All posts by Econocom

Véronique Torner: “Open source is the reactor core of digital transformation”

Econocom 20 Dec 2017

With over 300 specialist companies, France is currently the European open source leader. The market has enjoyed uninterrupted growth since it emerged 10 years ago, and is permeating more and more areas of IT. Now a central component of companies’ digital transformation, open source isn’t just a flash in the pan. So what are the future challenges in this field? During the Open Source Summit, which took place in Paris on 6 & 7 December 2017, we spoke to Véronique Torner, co-founder and co-chair of Alter Way, an Econocom satellite and one of France’s leading open source players with elven years of expertise under its belt.


What is the role of open source today?

In just a decade, open source software has firmly established itself in the IT landscape. Ten years ago, open source was considered quite exotic: we were sort of the “alter-globalists of the IT world”, whereas now, open source is central to digital transformation. All the technological innovations that boost digital transformation in companies, such as the cloud, are now driven by open source. It’s the reactor core of digital transformation!

We’re also now seeing the last bastions of resistance in the private sector – such as banking – starting to crumble. Just a few years ago, companies like Société Générale were very much against open source, whereas now they’ve embraced it: they’re deploying an open banking strategy, hiring lots of open source talents, and are sponsors of the Open Source Summit!

That said, open source hasn’t conquered every field of IT: whilst it’s dominating infrastructure and SMACS (Social, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud & Security) and is making good headway in databases, it hasn’t yet made an impact in desktops or applications such as ERP. But that could change: who knows, maybe open source ERP solutions will be the norm in a few years!


15% growth, 1,000 jobs created in the industry last year. Do you think growth will continue at this rate or is it just a passing fad?

It’s not a fad: open source is here to stay, and is part of a rationale of standards and controlling the IT system: interoperability, transparency and collaboration are the main strengths of open source solutions, which is ideally suited to companies’ IT challenges. Where issues of digital ethics are concerned, with artificial intelligence, algorithms, blockchain and IoT, the advantages of open source, i.e. the fact that the code can be changed, can help restore users’ trust.

In 2017, a number of companies adopted an “open source first” strategy, with an increasing focus on co-building approaches.

A real change in mindset is underway: companies are switching from being users to being contributors.

Lastly, the open movement is not restricted to technology and has spurred a number of other movements such as open data, open access, open law, open democracy, etc.


How do you see the future of open source?

We’ve just published a survey in partnership with Syntec numérique and the CNLL (the French National Council of Open Source Software, Ed), which represents all the countries’ companies in the sector, on growth in the open source market. Whilst the IT sector as a whole is set to increase by 3.6% in 2018, open source is predicted to rise at a CAGR of 8% until 2020.

More signifiacnatly, France is the European champion of open source, with a 23% market share: the French open source market is worth €4.5 billion, ahead of the UK (€4.2 billion) and Germany (€4.1 billion). Open source accounts for 9.9% of the IT market in France, compared with 6.5 % in the UK. And that’s not going to change much by 2020.

One last indicator of solid growth: 45% of respondent companies spent more than 15% of their R&D budget on deploying open source solutions. And 4,000 people will be hired in the sector every year until 2020!

Find out more about Alter Way: visit the website (French)

Shaping the school of the future with Hub School 21!

Econocom 22 Nov 2017

Breaking down barriers between generations, places and time: that’s the aim of Hub School 21, a new type of school based on digital technologies, which opened its doors at the beginning of the 2017 academic year on the premises of Magic Makers in Vincennes, on the outskirts of Paris. With eleven pupils aged 8-11 enrolled and modular classrooms where children can sit wherever they like, the school offers active teaching activities which focus on the children’s enjoyment. We found out more about this project that aims to “designing the school of the future.”


Hub School 21 is the brain-child of Fanny Peissik, who’s been a teacher for 17 years and is particularly interested in the impact of digital on teaching methods – she organised the very first “twittclasses” back in 2014.


I realised that social media were a major medium for learning methods, to complement traditional tools. They can be used to promote and share meaningful collaborative projects,” says this digital education pioneer.


