Dialog starts mobile payment service

Dialog Axiata had launched a mobile payment service through which its 7.5 million customers can send and receive money through a ‘virtual wallet’, officials said.

“Mobile Money technology will transform the way we transact cash and will enable electronic money interchange and electronic payments to be brought within the reach of every Sri Lankan citizen,” Hans Wijayasuriya, head of Dialog Axiata said.Dialog is the first operator to be licensed by Sri Lanka’s central bank to make mobile payments.

“The dawn of the mobile money era in Sri Lanka has been made possible by the progressive, and financial inclusion focused, regulatory ethos of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka,” Wijayasuriya said.

“In this respect Sri Lanka’s payments and settlement legislation and Mobile Payment regulations stand among the most progressive in the world.”

Customers could load cash from 10,000 outlets around Sri Lanka to their ‘eZ Cash’ branded mobile account or transfer money from an internet banking account.

They could also withdraw up to 10,000 rupees a day from the outlets with the cashier being a human teller, Wijayasuriya said. The same network of dealers that are now doing mobile top ups for prepaid phone customers would offer the mobile wallet service.

All registered Dialog customers could open a 10,000 rupee wallet through the phone with no additional documentation and no registration fee. An account with a 25,000 rupee balance would need additional verification.

The mobile payment can be used to pay utility bills or to buy goods and services online or even make over the counter payments at thousands of shops across the island, Fariq Cader, head of Dialog’s e-ecommerce service said.

Money could also be transferred to another wallet holder.

Wijayasuriya said people without credit cards could now make electronic transaction even without a bank account and money transfer fees was lower than any other competing service at 15 rupees a deal.

Hatton National Bank will be the custodian bank for the money in the accounts and ensure regulatory compliance.

Cader said each transaction was protected through a personal identification number (PIN) and in the case of online payments the user will get a prompt on the phone to confirm.

Without a PIN a lost phone could not be used for transactions. (LBO)

Nokia emerges leader in Sri Lanka mobile phone market

The Sri Lanka mobile phones market recorded sales of over 2 million units in CY 2011, CyberMedia Research.

In its Sri Lanka Mobile Handsets Market Review 2011, June 2012 released on Monday the New Delhi based IT and Telecoms market intelligence firm said that the total value of the mobile phones shipped in the Sri Lanka market during CY 2011 aggregated to LKR 22.4 Billion (US$ 202.7 million).

In the overall Sri Lanka mobile handsets market, Nokia emerged as the market leader with a 46% share, followed by Samsung at second position with 22% and Micromax at third position with 16%, in terms of unit sales during CY 2011.

Multi-SIM mobile handset shipments accounted for 35% of the total Sri Lanka mobile handsets market during CY 2011. Micromax emerged market leader in the category with a 37.3% share of unit shipments in CY 2011, followed by Nokia and Samsung with 24.6% and 15.9% shares, respectively.

Sri Lanka, the first country in South Asia to introduce 3G services in August 2006, is poised for significant growth in its telecommunications sector, buoyed by the end of the civil war in 2009.

Total 3G phone shipments in Sri Lanka touched nearly 0.32 million units during CY 2011. Nokia emerged as the market leader in this category with a 53.2% share of units shipped, followed by Samsung and Sony Ericsson with 25.6% and 7.7%, respectively.

“With the spread of 3G services to all major cities Sri Lanka consumers would look to acquire and use more feature rich mobile handsets, thus fueling greater demand for higher generation air interface devices. This is an opportunity that vendors and service providers can exploit by bringing to market attractive value for money device plus service packages”, said Naveen Mishra, Lead Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice.

Smartphone shipments touched 0.11 million units in Sri Lanka during calendar year 2011. Samsung emerged as the leader in the smartphone segment with a 27.6% share of shipments in CY 2011, followed by Nokia with 25.4%. HTC occupied third place with an 11.4% market share.

The Average Selling Values of smartphones during CY 2011 was LKR 45,350 (US$ 410). Android emerged as the leading smartphone OS with a 49.9% share of shipments in 2011.

“Going forward, vendors would do well to introduce handsets that support Sinhalese, as Sri Lanka would be a natural market for the same. Further, given the wet and humid climatic conditions that prevail in most parts of the country for most of the year, there could be a latent demand for water and moisture resistant handsets”, stated Tarun Pathak, Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice.

