PARIS REGION: EUROPEAN CAPITAL OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
It’s clearly no accident that Microsoft, Fujitsu and even Amazon have chosen the Paris Region to set up their research and development centers. The excellent researchers, talented engineers and dynamic innovative companies make the Paris Region a strategic location to anticipate, with Artificial Intelligence, the technological breakthroughs of tomorrow.
“The Paris Region is already a global Artificial Intelligence stronghold,” asserted Mark Zuckerberg as early as 2015 during the inauguration of the FACEBOOK AI RESEARCH (FAIR) Lab. MICROSOFT confirmed this view in June 2017 by choosing the Paris Region, “a land of digital excellence owing to the quality of its researchers and its engineers”, to join STATION F, the largest incubator in the world.
These champions of the new economy are not the only ones to have chosen Paris Region for the location of their Artificial Intelligence R&D centers. AMAZON, with its PRIME AIR development center, HUAWEI from China, RAKUTEN, FUJITSU and SONY from Japan and XEROX from the US have made the same choice.
Why? Because the Paris Region is an accelerator of innovation, as explained by Nicolas Tisserand, CEO of the Assist Digital Company, recently established in the Paris Region. “The Paris Region appeared to be the go-to destination because the Paris Region UX and AI market is currently buzzing and is recognized worldwide. Its excellent researchers, talented engineers and dynamic innovative companies make the Paris Region a strategic ecosystem."
FROM BASIC RESEARCH TO MULTI-SECTORAL APPLICATIONS
From smartphones to driverless cars, from call centers to bank fraud detection, Artificial Intelligence is revolutionizing not only all the industrial sectors (Transport, Telecoms, Energy, etc.) but also Health and Finance. The development of AI essentially relies on excellence in mathematics because it feeds on Big Data and is built on complex algorithms.
Indeed, the Paris Region is the world’s largest center for research in mathematics. The highest number of Fields medal winners, (the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics), were graduates from the École Normale Supérieure. In addition to the ENS, the Paris Region has 12 engineering schools and 3 universities with masters’ programs dedicated to AI. According to the Artificial Intelligence Observatory in France, over half of the companies and research teams working on AI are based in the Paris Region.
AN INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM THAT IS UNIQUE IN EUROPE
The ecosystem is comprised of basic research, along with applied research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Yann LeCun, the French national recognized as one of the Fathers of Deep Learning, is a perfect example of this cross-fertilization since he is both the Chair of “Information Technology and Digital Sciences” at the College of France and the Director of FAIR, the Facebook AI research lab that works with the Institute of Research on Computer Science and Automation (INRIA).
For giants such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, the presence of INRIA has been decisive in choosing Paris Region, the leading "Smart Region" in Europe, which is developing on the basis of new technologies (AI, Big Data, IoT). The opening of the Facebook research laboratory in Paris is welcome news for the entire French scientific community, said François Sillion, Deputy CEO for Science at INRIA. “By forging relationships built on trust with this kind of laboratory, our scientists can tackle their research on the most up-to-date issues and the real challenges that digital companies currently face. We have already identified avenues for promising collaborations. One of the advantages of this partnership will be the ability to test ideas and algorithms based on the complexity of real data, or on high-dimensional graphs.”
The same cross-fertilization is underway with the ATOS Group, an international leader in digital transformation, which has entered into a partnership with the ENS and the French Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Saclay to work on Big Data and machine learning. The hybridization of research and applications development is the driving force for innovation. It is encouraged throughout the 9 clusters of the Paris Region, including Systematic and Cap Digital, which are entirely devoted to digital.
The “France AI” plan launched at the beginning of 2017 by the French government anticipates a number of concrete initiatives: an application for a European Union “Emerging technologies flagship project”, the mobilization of multiple sectors (automotive, finance, health, railway transport, customer relations) so that each defines its AI strategy and a Call for Proposals for sectoral data-sharing platforms, as well as a financing plan for startups via public and private resources. It is also worth noting that Serena Capital has set aside a fund of €80 million, dedicated to investment in Big Data and AI.
In the Paris Region, digital transformation is underway and this is through the "Smart Region Initiative" (2018-2011), launched in November 2017 by the Ile-de-France Regional Council.
What is the objective of this program? To install all the systems necessary for new technological innovation (Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things) and thus strengthen the existing support by the Paris Region for startups, SMEs, laboratories, incubators, etc. This certainly piques the interest of startups such as NextUser, an American startup specializing in digital marketing. “The Paris Region is an innovative and dynamic region that, like Silicon Valley, has massive resources for the success of young talent and startups,” said its founder Matthieu Dejardins.
