Proximus One Q4 2019 EN #35

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#35 digital business magazine November 2019


For those who ride the digital wave, opportunities of new technology are there for the taking.


Can your IT infrastructure cope with the data explosion?


The strength of your IT security determines the strength of customer loyalty and partnerships.


Tomorrow’s store is data-driven and uses IoT.

Proximus online

Book a digital checkup of your company by a Proximus expert Digital transformation is rapid. It empowers employees and offers customers an enhanced customer experience. Do not miss the boat, book your free digital checkup today. Think possible

Scan this page and book a free digital checkup of your company.


Scan this page and allow Bart Van Den Meersche to welcome you to One.

Think possible D

igitalization is gathering pace. The way we work, shop and spend our free time today is testament to this development. But so are our changed expectations of companies.

It is vitally important for companies to ride the digital wave. Disruption threatens those that fail to do so. For those that do digitalize, heaps of opportunities are there for the taking. But this ongoing digitalization is far from self-evident. Holding your own in the digital world requires more than new skills, it necessitates a different corporate culture. One that welcomes change and is open to good cooperation both within and outside of the organization. Proximus firmly believes in the digital revolution. We help our customers make the most out of the opportunities it offers by continuing to invest heavily in connectivity. With fiber and 5G, we connect everyone with the opportunities created by a digital Belgium. That is why we have worked hard to expand Proximus Accelerators, a cooperative between end-to-end IT experts. This group of digital doers work together to support the digital transformation of customers’ businesses. Each member complements the expertise of the other. That is what makes Proximus Accelerators capable of solving end-to-end IT challenges, from API development to integrated IT solutions, and from data privacy and security to smart mobility. We will elaborate upon the workings of Proximus Accelerators in this issue of One magazine. Happy reading!


Chief Enterprise Market Officer Proximus


1 bioreactor 400x more effective than 1 acre of trees

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rees have long been touted as a powerful tool for carbon reduction, and the recent directive to plant more trees became the most obvious answer to addressing our climate change goals. However, planting new trees also means significant economic and social costs, and it takes a lot of time for them to grow. A surprising answer, in addition to planting more trees, could be found in algae. Algae are unicellular or multicellular organisms capable of photosynthesis. They thrive both in fresh and saltwater, feeding on carbon at a rate substantially higher than trees. They also take up far less space. Products like AI-powered bioreactors will help algae to capture carbon at optimal rates and within a promising time frame. And that is just a small part of the algaenomics movement, which focuses on new and innovative ways to use algae.


How does an algae bioreactor work?


1_Air intake The air intake can be installed in the open or connected to a building exhaust. The air is then bubbled into the water tank that contains the algae. 2_Growing the algae Algae need CO2 and light. The light can be artificial. The algae and water are pumped through a series of tubes to maximize their exposure to light. 3_Biomass accretion As algae consume CO 2 , they produce biomass that can be harvested and processed to create fuel, oils, nutrient-rich and high-protein food sources, fertilizers, plastics, cosmetics and more. 4_ H a r ve s t i n g a n d s e p a r at i o n T his is completely controlled by the AI that ensures a perfect number of algae and maximizes CO2 decomposition. 5_Clean exhaust output After the algae consume 60% to 90% of the CO2 and other pollutants found in the air intake, they release clean, oxygen-rich air. 6_Co m p l e te ly A I - d r i ve n p r o ce s s T he AI optimizes growth of algae and CO 2 consumption and harvests the algae without human intervention.

1. Light management 2. Temperature control 3. pH balancing 4. Auto harvest of biofuel 5. Data collection 6. Maximization of CO2 decomposition Scan this page and discover everything about the bioreactor in the video.

Contents #35

Vision & insights


Renmans, Spmt Arista, Port of Zeebrugge and FPS Finance & FPS Justice got help from digital doers with their digital transformation.


Once the classic drum full of little balls, the National Lottery has transformed into a market leader thanks to creativity, innovation and big data.

One magazine experience thanks to AR Online and offline are coming closer together. Read, watch and listen. Experience One magazine via augmented reality. 1. D ownload the free VEEEW app in the App Store or Google Play. 2. Scan the pages with the VEEEW icon. 3. D iscover more video, audio and web content and make One an experience.


New network technology like 5G forms the infrastructure on which an entire digital transformation is taking shape.


Challenges and opportunities of the digital word


Prepare your IT infrastructure for the data explosion


A suitable profile for every user


A network adapts to the user, not vice versa


Interview with Yves Schellekens of Agoria


Interview with Tom De Jaeger, founder of Tersec



New, comprehensive and, above all, measurable approach to IT protection with security intelligence.


The smartphone needs to become your employees’ ally, for the benefit of the consumer experience.

Interview with Christophe Crous of Proximus


Interview with Valéry Vander Geeten of the Belgian Cybersecurity Center

44 HACKING PUTS PATIENTS IN DANGER Interview with Stefaan Vansteenkiste of Heilig-Hart Hospital Lier

49 OMNICHANNEL USE-BY DATE HAS EXPIRED Interview with Gino Van Ossel


From IoT and location analytics to electronic shelf labeling and blockchain

62 A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE Is (digital) life worth living?

A publication of Proximus public limited company of Belgian Public Law Year 13 / Number 35/Q4 2019 Publisher: Bart Van Den Meersche, Koning Albert II-laan 27, 1030 Brussels Coordination: Charline Briot, Patrick De Saeger, Nancy Janssens, Robbin Sacré Contributors: Andrew Beavis, Robert Doran, Frank Van den Branden, Isabelle Latour, Dries Van Damme, Michaël Dehaspe, Michaël Vandamme, Birgit van de Wijer, Frederic Petitjean, Koen Bruelemans, Kurt Deman and Filip Van Loock. Concept and realization: Version française: afin d’obtenir un exemplaire de ce magazine en français, surfez sur Nederlandse versie: om een exemplaar van dit magazine in het Nederlands te ­ontvangen, surf naar The technical specifications are indicative only. Proximus reserves the right to make changes without prior notification. For more information, contact: Patrick De Saeger, Haven’t got the contact details of your Proximus account manager close by? Go to


BART VAN DEN MEERSCHE is Chief Enterprise Market Officer at Proximus. He studied mathematics at KU (Catholic University) Leuven. In 2011, after 28 years with IBM – including eight years as Country Manager Belux – he moved to Proximus.


Think possible The digital revolution is gathering pace. It poses an important question for companies. How are customer expectations changing in this digital narrative and what must companies do to fulfill them? Proximus lays out the associated challenges, but points in particular to the opportunities offered by the digital world.

Everything is becoming digital. How does Proximus see the world changing? Bart Van Den Meersche, Chief Enterprise Market Officer at Proximus: “The digital revolution started with the consumer. The figures speak volumes: 42% of Belgian consumers make online purchases using a smartphone, the ta x authorities received over 2.3 million tax returns via Tax-on-Web this year, we listen to music and watch series on our smartphones, etc. We no longer go online, we live online. Consumers clearly choose to put digital first and take these same experiences and expectations with them to work. The business world is following suit.” The digital revolution is moving fast. What does a business have to do to keep up? “It may seem ironic, but the source of the new market demands – and of the resultant problem areas – is also the solution. Companies can see digital transformation as a threat, but also as an opportunity. Companies that opt to embrace digitalization do so in order to offer a better customer experience. Digitalization also provides a lever for operational excellence, for example by speeding up operating processes through automation, and gives staff more mobility and flexibility. Above all, digital transformation leads to

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Companies have to put digital first a total redesign of products and services. This gives rise to new ecosystems and partnerships, that enable companies to deal with the disruption quickly. That is important. As a company, you should not think that digitalization won’t affect you. If you want to survive in the future, then you need to arm yourself against possible disruption and, at the same time, use the opportunities offered by new technologies to the fullest.” OPT FOR PARTNERS

What challenges are Belgian companies struggling with today because of the digital revolution? “Firstly, we noticed that companies are in search of insight and guidance. They want to know how new technologies may disrupt their operating models in the future. More importantly, they are in search of guidance on how they can apply these technologies efficiently, so that they support sustainable growth. They are often in search of trust. They want to find the path to the right partners. And then, of course, the solutions they have chosen have to be implemented. The shift from business model and operating processes to a more digital workplace requires staff with

different competence profiles. It is not at all easy to develop this expertise entirely in-house. Hence the need for partnerships.” How does Proximus deal with this challenge in practice? “For us, co-creation is ver y important. I’m thinking here of the partnership with construction group Besix, where Proximus is involved in construction projects as the IT partner for all aspects of connectivity and the use of tools for building management. Itsme® is also a good example: a digital tool for secure authentication, which came about thanks to the cooperation between four major banks and the three Belgian telecoms operators.” KEY TO SUCCES

How can companies best deal with the new demands of the market and the problems that they experience because of those demands? “We should not see the digital revolution just as a technological story. First and foremost, it’s about a far-reaching cultural change. At the same time, it should not be seen as a threat, but as an opportunity. This is precisely why we say to our customers: think possible. We show them the opportunities of the digital

world, and we support them in implementing these opportunities as well as possible. In practical terms, we say to our customers: determine your success factors for tomorrow in every dimension of digital transformation, for customers, staff, processes and the business model, and identify

Belgium ranks among the ‘strong innovators’ in the EU. Belgian companies achieve excellent scores FA C T for the integration of technology. Only Ireland and the Netherlands do better. In addition, Belgium is one of the seven European countries most active in the field of AI. But we can do much better in terms of security, working digitally and hyperconnectivity.

the obstacles that you are encountering here today, both digital and non-digital. That is the right formula for a successful digital transformation.” Are Belgian companies doing that enough? How do we score compared with the rest of Europe? “Belgium is in ninth place in the European digital ranking. That means that Belgian companies need to invest in digital solutions if we want to embrace the digital economy as a country and rise in the ranking to play a leading role in digital terms.”




What is Proximus doing to support Belgian companies here? “ We strongly believe in the development of a better society by helping everyone to take advantage of the opportunities of the digital world to the fullest. We are investing in connectivity infrastructure, so that we can make the opportunities of the digital story available to everyone. Our 3 million euro investment in fiber is central to this. We are building the fastest network as a basis for a digital Belgium. In addition, we now have 99.9% outdoor and 99.5% indoor mobile network reception with 4G. We are extending further to 4.5G and will soon be ready for 5G. We are convinced that the arrival of 5G will represent a breakthrough for the digital revolution in the business world and for government. In addition, we are investing in our role as a project partner. To play a relevant role for our customers, it is important that we understand their needs. We have to have a clear insight into

Half of all business parks in Belgium are already connected to fiber. - Proximus rolls out fiber FA C T to a professional customer every five minutes so a connection is possible. - Proximus connects a new customer to fiber every 15 minutes.

the challenges and opportunities of their specific sectors. So we undertake in-depth customer segmentation in the way in which we are organized: from sales to product development to service. This approach is clearly expressed in our advisory services, which provide customers with very targeted and tailored support and advice on their digital journey, from inspiration to implementation.” You mentioned the arrival of 5G. How will this technology support Belgian companies in practice? “The rise in data traffic due to the digitalization of our economy is increasing the need for even 5G does not just offer more bandwidth than 4G. The biggest advantage is the possibility of ‘network slicing’: dividing the network into various virtual networks.

s tronger mobile net work s . With 5G, capacity increases substantially, as does the speed for individual users and the quantity of data that they can send and receive. This opens up a great many opportunities, for example to transform digitally with IoT, to use self-driving cars safely, to guide logistics processes in real time, etc.” BELGIUM LIES IN NINTH PLACE IN THE EUROPEAN DIGITAL RANKING. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Finland Sweden The Netherlands Denmark United Kingdom Luxembourg Ireland Estonia Belgium Malta Spain Germany Austria European Union (average all EU countries) Lithuania France Slovenia Latvia Czech Republic Portugal

The ranking is based, among other things, on the availability of connectivity and public digital services, the use of internet services and the integration of digital technology.


Source: EU Digital Economy & Society Index

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Is Proximus, on its own, able to help companies become digital leaders? “IT is becoming ever more complex. This is why we believe in the strength of a model with project partners that complement one another to remain best in class together. We have worked hard on the development of Proximus Accelerators – a partnership for cooperation between subsidiaries in our group which are end-to-end IT experts. This is a group of digital doers who have joined forces to support customers with the transformation of their business, driven by technology. Each subsidiary is an expert that supplements the other experts. As a result, Proximus Accelerators is in a position to resolve IT challenges end-to-end: from API development, integrated IT solutions, questions on data privacy and data security to smart solutions for mobility.” SOCIAL ROLE

How do you see the broader social role that Proximus can play in the development of a digital Belgium? “We take this role seriously. For instance, we have set up a new cooperation with MolenGeek. This is an organization that offers

job-seeking young people from Molenbeek free digital training, provides infrastructure for start-ups, stimulates the co-creation of apps, etc. Proximus provides MolenGeek with tools and offers access to APIs and IoT solutions, among other things. We are also one of the founders of ‘19’ – the first Belgian school where you can learn to encrypt, with the support of ‘42’ – virtually the world’s best-known encrypting school. This is a very innovative concept. The training is free. But it is an unusual school: there are no teachers and you do not receive a diploma. Two thousand

Proximus is one of the founders of ‘19’ – the first Belgian school where you can learn to encode, with the support of ‘42’ – virtually the world’s most well-known encrypting school.


candidates registered in the first year. Of these, 157 were admitted to the school. With the ‘She Loves to Code’ initiative, ‘19’ aims specifically to encourage enthusiasm for developing applications among women.”



Lost in transformation?

Stay ahead with the Proximus Accelerators Wondering how to compete in the ever-changing digital economy? Looking for digital doers to integrate IoT, blockchain, security, etc. into your IT and business transformation puzzle? Meet the 9 Proximus Accelerators.

It’s a jungle out there when looking for a trusted IT partner to tackle your transformation journey. We are your one-stop shop for a wide range of skills and expertise, providing agile teams sized to your needs and composed of experts from different Accelerators. Regardless of whether you’re an ambitious SME or large corporation, we fit your objective.


Accelerating your business

We accelerate innovation and empower you at every stage of your digital transformation journey. We deliver strategic, technological and practical solutions that go beyond merely inspirational PowerPoints. We do not only want to be your guiding compass, we empower your company to reach its full potential. We deliver.


Small enough to care, big enough to service

Each Accelerator is a key player within his or her own domain. By combining their skills, we can offer you integrated 360° IT solutions, covering multiple aspects of the transformation puzzle such as security, IoT and application integration. Backed up by the Proximus powerhouse, our Accelerators deliver their assets at the pace your company desires.

Scan this page and discover more information about the Proximus Accelerators on the website.

