ICT strategy discussed globally
By Akhry Ameer
Sri Lanka's ICT Roadmap was put to the test recently among various
business leaders through a global dialogue comprising officials
of the World Bank, industry colleagues in the Silicon Valley, India's
software association NASSCOM and key Sri Lankan ICT business leaders.
The four-way video conference saw commendations and support for
implementation being expressed by all those who participated.
A member of the Sri Lankan team participating in the global
dialogue via the Distance Learning Centre sponsored by the World
Bank situated at Longden Place. Pic by Athula Devapriya.
IT Advisor for the Ministry of Economic Reforms, Science and Technology,
in his opening address described the roadmap as a 'big-bang' approach
where there is full-scale support from all concerned, including
the government, for its implementation. In his overview he explained
that the implementation would cover the areas of national information
infrastructure, ICT human resources, government modernisation, capacity
development and electronic development. This would be affected through
a strategic council to be set up shortly. He also called for more
NGO and private-sector support for its implementation. The global
dialogue covered various aspects of ICT such as technology, risk
capital, e-governance, societal application and also the proposed
visit by the prime minister to the Silicon Valley.
of NASSCOM, India's apex software body, Kiran Karnik, throughout
the conference expressed support in the form of sharing Indian implementation
experiences in all areas and also willingness to have a joint software
development effort that can work towards joint global marketing
of software and services of both countries.
shared various views and suggestions for the way forward in the
implementation of the roadmap. The World Bank panel which included
M.V. Mushin, a Sri Lankan who serves as a Vice President and Chief
Information Officer, expressed support for various aspects of the
The global dialogue
also had various speakers both from the public and private sector
in Sri Lanka and various representatives from related private and
public sector organisations as observers.
launches global service carrier community programme
The local office of global networking leader Cisco Systems Inc.
recently announced the launch of its Cisco Service Carrier Community
programme in Sri Lanka. The programme is a global initiative of
the company that brings together various service providers using
Cisco networking equipment into a global community via the Web.
The programme also seeks to promote the growth of VoIP (Voice over
Internet Protocol) traffic and propel Service Providers to new levels
of revenue and profitability.
such as Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSP's), Cellular
Mobile Service Providers (CMSP's), Fixed Service Providers (FSP's),
National and International Long Distance (NLD/ILD's) who have deployed
Cisco's networking equipment can become members of the Service Carrier
Community. As members of the programme the service providers will
be able to work together to exchange traffic and maximise respective
application strengths amongst them with the ultimate objective of
delivering end-to-end VoIP services.
members will have privileged access to a searchable Web database
containing profiles of all members, together with contact information,
application services provided by them and the traffic routes served
by them. Through this information the service providers will be
able to find business partners for origination, transport, and termination
of voice traffic in over 200 countries around the world. Further,
members who have achieved Cisco Powered Network status will be provided
with business communications services that will help them link with
Cisco's extensive enterprise and small/medium business customer
re-affirms Cisco's commitment to the service provider market, and
will enable a 'network of networks' to emerge. Since there are hundreds
of service providers worldwide using Cisco's VoIP technologies,
we are uniquely positioned to bring this critical mass of companies
together. By keeping VoIP-based calls on VoIP networks, our customers
can reduce transport cost and provide a more feature-rich set of
services." said Kumaran Singaram, Director - Operations, Cisco
Systems - Asia.
to linking the members, the Web page also will have access links
to relevant product and solution information and to the Cisco Service
Provider Solutions Eco-system. This is a community of technology
and services companies enabling service providers to rapidly deploy
and manage innovative networking services. Cisco Service Provider
Solutions Eco-system Partners support open, standards-based architecture
and a shared commitment to interoperable, multi-vendor solutions.
The members will also be able to physically meet potential business
partners at Cisco-sponsored networking events around the world.
These benefits are intended to help carriers expand their VoIP service
portfolio, grow traffic and increase profitability.
Computer Scientist Award 2002
The Sri Lanka Association for the Software Industry (SLASI) will
be organising a competition for youngsters with a view to facilitating
and promoting ICT among them. The Young Computer Scientist Award
2002 will be a part of the association's programme for the International
ICT week being celebrated from October 7 to 13, 2002.
will be held in two categories for juniors aged between 12 and 16
years and seniors aged between 17 and 19 years. The awards for the
competition will include certificates and cash prizes for each category
amounting to Rs. 21,000.
have to programme original extraordinary software in one of the
specified areas. These subject areas consist of simulation, multimedia
creation, electronic music, computer game design, electronic publishing/messaging,
computer controlled devices, robots and BEAM electronics, 3D designing,
computer/telephony communications, computer assisted training and
will also be given an opportunity to demonstrate their creations
at the Infotel Lanka 2002 exhibition to be held from October 10-13.
The entry forms for the competition will be published in newspapers
shortly, according to staff at the Infotel Office.
- global vendor for Kingston
Memory Technologies (Pvt) Ltd authorised distributors of Kingston
computer memory chips, has been recognised by Kingston Technology
Co, USA as one of its global vendors.
The local company
has been a focused chip vendor in the country and over the last
four years has successfully developed Kingston as a leading brand.
Having established Kingston as a preferred brand among a majority
of retail and branded computer vendors, system integrators and service
providers in Sri Lanka, Memory Technologies has been recognised
as a global vendor on the Kingston website. The Kingston memory
is designed for all major brands of computers and maintains strategic
alliances with Intel, Microsoft, Toshiba, Samsung and Rambus.
A company official
said that this status enables them to offer competitive prices and
maintain the high level of service provided by Kingston worldwide.
However, the company is also concerned about imitations in the market.
The official added that this can be identified by the lack of proper
packaging and the one-year warranty provided by these dealers.
