Northern Ireland Leads the Charge on Smart Cities

DSP Valley member Invest NI showcases the progress and projects making Northern Ireland’s cities smart.

There’s no denying that the events of 2020 sparked a frank discussion on the pros and cons of city-living. But long before COVID19, most of us recognised that our urban environments needed change and fresh life breathed into them, and technology could potentially hold the key. ‘Smart’ solutions, as they have become known, are now being implemented in communities across the world with the goal of improving quality of life.

This smart revolution is already well underway in Northern Ireland, where digital infrastructure has long been a priority. Cities like Belfast are tapping into the nation’s expertise in sectors spanning technology, cyber security, data analytics and advanced manufacturing to unlock a diverse range of technology-based initiatives to deliver economic, social, and environmental benefits for citizens.

The city was one of the first in the UK to be selected for BT’s 5G network roll-out and, as part of its ambition to become a Smart Port, Belfast Harbour has partnered with BT to trial 5G maritime innovations.

Supporting the pioneers

Over the past decade, Northern Ireland has carved out a niche for itself as a fast-growing and vibrant technology hub.

With more than 1,200 technology companies and 28,000 people employed in Northern Ireland’s ICT sector alone, we are a hotbed for talent across technology and data science industries. This, combined with our academic leadership in cyber security research, makes Northern Ireland ideally placed to lead the charge as the world looks toward smart cities opportunities.

Cutting-edge smart solutions are being developed and implemented across Northern Ireland today, bolstered by initiatives like the Northern Ireland Internet of Things Network (NI-IoT). Led by Ulster University, a free-to-use network that helps businesses develop IoT solutions with wide geographic ranges while using minimal energy and which is now supporting the nation’s many burgeoning smart city opportunities.

One business to benefit from the IoT infrastructure in Northern Ireland is See.Sense. The team develops smart cycling solutions that are revolutionising the experiences of cyclists in Northern Ireland today.

See.Sense uses intelligent bike lights and GPS bike trackers, powered by sensor technology and AI, to improve the safety and experience of cyclists, while also providing cities with data insights to help inform their planning.

Beyond cycling, the electric vehicles (EVs) market is also being rebooted with smart solutions to help make cities more accessible and ultimately, more sustainable. Just last month, the contractor Triex EV installed the first ‘pay-as-you-charge’ electric vehicle charging point for residential apartments in Coleraine.

The business case for smart cities

Smart technology is not only transforming life for Northern Ireland’s city dwellers, it has also opened an exciting and fast-growing market for smart city solutions, with boundless opportunities for collaboration between industry and academia.

Two of our world-renowned universities, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, offer access to eight clusters of world-class AI research in core data science, cyber security, hardware, internet of things, medicine, robotics, economy, and multimedia analytics.

The access Northern Ireland offers to some of the brightest minds in R&D has encouraged a diverse cluster of smart city companies to set up operations here.

ANGOKA is one business that was attracted by Northern Ireland’s R&D credentials. The team at ANGOKA protects the machine-to-machine communication that enables smart city initiatives to run. ANGOKA works behind the scenes to safeguard everything from the personal data stored in smart home devices to the communication channels between drones.

Within Belfast’s technology cluster, you can also find Anaeko, a hybrid cloud integrator that helps organisations adopt cloud computing. Founded in 2004, the company is going from strength-to-strength and has helped integrate data and analytics solutions in a diverse range of sectors including utilities.

Another technology innovator focused on improving efficiency is Kinsetsu, which provides organisations with intelligent tracking solutions that automate and optimise their tasks and services. For instance, its product HomeHug helps elderly people live independently at home for longer by providing their loved ones with data about the home environment including temperature and movement.

Looking ahead

It’s an exciting time for Northern Ireland. The nation has carved out a niche for itself as an incubator for smart city companies and we’re committed to staying at the top of our game. And as the world prepares for a number of significant changes that lie on the horizon, from the green economy to the widespread adoption of 5G and the advent of autonomous vehicles, Northern Ireland is well-equipped to drive positive change.

There are plenty of opportunities for the DSP Valley ecosystem to get involved in the exciting developments happening in Northern Ireland.

Interested in learning more or becoming part of the solutions?

Contact Emilien Thorin and check out Invest NI’s website.

