French telecoms group France Telecom (Orange) and fellow equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent yesterday released a joint press release saying they will join forces and make available their R&D know-how and facilities to develop open innovation in the Brittany and Loire regions. The joint programme, called Arc Bretagne Atlantique (ABA), aims to help local enterprises develop new innovative communication services and next generation content. The statement went on to say that ABA, which is supported by the two regions, complements the Images et Reseaux (Images and Networks) cluster and supports one of its strategic objectives which is to develop the competitiveness of local SMEs and help them grow. Under the pact, Alcatel-Lucent will make available the expertise of its sites in Lannion, Rennes and Orvault, near Nantes, and eventually in Brest. Orange meanwhile, will make available the expertise of its sites in Lannion and Rennes.
The ABA initiative is designed to cover four main areas of interest:
• ABA Shareskills: access to expertise to help on product development, marketing and support of SMEs (including through dedicated training not commercially available).
• ABA Openlab: access to some test platforms of the two Groups and which complement the ImaginLab platform of the Images et Réseaux cluster. This will allow validation work to be performed that cannot be done on ImaginLab. Easier access to hardware and software technology bricks of the two Groups for use by SMEs.
• ABA Application Store: easier introduction of SME products into the commercial solutions of the two Groups (up to and including OEM agreements).
• ABA Incubator: innovative start-ups invited to the premises of Alcatel-Lucent (in cooperation with existing structures within the region) and the creation of spin-off structures.
In addition, ABA also aims to carry out targeted actions focused on Long Term Evolution (LTE) fourth-generation mobile technology, including an LTE Boost offering for developing, prototyping and testing LTE services.