Content

Fast-paced, lively, packed with information and new ideas for technology, VivaTech held every May in Paris, France, never disappoints. It’s why Publicis Groupe sent a number of its young talent from across the globe to report on the key trends coming out of this year’s event.

The Publicis Groupe Reporters programme is designed to give each reporter the opportunity to present their views on what’s presented, interview senior thought leaders, attend exclusive events and report back with strong insights for our industry.

We hope you enjoy reading our report as much as we enjoyed putting it together. Publicis Groupe 2019 VivaTech Reporters.

#PUBLICISREPORTS

About Us

Publicis Groupe has reinvented itself for the Connected Age by moving from holding company to a platform.

Highly modular, Publicis Groupe’s Connecting Company model is a unique platform that gives clients plug & play access to our best-in-class services. Supported by a Global Client Leader (GCL), our clients benefit from a borderless, seamless service that drives the alchemy of creativity and technology.

Our Groupe is organized into four Solutions Hubs for easier connectivity and integration: Publicis Communications, Publicis Sapient, Publicis Media and Publicis Health. In this model, all agency brands still exist but share an operational backbone, which gives them the power and expertise of all the Solution Hubs combined to deliver the scale required to compete and win in new world markets.

As a Connecting Company, we are able to deliver as the Power of One – driven by a common purpose, a powerful spirit, shared behaviours, great character and a relentless focus on our clients.

About the Reporters

AMBIKA MEHROTRA

Associate Director, Zenith India

Ambika is responsible for building successful Zenith marketing strategies and campaigns for clients.

Ambika joined Publicis Media in 2014 and since then has handled 15+ brands in the Nestlé portfolio, Chicco and Truecaller business in India. She is in the lookout for opportunities and new developments which can help the client grow and get better opportunities.

She believes in working closely with the creative team, media vendors and other tech partners to accelerate the business.

In her spare time, she loves playing with her daughter and cooking!

MICHELLE CHAN

Associate Director, Creative Strategy, Digitas Chicago

Michelle has been a part of the Digitas team for over three years, with her tenure spanning across Hong Kong and the Chicago offices. Her role as a lead strategist for Hong Kong saw her providing data-driven, disruptive creative solutions that break category conventions. Her Publicis Groupe clients included Samsung, Shangri-La, Delta Airlines and BlackRock. Her current role in Chicago focuses on setting up global strategy for the KitchenAid brand under the Whirlpool portfolio.

Prior to joining Digitas, Michelle worked at Superunion and PwC Consulting, gaining extensive experience in leading digitally-led branding projects as well as large-scale transformation projects.

Michelle’s diverse background has given her valuable insights into how to move traditional agency-client conversations around communications, into deeper discussions around data and media platforms. These solutions resolve business problems and deliver measurable brand value.

Outside office hours, Michelle loves wandering around museums, admiring good copy on product labels, travelling to tropical climates, and last but not least, curling up with a good book and huge cuppa / cappuccino in hand.

NEIL DUNCAN

Operations Director, Leo Burnett, Australia

Neil started at Leo Burnett in 2006 working in the mail room for two years while studying at university. This opportunity led him to Business Management where he spent 11 years partnering with a broad range of clients including Samsung, Diageo, McDonald’s, Heineken, Pfizer and the Australian Government.

He’s also been part of a small team called the Diner – Leo Burnett Australia’s innovation studio – where he’s been able to ideate, design and launch a
start-up: Cocktail Porter.

He has recently taken on new responsibilities as Operations Director for the Sydney office.

NHI DO

Business Lead, Saatchi & Saatchi, Vietnam

Equipped with more than 15 years of experience in advertising marketing communications, Nhi is an industry veteran in partnering and managing operations with clients building their business via strategic marketing communications.

She strongly believes bringing brand values to life in a meaningful, authentic way, is necessary for business transformation.

After experience working in different global agencies, helping brands including Vinamilk, P&G, Abbott, MobiFone grow and transform their businesses, she has finally chosen Saatchi & Saatchi Vietnam as her home.

PATRICIA RUIZ

Account Supervisor, Saatchi & Saatchi, Tokyo

Patricia has over 10 years of experience in brand management, both agency and client side. She moved from Spain to Tokyo seven years ago and has never looked back. She’s been with Saatchi & Saatchi Tokyo for five years and is fluent in English, Spanish, and Japanese.

