Tech For The Planet On Display: Five Presentations From VivaTech 2021

Posted on June 21, 2021

Europe’s biggest startup and tech event just concluded over the weekend, where innovators from all over the world converged to share the latest technology that’s enabling the global digital transformation already underway. 

Some of the top speakers at VivaTech2021 included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Zoom CEO Eric Yuan among a slew of high-profile tech leaders. But this blog will focus on a specific kind of tech that was on display at this years event — tech for the planet. Veolia and many other environmental leaders were at VivaTech in a big way, showing how large the overlap truly is between the digital transformation and the ecological transformation.

Here are five solutions for digital sustainability that were on display at VivaTech 2021.

GeoCassini: digital twins and 3D management of infrastructure networks

Imagine if you could view a virtual version of your industrial plant, facility, or operations, and use that to analyze its performance, monitor maintenance needs and improve management in real time?  This is possible through what’s known as a “digital twin,” which is exactly what the name suggests. 

By providing a cloud platform for monitoring infrastructure in real time, operators can view digital twins of their systems from any remote location. These digital representations of infrastructure are updated based on real-time data collected from sensors on the physical assets. Analysts can then use this data to make assessments on equipment performance, predict maintenance needs, and even adjust operations to optimize resource efficiency. French start-up e-Cassini was at VivaTech2021 showcasing this on Wednesday June 16.

First your fridge, then your SIM card

Even though a single SIM card seems small and innocuous, over 4.5 billion of these cards are produced around the world each year. They help make the smart devices we rely on every day possible, and are helping achieve the digital capabilities necessary to the most cutting edge sustainability solutions. But how do we make these cards themselves more sustainable? 

Enter the circular economy. Thanks to recycling technologies developed by Thales and Veolia, old refrigerators are becoming SIM cards. Check out this video for more:


Resilience as a service - disaster science & machine learning

OneConcern spoke about its digital platform, which uses probabilistic models integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning to predict impacts of natural disasters that are expected to become worse due to climate change. 

With a human-centric approach to hazard science, communities can focus their real actions where and when it matters most. With resilience top of mind to communities around the world facing threats to critical infrastructure from natural disasters, this digital solution attempts to get ahead of the curve with predictive analytics.

Welcome to the data world - Hubgrade approach

Veolia’s Hubgrade offerings were prominently on display at VivaTech2021.  As we well know, digital solutions can do wonders when deliberately powered by human expertise. Especially useful in industrial sustainability, this session showed the way Hubgrade creates new opportunities to manage and optimize water, energy and waste systems. View the video below for a closer look at Hubgrade:


Small-scale closed energy loops

This session featured Veolia North America’s CEO, Frédéric Van Heems, and started with a discussion of the “3 D’s” needed to bring about the necessary ecological transformation. The 3 D’s are Decarbonization, Decentralization, and Digitization. We can decarbonize and decentralize by taking advantage of the clean energy resources that are most local to each of our communities, and we can optimize for efficiency using the latest digital solutions.  

One example discussed in this session was that of a wastewater treatment plant servicing the City of Rialto, California. First, the process of wastewater treatment removes material from wastewater to allow the release of clean water back into the environment. Then that removed material can be used to create biogas that powers a cogeneration system, producing both electricity and heat. This is paired with solar and battery storage to power a microgrid optimized for efficiency with a digital management system.

With this fuel arrangement in place, this wastewater plant can be fully autonomous, allowing it to disconnect from the regional electricity grid in the case of an outage or during periods of increased regional demand. This also adds resilience and helps ensure wastewater will always be treated to protect surrounding waterways.

The ecological transformation is digital

In our eyes, this is the most important message to take away from VivaTech 2021. The latest innovations in digital technology are making possible the most cutting edge advances in sustainability and climate resilience. They are solving our planet’s most crucial challenges.

For more information on VivaTech2021, visit the website at 

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