“With increasing operator focus on data revenues and better 3G coverage the share of smartphones is likely to increase and consequently the number of models on offer from smartphone vendors are also expected to go up in 2012”, Tarun added. (Telecom Tiger.com)

LAUGFS Gas PLC records Rs.1.14 billion profit

Laugfs Gas PLC and its subsidiaries once again performed strongly despite a gloomy environment created for its energy sector operations with escalating global LP Gas prices coupled with depreciation of the Sri Lanka Rupee against the US dollar, as Central Bank adopted policy of non-intervention in the foreign currency market. The group consists of three subsidiaries operating in the spheres of Vehicle Emission Testing, Leisure and Property Development.

Laugfs Gas PLC and its subsidiaries, according to the un-audited financial statements for the year ended 31st March 2012 has posted a record turnover of Rs. 9.17 billion which is a 30% increase over the corresponding period. The Group recorded Rs. 1.14 billion Profit Before Tax which is a growth of 10% over last year. As far as the financial position is concerned as at 31st march 2012, the Group Net Asset Value grew by 5.7% over last year to Rs. 6.4 billion. The Group maintained healthy liquidity situation during the period under review and the net generation of cash from operating activities were Rs. 960.8 million whereas it Rs. 868.8 million last year.

Laugfs Gas PLC as the parent company also performed well under difficult circumstances of escalating global LP Gas prices and currency deprecation, making the cost of imports surging, recorded a revenue growth of 29% .

The Laugfs Eco Sri (Pvt) Ltd engaged with Vehicle Emission Testing Services has extended its operations to all provinces in the country excluding North since the announcement of the Government, making the vehicle emission testing mandatory for the whole country for the purpose of annual renewal of licenses for the relevant classes of motor vehicles. Laugfs Eco Sri (Pvt) Ltd recorded impressive results with a revenue increase of 37.9% for the year under review.

The Group has identified the engagement with operations of Leisure segment as a business priority in the post conflict environment and it is in the process of seizure of every opportunity available in this sector. Laugfs Leisure Ltd, the Leisure segment arm within the group acquired a fifteen acre block of land at Waskaduwa, Kalutara during the period, in the South-Western Coast of the island having pristine beach frontage and that was only land available for development in this critical location.

The company has plans for a unique five star hotel in this location which would be considered as one of a kind in the country. This will be the second in the chain of hotels under Laugfs Leisure Ltd which will be operational in the season 2013/14. The first hotel in the chain is being constructed at Karukapone, Chilaw and its progress is on target and also expected to be commercially operational by the latter part of the financial year 2012/13. The hotel once constructed will be distinctly different, located at most picturesque site wedged between the beach of the West Coast and a lagoon and architectural designs of this 88 roomed hotel is a unique deviation from the traditions.

The property development undertaken by Laugfs Property Developers (Pvt) Ltd is also progressing rapidly at Maya Avenue Colombo 06, and hopeful of making it operational by around second quarter of the next financial year.

Laugfs Gas PLC and its subsidiaries has a remarkable resilience to bounce back for extra-ordinary performances against all adversaries and its very optimistic about the general outlook of the external environment both local and overseas and looking forward to harness the full potential of its operations in the short term, in the segments of energy downstream, vehicle Emission Testing, Leisure & Property Development.

IBM partners with Hatton National Bank

As IBM (NYSE:IBM) marks its 50 year presence in Sri Lanka this year, the global technology giant announced its partnership with Hatton National Bank (HNB), a leading private sector bank in Sri Lanka. IBM will support HNB with supply and installation of the SmartVista solution, provided by BPC Banking Technologies Group, to help HNB scale up their operations and minimize service disruptions, providing the ability to launch new products, streamline revenue streams and enhance overall customer experience.

“We have been in Sri Lanka since 1962, and in recent years we have experienced growing demand for our solutions and services as businesses and governments in the country turn to IT to transform operations and enhance global competitiveness,” said  Shanker Annaswamy, Regional General Manager, IBM India/South Asia. “IBM is committed to the success of its clients and has been instrumental in providing world-class technology to the Banking and Financial clients in Sri Lanka. Our solution implementation for Hatton National Bank will ensure that they stay right ahead of competition and deliver services with utmost efficiency to their customers.”

HNB is at the forefront of using advanced technologies to automate processes and be part of a movement that IBM refers to as Smarter Banking which uses intelligence to drive operational efficiencies, customer centricity and better risk management. A “smarter bank” anticipates client needs and delivers innovative products faster and more consistently than the competition.

