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Amazon DASH and IOT buttons in Sri Lanka

Amazon dash button

Amazon dash button is a typical example for IOT based devices which is simple to operate and configure It consumes very less power (as per vendor it can last for a decade). The most important thing is that the button is fairly cheap which cost around 5$.


You can setup the dash button using the amazon app on smart phone and get it connected the home wifi network.  Currently most the IOT devices such as fire alarms, security alarms are connected in the same manner.

By reading the documentations about the device, it consumes no or little power during it’s idle operation.  Once user press the button, it connects to the wifi network and notify to amazon using internet connection. After that the button turns itself off until the next button press to save power.  According the amazon’s description of the product, it can last for 1000 presses, which means user presses the button 4 times a month, the button power can last for 20 years.  Since electronica devices like this wouldn’t extend more than 3 years in practice, you don’t have to worry about replacing battery or recharging the device.  Normally battery powered IOT devices don’t exist because wifi devices consumes lots of power. This is the reason most of the IOT devices are using protocols such as Zigbee or Z-wave.  We must appreciate amazon for designing the device in such a manner that we don’t have to worry about the replacing the batter or recharging the device.

IOT buttons in Sri Lanka.

Since amazon is not operating in Sri Lanka and currently doesn’t ship to Sri Lanka. Amazon dash button is  currently opened exclusively for  amazon prime customers.  It must be commended that Dialog Axiata has taken the initiative to develop a button similar to amazon dash with the partnership of University of Moratuwa research lab.  The button is bit bulky than amazon dash button but the operation looks very similar to Amazon dash. We are yet to find out their performance since they haven’t launched the product publicly. Even though appearance of the button is somewhat different to amazon, operation of the button is very similar to that of amazon because it connects to the wifi network only the button is pressed and disconnected with wifi network when button is in idle operation.

Sri Lanka IOT button

IOT button by Dialog

Even though it is not sure how dialog is selling the device whether they are planning to partner with external vendors such as supermarkets or internal online retailer such as

Mean time Another online grocery delivering company Snapcart has launched a IOT button so that their customers can order groceries through their Snapcart quick button. Appearance and size of the button is very similar to the amazon and descripton of their button also looks very similar to that of amazon dash button.

The next mention of the IOT buttons in Sri Lanaka is in CIMA launch pad where the team fidget was planning to build a button which is similar to Amazon dash to order groceries online.

Message service center numbers for all Mobile operators in Sri Lanka

There is a configuration to set up Message centre in every mobile phone. When you get a new cellular phone, have to preset their message center number in to it which is provided by your ISP. Digit length of SMS message service center numbers is not a fixed number. Mobitel message service center address and Airtel message service center addresses is 7 digits long while dialog and etisalat message center address is 8 digits long and hutch message center address is 9 digits long.


Dialog GSM +94-77000003
Hutch +94-785000005
Airtel +94-7500010
Mobitel +94-7100003
Etisalat +94-72000004


sms message center

sms message center on android

You must do this only one time if your hand phone is not receiving messages or if it can’t send them.

  1. Enter Menu Mode on your handset
  2. Select MESSAGES
  4. Select MESSAGES SETTINGS (for some hand phone models if necessary)
  5. Select option for MESSAGE SERVICE CENTRE number or its equivalent
  6. Enter Message Centre Number: +9477000003 (For Dialog)
  7. Confirm selection.


Sms delivery report for Apple IPhone for Dialog customers in Sri Lanka

Note: This method works only for Dialog mobile users for the moment.

If you start to use iPhone after Nokia or blackberry phone, one feature you are going to find missing is sms delivery report. You can use I messenger to send a message to an apple user, you can see the delivery status in case the remote party is also an iPhone user.

Even though the reason for apple to remove this feature is not clearly mentioned by the apple, The only thing we can guess that Apple thinks that this is a feature that people don’t need.

But for some of us, it could be frustrating that we don’t know whether the message is delivered to the remote party as we used to wait for the delivery report after sending a sms.  All the other phones in the market have this feature supported.

