Last Friday, PRIME launched a new initiative called PRIME OPEN. For the first time, top French Corporations established in Silicon Valley together with large U.S. corporations met with disruptive startups from the Silicon Valley around the burning topic of open innovation. For this event, they were gathered with city officials (Palo Alto, San Francisco, Paris region) and experts to focus on Open Innovation in “smart cities”.
Tumml, an accelerator dedicated to urban environment, opened the debate by sharing its experience of how entrepreneurs can help resolve urban problems. After this opening statement, 15 disruptive start-ups operating in the area of smart cities presented their solutions to address challenges in energy, transportation, building, education, citizen services and health, namely People Power, Junar, UrbnEarth, EPY.IO, Beyond Lucid, Local Motion, Scoot Network, Gridium, Type A Machines, AchieveMint, Textizen, Captricity, TransitHero and LearnSprout. Finally, YouNoodle, a global network of startup competitions, presented its solution to the group To complete this overview on smart cities innovation, Alexey Pozdnukhov, Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley, shared his approach to Smart Cities, and emphasized the opportunities generated by the amount of data generated in the cities, including new “citizen-as-a-sensor” data.
Start-ups and academia had a unique opportunity to network with more than 20 representatives of the largest corporations active in the smart cities environment worldwide. On the French Side, we had Renault with its electric vehicle Twizy, EDF, Total Gas & Power New Energies U.S., Bouygues Winnovation, L’Atelier BNP, Faurecia, Schneider Electric, Veolia, Orange Labs and La Poste Innovation USA. On the American Side, we had the pioneers in Smart Cities: IBM, Qualcomm, PG&E Innovation, Cisco, Oracle, Accenture Technology Labs as well as the innovative Airbnb and Silver Spring Networks. The group also heard priorities from the CIO of San Francisco (Marc Touitou) and Palo Alto (Jonathan Reichental) about their experience of leveraging innovation and entrepreneurships to become smarter cities. This consolidates further the initiative launched in March 2013 between San Francisco and Paris mayors in support of the collaboration between INRIA in France and CITRIS in California.
At the end of this first event, we can say that a major milestone has been achieved in the journey to connect U.S. and French companies, startups and innovators and thus accelerating innovation, adoption and integration of transatlantic initiatives between the Paris Region and the United States. The Consul General of France in San Francisco shared his view that open innovation is becoming more and more important and invited French corporations to strengthen their links with the Silicon Valley innovation ecosystem.