OMOBIO – Keeping the telecom industry ahead of the curve

This is the era of digital disruption. The rapid strides in technology mean that companies either have to adapt or perish. And this holds true particularly for those in the telecommunications industry.

In recent years, eroding revenues have compelled telcos to look beyond traditional services and expand into the digital domain. It is only by doing so that they can overcome the challenges posed by eroding ARPU (average revenue per user) and OTT players like Skype, Viber and WhatsApp. Disruptors like India’s Jio have affected the revenues of established firms such as Airtel by offering affordable and unlimited next generation mobile services.

The message is clear – to survive and grow, telcos need to stay ahead of the curve. Even in Sri Lanka, with 150% penetration, the mobile market is saturated. However, there are plenty of opportunities in the digital domain. This is where Omobio comes in.

Omobio (Pvt) Limited is a multi-award winning telecom solutions provider headquartered in Sri Lanka. Since its establishment in 2011, it has grown rapidly to expand internationally. The company today has a presence in over 20 countries, and runs regional offices in Singapore, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Chief Executive Officer Eranga Weeraratne said Omobio was founded as a fully Sri Lankan-owned venture by a group of highly experienced telecom solution experts. The aim was to fill the vacuum in the telecom industry for software solutions.

Eranga Weeraratne, the CEO and CTO of Omobio, is a product of the University of Moratuwa. While he was an undergraduate, he joined Web Syndicate Asia as a software engineer and led the development of Sri Lanka’s very first true e-commerce website for Dilmah tea. He was a founding member of the companes Wavenet and TextWare. Apart from Omobio, he currently holds board positions in TextWare and eIMSky. He works closely with universities in Sri Lanka to mentor undergrads and by joining as a supervisor for their final year projects. He has been the vice president and president of the Computer Science & Engineering Society (CS&ES) of the University of Moratuwa

“Our intention was to offer cutting edge, next generation services to enable clients to overcome challenges and succeed in this rapidly evolving industry,” he stated. He is thrilled about the achievements of the company in just seven years. At present, they have solution deployments across Asia, Europe, Africa and South America in tier 1 mobile operators and service providers. According to Weeraratne, Omobio is the leading telecom solutions provider in Sri Lanka and the first choice of local telcos. He said the company enhances the customer experience, rationalizes costs and accelerates revenue growth. He believes their success is largely due to constant R&D to meet and exceed industry expectations.

Omobio has one of the most innovative IT teams in Sri Lanka. Having started with just four people, the company today has a 160+ strong workforce, including many top software engineers and developers; half of them are millennials.

Omobio’s services revolve around two broad areas – Telecom Core VAS Solutions and Digital Services. Its flagship Core VAS solutions include products like SMS Firewall (stops spam and fraudulent SMS), SS7 Firewall (stops unauthorized SS7 messages coming to a mobile network) and USSD Gateway & Service Creation Environment. Self-Care, Sales Force Automation, Loyalty Management and Digital Advertisement Engine are some of Omobio’s award-winning digital service solutions.

Weeraratne noted, “The secret behind the success of our products is the underlying technologies. We are one of very few software companies who are not shy to use the latest unorthodox software languages and tools for software development. For example, we use a programming language and framework called Erlang/OTP to build core processing components of our products, which requires extremely fast processing capabilities in distributed fault-tolerant micro-service architecture, utilizing today’s multi-core CPUs. Therefore, in a small footprint of hardware, we are able to do thousands of message processings per second. This makes our solutions cost effective while meeting the telco-grade stability, uptime and low-latency. This may sound very technical, but this sums up the level of R&D work Omobio does to provide the best breed of software solutions. This is why Omobio’s SMS Firewall was selected by tier 1 mobile operators such as BSNL of India to safeguard their 93 million subscribers”.

He cites the mobile sales force automation solution as a good example of Omobio’s digital service product portfolio. This next generation solution enables mobile operators to manage, monitor and control the entire sales distribution flow right up to the retailer level. It empowers the sales staff, while elevating customer service levels. It streamlines the selling process, making it far less time-consuming, tedious and cumbersome by minimizing transport and storage and cutting down paperwork by enabling retrieval, checking and digitally signing documents in real-time.

Mobile self-care solutions empower mobile users to manage all the mobile services they use by themselves. With the self-care application, viewing of data usage, adding data extensions, data sharing, credit sharing, mobile plan customization, call history, etc. have never been easier. This is just a few of 400+ features in the Omobio self-care application suite. Being feature-rich is not just the forte of Omobio’s self-care application suite. It is an extremely secure solution that can scale to millions of application users with cutting-edge, user-friendly user interfaces.

