50 Best Companies to Watch 2021
BRISA is a diversified portfolio company comprising customized software development, software integration, software testing, and automated phone-based services. Since its inception in 1988, the company has been providing business solutions and communication technology services through the development of strategic and technical projects.
Based in Orlando, Florida, the company leverages almost 30 years of experience with over 20,000 projects, over 10 million test cases, and projects in more than 20 countries. In 2016, BRISA expanded to the United States with BRISA America Corp
Interview Excerpt: Paulo Toledo, Founder & CEO
Q. Where does BRISA America Corp currently stand in the global AI industry?
BRISA is a company dedicated to the creation of technological solutions for its customers. AI is on our agenda in every challenge our clients trust us. We employ AI from hotel automation solutions to software testing automation. The challenge of projecting 3D images on non-flat surfaces is another good example of a project BRISA considered the use of AI to benefit one of our international clients.
Q. One of the biggest barriers to businesses when it comes to investing in any advanced technology is the cost. How affordable are your automation and AI solutions?
BRISA recognizes this barrier and has different approaches if our client is a major technology supplier, which will resell and multiply the solution created by BRISA, or if it is a smaller company that will be the final consumer of the solution created by our company.
For large companies, such as EPSON, LG, TOLEDO, etc., which use BRISA solutions to add value to their own offerings, our approach is to create differentiation that overcomes the competition, without losing sight of the economics of the project, in order to provide our customers with opportunities to multiply the amounts invested.
Likewise, the concern with economics and affordability also does not escape BRISA’s attention when we deal with the service for customers who are final consumers of the technological solutions. In these cases, like front-desk automation and automation of other functions of the hospitality and property management industry, BRISA’s offerings, without losing sight of the necessary competitive differentiation, are packaged in a ‘software-as-a-service’ approach. So that the most advanced technologies, such as the use of AI to correlate the guest’s image with the ID picture, and the name written on a credit card with the ID different spelling of this same name, are offered at very affordable unit costs, even to small hotels or property management companies.
Q. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated and are equally automated. How do you help your clients fight fire with fire?
The image of fighting fire with fire is excellent for designating what can be described as an endless race against fraud and criminal acts becoming increasingly automated and sophisticated. For every new threat or unwanted event, measures are taken to neutralize the new mode of attack, preventing losses for our customers.
AI has helped a lot in creating robust solutions that block criminal actions, such as the aforementioned guest recognition service, which fights one of the most common frauds in hotels and property management companies: the charge-back after the fraudster had taken advantage of the facilities and services offered and has used a card that was not her/his for payment.
The good news on this front is that most frauds use very simple techniques, which can easily be prevented by adopting the technologies already available today, associated with well-designed business processes.
Q. An automated check only checks what has been programmed to check. How can the tests be more dynamic and versatile?
When the programming of what should be checked or tested is done well, this already helps prevent most problems. AI and machine learning techniques can also be used to improve the checking systems dynamically so that they become even more empowered over time and experience.
At BRISA, on the other hand, we believe that human talent is irreplaceable, so that in many situations, we complement the tests/checks performed with a human review, or from time to time, we improve the standards of automated tests, in order to obtain a continuous evolution.
Q. Because AI is an emerging technology, there are few who contain the skills or training necessary for AI development. How do you source people with the right skills?
At BRISA, we do AI sourcing in the same way that we do sourcing for any other area of specialization that we operate, such as targeted recruitment, training, and incentives for the continuous improvement of our employees, including supporting the costs of masters and doctorates, of those employees who accept the challenge of specializing at a very high level.
Q. Talking about lack of business alignment, many companies jump to AI adoption without a clear strategy. And lack of AI know-how may hinder long-term success. Do you help your clients set their objectives and develop an adoption strategy?
Any new technology that a company decides to adopt must be aligned with its strategy and business plan. It’s a big mistake to elect and introduce a new technology just because it has become fashionable.
At BRISA, we believe that the discussion of a new project needs to start by understanding the company’s business objectives, going through the analysis of technological alternatives to enable such objectives, and only then deciding on the technological blocks used in the solution construction.
When man began to conquer space, the ballpoint pen was a great advance to allow notes to be taken in the absence of gravity. But the solution adopted by the Russians, who used the well-known pencil for this function, also met the business objectives at extremely more economical costs.
In those situations that AI proves to be the most appropriate solution, in many cases BRISA is requested to get involved in helping the acculturation of our customers on what this technology means. AI is still surrounded by a futuristic image that no longer describes the current conditions of availability and its very affordable costs.
Q. Experts predict that the failure of trusted algorithms is bound to happen. How can you make your solution foolproof?
Preventing failures is a requirement of technology providers, and there are established techniques to minimize this type of incident. Competently testing new systems before putting them into production and accessible to end-users is one of them.
On the other hand, no solution is eternal or time-proof. The competitiveness of companies is an endless race, where at all times, someone is seeking to create or obtain competitive advantages against their competitors.
Just as the most unbelievable Olympic records end up being beaten by other athletes, over time, so do the most incredible technological solutions. There will always be a moment that someone will come up with a new idea, even more incredible than the previous one, with the potential to transform what was once unbeatable into something simply outdated.
And the only way to fight this inevitable obsolescence of technological solutions that bring advantages to your company is to be yourself the forerunner of innovation that will replace it.
So here is my recommendation: never get in the way, always try to be up to date concerning new ideas and technologies, which come up every day.
Try, without fear of making mistakes, and do not waste time, because the competition that wants to overcome you comes with a lot of speed most of the time, without giving any advance warnings.
The Leader Upfront
Paulo Toledo is the founder and serves as the Chief Executive Officer of BRISA. He is an international serial entrepreneur, technology enthusiast, and true “world citizen” with ventures in many areas and countries. He is an electronic engineer with a specialization in digital communications and also holds an MBA degree. Mr. Toledo started his engineering career in 1983. In 1988, he participated in the inauguration of BRISA as its first Executive Director. In 2016, Mr. Toledo started BRISA America, where he is the current President and Global CEO for the BRISA Group. He is also a visiting professor and a Consultative Committee Member at Fundacao Dom Cabral, ranked top 10 business schools in the world by Financial Times.