“I want to take the Sri Lankan brands, Sri Lankan keywords to the world. We know that Ceylon tea is much popular in the world. Just like that, when it comes to the digital or gaming industry, Sri Lanka should be one of the main focal points in the world"
Chamira Jayasinghe CEO | Arimac Lanka (PVT) Ltd.

Starting their journey since 2008, Arimac have come a long way with their unique digital innovative platform for tech geeks. Recently with the launch of ‘Kanchayuda’, they were able to make a buzz among the community of young game developers. Joining in with Exposition Mr. Chameera Jayasinghe the CEO of Arimac shared his story about reaching the unreachable

Q. Share us your background on the inception of “Arimac” and the vision behind it.

We started Arimac in 2011 with the vision of being the geniuses of digital interactive media. We wanted to create a unified platform for technophiles and creative researchers who wish to come on board and play in different digital innovations.

Q. How did you come up with the term “Arimac” and how was the team “arimac” formed?

The term ‘Arimac’ is the reversed spellings of my first name ‘Chamira’ with the omitted ‘h’. However, now we have a team of 55 members working with us. All the members are from various backgrounds. We have engineers as well as creative designers working with us. So it’s a hybrid team that we have, with lots of passion and good hearts. Basically, those are the criteria that we look into when we are recruiting new members.

Q. During your undergraduate years, you have bagged a series of competitions around the world. Would you like to share your experiences on such competitions like APICTA and NBQSA?

Back in 2007, I won the young computer scientist award which was awarded by British Computer Society and I represented Asia Pacific Society in the same year. Thereafter, I won different entrepreneurship awards including the entrepreneur of the year for digital innovations and so on.

Q. Tell us about the experiences on your early projects “Kadapatha”, “Amma” and “Kundalani”.

Kadapatha is a multi-touched table which is basically based on FDI frustrated total internal reflection where we make an array of lots of IRs and do a lot of computer vision engineering in order to understand different touchpoints. We won many awards for that “Kapadatha” research project as well.
Amma is a very special project for me. It is a stress management system for pregnant mothers in their prenatal and postnatal stress stages. We were one of the top 5 finalists in Microsoft Imagine Cup in 2011 for that project.

Q. “Arimac” was implemented in 2008, at a time when ‘gaming’ was a rare sector to invest in. What made you do so?

In the year 2008, we started our venture as a virtual company which later got incorporated in 2011. If I am to answer your question, risk is something I always take in my life. In 2008, there were a few number of companies that modulated creativity with technology. We saw a vacuum in the region we live; Asia Pacific. The main challenge we had to face was that, different clients had different perceptions about digitals in that era. Therefore, we had to take different clients from abroad and do different projects for them and then we proved our skills which eventually helped us land our local projects. Actually that’s how we got acquired different clients.

Q. Arimac has a very diverse set of operations in it. How do you approach these different functions at the same time?

We always strive to have this boutique environment. We have four key segments that we focus on. One is the web & mobile enterprise where we do lots of websites, enterprise, middleware and mobility solutions for different clients. And we do BFX and computer graphics which involves 3D animations 3D movies etc. We have a separate segment to do game developments and to provide gamification services for different clients along with our game products as well. We also have started a new ring Arimac Cognitive where we do a lot of AI and many other different deep learning technologies. Those are the key areas which we have used to diversify ourselves in our portfolio.

Q. What is your biggest break as “Arimac”? (He’s talking about breakthroughs)

SLPL or Sri Lankan Premier League; we got this project from Bathiya & Santhush. They were handling the SLPL event. They had a requirement for time shifting live stream for 10 minutes. Those days, there was no such software available and the only solution possible was a hardware which was very expensive. So, we coded a software which could time shift a live stream by 10 minutes. That was the breakthrough project for Arimac and because of that project we had a good cash flow to our company and our growth started.
Another breakthrough is meeting Mr. Anthony Rodrigo, CEO of Dialog Axiata. He understood our passion and talent in this pace and he gave us a lot of opportunities to do different projects for them. That’s how we entered to this market and now we’re catering our solutions for Emirates as well. So we have gained a lot of international clients because of Mr. Rodrigo.

Q. “Kanchayuda” became a well-known brand among the youth around the world. Why did you decide to launch it free in Sri Lanka?

First of all, we have had free education and all our members are from Sri Lanka. We also wanted to motivate young game developers and software engineers to do something like this. So after releasing Kanchayuda multiple gaming startups has started which eventually proves that our motive is achieved to a certain extent. Why we have started this is to reduce the brain drain. Lots of young, extremely talented and creative people, mostly the engineers are going abroad. Hence, if we want to have this country to go where we expect it to, we need to have a pool of talented people. Lot of people here are getting a lot of international job opportunities. But, they are choosing to stay here to do something for our own country. We’re cloning ourselves in Sri Lanka and while trying to make a good digital eco-system and a digital economy despite of the government fluctuations. We’re not a government agency and we’re neither related to the government sector which helps us to be very neutral in terms of government activities. But, we’re trying to enhance and help young budding entrepreneurs in terms of showing them that these goals are capable to be achieved in Sri Lanka. That is one of the main motives we had when releasing Kanchayuda for free.

Q. Do you think that “Kanchayuda” was able to take you to your desired targets?

No. Kanchayuda is only 1% of the entire pragmatic target or dream that we have. Kanchayuda 2 will be released early next year. That will be published either by a big publisher or it will be published by ourselves as we did before. It’s a juggle that we have. Anyway, we have multiple international publishers onboard to publish the game. In 2019, we will be releasing our first animated movie which will be on par with the international films as well. Modulating all of that will be our desired target we want to achieve.

