Last December 9 – 11, 2011, The Computer Manufacturers, Distributors & Dealers Association of the Philippines (COMDDAP) again held its annual exhibit at the SMX Convention Hall at the Mall of Asia. A familiar site greeted me when I visited the event – people lining up to enter the exhibit area.
In existence for the past twenty-four (24) years, I was wondering what new things can this exhibit provide. “It’s going to be a selling event” said Mr. Juan Chua, 2011 President of COMDDAP. “Our visitors will be in for a big surprise as huge discounts will be provided by our exhibitors” added Chua.
Indeed, when Chua said huge discounts, he really mean huge discounts. I was able to find some notebook computers with a tag price of PhP 21,000.00 from its orignal price of PhP 28,000.00. Notebook computers for as low as PhP 16,000.00. Printers priced at PhP 5,000.00 from its original price of PhP 10,500.00. A branded 10 megapixel digital camera for less than PhP 2,000.00. Software applications priced at PhP 7,500.00 (for 3 licenses) from its original price of around PhP 9,000.00.
For those who can afford and for those who are looking for bargains, one might say that this year’s event is very relevant. But how about for those who don’t have the budget to buy, the benefits are priceless.
If there’s one comment COMDDAP events are receiving every year is that most of its attendees are “students”. Students from Manila and from the provinces are flocking this annual event in thousands. But the attendees are not limited to students alone, people from the corporate world are also visiting the event. The number of corporate visitors may be less than the student attendees but their numbers cannot be ignored as well.
Another concern is with the availability of the internet, with websites featuring various new products, with bloggers reviewing gadgets and with malls housing almost all available technology brands in the market today, how can COMDDAP be relevant still? I got my answer from the attendees themselves.
I simply asked one question to the event visitors – “Why are you attending the COMDDAP event still?”. Here are the answers I got:
One student said “Sir, kasi dito ko lang sa COMDDAP nakikita at nasusubukan ang mga latest gadgets (Sir, only here at COMDDAP do I get to see and try the latest gadgets)”. One lady said “I am looking for gadgets as part of my Christmas gift list”. One gentleman answered “Its cheaper here. I was able to get my notebook computer in a bargain price here at COMDDAP last year.”. Another student said “Marami po kaming natututunan dito sa COMDDAP. (We are learning a lot from the COMDDAP exhibit). From the answers I got, one can say that people troop to COMDDAP for various reasons and the event is still very relavant.
Yes, its true that one can find the latest gadgets and innovation on the web, but my question is how many of our population have access to the web? For us who are fortunate to have access to technology, COMDDAP may be irrelevant, but how about for those who don’t? Do we deprive them to see, touch, and try the gadgets that they can only wish to own? How many schools in our country can afford to have computer laboratories? How many students have actually tried using an i3, i5 and an i7 powered computers?
If you could only see the excitement and happiness of the students lining up just to get a copy of technology magazines and product brochures, queueing just to try out the latest video games, to surf the internet, to browse through websites, to listen to product demonstrations, and to participate in various activites – I would say COMDDAP is doing the general public a huge service. To us who have access to technology, COMDDAP may be nothing, but to many – its an opportunity of their lifetime. Students will not remain as students for the rest of their lives – they will become the future decision makers of this country.
How many trade shows do we have 10 to 20 years ago? Perhaps Five (5) to 10 events per year. How about in the last Five (5) years? I would say a handful. How about in the year 2009, 2010 and the current year 2011? One or two perhaps and COMDDAP is one of them. Where are the rest? GONE. Why? You tell me.
I think we should all commend the members of COMDDAP for this commitment that they have taken upon themselves – for their continued efforts to educate the public. And mind you, COMDDAP is not just an annual exhibit, its an organization that also provides social services to the country, a service that is done quietly in the public eye.
If there’s one advice I would give COMDDAP is for the organization to add the letter M to their name. M to stand for mobile. Congratulations to COMDDAP for a job well done and may you have many more fruitful years to come.
I am logging off. Stay cool and God Bless!
(Article written by Jerry Liao)