, the 43rd Jawaharlal Nehru National Science, Mathematics and Environment Exhibition for Children, the Vendor Development & Investors Summit and many more. The art of managing exhibitions and the venue can be attributed to various models that are available at international levels. It is so as it becomes easy for us to understand various aspects of exhibition organizing and understanding the challenges that one could face while organizing shows in a venue.

The experience helps us to fine-tune ourselves to provide necessary consultative services for other exhibition organizers who organize shows in BIEC. This also facilitates us to improve the standards of facilities and services provided not only for the shows we organize but also for other organizers who use our venue. Moreover with an empathetic approach, we have been taking into consideration all the feedback and the pain points and incorporating them to give a seamless experience for all show organizers in BIEC. We follow a process defined approach, adopt best practices prevailing at the global level so that we adopt and learn parallely and organize more acclaimed shows. Our internal processes are driven through internal systems that helps us to keep vigilant about our work areas and perform better. We would continue to adopt new technologies to better our relations with customers and stakeholders.

Further interview in next edition