2016-2022: the construction of a very high-speed network

In 2016, Axione was awarded a contract by the Syndicat Mixte Sarthois d’Aménagement Numérique to design and build a very high-speed fiber optic network with 82,000 outlets and a volume of 202 pooling points. In 2019, Axione will be awarded a 30-year public service delegation contract with Sartel THD for the rollout of the rest of the department (outside the AMII zone) with 274 additional sharing points.

Over a period of six years, our teams have installed 216,000 fiber optic connections. Two months ahead of schedule, we are proud to have contributed to the digital development of the Sarthe region. This project has been awarded the TopSite Innovation label and demonstrates our environmental and social commitments

Rémi Carrière – Concession Manager Sartel THD

Key project figures :

66 optical connection nodes
476 mutualization points
17,000 km of optical cable
6 years of deployment
216,000 outlets
More than 80,000 customers in service

2019-2049: a 30-year contract to serve the people of Sarthe

The completion of this rollout is a key step in a 30-year project for Axione and Sartel THD. Our teams will be responsible for operating the networks and integrating new digital services.

We are facing new objectives with the construction of a local Datacenter to serve local authorities during 2023 and the deployment of a very low bandwidth LoRa network to support new uses using the Internet of Things.

Over a period of four years, Axione’s teams have connected almost 90,000 outlets to the broadband network in the Charente. With the handover of the last pooling point on Tuesday 18 October, this marks the end of the work in this area.

In 2018, Axione was awarded a contract by the Syndicat Mixte, Charente Numérique to design and build FTTH network infrastructure on three lots.

Key project figures :

– 21 optical connection nodes
-191 mutualization points 
-191 transports 
-23 collection links

-50 Axione employees

Developing territories to serve local authorities:

Since 2003, Axione has been deploying and operating fibre networks in rural areas. Every day, our local agencies ensure the smooth operation of fibre projects throughout France.

Artificial intelligence, otherwise known as AI, is “a discipline aiming to make a machine imitate human cognitive abilities”*. To build and operate digital networks, for several months Axione’s technicians and its operator partners have been using an artificial intelligence tool to connect subscribers to street cabinets.

This innovative solution aims to connect street cabinets… thereby ensuring the durability of digital infrastructures in the regions! So why did we use this solution? How does it work? What are the impacts for users? The answer in 3 points:

#1: Improving efficiency and operational performance

Our mandate is to monitor the quality of connections made in street cabinets in the regions by commercial operators. Using multiple contractors in these different stages leads to technical malfunctions (overcrowding, crossing of fibre optic cables) which impair the quality of the network (network disruption).

The artificial intelligence tool allows technicians to report in real time on the connections made in a street cabinet using photos taken live on the platform. 📱 This solution then identifies potential anomalies by analysing various parameters that it has been told to recognise. It used to take our analysts 10 days to check 4,000 photos, now we do it in seconds! This saves time and allows workers to solve the problem on the spot. In the past, without this tool, Axione’s Operations Department was unable to monitor all street cabinets. We are making the telecoms sector more professional through improved reliability and performance.

#2: Ensuring the long-term operation of digital infrastructure

Progress can already be seen! In just a few months, more than 4,400 street cabinets have already been checked. The AI checks on our street cabinets cover several types of defect :

  • Twisted wires
  • Unconnected wires
  • Loose distribution trays
  • Cleanliness of the street cabinet (liner on the floor)

AI’s contribution is therefore not confined to the defect detection phase. Indeed, our AI-based work can also recognise wire colours, which allows us to identify and inform Commercial Operators of faults for which they are responsible, and to request that they be corrected through action on site.

AI also allows us to check the quality of photos sent by Commercial Operators and their subcontractors. On the basis of photo quality, we can detect :

  • The presence of duplicate photos
  • Photos that do not show the required components ( street cabinet and optical connection point)
  • Poor photo resolution

Futhermore, similar technology could be applied to radio infrastructure (high points) deployed for mobile connectivity, such as masts and antennas, or to other parts of the infrastructure network, such as fibre optic boxes on masts closest to the subscriber.

