PARIS — Viva Technology, the Paris-based tech conference, is set to grow again this year, with a higher number of participants and more floor space, organizers said Tuesday.
A kick-off presentation took place at Station F, the sprawling, concrete start-up campus on the Eastern flank of the French capital, to introduce the fourth edition of the technology fair, which takes place on May 16 to 18 at the city’s Porte de Versailles exhibit hall.
Speakers for the upcoming edition will include former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, Samsung’s Young Sohn and Sy Lau of Tencent.
Since being established by advertising guru Maurice Levy and luxury titan Bernard Arnault, the fair has expanded quickly, drawing 100,000 visitors last year.
French President Emmanuel Macron threw his support behind the event, hosting technology chiefs the day before and speaking at the fair himself. Last year’s edition included Microsoft chief executive officer Satya Nadella and Facebook ceo Mark Zuckerberg, who pledged to implement European privacy rules on a global level.
This year, for the second time, Macron will hold his “Tech for Good” summit the day prior.
Also riffing on the theme of technology for a positive social impact, the fair will have a space called the “Better Life Avenue” in Hall 2.2 of the southern Paris exhibit space.
Following Tuesday’s VivaTech preview, which filled up the central hall of Station F with a crowd and stands of start-ups, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced its second promotion of companies to its incubator program. The luxury group will host 26 start-ups to its space in Station F, including 13 newcomers, which will be chosen as part of the luxury group’s Innovation Award.
Hundreds of applicants are whittled down to around 30. According to Ian Rogers, chief digital officer at LVMH, the process is about deepening ties between the various maisons of the group.
“We have a sort of multifaceted approach to working with start-ups — it’s kind of a pipeline, at Viva Technology…the LVMH innovation award is not about the winner, it’s about getting to know those 30 start-ups,” said Rogers.
In addition to LVMH, other corporations involved include L’Oréal, Google, Orange, BNP Paribas, Huawei and Thales.
“It needs to be about quality…from my perspective, it’s how can we make it about the start-ups, it can’t be about the sponsors, that’s why people are coming, right, they want to be introduced to these start-ups,” Rogers noted. Start-ups on hand included The Bradery, a company that sells out-of-season apparel from contemporary labels like Ba&sh, Maje, Sessun and Claudie Pierlot through Instagram, addressing a younger audience than competitors, and Alcméon, which has a system to regroup messaging systems to address consumers.
LVMH plans to place an emphasis on helping visitors navigate its stand this year, explained Rogers.
“If you’re interested in the future of retail, you want to come to our booth, you’re going to spend an hour and you’ll get a great overview of the future of retail — Viva Technology needs to feel like the world’s fair,” he added, noting it should offer a view of the future for different sectors.
Various sections of the fair will be dedicated to robots, to green initiatives, virtual reality and mobility; carmaker Citroën will unveil a new car model.