|| M. Arokiaswamy || Managing Director || IED Communications Ltd.||

  • 08/07/2017

"An interview with M. Arokiaswamy, Managing Director of IED Communications, the man behind the Automation series of exhibitions, and editor/publisher of Industrial Automation."

Q. Every entrepreneur has a story and a turning point. What is your story?

Yes, this is true. I come from what was then a small village in Erode District of Tamil Nadu. For me the journey began when I arrived in Mumbai in the year 1960 in search of a job. Armed with just basic school education.  I attended a course and obtained a Diploma in Commerce Course of London Chamber of Commerce. Thereafter it was work in various companies and later a job with Larsen & Toubro, which was even then a large and reputed company. The seed was probably sown during this time as I spent 13 years working with the marketing department and came in contact with various advertising agencies and publications for the different divisions of the company.
The turning point came in the late Seventies. While studying in school I was inspired by Mr G D Naidu’s inventions. Fortunately I was in contact with his son, who was then the Managing Director of UMS Group. He advised me to start a publication for Instrumentation & Electronics, a segment in which I had developed a keen interest, and that is how it started in the year 1980. There were not many trade magazines then, and there was this opportunity waiting to be explored.

Q. So that is how you started IED Communications and became a publisher. But it went beyond the magazine – what led you to the idea for an exhibition?

In 1983, I was visiting the Intercama exhibition in Germany. At an official reception for the Indian delegation, along with Mr. G. R. Pai from ECIL, I spoke to a German TV channel on the Indian industry. Later during a visit to Korea in 1985 – it was a large group of 115 – Mr. Omprakash of Orbit fame, who had organised the trip, announced that I am the leader of the Indian delegation, following my interaction with the officials during the reception of Indian delegation in Korea. Over the next decade, I travelled abroad extensively, visiting various industrial exhibitions and conferences in USA, Germany, UK, Italy, France, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and a few other countries, and was quite impressed by what I saw. This in turn made me think of another opportunity – an exhibition for the emerging field of automation. 

Q. When was the exhibition launched? How was the initial response?

With this thought was launched the Automation Exhibition in the year 2002 with a modest number of 157  exhibitors at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. Started as a biennial show the exhibition turned to an annual extravaganza from 2011 to meet the increasing needs of the industry. 
Acting primarily as a platform for introducing New Automation techniques, the exhibition has grown exponentially. Presently it is considered the biggest Automation EXPO in the entire South-East Asian Region for showcasing the latest innovations and providing opportunities galore to network with the best of technical minds in the industry. There has been a phenomenal increase in the number and quality of exhibitors as well as visitors from across the globe. Companies from Indonesia, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany and Italy participate each year to reach out the Indian market. The 2016 edition of the show witnessed an overwhelming response of 923 massive displays from exhibitors and an impressive footfall of 50,253 visitors. 

Q. Brief us about Automation Expo 2017, how do you plan for this event what are highlights of this event?

Automation Expo 2017, scheduled for 9th-12th August, has already surpassed the exhibitor numbers and space occupied during the previous year and we expect more visitors this time. With many new products and technologies related to Industry 4.0 launched in the last few months, visitors will have a lot to look forward to. There are a number of concurrent events planned during the four days of the show, the prominent ones being the CEO Summit 2017 on 9th August 2017  and a Conference on Automation in Pharma on 9th August 2017, Conference on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) on 10th August 2017,  For the first time we have interactive sessions on Machine Safety on 10th August 2017. Conference on Cybersecurity on 11th August 2017 and Workshop on SIL & Functional Safety on the 12th of August. 

Q. What are the upcoming challenges you facing due to many up/down in the market and how do you cope up with these hurdles?

The industry faces hurdles all the time of various kinds – a slowdown in one or more regions of the world, or some on account of policy matters. The falling oil prices too have had a major impact during the last three years. But the industry is resilient and mature enough to deal with the crisis. Automation is a game changer. It has provided many tools of productivity and cost savings and that certainly has helped industries to tide through bad times.
The Indian industry today is on the growth path, all the policy initiatives in the wake of Make in India now expected to show results, as more and more investments are coming to the manufacturing segment.  

Q. What can the readers expect from IED Communications, what are the benefits you provide to the readers and also the industry?

We are a media that mirrors the reflection of the reality in the field. A trade publication is not a mainstream media creating sensational news or some buzz. We follow the developments in the industry and show the correct picture to our readers, most of whom are interested to know about new products, innovations and trends in industry in general, automation in particular. We try to provide them the correct information without resorting to any hype. The Automation exhibition provides an excellent platform for manufacturers and vendors to connect with their customers.

Q. What are your future plans for the exhibition?

We have a three-point programme for the Automation exhibition for the future. The first is to grow further, the second is to grow more and the third, grow some more. But seriously, we are working on a plan to reach a target of 50,000 sq.mtr in occupied space for this show in the next three years.  

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