Training - HEC Liege course

Innovative student projects for Wallonia rewarded

On 15 December 2016, the Smart City Institute organised its end-of-year ceremony at HEC Liège: an opportunity to reward 15 students from HEC Liège for their projects "Smart Cup Service", "Cleanstream Project" and "Sharezinnes".

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After several coaching sessions by academics and professionals and a pre-selection of the best projects earlier in the afternoon, 10 groups of HEC Liège students finally presented their innovative smart city projects for Wallonia at the Smart City Institute's end-of-year ceremony on 15 December.

The final jury, composed of the Smart City Institute partners, finally rewarded 3 projects:
  • The Walloon Region awarded its prize to the Sharezinnes project, a service application for the Salzinnes district in Namur based on 5 pillars (mobility, entertainment, mutual aid, knowledge and public service). This application would both improve the sense of community and at the same time collect useful data for the city. 

  • The Proximus company, for its part, decided to reward the Cleanstream Project, which also tackled the problems of cleanliness, but in the Charleroi Sud area. The team proposed a system of rewards (in the form of vouchers to be used in the area) to people who would recycle their used plastic bottles and cans via a strategically located machine. 

  • The third prize, awarded by the Schréder company, went to the Smart Cup Service project, a complete solution around a reusable glass service set up on the Spa Francorchamps circuit. The aim of this project is to respond to the problems of cleanliness that certain events can cause.
Among the 8 pre-selected projects, some will also have the opportunity to be actually incubated in the City VentureLab (incubator for start-ups).

These projects are the outcome of a university seminar lasting several weeks entitled "Strategy and Sustainability", organised by the Smart City Institute and intended for students of the 2nd year Master's degree at HEC Liège. Students are invited to work on a case study on "smart public spaces". New this year, the seminar offers students the opportunity to work not only on the City of Liège, but also on other Walloon territories: Spa Francorchamps, Charleroi, Namur, Mons, Tournai and Bastogne. Objective: to propose an innovative project (in the form of a start-up or a response to a government call for tenders) contributing to the "Smart City, Smart Region" dynamic with a view to improving the quality of life in the selected territory.

A dynamic that is part of the Digital Wallonia programme

Towards a Smart Region

I am delighted to see the dynamic launched by the Smart City Institute, which is fully in line with Digital Wallonia, Wallonia's digital strategy. There are indeed many societal challenges to be met and the digital technological revolution in the organisation of cities is enabling the emergence of new solutions as well as new economic scenarios such as e-commerce or the circular economy. What is targeted, from the perspective of the Smart Region, is the overall performance of the territory, the ecosystem and its sustainability, in a double approach: "top down", which is that of a common strategic vision; "bottom up", starting from local, private, association or entrepreneurial initiatives. However, the evolution, or rather the revolution, which is underway is not about to stop. Indeed, this transformation is aimed at much more than digital and smart cities, it must evolve towards cities, a region where the well-being of citizens is a priority by integrating the notions of inclusion, citizen participation and resilience.

Jean-Claude Marcourt

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