On May 11th, PRIME organized and hosted the first Inria-Industry Meeting in the US. Inria, the only French public research institution fully dedicated to computational sciences, organizes such events in France to promote its research teams and to foster tech partnerships with industrial corporations.

This first Inria Industry Meeting in the US shared these same goals of promotion and collaborations. In a world where most of us take connectivity for granted, it was really interesting to discover startups, corporations and governmental entities that are actually enabling cities to be smart.

“Smart cities is such a big topic no company can do this alone. More than any sector, the smart city domain requires partnerships”, Arvind Satyam from Cisco

Antoine Petit, CEO of Inria, started the day with a brief introductory speech. It was then followed by 4 pitches by French startups live from France!

Benjamin Favriau, Smart City Project Manager at the City of Paris, and Miguel Gamino Jr, CIO of San Francisco, then explained why transforming Paris and San Francisco into smart cities was key. Favriau presented an outstanding portfolio of Smart City initiatives led by Paris from the Velib/Autolib system to the project of creating one city account for each Parisian to access public services. When asked about the smartest city in the world, Gamino pointed at Barcelona but then explained that San Francisco was not far behind.

Afternoon panel with Brandon Davito from Silver Spring Networks Francois Oudot from Sigfox and Scott Mauvais from Microsoft

Afternoon panel with Brandon Davito from Silver Spring Networks, Francois Oudot from Sigfox and Scott Mauvais from Microsoft

In-between pitch sessions, panelists as well as keynote speakers presented the initiatives their companies were financing. Cisco mentioned several projects they have in India, China and the Middle East. Sigfox gave us an update on the deployment of their IoT network in San Francisco. SFMTA explained the Better Market Street project that will make part of Market street unaccessible to cars as early as September 2015. Indeed a lot is going on for Smart Cities in 2015.

“The golden thread today was about predicting the future. Using data coming from everywhere, using EA software to try to predict things” Serge Passolunghi from Renault Silicon Valley

During the day, startups and research teams presented a broad array of Smart City innovations ranging from autonomous vehicles to open source software for a reliable IoT network. In total, 27 solutions were presented to more than 40 industrial corporations.

“At Total, we really believe in Open Innovation, we would not be able to do it all by ourselves. We need start-ups that have the ability to enter new domains or that have developed specific skills.” Denis Giorno from Total New Energies USA

Most corporations expressed their need to discover and engage with more innovative startups to keep up with the solutions that are developed and to integrate them into their offering.

The full program and the presentations that were made are available here. For the pictures, you can check PRIME’s Facebook page.