Sector of Excellence: Smart Tech

Smart Tech: the future by the Sud region!

AI, IoT, VR, data centers, cybersecurity… technologies created and developed in the Sud region are being used for better living and are driving growth in fields such as mobility, smart cities, and entertainment.

Objective: To make our local communities a global reference for quality of life and to position the region as a champion of the Tech for Good* approach by using innovation to help shape a better world.

Awarded the “European Entrepreneurial Region” prize in March 2021, the Sud region is showcasing its innovation strategy and fulfilling its goal of becoming the #1 smart region in Europe.

The smart region model includes support services and acceleration tools provided by the Region Sud to benefit the Smart Tech sector and its stakeholders.

*To have a Tech for Good approach means to be concerned with the social impact of innovation, to embrace its capacity to serve people, and to use it to meet the global challenges facing our societies.
page smart tech11
page smart tech8
page smart tech9

The sector in a few key numbers

The regional technology sector has a cross-disciplinary impact that enriches the other sectors of excellence in the regional economy.

$14 billion
in turnover in the region

22 000
tech companies

55 000
direct jobs

Mediterranean region
for data centers

French region
for new patents

Sophia Antipolis
#1 technology park
for IT in Europe

more than 1500
public-sector researchers

The chemical sector has deep connections to the tech sector in our region:

companies in the chemical sector

more than 28 000
jobs in the chemical sector

Innovations in the Smart Tech sector

The competitiveness clusters and hubs operating in the Sud region’s Smart Tech sector feature world-renowned expertise and are key motors for growth and innovation. Thanks to their networks in the region, across France, and around the world, they will be able to assist you with your project and ensure it meets all its goals.

They will be able to offer you support and shared resources at all stages of your projects, from R&D to marketing, so you can:

  • reduce your investment in equipment
  • access shared resources
  • test new products / solutions

Secured Communicating Solutions (SCS) is Europe’s leading cluster for microelectronics, the Internet of Things, digital security, artificial intelligence, and Big Data technologies. The competitiveness cluster brings together an ecosystem of more than 320 industrial stakeholders, including leading corporations, SMEs, start-ups, research centers, laboratories, and universities.

Secured Communicating Solutions


Capenergies is a competitiveness cluster focused on developing and deploying energy systems that can provide concrete alternatives to fossil fuels. Capenergies works in a range of energy domains: energy demand management, solar, wind, hydraulic, marine & geothermal energies, biomass & bioenergies, hydrogen & energy storage, coupling & integration of energy systems, nuclear fission, and nuclear fusion.


The Optitec competitiveness cluster is dedicated to deep tech in photonics and imaging. This cluster leads an ecosystem of 220 stakeholders, including manufacturers, research institutions, and training organizations. Its ambition is to promote and support breakthrough innovations that create economic growth and jobs.



The SAFE (Security and Aerospace actors for the Future of Earth) competitiveness cluster brings together stakeholders in the security, risk management, space, and aerospace sectors. The core activity of the SAFE cluster is to conceive and create innovative solutions for the security of people and the protection of the environment. The cluster’s goal is to become the top European network for security solutions.

Safe Cluster

The Eurobiomed competitiveness cluster is accelerating development and innovation in the health sector, from fundamental research to market entry, to benefit patients and the economy in the South of France.



The Aqua-Valley cluster contributes to the economic development of the regional water sector to meet the territory’s health, social, economic, and environmental challenges. The cluster also works to support companies’ growth and job creation.


Logo Aqua Valley

The Medinsoft cluster supports companies in the Sud region as they undergo their digital transformation. The cluster aims to implement useful and concrete initiatives to help companies in the region, such as economic monitoring, comprehension of new technologies and/or regulations, and networking between start-ups, SMEs, major corporations, and public authorities.

Medinsoft – Cluster

Telecom Valley is the leading network of companies dedicated to digital activities on the Côte d’Azur. Its operations extend from St Raphaël to Monaco, with core activities in Nice and Sophia Antipolis. The association is at the heart of the French Tech Côte d’Azur ecosystem.

