The Internet of Things
Watches, activity tracker wristbands, energy meters, scales, thermostats, bulbs, cars…sources indicate there will be 25 to 50 billion connected devices worldwide by 2020. For individuals, connected devices are going to transform the environment and practices in many areas, including health, wellness, sport, cars, the home and security. For neighborhoods, cities, rural areas or regions, they will also be able to optimize energy management, enable transport systems to run more fluidly, help secure premises, and provide relevant, context-sensitive information for individuals.
These connected devices, based on sensors, will also enhance the services currently offered in businesses with a view to optimizing business processes or the industrial chain. They will open up new services. Lastly, they will help tackle some of the major challenges facing our planet in terms of the climate, demographics, public health or economic development around the world. This is the start of a new age, the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is a key area for diversification for Orange with its Essentials 2020 strategic plan.
To support its ambition to become one of the leading operators for the Internet of Things in Europe, Orange is present throughout the value chain, with connectivity solutions adapted for all uses and the distribution of connected devices and services for both consumers and businesses.
Our connectivity solutions
To cover all its customers' needs, Orange offers them a range of connectivity solutions that are effectively aligned with their uses (speed, adapted coverage, particularly inside buildings, types of devices to connect, low energy consumption, etc.).
For more than a decade, machine to machine (M2M) connectivity solutions have been based on Orange's cellular networks, with over 12 million connected devices worldwide at the end of 2016.
To further strengthen its connectivity offering, the Group has chosen to roll out a range of complementary LPWA (Long Range Wide Area) solutions.
This strategy was launched with the opening of Orange's network using the LoRa® technology in France at the start of 2016. This network currently covers 2,600 districts or industrial sites, providing quality connectivity both inside buildings and in their basement levels. Orange has used the LoRa® technology on more than 80 business-to-business projects, in various sectors, from smart cities and buildings to car parks, connected homes, industry, supply chain, geolocation and agriculture. These projects are enabling Orange and its B2B customers to rapidly check all the benefits available with an LPWA network. Orange's end-to-end solution harnessing the LoRa® technology will be made available for international markets from July 2017 through an offer that will be launched by Orange Business Services, providing targeted coverage in cities, ports or industrial sites.
To continue further strengthening its range of solutions, Orange also announced in February 2017 that it would be rolling out the LTE-M technology in priority and gradually across its 4G networks in Europe, starting off with Belgium and Spain in 2017. Orange believes that this multifunctional technology offers a good level of cost and efficiency, covering a wide range of uses. It provides secure, scalable connections for a great variety of devices: smart meters, GPS tags, cash machines and alarm systems, as well as vehicle fleets, heavy equipment, m-health and communicating devices. It also offers the advantage that it can be rapidly deployed by simply updating the software for the Group's current 4G network.
Orange is also moving forward with testing and assessing other cellular technologies adapted for the Internet of Things, and is actively preparing for the arrival of 5G.
Distribution of connected devicesOrange offers a catalogue of the best wellness, connected home, sport, leisure, connected watch and wristband products. The Group is capitalizing on its network of general stores and smart stores to bring these new devices to customers and support them as a digital coach. These devices are also available from its French online store: www.orange.fr.
So that users can fully benefit from their devices, Orange aims to provide them with value-added health, wellness and connected home services on its various markets in Europe.
For instance, in France, Poland and Romania, Orange is offering its customers a simple, fluid solution that makes it possible to aggregate and access all the connected devices in their home. With just one application, users can interact with all their home’s compatible connected devices. From a smartphone, tablet or computer, they can control their home's energy consumption and bring the inside of their home to life thanks to their connected equipment.
Business services with the Datavenue offer
With its Datavenue offer, Orange Business Services is helping businesses, from SMEs to multinationals, in France and worldwide to effectively harness the full potential of connected devices and data intelligence.
Datavenue covers the needs of all business sectors, from industry to automotive, smart cities and health.
The offer covers the entire IoT and data value chain through four modules:
- Select: support to select useful data sources and devices for business projects, particularly with a catalogue of devices and models tested by Orange, as well as the Flow Vision offer,
- Connect: connectivity solutions based on cellular networks, home and industrial gateways, and Orange's network with the LoRa® technology,
- Manage: simple, accessible platforms for managing fleets of devices and collecting, processing and analyzing the data gathered.
- Control: end-to-end support services covering security, integration and operations.
Open innovation approach
Orange's vision and commitment are also focused on promoting the construction of an active, profitable ecosystem around the Internet of Things, through open innovation with partners, as illustrated by the partnership for innovation with Harmonie Mutuelle to accelerate the development of e-health services and with SEB for a new connected cooking experience. Through its Orange Partner program, the Group also offers developers a range of solutions to prototype their devices and services, and test out potential new opportunities for creating services. The continuous innovation cycle also aims to enhance the Datavenue offer for businesses so they can benefit from the market's leading-edge solutions.
Interoperability between devices themselves and between devices and services is a key element with the IoT market. For a long time, Orange has been actively involved in this field through its research and standardization work at European level and globally.