THE PROXIMUS ACCELERATORS We have joined forces to help you stay ahead of the game. We have experts in every field: from security to innovation to our Advisory Services consultants that guide you on your way to tomorrow. We speak your language, from inspiration to implementation. And together we define, plan and deliver your digital transformation.

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Our prime solution leverages synergies with other mobility models such as electronic toll collection, traffic management, smart parking, fleet management and intelligent transport systems.

Our cutting-edge Azure integration solutions connect your business to your customers, employees, suppliers, partners and followers.

Cloud solutions, services and products tailored to the (S)ME market through the indirect channel.

Security intelligence with a focus on vulnerability management, security information, event management and user activity monitoring.

Proximus Enterprise operates for the professional market and the public sector. Our ambition: to support each customer on their path towards digital transformation through first-class connectivity and expertise in cloud, IoT, Big Data and Security.

Mid-sized IT integrator for mid-sized companies.

Autonomous specialist in smart and secure ITÂ platforms. or

Turning IT silos into a well-integrated business function that co-creates value based on open standards as part of a trusted third-party ecosystem.

Fast-growing, full-service, innovative digital transformation web application agency.


How is Renmans Butchers dealing with disruption? Digital disruption is in full swing, even for traditional trades like butchers. Renmans Butchers called on Proximus Advisory Services to map out the challenges and find the best way to adapt to the new circumstances.

ADVISORY SERVICES, WHAT IS THAT? Working out a digital transformation project together that identifies your main goals and obstacles. Our consultants guide you on the road to tomorrow, from inspiration to implementation, and this tailored to medium-sized to large companies. Next to concrete IT consulting, we advise you on how to transform your business and organization.

It’s not hard to explain why a meat-processing firm like Renmans needed to join the digital story, says Head of Facility and IT at Brabhold, Thomas Bovy. “We noticed a few years ago that our market was changing radically. Co n s u m e r s i n c re a s i n g ly expected to be able to place their orders online and collect these orders from the stores or have them delivered to their homes. We started to draw up roadmaps in-house along these lines back in 2016.” Various workshops It soon became clear that we needed to bring in external knowledge for this major tra ns formation exercise. “Renmans has always attached a great deal of importance to quality and therefore still works in a traditional manner,” Bovy explained. “An external partner, with a critical view of our plans, would help us optimize and restructure o u r p roces s es . We too k all the aspects of a digital transformation: business, people and technology and we orga n ized a num ber of workshops at which we d eve lo p e d a v i s i o n a n d identified customer profiles. It is important to realize that we are not a webshop or a mail order firm. We are still a butcher. All these insights were

RENMANS was established in 1978 and now runs around 400 butcher shops, most of which are in Aldi stores. There are around 300 branches in Belgium, 95 in France and 12 in Luxembourg. The company employs almost 4,000 staff.

THOMAS BOVY is Head of Facility & IT at Brabhold, which provides support services for the Renmans stores. He started working there in the year 2000, after studying IT. He began in the distribution department because at the time there was no specific IT department. In his free time he likes boxing and cycling.

presented to Management and they eventually gave the goahead.” Three-phased process The practical implementation of the workshops resulted in three main blocks, said Bovy. “The first step was to completely revise our co r p o rate we bsi te. W h o is Renmans, really? The website needed to answer this question, because it turned out, for example, that a lot of people did not know that we are a totally Belgian family business. The second phase was to rework our marketing and media strategy, with a new advertising agency and paying a lot more attention to social media. The third and final phase is still underway: here we are adapting our systems to enable online orders and deliveries. We are introducing this gradually in the three countries where we operate: Belgium, France and Luxembourg.” Professional guidance Throughout the entire process, Renmans was able to call on the advisory role of Proximus, through its Advisory Services. Bov y : “ They guided and underpinned parts of the procedure. Of course, we often had a gut feeling about where we needed to be heading, but it was very valuable to be able to check that feeling, too. One of the things they pointed out to us, for example, was that we needed to make our service provision broad enough and we also needed to make sure that we had enough resources and people to be able to achieve it all. That’s how we will reinforce our teams.”



FLUX Trucking: the fast, safe way to the port of Zeebrugge In April, Be-Mobile launched FLUX Trucking, a smartphone app that helps truck drivers find their way around harbor areas quickly yet in total safety.

A gigantic freight harbor With a total annual transshipment volume of over 40 million tonnes of freight, the port of Zeebrugge is a major roll-on/roll-off and deep-sea container terminal. Moreover, 2.8 million cars are transported via Zeebrugge eve r y ye a r, m a k i n g t h i s one of the world’s biggest automobile ports. All this freight continues on its journey by truck, creating heavy traffic flows. To process these flows as quickly and efficiently as possible, but also as safely as possible, the port authority invested in the Be-Mobile app FLUX Trucking by making available data platforms. Working more efficiently “A s m a l l c o u n t r y l i k e Belgium lacks the societal support to build larger-scale infrastructure,” says Joachim Coens, Managing, Director of th e p o r t of B r ug g eZeebrugge. “So we have to work more efficiently with the infrastructure that we already have. A digital app can help here. It facilitates and optimizes the whole logistics operation. A truck that loses its way in a small village near the harbor – that’s something we want to avoid.”

“FLUX ensures drivers have a smoother, safer and more comfortable journey. It helps create a more efficient logistics process and reduces the nuisance for local residents,” says Gerd Nees, Director Logistics & Tolling at Be-Mobile.

Scan this page and watch how an app helps truckers around the harbor area.


SIX ADVANTAGES OF FLUX TRUCKING 1. Easy navigation to the right terminal 2. Truck parameters 3. Communication with the dispatcher 4. Real-time traffic information 5. Increased safety and more comfort for the driver 6. Available in various languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Russian, Bulgarian, Polish and Hungarian

BE-MOBILE Our prime solution leverages synergies with other mobility models such as electronic toll collection, traffic management, smart parking, fleet management and intelligent transport systems.

Best, up-to-date routes The FLUX app gives truck drivers a full view of the harbor and how best to reach it. Each terminal is mapped out so the drivers can easily find their way to their destination. The app suggests the best routes based on up-to-date traffic news and provides the driver with crucial information, such as bridges that are open or shut. Delays, accidents, speed checks and congestion are also reported via the app, as well as height or weight restrictions on some roads. Using FLUX, freight dispatchers can send texts, warnings, and even advice to trucks on which route to take, and this in several languages. Finally, the terminals also receive the ETA of the trucks, which is one of the most important features for harbors and companies. If they are too early or too late and no slot is available, they are automatically directed to a waiting area.


New look for spmt arista In 2020, innovation will be the watchword at spmt arista, with a move to a renovated head office, a name change to Cohezio and the development of a digital strategy. For several years now, spmt arista – soon to be ­renamed Cohezio – has been ­fully committed to its digital transformation. There was no choice, given the increasing digitalization of the sector. But this is not to the detriment of the ­human aspect. “For us, there’s no point to technology unless it serves staff and makes their lives easier,” explains Olivier ­Legrand, CEO at spmt arista. “For our digital transformation, we are paying particular attention to implementing the project in phases and to ­adequate staff training.” Achievements Two people were recently hired to facilitate digitalization. Computerized medical ­d ossiers, contact between staff by screen or ­smartphone and connected medical ­devices (audiometer, phoropter) are ­a lready a reality, just like IoT with sensors in ­refrigerators to keep vaccines at a constant temperature. “Our ­S afetify ­system also enables us to make ­c onnected, instant ­v isits to ­workplaces,” Olivier ­continues. “The observations made during ­v isits are ­encoded, ­processed and sent immediately from a smartphone. No more paper visit reports!”

SPMT ARISTA ranks among the top three external services for prevention and protection at work and is the leader in the French-speaking market in Belgium. Its 500 employees provide medical follow-up for over 500,000 workers in 25,000 companies across all sectors.

External view Spmt arista faced numerous challenges: finding the right sources of information, encouraging managers on the ground to use new tools. And providing clear instructions that staff can easily follow. “Thanks to Proximus, we are

WHAT IS A THINK POSSIBLE MEETING? An inspiring and confrontational management workshop on the four pillars of digital transformation and the usefulness of a transformation plan. 4 pillars 1. Customers 2. Staff 3. Products 4. Processes Surf to think-possible for more info.

OLIVIER LEGRAND graduated in economic sciences from the ULB. He has held the positions of Sales Manager and Commercial and Strategic Director at spmt arista since 2000. He has been CEO since 2018.

connected to reality. As digital is not our core business, doing without an external partner would be a serious mistake. And as Proximus already uses these tools, we get real feedback. ”At the end of 2018, we held a Think Possible Meeting, a strategic working consultation with Proximus. The results of this audit will form the basis of our strategy and our five-year transformation plan. “A transformation assessment is planned in November to take stock of where we are against our goals,” Legrand continues. “And objectives will be set to reach them.” All new A name change and the relocation to a smart building are foreseen in January 2020. “We have called upon companies ­specialized in building automation to meet our needs,” Olivier explaines. “We also aim to start c­ reating cutting-edge, future-oriented medical centers. The ­administrative aspects have to be digitalized as much as possible to leave more time for regular exchanges about well-being at work.” Involvement Given the decentralization of their ­offices, the involvement of staff in this digital ­adventure is developed through ambassadors: people on the ground transferring ­information on the tools to their ­colleagues. “With us, the human aspect will always be the sole indicator of the relevance and added value of the contribution made by ­technology,” Olivier concludes. “­S everal ­p rojects are underway, but we aim to achieve all our goals by 2022-2023.”


How our public services protect themselves Unity makes strength – so says the official motto of Belgium. The FPS Finance and the FPS Justice agree entirely. They are pooling their strengths to protect their IT infrastructure. THE FEDERAL PUBLIC SERVICE FOR FINANCE

In 2017, the FPS Finance and the FPS Justice together drew up specifications for modernizing the security of their network infrastructure. “Naturally, there were ­already contracts with hardware, software and s­ ervice suppliers,” says Marc Vandersmissen, IT Manager at the FPS Finance. “But, in practice, it turns out that the world is often evolving faster than the life cycle of the ­solutions that are being used.” The FPS Justice came to the same conclusion. Mindshift The specifications included not only the actual IT ­security, but the entire legal framework and the ­procedures for monitoring and follow-up. “We had to engage in a real mindshift,” says Ivan V ­ erborgh, IT ­m anager at the FPS Justice. The specifications ­d escribe the desired result. They are not based on hard- and software, but request Security-as-a-Service. “The contract that resulted from these specifications (with Proximus as the main contractor) also states that the project partner has to cover future risks, as well,” Marc explains. In other words, the contract defines a new approach to IT security. Increased efficiency, better results Within the federal government, various organizations already cooperate well with one another as regards IT. G-Cloud, the government’s community cloud, is a good example of this. This Security-as-a-Service p ­ roject builds on that. “Other government services come up against comparable IT issues,” says Ivan.

The IT department of the Belgian FPS operates two data centers, which they share with other parties, including the FPS Justice. The FPS’ best-known applications are MyMinFin and Tax-on-Web. The FPS Finance controls about 5 petabyte of data.

THE FEDERAL PUBLIC SERVICE FOR JUSTICE The IT department of the FPS supports the judicial system and the prisons (each counting 10,000 users). The IT support accommodates central administration, all courts and prisons. The FPS Justice manages 91 million cases.

MARC VANDERSMISSEN is IT Manager at the FPS Finance.

IVAN VERBORGH is IT Manager at the FPS Justice (official director of the IT staff service)


“O th e r g ove r n m e nt s e r v i ces m ay ­ultimately join this contract as well.” It’s an ­a pproach that benefits everyone. In the first place, it’s about greater efficiency. There was just one set of ­specifications, with one ­a ccompanying evaluation. “What’s more, we pooled our expertise and experience,” Marc adds. “This ­combination of knowledge was definitely enriching.” Data leaks a major problem Obviously, the government is not going to take any unnecessary risks when it ­comes to IT security. The FPS Finance ­manages large quantities of data from the ­public and businesses. “Obviously, no one wants t­ hese data to end up on the street,” says Marc. “A data leak would be a m ­ ajor ­problem. The same goes for ­hacking; when ­someone may gain access to our d ­ atabases to alter or delete data t­ here.” The FPS ­Finance and the FPS J­ ustice – just like a good many other government institutions – are ­inevitably popular ­targets among ­h ackers. “The departments c­ overing areas of ­authority are most likely to come under attack,” says Ivan. “Hackers are out to ­damage the reputation of our services and hence undermine the ­confidence of the public.” Director rather than operator “It remains a difficult process,” in Ivan’s view. “Because we combine large volumes, we have to put up a bigger barrier than if we were to undertake the exercise on our own. But – and ultimately this is what it’s all about – the end result is better. The b ­ iggest difference compared with the p ­ revious ­situation lies mainly in the change in how we approach IT security. “We are no l­ onger operators,” Marc c­ oncludes. “Instead, we act as the director of the whole thing.”

put its weight behind this project as a specialist in security intelligence, with proactive vulnerability management and reactive security analytics. Davinsi Labs is a Proximus Accelerator.

Scan this page and watch the video on how FPS Finance and FPS Justice protect themselves against hackers.

1 8 _ H Y P E R CO N N E C T E D I N F R A S T R U C T U R E _ I T I N F R A S T R U C T U R E W I T H A N A N S W E R TO DATA E X P LO S I O N


Constant connection between applications, devices and users is causing a data explosion which has an impact on your IT infrastructure. A dynamic and secure environment with end-to-end connectivity at high-speed and a multicloud strategy is essential.

Hyperconnected Infrastructure

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20 _ What is Hyperconnected Infrastructure? 21 _ How does the cloud influence your IT infrastructure? Four major trends. 22 _ P&V Group focuses on fewer

workstations and more teleworking. A new network supports every user profile.

24 _ The rise of software defined

networking is linked to the new role of the CIO. Experts Tania Defraine and Gaëtan Willems on central management of the network.

26 _ National Lottery CTIO Piet Van Petegem recounts the group’s digital journey. 29 _ ManpowerGroup on the importance of the speed and flexibility of network infrastructure.

20 _ H Y P E R CO N N EC T E D I N FR A S T R U C T U R E _ W H AT IS I T ?

