Demcon data driven solutions: ‘Major projects are already underway in the US and Asia, and new ones are in the making’


Data and data analytics, every company wants to get involved and many see it as a golden solution. Demcon data driven solutions, a new branch within Demcon that has been in operation since 1 January 2023, develops algorithms for companies based on purchased, available or – and this is where they make a difference – synthetic data, plus the entire system surrounding it. In all cases, the customer’s use case comes first: Does the desired solution contribute to the strategy and does it truly deliver added value for the customer?

‘We deliberately opted to kick off with a senior team, all boasting ten to thirty years of experience. Customer experience, market experience and machine learning knowledge. All this aimed to ensure we are a mature and valuable player at the customer’s table from the start’, managing director David van Rijlaarsdam explains. Photos: Demcon

New Demcon data driven solutions proposition has had a promising year

Within Demcon data driven solutions, the same business model applies as in the fellow design houses at Demcon. It develops products for third parties: software, hardware, or a combination thereof, and, in this case, primarily algorithms. ‘The IP we develop is then transferred to that third party and we are paid for our hours and other peripheral matters. The exception to this is synthetic data. In addition to the knowledge and skills of our people, we also sell computer-generated images for training machine vision models’, David Rijlaarsdam, managing director of Demcon data driven solutions explains. ‘In that case, the customer does receive the data plus an explanation of how we create that data, but he doesn’t become the owner of the pipeline with which that data is generated.’

Although Demcon data driven solutions is not the only company that provides synthetic data, generating sensor images is technology that few, if any, can offer. ‘I’ve been in this business for a quarter of a century and have never seen anything like it before. With tabular data yes, which involves generating data from people as well, but we’re really making a difference in this area’, Marnix Zoutenbier says. He is CTO at Demcon data driven solutions and joined Demcon at the beginning of last year, coming from CQM, a consultancy firm in data science and advanced analytics where he worked for almost 25 years.

Realistic footage
With the generator technology that Demcon data driven solutions has at its disposal, it is possible to create very realistic images of all kinds of so-called procedural, modulated objects: from strawberries to parts of the human body. ‘We already had that knowledge and we noticed an increasing demand for machine vision from customers. However, there was a shortage of annotated data: pictures with text about what they show. We recognised this as a new value proposition’, Rijlaarsdam says.

Generating sensor images is a piece of technology that few, if any, can offer.


What also helps, of course, is that Demcon Group has thirty years of experience in system engineering, has been involved in machine vision for twenty years and has been working on broadening and deepening the field of non-vision models for about ten years. ‘We’ve also consciously opted for a senior team, which now consists of seven people. All boasting ten to thirty years of experience. Customer experience, market experience and knowledge of machine learning’, Rijlaarsdam says. ‘That’s why Marnix came on board and recently someone joined with mainly medical experience. All this aimed to ensure we are a mature and valuable player at the customer’s table.’

Three tracks
The three data types – purchased, available or synthetic – which Demcon data driven solutions work with are reflected in recent projects. ‘We’re doing a large project in Asia, in which the customer purchases data from a third party. At that point, they’re not yet ready for use to train models, we do that. A second scenario, for example, is collaboration with a hospital. The data is annotated by doctors which then serves as departure point’, Rijlaarsdam explains. ‘The third option is that we create data on request, in this case for a university hospital. Experts tell us what wounds on diabetic feet look like and we create a procedural model with which you can make many variations to train such a model.’

Ultimately, this benefits the patient, Zoutenbier says. ‘For such an algorithm to work properly, you first have to assess many photos of diabetics’ feet and indicate whether the wound is serious or not. The algorithm then knows when a wound is serious enough to schedule an appointment with a doctor and the patient is notified.’

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Being of value
In addition to the medical market, Demcon data driven solutions also focuses on high tech, especially semicon. ‘We think along about the development of algorithms and how complex it needs to be in order to be of value to the customer. Our advice is therefore: start with something that fits your strategy. One or two small use cases to show that it works. Or not, that’s also possible. So it will be a lot cheaper if you stop’, Zoutenbier says. ‘If it works and there’s support, you can scale up further.’

In high tech, examples include quality inspection projects. ‘For example, a product robot to align or qualify something. Once he has done that a thousand times or so, you can use the logging files to see if you can learn something from it. The product is good, but perhaps the process can be completed more quickly’, Rijlaarsdam explains.

For further development, Demcon data driven solutions maintains close contacts with knowledge institutes and universities. ‘For example, we entered into collaboration with Radboud in the field of ultrasound products, for example for vascular health. An interesting area of application for us, one that we have knowledge of and would like to do more with.’

On track
Looking back on the first year, Rijlaarsdam is clearly proud. ‘On 1 January 2023, we started out with one person, now there are seven of us and this year we’re going towards ten. We already have customers in the US and Asia. Long, major collaborations are underway there with new ones in the making. So we can easily continue that growth curve and I expect to reach between ten and twenty employees next year’, he says. ‘We’re also on track in terms of finances.’

The main ambition now is to grow at junior level. The wide range of activities, markets and products ensures sufficient growth. ‘We haven’t had to post a vacancy yet. Foreign employees are also welcome, as long as a candidate is good enough, because we’re looking for specific talent. Smart, but also good at dealing with a wide variety of customers: Asians, Americans and Germans, those are three very different conversations’, Rijlaarsdam says. Zoutenbier: ‘The fact that you can quickly make an impact on society in your work, in the medical field or for the energy transition, also appeals to people. Knowing what you’re doing it for.’



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