Things I learned (tech stuff)

I’ve recently been translating a guide aimed at tech professionals who want to set up their startup in the south of France, in a region which is turning into France’s very own Silicon Valley. In the process, I learned a lot about what industries are thriving there, what the economy is based on, and what cities like Nice are providing for these tech entrepreneurs. So here are some new terms I learned along the way…

Embedded software (“logiciels enfouis/embarqués“) is computer software, written to control machines or devices that are not typically thought of as computers, and that generally interact directly with the external environment. Manufacturers ‘build in’ embedded software in the electronics of cars, telephones, modems, robots, appliances, toys, security systems, pacemakers, televisions and set-top boxes, and digital watches, for example.

Firmware (usually also referred to as “firmware” in French, but also known as micrologiciel/microcode/logiciel interne/microprogramme) is sometimes used interchangeably with embedded software, although firmware can also be applied to code on a computer, on top of which the OS runs, whereas embedded software is typically the only software on the device in question. The term “firmware” plays with the idea of an intermediary state between “software” and “hardware”. Nice play on words…

Trust-based technologies (“technologies de la confiance”) cover the payment, identification and digital security sectors.

NFC stands for Near Field Communication (“la communication en champ proche” (CCP)), which is a technology used in contactless payment. NFC is a set of communication protocols that enable two electronic devices to establish communication by bringing them within 4 cm (1.57 in) of each other. In 2010 Nice launched the “Nice City of contactless mobile” project, providing inhabitants with NFC mobile phones and bank cards, and a “bouquet of services” covering transportation, tourism and student services.

FinTech (also used in French) is a portmanteau for “financial technology” that describes an emerging financial services sector in the 21st century, composed of companies that use new technology and innovation to leverage available resources in order to compete in the marketplace of traditional financial institutions.