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Carles Gómara Director of Innovation at the Catalan Agency for Business Competitiveness ACCIO, gave his perspective on ongoing digitalization, which is changing our society rapidly. He used the analogy of the rabbit and the turtoise, to emphasize that however fast technology is evolving, adaptation is always lagging behind. This is true for many technology trends, which we now call big data, artificial intelligence and internet of things, but have in fact been around for a very long time.

 

Using the examples of several “smart home” applications, such as a smart washing machine, Carles questioned the necessity of all this technology in our daily lives. A question that is not always asked at a side-event of a technology conference such as MWC. Without drawing conclusions Carles shared many real-life examples for the audience to consider, adding that like with many things in life “we need time”.

Security issues of IoT

Ernst Bovelander, CEO of Delft-based Brightsight discussed high assurance security evaluations, which is Brightsight’s core business. Many chips, which are used in for instance creditcards, cellphones and passports, have to comply with the highest security regulations, which Brighsight validates. Ernst stressed the importance of securing all household internet of things solutions. Even in the most basic examples such as connected doorbells, a lot of easily hackable technology is involved. Ernst gave a couple of additional examples, and the implications for the 50 billion connected devides that are expected to be operational around 2030. In general Ernst stressed that the security aspect of IoT should not be underestimated. Even as consumers, we should be aware of the risks of poorly secured devices that will be around us more and more.

Dialogue with consumers will be the user interface of the future – Jorge Marquez Moreno, Head of user experience design at Everis

Brightsight is the number one security evaluation lab in the world. It is fair to call Brightsight a global company, as 99% of their customers are based outside the Netherlands and their 170 employees come from 30 different countries. In addition to their head office in Delft, they recently set up an R&D office in Barcelona, where they are quickly expanding.

Jorge Marquez Moreno, Head of user experience design at Everis shared his “AI fears & cheers research” – which was conducted at Everis’ R&D lab in Barcelona. Jorge and his team interviewed end-users about how they experience technology. “We can learn best how to optimize AI-based consumer products by interviewing actual people. Dialogue with consumers will be the user interface of the future”, Jorge argued.

Everis found that consumers’ opinions on AI are heavily influenced by the media. Negative examples such as those of self-driving cars being involved in fatal accidents, or Cambridge Analytica abusing Facebook data to manipulate the democratic process, will stick more than the great services that e.g. Netflix and Spotify provides using AI. On the other hand, Everis found that consumers will cheer for AI when it makes life easier, and even more when it really improves the quality of, or even saves their life, but that the attitude changes when people fear that AI/machines will take over. This fear is especially emerging when AI is perceived to replace human interaction, emotional intelligence and judgement. For example, many people feel ‘tricked’ when they find out they have been talking to an AI- based chatbot in stead of a human. This demonstrates the importance of creating awareness about AI and making consumers understand how they can benefit from this technology.

On behalf of ACCIO and InnovationQuarter, we would like to thank all the amazing speakers and all our Dutch, Catalan and international visitors and partners. It was geat to see the networking taking place, further strengthening the ties between Catalunya and the Netherlands.

MWC Barcelona

At MWC, InnovationQuarter was part of the Holland Pavillion, which was hosted by Enterprise Summit. The Dutch have a great presence at MWC, which made this a great timing for the Dutch-Catalan meetup. We will be at MWC untill Thursday, so if you are looking for opportunities in (West) Holland, find us in in Hall 7.

Brightsight

Brightsight is a Delft- and Barcelona- based company, that offers security evaluations and certificates on behalf of major payment schemes and industry organisations worldwide to ensure the right level of security. These services are provided to IC manufacturers, (embedded) secure device manufacturers, card suppliers and service providers.

Brightsight is a knowledge-based company. Our international team of experts stay up to date with the latest technologies and requirements to ensure the most reliable and efficient evaluation process possible for our customers.

Everis

Everis is a large family with 21,000 professionals across Europe, USA and Latin America. The company has recently set up a Dutch office.

