Networking for the Future – Virtual Reality meets Nomadic Davos in Paris

When the SILKROAD 4.0 delegation makes a stopover in France on Thursday 19.11. 2020 from 17.00 to 21.00 –  national thought leaders, innovation experts and CEOs will gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities ignited by the Covid-19 crisis. The guests of the event will not meet in person but via the use of personalized avatars in a virtual environment. Up until now a very unlikely type of technology to be applied in such a context. However extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary solutions and it is made possible thanks to the VirBELA virtual reality platform.

If there is one place in the world – as history has taught us – where revolutionary ideas fall onto fertile soil, it is Paris, – birthplace of The French Revolution, mother to the First Feminist Movement and background for the original Declaration of Human Rights.

This week the French capital is going to be once more at the centre of a time-defining movement: the SILKROAD 4.0-Initiative with its “Emerging Tech Tour 2020”.

Founded by the Austrian tech pioneer, Philipe Reinisch, the incubator network which focuses on innovations and sustainable developments, is currently touring through Europe by organizing virtual conferences for leading scientists, thinkers and entrepreneurs in different knowledge ecosystems and technology hubs with „the aim to identify the questions worth asking“. For the future of our society. And the future of our planet.

The event-series has been well received by the media so far and the feedback to the first two virtual summits was extremely positive. One of the past attendants even called the conference akin to a “Nomadic Davos”.


We are proud to say that the speakers who have confirmed their participation in the upcoming French Edition of the 3D-business-conference do this claim justice.

The first one is Klaus Beetz, CEO of the Paris-based Knowledge and Innovation Community EIT Manufacturing – a sub branch of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology. Beetz will talk about „The future of Manufacturing“ and how the digitalization of the industrial sector will lead to a ubiquity of highly customizable products in the upcoming years.

Afterwards French icon, cultural philosopher and seasoned economist Jacques Attali (writer, futurologist and President of the Positiv Planet Foundation) will discuss „Why South Korea was the only country succeeding to overcome the first wave of the covid-19 crisis“ by developing what Mr. Attali has coined „The Economy of Life“.

The third and last lecturer of the evening will be Frank Escoubes, co-president of the French company bluenove. His keynote will tackle the question of „How the power of AI-enabled collective intelligence can be used to reinvent participatory democracy.“

With such an exciting program at hand there is certainly no lack of topics to talk about during the breaks.



About the conferences 

What is the significant and therefore crucial difference of the “Emerging Tech Tour 2020“ business-networking series by SILKROAD 4.0?


It takes place on a virtual campus. Reinisch, who handles large IoT roll-outs and prestigious pilot projects such as cybersecurity management of autonomous vehicles in public transport with his company Boteillier, has rented a dedicated 3D space provided by the US software start-up VirBELA for this very purpose.

It is equipped with several conference rooms, an auditorium and various areas for informal chats. Large screens are available for keynote speakers to show their presentations and the audience is distributed around tables and chairs. If one discovers particularly interesting partners for discussion during the event, he or she can approach them and explore possible cooperations. Everything works just like in real life.

This is made possible by the utilization of personalized avatars, commonly used in popular online games such as “Second Life” or “Fortnite“. In respectable business environments, this type of technology, has not yet been used, at least in Europe. But necessity is the mother of invention.

Interested journalists from around the world are welcome to join the event and take part in this break trough online conference format.


Quotes by the keynote speakers of the Paris event


Klaus Beetz, Chief Executive Officer of EIT Manufacturing ASBL

“Our goal is to ensure manufacturing innovation is led by Europe. Europe has always been the home of the industry, and a pioneer in industrial innovation including industry 4.0. Manufacturing is an essential part of Europe’s economy. It is key for the transition into a carbon free economy and Europe’s Green Deal. Manufacturing matters more than ever”


Jacques Attali, Writer, futurologist and President of the Positive Planet Foundation.

In the context of the covid-19 crisis, democracies have been questioning their models and been endangered by non-democratic management illusions. However, the only country succeeding to overcome the first wave of contamination, South Korea, has applied measures for developing what I call the Economy of Life. It is essential for political, social and especially technological leaders and engineers to think ahead the technologies and innovations, in order to shape the positive sectors of tomorrow, towards altruism and towards future generations”


Frank Escoubes, co-president of the French company Bluenove.

“Democracy is going through chaotic times: extreme polarization of societies, top-down Covid-19 sanitary crisis management, endangered freedom of speech, etc. We can (and should) invent a truly inclusive form of democracy by mobilizing and consulting citizens more frequently and more massively: democracy is first and foremost a narrative exercise. By designing new ways of deliberating with citizens: democracy begins in conversation. And by transforming radically the way citizens vote and decide“