The power cuts most unfortunately seem to continue unabated. For many people, this means having to scramble to find out when the electricity will be back on – or off, and it's not easy to get accurate information. But now, a new app is aiming to make life a little easier for Sri Lankans: Ekata.lk is a free service that provides personalized, real-time information on power cut schedules, delivered via SMS.
“Sri Lankans deserve a way to get the information they need about power cuts so they can save the few precious hours they have to make plans. I launched Code for the Globe, a non-profit tech movement, and began with my homeland of Sri Lanka. I could no longer stand by and watch as my family and friends suffered from the power outages and the inconvenience that they caused.” Founder Meara Algama shared her motivation to launch Ekata.lk.
Co-founder Rafael Acosta described how the app works, emphasizing its user-friendly interface and real-time updates. “We have created a very simple and free service to help people find the power cut schedule in their area.”
Algama organized a 24-hour Hackathon, hosted at Stanford University. Over twenty computer programmers and data scientists joined from Silicon Valley and four other countries. Following were the thoughts of a few participants who contributed towards this project.
Rashid Al-Abri, one of Ekata's developers, explains the process, “The Code for the Globe hackathon was not just about coding; it was about understanding the needs of Sri Lankans.”
“It was a very interesting 24 hours. Everyone there wanted to help. I got a good one hour of sleep,” recalled Dan Niles, a computer science and engineering student at the University of Moratuwa and lead front-end developer for Ekata.
Tharuka Kannangara, one of the volunteers at the event, explained her motivation to get involved while living abroad in Canada, “It's painful to see family suffering when we are so far away, I felt I can use my expertise to help in the crisis.”
Ekata.lk will be rolling out new features soon, all for free. “This is a service for the people by the people. We are eagerly awaiting feedback from Sri Lankans to tell us what they want from Ekata next.” Users can submit requests for new features at Ekata.lk.