Some of the apple customers are requesting this feature in numerous blogs and  some of the operators have this feature built into their networks.  For example adding a some special prefix to start of the message.  This will send a delivery report back to user once the receiver receives it.

In Sri Lanka, Dialog Axiata has built iPhone sms delivery as a service to activate by sending a message to dialog short number. Once you enabled it, you will receive a delivery status message once your message is delivered to the receiver.

Activation/Deactivation of the feature.

Activation: type “delivery on” and send to 9010.

Deactivation: type “delivery off” and send to 9010.


Please note that the service is offered at FOC by dialog.


this service works only for Dialog mobiles.  In case I found another operator supports this feature, I will add it here.

It turned out to be Dialog is the first one to launch HD voice in Sri Lanka


HD voice as simply means, High Definition voice. High Definition voice is an emerging topic which the media highly advertise these days. Once I heard about HD voice I was really thankful to Etisalat, for taking the voice quality to the next generation level although it seems little bit late. As they say, credit goes to Etisalat as the pioneer in HD voice. However I felt like this seems to be a late blow in the technology since all supporting technologies for HD voice was already matured and similar concepts are already implemented like noise and echo cancellation. So I Googled about HD voice.

What is HD voice?

HD voice is essentially a wide band technology. It extends the audio bandwidth used in standard telephony from 300 Hz – 3.4 kHz to a range of 50 Hz to 7 kHz, or higher. That’s much more in line with the human voice, which transmits audio between 75 Hz and 14 kHz.

Also HD Voice takes in more audio samples per second than a standard call. Instead of 8,000 audio samples per second, HD Voice calls doubles that to 16,000. That way, you’re able to hear more details in a person’s voice during a call.

To whom HD voice is for?

Yes, it is true that HD voice gives crystal clear voice to the user but not to everyone. HD voice requires a greater DSP processing capability in the handset. So only smart phones benefit this free of charge service. Now, all we need are carriers to actually enable HD Voice. They will do so by using a higher-quality speech codec called AMR-WB (Adaptive Multi-Rate Wide-band). That codec doubles the frequency of the call, which means you’ll hear less muffled voices and be able to better distinguish between “s” and “f” sounds. So HD voice feature works only between AMR-WB compatible phones.

Why the pioneer in the technology is late?

After my research on HD voice technology and history it was evident that Etisalat wasn’t actually the first to launch the HD voice feature. Since 3G was launched a very long time ago and DSP is also a fast growing field from long time back, HD voice is not really a new thing. There are many noise cancellation applications which is capable in removing noise and echo smoothly and generating the original signal exactly. So, why etisalat is too late?

The major reason why service providers didn’t care much about this HD voice feature in a great deal is because a very little community will benefit this service as there was very little amount of smart phone users.

Actually etisalat was not the first to introduce the HD voice feature to Sri Lankan community. 2 years back in 2012 Dialog had launched the HD voice feature. Dialog’s offering, at the time, went largely unnoticed, partly for the simple reason that there weren’t as many smartphones back then supporting HD voice in Sri Lanka. There was also the fact that nobody really cared. In fact, the Global Mobile Supplier’s Association contains records listing Dialog’s implementation in 2012. So Etisalat isn’t the first time launcher of HD voice in Sri Lanka. According to GSA Dialog has launched the service 14-02-2012 and Etisalat’s launch date is 22-05-2014 more than two years later.


You can download the full document on from GSA official website.

It’s just the marketing strategy of Etisalat which releases a great deal of advertisements and press releases.







Gmail, now you are 10


Yesterday, on 1st of April 2014, as usual Google launched its April fools’ joke – Google Maps Pokémon Challenge. Last year it was Gmail Blue. Likewise Google had an array of April fools’ jokes since 1st of April 2004. All those jokes were successful campaigns as internet users kept on getting caught to them unintentionally.

