Orange is getting ready for the future of the Internet of Things. And this future is diverse: from new, open data networks to standardised total solutions. "Our years of expertise and the way we have adjusted our organisation are the foundation for further growth with our clients."
Possibilities of IoT expand even further
"This is not one of those situations where you say it’s not relevant to you," says Frank De Weser, Director for B2B Marketing & M2M at Orange (on the right in the picture), as he points to the future evolutions of the Internet of Things (IoT). "The possibilities are expanding, even those for consumers and regular citizens." With this he indicates the connected car, smart homes and smart cities. ‘The prognoses vary, but they suggest there will be around 20 to 50 billion connected applications in 2020. There’s no doubting that we can expect exponential growth."
According to De Weser, for companies that want to constantly improve their efficiency and customer service, machine-to-machine technology is at the top of the agenda. An important future trend is the standardised ‘off-the-shelf’ solution, often intended for a specific process. "One example is the so-called smart building that measures and monitors things such as the use of gas and water."
Connectivity as a powerful driving force
The technological evolution, and connectivity in particular, is an important driving force behind all this. "With 4G, new applications became possible, such as video security," says De Weser. "5G will multiply data transfer by five and reduce delays on the network at the same time, making it possible to support real-time solutions."
Other trends include what are known as LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) networks such as Sigfox and LoRa, which reduce battery use in devices. "Some competitors have announced their intentions to use LoRa. These networks are not standardised worldwide and operators don’t need licences. Even Orange has run test projects with LoRa in France."
De Weser points to the increasing popularity of LPWA solutions based on the mobile 4G network, technology that will be standardised to allow clients worldwide roaming capabilities. He emphasises that in the future, there will not be something like a single form of connectivity that serves everywhere. "There are however, more and more possibilities becoming available for connecting businesses with the internet."
Orange makes open innovation possible
The evolution has definitely not come to an end, according to Emmanuel Routier, Vice President of Global M2M/OME at Orange Business Services. "Mobile technology will play a crucial role in the current stream of digitalisation," he says. "The use of IoT is increasing, as are user types. And this raises the possibility of capturing and analysing even more data."
In recent years, Orange has invested heavily in an accessible M2M end-to-end network. "We have a full open network where you get access via a portal or through APIs. By doing this, Orange is making open innovation a possibility," says Routier.
The priority is customer satisfaction
Orange is determined to remain IoT market leader in Belgium. "Orange has a very high level of customer satisfaction among M2M clients. With a Net Promotor Score above 50, Orange M2M is a preferred brand for service and support. The years of expertise and the adjustments we have made to our organisation are the foundation for this. Orange Belgium takes a prominent position within the Orange Group. Our expertise in Belgium and further afield is generally recognised," says Emmanuel Routier.
"As a result, we also attract a large number of international clients, especially from the United States and France. Orange has not lost a single existing machine-to-machine client to the competition in the last two years," adds Frank De Weser. "We want to maintain that standard."
The function of the data privacy officer
Data security and data privacy are major challenges today, in the world of IoT and elsewhere. "It’s about the technical protection as well as the legal side of the business," explains Jan Léonard, Data Privacy Officer at Orange. "I make sure the data Orange manages is correctly protected and that client data confidentiality is guaranteed."
According to Léonard, every major company is concerned about data privacy. "On the one hand, there are legal obligations. But on the other hand, it’s about living up to the trust that clients put in Orange."
Léonard believes that nowadays, many of the clients are not aware of the data they share with third parties, nor the way it could be used, nor do they know whom it might be shared with. "Some people give out much more information about themselves than they realise or than is necessary. The level of awareness must increase," he believes. And Orange can play a role in this by guaranteeing transparency in the way client data is used.