In three months’ time, Expo 2020 will begin in the United Arab Emirates. For companies interested in the region, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Latvia, Hanana Halfana Obaid Ali Al Madhani, recommends active communication with prospective partners.
Hanana Halfana Obaid Ali Al Madhani, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Latvia, says that Expo 2020 has a strong focus on technology. Therefore, she believes it is a good opportunity for technology companies to showcase themselves. The Ambassador recommends taking part in various activities during Expo 2020 and scheduling meetings with potential partners. She is convinced that small countries also have the opportunity to make themselves known because entrepreneurs there are interested in building relationships with new partners. Thus, Hanana Halfana Obaid Ali Al Madhani recommends to research the companies that Latvian representatives would like to approach and actively communicate with them in the four months leading up to Expo 2020.
“The UAE is a launching pad for business development in the Middle East,” says Inga Ulmane, Head of the Representation of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia in the UAE.
To present oneself in the region, she recommends participating in Expo 2020, as well as in the visit of the President, which will also include a delegation of entrepreneurs. She also recommends that businesses register themselves as speakers at the various events taking place during the Expo.
The Pandemic Helps to Think More Globally.
At least 90 companies will participate in Expo 2020. These include Baltic3D, which sees great potential in the UAE.
“When people talk about Latvia’s most important export markets, they typically look to its neighbours: Scandinavia, Germany, the UK. The last 15 months have shown that new export markets can be developed without travelling to them. These changes make it possible to think much more globally. And Latvia needs to seize this opportunity,” says Didzis Dejus, co-founder of Baltic 3D.
Jānis Jātnieks, co-founder of Baltic 3D, mentions the doors of first-class seats on airplanes as an example of how 3D printing can help aviation. The original doors weigh one kilogram and contain more than 40 parts. “Baltic 3D offers a 50% lighter door, consisting of just one part. It meets industry requirements and regulations. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on supply chains. If aviation companies print this type of detail themselves, they are less dependent on their suppliers.”
The pandemic has had a profound impact on the aviation industry. Dejus believes that it needs to think about a better value proposition for passengers. “If a company wants to have more 3D printed parts on its planes in five years’ time, the innovation process has to start today. Such decisions require a lot of preparation that is not publicly visible, but this focus on working with companies early in the development of parts has allowed Baltic3D to now start working with several companies in the aviation industry,” says Dejus.
Baltic 3D is currently implementing three R&D projects in the aviation sector under the programmes “Support for the Development of New Products and Technologies Within Competence Centres” and “Practical Research”, while the associated company AM Craft has opened a new production facility under the programme Support for the Introduction of New Products into Production. The total investment to focus on the aviation industry in the period 2020–2022 will reach 4.2 million euros, of which 2.4 million is expected to be state aid. In 2016, the company attracted support from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism to establish the largest 3D printing centre in the Baltic States, wrote Labs of Latvia.
Hoping to Test Technologies in the UAE
Squad Robotics, which develops software for autonomous cleaning robots, is also interested in the UAE market. The company hopes to test its solutions in the region. Matīss Brunavs, co-founder of Squad Robotics, said that the robots might seem complicated, but they are not. It’s a machine that’s programmed to perform specific actions.
For now, robots work in controlled environments: in factories or at home, for example robotic vacuum cleaners. Brunavs is pleased that society is gradually getting used to them. He believes that the company will have a lot of opportunities when their number grows faster and they are used even more widely. A particularly interesting field of work will be when self-driving cars, which are also robots, appear on the streets.
“The challenge is to get several different robots to work together. For example, in a factory there is a production robot, while another robot cleans the floors. Until now, these individual systems did not know about each other and it was difficult to coordinate them. The software we have developed allows the different floor-cleaning robots to work as a team and complete the task more efficiently,” he says.
Although the company is registered in the UK, all research and development work takes place here in Latvia, where Squad Robotics has a team of 14 engineers.
To date, Squad Robotics has secured 1.1 million euros in support under the Practical Research programme, with two research and development projects taking place between 2020 and 2022. The company is currently in negotiations with private equity investors to attract investment.
Source: Labs of Latvia