10 years back, on April fools’ day – 01st of April 2014, Google launched 2 pranks and it was the inauguration of Google’s prank series. Out of those two initial pranks, one was a real joke (could become a reality considering the pace which the world is moving.), which was a proposed job on the moon. But the second one has become a reality and it has become the leading product in its category. The second prank was launched about a free e – mail service.

Gmail Interface April 2004

Gmail interface in April 2004

At the time Microsoft, Yahoo and AOL had similar services and would have been a real challenge to fight with them. But being the fact that Gmail being a product which has come to the party courtesy of Google’s tradition of allowing 20% free time for its employees to engage in anything they think as innovative, has taken Gmail to the top of the ladder in the e – mail services list.


Paul Buchheit – the creator of Gmail

Gmail was designed by the 23rd employee of Google – Paul Buchheit. Prior joining Google, he had worked at Intel. In 2007 he started a company of his own named FriendFeed. In 2009 Facebook acquired the company and he moved to Facebook. And later in 2009 he quit Facebook and became an angel investor and has invested nearly 40 startups. He won The Economist’s Innovation Award 2011 for the Computing and Telecommunications.

It is believed that Paul had started the development work 3 years prior to its launch and tested the service internally. Once the pre – testing had become a success they had decided to put it as a prank on April Fools’ Day and launched the service. As per the available information it is believed that Gmail has a user base of 425 million. On top of that, Gmail is said to having 50 million business users. According to toptenreviews (, Gmail is currently the world’s best free e – mail service. In the list Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo and GMK are number 2, 3 and 4 respectively.

On the day which Gmail is celebrating its 10th birthday, the first double digit birthday, Gmail and its creators can be very proud about themselves, because Gmail has definitely delighted its users (customers) and exceeded the customer expectations, with continuous innovation and improvements.

 Thank you and happy 10th anniversary “Gmail”.

Click here : Read the inside story Gmail’s launch – An article published in TIME magazine

Facebook to Start the Project of Connecting the Unconnected


As per the records it is believed that two third (2/3) of the world population is not connected to the internet. Only 1 out of 3 human beings have the luxury of connecting to the internet at the moment. This stat tells another story. That is the stakeholders in the telecommunications industry do have a huge growth potential due to this un-connectivity.

Facebook is one of world’s largest web giants and the premier social networking site. To grow their business further it is vital that the un-connected 2/3 gets connected. In fact it is vital to every stakeholder in telecommunications industry. So, facebook is thinking a way which they could provide internet connectivity and capable devices, to un-connected world population. Google also started a similar project – “Project Loon”. But over last few months there weren’t any notable news on Google’s project.

It is said that Mark Zuckerberg is putting up a lab where a set of Facebook engineers would develop flying drones, satellites, and infrared lasers which are capable of beaming internet connections to people down on earth. The lab will be named as “Facebook Connectivity Lab”. They are expected to receiving the help of NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA Ames Research Center, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory.


Click Here – Watch Mark Zuckerberg’s Message on Connecting the Unconnected

This project is backed by a very strong alliance between 7 tech giants namely – Qualcomm, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Mediatek, Opera Software and Facebook. The alliance is called They are searching answers for 3 problems which are preventing un-connected people getting connected to the internet. Identified problem areas are affordability, efficiency and business models.

Since flying drones are not a strong point of Facebook they bought a UK based aerospace company Ascenta for US$20 million. Their engineers will take care of the flying drone part of the project, which would provide aerial internet using infrared signals.

TIZEN to Rival Android and iOS


2013 has been a very successful and a special year for smart phone market. For the first time in smart phone history, worldwide shipments surpassed the 1 billion mark for the first time. When looking at the reports released by IDC (International Data Corporation), it can be seen that Android and iOS has contributed 95.7% of these shipments. Android has had a market share of 78.1% of the smart phones, while iOS has had 17.6% of the market chare at the end of the year 2013.

When looking at the year by year pattern, it is quite evident that trend is an upward and with more and more innovations and R&D, the trend would definitely be a positive one for smart phones.

