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From Press


Samsung Electronics, the number one smartphone provider, announced the launch of a plethora of new Galaxy phone to the Sri Lankan market. The Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy Star, Galaxy Pocket Neo and theGalaxy Young have been launched to offer users an enhanced smartphone experience at a very affordable price point.
Powered with ultrafast, speedy processor, intuitive motion UI and smart multimedia features, these Galaxy phones offer seamless all-round performance, greater flexibility, freedom and content sharing possibilities to its users.
Announcing the launch of the new Samsung Galaxy phones, H. K. Chang, Managing Director, Samsung India Electronics Limited, Sri Lanka stated,”In line with our commitment to providing Smartphones to a wider set of consumers, I am happy to announce the launch of these Galaxy devices that provides superior value to consumers based on their features, intuitive performance and superior design features.”

The Galaxy Note 8

The launch of the Note 8.0 in Sri Lanka heralds a new era of intelligent ‘Note’ technology. Providing unrivalled multimedia performance within a compact one-hand-grip screen, the Galaxy Note 8 has the power and advanced technology to evolve the tablet experience and ensure you achieve new levels of efficient multi-tasking while benefitting from superb voice call functionality. Furthermore, the intelligent S Pen brings together the latest innovation and the ease of using a traditional pen and paper; creating a sophisticated mobile experience that will enhance life on the go.

The Galaxy Young

Also known as Samsung Galaxy Young, this stylishly compact phone brings everything you want in a smartphone straight to your palm. High-end performance meets compact portability and convenience in Samsung Galaxy Young Advanced features, fast connections and incredible usability, this mobile has everything you want in a form that fits as easily in your hand as it stows away in the pocket.
The Galaxy Young features a 3MP camera and a 3.27 inch display and is powered by a 1GHZ processor processor the phone comes with the latest Android OS, Jelly Bean, so everything feels fast, fluid and smooth. The ‘must have’ for easy picture taking control, actionable notifications, and customizable widgets. It is also armed with intuitive and innovative Motion UI understands simple motions for convenient mobile tasks.
The Galaxy Pocket Neo Packed with powerful performance and intelligent features, the new device is perfect for the younger generation of mobile users. The device features a compact, curved form factor and feels natural to operate using one hand. The Galaxy Pocket Neo is powered by a 850MHz processor, for powerful performance, smooth UI transitions and fast internet, which makes watching videos, navigating apps, playing games, surfing the web and multitasking quick and easy. It also features 4GB of internal storage to store all your favourite apps, music, videos, photos and more.
The Galaxy Pocket Neo features a 2 MP camera, 3.0 TFT display and combines the Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) experience with the user-friendly Touchwiz interface, making it easy to navigate the Galaxy Pocket Neo, switch between apps, take and share photos and customise the home screen with just a few taps. The advanced software also facilitates more efficient CPU use for improved battery life, meaning you can enjoy longer talk time and multimedia use. Built-in widgets offer one-click shortcuts to weather and other recently-used applications for quick and easy access to real-time notifications.

The Galaxy Star

The Galaxy Star comes bundled with several smart features that enable users to control and connect with the device. Intelligent Motion UI maximizes smart features for the most responsive, intuitive user experience. For example, shake the device to refresh and update, mute volume by simply flipping device, etc. It’s innovative Smart Dual SIM feature provides total communication flexibility, allowing users to manage two phone numbers from a single phone, thus maintaining personal and professional life with ease. The feature enables the user to receive calls on one SIM number while taking a call from the other, ensuring efficient management of personal and work commitments without ever missing a call. Enhanced Smart Dual SIM UX is designed to manage both accounts with safe call dialler and message composer.
Powered by A5 1GHz processor and the latest Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system, the Samsung Galaxy Star provides the user with exceptional performance for an enhanced multi-tasking and connectivity. With 3″ capacitive touch screen, the device comes loaded with a 2MP camera and the latest Bluetooth 4.0 technology for on-the-go Internet and effortless sharing.

