French President Hollande Opens Internet of Things Center

France’s president, François Hollande, opens the Cité de l’Objet Connecté in Angers created to help firms commercialize products for the Internet of Things.

Photo: Sérgio Crahan/Flickr

Photo: Sérgio Crahan/Flickr

On Friday, French President, François Hollande, inaugurated a new industry center in the western city of Angers. The brand-new facility dubbed the Cité de l’Objet Connecté aims at launching and developing devices for the Internet of Things.

“When I hear that five of the 12 most-sold connected objects in the United States are French, I have no doubts! I know France will be one of the word’s top digital economies,” Hollande said.

It’s necessary to say that encompassing various technologies that connect smartwatches, baby monitors, gas meters,  and lots of other devices to the Internet, the Internet of Things is growing really fast. So, according to a recent research conducted by International Data Corp, the world market for the Internet of Things will reach $1.7 trillion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 16.9%.

The growth of the Internet of Things shows that the idea to focus on the technology to restore manufacturing industry is not bad at all. Mayor Christophe Béchu is quite positive and says that the manufacturing shift to Asia made possible to try a new approach.

“The departure of some enterprises in the 1990s finally allowed the development of a renewed digital sector,” one that’s more focused on specialized products rather than mass production, and one that’s based on local expertise and business networks, CNET reports Béchu’s words.

“We are perfectly able to take up the challenge laid down by Asia, if we have the chance and means,” Béchu states. “The Cité de l’Objet Connecté appears to be this chance and means.”

“Some people think if you have a good idea in the morning, you have a connected device company in the afternoon. We know life is a little more difficult than that,” claims Eric Carreel, an entrepreneur and investor who helped start the project.

As for the brand-new center, about 40 people will work there as an initial staff helping startups and firms which pay for using the center. In case the facility is successful over the next three years, about 170 companies will use it every year. Plus, 400 or 500 new jobs will be created, Mr. Carreel says. Over that period of time, the Cité de l’Objet Connecté will become a private business which doesn’t need governmental loans.

“In France we do not have the same type of big investors and venture capitalists that you have in the US,” Carreel notes. “We have to say today the government is playing part of this role of the VC.”

Obviously, the center is far cry from being the next Silicon Valley, but it’s true that the facility dedicated to the Internet of Things can be quite helpful in developing the region’s industry, manufacturing, and electronics design.

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