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zMessenger, Sri Lanka’s largest mobile marketing solutions provider will bring together top brand leaders from FMCG, hospitality, banking and financial services to the Island’s first roundtable on mobile marketing scheduled for Thursday, 30th October, 2014

The event titled Embracing Mobile Mind Shift – Mobile Moments are the Frontline of Customer Experience will look at the impact of rapidly increasing mobile connectivity on customer expectations.

“Mobile phones are proving to be an effective and affordable marketing channel and in the face of this mobile boom, customers are in the midst of a total mind shift. Their expectations have changed. Whilst they have lost interest in a marketing message, they now demand utility and they expect it now. We thought its timely to focus on how brand leaders across different industries understand this shift and respond to it by creating mobile moments that would transform customer experience and supply them with mobile utility,” Jayomi Lokuliyana, Co-Founder and CEO of zMessenger said.

The roundtable will see expert panelists Siddharth Banerjee, Country Marketing Director – Unilever Sri Lanka, Tharanga Gunasekera, Head of Marketing and Communications – HSBC Sri Lanka, Mangala Wickramasinghe, Head of e-Banking Services –  HNB and Co-Founder of the Ministry of Crab and Kaema Sutra restaurants, Dharshan Munidasa addressing the gathering on diverse topics spanning from customer engagement to delivery of financial services through mobile phones and the power of mobile context to mobile services in the hospitality sector.

The mobile marketing roundtable will also highlight and profile various ground-breaking mobile marketing efforts of ‘new-age’ corporate such as Unilever Sri Lanka, a driver of effective marketing.

zMessenger is an award winning integrated mobile media company that offers a wide range of solutions from planning, creating and execution of effective marketing campaigns, branded communication applications and content distribution strategies.

zMessenger that first introduced SMS based applications to local media stations also enjoy a leading position in the overall ‘new media’ marketing space for digital. It is also the only mobile marketing services solution provider in Sri Lanka.

The company recently launched Bigbon, a mobile app that allows customers to pick and choose the best deals offered by credit cards, loyalty cards and favorite retailers and restaurants. Bigbon which is completely customizable allows users to explore the deals at a specific location by turning on the “Augmented Reality” feature which displays a list of deals in close proximity to the user. The app also generates a report offering merchants an insight into customer preferences.

“With the journey we’ve come so far, it’s only benefitting for zMessenger to hold the country’s first ever Mobile Marketing Roundtable. We believe that this endevour will help broaden our horizons and consolidate our position in the Island,” Lokuliyana said.

Event is invite only but will be live streamed via MMRColombo.

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Mobile phones are one of the essential commodities these days. Well, they do have endless uses and the Asian region has the highest adaptability rate. In a recent report published, Ericsson claims that in the next 5 year period, highest share of the smartphone growth will come from the Asia-Pacific region. We recently published the growth in smartphone sales based on a report by CMR India. And the same people have now released the Sri Lanka mobile market share report for the 1st quarter of 2014. And we have listed out the key takeaways from the report, below. We have also turned the report into a nice infographic for easy viewing.

Important: There are few things you you should note before reading the facts/ infographic. We have repeatedly used the term ‘sales’ below. But what it actually means is the ‘number of units shipped to’ retailers or distributors. Given supply shares reflect the demand in the market, the producers of the report have used it to reflect the sales in the market.

Another important fact to note is that the numbers actually mean the number of units shipped by OEMs to authorized distributors or retailers. This report does not include the devices sold in the ‘grey market’. There are also instances where devices are brought down by individuals traveling from abroad and the report does not track the numbers. Given these facts, please note that the actual market share numbers will be higher than what is shown in the charts.

Key facts from the report

1- Compared to Q4-2013 (0.8 Million), ‘mobile handsets’ sales (shipments) in Sri Lanka has seen a drop of around 5% in Q1-2014 (0.76 Million).

2- Drop in the sales of ‘feature phones’ (0.68 Million in Q4-2013 and 0.64 Million in Q1-2014) contributed to this overall drop in sales. Smartphone sales (shipments) remained unchanged.

3- Total of 0.12 Million smartphones were sold (shipped) in Q1-2014, which is around 15% of the total mobile phone sales of the quarter.