The idea behind this new education concept, explains Peissik, was to “reinvent education in the 21st century by deploying a new teaching and management model.” Hub School 21 addresses a dual objective: “To show that it’s possible today to stem the growing tide of disengagement and enable students to rise to the challenges of today’s and tomorrow’s world.





In order to do this, the school uses active teaching methods and develops soft skills: children learn at their own pace, through a personalised programme and with teachers who are “facilitators.” The twelve members of the teaching team come from a variety of backgrounds: the French state education system, non-profits and the business world. “Each pupil has a sponsor from the corporate world, so they’re in touch with the industry and the world of work and can benefit from a variety of talents,” explains Peissik.


This teaching method is beneficial at every level: both teachers and pupils are happy: “They can’t wait to come back to school the next day, and that’s really gratifying!


As for digital, it’s everywhere in this next-generation school: the class has its own Twitter account, Instagram page, Facebook page Facebook, Google Drive account and a YouTube chain, which is rare for schoolchildren of that age.






At Hub School 21, the national curriculum is adjusted to suit the children’s pace and there’s a great deal of emphasis on collaborative projects conducted all year-long. This means the class can cover all the disciplines in a concrete context, get pupils motivated and develop their creativity.


For example, staff and pupils made, edited and provided the sound for a 90-second film on the subject of fraternity, using a smartphone and tablets, for a competition run by YouTube, #TMTF, “Toi-Même Tu Filmes” (“film yourself”). The classroom also conducted interviews with parents, pupils, and the experts who sponsored the project, and which will be broadcast throughout the year on the Hub School 21 YouTube channel.


These projects also clearly show that digital “is intuitively part of children’s lives,” as Fanny Peissik puts it. “But I still think it’s very important that they understand the right digital uses: how tools work, how to code, etc.,” she goes on.


Parents are also involved in school life: they have meals at school, join in certain activities and training courses, all of which helps break down the generation barriers and increase parents’ trust in the Hub School team. Digital also facilitates communication with parents and there are weekly morning coffee meetings.





It’s therefore all the more fitting that Hub School 21 is based on the premises of Magic Makers, which offers creative programming classes for 6-15-year-olds. By learning how to programme and create their own games, children can understand what goes on behind the scenes: so there are obvious links between the two activities – beyond just sharing physical space. As Claude Terosier, founder of Magic Makers explains:


It also makes sense because we advocate using digital in teaching and learning code as part of a holistic, inter-disciplinary approach.


Another thing the two establishments have in common: a certain agility in the way they develop their respective activities, which is why they came up with the idea to co-habit. “This agility,” explains Fanny Peissik, “is really something I want to keep because it allows us to implement projects, to constantly adapt and experiment, under the benevolent eye of the state education system.” So is Hub School 21 spearheading the education revolution? Let’s hope so.

How to ensure a successful enterprise mobility project

Econocom 26 Oct 2017

An enterprise mobility project requires a great deal of investment, both personal and financial. From applications to subscriptions and managing devices and security, Econocom offers companies a tailored offering to suit all types of projects. We took a looked at a four-step process which was presented at the 2017 Mobility for Business expo in Paris.



Where enterprise mobility is concerned, Econocom aims to support companies with the digital transformation of their business, by offering them the right technology in the right place at the right time. But it’s not so much the technology but the way employees use it that’s important for the Group.


This is why Econocom always focuses on users’ needs first when building mobility projects with companies. From open source application development to subscription-based solutions, find out how to facilitate mobility deployments with four experts from the Econocom Galaxy:


  • Enrique Lopez, Technical Director DMS NORCOD, Digital Dimension
  • Charles Gresset, Managing Director, DMS NORCOD, Digital Dimension
  • Nicolas Raison, Technical and Innovation Director at Digital Dimension
  • Sébastien Fosset, Digital Transformation Specialist at Econocom


To find out also how Econocom has made mobility the central focus of its new premises in Plessis-Robinson, click here.

