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#PopiInParis: a focus on the VivaTechnology Conference

For the past three years we have taken some of our top clients on Innovation Trips to different countries around the world. These trips facilitate growth and exposure to innovative thinking,ultimately providing an inspirational experience through contact with revolutionary global companies and concepts. This year, we took our clients to Viva Technology in Paris, France. The three-day conference facilitated world leaders in politics, business and technology, along with promising start-ups and the disruptors of tomorrow in order to explore the most transformational innovations around the globe. With over 124,000 attendees, 450 speakers, 125 nationalities and 13,000 start-ups, Viva Technology certainly is the world’s rendezvous for start-ups and leaders.

Perhaps the only down-side to its scale is that it is near impossible to write about everything we experienced. As a result, I have focused on four themes which were prominent over the course of the conference, as well as how insights from Viva Technology can provide value to Marketers in South Africa: 


Yes, flying cars have arrived. Many European cities are facing a challenge in terms of mobility.  As a result, mobility solutions are a high priority, not only in terms of lowering traffic congestion, but also to decrease CO2 levels.

Perhaps, the most impressive innovation was the AeroMobil– a real flying car. Built with flexibility in mind, the AeroMobil provides you with the option to be either airborne or earthbound.

Usain Bolt launched his Bolt electric scooter as well as the Bolt Nano electric car at the conference too. Check out more here

However, for use in more day-to-day life, Citroen exhibited their new Ami One Concept; a fully electric driving machine which they hope will redefine urban freedom.

Other companies such as Hover Taxi and Ono Motion are also fearlessly altering the state of urban mobility. By offering innovative and effective ways to transport goods and people, these companies are ensuring that businesses are able to remain operational and provide services in an ever-changing world.

health care

As the population of cities increases, so does the need for public services such as health care. It must be noted that an important player in such developments is the government which invests a considerable amount of resources to helping companies further their research, also termed Gov-Tech.

Robots such as the humanoid robot, Pepper, are being used in health care services as they help free up human doctors. Their use also lowers the costs of health care services which ultimately allows more people access to affordable health care.

Robotics are also being used in surgical applications. Companies such as Intuitive, have designed machines capable of robotic-assisted surgery.

But the applications do not end there. UrgoNight have developed a head-band which helps train your brain to sleep better.



The topic of sustainability formed a large part of the convention, with a whole section devoted to #Tech4Good; innovations that have a positive impact on society and our planet.

Companies such as GRT Gaz, generate and distribute bio-gas, a sustainable energy from waste. They believe that by 2030 bio-gas could make up 10% of French energy consumption. From a marketing perspective what was incredible about their exhibition stand was how this company approached an issue which most people do not want to engage with, and made it a fully-immersive experience. This shows there is always a way to get it in front of customers. Even if you feel that your product is not the most exciting. 

b:bot was another revolutionary solution on display at Viva Technology. The machine scans and shreds recyclable bottles, and sorts them accordingly. This lowers the cost of recycling by decreasing labour requirements. The user can then choose to print a voucher of “green points” or to donate to a charity of choice, adding convenience and incentivising the recycling process. 

the impact of technology on education

During his fireside interview, Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chair of Alibaba Group, discussed how technology is altering the state of education. There are many opinions surrounding the future of AI and machine learning on jobs. Ma suggested that in the 4th industrial revolution, it is best to give more menial tasks to robots and allow us to deal with more human-related issues. He further stated that one of the most important skills in the workplace will be developing a high emotional intelligence (EQ), as this is something specific to humans.

Furthermore, Nunu Ntshingila, Head of Facebook Africa, stated in her talk; the Africa of 2020, that greater internet access means that more people have access to information. Ultimately resulting in a more educated population, something which is needed on the continent.

real-world applications of Viva technology

All of these innovations are interesting but may not be directly impactful to you in your industry. However, the real-world applications of tech are not always immediately apparent. Attending a conference like Viva Technology not only stretches one’s thinking but it also exposes attendees to the vast amount of possibilities and applications of tech.

An aforementioned example is that of GRTGaz, who utilised an animated room to completely immerse attendees in the problem, as well as the solution, of waste pollution. Furthermore, within the retail space, LVMH, the luxury goods company, developed several immersive experiences for differing brands at Viva Technology. Included in this was an activation for Aqua di Parma which assisted customers in selecting a customised perfume.


elevate your thinking

Perhaps one of the largest take-outs for me was that in order to think out-side of the box, you need to leave it. To elaborate; if you aim to be innovative in your approach to business, you need to expand your knowledge-base by exposing yourself to innovative business solutions, within and outside of your industry and job role. Being aware of advancements in technology in contemporary society is one way to learn more about new and revolutionary solutions on a global scale.

In terms of bringing learnings back home, we in Africa find ourselves in an interesting position, as challenges breed innovation. We occupy a space where we have the opportunity to innovate and take our brands to the next level in ways which are truly African-Centric. As Jack Ma stated, when focusing on your business goals you have to ask yourself three questions; what do you have, what do you want and what will you give up to achieve it? At Popimedia, we encourage our clients, and our team, to adopt a flexible and adaptive way of thinking in order to provide innovative solutions across all touch points, helping clients maintain their competitive edge and stay top-of-mind.

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