4- With 26.2% of the market share, Nokia remains as the leading mobile phone vendor in Q1-2014. Compared to 23.8% market share in Q4-2013, Nokia’s mobile handset market share has seen an increase in Q1-2014. We have clearly seen Nokia promoting the Lumia range heavily in Sri Lanka through dealers and service providers in the past few months.

5- Micromax has retained the 2nd place in among leading mobile phone vendors in Sri Lanka with 18.3% of market share. Micromax had 21.4% market share in Q4-2013.

6- With 11.4% of market share, E-tel beat Samsung to claim the 3rd spot in ‘mobile phone’ market share. Samsung occupied the 3rd spot in Q4-2013 with 12% market share. Also notable is that Samsung had the 2nd spot back in Q3-2013.

7- Samsung remains as the leader in ‘smartphone’ segment with 27.7% market share in Q1-2014, which is an increase compared to Q4-2013. Back in Q4-2013 Samsung’s market share in the smartphone segment was 21.2%.

8- Huawei retained the 2nd spot in the smartphone segment with 18.9% market share, while E-Tel took the 3rd position with 13.9% market share. Back in Q4-2013 Huawei and E-tel had 19.6% and 16.1% market shares, respectively. A notable fact is that for the year 2103, Micromax maintained the overall 3rd place in smartphone sales. But for the last 2 consecutive quarters E-Tel has overtaken the sales of Micromax in that department.

Source: CMR India

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Ingress is a mobile game made for Android handsets that needs more physical strength to play than any other mobile game. It is a game not only for men but also for women. If you are a member of any Sri Lankan Ingress community, you may find how low the number of female appearances are and you will realize how important it is to have a good blend of men and women in a team since Ingress is not for lonely and male players.

Women too are as important as men in this society and so too in cyber world. As a result of the vast penetration of information technology to the masses, it made local women more powerful on par with equally skilled men here today. Sri Lankan Ingress community is a good stage to show off women’s power to the world, because Ingress is a globally recognized mobile game played by millions of people around the world.

It has now grown up with female players from both factions, say the Enlightened (Green) team and the Resistance (Blue) team. Two months after the International Women’s day, when one of the renowned Sri Lankan Ingress team was able to secure the Colombo cell in Interitus global anomaly, they have once again made a big leap by taking the initiative to gather all local female players of Enlightened faction together who have been individually playing Ingress to make the first ever ladies only Ingress portal in Sri Lanka on 23rd of May at Independence Square, Colombo. This attempt could clearly highlight the female power of Sri Lankan Enlightened team and it was a 100% Sri Lankan effort without the aid of any foreign players.

Eight ladies from Enlightened team who made the first female only portal in Sri Lanka.
Agents @anuRoX, @SuperNando, @lightwillow, @doomblastic, @unsalgado, @tizzyrubix, @Kveykva, @Zensus
(not shown in order) participated for this meetup.

First female only portal in Sri Lanka

First female only portal in Sri Lanka

 

In Ingress, portals are the main base of the game and they are described as statues, unique architectures, special outdoor buildings, historical places, monuments and places of worship. Therefore players have to physically travel near such portals. Hacking a portal provides beneficial items to players and the ownership of a portal can be claimed by attacking a portal owned by the enemy team. That is called capturing a portal. To capture, a player has to deploy up to eight resonators to give life to a portal. These eight resonators can either be placed by one player or a group of eight players.

Some chit chat during the Enlightened women’s meetup

Unlike in other countries, Sri Lankan Enlightened and Resistance teams are mostly male dominated and due to day-night traveling around the country and lack of understandability on first sight, there is a difficulty of attracting women towards Ingress. Having such a situation, the Enlightened team was able to recruit local female players to their faction and the final outcome was making the first ever female only portal following the aforementioned way by placing eight resonators by eight Sri Lankan ladies. This attempt has brought so much public recognition plus honor to Sri Lankan women and it was a better attempt of inviting more women to play Ingress.

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In today’s mobile world, more and more employees are using mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets to access cloud services to conduct their business on a day-to-day basis. Enterprise mobility refers to this shift in business practices in organization.

More info here.

