“We must not allow over-regulation to hinder innovation.” – Fabien Ailey

L’Usine Digitale: How do you see the division evolving over the next four years to answer all questions about the digital transition of companies?

Fabien Aili: We want to expand our positioning to have even more weight in the French and European digital landscape. Our membership base has reached a level that is no longer growing, around 300-320 members. Therefore, we are considering, on the one hand, a partnership or merger with other clusters that already have some ideas about this.

And we want, on the other hand, to achieve more diversity in the typologies of participants in order to strengthen our ability to provide operational solutions to companies that contact us, for example, to find how and with whom to reduce their energy consumption or reduce their environmental impact. . On our traditional footing, we have far too few digital service companies (ESNs), even though they are important players in our ecosystem. The integration of these service providers will allow us to more fully cover our support chain. Ideally, with this strategy, we would like to reach 400-500 participants.

In Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, the cluster broke down barriers between microelectronics, telecommunications, software, between territories, Marseille, Nice, Sophia-Antipolis, Toulon, between industrialists and scientists… Where can it develop today?

The gradual removal of the state has led the Poles to reinvent themselves to look for other sources of funding and no longer be content to survive on state subsidies or project finance. We have developed a catalog of support services dedicated to cybersecurity. Because large teams are well enough equipped in the field to protect themselves, we want VSE/SME to be able to contact us knowing they will have a package deal for their own issues that they cannot handle on their own.

We are even considering calling on these large groups to help us shed light on the evolution of these VSE/SMEs and share their best practices to reduce their exposure to cyber risks. This is the axis of diversification of our range of activities and our resources. Support for R&D projects remains the basis for encouraging participants to collaborate with each other.

As for territorial disputes that may have existed in the past, they have been further reduced with the creation of the European Center for Digital Innovation (EDIH) eMove2Digitale, which, in cluster coordination with the Universities of Aix-Marseille and Côte d’Azur, brings together a multitude of industrial, academic and institutional players and other competitiveness clusters to support the deployment of artificial intelligence technologies, connected objects and cybersecurity in regional companies.

Co-financing of this EDIH designated by Europe in 2022 is being finalized for launch in 2023. The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region also announced that it wants to establish a “regional cyber campus” that will serve as a targeted warning and processing of cyber attacks. The pole was consulted. Its location, between the east and west of the region, causes claims, each of which claims its assets and its legitimacy to welcome it, it’s fair game. The cluster will contribute to the balance, as it has always been, since in its charter its headquarters alternate every two years between Rousset (Bouches du Rhone) and Sophia Antipolis (Alpes Maritimes)!

Startups often complain that they don’t find first reviews in a territory. Can a Pole do his part to make a difference?

In a cluster, we have more technology solution providers than users. Large groups may look for nuggets in the ecosystem in partnership mode that can generate business for the smallest structure, but they may not always be a commercial target for it, because their decision centers are in Paris or elsewhere. In addition, there has also been concern about attractiveness in recent years: the ecosystem has changed little due to the lack of new players in the region, which limits the possibilities and search opportunities for VSE/SME.

Finally, there is the issue of regulation: Europe adopts rules that France sometimes makes more stringent. Thus, an innovative startup will seek to explore countries or markets that are less regulated and more flexible, such as America or Asia, because it will be easier for them to deploy their innovations and their business there. We need to be able to find the right balance between creating the right safeguards to do nothing, and stalling innovation that the regulatory context and new constraints that are being developed can cause.

Large groups must play their part, using all their weight and lobbying, to allow small structures, born here and often supported at their launch or in their research and development, to develop in the field of microelectronics, software, artificial intelligence … and localize industrialization their decisions in France. Let’s be careful not to block the French innovation!

Move2Digital unifying project for 2023

Aiming for the adoption by regional companies of technologies related to artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and connected objects (IoT), Move2Digital is one of 10 “European Centers for Digital Innovation” selected in France by the European Commission and 136 at the European level in the Digital Europe project competition. It enjoys European co-financing of almost 2 million euros. Coordinated by the SCS Global Competitiveness Cluster, the University of Aix-Marseille and the University of Côte d’Azur (together with INRIA), Move2Digital is a consortium of 9 industrial and technological clusters and 3 leading research organizations, including innovation clusters and clusters of Capenergies, Éa eco-enterprises, Eurobiomed, Innov’Alliance, Novachim, Optitec, Pôle Mer Méditerranée and EU|BIC TVT. SAFE and the École des Mines de Saint-Etienne (Campus Georges Charpak Provence de Gardanne), as well as a second circle of associate partners consisting of the Universities of Toulon and Avignon, CNRS, CEA, INSERM, École Centrale Marseille, the Ascending Court and the CCI.

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