This might be the reason why a global collaboration of tech firms have started developing a new smart phone OS to rival Android and iOS. The new OS has been given the name ‘TIZEN’. Japanese mobile operator NTT Docomo has announced that new OS will be launched in the next few months. Rumors say that the OS will be available in some mobile phones which are expected be released after end of March 2014. It was reported that Samsung has had a dedicated booth for TIZEN OS powered Samsung devices at the Mobile World Congress 2014, Barcelona, Spain.

TIZEN Report

TIZEN Version of Brand New Samsung Galaxy S5 Was Seen At the World Mobile Congress 2014, Barcelona, Spain

Though TIZEN has the backing of a strong collaboration of tech firms – Intel, Fujitsu, Samsung, LG, HUAWEI, Vodafone and Orange, will it be possible to challenge Android’s dominance and iOS’s quality? Only time will tell.

One would argue, TIZEN being an open source platform and can be developed freely by anyone around the world, there is a huge chance that it would bring up more innovations than Android and iOS. And on the other hand, Chinese government has already banned a few Google products. That has brought down the relevance of Android vastly in world’s biggest smart phone market. Hence, TIZEN has a huge opportunity in China. Another plus point for TIZEN would be the expected planned mobile network charing between NTT Docomo, China Mobile and KT, with the idea of internationalize their businesses and stimulate the Asian market. All 3 countries in this collaboration support TIZEN and there is every chance that these 3 huge operators would use TIZEN as a business promotional media.


Tizen Association is steered by a Board of Directors including representation from up to 10 companies.

The promotion strategy used by TIZEN Association would be very critical, since Blackberry and Windows Mobile OS, which were the number 3 and 4 in the IDC list, are also very strong and viable Oss with the backing of strong R&D teams and tech giants. But there is something wrong with these two Oss, because they did not make the expected revolution.

Only time would tell the fate of TIZEN. Looking at the trends, it is hard to believe Android or iOS would lose their market shares as TIZEN would like.

For further information about TIZEN, please visit,

Reference : Telecom Review Asia Pacific

Growth Potential of the Mobile Telecommunications Industry


Telecommunications Industry can be mentioned as one of the most dynamic industries in the world. The reason for stating as such is, because enormous amount of innovation and R&D is taking place in the industry. As a result brand new products and concepts are coming out at a pace which is unimaginable. 6 years earlier, telecom industry was all about telecom operators. They were dominating the scene. But the introduction of smart devices turned the dominance upside down. Mobile operators are no more the dominant party in telecom industry.

With the developments happened over the years, business and consumer demand for new services keep on growing. Meanwhile, the competition to satisfy all these demands is increasing, much of it from companies outside the traditional telecom ecosystem. That is, telecom operators alone will not be able to cater the never ending needs of future telecom subscribers.

What does this mean? If you look at the positive side of it, even though telecom operators alone cannot cater the increasing requirements, as an industry there is a huge potential for growth.  The telecom ecosystem itself is becoming much more competitive, as new entrants from adjacent industries look to exploit this openness, cater ever increasing customer expectations, and thus challenge the telecom operators’ traditional operating behaviour.


When looking at the growth potential, as at the end of year 2013 there were 3.4 billion mobile subscribers. This number is more than half of the world population. And it is expected to reach, 4 billion by mid 2018. GSMA has presented a report which has given an insight about past and future trends in mobile telecommunications industry.

According to the report total sim – enabled connections will grow from 6.8 billion in 2013 to 9.7 billion by 2017. In 2012 there were 1.6 billion mobile broadband connections. As per the predictions the number will grow up to 5.1 billion. These numbers (predictions) are more than enough to prove the growth potential of the industry, because these are only stats related to mobile telecommunications industry. What about fixed telecommunications industry? Some would argue, with the increasing number of hand held devices it might not be a good choice from an operators’ point of view.

