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FUTURES is a platform for social innovation which brings together selected group of people representing the private sector, public sector, not-for-profit organisations, community groups and consumers to develop innovative ideas for products, services, business models and policies that address emerging social issues and needs in Sri Lanka. The social sectors in focus for this year (2014) are:

  • EDUCATION
  • HEALTH
  • WATER

More info on the Event can be accessed here and here as well.

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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.

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A section of the participants

InstaMeets are a way for Instagram users to meet the fellow Instagrammers in real life; discuss their favorite filters, exchange tips, or just take photos together. As part of the InstaMeetSL, the first edition of InstaMeetCMB was held on the 16th December 2013 (Monday). If you had read our earlier article, the plan was to meet at the Maradana Railway Station and to explore the areas surrounding the station including the Railway Yard. As planned, most of the Instagrammers turned up at the location before 4.15 PM and got their platform tickets and ventured into the station. The Maradana Railway Station is one of the busiest in Sri Lanka, and on a usual day it would have been really hard for us to get around at that time of the day. But thankfully, 16th was a public holiday and it was the perfect day to explore the station and the surroundings.

Mission Maradana

Maradana Railway Station

Maradana Railway Station

The first phase of the meetup went smoothly. All the participants were busy doing what they loved to do – Instagramming. It was also great to meet so many interesting people in real life and have a chat. Sri Lankan Instagram community is quite small for the moment and such a meetup was an ideal event to meet like minded individuals from various walks of life. Discussions were also related to photography, using different filters in Instagram etc. After moving around the station premises, the team decided to venture further towards the Railway Yard. The day being a public holiday didn’t mean it was a holiday for trains. They were busy keeping to their schedule as usual. And the participants made sure they were cautious enough to keep away from the tracks.

A section of the participants inside the station.

A section of the participants inside the station. (picture courtesy: Dulith Kasun)

Meanwhile, exploring the Yard that housed many used engines did not turn out well though. Since only Railway officials were usually allowed to enter those premises, participants were required to get prior permissions to explore the place. I guess this also involves paying fees (not small amounts), if anyone wanted to have a “photo shoot”. (I’m not sure whether Instagramming is counted as a photo shoot, though. Well, obviously, you can’t debate that with the Railway official, who has so many other things to worry about). The person at the yard informed he can’t allow us in since we did not have the required permission. Well, we were expecting this sooner or later. So the team decided switch to plan B: to leave Maradana and to explore the streets of Pettah!

The Pettah Mission

It did not take much time on the traffic-free streets to reach Pettah. The meeting point was Khan Clock Tower, that marks the entrance to the famous Pettah Market. The clock tower has a history of it’s own. According to sources it was built in 1923. It was built by the family of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan. This Parsi family of Mumbai had business ventures in Ceylon back in the days and the “clock tower and fountain was erected in memory of Framjee Bhikhajee Khan by his sons Bhikhajee and Munchershaw Framjee Khan as a token of affectionate gratitude and dedicated through the Municipal Council to the citizens of Colombo”. (The fountain does not function anymore).

A roadside vendor in Pettah.

A roadside vendor in Pettah. (Picture courtesy: Halik Azeez)

From there teams split into groups and set out to have the photo walk on the not so crowded but still busy streets of the shopping capital. Few walked towards the Leyden Bastian Road (that leads to the entrances of Port, Grand Oriental Hotel and the Police Headquarters) and York Street areas to capture the beauty of old colonial buildings while others set out along the Main Street and the cross streets. The streets were crowded but not to the extend of what you see on regular days. But since it was the festive season, we could see many colourful shops selling decorative items etc. Participants had so much to see and explore From old buildings, resting “Nattamis”, busy vendors, to stray cats. And this involved so much of photographing and Instagramming.

Time to rest.

Time to rest. (picture courtesy: Ashen Monnankulama)

And after a while we decided it was time to finish the event when it started to fall dark. We all met at Prince Street and had few group photographs taken.  Later, the members exchanged ideas on pictures taken. It was unanimously decided that we should have this kind of meetups very often. With that note we all set out to our homes.

For those who missed the event, and those who want to explore the beautiful instagraphs captured that day, you can search the #InstaMeetSL and #InstaMeetCMB hashtags on the Instagram app and enjoy. If you want to see them on the web, check out the following links: http://web.stagram.com/tag/instameetsl/?vm=grid and http://web.stagram.com/tag/instameetcmb/?vm=grid

The event attracted more than 20 participants who actively use Instagram. It was fun to have chats and take pictures while walking around and exploring places; something participants had never done before, even though everyone had visited Maradana and Pettah, quite often.