In 2014 everis joined NTT DATA Group, the sixth-largest IT services company in the world with 100,000 professionals and with offices in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America and North America.

Above all, everis believes in its people, their ongoing development and their talent. We are firmly committed to talent and our main goal is to nurture high performing professionals by creating an environment of responsible freedom.

Meet Catalonia Trade & Investment

Catalonia Trade & Investment is the Catalan Government agency for foreign investment and business competitiveness. It promotes innovation, internationalisation, trade and funding of Catalan companies and startups. It also organizes trade missions in countries chosen strategically for their business and technology cooperation opportunities.

In addition, it offers specialised one-stop-shop services to international investors and corporations, attracting foreign direct investment to Barcelona and Catalonia. Headquartered in Barcelona, Catalonia Trade & Investment operates from 40 offices around the world, covering over 100 markets.

Meet InnovationQuarter

InnovationQuarter is the economic development agency for West Holland.

InnovationQuarter finances innovative and fast-growing companies, assists international companies in establishing their businesses in West Holland, and facilitates (international) collaboration between innovative entrepreneurs, knowledge institutes and government.

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X-systems opens office at The Hague Security Delta Campus

Many companies are unaware of existing vulnerabilities and cyberthreats in their ICT infrastructure. X-Systems offers companies tools and methods to improve their cybersecurity, ranging from highly customized applications to simple measures that increase resilience. Maximum performance at minimum risks in accordance with the wishes.

Devices are being connected to ICT-networks in growing numbers. Because many of these devices are insufficiently secured at their core, they cause vulnerabilities to cyber attacks, criminals and spies in entire ICT networks. Cyber criminals can enter most organizations within a few days, by simply spoofing (duplicating) the WIFI network and gain access to all company and personal data without the company noticing the attack.

Launch of XECURE.ME platform

At the Mobile World Congress, X-Systems celebrated the launch of its platform XECURE.ME, where organizations are introduced to IoT security architects. John Meyers, CTO at X-SYSTEMS: “XECURE.ME users have a secure ICT architecture, preventing cyberattacks. This is essential, since the cost of undoing a cyber attack ranges from several hundred thousands to millions of euro’s, not to mention system failures, fines and reputation damage”.

Chris van Voorden, head of Foreign Investments at InnovationQuarter:

”We are very pleased to welcome X-Systems at The Hague Security Delta. With ongoing digitalization, and everything becoming mobile and interconnected, infrastructures are becoming more and more dependent on Internet of Things. Security is a very important aspect, which X-Systems helps companies to tackle. Because of this, we believe X-Systems will contribute to our ecosystem and a safer future.”

The Hague is renowned for its international position as the City of Peace, Justice & Security. It provides X-Systems with a prosperous business environment near its main customers. Furthermore, X-Systems’ membership with The Hague Security Delta (HSD) positions it at the centre of Europe’s leading security cluster. HSD is a community of companies, government organisations and knowledge institutes, who serve as a new market for foreign companies and as a platform to create new (innovative) initiatives. Home to this cluster is the HSD Campus: the innovation centre for the security industry, with living labs, training facilities, flexible office space and meeting rooms.

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In Rotterdam, Leiden en Delft almost 60 representatives took part in an intensive programme with the ambition to learn, connect and cooperate. Their meetings covered innovations in medtech healthcare, biomedical engineering, automated transport and sustainable mobility. 

Life Sciences & Health programme 

Rotterdam 

At the Life Sciences & Health hub in the Rotterdam Science Tower, the delegation was introduced to the West Holland Life Sciences and Health cluster and discovered why more and more (international) medtech companies choose Rotterdam as their European base.  

How companies and governments work together on the medicine of the future within the Medical Delta scientific programmes, was explained by Prof. Dr. Ir. Ton van der Steen, head of Biomedical Engineering at institutes Medical Center and chairman of Medical Delta.  Medical Delta is a network of life sciences, health and technology organizations driven by the cooperation between Leiden University, Erasmus University, Technical University of Delft, Erasmus Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center.  