Telecom Valley


French Tech is the national initiative to promote French innovation internationally, and the French Tech label is awarded to metro territories that are recognized for their quality start-up ecosystems. The label can also be used by innovative French companies in their communication and marketing. The French Tech network gives a strong, shared visual identity to French start-ups and encourages exchanges and cooperation. The Sud region is home to four official French Tech networks.

frenchtech aix marseille 2
frenchtech region sud

Novachim supports individual businesses and the broader ecosystem in the chemistry and materials sector to boost overall economic development. The cluster also fosters innovation by promoting connections between the industry and academic research. Novachim is a network that brings together more than 190 companies and nearly 50 research teams.


The diverse range of stakeholders involved in the Smart Tech strategic sector are contributing to the emergence of large-scale projects across the region. Examples of some of the emblematic pilot projects in the Smart Tech sector:

page vivre travailler blocetudiants2 copie 1

The CCTI international smart territories center is a joint project that brings together local governments, the Université Côte d’Azur, and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Its objective is to promote innovation and enhance the value of research by proposing a new economic model based on data. At a concrete level, the project should help communities in their digital transition, improve the quality of life of inhabitants, and increase the sustainability of the territory.

Project duration: 10 years (completion 2027)

The Demoiselle project tests self-driving public transport in rural and remote areas. The aim is to propose an innovative mobility solution that is adapted to specific territories and respects the environment while testing its adoption and sustainability, both in terms of public acceptance and economic viability.

page smart tech15
page smart tech16

The Monitoring Urbain Environnemental (MUE) project involves the deployment of an experimental network of nearly 3000 sensors and network elements on a 160-hectare territory south of the Plaine du Var (Nice). Environmental data is being gathered (air quality, noise, water and energy, waste management, etc.) and processed to test some 20 new services for residents, businesses, and local authorities.

The Monitoring Urbain Environnemental (MUE)

Smart Technopole Marseille Provence H2020 is a smart city/smart grid development operation at the heart of the Château-Gombert Technopole site in Marseille. It involves developing public spaces and creating an energy-efficient real estate offer while providing a showcase for skills and expertise developed by on-site laboratories and tech start-ups. There is also a range of innovative services for employees and companies (mobility, new urban uses, etc.).

page smart tech17

ADAVEC is an innovation project based in Sophia-Antipolis that is developing new technologies for the autonomous and connected vehicle market to support the transition to the vehicle of tomorrow.


The iconic sites

In addition to the wealth of competitiveness clusters, hubs, and large-scale projects in the Sud region, there are other important stakeholders that foster development and innovation in the Smart Tech sector:


La Coque is the iconic digital venue for the Aix-Marseille French Tech network. The space opened in September 2017 and welcomes business and/or digital events. Located in the heart of the Euroméditerranée district, it has five spaces that can be adapted to an array of tech events, from product demonstrations to workshops to conferences.

La Coque Numérique

Marseille Innovation is the largest European business and innovation center (CEEI) in the Sud region. It has four incubators and business centers to house and support start-ups and innovative companies in their early growth phases. Marseille Innovation has always had a dual ambition: to be an accelerator for growth and a magnet for talent. More than 125 start-ups are currently housed here.

Marseille Innovation


The Sud Labs network offers support services and digital consulting in the Sud region. As part of its strategy to develop Europe’s #1 smart region, the Region Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur supports and promotes innovation and the digital transition. More than 140 fab labs, living labs, coworking spaces, and digital outreach spaces are spread across the region, giving companies, local authorities, associations, and citizens access to cutting-edge equipment (3D printers and scanners, CNC machines, laser cutters, etc.).

The Sud Labs network

The Maison du Numérique et de l’Innovation is the flagship building in Toulon’s digital technology district. With a surface area of nearly 7000m² spread over seven floors, the tech center includes teaching rooms, an amphitheater, a digital canteen (La Cantine by TVT), an MIT-accredited fab lab, coworking spaces, a start-up accelerator (L’Accélérateur by TVT), a business incubator, and support services in conjunction with TVT Innovation’s network of partners (Var Business Angels, 2C Invest, Réseau Entreprendre, Incubateur Est…).