“With growing competition in the market, technology is essential in helping us to differentiate and offer innovative products and services to our customers. We have been engaging with IBM on strategic initiatives and have obtained solutions across hardware, software and services,” said Rajendra Theagarajah Managing Director/ CEO Hatton National Bank.

“The SmartVista solution is engineered to be implemented rapidly – speeding time to revenue for Hatton National Bank. Its visionary design means that future changes can be easily accommodated; ensuring that HNB will be able to capitalize on opportunities in the changing payments landscape”, said Rajan S Narayan, Managing Director BPC Banking Technologies.

This payment domain based initiative is in line with HNB’s new three year strategic plan which places high emphasis on IT as a key enabler which will steer HNB to maintain its leadership position in the banking landscape in Sri Lanka. IBM will be implementing this solution across the delivery channels of HNB Bank and will undertake maintenance and support of the solution over the next fiveyears.

IBM is also expanding its operations in line with the country’s continued rapid economic transformation; which includes increased demand for its solutions and services in high growth cities like Hambantota.

“IBM is committed to Sri Lanka and can bring in its expertise and value proposition to help industries and government grow. IBM’s roadmap for 2015 includes focus on analytics, next generation data centre and cloud and smarter planet.We want to explore these opportunities in Sri Lanka as well”, said Chrishan Fernando, Country General Manager, IBM Sri Lanka

IBM’s wide range of capabilities is helping the banking industry, as it goes through interesting and challenging times with aggressive expansion plans on one hand and the need to be innovative and be different on the other hand. The Sri Lankan banking sector is being driven by customer demands for additional services as they move towards alternate banking channels such as mobile banking, internet banking, and hence the need for advanced technology becomes significant.

IBM is working with over 15 Business Partners in Sri Lanka to increase scale and customize its solutions in line with the local needs of the market.

The IT industry in Sri Lanka has evolved considerably over the last 50 years. IBM is among the leading technology services companies to be present in Sri Lanka for half a century, offering end-to-end services and solutions in the field of Hardware, Software, Services and Consulting.

Caption:

From Left – Sachin Seth, VP Geo Expansion, General Business Service, IBM South Asia; Jonathan Alles, Deputy CEO, HNB; Rajan Narayan, MD/APAC, BPC Banking Technologies; Anatoly Loginov, Chairman, BPC Banking Technologies; Rajendra Theagarajah Managing Director, CEO, Director, HNB; Shanker Annaswamy, Regional General Manager, IBM India South Asia; Ganesh Margabandhu, Vice President, General Business, Geographic Expansion & Inside Sales, IBM India/South Asia; Chrishan Fernando, Country General Manager, IBM Sri Lanka; Sidath Wijerantne, CIO, Head of IT, HNB; P. Sridharan, AGM, HNB.

Aviva to sell its stake in Sri Lanka

British insurer Aviva plc is putting its South Korean and Sri Lankan businesses on the auction block, sources with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday, as part of a wider retreat from sub-scale Asian markets in a deal that could fetch around $150 million.

Britain’s second-biggest insurer laid out plans last week to sell underperforming businesses globally, a strategy aimed in part at raising money to protect against its euro zone exposure, which is bigger than that of its rivals.

The company’s move also illustrates a trend among struggling European financial institutions to exit non-core operations and focus on their home markets.

Aviva has come under fire for its euro zone exposure and a share price that has plunged 38 percent in the past year. Irate shareholders forced Chief Executive Andrew Moss to quit earlier this month after determining his pay was out of line with the company’s flagging performance.

Aviva did not specify the countries it would exit in its announcement last week. Aviva’s South Korean investment in 2008 and its stake in the Sri Lankan company give it a combined value of about $66 million, and some estimate the deal would be worth about $150 million.

The sources were not authorized to speak to the media. Aviva was not immediately available for comment.

The London-listed insurer needs to shore up its capital base in light of its exposure to the troubled euro zone. Aviva, which generated 40 percent of its operating profit in mainland Europe last year, has been hit harder than its main British rivals by the euro zone’s woes.

Aviva has operations in 10 Asian countries, mostly joint ventures. Its Asia-Pacific operations accounted for 2 percent of its 2011 group operating profit.

The company entered the South Korean market in 2008, when it formed a consortium with Woori Financial Holdings Co to buy LIG Insurance Co Ltd for 73 million pounds ($115.3 million). Aviva holds a nearly 41 percent stake in the joint venture.

