e-Swabhimani – the National Best e-Content Award – initially began in 2009. Since then, it’s grown quite a bit, slowly growing a sort of rolling fame among content creators. Over the years, the submissions have matured as well; we’ve seen a shift from “stuff I can win a competition with” to things that are, or can be, monetizable products in the future.
The judging process, too, seems to have matured, but only slightly – we’re not entirely sure a 1980’s top-down-racer clone is actually worth an award.
However,an overwhelming number of ingenious applications made it to the top and were awarded at a gala ceremony in the cavernous Atrium of the Cinnamon Grand, Colombo. There we witnessed inspiring speeches, a rather pointless diatribe by comedians / talkshow hosts Podi Malli and Chuti Malli, an animated digital avatar reading out the project descriptions in a very American accent – and of course, lots of flashing lights.
e-Swabhimani was based around nine categories, each with multiple winners. Powered by Hutch, we recorded the winners. Here they are:
1. e-Government & Institutions
Automated Fingerprint Identification System by Theekshana (a company owned by the UCSC). It does exactly what the name suggests, and also packs in a layer of location-based crime analytics.
Lanka Government Payment Service by a whole lot of Government departments. In a nutshell, the LGPS is a single online payment point for many government services. It’s part of the Lanka Gate initiative.
The Yala National Park Website by The 7th Frontier. Wildlife photography, a ton of data on everything – from the place to accommodation and services – and an art style that brings the Lion King to mind.
2. e-Health & Environment
Mobitel M-channeling. A free call-based appointment booking service currently active at the Dompe base hospital.
Blood SMS by Dialog Axiata. An SMS-based solution for registering and alerting donors, and handling a database of said donor details.
National Intensive Care Surveillance. A system that benchmarks the severity of ICU patients, diagnoses, outcomes, monitors and provides information to the Ministry of Health – a data-mining and analytics exercise to understand what works, why and how.
3. e-Learning & Education
Bhasha Guru by Arimac Lanka. Provides language learning lessons via the web and a smartphone app.
e-Thaksalawa by the Ministry of Education. A national e-Learning portal. A very content-rich site that takes an extremely long time to load even on our high-speed connections, making this surprisingly difficult to access.
Open Science Circle in Electronic Media. A multi-pronged project by the Institute of Fundamental Studies that uses a blog, social media and text alerts to promote awareness and science literary in Sri Lanka.
4. e-Entertainment & Games
Drawing Desk by 4 Axis Solutions. A popular iOS / Android art studio application with actual 3D brushstrokes and a small but thriving international userbase.
FlipBeats by hSenid. Not surprisingly, one of the most professional apps here. FlipBeats is best thought of as PlayerPro-meets Flipboard, with social media integration and surprisingly good sound processing.
The Super Racers. A repetitive racing game that’s a modern clone of the 80’s and 90’s top down racers. The juror’s evaluation for this reads like it was written by someone desperate to make it sound interesting.
5. e-Culture & Heritage
The official website of the Galle Heritage Foundation. A site that focuses mostly on the Galle Fort. Click the link and browse the site to see why most of us have never heard of it before, and will probably never visit it again.
Punyagrama web portal. A significantly more polished and professional-looking front end from the Ministry of Buddhasasana and Religious Affairs.
Hela Yugaya by Charaka Hettiarachchi. A charming blog that digs into history, tradition and the mythology of Sri Lanka, with not just articles, but news slippings, photos, embedded videos and the like. Largely incomplete but worth a read for any history buff.
6. e-Science & Technology
Siyara – Harbour VTMS by the UCSC. A vessel traffic monitoring and management solution for commercial ports and harbours. It’s presently being used in the Colombo South harbor
iHELMET by Ganindu Nanayakkara. Initially intended for military use, iHELMET caught our eye. It’s device that essentially makes life a lot safer for motorcycle riders, packing in a whole lot of feature – sensors for speed, distance, additional lighting, automated SOS broadcasting, even a phone charger to boot. There’s a similar product by the same name circulating on the web.
7. e-Business & Commerce
BileetaEntuition by Bileeta. A modular, cloud-based ERP focusing on Small and Medium Enterprises. It uses a system called “Journeys” to introduce functionality and control to the user.
Motor Claims Management System by MI Synergy. A product that does exactly what its name suggests. It’s targeted at insurance companies.
Rooms.lk. A central repository for finding rooms at budget hotels in Sri Lanka, with said hotels providing the postings.
8. e-Inclusion & Participation
Smart Cyber Assist by D.M.T.L. Dharmasena. A voice-based interface for controlling your computer. Basically, what Windows Speech Recognition can already do. A planned feature – Sinhala support – would make it much more useful.
Swaraloka by Kavindu Ranasinghe. An auditory interface that replaced music Braille with sound, enabling the blind to study and compose of eastern music in a rather creative manner.
Android Athpotha by Soft Image. A rather useful, comprehensive Android guide – done in Sinhala. Quite useful given Sri Lanka’s context.
Doc Call by Mobitel and SLMA. Dial a number for medical advice. The jurors record themselves and being impressed by the response time, the process and the advice, though they note that being available only to Mobitel and SLT customers is a bit of a drawback.
SL Dictionary by Arangaya. Translates from English to Sinhala, Sinhala to English and packs a phonetic English pronunciation feature
There were three other awards handed out in additional to these: a Youth Award, given to iChemist, a Titration simulator by Isuru Kusumal Rajapakse, and two Juror’s Distinction Awards handed out to a digital work management system called Antflow and ThirdEar, an app that we’ve seen before at the Imagine Cup. All in all – plenty of hard work, decent concepts and interesting winners, alongside the mandatory but significantly reduced scattering of truly uninspiring projects.