TVT Innovation

SophiaAntipolis photo

The Sophia Antipolis tech park was launched in 1969 by French Senator Pierre Laffitte with the mission to foster cross-fertilization between researchers, academics, and industries. The site has become a world reference in innovation with 2230 companies employing 36 300 people from 63 different countries. The site is home to 4000 researchers and 5000 students.

Sophia Antipolis

In April 2019, the Côte d’Azur and Sophia Antipolis were officially designated as the home of one of France’s four Interdisciplinary Artificial Intelligence Institutes (3IA). 3IA Côte d’Azur aims to foster an innovative ecosystem that has influence at a local, national and international level, while also developing a center of excellence for research, teaching, and development related to the world of AI.


3IALogo 2

The Smart City Innovation Center (SCIC) is a technological platform that allows for the industrial-scale materialization of different key concepts and technologies for strategic activity areas. It is a place of experimentation, training, and demonstration for the Smart City of the future. This is a true center for experiments, training, and demonstrations for the smart city of the future. This technological base will serve as the foundation of a “Smart City Simulation” that will be unique in France and enriched by research, experimentation, and feedback from the Éco-Vallée de la Plaine du Var project in Nice.

Smart City Innovation Center

thecamp is a campus that fosters disruptive ideas and technologies while connecting the various stakeholders in the world of innovation (major companies, start-ups, scientists, students, etc.) to work in cross-cultural, cross-sector, and cross-generational teams. thecamp welcomes regional, national, and international talents that provide the impetus for regional smart tech ambitions while also working on the energies of the future.


thecamp photo

LIA (the Avignon computer laboratory) is a research lab composed of a team of about 75 people, including 65 research professors, who work on three main areas of research: natural language processing (both written and spoken), operations research, and networks. The LIA is part of Aix-Marseille University’s Brain and Language Research Institute (BLRI) laboratory of excellence (LABEX) and participates in the Agorantic research federation.


The Jaguar Network is a symbol of the region’s digital excellence. It has now joined the Iliad group to develop the group’s B2B offer by bringing its expertise in very high-speed network deployment, cloud platforms, and data center management.

The products and services that will be deployed will require massive investments and a new site in the form of a campus. This campus will:

  • have a training center to provide the digital skills to the 500 technicians that will be recruited from the territory
  • contribute to regional development by creating a 16 000-m2 campus as part of Marseille’s urban renewal program
  • establish the presence of a national digital leader and their services in the Sud region (Iliad)


Jaguar Network


A network of essential stakeholders in the Sud region

This map shows a selection of the organizations, projects, platforms, business parks, and institutions that are essential for the Smart Tech sector in the Sud Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

carto paca smarttech

Major companies in the Smart Tech sector

The Sud region is home to a complete research and innovation ecosystem dedicated to the Smart Tech sector

There is a diverse array of leading companies, and you can find potential partners and dedicated infrastructure among them: Amadeus, Arkema, Bertin, CMA CGM, Gemalto, HP, Ineos, IBM, Jaguar Network, Kem One, LyondellBasell, Naval Group, NXP, Orange, Sanofi, ST, Solvay, Schneider, Thales, Total…

Among the other SMEs, rising stars, and start-ups in the territories are: Anticafé, Bosch, Cisco, Huawei, Iliad, INXN, Manuvo, Traxens, Veolia, Vinci, Vulog, and many more…

Smart Tech, in their words!

“Coming to Sophia-Antipolis was an opportunity because there was already a team in place (Intel’s embedded software division). But it was a strategic choice because we chose to stay in the technology park when we could have regrouped the teams on our other sites. Being here allowed us to take advantage of the local ecosystem, including laboratories and start-ups, not to mention the region’s smart city approach. We have already established links with Eurecom, INRIA, and the Université Côte d’Azur. They are all partners that Renault Software Labs intends to develop a dialogue with, especially if we want to have interesting training programs. As for start-ups, we’ve already met with some of the rising stars in the area.”

