What we saw: The best of Infotel 2016

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Dubbed the premier ICT exposition in South East Asia, Infotel has come to an end. Once again as Digital Media Partners, we at ReadMe spent our Friday night and weekend at Infotel 2016. Over the course of three days, we went exploring across BMICH and found everything the exposition had to offer.

As with previous years, there’s a salad of stalls across Infotel showcasing everything the IT industry has to offer. But as always, there some people that go above and beyond with their stalls, in showcasing what the IT industry has to offer. Recognizing these stalls, here are our picks for the best stalls we saw at Infotel 2016.

The startup pavilion

Similar to last year, this year too saw an area at Infotel reserved for startups. We also took a stall here, which became our home for the duration of Infotel 2016.  Inside this startup pavilion, we found many familiar names. In fact, we found, Square Mobile in our neighboring stall demoing ShoutOUT.

Some of the startups we met at Infotel 2016 (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
Some of the startups we met at Infotel 2016 (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

Walking around the startup pavilion we found a stall belonging to HypeHash. Yes, the same HypeHash that was recently among the winners at AngelHack’s Global Demo Day. We also found a stall belonging to Siplo, whose founder Buddhika Jayawardhana was among the GSEA 2016 finalists.

Yet, one of the biggest crowds at the startup pavilion was around the stall belonging to LiveRoom. We met LiveRoom at Disrupt Asia, where they gave the most memorable pitch at Voltage 230. Of course, this is merely scratching the surface. There were more startups here at Infotel 2016. Many of them with cool offerings and passionate teams.

The ICTA Technology Experience Zone

Last year, we saw a massive area in the middle of a hall belonging to ICTA. This area was dedicated to showcasing the different startups that were accepted into ICTA’s Spiralation program. This year, ICTA still has the same are but they’re doing something different. They’ve partnered with Armiac Digital to create a Technology Experience Zone.

The Playstation VR was a popular attraction (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
The Playstation VR was a popular attraction (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

We found this Technology Experience Zone inside Hall B at Infotel 2016. Here, the folks at Arimac Digital were introducing a collection of cool new technologies to the public. These technologies included Virtual Reality in the form of an HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, Gesture-based gaming in the form of an Xbox Kinect and, Mind-control gaming. Additionally, we also saw an Augmented Reality Wall that showcased projects ICTA is working on. Oh, and they also had a 3D Printer.

Over the course of Infotel 2016, we saw long lines of people eager to try out everything here. That’s three days of people queueing up, just to try everything at one stall for just 5 minutes. One could argue that this was expected. After all, technologies like Virtual Reality are still very new to Sri Lanka.

The SLT eSports Championship

Over the course of three days, there were two things that remained constant at Hall E of Infotel 2016. The first was a long queue every morning until noon. The second we constantly heard as we walked past it. Needless to say, over the course of three days, the SLT eSports Championship was one of the most popular attractions at Infotel 2016.

Some snapshots of what we saw at the SLT eSports Championship (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
Some snapshots of what we saw at the SLT eSports Championship (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

The tournament is also one of the biggest on the Sri Lankan eSports Calendar. Gamers from all walks of life lined up every day since Friday to register and compete. At any other event, you’d have seen registrations would have been completed on Day 01. But there were so many eager participants this year. Seeing this, the organizers decided to keep accepting registrations until the final day of Infotel 2016.

By the final day, over 2000 people had competed at the SLT eSports Championship. These enthusiastic gamers filled Hall E with their presence and the air of Infotel 2016 with their cheers. Thankfully, this year saw an improved layout of the hall. So we didn’t have to swim from one end of the hall to the other.

The Ministry of Defense

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The last but certainly not least on this list is a regular entrant: The Ministry of Defense. We’ve included them in our lists for the Best of Infotel in 2015 and 2014. Now we’re featuring them on this list once again. The reason being that they’ve never failed to generate a large crowd around.

As with previous years, we saw the return of their iconic small-arms firing simulator. Once again, we saw the return of the AK-47 hooked up to a bunch of wires and a mini-shooting range. As with previous years, we saw a large crowd of people around this simulator. All of whom were interested in firing guns but bad at hitting targets.  Either way, the sounds of the AK firing filled the hall.

The small arms firing simulator has always been a popular attraction at Infotel (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)
The small arms firing simulator has always been a popular attraction at Infotel (Image credits: Malshan Gunawardane)

But this was only one attraction at this stall. The Sri Lanka Air Force was also here educating people on how an attacker could take control of your computer with a torrent. We also saw a bunch of new project by the armed forces, which include a tide monitoring system built by the Sri Lanka Navy.

But the most popular of the new projects was a flight simulator game built by the Air Force. The game isn’t an actual simulator. From what we gathered speaking to the Air Force officers around it, this game is a simplified version of an actual flight simulator they built. It didn’t teach anyone how to fly an actual plane. Nonetheless, it was a popular attraction that saw a long line of kids interested in being fighter pilots at Infotel 2016.

What did you love about Infotel 2016?

So that’s our list for the best picks of Infotel 2016. But what about you? What did you love about Infotel 2016? Let us know in the comments below.

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