XRSI Launches A Novel Diversity and Inclusion Effort: Cyber-XR Coalition

The Cyber-XR Coalition has been formed specifically to address the need for diversity and inclusion in both cybersecurity and XR domain while bringing them two together to address social and technical biases in emerging technologies to build safer and inclusive ecosystems for all

XR Safety Initiative (XRSI) announces the Cyber-XR Coalition: A Diversity & Inclusion Effort by XRSI. The coalition brings together D&I-focused leading organizations to advance diversity and inclusion within the fields of XR and Cybersecurity.

We are at one of the most critical moments in human history – a crossroads between emerging technologies, data sciences, and cybersecurity – fueled by a renewed, global necessity of diversity and inclusion (D&I) in each domain. So, in honor of Black History Month, we are furthermore encouraged to lead as a presence in this dynamic ecosystem by providing innovative and engaging programming, that brings leading D&I focused organizations together for a greater good. Along the same principle, XRSI has begun efforts to connect and support underrepresented groups, provide inclusive programs, and encourage community engagement of diverse populations throughout the XR and Cybersecurity industries, all by collaboration under a unified D&I effort by XRSI named Cyber-XR Coalition.

This is not a novel challenge, but with the rise of emerging technologies, It has however reached an inflection point. Primarily the reason for commencing XRSI’s Diversity & Inclusion effort – Cyber-XR Coalition, led by XRSI’s D&I advisor April M Boyd, brings together the following globally recognized organizations and professionals who share the common goals and principles:

Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) is a non-profit membership organization with national reach that is dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring. WiCyS helps build a strong cybersecurity workforce with gender equality by facilitating recruitment, retention, and advancement for women in the field. “We are excited to collaborate on this diversity initiative as cybersecurity is an important element of Virtual Reality and WiCyS continues to be involved in all aspects of recruiting, retaining, and promoting Women in Cybersecurity” – Dr. Janell Straach. WiCyS Chair of the Board. 

InfoSecGirls is a community for women passionate about information security. Vandana Verma, InfoSecGirls Global and Bangalore Lead, stated that the group wants “to inspire curiosity among women in technology about the realities of information security”.

Open AR Cloud (OARC) has a mission to drive the development of open and interoperable spatial computing technology, data and standards to connect the physical and digital worlds for the benefit of all. According to Alina Kadlubsky, Director of Communication, “we currently see the issue of diversity and inclusivity within the XR industry. While creating the real-world spatial infrastructure and rapidly advancing exponential technologies, we are excited to join forces with XRSI Diversity and Inclusion” a diverse team of thought leaders to further push the status quo creating a human-centered future. Making sure to reach and maintain a fair representation of the global industry at large”.

Women in Immersive Tech Europe (WiiT-EU), founded by Leen Segers, states that “at WiiT-EU, our vision is to create an inclusive network of talented women and minorities who are driving Europe’s virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors. Feeling safe in an extended reality world is a basic requirement for these new forms of storytelling to become a reality. The Cyber-XR Coalition between various cybersecurity and XR organizations will definitely accelerate cybersecurity and inclusion, not just in Europe, but globally”.

Spark Mindset uses virtual reality to address the national shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals, close gaps in gender and race while closing the opportunity and wealth gap in low-income communities, especially African American and Latino populations. Spark Mindest founder Lawrence Wagner states “at Spark Mindset, we want to break the cycle of poverty by preparing low-income students for cybersecurity careers. We believe the coalition will level the playing field for women and minorities in the cybersecurity and XR fields”.

SecureDiversity.org, founded by Deidre Diamond, who welcomes the effort states. “It only takes one. One person to change the narrative and others will join. We at SecureDiversity.org are honored to support and contribute to the profound principle of Diversity and Inclusion together with XRSI and partners. Thank you for being that “one voice” Kavya, for you now have created awareness of this very serious topic; together we will solve it! SecureDiversity began its journey with a strong focus on training being the answer to inclusion. We need training on XR specific challenges with D/I and we need solutions. We are here to support these two things and we are thankful for your leadership”.

OWASP The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) is a nonprofit foundation 501(c)3 that works to improve the security of software. Through community-led open-source software projects, hundreds of local chapters worldwide, tens of thousands of members, and leading educational and training conferences, the OWASP Foundation is the source for developers and technologists to secure the web.

Christopher Lafayette, an advocate of “Building Together” is an emergent technologist in Medtech, climate change, artificial intelligence, telepresence, disruptive media, and other additional applied sciences, along with virtual, augmented and mixed reality. In Christopher’s own words, “technology needs more color. More culture. More stories, people and backgrounds. More women. leaders, drivers, and lenses. With all that we’re building of artificial intelligence and the digital realities we’re making, it is absolutely pertinent to consider, that if we’re going to extend reality, then we must bring reality with it. #BuildTogether. No matter the color, no matter the gender”.

Muki-International Ltd founder Muki Kulhan states “the Cyber-XR Coalition Coalition has been formed to encourage strong, creative, global XR communities to promote fairness, good ethics, values, and inclusion into every project from the start, leaning in to change for good, for all generations in 2020 and beyond”.