Transforming innovation into progress each day
Orange takes a positive, human and responsible approach to technology. We believe the digital revolution brings a wealth of opportunity, as long as it is inclusive and benefits both society as a whole and the planet. That’s the only way it will achieve progress for the entire population. All new products and services have to be designed to be useful, easy-to-use and accessible to all. People have to be the focal point of any development. We have to take future users into account right from the start and all the way through to the end stages of everything we do. Users should not have to adapt to technology; it’s up to us to make it accessible.
IoT, AI, 5G – networks and data driving meaningful progress for people
Such innovation has fostered developments in many parts of the digital sector. We strive to make connectivity accessible in any place, at any time, in particular by rolling out 5G. We aim to optimise and enrich people’s digital experiences through the Internet of Things (IoT), data and artificial intelligence (AI). To achieve this goal, we structure our efforts around three strategic areas of focus.
Maintaining standards of excellence in our core technology, our networks, to offer users the best possible connectivity, whether they are at home, on the move or at work. We are conducting tests and trials alongside our partners to prepare for the launch of 5G in France and Europe. In 2019, we will move into a pre-commercial phase to gradually roll out the 5G network in 17 cities throughout Europe (particularly in France, Poland, Belgium, Luxembourg and Romania), and as a pilot project in Spain. This will allow thousands of customers to get a first taste of 5G technology.
Making customer relationships even more practical and streamlined, through AI development. Virtual assistants are powerful tools that enable us to build unmatched customer relationships. At the same time, we are applying breakthroughs in AI to redesign the business of the future, network management and mobile banking.
Putting together an offering that makes sense for our customers, with easy-to-use and effective communication services – such as those used in connected homes, smart cities and autonomous vehicles – and services to businesses that leverage IoT and Networks as a Service (NaaS).
Orange has a role to play in the digital and technology race, in particular by taking part in global organisations such as the GSMA (the trade body that represents the interest of mobile operators), where we spearhead matters relating to interoperability and identity. The Group is also involved in deploying ambitious and fast-paced European innovation policies for ongoing digital development, which has led to a number of highly productive research collaborations. The smart speaker Djingo developed with Deutsche Telekom as part of the European AI Alliance is a great example of such collaboration.
Combining local agility and global strength
On a global scale, the strength of the Group gives its entities access to resources, skills and expertise for making informed decisions, especially when it comes to technological choices. Our international status enables our entities to access the partnerships established with global giants such as Google, Facebook and Amazon. Our approach to innovation meets the needs that are emerging locally within our operating countries and adapts to issues being raised in local markets and regional economies.
Research at Orange into disruptive technologies, new usages and alternative economic models is shaping the future. Our researchers, working closely with our own innovators and innovation communities, are cultivating strategic assets in the form of skills, intellectual property, standards and partnerships. This was the framework for our integrated research in 2018. We were involved in over 50 projects in France and Europe, including the AI4EU initiative that unifies Europe’s artificial intelligence community. We are also taking part in the European 5G Infrastructure public-private partnership, which in 2018 launched 5G-CroCo, a collaborative pan-European project to trial 5G technologies for connected and autonomous vehicles on motorways.
- 640 researchers including 140 at doctorate or post-doctorate level
- 222 patents filed in 2018
- Identified as a Key Innovator by the European Commission’s Innovation Radar
- Winner of two Gold Awards at the fourth annual Trophées du Droit (intellectual property)
€700 million invested in research and innovation
Accessibility to facilitate communication for all
One of our top priorities is to design ways for people to communicate, along with new interfaces that improve access to digital technologies. We are committed to enabling digital inclusion for elderly and disabled people and develop products and services for the common good. For example the Dot Watch, a connected watch designed for people with visual impairments, receives and displays messages and notifications from a great many applications through a braille interface.
Spaces and resources to innovate together
Orange believes that innovation is most effective when the people who will use it are involved in its development. In 2018, Orange Business Services opened a space in its new offices, the Digital Customer Innovation Centre, dedicated to collaborative development with customers, businesses, start-ups and partners. Orange technical engineers facilitate product and service development through the Orange Developer programme.
- 60 application programming interfaces (APIs)
- 3,000 developers using our APIs each month
Our start-up ecosystem
The Group aims to support 500 start-ups around the world between now and 2020 through programmes tailored to their stage of maturity, from the early days to scaling up through to maturity. We help them through a variety of programmes, such as the Orange Fab France start-up accelerator, hackathons and the Orange Social Entrepreneur Prize Africa and Middle East, which recognises start-up projects that help improve the living conditions of local people through digital. Our corporate fund, Orange Digital Ventures, invests in around 20 start-ups that have reached maturity. In 2018, the African branch, Orange Digital Ventures Africa, selected Africa’s Talking and Yoco to make its first-ever investments. Within the Group, Orange offers its employees the possibility of expressing their entrepreneurial flair by creating spin-offs or within the Intrapreneurs Studio.
- 16 countries in which the Orange Fab network is present throughout the world
- First class of graduates from the Women Start programme run by Orange Fab France in 2018
- Over €430 million raised for start-ups backed by Orange Digital Ventures