Alain Rousset (PS) VS Virginie Calmels (The Republicans): their priorities on digital
(see part 1: Alain Rousset’s assessment)
Frenchweb: After the assessment of your presidency at the head of the region, what are your future projects for the next 5 years in terms of digital?
Alain Rousset, President of the Aquitaine Regional Council: First of all, it is to amplify the dynamics of projects already launched by promoting digital initiatives. Numerous fundraising events were carried out in 2014 and 2015. They should show the way for start-ups. The device ” Aquitaine Start up »Launched in the summer of 2015 provides for a very specific action plan to support start-ups, particularly in accessing financing.
We are counting a lot on the launching of many structuring projects that the Region has launched or supported for more than two years such as the Digital Aquitaine cluster, designed as a competitiveness cluster and bringing together all private and public digital players, which should enable us to support more projects in a “peer to peer” logic.
The digital technology transfer center called CATIE For its part, it allows companies in the sector to test or improve the use of key technologies in the implementation of their products. It makes efficient R&D accessible to very small structures.
Another structuring project: the Digital City, in partnership with the EPA Bordeaux-Euratlantique, the city of Bègles, and the Bordeaux metropolis, which will see the light of day in 2017 and will be for the Region, the future regional center for digital innovation through uses. With an area of 27,000 m², it will offer all the services to accelerate the growth of players in the sector. Ultimately, 800 direct qualified jobs are expected on the site.
In the field of education for the current digital revolution, we need a University of the Future dedicated to new exponential technologies. A little on the model of what Google does very well in Silicon Valley through the Singularity University. It would teach NBIC technologies (Nanotechs, Biotechs, Computing, and Cognitive Sciences, ie AI) and robotics, which are the growth sectors of tomorrow. Traditional education does not teach these technologies. There is an urgent need to train citizens for this new world in full technological change.
And finally a word on the prospect of the new Aquitaine – Limousin – Poitou-Charentes region, which opens up great opportunities for the digital development of the sector. Three examples are particularly striking: the areas of the creative economy, e-health and e-education which will be very seriously strengthened with the arrival of the Angoulême, Poitiers and Limoges centers.
Among this inventory, what is the priority file?
Undoubtedly, the priority objective is that of making the first investments for Very High Speed. The first subscriber fiber optic plates will be built at the start of 2016. Local authorities have missed the challenge of visibility and clarity of public action in this area. We will make a particular effort to reach out to the inhabitants, explain the public investment action and invite them to switch to fiber.
What role do you think the capital city should play in relation to its region, and at the national level?
It must play a role of network head and visibility. Even if the majority of the sector naturally settles in the capital city of the Region, digital technology has the ability to develop anywhere. We consider that the relevant size of development of the digital ecosystem is regional and that networking with the various regional poles (Bidart, Pau, Périgueux, Dax, etc.) is vital for the development of the sector. All the more so since the future digital transformation of traditional businesses will concern all businesses in the Aquitaine region …
Frenchweb : If you win, what would be your priority digital projects?
Virginie calmels, the deputy mayor of Bordeaux Alain Juppé: My priority project would be to transparently involve elected officials and representatives of all the regions of the Greater Region to determine a model of very high speed coverage that is fair and sustainable.
The flow is necessary, but not sufficient: it is necessary to accentuate the support of companies in connection with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the offers of private support, even if it means financing more seriously than has been done checks support for the transition. Effective policy requires making limited choices, with real content and real results.
I want to lead a serious e-tourism policy. We have to be realistic: Aquitaine’s successes are due more to the quality of players such as MOPA and staff than to the impetus of the outgoing executive. Friday June 19, ahead of the plenary session of Monday 22, the outgoing president delivered the last version of his economic vision, and in particular listed the 10 priority sectors of the Region. Not only did tourism not figure there, but it was relegated as a sub-chapter of the “silver economy”. All is said ! With quality private and public players, we should do better to develop our online presence and in particular to extend and diversify the international recruitment pool of our visitors.
As Alain Juppé’s assistant, is your vision to make Bordeaux the region’s digital powerhouse?
Alain Juppé has succeeded in making Bordeaux a growing area, through a clear policy following strong axes in terms of urban renewal, the attraction of talents and the federation of actors. The results of the outgoing Regional Council are far from being as flattering in Aquitaine.
I feel a gap, a gap between the concentration of companies in Bordeaux, the level of internationalization and globalization of some of them, and the state of chronic underinvestment in digital technology which characterizes the rest of the Region, except for a few bright spots on the map. It is the entire Region that must benefit from a long-term digital policy, the key words of which are, I repeat, fair coverage in Very High Speed, support for businesses in our territories, e-tourism in particular.
My grade : Mr. Alain Rousset: insufficient. Ms. Virginie Calmels: very insufficient.
“My observation is that, on the fundamentals, right and left are more or less in agreement. Both have integrated the need for digital transformation. Broadband is a priority for them. They are right to put it forward, but it is a basis, and not an end, as all elected officials seem to think! Broadband coverage is the béaba! There is a lack of lucidity.
For the rest, Calmels and Rousset nevertheless remain on the basics. Both have absolutely not taken the measure of the need for digital transformation and its inevitability. They are not really appropriate on this subject: we are far from considering what a region should do to transform itself into digital. It is dusting.
Then, I am surprised to read Alain Rousset evoking the project of a Singularity University. Before talking about it, he’d better make our work-study task easier. In digital, one of the essential points is training. However, the regions prevent us from benefiting from it by refusing us funding for our Bac + 5 profiles. In another region, for example, we received a letter from a region president asking us to donate our apprenticeship tax to a training chamber for… florists!
Finally, how do we concretely modernize public life? How do we redesign all the administrative processes in the region through digital technology? Both believe that they are giving us pleasure by talking about “development of the sector”. It is off the mark. Generally speaking, they are not at the stakes level. For both it is: “can do better”.