From a regional perspective the topic moved into healthcare innovations happening in and around the Erasmus Medical Center. Nathalie Popken from the Erasmus MC Technology Transfer Office gave examples of different healthcare innovations that often emerge from the working floor of the hospital. One example is the robotic bedwash-central that reduces the amount of water needed to clean a hospital bed from 30 to 6 liters and greatly reduces the amount of chemicals.  

3 Rotterdam companies presented their innovations to the delegation;  

  • Rotterdam Science Tower residents Omnigen, a bioinformatics company doing biomarker discovery and DNA testing for business and consumers;  
  • SurGuide , a medical device company aiming at improving cancer care by supporting oncologic surgeons in their strife for complete tumor removal.  
  • Australian medtech productdesign company IDE recently started their European office in Rotterdam and explained how they develop new healthcare innovations and start-ups together to build better futures for patients.  

Delft 

In Delft, the group visited the world-renowned business incubator YES!Delft, where they met with representatives from Delft University of Technology, YES!Delft and several companies. During a lunch-and-learn session they learned about the TU Delft Health Initiative, RoboValley, and the work performed by the Biomechanical Engineering group of the faculty 3ME. Lastly, the group had a tour in the incubator itself, and learned about how the Delft School of Incubation is brought into practice.  

Leiden 

After the tour in Rotterdam and Delft the Four Motors delegation visited the Leiden Bio Science Park. Pieter Reitsma, Founder of VarmX, and Niall Hodgins, CEO of SeraNovo, presented their exciting startup companies. The delegation toured the Biopartner flexible office and lab facilities and  the day ended with networking drinks before heading to the airport.    

Mobility programme 

The Mobility delegation started in the morning at CIC in Rotterdam. Quirijn Oudshoorn (Municipality of Rotterdam) informed the delegation about the status and future plans of the city of Rotterdam with regard to electric mobility. The city is not only looking for more, but also better and smarter solutions and is setting up pilots to test new solutions such as wireless charging and plaza’s with multiple chargepoints. In order to work with startups that have good solutions improve mobility in the city, Rotterdam has set up the Rotterdam Mobility Lab. This platform provides startups with a good solution for urban mobilty a chance to test. Niki Sie of Juuve, one of the alumni of the program informed the delegation of the shared mobility solution the company provides. Their solution provides easy access to users for make use of a car without owning one, thereby also reducing the amount of vehicles in a city.    

Next stop: the Park Shuttle at Rivium Business park. Here they have been making use of autonomous shuttles for public transport for 20 years. This was the first, and until now, the only place to do this in the world. The project is aiming to expand the area it covers and the plans for expansion were shared with the delegation. A rare view into the control room was also provided in order give the delegation a complete insight into the operation of the shuttle.    

 

Lunch was enjoyed at Connekt in Delft. Tom van Dam of this network organization for smart and sustainable mobility gave an explanation on their work. With their extensive member base, Connekt is able to provide valuable contacts in the Dutch market for the Four Motors delegation. As Connekt also works at providing the Dutch mobility sector a platform in other markets via the Smart Mobility Embassy (SME), Jose Oudijk of Connekt explained the role of SME. After lunch the delegation moved to the Green Village at the TU Delft. At the Green Village the Researchlab Autonomous Driving Delft (RADD) performs research, but is also able to provide a testing area for autonomous transport. Rissan Slaghek explained what the focus is of RADD and the research topics they are working on. As the region is keen to implement these solutions, Britt Doornekamp of MRDH (Metropolitan Region Rotterdam The Hague) explained how the regional authorities are backing these initiatives through policy and with financial means.  

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There are high expectations of the quantum computer: it should enable us to perform calculations that we cannot do with current technology. “I am thinking of intricate global climate change models, for example, or models of the immune system’s capability to destroy cancer cells”, said Rector Magnificus Tim van der Hagen during the opening. “We can also use quantum technology to make inherently secure internet connections.”

