Several offers from Etisalat to improve ICT sector
A key driver of Sri Lanka's socio-economic development, the ICT
sector will be given a boost via an innovating e-learning platform, a
program envisioned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa with the joint efforts
of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Co-operatives and Internal
Trade, Sri Lanka's leading telecommunication rovider Etisalat and the
State Trading Corporation (STC).
Etisalat will provide several offers to Sri Lankan schools, at an
affordable price as well as through loan schemes.
From left Etisalat CEO, Dumindra
Ratnayaka, Secretary Ministry of Education W.M. Gunasekara,
Education Minister Bandula Gunawardena, Co-operative and
Internal Trade Minister Johnston Fernando, Secretary,
Ministry of Co-operatives and Internal Trade Sunil
S.Sirisena and Chairman State Trading Corporation Pradeep
Gunawardena. Pic: Kavindra Perera
A Notebook PC, a high speed Internet connection with a 3.75G mobile
broadband connectivity, educational e-learning content which compromises
the school curriculum content on an e-learning platform and a HSPA+
modem unit which are unmatched on uplink and downloads.
Easy payment schemes from government and non-governmental financial
institutions will be given by STC to students and teachers.
"Mobile users in Sri Lanka are 100 percent but internet use is around
Our team conducted a research program and according to the findings
the main barriers for internet growth is that parents are cautious due
to the misuse of the service," said Etisalat CEO Dumindra Ratnayaka.
He said, "To prevent the misuse of the internet we have introduced a
parental control software known as NetNanny.
This software protects students from misusing the internet while
making valuable internet resources available to them."
As a CSR initiative in partnership with STC, Etisalat is donating
this education system to all Sri Lankan schools.
Education Minister, Bandula Gunawardena said, "National IT literacy
has increased from five percent to 30 percent due to the initiatives
such as the e-Sri Lanka program and Nenasala wisdom outlets. We are
targeting to reach 75 per cent in ICT literacy by 2016."
"President Rajapaksa named an IT year and as a result IT knowledge
has increased 28-30 percent from five percent and our target is to
"Today a student starts learning IT from grade 10 but from next
January a student will start learning IT from Grade 6," said the
"For the 1,000 schools that will be opened across the country within
the next year we are planning to have an IT laboratory with at least 50
computers, a language laboratory and a mathematical laboratory in the
Every principal will get a laptop, a dongle and free access to the
internet during school timeunder this project .
It is a service provided free by Etisalat and will cost the company
around Rs one million.
Under this project 340 schools will be covered this year while the
1000 schools project will get the opportunity next year.
During the next three years all small schools will be given free
internet access. Under the second stage of the project teachers will be
given easy payment loans to purchase laptops.
Private sector participation encouraged
One of the main drawbacks encountered in going forward with the
establishing of nanotechnology plants is the lack of funds. However, the
high initial investment to put up nanotechnology plants could be
justified by the high economic benefits and shorter pay back periods.
Therefore, private sector participation is largely encouraged to make
correct and timely investments, states the Central Bank Report of 2010.
The formation of public-private partnerships may help minimise the
burden on the government budget and expedite commercialisation of
research findings in going forward with this venture.
The government considering the importance of nanotechnology in
industrial development, decided to build a nanotechnology park in 2007.
The initiative is aimed at facilitating research to take advantage of
the nanotechnology that was creating a revolutionary breakthrough around
In 2008, the private sector, having identified the potential benefits
of early exploitation of this technology showed a keen interest in
investing in this field and as a result, partnered with the government
to establish the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTec).
The SLINTec as a public-private partnership is committed to undertake
sustainable research focusing on projects that are economically,
environmentally and socially sustainable.
In its first year of operations, SLINTec has been able to acquire
five international patents compared with Sri Lanka's past record rate of
1-1.5 international patents per year.
International patents acquired in 2010 include carbon nanotubes, nano
fertiliser and nano rubber while field testing has already commenced as
the first step to commercialising some of these products.
The areas of research and development carried out were in the sectors
of textile and apparel products, rubber based products, fertiliser and
mineral products such as graphite and ilmenite.
The textile and apparel sector, which is the major export oriented
factory industry, promise immense potential in making revolutionary
gains with the use of nanotechnology in its products as well as in the
Accordingly, research and development was carried out on nano
textiles to be manufactured in Sri Lanka, where some products are
currently being developed to the commercialisation stage.
