Guillaume Prié

JPG, MPG, MP3, etc.: Brittany, at the heart of innovation since 1959

Brittany is the second leading national centre in telecommunications after Ile de France. The region has earned a worldwide reputation in ICT, especially due to major innovations that developed in its public and private laboratories. It is the place where technologies and standards were established, such as JPG, MPG, MP3 and even ATM, the technology at the heart of multimedia networks. The origin of Brittany's success in the world of ICT dates back to 1959 with the establishment of CNET (Centre National d’Études et Recherche en Télécommunications, or National Centre for Telecommunications Studies and Research), which later became France Télécom R&D in 2000, in Lannion, Côtes d’Armor.

42,000 jobs in large and small companies

Today, Brittany's ICT industry (one of the most important economic sectors in the region) is organised around three hubs in Lannion, Rennes and Brest. The sector employs around 42,000 people, including 15,000 in the area of research and development. The major French and foreign groups in Brittany include: France Télécom, Thomson, Alcatel, Thales, Sagem, Mitsubishi Electric, Canon, etc. In Brittany, the ICT economy is also characterised by a very dense network of SMEs: the sector has almost 800 technology companies with less than 20 employees.

A quality research and training environment

In Brittany, private companies find a quality research and training environment, allowing a number of synergies to be developed. The region is home to the laboratories of most major national research organisations, such as the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, or French National Centre for Scientific Research), the INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique, or French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control), the IRISA (Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Systèmes Aléatoires, or French Institute for Research in Computer Science and Random Systems), the INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, or French National Institute of Health and Medical Research), etc.
The attractiveness of Brittany is also due to the quality of its engineering education, with renowned grandes écoles (prestigious university-level colleges with competitive entrance examinations) and universities: Telecom Bretagne, Supelec, the ENS-Cachan (École Normale Supérieure de Cachan, a French grandes écoles in Cachan), the INSA (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, or National Institute of Applied Sciences), the ENIB (École Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Brest, or Brest National School of Engineering), etc. Brittany is ranked second nationally for training engineers in telecommunications and third for training in the broader area of electronics, IT and communications.

The Images & Réseaux cluster

In 2005, the Images & Réseaux cluster was approved by the state as a globally focused competitiveness cluster, a certification that was extended for three years following an assessment published in June 2008. It brings together the major innovators of its field in Brittany: higher education institutions, research centres, SMEs and large private groups. Its aim is to collectively expand research and development work in the fields of new digital imaging technology and new ways to distribute images. The cluster is thus working on the future of digital terrestrial television, high definition television, video on demand and 3DTV on fixed and mobile networks. The work is original as it develops synergies between technological innovations, content and new services and uses, notably through test beds.

Visit the site of the Images et Réseaux cluster

Brittany's local authorities engaged in e-government

Almost half of the local authorities in Brittany (around 650) are part of the joint association Megalis, which aims to develop government broadband connections, new Internet-related services and e-government through an online service platform (online public procurement, etc.).

Visit the site for the e-Megalis network

A network of multimedia centres for the general public

To encourage a wide audience to access new technologies, 400 towns, who are each part of the "Cybercommunes" network, have been providing the public with access to multimedia centres since 1998, where organisers welcome and guide the public. This network allows everyone in Brittany to learn about IT and the Internet within 20 km of their home.

To find out more about the uses of digital technology:
Marsouin, a multidisciplinary centre for research in social sciences


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