Online, the CES in Las Vegas is losing its appeal for the French

by bold-lichterman

French participation will be significantly less in January 2021 at CES in Las Vegas, the big tech show which will take place this year in an exclusively virtual form, coronavirus requires. Business France, the public export aid agency which traditionally brings together a large part of the delegation of French start-ups, is counting on 113 young shoots present, against more than 150 during the last edition, according to Eric Morand, the director of its Digital Technologies and Innovative Service department.

The digital format is much less attractive for start-ups, even if it is also much less expensive: a stand will cost around $ 2,000, while a real physical presence in Las Vegas costs at least 15,000 or 20 000 euros, taking into account employee subsistence costs. Start-ups will be entitled to a sort of digital stand, a page where they can present their product in text, photo and video, with private discussion areas to make appointments and interact directly with visitors. But the 100% digital format is not suitable for all start-ups, warns Eric Morand. “We recommended to the regions”, which play an important role in the selection of start-ups present in Las Vegas, to choose “Slightly more mature societies”, which are a little more than the simple realization of a concept and rather looking for a distributor, he explained.

Mathieu Gardin, from the Strasbourg start-up Oxycar (carpooling platform for companies), would have participated in the 2021 edition of the CES if it had been physical, but does not want to commit to a digital format, due to a half-fig, half-grape experience at another show, Slush Nordics, virtualized by the coronavirus. “You have to invest a lot of time to prepare a virtual stand”, he explains. “It’s difficult to present our product just on video, as long as there is no explanation next to it, people don’t understand. “He also judges that making contacts” is more complicated “, with” big uncertainties “on the attendance of the digital stand. “In physical salons at least we see people walking around, we can observe” what is happening.

Regulars fail

The same trend among more mature companies, with a certain number of regulars who will falter this year. The electrical equipment giant Legrand passes its turn after six years of participation. ” We probably wouldn’t have been there this year, but the fact that the show takes place in a digital form has strengthened us in this option ”, explained to AFP its managing director Benoit Coquart. The automotive supplier Valeo, which had been present for 8 years, gave up participating, while it expected, before the virtualization of CES was announced, a significant presence, with a classic stand and a prototype demonstration stand.

Among other automotive manufacturers, strongly represented in Las Vegas with the development of connected and autonomous vehicles, the manufacturer PSA will not be present, but Renault will be there with a digital stand, according to information collected by AFP from of these companies. The equipment manufacturer Faurecia will abstain on the other hand this year, after having organized its own event online with its customers and the media. But the group plans to be back in 2022. Legrand does not draw a line on its participation in future editions. “We will re-examine things in January February” for the 2022 edition, indicates Benoit Coquart.