Alexandre Corjon, President of Renault Software Labs & Vice President Alliance Global, Toulouse


“We were looking for a new location in Europe to develop our research, find the best designers, and create an environment to stimulate and develop the artistic vision of our creators. We are convinced that Sophia Antipolis is the place to be because it is at the heart of the development of cutting-edge technologies. That’s why we chose to move our design center to the region.”
Akihiro Wada, Vice President, Toyota Motor Corporation, Sophia Antipolis

“We must continue to attract other companies to Marseille, and not just in the IT sector, so that Marseille can continue to stand out from its national and international competitors.”
Rodolphe Saadé, CEO of CMA CGM, Marseille

interxion logo

“Our decision to locate in Marseille was a result of requests from our customers. The city is open to the world and is the best location for data exchange between Europe, Africa, and Asia.”
Fabrice Coquio, President of Interxion, data center, Marseille

“Participating in the Japan Business Starter program organized by the Region Sud was strategic for NAWATechnologies because many Japanese companies work in the electric vehicle sector.”
Pascal Boulanger, Founder – COO/CTO – Chairman of the Board, NAWATechnologies, Aix-en-Provence


Augustin Mallet, Co-founder of Nosoft, explains his choice to set up in the heart of the Sud region’s Smart Tech sector of excellence:

The major recurring events related to the Smart Tech sector in the Sud region

The Sud region either hosts or supports a wide range of trade shows and events to boost and develop the Smart City sector. We’ve selected three prime examples of these dynamic events:

Go Entrepreneurs is a must-attend event dedicated to entrepreneurship. It replaces the Salon des Entrepreneurs with a 100% digital version that features new formats, a more immersive and connected experience, and eight TV studios that offer live broadcasts of masterclasses, roundtables, keynotes…

Go Entrepreneurs
Dates: 9 – 10 June 2021
Location: Online


SOPHI.A SUMMIT is an international conference that presents recent advances in the field of artificial intelligence and the real-world applications for these technological breakthroughs.

SOPHI.A Summit
Dates: 17 – 19 November 2021
Location: Online

The Innovative City Convention is a meeting place and a think tank for the smart and sustainable city. This event addresses the fundamental development issues through feedback and insight from international stakeholders and experts. Speakers from the public and private sectors will share their experiences so there can be a shared transition to “smart” neighborhoods, cities, villages, metro areas, and business parks

Innovation World Cup at Innovative City in Nice
Date: TBA
Location: Nice, France


Selection of documentation about the sector

A wide variety of support documents are available to provide information and help promote this sector. We propose a selection of the most informative documents so you can discover the richness of the Smart Tech ecosystem:

img Plaquette Smart Tech

Sector Brochure

A general summary of the sector that is appropriate for any type of event. Four pages, in French and in English.

HR Guide for Sector

Multi-purpose document presenting the human resources connected to this sector. Four pages, in French and in English.


An economic overview of the Smart Tech strategic sector (key figures, business networks, major contractors and companies, main assets of the territory …). Document of more than 115 pages, in French.

img Benchmark Smart Tech


Comparison of the regional sector with other French or international regions of comparable size and/or comparable sector of activity. Document of close to 90 pages, in French.


Presentation of the Smart Tech strategic sector. Document of more than 45 pages, in French and English.

Visit Program

Listing of the major projects, clusters, and iconic sites connected to this sector. This document illustrates some of the most important places in this sector and provides you with a comprehensive overview that will give you a clearer idea of some of the region’s assets. Document of more than 30 pages, in French and English.

Innovation Podcast

Topic: 3D printing


  • Stéphane Magana, TEAM Henri-Fabre & Innovsys
  • Florent Carrasco, Ferme 3D
  • Céline Souliers, Belle de Mai incubator
  • Stéphane Malaussena, Volumic 3D

Innovation Podcast

Topic: the data highway (submarine cables, data centres, and cyber security)


  • Etienne Robert, Orange Business Services
  • Fabrice Coquio, Interxion
  • Luc d’Urso, Atempo-Wooxo
  • Olivier Chavrier, SCS