The butterfly is a creature symbolized by the words ‘change’ and ‘transformation’. With their butterfly-esque logo, Arimac can also be associated with these words. But they tend to add a more ‘change via developing disruptive transformation’ feel to it – which is different from most butterflies. Well known as a provider of digital mobile and enterprise solutions, Arimac, having recently secured several awards at this year’s NBQSA is now looking towards further global expansion into the APAC region.
Secured 16 awards including the overall gold award at NBQSA Awards 2020
The National ICT Awards NBQSA is arguably the Olympics of the Sri Lankan IT industry – and Arimac has managed to win the most awards at the competition two years in a row. At the 2020 event, they secured a whopping 16 awards. This included the Overall Gold Award they got for the Arimac Interactive Development Framework (AIDF).
Built upon the lessons learned from Arimac’s own experience building video games like Kanchayudha and Nero, the AIDF is a GUI interface for game development. Equipped with real-time character and environment editors, alongside its simple graphical interface, the AIDF radically cuts down the coding (and cans of Redbull) required for developers to bring games and interactive experiences to life.
Fourteen other Arimac products made their mark at the ceremony. Among these were:
- Diyazen – an ambitious R&D project, now a fully-functioning humanoid robot
- Nero – possibly the best video game to come out of Sri Lanka to date
- IMI Games – a global OTT platform for telcos that operates in Sri Lanka and has plans to expand into the Maldives, Fiji and Algeria within this calendar year
- A virtual event management platform by Arimac Studios created to help event companies struggling to tackle the strains of 2020. It builds upon the functionality of Microsoft Teams and Zoom to provide comprehensive and realistic digital event experiences which are a necessity in a post-COVID-19 world. The platform handles huge events in countries including India and the UAE
- A real-time earn-and-burn loyalty platform for a major international airline used by millions of customers around the globe.
Nero: The Lankan Hero
Nero is a video game that delivers an immersive, exhilarating and challenging experience within the battlegrounds of Sri Lanka. It is a story-driven, third-person-shooter video game and a work of fiction inspired by the life of decorated Sri Lankan Army sniper Ranjith Madalana (a.k.a. ‘Nero’), who is ranked among the world’s best and who, in 2009, lost his life while on active duty. Arimac stresses that the game was not made to promote violence, but rather as a tribute to Nero and all those who sacrificed their lives during the war.
The game’s development and testing are complete and it has been verified and on the digital distribution platform Steam. Currently, Arimac is finalizing on a strong channel partner to collaborate with and bring Nero to eager Sri Lankans. Chamira said with a wide smile that the launch should happen within six weeks – and on Steam, they just need to push a big red button to immediately go live worldwide.
During an exclusive interview with Arteculate, Co-Founder and CEO of Arimac, Chamira Jayasinghe, spilt a few beans:
Formerly thought of as a standalone project, Nero is now confirmed to be a full entertainment suite. Complementing the PC game will be console games, a mobile multiplayer, a lightweight hyper-casual game (similar to the Arimac-developed Dialog Mega Run) and a printed comic series with more products to be released gradually. Their approach enables the Nero franchise to entertain and sustainably engage with the public for years to come.
Five years ago, Kanchayudha became a massive hit and won the hearts of Sri Lankans proud to see their culture portrayed through this new medium. It further demonstrated to the nation’s young developers that serious game development on this tiny island was not an impossibility.
The Mythical Prince Diyazen
Starting three years ago when a piece of paper and six engineers were (voluntarily) locked in a room, this R&D project grew into a humanoid robot with a perfected proof-of-concept. Once they received an order request from the Lotus Tower project, the concept quickly moved toward commercialization and the products are to ship out within two months. This famed robot is Diyazen, another of Arimac’s famed products.
Despite its name being derived from an ancient prophecy about a prince, Diyazen radiates Sri Lankan-ness. This identity comes from its most obvious feature – an array of specialised microphones protruding from either side of the head which is a throwback to a traditional folk mask. Built with high-end internals, trilingual language processing, a high-capacity battery, automatic charging mechanisms and an advanced navigation system, the robot will be yet another showcase of Arimac’s technological prowess.
But the company has no plans of locking the lessons it learned building this robot inside a closed vault. Chamira announced that Arimac would soon be licensing its robotics IP out to anyone interested in seeking to build their products.
The Trial by Fire
Today’s success has not come without yesterday’s hardship, and Arimac is no stranger to tough times. Most recently with the unexpected calamity of COVID-19, the company had financial setbacks resulting from the impact on the aviation sector. But holding on during the storm made them more effective at what they do. Chamira pointed out that due to their cohesive company culture, none of his team of 210 (to whom he refers habitually as brothers and sisters) was let go – despite the hardships faced.
Moreover, the home-based work environment induced by the lockdown resulted in a free-flowing of creative juices, higher efficiency and spurred ideas within the robotics, gaming and AI divisions that helped them sidestep 2020’s financial difficulties. Chamira went on to share an example of a notable idea born during this period was the Virtual Event Management Platform by Arimac Studios. With the entire company being on the same page, Arimac was able to overcome the challenges of the pandemic. Chamira credits this collective effort for allowing the company to now be poised to take its next steps of growth.
Expanding the empire into the APAC region
With plans of raising their third round of financing, Arimac plans to build a physical office in Singapore. During the development of Diyazen, Arimac created significant intellectual property. Therefore, one aim of the Singapore office will be to register patents and monetize these via selling them to robotics manufacturers and others operating in the realm of enabling the 4th Industrial Revolution. This process will then become a springboard to building recognition and obtaining clients from the Asia-Pacific region.
Although they have been a service-focused company for most of the past decade, they have also built an arsenal of powerful products that cater to four verticals – telco, aviation, FMCG and BFSI – the strategy for this expansion is based on catering to these four segments with their existing products.
Arimac serves a slew of global clients and Fortune 100 companies, including Visa, Emirates, Etihad, Coca-Cola, Unilever, Nestlé, Vodafone and the like. A foreseeable hurdle in the expansion that Chamira predicts is tackling the region’s IT saturation. But with their formidable portfolio blended with an excellent track record and top-notch technical expertise, they remain undaunted.
At present, there is an increase in demand for multispectral digital services where huge companies prefer a single Digital Transformation Partner for all of their needs. Because Arimac handles everything from web to mobile to AR, VR, AI, data science and anything digital, they are perfect to fill this market gap and are currently working in this capacity with two clients – a global media giant and a leading local conglomerate – and plan to extend this service to the rest of the world.
The journey over a decade has been tough yet rewarding and Arimac, armed with an unfading determination, plans to dominate every sector they touch. While changing the world, Arimac also has a more local vision for 2028 – to nurture and grow 50 tech start-ups and to build a tech-unicorn in Sri Lanka.
The company is constantly moving toward these relatively long-term ambitions aimed at building on its passion for togetherness and community. A wide-eyed Chamira speaks of yet another developed game which he describes is a “complete battle-royale type multiplayer cricket game” featuring a village-cricket league. They plan to publish this as an esports title with the sports ministry’s approval and encourage e-cricket matches in the community.
Chaos Theory suggests that the flaps of a butterfly’s wings can cause a typhoon on the other side of the world. The Arimac family flapping their wings in Sri Lanka is certainly kicking up a storm in the IT sector and it looks like it’s going to spread around the globe.