In this new section, I will share with you a number of thoughts, reflections and positions that will help you scratching the surface and go beyond my CV…
MY EXPERIENCE ABOUT…
Innovation has always been the driver of my career, guiding my choices and my attitude.
I am also convinced that innovation does not only mean technology breakthrough. In particular, marketing, user experience and “field experience” are key drivers for innovation.
Indeed, already in my position of Deputy Project Leader at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Italy (from 1993 to 1995), I was involved in the STARS (Software Toolkit for Advanced Reliability and Safety analysis) project. This was my first experience of industrial innovation:
- The STARS project aimed at developing an integrated set of Computer Aided Reliability Analysis tools for the various tasks involved in systems safety and reliability analysis of industrial systems.
- The innovation comes from the digital transformation of the safety assessment process, starting from the nuclear industry use case.
- My role in the project: assistant to the project leader and in charge of the software development.
Then, in Canon Research Centre, France (from 1995 to 2000), I had the chance to address market driven innovation issues related to the intelligent configuration of devices:
- The objective was to provide innovative technologies to improve the user experience when using computer peripherals such as printers.
- The vast majority of users are usually using factory settings of the peripherals which, in the case of printers for instance, often gives a very poor result.
- The idea was then to analyse the information to process by the peripheral (the document in the case of a printer) and configure the peripheral according the result of this analysis so that the information is processed the best way possible.
- The project focused on the application of the solution developed to printing systems and involved all related R&D and business units in the Canon group.
- The results are confidential, protected by patents (no publication) and applied into actual products released to the market.
- My role in the project: I was at the origin of the project idea and was the leader of the project at corporate level (secured corporate budget and corporate sponsorship, supervised technical development, managed IPR strategy, managed marketing strategy).
After that, I took various management positions, driving innovation activities and process in Médiamétrie (CIO), Hitachi Europe (Laboratory Manager), ASIN AW Europe (R&D Director), Magneti Marelli (R&D Manager) and EIT Digital (General Manager of the French operations):
- in Médiamétrie: Redesign of the telecommunication architecture for audience data download and audience results delivery to the customers: Deployment of a new telecommunication architecture to collect raw data, including a disaster recovery process. Deployment of a new infrastructure for audience results delivery to the customers, including new means of access (e.g. audience results on mobile). Deployment of a new methodology and environment for products development.
Web sites audience metering products: After the development of a proof of concept and a prototype, release of web site audience measurement tools and services.
Digital Terrestrial TV audience metering product: Adaptation of the analog TV audience metering solution (hardware, software, infrastructure and statistical model) to address the arrival of the Digital Terrestrial TV offer in France.
- in Hitachi Europe: in charge of setting-up the strategy, managing the laboratory, managing the relationships with the industrial and academic partners, managing the relationships with the Hitachi Group sponsors (business units and corporate R&D). The laboratory has 3 main lines of research: advanced telecommunication systems, advanced security solutions, advanced ICT infrastructures. The laboratory initiated the first experiments of the Hitachi Group and in Europe of connected vehicles and became the Hitachi Group competence centre in that domain.
- in AISIN AW Europe: in charge of the management of the European advanced developments team, to foresee the innovations to develop in Europe or to transfer from Japan to develop the European market of the group for the embedded electronics products, in particular the infotainment systems.
- in Magneti Marelli: in charge of the management of the French site of Magneti Marelli Embedded Electronics Corporate R&D (the other site is in Turin in Italy). The site is in charge of the software development of the innovative products of the group, in particular the infotainment systems.
- in EIT Digital: in charge of the management of the ICT innovation ecosystem of EIT Digital (French academic and industrial members). Active in the definition of EIT Digital innovation strategy (processes and topics) at European level. Focus on Smart City and Smart Industry domains.
Recently, I decided to take the leap, joining Trustseed, an innovative start-up, developing solutions for the admin-tech. In Trustseed, I am in charge of marketing and innovation activities.
Based on this experience, I sometimes express my point of view or my vision on innovation, posting articles on this website (see below).
My posts related to innovation (frequent updates):
All along my career I had the opportunity to collaborate with a large number of start-ups in order to boost the innovation of the large corporates I was working for.
