City of Wavre and Citymesh form consortium with EU grant to jointly co-create Europe’s digital future
CONNECTOW, the consortium consisting of the city of Wavre and Citymesh has been awarded a € 3,9 million grant from the European Digital Fund under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) to jointly help shape Europe’s digital future. This unique collaboration between the EU, the city of Wavre and Citymesh clearly marks the pursuance of the European objectives set by the HaDEA (European Health and Digital Executive Agency) to realise a broad and secure European network, for and by Europeans.
CONNECTOW, the consortium consisting of the city of Wavre and Citymesh has been awardeda € 3,9 million grant from the European Digital Fund under the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility (CEF)to jointly help shape Europe’s digital future. This unique collaboration between the EU, the city of Wavre and Citymesh clearly marks the pursuance of the European objectives set by the HaDEA (European Health and Digital Executive Agency) to realise a broad and secure European network, for and by Europeans.
Together with a score of stakeholders, CONNECTOW will co-create and develop a fifth generation communications network. Through the activation of leading-edge use cases and visionary applications, this smart and future-proof environment will serve as the foundation to further develop the city of Wavre towards an even more innovative, energy efficient, greener and intelligent city. Acting as a bridge to digital inclusion, a catalyst for additional private investments and an eco-friendly alternative to existing technologies, the connectivity provided by CONNECTOW will fully and optimally support and leverage the administration's ambitions as set-out in the document 'Wavre 2030’, the city’s strategic development vision.
LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE AND FORWARD-FACING WITHIN A BROADER EUROPEAN CONTEXT
Local socio-economic drivers (SEDs) within a broader European context and the sustainable development goals (SDGs), as formulated by the United Nations, are the project’s focal point and compass. CONNECTOW’s shared vision is one of an innovative, greener and more energy-efficient, progressive and connected environment. The added value will benefit all of Wavre’s, Bierges’ and Limal’s residents and visitors, its entrepreneurs, its cultural sector and its local administrations. The project is set firmly within the framework provided by the European objectives as proposed by the HaDEA.
Over the course of the next 36 months, under the guidance, the supervision and the strict control of the European Union’s Commission, CONNECTOW will support different projects and use cases, each of which with a very specific need for high bandwidth and low latency connectivity:
The citizens and visitors of Wavre, Bierges and Limal: CONNECTOW provides those in need of support with extremely affordable or even free internet access. Schools connected to the network will also benefit, as they no longer have recurrent invoicing for internet connectivity, allowing for budget to be freed up and put to better use for educational purposes. Event organisers will also have free and unlimited access to WiFi. Other use cases include a living lab and an experience centre in Wavre’s library, IoT sensors monitoring the air quality 24/7, predictive modelling with data platforms to better organise traffic flows, connected waste bins for improved waste collection, and parking space management.
REW - Réseau d'Énergies de Wavre: A smart meter, connected to the network by means of a SIM-card, will be installed in all public buildings, allowing for a vast improvement of energy management and a peer-to-peer distribution model. The development of a ‘smart grid’ through means of monitoring, predictive modelling and dashboarding will also ensure that less fuel energy is used.
The fire brigade: A 'flying firefighter' in the form of an autonomous drone equipped with thermal and high-end cameras will join the ranks and will send real time images securely and privately over the network to create situational awareness. To provide additional safety for first responders, firefighters' vests will also be equipped with body cams and sensors. The network enables new-generation push-to-video solutions for instantaneous video communications and a digital twin of the surroundings and the fire services will allow for real-time assessment, data collection, data management and evaluation of an incident.
Economic partners: CONNECTOW offers an active approach to attract high-tech, biotech and e-gaming companies, flywheeling the local economy. Local agricultural partners can also benefit from the many advantages this project offers, as it allows for monitoring and proactive decision-making during processes.
Sports, events, culture: By connecting the soon to be built hockey stadium from the outset to the next generation network, live streaming requirements are immediately met at a negligible cost.
This unique project in all of its facets will act as a European hub and shall put the city of Wavre on the map internationally. Several economic stakeholders, knowledge institutions, major actors in health care and local development initiatives have expressed their firm interest in the CONNECTOW project but can until further notice not be mentioned due to active Non Disclosure Agreements.
The project’s website providing all necessary information - www.connectow.eu - has been launched and is accessible and active immediately.
Quote Mitch De Geest, CEO of Citymesh:
We are proud to have been selected as a driving force in the co-creation of Europe’s Digital Future. Our world at large is in need of a different approach and we firmly believe that close collaboration with all those involved will help achieve the SDGs. Together with the city of Wavre, its citizens and all of the stakeholders, CONNECTOW will actively seek out projects and use cases for the betterment of all. Since its conception, Citymesh has committed to the use of wireless communication technologies as a means of improving existing models. The past 15 years we have forged the way, challenging the status quo. Thanks to the EU grant and the CONNECTOW project, the demonstration and realisation of certain aspects of that vision are within grasp.
Quote Anne Masson, Mayor of the city of Wavre:
For the past ten years, the city of Wavre has been fully committed to the digital transition. This is a challenge for a public administration! We were the first to offer a digital window to our citizens. We were also the first to develop smart lighting solutions throughout the city. For us, new technologies are an essential means of meeting the expectations of a rapidly changing world as well as the expectations of the players in the economy, health, tourism and culture located in our territory.
Today, these new technologies are sometimes scary because they can be misunderstood or poorly controlled. Yet they will play an essential role in the energy transition and progress for all. It is therefore, with conviction and pride, that we will participate in this European call for projects. We are convinced that by being an actor in this development, we will be able to supervise, develop and also control it in order to remain master of these developments and put them at the service of our needs.
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