CMN is involved in the ecological transition

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By Anne Thiriet

The Center of National Monuments (CMN) has a total of 100 monuments across France and nearly 9 million visitors a year. Since 2018, the public institution has launched a “Heritage Incubator” to experiment with innovative solutions and ideas. This year, it has chosen to promote five winners invested in the issues of global warming, energy prudence, green space management and soft mobility.

“Promoting the sector”

Abla Benmiloud-Faucher, head of the “strategy, perspective and digital” mission, recalls the objectives of the incubator: “one of the first challenges of the incubator is to identify innovations, the second for our agents to work with start-ups. The third is to encourage sector, because we are the main heritage player in France, more broadly in culture and tourism, and one of the main players internationally”. With the new promotion, the Center des monuments nationalaux aims to accelerate the ecological transition of the cultural heritage and tourism sectors. A big issue.

To find these candidates, CMN has decided to create a partnership with Ecolab, a structure that federates “green technology” and depends on the Ministry of Ecological Transition. “We could not call for projects because we had almost no applications for the ecological transition. We are not a known actor for start-ups in this sector, notes the head of the mission. We contacted about sixty of them. Those selected by the selection committee have been around for an average of four or five years.”

Low consumption and green hydrogen

For Rémi Large, joining the incubator is part of the new orientation of the Tamanoir design studio in Paris. “For 5 years, we’ve been creating immersive experiences by combining new technologies, especially virtual reality, and live performance to bring stories to life,” says the co-founder. Over time, and especially during lockdown, we wanted to make more minimalist experiences, without the latest technology, with a form of digital sobriety. Managers discover sound immersion. “This immersion is of the same intensity or even much stronger than what we could have in our experiences in virtual reality, while consuming much less. We use technology that dates back twenty years, with helmets serving as sensors and receivers,” explains Rémi Large.

“We need to be exemplary and experiment with solutions that allow us to be more virtuous in terms of digital prudence”

During the one-year incubation, the studio will work with historical experts and create an experience around a place, perhaps a castle. “The objective with the incubator is to work on the carbon footprint of the project and be able to compare it with our previous achievements. For us, it is also the opportunity to tell stories within the big story and become known in France, where we have less visibility than abroad”, he adds.

One of the other winners, ZenT, has started designing 100% renewable energy data centers. Created in 2018, its first center is integrated within a third cultural site which works with the festival outside Avignon. “It is powered by 100% renewable energy thanks to the solar panels installed on the roof. The hydrogen is produced on site by photovoltaic energy with electrolysis and is stored during the period when renewable resources are no longer sufficient”, says founder Jérôme David.

As part of its incubation, the start-up will evaluate the impacts of a digital augmented reality service used when visiting a museum. “It is our data center that will host this digital service and that will be able to measure and provide environmental indicators in this type of equipment”, specifies the manager. For the Center des Monuments Nationaux, which promotes innovation, measuring the impact of digital services has become a real challenge. “In July, we were declared the winner of the call for projects “Digitization of heritage and architecture” by the General Secretariat for Investments as part of the 4th future investment program”, says Abla Benmiloud – Mow. For its CMN Digital program, the public institution will carry out major digitizations of buildings and work to explore new mediation experiences, in particular in virtual reality. “We must be exemplary and experiment with solutions that allow us to be more virtuous in terms of digital prudence”, notes the head of the mission.

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