More recently, during my mandate in EIT Digital, I had the chance to support the development (business development, access to finance, coaching…) of a number of start-ups. In particular (click the icon to access the start-up website):
At the end of my mandate at EIT Digital, I considered that to have a more complete overview of what is a start-up, I had to join one of them and experience the reality behind the concept and the strategy. This is why I recently joined Trustseed, a start-up in admin-tech, with the mission to boost marketing and innovation activities.
Based on this experience, I sometimes express my point of view or my vision on the start-ups ecosystem and trends, posting articles on this website (see below).
My posts related to start-ups (frequent updates):
Since very early in my career I have occupied strategy setting positions and I demonstrated strong skills in this domain:
- in Canon: winner of a group level contest (only 1 project selected among 100 proposals group-wide) that gave me the opportunity to launch my own project with Corporate top management sponsorship. Product development strategy at group level to address a business development issue.
- in Médiamétrie: technology and product development strategy to adapt the company products portfolio to the media market evolution (launch of digital TV, TV on the Internet, audience of websites, …).
- in Hitachi: setting-up the European laboratory strategy on ICT in order to support business development at group level, Japanese technology on the European market and partnerships at group level.
- in AISIN AW Europe: setting-up new products development strategy to support business development in Europe and transfer of Japanese technology on the European market.
- in Magneti Marelli: setting-up strategy for products development, technology evolution (moving from legacy technology to open-source) and customer acquisition.
- in EIT Digital: strategy for new partners engagement at French level, partnership strategy with French stakeholders (French Tech, Competitiveness Clusters, Governmental agencies, French government, …), part of the team defining the strategic agenda at European level.
Based on this experience, I sometimes express my point of view or my vision on strategy setting and management, posting articles on this website (see below).
My posts related to strategy (frequent updates):
Because nothing can be achieved alone, I do value collaboration and even more partnership.
I have a deep experience of launching strategic partnerships and I have always been very cautious at maintaining good relationships between the partners.
- in Canon: management of the academic partnership with Telecom Bretagne, a branch of the French engineering school in telecomumication.
- in Médiamétrie: management of the partnerships with the IT department suppliers, in particular for software development.
- in Hitachi: management of the industrial and academic partnerships at European level. In particular, I managed the strategic partnership with Fraunhofer FOKUS in Berlin. I also initiated and managed the strategic partnership with Inria and Orange Group in France.
- in AISIN AW Europe: management of the industrial and academic partnerships at European level..
- in Magneti Marelli: management of the partnerships with the Embedded Electronics suppliers, in particular for software development.
- in EIT Digital: management of the French ICT ecosystem partnership. Management of the partnership with French government, French governmental agencies, French universities, French industrial stakeholders. Launching and managing the partnership with ETSI and ANRT (the French National Agency for Research and Technology).
Based on this experience, I sometimes express my point of view or my vision on partnerships setting and management, posting articles on this website (see below).
My posts related to partnerships:
It is important to remember that excellence comes from execution. Indeed, the best strategy is nothing if it is not properly implemented.
It is also important to provide to the people working for you or with you excellent working conditions.
Therefore, I am very sensitive of running operations the best way possible.
My experience in this matter is pretty strong. In particular:
- in Médiamétrie: managing the IT department and a call centre with 300 call stations.
- in Hitachi: as general manager, motoring all the activities of the laboratory, including HR, finance and accounting.
- in Magneti Marelli: managing the Embedded Electronics R&D department in France (120 people). This included budget and HR.
- in EIT Digital: as general manager, monitoring all the operations of EIT Digital in France, including the 3 sites (Paris, Rennes and Sophi-Antipolis).
Based on this experience, I sometimes express my point of view or my vision on operations setting and management, posting articles on this website (see below).
My posts related to “running operations”:
All along my various experiences, I have been working for different industrial sectors such as, in particular:
- automotive and transportation: in Hitachi, launching the first experiments of connected vehicles for the group and lauching the intelligent transportation systems activities. In AISIN AW Europe and Magneti Marelli, launching automotive products on the market. In EIT Digital I supervised the Digital City programme, which had a large compoenent focusing on urban mobility.
- energy, nuclear industry: in JRC, working on nuclear power plants safety assessment. In Hitachi, launching the smart-grid business unit in Europe.
- industrial IT: in Hitachi, working with industrial IT and storage business divisions in order to define an innovation process.
- consumer electronics: in Canon, working the optimize the user experience of consumer electronics products.
- cyber-security: in Trustseed, development of a private blockchain for the securization of digital transactions.
