[17th Mar 2020] Co.Station, the inspiring and innovating workplace, is launching co.mobility, Belgium’s first mobility ecosystem. co.mobility will bring together key players (companies, universities, governments, public entities, …) in a single ecosystem to promote innovation and solve current mobility challenges efficiently and sustainably. co.mobility is supported by six founding partners: AG, BNP Paribas Fortis, Brussels Airport Company, SNCB, STIB and Touring. The ecosystem will help to develop practical mobility solutions as soon as October 2020, notably smart applications and Mobility as a Service (MaaS), as well as new services and infrastructure.
The future of mobility
Mobility is a huge and complex sector with a large number of players. It is at the nexus of some of the major societal issues of our time, including the climate emergency, the impact of new technologies (connected vehicles, artificial intelligence), urbanisation and the challenges facing public transport. The market has also seen disruption from new players in recent years, particularly in soft and shared mobility.
“Mobility is a sector particularly conducive to innovation, and co.mobility is a great opportunity to position ourselves in this new mobility paradigm, for the benefit of individuals and society as a whole,” explains Co.Station’s CEO Béatrice de Mahieu.
co.mobility: uniting key players around a common societal project
To realise this ambition, Co.Station is launching co.mobility, with the support of six founding partners: AG, BNP Paribas Fortis, Brussels Airport Company, SNCB, STIB, and Touring. The ecosystem will unite a range of key players around a common objective. By fostering open innovation, co.mobility will effectively address the major challenges facing mobility today and enable the development of innovative and sustainable ideas with large-scale impact. Another 30 partners are set to join the project, from large corporations to start-ups.
“Our aim in launching co.mobility is to work together to study and understand mobility-related challenges in Belgium and to identify opportunities in this sector that have the scope to deliver great benefits for society. To this end, we’ll be helping our ecosystem partners to develop and test innovative solutions. co.mobility will allow us to pool our resources, talent and expertise around a common societal project,” says Grégoire Talbot, Head of co.mobility.
Following an initial ideation phase between April and June, involving all stakeholders, the ecosystem will select eight ideas offering real added value and based on detailed business models. Four prototypes of agile products or services will then be developed from October 2020 onwards.
co.mobility will focus on key mobility issues in Belgium, such as smart applications using mobility data, the future fleet (electric, autonomous and connected vehicles), new services (micro-mobility, on-demand mobility) and smart new infrastructure.
Co.Station is still welcoming new partners to its ecosystem. Companies and start-ups interested in joining co.mobility can contact Grégoire Talbot (see details below). Registrations will close on 27 March.
Co.Station: a trusted partner for sustainable innovation
Co.Station will lead and coordinate co.mobility, acting as a facilitator between the various stakeholders. Since 2014, the company has been bringing together technology and digital start-ups and scale-ups in specially designed workspaces in Brussels, Ghent and Charleroi. It combines business innovation services, incubation and acceleration, and innovation networking.
Co.Station demonstrated its expertise as an ecosystem designer in 2019 with The Internet of Energy (IO.E). This project to co-create an energy system involved over 65 companies, including Elia, Fluvius, Sibelga, Ores and RESA, with Co.Station acting as facilitator.
In the future, Co.Station plans to support the development of innovation ecosystems in other areas such as healthcare, media, smart buildings and food.
“We already have plenty of experience when it comes to ecosystems, most notably with IO.E. Our workspaces are also ecosystems in their own right, promoting innovation and helping start-ups and scale-ups to grow. co.mobility is the natural next step in our activities: an integrated and inspiring ecosystem that will foster innovation and deliver sustainable solutions for mobility in Belgium,” concludes Béatrice de Mahieu.
Statements by co.mobility’s 6 founding partners
Hans De Cuyper, CEO of AG: “In the not-too-distant future, mobility is going to be fundamentally different from what it is today. At AG, we’re thinking open-mindedly and creatively about how we can contribute to more efficient, greener mobility, for our customers and for society as a whole. The challenges are so great that it doesn’t make sense for players to seek solutions by themselves. The more we think holistically with partners across all relevant fields, the more effective and broadly supported the solutions will be. This is the great strength of co.mobility, an ecosystem bringing together the main players in this field to develop a mobility solution integrated into a global platform.”
Max Jadot, CEO of BNP Paribas Fortis: “As the leading bank in Belgium, we’re determined to play a key role in finding solutions beyond banking to key societal challenges such as mobility, and to make life easier for our customers. It goes without saying that as Co.Station’s first shareholder, we are contributing our expertise towards the development of the open innovation ecosystem co.mobility. I welcome the many partners in this ambitious endeavor to build a more sustainable society together.”
Arnaud Feist, CEO of Brussels Airport Company: “At Brussels Airport, we believe that connections are essential. They are the source of new opportunities for people and businesses. Our role as an intermodal hub is an excellent example. By aligning all transport modes, we actively increase accessibility and attract foreign companies as a consequence. As it is important to further develop this role, we are proud as the leading airport in Belgium to innovate alongside partners within the ecosystem, so that together, we contribute to smarter mobility in our country.”
Sophie Dutordoir, CEO of SNCB-NMBS: “When it comes to mobility, safety and punctuality are essential. Our customers also expect us to provide them with personalised and digitalised services, as well as intermodal solutions. To improve our customer experience, we want to introduce new technologies and promote a culture of innovation within our company. We also want to work with partners who share our ambition to innovate to create the green mobility of the future. Innovation is a means to contribute to more satisfied customers, not an end in itself.”
Brieuc de Meeûs, CEO of STIB–MIVB: “Mobility is a sector in full transformation. As an organization with activities in the heart of urban mobility, it is essential to be included in innovative projects and to work together with different partners at future-oriented solutions. This is an interesting opportunity for us. This includes for example the Mobility as a Service app (MaaS), for which STIB recently launched a recruitment call for a test panel. The app brings together different mobility partners to offer a service that is even better adapted to our customers. Linked to this, the on-demand mobility is also an opportunity for collaboration, just as well as vehicles with alternative propulsion.”
Bruno de Thibault, CEO of Touring: “For 125 years, Touring’s mission has been to facilitate the mobility of road users: cyclists, motorcyclists, car drivers,… We live in a constantly- evolving world. The digital revolution brings new possibilities to develop a more efficient and sustainable mobility for a better life. For more than two years, Touring has been investing in this endeavor, through its subsidiary Optimile, by developing a multimodal platform. There are currently several varied initiatives from all kinds of players and organisations. With co.mobility, Co.Station is an excellent platform to link all these initiatives and work together on the new mobility.”