Econocom’s guide to a greener digital workplace

Econocom 18 Oct 2017

Digital can now be used to assist companies with both their digital transformation and their energy transition, via monitoring and power management systems, and solutions for measuring energy usage. Apart from green tips and tricks, there is a host of tools and best practices that can help you make your digital workplace more environmentally-friendly. We looked into it in detail with Manon Petit, CSR Manager at Econocom, and Sylvain Huguet, Green IT consultant for the Group.


Can digitalisation be an accelerator for energy transition? “Sustainable development came before digital, but digital can be a major driver in this area,” says Sylvain Huguet.


Very often, the two come hand in hand. “The organisations who come to us are thinking about both digitalisation and energy savings projects, because they’re becoming increasingly mature in environmental matters,” says Manon Petit.

But how do you put theory into practice? By getting everyone involved, says Manon Petit:


Environmental issues affect all the departments in a company, but the Facilities and IT departments are particularly concerned with how these affect the workspace.





Let’s look first at simple things which are easy to put in place, and help reduce energy bills and limit an organisation’s carbon footprint. Manon Petit and Sylvain Huguet recommend the following three:


  • Use instant messaging rather than email
  • To improve everyday communication, quality of life and mobility for staff, use collaborative tools or the company’s internal social network
  • Use energy-efficient equipment and eco-design software and applications.


And these simple gestures have a surprisingly significant impact: environmental agency ADEME points out that a 1 MB email generates 15 g of CO2, although the carbon footprint of email can vary depending on the size of the attachments and the number of recipients. For example, sending 33 1 MB e-mails to two recipients a day generates 180 kg of CO2 a year – the equivalent of driving more than 1,000 km!





There’s more to energy transition in the digital workplace than a few tips: it involves transforming the workplace, the impact on staff and their working methods and organisation. This three-step process involves:


  • Connected buildings
  • Implementing resources and tools to ensure that everything complies with environmental standards
  • Transforming the workplace itself, which should be designed to encourage interaction between employees.


As our experts stress, these measures have to come from senior management and be coordinated by the CSR department, liaising with the various business lines, as they will be instrumental in ensuring that the company fulfils its sustainable development commitments: each business line should be in charge of implementing the aspects of CSR that are specific to them.


Sylvain Huguet has therefore come up with some simple guidelines for managers looking to develop a sustainable workplace:

  • Be aware of the reality of the usage of resources in your workplace
  • Implement tools to measure and audit energy spends accurately
  • Devise an action plan accordingly: replace traditional lighting with LED, the air condition system with a less energy-intensive solution, use energy-efficient workstations, etc.


Our slogan is ‘go green…now!’ and that’s also the message we want to get across to companies,” concludes Sylvain Huguet. So when are you going to effect the energy transition in your organisation?

Quiz: users, are you up to scratch with IT security?

Econocom 13 Oct 2017

Ransomwares, DDoS attacks, phishing: cyber-threats are growing and no one is safe anymore, from major groups to individuals. But how can you protect yourself from an attack? What are the golden rules? While the annual Assises de la sécurité (IT security conference) is being held in Monaco), why not test your IT security knowledge?

As Guillaume Poupard, Director of the ANSSI (Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information, France’s National Cybersecurity Agency), and Mounir Majhoubi, French Secretary of State for Digital, stressed at the beginning of October to launch National Cybersecurity Month, there’s no such thing as absolute security. To prevent cyber-threats, there are some basic security guidelines. So how good are you at applying them? To find out, do our IT security quiz!

Three tips on how to build a #DigitalWorkplace from Econocom

Econocom 15 Sep 2017

Econocom is transforming its workspaces. This involves helping employees learn new uses, practices and working methods. Which areas should you focus on? What advice should you give? Here are some valuable tips…





That’s the key to a successful digitalisation. A perfect example of this is Econocom’s new premises in Plessis-Robinson, where almost 500 employees moved to in July 2016 and where mobility is the watchword.

Basically, fixed PCs and landlines are out, the virtual office is in. Thanks to the cloud, employees can access their working environment, wherever they are. They all have Skype headsets and the building offers full Wi-Fi coverage.

The premises also feature video-conferencing rooms, and a Digital Bar, where employees can get help when they have an IT problem and attend workshops to learn how to use new tools.





