Dialog, Ericsson and the Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment collaborate to set up Sri Lanka’s first state-of-the art 5G Innovation Centre. Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Secretary Chulananda Perera and Dialog Axiata Group Chief Executive Supun Weerasinghe exchange agreements in the presence of Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Harin Fernando MP and Deputy Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara, whilst (from left): Ericsson Telecommunication Lanka, Sri Lanka and Maldives Managing Director Vinod Samarawickrama, Ericsson Group Senior Vice President and Head Asia Oceania and India, Nunzio Mirtillo, Ericsson Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh President Todd Ashton, Dialog Axiata Group Chief Technology Officer Pradeep De Almeida, and Dialog Axiata Group Chief Innovation Officer Anthony Rodrigo look on
Dialog Axiata PLC, Sri Lanka’s premier connectivity provider, in partnership with Ericsson, world leader in communications technology and services along with the Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish Sri Lanka’s first state-of-the-art 5G Innovation Centre.
The first of its kind in the country, the Innovation Centre will encourage Sri Lankans to collaborate and create next generation IoT and ICT innovations and serve the country’s digital footprint through strategic partnerships, stimulating entrepreneurship and facilitating a collaborative shared learning environment.
The occasion was graced by Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Harin Fernando, Deputy Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara, Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment Secretary Chulananda Perera, Dialog Axiata PLC Group Chief Executive Supun Weerasinghe, Dialog Axiata PLC Group Chief Technology Officer Pradeep De Almeida, Dialog Axiata PLC Group Chief Innovation Officer Anthony Rodrigo, and the leadership team of Ericsson headed by Group Senior Vice President and Head Asia Oceania and India Nunzio Mirtillo.
The MoU will explore the possibilities of 5G and IoT enabling various stakeholders such as the community and different verticals to carve out new innovative solutions. On the road to finalising the 5G national agenda and program implementation by the Government, the Innovation Centre aims to improve efficiency, innovation and productivity and create new opportunities for capacity building in emerging 5G technology. The setting up of the 5G Innovation Centre will be underpinned by investments exceeding Rs. 500 million in connectivity, equipment and infrastructure.
Harin Fernando said, “We are proud to partner Dialog and Ericsson to advance technology in the country through the set-up of a 5G Innovation Centre, earmarked on the Ministry’s roadmap. On the brink of exponential change through digitalisation, the innovation Centre will help accelerate an entrepreneurial and research culture in the country.” He added, “The youth uptake of digital innovation based projects and developments in Sri Lanka is phenomenal, and this would prove a great way to encourage more students to innovate using technology.”
The 5G Innovation Centre will link Dialog and Ericsson technology and capabilities with likeminded partners into a single framework for local application developers and content providers. Research and development will be a collaborative effort between local universities together with cooperation from the global sphere. Researchers and entrepreneurs will have the ability to design/develop programmes and prototypes and use the Innovation Centre as a test lab for verification. Further the facility will enable developers, mobile users, academia and eco-system partners to test 5G capabilities and inter-operability on site.
Sharing his thoughts on the collaboration Ericsson Telecommunication Lanka Managing Director/Country Manager Vinod Samarawickrama said, “5G will be a critical national infrastructure in digitalising the economy and capturing the vision of a fully connected society. 5G is a platform for innovation. We look forward to establishing the Centre together with Dialog, who was instrumental in trialling 5G for the first time in South Asia last year. The Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment will play a key role in driving the national mandate to build a digital and connected Sri Lanka.”
Dialog Axiata PLC Group Chief Executive Supun Weerasinghe said, “The 5G Innovation Centre is another milestone in Dialog’s Technology leadership as we prepare to commercially launch 5G, ahead of the rest of South Asia. 5G sets a capable environment to help fast track IoT developments along with next generation video and robot/manufacturing automation. Advancing the transformational technology of 5G in Sri Lanka will enable exciting possibilities across education, health, agriculture and manufacturing and also harness entrepreneurship and provide a spring board for in-country talent.”
Dialog demonstrated the power of what 5G would deliver in terms of products and services at South Asia’s first 5G trial in August 2017. 5G Services demonstrated at Dialog’s Iconic Centre included cloud radio and futuristic technology applications such as IoT (Internet of Things) based Smart Parking, Real Time 4K video streaming, industry automation, robotics and Augmented Reality. 5G technology is expected to deliver significant growth in connectivity, mobile traffic capacity, and new capabilities that enhance performance by providing greater throughput, lower latency, ultra-high reliability, higher connectivity density and ubiquity.