Digitalization, Innovation and Startups at VivaTech 2018

viva technology 2018 Lemberg blog

VivaTech 2018 was a blast and we are ready to share the most interesting insights from this show. This is their 3rd convention in a row founded by Publicis Groupe and Groupe Les Echos which was initially created in Paris to compete with CES in Las Vegas. VivaTech 2018 is gigantic and boasts some 100,000 visitors, 9,000 startups, 1,900 investors. All gathered under one roof to meet and talk about innovation and hottest tech trends. 

Just before VivaTech opened its doors, French President Emmanuel Macron arranged a pretty impressive rendez-vous called Tech for Good Summit. 50 CEO’s from global tech powerhouses participated in this initiative. Companies list includes IBM, Uber, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, Samsung, SAP and more. This is a great example of how governments and tech giants can become closer together to understand that legislation is good and that technology is going to have a right impact on society. 

The first two days of the show VivaTech is purely for B2B, and the last third day the event is open to the public. You could feel how enormous is this show every morning spending 20-30 minutes in huge lines just to get inside the premises of Porte de Versailles. Right after we entered VivaTech a swarm of friendly Pepper robots greeted us with a cute expression on its face. You could get a good feeling that this event is fully infused with technology because it’s just everywhere: walking robots, flying drones, VR/AR demos, virtual assistants, you name it. E-sports stage gathered some interesting startups who develop innovative ideas for all kinds of sports, from soccer to horse riding. Just outside the premises, Mobility Park offered to test the latest prototypes of self-driving cars, like the autonomous taxi by Navya.

Thousands of startups were exhibiting at 23 open innovation “labs” curated by corporate groups (AccorHotels, Airbus, Google, BNPP, La Poste, Cisco, Facebook, SoftBank Robotics, LVMH, RATP Group, SNCF, Orange, Valeo, etc.). TechCrunch had its own corner where they hosted their Startup Battlefield event with €25,000 grand prize that goes to Wingly -- a flight-sharing platform that connects pilots and passengers. Moreover TechCrunch organized a hackathon for coders and tech makers to compete for a €5,000 check.

VivaTech had a few stages the halls of which were super crowded when VIP speakers were climbing up the stage to share some insights and wisdom, they are Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (CEO, Facebook), Dara Khosrowshahi (CEO, Uber), Ginni Rometty (CEO, IBM), Eric Schmidt (Tech Advisor and Member of the Board, Alphabet), and others. The most widely discussed topic is artificial intelligence (AI) as a “defining technology” of our near future which we already witness in autonomous cars, robots, drones, smart homes, etc. Another big topic which is becoming crucial is data privacy and cybersecurity that becomes a worrisome problem along with the overwhelming adoption and proliferation of digital products. Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data scandal and GDPR in Europe are some hot examples. 

VivaTech again reminded us that this show is actively trying to glue up the business with the government to help foster innovation on all levels. For example, Élisabeth Borne, French Minister of Transport visited with each individual startup which is building their ideas and products for the transportation industry. And of course, Emmanuel Macron attended VivaTech who is well known for his industry-friendly intentions to intensify innovation in France and bring his country to a new level of future technology development.

We want to give due respect to the organizers of this cool event who covered three main aspects: wide international outreach, content & innovation and visitor’s experience. VivaTech is a very interesting example of how tech entrepreneurs and politics can mix well together. This is not just a business event but it also connects with a wider audience and welcomes young professionals, geeks, students who can touch and feel new digital products, experience new tech and celebrate innovation together. What can we say, Vive la VivaTech!

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