FOUR BUILDING BLOCKS FORM THE DNA OF A HYPERCONNECTED INFRASTRUCTURE 1. T HE MULTICLOUD Your staff benefit from more mobility because they have access to data and applications all the time, wherever they are, with any device. A good cloud strategy provides more flexibility as a cloud solution is easily scalable. Whether you opt for a private or a public cloud, or a hybrid solution, depends on your application and service needs. 2. C ONNECTIVITY The increasing data traffic makes connectivity, both internal and external, a critical mission. An external network with fiber can cope with this data explosion in terms of speed and capacity. What’s more, you can manage your network centrally and smartly to give e.g. business-critical data the priority they need. The integration of external (4G/5G) and internal (Wi-Fi) mobile networks is essential for the continuity of your business.


he way companies digitalize – the user experience of both customers and staff – is rightly given top priority. Digital transformation requires your infrastructure to provide a reliable basis, for example so that customers can easily find a parking place ­u sing an app, or your staff can be directed to a free meeting room or can store and consult ­documents in the cloud whenever they wish and wherever they are, etc. Speed and end-to-end connectivity required The only thing is: that leads to a huge amount of data and demands a great deal from your IT infrastructure. So speed and end-to-end connectivity are necessary, on a s­ ecured network that enables users, devices and ­a pplications to communicate with one ­another continuously.

3. INTERNET OF THINGS To enable objects, machines and applications to communicate with one another and exchange data, a wide range of networks such as the mobile network, Wi-Fi, NB-IoT and LoRaWAN™ is available. 4. SECURITY The more users, devices, objects and applications that are connected to one another, the greater the number of points that run the risk of a security breach. Security for your entire IT infrastructure, at every level, is a must: from your network and devices to your applications and cloud solutions.

What is a Hyperconnected Infrastructure? A Hyperconnected Infrastructure is an ­e cosystem in which all things that can or have to communicate with one another via a network interact: machine-to-person, ­person-to-machine, machine-to-machine. In a Hyperconnected Infrastructure, all ­components work t­ ogether: on the one hand the users, devices and o ­ bjects, on the other the applications and data, with your network as the engine.

A better customer experience: that’s what 68% of IT decision makers considers the biggest advantage of cloud managed services. IBM, survey ‘Enterprise applications and managed cloud services’

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Over 80% of cloud business strategies go for multicloud.

Four IT infrastructure trends In 2019, 60% of the entire business workload is dealt with in the cloud, according to the calculations of the research firm 451 Research. By 2021, this proportion is set to rise to no less than 94%, according to the Cisco Cloud Global Index. This naturally means a great many changes for companies’ infrastructure : four IT infrastructure trends.

1. Serverless computing With the rise of serverless computing, developers can focus on building web applications and have to spend far less time managing IT resources. These come from the cloud. 2. AI-as-a-Service Cloud services also enable AI-as-a-Service, artificial ­intelligence that is used as a service. This means that AI will quickly become an important business unit, particularly since it helps IT departments to roll out services faster by ­automating standard tasks, with fewer errors and more people who can be allocated to matters like strategy and ­innovation. 3. Edge computing When deciding whether or not to send data to the cloud, companies have to take account of latency. For processes that need to be dealt with in (quasi) real time, edge computing ­comes into the frame. Edge computing fetches r­ esources, data and processing power from the cloud and brings them closer to the final user, precisely to keep this latency to a minimum. Think for instance of a supermarket chain that provides edge computing in every location, including its own datacenter. Even if the central system goes down, each store can continue to operate. 4. Software-as-a-service One aspect of cloud computing that attracts a great many companies is without doubt SaaS (or Software-as-a-Service), a formula that has even more commercial success than Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS). The problem, however, is that many IT departments have difficulty managing all these fast-growing services. And they are growing fast: the average company now calls upon 12 to 15 SaaS platforms, market research firm G ­ artner has calculated. This only makes the challenge facing IT greater in terms of cybersecurity, compliance, licences and ­performance.

2 2 _ H Y P E R C O N N E C T E D I N F R A S T R U C T U R E _ I N S U R E R P &V G R O U P R E I N F O R C E S H O M E W O R K I N G W I T H N E W N E T W O R K

A suitable profile for every user


From three sites to two? That means fewer work stations and more homeworking, and therefore managing more devices, more users and more user profiles. Insurer P&V Group switched to Hyperconnected Infrastructure in Brussels to make this possible.

P&V GROUP is a Belgian insurer with a workforce of 1,650 people and main offices in Brussels and Antwerp. The group focuses exclusively on the Belgian market and offers its insurance policies via three brands: P&V Group, VIVIUM and ARCES. It ranks firmly among the top five insurers in Belgium. Clients can take out every possible form of life and non-life insurance with them.

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Christoph Cauwe, Team Leader Infra Engineering at P&V Group: “By concentrating our activities in Brussels and cutting down from three to two buildings, the number of people in the workplace needed to be drastically reduced. The solution was teleworking. So every P&V Group employee is now mobile with a laptop and headphones. We reduced the number of trips between our offices in Brussels, Antwerp and Namur (with branch offices in Ghent, Mons and Liège) by introducing videoconferencing. A stable broadband internet connection via fiber makes that possible. And thanks to a new, stable Wi-Fi network, everyone is constantly connected in the building as well.” Biggest challenges: videoconferencing and flex working “At P&V Group, there has always been the habit of meeting with one another in person. But because our people travel a lot between Brussels and Antwerp, a lot of time was wasted. So we went for videoconferencing in a big way. Homeworkers also have to be constantly reachable and able to take part in video meetings.” New infrastructure “ To make that possible, we renewed all our net work equipment. Our meeting rooms are now equipped with all the functionalities required, such as large TV screens, cameras and spiders. And, of course, the fiber network was essential to avoid delays during videocalls, for instance.” Promoting flex working “ To p ro m ote f lex wo r k i n g and mobile working, we gave every employee a laptop with headphones so that they can phone in from home. Everyone also received an additional screen so that they do not constantly have to work on a small laptop screen at home. With flex working, we now have all sorts of business

CHRISTOPH CAUWE began his career as a programmer at the Dutch-speaking Free University of Brussels. After working for Proximus for 15 years, he moved to P&V GROUP, where he has been managing all the IT infrastructure, except the mainframe, for nine years now.

Scan this page and discover how P&V Group made the change to Hyperconnected Infrastructure.

JO LONNEUX is an industrial engineer and has worked for Proximus since 1995. From data communication and the internet, he then moved to fiber. Since 2017 he has been Manager of the Proximus Local Fiber Team Antwerp, Flemish Brabant and Limburg.

users and we have to enable far more people to work together smoothly, at the same time. Hence the choice of broadband internet connection, designed for much stronger internet traffic than the previous one.” Security “This new way of working presents risks, too. We therefore installed the necessary security tools. All traffic is encrypted in a tunnel. So nothing is sent over the internet in clear text. The information on every laptop is encrypted as well, and is unreadable to outsiders. Each laptop always has the most recent security patches and updates to connect securely with the network. Every employee first logs in with his or her username and password and then with a reply code that is sent by text. Our connection with cloud applications such as Office 365 and OneDrive is protected by a cloud access security broker. We are also working hard on data loss prevention. So confidential document s ca nnot be sent anywhere just like that. We already have a basic security layer that we are gradually reinforcing.” Business continuity, including during the switch “ The implementation went smoothly. So as not to cause any interruptions in the network, we carried out major infrastructure work – such as installing the Wi-Fi antennas – during the weekend.

That way, staff did not notice that anything had changed. On Monday morning they were able to log in as usual.” “Proximus took measurements to ensure an optimal Wi-Fi signal throughout the building and supplied equipment and infrastructure: Wi-Fi antennas, switches, routers, total network environment and fiber connectivity in the office in Namur and in the branch offices.” “ With flex working we now have all sorts of business users and we have to enable far more people to work together smoothly, at the same time.” Christoph Cauwe, Team Leader Infra Engineering at P&V Group

First step in further innovation “This Hyperconnected Infra­ structure is the first step towards enabling our people to work flexibly, wherever they are. As an insurer, we still work a lot with paper and dossiers. We want to limit this as much as possible and digitalize by scanning documents and communicating with clients m o re a n d m o re by e m a i l . Computerized processes bring in documents, catalog them and link them to dossier numbers. We will also be working more and more with web interfaces and cloud applications. And we want to integrate all our programs into one single tool so that our staff can manage everything from a single interface.”

WHY IS FIBER IMPORTANT FOR YOUR CONNECTED COMPANY? Jo Lonneux, fiber expert at Proximus: “The explosion in the volume of internet traffic means that companies need more and more bandwidth. Fiber gives you that. It’s the ideal carrier for future technologies, has a fast response time, supports the new way of working and can be divided up to provide even bigger bandwidths as high as N gigabit ­up- and downstream.” Your access to fiber “Every company has access to dedicated fiber if they ask for it. This is fiber with a guaranteed bandwidth where the up- and downstream speeds are equal. We are now also laying shared fiber in newbuild projects, city centers and industrial estates. With other up- and downstream speeds, this is a cheaper solution. Thanks to this investment program, small and medium-sized companies can also benefit from fiber.” Advantage of fiber for P&V Group “Fiber has a number of advantages for P&V Group. It provides a very high bandwidth, so staff who work at a distance have access to the company’s network. What’s more, fiber provides a very high upload and download speed, ensuring a perfect experience with multi-cloud applications (Skype, etc.). Finally, there is a fast, constant and stable connection, irrespective of the number of simultaneous users.” Hyperconnected infrastructure “Fiber is the ideal carrier for hyperconnected infrastructure. You link all your IT and communication equipment up to a single network connection. Separate telephone, data and internet connections are a thing of the past. And if you need greater bandwidths, you no longer have to carry out any major infrastructure work.”












Network management has become very complex, particularly as the structure has to be perfectly adapted to the user and not vice versa. Tania Defraine and Gaëtan Willems talk about centralized orchestration. It’s time for software defined networking (SDx).


igitalization and the d e v e lo p m e n t o f users’ expectations have resulted in a certain complexity in the dynamic management of networks. This trend is now clear and is prompting companies to bring in specialists to guide them and manage the transformation of their IT infrastructure, commonly known a s knowledge and managed service,” says Gaëtan Willems, Head of Infrastructure, Workplace and Applications at Proximus. “Applicative transformation leads to the implementation of a private and public hybrid cloud environ­ ment focused on the user. In order to manage this transformation, network management has to be simplified so as to ensure total agility and follow the digital trans­ formation movement initiated by the company,” adds Tania Defraine, Head of Enterprise Fixed Data.


A win for users IT and telecom have become inextricably linked. Companies are starting or continuing their digital transformation and are facing the talent war on the one hand and new demands from end-users on the other. “In the past, users had to adapt to the constraints of networks. Today, it’s the networks that have to adapt to users so that wherever they are, they can gain applicative access in real time. But, of course, the business processes have to be able to keep up as well, which calls for boosted responsiveness. The solution is to let the software take the upper hand over the hardware. This is the Software Defined Network (SDx),” Gaëtan explains. Real-time responsiveness The SDx approach responds to a reality in which all devices have to be taken into consideration. The

GAËTAN WILLEMS is Head of Infrastructure, Workplace and Applications at Proximus. Having trained as an engineer, he assists companies with their transformation program.

response dynamic expected by the different user profiles connected to the network is essential. “We always start by analyzing and segmenting the customer’s needs, step by step. The main question is how can end-to-end service be guaranteed while prioritizing the applications that are most critical for the company,” Tania explains. “We are currently witnessing an explosion in the number of devices and the number of applications to be taken into account. Each new element integrated into the network may present an additional risk in terms of cybersecurity. The ‘ Sof tware Defined Any thing’ approach makes it possible, thanks to various tools such as an integral dashboard, to obtain realtime responsiveness for software and reporting. Responsiveness thus becomes proactivity, or even creativity,” Gaëtan adds.

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Head and body Tania illustrates the SDx by describing the network as comprising a body (the tool) and a head (the intelligence). “Making a distinction between the two speeds up processes and increases flexibility. This is precisely the effect obtained by a Software Defined Network.” “I can confirm that because, until now, the hard- and software operated together. The number of endpoints multiplied, resulting in a fairly weighty repetition of all the tasks carried out on the network. Today, the software manages and the hardware executes,” Gaëtan stresses.

expected digital experience. All good for attracting new talent,” says Gaëtan enthusiastically. “Enriching your digital transition with an SDx means freeing the company from complex, static solutions and giving priority to mobility and security.” And Tania specifies: “Within companies, people will increasingly have a software-minded vision. For this transition, we will support each company, because it is different for each one of them.”

“Today, the network adapts to the user.” Gaëtan Willems, Head of Infrastructure, Workplace and Applications at Proximus

SD-WAN and SD-LAN Networks differ by their very nature. Gaëtan points out that the SDx approach takes account of routing in SD-WAN or SD-LAN mode. “Company needs are contingent on a company’s size, the company’s sector, its segmentation and its level of service. Stability and continuity are fundamental. We draw up the balance of each company to ensure a dynamic continuity.” Tania stresses the three ingredients in the recipe: the digital transformation process, the costs (staff, equipment, etc.), and the need for agility in terms of decisions and implementation. “This is what determines the technological choices and the solution.” “ Enriching a digital transition with an SDx means freeing the company from complex solutions and giving priority to mobility.” Tania Defraine, Head of Enterprise Fixed Data at Proximus

TANIA DEFRAINE is Head of Enterprise Fixed Data at Proximus. She graduated in commercial sciences and her background as an economist and a tax specialist have inspired her career at Proximus for over 20 years.

It’s not magic As with every transformation, caution is essential. “It’s important to ask the right questions in order to gain a broad view of the journey. The implementation will take place in several phases, so that each decision is taken while bearing the next one in mind. But given the speed of change, guidance is crucial,” Gaëtan warns. For Tania, the key term is ‘customer journey’: “Automation and digitalization are speeding up, but it’s not magic. It’s important to establish a transition plan that meets users’ needs.” And what about the short-term cost? “This is not inexpensive technology, but the real reward will come in the medium term in the TCO of users and the optimization of the results of their customers’ results,” Gaëtan argues. User, user, user Our two Proximus experts are adamant: this layer of sof tware management to master the networks is a boost for platform responsiveness and the user experience. “Imagine: my applications are prioritized, their installation is sped up and I finally get the

CIOs are no longer talking technology For Gaëtan, the arrival of the software-defined network is linked to the new role of CIOs: “Their responsibility is becoming less and less technical. They no longer talk only about technology, but about the goals and needs of the business. The balance between business and technology is important, of course, and in my view, we will get the most out of this technology when the impetus comes from business and IT.”

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The National Lottery manages 250 million games Where once it was that classic drum with numbered balls, the National Lottery has transformed into a market leader whose watchwords are creativity, innovation and big data. CTIO Piet Van Petegem explains the challenges of today and tomorrow.


Scan this page and book a free digital checkup of your company.

iet Van Petegem moved to the ­National Lottery two years ago. He stresses that the d ­ ecision to ­become Chief Technology and ­Information ­Officer (CTIO) there was the result of various ­factors. “To start with, this is a company with a great background ­story,” he says. “Our core business is of course ­organizing games, but the fact that we also play a social role adds an extra dimension to this. The technological challenge appealed to me as well. We follow a strategy that was outlined a few years ago now and IT plays a decisive role in the development of this ­s trategy. That is the ­context of our cooperation with ­Proximus. This partnership ­enables us to take up all the ­challenges of what is known as Hyper­connected Infrastructure.”

