India is en-route to transform infotainment with AI, ML, AR, VR, and Robotics
Technologies like AI and ML have revolutionized the realm of infotainment, enhancing the user experience and content delivery in various ways. These technologies are deployed in recommendation algorithms, personalizing content suggestions for users based on their preferences and viewing habits. With these technologies at the forefront, infotainment has become more immersive, interactive, and tailored to individual tastes.
Tagbin is a tech-driven organization that creates immersive, experiential and multisensory spaces that utilize technologies like Augmented Reality(AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Robotics for infotainment. India Business and Trade engaged with Ankit Sinha, CTO and co-founder, Tagbin to learn about the company’s technology-driven projects and how upcoming technologies could help them produce state-of-the-art presentations.
IBT: You have been with Tagbin since 2013, and you have seen a lot of changes in the technology and marketing landscape. What are your thoughts on the most significant industry trends that have influenced your CTO position?
Ankit Sinha: I have been working in this field for more than 10 years, and during this time, we have witnessed several significant changes in technology. This is especially evident given the fact that we also undertake many innovative marketing campaigns. We have observed numerous noteworthy industry trends that have evolved over the years. To mention a few, the rise of artificial intelligence has been one of the most impactful developments. We have seen this impact in all the campaigns we have worked on and all the projects we have undertaken. All of them have experienced significant changes in how AI is used in these projects.
Additionally, the advent of cloud computing has provided substantial support in this regard. The computing requirements for an AI setup were not feasible in the past when we had small data centre setups, and the computing demand was not as high. These advancements in technology go hand in hand with the changes we’ve seen in our industry.
With the growth of cloud computing and the requirements of AI, they run in parallel and mutually support the development of solutions like these. Another significant shift I’ve observed is the shift towards a mobile-first approach. There has been a substantial transition from the earlier desktop and laptop-based environments to a mobile-centric one. Thanks to mobile computing, our audience’s content consumption has become predominantly mobile.
Data also plays a crucial role in this transformation. Concepts like big data have enabled us to generate vast amounts of data with our campaigns. For instance, one of our campaigns, ‘Har Ghar Tiranga,’ generated approximately 10 crores of selfies. While we don’t have direct access to this data, as it is primarily in the hands of government bodies, such large datasets open up opportunities for innovative solutions.
Our company has undergone numerous transformations, and I have personally witnessed the evolution from our initial projects to our current initiatives. We have made significant contributions and investments in building our AI/ML team, comprising 16 members working exclusively in the field of AI. This ratio is substantial compared to the other departments within our team. Consequently, we have observed substantial changes. As the CTO, I must remain up-to-date with the latest technology trends to ensure that Tagbin remains at the forefront of the industry.
IBT: Tagbin is renowned for its creative application of technology. Could you elaborate on how your position as CTO has helped the business build a reputation for innovative digital solutions?
Ankit Sinha: As a CTO, my job role involves taking care of various responsibilities, with a couple of them focusing on staying at the forefront of the latest innovations in the field. We conduct acceptance tests as new technologies emerge. Rather than waiting for everything to be perfected before adoption, we proactively implement cutting-edge technologies in our solutions. Even if you hear about these solutions a year or two down the line, there’s a high probability that we have been using them for quite some time. For instance, AI serves as one of the examples. We are early adopters of technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality. We started using these technologies right from the beginning, about seven to eight years ago, and have actively participated in their development. This is largely due to my personal enthusiasm for technology; I am always eager to use new technologies as soon as they emerge in the industry.
I believe that what Tagbin is currently doing is closely aligned with my personal technological interests. As a company, we have developed numerous solutions based on my passions. As I mentioned, we were early adopters of virtual and augmented reality, and we have created numerous solutions for both private and government entities. So, it’s fair to say that many of our innovations stem from my interests. There are several products we are currently working on that can be considered as a result of the way I perceive technology. These products not only reflect my technological perspective but also aim to enhance the solutions and experiences we provide at Tagbin, both to government bodies and private organizations.
IBT: How does ‘Ask Gita’ aim to revolutionize the AI landscape by providing a rich and immersive user experience, and what unique features or capabilities set it apart from other AI platforms and your role in creating this?
Ankit Sinha: Many ideas within our company are born from a combination of my interests and the perspectives of our stakeholders. One such creation is ‘AskGita.’ It’s a unique spiritual product in the way it has been implemented. It’s often said that the Bhagavad Gita holds answers to life’s questions, and this concept resonated with us. There are times when we find ourselves stuck in life, with no one to turn to for guidance. This led us to wonder how we could harness the wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita to address life’s challenges.