The use of nanotechnology in reducing the carbon footprint of garment
manufacturing and also in garment's dyeing processes are also currently
in the stage of development for commercialisation, which promise
considerable value addition to the 'Green Garments' attached to Sri
Lankan apparel exports.
Another typical use of nanotechnology that demonstrates a favourable
economic impact to Sri Lanka is nano fertiliser which is currently being
used in commercial crops.
Nano fertiliser which is currently being field tested has a unique
characteristic of high absorption efficiency which would result in lower
fertiliser quantities required per arable unit of land.
Similarly the exportation of nano carbon tubes and nano titanium
dioxide in place of the raw minerals that are exported currently,
promise a notable increase on our export earnings.
Rubber based products industry, which is Sri Lanka's second largest
export oriented factory industry, also has immense potential to increase
its foreign exchange earnings by inculcating nano rubber to its products
such as solid tyres and rubber gloves.
Many countries use nanotechnology in the development of the
industrial sector to manufacture new and innovative products in a cost
For example, with the use of nanotechnology, ordinary textile and
fabric are converted to textiles that do not absorb liquids and other
substances giving it the unique feature of resistance from spills and
Similarly the very high water repellency found on the lotus flower,
known as the lotus effect is seen developed in paints with the use of
nanotechnology ensuring dust and water repellent properties in keeping
walls of buildings clean for longer periods.
Likewise, the difficulty of cleaning windows of sky scrapers is
solved by using nanotechnology to produce glass with self cleaning
coating surfaces that do not accumulate dust and other tiny particles.
These are only a few examples of how nanotechnology can be applied in
the industrial sector. Nanotechnology is a new invention, which has the
ability to produce unique products with new features by changing the
existing form of such products.
This involves the manipulation of matter on the scale of atoms and
molecules by changing the inherent features of material through
re-engineering the composition at the molecular level.
Likewise, nanotechnology applications can be found in many areas in
the industrial sector.
Sony chief Howard Stringer says firm acted quickly
Sony has begun offering PlayStation gamers incentives to return to
the network The boss of Sony has fired back at critics, insisting it did
act quickly enough to tell users about a security breach of its
Sony chief executive Howard Stringer said most security breaches go
unreported, and that only 43% of firms "notify victims within a month".
"We reported in a week. You are telling me my week wasn't fast
enough?" Last month, account information of more than 100 million
customers was compromised in a massive cyber attack.
On April 20, the Japanese electronics giant was forced to shut down
its PlayStation network and other services.
Some gaming analysts have criticised Sony for not being quick enough
to alert customers about the breach.
"This was an unprecedented situation," Stringer said, publicly for
the first time since the security breach.
The attack is considered the biggest in internet history.
Stringer's remarks are a change in tune from two weeks ago when
senior executives bowed to apologise to the company's customers. Sony is
still assessing how much the breach might cost the company.
"There's a charge for system being down, a charge for identity theft
insurance," said Stringer.
"The charges mount up but they don't add to a number we can quantify
just yet." Sony will report its full year results on May 26. AFP
A-Z Electronics appointed authorised distributor for Philips,
A-Z Electronics (Pvt) Ltd. has been appointed authorised distributors
in Sri Lanka for two of the world's most trusted brands of electronic
products - Toshiba, Japan's leading brand of LCD and LED and Philips,
the leading player in audio and video entertainment systems in Europe.
Philips and Toshiba are synonymous with high-end, quality products,
exclusively for discerning and quality conscious enthusiasts for which
A-Z Electronics provide an equally matching high quality level of
product guarantee and after-sales-service to customers islandwide.
The Japanese say "You can't beat Toshiba". That's because Toshiba's
innovative technology and outstanding design capability has surpassed
its rivals and made it the leader not only in Japan but almost all over
the world where consumers look for quality products.
Toshiba 46 and 52 inch (high definition) LED large screen televisions
come with Power Meta Brain Pro Technology which projects smooth motion,
sharp detail and vivid colours for ultra-pleasure viewing.
Another product from Toshiba is the Regza Power TV, with built-in
rechargeable batteries, automatically switches to its battery power
whenever there is a breakdown in the main power supply.