 

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Just when it appeared Google’s recent run of Android updates had come to an end, a new version of the Play Store pops up with new features in tow. Android Police got its hands on the app, running it under a microscope to find new social and recommendation features that make finding and downloading the best apps less of a hassle. To that end, Google now warns you when an app you’re about to download contains in-app purchases, also making it easier to review apps with a larger star selector and dedicated edit and delete buttons. Opting for improved social recommendations, a new activity feed combines your +1s and ratings and connects them to your Google+ profile, letting you peek at those made by your friends to find apps you might otherwise have missed. Google’s already begun rolling out the Play Store update, but if you can’t wait for it to come over-the-air, hit up the source below to get the jump on everyone else.

Source : http://www.engadget.com/2013/12/06/google-play-store-android-social-update/

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While it doesn’t include anything groundbreaking, the newest Dropbox update forAndroid intros a few handy features. Perhaps most prominent is the new notifications feed, where you can access your latest account activity via the bell icon on the app menu. That could be super useful if you share folders with friends or co-workers, but if not, you can now also email them images and videos from within the app. To do so, simply find the option under the Share umbrella and go to town forwarding your memes. Finally, Dropbox, in hopes of enticing you to shell out for its services, can now auto-fill your credit card details if you take a pic of your plastic. We’ve embedded screenshots of the new features after the break for those who’d like to get a peek before downloading the update.

 

 

Source : http://www.engadget.com/2013/11/20/dropbox-android-notification-send-to-contact/

In a quest to scale and better tap into real-time sentiment and mobile targeting, Twitter has gone on an acquisition spree with the purchase of Trendrr, a social-TV analytics company, as well as MoPub, the world’s largest mobile ad exchange. Both moves solidify Twitter’s desire to bring together and own, particularly vis-à-vis Facebook, three key spaces: TV and online multi-screening, mobile, and programmatic buying.

Today, many advertisers use Twitter to support their TV ads and as a consequence the social network has been developing its analytics platform to help. Twitter also added a TV slant on its targeting when earlier this summer it rolled out a TV Ad Targeting in the US. This product allows advertisers to target their ads towards users who are likely to have seen the shows where their ads ran based on what individuals have tweeted or the hashtags they have used.

The acquisition of Trendrr adds two key products to Twitter’s stable: Trendrr.TV and Curatorr. Trendrr.TV provides TV networks, publishers and media agencies with tools to track TV engagement across social networks, including Twitter. Curatorr allows those same parties to sort through social streams to visualize data and to help them identify high-quality tweets. These tweets can then be re-tweeted by a TV show’s Twitter account or show up on air during a live show that includes Twitter conversations as part of their show format.

With these two key products, the ability to now insert MoPubs technology into the equation becomes even more powerful; according to Twitter “they plan to use MoPub’s technology to build real-time bidding into the Twitter ads platform so our advertisers can more easily automate and scale their buys.”
As Twitter points out in the release “The two major trends in the ad world right now are the rapid consumer shift toward mobile usage, and the industry shift to programmatic buying. Twitter sits at the intersection of these, and we think by bringing MoPub’s technology and team to Twitter, we can further drive these trends for the benefit of consumers, advertisers, and agencies.”

These recent acquisitions actually compliment a third major trend occurring with TV and mobile which is two screen viewing and conversations, especially around live events. The ability to track and target real-time messages to relevant users more accurately is being reinforced with these acquisitions.
Finally, there is widespread speculation of a forthcoming Twitter IPO next year; these acquisitions should further improve its attractiveness to advertisers, and therefore Twitter’s financial performance and profitability.

Implications

These acquisitions will not only allow Twitter to offer deeper audience insights and functionality to marketers, networks, publishers and other organizations, it will also bring in-house a competing service. Trendrr was the last independent player in the social TV chatter space; Twitter bought Bluefin Labs in February and Nielsen bought SocialGuide in November. This is all notable as Facebook has been evolving its platform to become more of a contender in the real-time conversation market with the development of new tools like Trending Topics and hashtags. Facebook has also indicated that it’s looking at its association with TV much more closely. Facebook announced in July (coincidentally from the results of a Trendrr research piece) that it has more TV chatter than Twitter just behind “closed doors” due to its users’ ability to restrict access to their content. By absorbing Trendrr, Twitter has not only bolstered their appeal to advertisers, but they have also ensured Facebook have limited options for future acquisitions.