Aviva has held informal talks with Woori to sell its stake in the venture to the South Korean partner and Woori is still reviewing the proposal, one of the sources said.

Woori declined comment.

ASIAN RETREAT

In Sri Lanka, Aviva NDB Insurance generated 12.8 billion Sri Lanka rupees ($99 million) in revenue last year and earned a post-tax profit of 691.6 million Sri Lankan rupees.

The company had a market value of $36 million based on Wednesday’s close, which would give Aviva’s 51 percent stake a valuation of $18 million.

Aviva, along with other insurers, is under pressure from the Sri Lankan regulator to separate its business into life and non-life businesses, one of the sources said. The source said that AIA Group Ltd , Prudential plc and Manulife Financial Corp would be the most likely bidders for Aviva’s stake in the Sri Lankan joint venture.

Aviva is also in the process of exiting its Malaysian joint venture with CIMB and has hired Morgan Stanley to run the sale process, sources previously told Reuters.

That sale process is expected to kick off soon and CIMB has drawn up a list of six insurers it would like to partner with, one of the sources said.

Aviva, which has also long been exploring the sale of its loss-making Taiwan business, has identified China and Indian among its core markets in Asia. It is also exploring the sale of its American operations, estimated to the worth 1 billion pounds ($1.6 billion).

Aviva’s retreat from Asia is part of a broader move by struggling European financial institutions that are pulling out of the region to focus more on their businesses at home. Earlier this year, British lender Royal Bank of Scotland plc sold part of its investment banking operations to CIMB, while ING is in the process of selling its Asian life insurance and asset management business.

While weaker insurers are exiting the region, those with stronger positions such as AIA and Prudential are aiming to consolidate their positions in various Asian markets. (Reuters)

Lanka to launch its first telecom satellite

SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd. signed an investment agreement with the Board of Investment yesterday with very ambitious plans to take Sri Lanka into the global space race.

With an initial investment of USD 20 Million which will be further increased up to USD 320   Million, the company’s long term plan is to utilize the Planned Orbital Slot of Sri Lanka which is located at 50 Degrees East and launch SupremeSAT – the country’s first ever telecommunications satellite.

The company has entered into an exclusive partnership agreement with China’s state owned China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) for the Design, Manufacturing and Launching of the satellite and also to secure the marketing facilities of many other satellites owned and operated by CGWIC and also China Satellites Communications Corporation.

Established in 1980, CGWIC is the sole commercial organization authorized by the Chinese government to provide satellites, commercial launch services and to carry out international space cooperation. The company has already signed nine contracts with international customers for manufacture and in-orbit delivery of telecommunication satellites, out of which four have been successfully launched into orbit, whilst the other two are set to be launched next year. Apart from this the company has launched many satellites for domestic purposes and has surpassed the US in the number of successful space launches for the year 2011.

As the professional company promoting international cooperation for China’s space industry, CGWIC is devoted to the internationalized development of China’s space industry. CGWIC has developed into a system integrator for space products and services. It can meet customers’ multi-directional needs by providing comprehensive solutions for commercial launch services, satellite export, satellite ground tracking and control station construction, satellite applications, project financing, project insurance and technical training, etc. Through extensive international cooperation, CGWIC enjoys an excellent reputation in the international aerospace industry, the financial community and the insurance circle.

SupremeSAT’s satellite will be the DFH-4 also known as Dong Fang Hong which means the “Rising of the shining east”.   DFH-4 is the third generation communications satellite bus in China with high power, strong payload capacity and extended service life. It consists of propulsion module, service modules and solar arrays.

This new venture of SupremeSAT will offer all types of telecommunication services such as broadband and networking services, various broadcast solutions, backhaul or range extension facilities for telecom operators and other services such as E-government and E-learning.

This investment and our partnership with CGWIC demonstrate the investor confidence on the “Post War” Sri Lankan economy. “The political stability supported by the favorable investment climate helps entrepreneurs like us to reach the space. I am very glad that this venture coincides with the vision of His Excellency the President to make Sri Lanka a “Knowledge Hub”.” said Mr. R. M. Manivannan, Chairman of SupremeSAT (Pvt) Ltd. “We are now closely coordinating with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission on the necessary approvals for the launch and take this opportunity to thank the Board of Investment for the very supportive role they play” he further said.

