Atos and Thales have announced the creation of Athea, a joint venture that will develop a sovereign big data and artificial intelligence platform for public and private sector players in the defence, intelligence and internal state security communities. Athea will draw on the experience gained by both companies from the demonstration phase of the ARTEMIS programme, the big data platform of the French Ministry of Armed Forces. The contract to optimise and prepare the full-scale roll-out of the ARTEMIS platform was also awarded jointly to the two leaders by the French Defense Procurement Agency on April 30, 2021. The new joint venture will initially serve the French market before addressing European requirements at a later date.
With the exponential rise in the number of sources of information, and increased pressure to respond more quickly to potential issues, State agencies need to manage ever-greater volumes of heterogeneous data and accelerate the development of new AI applications where security and sovereignty are key. Athea will create a solution to securely handle sensitive data on a nationwide scale and support the implementation of that solution within government programmes. The new entity will also provide expert appraisal, consulting, training, and other services.
The joint venture will pool the companies’ investments, expertise, and experience to respond quickly and efficiently to demand innovation. Athea will work with an ecosystem of large companies, SMEs, start-ups, and research institutes specialising in big data and artificial intelligence. In conjunction with the recently created Defense Digital Agency, the joint entity will also provide secure solutions and open and modular technological building blocks, which encourage collaboration and stimulate the industrial and sovereign ecosystem, in order to support the development of trusted applications.
“This joint venture between Thales and Atos illustrates the commitment of both our companies to supporting the digital transformation of our customers by providing a secure and innovative solution based on French technology to process huge volumes of heterogeneous data. Together, we will capitalise on our respective areas of expertise to provide best-in-class big data and artificial intelligence solutions,” said Marc Darmon, Executive Vice President, Secure Communications and Information Systems, Thales.
“Sensitive data capabilities have become a sovereignty issue for State agencies. By combining the expertise of two major players in defence and digital technologies with the flexibility of a dedicated entity, Athea will generate the huge potential for innovation, and stimulate the industrial and defence ecosystem, including innovative start-ups, to meet the needs of government agencies and other stakeholders in the sector. This new joint venture between Atos and Thales is an opportunity to combine a comprehensive understanding of the defence and security issues faced by European States with access to the latest innovations in big data and artificial intelligence,” said Pierre Barnabé, SEVP, Big Data and Cybersecurity, Atos.