There’s no point digitalising for the sake of digitalising: the processes implemented have to address employees’ needs. After all, beyond its technological aspect, digital transformation is about people.

To get everyone on board, you have to be able to question yourself, learn from your mistakes and move on. If people can’t get the hang of a tool, don’t try and force it on them, that will only undermine their confidence and motivation.

You’d do better to try out another tool, or change your approach – for example, live demos, mini-discovery workshops or training sessions in small groups. The important thing is that no one gets left behind!



our motto? “we care”


It’s not enough to roll out tools: for staff to get the hang of them and appropriate them, you have to support and help them and detect any problems.

Because building an effective digital workplace that employees embrace requires a little employee care.  This is particularly important given that 45% of companies say their digital transformation is hindered  by employees’ resistance to change!

The next step will be providing all staff with these technologies: Econocom employs over 10,000 people worldwide, all of whom will be moving into the age of the digital workplace!

Back to school – and connected: five uses that are revolutionising the classroom!

Econocom 8 Sep 2017

As students and teachers go back to school, we take a look at five digital uses that are revolutionising schools and the way classes are taught. From digital working environments to digital roll calls and the flipped classroom, check out our guide to connected schools!
Learning methods, workspaces, the teacher-student relationship: digital has revolutionised the education sector and revamped the traditional classroom. Place your cursor on the photos and click on the black circles to find out about five new uses introduced by the advent of digital in education!

Check out our round table at #VivaTech again with teaching and education experts on the theme: “How EdTech is transforming teaching” (in French).


Julien Cohen-Solal – Co-Founder of Kartable

Véronique Blanc – Director of the CERPEP

Loïc Tournedouet – Director of Digital Strategy for Afpa

Benjamin Six – Director of the K-Lab, ESSEC Business School

Sophie Hirat – Education Market Director for Econocom


And find out about Econocom’s vision of the future of education with this Op-Ed by Véronique di Benedetto, VP of Econocom France (in French).

Digitalising the customer experience: 3 tips

Econocom 27 Jul 2017

Consumers’ expectations of physical points of sales are changing, and the banking sector is no exception: clients are demanding more and more services, and increasingly shunning brick & mortar stores. One way to bring them back in is by offering a more seamless, personalised experience. But how do you do this? Here are three essential tips for running this type of project.


Banking group Crédit Agricole’s Ile-de-France network asked Econocom to address a major challenge: turn its 277 branches into ACTIVE branches, a new concept of connected bank with a totally new customer experience, featuring digital solutions to match new uses. These include information kiosks to guide customers and make their waiting time more pleasant, workstations that allow customer advisors to share their monitor with customers and ensure easier communication, and tablets to reduce paper consumption, with electronic signatures. In June 2017 this major project won a bronze Popaï Award in the connected retail category. So what lessons can be learned from this digitalisation project? We found out more from Clémence Gourbat, Digital Retail Pre-Sales Engineer for Econocom.




Don’t fall into the trap of thinking about refurbishing and redesigning the point of sale first, without taking into account the digital aspect. The two elements are inseparable, says Clémence Gourbat:


“The worst situation is when a client comes to us and says they’ve opened an amazing shop and they want to make it digital. It doesn’t work like that: you can’t just add a screen at the last minute to a brand-new retail outlet that hasn’t been designed for digital.”


In other words, digitalisation isn’t something to be taken lightly and you shouldn’t deploy technology just because it looks good. The other essential question is to think carefully about the purpose of the functionalities and content deployed. For example, a monitor in the branch window can be used to display regular content, whilst self-service tablets enable customers to use mortgage calculators or find out more about the bank’s services.

Crédit Agricole Ile-de-France started with a blank canvas,” says Clémence Gourbat. “We worked with the firm of architects they chose, and the idea was really to avoid just tacking on tools to the existing infrastructure but building up a seamless, consistent experience from A to Z.”





The project should be totally built around users’ needs. In order to complete an effective, successful project, you should constantly be asking yourself: what’s that for?