- admin-tech: in Trustseed, developing a document worflow management system enforcing GDPR, eIDAS and NIS regulations.
- media: in Médiamétrie, developing new products to measure the audience of DTV and websites.
- health and wellbeing: in EIT Digital, one of vertical topics addressed in the working program.
- fintech: in EIT Digital, launching the Digital Finance program. In Trustseed, development of a Digital Bank use case.
Based on this experience, I sometimes express my point of view or my vision on innovation in different sectors of the industry, posting articles on this website (see below).
My posts related to industry:
Standards are an important economical growth factor.
Here I list my experiences of standardization activities and my footprint within standard bodies.
Beyond this list, you can have an idea of how I see the strategic importance and the evolution of these activities:
- My view on ICT Standards
- My view of Standards and Innovation
- My view on Standards and Intellectual Property
STANDARDIZATION ACTIVITIES AND STANDARD BODIES
Based on this experience, I sometimes express my point of view or my vision on standards, posting articles on this website (see below).
My posts related to standards:
I participated to a number of public funded initiatives such as the European Technology Plaforms or collaborative projects through EC Framework Programmes (FP5, FP6, FP7,
EUROPEAN TECHNOLOGY PLATFORMS
PROJECTS UNDER PUBLIC FUNDING SCHEMES
Based on this experience, I sometimes express my point of view or my vision on collaborative projects initiatives, posting articles on this website (see below).
My posts related to collaborative projects:
Beyond my academic time, my main experience of open-source comes from:
- Magneti Marelli: development of a complete infotainment system for BMW based on an open-source operating system with a realtime overlay.
- EIT Digital: supporting start-ups to draw a strategy around open-source usage while protecting their intellectual property.
My posts related to open-source:
MY VIEW ON…
ICT standards are essential to guarantee the interoperability of technology based products.
They represent therefore significant benefits for the industry, bringing to the manufactured product the capacity to be used globally, where the standards are enforced.
They are also strongly beneficial for the consumers as they avoid the “vendor lock-in“ issue and allow a wide range of choices.
Therefore, the ICT standards represent a major avenue to avoid the digital divide in our society and the deployment of the digital single market.
At the same time, there is no standard for standards.
Indeed the digital transformation of the economy and the society at a global scale is not only impacting the ICT industry, but also all the verticals such as energy, transports, finance, health, manufacturing. It is also impacting cross-sector domains such as Smart-City or Industry-4.0.
Therefore, developing common ICT standards is a must to maintain European competitiveness.
This is supported by the political agenda of the European Union aiming at preserving and enhancing European ICT industry position on a global scale.
Why am I legitimate to act in this context?
I got more than 25 years of experience in the ICT industry, working in R&D and innovation for RTO’s, the European Commission, large international conglomerates, SME’s and even start-ups.
So, I do know what is the day-to-day reality of all the ETSI stakeholders when participating to standardisation activities and when implementing products based on standards.
For instance, for those of you who already drove a Peugeot 208, 308 or 508 and used the SMEG or SMEG+ system (entertainment and the navigation systems), you have to know that this system was designed and developed mainly by my team in Magneti Marelli. Of course, such a system is embedding a large collection of standards, in particular ICT related ones (WiFi, 3G/4G, Bluetooth, USB). It is also compliant with industrial initiatives like Autosar or Genivi Alliance and compliant with international standards at system level (namely ISO-26262).
Already in 2003, with my team in Hitachi, I have been one of the first to experiment car-to-car communication, using WiFi technology, on real roads with conventional cars. Soon after, we were part of the founding members of the ETSI TC-ITS.
So, I believe to be particularly legitimate to understand everyone’s concerns and standardisation strategy, and to make the process and relations more fluid and productive.
THE UNIQUE POSITION OF EUROPEAN STANDARDS DEVELOPING ORGANISATIONS (SDO’s)
Standardisation is a major driver for the European industrial competitiveness.
European standardisation is governed by the legal framework set in the Regulation 1025/2012 and all actors in standardisation (the European Commission, European standardisation organisations, industry, SME’s and actors of the society) shall follow.
Historically, fora and consortia are at the origin, under the leadership of organisations such as ETSI, of most of the technical specifications deployed in actual standards.
Article 13 of the Regulation allows the Commission to decide which ICT technical solutions to be listed for public procurement. This way, public sector can have access to a wide variety of choices when purchasing ICT equipments, software and services.
