INFOTEL 2017: ‘Towards a Digital Economy’ | Sunday Observer

INFOTEL 2017: ‘Towards a Digital Economy’

The Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) had their flagship Infotel exhibition for the 25th successive year with many innovative features at the BMICH from Nov 2 - 5.

A record number of more than 100 stallholders kept capturing the curiosity of students and women, young and old alike, with their novel ICT solutions. The main objective of this year’s INFOTEL was to create a common platform for all government and private sector stakeholders to engage constructively and collaboratively to help transform Sri Lanka into a digitally inclusive country with better opportunities for all.


ICT apex bodies and national organizations such as, FITIS are getting involved in transferring appropriate technologies to make the much needed shift towards innovative, knowledge based business ventures. Co-chairman INFOTEL 2017 Upul Dassanayaka sharing his thoughts on the exhibition said, FITIS received the support and cooperation of public and private organizations including different associated ministries to make it a success.

INFOTEL 2017 showcased how we are gearing ourselves to keep pace with key global digital trends such as, big data, e-commerce, digital marketing, Internet of Things (IoTs), Machine-to-Machine (M2M), mobile advertising and cloud computing that are invading our lives.

The highlights of the exhibition were the many successful parallel events such as, CxO Forum, Women in IT, Start up Pavilion and Career Guidance sessions.

Commenting on ICT Career Guidance Workshops, Vajira Karunaratne of the FITIS Education Chapter said, they were able to attract nearly 4,000 students and teachers. The main aim of the Career Guidance sessions which included hands-on workshops was to increase awareness of ICT among students and teachers, and its importance to face future challenges as well as enter job opportunities in the ICT industry.

Ilham Marikar – a teacher from Puttalam had this to say about INFOTEL: ‘For the past 20 years, I am involved in the ICT sector. Since 1997, in every class I insist that students visit exhibitions in Colombo. But, it never happens.

This time however, with the interventions of FITIS, ICTA and WUSC we were able to send our students to participate. We did much more, even put up stalls and showed that Puttalam is not only famous for salt and coconut, but also for software”.

Another exhibitor had this to say: “We see INFOTEL 2017 as a great meeting hub for various stakeholders in the ICT industry.

The event was extraordinarily conducted without any hassle. We feel, such events are really important to empower the SMEs of this country.

Apart from the B2B and B2C relationships, the event enabled us to network with various bodies to enrich the ICT industry in the country and beyond. We owe a lot to key organizers for putting together such a splendid exhibition”.

New trends

The other attractions were the e-sports pavilion, military innovation pavilion by the tri forces, hardware and software solutions and ICT education and training pavilion. The IT Museum too drew much interest.

INFOTEL 2017 also saw the Northern Chamber of Information Technology (NCIT) taking part in the exhibition for the first time, powered by FITIS and World University Service of Canada (WUSC), in collaboration with Vavuniya Information & Communication Association (ViCTA) and Mannar Federation of Information & Communication Technology (ManFICT). There are many initiatives like INFOTEL that are being rolled out to make us a digitally inclusive nation. Plans are underway to introduce Electronic Identity (E-ID) cards, and various e-citizen projects to make women, entrepreneurs and older population techno savvy. Island-wide ICT Youth Clubs are mandated to encourage youth to gear up for jobs in the ICT sector. The government has plans to digitalize the administrative system. It is also taking steps to make 13 years of school education compulsory while adding more technical subjects to secondary education. Also, plans are underway to modernize the education sector with smart classrooms.

There is heightened popularity to do transactions such as banking, channelling doctors, hiring taxis, real estate, hotel bookings etc. on-line.

The main reason for the popularity of e-commerce is because there are more connected devices than people, today. Statistically, world population stands at 7.2 billion and access to connected devices is 25 billion.

It is projected, that by 2020 the world’s population will become 7.6 billion and there will be around 50 billion connected devices in usage, which means every person might end up having around 6 connected devices each. No wonder, e-commerce is fast becoming the most cost effective marketing mode, with reduced costs, and flexible business hours.

Digital Marketing

We can see traditional marketing methods such as, radio and TV, newspapers, magazines and direct mailing being strategically replaced by social networks such as, Facebook, Instagram, Google, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest etc. Properly planned, a digital marketing campaign can reach the targeted customer at much lower costs than traditional marketing.

- Timothy A. Edward