Lanka starts assessing Internet of Things in its next convergence

Wednesday, 9 April 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • EDB launches Lanka’s first ever Internet of Things session
  • Lanka’s first Advanced Electronics Design Centre coming: Moratuwa Uni
  • Positive on IoT in Sri Lanka: Eminent expert panel
  • A new, useful concept: EDB DG Weerakoone
  • Open culture of innovation
  • eeded: Microimage’s Sankapala
As the consumer end of digital convergence in the country continued to develop, Sri Lanka has officially begun assessing the promise of the “next big thing” on the digital frontier and Sri Lanka’s first Advanced Electronics Design Centre is now on the cards. “This is the first ever initiative for Sri Lanka’s ICT sector on the emerging ‘Internet of Things’. There is no doubt that this advanced and novel concept will be useful for everyone,” said EDB Director General Sujatha Weerakoone recently. Weerakoone was addressing the first ever IoT session held in Sri Lanka, organised by the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) at the NDB/EDB building on 18 February. Taking part in this pioneering event were an eminent panel of industry experts - Mano Sekaram (CEO of 99x Technologies and Director of SLASSCOM), Harsha Purasinghe (Founder/CEO of Microimage Ltd.), Sankalpa Gamwarige (General Manager, VP - Engineering at Zone 24x7), Vipula Liyanaarachchi (Sri Lanka Manager of Motorola Solutions Engineering), Dr. Srinath Perera (Director Research WSO2), Dr. Ajith Pasqual (Head of the Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering at the University of Moratuwa), and Nihal Kularatne (Senior Lecturer from the University of Wakaito, New Zealand). In software excellence, for the 7th consecutive year, Sri Lanka’s University of Moratuwa has claimed the top spot winning the highest number of awards at each of the annual Google Summer of Code (GSoC) competitions from 2007 to 2013. Global IoT market value and stake is estimated to surpass $ 14 trillion (CISCO Corp estimates, 2013) in the next decade and Sri Lanka’s ICT services, software exports and BPO/KPO sectors are well poised to cater to this highly promising sector, considered as the ‘next big thing’. Currently, two firms, WSO2 and Zone24X7, both headquartered in the US but have operations in Sri Lanka, have become the prime movers of IoT related processing here. Zone24X7, a third-party end-to-end design house, is California headquartered, and has advanced product engineering and R&D facilities in Sri Lanka. Zone24X7 creates an exclusive IoT platform called Matrix 24x7 for management, analytics and decision making and is used by Macy’s Department Store, among others. Zone24X7 grabbed an award in 2013 Hong Kong’s APICTA event for its “Braille to Go (b2g)”, the free hardware and software solution for visually impaired people. US headquartered WSO2 provides a complete open source middleware platform (said to be the only such enterprise solution at this level) and has introduced lean, and flexible solutions middleware at enterprise levels. Volvo, British Airways and Ebay are among WSO2’s customers. “Electronic manufacturing facilities at factories we have in Sri Lanka, are at international standards with lots of spare capacity. As such we need designs that can use this spare capacity so that Lankan IoT could become start off,” said Dr. Ajith Pasqual (Head of the Department of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering at the University of Moratuwa)addressing the event. “The Government has accepted the creation of an ‘Advanced Electronics Design Centre’ aimed at moving towards electronic design and manufacturing industry as well as future plans for said centre, including funding startups. Low power IoT devices, digital design, automotive electronics, hardware acceleration, real-time analytics, board-level solutions are potential IoT avenues for Sri Lanka,” Dr. Pasqual added. Mano Sekaram, CEO of 99x Technologies addressing the event, said: “We will have a future where we will have more devices than people, with both being connected to each other.” Harsha Purasinghe (Founder/CEO of Microimage Ltd.), addressing the event, said: “Cloud computing and big data are now emerging. In the near future, things such as an auditorium’s projector and chairs, even vases of plants would all be connected to the internet and will be transmitting vast amounts of data, like my wristband which is a practical application in wearable technology, and is monitoring my health and transmitting the data to a cloud service.” “Sri Lanka already has some IoT applications such as remote cheque deposit systems, and an air conditioning system,” said Dr. Gamwarige addressing the event, and added: “An open culture of innovation is needed to properly implement IoT solutions. The biggest being the revenue models that IoT companies have adopted.” Vipula Liyanaarachchi (Sri Lanka Manager of Motorola Solutions Engineering) unveiled a technical but informative presentation on IoT models. “Due to hardware platforms getting cheaper, getting into IoT is now much cheaper than before,” he said. “There are three stages when it comes to understanding data - know what Happened, find out why that happened and make forecasts for what will happen,” said Dr. Srinath Perera, Director-Research-WSO2. “Do not begin something simply because it looks like a bright idea,” advised Eng. Nihal Kularatne (Senior Lecturer from the University of Wakaito in New Zealand), addressing the event, and said: “Rather, identify a need and create a solution to match.”