INESC TEC seeks to help companies embrace digital transformation at lower costs
Digital transition, innovation, business empowerment, financing, disruptive technologies; and a certainty: 2024 will be a year of opportunities for companies that are willing to take risks. Close to 100 participants gathered at Palácio do Freixo to get to know ATTRACT project, coordinated by INESC TEC.
08th February 2024
The event brought together several experts on the subject, with the outlook of other entities like ANI – National Innovation Agency, the European Commission’s DG CNEt, the Norte Portugal Regional Coordination and Development Commission (CCDR-N), EDIH Südwestfalen, PRODUTECH DIH, the University of Minho, and the companies Celoplás and Inductiva Research Labs. The event featured several debate sessions around the same idea: companies must join forces to find solutions and explore the financing opportunities within the scope of ATTRACT.
The company Celoplás has been using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for 20 years and is a good example of the impact that this transformation has had on the production process, making it more efficient and effective to compete in the market, according to Ana Cortez. Sérgio Santos, from Inductiva Labs, said that “the technology area is very noisy” and seeking specialised help from an entity that dominates the subject facilitates the process. At the University of Minho, the Department of Polymer Engineering – in partnership with a German company – uses High Performance Computing (HPC) to study the oral cavity and develop pacifiers, making it possible to test hundreds of solutions in just one day. Yet another example of how technology applied to an industry can substantially improve computing ability.
Changes that require an effort from companies, but that raise a question: what is the cost of not embracing the digital transition? “ATTRACT is the result of more than three years of work; this consortium welcomes a group of entities with a broad variety of competences and services that creates value to the ecosystem, being able to provide these services to the market under very attractive conditions. Digital transformation and the application of technology to the production processes of companies is essential; this investment will bring positive results in the medium-term”, explained Vasco Teles, INESC TEC researcher and project manager.
The ATTRACT project encompasses several services: training and qualification through expository sessions, like webinars and workshops; training and mentoring sessions around new business models; co-creation laboratories, and digital maturity assessment in AI and HPC. However, and as explained by Guilherme Pereira (DSPA) and Emanuel Gouveia (DTx CoLAB), the golden rule is “test before invest”, assessing the digital maturity of companies.
From paper to practice, Robert Fischbach (EDIH Südwestfalen) and Pedro Rocha (PRODUTECH DIH) talked about the work they already do on the ground. The German EDIH is committed to helping local companies, especially in the automotive industry, seeking to put people at the centre of the process, while the Portuguese DIH provides services to companies from various sectors, supporting the development and application of digital solutions, focusing on financing. In both cases, the hubs provide personalised services to companies, collaborating with different network partners.
“ATTRACT collaborates with a network with other EDIH, and companies can benefit from these synergies. In other words, we ensure solid bases of national and international collaboration with experienced partners in various sectors, meaning that we are even more qualified to support companies in creating solutions to their issues”, said Vasco Teles.
ATTRACT brings together 24 major national technology and innovation partners who seek to collaborate and support national companies and Public Administration in digital acceleration, with emphasis on AI and HPC solutions.