Xerox Research Centre India Conducts XRCI Open 2014- Xerox India’s 1st Open Innovation Symposium


Xerox Research Centre India (XRCI), Xerox’s latest global research location that captures innovation opportunities for Xerox in emerging markets to advance Xerox’s position as the leading global provider of document and business process services conducted XRCI Open 2014 – Xerox India’s 1st Open Innovation Symposium in Bangalore. The event saw the participation of eminent institutes namely IISc, IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur, IIIT Hyderabad, IIIT Delhi, IIM Indore, Singapore Management University among others as a part of panel discussions, keynotes, and poster presentations.


Traditionally, Xerox has been actively engaged in productive collaborations with academia through a number of initiatives such as research grants and open innovation projects. The goal of XRCI Open was to further strengthen ties with the academic research community in India and to encourage researchers to work on key problems across different technical domains, such as data analytics, machine learning and optimizations, mobile and distributed computing, human computation, game theory, ethnography and design.


“We are proud of our rich history of innovations, and the same innovative spirit and passion continues to drive us”, said Dr. Manish Gupta, Vice President, Xerox Corp and Director of Xerox Research Centre in India during his welcome address. Manish spoke about innovations from Xerox Innovation Group in industry verticals like transportation, healthcare, education and banking, and referred to exciting opportunities to leverage technology to make a difference in the world at large, and especially, emerging markets like India.


Highlights of the events included keynote talks, poster presentation from students and panel discussions on two emerging technology topics.  The first keynote address was by Professor Rishikesha T. Krishnan, Director and Professor of Strategic Management at the Indian Institute of Management Indore that centered on a study of corporate innovation centers in India, addressing issues from a strategic perspective as well as from the perspective of an individual contributor working at these centers. In order to create successful products, Prof. Krishnan stressed that it is very important to first immerse oneself into the lives of the concerned people and know what their real needs are.


The first panel discussion addressed ‘’Smart Cities” movement emphasis on the nature, scope and challenges of the concept.  Eminent panelists Prof. T. G. Sitharam (IISc), Mr. Prashanth Bachu (EMBARQ India), Prof. Vinayak S. Naik (IIIT Delhi), Prof. Niloy Ganguly (IIT Kharagpur) and Prof. Archan Misra (Singapore Management University), shared their opinions and perspectives about how mobile technologies, crowd-sensing and big data analytics will play an active role in new developments in this realm for emerging markets such as India. A key conclusion of the panel was that smart city applications associated with retail, transportation, logistics, location-based services, sustainability and social networking are here to stay.


The second panel discussion was on “Data Science”, a terminology introduced off late, to refer to different data mining, high performance computing, machine learning and statistical techniques that are used to enable sophisticated analytics over Big Data.  The distinguished panelists Prof Umesh Bellur (IIT Bombay), Prof. B. Ravindran (IIT Madras), Prof. P. Krishna Reddy (IIIT-Hyderabad) and Dr. Ashish Mahabal (Caltech) shared their perspectives on role and significance of analyzing Big Data in astronomy, smart grid and agriculture domains and laid out interesting research challenges that need to be addressed.


The afternoon session began with another enthralling keynote address by Dr. Pramod Varma, Chief Architect at UIDAI (Aadhaar project). During the talk, Dr. Varma shared his experiences with building the technology system that powers the Aadhaar project. Aadhaar, India’s Unique Identity Project, has become the largest biometric identity system in the world, already covering more than 580 million people. Its strength lies in the simplicity of its design, sound strategy, and technology backbone issuing one million Aadhaar numbers and doing 600 trillion biometric matches every day.


The essence of the symposium was to encourage students and researchers from industry and academia to discover opportunities to collaborate and develop pioneering solutions that matter to the world. The event also showcased a gallery of posters presented by research scholars. The posters were selected through a peer-review process, and awards were given for the top two posters based on technical merit and presentation style.


Finally, the event concluded with a high energy quiz competition followed by networking dinner.


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