Feyzin, 16 October 2015 – At a special ceremony organised at the INSA Lyon engineering school on October 15, SPIE Sud-Est named the winners of its first Supplier Innovations Challenge contest. This event was attended by the school’s business relations director, Alexis Méténier, the school’s assistant director in charge of innovation, Hugues Benoit-Cattin, and SPIE Sud-Est’s Managing Director, Emmanuel Martin. Companies ranging from big groups to SMEs, including SPIE Sud-Est suppliers and non-suppliers, had been invited to submit innovative projects or services in various fields of key importance for the future of customers of this regional multi-technical services subsidiary of the SPIE group.
For this first edition of the contest, SPIE Sud-Est had asked its partner suppliers and other companies with a reputation for innovation to present innovations providing real added value to the work of its or end users’ employees.
In all, 85 took up the challenge and 150 innovations were put forward. Those innovations vied for a total of 10 awards in five categories: safety, environmental impact, easy utilisation, innovative technological breakthrough and economic impact. In each case, a distinction was drawn between SMEs (with between 10 and 250 employees and annual revenues not exceeding €50 million) and big corporate groups (with more than 250 employees and annual revenues of more than €50 million). In addition to these 10 awards, a special prize was awarded directly by people attending the ceremony.
Light protection for employees using the Internet: major innovations
A number of remarkable innovations among the award-winning entries attracted the attention of guests at the ceremony including, in particular, the broadband "LiFi" system from developed by Lucibel which harnesses light to make Internet connections. Offering a real alternative to WiFi, this technology also provides much better bandwidth and security.
In the same field, the Radio Frequency Systems company presented its new telephone antenna model. Having noted that most existing telephone antennas are an eyesore on the landscape, this company designed a completely transparent device. This could open up the way for antennas to be erected in new locations, including urban areas, business districts and transport environments (such as airports).
In an altogether different field, CATU focused on safety by designing a new type of helmet with a retractable visor for workers. During work on electrical installations, there is a risk of arc flashes, or flashovers, occurring. These can release a considerable amount of energy which can cause severe burns if workers are not properly protected. Aware that this safety equipment can also be inconvenient for workers, CATU designed a hard hat with a retractable visor and fitted with a patented protective fabric cover for the neck.
"Although SPIE has been running an annual in-house innovation competition for some years to reward employees for designing the best products or processes, there was no such award scheme for our suppliers," says Stéphane RUEL, Purchasing Director at SPIE Sud-Est. "That failing has now been rectified thanks to this first ‘innovation challenge’ which fully involves our suppliers in SPIE’s strategy to promote progress and innovation and so keep our customers even more satisfied."