As a technology enthusiast, and with my personal inclination toward tech, I envisioned using ‘AskGita’ or the Bhagavad Gita as a source of answers to my problems. The timing was perfect because there was a lot of excitement surrounding language models like ChatGPT and Bard, which are products of Open AI and Google. These models are essentially language models. What we did was train a language model using both the Hindi and English versions of the Bhagavad Gita. You can think of it as a system that comprehends the Bhagavad Gita in both languages.
We trained this model, which took approximately 15 days to complete for both the English and Hindi versions of AskGita. The computing requirements for this task are substantial, and the advent of cloud computing has been instrumental in enabling us to handle such demands. With cloud computing, we can efficiently manage the extensive computational resources needed for this setup.
With this model in place, we created a solution that allows you to ask questions and have conversations with it. For instance, if you have a question about controlling anger or other aspects of life, you can simply ask, and the product will provide answers based on the Bhagavad Gita. It also offers excerpts from the Sanskrit slokas, suggests relevant slokas for your concerns, and outlines steps to find solutions. I’ve been involved with AskGita from day one, personally contributing to its development. I was instrumental in training the model to comprehend the Gita. Additionally, we incorporated various other technologies such as speech-to-text and text-to-speech to enhance communication with the model. This is what AskGita represents
IBT: Can you tell us about some of the unique features of the Rohtang Virtual Bus Experience and the work that your team has done there?
Ankit Sinha: This project holds a special place in my heart, not just because of what it is but because of the immense scale at which it operates. As I mentioned earlier, we were early adopters of virtual reality and our approach centres around creativity and innovation. The Rohtang bus project is a prime example of our innovative work and how it functions. In traditional virtual reality, you put on a headset and are transported to a different world. However, the Rohtang bus project takes a group of people on a unique journey. You sit in a bus, and as you travel, a group virtual reality experience, created within the bus, immerses you in different worlds. You traverse various areas of Himachal, passing through Solan, Spiti, and Chamba, and you get to experience all these locations. This bus is equipped with transparent screens on the left, right, front, top, and back. Since these screens are transparent when you’re inside the bus, you don’t feel like screens surround you; it’s a seamless and immersive experience.
You feel as though you are inside an actual bus because you can see the outside, and the screens only become opaque and start playing content when the bus begins to move. Suddenly, you find yourself immersed in a journey, seeing that you are travelling through Rohtang, heading to Spiti, surrounded by snow, and witnessing various animals in their natural habitat. This provides a highly innovative and immersive experience.
Creating this experience involved advanced technology, including sensors and a complete physics engine to ensure realism. While 4K is well-known, we are pushing the boundaries with 8K resolution, and we’re even working with 32K resolution videos, which is quite substantial. To achieve this, we had to visit these locations in person. We conducted extensive filming and then created 3D replicas of those places. Everything you see inside the bus, including the snow and the wildlife like snow leopards, is a replica of the actual locations.
Numerous sensors track the bus’s movements, and as you move, the content adapts to reflect the bus’s motion. It truly feels like you are physically present in those places, even though you’re not there in person. This is the essence of the Rohtang Immersive Bus Project.
IBT: Meri Mati Mera Desh” is a digital outreach campaign aimed at digitally uniting Indian citizens. Could you explain how this project fits in with Tagbin’s core values and what you hope it will do for society?
Ankit Sinha: In addition to our focus on innovation, which is a core value for us, we undertake numerous projects aimed at fostering national unity and pride. Initiatives such as ‘Pradhanmantri Sangrahalay’ and ‘Har Ghar Triranga,’ among others, are designed to bring us closer to the ideals of national unity and pride.
One of our recent and ongoing projects, ‘Mera Mati Mera Desh,’ is closely connected to village life and local events. It involves activities like ‘kalasha yatra,’ where people participate in events at the gram panchayat level. We strive to connect individuals from remote areas, emphasizing one of Tagbin’s core values—to bring people together, encourage civic engagement, promote digital literacy, and much more.
This is essentially a digital campaign that we’ve launched across India, spanning rural and urban areas where events like the ‘kalasha yatra’ are taking place. Concurrently, the Government of India organized an event called ‘Shila Falikam.’ During this time, on our digital platform, people could share pictures and provide updates on what was happening, generating significant interest and engagement.