This is driving to more competition on the market and mitigates the risk of being tighten-up to proprietary/closed systems.
In this context, the Commission contributes to the financial sustainability and to the operations of the 3 European standardisation organisations:
- ETSI – the European Telecommunications Standards Institute
- CEN – the European Committee for Standardization
- CENELEC – the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
The European Commission contributes also through collaborative projects under the various Framework Programmes (e.g., H2020). Indeed, the above European standardisation organisations have access to the results produced by these collaborative projects.
Of course, in that context, no competition shall take place between ETSI, CEN and CENELEC as a tight collaboration framework is the unique avenue for success of the European standardisation community as a whole.
In this framework, European SDO’s have a major role to play and shall probably adapt their ways of doing to be more agile and more proactive in enforcing European Union policies while supporting members (mainly the industrial stakeholders) contributions
Why am I legitimate to act in this context?
I am particularly knowledgeable of the European Commission institutions and processes.
Indeed, I worked 2 years for the Joint Research Centre (https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en), I worked 4 years for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (https://eit.europa.eu/) and I participated to more than 10 collaborative projects under the various European Commission framework programs (since 1992 with ESPRI Basic Research II, then all programs from FP4 to H2020).
Therefore, I am particularly at ease with these institutions. I know their strengths, their weaknesses and their expectations.
STANDARDS AND EUROPEAN ECONOMICAL GROWTH
Many studies in the literature are demonstrating that the contribution of standards in the economic growth is almost equivalent as the one of Intellectual Property Right.
The same way, these same studies explain that the benefit generated by standardisation exceeds the ones of companies alone.
Indeed, standards and patents are playing an increasing role in innovation and in knowledge diffusion.
De jure standards have an intrinsic outstanding advantage since they are public, providing to the industrial stakeholders the necessary elements to develop interoperable products, and to a wider community the best framework to support innovation.
On the other hand, patents are made to protect proprietary trade secrets and preserve exclusivity.
This is particularly true in Europe where the “open source”/“free software” communities are pretty strong and where the issue of the “software patents” is still under discussion.
As a consequence, we sometimes witness some conflicting situations opposing IPR and the standardisation process in the working groups. We will address this point in another section below.
Why am I legitimate to act in this context?
During my professional carrier, I did occupy technology development positions, at operational and managerial levels. I also had various responsibilities related to product development, business, marketing and IPR.
Therefore, I know what it means to develop a technical “object” and make it a product within a sustainable business model.
I particular, I know how to avoid the “over-engineering” syndrome and protect industrial property while opening it enough to contribute to standardisation activities.
As we saw above, standards are essential for an steady economical growth as they represent a major innovation booster and supports a fair commercial competition for the benefit of the customers.
Nevertheless, depending on who you are talking to, standards may be viewed as a constraint or an enabler of the innovation process.
Indeed, by construction, standards represent a constraint because, limiting the choice of enabling technologies to develop compliant and interoperable products. So, to a certain extent, it is a desirable constraint, that could be seen as a catalyst 🙂
But, this is only one side of the coin. Indeed, every industrial stakeholder will agree on the fact that there is no way around than being compliant with standard(s) to develop credible products able to reach their market.
Indeed, only well-designed standards are able to avoid the development of off-market products such as the one above.
Why am I legitimate to act in this context?
Not everyone knows how to transform a technological object into an actual product released on the market. I know how to do it, and I actually did it.
Not everyone knows how to implement and release on the market, at global scale, a product compliant with multiple standards and regulations. I know how to do it, and I actually did it.
Not everyone knows how to protect innovation through a portfolio of patents, while contributing to standardisation activities and releasing products on the market, at global scale. I know how to do it, and I actually did it.
Not everyone knows how to use open source platform to develop and release products on the market, while protecting industrial property. I know how to do it, and I actually did it.
I have a pragmatic approach with respect to technology. I do believe that technology for technology is nonsense, and I am particularly cautious about avoiding the “over-engineering” syndrome.
Traditionally, in SDO’s, two main communities are represented: (1) industrial stakeholders that promoting IPR exploitation, and (2) RTO’s that are more willing to promote the use of open source platforms.
Two approaches that may seem antagonist but that must be taken into account anyway by the SDO’s.
1. STANDARDS AND PATENTS
Patents are playing an important economical role. This is particularly true in the ICT sector.