Sfella, the Smart Flush solution, is ready to enter the Legionella prevention market

In the Netherlands, 300 to 400 people are infected per year with the legionella bacteria (Legionnaires’ disease or Pontiac fever), a number that is rising each year. Victims of the bacteria suffer for a long period, from several months up to more than a year. Between 5 and 10% of cases are lethal.

Legionella infections mostly occur through people breathing in legionella-contaminated aerosols. Aerosols are small droplets of water that are generated, for example, when showering. For this reason, public showers like the ones in sports centres, swimming halls, and saunas, as well as truck stops and camp sites, need to be flushed regularly to prevent legionella growing in the water pipes. The required flushing is often done manually or semi-automated, which is very time consuming, prone to human errors, and labor intensive. Especially when one takes into account the legal obligations to report data like date, time, water temperature, and flush duration per shower.

The risk of legionella contamination has increased in the current Covid-19 crisis with the (temporary) closure of facilities. Showers are not used by clients and facility engineers who have to stay home and are not allowed to come to their facilities for the requisite flushing.

Sfella is the Smart Flush solution by Mioto* that addresses all of the above issues. Sfella is a user-friendly, reliable and easy-to-install solution for legionella prevention. The system is modular, for use within environments with multiple showers. It assures flushing the shower(s) happens after an operator-defined time period. The system reports the important flush data like date, time, duration, and water temperature. This reporting and control of the showers happens locally or remote via a dedicated gateway.

Sfella is powered by the mesh network MyriaNed. It is an infrastructure of nodes that connect directly, dynamically, and non-hierarchically. This allows easy configuration and scalability. Data transfer to and from the shower units (represented by a node) is wireless and bi-directional. Therefore, settings can be changed remotely, while the report with flush-related data can be received remotely in your email inbox. MyriaNed can be configured to use either 868MHz or 2.4GHz. This allows for the optimal fit in each local environment in terms of coverage and energy usage.

In February 2020, just before the first Covid-19 wave struck the Netherlands, van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau B.V. started a pilot program with Sfella on 15 showers in a care institute. The unforeseen Covid-19 crisis forced the care institute to close its sports facilities for several months, a perfect period to test the installed Sfella system. It appears the automatic flushing happened every 72 hours as programmed. Once the facilities opened again in early summer, final confirmation arrived: examinations of the water samples taken showed no legionella contamination in the related water pipes. This offered the most convincing evidence that Sfella delivered.

van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau is now to actively approaching the Dutch market and discussing with sales and distribution partners, as well as technology partners, to broaden the Sfella roadmap. If you are interested in partnering for sales and distribution, including outside the Netherlands, please contact us.

A video about Sfella is available at our website.

For further information, please reach out to

* Mioto is a brand of van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau B.V. in Eindhoven the Netherlands

Fulco Verheul

Responsible for marketing, sales, business development, product management and product development activities at van Mierlo Ingenieursbureau B.V.

Smart Cities Vlaanderen: More powerful than ever

Smart Cities Vlaanderen logo

In July, Citylab fully integrated its work for the Innovative Business Network (IBN) Smart Cities Vlaanderen with partner DSP Valley. “After more than a year and a half of successful collaboration with DSP Valley, it is time for this step,” says Citylab director Marc Schepers. “By bringing our business cluster fully under one roof, we will become more effective and create room for further development of Smart Cities Vlaanderen!”   

DSP Valley and Citylab are the driving forces behind the IBN Smart Cities Vlaanderen, which was started more than a year and a half ago with the support of various big names in the tech world. Although still at an early stage as an organization, the cluster has had a promising start, successfully bridging the gap between business and government. Their strength has been converting Smart Cities issues into concrete business cases for companies.

Dieter Therssen (left), CEO of DSP Valley, and Marc Schepers (right), director of Citylab, signing the merger official agreement regarding Smart Cities Vlaanderen.
Dieter Therssen (left), CEO of DSP Valley, and Marc Schepers (right), director of Citylab, signing the official merger agreement.

The two organizations are convinced that they are coming together at the right moment. Schepers declared, “It is now time to connect even more and to continue our cooperation with DSP Valley. That is why we decided to fully shift our co- promotorship to DSP Valley.” 

From his perspective as CEO of DSP Valley, Dieter Therssen emphasizes the need for an encompassing structure. “In Flanders, several initiatives have emerged in the field of smart cities in recent years , but there is not yet an overarching approach across the region. At the same time, the demand from local governments for smart city solutions is increasing exponentially,” he states. 