As CTIO you are responsible for the digital transformation of the National Lottery. What exactly does that involve? Piet Van Petegem, Chief Technology and ­Information Officer (CTIO) at the National Lottery: “To be honest, we don’t really like that term. Talking about a digital transformation process could give the impression that this is an end in itself, which is not the case. Our starting point is always the players. Whether it’s about sales, marketing, technology, data, m ­ anaging the sales outlets or whatever, everything is done ­keeping the players in mind. Before they play, while they play and during the phase afterwards, it is important to be able to respond to the player’s needs faster and better. Of course, the various initiatives that we take to achieve this goal lie mainly in the digital world.”

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It’s impossible to imagine life without the internet these days. What repercussions does this have on the way you work? Piet: “For u s, the relationship ­between the online and the p ­ hysical channel is very much an and-and ­s tory. This may seem a bit of a ­paradox in an age when the ­internet is omnipresent and offers many ­possibilities, but 85% of the time, our players still use the physical channel. Our approach can clearly be labeled as omnichannel and we continue to ­invest in both channels. We go beyond the traditional newspaper shop as the place where people play their game and we now have a broader presence both on and offline. “We also have eight of our own stores, the biggest of which is located at Brouckère Square in Brussels. They are real labs for us. Incidentally, all our draws take place in our ­Brussels store, except for EuroMillions. So everyone can attend the draws in ­total transparency. This initiative does not mean that we pay less attention to our o ­ nline platform. One million ­p layers have already registered o ­ nline, 300,000 of which play every week, mainly via their smartphone. On this platform, under the name Woohoo, we also ­offer e-games that are not available on the physical channel.” Don’t these digital initiatives create tension with the physical points of sale? Piet: “Digital transformation is often experienced as a threat to physical points of sale, that’s true. There is a fear of cannibalization. Of a shift. But

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“ All the decisions about sales, marketing and technology are taken while keeping the players in mind. They are always the focus of attention.” Piet Van Petegem, Chief Technology and Information Officier (CTIO) at the National Lottery

we see that this is very limited today. For example, by having our app on their smartphones, players always have their personal Lottery Club card to hand. With this card, they can make the most of benefits and special offers in the point of sale. That in turn can prompt them to buy something while they are there. So it’s an ‘and-and’ story.” APP AS CO M M U N I C AT I O N A S S E T

You were talking about the importance of the smartphone for playing online. The National Lottery was recently modernized. What does it have to offer? Piet: “This app gives us added value in many aspects. You can’t play on the app itself. Let me clear up that misunderstanding right away. A lot has to do with the policy of companies like Google or Apple. But you can reach our online game platforms easily via the app. It has various functions. It’s a handy way to communicate with the players, either on the results of games or possibly via push messages. Players can now use a simple scan function to find out immediately whether their ticket is a winner. It’s an instrument that can provide us with insights into player behavior.”

The National Lottery has been working with Proximus for many years. Can you tell us a little more about that? Piet: “It goes further than providing traditional telephone services here at the office and LAN/WAN services. One of our API platforms is a Proximus platform. Each point of sale is also equipped with a connection in the Proximus MPLS network (Multiprotocol Label Switching). Given the scope and diversity of our transactions, I think I can safely say that Proximus is an important partner for the National Lottery, and vice versa. One of our biggest challenges is responding to the demands from business. At the same time, security remains a permanent priority.” D E A L I N G W I T H B I G D ATA

PIET VAN PETEGEM’S professional career comprises various chapters. He has worked for the Flemish television channel VRT and various banks. But IT is the guiding thread throughout this story. He became CTIO of the National Lottery in October 2017.

How important are data (e.g. app usage) for the direction your company is going? Piet: “The importance of data should not be underestimated. Taking decisions is no longer a matter of guesswork. Instead, each one is data driven. Regardless of whether it concerns sales, marketing or other areas of business. The campaign set up are invariably based on data analyses. The big challenge, however, is making the best possible use of the huge amount of information that we collect. Managing 250 million plays per year is no small matter. We also have over three billion ‘touchpoints’, which means a contact with a player, online or physically. In the past, we put a lot of energy into dealing with this efficiently; these efforts are continuing unremittingly. We have about ten data specialists for this in house. Coherently organizing and further linking all this ‘experience’ and ‘operational’ information is a project for the next two or three years.” B ROA D C A R E ER OPP OR T U N I T I ES

THE NATIONAL LOTTERY has been organizing public lotteries and wagers for over 85 years. This is done in a socially responsible, reliable and secure way. At the same time, the National Lottery provides more than just the fun of playing. The revenue from its activities is returned to society through subsidies and sponsoring. If you play, you always win.

Are you able to bring your people on board in this process of reforms and modernizations? Piet: “We have always communicated very clearly about the developments in the pipeline, something which is ­extremely important to make sure your staff come along with you. ­Efforts are also made to involve our own staff in these projects as much as possible. For that matter, this is regularly linked to the training and re-training ­opportunities that are offered. But of course, we also have to recruit ­extra ­manpower.” “The National Lottery, as an organization, might still have this rigid and corny image, but when I get the chance to ­explain what we do and what our ambitions are, p ­ eople soon realize that there is a lot of dynamism, energy and appetite in the company. You know, here we are in our head office in rue Belliard, in Brussels. This is where all the ­important ­d ecisions are taken. Thanks to short ­communication lines, we can switch quickly, and the staff are always closely involved. That’s motivating. We work with a team of 120 IT people; a team this big offers possibilities to evolve and develop your own talents to the fullest.”

H Y P E R C O N N E C T E D I N F R A S T R U C T U R E _ M A N P O W E R G R O U P C O N T R O L S E V E R Y T H I N G C E N T R A L LY _ 2 9

What innovations are in store? Piet: “One big project that will be very visible is a new portal that is currently being developed. We aim to get this up and running by 2021, the first version at least. Without going into detail, I can tell you that the player experience is the main starting point. That’s the big ­commitment for tomorrow. And if I can think out loud for a moment? Ideally, we will be able to offer each player a personalized playing platform. ­Hopefully we can achieve this in the somewhat longer term, during the period 2022-2023, let’s say.”


In 2018, the HR service provider ManpowerGroup underwent a large-scale digital transformation. The company’s internal network is one of its core components. Proximus helped to make the network faster, more secure and more flexible.

“ Thanks to our app, customers always have their personal Lottery Club card to hand. Players can use this card to make the most of benefits and special offers.” Piet Van Petegem, Chief Technology and Information Officier (CTIO) at the National Lottery

“ When we star ted the digitalization project, it soon became clear that the existing network structure was no longer suitable for the path that ManpowerGroup wanted to take,” explains Johan Bruyninx, IT Manager Security and Compliance Officer at ManpowerGroup Belgium. “The speed and flexibility of the network infrastructure are becoming more and more important and the equipment that we had a year ago was no longer able to keep up.” A flexible SD-WAN solution In the US, ManpowerGroup h ad a l read y g i ve n i t s network a major upgrade with a Meraki (software defined) SD-WAN solution. B elgium wa s the f irst European country in the group to implement this s a me solution . “ W hen we bought new network

equipment for our branches, we had to deal with all settings on site and then readjust the underlying Explore MPLS settings,” says Johan. “That took a lot of time and trouble and, of course, money as well. Now when we buy a specific piece of equipment, it simply has to be installed. All the settings are adjusted via templates on one central dashboard. Not only is it faster and cheaper, but it’s more secure. All the correct settings are already in the template, so it’s always right from the start.” ManpowerGroup is one of the world’s largest HR ser vice suppliers . The company has branches in over 80 countries and employs over 28,0 0 0 people. There are around 600 permanent staff in Belgium.

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5G & The Internet of

Flying Things The drone economy in Belgium is flying high. What’s more, thanks to the close-knit infrastructure network in our little country, and the companies and organizations that have rallied behind technology, Belgium may move up to the world’s top five. And 5G makes everything faster, sharper and more accurate. The sky is the limit with the Internet of Flying Things.


Drone economy in Belgium Yves Schellekens, Business G rou p Leade r D ig ital at Agoria: “The Belgian drone sector is doing well. There is a strong fabric of companies that use drones, produce hard- and software, give training courses and carry out tests. The offering is substantial, demand is growing and we have testing possibilities.” And yet it could be better “There is still too little ambition and too much competition and fragmentation. The drone industry needs to join forces, e.g. to enable the capital-intensive investments that are necessary. Things are already moving in the right direction: the fast technological progress with artificial intelligence and sensors, among other things, enables many new applications such as autonomous flying drones that can transport people and goods.” New Belgian consultation platform “The establishment of the Belgian Civil Drone Council in June this year is also a huge step forward. This federal consultation platform includes all the major players in the public and private sectors. The priorities now are to implement the new European Drone Act by 1 July 2020 and to color the map of Belgium to show areas where drones can fly frequently and safely.” Creating a positive mindset “Drones fly at a very low level, but there is not yet a traffic management system (like the one

YVES SCHELLEKENS is a commercial engineer and worked for the American IT company EDS for 21 years, rising to the position of Director for Belgium and Luxembourg. After three years as General Manager of Fujitsu Services and CSC partner, in 2015 he moved to Agoria, where he is Business Group Leader Digital. He represents Agoria on the Exco of the Belgian Civil Drone Council.

AGORIA is the largest Belgian sector federation and, as such, represents 2,000 technological companies and 350,000 employees. With its workforce of 200 people, the federation aims to improve the quality of our lives through technology.

in aviation) to regulate this neatly and safely. We need to create a framework, draw up regulations and generate solutions that organize this properly. In addition, there is still a lot of work to be done to get the man in the street to accept drones. The general public associate drones with noise, invasion of privacy and accidents. A lot more attention needs to be drawn to the positive aspect of drones.” Drones-as-a-Service “Drones-as-a-Service is the future of the drone economy. This service provision will account for 80% of the market potential. The services with the highest added value will be developed first: saving lives, transporting medical goods and food, charting and assessing damage, etc. After the first phase of development, smaller niche drone applications will become profitable, too.” 400 million euros “It is difficult to estimate the value of the drone economy. On the basis of the added value that drones can generate, Agoria and PwC calculated that the commercial use of drones in Belgium is worth over 400 million euros a year, and with an annual increase of 15–20%, growth over the next few years is set to be phenomenal, particularly in sectors such as infrastructure, transport, logistics, security, insurance, media and entertainment. 5G will further increase this added value. Thanks to guaranteed connectivity, it will

be possible to watch the images taken by drones live and to develop new, innovative services with high added value.” Endless possibilities “One thing is for sure: the sky is the limit. At the moment, drones mainly gather data. But we can still create a huge amount of added value. In a short amount of time, drones will become real flying robots or dronebots that can perform tasks. I’m thinking, for instance, of welding jobs and repairs in places that are difficult to reach or at heights. And just imagine what dozens of flying drones together could do.” European Drone Act as catalyst “At the moment Belgium is still hampered by rather restrictive legislation on drones. This is based on the view that virtually nothing is permitted. You have to request an exception and pay for almost everything. Fortunately, the Minister for Mobility permits companies to carry out tests for well-documented dossiers. Thanks to him, a good many positive innovations have already come about. With the European Drone Act, which is based on the principle that almost everything is permitted, we need to dare to take the plunge. We have all the infrastructure and the players necessary to develop, test and market new applications and rank among the top five in the world.”


Technology puts digitalization into practice With the digital transformation, companies are responding to new customer needs. In itself, this is not a technological story, but technology puts the digital transformation into practice. New network technology – like 5G – forms the infrastructure that gives shape to the whole story. Geert Standaert, CTO of Proximus, talking about 5G.

“5G is on its way. But that does not mean the end of 4G. At present, we are continuing to invest in 4G and further expand the network. At the same time, there is a need for mobile connectivity that not only offers extra capacity but also opens up the way to a completely new use of the mobile network. That is precisely what 5G brings within reach. “With 5G there is virtually no latency. That makes 5G ideally suitable for self-driving cars, automatic drones and a great many IoT applications, such as smart meters, wearables and vehicle

tracking. Owing to the high capacity, 5G is also suitable for highdefinition video and applications based on virtual reality.”

GEERT STANDAERT gained a degree in civil engineering at Ghent University. He has held several positions at Proximus since 1994. Since 2012, as CTO he has been responsible for IT development, service engineering and technical infrastructure.

What new possibilities does 5G offer? “5G is a totally new mobile radio technology, with new frequencies and new broadcasting and receiving apparatus. The important thing is that 5G relies on a new network infrastructure with features that were not possible previously, with 4G for example. Among other things, with 5G a separate, locally virtual mobile network can be installed at a specific location – such as on the premises of a company – which can only be used by the staff or the IoT applications of that company.” “One of the important attributes of 5G is the possibility of working with network slicing. This principle makes it possible to separate different applications from one another virtually on the same physical network. Each application is allocated a slice of the network, with specific settings for capacity, priority, etc. Emergency services are given a higher priority, for instance.”


Proximus and Orange Belgium are developing the mobile access network of the future Earlier this year, Proximus and Orange Belgium signed an arrangement to reach a final agreement on sharing mobile access networks by the end of the year. An agreement like this is intended to put both companies in a position to cope with the increasing demand from customers for mobile network quality. It will also enable a faster and broader rollout of 5G in Belgium. The aim is to offer end-users, companies and society in general all the advantages of 5G while maintaining a healthy and effective competitive environment. The shared network will improve coverage, as the consolidated number of mobile sites is expected to be around 20% higher compared with the current radio access network of each operator separately. What does sharing the mobile access network mean? Sharing the mobile access network has become a common practice for many telecom operators across the world and in Europe. By sharing the access infrastructure to the mobile network, operators can improve the efficient deployment of the network and make heavy investments in new network technologies, such as 5G. The main advantages for end-users will be the improvement of the general mobile experience thanks to a broader outdoor range, a better deep indoor range, more capacity and the faster rollout of 5G. In addition, sharing the network also has a number of advantages for the environment, as fewer antenna sites are required, resulting in fewer unsightly structures and a reduction in the total energy consumption.

“ 5G makes the promise of programmable, scalable and on-demand, end-to-end service specialization possible. Companies will be able to have their own virtual mobile network on their site.â€?

