The Beacon opens its doors

Today sees the opening of The Beacon, a brand new business and innovation hub on Sint-Pietersvliet in Antwerp, which will provide office space and services for developers of solutions geared to the Internet of Things (IoT). Technology-oriented corporates, startups, scaleups and leading researchers will be able to come together at The Beacon to develop first-rate IoT solutions for  industry, logistics and smart cities. The Beacon’s five founders– The City of Antwerp, the Antwerp Port Authority, the University of Antwerp, IMEC and Agoria – have entrusted its management to Co.Station.

The Beacon is designed to be a venue where all players in the IoT sphere – from small firms to major corporations, plus pioneering researchers – can come together, find the right partners, open up new opportunities and create new solutions that will benefit the participating companies and, most importantly, the end-users. Making this process a success will be the basic task of Co.Station, the appointed management entity. Co.Station was selected, among other reasons, for its experience in nurturing enterprise ecosystems.

A unique partnership
Thanks to a unique cooperation effort involving the City of Antwerp, the Antwerp Port Authority, the University of Antwerp, research and innovation hub IMEC and Agoria, the federation representing tech-oriented companies, the goal of developing an IoT ecosystem in Antwerp is now taking concrete shape.  
•    The University of Antwerp and IMEC are bringing to The Beacon premises over 100 leading researchers with expertise in fields including IoT, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and 5G.  They are expected to make the link between Smart City research and applications. 
•    In addition, IMEC will be basing at The Beacon the work it is doing in the field of  technology for living through its ‘City of Things’ project. 
•    The Antwerp Port Authority is contributing innovation-oriented projects from the Port of Antwerp, which will find relevant points of contact with the logistics companies working at The Beacon.  It is therefore hoped that the exchange effect created through the ecosystem being built around The Beacon will lead to a ‘Harbour of Things’ approach. The Port Authority has decided to make its recently-developed LORA IoT network, which covers the entire port area, available to all companies and organisations working from The Beacon.
•    Agoria will contribute its IoT Value Chain, an IoT enterprise cluster of firms working on Smart Cities and Industry 4.0, which was set up by the tech industry federation and is supported by the  Innoveren & Ondernemen (Innovation & Enterprise) agency.  This will provide content-based expertise and support – both technological and non-technological – to the companies based at The Beacon premises and the wider network around The Beacon.

The first 15 companies selected 
A first batch of fifteen companies – a  mix of startups, scaleups and corporates – have been selected by an expert panel to set up their operations at The Beacon. These are: Accelleran, AKKA Belgium, Aloxy, ATOS Belgium, Citymesh, Data Minded, Dockflow, Engie Fabricom, NxtPort, Orange, Rombit, Seafar, Synctrace, The Retail Factory and Verhaert. A number of them have already moved into the premises and the other selected enterprises will do so over the next few weeks

Meanwhile a new selection round is currently underway. Consequently an extra floor at The Beacon is now being readied for the new intake.