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Smart cities in Flanders

To bring together novel ICT applications and the Internet of Things – which connects physical objects with each other and individuals over the internet – in a secure data system for managing a city: that’s what smart cities are all about. Discover how Flanders paves the way in smart city development.

Building blocks for smart city success

From knowledge and research institutions to leading industry players: in Flanders, your business finds all the smart city expertise it needs to thrive. But don’t just take our word for it. Discover our region’s assets and strengths relevant to the following smart city building blocks:

Dedicated research and development at imec

Imec, Flanders’ strategic research center for nano- and digital technology, is taking smart city research to soaring new heights. From rolling out smart sensors, connected devices and communication networks to collecting urban data and converting it into intelligible insights to make cities smarter, healthier and more efficiently managed: imec is the go-to organization for developing, studying, testing and fine-tuning all your smart city applications in real-life environments.

Building smart cities in Europe and Flanders

Through its living lab, IoT and smart city expertise, imec is working on and supports major projects, including:

  • SELECT for Cities – A European initiative that aims to develop an innovation and technology platform to help transform cities into large-scale testing grounds for IoT experiments.
  • City of Things (CoT) – A project that brings the Internet of Things to the city of Antwerp (Flanders), turning it into an IoT living lab as well as a real-time open data platform. How? By positioning hundreds of smart sensors and wireless gateways at carefully selected locations, from streets to buildings.
  • Capital of Things (CAoT) – An extension of the CoT-project. In this venture, the city of Antwerp, the port of Antwerp, the University of Antwerp and international research hub imec collaborate to establish an IoT ecosystem with the goal of providing innovative solutions for e-health, industry 4.0 and the circular economy. The innovative plans for education and the city harbor are particularly remarkable. Together with universities in Brussels and Ghent, the University of Antwerp will organize an interacademic program on Internet of Things topics that will be developed into a true degree program. The port of Antwerp will collaborate with data platform NxtPort and private port companies on a ‘Harbor of Things’ to prepare themselves for the dramatic technology changes coming in the near future.

Smart cities in the making: vehicles monitor air quality

One example of how imec is paving the way for smart city applications is its work for bpost, which operates Flanders’ largest vehicle fleet. In 2015, the research center equipped the mail delivery company’s vehicles with sensors for monitoring the quality of the city’s air with ultra-high precision.

A pioneer in smart city implementation

The data generated by sensors, chips and networks scattered around cities can result in some pretty awesome and – more importantly – practical applications that improve the lives of citizens and the quality of city services. In Flanders, numerous smart city initiatives are being implemented right this minute. Discover how to take your innovation efforts to the next level by benefitting from Flanders’ expertise in industries such as:

Smart cities in the making: boosting city logistics with data

In 2016, Flanders’ institute for logistics (VIL) launched Intello City, a collaborative project between 3 cities and 6 companies. The goal? To explore how the Internet of Things can optimize logistical organization in Flanders’ cities – from optimizing delivery times, locations and parcel returns to reducing traffic congestion and boosting customer satisfaction.

Specific incentives

Flanders offers incentives that are particularly relevant to a research-intensive domain like smart city technology and its applications. Examples include:

  • innovation income deduction – up to 85% of a firm’s net earnings from innovation is tax exempt;
  • Investment deduction for R&D – 13.5% of acquisition value/qualifying asset or 20.5% of the depreciated amount;
  • Exemption of payment of 80% – of the personal income withholding tax of researchers in certain scientific fields.

R&D tax incentives in Flanders

Did you know…

  • …  Ghent, Antwerp, Mechelen, Kortrijk, Leuven, Ostend, Hasselt and Genk are part of the Flemish Smart Energy Cities network? This initiative of VITO and EnergyVille aims to exchange hands-on experience related to smart energy activities while contributing to partner cities’ climate ambitions.

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