LTE is technology which has able to capture a lot of attention of the industry in recent times. According to the predictions LTE/4G networks will account for 1 in 5 Mobile Broadband subscriptions by 2017, where as the number had been 1 in 25 in 2012. Another very critical stat is about the growth of mobile data volume predictions at the start of the year 2017. In 2012 mobile data volume per month had been 0.9 Exabytes (Considering 220 countries in the world). This number is expected to rise up to 11.2 Exabytes per month.

As you can see, numbers look very exciting. More importantly, according to the stats it is clear that growth potential of the telecommunications industry is very high. But the difference from 5 years earlier will be, there will be many parties who would engage in the industry. Companies in adjacent industries such as software and the Internet, and the computing and electronics industries that are now elbowing their way into the realm of telecommunica­tions, will be a definite threat to traditional telecom operators.

You can go to download the complete report “GSMA Mobile Economy 2013″ report. You could get a clear idea on what exactly will happen to mobile telecom industry in coming years. (You can find predictions up to year 2017)

Reference :

Pinterest – Latest Revolution in Social Networking Arena


Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp, for sure are not familiar names to most of us. But the company they started in 2008 has already revolutionized the social networking arena, although they are not as popular as Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, etc. Pinterest has already surpassed Twitter, as per a research result released by Pew Research Center. Release note says that more U.S. adults use LinkedIn and Pinterest than Twitter, which is a quite interesting stat.

Though it has been more than 4 years after the birth of the company most of the people around the world are not aware of Pinterest, I believe. For sure it is not popular among populations in developing nations. Pinterest is a simple and attractive photo sharing website with a colorful template. The specialty of pinterest is, it has a pin board – style photo sharing method. Pinterest gives the user the option of signing in through facebook and e – mail. The biggest advantage for the user and the specialty is, it allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies.

Pinterest has its app on Play Store. Pinterest app for iPhone was launched in March 2011, and the iPad app was launched August 2011. It means that Pinterest is accessible from almost all the smart phones. Its influence is not as big as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc, when considering the world stage. But looking at the pattern, it has achieved an excellent growth from the day it was launched.

This seems to be a thing worth trying out. So why don’t you try it, at least once?

Professor Gehan Amaratunga’s University of Moratuwa Convocation Address


Professor Gehan Amaratunga

“A commencement speech or commencement address is a speech given to graduating students, generally at a University”. This is how Wikipedia describes a commencement speech. The commencement speech made by Steve Jobs at Stanford University Graduation Ceremony 2005 is considered as the best commencement speech done during a graduation ceremony.

University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka had held their 2013 graduation ceremony on July 2013. The Convocation Address, as they say, had been done by one of the most sought after Professors in the world, when it comes to sustainable energy solutions – Professor Gehan Amaratunga.

I found his address as interesting and attractive as the commencement speech of Steve Jobs. It is with great pleasure I post his speech, while thanking to University of Moratuwa authorities for documenting his valuable speech and circulating it.

Speech Made by Professor Gehan Amaratunga at the General Convocation 2013 – University of Moratuwa

Salutations Vice Chancellor,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all I would like to thank the University of Moratuwa for giving me the honour of addressing the graduating Class of 2013 in Engineering.

Graduation after the successful completion of your degree is indeed a watershed in your life.

In many ways it is a completion of formal education and a license to enter the world of work as a professional.

It is also a staging post in your personal adventure in the engagement with life. The twists, turns and ascents which lie ahead cannot be predicted.

But one can be prepared to take on a professional adventure. This you undoubtedly have successfully achieved by way of gradating today.

What I want you to expect is a sense of adventure and exhilaration which can lie ahead as you advance in your career.

In fact I would urge you to always seek a sense of professional adventure. This will keep you forever young in terms of intellectuality by always learning, learning not just to acquire new information, but also on how to use it wisely and in a timely manner for maximum benefit.

I can share you some of my experiences on how my career developed after I graduated in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Cardiff University  34 years ago!

After graduation I was uncertain of what I should do professionally.

But having got a First, I was in the fortunate position being offered a studentship to read for a PhD at Cambridge University, which I took on without really having any clear idea of what research entailed, let alone how tenacious, hard working, opinionated and dedicated one had to be to complete a PhD.