#3: Providing users with access to a quality network

This technology guarantees a lasting and optimal distribution of the network in the regions. The network is a shared resource for all stakeholders in a region. Protecting the network by operating it with a view to its longevity guarantees reliable very high-speed internet. This will enable users to benefit from a wide range of digital home and business services (e.g. teleworking, access to streaming platforms, remote healthcare), whether they are in the city or in the countryside !

Source* : Conseil de l’Europe ( https://www.coe.int/ )
Examples of checks carried out:

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INTERVIEW

Laurent Pabiot, Mayor of Sancerre 

Sancerre was recently voted France’s favourite village. Was any special organisation required during the works so as not to impact the influx of tourists? 

There was close management, particularly with respect to the monitoring and application of traffic regulations.  

Sancerre is a medieval town with narrow streets, making it impossible to both carry out work and provide access. The main routes lead to the town centre and if they are closed, some residents / shopkeepers may be left completely isolated. The local police monitored the work to ensure that it was well coordinated with the summer season. Tourist flows were only marginally affected. 

How do residents feel about the arrival of very high-speed broadband? 

They have embraced it. The town has a lot of teleworkers, especially from the Paris region. This connection therefore allows them to reconcile work with their second home.  

Companies are also the most vocal about the need for connection: currently, both individuals and businesses frequently struggle with the copper network, which tends to make daily connections unstable. 

What will the arrival of Very High Speed Broadband mean for a village like Sancerre? 

The arrival of HSBB will increase the appeal of the area for new inhabitants/workers. At a time when competition between regions can be fierce in relation to large cities, this kind of asset is a definite advantage.  

Two surveys carried out in 2021 show this very clearly:  

  • The “Living Standards Barometer”, conducted by OpinionWay, showed that 47% of respondents would hasten their plans to move if they were able to telework.  
  • “The French view of small towns”, conducted jointly by the ANCT and the association of small towns in France, shows that the main barriers to settling in a small town are difficulties in travelling, access to health services and connectivity.  

Patrick Barnier, Chairman of Berry Numérique 

To what extent do you think that very high speed broadband promotes a vibrant economy in the regions? 

For some years now, companies of all sizes as well as individuals have been calling for very high speed broadband. The ability of an area to offer varied and high quality broadband services is indispensable to support the development and transformation of our companies and to attract new businesses and/or teleworkers. 

Is the deployment of fibre optics throughout the region really helping to open it up and to make it more attractive economically? 

Fibreoptic is the most efficient and lasting connectivity solution. It is therefore essential that the technology is able to reach 100% of our rural areas so as not to hamper their future development.  

Given the expected phasing out of the copper telephone network announced by Orange between 2025 and 2030, this universal fibre rollout is a crucial fairness issue. 

How does a public initiative network differ from other fibre deployment projects? 

Our public initiative network has several beneficial features for the region:  

A detailed and binding contractual arrangement governing the work of our private partner Berry Fibre Optique, which is in charge of operating and maintaining the network; 

A neutral and activated network with a very wide choice of commercial offers, provided by 10 consumer Internet service providers and several dozen professional service operators; 

An ability to innovate and evolve led by local elected officials. 

Laurent Roussat, Manager of Berry Fibre Optique: 

How will the Berry Fibre Optic project enhance the appeal of the area? 

Very high speed broadband is essential to the daily life of Berry’s people, businesses and local authorities: the Berry Fibre Optique project is part of this process connects over 40,000 Berry residents to the fibreoptic network. 

Very high speed internet access for all is now a reality, enhancing Berry’s appeal and therefore its influence. 

InfraNum’s latest report shows that fibreoptic deployment stepped up a gear last year. What are your main challenges in the coming years? 

There are three main areas of focus in the coming years: 

  • Bringing Very High Speed Broadband to 100% of Berry’s public initiative area 
  • Meeting the growing need for speed and service 
  • Ensuring the durability and development of the network 

What does competition between operators mean for the region? 

Competition brings vitality and innovation to the region. The network accommodates all the operators in the area equally, enabling citizens (individuals, companies or local authorities) to benefit from a wide range of services suited to all needs to foster economic development and ensure a “good life” in Berry. 

At the end of February the EUNICE storm swept across the northern third of France. Axione’s maintenance teams had to react swiftly to repair the damage and restore connections to thousands of homes.