The "Smart Region Initiative" program will consist of four steps: an Open Innovation approach, new digital services and a data concentrator platform, all based on the spread of very high-speed connections. The Paris Region is determined to make Open Innovation the driver of its digital revolution, as announced by Valerie Pécresse, President of the Ile-de-France Regional Council. “We are part of the open innovation process. It’s up to Parisians, R&D centers, businesses and startups to let us know what they want,” so we can create new services that are perfectly in line with their needs. . To connect the different stakeholders and stimulate thinking, regular meetings are planned. On April 11, the first Smart Region Tuesday took place, on the theme of EdTechs, attended by startups, experts and universities. Beyond speeches and exchanges, the meeting was an opportunity to launch the "2nd Paris Region Trophies for digital innovation in higher education". This call for expressions of interest, endowed with €1 million, supports innovative partnerships between higher education institutions in the Paris Region and EdTech players. It's a fantastic opportunity for companies in the sector!
As part of the “Smart Region Initiative”, the Paris Region is deploying digital services to further improve the quality of life in the area. Among these applications, a few examples are enough to fully understand the value of these new tools for international companies wishing to set up in the Paris Region. A chatbot will use artificial intelligence to better promote and implement the support offered to businesses. Another application will assist companies arriving in the area, with all the information necessary for moving in and getting established. The Region also plans to map R&D, innovation sites and local startups: an "Atlas of Innovation" will guide international groups seeking to interact with French research.
On April 12, the Paris Region launched the “AI Challenge Paris Region 2018”, the first international competition dedicated to startups and artificial intelligence, with an endowment of €1 million. “As the leading Smart Region in Europe, we are proud to be able to launch this competition in an environment that is conducive to innovation and artificial intelligence. It will accelerate the development of young AI talent sprouting in the Paris Region and turn them into digital champions of tomorrow." Valérie Pécresse, President of the Ile-de-France Regional Council.
Opening date for applications: April 12 - Closing date: June 17
International majors team up with Paris Region research teams and invest in the development of AI and Machine Learning
- The first artificial nano-neuron capable of voice recognition was developed in the Paris Region, owing to the collaboration of researchers in the Paris Region, the United States and Japan. Thales - CNRS – Paris Saclay University – Center for Nanoscale Science & Technology – National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science & Technology (Source: CNRS)
- INRIA and Fujitsu have signed a partnership for a joint research program in AI and massive data processing “For giants such as Facebook, Fujitsu and Microsoft, the presence of INRIA was a determining factor in choosing a smart region,” said François Sillion, Deputy CEO for Science at INRIA.
- Google has signed a partnership with INRIA to develop joint research projects, particularly in algorithmics.
- Creation of the PRAIRIE (PaRis Artificial Intelligence Research InstitutE) Institute. The CNRS, INRIA, PSL University and Amazon, Criteo, Facebook, Faurecia, Google, Microsoft, Naver Labs, Nokia Bell Labs, and the PSA, SUEZ and Valeo Groups are converging their academic and industrial interests to create the PRAIRIE Institute in Paris, with the aim of becoming an international leader in AI.
- Telecom Paristech and Huawei have signed a partnership agreement to work on connected networks, IoT, 5G and Artificial Intelligence.
INNOVATIVE STARTUPS IN FULL SWING
The performance of the Paris Region ecosystem is also based on the high density of innovative startups. With thousands of startups, Paris is the European capital of technological innovation. In the field of AI, C-RADAR, which has joined the SIDETRADE Group based in Boulogne Billancourt, is a pioneer of Machine Learning and has become a leader in predictive marketing. In particular, it employs specialists in data mining and semantic analysis. We also find the very popular SNIPS, whose platform interconnects all terminals via an offline voice interface, without personal data being sent to the cloud, acting independently of the hungry tech giants. ALGOLIA, an engine and tool for intuitive research, raised €47 million in June 2017, CLUSTREE, a HR recommendations platform, has just completed its third round with €7 million, JULIE DESK, a virtual assistant, is now tackling the key accounts market, and DATAIKU, a Big Data specialist, just raised $14 million and aims to become the leading publisher in predictive analytics. Many startups that are attracting attention, such as HUGGING FACE, BIRDLY, CYBELANGEL, and ALAN are concentrated in the Paris Region.
The Paris Region is a unique ecosystem that brings together basic and applied research, large corporate groups and startups. This high added value allows Paris Region to legitimately proclaim its status of a global "Smart Region", able to welcome and support international companies in search of the ideal place to develop in Europe.