Tag: software technology

YES!Delft at the Odyssey Hackathon 2019

As part of our partnership, YES!Delft visited the Odyssey Hackathon in Groningen, the largest AI and Blockchain hackathon in the world. Managing Director of YES!Delft The Hague Ras Lalmy, Technical Director for the Blockchain Focus Area Neil Smyth, Focus Area Manager for AI Noor Figdor attended the hackathon as jedis.

 

From Friday until Sunday, 100 teams battled it out 20 different challenges. In the 48 hours allotted, the teams looked for AI and Blockchain solutions for anything from Tokenizing Ecosystems to Crisis & Disaster Management. The ambitious challenges attracted many ambitious teams, of which our very own,  Circularise and Mythronics.

 

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Application deadline: April 22, 2019.

 

And the winner is….

Circularise is one of the startups that have moved to the YES!Delft The Hague. They are working on solving communication barriers in the value chain with blockchain technology to enable a circular economy. In Groningen, the Circularise team was victorious in the Tokenizing Ecosystems track.  They worked on visualizing investments in open source protocols for investors, and generating smart contracts that run the protocols, allocate transaction fees, and govern a voting system.

Mythronics, one of our Accelerator program alumni, was awarded the second place in the Fossil Free Future track! The team created a solution for households with solar panels to confidently certify their solar energy production and provide accurate insight for the entire ecosystem in household energy production.


“It’s great to see YES!Delft startups Circularise and Mythronics do so well at the Odyssey Hackathon. It has been a tremendous experience for everyone, a huge amount of positive energy from all kinds of participants who are driven to re-imagine how we solve societies challenges. Well done to Rutger and the team on bringing all the people together!

Neil Smyth, Technical Director for the Blockchain Focus Area

 

The power of team

For startups, the team is essential for success. This becomes even more clear in a pressure cooker environment like a hackathon. We spoke to Socialtec: a team of three colleagues, a family member of the team captain, and two other guys that flew in from Berlin. How is that for teamwork? They were part of the Inclusive Banking track developing a way to transition to a local, circular and inclusive economy.

 

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So instead of exchanging money for goods and services, their answer is an app where people can easily trade and asses their offerings. This means there would be an ecosystem that allows you to exchange whatever you have in abundance. We bartered a handful of our YES! bars with team captain Michiel for his pitch.

“All the offers on our network are available through blockchain. Because there is an issue in peer2peer networks because you cannot see the entire system. Therefore you have to centralize this information on some medium, so you can access it, but then who owns it? That’s where blockchain comes in. We put the offers on the blockchain so that it’s centralized in a decentralized way.  These are the words of our smart developer who was smiling when he was explaining it to us.”

Michiel Heij, SocialTec Team Captain

Another team that caught our attention were the Future Fire Fighters team, who only met in real life on the first day. Even though two team members that participated in the last year’s hackathon, this year they teamed up with one Italian girl and two Bulgarian guys. Their solution to help emergency responders make faster and safer decisions. Their solution was to collect and analyze information from both closed and open data streams. With this they won the Crisis & Disaster Management track.  

“The next step is to realize the potential in the teams and ideas from the hackathon. Here I believe that YES!Delft can play a key role with our proven startup Validation Labs together with our new Digital Hub in The Hague focused on AI and Blockchain.  Our goal is to make the Digital ecosystem in The Hague a vibrant reality – and these challenge winners are clear examples of ideas that we can help realise so I encourage them to apply for our upcoming AI/BC Validation Lab. An inspirational 5 days but only the first step!”

Neil Smyth, Technical Director for the Blockchain Focus Area

 

Apply to the AI/Blockchain Validation Lab

Application deadline: April 22, 2019.

Artificial intelligence: Enhancing people and businesses alike

Big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are no longer a vision of the future. In fact, they are already changing the way we go about our daily lives and work: from making processes more accurate and efficient, and deriving once-unthought-of insights, to developing life-changing applications. Their potential is undeniable and it is only bound to grow.

Tech startups, in particular, have identified and embraced this trend. Whether targeting business clients or end consumers, many of them have discovered the potential of machine learning and AI to bring unique value to the market.

AI for the maintenance industry

One of those startups is Dutch Analytics, a young company – co-founded by entrepreneurs Yannick Maltha, Jorick Naber and Victor Pereboom – that leverages machine learning and AI to help businesses improve their predictive maintenance capabilities.

Its innovative AI driven Predictive Maintenance platform collects and analyzes all types of data, providing users with quick and actionable insights about the state of their assets.

Dutch Analytics started in 2016 and grew out of a corporate-startup collaboration with BAM Infra Rail, a Dutch construction company, and with the support of the Venture Generator, a business bringing corporates and startups closer together. It is also a part of YES!Delft’s portfolio.

 The team’s decision to focus on machine learning and AI technology was largely based on the need of BAM Infra Rail to become more data-driven and efficient in optimizing their maintenance process.

“We live in an information-driven society,” Victor says. “There are large amounts of data that we need to measure, and AI enables us to squeeze more insights out of it.” That is especially true for businesses that deal with ever-growing amounts of data on a daily basis.

While many might see the deriving actionable output as their biggest challenge, Victor and his team think a few steps ahead: “The challenge is actually in getting the right input.”

Basing results on incomplete or not fully relevant data is as good as basing them on no data at all. Thus, Dutch Analytics – now a team of 13 – make sure that they are transparent with their clients and work hand-in-hand with them to collect, process and analyze their data. After all, the beauty of an AI platform is its ability to learn as more data comes in, so it’s crucial for it to be learning the right lessons.

 

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AI to help the visually impaired

Working closely with their customers is also AI startup Envision, part of YES!Delft’s community as well. Founded by entrepreneurial duo Karthik Mahadevan and Karthik Kannan, the company has developed an AI-powered tool that helps visually impaired people become more independent in their everyday lives.

It all started a few years back when Karthik M. visited a school for visually impaired children in India, and asked them about the biggest challenge they’re facing. The most common answer: to become more independent. That experience, together with a keen interest in AI, set him on a journey to find a solution. “I’m a designer,” he says. “Finding solutions is what I do.”

He teamed up with Karthik K. and in early 2017, they laid the foundation of Envision. In only a year, they have developed software that can be applied to a number of different platforms and is currently available as a smartphone app. With it, visually impaired people can use their phone to take pictures of objects, people or scenes, and immediately understand what is in front of or around them. In their own language, too.

As the technology is based on AI, users can tag objects and faces, thus teaching the app to automatically recognize their personal belongings, as well as family, friends, and more.

“The market has shown that they need an intuitive design,” Karthik M. says. In making that possible, the two founders spent a lot of time observing how visually impaired people use the app.

“A lot of them operate it with voice, so audio output turned out to be very important,” Kathik K. adds. “That was something we learned along the way and made sure to adapt to.” As a result of catering to the specific needs of their customers, Envision has been enjoying an increasing number of users every month.

While AI has great potential in improving people’s lives and enhancing business processes alike, it is still largely dependent on human knowledge and interaction. Startups understand that and are ready to build a future where people and technology work hand-in-hand to make each other better.

 

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