Storm leaves thousands without internet :

Storm Eunice was brief but blew very hard, causing many power cuts across the northwestern part of France.

Axione’s teams in these areas (Nord and Pas-de-Calais, Seine Maritime) worked intensively throughout the weekend to secure the affected sites and restore the network.

Weekend summarised in figures:

  • 72 Optical Nodes [1](ON) affected
  • 7 NOs lost power completely with an average 3 hours of loss of service affecting 11,000 subscribers
  • 6 safety actions carried out on torn cables
  • 3 Generators to support the NOs
  • 387 network damage incidents recorded (these reports come from the subscribers declaring the network damage on the website of their DSP)
  • 20 staff working throughout the weekend

As the week begins, it is time for a follow-up on the crisis.

Network and SAV damages are still being reported every day. Axione’s teams are currently focusing on resolving the incidents and restoring the broadband network in all affected areas.

Bravo to Axione’s teams, who once again demonstrated their commitment, responsiveness and network expertise.


[1] In a fibre-optic network, the optical node is the place, i.e. a technical room, where the lines of a district or town’s subscribers converge. 

Occasionally, nature challenges Axione’s teams! In November, Axione Corsica’s technical staff installed a 30-metre radio tower for Free Mobile in the heart of an area of outstanding natural beauty, on the Col de Bavella. Insight into a special operation to provide mobile connection in white areas.

Challenge accepted! Our employees once again helped with the “New Deal” scheme to roll out radio infrastructure to cover a number of white areas that lack connectivity*, particularly in Corsica. They were commissioned by Free Mobile and the Corsican local authorities to install a 30-metre high mobile radio tower by helicopter, to provide a 3G and 4G connection in a very isolated forest and mountain area (col de Bavella) at an altitude of 1,200 metres.

The tower was designed by the various stakeholders and their supplier to blend in with the landscape through the use of dark colours and stone cladding around the tower. The aim was not to spoil the site.

« We would like to thank our partners and all those involved in this project (subcontractors, transport companies), without whom this would not have been possible» says Nicolas Bellini, Head of Axione’s production operations in Corsica.

Residents, hikers, holidaymakers and professionals now have access to high-performance, multi-operator mobile communications. Access to the mobile network also means that rescue workers can be quickly notified of any problems. The area is therefore safe and hiking enthusiasts can feel reassured!

Did you know?

In July 2021, a temporary 24-metre tower was set up to connect the region during the summer period, which is often busy for tourism in this area. The work was initially to be carried out by helicopter. However, other options had to be considered for technical and organisational reasons. The tower was therefore carried up in pieces to the highest point and then assembled on site. The teams showed how adaptable they could be, offering an alternative technical solution that suited the specific features of the environment.

What is the New Deal project?

New Deal is a large-scale project developed and operated jointly by the government and the various national operators to cover unconnected areas, otherwise known as “white zones”, with 4G. Operators such as Bouygues Telecom, Orange, SFR and Free have therefore pledged to roll out network coverage in these areas within the next five years.

We would like to thank all those involved in the project for their efforts.

other article

AXIONE PROVIDES THE RADIO COVER FOR A SITE CALLED THE ‘WHITE ZONE’ FOR FREE MOBILE IN HAUTE-CORSE

Press release

Over 100,000 subscribers on the Aisne Fibre Optic Public Initiative Network !

THE AISNE AT VERY HIGH SPEED

Five years after the first districts were commercially connected to fibre optics, the Aisne Public Initiative Network, known as RAISO and supported by the Union des Secteurs d’Energiedu Département de l’Aisne (USEDA), has passed the 100,000thsubscriber milestone. This step shows the success of the project initiated by the Council for the Aisne region and assigned to USEDA for execution. It has established the new fibre optic telecommunications network, thereby meeting current and future digital needs. For 30 years, USEDA has delegated the marketing to Access Providers, as well as the operation and the maintenance of the network to Aisne THD.

Financed by Europe (FEDER), the State, the Hauts-de-France Region, the Council for the Aisne region, USEDA and its member local authorities, and Aisne THD, in which the Banque des Territoires is a shareholder, this project represents more than €300m of public investment. It will provide fibre optic access to 210,000 points (757 districts) by December 2022. It aims to provide very high-speed broadband coverage throughout the Aisne region, supplementing the areas covered by private operators.

