Key Takeaways

Key Takeaways From Viva Technology 2017

Artificial intelligence, French tech’s forward march and robotics took center stage at Viva Technology, a technology conference in Paris June 15–17 organized by Les Echos and Publicis.

  • A major theme was that artificial intelligence looks set to transform cities and virtually every industry. Lots of sessions were devoted to AI, start-up Heuritech, which has developed an AI-powered virtual assistant capable of spotting the latest fashion trends, won LVMH’s first Innovation Award and Cisco and Valeo unveiled a cyber valet service which enables driverless cars to park themselves in intelligent parking lots.
  • France’s ambition to be a major global tech hub was on full display. La French Tech was out in full force and during a speech at the conference President Emmanuel Macron announced moves to make it easier to build and exit a company: A visa is being introduced to welcome tech talent to France and Bpifrance is going to manage a new $11.2 billion public fund to invest in startups across the board. The country has plenty of startups but Macron said it needs to start building more unicorns, tech companies worth more than $1 billion. The president also encouraged the organizers of Viva Technology, which attracted 66,000 people this year, to get even larger and become Europe’s version of the Consumer Electronics Show.
  • The evolving role of robots in business and society was also a major focus. Macron was photographed communicating with several on the conference floor (he even shook hands with one of them) and on stage there was a spotlight on cobotics, the teaming of human operators and machines in order to make complex parts of the assembly process faster, easier and safer.

About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.