Source: Daily News


Mohamed Shehan, Stephan Udumalagala, Amal Gunatilake and Kishore Kumar the ‘Firebirds’ team from Informatics Institute of Technology (IIT), who won the local Microsoft Imagine Cup in April this year set off to St Petersburg, Russia last Sunday to compete in the World Microsoft Imagine Cup Competition.
Members of the Firebirds team – Stephan Udumalagala, Amal Gunatilake, Mohamed Shehan, Kishore Kumar before their departure
The make up of this winning team is not unusual in itself, taking into consideration, the ethnic diversity of Sri Lanka. However, what is worthy of celebration is the unity of our very diversity in the four young men representing 4 ethno-religious groups who were able to synergize their talents and work closely together in harmony for over five months to produce a winning project that may win international accolades. Of the Firebirds team, Amal is a Sinhala Buddhist, Stephan a Sinhala Roman Catholic, Kishore a Tamil Hindu and the team leader Shehan is a Muslim.
What is unique about them is that they came together in total harmony to achieve a common goal using their expertise in the various areas of IT and commerce, without giving any thought to, or even realizing their different ethnic or religious origins. The team who worked closely together for over a period of 5 months despite their final year work load at IIT said that it was Kishore who laughingly pointed out their different ethno-religious origins on the day they presented their project at the local awards function.
Their project I-Chum which is Shehan’s invention is a visual aid for the blind. The team had thought of every aspect of its success with Software Engineering students Stephan and Amal with Kishore who is a Business Management student planning the marketing aspects of the project.

Source: Daily News


The Computer Society of Sri Lanka (CSSL – www.cssl.lk) is organising an international Information and Communication Technology (ICT) conference in Colombo, to be held from 12 to 14 August 2013.
The CSSL, which was established in 1976, has been playing a major role in promoting IT and professionalism among those engaged in the field of ICT in the country, for the past 36 years. The CSSL is also a member of the South Asia Regional Computer Confederation (SEARCC) and International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP).
The CSSL annually organises the National Information Technology Conference (NITC), which is one of the top ICT events in Sri Lanka. This year, CSSL in partnership with SEARCC will be organising the SEARCC International Conference 2013 with the theme of ‘I3CT: Innovation, Integration for Impact’.
The objective of the conference is to bring attention to recent developments in the ICT field, to facilitate the dispersal of knowledge among the ICT fraternity including entrepreneurs, academia, visionary ICT leaders and industry professionals and to discuss the use of ICT for a holistic development.
The inauguration of the conference is scheduled to take place on the evening of 12 August with Senior Minister for International Monetary Co-operation and Deputy Minister of Finance and Planning Dr. Sarath Amunugama as the Chief Guest and Minister of Technology, Research and Atomic Energy Patali Champika Ranawaka as the Guest of Honour.
The panel of speakers include Minister of Public Management Reforms Navin Dissanayake, MP/Economist Dr. Harsha De Silva, first and only Sri Lankan Nobel Prize winner Professor Mohan Munasinghe, The University of Queensland Adjunct Professor Dr. Nick Tate, Sri Lanka Inventors Commission Commissioner Deepal Sooriyaarachchi, Metropolitan Computers CEO Niranjan De Silva, SoloMoIT Australia Consultant Expert Logan Nathan, ICTA Director Wasantha Deshapriya, Consultant/Policy Researcher/Lecturer Chanuka Wattegama, Virtusa Manager QA Erandika Umal, Target Resource Deepanie Perera CEO, Virtusa Director/Head of Strategic Initiatives Chamindra De Silva, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute Executive Director Asanga Abeyagoonasekera and Layers-7 Seguro Consultoria Director Sujit Christy.
The conference also has three workshops conducted by Computer Societies of Australia, India and Malaysia.
For more information and registration, please visit www.nitc.lk.