CEO of Living Tomorrow and president of Smart Cities Vlaanderen, Joachim De Vos agrees that the time for joining forces is ripe as the movement for smart cities gains momentum. This merger between DSP Valley and City Labs is the first step toward an even stronger Smart Cities Vlaanderen consortium.

Flanders Innovation and Entrepreneurship (VLAIO), which financially supports the consortium through its subsidies for IBNs, is also on board. Asked for comment, a spokesperson confirmed, “This evolution makes the position of Smart Cities Vlaanderen more powerful and stable and allows them to support companies even better in the smart cities domain. It will enable the cluster to actively contribute to developing Flanders into a smart region.”

 The integration between Citylab and DSP Valley “enables us to accelerate our role as a matchmaker between companies and local authorities, building business consortia and creating a digital platform in the quadruple helix,” says Peter Vandeurzen, Cluster Manager for Smart Cities Vlaanderen. DSP Valley will further expand and strengthen the cluster from its office at the Corda Campus in Hasselt.

A bundled structure can also be the starting point for jumping from Flanders to Europe in the context of digitization. By coordinating smart cities initiatives, the desired critical mass and strength can be achieved to make Flanders a leading smart region in Europe.

All information about the Smart Cities Vlaanderen community and how to participate can be found on their website.


Smart Cities Vlaanderen Cluster
The cluster was founded by a number of steering group members and co-financed by VLAIO. The founding steering committee members are: Living Tomorrow with Joachim De Vos, chairman of the steering group, Nokia, Cronos Group, MyCsN, Tractebel Engie, Mediahuis, Hydroscan, Niko, and AllThingsTalk.

Together for strong, ambitious innovation
More starters, more stayers, more growers: that’s what we aim for! The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Agency and the Innovative Business Networks want to facilitate cooperation between companies, knowledge institutions and governments. Smart Cities Vlaanderen is one of these innovative business networks. Discover the others at the website. #growingstrong #sterkgroeien   

Breathing with Confidence Thanks to Collaboration

By Jane Judge, DSP Valley
Breathe with Confidence

A small, partly cobble-stoned street in Antwerp’s Berchem neighborhood seems unremarkable enough. On one side, low garages, probably for the apartment buildings on the busier parallel street. On the other side, a newbuild of pleasing dark brick and street-level windows starting at your shoulder. This is the new Yust space (part hotel, part apartments, part co-working event space – but we’ll get to the specifics of what they do a little later).

Continue reading “Breathing with Confidence Thanks to Collaboration”

LACROIX Group positions itself as European leader in Smart City technology with the acquisition of Belgian company Smartnodes

By Lacroix Group

LACROIX Group has just concluded a strategic deal by acquiring the Belgian start-up Smartnodes, a small company founded on inter-university research which has won numerous international awards for its innovations in Smart Lighting systems.

This start-up, with around fifteen employees, strengthens the European position of LACROIX Group in the Smart Cities market, complementing its offer related to the intelligent management of street lighting infrastructure.

With Smartnodes, the group is expanding its offer thanks to dynamic products at the cutting edge of technology, while also strengthening its highly skilled engineering teams. In doing so, it aims to accelerate its ability to implement new road-management use cases by harnessing street lighting infrastructure with dynamic technology. Smart Lighting regulates the zones, times and intensity of lighting for environmentally friendly cities, while retaining visual attractiveness and safety. Available in all public places, the street lighting network, fitted with new sensors, thus becomes the support base for the development of Smart City networks.

LACROIX Group strengthens its European position as a Smart City technology provider.

Already established in Spain, Germany and Italy, LACROIX Group is expanding its European footprint with the acquisition of Smartnodes.  After covering Belgium and the Netherlands, the priority targets for Smartnodes are France, the DACH countries (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) and Northern Europe, drawing on an extensive and highly dynamic offer.

 “With a keen high-tech focus, the company Smartnodes, a spin-off of the University of Liège and the University of Louvain, is a pure start-up which, in a very short space of time, has successfully developed and marketed outside Belgium a range of detection and communication (IoT) products based on the implementation of a low-bandwidth mesh network and edge-computing systems. Smartnodes can rely on a very fine team of engineers and sales representatives committed to meeting the challenges of tomorrow’s cities,” emphasises Jean Beka, CEO of Smartnodes.

An acquisition in line with LACROIX Group’s Smart Cities growth strategy.

