43 : UTC’s PhDs: our key players for innovation

Dans un monde où l’innovation – en particulier technologique – occupe une place croissante, les compétences des docteurs spécialistes des sciences de l’ingénieur et notamment des docteurs ingénieurs apparaissent de plus en plus stratégiques. L’UTC entend préparer ses étudiants à cette nouvelle donne.

43 : UTC’s PhDs: our key players for innovation

A social science expert in the Big Data world

Lénaïk Leyoudec presented his PhD thesis in computer sciences and their applications under the academic supervision of Professor Bruno Bachimont, in the framework of a CIFRE contract associating the UTC laboratory and a start-up. Today Lénaïk is a consultant with this start-up company.

Perfect Memory is a start-up founded in 2008 by a UTC graduate Steny Solitude. Its field of business activities is that of data management. The company has developed a technological platform to collect raw data which are’ transformed into ‘digital capital assets’, i.e.,  knowledge that can be used in numerous domains (marketing, trade, document management …) and has customers in divcerse sectors (media, distribution, banks and insurance, defence …).

Lénaïk Leyoudec discovered the start-up in 2012 when he was doing a Master’s degree in history and the history of art, with the elective specialty in valorization of cultural heritage. “I chose to do my degree dissertation on valorization of private audiovisual heritage. At that time, Perfect Memory was also working in the same area and had designed a tool to manage family-related information: “Famille®”. I did my end-of-studies placement with them”.

When semiotics fosters technologiocal reserach

It was at this occasion that the idea came to be to do a CIFRE contract PhD on how to edit family films, using a unique approach close to the research philosophy of UTC-Costech Lab work: bringing in social sciences and especially semiotics : to generate editing and ergonomic recommendations to improve the Family® service offer.

“The objective is to provide users with an interface that enables them to annotate AV archives to enhance circulation of souvenirs in family circles”, explains Lénaïk Leyoudec. “For this purpose, I studied a corpus of 20 or so films, sequence after sequence, identifying recurrent ‘markers’ which I decomposed into signs which I analyzed to propose new functionalities in the Family® Web app. To illustrate there is the face-camera position (the person filmed is looking straight at the camera)”.

“My research provided the scientific basis for Perfect Memory which will, lead on to registration of patent claims,” underlines Steny Solitude. “The issue of how we can annotate archives – which the PhD student Leyoudec studied – is also valid for B2B operations (Business to Business). When this question is analysed, comparing the work for ‘silent’ family films and the solution for a major industrial group, a large fraction of the question has been solved”.  

 Building up the ‘employability’ factor

Lénaïk Leyoudec – who presented his PhD dissertation in January 2017 – was recruited on a no-time limit contract (CDI) basis as a semiotic and user experience consultant to design the solutions developed by the start-up. “To a large degree, I built up my employability during my CIFRE contract, inasmuch I had already received operational missions on behalf of Perfect Memory. This was not easy: the corporate world is not at all comparable with the academic world and in a start-up nobody really has any spare time to help you adapt to a professional context. But it was this experience that enabled me to clearly find my heading: I was able to continue working in my specialty area, whereas as often social science graduates orient themselves towards sectors other than those of their original specialty”.