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A Look At Lilla Merabet’s Take On CES 2020 And The Grand Est’s 2020 Plans


Back from Las Vegas where she accompanied a delegation of 12 startups incubated in the French Grand Est, Lilla Merabet, Vice-President of the Region in charge of competitiveness, innovation and digital technology, gives us her take of this 2020 edition.
by: Silicon Luxembourg
photo: Jean-Luc Stadler, Grand Est
featured: Lilla Merabet

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What was your state of mind at the end of this CES?

For the Grand Est delegation, the results are positive in terms of investor meetings, prospects and media coverage. The concept of embedded artificial intelligence, this year, represented a clear shift in the way products were presented at the show. Previously, the technology was demonstrated. Now we’re moving away from this theoretical approach. AI is integrated into the product (health, IoT, home automation, mobility…) and we are able to experience the product realtime which is just fantastic!

Which regional companies hit the market this year?

Myfood outperformed this year. They brought freshness with their hyper visual connected greenhouses and attracted a lot press by harvesting the vegetables they cooked for the visitors of the show. Their model of connected permaculture responds directly to our current food and environmental issues. Transchain worked well too, as blockchain technology remains a trending topic at the CES. And, Cyberdetect also showcased its technology for the detection of server anomalies and web traffic. Syslor, also, proposed an immersive demo to present its solution for visualizing underground networks. The civil and military engineering markets are clearly keen on learning more.

How does the startup ecosystem of the Great Est fare in comparison to others at the CES?

We can only compare the strategic choices of the CES which are not necessarily representative of reality. Out of more than 70 applications, we chose only 12 companies with an exclusive focus on startups already mature for global exposure. We coached them to adapt their arguments to a global market. In France, it is customary to talk about technology by explaining why it is the best. They explain why this technology exists and how it will change the world! E-health, in particular, is a sector that stands out strongly and efficiently in the Grand Est.

What are the advantages of choosing France and Luxembourg for a startup?

France has a strong business hub and connectivity with ETIs and laboratories linked to its size while Luxembourg has an investment strength in terms of fundraising and international exposure.

What are Grand Est’s 2020 digital plans?

In 2020, we would like to strengthen the collaboration between the region, Sillon Lorrain and all the border communities in the European Artificial Intelligence Valley programme, particularly in the field of health (€350m budget spread over 5 years, editor’s note). We will work with the Luxembourg Health hub, and with companies, hospitals, laboratories and academic research centres situated in the Hauts de France region (North), Wallonia, the German border states and Switzerland.

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