 

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    The social media giant Facebook has been creating news very frequently with its aggressive acquisition strategy. Ever since the company started, various innovative features were added to the main Facebook application to enhance user experience. However, since the focus shifting from “Web” to “Mobile”, aggression has been tremendous and performance has been commendable.

    Amidst these developments, the Menlo Park Company gained further attention after revealing its intentions to provide mobile money services to facilitate international remittances. Earlier attempts of Facebook to enter mobile payments through Facebook Deals, Facebook Offers, Facebook Gifts and “Want” shopping button failed as consumers did not perceive the social network as a shopping device. However, unlike these initiatives, Facebook has a strong business case in entering the remittance business.

    As an initial phase, Facebook is working with banking regulators in Ireland to obtain approval to operate as a cash transfer and a remittance company. This move of Facebook is set to challenge a Billion dollar industry which has been in existence for decades.

    Why Mobile Money & Remittances?

    Mobile money is an industry primarily focused on financial inclusion. Today there are 236 mobile money deployments in the world serving more than 200 million people to meet their basic financial needs such as money transfers, utility payments and micro savings through their mobiles. However, still 3/4th of the world’s poor remains unbanked. Potential for mobile money is high in developing nations especially in African and Asian continents. Experts believe that the move of Facebook would act as a catalyst for financial inclusion.

    As a business, the move makes sense with rapid growth in mobile handset & internet penetration globally. This would be fuelled by Facebook’s growing active user base, currently at 1.2 Billion. The social media tool is considered as one of the most frequently used applications by migrants to keep in touch with their friends and families back home. Facebook’s recent acquisition of WhatsApp for $19 Billion also could be considered as a strategy to make inroads to this great opportunity. Investment in this advertising revenue less texting service could payback if the service become successful as it could capture a large base untapped by Facebook. These factors place Facebook at a very favourable position to serve a ready market.

    internet users
    mobile penetration
    Transaction speed, security, accessibility (both at sender & receiver ends) and cost effectiveness are few main factors which affect this market. Though Facebook would have the capability to facilitate online real-time peer-to-peer transactions, the success would also depend on the strength of the ecosystem around this industry in different countries.

    Entry strategy

    money 2Giant leaps of this scale are generally approached through partnerships as synergies could help each other when they move through the learning curve. Based on the sources, it is expected that Facebook would follow the same and partner with payment service providers. According to Financial Times, Facebook is in discussions with remittance partners such as TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo. But it seems there are other partners also involved in discussions. Financial Times also reported that among different news, Facebook has offered to pay $10Million to recruit a co-founder of Azimo as a director of business development. However, both parties have declined to comment on the matter when it was inquired.

    Having minimum number of partners to facilitate a particular remittance corridor would be beneficial for Facebook and customers. This would help the customers to save more compared to the high fees paid for money transfers currently. Pricing strategy would be an interesting area to focus on as significant savings should be created for customers while managing the partners in the remittance ecosystem.

    money

    Will this have an impact on Sri Lanka?

    The impact of this initiative could also have an influence on Sri Lanka. Among global remittance recipient markets, Sri Lanka is within the first 30 countries. Inward remittances account for over $6 Billion annually. This contributes more than 10% to Sri Lanka’s Gross Domestic Product. Increase in number of migrant workers and tourist arrivals also could fuel this growth.

    Rise in smartphone, internet and Facebook penetration would also contribute to this development if the service is enabled in Sri Lanka. As the mass of the beneficiaries are spread in sub urban and rural segments, the adaption to the service would depend on the simplicity of the application, controls that would be in place with directions of regulators and the strength of cash out infrastructure. However, it would be an interesting development for the financial services industry as this would be an additional channel for money remittances apart from the channels offered by banks and financial institutions.

    In conclusion, it is clear that Facebook’s initial effort to keep people connected, now gradually making them way to capitalize on the user base to facilitate other needs. Global expansion of this service would make dramatic changes to people’s transactional behaviours. From Facebook’s point of view, this would be a strong revenue stream which would place the company levels ahead of other social networks. However, it should be noted that expansion would be challenging as this industry is governed with heavy controls in terms of Anti Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing. Also the giant banks and international money transfer services would fight back strongly to remain competitive.

