Smart Objects and Social Networks Chair

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Institut Montaigne Report – Big data and the Internet of Things: making France a leader in the Digital Revolution

The revolution of Big data and connected objects creates huge value creation opportunities but also raises new questions about the protection of individual rights. In orde to strengthen confidence between stakeholders and support the development of innovative business models, the numerous stakeholders must seize opportunities and work with confidence.

Institut Montaigne logoHow to make France a leader of the digital revolution? The report published by the Montaigne Institute identifies four areas to coordinate the actions of public authorities and private actors: diffusing technological excellence in the economic fabric, ensuring confidence among stakeholders, strengthening governance and the digital influence of France, and finally responding to the new skill needs.

Link to the report: Big Data and the Internet of Things: making France a leader in the Digital Revolution

Infographic Big Data and IoT (Institut Montaigne, 2015)



  • Gilles Babinet, Digital champion, co-président du groupe de travail
  • Robert Vassoyan, Directeur général de Cisco France, co-président du groupe de travail
  • Albert Asséraf, Directeur général Stratégie, études et marketing France, JCDecaux
  • Hervé Collignon, Associé responsable du secteur télécom et technologie, AT Kearney
  • Geoffrey Delcroix, Chargé de projet Innovation et prospective, CNIL
  • Frédéric Geraud de Lescazes, Secrétaire général, Cisco France
  • Stéphane Graham-Lengrand, Chargé de recherche au CNRS et chargé d’enseignement à l’Ecole Polytechnique ;
  • Julien Munch , Haut fonctionnaire, co-rapporteur du groupe de travail
  • Julien Vincent , Manager, AT Kearney, co-rapporteur du groupe de travail


The movement that got under way in the first decade of the 21st century with the rise of the Internet and the advent of Web 2.0, featuring social networks and smartphones, has continued with the development of the Internet of things and Big Data. The next wave of Internet growth will spring from the convergence of persons, processes, data, and objects — the “Internet of Everything”.
Connected things are still often perceived as products for personal wellbeing and leisure, but they include a myriad of potential technologies, uses, and services. The multiplication of sensors entails the “digitization of reality”, and the exponential growth in the quantity of data generated is expanding the size of Big Data. The Internet of things is thus helping to double the size of the digital universe every two years, and could grow it to 44,000 billion gigaoctets in 2020 — ten times its bulk in 2013.

A major economic potential that challenges the digital transformation of firms

An unpublished economic estimate carried out by A. T. Kearney for the Montaigne Institute points out that the Internet of things linked to Big Data represents a potential for value creation estimated at 74 billion euros in 2020 (that is, 3.6% of France’s GDP), rising to 138 billion euros in 2025 (7% of GDP). To this potential, which flows from three drivers of value creation (boosted productivity, increased buying power, and monetized time savings) should be added the development of a new market for the purchase of interconnectivity hardware, a market estimated at 15 to 23 billion euros in 2020 and 2025 respectively.
The digital revolution is spreading itself everywhere, but certain sectors feel the impact more strongly than others. They include housing (with increased productivity, gains in buying power, the development in home automation), transportation (systems to assist drivers, coordination of numerous vehicles), and health care (improvement in prevention policies, the care of chronic illnesses).
One by one, each of these sectors of our economy will be overtaken by the digital wave, and some firms will face extinction if they fail to evolve. So businesses must inevitably plan how to position themselves on this new terrain, they must seek out fresh sources of competitive advantage, and then they must transform themselves in order to seize the opportunities that await them.

How to regulate data exploitation while letting the data-based economy develop?

The multiplication of sensors in the public and private space makes it possible to capture data that permit analysis of the activities, behavior, and lifestyles of individuals. The invisibility of all these sensors, however, and the partial secrecy surrounding the treatment of the data acquired, are both very harmful to trust among economic actors — the true bedrock of the digital economy.
Several practical remedies are available, including Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). These link users to applications and ensure the interoperability of different programs and platforms; they can be employed to track how the data acquired are being utilized.
More generally, the spread of Big Data and connected things raises compelling questions about privacy protection. The need to be transparent about data poses a challenge to political and regulatory authorities. They are charged with guaranteeing the rights of individuals, but also with stimulating the emergence of innovative firms whose business plans are built around the exploitation of data. To coordinate data usage, competitiveness, and technology, the public authorities could promote a supple legislative framework that would meet the current need for security and transparency among actors.

Four sets of proposals to make France a leader in the digital revolution

It is therefore indispensable that, as the utilization of Big Data and connected things advances, thought be given to the impact on society, and on the manner in which individuals, the State, and firms, agree collectively to drive our societies forward. In this arena France enjoys many assets, including a network of creative startups and large-scale industry leaders, as well as internationally acknowledged know-how in the areas of science and technology.

Big Data and the Internet of things lie at the heart of a new digital era, in which public authorities, firms, and individuals must confidently grasp the complete range of economic and social opportunities on offer. France, within the European framework, is in a position to play a leading role, provided that private actors and public authorities pursue a course of action that is deliberate, balanced, and coordinated.

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