The DigitalWallonia4.AI programme, launched in July 2019, aims to accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence and develop the Walloon ecosystem. It supports companies wishing to integrate AI, conducts awareness-raising actions among public services, companies and the Walloon population. The programme celebrated its 2nd anniversary on Thursday 21 October and, on this occasion, Willy Borsus, Vice-President of Wallonia, Minister for the Economy, Research and Digital Innovation was present and announced a budget of 20 million spread over 3 years for DigitalWallonia4.AI.
Belgium has considerably accelerated in the field of artificial intelligence and has set up, in each of the three regions, but also at the federal level with AI4Belgium, structures to promote AI as we indicated in our report dedicated to this country in issue 5 of ActuIA magazine , available online and in newsstands throughout France.
DigitalWallonia4.AI: Strengthening the Walloon ecosystem
This is the case in Wallonia with DigitalWallonia4.AI, which aims to accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence in the region and strengthen the local ecosystem. Its strategy is broken down into 4 axes which are themselves made up of numerous initiatives:
- Axis 1: Society and AI;
- Axis 2: Business and AI;
- Axis 3: Training and AI;
- Axis 4: Partnerships, Innovation, Research and AI.
DigitalWallonia4.AI is supported by the AI Network, Agoria, Infopôle ICT Cluster and the Digital Agency with the support of trusted partners such as Wallonie Recherche SPW and AI4 Belgium.
Impact and results DigitalWallonia4.AI
- 81 Start IA laureates
- More than 30 expert companies are part of the Start IA pool
- 100% of participants recommend Start and Tremplin IA to other companies
- 27 AI Springboard projects funded among 77 applications
- 4 Cap IA winners out of 8 applications
- 10 winners and 21 public entities involved in the Start IA special “public sector” out of 31 applications
- More than 1,000 registrations for the “Carrefours de l’IA” webinars
- The arrival in force of the TRAIL research program
- In all, more than 120 beneficiary organizations and 45 AI expert companies funded
Julie de Bergeyck and Antoine Hublet, project leaders of the DigitalWallonia4.AI programme said:
“The first two years of DigitalWallonia4.ai have allowed us to launch various actions, test them in the field and evaluate their impact to improve them. These actions have resulted in, among others, the participation of more than 120 beneficiary organizations of AI solutions, 45 AI expert companies and a network of about 40 partners. We are grateful to these pioneers who will hopefully inspire many other actors to participate. Today, the ambition is to continue and accelerate together the digital transformation process of Walloon companies through the integration of AI technologies.”
There are more than 2,300 companies offering digital solutions in Wallonia. Certain technological ecosystems (Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, etc.) and themes (Industry 4.0, Health, etc.) stand out in particular.
20 million extra for Wallonia
The region accompanies and supports these ecosystems in the development of innovations in digital technologies. The objective is to boost the Walloon economy and the regional government is well aware of this, as the 2 million allocated to DigitalWallonia4.AI over the last two years will be added to the 20 million spread over the next three years. Willy Borsus declared:
“Wallonia’s ambition in terms of the deployment of artificial intelligence is great.This is why we have decided to expand the DigitalWallonia4AI programme to accelerate the adoption and appropriation of these future technologies.”