Source: DailyFT


zMessenger, Sri Lanka’s award winning integrated mobile media company, gained international recognition as their mobile interactive learning tool ‘Learn English with the British Council’ was selected as a Finalist at the prestigious ‘mBillionth Awards South Asia’.
Out of 209 applicants from the region, zMessenger is the only Sri Lankan company to be selected in the Finalist category of this year’s mBillionth Awards.
zMessenger’s ‘Learn English with the British Council’ is a simplified, interactive medium through which users can test and practice their English language skills through their mobile phone. This unique service allows users to learn conversational English using technologies such as SMS, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Video, by providing essential language learning tips for all levels of learners.
The service then lets British Council language experts to provide feedback to users on their performance. ‘English with the British Council’ is currently offered by Dialog, Mobitel, Etisalat and Hutch.
Speaking about the background to ‘Learn English with the British Council,’ CEO of zMessenger Jayomi Lokuliyana stated: “Sri Lanka has always had a high demand for fluency and competency in the English language. English is given much importance in a person’s career, such as at job interviews and promotions, while also building confidence and personality. It plays a big role in general socialising and acceptance in society.”
She added that with such socio-economic factors, learning English or investing in learning is perceived to be an extremely important aspect amongst the general public. “Globally, we are in an era where mobile phones have become widespread among the common man. It is no different here in Sri Lanka with over 20 million mobile users across the island. Therefore, mobile phones have become probably the most effective method of communicating and passing information,” she added.
“It must be noted that the majority of electronic communication takes place in English and hence the knowledge and competency in English is vital. Given this scenario, the ‘Learn English with the British Council’ medium taps successfully into both these key factors and provide a user-friendly, interactive, cost-effective and convenient mechanism for learning English,” she further stated.
zMessenger most recently was selected as the Winner in the ‘e-Learning and Education’ Category at the ‘e-Swabhimani 2012,’ an initiative of the Information Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) aimed at recognising excellence in digital content creation.
Elaborating further about the product, Product Manager of zMessenger Upekha Abeyratne stated: “‘Learn English with the British Council’ has been able to help people, especially the youth from the cities and rural areas of the country, to learn and improve their English Language skills. 75% of the subscribers are out of Colombo in areas such as Jaffna, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Ampara, Badulla, etc.”
She added that the product uses very simple methods, using easy to understand content and testing techniques, while the product’s interactive nature has enhanced subscribers’ engagement with the service.
“Most importantly, ‘English with the British Council’ has shifted Sri Lanka’s perception towards the mobile phone from being a mere communication device to a valuable learning platform with remarkable possibilities. Overall, this mobile learning platform has changed the way in which people look at mobile Value Added Services,” she added.
zMessenger will be participating at the final judging of the mBillionth awards night on the 18th July at Nehru Place, New Delhi. Open to all countries in the SAARC region, mBillionth Awards is an integrated platform for recognising innovations in telecom and mobile content, applications and models. The mBillionth Awards acknowledges South Asia as a key hub of the world’s mobile and telecom market in terms of penetration and innovation, and promotes the best of mobile-based implementations in the region.

Source: DailyFT


Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, the nation’s number one integrated communications service provider and the leading broadband and backbone infrastructure services provider yesterday announced the achievement of the globally recognised information security management standard, ISO/IEC 27001:2005 awarded by the world renowned certification body, Bureau Veritas.
The company received this accreditation for the third consecutive time on 8 April 2013.
The ISO 27001, which is the most stringent certification for information security controls, guarantees that ample information security controls and other forms of risk management are in place to enable an organisation to assess its risk and implement appropriate controls to preserve confidentiality, integrity and availability of information assets. The certification also ensures that the maintenance for customer services meet international standards. The scope of certification spans across the company’s IT operations including systems administration, billing, operational support systems, system development, network & end user support, network operations such as SLT NOC and island-wide broadband network operations including IP-VPN/MPLS/data services and internet service provider (SLTNET) broadband services, internet data centre (SLT iDC), network management and network security, disaster recovery centre and core support services such as power and AC operations and physical security management.
This accreditation verifies that the ISO 27001:2005 information security standard is now an integral component of core IT and network operations within SLT and ensures compliance with ISMS policies, procedures and the institutionalisation of ISO standard practices across the entire organisation.
Sri Lanka Telecom is the first company incorporated in Sri Lanka to achieve this security standard as well as to be listed in the prestigious Information Security Management System (ISMS) Registry since 2006.
Commenting on this achievement, SLT PLC Group CEO Lalith De Silva said: “This is a significant achievement for SLT and demonstrates our continuous focus on improving our business and processes, especially in relation to our IT operations, which will give further assurance to our customers of the international standards maintained by our company in providing our services. As the national telecom service provider in the country, we embraced the responsibility to be first in the country to achieve this security standard with the expectation that our customers and employees will reap the benefits of this in the years to come.”