At the same time, more and more doubts arise around ICT patents as the predominance of cumulative innovation in ICT is a major concern.
The first important fights around patents and standards came from the European GSM standard , when the cross licensing practices of one particular manufacturer kicked a large numbers of its competitors out of the market.
In reaction to these issues, ETSI (newly founded as an emanation from the GSM consortium) adopted an IPR policy specifying the obligations to disclose essential patents, and to provide licenses on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) basis.
This policy is today adopted by most of the main SDOs. The disclosure obligation and the notion of FRAND licensing terms constitute the basis for the emergence of essential patents as a specific legal institution with sui generis obligations and mechanisms.
In December 2010 the European Commission adopted new guidelines for the application of European Competition law to horizontal agreements, including standardisation agreements.
This framework is conditioning the presumption of pro-competitive effects of standardisation upon disclosure policies and FRAND licensing terms.
Even if some debate still exist around this notion, the decisions of the European Commission is emphasising the notion of essential patent as a cardinal regulatory principle for the standardisation of proprietary technology.
Nevertheless, the FRAND scheme is showing its limits and a new initiative shall be launched to define a scheme which is more adequate to today’s technologies.
In particular some specific attention shall be given to this issue when a significant part of the technologies are composed of algorithms and softwares that cannot be protected by patents in Europe, while this is possible in the US and Asia.
This is indeed an issue from a fair competition prospective because of the global footprint of standards and the unbalanced situation that may arise from some members who may be able to get IPR on some technologies outside Europe while European one’s could not directly.
The trick is call the “media claim” technique: it is possible to extract the description of the media supporting the software in a European patent and make it a claim in the extension of that patent in the US for instance. But, the process is long and expensive and the resulting patent is less powerful than a native software US patent.
This brings to the table the discussion around the software patent in Europe.
2. STANDARDS AND OPEN SOURCE
In a recent post on ETSI blog, the question is clearly posed: “Do we still need standards in the age of open source?”.
Beyond the provocative title, the problem is bluntly explained… open source have very good effects, allowing rapid and frugal developments. However, the interoperability is not guaranteed due to diversity, by nature, of open source platforms.
Indeed, in the open source communities (off which I used to be part of a looooooong time ago), the main driver for decision is excellence from a technology prospective.
The notion of cross-platform interoperability and backward compatibility is indeed not a primary focus. The absence of such a pre-requisite is jeopardizing the capacity to develop long lasting products on the market, unless a fork of the platform, most of the time coming from an industrial stakeholder, is freezing some of these choices and implementing an interoperability layer.
This is where open source and standards can meet.
Remains the issue of the license to apply. Certainly not GPL as it is incompatible with patent applications. Even more problematic is GPL v3 that contaminates all the software components in which it is integrated to, even the proprietary ones.
At the same time, many industrial stakeholders, particularly in the telecommunication sector, are using BSD license since it allows modifications of the source code without the obligation to re-inject it into the community. This makes BSD much more compatible with IPR.
The problem of selecting a particular open source license, is the loss of control. By nature, the open source licenses are in constant evolution with the objective to protect the community and to make the source codes open to the public.
The risk is then to go through the same problem as the GPL community when GPL v3 came to the scene, moving to a license nobody in the industry wants to apply.
I strongly believe that it is hard to find a existing open source license that fits 100% with all stakeholders needs, simply because these licenses have been mostly designed with an objective which is sometimes antagonist with IPR and standardisation core principles.
May be the problem should be tackled by defining a specific open source (I would rather say “community”) license?
But it is a difficult issue that can only be address through discussions and reaching consensus.
Why am I legitimate to act in this context?
To the above mentioned issues, I do not pretend to define the solution only by myself and I strongly believe that a top-down unilateral decision in this particular matter would be a mistake.
My knowledge of IPR strategy and processes is thorough and pragmatic. My IPR “culture” comes from my time is the large Japanese conglomerates, where IPR is a daily preoccupation. Actually, I still hold 10 international patents from my time in Canon.
The same is my knowledge of open source. A long long long time ago I have been part of the Linux community (some of my code may remain in the file system library of one of the first versions of the Linux Slackware distribution). When I was in Magneti Marelli, we did design and develop embedded electronics products, for a German car manufacturer, based on an NVidia fork of a Debian distribution packaged with a additional real-time layer.
Therefore, I am able to easily interact with these 2 communities and bring them to the table to reach a consensus.