Sustainability

My Journey to Discover “Digital France”

We know digital is transforming the world around us, and in preparation for the upcoming Paris Innovation Summit, I wanted to do something with a French twist. I set out exploring just how this transformation was happening in France; a hotspot for the new generation of tech, start-ups and innovation. What I discovered was both surprising and energizing, encountering bold ideas that were changing industries, improving our planet and showing just how fast French innovations were going global. We’re putting the journey on center stage next week in a session called “Digital France”, but in advance of that, I wanted to provide a little preview of the amazing people and companies we’ll be talking with.

My journey started off by meeting Thierry Rouquet, the CEO and co-founder of Sentryo, a startup focused on industrial cyber-security. Thierry is a serial entrepreneur, has experienced his fair share of digital transformations and if you want to see a massive change taking place, then look no further than industry and manufacturing. Previously “dumb” machines that pumped oil, ran conveyor belts, cast steel, etc. have been digitized, connected to local networks and the wider industrial internet. Connectivity brings significant benefits, but it also poses new risks in the form of cyber-attacks. A data breach from your favorite retailer is one thing, but a hacker taking control of an industrial machine is quite a different story and this is what Thierry and his team at Sentryo are dedicated to preventing!

Second stop on my trip led me to Habiteo, and their CEO and co-founder Jeanne Massa. Jeanne is a sales and marketing aficionado and you can see her approach in how Habiteo is transforming the sales of residential properties. Their proprietary 3D platform lets potential buyers walk through their new flat virtually before the ground is even broken. And why stop there? Because the home is as personal as it gets, their platform allows the user to fully customize the experience – move a wall? Color the bedrooms? See it with furniture and then take a virtual tour? It’s all there and significantly accelerates the sales of new residential buildings. Plus, thanks to the nature of Habiteo as a pure-play digital company, it’s all accessible to a global audience. Jeanne will be the first to tell you, being based in France is less relevant since anyone in the world can now visit their properties virtually and make a purchase.

My tour continued with Guillaume Parisot, the President of a new breed of commercial real estate companies called Aveltys. Let’s just say Guillaume knows buildings; after many years innovating at Bouygues Immobilier, he took the helm at this joint venture to redefine office space. The pitch is simple, if you’re looking for a new office then why mess around with unpredictable monthly charges for your lease, utility bills, maintenance costs, etc. when you can have it all in a fixed monthly price and guaranteed for the length of your lease. Customers love it, but it’s only possible thanks to the new generation of “Smart Building” technologies which optimize energy consumption for the building, the block or even the whole city!

Last but never least on my digital tour was our very own Christel Heydemann, the President of Schneider Electric France. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Christel for some time, and in addition to her many interests, she is passionate about the changes digital and IoT are bringing to our very own business. Everywhere we look the worlds of energy, buildings, factories, and IT are being digitally transformed and Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure IoT platform is leading the charge. And this is platform with a purpose, because Christel, like her team at Schneider, believes access to energy is a basic human right and only through a sustainable approach to digital transformations will this become a reality for the generations to come.

Each of these wonderful panelists will be part of “Digital France”, an exclusive round tabFrale happening in the plenary on Friday, April 6th, at 14h during next week’s Paris Innovation Summit. The session, hosted by Gilles Vermot Desroches, should be standing room only so get your seat early!


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