Joint effort

Delivering on these promises will require major investments in money, time and effort in the coming years. “The development of the quantum computer requires a joint effort from science, government and industry”, says Ronald Hanson, scientific director of QuTech. “We are very pleased with the support we receive from the Dutch government, but even more cooperation – at national and international level – is certainly needed in the coming years.”

Cooperation with industry is essential in this respect, which is why TU Delft and TNO are pleased with the arrival of the Microsoft Quantum Lab on campus. “In Delft, we are building an innovation ecosystem around quantum technology, a Quantum Campus, where all parties will join forces to realise the quantum computer and the quantum internet”, says Hanson.

Building blocks

The Microsoft Quantum Lab will be working on qubits – the building blocks of quantum computers – based on majorana particles. This will be done under the leadership of Leo Kouwenhoven, who found the first evidence of the elusive majorana particle in 2012 at TU Delft. Majorana-based qubits are one of the three roadmaps QuTech is working on. Hanson: “Majorana particles are a potential candidate for qubits, and in this area we are collaborating closely with Microsoft. We are also working with other partners on other options for making qubits, for example with nitrogen atoms in diamond or with currents in superconducting circuits. The interaction between the different groups, and the exchange of knowledge between the various roadmaps make Delft an important place for quantum research. This position has been strengthened further with the establishment of the Microsoft lab.”

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 InnovationQuarter investeert in duurzame ruimtevaartinnovaties van Dawn Aerospace
Foto Remco Zwinkels

Dawn Aerospace was founded in 2016 by Jeroen Wink, Stefan Powell, Robert Werner, Tobias Knop, and James Powell and has locations in Delft and New Zealand. The company is a spin-off from the TU Delft and part of the YES!Delft and StarBurst accelerator programmes. Dawn Aerospace is developing a reusable rocket for satellite launches as well as propulsion systems (thrusters) that are powered by non-toxic gasses. The rocket, also called ‘spaceplane’, will fly autonomously and can enter space several times a day, bringing small satellites into orbit around the earth.

Sustainable space innovations

Dawn Aerospace previously received MIT funding, a subsidy scheme set up by the Province of Zuid-Holland and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, to stimulate regional SMEs to develop new innovative products and services. This grant was used for the early stage development of their innovative thruster and Mk-II spaceplane. The spaceplane was successfully tested in August 2018 and an official launch of the Mk-II is expected in 2020.

Jeroen Wink, CEO Dawn Aerospace:

“In these incredibly exciting times for the space industry, the Mk-II Spaceplane will be the first in a series of reusable spacecraft that will radically change access to space”

Thrusters enable satellites to maneuver once they are in space. Adjustments may be necessary during the lifespan of the satellite, but the thrusters can also be used to push the satellite out of orbit at the end of its life cycle, avoiding space debris. Unlike conventional propulsion systems, which use hydrazine, the Dawn Aerospace thrusters are powered by a combination of widely available non-toxic gases. This makes the thrusters much more applicable, while maintaining the advantages chemically powered thrusters have over electric alternatives. The first thruster is scheduled to be launched from French Guyana in July 2019. A second launch, in cooperation with Dutch satellite company Hiber, will include the MIT-funded system and is planned for October 2019.

New opportunities for the transforming New Space Industry

The thruster technology is used to develop the spaceplane, which will launch small satellites in a more flexible, faster and cost-effective way. This is yet an unfulfilled gap in the ever growing market for small satellites for which Dawn Aerospace will offer a solution.

Francis Quint, head of InnovationQuarter Capital:

“This investment allows Dawn Aerospace to take the next steps in the development of their spaceplane, which enables faster, more cost-effective and greener satellite launches. We expect Dawn Aerospace to develop into a fast growing and important player within the West Holland aerospace cluster.

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Numerous inspections between field and fork

Every year in the Netherlands, around 5.400 million kg of vegetables and 650 million kg of fruit is produced. Before a particular vegetable or piece of fruit reaches its final point of sale, it’s been through various sets of hands to guarantee its quality and to sort it into the right quality class. The vegetable is scrutinized manually on deviations in color and shape, and blemishes or damages. All because the standards and norms as set by supermarkets and other retailers are unrelenting and high. Inspection of the produce to guarantee its quality is vital, but the current manual inspections are prone to error and demand a capacity in personnel that is becoming increasingly hard to meet in a sector where staff turnover rates are high.