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    Android holds more than three times the market share of iOS when it comes to smartphones. Well, Android has been leading the race for some time now. Availability and affordability have played a huge part in this development. But market share is not everything. Take ‘mobile Ad traffic’ – Apple’s iOS has been generating much more Ad traffic than Android for a long time. And thus more and more advertisers preferred iOS over Android, to market their products and services, which ensured that Apple earned more advertising revenue from iOS than Google from Android. But times appear to have changed in favor of Android lately.

    Smart-device Ad Traffic - Q1 2014 (Source: Opera Mediaworks)

    Smart-device Ad Traffic – Q1 2014 (Source: Opera Mediaworks)

    According to the latest quarterly report from the leading Ad network, Opera Mediaworks, Android has finally become the top smart-device platform with highest share of mobile Ad traffic. Android smartphones and tablets have managed to capture 42.83% of total smart-device mobile Ad traffic in Q1 of 2014, up from 37.71% during Q4 of 2013. Android was leading the ‘mobile phone’ Ad traffic volume during the 4th quarter of last year, but Apple’s tablet traffic made sure Android didn’t reach the top in overall volume. This is the first time Android has grabbed the top slot for ‘smart-device’ (phones+tablets) Ad traffic volume. Apple managed to capture 38.17% of the mobile Ad traffic, down from 43.39% in Q4 of 2013.

    Traffic Share vs Revenue Share - Q1 2014 (Source: Opera Mediaworks)

    Traffic Share vs Revenue Share – Q1 2014 (Source: Opera Mediaworks)

    Apple may not be worrying much with these numbers, though, since they are still leading the race when it comes to the total revenue earned from the Ad traffic. Apple is continuing to get more than 50% of the total revenue (through iPhones and iPads), despite drop in traffic. iPads make around 10.6% of the revenue while Android tablets make only around 1.64%.  Overall Android made around  33.46% of the Ad revenue. It is also notable that Android has seen some steady growth during the last few quarters. It is expected that this change will attract more advertisers and developers towards Android OS.

    Samsung, unsurprisingly, remains the leading device maker with more than 60% of the Android Ad traffic coming from their devices. The report also notes that Social networking services attract more ‘Ad traffic volume’, than any other app categories. But most of the ‘Ad revenue’ comes from the Arts and Entertainment category. When comparing traffic from different geographical areas, Asia Pacific region continues to hold a steady second place behind US market. For those who are interested in learning more on the ‘Mobile Advertising Traffic’, you can check the quarterly reports at the source here.

     

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    Dialog eZ Cash has become the world’s first fully integrated mobile money service after joining hands with Etisalat, another leading mobile service provider in Sri Lanka. There were speculations from last month about this landmark deal which has been in works from last year, after Dialog announced that the next phase of eZ Cash service is to expand it to other service providers. Even the outgoing Etisalat CEO Dumindra Ratnayaka recently said in a local interview that Etisalat is considering joining hands with eZ Cash and mCash, for mobile banking solutions, rather than starting their own service. And yesterday, the two companies hosted a joint press briefing where they officially announced the expansion of the service, after relevant approvals were obtained from the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

    According to GSMA, there are more than 225 mobile money deployments around the world, as of March 2014. And this is the first time that such a partnership has been formed between two rival service providers to deliver end to end interoperable mobile money service. Speaking at the press meet, operations expert from the GSMA’s Mobile Money for the Unbanked programme, Gerald Rasugu stressed the importance of awareness on the mobile money/ mobile banking initiatives to the general public.

    eZ Cash: Introduction and Current Status

    Dialog, Sri Lanka’s leading mobile service provider launched the revolutionary eZ Cash service around 2 years ago, approved by CBSL under the payments and settlements act No.28 of 2005. I used to have a personal blog at that time and did a post on how eZ Cash works on any USSD enabled mobile phones. You can check it out here. eZ Cash turns your mobile phone into a secure mobile wallet, and allows you to make transactions or send and receive money around the country. Last year when the service completed its first anniversary, the GSMA published a detailed infographic showing the growth of eZ Cash in Sri Lanka. According to that, Dialog – the market leader in Sri Lanka has around 8 million mobile subscribers and Etisalat, third in line in terms of market shares boasts more than 4.5 million subscribers.