Summary

For many users Twitter is the place where real-time conversation happens. This engaged audience and stream of real-time data has attracted advertisers and has started to turn into much needed advertising revenue.
The additional functionality and expertise Twitter gains as result of this acquisition will add to its second screen credentials and give advertisers more tools to better target their consumers across whatever screen they are engaging. No doubt we will see much more development in this TV, social, and mobile intersection.

Source: http://www.dailymirror.lk/tech/digital-media/35252–twitter-goes-on-the-offensive.html

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Leading mobile telecommunications innovator Etisalat Lanka recently launched ‘Epic Rewards,’ a loyalty program open to all its post-pay and prepaid voice and data customers. Epic Rewards is an ‘opt-in’ program which gives the customer the choice of joining and selecting their preferred reward category.
Commenting at the Epic Rewards media conference, Etisalat Director/ CEO Dumindra Ratnayaka said: “As we embark on another milestone, we are privileged to introduced ‘Epic Rewards’ one of the most innovative loyalty programmes to be launched in the Sri Lankan mobile market. For the first time, customers are given the option of joining a loyalty program and the opportunity for them to select their reward. This is our way of saying ‘Thank You” to our base of over four million customers. In addition, Epic Rewards will be different because we will not only provide special offers at merchant outlets, we will also offer events and experiences to our customers.”
Once the customers choose to join Epic Rewards, they are presented with five personal preferences from which they can choose three. These preferences are: fashion and entertainment, travel and leisure, sports and health, dining and household and business and learning. Several options are available for customers to join this program; that is by dialling 7272, or #7272# from their Etisalat mobile, contacting the Etisalat call centre or by visiting any one of Etisalat Flagship stores located islandwide.
Epic Rewards will communicate its offers to the members via SMS, e-mail, voice and social media. Wherever possible, the merchants will be in the same area as the Epic rewards member. The points Epic Rewards members earn will be called ‘Rings,’ which the customers will start to earn by continuing their commitment to Etisalat, for post-pay bill payments, for prepaid reloads, subscribing to VAS, purchase of devices and more. ‘Rings’ can be redeemed through offers at participating partner merchants and at selected events offered exclusively for Epic Rewards members.
Further elaborating on the loyalty program Etisalat’s Senior Manager – Prepaid Marketing and Customer Loyalty, Shameel Bishri said: “We always want to give the best to our customers. So we have chosen these preferences according to the interests of our customers based on customer lifestyle management through research conducted to develop this program. Within these preferences, Epic Rewards will select both events and merchants that most closely match the preferences of each individual within the program. This ensures that our corporate proposition of ‘It’s about you’ is followed.”
Etisalat has chosen the merchant base together with its Strategic Partner – Direct Solutions for the program. They bring forth a wealth of expertise and experience in customer centric marketing through direct, digital and loyalty marketing concepts to design and develop the Epic program. Direct Solutions have created and delivered numerous customer loyalty and CRM programmes, both locally and internationally.
Commenting on the Epic Rewards merchant network, CEO of Direct Solutions, Priyanga Hapugalle said: “A number of benefits that would benefit Epic Rewards members were kept in mind when selecting merchant partners. These included the islandwide branch networks so that the members have easy access, special services and products that are relevant to member preferences and special offers during seasonal times throughout the year. In addition merchants will be approached on a regular basis and encouraged to create offers that would be highly attractive to Epic Reward members.”
Epic Rewards members will also have the opportunity to participate in a number of island wide events as well as those held exclusively for the members. These events will also closely match member preferences and can take many forms. These include; special seats at key sports matches, fashion shows or music shows, reduced price entry to business conferences and events, special travel tickets to religious events and weekend breaks at beach festivals.
The other features that sets apart Epic Rewards from other loyalty programs include; the change of merchants, non-expiration of Epic Rings, and the ability of members to move up the value table to increase the value of their rings and a greater variety of offers.

