Piet Opstaele

Innovation Enablement Manager @ Port of Antwerp

As innovation ‘enablement’ manager for the Port Authority, Piet is one of the drivers of the digital transition in the Port of Antwerp. By realising concrete innovation projects, he makes the ‘Harbor of Things’ tangible and leads the development of innovation platforms on which startups, companies, knowledge institutions and other authorities create new value for the Antwerp port ecosystem. In 1993, Piet started at one of the most successful startups in the Benelux – Tele Atlas, a producer of digital geographic data – acquired by TomTom in 2008. Between 2011 and 2014 he led a consultancy firm and was closely involved in the start-ups in the energy sector. Piet holds 2 masters in Spatial Planning and Urban Planning, post-graduates in energy and environmental management and an MBA International management.


Ports are on the verge of major digital transition, among others on their infrastructure. A lot of sensors are already present on bridges (barriers), buildings (temperature), boats (oil pressure), etc., but only a part of it is connected to a central management system. While you can state that at least 100,000 sensors are present in the port of Antwerp – used by the Port Authority -, only about 5-10% are connected today. Within 5 years you can expect that the number of sensors will increase exponentially to several hundreds of thousands, most of which will indeed be connected and form the basis for eg. big data analyzes. The question is how cameras and the fast evolving image processing will be positioned in this and if the real innovation will come from startups or will be driven by the established companies. In the Port of Antwerp we have several IOT projects running which can give a view what’s possible (or not) in a Harbour of Things.



Darwin Room 14:00