tent is specialised by sourcing people who have that knowledge or can sim- ulate those scenarios,” saysMs Braga. DefinedCrowd is already a leader

in conversational AI, which is grow- ing at a compound annual growth rate of 30%, and 45%of its invest- ment is in R&D. The goal is to becomea world-recognised, indus- try-agnostic brand. “We can already supply govern-

ments, banks, education—anything really,” says Ms Braga. “Last year, we realised we are no longer a company with one product. Instead we offer a suite of products for all training data for all the world's AI needs. That is an important milestone.” Other milestones include a string

of accolades, most recently including a nomination for Digital Europe’s 2021 Future UnicornAward.

Deep clean: MTEX’s sterilisation cabinets have been certified to keep garments Covid-free

machines in the US are operating, howmany pages they are printing, and so on,whichmeans we can do preventive services.” Indeed, the US is its biggest market, followed by Spain and the UK. Another sector with big Industry

4.0 ambitions is plastic injection moulding—the invisible yet vital process behindmyriad everyday and specialised objects. Despite its small size, Portugal is a leader in the area of precisionmanufacturing. And based on the vision of José Carlos Gomes, chief executive of local busi- ness GLN, the sector is not resting on its laurels. “My vision is to put sen- sors inside the moulds, connect themwith the injectionmachine and robotics, and then automate the entire process,” he says. “This is Industry 4.0 and we are investing in it because we believe it will be the ‘new normal’ for our sector.” Despite being a small tomedium-

sized enterprise, 42% of GLN’s capi- tal expenditure this year is dedicated to innovation. “Once you enter down this path, you must be willing to invest a lot,” says Mr Gomes. The firm has partnered with

research centres to develop products involving augmented reality. For example, GLN has collaborated with CEIIA, Portugal’s Centre of Engineering and Product Development, to create a surgical


helmet which allows doctors to view X-rays, communicate with col- leagues and—thanks to an air condi- tioning solution—keep cool during surgery.

TakingontheUS A start-up making waves internation- ally isDefinedCrowd, a one-stop- shop for training data for AI systems, including chatbots, virtual assistants and everything in-between. Founded by Portuguese-born Daniela Braga and headquartered in Seattle, DefinedCrowd collects data from more than 300,000 people spanning almost every country via its crowd- sourcing platformNeevo. “We collect our data following

best industry standards and using an interface that connects with people on a large scale,” says Ms Braga. “That gives us diverse and unbiased representation of demographics in the data, which is crucial to recog- nise individuals of different ethnici- ties and dialects.” It also means users are paid and fully-informed about howtheir data is used. Clients includeBMW, Mastercard

and IBM. For the latter, DefinedCrowd is improving speech recognition engines for its much- toutedWatson Assistant. This requires inputs that reflect the firm’s business clientele. “As a B2B company, we need to ensure the con-

Europe, South Americaandbeyond Another Portuguese tech firm with a truly global offering is Readiness IT, which helps businesses digitally transformtheir operations and improve customer experience. Just six years after setting up shop in three Portuguese cities, it has opened offices in Chile, NewZealand and Peru, and worked inmore than 50 countries. Its clients include Ericsson,

T-Mobile and Verizon, testament to Portugal’s telecoms expertise which is leveraged by 150-plus mobile operators worldwide. But Readiness IT is working with all sectors, serv- ing the likes of Hewlett-Packard, BMWand Oracle. One solution which chief execu-

tive Adérito Ferreira describes as a “game-changer” for one client is a so-called ‘omnichannel’ platform which gives retailers a single, holis- tic view of each account. “Any cus- tomer can now choose the buying channel that suits them best, and be assured that they will have a great customer experience,” he says. “It offers flexibility for our clients to reach newmarkets and custom- ers without having to support the costs with big call centres, back- offices or sales force.” Be it telecomservices ormachin-

ery, tech advancements are bringing Portuguese exports to the fore. “Dependence on the Chinese market is no longer amust,” says MTEX NS’s Mr Ferreira.“We can create the same valuable products here, and with all the assurances and precautions pro- vided by European law.”■ February/March 2021

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