France is known for many things. Fine wine. Aged cheeses. Luxury goods. But France is building a strong reputation in a new, more unexpected quarter: the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a range of physical objects embedded with network-connected electronics that allow for the collection and exchange of data. IoT products range from internet-connected home appliances, like fridges and washing machines, to personal goods, vehicles and even homes and offices. There’s a lot excitement around the potential for IoT, with a range of connected devices set to transform the consumer market in years to come.
While a range of French technology startups have been gaining international acclaim, from ride-sharing firm BlaBlaCar to e-commerce firm Vente-Privée, it’s in IoT where we see the brightest of France’s rising tech stars. In 2015, Sigfox – a Toulouse-based firm that makes wireless networks to support IoT consumer products – made records by raising $115 million, the largest round of venture capital funding in French history. IoT company Actility wasn’t far behind, raising $25 million later in the year.
French companies were also making waves at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Los Vegas, with a startling 190 French startups exhibiting. IoT firms were among those drawing attention, including audio technology firm Devialet, which creates high-end wireless speakers and health tech firm Withings, whose connected products let you digitally track your blood pressure, weight, temperature and more.
What makes France the right place for Internet of Things innovation to thrive?
The trend for greater connectivity in all manner of products promises to change the way people live, work and have fun – and France is poised to become a leader in this growing space. Look for French IoT companies making international headlines in 2016 and beyond.
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As Head of Innovative Startups, François Bloch coordinates teams dedicated to supporting and financing innovative companies. François has assisted many innovative companies particularly in the areas of health, ICT and Green Tech, as well as many research institutes and foundations (transferring Projects licenses and creation of innovative startups). François was previously a member of the steering committee of the Chair EMLYON – Incubator – KPMG Start up & high growth, as well as the co-chairman of the life sciences jury of Tremplin in the Senate.
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