“The arrival of Smartnodes, following on from the group’s acquisition of Sogexi in 2016, strengthens our European leadership in the field of smart street lighting management. This is in line with the takeover of SAE IT-systems at the beginning of 2019 in support of our goal to become the technological equipment leader in the Smart Cities market,” says Vincent Bedouin, LACROIX Group’s Chairman and CEO.


LACROIX Group is an international technological equipment manufacturer, aiming to serve a connected and responsible world with its technical and industrial excellence. Registered as a family business, the Group is able to combine the agility necessary to innovate in a constantly changing technological world with the longterm vision to invest in and build the future.

LACROIX Group provides connected, secure equipment for the management of smart road infrastructure (street lighting, traffic management and regulation, signage, V2X) through LACROIX City and for the management of water and energy infrastructure through LACROIX Environment.

LACROIX Group also develops and produces electronic equipment for its automobile, home automation, aeronautics, industry and healthcare customers through LACROIX Electronics.

Far from having big futuristic plans which are totally unrealistic, the Group works with its customers and partners to link today’s world and tomorrow’s world. By helping them to build the industry of the future and to benefit from the innovation opportunities all around us, LACROIX Group provides the equipment for a smarter world.

The Group has its head office in Saint Herblain, and operates in France, Germany, Poland, Tunisia, Spain, Italy and Singapore. It has a turnover of €468 M. It is managed by Vincent Bedouin. 70% of its capital is family-owned and 30% is listed in Compartment C of Euronext. Further information:


Smartnodes is a company specialising in the development and marketing of communication modules fitted with sensors and edge-computing technology for Smart City solutions.  Smartnodes distributes its IOT products to public authorities, as well as to the private sector.

The company is based in Liège, Belgium.  Further information:

PRESS CONTACT: Giotto – Laure Desalins – +33 (0)6 66 27 21 62 –

Digital exams can contribute to a better quality of education

By Televic

Televic Education researched trends in and willingness to conducting digital exams in Flemish education.

Since a couple of years, digitalisation has been having a strong impact on our everyday lives. Not only can our children no longer be distracted from their loved screen, but digital tools and platforms are also omnipresent in the professional work context. Education cannot be left behind in this respect. This school and academic year, too, new digital steps are being taken to help improve the lives of teachers and pupils. In recent years, digital exams or e-assessments have become more and more important in education. In recent years, digital exams or eassessment have become more and more important in education.

Is it true that digital exams are on the rise? And what is the status of pen and paper exams in the Flemish classroom at the moment? Which issues can digital exams solve for schools and universities? And why is it that that e-assessment has only taken baby steps at various educational institutions? Software company Televic Education* searched for an answer to these questions. They published the results of their survey in a report.

Paper is still omnipresent

This survey shows that digital examination has already made its appearance in most educational institutions, but is rather limited in use. In general, digital exams remain subsidiary to ‘traditional’ paper exams. It is remarkable that no less than 20% of all surveyed educational institutions still exclusively conducts their exams on paper, and therefore has not yet taken any steps towards digital examinations.

In the remaining 80%, a limited form of digital examination has already been introduced, but not a single school entrusts its examinations to a digital platform to maximum extent. Paper therefore remains omnipresent.

E-assessment and digital exams contribute to a better quality of education

Yet there is some movement in the educational landscape when it comes to exams. At no less than 76% of the surveyed educational institutions, digital exams are one of the topics included in the strategic policy. These schools and universities mainly stress the advantage of saving time while creating and marking exams, and assume that the time freed up can then be invested in the quality of education. Joris Vanholme, Business Development Manager at Televic Education, confirms that this assumption is correct: “The time and insights that digital exams provide can be put to good use in the search for solutions to the challenges in education. After all, teachers, lecturers or professors cannot use the time they spend improving their course or their teaching approach, or enter entering into a dialogue with their students, … . I therefore strongly believe that, with the introduction of digital examination, the teacher will not have to work longer or more, but will be able to fill in their time more efficiently.”

“A unique opportunity to benchmark educational institutions”

Through numerous conversations in the context of, but also outside of this research, Televic Education gained more insight into the needs, wishes, practices and perceptions concerning digital exams in Flemish education. General Manager Stijn De Vleesschouwer: “Televic Educations can only make the right decisions in the further development of its e-assessment platform if it knows the needs and wishes of educational institutions. Our experience shows that the co-creation process, in which we involve our customers as much as possible in design decisions before we develop a feature, always leads to great added value for our customers. This research fits in perfectly with that process and offers educational institutions a unique opportunity to benchmark themselves.” For example, the study shows that as many as 70.4% of the surveyed educational institutions wants to invest in (new) e-assessment software in the future. One third of these schools and universities will already do so in 2019-2020.