Her experience spans many categories including beauty, travel and automotive, leading initiatives with global brands such as L’Oréal, Expedia and Toyota. Most recently, her Toyota Olympic and Paralympic global campaigns received five Cannes Lions in 2018.

She is interested in consumer insights, behaviour and trends and her aim is for her work to have a positive impact in people’s lives.

She is an advocate for diversity and inclusivity and is currently launching VivaWomen within Publicis Japan.

She also loves to dance and designs apparel in her spare time.

SIDDHARTH JAIN

Regional Associate Director, Zenith Singapore

Sid hails from India and has been living and working in Singapore for the past 10 years. His earlier career included roles including those as a developer, market researcher and finally a digital media strategist – a role he has embraced. He is a tech enthusiast and always on the lookout for new solutions to old problems.

For the past year and a half, Sid has been part of the global Oracle business and is currently leading the Asia Pacific region. He is passionate about making complex scenarios simple and has a knack for problem-solving, technical or otherwise. He’s also a part of the Next Gen Board at Publicis Media.

Outside of work, Sid likes to read fiction, loves superhero movies and building his Lego set(s).

TAN WAN SHIN

Account Director, Leo Burnett Singapore

After joining the Leo Burnett family as an intern, Shin’s career development has been focused on the exciting role communications plays in people’s lives.

With more than seven years’ experience, she has worked on various multi-national accounts, notably Nestlé, AIA and McDonald’s. Throughout her years, she’s been one of the key players in transforming the businesses – driving optimum results for the brands she’s worked with.

Originally hailing from Leo Burnett Malaysia, she’s now with Leo Burnett Singapore. Keeping Uncle Leo’s teachings dear to her heart whereever she goes, she believes that, “When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”

Daily Reports

Day One

IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL SUNNY MORNING IN PARIS. WE WERE ALL GEARED UP AND SUPER EXCITED TO ATTEND VIVATECH

Our expectations were running high as we passed the long queues and entered the exhibition hall and we were struck by the immense scale of the event with hundreds of exhibitors and some of the brightest minds of the world present.

A lot of innovation and live experiences stole our attention, but in particular, we were very impressed by the lineup of the morning sessions, which included not just well-known technology pioneers, but also progressive political leaders of the world. With so many distinguished guests, it was difficult to keep up with the pace and intensity of the sessions, but we sensed a few themes running throughout the day.

THE NEED TO REVISIT CUSTOMER CENTRICITY-LED INNOVATION

Firstly, there were surprisingly refreshing insights on a topic that’s often regarded as the heart of a startup: customer centricity. At Amazon’s Startup Panel : Accelerate or Incubate?, we were all ears about what this undisputed innovation leader and owner of wildly successful products had to say. Shayan Sanyal (Amazon Web Services) enlightened audiences with an inventive and simple formula for the retail giant’s success in innovation: f(i) = (mechanisms*architecture)people, with each element of the formula demanding a rigorous but uncommon investigative process revolving around consumers. For example, mechanisms refer to jolt-your-brain-back-to-reality exercises, like writing up a press release in the beginning stages of every innovation drive to bring the vision for success and experiential mandatories into laser sharp focus through the lens of a consumer.

The need to reboot company priorities and work backwards from the customer was only reaffirmed later in the day during a fireside chat by the straight talking Alibaba founder Jack Ma, who empathetically offered up this piece of advice to any success hungry business: “Spend time on your customers, on your people, on your teams. Don’t spend time on your competitors or investors…funding or cutting costs, think about George!” What followed were confused looks about who George was, which we thought was all part of Jack’s ingenious plan to make startups sit up and notice that yes, they had indeed forgotten about George, their friendly neighborhood consumer. All in all, a well-needed and entertaining set of sage advice was handed out, bolstering our enthusiasm and providing food for thought.

WHY EUROPE NEEDS TO INVEST IN DEVELOPING TOMORROW’S SOLUTIONS

Another big focus this year was the need for Europe to invest in transformational technology. With the ageing population, the supposed threat of A.I. taking over jobs and concerns over privacy, Europe has been going through a sea-change in the way technology is perceived by its citizens today. It was touched upon across multiple sessions that Europe is in dire need to give technology advancement the importance and investment that it warrants. During his panel discussion, President Emmanuel Macron urged innovators to be more fearless and inventive, and emphasized how the continent’s political environment is evolving to support the startup culture.

