Exploring Infotel 2015

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The day has finally arrived. Infotel 2015, the 14th iteration of Sri Lanka’s largest ICT exposition has begun. Just like last year, Infotel 2015 will be happening at BMICH from the 20th of November till the 22nd of November. We’ve landed here at Day 01 where the vast majority of attendees seem to be small armies of school goers.

The layout this year seems to follow the same tried and tested one implemented last year. You have Hall A and Hall B located inside where the main attractions are.

Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane
Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

Outside you’ll find Halls C, D and E located outside where you’ll find the SLT e-sports championship and other attractions with Hall D acting like a small buffer.

Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane
Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

So what exactly does one find at each of these halls? Let’s explore and find out.

The Entrance To The Main Halls

As you walk into the building where Halls A and B are located, you’ll see stalls belonging to Mobitel & Metropolitan in front. The metropolitan stall simply has their products, the Mobitel stall is another story entirely.

Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane
Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

At first glance, the Mobitel stall looks like a normal stall. However upon closer inspection, you’ll see that it’s the bus stand of the future. Powered by a solar panel on top, it has a street light that doubles as a WiFi hotspot. Step inside the stall and you’ll find two screens. One tells you how far a bus is and the other gives you targeted ads using a webcam. It also has a vending machine to quench your thirst. 

Next to it on the right, is a stall by ICTA where you can learn more about its initiatives such as Project Loon & Free WiFi. You’ll also find a stall belonging to FITIS. On the left side, you’ll see similar stalls belonging to Kaspersky and Atom Media. Occasionally, you may or may not see a poorly dressed Santa Claus roaming this area holding a few balloons. 

Hall B – The Industry

After checking things out at the entrance, the first hall we decided to visit was our old haunt at Infotel 2014. As you walk into Hall B this year, you’ll be greeted by SLT’s giant blue stall showcasing everything they have to offer from cordless landlines to TV’s running PeoTV to a gaming PC setup for ADSL. Behind it you’ll find the mega stall with mini-cubicles of all the startups in ICTA’s Spiralation programme.

Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane
Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

Just next to it is one of the biggest attractions of the hall (and arguably all of Infotel) the IT museum. From giant floppy disks to black & white displays to the very first macintosh, this is where you’ll find an entire cross section of IT history. As you walk around the rest of the hall you’ll see that most stalls here are manned by businesses selling enterprise solutions to a niche clientele. The layout hasn’t changed much from last year and neither has the type of exhibitors.

Hall A – The Consumer Side

The traffic you find here is three times that of Hall B. That’s expected of course because just like last year, this is where the trade stalls are. On the right side is where you’ll find all the stalls belonging to various private universities. A short walk around this area and you’ll know 90% of all degree programmes available in Sri Lanka outside government universities.

Walk into the middle of this hall and you’ll see a massive blue stall belonging to Dell. With bean bags in one corner, a mini office in the other and a house with a kitchen sink in the middle, you’ll find Dell’s entire product range here.

Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane
Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

This would’ve been the craziest thing we saw today, then we saw SALA’s stall next door with mysterious mannequins on top.

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Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

Behind the elaborate Dell stall and next to it, you’ll find stalls selling everything from gaming PC’s to headphones to printers. This is the hall you need to be at if you’re hunting for some deals at Infotel.

Hall E – The SLT eSports Championship

With Rs. 1 million up for grabs, it has the largest prize pool in e-sports history. Approximately 1000 participants have already registered for it and many more are expected to take part tomorrow. This is the SLT e-sports championship. Organised by SLT in partnership with Redline Gaming & Xiphos Gaming, it’s one of the largest gaming tournaments in Sri Lankan history. The games featured in this tournament are:

  • League of Legends
  • Dota 2
  • Counter-Strike GO
  • Halo 3
  • FIFA 15
  • Call of Duty Black Ops 2
  • Grid Autosport
  • Mortal Kombat X

As you walk into the hall you’ll see that this is the most popular hall of Infotel. The crowd in this hall was so massive, we actually had to swim from one end to the other.

Brave through the crowds and you’ll see rows of PCs and TVs for spectators, where most of the matches will take place. However if you move further up you’ll see a stunning stage, that’s akin to what you find at international gaming tournaments.

Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane
Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

This is the stage where many team matches will take place. If you’re at Infotel then this is one hall you should not miss!

Hall C – The Technological Salad

The last hall we visited today and it’s the one where you’ll find the most variety. As you walk into the hall you’ll be greeted by stalls of resellers selling various tech products from printers and pen drives to CD’s. Walk deeper into the hall and you’ll find the stalls that showcase the products from university students, school students and the projects by the winners of the Young Computer Scientist competition.

This is also the hall where you’ll find the military showcasing their digital innovations. The Army had it’s own stall where they demoed their firing range simulator (complete with a model gun) and the email system they built from scratch. Just next to it, you’ll find the most popular stall of this hall which belongs to the Ministry of Defence.

Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane
Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

Once again the Ministry of Defence brought their small arms firing simulator, which has never failed to attract the crowds at Infotel. This year, the Ministry of Defence also has a few other projects aimed at helping train our troops and give them the information they need when they are deployed. You’ll also find stalls belonging to the Air Force Cyber Security Operation Center and the Police.

Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane
Photo credits: Malshan Gunawardane

Oh and if you’re a drone lover then you don’t want to miss the stall belonging to the hobby shop which has drones of all shapes and sizes. It’s located next to the stall that belongs to the University of Moratuwa which has their own drones as well. You’ll also find Sri Lanka CERT in the middle of this hall. This hall truly is a technological salad with a ton of variety.

The CIO Forum

Happening in parallel to Infotel, this was a special conference on day 01 aimed at CIO’s held in Committee Room A at BMICH. The forum opened with Chinthaka Wijewickrema – Chairman of FITIS, welcoming the audience and informed every one of the many initiatives FITIS is currently working on. Afterwards, we saw Dr. Dayan Rajapakse – President of CSSL took the stage to introduce CSSL to everyone and their initiatives.

Following the welcome addresses, Allen Yeung Tak-bun – Government CIO of Hong Kong, took the stage to explain how a smart city works in all aspects by giving examples from his home. Afterwards, we saw Shyam Gopalkrishna – VP Global Strategy at Acer India, who spoke on challenges CIO’s have to face when it comes to the cloud and IOT.

The third speaker of the event was Vineet Mittal – Former Senior Director at RSA Technologies, who spoke about the challenges we face in keeping our applications secure. The final speaker was Dr.Harsha Subasinghe – CEO of Codegen, who spoke about disruptive innovation.

The event concluded with a panel discussion moderated by Fayaz Huddah – Programme Head at ICTA. The panel consisted of Shyam, Vineet, Dr. Harsha, Dumindra Ratnayaka – Former CEO of Etisalat and Mr. Conrad Dias – Group CIO at LOLC.

Beyond Day 01

That’s what we saw on Day 01 of Infotel 2015. There’s still plenty of things hidden in Infotel. Over the next two days, we’ll be taking a more detailed look at things and unearthing the deals and anything that’s awesome at Infotel 2015.

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