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Interview in WaterProof: Simon Jagers on improving reliability through data

Semiotic Labs supplies sensors and algorithms that convert data into information about when and why production resources fail. The result: more control, lower costs and more time to do other things. That translates to acceleration for companies. The water technology industry—including water boards, Vitens and Evides—is now also calling on the innovative company from Leiden, the Netherlands. We thought it was high time to meet in person. WaterProof spoke to director Simon Jagers.

How did you get the idea to base your business on algorithms and data?
“After reading a book about the development of an algorithm that mimics the functioning of the brain. Soon the idea arose to apply this concept in the industry, where machines generate more and more data. Based on analyses by self-learning algorithms, you can use this data to provide information about the condition of machinery. Consistency in data input is the key to consistent reliability. That is why we have developed our own sensor technology, which allows us to both control data quality and to provide consistent and accurate predictions and insights. Our systems ensure lower costs, better performance and peace of mind.”

How unique is your product?
“Globally, there are two other parties using current and voltage analysis for condition monitoring purposes. These parties charge a factor of 10 more for supplying the solution. We are currently quite unique. From the start, we focused on using as many standard components as possible, a low price for the hardware components we develop ourselves and ease of use for end users.”

What do you like best about being an entrepreneur?
“It’s a huge rush to discover that we can predict some defects months in advance. Especially because we use high-tech in an industrial world. It is much more fun to use data science to monitor ‘real’ machines than to use the same technology to analyse internet behaviour, for example. “I am sure there are people who think differently, but I find it amazing to see our sensors in operation in a factory full of large, stamping machines.”

What is your dream as an entrepreneur?
“Coming up with nice, simple solutions for which a soldering iron and algorithms go hand-in-hand. In my dream, there is a large warehouse full of machines and sensors and we are constantly experimenting with how we can guarantee 100% availability with as few sensors as possible. Combining standard equipment with algorithms to create high-end solutions; that is what it is all about.”

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