Source: DailyFT


Approximately every decade, technology delivery undergoes a tectonic shift that changes the consumption of technology and the value that it can bring. Today, mobility, Big Data, and the advent of cloud computing offer new ways for IT to help organizations accelerate progress in solving their most pressing challenges—speeding innovation, enhancing agility, and improving financial management.
Cloud computing is a key component of an organization’s ability to gain unencumbered access to information technology—to access “Infrastructure Anywhere, Applications Anywhere, Information Anywhere,” or better said: “Services Anywhere.” In order to deliver on the “Services Anywhere” promise, organizations will need to think differently about IT. No longer will IT be solely a builder of internal infrastructure and services. IT will also need to obtain or use third-party and external services. The key will be understanding the unique requirements of each service, such as availability, cost, performance, and regulatory needs, and then addressing them in the most efficient and cost-effective way. This will be done by creating the right mix of on-premise and off-premise services that leverage the best of traditional IT, and private, managed, and public clouds—a hybrid delivery environment.
“HP’s is clearly the most established leader in the cloud computing space. There are already more than 1,000 HP CloudSystem users, 6,000 HP Public Cloud users, more than 130 Cloud Centers of Excellence with partners and more than 80 CloudAgile partners.
In addition, HP also does cloud hosting for more than 200 customers and more than 40% of the Fortune 100 companies use HP Converged cloud.”
Cloud Computing is a perfect match for big data since cloud computing provides unlimited resources on demand. While two years ago, Cloud computing was appealing mainly because of its “pay per use” model (ideal in tough economic times), today, it is becoming more important because it is the enabler of big data analytics.
As a quick review, big data is a collection of data sets that are so big that it is hard to collect, analyze, visualize, and process using regular software such are relational database management systems.  Moreover, this data is typically unstructured. A recent study indicates that unstructured data account for at least 80% of the world’s data. This means that many companies today are making mission critical decisions with only 20% of the data they have, the 20% of data that is structured and stored in relational databases.
Now it is possible to manage this vast amount of data, structured and unstructured. When we talk about big data, we not only refer to existing data that have been collected for years. We also talk about huge amounts of data being generated because of social media, mobile devices, sensors, and other technologies. The disruption caused by the mobility explosion has reshaped the IT landscape more dramatically than any other technology since the PC revolution of the early 1980s. HP has a broad mobility portfolio, beginning with handheld devices and compatible software aimed at mobile users, and moving up to both fixed and wireless capabilities that enable users to have controlled access in BYOD environments. HP offers software tools that are strongly positioned for mobility, and in its services area, the company provides advisory and consulting services around mobile strategy.
Big Data and Mobility go hand in hand. With an increasing number of connected devices, the ‘Internet of Things’ presents us with a huge range of opportunities based on the possibility that objects are able to interact with each other. These connected devices are also building up banks of data, and this data needs to be put to good use

Big Data and Mobility go hand in hand.
Big Data is deeply correlated with connectivity and mobility – they go hand in hand. With an increasing number of connected devices, the ‘Internet of Things’ presents us with a huge range of opportunities based on the possibility that objects are able to interact with each other. These connected devices are also building up banks of data, and this data needs to be put to good use. For example, connecting cars to smart parking systems in order to reduce gas wastage, or correlating your blood pressure, sleep and activity levels to help you lose weight are just two possibilities that come with the increase of connectivity, and they rely on your data. Similarly, understanding large amounts data can be help to fuel and improve services in the mobility space. The increasing ubiquity of smartphones has meant that brands have to account for a new set of consumer behaviours, as well as their higher expectations, and Big Data can help brands to identify patterns. People want to consume more and more while they’re on the go, opening up new gaps that demand new mobility solutions.