Smart, feature rich and secure digital solutions of this nature are necessary for the success of telcos. After all, the conventional telecom market is saturated, so it is only by offering a better, more efficient service that these firms can differentiate themselves and strengthen customer loyalty. Speaking of the industry focus of Omobio products, Weeraratne said, “We are currently mainly focusing on the telecom industry. However, almost all our digital service solutions are very well applicable to any other industry. For example, any organization with a large distribution and retailer network that wants to cut down inefficiency, offer fast customer service, product traceability and go-paperless can benefit from Omobio’s sales force product.”

Suraj Randel Lawson – Business Development Manager

Expanding into IoT and RFID solutions, Omobio acquired eIMSky in 2017. eIMSky is a fully-owned Sri Lankan company incubated out of the Innovation Grant Program held by ICTA. eIMSky won 2 awards – “Overall Bronze Award” and “The Most Innovative & Best Solution in Cloud Computing Application” for its Smart Office Suite in the 2017 NBQSA competition. In the same year, the same product won the Silver award in the APICTA (Asia Pacific ICTA) competition. With the acquisition of eIMSky, Omobio intends to expand its customer base to non-telco enterprises. While the company’s future seems promising, Weeraratne laments the dearth of engineers in Sri Lanka to drive the industry forward. This, he said, is due to the brain drain to industrialized countries, as well as the fact that we as a nation are not producing enough engineers. “We must have a long-term plan to increase the local resource pool by producing more engineers and offering incentives, so they don’t leave the country,” he stressed. He also said our education system must be geared to keep pace with emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning, image processing and robotics.

Omobio has meanwhile taken steps to enhance the technical expertise and soft skills of millennials. Its initiatives lay much emphasis on practical skills such as making presentations, effective communication, preparing CVs, facing interviews, and decision-making. The programme covers state universities and many private universities in the Colombo District.

The company recently launched the Omobio Incubation Centre at the National School of Business Management (NSBM). It will enable students to work part-time or even full-time, acquiring valuable skills that will boost their future careers. General Manager Samitha Nagasinghe said the centre will build the ability of students to think creatively and be innovative. “It will introduce them to new areas of technology and enable them to get directly involved in R&D.”

Nagasinghe also said Omobio has created a vibrant employee-friendly culture. This allows its people to thrive in their careers without being micro-managed. They have the freedom and space to come up with their own concepts and solutions. This fosters innovation and drives the company’s progress in the rapidly-evolving digital domain.

The company also intends venturing into non-technical fields. Business Development Manager Suraj Randel Lawson said they recently diversified into agriculture where they see much potential. “We have 200 acres of land in Haldummulla, and are now in the process of cultivating spices and fruits for export.”

Lawson said they are quite passionate about this project. He believed that it will not only prove commercially viable, but also benefit the community. “Given our international presence and the contacts we have built over the years, I feel we will succeed in the export market,” he added.

The future certainly looks promising for Omobio. In growing rapidly and carving an enviable reputation globally, they have shown us the opportunities offered by the brave new digital world.

Innovation has been key to the company’s success. Today, they have a strong product portfolio and a young creative team. But more importantly, they have the vision to build the digital future and ensure the success of their clients in the rapidly-evolving telecom landscape.

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Omobio offers a wide array of next generation solutions

Digital Solutions
• Sales Force Automation – Manage, monitor and control the entire sales distribution flow, right up to the retailers. Key benefits include cutting down inefficiency, providing fast customer service, real-time product traceability and going paperless
• Self Care – Empowers customers to manage all their communication services at the touch of a finger across multiple platforms, anytime, anywhere
• Loyalty Management System – Recognize, categorizeand reward loyal customers, manage partner network, run promotional campaigns
• Digital Ad Platform – A centralized advertising portal that enables advertisers to run end-to-end mobile advertising campaigns across multiple digital channels

Core Network Solutions
• SMS Firewall – Stop SMS spamming and fraud
• SMSC – Highly flexible and scalable messaging  platform for GSM & CDMA operators
• Roaming Solutions – Prepaid Local Number Roaming, Welcome Roamer, Call Corrector
• USSD Solutions – For high speed interactive communication with user-friendly service creation environment

UHF RFID, NFC, BLUETOOTH, ACTIVE RFID Solutions by eIMSKY (subsidiary of Omobio)
• Smart Office Suite – An innovative solution to convert a traditional office environment to a smart office by using RFID & IoT technology. The solution includes SMART Visitor Management, Smart CAR Parking System, RFID based Asset Tracking, SMART Information Kiosk, Hot Desking, SMART Lockers and Advance Building Management Solutions
• Smart Tracking System – To track the movement of assets in organizations
• Hawk Eye 360 – An automated employee, asset, material, floor planning and shipment planning solution for the apparel industry
• Smart Laundry Tracking System – A smart system to automate and track the entire laundry cycle