Belgium, One of Europe's Political and Economic Centers
Belgium is a country located in Western Europe. The country's capital, Brussels, is a major city in Europe ranked 21st in the Global Power City Index (GPCI) 2017 (*1). Brussels is also known as "Little Paris" due to the beauty of its cityscapes.
Many headquarters of international organizations from all over Europe are located in Brussels, and three-quarters of the activities of the European Parliament are held in the city. Therefore, Brussels is regarded as the de facto headquarters of the European Union (EU). The headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is also located in this city, and it can be said that Brussels is one of Europe's political and economic hubs.
As a research center in Brussels, Fujitsu opened its "Block Chain Innovation Center" on March 21, 2018. By establishing an R&D function in Belgium, Fujitsu aims to collaborate with a variety of companies and research institutions around the world. (Photo shows a scene from the opening ceremony *2)
(*1) An annual ranking published by the Mori Memorial Foundation's Institute for Urban Strategies, a research institute established by Mori Building. The GPCI evaluates 44 major global cities based on 70 indexes in six functions representing the strengths of cities (Economy, R&D, Cultural Interaction, Livability, Environment, and Accessibility). In the comprehensive ranking in 2017, London was ranked first, New York second, Tokyo third, Paris fourth, and Singapore fifth.
(*2) From the left, Ambassador Hajime Hayashi (Embassy of Japan in Belgium), Kris Peeters (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Employment, Economy and Consumer Affairs, in charge of Foreign Trade, Belgian Federal Government), and Duncan Tait (Director, Fujitsu)
Realizing Smart Cities with Blockchain Technologies
One particular area of expertise that Fujitsu plans to develop in the Innovation Center is the use of blockchain technology for the design and implementation of Smart City services in Belgium. Blockchain technology involves a distributed ledger that prevents falsification and fraud by all participants. It is also regarded as the Core of Fintech, and in recent years, it has come into use not only in finance but also in various fields, such as logistics and supply chains. By incorporating blockchain into the development of smart cities, we can effectively use electricity throughout the cities and realize "environmentally-friendly cities" through the thorough saving of resources.
To realize smart cities, Smart Grids (*3), transportation systems, accumulators, and energy-saving home electronics that efficiently use renewable energy play an important role. Through joint research at the Center, Fujitsu aims to develop highly secure systems for public ledgers and voting ID, as well as for automated processes and auditing in smart contracts (*4).
(*3) An electricity transmission network that can control and optimize the flow of electricity from the standpoints of both demand and supply.
(*4) A function to automatically execute contracts based on preset conditions.
Solving Social, Economic and Environmental Problems Based on Field Trials in EU
Belgium is located in the center of Europe. Moreover, the Belgian economy is driven by innovation and its people have great language skills. Therefore, Belgium is the ideal place to establish the Blockchain Innovation Center. The establishment of the Center in Belgium can be a stepping stone for the Smart City Initiative in Europe.
In addition, Fujitsu established a blockchain community in Fujitsu's Europe region centering on the financial sector in October 2017 and has promoted efforts for blockchain technology that goes beyond business types. We believe that the establishment of this Blockchain Innovation Center will also be an opportunity to further Fujitsu's activities in the European region. We will continue to promote blockchain development through close collaboration between the community and the Innovation Center.