by Cindy Huynh
Fujitsu launched a Brussel-based International Blockchain Innovation Center on March 21. The purpose of the Innovation Center is to “research blockchain and distributed ledger technologies and undertake collaborative projects with selected private and public organizations.”
According to Fujitsu’s press release, the Japanese IT giant plans to develop blockchain technology beyond its financial roots. The company believes that blockchain has potential to thrive in a variety of industries where a ledger-based trail is required. These include private blockchains in logistics and supply chain management, and public blockchains in real estate ownership, voting ID, and smart contracts.
One of Fujitsu’s focus areas for the Blockchain Innovation Center is the development and implementation of Smart City Services that focuses on the cities of the future. The project is already underway with full participation from Brussels and other Belgian cities. Multiple European cities have also expressed interest to collaborate and fulfill Fujitsu’s Smart City ambitions.
Fujitsu’s Smart City Initiatives
According to the National League of Cities, more than half of the world’s population currently live in urban areas. The proportion will, however, increase to 66 percent by 2050. As urbanization increases in the future, this “trend will place increased demands on local government and give rise to new ecosystems with multiple challenges to address – from public safety, infrastructure, transportation, and housing,” said Frederik De Breuk, Presales and Business Assurance Director at Fujitsu Benelux.
These changes will force cities to evolve into Smart Cities. Unlike the cities of today, Smart Cities use analytics and data to address social, economic and environmental problems that result from urban growth. “The use of blockchain technology with its potential in public ledger and voting ID, and its capacity to automate processes and auditing in smart contracts will doubtlessly play an important role in this changing ecosystem,” said De Breuck.
The International Blockchain Innovation Center will also support and encourage research and development of blockchain technology for Brussels and other cities by funding innovative projects led by companies, research organizations, and entities from the non-commercial sector.
Fujitsu has Full Support from the Belgian Government
Fujitsu selected Brussels as the location for the International Blockchain Innovation Center due to its geographical, political, technological, and linguistic advantages to test and pilot the Smart City Initiatives. While blockchain technology plays an integral role in the Smart City Project, the IT giant wants to also focus on other aspects that influence the city. These include sociological and demographic factors, societal organization, economic functioning, and ecological challenges.
It’s therefore vital for Fujitsu to have the full support and cooperation from the Belgian government. A Smart City Initiative requires the collaboration of the government to continuously supply information and data and grant access to their city and services.
“Belgium is the ideal place to establish an international competence center such as the Fujitsu Innovation Center,” said Kris Peeters, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium. “Belgium is located in the center of Europe. Moreover, Belgium’s economy is driven by innovation. It is important that all levels of government continue to actively work with innovative companies to sustain the overall economic fabric in Belgium.”