    The new partnership will bring the eZ Cash service to around 12.5 million Sri Lankans around the country, which by number, is equivalent to more than 60% of the Sri Lankan population. Last June, Dialog announced 1 million registered users for the eZ Cash service out of which 20% were active users. Dialog also reported that they handled Rs.6 Billion worth of transactions last year and currently they are processing Rs.700 million worth of transactions per month. These numbers are bound to rise with Etisalat joining the club. Speaking at the press conference, Dr. Hans Wijesuriya, Group CEO of Dialog Axiata PLC, thanked the CBSL for maintaining open regulations that let to the success of the eZ Cash service.

    For The New Users: What Can You Do With Ez Cash

    Dialog eZ Cash allows anyone to send and receive money through mobile phones. One can top up for eZ Cash at any merchants and then send the money to anyone around the country. The receiver has the ability to withdraw the money at a similar merchant outlet. This hassle free method also becomes useful to those who can’t utilize the conventional banking facilities. eZ Cash model offers more secure and widely available service options. (Verification PINs are sent to the user’s handset before completing the transactions). Ez cash also allows the users to pay various bills including utility bills (CEB, NWSDB etc). It also gives the option to pay insurance premiums through mobile phones. The service provides secure option for users to make payments for their online purchases. There are also more than 100 partner merchants who accept eZ Cash payments. Dialog also has a dedicated hotline (7111) for eZ Cash. They have also launched a very informative website for the service as well as an Android app for ease of use on smartphones.

    How Does The New Inter-Operable Model Works?

    As you already know, eZ Cash services can be accessed through #111# USSD commands on the mobile phones. Etisalat subscribers who register for the eZ Cash service will be able to use the same method to perform the transactions. The USSD menu will consist of the same options which are offered for Dialog customers. The user experience will not be affected for different service providers. Even the costs (service charges) born by customers will be the same. Dialog currently has over 16000 eZ Cash merchants around the country. It will continue to remain responsible for managing this agent network, while adding any customer service networks of the new providers on request. As a first step Dialog has added the flagship stores of Etisalat that are located around the country, and selected service points to this network. Dialog will also manage overall customer service issues that arise during the transactions. But Etisalat will be requested to look into any issues faced by customers they bring into the service. Hatton National Bank continues to act as the custodian bank for the service and the service will be further secured by a trust agreement administered by Deutsche Bank. A third party service provider like KPMG or PWC will act as a Customer Profile Manager in between the eZ Cash platform and Etisalat.

    eZ Cash: World's First Inter-operable Mobile Money Service (Pic. Courtesy: GSMA)

    eZ Cash: World’s First Inter-operable Mobile Money Service (Pic. Courtesy: GSMA)

    There will also be a revenue share agreement between Dialog and any other provider joining hands with them – in this case, Etisalat. Accordingly, Etisalat will be sharing the transaction revenue from the eZ Cash service with Dialog,

    1- for using the eZ Cash brand which has been established and marketed by Dialog

    2- for making use of the eZ Cash platform built by Dialog and

    3- for benefiting from the already established & managed Dialog merchant network

    On Dialog’s side, they will be getting additional revenue and wider user base for their eZ Cash platform. And from Etisalat’s point they get to offer mobile banking service to their customer base at a fraction of a cost that they would have encountered to deploy their own service.

    Looking at the customer base numbers after the new partnership, eZ Cash service looks less challenged by the competitor mCash service offered by Mobitel. But it is also notable that outgoing Etisalat CEO recently noted that they are also considering to join hands with mCash along with eZ Cash, though I’m not sure whether there will be any need to proceed with that move.

    Challenges and Future

    The primary challenge I noticed when the service was first announced, was the adaptability issues faced by merchants. The merchants were reluctant to allow customers to withdraw money since the business model was new and strange. But Dialog had taken much efforts to educate merchants on the benefits of the service.

    According to experts, there are more than 225 mobile banking services deployed in various ,markets. It shows the growing trend of mCommerce. But it is notable that many of the services around the world are facing adaptability issues due to various reasons and Dialog’s interoperable model is expected to be adopted by many other service providers around the globe.

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    Lahiru, a Java Tech lead with over 8 years of experience in enterprise software development, currently is working as a lead Android Developer at Exilesoft.

