CES 2016: OVH is gaining momentum in IoT and support for innovation

Once again boasting an increasing number of connected objects, which seem to be on the verge of reaching a maturity point, the last edition of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) gave OVH the opportunity to test drive the potential of its new platform dedicated to the Internet of Things (IoT). But beyond that, it was also an opportunity to explore a constantly evolving ecosystem that’s brimming with ideas and where the ever-growing presence of startups is a perfect match for the innovation support program launched by OVH.

From January 6 to January 9, Las Vegas became the innovation epicentre of the world, the place to be in order to get a sneak peek at tomorrow’s technologies and the people who are already shaping them up. “This was my first time at the CES and I was amazed at the sheer quantity and quality of people we’ve met”, says Cedric Combey, VP Sales for OVH in North America. He even readily admits that “business opportunities at the CES are looking more promising than the sum of all the other trade shows we’ve attended so far this year”. The stage is set.

With 180,000 visitors this year, CES is the largest electronic show in the world and is representing a global market of 2,300 billion dollars. It is an incredible dream factory and an unrivaled business accelerator for tech companies, especially for startups whose numbers and economic force are increasing with each new edition of the show. They had been assigned their own area called Eureka Park where more than 500 startups were gathering this year, which is five times more than it was five years ago. Out of that constantly growing faction, France did well with 190 startups in attendance, making it the second largest group behind the United States. In 2015, an initiative called French Tech - whose goal is to promote the French IT ecosystem - was propelled onto the international scene. 2016 will simply reinforce that fact. Originally criticized for being nothing more than a communication coup, French Tech has actually had a very beneficial psychological impact on French entrepreneurs. In fact, they quickly jumped onboard as they felt the galvanizing effect of its unifying pull and the uncompromising support of Emmanuel Macron (France Economy Minister) saying over and over that French entrepreneurs are carrying “some of the country’s optimism”.

The OVH team (from left to right): Pascal Jaillon, OVH San Francisco; James McKenzie, tech evangelist; Cedric Combey, VP Sales Canada and Sylvain Wallez, responsable du bureau OVH de Toulouse

In support of innovation

Always at the forefront of innovation, OVH made an appearance at Eureka Park’s French Tech pavilion to lend its support to 22 promising startups nominated by Business France, the national agency in charge of the internationalization of the French economy. Helping startup companies to develop their solutions with peace of mind – whether from a technological or logistical standpoint - is a major concern for OVH. In light of this, the « Digital Launch Pad » program - aka DLP - was launched back in September as an ambitious project dedicated to the support of innovation.

And what better event than the CES to test those potential opportunities on a macroscopic scale? The DLP is expected to support startups from the design stage of a prototype all the way to the commercial release of a solution. Pascal Jaillon, who is in charge of developing OVH’s American business activities in San Francisco and co-piloting the program, was “eager to validate hypotheses, probe expectations and gather comments from the many entrepreneurs on site”. His verdict after four days of intense discussions: “An overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs I’ve met have a very positive view of OVH and they’re enthusiastic about joining the program. And the very strong French presence has helped, of course. There’s still a lot of work to do in order to make ourselves known, especially with the American startups who are used to being solicited by competitors who can be very generous, even if that generosity sometimes comes with a price. The goal of the DLP is to provide a properly sized infrastructure that startups can manage on their own once the production or commercial release of their solution has started. Aside from proposing several levels of support based on the entire life cycle of the product, the DLP’s distinctiveness, according to Laurent Allard -CEO of OVH- lies in its “ambition to build some solid partnerships between OVH and the chosen startups coming from a variety of sectors that are complementary to ours, and with whom we share our experience in return.”

IoT (r)evolutions

Prominently featured at the CES, connected objects are relentlessly establishing themselves as the new archetype in the world of IT, infiltrating all sectors of the market through the rapidly shifting and exploding needs for data seen over the past few years. Pascal Jaillon concurs: “The Internet of Things was everywhere this year, with a potential that now goes far beyond the world of IT. I’m particularly referring to the health care sector which, in my opinion, is one of the most promising fields”.

The 50 billion connected objects expected around the year 2020 will require the storage and processing of a very significant amount of data, an area of expertise tailor-made for OVH and its 220,000 servers spread across 17 datacenters – to which 12 new datacenters will be added by 2018. This new digital mutation is what has motivated the launch of our platform specifically dedicated to the IoT”, according to Sylvain Wallez, in charge of the IoT branch opened by OVH in Toulouse (France). From storage to analysis, through monitoring and data processing, the PaaS TimeSeries - that’s its name - can “provide a turnkey service to companies in the IoT sector, who can then focus on the application logic of their solution without worrying about setting up an infrastructure”. This holistic approach is now possible notably through a partnership made official at the CES between OVH and the French startup Sigfox, a global specialist in connectivity who can rely on a very low-throughput, long-range and low-energy global network. Initially accessible in Beta on Runabove.com (the lab site of the group), the PaaS TimeSeries has just arrived on OVH.com, ready to collect, store, correlate and secure data for business application editors such as sensor manufacturers.

Montreal connected

Coincidently, OVH Montreal was launching at its offices a new monthly meet-up dedicated to IoT, just a few days after CES. This was a natural extension of an entire week of activities focusing on the subject as well as a reflection of OVH’s involvement with IT communities in the Montreal area, which is now stronger than ever. Close to 80 people attended the event following an invitation from Philippe Nieuwbourg, the group’s founder, “very happy about this record attendance for a first meet-up”. This success is due in part to “the central location of OVH’s new office, which makes it a very practical venue to mobilize the community on weekdays.”. After a report on the American tradeshow’s highlights, several entrepreneurs took turns to present their projects.

“Today we talked about connected objects, tomorrow we will address other issues. The goal of this meeting space is to build bridges and connect ideas”, explains Jerome Arnaud, VP Operations for OVH in North America. “This isn’t a commercial endeavour. We are hosting for free communities whose interests are in line with OVH’s values and expertise. In fact, don’t hesitate to contact us if you happen to read this!”. A word to the wise...

For its first meet-up hosted by OVH, the IoT MTL group set a new record with about 80 people attending.