Excon 2019 - Festival of Construction Industry

Excon 2019 - Festival of Construction Industry

Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, Excon 2019
The 10th edition of Excon - CII’s flagship biennial event and the largest exhibition in South Asia in the construction and infra sector - will be held from 10-14 December 2019 at BIEC, Bengaluru. It will showcase world-class equipment and technologies developed by manufacturers from across the world. Vipin Sondhi, Chairman, Excon 2019, in an exclusive interview with S.A.Faridi, Managing Editor, NBM&CW (the sole official media for Excon), explains the event’s theme ‘Smart i-tech India @75’, and why he is confident of the event’s growing stature as a multi-dimensional business platform.

What will Excon’s theme ‘Smart i-Tech – Next Gen India@75’ encompass?
The theme of Excon 2019 is I-Tech, where ‘I’ means Infrastructure, Internet, Intelligent, Interconnectivity and Innovation. It will showcase the products of the future for a new India @75. There is a significant amount of digital influx in the industry today with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Telematics, Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data becoming integrated with products and services. This is a step change from the traditional methods of machines working in isolation. Equipment, today, is intelligent and has the ability to communicate digitally, thereby contributing to site efficiency and productivity.

Please elaborate on your plans for Excon 2019.
Spread over 3,00,000 sqm, Excon 2019 will be an ideal platform for organisations to experience the latest in Construction Equipment and Technology. The event will bring together industry stakeholders on a common platform, including component manufacturers, who form an integral part of the value chain.

With the Theme 'Smart i-Tech – Next Gen India@75' there will significant focus on future technologies such as AI, IoT and Digital in the CE industry. To celebrate the 10th edition, various programs are being initiated, such as Industry academia collaboration, women achievers in infrastructure, automation, robotics, etc.

We are looking forward to more than 1,250 domestic and 350 foreign exhibitors, and over 10 country pavilions. It is a festival of the CE Industry over a five-day period, it will attract close to 70,000 visitors, and participants from over 25 foreign countries.

There will be new product launches, live demonstrations, and conferences on trending topics in the area of Infrastructure, Defence, MSMEs, Green Buildings, Logistics etc. In addition to fully built products, Excon will have a dedicated area for the Components Industry, which is a vital sector as it contributes to the industry by way of quality products, innovation and employment generation.

CII has deployed a dedicated software for arranging B2B meetings at Excon 2019. Visitors, once they have registered at the event, can participate in the B2B matchmaking system which is enabled. In the last edition, there were 1,520 B2B meetings organized and at Excon 2019, this number is expected to cross 2,500.

Excon also aims to address the needs for the troika of the Industry, the Academia and the Government – to be fully aligned - if India is to realise her dreams.

What is CII’s assessment of the growth prospects of the Indian construction market in the near and long term?
The Confederation of Indian Industry has been playing a pioneering role in facilitating the accelerated development of infrastructure in India. One of its key initiatives is Excon – a Global Exhibition on Construction Equipment & Technologies.

The Government has laid down a vision for India to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024. India is also expected to become the third largest construction market globally by 2022. The achievement of these ambitious targets will require a significant investment in building infrastructure; and with `100 lakh crores being allocated for infra development over the next five years, we feel that there will be tremendous focus in this sector.

With the focus of the Government and the participation of world-class players, we can expect state-of-the-art technology in the industry. Already, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and other technology enhancements are making their way in our industry and this is only set to increase further.
With the focus of the Government and the participation of world-class players, we can expect state-of-the-art technology in the industry. Already, IoT, Artificial Intelligence and other technology enhancements are making their way in our industry and this is only set to increase further. Hence the theme Smart i-tech India @75, where ‘I’ stands for Infrastructure, Internet, Interconnectivity, Intelligent and Innovation.

The CE market is experiencing some volatility currently and sentiment is somewhat low in the industry. How do you assess this scenario?
The disruption of the payment cycle and stress on NBFCs has impacted the Construction Equipment industry. There is a decline in the sentiment and the market is down between 15 to 17% this year as compared to 2018.

With 2019 being an election year, some disruption was expected, but what we are seeing now is the combination of a variety of factors leading to low demand. Also, the shift from Public Spending to the Public Private Partnership model will take time to show results on ground, and there is caution in lending.

The heartening fact is that the Government is taking notice of this stress and is showing resolve and commitment to improve the situation. Re-capitalization of banks, support for NBFCs, and a significant focus on developing rural infrastructure are all steps in the right direction. We are hopeful that the situation will improve in the coming few months and the industry will once again achieve double digit growth figures.

What positive impact is Excon 2019 likely to have on the CE industry‘s growth and expansion in the near future?
Excon 2019 will give an in-depth view of the Indian market for construction equipment in addition to opportunities for equipment purchase, financing, joint ventures and technology transfers. The exhibition will open avenues for supplies from foreign stakeholders into India. And as many manufacturers today build world-class equipment in the country, it will also help give a fillip to exports.

How is CII gearing up to ensure security, smooth traffic flow, transportation and accommodation facilities for the exhibitors and visitors, and what support is being extended by the local bodies / government?
The CII team, with the support of the local administration, is fully committed to giving visitors world-class experience in Bengaluru. We have the support of the State Government of Karnataka for this event. Maintaining traffic flow, as well as having security from the state police for the event have been arranged. Additionally, we will be engaging traffic wardens to help streamline traffic during the event. An additional 28 acres of parking lot will be available to accommodate the larger number of vehicles expected this year.

EHS - environment, health and safety - has been given utmost priority at Excon 2019 and we have engaged the services of a reputed EHS consultant to guide as well as audit EHS compliance at the event.

As Chairman of Excon 2019, what is your message to the participants and attendees this year?
With the active participation of global players and the government both at the Center and State, there is a lot that we can contribute to the growth of the construction industry. I welcome everyone in the Infrastructure sector, the construction equipment and user industries, including the MSMEs and the Academia to witness and experience the wide range of equipment, services and solutions on display and be a part of this Festival of the Construction Industry.

NBM&CW November 2019

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