It was also noted that Europe’s investment share in transformational technology – based on its share of GDP across the world – should be at a 23% mark, but is merely 1.44%. The figure is compelling and appeals to European backers to invest more and more in technology – European or otherwise – to balance its digital trade deficit with the likes of the US and China.

LAYING OUT THE ARGUMENTS FOR TECHNOLOGY WITH A CONSCIENCE

Using technology for the greater good was another underlining theme across sessions and talks. It was very interesting when both French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau were vocal about the value and importance of technology for a better world. They refocused our attention to the pressing need to use technology to improve and empower our future in multi-faceted ways, whether it’s for the greater purpose of strengthening the economy and society, or in ways that further our humanity.

Addressing the counter arguments – such as privacy and system abuse – most of the speakers emphasized the need for government agencies to weigh in on smart regulation, so that countries can move forward in a unified and positive direction to restore trust in this technology-driven age, ultimately making the world a better place. Some key initiatives offered up as inspirational starters included EdTech to increase access to education opportunities, mobile technology to alleviate poverty and improve healthcare quality, as well as green tech to save our planet.

Experiencing our first day at VivaTech has left us in awe of the calibre of their speakers, being able to listen to some of the most followed people in the world, and learning from their knowledge has been truly exciting. We’re looking forward to seeing what highlights the next day will bring, and what will capture our imagination next.

Written by Michelle Chan, Nhi Do, Ambika Mehrotra and Siddharth Jain.

Day Two

STILL ABUZZ FROM YESTERDAY’S PROVOCATIVE CONTENT, A CLOUDY START DID NOTHING TO DISPEL OUR ENTHUSIASM

Our day began with a breakfast session, meeting Tom Goodwin, EVP Innovation, Zenith, at the famed Publicis Drugstore by L’Arc de Triomphe. With his wit and sharp speech, Tom shared his views on the emerging trends of technology in marketing communications, the future of mobility, the motivation for businesses to commit to more sustainable operations and the approach to audience segmentation in a highly data-informed-world. The advice we all took away from our meeting was to look for the obscure insight and thoroughly interrogate it, not just settle for the most obvious answer, to ensure creativity can stand out and be unique while still being relatable.

Day 2’s talks were especially close to our hearts – as agency partners look for a steady foot in this new era. There were many eye-opening highlights, but three key themes which reiterate why “Agencies are not done yet” were apparent.

WITH READY ACCESS TO DATA, THE CURIOUS “CREATIVE” CAN THRIVE

The fear of data inhibiting creativity is unfounded. On the contrary, this is the time for a creative renaissance enabling us to understand our consumers more deeply than ever.

Agencies need to evolve the creative process. We can no longer work in silos divorcing the instinct of creativity from the science of data, for example Mad Men vs Mathematicians. Whilst the need to collaborate more is not a new revelation, its importance was reiterated during talks, as a necessary requirement to guarantee the industry’s future success.

Alain Lévy (Weborama) stressed we need to keep a distinction between the use and benefit of data, separate from top and bottom of the creative funnel. Top-of-funnel creative, or brand building, should use data to illuminate the customer in new ways so that the creative can achieve greater interest, relevance and scale, also capturing audiences to serve messaging that will push further to conversion. Bottom-of-funnel creative, or performance marketing, should use data through the likes of machine learning to optimise what’s working for efficiency and effectiveness driving an increased ROI.

Whilst we are facing growing expectations to gather new insights and measurement of tangible performance via data, this is the opportunity to foster a culture of curiosity and experimentation. We will become walking data centres of accumulated experiences, as observations from data-gathering gets smarter through machine learning.

Big data is not here to substitute creative instincts, instead it’s here to drive creativity with credible intelligence.

THE WAY WE BUILD BRANDS IS EVOLVING – AND YET THERE ARE STILL FUNDAMENTALS AT PLAY

Agathe Bousquet (Publicis Groupe) and Steven Taylor (ACCOR) were united in their belief that trust and purpose were the two most important fundamentals in building a brand.

Trust is earned over time, yet can be lost in seconds. For the brands we represent, (or even ourselves), to build trust we need to be transparent and consistent with our vision, to be in close proximity with our customers to encourage open dialogue and engagement. With this, we provide tangible proofs of our promise. It’s essential that the spirit is cascaded across the organization, from the senior leadership to the shopfront.

