Smart City: when the academic world and start-ups mingle

Published on 17/10/2018 in Solutions & services

Smart City: when the academic world and start-ups mingle

What could be a better laboratory than a city concentrated in 33 km2, which has an urban center, a university and a shopping center plus lots of challenges to take on? Welcome to Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, where the focus is on tests to find out about the opportunities provided by a Smart City.

How do you succeed in creating a Smart City?

Backed up by his experience with the Smart City Live Lab, David da Câmara Gomes, alderman in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, can already draw up an introductory list of conditions for the success of a Smart City project: “At the base lies the construction of an ecosystem made up of sound partners. Including members of the public, of course. I believe you have to start small, test and learn through action. And constantly question the usefulness of the solutions put forward and their real impact on costs and the environment.

So there’s no question of introducing gadgets and even less of risking any widening of the digital divide. I also advise linking the various projects to one another properly in order to ensure coherence and create added value.” 

Discover erverything about Smart City Live Lab

Smart City Live Lab

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Start small, test and learn through action.

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David da Câmara Gomes, alderman in Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve.

13 weeks to find the solution

What if the technological solution to the mobility issues faced by the city of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve were provided by its students? This is the aim of the fifth ‘’innovation classes’ program at the UCL, designed to call upon the creativity of the students and obtain innovative solutions. “Mobility in our city is an issue of social innovation. Working in teams, the students have to follow a methodology of disruptive innovation.

The aim is not to confront them with a problem that is suitable for technologies. On the contrary, it’s a question of using technologies to resolve real problems,” explains Victorien Sonneville, researcher at the UCL and member of the ICTeam for the ERDF in Wallonia. “Throughout the procedure, the students will build their proposal on the basis of tangible information obtained from reference partners. Proximus is one of these partners. After 13 weeks, each team will make a pitch for its prototype solution. The city will then decide which project wins,” Victorien Sonneville concludes.

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The aim is not to confront them with a problem that is suitable for technologies, but to use technologies to resolve real problems.

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Victorien Sonneville, researcher at the UCL and member of the ICTeam for the ERDF in Wallonia

Smart as a city in your pocket

There is virtually no longer any need to present the Liège start-up ‘Letsgocity’ and its new innovative application for local services: ‘Wallonie en poche’ (Wallonia in your pocket). A concrete solution for a number of Walloon municipalities, including Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve. “The solution centralizes all local services in a single application. For Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, we have just activated three additional services: the e-desk for all practical services (which is not yet on the agenda), a parking solution that starts your parking session automatically and the municipal diary for real-time content,” explains Letsgocity founder Pierre Labalue.

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Version 2.0 of ‘Wallonie en poche’ is already a reality for 12 municipalities in Wallonia.

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Pierre Labalue, Letsgocity

Read more about the Smart City Wallonia event.

Smart City Wallonia

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