Brecht’s transition from academia (PhD) to industry (Sirus)

March 31, 2023

Brecht recently joined Sirus as Linked Data architect, while still finishing his doctoral studies at Ghent University. In this blog post, he reflects on how the transition from academia to industry went for him. 


In 2018, I started a PhD on Linked Open Data Interfaces at the Internet and Data Science Lab (IDLab) in Ghent. I already had experience with integrating datasets, but to this day, this is still a manual process, limiting the potential of this data for people. During my PhD, I had the opportunity to sharpen my knowledge on the latest developments in Linked Data (Open Standards for Linked OrganizationsFlemish Sensor Data Space, Solid), and guide multiple organizations in unlocking the potential of their data with Linked Data Event Streams (LDES). 


NGSI-LD and Internet of Water

I met Sirus by coincidence while working on two projects. First, I worked on the European ODALA project where I was researching the extension of NGSI-LD context brokers with LDES. There I met Gert De Tant from Sirus, who shared the same interests on how NGSI-LD and LDES can become more interoperable. Secondly, I contributed my knowledge to the Internet of Water (IoW) case of the Flanders Environment Agency. There, I met Sirus astronauts Joris Van Vossel and Thomas D’Hauwe. Based on these encounters, I knew that Sirus was the perfect match for me after finishing my PhD. 

When I met Gert De Tant from Sirus, it was immediately clear that we shared the same interests on how NGSI-LD and LDES can become more interoperable.


Meanwhile at Sirus

As a Linked Data architect, I am currently involved in several Linked Data projects, spread across different domains: tourism, environment, and legislation. For me, this is my dream job. I can share my OSLO and LDES knowledge with different organizations, but also internally with my colleagues, to make sure that the products we build are semantically and technically aligned with the standards. 

Thinking ahead

During the Smart City Week in Antwerp (March 2023), I created an extension of the custom-built reference implementation of the Scorpio context broker to support integrating LDES data sources. This extension uses an LDES client to replicate and synchronize with  LDES sources, such as parking bays (provided by Geosparc), public intakes (GIPOD), water-related observations (VMM), and shared bikes (Blue Bike). This is a first step towards providing production-ready services that automatically integrate data sources through LDES.  In the coming years, I hope to make Sirus a leader in this new data economy where data publishers can focus on their core priorities, and intermediaries can provide easy-to-use, reliable services to data consumers. 

I hope to make Sirus a leader in this new data economy.

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