RAISO PROJECT IN ITS FINAL ROLL-OUT PHASE

Work on the deployment of the Aisne region’s HSBB network (RAISO) began in January 2016.
74,000 connections were installed by Aisne THD. USEDA is currently finalising 136,000 further connections.
To date, more than 202,600 addresses (out of the 210,000 targeted) have been connected and made available to commercial operators who can offer their services on fibre, i.e. more than 96% of the connections in the public initiative network, in 705 districts.

This new network is already used by 55.12% of the people of Aix-en-Provence covered by the project. This is the highest rate for a public initiative network in France.

KEY DATES:

2015-2018: 70,000 connections installed by Aisne THD, i.e. 33.3% of the public area;
May 2019: 122,000 connections (58%);
May 2020: 165,000 connections (78.5%);
December 2021: The milestone of 100,000 subscribers on the network has been reached.
January 2022: The milestone of 200,000 subscribers on the network is reached.

MARKETING:


In compliance with national regulatory requirements, RAISO is open to all Internet service providers. Each of them is free to define its market strategy.

So far, twelve operators are offering fibre optic services to the community through RAISO.
These are: Bouygues, Coriolis, Free, iBloo, K-net, Nordnet, Orange, Ozone, SFR, Telwan, Vidéofutur and WeAcces.Zone fibrée

FIBRE ZONE:


304 districts already recognised as “fibre-optic zones” by ARCEP.

The legal status of “fibre-optic zone” aims to identify those regions where the very high speed fibre-optic network is fully deployed and operational and therefore ready for a mass migration from the copper network to fibre.

This highlights USEDA’s commitment to the development and appeal of rural areas.


About USEDA

The “Union des Secteurs d’Energie du Département de l’Aisne” (USEDA) is a mixed open association made up of 792 districts, inter-district groups and city authorities, together with the Conseil Départemental de l’Aisne (regional council), with a population of around 531,623.
It organises public electricity and gas supply. As such, it undertakes major works on the electricity, public lighting and telecommunications networks on behalf of its member districts.
Within the Aisne region, USEDA owns 7,918 km of HV lines, 51.84% of which are underground, and 5,445 km of LV lines, 46.91% of which are underground, serving 284,220 customers.

USEDA also oversees the digital development of the region (outside the private sector) and in this capacity is building the RAISO public-initiative broadband network.

In addition, the mixed open association was responsible for installing 140 public charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles throughout the Aisne department.
www.useda.fr www.raiso02.fr

About AISNE THD

In 2015, the Aisne regional authority tasked USEDA (Union des Secteurs d’Energie du Département de l’Aisne) with setting up a very high speed digital network for the Aisne region to enhance its attractiveness and vitality. The marketing, operation and maintenance of the network is handled by Aisne THD, through a Public Service Delegation.

The project consists of: financing a portion of the investment, which is also funded by Europe, the French State, the Hauts de France Region, the Aisne Département, the USEDA and its members; developing the fibre optic network (in the licensed area, USEDA has appointed SETICS for this task); rolling out part of the fibre optic network over a 6-year period (out of 210,000 connections, Aisne THD is installing 74,000 connections and USEDA 136,000); operating and maintaining the entire network until 2045; and marketing the network to Internet service providers (or operators).
www.aisne-thd.fr

About Axione

Axione is owned by Bouygues Energies & Services and Vauban Infrastructure Partners. It is a major player in the digital development of rural and urban areas. As a committed partner of the France Très Haut Débit Plan, Axione designs, builds, finances and operates fixed and mobile next-generation digital infrastructure on its own behalf and on that of local authorities and service operators. To boost competition and the diversity of uses and services, Axione operates in all regions of France (in both high and low-density areas) and offers telecoms operators broadband access services to their subscribers by sharing its digital infrastructure, which is open and accessible to all (6 million FTTH connections in France). Some 150 operators use networks run by Axione.
www.axione.com

