The scheme, Arc Bretagne Atlantique (ABA), aims to help local companies develop new communication services and content. ABA will complement the local new media cluster Images et Réseaux (Images and Networks), supporting its objective of developing the competitiveness of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The two partners say ABA will help speed up innovation by providing local companies and research laboratories with special access to the resources and infrastructures of France Télécom–Orange’s and Alcatel-Lucent’s regional sites. SMEs will have access to human, hardware, software, business and financial resources, for the development and marketing of their products. The main target areas will be applications and services for the Internet and for broadband fixed and mobile communications networks.
Alcatel-Lucent will make available the expertise of its sites in Lannion, Rennes and Orvault, near Nantes, and eventually in Brest. France Télécom-Orange will make available the expertise of its sites in Lannion and Rennes.
“[The] initiative [will] enable local SMEs to move ahead and finance the development of innovative mobile and convergent services based on the communication technologies and content of tomorrow,” said Thierry Bonhomme, executive director R&D at France Télécom-Orange.
“The ABA project is an opportunity to incubate new ideas, stimulate the ecosystem and add to the operators’ portfolio of services and applications, in line with our application enablement strategy,” added Pierre Barnabé, chairman and CEO of Alcatel-Lucent France.
Arc Bretagne Atlantique services will span four main categories:
ABA Shareskills: access to expertise to help on product development, marketing and support for SMEs.
ABA Openlab: access to some test platforms of the two telecoms companies, which complement the ImaginLab platform of the Images et Réseaux cluster. This will allow validation work to be performed that cannot be done at ImaginLab. Easier access to hardware and software technology tools of FranceTelecom and Alcatel Lucent for use by SMEs.
ABA Application Store: easier introduction of SME products into the commercial portfolio of the two companies (up to and including OEM agreements).
ABA Incubator: innovative start-ups invited to the premises of Alcatel-Lucent and the creation of spin-off structures.
Arc Bretagne Atlantique will also involve work on fourth generation mobile technology, which is called Long Term Evolution (LTE). This will include help with developing, prototyping and testing LTE services. To ensure success of the joint open innovation project, Alcatel-Lucent and France Télécom-Orange have appointed two co-directors, both of who have considerable experience and strong local roots, in particular through their presence on the board of the Images et Réseaux cluster: Vincent Marcatté for France Télécom–Orange and Gérard Le Bihan for Alcatel-Lucent.