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Time-saving and efficient You mentioned the use of drones as a field of application for 5G. What needs do drones meet? “Above all, drones will save time. There are already examples of this, including here in Belgium. I’m thinking, among other things, about the Helicus Aero Initiative which offers drone transport for the hospital networks. The first medical drone flight took place in October, between the SintAugustinus hospital in Wilrijk and the Universitair Ziekenhuis Antwerpen [Antwerp University Hospital] in Edegem (read more on p.37). The aim is to transport blood samples, pharmacists’ preparations and so on quickly and efficiently using a drone. It’s far faster and cheaper than by car.” When will we be able to use 5G? “That is not yet clear. The different governments in Belgium have not yet reached an agreement on the auctioning of the 5G licences. That doesn’t make things any easier, of course. We are ready to invest in 5G, but we have to take decisions now about something that has not yet been given the official go-ahead. At the same time, we can sense the demand in the market. Companies want to use 5G to speed up their digital transformation. We already have various test projects running with customers, where we are using test frequencies.”

“Generally speaking, there is little doubt about the potential success of 5G. You just have to look at the growth in the use of mobile data. It is a thousand times higher today than 10 years ago. This trend is set to continue. Video resolution, for example, keeps increasing.”

“ There comes a time when 4G is no longer sufficient. With 5G we can absorb the growth in data consumption and, at the same time, continue to improve the mobile experience.”

Scan this page and read the interview with CIO Geert Standaert about the new network technologies.


Emergency assistance via the Internet of Flying Things The police and fire service are increasingly using drones to monitor and safeguard security. Speed and image quality are crucial here. In this respect, 5G promises to stand out.

Tracking down fugitives and missing persons Drones have numerous applications for the forces of law and order: keeping an eye on things during public events, locating flashpoints, helping to track down fugitives or missing persons, etc. “With the help of unmanned flying objects, the police and fire service can quickly form an image of what is happening on the ground. That enables them to guide the people on site appropriately,” explains Tom De Jaeger, CEO at Tersec, which makes the camera images and GPS coordinates of the drones visible and available in real time. 5G: a sharper, faster picture At the moment, a video transmitter with a SIM card sends the drone images to the competent services over the 4G network. “The better the image quality, the more accurately the police and fire service can assess potential problem situations,” Tom explains. “The 4G network provides images in Full HD quality, but there is room for improvement. A 4K resolution gives subtle details in sharper focus, which is a great advantage in delicate operations. The arrival of 5G makes this 4K image quality possible,” Tom notes. “What’s more, 5G keeps image

delays to an absolute minimum. When the drone pilot operates the device via the 5G network, it will respond to instructions even faster, which is very important to ensure a safe flight.” TERSEC develops and integrates systems for police and emergency services. The company makes the drones’ camera images and GPS coordinates available immediately. That way, the emergency services gain a real-time overview of the situation on site, benefiting situation awareness.

TOM DE JAEGER is the founder of Tersec. The company specializes in system development and integration for emergency services. Tom also gives training courses in his area of expertise at Noordzee Drones – a training and knowledge center for drones and drone pilots.

“The better the image quality, the more accurately the police and fire service can survey possible problem situations and therefore make efficient decisions.” Tom De Jaeger, CEO bij Tersec

Westkust police zone pioneers The forces of law and order view and analyze the drone images in real time on the Tersec Tactical Observation Platform. “That is done in the control center, in aircraft or on site,” Tom explains. He mentions the Westkust police zone as a pioneer in this. The corps has three drone pilots who have benefited from extensive theoretical and practical training. The police zone has three drones with a thermal imaging camera: one practice device and two devices that can be deployed on the ground. The drones provide Westkust with assistance during public events, when tracking down missing persons, directing traffic and conducting judicial investigations, etc.

_ 5G/D R O N E S _ H OSP I TA L S E X P ER I M EN T W I T H D R O N E T R A NSP O RT _ 37

“ 5G keeps image delays to an absolute minimum. When the drone pilot operates the device via the 5G network, it will respond to instructions even faster.”

This drone will save lives

Tom De Jaeger, CEO of Tersec

What about privacy? As an instructor, Tom speaks from experience when he talks about the level of training. “The bar is high, both for theory and practice. It can easily be compared with a light version of the sport pilot course (PPL). The training focuses mainly on specific emergency situations.” According to Tom, the initial objections to drones have largely faded away. “A 2016 royal decree set out the rules more clearly. Recreational and commercial uses are bound by strict rules and also fall under the new Camera Act. Drones are equipped with a security mechanism which sends the device back to its lift-off point if it loses contact with the ground station. What’s more, the data and images collected by the police are sent straight to a secure server. So the data are under control.” Internet or drones? Tom expects drones to be able to communicate with one another and exchange data on their location and direction in the future. He sees an important role for the 5G network here. The question remains how the legislation on the ‘Beyond Visual Line of Sight’ flights will evolve. In Belgium, pilots have to maintain visual contact with the drone while, in Australia, autonomous drone flights carrying medical packages are already permitted.

Hospitals in Belgium are deploying technology to the fullest. Pilot projects have been started in several places across the country involving the use of drones. When every minute counts UZ Antwerp (Antwerp University Hospital, UZA) in Edegem and the Sint-Augustinus campus of GasthuisZusters Antwerpen Ziekenhuizen (Antwerp Sisters Hospitals) are among the institutions involved in these pilot projects. The hospitals want to use drones to transport pharmaceutical products and blood, urine and tissue samples, for example. Because drones never get caught up in congestion, roadworks and detours, they are a lot faster than road transport, which has been used until now. It took the drone three minutes to cover the 2.17 kilometers between the UZA and Sint-Augustinus hospitals. What is more, the drone can deliver life-saving medication, so that doctors and surgeons can act faster and more people can receive the right treatment more quickly. Experimenting In Limburg and Noorderkempen (northern Kempenland), too, there is movement afoot in the field of air transport. The Jessa hospitals in the Hasselt area, for instance, are looking into other applications involving drone flights, as is Turnhout hospital. Specialists expect this type of transport to increase sharply in the future, because hospitals will increasingly specialize and have to cooperate with one another. What’s more, it’s a good way to avoid long waits in traffic. Drones are an efficient tool for taking samples from one hospital to the lab at another hospital.

“ A drone is never hampered by traffic congestion, roadworks or diversions.”


Drones on the building site WILLEMEN GROUP is one of the biggest family construction groups in Belgium. In 2013, Willemen Group was named Business of the Year. The company has 2,400 staff and creates indirect employment for many more. The group posts a turnover of around 900 million euros. It has recently started using drones to take measurements on its building sites.

HELICUS (established by Mikael Shahim) is a start-up that will provide drone flights for hospitals, among other things. From its headquarters in Antwerp, it is currently busy testing how drones can be used quickly, efficiently and, above all, safely.

European and professional cooperation Most of these pilot programs are taking place in the context of cooperation agreements involving various companies or with the support of the European Union. The project in Turnhout is part of an EU Smart City initiative for Urban Air Mobility which involves 42 European cities. The SAFIR consortium is involved in the Antwerp project. Aircraft manufacturer SABCA, the port of Antwerp, the Skeyes air traffic center, drone operator Helicus, the e-commerce giant Amazon and Proximus are part of this. SAFIR has its home base at the DronePort near Sint-Truiden, on the former Brustem air force base. 5G keeps it safe Proximus is involved in the drone tests because these professional aircrafts use 4G connections during their flights and will use 5G in the future. Data and flight information are constantly forwarded to a control center via these connections. In principle, the flights are fully automatic but human pilots can intervene from a distance in an emergency. Another application of the 5G connection is, for example, transmitting video images in u ­ ltra-high 4K quality.

“ We save a huge amount of time by using drones. We are talking about 10 to 15 minutes per zone and about two hours for data processing. In the past this took us a whole day.”

Scan this with the VEEEW app and see how the Willemen Group construction business uses drones to take site measurements.



Digitalization brings an obligation to ensure better protection against cybercrime. An obligation to yourself as a company, but also to customers, partners, patients and staff. The strength of your IT security radiates confidence. With data as the basis of your security intelligence, you can take your approach to a higher level.


As a company, you cannot avoid comprehensive IT security. If it’s not to keep hackers at bay, it’s to come successfully through a security audit. Cybercrime and new legislation are guiding the need for security. SECURITY BASIS FOR TRUST

No partners without strong IT security or companies aiming to survive in the long term, digitalization is no longer an option, because there are major implications. “The use of mobile devices is assuming an increasingly major role here,” says Christophe Crous, Head of Security and Service Intelligence at Proximus. “What’s more, companies connect their applications to the processes of other organizations, etc.” T h e co n s e q u e n ce? T h e I T infrastructure looks far different today than it did some three or five years ago. “This has significant co n s e q ue n ces fo r s e cu r i t y management,” Christophe says. “The attack surface has grown enormously. In short: companies are exposed to far more cyber danger than before.”

network and information security. “So if you haven’t been hacked yet, you’ll be audited in any case,” says Christophe.


Audits for GDPR and NIS At the same time, the law also i m p o s e s re q u i re m e n t s o n digitalization. Just think of GDPR, which obliges companies to deal carefully with privacy-sensitive data, or the NIS directive for

CHRISTOPHE CROUS is an industrial engineer specialized in electronics. He began his career at Telindus, as it was then. For the past few years he has been Head of Security & Service Intelligence at Proximus.

“As a company, you really can’t get round security.” However, the new circumstances call for a different approach. The traditional security perimeter is no longer enough. “In many cases, companies don’t have their own datacenter anymore. Data are kept in the cloud and provide fuel for applications that run at business partners – and you, as a company, often don’t know in detail how seriously they take their IT security.” Risk management This means that now more than ever, security is a balancing act. It’s about striking the right balance between innovation – for example via cooperation with disruptive start-ups – and your own, trusted IT security. “Security these days is primarily an exercise in risk management,” said Christophe. “As a company,

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Proximus online

you have to determine what IT risk you may, can and want to accept, and what it may cost to maintain that risk profile.” An added difficulty is that hackers, too, have access to all the new technology. “They too work in the cloud, with IoT, with artificial intelligence and machine learning.” Polymorphic attacks are among the latest techniques. “These are attacks that change shape. A perfectly normal, harmless email, for instance, keeps quiet for a while first, then combines with another element and launches an attack, just like that.” Cybercrime is a business model “The most striking thing about cybercrime, is that it has now become highly professionalized.” Hackers are no longer mischie­vous teenagers or activists. Cybercrime, these days, is a business model. “It’s all about money,” says Christophe, “so no one is safe. What’s more, precisely as a result of digitalization, companies are more dependent than ever on digital technology. When something goes wrong with it, it often has far-reaching consequences.” With initiatives like GDPR and NIS, the law aims to prevent that. “Even if you yourself have no affinity with IT, you still have to deal with security. Companies need to realize that. If their IT security is not in order, soon no one will want to do business with them any longer.”

Download the e-book Managed Security and Intelligence Services Have your entire IT environment secured and maintained 24/7. Think possible

Scan this page and download your copy of the e-book on Managed Security and Intelligence Services.


Adopt a privacy protection reflex Smartphones, the IoT, home automation and other technologies are exerting ever more pressure on our privacy. With scandals emerging one after another, the European GDPR couldn’t have come at a better time. So the Data Protection Authority (DPA) has become a reality.

he Data Protection ­A u t h o r i t y ( D P A ) ­website tells us that this is an independent regulatory body whose task is to ensure ­respect for the basic principles of the protection of personal data. The spokesperson, Aurélie ­W aeterinckx, explains its mission: “We guide companies with the implementation of the GDPR, in particular by issuing recommendations. We also approve the contractual clauses and codes of ­conduct drawn up by the federations and sectors. In addition, companies consult us to check impact analyses. An analysis like this has to be carried out in cases where there is a high potential risk, such as if a company wants its employees to connect using facial recognition.“


A wide array of tasks Another part of the DPA’s task is to increase awareness and to anticipate. A ­ urélie goes on: “Companies should ­p referably put their questions to their ­sectoral organization, which contacts us. For practical i­nformation, we have a first-line service, as well as the FAQs on our website. F ­ inally, we deal with complaints from the public and impose p ­ enalties.“ Penalties The range of penalties includes a reprimand, a freeze on data processing or an administrative fine. Waeterinckx: “These fines may be as much as 20 m ­ illion e ­ uros or 4% of the total turnover. For example, France imposed a

AURÉLIE WAETERINCKX has been communications adviser and spokesperson of the DPA since May 2019.

STATISTICS Between 25 May 2018 and 25 May 2019, the DPA received 6,514 requests for information, mainly from members of the public, 694 notifications of data leaks and 340 complaints and requests for mediation. Aurélie explains: “This usually concerns civil rights such as the right to object, the right to access your data and the use of data from surveillance cameras. Not to mention the 4,924 active DPOs.”

­ eavy fine of 50 million euros h on Google, which had failed to ­sufficiently i­nform its users of the use of their data for advertising ­p urposes. In Belgium, we have imposed two fines since 25 May 2018. A ­business that required the use of the i­dentity card to obtain a ­loyalty card was fined 10,000 euros.” Impact outside the EU ­A urélie: “The GDPR has ­really ser ved a s an example and helped increase a ­ wareness. We have triggered a wave of ­regulations throughout the world. What’s more, an ­American or an A ­ ustralian company c­ learly ­ta rg eti n g Eu ro p ea n s - fo r example by accepting payment in e ­ uros - is obliged to comply with the GDPR.“

TIPS “The GDPR has established a framework enabling companies to think differently. It’s best to take a critical look at the way data are used. In every project, the protection of personal data is an objective in itself. By developing a privacy protection reflex, companies will maintain the trust of customers and/or users, who are becoming increasingly vigilant and outspoken.“

The DPA is an independent regulatory body whose task is to ensure respect for the basic principles of the protection of personal data. The DPA took over from the Privacy Commission on 25 May 2018.



Impenetrable mission EXPERTISE

is a federal administration, under the authority of the Prime Minister, charged with coordinating cybersecurity policy in Belgium. The Center also fulfils the operational function of National Response Center for information security incidents at national level (CSIRT national) with its team.

EUROPE AND BELGIUM ARE BOOSTING THE LEVEL OF CYBERSECURITY the essential services it provides,” Valéry adds.

ICT is both the strength and the weakness of our economy. Belgium is taking preventive and reactive measures against cyberattacks. Meeting with Valéry Vander Geeten, head of legal affairs at the Belgian Cybersecurity Center.

Borderless cybercrime Data theft, leaked business ­s ecrets, ser vices downtime, ­s abotaged activities, fraud, etc. Cyberattacks may be t­ argeted and sophisticated and can prove very expensive for users. “These days, kidnappers no longer hold people for ransom, but their data or IT systems. ­B elgium has just established a legal framework to increase security for ­networks and information ­systems , to the benefit of the citizens and the economy. The aim is to ­develop a ­culture o ­ f managing risks and cyber ­incidents in Belgium,” ­explains Valéry Vander Geeten.


