A centre dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT) technology, founded by private and state money, has opened in Angers, a city which is 300km from Paris, the FT reports.
IoT technology enables objects to communicate with other objects and is tipped to become the next ‘big thing’ over the next few years, with analysts predicting that by 2020, between 26bn and 50bn IoT units will be connected to the internet.
According to the FT, the Cité de l'objet connecté was opened last month by President Francois Hollande, in a bid to support France as a leader in IoT and to convert innovative ideas quickly into smart, connected devices made in France.
Around 60 IoT companies are expected to move into the centre for a few months in order to grow and develop under the guidance of in-house help ranging from entrepreneurship, engineering and manufacturing.
The FT reports that over the past few years, France has become the second to the US in the IoT field according to figures derived from weekly French technology product launches. At the International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas this year, over 100 of the 350 non-US companies were French companies showcasing IoT products.
In comparison to other countries developing IoT technology, only South Korea, Finland and Israel are producing similar levels, leaving the UK, China, Japan and the rest of the EU outside of this range, and according to the FT, although the US outsources production to Asia, a large majority of their smart products are made in France.
In the last few weeks French companies have launched a variety of IoT products including, Triby, a kitchen-based family communications centre developed by Invoxia, a company that specialises in office conferencing products and Netamo’s Welcome, a home security camera that recognises faces.
Not to be outdone in the fintech sector, France has also recently created the France Fintech Association which is a committee full of executives from companies such as Kantox and Ledger, and has the backing of the government and financial regulators. The region is also already seeing growth as a Bitcoin digital currency market, with digital currency exchanges allowed to act as banks and supermarkets accepting bitcoin for online shopping.
France could be one to watch in the technology space, and according to the FT, has built its pole position in IoT because of a combination of state encouragement of scientific progress and the fact that since the 2008 crisis engineering graduates have been less able to join big companies and have therefore been more inclined to found start-ups.