You should focus on uses,” says Gourbat. “With Crédit Agricole Ile-de-France, we had a major challenge, which was to facilitate interaction and communication between customers and advisors. So we set up a series of meetings to think about the customer experience: when do you welcome customers? How do you get them to wait? When, where and how are you going to communicate? And after they leave the premises, how do you continue the relationship? That’s how we identified the right tools to deploy. For example, to address the first need we’d identified, so they don’t get lost when they walk into the bank, we provided touch screens so the customer can type in their name and we’ll send them a message saying we’ve let their advisor know they’ve arrived and in the meantime they can wait in the central area of the bank.




If you’re assisted by an expert that can run the project from start to finish, you’ll save time:


The advantage of having a single point of contact who can help you from the initial scoping phase right through to deployment, including maintenance, is that they handle everything: you don’t have to worry about a thing,” says Gourbat. “If there’s any problem, whether it’s to do with applications or hardware, you know who to go to. It’s also important to ensure consistency of the overall project: if you’re working with a digital agency to create the content, another provider for the hardware and yet another for maintenance, when do these three companies communicate with each other? With a single point of contact, communication is easier, it’s more reassuring and you save time!


Whether it’s a customer at a point of sale, an employee in the corporate world, a patient in the healthcare sector, or a student in education – we always focus on the end-user experience,” concludes Clémence Gourbat. This comprehensive expertise can address the new challenges of digital transformation and create a bespoke experience, using well thought-out, optimised digital tools.


> Also on our blog: Retailers: 3 tips for getting the best out of your data

Retailers: 3 tips for getting the best out of your data!

Econocom 20 Jul 2017

These days, data is an invaluable source of knowledge for retailers. So how can they leverage it to increase their revenue? Gregor Maciak, Director of Innovative Digital Solutions for Econocom’s Digital Application Services business unit, has three tips for being au fait with consumer habits.


The sales, beginning of the school year and Christmas are the three key periods for retailers, with the sales alone accounting for 20 to 30% of their revenue. To make sure they don’t miss out on these opportunities, retailers can’t leave anything to chance.


And yet many of them are still wondering if it’s worthwhile using Big Data. As Gregor Maciak puts it: “You realise how useful big data can be in this industry once you hear customers walking away.”

But you have to know how to use this data: here’s how…




In the vast majority of cases, before going to a point of sales, a customer will find out about it. These days that means going online, on social media, and being on the lookout for opportunities,” explains Maciak. These signs of interest from customers are important for retailers as they provide “hot” data – i.e.  information that needs to be accessed quickly and is used by a company for quick decision-making. “By crossing hot data with cold data – favourite product, loyalty, sales, stock, average basket value, conversion rate, etc. – you can build adaptive strategies that match customers’ digital practices and then respond quickly to grab their attention,” Maciak adds.


For example: if a customer wants to buy a new computer or a pair of shoes, they’ll typically go online to make sure their visit to the brick-and-mortar store is productive. The website then gathers vital data on the consumer’s path-to-purchase, the products they’re interested in and those they’re likely to buy. This data allows them to draw up a digital profile of customers, their tastes and interests, and thus build strategies to attract customers and lure them into the brick-and-mortar stores, for example with coupons or customised offers.


In other words, big data offers retailers empirical information to help them understand and explain shoppers’ typical behaviour. Whilst retailers’ strategy is based on behaviour patterns they’ve observed, big data goes one step further: as Gregor Maciak puts it: “If you can explain a behaviour pattern, you can predict it – and that’s the real big data revolution.”




“Whilst big data is deemed intrusive, customers tend not to object to data being collected about them if it means they’ll get some special service out of it,” says Maciak. “So the quest for the Holy Grail involves building smart digital scenarios for a given segment of customers: you can constantly improve your hyper-knowledge of consumers and build up a 360° profile of your clientele that will enable you to continue to hone your strategyBig data also allows you to optimise the number of sales staff at a retail outlet to cope with exogenous events such as weather or traffic. For whilst 70% of sales in shops in town centres are made during good weather, the figure is much lower for shopping malls –  except of course during very bad weather! In this case, people tend to go for online special offers or invitations to in-store events when the weather is better.”