This project is closely tied to the themes of national unity and pride. It serves as a means to connect people on both rural and urban scales, allowing them to participate, share, and observe activities across the country. People from regions like Kerala and Karnataka can witness events taking place in Assam and Himachal, making it a centralized platform for such interactions.
IBT: You participated in the “Projection Mapping at Qutub Minar” project as part of “Mera Gaon Meri Dharohar.” How, in your opinion, can a historical structure like the Qutub Minar integrate art, culture, and history? How can technology and digital innovation do this?
Ankit Sinha: This project stands out as a departure from our previous work. Several other countries have undertaken similar initiatives. The projection on the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is a prime example of what we are striving to achieve. However, our goal is not commercial in nature; we are dedicated to preserving India’s rich culture and bringing our efforts closer to the villages. If you consider the shows projected onto Qutub Minar, they are primarily linked to well-known villages, each celebrated for distinct aspects of their culture. We highlight these aspects on Qutub Minar. There are numerous ways to showcase cultural heritage, but leveraging something already ingrained in our culture, such as Qutub Minar, is particularly meaningful. This iconic architectural marvel of India is strategically located and offers excellent visibility from various vantage points, which is why we chose this location for our project.
We conducted a complete launch and inauguration ceremony for this initiative, and there are many other facets to it as well. Many individuals have been involved in this project, working to uncover the unique stories and characteristics of the villages being showcased in Qutub Minar. For example, one of the villages is famous because everything born there comes in pairs, including both humans and animals. These are captivating stories we are sharing, and we’ve chosen Qutub Minar as the platform to convey these tales. This project stands as one of our iconic achievements, with a substantial focus on technological innovation.
To project and illuminate such a massive structure and ensure visibility from a wide area, significant technological interventions were required. More than 12 projectors, totalling over 30,000 lumens, light up Qutub Minar every evening. Additionally, we have a website that allows you to hear audio synchronized with Qutub Minar’s display, even if you are observing it from a distance. At times, you can even interact with Qutub Minar virtually by drawing or scribbling around it, even if you are not physically present. This project represents our commitment to integrating technology with the rich culture and heritage of India.
IBT: Tagbin has contributed to numerous immersive digital projects over the years. Can you mention a project that you are especially proud of and outline the difficulties and triumphs you faced while working on it?
Ankit Sinha: Personally, I believe that there are many projects we have undertaken, but the ones that bring us closer to India, the projects that help unite people, are the ones we take pride in. Additionally, the projects that showcase technological innovation are the ones that I love the most. Let me highlight a few of them:
Pradhanmantri Sangrahalay is one of our most outstanding accomplishments. It features all the Prime Ministers of India to date, sharing their stories in a highly innovative manner. We carefully select the medium to ensure that visitors can easily access and engage with the content.
Har Ghar Triranga is another project that holds a special place in my heart. We focused on instilling a sense of national pride during the 15th of August celebrations. It gained immense popularity, going viral as people created tutorial videos, memes, and videos explaining how to generate certificates. This project garnered attention not only within India but also from people outside the country.
These two projects hold a special place in my heart in terms of the contributions they make to India. Additionally, when it comes to technological innovation, I believe the Rohtang Bus Project is one of the finest examples. Conducting group virtual reality experiences at this scale within a moving bus is truly groundbreaking. Installing screens suspended in midair within the bus, which are designed not to break, required significant technological advancements. It’s akin to holding a glass in midair. We had to invest a lot of effort into the technology and engineering to ensure that these screens were successfully incorporated into the bus. Furthermore, there are many other exciting elements within the bus.
These projects are a source of great pride for me. While building such solutions and scaling them comes with its share of challenges, we have established processes and plans to ensure everything runs smoothly. In summary, I am exceptionally proud of the work we’ve done for the Pradhanmantri Sangrahalay, and I believe the museum is a valuable asset to India.
IBT: You are a key player in advancing technological innovation at Tagbin in your capacity as CTO. Can you talk about any current or upcoming projects that are expected to have a big impact on the sector?
Ankit Sinha: I believe that, in terms of impact, there are numerous aspects we are currently addressing. We are actively implementing AI to impact what Tagbin is accomplishing. However, I’d like to highlight a couple of projects that are particularly noteworthy based on how they integrate innovative solutions.
