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French firms eye gadget market at Vegas tech show

© France 3 screen grab

Video by Yuka ROYER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2015-01-06

French tech start-ups have flocked to the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, hoping to get a foothold in the rapidly expanding market for high-tech gadgets.

Some 120 companies from France are present at the four-day event, which opened to the public on Tuesday.

This year the focus is on Web-connected smart gadgets designed to make everyday life easier – a concept many refer to as the “Internet of Things”.

One example is the heated insole presented by Glagla Shoes, a start-up based in the city of Nancy, in eastern France.

Thanks to a special smartphone app, users can control the insoles’ temperature and even use them as pedometers.

Glagla Shoes says the insoles’ rechargeable batteries can keep your feet nice and warm for up to eight hours.

''For people who really have problems or who live in very cold places, our products can meet their needs,” says the company’s founder and CEO, Karim Ouminia.

“But they'll also be good for skiers, hikers, people who work outside like soldiers and police officers,” he said.

Going global

Another French firm, Wistiki, has come up with a device to help the absent-minded who keep losing their keys.

When fitted on keys, its tiny GPS trackers help guide users to the lost items via a smartphone. As they approach the precise location, the device starts beeping.

The three brothers running the Paris-based start-up say they have already sold 50,000 trackers. They hope the Vegas show will help them go global.

''Our dream was to create and put on the mass-market a device to help people who keep losing things. That's now happened in France,” said Wistiki’s co-founder Hugo Lussato.

“Las Vegas will be an opportunity to make our second dream come true: to spread our product worldwide,'' Lussato added.

The French firms’ PR drive will be backed by the government, with France’s Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and the junior minister for the digital economy, Axelle Lemaire, both due in Vegas to tout the country’s cutting-edge tech players.

Date created : 2015-01-06


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