Q. Majority of your projects are based on the values of the Sri Lankan heritage. Don’t you think that it will hinder your global market approach?

Yes, it is hindering my global market, but, it is uplifting my mother tongue and mother country. So I don’t mind hindering my money. I want to take the Sri Lankan brands, Sri Lankan keywords to the world. We know that Ceylon tea is much popular in the world. Just like that, when it comes to the digital or gaming industry, Sri Lanka should be one of the main focal points in the world. That’s the thing we’re trying to achieve. We have done projects like Kundalani, Kadapatha and Amma. Also we have this gaming protocol called imiGames, where we have more than 50 Sri Lankan games. So, it is true that it will hinder us, but it will take our motherland to the next level. So, we don’t mind.

Q. “Adventures of Tia” is at the verge of being launched. Give us a little insight on it and share us your plans for it?

“Adventures of Tia” is one of the flagships in Arimac, where we do a lot of innovations. It’s a 3D animated movie which will be released in 2019. But, we haven’t published it yet because every day we’re uplifting the technology stack that we’re using. In the meantime, we’ll be releasing a couple of games for consoles PCs and mobiles. I’m not disclosing much information because that is one of our flagship products. You will see more in the future.

Q. It was interesting to learn about your latest applications in Human Computer Interaction, which is a very fresh field to Sri Lanka. What made Arimac invest in such a sector?

At my university times, I was extremely involved in human computer interactions. It shows how the humans interact with different digital devices and interfaces, mapping brain waves to computers, the ways of mapping human gestures to computers and how the touch systems can be mapped to computers. I was an early adapter on gestural computing and I was collaborating with the top universities in the world to do different researches especially in Microsoft Kinect. We were an early adapter in terms of framework and testing. I have more than a decade experience on how EEG works, how mind works and how we can map brain waves into computers, understanding emotions. There are extremely hidden projects under Arimac that we’re working on huge BCI projects where we’re trying to centralize knowledge and memory. It will take at least 5 years but, will be a massive breakthrough in brain computing.

Q. What do you have in store for “Arimac” in the future?

We’ll be releasing the first 3D animated movies by 2019. Then we have 12-15 international game titles to be released by 2020. In terms of AI, we will be releasing deep learning engine as a platforms during this year as well. We already have 2 clients for that, but we’ll be releasing it as a product in December. There are a couple of things that is to be released because, we’re working on different complexed websites which we’ll be releasing. Arimac is a service company. In 2020, we have a pragmatic approach to be benchmarked with all those international creative publishers as well. We have a very pragmatic approach towards that. So, we are working passionately and cognitively towards that.

Q. What do you owe the success of Arimac to? /How do you see Arimac in future?

Arimac is a family so if I see a success all my members should have a better life. That’s one of the things that we always look into. My family members should always be in the highest level in their lives. In terms of the company, we have a very extremely pragmatic approach to be the leading interactive media content development and publishing company in the world by 2028. Therefore, those are the things I foresee for Arimac to go in the future and also we have the never giving up attitude. Whatever the challenge or obstacle we’ll be having in the future we’ll make sure that we face them with a positive attitude and make mother Lanka the hub of digital innovation. We have an amazing pool of engineers here. We have all resource persons here and all universities, but, the issue I see in Sri Lanka is, the perception. They are going for money in the first place. But, if you chase success and knowledge, then money will come. That’s the perception we need to make. All the Silicon Valley people, what they do is they innovate, they think and they manage and execute. But all those South Asian people are the people who are really developed. So that, we have the talent to be developed, so, we need to make a nation where they think out of the box.
We’ll never will be a product company because we love services. But, under our services, we have a huge product layer going on. So that’s the sustainable approach or model that we have taken in order to sustain the business. So, mother Lanka should be like that. We have to have an amazing digital economy. We’re receiving lot of dollars from different countries to mother Lanka. So, I think all companies should do that. And then, despite of any fluctuation, if all those intellectual people can come onboard and make one platform where it creams out all those dollars to Sri Lanka, our country will be the most beautiful and the most talented digital innovative hub in Sri Lanka. So that’s the pragmatic approach or whatever the dream that we have towards 2028 will be subset of all these. So, our entire goal is to get our mother Lanka’s name as the most innovative digital country in the world.

Q. What were the downfalls, which you encountered during the past six years of Arimac? How did you overcome those?

I don’t take anything as a downfall. It’s all obstacles or challenges that we’re facing. So we have this ego or the moral that we never give up. Whatever the obstacle or challenge that life gives us we’re always reacting in a positive way and we achieve to the greatest height that we always want to go. So there are no such downfalls, but everyday we’re getting different obstacles and challenges where we love them because those are the things that keep us going towards our goal.

Q. What is your advice for an undergraduate who is interested in gaming, AI etc.?

Basically, for an undergraduate they need to know whether they want to start their own business or find a co-founder who can run a business and help him or work for a big corporate. Whatever the path they choose, they need to have a passion. If you like painting, you need to be a painter. Not a singer. There are inborn talents that you are getting. Some qualities can be acquired through experience and knowledge. First, you have to understand which area suits you the best and you need to choose that. The main thing an undergraduate should do is finding the right path to walk through, rather than trying to do everything. I know for a fact that in Sri Lanka they’re doing Fiverr and all those freelancing things, but they exactly hindering their future. They’re working for $5 which will block the path to earn $500 per hour. I know that they have financial issues. I understand. But they should find a way to learn and earn money. What our people do is they work all day, but they don’t learn. That happens to different Asian countries. We really need to eradicate that. They need to find a way to learn and earn money.