This enables the viewer to enjoy favourite programs in full HD
Toshiba's Computer Division, recently entered the Smartbook market
with the Toshiba AS100 and AC100, designed with a slate and traditional
Their slimness and light weight coupled with always-on capability
make them ideal devices for consuming media, browsing the Internet,
viewing and editing documents, emails and other messages while out and
The slim and light-weight Toshiba AS100, portable, with its always-on
capability, offers a high definition, rich multimedia experience.
Toshiba's Protege R700 is the thinnest and lightest (only 1.3kg) full
performance ultraportable Notebook which includes the world's first
Honeycomb Structure and Fresh Air Cooling Technology in a Notebook.
It provides consumers and business professionals with unprecedented
performance in a highly mobile form factor at mainstream prices.
The Android AS 100, on the other hand, is the ultimate for High
Definition Multimedia experience.
You can now experience surround sound from all angles, like in the
cinema. Start enjoying the original cinema experience, no matter where
you are in the room.
The Philips HD Home Theatre System is equipped with innovative
360Sound Speakers which are designed with sound drivers in the front and
on the sides to fill your room evenly with surround sound for the
ultimate listening experience.
When you go to the cinema, you don't just watch a movie.
You experience the thrill of the big screen and the booming
stereophonic sound which makes it a special night out and a treat for
all your senses.
The Philips 2011 range of LCD and LED Televisions take you as close
to the experience you'll enjoy at the cinema, in your own home.
The Philips range of portable products are luxuries that frequent
travellers cannot afford to miss.
Enjoy your favourite movies and music wherever you are with Philips
Portable DVD Players and Hi-Fi Systems.
Google chairman promises privacy controls
Google chairman Eric Schmidt has promised that the firm will simplify
the process by which Android phone users agree to share their data.
It follows questions in the US Senate about how much location
information is stored by mobile handsets.
Speaking in the UK at a conference on privacy, he also revealed that
Google plans to offer web users more control over their online profile.
Schmidt said that the company took the matter "very seriously".
He told the Big Tent debate in Hertfordshire that his firm was
working on "a series of projects" aimed at increasing transparency.
Those include a revised Google Dashboard, where users can see what
data they have shared with the search giant.
"It is worth stressing that we can only do this with data you have
shared with Google.
We can't be a vacuum-cleaner for the whole internet," he said.
Schmidt stressed that Google was on the side of consumers when it
came to privacy. "In general we take the position that you own your data
and should be able to opt in or out of a service," he said adding, that
if users gave consent for sharing data, it would help Google improve its
There is this myth that privacy stifles innovation. It helps to
reassure consumers, therefore encourages innovation? End Quote Simon
Davis Privacy International. "If you choose to give us that information
we can do a better job. If we know a little bit more about you we can
offer better targeted search," he said.
Super injunctions revealed A recent hearing in the US Senate quizzed
Google on the amount of data stored on Android handsets. The company
argued that it allows people to opt out of location-based services.
But Schmidt conceded that the terms and conditions whereby users sign
up to services needs to be simplified.
"We intent to do that," he said.
He said that such services would be more heavily regulated in the
During a lively debate on the issue of privacy, it was revealed to
the Big Tent audience, alongside several names of current
super-injunction holders, that more data has been collected in the past
seven years than in the whole of previous human history.
Head of Privacy International Simon Davies said, it was a mistake to
see privacy and the needs of corporations as conflicting.
"There is this myth that privacy stifles innovation. It helps to
reassure consumers, therefore encourages innovation," he said.
Meanwhile, media executive Peter Bazalgette said that people should
have the right to delete data to give them a clean slate from, for
instance, compromising pictures on social networks.
At the same time, some would choose to share more information.
"Individuals will sell personal data in return for content," he said.
Not everyone felt that Google Dashboard went far enough when it came
to protecting personal data.
What people really need is a "dashboard for their lives", said David
Alexander, Director of Mydex, a social enterprise that is designing a
platform where people can manage all the data they share with others.
Creating such a "personal data eco-system" would allow people "to
stand on an equal footing with government and big corporations", when it
comes to data sharing, he said.
Alexander suggested that Google would be very welcome to sign up to
it but that it would have to agree not to share information with