Using data for specific purposes and situations can thus allow retailers to order the right products, in the right quantities and sizes, and optimise their mark-up. This will consequently not only mean there’ll be fewer products that are hard to shift during the sales, but will also affect their future collections: “With in-store cameras that analyse the expression on customers’ faces, we can predict customer behaviour and have a better idea of whether or not a product will be successful, and with which type of customer,” says Gregor Maciak.




If you don’t break into data, you won’t be able to keep pace with market changes,” warns Maciak. “Big data analytics allows you to gain a thorough understanding of all the exploitable data so you can implement a digital marketing strategy that matches customers’ actual needs and desires. It also means you can adjust both the resources used at the points of sales and your inventory strategy, which will allow you to negotiate more shrewdly with suppliers,” says Econocom’s retail expert.


Of course, all this is geared towards boosting performance: “Retailers who were early adopters of big data have increased their revenue,” says Maciak. “Plus, it’s easier for them to expand internationally. It’s safe to predict that retailers who don’t adopt big data probably won’t be around in ten years.”


So to sum up: retailers, don’t underestimate the power of data! As well as being crucial for the longevity of your business, exploiting your data will ensure you’re in tune with customers’ uses.


> Further reading: check out our article on how Zara uses data. Find out how the high street chain uses data to help its designers, improve the customer experience and manage inventory more effectively.

VivaTech: the top 6 highlights for Econocom!

Econocom 27 Jun 2017

Showcasing one of our areas of expertise, education: that was our aim in taking part in Viva Technology, the technology fair which took place from 15-17th June 2017 in Paris. What are the key takeaway points of these three days? We looked back at the six highlights of this major event for digital makers.

The Papal Palace in Avignon as you’ve never seen it with the Histopad – with the Mayor of Avignon in attendance


“Stand there, we’re going to start.” On Thursday, the first day of the expo, the startups from our Galaxy as well as the guest ones took it in turns to present their business, say how they plan to revolutionise the education sector, and give their watchword – all in just 1 minute 30 seconds!



This was the ideal opportunity to get to know them better and hear a series of mantras, such as: “combining the intellect, the body and the heart,” “gamify your knowledge,” “learning so we can change the world,” and other inspiring insights into how education is being reinvented. See the pitches, (in French)


There was a flurry of activity and excitement at the stand of our startup, Histovery: French president Emmanuel Macron was there with popular presenter of historical TV programme Secrets d’Histoire, Stéphane Bern, to try out the Histopad, a tablet that allows you to visit museums and cultural monuments in augmented reality, such as the Conciergerie in Paris, the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley and – presented exclusively on our stand – the Papal Palace in Avignon.

Tweets from Econocom France & Véronique di Benedetto’s accounts: “President Emmanuel Macron tests the Histopad, made by our startup Histovery” “President Emmanuel Macron with a Histopad, made by our startup Histovery. We’re so proud!”

And the President, who has never hidden his passion for the history of France, was apparently quite impressed with the gadget. As Véronique di Benedetto, VP of Econocom France, said: “He immediately understood the need to bring cultural visits alive!”


Accompanied by Véronique di Benedetto, VP Econocom France, and Bruno de Sa Moreira, CEO of Histovery, the Mayor enjoyed an augmented reality experience of this jewel of French heritage.


The second day of the event focused on women in digital: Marlène Schiappa, the French Secretary of State for Gender Parity, came to meet our startup Magic Makers, as well as other guest startups founded by women.

Tweet from the Econocom France account, retweeted by Marlène Schiappa: “Marlène Schiappa meets some of our startups and partners: Kartable, Magic Makers, Leka and Born2Code”

Leka and its interactive, educational robot for children on the autism spectrum, Marbotic, which makes wooden toys that interact with educational applications inspired by the Montessori method, Kartable and its personalised learning platform, and students from IT school Ecole 42 all had a chance to chat to Marlène Schiappawho was extremely attentive and interested.