    More info is accessible here.

    Stay tuned with the Live Blog for detailed and Live updates.

    Hi Guys, this time I am back with some Android Game Development. I got this idea after, the popular game Flappy Bird. Hope all may have tried that game…!
    Ok, so I wanted to develop a game and I did some researches and found out that there are a lot of Game engines out there. Some of them are COCOS2D, AndEngine, libGDX and many others. In this article I’ll guild you using AndEngine which is a bit easier one. In future I’ll write on libGDX.

    Assumption : I assume that you guys know how to install eclipse development environment, configure java path and install Android plugin to eclipse. This post does not cover all those basic steps.

    Advise : As this is a kind of a crash course, its advisable to create files the same name as I use(But it is not mandatory).

    Expected Outcome : You will be able to create some lines using the AndEngine

    Step 1
    Download the Source(library) for the AndEngine using this link and extract

    https://github.com/nicolasgramlich/AndEngine

    Step 2
    Create a new project and when creating select ‘Android Project from Existing Code’ and in it select the folder that we extracted in the Step1.
    existing code

    This is a library project. Actually this library is the ANDENGINE.
    libraryproject

    You can check it by right clicking on the project we created now and going to the Android tab. You can see the ‘Is Library’ check box ticked.

    Step 3
    Now create a new Android project and un tick the create activity. Because we are going to create AndEngine activity using the library project we created above.
    createactivity

    Step 4
    Now you have a project with empty src folder. Right click on that folder and create a new package when naming the package use the package name available in that project ManifestFile
    packagename

    In my case package name is ‘”com.batz.andengsample”‘

    Step 4
    Now in side the empty package Download or copy the code and create LineEample.java activity using this LineExample Source Code.

    You will get some errors, but don’t worry we will fix it in the next step.

    Step 5
    So now in your project, right click and go to Android tab and there in the below section(library section), click on the add button and select the AndEngine project and press ok. And then press Apply.
    add library

    Now all the errors may have gone. Some times you will have errors on the package name, if you have used your own name. So for that, click on the package name that shows as error, click ctrl key +1 key , which will bring suggestion to create a package name according to yours, and click on it to create it. And hopefully all the bugs will be fixed.

    Step 6
    Before going for the app launch, we have to do one more important thing, we have to specify the activity we created now in the manifest file as a launcher

    So go to the manifest file and add these lines between the application tags

    <activity
    android:name=”.LineExample”>
    <intent-filter>
    <action android:name=”android.intent.action.MAIN” />
    <category android:name=”android.intent.category.LAUNCHER” />
    </intent-filter>
    </activity>
    manifest

    LineExample is the name I gave for the activity we created, so in your one don’t forget to change that

    Step 7
    Now you are ready to run the app. So while you are in the the activity try running the app. it should bring a screen where you will see lots of random lines.

    Step 8(For people getting error saying cannot find andengine.apk)
    For some people the AndEngine folder is not getting added as library on the time of building the app. So at that point what you can do is copy the andengine.jar file from the AndEngine project libs folder and copy it into your projects’s libs folder. And right click on the newly added andengine.jar file and click on ‘Add to Build Path’ option. This is how the project structure looks after I added the jar to my project from the AndEngine project in the Step8

    projectstructure

    AndEngine Resources : http://www.andengine.org/

    For people who got more time , for people who needs more detailed instruction on the same project guild please watch this tutorial video
    Development Reference : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0kjiIH6u-M

    Thank You
    -Batz-

    Reference:  – http://pathofacoder.com/2014/03/04/lets-try-android-game-development-with-andengine/

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    The mobile landscape has undergone a tectonic shift in the last couple of years with record numbers of adoption and usage. This has resulted in new ways of looking at old problems and re-definition of user experience in a mobile age. With this territory comes a whole new set of challenges as well as opportunities to re-invent traditional experiences with the aid of the smartphone. This session aims to cover the limits of these possibilities and explore what’s next.

    Event is scheduled to start at 5.30 Pm at Virtusa Auditorium in Orion City. More info about the event.

    Stay tuned with our Live Blog for detailed updates.

    Full video coverage:

     

    Photo Album: here.