The full report can be found in Dutch on the Televic Education website.

More information:
Stijn De Vleeschhouwer – General Manager, Televic Education – +32 495 58 48 54
Joris Vanholme – Business Development Manager, Televic Education – +32 476 86 47 35

More information about our digital exam solution at VIVES University of Applied Sciences (EN):

*Televic Education
Televic Education, owned by Lieven Danneels and Thomas Verstraeten and headquartered in Izegem, was founded in 1956 as part of the Televic Group. Televic Education is a world leader in the development and implementation of science-based educational solutions. More information on

Research Project Delivers New UQ Software

The numerical analysis and applied mathematics research group NUMA at KU Leuven has successfully developed a new Uncertainty Quantification (UQ) software package allowing for an efficient treatment of problems that depend on many uncertain parameters.

The research group had been part of the EUFORIA research project, an SBO project (Strategisch BasisOnderzoek or Strategic Basic Research) that ran from February 2015 through April 2019. Funded by IWT (now VLAIO), SBO projects support “high-quality level basic research with a pronounced focus on high-risk, inventive and original research and with a high and strategic valorization potential of the results in Flanders.” In this case, the project brought together academics from five institutions and worked with a “Users Committee” of Flanders-based companies to assess the project’s outcomes. The Users Committee members’ activities include domains as diverse as heat exchangers, computational physics (CFD), and software and energy engineering, ensuring that the project output would be widely applicable. One of the more extreme uses for the software, and one that eloquently illustrates how it works, involves designing earthquake-resistant structures. While certainly not the only application, it is an exciting advancement in civil engineering.

Uncertainty Quantification in earthquake-resistant structures

Inside Taiwan’s Taipei 101 building, one of the world’s tallest skyscrapers, is a large metal sphere weighing 660 tons, mounted between the 88th and 92nd floor. This sphere is not an architectural frivolity but is one of the buildings’ key features. As earthquakes are common in east Taiwan, tall earthbound structures must be designed so that they can withstand the additional stresses produced inside their structural components. If those stresses become too large, the building might experience permanent damage or even collapse. The large sphere on top of the Taipei 101 is designed precisely to prevent such catastrophic events from happening. To that end, structural engineers who design such buildings must take into account the inherently uncertain nature of earthquakes, since no two earthquakes are ever identical and all differ in strength, vibration pattern and duration. To do so, engineers can resort to UQ, the study of the impact of imperfect information on the design of products or processes.

Earthquake modeling

To perform uncertainty quantification, one must have a mathematical model describing the impact of an earthquake on the horizontal motion of the building. In civil engineering, this motion is typically simulated using rigid body models for the building. Seismologists then describe the ground acceleration caused by earthquakes as a combination of many high-frequency components. Subsequently, the ground acceleration is used as input to the rigid body model. Together, the ground acceleration and building model form a mathematical model for the effect that an earthquake has on the building’s motion. In this mathematical model, the high-frequency components form the set of input parameters, whereas the model output – also termed the quantity of interest – is given by the maximum stress inside the building.

However, as every earthquake is unique, the maximum stress should be computed for a wide variety of possible model inputs. Consequently, these inputs now become uncertain parameters, and, as a result, the predicted output quantity (the maximum stress) also becomes uncertain. Instead of a single output value, the result is now specified as a distribution of potential output values. Determining the effect the uncertain parameters have on the distribution of the output quantity of interest is the main task of UQ.

It is an exciting advancement in civil engineering.

UQ – Monte Carlo methods to the rescue

Once the mathematical model is set up, the uncertainty quantification task can start. A very popular UQ technique is the brute-force Monte Carlo method, which repeatedly chooses a random value for each of the uncertain parameters. For each set of random input parameters, one computes the quantity of interest using the mathematical model. The obtained set of output values – sometimes called the ensemble – is then used to approximate the distribution of the quantity of interest. Unfortunately, it is well known that the Monte Carlo method suffers from a low efficiency: to get an additional digit of accuracy, the number of model evaluations must increase a hundredfold!

