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TELUS International Acquires Playment, Firmly Staking Its Leadership in the Global Data Annotation Market

  • Acquisition strengthens TELUS International’s ability to meet growing demand for diverse datasets that power artificial intelligence
  • Playment’s capabilities position TELUS International to support technology and large enterprise clients developing AI-powered solutions – from optimizing customer experiences for existing clients to new opportunities developing computer vision-powered applications across verticals

TELUS International, a leading digital customer experience (DCX) innovator that designs, builds and delivers next-generation solutions for global and disruptive brands, announced the acquisition of Bangalore-based Playment, a leader in data annotation and computer vision tools and services specialized in 2D and 3D image, video and LiDAR (light detection and ranging) – a remote sensing method that uses laser pulses to measure variable distances. The acquisition follows TELUS International’s recent purchase of Lionbridge AI and builds upon the company’s existing deep domain expertise and experience in data annotation, uniquely positioning TELUS International to support technology and large enterprise clients developing AI-powered solutions across a variety of vertical markets.

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“Standing still is not an option for any company in any industry, but developing and powering the innovations of tomorrow requires a large and continuous supply chain of high-quality image and video training data, which also happens to be the most significant bottleneck in AI development”

“We are very excited to welcome Playment and its highly engaged, world-class product and engineering team to our TELUS International family today. The acquisition will meaningfully accelerate our company’s computer vision capabilities and further bolster our position at the forefront of our global peers with respect to technology innovation, strategy excellence and talent,” said Jeff Puritt, president and CEO of TELUS International. “As one of the key enabling technologies for today’s advanced AI applications, computer vision is among the most revolutionary technologies of our generation with applications across every sector of the economy. The technology has become increasingly valuable to tech firms and the wider market as brands seek to uncover solutions for scenarios that typically require complex human judgement from visual and spatial patterns to solve nuanced business challenges, and build innovative, market-leading smart products and services.”

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The computer vision market is forecast to grow from nearly $16 billion in 2021 to more than $50 billion by 2026, according to an analysis by MarketsandMarkets. The technology is disrupting entire industries and driving transformational societal changes from supporting diagnoses in healthcare, to reducing fraud in banking, to improving e-commerce experiences through enhanced visual search features. In agriculture, for example, advanced farming processes powered by computer vision and AI can provide early and accurate detection and diagnosis of plant diseases based on a green-color ratio and other visual cues to reduce losses in crop yields. In harvesting, computer vision and AI systems can automatically grade and sort food items based on trained parameters, for example, in one fruit detection method, color cameras identify apples on trees that are ready to be picked, and additional stereo cameras detect their relative position for automatic harvesting by a robotic vacuum.

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“Standing still is not an option for any company in any industry, but developing and powering the innovations of tomorrow requires a large and continuous supply chain of high-quality image and video training data, which also happens to be the most significant bottleneck in AI development,” shared Puritt. “With the addition of Playment’s expertise, ingenuity and proprietary data annotation platform, TELUS International is more strongly positioned than ever to meet our clients’ current and future needs to support their ongoing growth and evolution. As we continue to expand and evolve as a team and as a company, our focus will remain on empowering our clients to meet the accelerated pace of change in today’s digital world and creating long-term value for our clients, shareholders, team members and the communities where we operate.”

Playment was founded in 2015 and received funding from Elevation Capital (formerly SAIF Partners) and Y Combinator in the early phases of its development. Playment provides fully managed data annotation services that include AI strategy consulting and a SaaS-based platform that transforms videos and images into high-quality annotated data to support a broad range of use cases, ranging from computer vision and data categorization to search relevance. With a focus on data security, user experience and efficiency, and by engaging India’s largest on-demand skilled and secure workforce, Playment has established a hyper-productive environment that delivers datasets faster than its competitors.

“We are thrilled to embark upon the exciting journey ahead with the TELUS International team to harness the full potential of computer vision technology and to advance our joint mission of expediting the AI age through our many partnerships with brands around the world,” said Siddharth Mall, co-founder and CEO of Playment. “We look forward to growing our engagements with existing clients and having the opportunity to work with others that are currently supported by TELUS International to demonstrate the art of the possible through our complementary add-on image, video and LiDAR data annotation capabilities and computer vision expertise. By amplifying our R&D efforts to further extend our product leadership in the industry, and leveraging TELUS International’s global presence to accelerate our go-to-market strategy, together we will help drive disruption across all industry verticals, including in automotive, retail, Internet of Things (IoT), financial services, healthcare, and agriculture.”

TELUS International operates in more than 25 countries around the world with a diverse, multilingual team of more than 50,000 team members, and a global AI Community of more than one million trained data annotators and linguists spread across six continents

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