Viva Tech: Twitter

INTERNATIONAL -The third edition of Viva Tech 2018 is set to kick off today (24 May) in Paris, France. 

The tech conference, which ends on Saturday (26 May), will see 80 000 attendants from over 103 countries, including among them over 8000 startups and 1400 investors.

Speakers at the three-day conference include Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, Ethereum co-founder Joe Lubin, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

This year’s edition of the conference – which bills itself world’s rendezvous for startups and leaders -- is arguably going to be one of the most important tech conferences taking place this year, as it will for the first time feature a space dedicated area showcasing African innovation, the [email protected] Zone.

A contingent of up to 50 African startups, as well as representatives of tech accelerators, and incubators, among them delegates fro AfricArena, SiliconCape, MEST, and La French Tech, will represent the continent at the [email protected] Zone.

Here is a list of 10 things you should not miss out on:

1. Opening Keynote by Emmanuel Macron
Not to be missed is Emmanuel Macron’s opening address where he is expected to talk about how technology can be a positive force for both the economy and society.

2. [email protected] an Ecosystem takes shape (0945-1010, Stage X)

Join a panel which will include Quartz Africa editor Yinka Adegoke, MEST managing director Aaron Fu, and the European Commission’s Gilles Babinet as they discuss the work and impact of the various tech hubs and accelerators on the continent.

3. TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Europe – Final (18:15-19:45)
Five finalists will duke it out in the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Europe final where the winner will walk away with €25 000 prize money, and a ticket to pitch at Disrupt San Francisco Battlefield in September.

4. Fireside chat with Mark Zuckerberg
 In a live-streamed event, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg will hold a fireside chat with Publicis Group Chairman and co-founder Maurice Levy. During the interview, the two will discuss the role of technology, as well as the challenges it can bring, data protection and privacy.

5. Blockchain Wall (08:30 -19:00)

Few people understand how blockchain actually works, which is why tech giant IBM is showcasing the technology’s use cases at Viva Tech on Friday. Learn how IBM is using blockchain to build trust, tracks provenance and maintain privacy in an interactive coffee bean supply chain.

6. AfricArena pitch and talk session

On Friday some of the best African startups-- and the winners from last year’s inaugural AfricArena tech conference -- will pitch their solutions at a talk and pitch session. During the event,representatives from Silicon Cape, and French tech initiative La French Tech will give talks on the issues and opportunities within Africa’s digital revolution.

7. Equality Lounge (11:00-12;00)

Andela co-founder and president Christina Saas, alongside Salesforce partner and Europe Head Alex Kaayal will discuss gender, racial and social equality in tech startups at the Equality Lounge on Friday.

8. AI, Voice, IoT: Look Who’s Talking Now ( 25 May 0950-1025, Stage X)
With artificial intelligence (AI) technology developing at an astonishing rate, as shown by Google’s I/O conference earlier in in the month, voice technology, along with innovation in the Internet of Things (IoT) is widely seen as on the verge of changing how we interact with our devices, and even the internet. 

Join a panel which will include Google vice president and managing director Sébastien Missoffe, CISCO marketing boss Jeremy Bevan, and Walmart US chief marketing officer Tony Rogers, as they discuss what this could mean for consumers, and marketers alike.

9. Data Deluge: Is My Startup Prepared (24 May, 1045-1120 Startup Stage)
Don’t be misled by the name of this event, even though it is targeted at startups, the lessons in this talk are equally applicable to big companies. With GDPR coming into effect this Friday, join a panel with Peopledoc co-founder and COO Clement Buyse, and Dataiku CEO Florian Douetteau as they discuss strategies for controlling, managing, and safeguarding data.

10.  Visit the Hall of Experiences

Here attendees get to experience first-hand cutting edge tech. Make sure to check out; Mobility Park: The place where new mobility solutions are invented and experimented, from autonomous cars to flying taxis. 

VR Park by Alibaba: A 150m2 space designed to host exclusive VR immersive experiences and the latest virtual technologies.

 Experience the Hololens: The first self-contained holographic computer, enabling you to engage with your digital content and interact with holograms in the world around you, then visit your new house in VR: Visit your next home and test new real estate experience, thanks to the holoportation, with BNP Paribas.