3 janvier 2019 | International, C4ISR

Thales inaugure un hub Innovation et un Digital Competence Center à Toulouse

MARINA ANGEL

Dans la foulée de sa Digital Factory, qui après Paris, vient de s'installer à Montréal et Singapour, le groupe Thales vient de se doter à Toulouse d'un nouveau hub d'innovation et d'un Digital Competence Center. De nouveaux outils pour accélérer la transformation digitale du groupe, qui pourraient bientôt être dupliqués au sein d'autres sites du groupe.

Le groupe Thales vient d'inaugurer à Toulouse, ce 19 décembre 2018, un nouveau hub Innovation et un Digital Competence Center. Deux nouveaux outils destinés à accélérer sa stratégie de transformation digitale au plus près de ses équipes de développement et avec une volonté de renforcer ses coopérations avec l'éco-système régional.Les deux structures sont hébergées dans un espace dédié de 1 500 m2, au cœur du site avionique toulousain de Thales, où quelque 950 personnes (principalement des ingénieurs) travaillent notamment sur le développement de systèmes et de solutions pour les cockpits et les cabines des avions du futur.

"L'objectif est de développer en région de nouvelles méthodes d'innovation et d'amplifier une dynamique déjà bien amorcée avec la création de notre Digital Factory", annonce Gil Michielin, directeur général des activités avioniques mondiales de Thales.

PRIORITÉ À L'AVION CONNECTÉ ET PLUS AUTONOME

Créée en juin 2017 à Paris, l'équipe de la Digital Factory de Thales occupe déjà 250 spécialistes principalement en intelligence artificielle, big data et cybersécurité, recrutés à la fois au sein du groupe et en externe, dont la mission est d'accélérer la transformation digitale du groupe en appliquant toutes les recettes de l'open innovation et du travail collaboratif. Des relais, les "Digital Champions", ont été désignés au sein des différents sites du groupe et par métier, pour faire émerger des besoins utilisateurs et les soumettre aux équipes de la Digital Factory qui travaillent ainsi pour le compte de toutes les entités du groupe."Nous montons des équipes très agiles de 3 à 8 personnes, qui s'engagent à livrer des premiers MVP (Minimum Viable Product) dans un délai très court de 4 mois maximum", explique Olivier Flous, directeur de la Digital Factory.

Le concept a déjà fait ses preuves. "Nous avons à notre actif le développement d'une vingtaine de MVP avec pour certains des premiers déploiements en cours", précise Olivier Flous. Dotée d'un budget de 150 millions d'euros sur trois ans, la Digital Factory dispose aujourd'hui de deux nouvelles bases à Montréal, au Canada et à Singapour. Avec son propre hub Innovation et son nouveau Digital Competence Center, le site de Toulouse se dote à son tour de ses propres espaces collaboratifs, avec une spécificité régionale. "A Toulouse, l'accent sera mis tout particulièrement sur l'avion connecté et l'autonomie", précise Gil Michielin.

FAIRE ÉMERGER DE NOUVEAUX PROJETS

Le hub Innovation et le Digital Competence Center ont la même ambition de faire émerger de nouveaux projets, à la fois en s'appuyant sur les expertises de la Digital Factory, en valorisation le savoir-faire des équipes de R&D toulousaines et en favorisant de nouvelles coopérations avec les entreprises du territoire régional, notamment en direction des PME et des start-up. "Nous avons conçu ces nouveaux espaces pour faire émerger de nouveaux projets, mais aussi pour accompagner leur développement et leur déploiement", insiste Gil Michielin.

Il s'agit à la fois de booster les équipes toulousaines du groupe pour développer en interne de nouvelles méthodes d'innovation et de s'ouvrir en direction de clients ou de partenaires, dans une dynamique d'open innovation. Un premier challenge toulousain sur la cybersécurité vient ainsi d'être organisé, associant des équipes de Thales, des ingénieurs d'Airbus et de Latécoère, mais aussi de sociétés régionales, telles que Pole Star ou iTrust. "En parallèle, nos équipes sont allées à la rencontre d'une centaine de startups toulousaines et en ont identifié environ 25, avec lesquelles nous serions susceptibles de développer de nouveaux projets", indique par ailleurs Laurent Lenoir, directeur du site avionique de Thales à Toulouse.

ACCÉLÉRER LE DÉPLOIEMENT DE NOUVEAUX CONCEPTS

L'objectif est de faire émerger de nouveaux projets, mais aussi d'accompagner des projets issus d'autres sites et de les amener jusqu'au développement commercial. Après une première phase pilote conduite sur son site de Chatellerault (Vienne), le groupe a ainsi décidé de transférer à Toulouse, le projet "PartEdge", issu initialement d'un MVP identifié par les équipes de la Digital Factory. Le projet porte sur le développement d'un nouveau système de gestion de pièces de rechange pour les équipements aéronautiques.

Pour répondre aux attentes des compagnies aériennes et contribuer à réduire une des causes d'immobilisation au sol des avions commerciaux, PartEdge veut créer une marketplace où les compagnies pourront trouver en temps réel la bonne pièce, au bon prix et dans les meilleurs délais. L'objectif est maintenant de changer d'échelle et d'accompagner le projet jusqu'à sa maturité commerciale. Le Digital Competence Center est aussi déjà impliqué dans un projet industrie 4.0 visant à améliorer des process de production de calculateurs et de capteurs.

