Fit-For-Purpose Technologies found their perfect internship match thanks to mic.brussels

As part of mic.brussels’ ‘Prototyping internship program’, various IT companies from Brussels welcome ambitious students who are eager to learn while being coached by mic.brussels . One of the participating companies of 2021’s edition was AI start-up Fit-For-Purpose Technologies. They tasked their intern with the development of Halisi, an AI-powered digital identity system for humans and animals alike.

Based in Schaerbeek, Fit-For-Purpose Technologies was founded by Cédric Oveneke and Jenny Onya in 2019. Their main goal is to help companies transform their business through AI-driven innovation. “As AI specialists, we help companies with limited knowledge of AI with the implementation of tailor-made solutions,” says cofounder Cédric. As an electronics engineer and computer scientist with a PhD in AI, he started working as a freelance AI consultant before founding Fit-For-Purpose Technologies. Since then, Infrabel, Flanders Make and Ahold Delhaize have consulted the company for insights from a technical and product management perspective.

Digital identity

“We are developing a digital identity system that can be the groundwork for trusted services and trusted information. The innovative aspect is that the system can also be applied to animals. We believe animals should also have a digital identity, to ensure traceability, disease control, food safety and theft mitigation.” As an example, Cédric cites animals in the dairy industry. “There are signs that international organisations are about to require a digital identity for animals. This helps to identify and protect them. Our technology is image-based, which means you can scan faces with a fixed camera, a smartphone or drone. As long as we get the images, our AI can extract the unique physical characteristics for further identification. Moreover, other companies can integrate our technology in their own solution.”

Right intern, right time

For Cédric, mic.brussels’s prototyping internship program came at exactly the right time. “As a company, we were making the transition from proof-of-concept to prototype. In addition to AI consultancy, we also want to develop and commercialise generic and innovative AI technologies. When we noticed mic.brussels was offering a prototyping internship, we immediately applied for the program. Thanks to their partnering procedure, they found a very competent intern for us.”

Developing a solid case

During the internship the intern was given the task to develop a prototype of an AI-tool, which can then be commercialized. “The intern is making a prototype, a web application which communicates with our AI technology,” Cédric explains. “We need interns as they can demonstrate how our technology can be integrated into business by developing the prototype, which is key for our early adopters and future clients,” Cédric stresses. “Thanks to the work of our mic.brussels-intern, we can provide them with a fully developed case. And because the intern developed the case, we are better equipped to help clients with the integration of our technology.”

Solid way of working

It was the first time Fit-For-Purpose Technologies worked with an intern. “We knew what to expect from the program, so we didn’t really have to adapt,” Cédric says. “The intern works with us three days a week and receives extra coaching from mic.brussels on Mondays and Fridays. But even then, he is available to work on the project. In addition to the coaching there are progress meetings, which provides a coordinated supervision of the student. I believe that to be a very solid way of working,” Cédric concludes.

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