Purpose has two dimensions to it – from a brand and communication level. While it’s important for a brand to be purpose-driven, it is also critical for its communications to be aligned with the brand’s purpose. We need to constantly question ourselves about the purpose of our communications, if it answers the consumers’ wants and needs, and the value we provide to the consumers. If we’re not providing a deeper value exchange, then we’re simply selling a product and not building a brand in the long run.

OUR FUTURE RELIES ON DEEP PARTNERSHIPS WITH OUR CLIENTS

Roel De Vries (Nissan Motor Co.) stands firm in his review of agencies; that if they cannot transform to meet their clients’ needs then how can they help clients to transform and connect with their customers? Agencies need to invest in their talent & technology advancements, like a manufacturer would in their R&D. Simply put, the need to evolve beyond the conventional role of an advertising agency.

Simultaneously, exploring a more profitable business model between agencies and clients, it’s not a conversation of cutting budgets, but on creating greater value. The way to do this, in Roel’s view, is to have fewer (but bigger) agencies and have fewer people with more specialisms. This creates a deep relationship where agencies truly partner with their clients, knowing their business and customers intimately and providing real value.

Our Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun agreed that we need to push this further, that agencies have stood still for too long, while the world around is changing constantly. Being ahead of the game, Publicis Groupe has been focusing on transforming its business model, to elevate the Groupe as credible experts in partnering with their clients. Grounded in creating the best talent network possible, being transparent and undeterred by obstacles in their vision, and using data & technology to unleash the power of creativity.

Transformation needs time and perseverance to power through. Only with a deep partnership between agencies and clients, could success fall in to place.

After two days of inspirational content, technological innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, we felt electrified and poised to bring back our learnings and put them into practice.

In this fast-changing digital era in which everyone is preoccupied with the screen in front of them, those who still find time to look at the stars, observe and dream will shape the future – these are the figures who have inspired us at VivaTech this year.

Written by Neil Duncan, Tan Wan Shin and Patricia Ruiz.

Our Insights

IS TECHNOLOGY KILLING OUR SENSE OF EMPATHY AND HUMANITY?

From, arguments for A.I. bias, to parents worrying about smart assistants making children less well-mannered, a quick search on the Internet reveals a myriad of examples that point towards one stark, inevitable conclusion: In order to embrace the opportunities that accelerated technology growth presents, humans have to be less emotional, wire themselves to be less empathetic, and ultimately, less human.

That said, I noted at VivaTech that government agencies and business leaders are not only starting to guide the public on how to think about the evolving relationship between humanity and technology, but are also enlisting help from the public to ask important questions about what we’re gaining and what we’re losing through innovation. To embrace technology without losing empathy, what are the questions we should be paying attention to and why?

Firstly, we should direct our energies away from the worrisome rhetoric around A.I. outsmarting, outrunning and hacking humanity, and accept that A.I. will change our cultures, our traditions and our livelihoods in ways we may not be able to predict. Where we should be focusing, is on how we can play an active role in nurturing an empowered future where the most sought-after skills are ones that rely on empathy and humanity the most – skills like creativity, initiative, critical thinking or problem solving. After all, as Jack Ma (Alibaba) said in his inspiring keynote, “The key difference between humans and A.I. is that machines can never have dreams. This means that if we don’t have dreams, we will never win against machines in the future.”

Another set of questions we should be asking, is whether businesses are using their newly-acquired capabilities to directly reach consumers in the digital age, to shape culture and kickstart constructive social change, as opposed to shuffling products via fancy taglines, packaging and promotional pushes. And, if they’re doing the latter, we need to be putting our money instead into brands where the seeds of future standards of empathy and humanity are being sowed. A strong example would be brands like Dove, that not only put forward campaigns like #realbeauty and #LikeAGirl, but also pride themselves on being a leading educator of self-esteem within key community groups like the Girl Scouts. As Marc Pritchard (P&G) said,

“With the increased power to shape culture and be a part of trending social issues, brands now also have a responsibility to address a societal challenge where they can uniquely and meaningfully contribute…standing on the sidelines is not an option.”

Last, but not least, we need to be asking questions about the way new technology is being developed, and we need to look at whether startup teams have the right culture in place to develop something that protects our humanity. Perhaps it’s not the confidential product prototypes, or even the logic and charisma of the team that matters the most. Rather, perhaps we need to probe into whether problem solving in startups is done in a way that collides logic-heavy talent experienced in black-and-white, scientific and fact-based solutions with talent that knows the humanities, from art history, literature, linguistics, philosophy to religion.