Source: DailyFT


Fortunaglobal and retail fashion power house Fashion Bug have launched a first of its kind in Sri Lanka – a multi channel iPhone and android app. The multi-functional app brings the entire gamut of app development to the proverbial fashion runway, with customers being able to browse Fashion Bug catalogues which are continuously linked and updated to all their outlets islandwide.
Fortunaglobal CEO, Suren Kohombange said, “We’re excited at the endless opportunities this app opens up for Fashion Bug. This sort of app is what users expect from a retailer’s mobile presence nowadays. The in-store crossover features and customer-appropriate feature-set, also means that Fashion Bug could genuinely interact with their customers. This seamless collaboration between lifestyle and retail experiences had presented Fortunaglobal with the ideal platform to propel the launch of this app without interfering with the existing operating structure of Fashion Bug.
The content is peppered with an innovative sliding image function, a state-of-the-art interface and glossy photos, which permits users to immerse themselves in each trend through a rich mix of content. A unique selling point of the app is that it allows users to easily track the location of the branches with the inbuilt GPS facility, an interactive feature that really sets it apart from regular app.”
Using Fortunaglobal’s expertise in delivering market-leading apps, Fashion Bug worked closely with Fortunaglobal to deliver an app which is also equipped with “Push Notifications,” where users could get promotional details and sale notifications to their devices without even opening the app.
Fashion Bug Asia (Pvt) Ltd., Director, Shabier Subian, added, “In an age of smart technology and social media, the text book advertising and the typical press-TV- radio combination does not quite cut it when it comes to advertising and brand building. Especially since we hail from the fashion industry, it is imperative that our communications are visual, while also prompting and yielding optimum customer engagement. We are making strides on Facebook and Fortunagobal has partnered with us in creating the Fashion Bugmobile App, just in time along with the smartphone boom here in Sri Lanka. We are the very first Fashion Retailer to launch an interactive interface such as this in Sri Lanka. Currently, more than 3,500 of our customers are connected with us via the app where they get daily updates on new arrivals and our promotions. The customer friendly layout does not intimidate the new smart-phone users. The store locater is also a regular favourite amongst our customers. The number of downloads are growing daily and we are looking forward to further innovations and enhancements from our trusted developers.”
Fortunaglobal is a leading technology based company in Sri Lanka, who is specialized in mobile technologies, software solutions and consultancy services. In 2011, Fortunaglobal won a Gold Award at the e-Swabhimani awards in the mobile category for the media App suite. In 2012, Fortunaglobal was recognised at the National Best Quality Software Awards (NBQSA), winning two awards for their media App suite and also middle-wear Financial Solution, according to a press release.

Source: Daily News


Singer Sri Lanka (PLC), national distributor for Huawei, has launched the much anticipated Ascend W1, and also simultaneously launched the Huawei Ascend G510 and Y300 smartphones in the local market.
Packed with enticing features, including a 4-inch display, 1GHz dual core possessor, a 5-megapixel AF dual camera with flash and 4GB onboard storage (with expandable storage up to 32GB), the Ascend W1 also has a powerful battery which gives users up to 470 hours of standby time, considered the longest among all smartphones in its class and considered extremely practical for users on the go.
“The Windows 8 mobile platform is considered the most intuitive and streamlined interface, placing focus on ease of use with the introduction of its innovative Modern UI, a key feature of which is the user’s ability to multi-task efficiently,” stated Asoka Pieris, CEO Singer Sri Lanka PLC. “The Ascend W1 is a smart and stylish alternative for consumers looking for great technology at a competitive price.”
“The Ascend W1, powered by the intuitive Microsoft Windows 8 operating system and featuring cutting-edge design, ensures that this is a smartphone geared for productivity and functionality to complement the consumer’s lifestyle,” explained Daniel Sun, CEO Huawei Technologies Lanka Ltd. “Seamlessly integrating Windows applications and tools from the familiar desktop Windows operating system, users will find that the Ascend W1 is akin to a personal computer in the palm of their hand.”
The Ascend G510, which was also launched with the Ascend W1, possesses great functionality; equipped with 1.2GHz dual-core CPU together with 512MB of RAM and 4GB internal memory, the smartphone boasts outstanding specifications in a smart and stylish package. In addition, the Ascend G510 also comes with a 4.5-inch 850×450 IPS display, 5-megapixel rear camera and 0.3-megapixel front camera and is powered by a 1750mAh battery utilising HUAWEI’s leading battery optimization technology, thus giving users 30% longer standby time. A key feature of the Ascend G510 is the NFC (Near Field Communication) capabilities. Huawei’s Ascend Y300, targeted at youth, brings users the very best technology and smartphone experience in its class. The smartphone has a 4-inch screen, a 1730mAh battery, five megapixel camera with auto-focus, flash, panorama function and video record at 30 frames per second.
The Ascend Y300 runs Android 4.1 Jellybean, giving users access to hundreds of thousands of apps via the Google Play store. Face Detection is a new and exciting feature of Jelly Bean products which can be enjoyed by consumers in both the HUAWEI Y300 and G510 models. “We are excited about the introduction of this range of HUAWEI smartphones to the local market and to see our strong partner, Singer brings the Windows Phone 8 experience through the HUAWEI Ascend W1 to more Sri Lankans,” noted Sriyan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Country Manager – Microsoft Sri Lanka who was a special guest at the event.
The range of smartphones will be made available at Singer Mega, Singer Plus and Sisil World stores and dealers island-wide and are available with a two year warranty. Singer Sri Lanka PLC is exclusive distributor for the Huawei range of smartphones and devices in the country. With a 161 year tradition of service excellence, Singer is recognised for its diverse multi-brand product portfolio.
The company has a strong presence and expansive network island-wide in order to make Singer’s range of products easily accessible, and presently stocks a range of world-renowned Huawei devices.  Singer is the No. 01 destination for smart phones, stocking the world’s leading brands which are made available at over 390 Singer Mega, Singer Plus and Sisil World stores island-wide and offers the best range and value for money.