Mr.Wang Zhongmin – Deputy Director Manager of CGWIC said “It is a pleasure to be the exclusive partner of supremeSAT. We are confident that this partnership will make Sri Lanka’s space ambitions a reality and we are looking forward to be a part of all the space related activities of SupremeSAT. We are sure this will this help the technology growth of Sri Lanka”

Senior representatives from CGWIC were also present during the agreement signing.

WSO2 announces tie-up with 5 leading companies

WSO2 announced that five leading organisations in Sri Lanka have tied-up with the middleware solutions provider for its innovative applications.

With its main operations arm in Sri Lanka, WSO2 delivers the industry’s most comprehensive middleware platforms enabling Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) and integrated application development.

WSO2’s middleware includes its award-winning, 100% open source WSO2 Carbon enterprise middleware platform, WSO2 Stratos cloud middleware platform, and the WSO2 StratosLive platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Built on the same componentized architecture, WSO2 give enterprises unmatched flexibility to migrate their applications on-premise, or to the cloud.

“We are increasingly seeing global and local enterprises making WSO2 their choice for strategic enterprise middleware.” said Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, WSO2 founder and CEO at a press conference. “I am excited that enterprises are taking advantage of our high performance and flexible deployments and that we are able to meet the requirements while delivering unmatched value to companies like eBay, AAA, British Airways and more, from right here in Sri Lanka”.   

Among the many global companies signed up over the last few years, the new businesses signed up in Sri Lanka include –

●             Brandix – Introduced SOA principles eliminating the challenges of managing various heterogeneous systems.

●             Dialog Axiata – Introduced the WSO2 Platform as an integration platform and a Master Data Management (MDM) solution to connect legacy systems.

●             ICTA –  eLocal Government Project enabling citizen friendly delivery of services and increasing efficiency and effectiveness of governance.

●             John Keells Holdings PLC – Integration of SAP ERP with POS system and online store, resulting in reduced operating costs and enhanced customer experience.

●             ODEL –  Mobile point of sale solution, that help deliver innovative services along with enhancing the current ERP system capabilities to handle the customer loyalty program.

WSO2 Workshop for IT Professionals

Prior to the press conference, WSO2 conducted a workshop on how customers are solving traditional IT challenges by combining WSO2 products, enabling project self-service, fostering partnerships, and delivering business-focused solutions.

“The response we received to the workshop personifies the need for IT professionals wanting to reduce time and effort required to craft a comprehensive solution. Enterprise architects and developers aim to build secure, reliable, and high-performance solutions and we were able to showcase the WSO2 middleware platforms’ capabilities, to deliver solutions that meet real-world needs of enterprises today,” said Paul Fremantle, WSO2 Co Founder and CTO, who presented the workshop along with Chris Haddad, WSO2 vice president of technology evangelism.

About WSO2

WSO2 is the lean enterprise middleware company. It delivers the only complete open source enterprise SOA middleware stack purpose-built as an integrated platform to support today’s heterogeneous enterprise environments—internally and in the cloud. WSO2’s service and support team is led by technical experts who have proven success in deploying enterprise SOAs and contribute to the technology standards that enable them. For more information, visit http://wso2.com or check out the WSO2 community on the WSO2 Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and FriendFeed.

Sri Lanka plans tea hub, imports from India, China

Sri Lanka’s tea exporters are lobbying for liberalized imports to expand the industry and make it into a tea hub by blending high quality tea from China, India and Kenya, an official said.

Sri Lanka’s Tea Exporters Association (TEA), whose members export 83 percent of tea, insisted that a proposal to liberalize tea imports would not have negative impact on Pure Ceylon tea, a fear that has been expressed by some stakeholders, reported Xinhua.

TEA chairman Niraj de Mel said that Sri Lanka, which has the world’s largest tea auction and sold the highest priced tea, was the best place for a tea hub that would import and blend different brands of tea. “The government has plans to increase the current $11 billion exports to $20 billion by 2020. That means tea, as the country’s highest foreign exchange earning crop, has to hit the $5 billion mark,” he said.

De Mel pointed out that in 2011, tea exports earned $1.5 billion and it would be impossible to nearly triple earnings in eight years to meet the government target.

He noted that the TEA had been invited by Plantations and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe to study the possibility of liberalizing tea imports, and a decision will be taken at the end of this year.

Source: IANS

ITC’s Sri Lankan arm acquires land for hospitality project

Diversified business conglomerate ITC Ltd said its wholly-owned arm in Sri Lanka has acquired land for a mixed-use hospitality project in the island nation.

The company that is looking to set a foothold in Sri Lanka also said WelcomHotels Lanka Pvt Ltd (WLPL) has become its wholly-owned subsidiary with effect from May 4, 2012 after allotment of 37,65,000 equity shares to it.

“WLPL has acquired land at Galle Face in Colombo on a 99-year lease from the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka with an intention to set up a mixed use project, including a luxury hotel,” an ITC spokesperson told PTI.

The spokesperson, however, declined to share details like total area of the land parcel and investment to be made in the project.

The exact nature of the project will be decided after more detailed evaluation in due course of time, the spokesperson added.

ITC had set up WLPL as part of plans to set up hospitality ventures in Sri Lanka.

In a filing to the BSE, ITC Ltd said WLPL became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company with effect from May 4, 2012, consequent to allotment of 37,65,000 equity shares to the company by WLPL on that date.

With a market capitalisation of over USD 35 billion and a turnover of around USD seven billion, ITC has interests in  consumer goods, hotels, paper, agri-business and information technology. (PTI)

CB expects market stability

The Central Bank says it expects stability in the domestic foreign exchange market over the next few weeks following a decision to reduce the volume of imports.

Exchange rates have been on shaky ground so far this year after the bank depreciated the value of the Sri Lankan Rupee as against the U.S Dollar.

Last month the Sri Lankan rupee fell 0.6 percent to a new record low of 132.20 to the U.S. dollar surpassing its previous all-time low of 131.60 recorded in March.

Market dealers attributed the drop to importers’ demand for dollars and the Central Bank said measures have now been taken to reduce imports which in turn will help stabilize the foreign exchange market.

The bank said that international oil prices have recently declined and if that continues then pressure on the domestic foreign exchange market is likely to lessen markedly.

“The expected deceleration in the volumes of imports during the course of the year 2012 following the measures taken by the government and the Central Bank earlier this year will also significantly reduce pressure on the domestic foreign exchange market,” the bank said in a statement.

At its monthly monitory policy board meeting on Friday evening the Central Bank decided to keep its repurchase rate at 7.75 percent while the reverse repurchase rate will remain at 9.75 percent.

The bank said that while inflation continues to remain at single-digit levels, the outlook for domestic food supplies remains favorable, which augurs well for domestic prices in the period ahead.

It also said that improvement in the supply of domestic agricultural products over the last few years has continued to help stabilize domestic consumer prices.

Market interest rates have moved up gradually in Sri Lanka over the past couple of weeks and the Central Bank says this reflects the tightening of monetary conditions.

The Monetary Board of the Central Bank was of the view that the policy measures implemented thus far are sufficient to moderate the expansion of both credit and the trade deficit. (Xinhua)

WSO2 to present workshop in Sri Lanka

WSO2 Technology Executives Will Lead a Workshop on May 16, to Explore Real-World Use Cases for Addressing Top IT Challenges with the WSO2 Carbon Middleware Platform

Enterprise architects and developers aim to build secure, reliable, and high-performance solutions that incorporate mobile, social, analytics, and cloud functionality.

However, when they attempt to incorporate these different capabilities, team members often encounter significant evaluation and integration hurdles. In a one-day workshop, WSO2 technology executives will explore use cases of how IT professionals can reduce the time and effort required to craft a comprehensive solution by using the open source WSO2 Carbon enterprise middleware platform.

The WSO2 workshop, “Exploring WSO2 Platform Use Cases: SOA & Integration, Governance, Identity, and User Experience Discovery,” will be presented jointly by Paul Fremantle, WSO2 co-founder and CTO, and Chris Haddad, WSO2 vice president of technology evangelism. It will be held on Wednesday, May 16, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For more information, visit: http://wso2.com/events/workshops/2012-may-colombo-exploring-wso2-platform-use-cases-workshop.

Exploring WSO2 Platform Use Cases

The workshop is designed for IT architects and developers seeking to optimize their IT strategies and projects. It will examine how customers are solving traditional IT challenges by combining WSO2 products, enabling project self-service, fostering partnerships, and delivering business-focused solutions. Workshop session topics will include:

• Why WSO2 clients are deploying WSO2 service-oriented architecture (SOA), integration, governance, identity, and user experience platforms.
• A discussion of how lightweight development environments based on APIs and JavaScript increase developer agility and participation.
• How to combine WSO2 Carbon products and create a purpose-fit runtime platform.
• Understanding when to deploy solution components across on-premise, external cloud services, or hybrid topologies.
• How to use WSO2’s forthcoming platforms for API management and application delivery management to reduce development costs and increase partner interactions.

WSO2 Presenters

Paul Fremantle, WSO2 co-founder and CTO, spearheads the company’s overall product strategy. Recognized by InfoWorld as a Top 25 CTO, Paul was responsible for simultaneously leading development of the groundbreaking WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus and Apache Synapse ESB. Paul has played a pioneering role in open source development, beginning with the original Apache SOAP project where he donated code to enable access to Enterprise JavaBeans. Paul also led IBM’s involvement in the Axis C/C++ project. He currently is co-chair of the OASIS Web Services Reliable eXchange Technical Committee, as well as vice president of the Apache Synapse Project.

Chris Haddad, WSO2 vice president of technology evangelism, works closely with developers, architects, and C-level executives to increase WSO2 technology adoption, improve the middleware platform, and maximize customer value. Prior to joining WSO2, Chris led research teams at Burton Group and Gartner in advising Fortune 500 enterprise organizations and technology infrastructure vendors on adoption strategies, architecture, product selection, governance, and organizational alignment. His team advanced best practices in platform-as-a-service (PaaS), cloud application architecture patterns, SOA, and application middleware. Chris also has served as an Apache Axis committer.

About WSO2

WSO2 is the lean enterprise middleware company. It delivers the only complete open source enterprise SOA middleware stack purpose-built as an integrated platform to support today’s heterogeneous enterprise environments—internally and in the cloud. WSO2’s service and support team is led by technical experts who have proven success in deploying enterprise SOAs and contribute to the technology standards that enable them. For more information, visit http://wso2.com, or check out the WSO2 community on the WSO2 Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and FriendFeed.

Germany gives Rs. 6.5 million to empower grassroots projects

The German Embassy funded four micro-projects worth Rs. 6.5 million to uplift the livelihoods of people in different parts of the island.

The annual micro projects scheme of the German Foreign office aims to empower grassroots organisations that work for the betterment of local communities.

The first project worth Rs. 2.7 million focuses on constructing a village road  in Sagamam, near Akkaraipattu in the Eastern Province. This road will help 440 farming families to easily access over 1000 acres of paddy land that they are cultivating in the formerly LTTE controlled area near the Sagamam tank.

“Most of these farmers were displaced during the height of the conflict in the East,” said M.M.M Basheeer, the Project Co-ordinator from the Eastern Rehabilitation Relief Organization (ERRO Lanka), a community based organisation which has undertaken to implement this project.

Basheer added that most displaced families do not qualify for government support, since they had moved in with their relatives in Akkaraipattu, instead of living in camps. “Now they have to travel about 25km daily to come to their fields. But the gravel road leading to the cultivated areas gets flooded in the rainy season, making it impossible to take tractors or harvesters into the fields.”

The second project aims to build a water supply system for Peenkanda Tamil Vidyala, a plantation sector school in Rathnapura. The school with classes from grade 1 to 9, has about 150 students. At present their only source of water at school is a makeshift pipe, that taps into a small stream on a nearby hill.

“Many schools in the Rathnapura area are affected by the lack of access to water,” said Charles M. Ravie, the school’s principal. “Most of our students’ parents work in tea and rubber plantations. Together, we have created a small community organization to develop our school, since we cannot wait until either the government or the plantation owners help us.”

The project worth Rs 1.3 million will help create a water storage tank and a distribution pipeline that would give clean drinking water for the children.

The next project also aims at supporting education. But it targets conflict affected children in Kannahipuram, a village located 30 KM from Kilinochchi.

This village has 375 families, all of them were displaced and traumatized during the final stages of the conflict. There are about 20 children who have lost their parents and are being looked after by the grand parents. One in ten families are headed by a war widow.

The German Micro project scheme is supporting the National Christian Council to create a child friendly space, where the children can get extra support with their homework. The centre also has sport facilities.  The project worth Rs. 1.2 million also creates a small story book library and other learning related activities like story telling.

The final projects worth Rs. 1.2 million aims to provide livelihood support for 20 war affected women in Mannar by helping them setup poultry farms.

“While Germany has funded many large infrastructure development projects in Sri Lanka, we change one life at a time, through our Micro project scheme,” said German Ambassador Jens Plötner. “Real change comes when you empower individuals and families and help them build better lives and better communities.”

WSO2 recruits beta customers for WSO2 API Manager

WSO2 announced that the company has begun recruiting beta customers for the new WSO2 API Manager product scheduled to launch this summer. WSO2 API Manager will enable enterprises to extend their data, processes and services out to customers, partners and other business units via APIs while providing the ability to secure, protect and monitor API resource interactions. WSO2 API Manager also will allow developers to rapidly find, subscribe to, and evaluate the APIs that enterprises make available.

Like all WSO2 middleware, WSO2 API Manager will run on-premise and in the cloud, and WSO2 API Manager is based on the fully componentized platform used by enterprises around the world, including a Global 1000 company that is handling more than 1 billion API calls per day. Using WSO2 API Manager, enterprises will be able to:

  • Offer APIs to their customers and partners, as well as other internal users.
  • Display and promote APIs in an API store.
  • Enable developers to sign up and subscribe to APIs.
  • Collect usage, performance, and quality of service metrics to analyze and understand how APIs are being used.
  • Use a policy-based approach to securing APIs, managing access, and throttling usage.

Ideal candidates for the WSO2 API Manager beta program are enterprise IT professionals who are planning or evaluating ways to offer a choice of APIs to third parties—whether externally or to other business groups within the organization. Participants also must be committed to participating and giving feedback. For more information and to contact WSO2 about joining the beta program, please visit the product Web page: http://wso2.com/products/api-manager.

“New Web business models for growing customer loyalty and revenue streams rely on managed APIs to extend the enterprise’s business capabilities as a service, rather than an insular application,” said WSO2 Co-founder and CTO Paul Fremantle. “Our forthcoming WSO2 API Manager product—built on the same code as our award-winning WSO2 Carbon middleware platform—will address this challenge by offering an API store for enabling easy access to APIs while also delivering the robust functionality to securely control how those APIs are used.”

Paul Fremantle will discuss WSO2’s approach to API management in depth at the WSO2 workshop, “Delivering Your Business as an API.” The technical workshop will be held on Wednesday, March 28, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. For more information, visit: http://wso2.com/events/workshops/2012-march-palo-alto-delivering-your-business-as-an-api-workshop.

WSO2 API Manager Builds on WSO2 Carbon and Stratos Success

WSO2 API Manager is being built on the same modular, fully componentized OSGi-compliant code base as WSO2’s two award-winning, 100% open source platforms: the WSO2 Carbon enterprise middleware platform and WSO2 Stratos cloud middleware platform. As a result, WSO2 API Manager will:

  • Be available simultaneously on WSO2 Carbon and WSO2 Stratos when it launches, giving enterprises the flexibility to deploy on-premise, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment.
  • Automatically integrate with all other WSO2 middleware products running on the WSO2 Carbon and WSO2 Stratos platforms.
  • Use the proven core framework components that provide all WSO2 middleware products with a consistent set of enterprise-class management, security, clustering, logging, statistics, tracing, and other capabilities.
  • Offer a graphical management console, which is integrated with other WSO2 middleware products, for configuration, management and monitoring.

WSO2 Carbon is the industry’s first fully componentized middleware platform for creating, running, and managing composite applications and Web services within an SOA. WSO2 Carbon lets developers easily deploy and customize any of its WSO2 Carbon-based middleware products, and the 150-plus components on which they are comprised, providing greater flexibility and agility to meet changing enterprise demands.

WSO2 Stratos is the industry’s first complete cloud middleware platform for rapidly building and deploying applications and services with full multi-tenancy and the elasticity, reliability and scalability to support high-volume cloud environments. WSO2 Stratos is built on top of and extends WSO2 Carbon with cloud-native functionality.

About WSO2

WSO2 is the lean enterprise middleware company. It delivers the only complete open source enterprise SOA middleware stack purpose-built as an integrated platform to support today’s heterogeneous enterprise environments—internally and in the cloud. WSO2’s service and support team is led by technical experts who have proven success in deploying enterprise SOAs and contribute to the technology standards that enable them. For more information, visit http://wso2.com and the WSO2 OxygenTank developer portal at http://wso2.org, or check out WSO2 on the WSO2 Blog, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and FriendFeed