At the start of December 2020, Flemish newspaper De Standaard included a special look at innovation in the region.
As part of the campaign, DSP Valley spoke with Media Planet about the importance of networking to digital innovation. CEO Dieter Therssen explained DSP Valley’s philosophy and the benefits networking brings.
“Innovation is never the work of a single company, but often arises from a combination of existing data or products. That implies that you need several companies to realize innovative developments. A good network is one of the key factors for successful innovation.”
At DSP Valley, we work toward business development in a collaborative spirit, leveraging networks to benefit entire markets and ecosystems. As Dieter put it, “Our biggest challenge is the translation of the technology to the industry. DSP Valley tries to play a role in this. Several things are needed: you need technology, you need people with the talent to convert that technology, you need money, but you also need a network to bring companies together around good ideas.”
The step from break-through technology to a marketable product or machine is a challenging journey. After years of research and hard work, the proof of concept needs to be translated to a market ready product. Shifting focus from the core business to product development brings many risks and requires a complete change in competencies. However, making the right choices in the development process is crucial for the success of the product. And that’s where Comate comes in.
In order to come to innovative, break-through technology that challenges the state of the art, often years of research and great focus is needed. It’s an immense achievement on its own, to finally have the core technology on point and to have a proof of concept. But it doesn’t stop there. Eventually you want this technology to bring value. You want people to benefit from the blood, sweat and tears. Eventually this technology needs to be translated to a marketable product or machine.
Unfortunately, there’s a huge gap between a proof of concept setup and a market ready product that can be produced reliably a 100, 1.000, 10.000, 100.000 times. The expertise on the core technology that has been built up over the years doesn’t necessarily bring the skills to get a deep understanding of the market, all the stakeholders (including the end-users), the product roadmap or the know-how on prototyping, product design, materials, production techniques, suitable suppliers and so forth.
Universities, start-ups, SME’s and multinationals alike, face the choice of shifting their focus from their core technology to product development. This requires a change in competencies and the risk of falling behind on the core expertise. Universities want to keep the focus on research. For start-ups it’s not evident to suddenly hire engineers and product developers and put them on the payroll. SME’s and multinationals might lack the time or manpower to fully develop this technology and get it market ready. That is where Comate comes in.
Our expertise is in the process of developing marketable, high-tech, mechatronic, mechanical or electronic products and machines, starting from scratch, from a technological proof of concept, a prototype or from an existing device that needs to be made faster, more robust, waterproof or optimized for production. For this process to be successful, collaboration is key.
Making the right choices
Sharing expertise and co-creation is crucial in letting a company grow. An example of such a beautiful collaboration is the NGRAVE ZERO, the most secure hardware wallet on the planet. This is a Belgian co-development grown out of the idea of start-up NGRAVE and supported in development by Comate, imec and KU Leuven.
The frustration felt when being the victim of several cryptocurrency thefts and being unable to recover the funds is what brought the three founders together. They decided to develop a hardware device able to generate private keys and public keys of a blockchain wallet 100% offline, completely ‘air-gapped’ and therefore immune to online remote attacks. They had one shot at developing the hardware wallet, and decided to partner up with the experts of Comate to assist them with the engineering.
NGRAVE has launched a pre-order campaign on Indiegogo and has received no less than 1450% of their funding goal in one month. “Comate has proved to successfully combine creativity with technical excellence. Its design and engineering specialists took a lot of initiative in exploring material characteristics and technology applications to push product performance and ease of use. They contributed significantly to the engineering of the high-end NGRAVE ZERO crypt wallet, which guarantees robust operation and introduces a new benchmark in security,” shares Ruben Merre, CEO of NGRAVE.
Sharing expertise is key
“The combination between the client’s expertise as entrepreneur and our expertise to translate an idea into a high quality product is a good example of the success of co-creation,” says Wouter Foulon, founder of Comate. Whether it be the most secure hardware wallet on the planet, a medical device sold worldwide or an award-winning laser cleaning machine, sharing expertise is key in the development of innovative products.