Lights, camera, action: whilst the Secretary of State was talking to entrepreneurs from our Galaxy, the other part of the Econocom stand was buzzing with excitement as our round table on how EdTech is shaking up the education world was about to start!

Tweet from the Econocom France account: “To find out everything about EdTech NOW, tune in to our round table debate on Facebook.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1… forty-five minutes of fascinating insights from our five speakers on the impact of EdTech on education, the teaching profession and even the physical classroom space.

The flipped classroom, personalisation, learning off-site, lifelong education and training were just some of the topics our five experts discussed during a lively discussion.


On Saturday morning, the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, visited our stand and met some of our partner and guest startups.

Tweet from Julie Fernandez’ account: Véronique di Benedetto presenting the EdTech startups to Anne Hidalgo at Econocom’s stand at VivaTech.

The Mayor thus had the opportunity to check out Marbotic, Leka and attend a creative programming workshop run by Magic Makers: a boon for the woman behind ParisCode, a major scheme launched by the City of Paris to provide coding training.

These three intense days at VivaTech could be summed up by our mantra for the event: “We love digital education!” If you want to hear more, see the highlights of Econocom at Viva Technology here.

Learning to learn at any age with EdTech!

Econocom 13 Jun 2017

As a major player of the digital transformation of organisations, we are fully committed to the education of the future! So what can EdTech offer students and teachers? And how can we help schools embrace this revolution? These are just some of the questions we asked Sophie Hirat, Education Market Director for the Group.


For years Econocom has been contributing to the digital transformation of schools and education: what changes have you noticed over the years?


Sophie Hirat: The most radical and obvious change is the mobile, individualised nature of equipment. Until now, schools had IT rooms, with a fleet of desktop computers that were shared. With the individualisation of workstations, digital has become a natural, logical, everyday part of learning, and with mobility, the possibilities of where and when you can learn are infinitely broader.


Aside from teachers’ and students’ equipment, more and more education communities are thinking of the kind of working environment that can accommodate these transformations. Shouldn’t we have bigger, modular spaces that can allow for different working configurations? How can you incorporate a fab_lab or innov lab  into a school environment? These are the kind of questions schools will be asking themselves more and more in the future.


Aside from hardware, software has also become more diverse and modern: in addition to the software, there is now interactive multimedia content, service platforms to help teachers design and implement teaching projects and offer students a range of activities. Digital is also ideal for collaborative, interdisciplinary activities: there are more exchanges among students, between students and teachers and among teachers, which leads to greater engagement all round.


Another example, in the field of higher education and vocational training, is e-learning. These remote learning methods and tools have been around for a while but have been recently reinvented thanks to digital features. Some of these new platforms are no longer just for teachers: any employee can become a teacher. And now there’s gamification with badge-based reward systems to motivate learners: they’re light years away from the dull online lessons of the past! Although they do require a certain investment, they are also both popular and effective.


The key advantage of digital for learning is that it gets the learner to act: it’s a modern, effective way of teaching, in line with current uses and needs. Because the best way to learn and remember things is by being actively involved.



How do teachers respond to digital? How does it change the way the way they teach?


There are basically three types of teachers: adventurers: those who embrace technology full-on and invent new methods, like the flipped classroom; followers, who adopt digital once they become aware of the benefits of what the adventurers are doing; and the detractors.


We hear a lot about digital natives, but it’s not always the youngest teachers who are the most digitally-savvy!  The problem is that teachers’ initial training doesn’t include digital at every level: creating resources and learning activities, updating instructional design, assessing and running the class are just some examples. So it’s usually the more experienced teachers who introduce digital into their teaching once they’ve got the measure of the class.



One thing I’m absolutely sure of is that it’s not so much the technology itself that matters but the way you use it.

Teachers typically go through several phases of digital adoption for teaching: most start by doing a digital version of their traditional lesson, then, as they learn more about the features and possibilities specific to digital, they start experimenting with more disruptive methods that they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. They really leverage the specific strengths of digital.


What about pupils and parents? How is digital revolutionising their attitude to school?


For students and teachers, the main advantages are a personalised approach to learning and empowering the student, thanks to adaptive learning. Not everyone learns at the same pace; not everyone responds to the same visual or auditory messages.


