Paving the way to Sri Lanka’s First Digital Unicorn

Posted On 27 May 2018
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Chamira-Jayasinghe,-Arimac-Founder-and-CEO

Digital and tech companies alike will have to meet several incoming trends and challenges, from leveraging data and fighting for top talent to keeping up with consultancies and more. The big question: What will they have to do to stay ahead?

“There must be a true willingness for the company of the future to be more adaptive and reflective of clients’ needs,” says Chamira Jayasinghe, Arimac Founder and CEO. “People’s aspirations are evolving. And for us to survive in the long-run, we must merge and cater to their changing needs.”

Making the leap from start-up to corporate has been frequently proven to be difficult, but Arimac’s short history tells a different story altogether. “It’s simple, really. You need to be agile and you need to be quick. Slow and steady will not win the race. You need to be efficient, decisive, and ready to learn and adapt. That’s how we became a three-million-dollar venture within seven years,” explains Chamira.

With the abundance of value-generating implications resulting from the accelerated development of technology, Chamira believes that we are poised to radically streamline the business world if we embrace the human element of technology. “The pendulum has to swing back to human ingenuity, like storytelling and ideas, which is where many digital and tech companies fall short,” he notes.

Embedding creatives in teams to make a technology product function better will become the norm. Creatives, writers, and designers have the skills to understand humanity, shape language, use colours for psychology, and highly empathise with users. “These skills are essential in building technology products,” Chamira says.

Product Verticals

Today, Arimac’s profile consists of five key product verticals: Enterprise Web & Mobility Solutions; Games & Digital Innovation; 3D Movies & Visual Effects; Artificial Intelligence & Robotics; and immersive technologies such as, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

When an event production firm required a technology partner to live-stream the Sri Lanka Premier League cricket tournament on YouTube, Arimac was the first to answer the call. The five-member team in 2011 took four days to develop the solution. Soon afterwards, the team leased the technology to the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP).

Since then, the company has gone on to develop over 100 web and mobile solutions such as, Dialog Star Points, Dialog eZ Cash, and Rocell Tile Visualizer.

Surprisingly, Arimac relies on its web and mobile enterprise as its core cash flow to invest in its breakthrough projects. Many of its ambitious initiatives like ‘Kanchayudha’—a role playing game set in historical Sri Lanka that happens to be South Asia’s first fully-fledged 3D game—and ‘Adventures of Tia’, a computer game and animated feature film, fall into this category.

The company is also responsible for ‘Dialog Mega Run’, the most downloaded Sri Lankan owned mobile game.

With game development and animation using technology at the frontier level, Arimac is taking a giant leap forward: Humanoid robots powered by a complex cognitive AI platform developed in-house called ‘Sasrutha’. “Having a core cash flow allows us to create knowledge spill overs that elevate the overall performance and the product quality of the company,” Chamira says.

Speaking at the Google I/O 2018 event with great exuberance earlier this month, Chamira announced Arimac’s very own humanoid robot called ‘Diyazen’ to be manufactured right here in Sri Lanka. The company is also the partner for ‘Sanbot’ Robots in Sri Lanka—which have been deployed at Dialog Axiata showrooms for customer relationship management.

When Arimac focused on digital interactive solutions, clients weren’t interested in a tech company also offering to do creative work. An established model of conceptualisation done by a creative agency and technical execution contracted to a developer was common. “Clients didn’t believe that a single company can provide all creative and digital services. Even when they did accept this, they doubted the quality of the work,” Chamira notes.

Today, Arimac has a strong presence as a digital solutions provider. Companies like Nestlè, MAS Holdings, Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Rocell and Unilever are some of its major clients. It has also built ‘gamification through AR’ solutions for Maldives’ biggest telco, Dhiraagu.

Revolutionary Digital Solutions

Looking to the future, Arimac hopes to unveil a computer and mobile game called ‘Nero’ in remembrance of one of the world’s greatest snipers of all time, Ranjith Premasiri; to contribute to the Virusara Fund and Ranjith’s family. The company also plans to launch Sri Lanka’s first ever gaming platform called ‘IMI’ where developers and gamers meet in a single gaming ecosystem.

The company is geared to launch Sri Lanka’s first AR platform called ‘WynkAR’.  The product is an augmented reality enabled app that enables Brands and Advertisers to turn “boring” print content into interactive AR content to be enjoyed by consumers.

‘Arimac Visualizer’ is another tool pending to be launched. The solution creates a photo-realistic visualization of a given environment and its objects. Furniture retailers are pegged to benefit the most from it, as it allows their prospective clients to visualize how the furniture may fit inside their home.

Arimac also hopes to target the airline and aviation vertical with ‘Vimana’. A digital airspace solution that will aim to digitize the aviation experience using a single interactive platform to connect crew and passengers.

Looking Beyond

Backed by its goal to be the largest digital organization—in terms of proven cases and geographical availability—across all emerging markets in Asia by 2020, the company appears to be changing its product strategy, reaching global alliances for distribution, and partnering with global brands to enable digital disruption.

“We’re in the process of scaling up our digital product strategy by moving away from project-based development to digital ecosystem implementations.”

Though its time horizon can’t be predicted, Arimac promises to foundationally influence modern society. The company’s breakthrough projects and R&D investments have garnered attention from pundits for its potential impact on the world’s most important industries.

Interestingly, Arimac has completely relied on revenue earned from their innovative products and services. “But this year is shaping up to be a little different,” Chamira says. Last year, the company welcomed a Series A fund from Sri Lanka’s renowned Financial Strategist, Nimal Perera, who assists Arimac as Chairman, to expedite its expansion into new international markets.

Unlike many software and digital marketing companies based in Sri Lanka, Arimac is showcasing what it means to compete on the global front. With its recent alliances with MENA-based The CMOOD and Trinidad-based Simply Intense Media, last month; Arimac is scaling up at an unprecedented pace. The company also enlisted Dermot Minto, a brand specialist bringing worldwide brands exclusively to Australia and New Zealand, as the Arimac Country Manager for Australia.

“We envision ranking alongside Disney and Pixar in the next 10 years. We are going to become the first digital unicorn to hail from Sri Lanka by 2028,” Chamira concludes.

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