From the Heartland of Engineering to the Cultural Capital of Europe
The second leg of the ER&D Hackathon & Bus Tour brings us to Paris, the undisputed capital of culture in Europe. As our Hackathon bus rolls into the city and the majestic Eiffel Tower grows in the horizon – we are humbled by the view and reminded of the importance of engineering and innovation in our lives.
Welcome to Paris: The City of Lights
Paris also called ‘la Ville Lumière’ (‘City of Lights’ in French) is the capital of France. A major European center for finance, art, fashion, diplomacy, and science since the early 17th century, the city is well known today as its role in spearheading innovation on the continent of Europe. It was also one of the first cities to be electrified – and hence the name, ‘City of Lights’.
Home to several world-famous museums and places of cultural significance, Paris represents an eclectic blend of art and engineering. After all, where else would you find a museum like the Louvre, home to the iconic Mona Lisa and other world-famous works of art, with the equally iconic glass-metal pyramid entrance, all of 666 panes? True to the Parisian ethos, the pyramid is a feat of engineering, as well as a work of art.
The bridges on the Seine deserve a special mention here, as these robust structures, besides being a functional engineering solution to a large city’s transportation requirements, are all significant pieces of artistic glory in their own right. Their importance can be understood from the fact that during war, invading armies have chosen to steer clear rather than harm these unique structures.
The city, however, is not just about its history and ties to the old world. In recent times, it has made its mark with the Stade de France, a modern football stadium capable of hosting over 80,000 spectators, and is home to Paris-Charles de Gaulle, the second-busiest airport in Europe. With the 2024 Olympics having been awarded to Paris, the growth of the city, which, in 2017, had a GDP of $808 billion, is sure to surpass current trends.
Paris continues to grow at an impressive rate and attracted about a billion dollars in technology startup investments during 2018. The city ranked third on the list of preferred European investment destinations for technology and innovation and continues to grow in strength.
Activities and Events
Our itinerary in Paris kicks off with an inauguration at 2:00 PM. We have lined up an interesting list of demonstrations and audience-driven discussions to follow after the brief ceremony.
The highlight of the day is the roundtable discussion led by Dominique Raviart, Research Director, NelsonHall, on the topic ‘Digital Manufacturing: IoT, AI and Analytics Now. Digital Twins is Next.’
The rise of digital manufacturing as a concept is driving a regrouping of use cases like connected assets, connected operations, and connected workers, against the backdrop of big data, analytics, and AI. We discuss ways and methods on how to select these offerings from the market, and what expectations you should have from the offerings that can be considered as comparatively more mature today.
Updates from the Ground
We started our day with a visit to one of our customer campuses in the quiet city of Amiens. We engaged with the customer leadership and our stakeholders at the account, demonstrated our technology showcase and had insightful discussions on possibilities for the future.
In the afternoon, we returned to Paris, and though the weather is pleasant, the forecast is that there will be showers throughout the day. What is pleasing though, is despite the forecast, we see a large number of enthusiastic participants to join us for the day’s proceedings.
Our venue for the day, the Mercure Hotel on Avenue de l'Europe, Vélizy-Villacoublay, is a short distance from the Eiffel Tower, which forms an apt background for our focus on the tenets of Digital Manufacturing. After all, this 324m tall feat of modern engineering – the tallest structure in Paris – has withstood the test of time, nature, and war since it opened 130 years ago in 1889, serving as a reminder of what human beings are capable of when they put their mind to it.
We begin the proceedings for the day with the inauguration of the bus by His Excellency Mr. Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Ambassador of India to France, and Curtis Carson, Airbus Defense and Space Holdings Inc. and then open the day demo showcase for our visitors.
The Road Ahead
For the next phase of our eight-city hackathon tour, we head to the quaint Northern Rhine-Westphalian town of Leverkusen, on the eastern bank of the mighty Rhine. Named after the country home of the renowned chemist Carl Leverkus, the city promises to be an exciting stopover before we move on to Dusseldorf, the capital of the region.
Look forward to seeing you there, as our journey makes its way to Germany, the industrial powerhouse of Europe.