Research at Orange (first part)

Technological breakthroughs that are changing the world. In an increasingly fast-moving environment, digital technologies and the new uses they are opening up are driving deep transformations in our professional and personal worlds. As a major player in the digital world, Orange is working to ensure the success of today's transformations, while preparing for tomorrow's changes, benefiting people, society and the planet.

Our research teams have deciphered these new trends for you here.

Four major technological transformations

Growing need for ambient connectivity
Constant connectivity, wherever we are, is now as vital as the very air that we breathe. To help establish truly ambient connectivity, various technologies are developing such as 5G. From 2020, it will deliver ultra-high-speed connectivity more efficiently, particularly in terms of energy, making it possible to guarantee connectivity for critical applications and connecting billions of objects with the Internet of Things. Innovative possibilities are also being trialled - micro-satellites, drones or stratospheric balloons - to further strengthen this connectivity.

Massively distributed software infrastructure
The distribution of computing and storage capabilities is being rethought faced with the technological evolutions and energy constraints involved. With Cloud computing, applications and data have been hosted up until now in huge datacentres. The transition to “fog computing” will enable these resources to be decentralised, embedding them in the connected objects around us. Meanwhile, important functions that were previously centralised could be decentralised, as in the case of the blockchain, which distributes commercial registries.

Distributing the Web of Things
As processor prices are falling, virtually all the objects manufactured will be able to be given a bit of intelligence and connectivity, creating a Web of Things. Thanks to sensors, which will be present virtually everywhere, the web will be able to benefit from true “sensory capabilities”. Measuring a wide range of both physical and environmental parameters, connected objects will help collect data and deepen our knowledge in real time.
One crucial development will be the capacity to automate certain tasks in diverse areas, from cities to industry and agriculture.

Emergence of artificial intelligence
Artificial Intelligence has taken a major leap forward thanks to deep learning technologies that surpass human performance for specialised tasks if learning data are available! Even more possibilities will open up with self-learning algorithms. Semantic search engines can converse and reason with us, specialised cogbots can advise human beings, and certain objects are becoming autonomous, particularly in the transport sector. But this future cannot be just utilitarian and efficient. More human features, personalisation, dialogue capacities and presence will gradually be added. Tomorrow's ambient intelligence will be well as emotional, sensitive, enabling all the objects from our day-to-day life to become smarter.

These four technological transformations will end the separation between the virtual and physical words: the increasing interpenetration between software and hardware will deeply transform the structure of the internet and make it possible to create new services that will make day-to-day life even easier for users.

Understanding and supporting these transformations 

While new technological breakthroughs are focused primarily on optimising the experience provided for users, it is still essential to clear certain obstacles before considering a wide scale adoption of these new uses. As a major player for digital innovation, Orange is committed to supporting its customers, employees and partners throughout the digital transition’s various aspects.

The adoption of new uses is also closely linked to digital trust. In terms of securing personal data, the challenges are of course technical, securing the entire chain carrying our data (connected objects, networks, storage areas, etc.). In this area, Orange research is working on increasingly secure solutions, such as user behaviour-based authentication or innovative consent management solutions. Security is also a cultural issue, making users more aware of the risks involved with social hacking.

Click here to read the follow-up of the research file.