Software publishing, embedded system
Interview with Thierry Vareine, Sector Associate
Software and embedded systems have been one of the core focuses of Inria's work since its creation. From smart cards to rockets and satellites, not to mention transport (trains, automobiles) and consumer electronics (telephones), these technologies drive innovation and growth for the whole economy. Interview with Thierry Vareine, Technology Transfer Associate for Embedded Systems & Software Publishing.
Can you give us some figures to clarify the picture?
Thierry Vareine: Approximately a quarter of the teams at Inria are directly or indirectly involved with software and embedded systems. The applications of these systems are traditionally in what we usually call "critical systems" (for example, in aeronautics, the automotive industry or railways). More recently, we have seen applications in consumer products, such as smartphones and home automation. Embedded software can contribute a considerable proportion of the "value" of items. In France, embedded systems account for nearly 220,000 jobs, nearly a third of which lie in the world of embedded software itself.
What kinds of industrial players operate on these markets?
Thierry Vareine: Some of France's flagship industries are represented, with the general arrangement being a major industrial manufacturer integrating technologies supplied by innovative SMEs. Esterel Technologies (an Inria start-up) is one example of an innovative SME operating on these markets. Its work focuses on the certification and verification of "critical codes". Trusted Logic, another Inria start-up and part of the Gemalto group, is another good example of an innovative company working on cards. But the software publishing sector is nevertheless fairly dispersed, with a number of relatively small companies. Alongside business creation, which remains an appropriate vehicle for technology transfer in some cases, our priority in terms of technology transfer in this field is to be able to identify companies of a sufficient size with whom we can embark upon skills or technology transfer processes. The development model of these companies must therefore be focused on R&D. In this respect, our involvement in the competitiveness clusters that shape these fields is crucial. Examples are Minalogic in the Grenoble basin, Aerospace Valley for aeronautics, Solutions Communicantes Sécurisées in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, and Systematic in the Île-de-France region.
What are the growth fields?
Thierry Vareine: Anywhere where there is a need for "embedded" optimisation and simulation on a "physical" medium: in all modes of transport, in order to provide ever greater security or develop new functionalities, in mobile telephony, in medical devices, in smart cards, etc. Beyond the traditional sectors of critical embedded systems, all of the consumer applications - in mobile phones, medicine and city life - are growing rapidly, with new value chains being created which must be understood if we are to have an impact. One field expanding rapidly is ubiquitous computing, the rules of which are constantly changing. These technologies are used, for example, in warehouse and hospital logistics, to optimise storage and management of flows of goods or medication. Many Inria researchers are working on all of these subjects, but our potential for technology transfer remains unknown to far too many industrial operators, hence our efforts to understand demand and promote our technologies.
Are you an entrepreneur? An industry stakeholder? Do you want to collaborate with one of our research teams? Contact our Technology Transfer Associate for Software Publishing and Embedded Systems.
Tel.: +33 (0)1 39 63 51 77