NIS stands for network and information security The NIS Act (of 7 April 2019) is the first full ­legislation on ­network and information ­security in B ­ elgium. “It ­transposes European ­Directive 2016/1148 and ­p rimarily t­ argets the operators of ‘essential s­ ervices’ such as the ­electricity suppliers as well as certain suppliers of important digital s­ ervices, including

VALÉRY VANDER GEETEN is Head of Legal Affairs at the Belgian Cybersecurity Center (CCB) as well as Data Protection Officer. He is also in charge of coordinating the adoption of the NIS directive in Belgium.

cloud ­s ervices, online search engines (like ­G oogle) or online market places (like eBay).”The ­essential service operators are ­a ppointed by each competent sector ­authority on 3 November 2019 but, for o ­ bvious reasons of security, this list will not be made ­public,” states Valéry. Conformity and presumption of conformity Once the essential ser vice ­operator has been a ­ ppointed by the sector authority, he or she has to take various measures. “First of all, the essential service ­provider will have to take necessary and proportionate technical and ­o rganizational measures, so as to manage the risks and guard against security incidents ­affecting its essential services. Even if the scope of application is different, in terms of ­security this is an approach similar to that ­required by the GDPR. The ­s ervice operator will also have to report significant incidents occurring on its networks and information systems linked to

Advantage or additional burden? “This could of course be seen as an added burden for the companies concerned. But at the same time, it’s important to realize that these companies will also benefit from the assistance that the NIS public authorities offer (CCB, crisis center, sector authority, etc.) in case of an incident. They will also receive anonymous information on significant incidents that have occurred at similar operators, and have access to updated resources on cybersecurity threats,” Valéry states. “And finally, it should not be forgotten that improving the security level and cyber ­incident ma nag e m e nt is ulti mately ­b eneficial for the continuity of activities.”

“ These days, kidnappers no longer hold people for ransom, but their data or information systems.” Valéry Vander Geeten of the Center for Cyber Security Belgium (CCB)


Patients in danger when hacked THE HEILIG-HART HOSPITAL IN LIER

Imagine you find out that your medical data have been hacked and put up for sale online. That’s why cybersecurity is the number 1 priority for hospitals. REAL BUSINESS

How important is data security for the hospital sector? Stefaan Vansteenkiste, IT Director at Heilig-Hart Hospital in Lier: “It’s a top priority. Patients’ medical data and the personal data of staff and patients are extremely sensitive. As a hospital, you have an obligation to keep ­patient data for 10 years and, after death, for as long as 30 years. On that b ­ asis, you can put t­ ogether an i­ndividual’s entire lifetime. ­Patient data are a real gold mine for hackers. So we protect our systems to the fullest. A hospital uses 200 or more systems that communicate with one another. If the network is hacked, you run the risk of a data exchange that results in patients receiving the wrong care, for instance, or a f­ orced shutdown of your ­s ervices or even the total closure of the hospital.” How has the hospital

adapted to the GDPR and NIS legislation? Stefaan: “For GDPR we have drawn up a roadmap to meet all the requirements. We have ­recruited a data protection ­officer (DPO) and concluded agreements with our suppliers and doctors. An independent firm has tested whether we meet the NEN 7510 ­standard on information security in the care sector. All patients and staff have access to our privacy statements and we have set up a channel for p ­ eople who have questions about their privacy. But it’s still a work in ­progress.” “As regards the NIS (Network and Information Security) D ­ irective: the government still has to ­officially inform the healthcare ­s ector (interview took place on September 5, 2019). After that, we have six months to become compliant. We haven’t taken any steps yet, but our ­information ­security is in place. We just have to fine-tune it to fully comply with the ISO 72001 and NEN 7510 standards.”

Scan this page and discover how Heilig-Hart hospital in Lier uses cybersecurity in the video.

dates right back to 1236. The general hospital holds 450 beds and 1,600 staff. The Lier hospital is planning to have a completely new building by 2030. In the meantime, it is being transformed into a hospital of the future. IT is an important part of this.

“ The legislation on data security needs to be more substantive, include mandatory audits, for instance. At the moment we keep our logs up to date but we rarely screen them.” Stefaan Vansteenkiste, IT Director at Heilig-Hart Hospital, Lier

STEFAAN VANSTEENKISTE worked for a medical software producer for 14 years. He started up a company that provides IT services for the healthcare sector and helped several hospitals to improve their IT. He has been IT Director at the Heilig-Hart Hospital in Lier since 2017.

The GDPR and NIS laws require specific profiles. How are you dealing with this? Stefaan: “We’ve joined ­forces with BDO for our information ­s ecurity. To comply with the GDPR legislation, we searched for a data ­p rotection ­o fficer. But there are few people with the right ­p rofile. So we took an offer from Proximus: an external ­consultant is our DPO now. The aim is ­ultimately for him to take care of data security for the ­entire h ­ ospital network. For the NIS, we are still waiting to hear from the government. Then we will see what the impact is. We have already organised NIS info sessions for our staff. And ­responsibility for ­compliance with the NIS Act goes to our DPO.” What do you expect in terms of security in the future? Stefaan: “That everything will become stricter and more complicated than it is now. But above all, there is a need for substantive legislation. At the moment everything revolves around technical measures. What I miss, for example, are audits and rules on active monitoring and a ­ nomaly management. An audit ­forces ­institutions to check how they deal with data security. We keep logs up to date at the moment, but we check them rarely. And something needs to be done about the gap between theory and practice. Our doctors are ­fully on board when it comes to data security, but they are hampered in their work by the stringent ­rules. And that is not sustainable.”


“ If companies want their customers to join them in a digital transformation, this can only happen if there is trust.” Philippe Meerbergen, Solutions Architect at Davinsi Labs

The boundaries between the physical and the digital world are becoming blurred. As companies move forward with their digital transformation, the importance of securing data and applications is growing. This increases the need for a new, comprehensive and measurable approach to IT security: security intelligence.


Targeted investment in security

What is security intelligence? Philippe Meerbergen, ­Solutions Architect at Davinsi Labs: “­Security intelligence is, first and foremost, about gaining insight into the security of the entire IT landscape of a company, both on-site and in the cloud. On the one hand, this involves proactively cataloging the infrastructure, assets, applications and related vulnerabilities. On the other hand, security intelligence provides continuous monitoring of all digital activities in order to detect and block improper use and/or cyberattacks quickly. In short, security intelligence is a necessary service for a company to measure (and therefore know) how resilient it is to cyberattacks. That makes security intelligence indispensable to the business and essential for the management in order to obtain objective feedback on the existing risks and active threats. This feedback makes it possible to set the right priorities and invest in security on a targeted basis.” Why is security intelligence important for a company ­today? Tom De Backer, S ­ ecurity Spe­ cia­l ist at Davinsi Labs: “The question should really be: how can you, as a company, take the right decisions every day without the insight provided by security intelligence? Security intelligence ensures that a company can implement its cybersecurity policy on the basis of data rather than relying on gut feeling. If you don’t have objective information, then, in the context of cybersecurity, you can’t really do much more than guess which area merits the most attention. We like to descri-


DAVINSI LABS presented itself from the beginning in 2014 as a specialist in security intelligence, focusing on vulnerability management and security analytics. In 2016 Proximus acquired this fast-growing company. Today, Davinsi Labs counts 35 employees as part of Proximus Accelerators.

be security intelligence as the comfort of knowing. By making security really comprehensible and, above all, measurable on the basis of data, security intelligence offers a certain peace of mind. It’s still a very complex matter, of course, with a great many uncertainties, and ­decisions are often difficult to take, but now you can base your decisions on hard facts. The company now at least knows where the biggest risks lie and what it should f­ ocus on.”

PHILIPPE MEERBERGEN studied commercial engineering at Antwerp University. He has worked in IT security throughout his career. Since 2017 he has been a solutions architect at Davinsi Labs.

“ Security intelligence works in real time. That’s essential. The longer it takes to notice an incident, the more it costs to repair the damage.”

Time is of the essence How are security incidents at clients detected? Philippe: “The relevant security data are gathered from the IT infrastructure, the devices and the applications of the company. This often involves huge volumes of data, with information on the users, all transactions and sometimes even each byte of data traffic from the company. These data are then analyzed using advanced algorithms and we infer reliable security warnings from them in real time. These alerts are included on a list of priorities, so that the security specialists can focus straight away on the threat that may have the biggest impact on the company. For the specialists, that is the startingpoint. They then go into the problem in more depth and resolve it. With security, time is of the essence. The longer it takes to notice an incident, the more it costs to repair the damage. Hence the importance of being able to work in real time. The period of time between intrusion, detection and repair has to be kept as short as possible.” Data form the basis of security intelligence. Tom: “That’s true. Security intelligence relies on reliable, up-to-date data. They provide the fuel for our analysis which, in turn, offers the business the opportunity to take the right decisions. These decisions

Philippe Meerbergen, Solutions Architect at Davinsi Labs

TOM DE BACKER studied industrial engineering (computer sciences) at KU Leuven and civil engineering at Ghent University. He has been a security specialist at Davinsi Labs for the past two years.

“ Security intelligence is based on data analysis. That makes it possible to objectivize security rather than relying purely on gut feeling.” Tom De Backer, Security Specialist at Davinsi Labs

Scan this page and watch how Davinsi Labs uses security intelligence.

_ 47

are based on the analysis of data – and therefore not on personal conviction or guesswork. Data enable us to objectivize security.” KEY TAKEAWAYS TO RAISE YOUR IT SECURITY TO A HIGHER LEVEL

1. T he most important thing is to gain a broad view of the IT environment so as to chart dangers and risks. That way, as a company, you find out faster where you are and what measures you need to take. 2. N ever forget that 100% security is impossible. What’s more, security is a long-term task. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. 3. U se new technologies to detect incidents, but don’t forget the human aspect. Surround yourself with specialists who have the necessary expertise.

People and machines What new technologies can further speed up the detection and prevention of security incidents in the future? Tom: “The biggest challenge at the moment lies in the shortage of experienced security analysts. The demand for specialists has never been greater than it is today and we have to find a solution to that. The good news is that new technology– such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning – can help us. We use algorithms when analyzing data. Computerization supports us when performing repetitive tasks. Thanks to new technology, we can collect information ever-faster from ever-larger data volumes spanning ever-longer periods. AI helps us detect certain patterns and abnormal ­behavior. This brings us to the core of a ­p roblem more quickly. As we leave more and more tasks to machines, the security specialists can focus better on the more complex work.”

5G blurs boundaries Do you see 5G having a possible impact on cybersecurity? Philippe: “5G will certainly have an impact. The arrival of 5G will mean more digital applications, more connected people and more devices. With 5G, however, we get to see the real potential of the Internet of Things. That brings a range of new opportunities, with a dramatic change in the

way in which we do business and communicate. Equally, threats will appear that we do not yet know about.” Tom: “5G will mean that the boundary between the physical and the digital worlds will become more blurred. So the importance of IT security is growing exponentially. The complexity of the balance that a company has to achieve between the risk that it is prepared to take and the cost of security keeps increasing as a result. At the same time, the value of the data that companies store online is rising very rapidly. Of course, cybercriminals realize this too. So the field of action of cybercrime just carries on growing. It is important not to underestimate the criminals, certainly not now that our lives and work are playing out more and more in the digital world. There is a lot at stake.”

Work for cyber-experts How important is IT security in terms of the customer experience? Can a data leak or a cyberattack disrupt the relationship between company and customer? Philippe: “Of course. Unfortunately, we have a lot of concrete examples of this now. As a company, you have to earn the trust of your customers. A data leak harms that trust. Not only is the company’s image damaged, but it ­suffers financial loss as well, for example as a result of fines imposed for the negligent management of customer data. If companies want their customers to join them in a digital transformation, this can only happen if there is trust.” Tom: “That, among other things, is what we are responding to with managed security services (MSS), where ­c ompanies have the opportunity to focus on their core ­activities and outsource the security aspect to a ­specialized partner.” Philippe: “The Proximus Security Operations Center (SOC) combines technology, processes and experts and therefore acts as our eyes and ears on the ground. Thanks to the SOC, we are informed immediately when a new threat appears on the scene. If cybercriminals succeed in breaking through a customer’s security, the SOC helps contain the incident and resolve it as soon as possible.”



The rise of e-commerce has put the retail sector in Belgium under severe pressure in the past few years. Technology now influences the way we shop ‘offline’ as well. What can IoT, location analytics, electronic shelf labeling and blockchain offer you, both as a consumer and a retailer?

Behind the scenes of



‘Omnichannel’ use-by date expired


For a long time, omnichannel was the holy grail of retail: offering consumers the ideal customer experience through every possible channel. These days, retail specialist Gino Van Ossel takes a more reserved view. “It’s no longer omnichannel, but optichannel.” Profit margins at Belgian supermarket chains are under pressure. Should they be worried? Gino Van Ossel, Retail specia­ list : “Absolutely, but it’s not just the supermarkets, by a long shot. The entire retail sector is facing a huge digital challenge. It’s a very wide-ranging story. In fashion, for instance, customers are clearly opting more for online shopping. At the same time, apps to sell secondhand clothes are on the rise. In the food sector, e-commerce so far still accounts for a fairly modest volume. Generally speaking, we see that the market is no longer growing and we find ourselves in a displacement market. When it comes to e-commerce in the food sector, we have to include companies like Deliveroo, as well. Supermarkets as such are not suffering too much from this right now. But of course, the pressure is increasing.”

How heavily does changing consumer behavior weigh in here? “Online shopping offers con­ venience. At the same time, consumers have a far bigger choice online than in a physical store. So a certain volume is shifting to e-commerce: not only to the webshops of the retailers in question, but also to the pure players, the companies that only sell online and do not have any physical stores. As a result of this, retailers have too much physical store space. But there is a far bigger challenge. Consumers make little distinction between on- and offline. They try clothes on in the store, buy online and possibly exchange their purchase later on at yet another sales outlet. As a company, you have to respond to this changing attitude. IKEA, among others, does that very robustly. The company relies mainly on inspiration in its stores. Customers are buying more and more online, so the store has to offer something that the online channel cannot.


That’s the strategy. Hence also the importance of impulse buying at IKEA, such as candles and cushions. Online shoppers are far less likely to take that sort of product with them. Consumers prefer to have products with a long shelf life – such as toilet paper and nappies – delivered to their home. The effect of this is that supermarkets are opting for smaller stores, with more emphasis on fresh products.”

Competition defines benchmark

GINO VAN OSSEL is a professor of retail and trade marketing at the Vlerick Business School. In his book ‘Retail. De digitale hysterie voorbij’ (Retail: Beyond the Digital Hysteria) he explains how retailers can succeed in combining profit, competitiveness and customer orientation to form a successful strategy.

