Students from EPITA‘s Multimedia and Information technology (MIT) major presented their final year projects in parallel with the conference “Intelligent Objects, A programmable world“, held at the school on 23 January. A panel of professionals talked about the issue from every angle, including representatives from Intel, STMicroelectronics, Aerys, Technicolor, Smiirl, Sen.se and 3IE
The start of a new revolution?
Intelligent objects are not just connected objects: they collect data, but take this even further by processing this data in real time so as to have an intelligent influence on their environment. Related to Open Data and Big Data, this new kind of object can revolutionise today’s economy, as highlighted by Henri Verdier, director of Etalab, a service with deals with the issue of open data for the French government: “Intelligent communicating objects potentially symbolise the industrial future of France.”
Henri Verdier (Etalab)
Data, better than oil?
During a speech on the place of data in society at the beginning of the conference, Henri Verdier described intelligent objects and work on data as a “project which has a real impact on society, on civilisation“, as shown for instance by the Handimap project, “an app created by two engineers to calculate routes for wheelchair users by gathering information from local land registers“. He also denied the preconceived idea that “data is the new oil”: “I hate that metaphor: petrol gains value when you store it and loses value when you use it, whereas the opposite happens with data!”
The invasion has begun
A round table moderated by LCI journalist Cédric Ingrand was then held in front of an audience of students and professionals who came to hear the points of view of French specialists. Ugo Dessertine, an engineer at Sen.se, insisted, like others, that intelligent objects would become indispensable: “They are going to spread in our whole environment. Tomorrow, coffeemakers, mattresses and doors are going to be connected. Connected objects are objects with sensors. Intelligent objects process data received to produce truly useful information. For instance, if a sensor is placed on a door, the connected object will tell you if the door is closed or open. The intelligent object will tell you if the door is open when it shouldn’t be. That’s the difference.”
Paul Guermonprez (Intel), Ugo Dessertine (Sen.se), Jean-Marc Le Roux (Aerys) and Stéphane Garnier (3IE).
EPITA is already involved
“These companies show that made-in-France technology is healthy, that exports are steady and that there are still great markets to conquer”, said Joël Courtois, managing director of EPITA. Like him, the audience was particularly impressed with the level of the discussions. EPITA students from today, such as Thibault Chevrin (2014 graduate) who is “going to do an internship in that field” and former EPITA students, such as Jeremy Marc (2008 graduate), who is “currently setting up a website to help in the field of food and well-being, to which sports or nutritional connected objects can be added“, were thus able to gather information and open up to new ideas.