Viva Technology puts France at the heart of the digital world

  • TECH
  • Friday, 01 Jul 2016

Visionary figure: Levy co-founded the Viva Technology event with French daily financial newspaper Les

The first edition of Viva Technology brings together startups, investors and companies at a new technology show at Paris's Porte de Versailles exhibition centre. The show opened on Thursday, June 30, and runs until Saturday, July 2, with big-name guests including Eric Schmidt (former Google CEO, and currently executive chairman of Alphabet Inc), John Chambers (Cisco) and Jay Carney (Amazon).

The event's cofounder, Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO, Maurice Lévy, explains how this new event came about and what it hopes to achieve.

What was the impetus for organising this kind of event in Paris?

We wanted to create an event on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Publicis Groupe. The event's co-organisers, Les Echos [Ed. a daily French financial newspaper], also had something in mind. We came to an agreement to create this event together. France is the major absentee when it comes to international technology shows. Yet the digital world is transforming our way of life, transforming our professions and shaping our future. To boost the dynamism of startup founders and the prestige of all the major players, France needed something that would place it at the heart of the digital world with major global names involved.

How will Viva Technology stand out from other major high-tech events like CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, USA, and IFA in Berlin, Germany, for example?

Viva Technology is unique in its genre, not only because it takes place in Paris – which is the most beautiful city in the world – but also, and above all, because it brings three events together under one roof. There will be areas for collaboration between big corporate names and startups, with over 1,000 startups working on challenges set by big groups, it will be like a mini CES with a host of innovations on show, and finally, there will be major debates with experts and the top leaders in the industry. This all takes place over 40,000sq m of floor space and is accompanied by a host of activities to discover. This type of event, generally reserved for professionals, is open to the general public on Saturday.

Will Viva Technology develop a closer relationship with the general public (it's only open to the public for one day this year)?

Definitely! The digital transformation affects big companies as much as citizens, who don't necessarily work in the sector. If the event proves successful, we will extend the innovation field to the public -- future geniuses of the digital world might be hiding out there somewhere.

Which of the innovations expected this year do you personally find most fascinating?

I have tried Oculus's virtual reality system, which is truly impressive. I also have a soft spot for Google's driverless car. Hundreds of other gems will be on show at Viva Technology, such as innovative drones, the Sony PlayStation virtual reality headset, and many other gadgets that everyone can come and discover on Saturday. 

Viva Technology Paris runs June 30 to July 2, 2016, at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles exhibition center. It's open to the public Saturday, July 2. Website:  —  AFP Relaxnews

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