1. The main challenges of the VHB (Very High Bandwidth technologies)
In France, internet access through VHB (THD in french) via optical fiber should reach more than 5 millions users by 2012, and this growth should start taking on the market share of ADSL as soon as 2010 (Lemonde.fr). These telecommunication technologies of FFTx type (direct connection between subscribers) represent a very high economic stake linked to the development of new digital services and multimedia contents which heavily rely on very fast communication networks, simultaneous use, very fast reactivity, which in turn favor interactive platforms.
The main challenges lie within the development of the area of general public services (B2G), of 2D and 3D cartographic services through virtual globes, of persistent virtual universes, multi-players online videogames (MMOG), high-definition video on demand (VOD), training and formation at distance, digital workplaces and environments, medical services at distance (hospitalization at home, medical imagery, etc.) ; and in the area of professional services (B2C), HD video conference, telepresence and collaborative environments, info-management of computer resources, the externalization and sharing of contents and projects (ASP).
2. The cluster of VHB resources
The Cluster of resources is at the heart of the VHB platform, it is an infrastructure meant to support small and medium-sized business within an economic logic (test and development of projects at a prototype-phase) and strategic watch regarding the business of the digital contents and services (network proposals and the multimedia VHB services of tomorrow)
The technical resources of the Cluster:
- an experimental technical set : research, innovation and production of new kind of digital contents;
- a technical and operational set : a datacenter to host services and contents.
The scientific resources and its expertise:
- a plan to closely support experimental projects developed by the companies themselves;
- a close watch on the evolution of uses and the evaluation of practices;
- an observatory, both present and prospective, on technological, socioeconomic and sociocultural aspects.
3. A privileged panel of full-scale experimentations for the analysis of practices
Co-ordinated by the competitiveness center Cap Digital, and benefiting for the cluster of resources of the support of the university Paris XIII and the GET, the VHB experimental platform is directed toward all the industrial actors of the area of digital contents and services in the Ile-de-France, as well as the companies of the Creation industry, one of the nine high-priority industries of the Region.
For the first time in France, it aims at the constitution of a system of technical and marketing incubation of the projects, to speed up the prototyping process and the industrialization of innovating on-line services. The company selected through project submissions will benefit during the time of experimentation (an average 6 months) to a full access to the VHB platform (cluster of resources and panel of users), and a co-funding of the projects via our partnership with Oséo Innovation.
The regional platform of VHB experimentations has two priorities :
- to help the constitution of industrial projects for contents and services through the VHB network, through full-scale experimentations and the evaluation of those practices;
- to capitalize the observations of those uses within the framework of experimentations on VHB networks, in order to constitute an Observatory on digital services, contents and practices in the Ile-de-France.
This experimentation program is set for two years (second semester 2008-2010), to offer a panel of analysis of practices highlighted in the THD Culture Magazine, and more than thirty projects on VHB contents and services will be tested, upon a large and various panel of users : private individuals, companies, students and teachers within the Ile-de-France. This panel of 5000 potential users is dispatched through several sites in the Ile-de-France, all connected through optical fiber (FTTx), with complementary characteristics : residential areas (collective and individual housing), areas hosting business and economic activities, mixed areas, schools and universities ; as well as very different locations : urban areas, peri-urban areas, underprivileged areas and urban renewal areas.
The first package of experimental projects selected within the VHB platform is composed of more than ten very different projects : from « Technical solutions for educational services » (Orange), to « Remedial courses at home » (Maxicours), « High-speed transfer of voluminous files » (E-pli), « 3D virtual immersion » (VirtualDive), « MMOG Videogames » (Chugulu Game), « 3D Videogame Portal » (Metaboli), « Annotation and enrichment of contents » (IRI/Pompidou Center, Sony CSL, Univers Ciné). The platform’s size enables the hosting, on a 2 years period, of 30 experimental projects, upheld by companies from the Ile-de-france.