28 August 2020

Data and AI: New possibilities for customers and society

The huge volume of data now produced worldwide, along with the accelerated capacity to process it thanks to AI, opens up a huge range of opportunities for individuals as it does global economies.

 

Advanced AI and data capabilities enable us to focus on the essentials, anticipate the future and make everyday life easier. 

For example, concrete solutions in the field of health make it possible to spot signs of a disease when they are still invisible to the naked eye. In terms of the environment, we can use AI to reliably map climate change or track wildlife evolutions. And in transport, AI is paving the way for driverless cars, which will radically transform the way we travel from A to B.

In terms of business expectations, AI will help companies to manage market complexities by increasing the speed of information processing, optimising and automating business processes and adapting a product offering in near real-time. 

This large-scale revolution will not happen overnight, and will be filled with complexity, just like the internet revolution, which began 25 years ago. For Orange, the priority is to ensure it is responsible, respectful and useful.

 

What is AI ?

Textbooks define AI as the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalise, or learn from past experience. However, AI still has many limitations and the prospect of a “strong” AI (as general and versatile as human intelligence) is still a distant scientific horizon.

 

 

Commiting to ethical AI

We’re committed to limiting and controlling the risks associated with AI by paying particular attention to data governance. We do everything we can to configure algorithms that limit bias and errors, especially when the results are used to help people make decisions. We constantly analyse the risks and oversee all processes to enable human intervention if necessary.

Not only does AI enable us to research, test and reduce the energy consumption of our infrastructure, we’re actually developing more energy-efficient AI techniques and computation systems. What’s more, we’re supporting a wide range of initiatives to promote an ethical and rational use of AI and data, such as our collaboration with the Impact IA think tank, which was created in 2018 with Microsoft and other French partners, as well as the International Charter for Inclusive AI set up by the Arborus fund, signed in April 2020. 

Orange is also one of 52 independent experts representing academia, industry and civil society that is part of the European Commission's High-Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence (HLEG AI), setting standards for the ethical development and use of AI.

 

How AI is central to our ambitions

Our Engage 2025 strategic plan places AI and data at the heart of our innovation model. Our ambition is to make Orange a data-driven company to improve agility and performance while promoting social and environmental responsibility. We’re developing programmes in three main areas:

 

Smarter networks:

Enabling network function virtualisation and automation, intelligent management of network resources to optimise allocation while maintaining quality of service, as well as predictive maintenance for network equipment.

Operational efficiency:

Combatting fraud through AI-enabled supervision solutions that detect suspicious and/or fraudulent behaviour on our mobile and fixed networks and financial services, along with abnormal network energy consumption.  

Reinvent customer experience: 

Creating an “enhanced customer experience” that combines physical and virtual interactions and a smoother, more personalised, omnichannel relationship within our offers and customer journeys.

 

Patents in the AI ​​field

 

 

 

Responsible data use

When it comes to business services, our AI and data solutions can help customers become more agile and efficient. Orange Business Services offers a whole host of ways to transform the end-customer experience (chatbots, data mining for call centres etc), improve processes (predictive maintenance, computer vision for quality control etc), protect information systems (problem identification and resolution, cybersecurity etc) and ensure responsible data management and governance.

 

Working within ecosytems

For many years, Orange has been committed to developing AI and data technologies and skills. Not only have we made ongoing investments in the French and European R&D ecosystem, we have also joined forces with numerous start-ups and large industrial groups alike:  

  • Funding research carried out by public institutions and research institutions such as SystemX and B<>Com.
     
  • Participation in the European AI4EU initiative and HLEG AI.
     
  • Collaboration with four Interdisciplinary AI Institutes (3IA) set up by the French government in 2018. 
     
  • Strategic R&D agreement with NTT to pool the results of research in several key areas including 5G, AI, IoT and cybersecurity.

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