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Boosting the uptake of digital technologies in Wallonia

  • 10 July 2021

A project in Wallonia, Belgium, has strengthened the role of digital technologies in the local economy. ‘IDEES Proofs of Concept’ has boosted research into ICT applications and helped local companies master new digital technologies. There is a below-average penetration of digital technologies in Wallonia compared with neighbouring regions, an issue this project has addressed.

'The Proofs of Concept project put technical innovation at play to solve challenges brought forward by industrial partners. Various tests in the targeted application domains have opened the door to further industry-oriented R&D projects and contracts.'

Damien Hubaux, General Manager, CETIC

IDEES stands for ‘Future internet to develop businesses, economy and society’. Proofs of Concept is one of four interconnected initiatives within the IDEES portfolio which, taken together, research, test and demonstrate ICT solutions and applications for local businesses, especially SMEs.

Solutions for industry

Proofs of Concept develops industrial cases harnessing the innovative ICT technologies studied in the sister projects: Technology Foundations and Co-innovation. A fourth pillar of IDEES provides a demonstration area to showcase the technologies developed to exploit the internet of things.

Three specific domains were targeted in the Proofs of Concept project:

mobile health, which found news ways to address societal challenges linked to aging, chronic diseases, funding and staff shortages; mobility of goods and people, and;  smart buildings and smart manufacturing.

Project pilot cases were developed through the frequent release of updated work, allowing for rapid integration of feedback from companies and users.

Collaborative effort

Through the portfolio of activities, IDEES has collaborated with 150 businesses. Proofs of Concept alone has helped 47 companies so far. The project supports eight full-time equivalent researchers at the Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technologies (CETIC), the company that oversees the IDEES initiative.

CETIC has actively disseminated project findings through around 200 annual events including workshops, visits and meetings. About 1 000 visits have been registered.

The IDEES family of projects has enabled CETIC to develop new revenue streams with its advice and guidance to local businesses.

The projects enhanced the company’s prospects: for example, several software components have been further developed through IDEES R&D and are now used in technology transfer contracts. Over the project funding period, CETIC expanded its staff complement by 15 %.

Beneficiaries

‘Our collaboration with CETIC was a great boost for building the technical foundations of our technology of Digital Twins for individuals with their personal data. Through the co-creation of critical building blocks of our architecture, the collaboration with CETIC helped our product reach a sufficient level of technical maturity to go-to-market and test it.’

– Quentin Felice, Datavillage

‘Haulogy develops IT solutions for the energy sector and has been collaborating with CETIC for several years. This collaboration enabled us to conduct an active technology watch and to evaluate technical solutions. CETIC presented us with new software development technologies through the IDEES/ Technology Foundations project. We were able to evaluate them practically through jointly implemented proofs-of-concept.’

– Philippe Drugmand, R&D Manager at Haulogy

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “IDEES Proofs of Concept” is EUR 1 998 553, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 799 421 through the “Wallonia” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Strengthening research, technological development and innovation”.