Welcome to Internet 3.0, the transformative era where reality takes on new dimensions, driven by eXtending Reality (XR) at it’s core, along with AI, Cloud, IoT, and more. This evolution would be the product of collaborative efforts involving academia, government, industry, and individuals. I recently had the privilege of participating as a panelist at an event hosted by the pioneers shaping the future of the internet. In this article, I share my insights and a summary of this remarkable event.
FICCI XROS Fellowship Program
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), is the voice of india’s business and industry for policy change. The FICCI XROS Fellowship Program curated to empower Indian XR developers through stipends, mentorship, and open-source project contributions. With a focus on AR, VR, MR, 3D modeling, and development, the program provides a platform for 100 shortlist developers (out of 10000+ applicants) to collaborate on projects with industry mentors.
The initiative aims to cultivate digital public goods and advance careers in XR technology. It is supported by National e-Governance Division (NeGD) under the Electronics India, Ministry of Electronics and IT, Govt. of India as the technical partner, along with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India (PSA) as the knowledge partner. Implemented by Reskilll, and well supported by Meta
The Event | XROS Fellowship Summit
XROS Fellow Summit is the graduation day for the selected 100 developers, and awarding the top 10, along with keynotes and panel discussions, and networking. Here is how event goes, and my takeaways from it.
XROS Fellowship Journey
Dr. Ashish Kulkarni, Chair of FICCI, AVGC – XR Forum and Founder of Punneryug Artvision Pvt. Ltd., initiated the event with compelling insights into the XROS Fellowship journey. He highlighted the program as a testament to the broader scope of XR beyond gaming and entertainment, emphasizing its reach beyond high-end global cities. With an impressive 10,000 applicants, notably, 65% hailed from smaller Indian cities.
Dr. Kulkarni discussed the program’s role in shaping XR policies and converging science, art, and technology, aligning with AVGC (Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming, and Comics) policies.
Open Source and Open Science
Proj. Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Adviser, Govt. of India, shed light on the pivotal role of the open-source and open science ecosystem in India’s digital journey. Emphasizing its potential for co-creation and nation-building, he highlighted initiatives such as One Nation One Subscription, i-STEM and the patent library, Patestate.
Dr. Sood showcased how the open science model is fostering contributions in biodiversity, astronomy, and more, even from non-specialized individuals—a sentiment reminiscent of Thoughtworks’ involvement in projects like the Ten Meter Telescope and E4R collaborations.
Encouraging a departure from traditions, Dr. Sood touched upon transformative initiatives like XTIC and the establishment of a global metaverse corridor, aligning to the vision of “Vasudhev Kutumkcum”.
Mr. Shivnath Thukral, Director and Head of Public Policy - India at Meta, delved into the transformative power of open innovation and its role in fostering diversity and inclusion. Highlighting the belief that people are the driving force, he emphasized technology as the ultimate democratization tool. Thukral outlined Meta’s commitment to open research and innovation, aligning with programs such as Manthan and contributing significantly to ecosystem development.
Continuing the discussion, Mr. Sunil Abraham, Public Policy Director at Meta, showcased Meta’s global initiatives, including participation in pledges like the Open Covid Pledge and Low Carbon Patent Pledge. Notable contributions to the open-source community, such as PyTorch, React, and more, were highlighted. Abraham delved into recent MetaAI projects like the Segment Anything Model, ImageBind and Massively Multilingual Speech, with over 650 models openly available on GitHub and Hugging Face. This collaborative and open approach is steering us toward the next frontier of the internet—the metaverse.
Mr. Abhishek Singh, IAS, President & CEO, National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India also addressed on enabling digital sovereignty through the creation of digital public goods.
Panel Discussions - Open Source, XR, and Internet 3.0
I had the privilege of participating as a panelist in a discussion skillfully moderated by Dr. M Manivannan, Professor and Head of XTIC at IIT Madras. Dr. Manivannan eloquently introduced the concept of the immersive internet, and I emphasized that openness is a key characteristic of the next internet. In this evolving landscape, where reality loses its traditional meaning, and the boundaries between physical and artificial realities blur, the responsibility of shaping Internet 3.0 lies not only with creators but also with consumers and governing bodies. Together, we are architects of this emerging metaverse.
As the XR Practice Leader, I highlighted the need for developing practices in XR development, touching on tools like Arium and Selenium for automation testing. I emphasized Thoughtworks’ community-driven culture, keeping us focused on open source as a collective responsibility — where we are not just consumers but active producers, jointly solving challenges.
Mr. Sahil Ahuja, CTO of GMetri Technologies Private Limited, shed light on WebXR within the OpenXR ecosystem, managing concerns related to interoperability and standardization. Mr. Milind Manoj, CEO of Pupilmesh, focused on open-source XR hardware development, addressing privacy and security concerns at the foundational layers. Niloshima Srivastava, Engineering Manager at Tata 1mg, shared her experience in building solutions at the scale of India, highlighting how open source played a crucial role and addressing associated challenges. The discussion was well concluded by Dr. Manivannan.
Panel Discussion - Role of XR Technologies in Today’s Businesses
A captivating panel discussion unfolded, featuring esteemed panelists Mr. Ajit Padmanabh, Mr. Manas Bairagi, Dr. Padma Priya PV, and Dr. Rashmi Thakur, who delved into the pivotal role of XR in today’s businesses. The engaging session was skillfully moderated by Mr. Dhiraj Gyani.
Felicitation of Top 10 and Graduation Ceremony
Recognizing the top 10 participants is undoubtedly a challenging task, and I extend my gratitude to the program mentors and evaluators for their dedicated efforts. It’s evident that every participant, not just the top 10, will play a significant role in shaping the future of XR in India.
Congratulations to all for reaching this milestone!
Showcase, Lunch and Networking
The showcase featured compelling projects by XROS Fellowship participants, guided by esteemed partners. Along with delicious lunch, it provided a fantastic opportunity for networking and collaboration. Engaging discussions unfolded with leaders from industry, government, academia, and emerging talents.
A special appreciation goes to the organizers and the team Rohit Sardana and Garima Singh, for orchestrating this enriching event. Heartfelt thanks to Vanya for the nomination as a panelist. It was truly an inspiring and collaborative experience.
Keep learning, Keep sharing, Keep growing!