In the lead up to last week’s CES, Gary Shapiro, CEO of the Consumer Technology Association that organises the event branded the lack of UK support to technology firms ‘an embarrassment’. In contrast, he commented that one of the 'novelties' of this year’s show was ‘an exceptionally strong French presence.’
Statistically speaking, UK representation was certainly lacking: only 55 UK companies were present, compared to 248 French.
One of the reasons for the significantly higher French presence is the government-funded initiative ‘la French Tech’, which both encompasses and supports the ecosystem of French start-ups. The policy has three main goals: to unite, accelerate and spread French innovation around the world. It is important to note that the concept was not created by the present government, rather it is supported by them. Every French start-up operating either in France or abroad is automatically part of ‘la French Tech’ and as a result a strong sense of community has been created.
‘La French Tech’ does not only offer financial incentives, it also seeks to improve access to important resources - including accelerators, collaborators and clients - for emerging businesses. Perhaps more importantly is the marketing potential that start-ups can harness thanks to the ‘la French Tech’ logo. The eye-catching red chicken image can be freely used by every French start-up, which further adds to the community feel.
A large number of products were unveiled by French start-ups at CES this year…
Enjoy a D-Vine drinking experience
Ever been pressed for time arranging your dinner party and wish someone could bring your wine to temperature? At CES 2017 Nantes-based company 10-Vins showcased new additions to its D-Vine smart wine device, which had been unveiled the previous year. The machine acts as a coffee machine for wine, with 100ml ‘vials’ replacing espresso pods. Just before you want to have a glass of wine, simply insert the vial into the D-Vine and in just one minute your drink will be ready, at the correct temperature and successfully oxygenated.
The machine works thanks to RFID technology. Each vial contains a chip which communicates with the machine, providing details for the correct temperature and optimal level of aeration. This process takes only one minute, meaning it is no longer necessary to leave your wine to breathe the night before an event. In addition, the small vials mean each guest can choose their own favourite wine to drink for the evening.
The latest version, D-Vine Connect, boasts an interactive built-in touchscreen which acts as your own personal sommelier. Artificial intelligence means that the machine can track your drinking habits in order to provide suggestions for your next order, and the addition of short films of vineyards makes the drinking experience even more authentic.
In a statement, Thibaut Jarrousse, CEO of 10-Vins said: “We sold more than 600 units in 2016, and we wanted to take it to the next level. We want to bring a complete wine experience and make users’ lives easier with a personal wine assistant.”
‘Embrace your flow’ and avoid air pollution
Parisian start-up Plume Labs became a CES Innovation Award Honoree this year for its product Flow, a connected, mobile accessory to help understand, monitor and reduce personal exposure to air pollution, indoors and outdoors. Together with its companion mobile app and environmental AI, it can help you find unpolluted spaces in your city and consequently improve your health.
The compact 1.57x0.98x3.54” device boasts 360° air intake for faster, more accurate air quality sensing. Its environmental sensors can detect particulate matter (PM2.5), nitrogen oxides (NOx), ozone (O3), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), temperature and relative humidity. The leather strap means it can be easily attached to a bike handle or rucksack, so you can monitor the air around you wherever you go.
It is an exciting time for France’s technology industry and all eyes are on them for the next innovation with a certain je ne sais quoi.