About Banque des Territoires

Banque des Territoires was created in 2018 and is one of the five divisions of Caisse des Dépôts. It provides in-house expertise to the regions within a single entity. As a single point of entry for clients, it offers customised advisory and financing solutions for loans and investments to meet the needs of local authorities, social housing organisations, local public companies and the legal profession. It is aimed at all regions, from rural areas to major cities, seeking to tackle social inequalities and regional divides. Banque des Territoires operates in the 16 regional divisions and 37 regional offices of Caisse des Dépôts to be better identified and closer to its clients. Making the regions more appealing, inclusive, sustainable and connected.
www.banquedesterritoires.fr             @BanqueDesTerritoires

About Bouygues Energies et Services

Bouygues Construction’s Energy & Services division is a major player in the digital transformation and energy transition of regions, industries and buildings, and is a key source of growth for Bouygues Construction. With over 21,000 staff, most of the Energy & Services division’s operations are in Germany, Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy and Switzerland, while it also works for its customers in Africa, Asia and Oceania. The development of regions, industries and the service sector depend on the ability to ensure an optimal flow of energy, data, services and people. This is why Bouygues Energies & Services designs, builds and operates solutions to generate, distribute and use the energy of the future, while supporting the digitalisation and development of innovative services for local residents, industry and service users. The Energy & Services division represents a third of Bouygues Construction’s business.
www.bouygues-es.com

About Vauban

Vauban Infrastructure Partners is a leading infrastructure asset management company specialising in investments in European Core infrastructure assets. Based in Paris with a subsidiary in Luxembourg, the team is made up of 50 professionals who have been working together for over a decade. Vauban IP is an affiliate of Natixis Investment Managers, specialising in sustainable equity investments. Vauban Infrastructure Partners focuses on investments in European brownfield assets, providing long-term profitability in keeping with their underlying nature, and on sustainable value creation in the interests of all stakeholders. Vauban Infrastructure Partners manages nearly €6bn mainly in 5 Core infrastructure funds on behalf of more than 70 investors in 15 different countries. It has invested in more than 60 assets in the transport, energy services, social and digital infrastructure sectors in 11 different countries.
www.vauban-ip.com


#1 REPORT ON IMPACT

The Cap Fibre project is a typical example of efficient digital infrastructures, opening up access to digital technology while taking into consideration the societal and environmental challenges of their ecosystem.

DEPLOYMENT OF OPTICAL FIBRE: A FIRST CHALLENGE MET

The deployment of digital infrastructures to support the digital revolution has been a European and national priority for over ten years.

Fibre to the home has been identified as the most efficient technology for bringing very high speed broadband to the population while limiting energy consumption – if compared to copper networks – and with lower maintenance costs than alternative technologies.

Numerous technological, human and financial challenges had to be overcome to transform a strategic and political will into a reality on the ground, and enable the deployment of infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.

With the Plan France Très Haut Débit, France has put in place a legal and regulatory framework, involving both public and private players, which enables it to achieve its ambitious objective of connecting all its citizens.

The Cap Fibre project is a typical example of efficient digital infrastructure, opening up access to digital technology while taking into account the societal and environmental challenges of their ecosystem.

CAP FIBRE AN EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECTORS

The Hauts-de-France Regional Council and the Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments have decided to implement a proactive policy for the deployment of very high-speed broadband (VHS) via optical fibre in areas not covered by operators.

THE IMPACT OF THE USE OF FIBRE MUST BE CONSIDERED NOT ONLY FROM AN ECONOMIC BUT ALSO FROM A SOCIETAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL POINT OF VIEW

In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, digitalisation is seen as an essential tool and a lever for innovation, but also as potentially amplifying the social divide and increasing energy consumption. The role of the public authority and private actors is to ensure that, once deployed, connectivity will have positive long-term effects, contributing to improving the lives of citizens and the competitiveness of businesses, and supporting the fight against climate change.

These are the objectives that CAP Fibre, the Hauts-de-France Region and the Nord and Pas-de-Calais Departments have set themselves.

THE IMPACT OF THE USE OF FIBRE OPTICS MUST BE CONSIDERED NOT ONLY FROM AN ECONOMIC BUT ALSO FROM A SOCIETAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL POINT OF VIEW

The urgency of climate change has been described by a number of scientific reports and research (including the latest IPCC report). Around 70% of greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to the construction and operation of infrastructure such as buildings and transport networks. This figure cannot be ignored by public authorities, industry and investors, who are committed to playing their part in moving towards sustainable solutions. Infrastructure is defined as sustainable when it meets the needs of the population for essential services, based on principles centred on six key objectives.