To remedy the inefficiency of the Monte Carlo method, about 10 years ago, multilevel methods were invented. Instead of only computing with the high accuracy model as in Monte Carlo, multilevel methods use many cheap-to-compute model evaluations with low accuracy, and subsequently add corrections from a hierarchy of models with increasing levels of accuracy – but also increasing computational cost. Each model in the hierarchy is referred to as a level, and, when combined with Monte Carlo, the method is called Multilevel Monte Carlo. In the context of earthquake-resistant buildings, a hierarchy of cheaper models can be obtained by varying, for example, the time increment used in the simulation of the earthquake-building model. Simulations with finer time steps yield more accurate results, but are also more expensive to compute.

It is important to stress that a multilevel method yields the same accuracy as the Monte Carlo method, but its computational cost is heavily reduced. For a simple one-story building model, for example, the distribution of the maximum stress inside the building subject to an earthquake-input with 1000 high-frequency components is computed almost 10 times faster with a 6-level method than with the original Monte Carlo method.

Open-source UQ software – MultilevelEstimators.jl

The multilevel Monte Carlo methodology for uncertainty quantification is implemented in an all-purpose Julia software library MultilevelEstimators.jl, created by NUMA. This freely available generic library focuses on the efficient computation of the distribution of a quantity of interest using multilevel methods.

Rightly so, the research group is proud of their achievement. They hope more applications for it will come to light as more audiences begin to use it. The software is both lightweight and flexible, with the major advantage that it wraps around an existing user code that is considered as a black box; no modifications to the user code are required! The software has proven to be significantly more efficient in several industrial cases and is now ready to be used in your application! If you want to try out the software in your own domain, have questions, or just want more information, feel free to get in touch with

Results from imec Smart City Meter 2019

by imec City of Things

The most important conclusion from the imec Smart City Meter 2019: the government can and must take the lead.

For the past three years, imec has been surveying the attitudes of people in Flanders and Brussels in relation to smart cities and the latest developments surrounding the topic. In doing so, we not only gauge people’s knowledge about the technology and the opportunities that the Smart City has to offer, but also its aims and shortcomings, such as people’s willingness to take part in research into the smart city or to provide data for smart city solutions. The most important conclusion from the imec Smart City Meter 2019: the government can and must take the lead. We listened to a conversation between Jan Adriaenssens, director City of Things at imec, and Pieter Ballon, director imec-SMIT and professor at VUB.

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Public space as a basic concept

Pieter: “Imec-SMIT has conducted the Smart City Meter for the past 3 years. This year, we surveyed some 2000 people from Flanders and Brussels. When I compare the results with three years ago, I am struck by the fact that many people’s knowledge of the subject has increased significantly. For example, they have become well aware that with a smart city, there is often a certain trade-off in terms of privacy. And they rightly view that with some suspicion. Many citizens are simply unable to come to terms with sharing details of their location, or having facial recognition cameras around the place. Yet they don’t totally slam the door closed against them. On the contrary, despite certain reservations or fears, more than 85% of the population believe that the smart city is a ‘positive to very positive’ development.”

Jan: “That’s right. What’s more, our report indicates that people are definitely prepared to make their personal data available in return for relevant functionalities, such as smart routes and a more livable city. By contrast, though, they are increasingly less willing to share their data for things as mundane as a discount voucher – and that can only be good news.”

Pieter: “The concept of ‘public space’ is also crucial here. Many people think it is all right for their actions in the public space to be picked up by smart technologies, such as having a street light to come on to illuminate the way for them when they pass by. A clear majority of those we surveyed are also okay about noise sensors in public areas, or with smart rubbish containers. But as soon as this intrudes into private space, their acceptance level diminishes. This also explains their reluctance to adopt technology such as smart assistants in the home, or smart meters.”

Jan: “So we also need to make sure that we keep an eye on maintaining privacy as much as possible in the public space. Which is where I see technology playing a major role. For instance, there are smart cameras that never actually pass on the images they film. These pictures are only processed and interpreted in the camera itself, which only sends messages such as ‘object deleted’ or ‘person fallen over’. That way, privacy is safeguarded to the maximum.”

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Invisible smart city

Pieter: “There’s another striking trend: the people in Flanders and Brussels believe far and away that mobility and livability are the most important areas in which smart cities should and must invest. These topics score much higher than areas such as safety and security, which is something the public debate about smart cities often involves.”

