The Beacon launches “Get Connected”, the matchmaking event where businesses meets innovation

The Beacon, the innovative hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), has launched a new concept - “Get Connected”. An event where companies can get acquainted with brand new digital innovations during four themed days. We discussed the concept with Wim De Waele.

Keynote presentation at Get Connected

How did “Get Connected” come about?

Wim De Waele (General manager of The Beacon): “At The Beacon, there are a lot of smart people and impressive companies under one roof: from promising start-ups to established corporate technology companies. It seemed to us that it was time to put them in touch with different parties. Feel free to see it as a showcase: The Beacon companies are given the opportunity to show off the smart solutions they offer.

Recent research by Avenade and Wakefield Research shows that CEOs appreciate that technology is desperately needed, but that they often find it too complicated.

“There is indeed a big hype of almost mythical proportions about AI. This is why an  event like ‘Get Connected’ is ideal to clarify the issues. People working in the tech sector can hold conversations about AI, IoT, beacons and APIs with ease, but you may as well be speaking a foreign language to many entrepreneurs, especially if technology is not the basis of their business. We clarify everything by making use of clear examples and holding conversations to show what the added value of technology can be for their company. Another interesting thing to say: connectivity was on the programme on the last day, but this was old-fashioned connectivity: connecting with visitors and socialising over a drink. Because that remains the essence of it all: bringing entrepreneurs together to transfer knowledge.”

How can companies benefit from AI and IoT?

“For this I am thinking of Anyways, a company that uses AI in a route planner that takes road works into account to generate a live route. Or how companies can predict the behaviour of your customers through AI.  In the domain of IoT, I can immediately think of benefits for the retail sector. In recent years, physical stores have had to compete with online stores that have collected a lot of consumer data. But thanks to the use of technology, even smaller, physical stores can learn a lot about their customers and respond to them - by sending them customised offers, for example.”

Why is The Beacon the ideal place for Get Connected?

“We worked around four theme days with very specific workshops and sessions. In a panel discussion, for example, we also discussed data collection and its consequences for user privacy. How do you meet the GDPR standards as a company? Concrete questions to which concrete answers were given, from CEOs to CEOs.

It is not surprising that all the companies that organised workshops and networking events during “Get Connected” work under the same roof in The Beacon in Antwerp. This innovative office location houses 30 companies that inspire each other, exchange ideas and products, and build solutions in the city of tomorrow."


So tomorrow has already started in The Beacon, today. Find out more about The Beacon:

FDI Intelligence, the Financial Times magazine, noticed Antwerp as a European hub for digital innovation.
Last year, innovation hub The Beacon made international fame in the field of the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence applications, proving that technology can provide the answer to complex urban issues. Top technological talent from 22 nationalities is active there in 64 companies and research institutions, and during 106 events, a good 4,000 experts in digital innovation were reached at home and abroad. In order to respond even better to the rapid developments in the technological landscape, and to confirm their commitment, the founding partners have now joined forces in vzw The Beacon. This new structure allows them to further grow into a European reference point for the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence applications.
The Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC) is the world's largest trade fair about cities and smart urban solutions. The city of Antwerp presents its urban innovations aimed at creating a sustainable society.