I also learnt that all the subject areas I had not liked in my undergraduate course, were the very ones I had to be expert at for research. I am certain that you too will find this out when you start working.

So do not throw away your 2nd and 3rd year notes – you will have to refer to them again! On competition of my PhD I discovered that I had enjoyed and been successful at research.

I had been trained to attend a problem which I did not have any specialist knowledge on, to acquire all the require background information across disciplines and to use it to come up with new insight and solutions.

The actual content of my PhD, which was on missile electronic systems, was not that important. But what was important was the process I had gone through and the skills I had acquired to achieve it.

My success at research meant that I was inducted in to the modern monkhood. That is to say, I became a University lecturer!

While the pay one got in the UK as a lecturer in the eighties was not attractive, what was is the freedom one had to follow one’s own ideas.

To be successful at exploiting such a freedom requires discipline and also a sense of entrepreneurial adventure to look at research opportunities which others have not identified or have ignored.

Research in Engineering, as in Medicine, is only really validated when it is applied for societal benefit.

Therefore extension of my research to application was something I started to passionately believe in. This in turn led naturally to formation of my first start – up company Cambridge Semiconductors (CamSemi), an IC company specializing power management, with venture capital investment.

To date it has shipped in excess of 1 Billion ICs and the chances are that if you have a Nokia or Blackberry phone, a CamSemi chip will be controlling the AC/DC charging of the battery.

My career after graduation had in 20 years taken me from academic to entrepreneur.

Over the past 10 years I have been a founder of a further 4 start – up companies spanning solar electronics, nano materials synthesis and wind power. Two of them have products on the market at present. One of these companies, Nanoinstruments, which makes equipment for the synthesis of carbon nano tubes and grapheme, was started in 2005 with a Sri Lankan student of mine who did Bachelors in Physics at the University of Colombo, Nalin Rupasinghe. We started the company without any capital and the first workshop was a garage/barn. In just two years after starting, the company was acquired by a major German semiconductor equipment manufacturer, Aixtron. Nalin became a millionaire and continues to work for Aixtron. I site this as an example of what entrepreneurial flair a new Sri Lankan graduate, such as your selves, can display when having to succeed in another country. It is time for you to release the same entrepreneurial spirit in Sri Lanka to make it a technologically exciting place.

My research has also thrive and allowed me the freedom look at new problems. It is currently focused on nano electronics and energy storage.

I am now entering the third phase of my career, which I can best describe as sharing wisdom and nurturing a future generation of ingenious innovators, such as those who will rise out of this very graduating class.

In this context I have taken leave from Cambridge to be the Chief of Research and Innovation at the newly formed Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology. What is really invigorating is that this has allowed me to be directly engaged with some of the most urgent problems for humanity to be sustained on the planet, such as green agriculture and enhancing food yields to water purification through the application of nanotechnologies.

The opportunities are immense and the problems are urgent.

You are starting your career at a time when the priorities are very different. For example, when I graduated no one could have imagined that the Soviet Union would not exist and the cold war would be consigned to history. The topic of my PhD missile electronics was influenced by the priorities which prevailed.

 Today the key priorities are sustaining the planet while we continue to enhance living standards for 4 billion people and growing in the developing world.

A key question which you will have to address and solve during your career is : ‘Can we have continued economic growth through consumption, for example such as ever more sophisticated and prevalent consumer electronics, without destroying the planet?’

The question is sobering.

But while we do not know the answer at present, I am certain that with your ingenuity and commitment we will be able to reinvent or transform engineering as we know it today to become sustainable and economically viable.

So to reiterate, what lies ahead is a career adventure.

Embark upon it with a sense of wonderment and enthusiasm.

Sustain your career by always being committed to enjoying what you are doing and having the ultimate aim of ‘making something better than what it is today’.

The most important thing is have fun in your career. Life will then automatically sort itself out!

I wish you all the very best for the future with all my heart.


  • University of Moratuwa General Convocation – Convocation Address Booklet