- Published: 08 September 2023
- Wavre, Belgium, got its city status in 1222 — but it's not frozen in time.
- It's integrating 5G into city services, such as energy management, to build a smarter city.
- The project also includes affordable or free 5G internet access for residents, depending on needs.
The Belgian city of Wavre has had its city status since 1222. But the 800-year-old conurbation isn't happy to live in the past. A technology project in partnership with the European Union could bring 5G to all aspects of Wavre residents' lives — and make energy systems within the city work smarter than before.
Under the Réseau d'Energies de Wavre, or REW, plan, every public building in Wavre will have a smart meter installed that keeps track of power usage among key infrastructure elements. It will also enable a peer-to-peer energy-sharing model that helps businesses and organizations share energy depending on needs.
The REW initiative, in which a 5G-enabled SIM card will be installed in each meter, will help the city develop a "smart grid." On this smart grid, energy use can be constantly monitored, modeled, and predicted using real-time dashboards. This can help ensure lower and more-efficient power use by more effectively modeling when people should use that energy. A 5G connection enables this through the always-on, affordable mobile data the project uses.
Wavre isn't new to innovation
"For the past 10 years, the city of Wavre has been fully committed to the digital transition," Anne Masson, the mayor of Wavre, said in a statement. "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."
The project will also include affordable or free 5G internet access depending on needs and a "living lab" using sensors to monitor air quality and better inform decisions about transport and the environment in the city. The project is part of a plan organized under a consortium between the city and the connected-tech company Citymesh.
The consortium, CONNECTOW, received a grant of €3.9 million, or about $4.3 million, from the EU's Connecting Europe Facility.
The project's participants have said the CONNECTOW project may transform Wavre into a fully smart city by 2030. The vision includes 5G communications as the backbone of how the urban area operates, with various elements of citizens' day-to-day lives feeding into, and powered by, the 5G network.
"Today, these new technologies are sometimes scary because they can be misunderstood or poorly controlled," Masson said. "Yet they will play an essential role in the energy transition and progress for all."
The city's mayor is proud to be at the vanguard of the new energy revolution. "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," she told Insider.
Autor(en)/Author(s): Chris Stokel-Walker
Quelle/Source: Business Insider, 01.09.2023