The city of Antwerp presents its smart solutions at Smart City Expo Barcelona

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. Under the general exhibition theme “Cities made of dreams”, the city of Antwerp highlights its concrete “smart city” achievements: The Beacon innovation hub, smart mobility applications from “Smart ways to Antwerp”, the “Buy from Start-ups” programme of IT partner Digipolis and the ambitious plans for the deployment of drones with Drones4Antwerpen.

Today, three-quarters of the world’s population lives in cities. A lot of technology and data can be found there. Data that will increase by 2020 with a further 25 billion connected internet-of-things devices. By smartly connecting them and using the data wisely, a city can transform thoroughly. At the same time, technology can ensure a higher quality of life for city dwellers. Digital technology is therefore the backbone of the cities of the future.

An international benchmark

The three-day SCEWC congress is a unique exchange platform about the development of the city of tomorrow. An ideal opportunity to meet the professionals of city innovation, alongside representatives of SMEs, start-ups,etc. Moreover, it is the place to make contacts for international partnerships. At the latest edition, SCEWC gathered 700 cities worldwide, 844 exhibitors, more than 400 speakers and 21,331 participants from 146 countries. The international impact of the exhibition has also grown. No wonder the city of Antwerp is in Barcelona for the 3rd consecutive year with attractive tangible “smart city” achievements.

Antwerp as an innovative smart city

Antwerp is developing as an innovative Smart City. Smart technological solutions are turning Antwerp into a sustainable and agile city for citizens, companies, new talent and visitors. To achieve this, Antwerp has considerable strengths:

1. The centrepiece is The Beacon. The innovation hub focuses on strong Internet of Things and artificial intelligence products for the port, industry, and smart city (including smart mobility). Located at The Beacon, imec develops its ‘City of Things’ project, where a complex and urban environment is used as a testing ground for new technological solutions that could inspire other cities.

2. Through Smart ways to Antwerp, the city of Antwerp focuses on smart mobility. The Smart ways to Antwerp website and app inspire users to choose smart mobility. The efforts and expertise of entrepreneurs and companies are crucial in this. Organisations that develop specific solutions to improve mobility in Antwerp are given the opportunity to receive financial and substantive support through a project call.

 3. The Antwerp Smart Zone, right in the historic city centre, provides a taste of tomorrow’s city. New technologies are tested even more intensively in this neighbourhood. Innovative ideas develop from a ‘smart zone’ into a ‘smart city’.

4. In addition, Antwerp is a leader in Flanders in the digitisation of its services and communications. For instance, Antwerp is one of the few European cities that is already building a promising modular, open and digital urban platform (Antwerp City Platform-as-a-Service).5. The Port of Antwerp has always been a place of renewal and innovation. With the ‘Port of the Future’, the Port of Antwerp has already taken a number of initiatives to enable the port to sail full steam ahead into the future. One of these projects in the Port of Antwerp is SAFIR where different drones can operate in a complex port environment. The city of Antwerp is showing ambition for the development of a strong drone-ecosystem: with drones for industrial inspections, transport of medical samples between hospitals and for interventions.

 “Antwerp, the city’s reputation for innovation seems to be in safe hands”

Thanks to these smart projects, Antwerp is in a unique position to develop itself further as a European hub for digital innovation. FDI Intelligence, the Financial Times magazine, recently bundled these strong assets in a special report on the strong growth of the ecosystem for digital innovation in Antwerp: ”With organisations across Antwerp committed to digital innovation that can ensure it is a liveable, sustainable and smart city, together with the requisite start-up infrastructure and a strong talent pool, the city’s reputation for innovation seems to be in safe hands,” concludes fDi in the article ‘The talk of the town'.

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.
On Friday 21 June, thirty participants at Smart City The Hague went on an excursion to Antwerp.
The Beacon, the innovative hub for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT), has launched a new concept - “Get Connected”.