For instance, we are developing a project that enables you to have a conversation with the Prime Minister of India without directly speaking to him. It involves a massive hologram of the Prime Minister, and the setup allows you to sit with him and engage in a natural conversation. This is powered by AI, with a language model trained on his life. You can essentially have a conversation with him, ask questions about his plans for the future, inquire about his past achievements, learn about his current activities, and understand his lifestyle. This project stands as one of the finest examples of innovation in our field.
Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, virtual reality and augmented reality are among the areas we have been actively engaged in. We’re taking these technologies to a completely new level, as exemplified by the Rohtang project. We are also involved in the development of numerous e-governance solutions for the Government of India. One of these projects is ‘Mera Mati Mera Desh.’ Recently, we carried out a campaign called ‘Swachhata hi Seva’ for the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. This campaign was conducted on a global scale, with all activities and records maintained on a dedicated portal.
Our focus has been on creating innovative solutions, such as ‘Talk to Modi’ or ‘Talk to XYZ person.’ We have built solutions around these concepts. Moreover, we are continually working on various internal projects, including a style app that suggests clothing choices based on individual appearances and personalities. These are just a few examples of the many initiatives we have been involved in and are worth mentioning.
IBT: Rapid evolution is a hallmark of the technology sector. What tactics do you use to keep your team up to date with the most recent trends and how do you make sure that Tagbin remains at the forefront of technological advancements?
Ankit Sinha: This is one of the questions that proved to be challenging, particularly in terms of execution at our headquarters. Developing solutions like these requires highly intelligent minds, and for a company like ours to stay at the forefront, we need access to some of the finest talent available. Simultaneously, we must ensure that these individuals are adequately trained. I’ve dedicated two to three hours of my day to make sure we acquire the right resources, provide them with proper training, and help them work at the necessary speed to build projects of this calibre. For instance, if I need to build a team for a project, I must oversee their training personally. I’ve had to establish numerous processes and plans to ensure they stay well-informed. We consistently organize training programs and hold weekly internal summits, where members of my team share their knowledge and expertise with their colleagues. I’ve fostered an environment within the company where people teach one another. It’s not limited to individuals working in their specialized fields; we aim to create a collaborative atmosphere where everyone shares and learns from each other. Additionally, whenever new technologies emerge, we strive to ensure that we incorporate them into our offerings. For example, Apple recently launched a product called ‘Vision Pro’.
We were among the first to acquire these technologically advanced products because we’re keen on staying at the forefront of technology. After getting hold of these products, I ensure that my team receives the necessary training so that we can work efficiently. We employ various strategies to accomplish this goal, ensuring our team remains motivated by the work they do. They appreciate the technological sophistication of their tasks and the tangible impact they create, particularly evident in the success of campaigns like ‘Har Ghar Triranga’ and ‘Rashtradwaj.’
Another key aspect of our approach is our substantial investment in research and development (R&D), where more than 30-40% of the company’s budget is allocated. I consider the R&D department the most critical. We’re currently engaged in projects within this department that are two to three years ahead of their time. By the time these technologies become relevant, we’ll be well-prepared. We do this to ensure that we have a dedicated team of technology evangelists who are responsible for staying up-to-date
IBT: Finally, what is your outlook for Tagbin’s future and the part that technology will play in determining the business’s continued success?
Ankit Sinha: Technology has always been the backbone of Tagbin. Our core offerings, encompassing creativity and innovation, stem from our commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancement. We are a technology-driven company, consistently innovating and developing new technologies to assist our clients in solving problems and achieving their business objectives.
We’ve ensured that our contributions span various fields, including Machine Learning (ML), Big Data, cloud computing, mobile-based technologies, and more. With a team of experienced and passionate engineers, Tagbin is well-positioned to capitalize on technological trends. With the substantial investments we are making, I am confident that Tagbin will continue to grow and succeed in the future.
Ankit Sinha, CTO and co-founder is an IITM Gwalior alumni with over 10 of experience and brings a unique blend of technological expertise and strategic business know-how to the table. He constantly keeps up with the latest innovations, ensuring that the company remains ahead of the curve by investing in cutting-edge technologies and world-class design. He understands the importance of tight collaboration across departments to drive strategic initiatives. With experience in managing diverse product portfolios and strategies, he is adept at working closely with channel partners to drive software innovation. His ability to bridge the gap between technology and business empowers the firm to make informed decisions, drive growth, and deliver value to stakeholders.