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From 7-14 November, Liège Airport and LeanSquare organised WeCargo, the event on the digital revolution in the air cargo industry. The participants at this unique international summit had front-row seats for the unveiling of the latest technological innovations.
The inaugural edition of WeCargo attracted some of the industry’s big names. Orange was involved for their expertise in Internet of Things (IoT). The project also included the Chinese internet giant Alibaba Cloud, whose first European logistics centre will set up shop at Liège Airport, Qatar Airways and the Liège investment fund LeanSquare. These companies understand the magnitude of the technological challenges within the air cargo industry and the aviation industry as a whole. The digitalisation of information on transport flows both in the air and on the ground, big data , drones, self-driving cars, objects that communicate with each other... All these innovations are expected to have a huge impact in and around airports.
Inspire and encourage innovation
‘The primary goal of WeCargo was to stimulate and inspire the international cargo community,’ explains Luc Partoune, CEO of Liège Airport. ‘The participation of Orange, Alibaba and Qatar Airways provided start-ups with the perfect opportunity to come into direct contact with the leading players.’
Orange, as a global expert on IoT, played an active role, demonstrating the importance and introducing the possibilities of NB-IoT, LTE and 5G. These technologies are highly suited to tracking & tracing the intelligent warehouse of the future and smart airports/cities. Thanks to Orange, the participants at the summit were even able to try out a few NB-IoT and LTE kits. These and other innovations offer an early answer to the challenges the air cargo industry will face tomorrow.
From hackathon to summit
WeCargo included its fair share of exceptional events. From 7-14 November, a dozen or so Belgian and international start-ups from the aviation industry participated in the Orange Fab acceleration programme. It was the ideal opportunity to exchange ideas with leading international tech players and to pitch projects to a panel of key investors from the industry.
On 13-14 November a hackathon took place, giving fifty talented hackers (professionals from the cargo industry, data analysts, engineers, starters, etc.) exactly 24 hours to devise solutions to some of the industry’s most topical challenges. The hackers who came up with the most promising solutions won. They will have the chance to create their own start-ups and play a role in the future of the air cargo industry.
On 14 November, it was time for the main event of the innovative week: the WeCargo summit. More than 300 industry professionals attended to discuss the future of the air cargo and aviation industry. It was a unique opportunity to become familiar with the technologies of tomorrow.