Source: Huawei Ascend G510 and Y300 simultaneously launched in the country DailyFT


The venture investor and former Facebook executive examines technologies he thinks will improve the quality of life and economic output—and explains why most executives undervalue technical proficiency.

“Technology will disrupt every facet of every job,” says Chamath Palihapitiya, the former Facebook executive turned venture investor. For executives, he argues, it isn’t enough just to understand the technologies, such as sensors and autonomous vehicles, that will have an outsized impact on improving the quality of life and economic output. New waves of technological disruption will probably blindside executives who don’t build technical proficiency into the way they manage their organizations. This interview was conducted by James Manyika, a director in McKinsey’s San Francisco office. What follows is an edited transcript of Palihapitiya’s remarks.

Interview transcript

Three technologies to watch

I’ll tell you the three things that I’m most excited by. The first is sensor networks. I’m extremely excited about that. The second is actually this push towards automated transportation. And the third is around a very specific application of big data.

So for the first example, what we’re seeing now is sensors everywhere. And before, sensors were when people thought, “Oh, is that an RFID1 chip?” No. It’s your phone, which has like 19 different things that it could be measuring at any given time. It’s clothing that you’re wearing, it’s a Nike FuelBand, a Fitbit, whatever. But the point is, the number of physical sensors are just exploding in scale. They’re in the roads, they’re in the air, they’re on your body, they’re in the phone, what have you.

And as that happens, what we’re going to see are extremely explicit ways of improving one’s quality of life, one’s economic output, in really tangible and simple ways. So I’ll give you a very simple example. There’s a great little company that’s built a sensor that sits on top of an asthma inhaler. So why is that important? Well, there’s like 30 or 40 million people that unfortunately have to deal with asthma. And when you think about the cost of asthma as a health-care problem within the United States alone, it’s $40 to $50 billion when you measure all the emergency-room visits, et cetera.

And why are people going to the emergency room? Well, it’s because they don’t have a fundamental understanding of when they should be using their inhaler proactively. So what does this sensor do? This sensor measures the time and the date of when you last used your inhaler, and then it measures all this environmental data. “Where are you? What’s the pollen count? Tell me what the weather looks like.”

And then it starts to build this heuristic model. And then it starts to paint it forward and say, “Oh my gosh, tomorrow is a bad day. Take a preventative dose. Do this more often; don’t do that.” What happens? You don’t have these massive attacks. The point is, these sensor networks will drive tremendous value and efficiency for people. And I think we’re not yet ready to really understand the totality of that impact, but it’s going to touch every facet of our lives. So that’s one area that I’m extremely excited by.

The second is really what Google is pioneering in the autonomous-vehicle space. It is probably the one thing that I’ve seen that could fundamentally have the high-order-bit2 effect on GDP. You can completely reenvision cities, transportation models, and commerce with all these autonomous vehicles, with the ability to ship goods.

So you can imagine a fleet of small electric cars that deliver all mail. A fleet of drones that drops off parcels from Amazon, Walmart, and Target, right to your doorstep. A fleet of trucks that doesn’t cause traffic and congestion. An entire fleet of city vehicles paid for and bought by a state or by a city that provides public transportation in a predictable way. All these things have massive impacts to commerce and the mobility of individuals. And I think it’s not well understood.

And then the last idea is that big data is kind of like this stupid buzz word—like “growth hacking,” frankly—where you’re really talking about just creating more noise and not enough signals. But in the specific case of genetics, I think we’re making an extremely important shift, which is shifting the burden away from biologists to computer scientists.

Because when you sequence an entire genome, what you’re really doing is spitting out a 4 GB to 5 GB flat file of codes, which can be interpreted, where you can build machine learning—supervised or not—to intuit things, to make connections, to find correlations, to hopefully find causality. And across a broad population of people, you have the ability to use computer science to solve some of the most intricate problems of biology and life.