DUPLIQUER L'INITIATIVE SUR D'AUTRES SITES DU GROUPE

Une trentaine d'ingénieurs travaillent déjà au sein du Digital Competence Center de Toulouse, conçu pour accueillir jusqu'à une centaine de personnes. Cet espace sera probablement amené à grandir, mais aussi à être dupliqué sur d'autres sites du groupe. Un Digital Competence Center devrait ouvrir prochainement ses portes à Mérignac, en Gironde. Le concept pourrait ensuite essaimer au sein du groupe.

"En injectant dans notre organisation des structures agiles et en migrant le développant de projets sur des plates-formes conçues pour libérer la capacité de créativité et d'innovation, nous contribuons aussi à l'attractivité de nos sites", remarque aussi Gil Michielin. Le groupe, qui emploie 4 500 salariés à Toulouse, avec, outre l'avionique, des sites et des équipes impliqués dans le spatial, la sécurité et la défense), a recruté cette année 150 personnes et table sur un niveau de recrutement similaire pour 2019.

MARINA ANGEL

https://www.usine-digitale.fr/article/thales-inaugure-un-hub-innovation-et-un-digital-competence-center-a-toulouse.N786814

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    14 août 2018 | International, Aérospatial

    US Air Force seeks to improve student pilot learning through new initiative

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  • Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - August 8, 2019

    9 août 2019 | International, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

    Contract Awards by US Department of Defense - August 8, 2019

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  • Air Force To Pump New Tech Startups With $10M Awards

    26 février 2020 | International, Aérospatial

    Air Force To Pump New Tech Startups With $10M Awards

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AFWERX, the Air Force's innovation unit, has one of its hubs in Austin. “This has been a year in the making now, trying to make our investment arm, the Air Force Ventures, act like an investor, even if it's a government entity,” Roper explained. “We don't invest like a private investor — we don't own equity — we're just putting companies on contract. But for early stage companies, that contract acts a lot like an investor.” The goal is to help steer private resources toward new technologies that will benefit both US consumers and national security to stay ahead of China's rapid tech growth, Roper told reporters here Friday. The Air Force wants to “catalyze the commercial market by bringing our military market to bear,” he said. “We're going to be part of the global tech ecosystem.” Figuring out how to harness the commercial marketplace is critical, Roper explained, because DoD dollars make up a dwindling percentage of the capital investment in US research and development. This is despite DoD's 2021 budget request for research, development, test and evaluation (RDT&E) of $106.6 billion being “the largest in its history,” according to Pentagon budget rollout materials. The Air Force's share is set at $37.3 billion, $10.3 billion of which is slated for Space Force programs. “We are 20 percent of the R&D is this country — that's where the military is today,” Roper said. “So if we don't start thinking of ourselves as part of a global ecosystem, looking to influence trends, investing in technologies that could be dual-use — well, 20 percent is not going to compete with China long-term, with a nationalized industrial base that can pick national winners.” The process for interested startups to compete for funds has three steps, Roper explained, beginning with the Air Force “placing a thousand, $50K bets per year that are open.” That is, any company can put forward its ideas to the service in general instead of there being a certain program office in mind. “We'll get you in the door,” Roper said, “we'll provide the accelerator functions that connect you with a customer. “Pitch days” are the second step, he said. Companies chosen to be groomed in the first round make a rapid-fire sales pitch to potential Air Force entities — such as Space and Missile Systems Center and Air Force Research Laboratory — that can provide funding, as well as to venture capitalists partnering with the Air Force. As Breaking D broke in October, part of the new acquisition strategy is luring in private capital firms and individual investors to match Air Force funding in commercial startups as a way to to bridge the ‘valley of death' and rapidly scale up capability. The service has been experimenting with ‘pitch days' across the country over the last year, such as the Space Pitch Days held in San Francisco in November when the service handed out $22.5 million to 30 companies over two days. Roper said he intends to make “maybe 300 of those awards per year,” with the research contracts ranging from $1 million to $3 million a piece and “where program dollars get matched by our investment dollars.” The final piece of the strategy, Roper explained, is picking out the start-ups that can successfully field game-changing technologies. “The thing that we're working on now is the big bets, the 30 to 40 big ideas, disruptive ideas that can change our mission and hopefully change the world,” Roper said. “We're looking for those types of companies.” The Air Force on Oct. 16 issued its first call for firms to compete for these larger SBIR contracts under a new type of solicitation, called a “commercial solutions opening.” The call went to companies already holding Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) awards. The winners will be announced in Austin. If the strategy is successful, Roper said, the chosen firms will thrive and become profitable dual-use firms focused primarily on the commercial market. “The, we're starting to build a different kind of industry base,” Roper enthused. “So, we've gotta get the big bets right. Then most importantly, if you succeed in one of the big bets, then we need to put you on contract on the other side, or else the whole thing is bunk.” https://breakingdefense.com/2020/02/air-force-to-pump-new-tech-startups-with-10m-awards

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