VivaTech - 'hybrid conference' offers window into French innovation

VivaTech - 'hybrid conference' offers window into French innovation
Copyright  euronews
By Jeremy Wilks

VivaTech in Paris is billed as Europe's biggest start-up and tech event. This year it's even more remarkable because it's actually taking place in person. Many exhibitors and guests have come to the French capital especially for the event and many others are also joining online.

It's known as a window into the world of French innovation and Euronews met some of the big names attending.

An in-person event

Maurice Lévy is the chairman of Publicis and one of the co-founders of VivaTech. He tells us that having the event actually take place this year is "like survival, it looks like we are living again".

Maurice Lévy, chairman of Publicis and one of the co-founders of VivaTecheuronews

"When you have spent almost two years looking at people through videos and you see that they exist in flesh, bone and blood with a smile on their face, it is really good to see that", he adds.

Luxury groups' respond to the digital age

One of the historic partners of VivaTech is the French luxury group LVMH. Its Chief Information Officer, Franck Le Moal, gave us some insight into how the pandemic has changed our relationship with technology and how that in turn has changed our relationship with luxury good.

Franck Le Moal, Chief Information Officer at LVMHeuronews

He says that "the pandemic was an incredible accelerator". In the space of a very short time, companies had to go from being presential, physical ones to becoming almost entirely digital. For some luxury companies, this was a huge change as they have a "long tradition of artisans, of handmade production, of transmission of manual skills".

Some argue that there's a conflict between the world of luxury, which is often about exclusive experiences, and the digital world, which is about reaching a maximum number of people at a lower cost.

Le Moal agrees that there has been a real debate about this, but he thinks things are changing. "Technology today will increasingly allow us to give our clients, through digital means, a personalised experience. That's what our clients are expecting. On top of that, technology will allow us to improve our websites and our apps to have something that is extremely sophisticated, something unique for our clients because that is what they're after", he explains.

Greener cars

Environmental concerns are at the top of people's minds as we emerge from this pandemic and transport plays a key role in that.

Clotilde Delbos, CEO of a new brand from Renault called Mobilize, is also attending VivaTech. She tells us what Mobilize is all about and what it's doing for the environment.

She argues that the world of transport is changing, "people are going from car ownership to car usage, and that's exactly what Mobilize wants to be able to offer".

Clotilde Delbos, CEO of Mobilize a new brand from Renaulteuronews

She tells us that's why Mobilize represents three things: offers in mobility, offers in energy services and in data services. According to her, they have put these three together because they are linked and joining these services is Mobilize's ways of favoring electric mobility.

Battery life for those using electric vehicles or those wanting to buy an electric vehicle is a big concern. There's also the question of what do we do with them at the end of their life. What happens to batteries after? What should we do with them?

Delbos explains that they now have 10 years of experience in electric mobility. This means they now have the first batteries coming back and they're finding out what they can do with them. She tells us that "their life cycle is a lot longer" than they had once thought.

Mobilize removes batteries from the cars when they don't charge fully anymore and they give them a second life "as stationary-based" batteries.

VivaTech is on at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles until Saturday the 19th of June.