This is important, because when ‘whole brain talent’ is stitched together in every working process, and positive friction is created, the right push-pull tensions exist in innovation to ensure regulations like GDPR act as a challenge to be better and do better for good, rather than a choking force to pull back on progressive ideas.

All in all, whilst no one knows what the future will hold, what’s clear to me is that a pendulum shift is happening, in how technology leaders are paying attention to subjects like empathy and humanity. Now we, as consumers, should also take conscious steps to do this too, not just with our voices, but also through culturally, responsible consumption, adjusting education to make room for a future transformed by A.I., and by standing up for startups that champion ‘whole-brain thinking’ in teams.

After all, when technology is developed with conscientious intention to respect cultural integrity and unpack emotional intelligence, the applied results can actually be a beautiful thing that not only preserves our humanity, but advances it in ways we never thought possible. We can actually become more empathetic and more human, not less.

Written by Michelle Chan

MAKING “TECH FOR THE GREATER GOOD” POSSIBLE

Tech For Good – that one sexy theme in Viva Technology 2019. The official excerpt reads,

“Green Tech to save our planet, EdTech to increase access to education, mobile tech to alleviate poverty and improve quality of healthcare….. Tech4Good, a pillar of Viva Tech, explores ways that technology can be a positive force for the economy, society, and humanity. The Tech4Good Summit, on the eve of VivaTech’s official opening, was hosted again this year by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace, while a dedicated Tech4Good track ran throughout the three-day event.”

This year’s VivaTech saw all the tech giants racing to announce their initiatives in support, from IBM’s P-TECH launch in France, a new education model that breeds a batch of “new collar” where no degrees are required to secure a high-in-demand job; to Samsung’s Extreme Tech Challenge – a pool of 10million dollars to reward innovative solutions to the top 17 sustainable development issues, outlined by the United Nations and the list goes on. All of these are obviously very exciting, not just for innovators with world-changing-ideas, but also for us, who see a glimpse of hope for an improved world to live in.

But, before we get too carried away with our excitement, let’s rewind a bit. Back to 2018 – when one of the biggest corporate villains, Elizabeth Holmes of Theranos (now shut down), was charged with massive fraud. Theranos started with a revolutionary promise to improve the healthcare sector – technology that claims to streamline all major disease test results with just one blood testing method, thereby reducing the cost bore by customers tremendously. In the USA, where healthcare costs, metaphorically-speaking,an arm and a leg, this is definitely #tech4good. But in the end, this promising technological advancement turned out to be a disappointing con, not only a fake, but also one that put people’s lives at risk.

WHILST ALL THE TECH4GOOD INITIATIVES EXCITE US GREATLY, HOW CAN WE ENSURE THAT BAD HISTORY IS NOT REPEATED?

Firstly, we need to examine the organisation’s brand values vs. real life practices. An organisation’s proclaimed brand values and range of actions need to be complementary – not disparate. If an organisation had previously been accused of infringing intellectual property rights with evidence, but now championed a movement to assemble best ideas, should we be concerned about their intention? How about, if a brand claims to support responsible sourcing and sustainability, but its mistreatment of labour workers had been exposed, shouldn’t we question its sincerity? Or do we sweep it under the carpet and say, “nah, it’s a matter of priorities – its priority is on sustainability and not human rights?”

IN THE WORDS OF KEITH WEED FROM UNILEVER, “BRAND SAY; BRAND DO”

Secondly, the role/mindset of lawmakers in this fast-changing era. Admittedly, technological breakthroughs can take a long period of time, but so does the time needed to sufficiently grasp the science behind it. Even so, it’s critical for our lawmakers, as governors of society, to have a competent understanding. Not for oppression or control, but to be sound and fair in evaluating those that have upheld their promise, or when necessary, administer justice towards those who abuse the trust. This would lead to a unanimous promise of an open dialogue and transparency in the industry.

Touching on the point made by Samsung’s Young Sohn, technology during the past decade has been about connecting different parts of the world. Moving into Technology 2.0, the current focus is shifting into powering the future with purposeful technology. But as it progresses in leaps and bounds, the risk of vulnerability expands due to the knowledge-sharing barrier between tech companies and the public.

This year, major tech companies have committed to security assurance and transparent access. With this, it will diminish people’s fear of the unknown (or unfamiliar), and hopefully, harness that fear into curiosity and real motivation to participate in the change.
Lastly, there is a need to strike a balance between tech4good and business viability.

