Search in news

e-attract: Making smart data available to local stakeholders

Territories
06/04/2018

e-attract is a very young startup – it was created in June 2017 – but has already won several prestigious awards, including the Digital Innovation Competition.

e-attract will present Vivrou.com, its first application at, the ENGIE Lab at Vivatech from May 24th-26th. 
So what’s Vivrou.com? Pierre-Yves Nury, (in the middle of the picture below) CEO and co-founder of e-attract, told us all about it.

Pierre-Yves Nury: If I had to summarize what e-attract does, I would say that we digitize what’s local areas have to offer and add them to a database that describes all of their components: socially, economically, logistically, etc. 

We use this database to create apps that meet specific needs. The first of these apps is called vivrou.com. It helps citizens find the ideal place to live based on their needs and desires.
 
How does it work? We all have constraints, desires, and needs that vary based on our age, personality and family situation. Using all these criteria and our database, Vivrou.com will match your profile with a local area, even a neighborhood or a sub-district.
 
So we are an aggregative data platform about local areas, but we also produce algorithms and artificial intelligence to help structure how citizens are matched with these areas.
 
To summarize, we:
- have positioned ourselves as a leader in geographical data to help improve local attractiveness
- Our goal is to create a personalized relationship between citizens and all of the stakeholders in a geographical area.
 
We don’t interact directly with individuals; our business is B2B2C. We help major public and private stakeholders improve their relationship with citizens by developing services that create positive conditions for people moving in and that incorporates citizens’ expectations in the development of relevant offerings. Our service could for example be made available by ENGIE to its employees, customers or prospective clients.

You’ve chosen matching people to living places as your first testing ground. Do you have other projects related to transportation, culture or leisure?
 
Yes, of course, we are considering developing other services, since our geographical data platform can be used for many things.
The questions we ask about residential locations apply equally to businesses, services and more. So we could get into much more granular data, like "where should I live as a student”, or else expand the range of services we cover, especially if it meant including businesses or and other activities. More generally, we believe that the database we are building is a good foundation for modeling and planning how places will be used in the future.
 
With regard to what I know about ENGIE's businesses, imagine you want to create an urban heating network. You will have to plan for how urban space will expand and be used in the future. Using the models and data in our database, we can tell you how likely it is that a  neighborhood will become more attractive if we set up this or that infrastructure, and whether this prediction bears out based on data we’ve collected from citizens. Our goal is to go predictive.
 
What we see in our discussions with companies like ENGIE is that we can enrich their offerings with an innovative service that improves their image and helps people make a big life decision.
 

Where does your data come from?
 
We differentiate ourselves by sourcing data from various environments and stakeholders.
 
One of our sources is open data. The hardest thing about open data is not collecting it but sorting and organizing it. So we spent a lot of time identifying sources, processing them, eliminating certain parts and keeping only the most meaningful data.
 
We also have partnerships with research laboratories, especially the LAET (Laboratoire Aménagement Economie des Transports) which allows us to reconstruct indicators and gives us access to research data. We value public and university-sponsored research. We are continuously trying to initiate partnerships with communities so that they give us access to data that isn’t open.
 
Lastly we won of a large call for projects, Geofab, that was launched to address the cross-border region between France and Switzerland, which gave us access to a large amount of structural data from places like the IGN and its Swiss equivalent.
 
 
What’s your current geographical scope?
 
We already have exhaustive coverage of coverage of all 36000 French communes. In some areas we collect additional data to enrich this information. The Vivrou tool and data platform are designed to operate at the national level and we also work on the Swiss side of the border as proof that we can reproduce our work elsewhere and expand to any country.
 
Over the past couple of years, major cities have “branded” themselves but we feel that this approach hasn’t been taken to its logical endpoint, which is matching an offering to a customer. Local areas "sell" offers that remain fairly generalist and a tool like Vivrou could help match each specific geographical area with citizens.
 
 
What are you going to show at Vivatech? Will you allow visitors to test the service?
 
At Vivatech we will have a screen and a tablet so that visitors can try Vivrou. The site is interactive, very visual, and helps people become aware of the many possibilities available to them.
We realized that when searching for places to live, people don’t necessarily consider all the factors. The process is stereotypically something like: let’s take a look at 3 places, whereas based on the criteria of accessibility alone there are at least 200 municipalities accessible within 30 - 45 minutes of you, especially in metropolises that are served by public transport.
We think we can help people make better choices.

What do you expect to get from participating at Vivatech?

 We are delighted to be invited and we hope to:
-  have some in-depth meetings with ENGIE, of course
 - have meetings with other operators: bankers, telephone insurers, etc.
 
These meetings are obviously focused on developing business! We want to be able to launch projects with each of these partners, or in a way that brings them together to distribute vivrou more widely and in a more targeted way.
We will also be checking on the competition, because vivrou is just the first product in what we hope is a long series of them and we have absorb new ideas and learn about existing technologies to expand our offer.
And of course, Vivatech is definitely the right place to get some visibility!
 

What does the future look like for you?
 
For us the future will be citizen-centric!
 
The future is a city - or other geographical areas - that are focused on the user. To make this happen, we need to use data for citizens and better understand them, better incorporate their expectations into what we do and to make places more appealing.
Our goal is to make data available to inform individual decisions and simultaneously aggregate those decisions to help local areas become more attractive.
 
And we hope that our future involves becoming leading player in this field and the link between citizens and the people who will make the cities of the future.