Oct 22, Colombo: Sri Lanka's premier connectivity provider, Dialog Axiata PLC in partnership with Ericsson, world leader in communications technology and services, along with the Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish Sri Lanka's first state-of-the-art 5G Innovation Center.
The first of its kind in the country, the Innovation Center will encourage Sri Lankans to collaborate and create next generation IoT and ICT innovations and serve the country's digital footprint through strategic partnerships, stimulating entrepreneurship and facilitating a collaborative shared learning environment.
The occasion was graced by Harin Fernando, Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment, Manusha Nanayakkara, Deputy Minister of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment, Supun Weerasinghe, Group Chief Executive, Dialog Axiata and other officials.
The MoU will explore the possibilities of 5G and IoT enabling various stakeholders such as the community and different verticals to carve out new innovative solutions.
On the road to finalizing the 5G national agenda and program implementation by the government, the Innovation Center aims to improve efficiency, innovation and productivity and create new opportunities for capacity building in emerging 5G technology.
The setting up of the 5G Innovation Center will be underpinned by investments exceeding Rs. 500 million in connectivity, equipment and infrastructure.
"We are proud to partner Dialog and Ericsson to advance technology in the country through the set-up of a 5G Innovation Center, earmarked on the Ministry's roadmap. On the brink of exponential change through digitalization, the innovation center will help accelerate an entrepreneurial and research culture in the country," Minister Harin Fernando said.
"The youth uptake of digital innovation based projects and developments in Sri Lanka is phenomenal, and this would prove a great way to encourage more students to innovate using technology."
The 5G Innovation Center will link Dialog and Ericsson technology and capabilities with likeminded partners into a single framework for local application developers and content providers. Research and development will be a collaborative effort between local universities together with cooperation from the global sphere. Researchers and entrepreneurs will have the ability to design/develop programs and prototypes and use the Innovation Center as a test lab for verification. Further the facility will enable developers, mobile users, academia and eco-system partners to test 5G capabilities and inter-operability on site.
Sharing his thoughts on the collaboration Vinod Samarawickrama, Managing Director/ Country Manager, Ericsson Telecommunication Lanka said, "5G will be a critical national infrastructure in digitalizing the economy and capturing the vision of a fully connected society. 5G is a platform for innovation.”
"We look forward to establishing the Center together with Dialog, who was instrumental in trialing 5G for the first time in South Asia last year. The Ministry of Telecommunication, Digital Infrastructure and Foreign Employment will play a key role in driving the national mandate to build a digital and connected Sri Lanka."
Dialog Axiata Group CEO Supun Weerasinghe said the 5G Innovation Center is another milestone in Dialog's Technology leadership as they prepare to commercially launch 5G, ahead of the rest of South Asia.
"5G sets a capable environment to help fast track IoT developments along with next generation video and robot/manufacturing automation. Advancing the transformational technology of 5G in Sri Lanka will enable exciting possibilities across education, health, agriculture and manufacturing and also harness entrepreneurship and provide a spring board for in-country talent."
Dialog demonstrated the power of what 5G would deliver in terms of products and services at South Asia’s first 5G trial in August 2017.