Where is the sector today in terms of the digital transformation process? “For five years now we have been talking about omnichannel, which allows retailers to seamlessly connect to on- and of fline channels. In practice, it turns out that this is not so easy to organize. It has to do, among other things, with the integration of different IT systems and logistics processes. The problem with omnichannel is that retailers are still targeting customers on a one-dimensional basis. But there are two other


“Absolutely. In the past, families took the car on a Saturday to do the shopping for the whole week, typically in a supermarket along a major approach road. These days consumers shop on a smaller scale at various times throughout the week, closer to home, on foot or by bike. Consumers don’t want to spend time in traffic jams on approach roads during the weekend. The supermarkets are responding to this by opening smaller stores in city centers. At the same time, online means smaller volumes in physical stores. But the decline in the number of physical stores is uneven. Today we see that the top locations in big cities are doing better than the centers of medium-sized towns, where there are far more vacant premises.”

dimensions that deserve attention: the financial soundness of the company and the competition. It is important to focus on projects with a clear, fast financial return. In addition, the competition remains the ultimate benchmark. It’s the competition that determines how fast you need to move as a company. In short, as a retailer you have to think carefully about the areas where you want to be ahead and win, and others where you follow the market. You can’t do everything equally well. So it’s not so much about omnichannel, but optichannel: striking an optimal balance between customer, finances and competition.” So what about the idea of the ideal customer journey, where the customer decides which channels and touchpoints he or she uses? “Retailers are backing off from the idea of omnichannel. Customers are no longer given the possibility of choosing everything. Omnichannel proved to be far too expensive. Look, you can’t physically visit a webshop like Amazon. You can’t even call them. So why should a physical store need to have all the digital channels? Retailers are also moving away from omnichannel because customers can’t always or don’t always want to choose. Customers prefer not to have the stress of choice. That can be seen, among other things, from services like Netflix. Customers can make a choice there themselves but, in practice, they often follow the suggestions made to them on the basis of their profile. Companies are making more and more choices for the customer. A customer of a bank in Hong Kong who loses his bank card, for instance, has to call a specific number. Not send an e-mail or chat, but just call. He receives subsequent information only by text. Customers receive assistance quickly and appreciate the clarity offered. The bank scores well in terms of customer satisfaction. Nudging is another possibility, whereby the company steers the

customer in the desired direction. This can be done by highlighting the chat function on the website and putting the phone number somewhere at the bottom in a small corner.”

Setting priorities What do technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence have to offer retail? “ B lockchain is ideal for the traceability of goods. For most retailers, that’s not so relevant in terms of individual items, with the exception of food. Here blockchain offers opportunities for monitoring food safety and checking the origin of products. Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than a buzzword. The danger lies in overestimating the potential in the short term. AI should enable the ‘segment of one,’ where the retailer sees every customer as a separate market segment. We are not there yet, but AI is not hype. Many companies are already working with it. Zalando, for example, uses AI to estimate the right size for the customer and therefore bring down the number of returned goods. Retailers also use AI to predict which customers will not be profitable. You can save an awful lot with an application like this.” There are also retailers who adopt a wait-and-see attitude to blockchain, AI and other new technologies. Will they miss the boat soon? “Doing nothing is dangerous. Above all, as a retailer, you have to set the right priorities. If you only earn 3% of your turnover from your webshop, it’s better to invest in increasing that figure first. Only after that will it make sense to look at AI. It’s about working out a good strategy, making the right choices and taking action. Not choosing means losing.”

DX I N R E TA I L _ DATA P R OV E S W H AT ’ S WO R K I N G _ 51

AI is a fast-evolving technology that every sector can benefit from, especially retail, which has been under a lot of pressure from e-commerce in recent years. On the basis of mobile and socio-demographic data and IoT data, as a retailer you take decisions that make the difference between success and failure.

Data determine the future of your physical store hysical stores have had trouble bringing in customers for years now, so they need to reinvent themselves. But the customer of the past no longer exists,” says Joke Tisaun, IoT Solution Manager Retail at Proximus. “These days, there are various types of customers with constantly changing needs. What’s more, a modern, multicultural society also gives rise to a varying range of needs and that, too, has an impact. And via webshops, people can order the product that they want in an instant, even from the other side of the world.”


Data tell you what works and what doesn’t “As a result, customers have become far more ­d emanding and they have different expectations. Webshops have no problem with that, because data from their customers are automatically collected and ­analyzed. On that basis, customers are offered a superior c­ ustomer experience. Physical stores have to do this themselves and literally get to know their customers better. In an initial phase, data analysis will help take better decisions. Later on, AI can optimize and ­computerize processes so as to test what works and what doesn’t in store very quickly.”

“ Data analysis from customer behavior is a vital step in optimizing the customer experience and can be used to test and measure what works and what doesn’t in store very quickly.” Joke Tisaun, IoT Solution Manager Retail at Proximus

52 _ DX I N R E TA I L _ DATA P R OV E S W H AT ’ S WO R K I N G

Improve customer relations and experiences “As a retailer, you can collect data from various sources: via ­sensors in your store, or via ­mobile data from smartphones in and around your store (location analysis) that can be supplemented by your own or other data ­sources, such as socio-demographic data. ­These pooled data offer insights on three ­levels. At the lowest level, counts will show you how many people there are in and around your store and exactly where they are. At the second level, you gain insight into the behavior of your customers. How long they spend in your store, how often they come back, what route they usually follow in your

FOUR INSIGHTS THAT YOU GAIN FROM DATA ANALYSIS TO DETERMINE THE FUTURE OF YOUR STORE 1. (Re)location Opening new stores, closing poorly performing stores: nowadays, the decision is based on gut feeling or on statistical data from local residents. You also need to know who works or does other things in the area around your store during the day. 2. Customer profiles To gear your range better to your customers, you have to know who they are. For that, you need to know the answer to questions such as: what precisely is the profile of your customers, how loyal are they, what are their travel times, etc.? 3. More efficient advertising Do you know where your advertising will reach your customer. In their letterbox at home? In the evening by email? During the day while they are out and about? Data about where, when and through which channels you’d better advertise, help to increase your impact. And you create added value for partners who advertise in your store, as well. 4. Benchmarking Objective results show how you are performing compared with your other locations. You need to take the right decisions: which locations are doing well, which are doing less well? And what is even more important is to know why certain locations do well or less well.

store, etc. At the third level, you gain insight into your branch. Socio-demographic data provide that extra dimension to sketch out the profile of your ­customers and give you an idea of the potential of your store. These ­different levels compliment each other when combined into a retail dashboard.” “Thanks to data analysis of customer behavior, you can decide how you can improve your customer relations and experiences. Give your customers a reason to come to your store, ensure personalization. Thanks to data analysis, you create a ‘butler’ who responds perfectly – but subtly – to what your customers want.”

Pay at the shelf, not at the till Connected electronic labels are not only automating prices but also offering a wide range of services to shoppers, through the cloud, like mobile payment at the shelf instead of at the cash register.

“Electronic shelf labeling (ESL) has drastically changed thanks to the cloud. It provides retailers and consumers a broad arsenal of software and service solutions. These solutions improve products but also optimize shops and sales experience,” says Nicolas Méraud, Sales Manager Northern Europe/UK at SES-imagotag. “These days it goes much further than digitalizing the traditional price tag on a product. Modern ESL ­technology ­offers the opportunity to synchronize the physical store and e-commerce, which is a good thing for both customer and retailer.” ESL meets consumer information needs “ESL technology is both customer- and retailer-­d riven,” Nicolas goes on. “For the ­retailer, it’s a handy way of finding information. In addition to prices, the screen also gives access to other product information. Using smartphones and QR codes, customers can find out a lot about the ingredients and origin of a product, and even learn about possible recipes. Thanks to our most recent ­technology, it is no longer necessary to have an app from a particular store or chain.” Waiting at the cash register is a thing of the past “The electronic labels also provide the possibility to pin down the exact location of a product in the store. An illuminated screen guides the customer to the product he or she is, looking for. Consumers can even pay directly at this spot. There is no need to go to the cash register afterwards.”



SES-imagotag is a partner of SpearIT and Proximus. With a turnover of 187 million euros and an annual growth of over 20%, the firm is the leader on the ESL market, with a share of 50%. It is a listed company (Euronext Paris), operates in 62 countries, has labels in 17,000 stores and represents 160 million ESL.

Stock management becomes measurable Some advantages for the retailer are obvious, such as fast price modification. “You can also indicate how fresh a product is, and this may or may not be linked to a special price when the sell-by date is near,” says Nicolas. “But thanks to connectivity and the use of cloud technology, ESL can also help staff in stocking shelves. It is possible to detect whether a certain product is still available on the shelf and whether the product is in stock or not. This means that our technology is helpful for stock management in stores. Figures don’t lie: the error margin in pricing is reduced to virtually nothing and shelf stocking gets a sizable measurable boost.” Belgian market helps to set the tone The Belgian market seems to be taking on a pioneering role in the implementation of the possibilities offered by ESL. “When we look at our neigh-

“ Thanks to the digital information visible on the product labels, customers can learn more about a product and enjoy an increased customer experience.” Nicolas Méraud, Sales Manager Northern Europe/UK at SES-imagotag

boring countries, we get a rather varied picture,” Nicolas explains. ”France has gone a fairly long way, but in the Netherlands they have not yet made so much progress, although they’re busy catching up. His torically, Carrefour was our first customer in Belgium. Now we have installed our technology in all Mediamarkt stores, too, and we are working with Colruyt. By the end of this year, all their stores will be equipped with ESL solutions. We have also joined forces with a few Delhaize franchise holders where we are now installing our latest technology.” Internet of Things “Physical stores will continue to hold a central ­position in an o ­ mnichannel retail environment,” ­Nicolas ­concludes. “But we have to be bold enough to make full use of the ­potential ­offered by digital ­technology and

­ lec tronic l a bel s . T his e is not only the lever to ­improve store management ­e fficiency but also an i­nstrument to enhance the ­c ustomer ­e xperience. The entire sector needs to r­ ealize this. The store of ­ t o m o r row w i l l b e ­d ata-driven and will use the possibilities offered by the Internet of Things. And ESL is an important c­ hapter in this story.”

NICOLAS MÉRAUD graduated from the EDHEC Business School (Lille). He began his professional career with Altran and Michelin. At SES-imagotag he is responsible for operations and sales in Benelux and for sales in the UK and the Nordic countries.



14,000 price tags in one night The retail aspect of construction materials and tools cannot escape digital transformation. Gedimat La Vallée is taking the plunge and equipping its 900 m2 store with an electronic shelf labeling system (ESL). Profitability and customer experience lie at the core.

Technology at its best It all began in Quebec about 10 years ago. Claude Florent, ­currently the director of Gedimat La Vallée, was an executive with a major construction materials trader at the time. One day, a letter he received in the post attracted his attention. It contained a sample of an electronic price tag. “This technique had not yet been perfected as it has today, but I soon realized the potential it could have for our sector. When my business partner, Vito Di ­Bellan and I opened our first sales outlet at the start of this year, we didn’t hesitate for a second to ­introduce this technology.»

Within the Proximus Accelerators, Proximus SpearIT is the mid-sized IT integrator who helps mid-sized companies work smarter, safer and faster.

The chance to perform more fulfilling tasks Our construction materials specialist faces a large-scale pricing update. Out of the 40,000 product references in the catalogue, 14,000 are to be found in-store. “Our prices not only have to be in line with the market but also with the rates charged by our suppliers. The frequent price changes involve a fair amount of work for our sales staff and it’s not a particularly fulfilling task. Now, the time saved thanks to automated price change management can be devoted to advising customers and to further training, which are far more profitable in the long term,” Claude confirms. Wi-Fi and instant updating It is finally possible to display and modify prices remotely throughout the sales area and in the cash till system. ESL uses a central database, the access keys to which are the product barcode and the IP address of the electronic labels in the store. Nothing terribly impressive so far. “But a product reference provides a whole range of logistic and commercial information that can be included on the label. ­Information that is useful for the customer but also for our staff,” Claude says. “Thanks to our Wi-Fi network, we are potentially ­capable of updating our 14,000 product references in one night.” Geolocation and stock management The geolocation of each label enables dynamic stock displays.

“The quantity in stock is indicated in real time. When restocking orders are placed, the computing system takes account of sales over the past six months. An article, or even a whole shelf, recording a poor rotation is instantly noted. So we can optimize our range and our stocks.” Claude knows all the possibilities of his ESL system: “I dream of being able to integrate this technology into my e-marketing strategy, of guiding the customer in the store automatically and - why not – of adding a short video to the labels. That would really boost the customer experience, wouldn’t it?” A pilot project and more – if it goes down well Behind the introduction of the ESL technology at Gedimat La Vallée lie the company SES-imagotag, which specializes in electronic labeling, and Proximus, for the installation and the network aspect. “The aim was to install the system without any ifs and buts. The key to success is the great collaboration within the ecosystem made up of a delocalized, specialized player and a local operator.” The pilot project led by Vito Di Bella and Claude is now inspiring the entire Gedimat

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Proximus online

CLAUDE FLORENT is the director of Gedimat La Vallée in Hastière. After a career of 30 years in the construction materials trade, in 2019 he embarked on the great adventure of managing a Gedimat brand together with his business partner, Vito Di Bella.

Group. “This year, we organized an open-door weekend. This was an opportunity for our customers to discover our innovations and for our colleagues at Gedimat to experience electronic shelf ­labeling hands on”. Tips for a successful transition When Claude talks about his project, he stresses the importance of the choice of business partners, but also the importance of good internal communication: “Your state of mind must be one of development in order to show staff that digitalization will have benefits and not the ­opposite. And then each decision must be made, while keeping the customer in mind.”

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GEDIMAT LA VALLÉE is a brand affiliated to the Gedimat group, an independent consortium of traders in construction materials and tools. The Hastière sales outlet employs 28 staff and has a catalogue of 40,000 product references.

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CODIT is a partner of Proximus and Microsoft, operates in seven European countries and has 180 employees. The technology company has focused on enterprise application integration (EAI) since it launched in 2000. Codit connects applications and companies with one another, among other things, by designing Azure cloud solutions and IoT-as-a-service-solutions. Via blockchain, Codit helps companies to track food from the farm to the retailer.

No forgery? Blockchain knows… Blockchain has existed for 10 years but is still not all that well known, even though it could revolutionize the retail sector: for food security, traceability and in the fight against forgery.


