”Your sneak preview of the future” is the slogan of Innovation Origins, and that’s just what we will highlight with our Start-up of the Week column. Over the past few days, five start-ups of the day have been featured and on Saturday we will choose the week’s winner.
We shall consider various issues such as sustainability, developmental phase, practical application, simplicity, originality and to what extent they are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of UNESCO. They will all pass by here and at the end of the week, the Start-Up of the Week will be announced. Moreover, our weekly winners may be awarded another prize. Because at the end of each calendar month, our readers, together with the editors of IO, will select the Start-up of the Month!
Nefino – Smart wind farms
A common argument when discussing wind energy concerns efficiency. Wind turbines do not have a very positive image when it comes to revenue and profitability in comparison with environmentally harmful energy sources. Nevertheless, we need to live more sustainably en masse, so a way to monitor wind farms more effectively seems to be a logical step towards a greener future. After all, to measure is to know. But this is easier said than done.
A lot of factors have to be taken into account before the energy output of a wind farm can be optimized. These are actually too many factors to keep an eye on or keep track of in an Excel file, so solutions are sought in software. Nefino is a software system that works autonomously and becomes smarter and smarter the longer it runs. Aside from analyses, it also provides user-friendly overviews so that everyone knows exactly where they stand and are able to act accordingly. This is good for everyone – as a wind turbine that only runs at half power is a sheer waste of capital.
Sirum – ERP for SMEs
Almost all multinationals that are dealing with a complex logistics operation nowadays use systems such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning). And because every company is unique as far as its logistics processes are concerned, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all software system. This is the reason why many of these types of systems are specifically tailored to the needs of a customer. However, this is where a problem arises with the smaller players on the market. These types of systems are very expensive, often too expensive for SMEs who would certainly benefit from them if the costs were not so prohibitive.
The German start-up Sirum does things differently: customers here are able to choose which modules they most need. In need of human resources but not fleet management? Does transport play an important role in this company, but has it outsourced its warehouse management? Everything is possible! All combinations can be put together according to your own preferences for a fraction of the price of customized ERP systems used by large companies. One more advantage? Since the system is in the cloud, data can be accessed from anywhere and the risk of failure is minimal. Meanwhile, the company maintains close contact with a community of open-source developers so that specific customer requirements can be linked to the people who are capable of arranging this for them.
Genomtec – Medical laboratory in the palm of your hand
A family doctor is usually the first point of contact when people come forward with medical complaints. A referral is often made to a hospital for a blood test if the cause of a problem is not obvious. After all, most GP practices do not have a laboratory hidden somewhere. Plus, this type of examination also necessitates a completely different kind of expertise. The Polish start-up Genomtec wants to offer GPs a mobile and digital blood sampler that can instantly analyze samples, making referral to a hospital a thing of the past. And one drop is enough!
Genomtec is connected to a handheld device which has the analysis equipment on board. Blood test results are delivered immediately and this saves a lot of money and time. The device is affordable and ensures that hospitals, which often have too much work on, are relieved. Any hospitalization that you can prevent is a gain, not only for the well-being of a patient but also for healthcare providers. And this is very welcome in times of ever more expensive healthcare. Moreover, it doesn’t affect your health insurance deductible. Everyone’s a winner with this mobile medical research laboratory.
Enerbrain – Buildings equipped with a sustainable brain
Usually, energy-saving measures are about the source. But an energy-efficient future works both ways. After all, less energy is needed if less energy is consumed. We are already working en masse on double glazing and smart thermostats, but this Italian start-up goes a step further. Enerbrain has developed a software environment that makes buildings as a whole ‘smart’. No, this doesn’t mean that the walls are listening in on you. It just means that the devices inside the building will work in tandem in order to reduce consumption as much as possible. Think of it as a smart thermostat, but then on a larger scale.
According to the designers, the Enerbrain system can reduce consumption by as much as 30 %. And the best part? The user doesn’t have to do anything at all because the system works completely autonomously. Installing eNodes in a building means that the humidity, CO2, temperature and air pressure are constantly monitored. This data is linked to optimized conditions in the system so that no more kilowatt hours will be wasted than is strictly necessary. This should put an end to dumb air conditioning systems that are still in many commercial buildings and are notorious for their high wastage rate.
Drone analysis – Tree counter with a propeller
The Drone analysis story is about a school project that eventually got out of hand. This drone project from Roy Monissen and his partner in crime Sebastiaan van Adrichem was originally designed for the football field. They used it as a tool to analyze football games. The high-tech football analyses from above, however, did not get off the ground owing to tricky regulations. But the duo then came into contact with a tree nursery. They didn’t want to have a game analyzed, but wanted to have a monitor that could detect plant diseases. Drone analysis’ self-learning software turned out not to be a football analyst at all, but a tree doctor instead.
Just imagine yourself there, you’re facing an orchard and have to count exactly how many plants there are. Often you can’t see the forest for the trees, pun intended. This is an impossible task, especially in the case of larger areas. It gets even worse if you also have to keep an eye on each individual tree. This drone provides an overview and shares its findings with the help of a comprehensive map. The software also gives growers advice on how to divide up their land as effectively as possible.
Monissen and Adrichem already have their affairs in order in spite of their young age. Their project already offers fantastic opportunities. Although it seems that Drone analysis is by no means finished yet when it comes to counting. This way Drone analysis should evolve into the flying forest ranger of the horticultural sector over the next five years. We at IO are happy to support these kinds of ambitions. Which is why Drone analysis can call itself start-up of the week this week!