In French, the expression veille technologique means the act of following the current trends in technology. Is there such a phrase in English?

I can only think of expressions like keeping up to date or keeping current with technology, but find them too wordy and colloquial.

  • There's also being in the vanguard of technology. Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 19:21
  • In France, "veille technologique" is often used in the sense of "new emerging technologies," but does not translate always that way. The expression alone does not imply "watching" or "monitoring." One might hear that a company works on "veille technologique" while referring to producing "new technologies," not monitoring. Often we might also say that a product is "pointu" (i.e. on the bleeding edge) or is "a la veille de la technologie."
    – user42297
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 2:55

8 Answers 8


The term appears to be technology watch:

Known as "technology watch", this essentially means gathering and analyzing technological information and using it to help grow your business. Technology watch also costs 5 to 25 times less than intensive internal research, especially when acquiring new equipment.

Originally applied only to technology, this practice (also called "competitive watch", "strategic watch" and "technology and standards watch") now also includes commercial and competitive environments, finance, and applicable laws and regulations. By using technology watch, you can keep an eye on markets and new innovations, both of which are critical to your company's success.

The ITU publishes technology watch reports. French sites using the term "veille technologique" appear to consider "technology watch" as the equivalent term in English.


The term cutting edge is regularly used to indicate being attuned to the most advanced form of technology.

at the latest or most advanced stage of development; innovative or pioneering: cutting-edge technology

A related term, bleeding edge is often used to refer to technology that is even more advanced

the very forefront of technological development: [as modifier]: an architecture that many people believe is still too bleeding edge for large mission-critical systems

This may be used to describe technology that is innovative to the point that it is not fully refined or developed. The "injury" metaphor suggests that the adopter may suffer, either because she or he invest time, money in the trend that may not take firm root, or that the use is somewhat painful because it is being used before "the rough edges" have been polished off.


You could say: to keep an eye on technology, as it appears that veille also stands for vigil, watch, and keep watch over. But a more idiomatic expression than technology watch, and less cliché than cutting edge, could be the: keep abreast of the times and its various forms.

Collins: up-to-date, as in ideas, fashions, etc.; modern
Word Reference thesaurus: up-to-date; informed; aware; modern; updated; in the know (slang); apprised; clued in (slang); clued up (slang); enlightened; well informed; to be abreast

There is no business in the world which can hope to move forward if it does not keep abreast of the times, look into the future and study the probable demands of the future.
Thomas J. Watson,Sr.

keep abreast of to have the most recent information about something

  • Keep Abreast of Emerging Technology Trends
  • How do you keep abreast of changes in technology?
  • Keeping Up With Technology: If you want to compete in todays business world, then, its important to keep up with technology in order to get the most out of the technology you have, to keep abreast of emerging new technology...
  • With the explosion in event technology, savvy event and meeting planners realize the importance of keeping abreast of emerging technological trends and tools.
  • Companies need to keep abreast of the latest technological innovations if they are to take advantage of new business opportunities…

stay abreast of to have the most recent information about something (TFD)

  • Computing Survival Skills effectively addresses this need at the University of Virginia by training staff to stay abreast of technology.

Wikipedia translates to

Technology forecasting

but following the current trends is also understandable

  • Thanks, had seen that but found it inadequate, as forecasting entails prediction, whereas following trends doesn't. From the Wikipedia article: Technology forecasting attempts to predict the future characteristics of useful technological... Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 18:24

The examples you give, "keeping up to date" and "keeping current with new technology", are the conventional phrases for expressing this idea. They are not inappropriate for formal writing. As to being wordy, well, that's just how it is, I don't know of any more concise phrases.

If you mean the very latest technology, we refer to that as the "leading edge". In this context, you might say someone is "staying on the leading edge".


"Veille technologique" (this was my role in France) would be literally translated as "Technology watch". I haven't come across a commonly used literal translation. This is related to an R&D role, feeding observed technology trends into an organisation's strategy, with a view to adoption.

The term I see most often in English is "Staying current" in reference to technological/IT advances, which shifts the emphasis to being up to date, (see also "early adopter", as mentioned in another post), rather than just following trends as a passive or active observer.


The direct translation of OP's expression is eve of technology (the implication being that technology isn't quite here yet in the fully developed form expected soon (tomorrow?).

I don't know any English expressions to convey that nuance, but a common term for someone who enthusiatically embraces such technology as has already arrived (and by implication, will be an early adopter of any new developments) is...

technophile - a person who loves or is enthusiastic about advanced technology.

  • Veille also means a wake -- a watching over of something. I think that is the meaning intended here.
    – JAM
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 19:56
  • @JAM: My French isn't that good. I thought veille in the sense of "watching" was always associated with things like a vigil over a corpse, or keeping a watchful eye on things that might/are expected to go wrong. Preventative health screening, watching to see if the dam is going to break, etc. Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 20:05
  • 1
    let's see if someone more fluent than either of us weighs in :)
    – JAM
    Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 20:10

Consider trendsetting, after trendsetter, “someone who starts a trend, or makes one more popular”, and early adopting, after early adopter. Per wikipedia,

An early adopter or lighthouse customer is an early customer of a given company, product, or technology; in politics, fashion, art, and other fields, this person would be referred to as a trendsetter. The term originates from Everett M. Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations (1962).

Note, an innovator is “someone who innovates; a creator of new ideas”. Innovators typically get on the bandwagon before early adopters / lighthouse customers / trendsetters, and indeed often create the things that others later pick up on.

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