Stressed by various speakers at VivaTech, is the need to look through a realistic lens – technology breakthrough never happens in one day, due to the trial and error it goes through in development.

However, one common denominator of those companies that have achieved a balance, is an increased efficiency across all areas and especially where A.I. comes into play. As A.I. gets smarter through machine learning, it is enhancing efficiency greatly, reducing unnecessary wastage and in return keeping businesses sustainable. This is essential for the guarantor of a tech4good cause, in order to persevere through the rounds of experiments and finally implementing the idea at scale.

“LESS = MORE” COULDN’T BE TRUER TODAY, THAN IT WAS THEN

As technology continues to advance, Tech4Good too, will continue to be a major interest in the industry, and the more we learn, the more we should be aware of the vital roles each party plays in realising the vision – tech organizations, lawmakers and public consumers.

When technology is finally making headway into a better world, all parties, as citizens of the world, need to do their best to keep this wheel turning.

Written by Tan Wan Shin

A POSITIVE STEP FORWARD

Society is generally accepting that we are in a climate crisis. In order to provide for future generations, we must act now. In a world which is supported by economies created by the consumption of products, services and experiences, how can businesses, not just individuals, act more responsibly?

One of the key pillars at VivaTech 2019 was Tech4Good which explored how to make our planet and society great. This included CleanTech to reverse climate change and tackle maritime plastic pollution, A.I. to preserve and restore ecosystems, and blockchain to leverage social impact.

Antonio Neri (HPE) and Isabelle Kocher (ENGIE) announced on stage several initiatives that they, and many other executives who had participated in the Tech4Good Summit had committed to, so they could reduce the rapidly growing carbon footprint of the technology and data that has become critical to our industries future. The commitments made were a positive step forward for the planet and hopefully the companies themselves.

However, the reality of these commitments is that there is now a significant investment needed to execute the strategy. The balance between a chief executive’s responsibility to society and the future of our shared environment, the staff and suppliers whose livelihoods depend on the business’ success and the return-on-investment expected by shareholders or investors is delicate.
The strategy to fund these commitments was well-considered and appeared to be relatively simple:

Firstly, they will find efficiencies in their own operations to free up a significant saving within their original budget ensuring they can still deliver to their financial commitments to staff and shareholders alike. While this is primarily designed to fund the future initiatives, it will no doubt also have a positive effect on the footprint created by these companies as they become more efficient in their manufacturing or operating process.

Secondly, they will then reinvest this budget into the initiatives to deliver their strategy moving towards zero waste to landfill and zero e-waste.

Given the spirit of the summit and the commitments made, there is no doubt in my mind that these came from executives and organisations that genuinely believed that action was needed and that it was their responsibility to act.

SO HOW CAN WE AS A COLLECTIVE OF BUSINESSES FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF THESE EXECUTIVES?

Now that some of our industries biggest names are showing us that a move towards a more environmentally sustainable model is feasible, what can we as agencies do to ensure that sustainability is realised?

Gautier Picquet (Publicis Groupe, France) believes that now is the time to give power to the generations which will be most affected by the climate crisis in times to come. While the passion, energy and creativity of those coming up are arguably unmatched by the current generation leading business, what the younger generations lack is the experience and know-how to achieve results in a world of global business. Collaboration between the two generations is the answer and we all need to bring our respective strengths to the table.

Written by Neil Duncan.

HOW CLOUD TECHNOLOGY IS FACILITATING EUROPE’S TECH ECOSYSTEM

One of the major highlights of this year’s VivaTech was the number of startup initiatives built around the usage of the cloud; whether as a storage, database or computing methodology. Over 30 startup companies identified themselves as offering a cloud-based solution – and these are just those presenting a cloud solution at the consumer front. There were many others that have been using the technology purely for their back-end operations.

CLOUD ACROSS CONTINENTS

This substantial usage of cloud-technology is both important and crucial for Europe. When it comes to digital tech industry, Europe is in a very different space than the U.S. or Asian markets. One of the key reasons for this is that Europe, by its mature status, often requires much more sophisticated and niche solutions that may not be relevant for, or even available, in most parts of the developing world.