Source: DailyFT

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Social media has without a doubt revolutionised today’s interactive and communication methods, allowing individuals, companies and other institutions to transfer information rapidly and more effectively. In this way, websites such as Facebook and Twitter have become highly interactive platforms for the majority of the urban and suburban population around the world. However, social media is not without its adverse effects as no website in the world is free of security loopholes. Facebook, Twitter and other social media websites are no exception.
Social media has already entered the IT security landscape, causing concerns not only among individual users, but also among the corporate community where cyber security in the interaction and exchange of data is absolutely vital. But social media networks being inherently public spaces render more than 1.7 billion social media users vulnerable to malicious content, malware and viruses.
Once information is posted or shared on a social networking site, the data is no longer private. In this way, individuals, as well as the companies/institutions they work for, are exposed to cyber predators who may exploit data to different and adverse ends.
Prohibiting the access of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is no longer realistic. Blocking suspicious content and application control is now becoming inefficient in the face of modern advancements. If one channel is blocked, users may find many other channels through which they can access social media. Hence, one feels the need for a more robust and effective security mechanism to ward off potential harmful content in cyberspace.
Websites such as Facebook offer private security options to protect one’s pictures, posts, information, manage tagging etc. Many who use social media exercise a great deal of caution when it comes to private security. This is reflected in posts they share, sometimes cautioning others of security threats that could emerge from the social media space such as theft of pictures and other personal information.
But what about external threats, i.e. malicious content? Social media has little or no in-built security systems to protect one’s profile from malicious content. This is where ESET’s Social Media Scanner comes into play. It is an application that is designed to protect one’s profile and its contents from malware distributed through social networking sites. The social media scanner monitors new social media content (for example, wall postings containing links or unknown ‘friend requests’ on Facebook) and looks for malicious codes.
ESET’s social media scanner works primarily by monitoring personal social media accounts. At the same time, it can also be used to test the safety of content posted to accounts of a user’s ‘friends’. When a malicious code is discovered by the ESET social media scanner, the user will be alerted by a message from the scanner or by email. Additionally, the ESET Social Media Scanner can be configured to block malicious content by automatically posting a comment that warns to avoid media that has been found to contain a malicious code.
Another important feature of the application is that it covers all components of a social networking site i.e., timeline, newsfeed and even private messages against cyber threats. It also scans the account for threats even when the user is not logged into Facebook.
The social media scanner is a timely need, said Shihan Annon, Director of DCS International Ltd., the parent company of ESET in Sri Lanka. “As cautious as social media users are of violations of ‘privacy’ on social media, they also have to be aware of the threat posed by malicious content. The ESET Social Media Scanner is something that can allay their fears. Whether you are ‘online’ or ‘offline’, it will always protect your profile,” he says.
Social networking has become an important aspect of cyberspace over the past few years and it certainly plays an important role in the day-to-day lives of people. With this growing trend, social media users also have to realise the importance of adopting robust measures that secure IT systems and data from malicious content roaming the cyber space. The ESET Social Media Scanner is a product that takes the concept of ‘social media security’ to the next level.

Source: DailyFT

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DATE: Wednesday, 03rd July, 2013

TIME: 02:30pm

VENUE: Meeting Room, 01st Floor, Colombo Municipal Council, Town Hall,Colombo 07

The event was graced by:

  • A. J. M. Muzammil, Mayor of Colombo
  • U. L. Titus Perera, Deputy Mayor of Colombo
  • Ms. Bhadrani Jayawardhane, Municipal Commissioner, Colombo
  • Dr. Pradeep Kariyawasam, Chief Medical Officer, CMC
  • Mr. M. Arshad, Chairman, Standing Committee on Health and Sanitation
  • Mr. Kapila Chandrasena, Acting CEO, Mobitel
  • A/Prof. May O. Lwin, Associate Professor & Principal Investigator, NTU
  • Dr. Newton Fernando, Senior Researcher & Principal Investigator, NTU
  • Prof. G. N. Wickramanayake, Director, University of Colombo School of Computing
  • Dr Firdosi Rustom Mehta, WHO Representative to Sri Lanka

Covered Video of Mobuzz event.

Live updates from the launch:

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Mashable’s fourth annual Social Media Day is being celebrated in Colombo today (30th June 2013) at Park Street Mews in partnership with Etisalat Sri Lanka. Social Media Day was launched in 2010 as a way to recognize the digital revolution happening right before our eyes.

250 socially active folks were invited for the event which is happening for the 3rd time in Colombo. Stay tuned to this page for live updates in case you are not able to attend in person. An interesting agenda has been set up:

Agenda

  • Networking session and refreshments
  • Mashable CEO welcome video
  • “If only your Press Release could talk!” by Angelo Fernando
  • Social Media for Social Good by Manjula Dissanayake Founder Educate Lanka
  • Panel Discussion – Social Media in Sri Lanka Moderated by Isura Silva
  • Ukku Banda VS Hichchi Malli – Video Blogging Session by Kushan and Srimal

Pictures from the event are on our facebook page here

Event covered video is attached below.

Live updates from the event: