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Unprotected rail gates, “e-bus halt” and the Skype like VoIP Solution [Innovations that Sri Lanka didn’t fancy]


It was a week or so, when I heard the news headlines where a mother and a child got hit by a train, due to a trade union action carried out by unprotected rail gate keepers. The news didn’t surprise me much, but it just reminded me that I had seen a long time back in various Sri Lankan social media.

Innovations that Sri Lanka didn’t fancy



“e-bus halt”

I happened to participate in the National IT Conference 2016, which was conducted by the Computer Society of Sri Lanka. The event was held with the participation of wide range of IT and industry enthusiasts. One of the sessions included Prof. Abhaya Induruwa (Lesser known father of internet in Sri Lanka) and Dr. Anil Basu who is the president of the Computer Society of India. During the Q and A session, one of the participants raised an interesting question to the Indian resource person. The essence of the questions is as follows;

“Although various innovations and innovative ideas are born in Sri Lanka, there are various obstacles that rob them of their development, growth and the significance. How does India handle this? ”

The participant who identified himself as working for one of the armed forces claimed that they had the idea and prototype for an “e-bus halt”, which offers various services to the commuters while waiting for a bus.

Skype like VoIP Solution

It just summarizes the negativity that clouds the opportunities for innovative thinkers in the country and how de-motivated they are. It didn’t take much time, but until lunch to talk with one of the guys who works for the state owned telecom provider. Me and my colleague mentioned the above scene and discussed regarding the current work. Then he had to say,

“That’s nothing machang, I don’t know whether you will believe it or not. Me and my team, we came up with a Skype like Voice over IP solution long before Skype’s popularity.”

They had identified the user urgency to call their loved ones abroad and the barrier being costly IDD call charges. The idea was to empathize with the above customer group and provide solutions to them for a cheap price. What happened to it….?

Same thing which happened to the automatic rail gate and the e-bus stop.

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