Jan: “This tends to confirm that we have made the right strategic choices by investing in research and solutions relating to air quality, traffic jams, smart routes and so on. People want cleaner public squares, healthier streets, districts where there is no noise pollution, etc. These are all virtually invisible solutions where the technology is not in the foreground, but still remains crucial for achieving our objectives. So, smart cities will not necessarily be ‘visibly smart’.”

Pieter: “Once again, the concept of ‘public space’ comes to the fore here. We expect more from our smart city than just getting smoothly from A to B. We also want it to address the whole context, because we have far less control over it.”

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Government as director, citizen as active participant

Jan: “This may also explain why the people we surveyed emphatically want the government to give direction to the whole thing. In s  mart cities it’s about capturing various types of behavior and solutions in the public space. And we’d rather have these issues managed by the government than by private organizations.”

Pieter: “The word ‘direction’ sums it up perfectly. That is the role that cities and local authorities – and by extension even whole regions – have to play. They are able to set the direction and the pace, depending on what their citizens want. But a film is not made by a director on his or her own: you also need actors and a large technical team behind you. And for us, this team is the companies and researchers, who can be driving forces with their input and insights.”

Jan: “So it is very important that we involve citizens as much as possible. Not only by surveying them, but also by telling them about what we are doing. For example, look at the way we all drive more slowly when the word SMOG is displayed underneath speed signs, simply because we understand why that particular warning is being shown. All of this becomes a little more difficult with AI and we have to stay vigilant for this.”

Pieter: “One final point worth noting is people’s high level of willingness to take part actively in experiments. 70 to 80% of respondents are prepared to participate in ‘citizen science’ initiatives, for example by installing a measuring station on the façade to take readings of air quality or other parameters. Half of them even say that they would like to tinker with a sensor themselves – which is an interesting thought!”

Read more about the results of the imec Smart City Meter 2019

Sigasi Presents a new Educational Program: everybody can be an XPRT now!

by Sigasi

Sigasi believes that students should get the best start in digital design and use the best tools during their education. Therefore, we decided to upgrade our Educational Program. As from September 2019, Sigasi provides Sigasi Studio XPRT to all students and teachers who join our Educational Program, free of charge. We are confident this will help students aim higher and become our next generation of technological inventors.

Why shouldn’t students and teachers have the best tools?

Sigasi Studio is the best tool for teaching and learning VHDL, Verilog and SystemVerilog. Students and teachers have been telling us this for years now.

Sigasi Studio shortens the feedback cycle, students learn faster, trivial errors are avoided and educators can focus on teaching the concepts of hardware design while Sigasi Studio assists to write correct syntax and code.

We too, at Sigasi, have been students not that longtime ago. That is why, since our start in 2008, we have always offered our educational licenses free of charge. We helped 1200+ educational institutions and sent out 5000+ educational licenses. Sigasi Studio is a must-have tool for all modern-day digital designers.

All that functionality at your fingertips

Individual students, professors and classrooms will now have all the features of Sigasi Studio XPRT available to them on PC, Mac or Linux. All you have to do is apply for your educational license.

Everybody knows the basic functions such as error checking, autocomplete and fast navigation, and will now also be able to work with:

  • Mixed language projects
  • Advanced linting
  • Net search
  • Integration with external tools Powerful visual feedback tools
  • Visualisation of your HDL code

 Let us learn from you

For educational licenses, talkback will be enabled. This is a Sigasi Studio service that automatically collects metadata about how Sigasi Studio is used. This metadata is sent to Sigasi through a secure connection. This will let us determine which features are heavily used and helps in planning which kind of features are valuable for you as Sigasi Studio user, so that we can adjust our product roadmap. We collect performance statistics, that we can relate to the project sizes. Together with our in-house performance tests, this helps us keep the Sigasi Studio compiler and user interface fast. We reduce software errors by collecting incident reports from a wide range of use cases.

Sigasi uses the information transmitted by Talkback for product planning and development. We use it for deciding which features to focus on and improve, for finding and fixing bugs and for finding and fixing performance issues. The end result is that you can use an ever-improving Sigasi Studio.

Request your educational license

You can visit this​ page to directly access the request form. Students will receive a 6 month node-locked license, teachers will receive a 1 year node-locked license. For classrooms, you will receive a floating license for 1 year. After your license expires and if you’re still learning or teaching, you’re welcome to request a new license.

Please complete all fields and use an email that is linked to an educational institution. One of our colleagues will be happy to approve your request.

Our educational program is for learning and teaching only. For academic research, we have a special pricing, contact us​ for more information.​