In France, sales of the Information, Communication and Digital sector, termed New Information and Communication Technologies (NICT), rose 3.4% in 2017 to just under 53.9 billion euros. Estimates are for 3.6% growth in 2018. The sector is highly strategic for the growth of industry and services, as in other sectors. The Slovak presidency of the European Union has decided to make it a priority. Against this backdrop, in 2016, the embassies of France, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic (Visegrad Group) organized the Bratislava IoT Event, a flagship occasion in the heart of Central Europe bringing together all players in the world of connected objects, including innovative startups from the five countries. In a globalized world where national markets are becoming overly narrow, competitiveness now requires the development of products and services resulting from the most innovative technological advances, with a key role played by R&D, strongly embedded in industry and carried forward through joint calls for projects between European countries.
Impacted by the phenomenon of uberization, companies have all factored in the challenges of digitization, an essential vehicle of value creation. This is particularly true for advanced European industries that are already anticipating the future by working on Industry 4.0.: an industry of connected objects for a smart factory of the future, the engine of industrial investment, starting from a global approach to techniques and productions to produce more and at a lower cost, thanks to digitization of the value chain.
The creativity of the French in NICT is known throughout the world, with some European leaders involving them in their local ecosystem. The leader of one of the top telecom groups in Germany meets regularly with French start-ups in Ile-de-France and Toulouse to invite them to join the group’s incubator and create synergies, on the Internet of Things or an innovative solution for “base stations”, for example.
The growth opportunities are obvious for NICT players and those tapping into their prowess. However, it remains essential to promote inventiveness and creativity upstream – in particular, through the valuation and protection of portfolios of industrial rights, but also by ensuring that the constraints of the regulatory environment (financial, social and tax aspects) do not cause more high-potential firms and talents to leave France.
It is becoming indispensable turn to the law in a cross-cutting approach.