The significant involvement of telecommunications, digital image and audiovisual industries in Brittany and the Pays de la Loire means that these regions are the natural home for convergence between new image and network technologies.
The recent history of Brittany is rich in progress that has made a major difference in the invention or development of worldwide standards: ATM, MP3, JPEG, OFDM, Turbo codes, MPEG4, to name but a few. Digital TV and DTTV standards are also two of the territory's fields of excellence. This technological excellence can be explained by the combined presence of industrial groups with major R&D components, a very dense fabric of innovative small and medium sized businesses and a very active public research sector. The development of complementary specialities in the Pays de la Loire is strengthening this dynamic, for example, with software engineering in Nantes and virtual reality in Laval.
The strong presence of the sector's major industrial companies
Initiated by France Télécom in 1960, the movement which saw major French and foreign industrial groups set up their research and development centres in Brittany has been strengthened over time. Alcatel-Lucent, Canon, Mitsubishi, Technicolor and Thales have all based their international technical skills here. France Télécom's Orange Labs is the third largest R&D centre in the world for the telecoms sector, while Technicolor is the world number 1 in image technologies.
A unique ecosystem
At the moment, the Pays de la Loire and Brittany regions employ 100 000 people in the ICT sector. The businesses in Images & Réseaux's sector as a whole represent over 40 000 jobs in Brittany and the Pays de la Loire.
As the second-largest region in terms of ICT jobs in France with a major concentration in Rennes, Nantes, Brest and Lannion, western France is boosted by the presence of industrial companies and SME who have set up their main worldwide R&D centres in the region, along with research organisations, universities and major engineering colleges. These actors with international reputations have created some major innovations. The skills of image, telecoms and network technologies have always gone hand in hand: since the creation of the Internet, this convergence has been a major competitive advantage.