Another factor is that Europe is governed by its own unique set of laws. New technologies and platforms that are much easier to experiment with in markets like China, seldom get past the European courts without being weighed down by hampering restrictions. When GDPR took effect in 2018, many online companies came to an abrupt end in Europe, including, but not limited to, online games, email clean-up services and even a few social media analytics companies like Klout.

These factors contribute to the fact that Europe can’t merely rely on applications built for either a much more open market like the US, or for markets in a very different stage of development and experimentation, such as Asia. It needs to continue investing in finding its own solutions for the future, within the given set of controls.

This was also reflected in the French President Emmanuel Macron’s appeal at the event, urging young entrepreneurs to “be fearless and innovate to change the world”.

DEVELOPING THE CLOUD

This is where cloud-based technology providers come in. Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud had a huge presence at VivaTech not only in terms of booth sizes and personnel, but also in their attention and dedicated sessions towards startups. Both these companies offer huge support for cloud-technology adoption including, but not limited to, free starting credits, training and consultation. Moreover, with the presence of their marketplace, startup companies also have access to their existing set of partners, thus making it much easier for new startups to find their first set of clients or partners within the network.

With these offerings in place, these cloud-based services are radically helping developers to build the solutions and platforms that Europe needs, given its legal and geographical considerations. VivaTech is the best industry event providing the opportunity to bring developers close to technology providers and investors.

Given the right political environment, the European technology sector is ready to thrive, and take the continent in the rightful and much-needed direction of digital transformation.

Written by Siddharth Jain

THE MOBILITY DEMOCRACY

A recent study by the United Nations on global urbanisation trends, highlighted that by 2050 66% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas. As millions of people are expected to migrate to urban centers, governments and transportation planners are embracing new ways of tackling the problem of congestion, land use, environmental sustainability and economic development.

SHARING RATHER THAN OWNING

When talking about the future of mobility, one can’t help but think about flying cars or Tesla’s Hyperloop, but in the last decade, consumers have embraced less sophisticated mobility options like Uber, car sharing, electric scooters, etc. Their popularity illustrates that the things consumers want are often adopted en masse, organically becoming the new normal.

Sharing is the preferred way of consumption for the new generations. To them, sharing means lower costs, instant access and greater flexibility. There is no aspiration to own the goods, the new consumer pays for use, not ownership.

ALL MOBILITY IN ONE PLACE

The proliferation of journey planning apps have become commonplace. The natural next step is the integration of various forms of transport into one mobility service platform. This platform is called Mobility as a Service (MaaS) and would enable journey planning across a range of transportation modes, offering flexible payments and personalisation based on user preferences regarding time, comfort, cost, and/or convenience.

MaaS starts to move us toward a more user-centric mobility paradigm and the goal is to make it so convenient for users to get around that they opt to give up their personal vehicles for a more appealing alternative.

BIG DATA IS THE FUEL OF AUTOMATED CARS

Arthur Sadoun, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe announced at this year’s VivaTech, “the Future of Mobility is Automated cars, and that future will be led by data”. And it is likely that this could possibly lead to the biggest innovation in everyday life since the Internet.

Whilst most conversations are focused on how to prevent fatalities, or how the car should react in the event of crash, the holy grail for the future of automated cars is Big Data.

Automated cars will operate through a reliable stream of data and make wise decisions based upon on it. Some big auto brands are already collecting data through dash-cams, sensors and cameras to optimise fuel efficiency, engine performance and for collision detection.

But while autonomous technology is already available, the data to make it function in a desirable way, or the knowledge of how to analyse it is still missing.

AN OPEN WORLD

This new era of mobility will finally be the solution to reduce fatalities, congestion in urban areas and CO2 emissions. MaaS, automated cars. A.I. and e-Commerce will generate a new economy full of potential through Big Data. But the key reason for its success will be On-Demand Convenience, as it will increase ease of personal mobility, especially for people with physical limitations, the elderly, or simply those that cannot drive.

With the power of a smart phone, everyone will have access to any type of mobility solution – where, when and however they need it.

Are you ready for it?

Written by Patricia Ruiz

Produced by the Reporters Team:

ELIZA MILSON

Talent Engagement, Innovation
& Technology Director

HEIDI POMFRET

Talent Communications Director

ELLIE GARRARD

Talent Project Manager

With thanks to:

Arthur Sadoun,

Chief Executive Officer, Publicis Groupe

Gautier Picquet,

COO, Publicis Groupe France

Tom Goodwin,

EVP Innovation, Zenith US