Belgium

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IoTBE VZW - Internet of Things Belgian - is a vibrant expert group and open innovation platform in which research, business & government come together to build a disruptive future. The IoT Innovation Center or IoTIC helps companies in the industry & service sector and the government to tackle the IoT challenges and opportunities.

IoT devices deployed in different countries.jpg

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and search engine Shodan, Belgium ranks among the top Internet of Things early adopters worldwide. As an IoT early adopter, Belgium plays a key role in helping the IoT technology go mainstream.

One of the important area is the Brussels High Tech ecosystem. Several companies and start-ups are active in various sub-domains, such as Smart Cities, Smart Building, Telematics, Smart Industries, etc. All the IOT software, hardware and telecom expertise are present in Brussels! IOT incubators, accelerators and fab-lab also help gather and develop all those skills. All major IOT dedicated networks are deployed in Belgium: SigFox, LoRa and of course M2M (4G/LTE), making from Brussels and Belgium a perfect testbed for IoT projects. Moreover, IoT has been declared as one of the Top 3 priorities of the regional plan for IT Entrepreneurship, in the NextTech. Brussels plan voted in 2017 by the Brussels region government.

Belgium supportive government and R&D-friendly tax system intersect to create an attractive business environment and may receive support in the form of subsidies and grants. Generally, there are 5 organization types for R&D activities that are eligible for one or more of Flanders’ R&D tax incentives: Global R&D centre, Young Innovative Company (YIC), Contract Research Organization (CRO), Manufacturing company and/or R&D consulting company.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and search engine Shodan, Belgium ranks among the top Internet of Things early adopters worldwide. As an IoT early adopter, Belgium plays a key role in helping the IoT technology go mainstream.

One of the important area is the Brussels High Tech ecosystem. Several companies and start-ups are active in various sub-domains, such as Smart Cities, Smart Building, Telematics, Smart Industries, etc. All the IOT software, hardware and telecom expertise are present in Brussels! IOT incubators, accelerators and fab-lab also help gather and develop all those skills. All major IOT dedicated networks are deployed in Belgium: SigFox, LoRa and of course M2M (4G/LTE), making from Brussels and Belgium a perfect testbed for IoT projects. Moreover, IoT has been declared as one of the Top 3 priorities of the regional plan for IT Entrepreneurship, in the NextTech. Brussels plan voted in 2017 by the Brussels region government.

Belgium supportive government and R&D-friendly tax system intersect to create an attractive business environment and may receive support in the form of subsidies and grants. Generally, there are 5 organization types for R&D activities that are eligible for one or more of Flanders’ R&D tax incentives: Global R&D centre, Young Innovative Company (YIC), Contract Research Organization (CRO), Manufacturing company and/or R&D consulting company.

IoT innovation examples

Sensolus: Designs, builds and sells turnkey solutions for low-power long-range networks [114]. They provide a care-free tracking of non-powered assets directly from the cloud. Their technology is extreme low-power as it works for 5 years on a single battery, easy to install and offers a care-free solution to stay in control on assets out there in the field.  They have many years of expertise in wireless sensor design, firmware and cloud-based sensor management, analytics and applications. SENSOLUS is one of the 73 partners in the H2020 IoT-01-2016 Large Scale Pilots Project IoF2020 consortium. The project is a powerful driver that has the potential to transform the entire farming and food domain into smart webs of connected objects that are context-sensitive and can be identified, sensed and controlled remotely.

Rombit: Rombit has grown from Flanders’ Most Promising start-up (VOKA, Trends, JCI) into an experienced IoT service provider and product engineering firm. Rombit invests heavily in building readymade solutions that closely integrate with the existing customer infrastructure and tools, leading to low friction and high interoperability. The Romcore framework integrates the full chain from legacy hardware and software to IoT sensors, big data processing and analysis and finally a visualisation in the form of desktop and mobile applications. On top of its Romcore platform, Rombit has developed IoT applications ranging from power management for container ships in the Port of Antwerp, medical transport and supply chain management applications, smart city parking systems, to employee monitoring and tracking applications. The Rombit methodology and knack for solving difficult problems have made the company popular within the large industry ecosystem in Flanders and abroad: Rombit has grown to 50 employees in nearly 5 years. Early 2016 it secured the largest series A investment round to date in Belgium. Rombit is one of the partners in SynchroniCity, a H2020 IoT-01-2016 Large Scale Pilot Project delivering a Digital Single Market of smart cities for Europe, enabled by Internet of Things technology. Altogether 34 organizations from public and private, NGOs and academia have joined the forces to realize this goal. Starting in 2017 and continuing until autumn 2019.

Imec’s City of Things: Imec’s City of Things project aims to bring the intuitive Internet of Things to the city, improving the quality of living for its citizens. Concretely, they are transforming the city of Antwerp (Belgium) into one of Europe’s largest smart city laboratories where we put key technologies for smart cities to the test. They bring together user groups, hardware developers, app developers to accelerate the development and implementation of the Internet of Things in the city. Companies can test their innovative IoT applications under realistic circumstances, in a real city and with real users. When the City of Things project will be running at full speed, there will be 100 gateways spread across Antwerp – virtual gateways for the possibly tens of thousands of wireless sensors worn by local residents or attached to vehicles, the traffic infrastructure or buildings in the city. Today there are already around 20 of these gateways operating, with the remainder gradually being installed. These gateways are genuinely ‘open’. This means that anyone can use them to send data or to develop or evaluate smart applications. It also means that the technology is heterogeneous and not based on a single solution or protocol; it understands a whole range of communication standards, such as ZigBee, WiFi, Cellular, LoRa, SigFox and others. But these sensors and gateways are just the first layer. Behind them is an infrastructure for storing data and analysing it in real-time. This infrastructure is technology-neutral and offers an extensive set of tools for converting data into real knowledge. Next to that they are involving the inhabitants of Antwerp and recruiting test panels of users for various applications. Also, the City of Antwerp is part of SynchroniCity (SynchroniCity: Delivering an IoT enabled Digital Single Market for Europe and Beyond) .