Gearbox’ solution: an AI-driven grading robot

Gearbox Innovations saw the added value for the different elements of the value chain if both quality control and grading were to become more reliable, more consistent, and faster. The company developed the GearVision Inspector, a stand-alone smart grading robot that is able to deliver a thorough quality analysis, and the GearVision Sorter, an in-line solution to optimally sort the produce according to its quality. The two machines combine vision technology with artificial intelligence to be able to quickly but accurately grade and consequently sort fresh fruit and vegetables. This provides the complete supply chain, from the breeder to the packaging company, with a futureproof approach to quality control that is tailored to their specific needs and requirements. A thorough report provides actionable insights on how to increase the produce’s quality. With the digitization of the grading process, a transition towards fully automated sorting and packaging of fruit and vegetables lies within reach.

Gearbox ontwikkelt digitale keurmeester voor groente en fruit met investering van UNIIQ

Gearbox Innovation will use the UNIIQ investment to further develop the GearVision, unlocking more product varieties and applications, and to expand their activities to foreign markets. Simone Keijzer, together with Johan Kreeft founder of Gearbox Innovations, is very pleased with the investment by UNIIQ:

The GearVision allows the sector to increase both the coverage ratio and the consistency of their grading processes, while taking into account their specific wishes and ‘product recipes’. Our actionable reports create insight in growth- and harvesting data, allowing the grower to actively steer towards a higher qualitative output, and ultimately better yields. With the UNIIQ investment we can expand the GearVision’s crop- and productportfolio, and roll out the innovation internationally.

Liduina Hammer, UNIIQ fund manager: “Gearbox’ intelligent automation solution represents an important step for the entire horticultural value chain. We are very pleased that with our investment, Gearbox can help individual companies in the supply- and value chain optimize their performance. Zooming out, the automation of the grading process of fruit and vegetables fits with the developments and trends we see in the sector as a whole.”

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High pressure on shipping to reduce air pollution

On average, seagoing ships consume 30,000 litres of fuel oil a day, which amounts to 40-50% of a ship’s total operating costs. The maritime industry is under pressure to greatly reduce air pollution and international requirements for monitoring and cutting CO2 emissions in the industry have recently been tightened. New regulations, effective from January 2020, will result in an expected 70% increase in fuel costs as many ships will have to switch to cleaner, more expensive fuels. Legislative authorities have also imposed designated emission-controlled areas (ECA) for shipping.

Monitoring, analysing and optimising fuel efficiency

Delft startup We4Sea analyses and reports fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions from seagoing ships based on a unique Digital Twin concept. The collected data is analysed and then used to minimise fuel consumption. Ship speed, draft and water depth form part of the analyses as well as wind, waves and currents. The ships are monitored remotely using simulation models. Unlike its competitors, We4Sea can do this without hardware by using the Digital Twin.

As the only company with this technologyWith this software-only technology, We4Sea can therefore provide extremely accurate calculations of a ship’s fuel use and emissions to parties that do not have direct access to the ship, such as charterers and providers of ship finance. For a ship with average fuel consumption, savings can easily add up to thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions and tens of thousands of euros a year.

1 miljoen ton CO2 besparen in de scheepvaart - ENERGIIQ investeert in We4Sea

In 2016, Michiel Katgert and Dan Veen founded their company We4Sea – incubated as part of YES!Delft’s Port Innovation Lab growth programme – based on the conviction that ships should operate more efficiently and sustainably. This investment will enable them to accelerate the development and roll out of their platform.

Dan Veen, CEO and co-founder of We4Sea:

We’re proud of the growth achieved in recent years, but there’s still a wealth of opportunities that will help us improve our product, connect with more customers and expand the market. This is in line with our mission to prevent one million tonnes of CO2 emissions from shipping.