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the Paris Agreement.
  • Contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy and the decarbonisation of energy supply.
  • Promote high standards of energy efficiency.
  • Be resilient and help protect against extreme weather events and natural disasters.
  • Consider climate change risks in its design, maintenance and operation.
  • Reduce vulnerability to the risks and impacts of climate change

#2 REPORT OF IMPACT

Digitalisation is an essential tool and a lever for innovation, but it can also potentially amplify the social divide.
This is why Cap Fibre, the Hauts-de-France Region, the Nord and Pas-De-Calais departments and all the stakeholders are working together to develop a transformative, inclusive and sustainable digital environment in rural areas.

HOW TO GO FURTHER IN INNOVATION ?

CAP FIBRE, THE HAUTS-DE-FRANCE REGION AND THE DEPARTMENTS OF NORD AND PAS-DE-CALAIS ARE STRENGTHENING THEIR PARTNERSHIP TO PROMOTE INNOVATION IN THE REGION AND COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE.

  • Respond to all the connectivity needs of public sites, by completing and reinforcing existing offers
  • Deploy a connected video protection solution, responding to the security concerns of the local population
  • Test data collection via connected objects

A NEW AND MORE INCLUSIVE DIGITAL AGE

200 million euros
To strengthen the presence of trained professionals in the field
<strong>40 million euros</strong>
To equip structures and places that offer or wish to develop digital support activities
<strong>10 millions euros</strong>
For the deployment of the digital tool “Aidant Connect”, which enables carers to better support people who are unable to carry out their administrative tasks alone

FOCUS ON CAP FIBRE

An example of a successful public-private partnership

150+ public meetings, 800 municipalities invited and 400,000 citizens present

241 jobs in integration created

Nearly 80,000 hours of training provided

1750 km of civil engineering works built

event

From 8 to 10 December, Axione’s teams will attend the SIMI Salon de l’immobilier d’entreprise (Paris 17tharrondissement) real estate trade fair. Axione will present its indoor mobile connectivity solutions on the Bouygues Construction Indoor Mobile Radio Coverage Lead.

To mark the event, we sat down with Indoor Radio Mobile Coverage Lead, Tamara Chany, to discuss the connectivity challenges faced by companies as well as Axione’s expertise to meet its clients’ needs. 

1- Can you tell us more about companies’ connectivity needs?

For several years now, many companies have clearly been impacted by a lack of connectivity to enable the development of digital uses within their various areas of expertise. Digital needs are fast-changing and digitalisation[OJ1]  is accelerating for companies. Drawbacks may involve the construction of infrastructure[OJ2] , which is particularly influenced by the use of specific materials and geographic location. For this reason, a building’s appeal crucially depends on a reliable, high-performance network. Not only does it boost user satisfaction, but it also increases the long-term value of a real-estate portfolio.


2 – What additional qualities does Axione bring to the table regarding radio infrastructure deployment?

Axione is a global player in the digital technology sector. The Group has recognised expertise in fibre optic and radio infrastructure with specialised coverage in rural areas and cities.

What’s more, our DNA is characterised by our ability to deliver projects through our shared skill sets across the value chain. The latter encompasses infrastructure design, installation and operation coupled with network maintenance and supervision. To this end, our local branch teams based all over France manage the real-time supervision and maintenance of our networks[OJ2] . This is to ensure continuity and quality of service for all of our clients through our Network Operating Centre (NOC) in Pau (south-west France).

We are able to provide a custom-made indoor mobile coverage solution, adapted to a building’s specific requirements.

Our indoor mobile coverage expertise is showcased through completed projects which include La Samaritaine and the Moods Building in the Greater Paris region.

3 – How do users benefit from Axione’s solutions?

Thanks to our solution, users will be able to make calls and share live content on social media  whilst using streaming platforms. And of course, our high-performance connectivity is just the icing on the cake! Our solution, which we describe as “scalable”, provides further opportunities in delivering long-term support to the digitalisation of buildings whether through energy management or security.

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AXIONE, A PARTNER IN INNOVATION AND DIGITAL PERFORMANCE