Kingston products are sold with a lifetime warranty. To counter
this, Memory Technologies has launched a campaign educating customers
on spotting the fake products and has also opened a hotline to handle
customer queries and warranty issues.
servers to lower cost of infrastructure
IBM Sri Lanka introduced its pSeries 630 Unix servers to the local
market recently. The new range is part of the company's strategy
to provide large enterprises, mid-market and small businesses high-end
server features at a lower cost.
The lower cost
of ownership is made possible by the server's unique ability to
allocate resources dynamically into four "virtual servers"
carrying out four different tasks, instead of running it through
four separate physical servers. The new server also features a 64-bit
system architecture and the POWER4 microprocessor.
The p630 comes
in both desktop and rack mountable options with one, two or four
POWER4 1.0GHz processors and with a memory of 1GB expandable to
16GB. It also has two integrated 10/100 Mbps Ethernet connections
and two high performance SCSI controllers.
to small and medium businesses the p630 is suitable for hospitals,
financial institutions, and e-businesses to carry out some of its
small critical functions. IBM also revised its high-end and mid-range
servers earlier in the year with the introduction of the p690 and
p670 series respectively.
Computer institute spreads its wings
As you drive along Duplication Road, you would keep wondering whether
it is a marketing gimmick that a computer education institute has
around seven different locations. Well, it is not so. It is an indication
of how this institute has grown to become a comprehensive one-stop
shop for IT education.
Studies (Pvt) Ltd was set up in 1984 initially with the focus of
providing formalised training and conducted a diploma programme
and a programme for students sitting the British Computer Society
exams. Through the years meeting the growing demands of Information
Technology itself, IDM has today created a model for computer education
and training that satisfies all those from basic computer users,
to industry professionals and academics.
caters to over 4,000 students in Colombo alone at a given period
of time with its own diploma as the starting point and working upwards
to internationally recognised qualifications and certifications.
The various international exams are conducted through the Department
the different locations Dr. Bandula Ranasinghe, Chairman - IDM Group
of Companies, said that they are specialised business units catering
to the needs of various segments of the industry. Dr. Ranasinghe
is an industry expert who has been involved in IT education in Sri
Lanka since the 1970's and is today also an IT consultant. Asked
for his vision for IDM, he said that his organisation is ready to
extend full support in the areas of IT education to achieve the
government's plans of making the country IT literate.
innovation is its programme for schoolchildren. IDM Compukids has
been developed based on the British and US models towards providing
organised training to kids from primary school level to a London
O/L computing qualification. Thereafter, the students are ready
to enter the next phase of the educational model of the institute
that makes them industry-ready.
is also working closely with the relevant public institutions responsible
for developing the General Information Technology (GIT) subject
for the Advanced Level Students. IDM will play the role of training
and supporting teachers.
plans of expansion, Dr. Ranasinghe said that the institute already
has nine different locations spread over the island and will increase
this through franchise arrangements to other parts of the country.
He said that IDM has repositioned itself as "The Nation's IT
IT education in Sri Lanka, Dr. Ranasinghe as an industry observer,
said that there are excellent programmes available for career-minded
students. He also had a high regard for the Bachelor of Information
Technology external degree programme being conducted by the University
said that there are also a large number out of the 300 plus institutes
in the island offering programmes that are not career oriented and
resorting to various marketing practices such as mass scholarships
to attract students. This is also indicative by the relatively small
membership of around 30 in the Association of Computer Training
Organisations (ACTOS), a self-managed body that governs the practices
of the IT institutes.
APTECH Worldwide's Sri Lankan business partner IT Lanka Academy
(Pte) Ltd launched a new curriculum for its local courses recently.
Aptech Certified Computer Professional (ACCP 2003) programme is
a hybrid model that has been developed by Aptech for use in all
its worldwide centres. This enables the Sri Lankan students to be
exposed to the same technology training as other students around
has been designed by Aptech in consultation with international alliance
partners such as Microsoft, Sun and NetG. Conducted over a period
of three years in a modular approach the programme exposes the students
to leading technologies and makes them 'workforce-ready' upon completion.
The training methods will comprise a combination of instructor,
computer-based and web-based training. Further the local trainers
who are trained by Aptech will also follow a specified course format
with materials that are provided by its principal.
IT Lanka Academy
is a BOI venture with franchise licensing from Aptech, India to
conduct its courses locally. Aptech, India, is now a global venture
with 2,449 centres in 52 countries in Latin America, South East
Asia, Middle East and SAARC regions. Its courseware is updated every
two years to keep abreast with modern technologies and is translated
into various languages.
Email from Mobitel
Local cellular operator, Mobitel (Pvt) Ltd recently introduced a
mobile email facility to its customers. The emails sent through
the mobile phone work along similar lines as that of email communication
via a PC.
of the emails is almost instant. However, this feature will be limited
to customers having digital handsets. A company spokesperson said
that Mobitel is concentrating on other new features and will be
launching them as soon as internal testing is completed.
24-hr cheque drop boxes
loop telecommunications provider Suntel added a new conve-nience
for its customers recently with the introduction of a 24-hour cheque
payment drop box. These boxes are similar to the cheque deposit
box concept in banks, but are available to customers 24 hours day
throughout the year as they are located outside the office in the
premises of the Suntel centres in Colombo and Nugegoda.
that has been on trial over a six-month period in Colombo has improved
customer satisfaction levels, according to company officials. This
helps to eliminate the inconvenience of queues and parking that
customers have to face during working hours.
involves filling out a payment slip, getting it machine franked,
dropping it into the box with the cheque while retaining its duplicate.
The security staff at the Suntel centres also have been trained
to handle these units should customers seek help.