Nienke Vledder, ENERGIIQ fund manager: “ENERGIIQ is delighted to congratulate We4Sea with the growth investment it has secured through Mainport Innovation Fund II, angel investors and ENERGIIQ. We4Sea’s Digital Twin offers customers transparency in fuel consumption, helps them drastically reduce CO2 emissions drastically and leads to significant cost savings.”

ENERGIIQ is the energy fund of the province of Zuid-Holland and is managed by InnovationQuarter.

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Minister Wiebes of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy: “These results once again confirm that foreign companies are important to our globally operating country. Around one million people work for foreign companies in the Netherlands and an additional half-million work indirectly for these companies as suppliers, particularly in SMEs. Due to the growing international uncertainty surrounding Brexit and changing global trade policies, the importance of a good Dutch business climate for all of us is continually increasing.”

The work of the NFIA falls partly under the responsibility of the Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Sigrid Kaag: “The impending Brexit and tensions around international trade provide opportunities for Dutch companies. Our companies are innovative, flexible and adapt to this changing market. Furthermore, the Netherlands’ position as a stable economic hub is also attractive to foreign companies. This position will only be further strengthened. It is positive that this is reflected in the approximately 10,000 newly-created jobs in 2018.”

These results once again confirm that foreign companies are important to our globally operating country – Minister Wiebes of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy

From headquarters to R&D

The NFIA is responsible for 8,475 out of the 9,847 jobs created by the Invest in Holland network. In 2018, the NFIA managed to attract 248 foreign investment projects to the Netherlands, which collectively account for 2.76 billion euros in investments. The annual results also show that the majority of new jobs are created within headquarters (2,259), followed by marketing & sales offices (1,834), distribution centers (1,053), service centers (977), production sites (884) and R&D locations (755). As illustration, sports media company DAZN established a development center in Amsterdam, Giant and Timberland expanded their European distribution locations (in Lelystad and Almelo respectively) and Mitsui Chemicals committed to producing plastics at the Chemelot Campus in Limburg.

The majority of ‘foreign jobs’ are, as in 2017, created by US companies. In 2018, this accounted for 3,185 jobs, with a total accompanying investment of 1.19 billion euros. Following the US is the United Kingdom (1,596 jobs), then China (614 jobs), Japan (580 jobs) and Germany (300 jobs).

More Brexit companies

In 2018, the Invest in Holland network brought 42 companies to the Netherlands as a result of Brexit, accounting for 1,923 jobs and some 291 million euros in investments. Companies signaling expansion of their offices in the Netherlands partly due to Brexit , include the Japanese investment bank Norinchukin and media company TVT Media. Financial services providers MarketAxess and Azimo, and maritime insurer UK P&I all announced office openings in our country last year,  due to  Brexit as well. The relocation of the European Medicines Agency(EMA) to Amsterdam, also supported by Invest in Holland, is included herein. In 2019, several companies, including Discovery and Bloomberg, have already announced their intention to invest in the Netherlands because of Brexit.

The number of companies relocating activities to our country due to Brexit has grown compared to 2017, during which 18 companies made a Brexit-related move to the Netherlands. Additionally, the NFIA is talking with more than 250 foreign companies considering setting up operations in the Netherlands following Brexit. These are predominantly British companies, but also American and Asian organizations that are reconsidering their current European structure due to uncertainties caused by Brexit. These include companies in the financial sector, media and advertising, life sciences & health and logistics. In addition to the Netherlands, these companies are also investigating options in other countries, including Germany, France and Ireland.

Since the establishment of the Invest in Holland network in 2015, the NFIA and its regional partners have attracted 1,402 companies to the Netherlands. This has resulted in a total direct inward investment of 8.1 billion euros and the creation of more than 43,000 jobs in the Netherlands. In addition to the NFIA, the Invest in Holland network comprises the regional development agencies: NOM, Oost NL, North-Holland North, amsterdam inbusiness, InnovationQuarter, The Hague Business Agency, Rotterdam Partners, Invest Utrecht, BOM, Invest in Zeeland, LIOF and HIDC.