SPIE France invests in innovation

Published on 14 December 2021

Cergy, Tuesday 14 December 2021 - SPIE France, a subsidiary of the SPIE Group, the independent European leader in the areas of energy and communication services, has organised the award ceremony for the second edition of its Innovation Challenge, which rewards the innovations and best practices of its employees.

Supported by the Innovation Department, the initiative rewards teams that have developed solutions to enhance offerings, operating methods or interactions with customers. Out of some sixty projects, 32 have been selected to compete in the 2021 edition of the challenge, which this year includes 8 categories.

An initial selection of projects was made through a consultation with the innovation managers of each subsidiary. The evaluation criteria included the innovative nature, the added value for customers or employees, and the feasibility of the projects. The 32 finalists were then submitted to an internal vote of 19,000 employees. The winners were rewarded at an awards ceremony on 13 December.

  • In the Data Management category, which distinguishes innovations based on territorial, building or infrastructure data, the prize was awarded to the video and artificial intelligence experiment to secure level crossings conducted by SPIE CityNetworks. Developed with a partner specialising in video analytics, the spearhead of artificial intelligence for video analysis, this decision support system validates the correct operation and detects the presence of people at level crossings. Autonomous and without interaction with SNCF installations, the solution deciphers a dangerous situation thanks to AI, alerts the track managers by alarm, and enables the process to be improved.
  • In the Digital Confidence category, which brings together projects that focus on cybersecurity issues, the Industry division was awarded for its solution designed in partnership with SPIE ICS: a demonstration and training platform for cybersecurity risks in industrial networks. It is mobile and can be implemented in companies or schools, and can be used as a laboratory for auditing services and the implementation of security maintenance services by the teams at their customers' sites, by combining the skills of industrial experts and IT experts.
  • In the Energy Efficiency category, which focuses on concrete initiatives to reduce carbon impact, the winning project was the ice plug project carried out by MMC, a subsidiary of SPIE Nucléaire. This system for sealing pipes by cryogenic freezing makes it possible to isolate sections by forming an "ice plug", so that work can be carried out on the circuit concerned without having to drain certain critical circuits and thus making them completely unavailable. SPIE's expertise in acoustics and thermography ensures that the ice plug is reliably monitored while it is being maintained.
  • In the Energy Transition category, which encourages the use of low-carbon energy sources, the prize was awarded to LiFi, an alternative to WiFi provided by SPIE ICS. This technology enables data to be transmitted via visible light (infrared waves). Combined with LED lighting, LiFi is a low-energy light source with no exposure to radio frequency waves. Since LiFi does not penetrate walls, the signal cannot be hacked outside the classroom.
  • In the Ecomobility category, which highlights projects that work towards sustainable and responsible mobility, the m2i project led by SPIE CityNetworks "Building intelligent mobility in the Ile-de-France region" was awarded a prize. SPIE CityNetworks is a partner in m2i, a Europe-wide project involving 10 industrial and institutional partners. It has developed two solutions for operators of traffic light control PCs. The first solution consists of integrating data from connected vehicles into traffic light control PCs. The second solution consists of anticipating traffic congestion by using one-hour traffic prediction in the traffic light control PCs. This project makes travel smoother, and therefore less harmful.
  • In the "Copying is winning" category, which rewards employees who capitalise on the initiatives of others to go further, it was the professionalisation of the drafting of technical briefs developed by the Tertiary division that won the prize. The methodology consists of rapidly building, via a software solution, the response framework while remaining in a customised approach, and accessing the most reliable version of the content bricks frequently used (governance, performance, description of services, CSR, etc.). The project is deployed within SPIE ICS.
  • In the "Good Practices" category, which recognises good ideas that deliver on their promises, SPIE Facilities was awarded a prize for its initiative to provide a safe welcome for new arrivals through a virtual reality world. This fun, customised application allows new arrivals to move around a site or worksite that is very close to their daily environment via a web platform. New arrivals, accompanied by the expertise of QHSSE managers, can thus identify our major risks and the associated prevention measures in a more immersive and collaborative way.
  • In the User Experience category, SPIE ICS' HR chatbot won the award. For all SPIE ICS employees, CHARLIE answers most HR questions in real time, for example about leave, tools, procedures or mobility. CHARLIE is a constant learning tool that guarantees consistent answers throughout the country, while taking into account regional specificities.

"At SPIE, we believe in innovation, so we invest in! Once again this year, all of SPIE France's subsidiaries have demonstrated a high level of creativity, combining expertise, techniques and engineering. We have no hesitation in investing in innovation, which is a key differentiating factor, and we are well aware of the stakes for both our teams and our customers", says Olivier Domergue, Managing Director of SPIE France. "Each of the winners will be supported by a cash contribution, as well as by the provision of human and technical resources to facilitate the deployment of their solution. "The entrepreneurial spirit is a strong value at SPIE, and we encourage initiative-taking, collaborative work and value creation".

"This challenge rewards the commitment of teams in the field whose creativity and perseverance pave the way for our solutions and know-how of tomorrow", said Corinne Figuereo, Innovation & Transformation Director at SPIE France.