What exactly is blockchain? Bernard Lenssens, Chief Inno­ vation Officer at Codit: “It is actually a database in which you share all the data with all the parties involved. The technology increases the trust between all partners who work together. It happens a lot that business partners need an independent third party opinion to capture / validate / support their relationship of trust. A third party can be expensive; blockchain allows

you to go without one. Thanks to blockchain, all the partners in the chain, from the farm to the storekeeper, know what they are b ­ uying, where the goods go, where the ingredients come from and how fresh the product is.” Julien Marlair, Business Consultant Integrated Business Applications at Proximus: “Blockchain is technology that best proves its worth in ecosystems. Each partner can add data to the blockchain actively and in a

reliable and transparent manner. Blockchain is not the visible part of a business application. You can look at it as a technology that functions behind the scenes.” How important is blockchain for the retail sector? Bernard: “An awful lot of partners are involved in the retail ­sector. Wherever you are in the chain as a company, blockchain is as important for you as for all other partners. It is the link be-

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tween the farm and the food that the consumer has on his or her plate.” Julien: “All partners in the ­retail chain have to work with one another. Blockchain is the key component of an end-to-end service that creates trust between all parties. By exchanging and sharing information in a fully transparent way, you gain each other’s trust and prevent foul play. And because so many partners are involved in a retail chain, retail is one of the sectors that gets most value out of the technology.” How can retail companies use blockchain? Bernard: “An example makes things clear straight away. By placing an Internet of Things (IoT) sensor in a container, you increase the traceability of products and monitor their freshness. When a product leaves the warehouse, it is still fresh and in good condition. As soon as the loading process begins, it becomes ­d ifficult. Especially in summer. With a sensor in the container you can monitor the temperature and ­humidity of the ­ontainer in real time, until the moment the yoghurt is d ­ elivered to the ­supermarket. That way, you see everything that happens during transport.” Julien: “You can virtually never resolve a problem like this with only blockchain. There are always technologies like IoT, data, application front-ends, etc. that help. So you have to integrate a technology partner.” Bernard: “Companies that do not use blockchain regularly have disputes with other partners in the chain. Thanks to blockchain, you clearly see the latest transactions. It enables you to agree on rules beforehand and then lay them down in a smart contract.” Julien: “You can use blockchain in various other ways, as well. For instance, integrate it into your loyalty program and share the points that your customers collect with other partners. So your

JULIEN MARLAIR is an electronic data interchange (EDI) consultant who founded Codit in 2000. He has been Chief Innovation Officer there since 2011. He lives and breathes integration and the Internet of Things and puts them into practice for you.

customers can use the points that they save in other stores. It encourages them to save even more. With blockchain, you can also prove the authenticity of your product. Suppose you sell a second-hand watch to someone. With blockchain you can prepare a certificate bearing the names of all previous owners. So purchasers can see that the watch has never been stolen.” What are the advantages of blockchain? Julien: “At least three parties benefit from blockchain: the customer, the supplier and the retailer. For the customer, blockchain makes everything transparent. So the product has more value for them and they buy with confidence. As a supplier, you can vastly improve your organization and become more efficient. As a retailer, thanks to blockchain you have a better idea of the ­origin of the products you sell, and you build more trust by selling a monitored and ethical product.”


“ A s a retailer, blockchain gives you a better view of the origin of the product that you sell, in a transparent and ethical manner.” Julien Marlair, Business Consultant Integrated Business Applications at Proximus.

What questions should a company ask itself before starting to use blockchain? Bernard: “The key questions that you need to ask yourself are these: are the data that I have reliable? How sensitive are they? And who will I share them with?” Julien: “Everything revolves around the ecosystem that you are part of. You have to ask yourself whether you want to be more efficient. And whether you are interested in taking on the role of leader in that e ­ cosystem. ­B ecause this way you will save a lot of costs and the whole ­process is far more transparent.” Bernard: “With blockchain, you build a consortium with the various partners. You agree with them on what the rules are and what data you share with one another. It’s best to start on this well in advance, because it takes time to set up a consortium like this.”

BERNARD LENSSENS began his career as a network engineer with ASTRID, the telecom operator for the emergency services. He has worked for Proximus since 2012 and he develops technological solutions for companies.


We talked about transformation, diversity and smart devices with Geoffroy Gersdorff, General Secretary of Carrefour Belgium, and Pierre Leman, Human Resources Director of Carrefour Belgium, the drivers behind the brand’s transformation plan.


Carrefour’s digital revolution

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THE CARREFOUR SUPERMARKET COMPANY was established in 1959 by the Fournier, Badin and Defforey families (in France). Carrefour opened its first hypermarket in Belgium in 1969.


794 stores

30 new stores per year

30,000 product references

How do you explain the deep-seated need for digital transformation in the retail sector? Geoffrey Gersdorff, General Secretary of Carrefour Belgium: “The competitive environment has changed a lot. In Belgium, we have seen numerous mergers, the development of non-food e-commerce and a transformation of the ‘hard discount’ sector, and we have to take account of newcomers who are changing the commercial paradigm. You don’t have to look very far, when you offer 30,000 products on average. A giant like Amazon offers 16 million, without being restricted by store opening hours. Then the commercial perception changes immediately.” “Meanwhile consumers’ expectations are changing and they are becoming accustomed to new service offers, often for free. So the question to think about is how you can stand out and ensure that you develop continually. Our ambition is clear and based on simple reasoning: to make the best accessible to everyone. That has become our raison d’être.”

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How is Carrefour tackling this digital transition? Geoffroy: “We have established four ­strategic axes. The first is to ensure that we are present everywhere and permanently. We are proud to be the only multichannel ­retailer and we achieve that thanks to ­thinking in terms of geographic eco-zones: how can our four distribution channels (­Hypermarchés, Market, Express, Drive) best combine.”

“The second concerns the food transition: clearly, many people are trying to improve their diets. We are endeavoring to respond to this demand in the composition of our range. The third pillar in our strategy is the proper ­a llocation of resources. It’s not enough to ­invest in digital technology. It is also ­important to identify areas where savings can be made. In short, spend less to invest better. “Last but not least, the human aspect. We aim to ensure a level of training in line with market development. The smartphone, for example, needs to become an ally for our staff for the benefit of the consumer experience.” How is Carrefour dealing with this development in terms of its staff? Pierre Leman, HR Director at Carrefour Belgium: “Before talking about digitalization, you have to make sure that consumers and staff see this in the same way. We have called the first phase Digital Academy. The principle ­behind it is based on acquiring the necessary k­ nowledge upstream of the launch of the technology. Then comes the real ­revolution: supplying our 8,000 staff in stores with a smart device. The first mobile solutions have a ­ lready been developed in human ­resources: welcome, ­recruitment, training, plus a self-service solution for pay slips, working hours, etc. The next step will cover logistics and operations.” “The transition calls for in-depth work. Don’t forget that the level of digital maturity among our staff varies widely. We were, of course, expecting a certain amount of resistance to change, which is understandable, and this is why we have invested heavily in p ­ roviding information about the reasons for these ­changes. This has resulted in the deployment of six launch waves, a physical presence in each store and the introduction of a d ­ edicated team to prepare staff technically and explain the digitalization process.” “In my department, our aim is to bring about a gradual but total transformation of the HR service by the end of 2020, while maintaining contact via our own People Shared ­Service for more administrative questions. Yes, it’s a real revolution and our solution will be ­omnichannel: we are pooling our investment for all formats of our integrated stores and for the Carrefour Belgium head office.” How do the digital processes affect the consumer experience in store? Geoffroy: “Before we get to the stores, let’s start with our website. It’s far more than a showcase. Above all, it is a trading site on


which you can place your Drive order and it also provides up-to-date information and enables consumers to locate our stores or consult our magazine, making the most of dynamic suggestions.” “Our Carrefour application results from this: rich content in line with the website and ­special offers personalized on the basis of your purchasing profile. The aim is to create a 1to1 relationship and no longer a 1toAll ­relationship.” “And to prove that digital is not the opposite of proximity, we also offer ShipTo – a 90-minute delivery service via a fleet of e ­ lectric bikes. It’s simple and efficient and perfectly in line with our customers’ ­expectations.” Pierre: “It’s a new solution for our customers. And I think evolution is becoming revolution in the retail food sector: we are the first to ­o mbine digitalization and human contact, while adding an ecological layer thanks to proximity and electric mobility.” Geoffroy: “Our mass circulation catalog ­(three million copies distributed in Belgium) is undergoing a more subtle transition. This is not a sustainable media and we have ­decided to invert the trend: the catalog comes to you by post, but the special offers sent out are personalized following a complete, GDPR-compliant data analysis.” “A physical store necessarily means cash tills. Here, digitalization makes it possible to ­ensure more mobility and smoother ­payment ­p rocesses. As well as the self-scanning ­system, we are deploying the self-checkout system in over 40 stores. And the results are there: one customer in three uses it. In future, we will be deploying new means of payment via smartphone.” Pierre: “Everything we are developing is our response to what customers want. So our internal development cannot impact negatively on the relationship with our customers. We are a long way from the use of robots in stores, although this is a sensible move in our warehouses. But we firmly believe in the r­ elationship between staff and the end customer. So digitalization is not set against employability. On the contrary. Far from ­excluding our staff, we will be bringing them on this journey. Ultimately, the question is not ‘When will my job disappear?’ but ‘How will my job evolve?’”

“ The question to be asked is not ‘When will my job disappear?’ but ‘How will my job evolve?” Pierre Leman is HR Director at Carrefour Belgium

Let’s come back to the Smartphone for All project. What are the first results for staff? Pierre: “I’m very satisfied with the implementation. We are progressing as planned. We are encouraging our staff and the ­early ­a dopters will carry the others along with them ­n aturally. Don’t forget that we went through a staff reduction program in 2018 and it is important to restore trust. The ­cultural and digital change is under way and we are already getting the first positive signs.” Geoffroy: “We come now to an area that we haven’t mastered quite as well. I’m thinking of digital marketing and other applications for which it is perhaps not as easy to assess the direct ROI.” How important is external advice or support from experts in a transformation like yours? Geoffroy: “At first, we called upon specialists to guide us in this new adventure. Now we are drawing on our own internal resources to develop skills and circulate knowledge within the company itself. The purely technological aspect is still outsourced.” Pierre: “It’s important to strike the right ­balance and then make it last. That ­involves a constant search for skills and is a m ­ ajor

PIERRE LEMAN has been HR Director at Carrefour Belgium for nine months. His career in human resources includes the pharmaceutical sector, FMCG, the food industry and temping.


Tips from Geoffroy Gersdorff and Pierre Leman • M ake bold choices, be ambitious and ­persevere for three to five years – the time it takes for a digital transformation. • Accept the delay effect: your investments will have an effect in due course. • Invest in social consultation, over-communicate and be sure that your approach is understood. GEOFFROY GERSDORFF is the General Secretary of Carrefour Belgium, where he has worked for over 20 years, both nationally and internationally. He is in charge of strategy and the transformation plan, among other things.

Alongside the application aspect, A&M (Malines), partner of the Proximus ecosystem, is supporting Carrefour with the deployment of smartphones. “The technical, operational and security requirements were defined during the first meetings. Then came the choice of device, the logistic distribution plan and the implementation of the registration program (User Enrollment) in order to guarantee that personalized tools would start up in automatic mode,” explains Herwig Deckers, Account Manager Corporate at A&M. “Today, all staff members benefit from a dedicated platform that enables us to provide an end-to-end service for Carrefour throughout Belgium.”

Remote working: beyond teleworking While the new world of work is closely linked to digitalization and teleworking, C ­ arrefour is going further by introducing remote ­working. “Working at home is one thing, but we are moving up a gear by encouraging our staff to work from another branch or ­another point of sale at least one day a week. It ­benefits mobility, open-mindedness and ­internal ­e xchanges. A real boost for v ­ ersality,” ­explains Pierre.

c­ hallenge in terms of recruitment and ­training. Let’s be clear: we hold an image of the retail market that no longer corresponds to ­reality at all. Ours is a modern company which is e ­ nsuring the means to digitalize.” Are you planning to invest even more in digitalization in the future? Geoffroy: “Yes, I dream of total, successful integration. For everyone to realize the ­added value of this revolution. We are convinced that this is the only possible option. Our staff are confident the physical stores will remain the ultimate preferred point of contact. We have to continue to invest in order to consolidate this element that makes us stand out on the market. I’d like to attract digital development profiles, once and for all.” Pierre: “Change is the only thing we can be certain will last. I aim to emerge as quickly as possible from a transformation phase and reach a production phase where digitalization will have become the norm. We have taken up the challenge of launching all our projects at once and we hope to become a transformation model in the retail sector. Although a lot of our competitors are talking about it, we have the advantage of actually doing it and we are far from being behind in terms of digitalization.”

“ The smartphone needs to become an ally for staff for the benefit of the consumer experience.” Geoffroy Gersdorff, General Secretary of Carrefour Belgium


Is it worth experiencing

(digital) life? expect just one thing from digital: that it makes my existence easy, more enjoyable. The first phase of my philosophy course at university was centered around a quote from Albert Camus that I have never forgotten (although I have no recollection of the rest of the course): “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Is life worth living?” With that in mind, it’s better to head for the light side of the force, otherwise things might end badly for you. My first internet connections at work and at home date back to the early 1990s. So I’m among the last of those who are not yet retired – or not yet expired – who came to digitalization when they were already adults. That means I can compare both the before and the after. Getting old has its advantages, as you will see. At the beginning, in an editorial team like the one at the RTBF which I joined in 1988, there was... nothing digital. Press agency dispatches came in on teleprinters. Someone called a ‘stripper’ collected them or rather ripped them off the teleprinter and then gave them to the journalists, depending on their specialist subjects. Fortunately, the dispatches were printed on three layers of carbon paper, which prevented a good many murders when several colleagues were following the same case file. Then the personal computer (PC) arrived on the scene, and everything changed. Now everyone could research things that interested them. Later on, around 2010, we began to receive messages on mobile phones. Our competitors offered us their scoops on a plate – or rather a screen. The number of times we went into meltdown upon discovering breaking news on a rival channel when we turned on the TV fell sharply, to the benefit of our already fragile mental health. The first mini-revolution was the pager in around 1990. We saw the number appear on this little device hanging on our belt. The main challenge was to find a phone to contact the correspondent on. Then the mobile phone arrived. I got mine from my employer in 1997. I can


still see myself opening the box. A small leap for Nokia, a big one for me. There remains one last invention which no one has come up with yet: a software program that can transcribe our interviews, which are sometimes very long. This would be ideal for making a plan on paper without having to write everything out again. But trying Siri or Google Assistant is a disaster. If you have the solution, 1. thanks. And 2. my email address is So yes, digitalization ‘brings us all closer together’. Today I work at the RTL. When you’re in the media, that is when you literally are between the public and those that know – in Latin, medium means ‘in the middle’. This allows a clearer view on digital transformation. And that in turn makes life more beautiful. It offers a response of hope to the ‘one truly serious philosophical problem.’

CHRISTOPHE DEBORSU has years of media experience. He rejoined RTL Belgium as a journalist in 2015. Prior to taking up this role he worked with companies such as Woestijnvis and VRT.

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