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:

On Friday 21 June, thirty participants at Smart City The Hague went on an excursion to Antwerp.
Antwerp is increasingly recognised as an ecosystem for digital innovation on a global scale. The recently published Global Startup Ecosystem Report 2019 (GSER2019) by Startup Genome defines Antwerp as an early globalising ecosystem for startups, with a global Top 30 position for funding and a higher than average ecosystem value. The report is a confirmation of the strong ambitions of Antwerp to become a reference hub for digital innovation in Europe.
In 2018, Antwerp had twice as many start-ups and scale-ups than in 2012. This is a remarkable finding: in 2018, these innovative companies raised up to four times more capital for their business growth than six years earlier. With this, the city of Antwerp demonstrates a clear ambition: within six years, the city wants to occupy a place in the European top 10 scale-up cities.