And so I suspect in the next 10 to 15 years, you’re going to see these massive advances there, where it will literally be a group of computer scientists who basically say, “If you express the BRCA1 breast cancer gene, here’s the protocol that we’ve seen across a wide population of women that actually prevents the onset of breast cancer.” Amazing.

Managing disruption

The single most important thing, in my opinion, is the management, the rewards, and the development of human capital. Now, people say that all the time, though: “Oh, of course, it’s all about people.” But I think now the framework for what that means can be better understood.

If we think about all these things that we’ve talked about, there’s an arc of quantitative understanding that is lacking in a lot of companies. There’s an arc of technical proficiency that’s lacking in most companies. There’s an arc of rewards and recognition that tends to lag and tends to not feed the top 1 percent or 5 percent but tends to manage to the middle. Those are extremely inherent biases that have existed in companies for decades.

But when you see the few companies that get it right, what they’ve done is they’ve disrupted those three specific things. They’ll say, “OK, you know what? It’s all about the top 1 percent. Everyone else, tough luck. We celebrate the best, and everybody else can tag along. We cull the bottom, and we’re super aggressive. We have an extremely deep quantitative understanding of our business. We know how to optimize it, we know how to think long term about it, and we make long-term tradeoffs every day for the future long-term defensibility and success.

And everyone is rooted with a technical understanding, because technology will disrupt every facet of every job as expressed by all these people in my company. So unless they’re adept at seeing it before I am, by the time they filter it up to me as a CEO or president, it’s too late. Because what am I doing? I’m glad-handing with people, I’m having random meetings. Everyone’s telling me everything is great, until it’s not.”

Speaking JavaScript

I believe very strongly in the value of technology, its ability to sort of improve productivity. The problem with many of the productivity gains that we see in the economy today is they actually leave more people behind, in many ways, than they pull forward. So one way to think about that is that as more and more things become technological by definition—less mechanical and more technological—you actually need more technical people. And so the way to think about that is, for example, when you think about education. Education today teaches you social science, it teaches you philosophy, it teaches you English, it teaches you math. But we don’t view technological understanding, or the knowledge of a framework, as the equivalent of understanding any other language.

So if we thought it was really important for everyone in the United States to speak English, and hopefully for a large majority maybe to speak Spanish, why shouldn’t people understand how to “speak” JavaScript? I don’t know. And how do you think about now graduating or matriculating millions and millions of kids who “speak” technology as proficiently as they speak a verbal language?

And probably what you find is, if you actually had knowledge of a technical language, you would probably “speak” that language more in your daily life than the actual verbal language. I think coding is the blue-collar job of the 21st century. There’s nothing wrong with that. We are in a world right now where these abstractions are getting so good. What it meant to code 10 or 15 years ago when I was learning was actually a very difficult premise, in my opinion.

These are extremely low-level languages. You’re dealing with hardware in a way that you don’t have to, today. We’re so well abstracted that, in four or five years, my children will code by drawing things on a page and it will translate it into code. So what it means “to code” is becoming a simpler definition, which means by extension that more people should be able to do it.

So it is the type of thing that I think is universally translatable. Learn to code; everything else is secondary. College doesn’t matter that much. It is the most important job of the next hundred years.

About the authors

Chamath Palihapitiya is founder and managing partner of The Social+Capital Partnership. This interview was conducted by James Manyika, a director in McKinsey’s San Francisco office.

Source: McKinsey


Mozilla announced the first two smartphones based on its operating system, Firefox OS on Monday: the ZTE Open and Alcatel One Touch Fire.

The two devices will soon be available through Telefonica and Deutsche Telekom. Telefonica announced that the ZTE Open will be offered in Spain starting on July 2 for 69 euros ($90).

Individual partners will release the dates of availability for each market. Mozilla said that the first Firefox OS will launch in Central and Eastern Europe under the wing of Norway-based Telenor “this year.”

Mozilla’s Firefox OS, which was one of the main topics during this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, is a HTML-based, open source mobile OS that should provide a user-friendly alternative to Android, especially on entry-level handsets. Mozilla hopes to conquer much of Central and Eastern Europe, Asia and Latin America with Firefox OS — most of which are currently dominated by cheap Android devices.

ZTE Open is a 3.5-inch smartphone with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 256MB of RAM, a 3.2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, A-GPS and Wi-Fi.

Alcatel One Touch Fire boasts nearly identical specs, but is powered by a Qualcomm processor.

Image courtesy of ZTE

Source: Mashable