Also, over the next few years, artificial intelligence and big data will improve these methods by offering more detailed insights into students’ difficulties and thus offer them a more personalised learning experience. The aim is that students will learn more, understand better, and can create collaborate and share, and can bounce back from failure and go on to succeed!


Parents, meanwhile, are enthusiastic about the idea, but still have some concerns, particularly about Wi-Fi and security. We can reassure them on these points: we only offer certified technologies and e only use them for the right purpose. One of the things they appreciate is the digital school interface, which allows them to communicate with teachers and admin staff more easily, so they feel more involved in what’s going on at school, better informed, and thus more actively part of their children’s education. They’re very committed.

eHealth: changing patients’ lives with five technologies (that already exist)!

Econocom 23 May 2017

What’s the best way to address patients’ needs? Technology already offers a number of solutions but which are not yet widely-used. Here are five issues that we know can be addressed by technologies, explained by Frédéric Mocellin, Business Development Manager Digital HealthCare at Econocom, and Ludovic Jaquet, Chairman of Cineolia, the Group’s specialist in providing digital services to improve patient comfort.





These days it’s still up to the patient to coordinate the information to do with their medical record,” explains Frédéric Mocellin. Whereas blockchain, thanks to its architecture that can be used to store information securely and transparently, could centralise this information.


Thus blockchain could replace electronic health records, which is difficult to implement, due to “interoperability issues between the IT systems of the various doctors who need to consult the records,” says Ludovic Jaquet.





Until now the patient experience has mainly been focused on treatment, rather than patient comfort. With digital, patients can have more control over their care,” says Frédéric Mocellin. “Now, patients are becoming more empowered and demanding, they expect more services from their hospital.” Certain services are starting to be developed in France, such as combined Internet and telephone access provided by Cineolia or the 42-TV channel package, which makes them feel at home and enables them to stay in touch with their loved ones.


The next step will involve helping patients having “regular contact with their friends and family,” says Ludovic Jaquet. A few initiatives are already being developed. “Social media and ‘family portals’ are the latest services to appear in hospitals,” says Mocellin. These totally secure networks allow families and friends to share photos, videos and messages of support with the patient.





Two technologies can help empower patients. Telemedicine saves time for both patient and doctor, particularly where check-ups or consultations are concerned. But it’s also “a solution for ‘medical deserts,’” adds Ludovic Jaquet.


The other technology that can improve patients’ autonomy is the Internet of Things: quantified self apps that can alert patients and doctors in the event of a problem, based on information collected. “There’s even a connected pill that sends the user’s body temperature to their smartphone In real time and, if they allow it, to their doctor’s,” says Jaquet.


This has been tried and tested by the players of Nantes football club and French astronaut Thomas Pesquet! “This pill could result in shorter hospital stays, as it monitors the patient’s condition, just like a doctor does. If there’s a problem, the medical team is notified and can call the patient back in for some additional tests if necessary,” explains the Chairman of Cineolia.





Virtual reality can also offer solutions to help patients cope with their condition more easily. “Games will be used to improve patients’ wellbeing,” says Frédéric Mocellin.


This technology is already being used to help patients suffering from neurological disorders and autistic children.


These technologies have been deployed in a number of countries, and some French startups are also starting to innovate in this area, such as L’Effet Papillon, whose solution Bliss offers psychological and spiritual support for cancer patients.





In this respect, robotics can prove invaluable, as Frédéric Mocellin explains: “Certain gerontology departments and care homes have been experimenting with companion robots, which can help elderly people with memory issues.”


Similar experiments have been conducted with cancer patients, using telepresence robots to help relieve their loneliness when in isolation rooms.


These technologies are being deployed very gradually, but we’ll be seeing more and more of them,” says Frédéric Mocellin. “But the most important thing isn’t the solution itself but the way we use it to address the patient’s needs.”


And that is precisely Econocom’s philosophy: from audit to deployment, thanks to its galaxy that has been carefully built to address a wide range of issues, the Group offers tailored solutions to match users’ needs!