Amateur and professional geeks, novices and experts got together at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre for three days last week to meet, share, learn and discover the latest technologies and innovations in the digital world. The second edition of this major tech event was a great success.

Despite the punishing heat, hall 1 of the exhibition centre was jam-packed during the 3 days of the Viva Technology 2017 tech fair. This second edition featured 500 speakers and 6,000 startups from 50 countries, and a total of 450 one-to-one meetings between startups and investors took place at the various stands of major groups.

Amid a throng of supporters, French president Emmanuel Macron attended the event on the first day, along with Frédérique Vidalk, the Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Mounir Mahjoubil, Secretary of State for Digital. After visiting the stands of Orange, Histovery, Blue Frog RoboticsH3 Dynamics and BPI,  he gave a speech in which he described his vision and strategy for making France a digital leader. He also confirmed that the government will be setting up a state fund of €10 billion to support startups in order to establish France as the “leading nation of startups.”

10 key themes

Among the many topics discussed during the various panels, keynotes and fireside chats at the event, the organisers have identified the top 10 topics for 2017:

  • China at the forefront
  • AI and data everywhere
  • What’s next for Fintech?
  • Will robots take our jobs?
  • Virtual, augmented: towards a different reality?
  • Mobility as a service
  • Media and advertising: the challenge of the truth
  • The Internet of Everything
  • Startups: how to accelerate?
  • The ‘next tech’

The aisles of the exhibition space were brimming with innovations, such as connected table football whereby players can watch replays of their goals just like on TV and calculate the ball speed, developed by Foosball Society.

Kino Mo, meanwhile wowed audiences with their “Hypervsn” floating 3D holograms, which make for impressive “living” advertisements, thanks to hundreds of LEDs placed along rays which spin round. This is sure to be the next big trend in advertising display technology.

Visitors were equally intrigued by SeaBubbles’ prototype of an electric “flying taxi” that was tested on the Seine on Friday morning. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, who would like to see more of these futuristic vehicles whizzing up and down the Seine, was onboard.

Foodie geeks went to the Facebook stand to try Babines Bakery’s sweet delights including customisable lollies, cakes and decorations made by a 3D cake printer.  Tech giants such as Google, meanwhile, got visitors to try out Google Earth VR. Other demos included a Parrot Bebop 2 FPV drone race, 5km away at the Longchamp racecourse, with the drones being controlled from the stand of sports betting company PMU which is diversifying into drone racing with World Drone Racing specialists.

On the Qwant stand, Silkke made complete animated avatars in just a few minutes. Silkke designs customisable avatars that can be up and running within hours and then used for a variety of purposes including video games, fashion, sport, retail and education. During the 3 days of the event the company made 1,000 avatars.

The Econocom stand showcased a number of Edtech specialists including digital schools and coding experts. The Mayor of Paris was particularly taken with Marbotic, a startup that combines digital technology with traditional wooden toys to help children learn to read and count.

Sources : Viva Technology