Businesses need to be able to count on a telecoms partner that listens to them. They increasingly expect their telecoms provider to provide them with solutions which keep pace with evolving market conditions. More specifically, connected objects and Big Data are generating new opportunities.
In a fiercely competitive business market, Orange Belgium has succeeded in retaining the loyalty of its biggest customers whilst also attracting major new ones. The launch of a new range of fixed connectivity solutions at the end of 2015 resulted in a marked increase in sales.
Although fixed and mobile connectivity is increasingly becoming a “utility”, it is also paradoxically becoming increasingly business-critical. Companies expect their telecoms operator to be unfailingly reliable in supplying the networks which support their business operations.
From this perspective, Orange Belgium has chosen to listen to their customers and react swiftly to their needs. In other words, the company is taking great care over the quality of its service.
More specifically, in 2016 Orange completed its portfolio of convergent connectivity solutions. Alongside its leading position on the mobile network market, the company is working in partnership for VDSL and fibre services.
In 2016, Orange Belgium supported many of their business customers in migrating towards more agile and adaptable solutions. To ensure it is offering the best possible solution for their individual IT requirements, Orange Belgium has elected to develop an ecosystem of specialist partners.
With regard to international connectivity, the business is able to call on the expertise of the Orange Group, which has a wide portfolio of fixed and mobile solutions to meet its international customers' individual needs.
A key customer concern is migrating from ISDN lines to SIP protocol, which is more open and better enables the use of a variety of applications such as instant messaging, video calls, virtual reality, etc. Orange provides SIP connectivity and works closely with Belgium’s major PABX suppliers.
Customers looking to replace their traditional PABX with a unified communications solution (e.g. voice, mail and data) and/or integrate their fixed and mobile telephony can choose from a wide range of integration solutions.
For all other IT needs, those relating for example to the use of collaborative tools or individual security solutions, we are working on an open and constructive basis with experts in the field. Customers are therefore able to choose the cutting-edge solution which best matches their individual requirements.
Orange has also seen an explosion in demand on the connected objects market, which has translated into a two-figure increase in sales. What was more recently termed the M2M (machine-to-machine) market, now known as the Internet of Things (IoT), is experiencing exponential growth.
Capitalising on its M2M expertise, the company further extended its sphere of activity in 2016 through a number of IoT projects. 80% of these complex and ambitious projects are carried out in association with specialist partners in the connected objects field, and are often for very specific functions such as ‘track & trace’ and mobile payments.
Orange Belgium is acknowledged to be the best M2M operator within the Orange Group, boasting an extensive international client base.
Whilst most of our IoT solutions worked with 2G up to 2014, we have seen a rise in the number of 4G-compatible solutions over the last few years, video surveillance applications in particular. These 4G applications now represent a significant proportion of our IoT-related income.
The deployment of Low-Power Wide Area networks, designed specifically for the IOT, should be another growth catalyst. These LPWA networks enable devices to be connected at a lower cost, with better indoor coverage and longer running times. To this end, Orange Belgium has decided to launch two technologies based on international standards: LTE-M and Narrowband IoT (NB-IoT), which exploit the existing capacity of LTE (4G) networks.
Orange Belgium’s market-leading position in this area is inextricably linked to the fact that all of its IoT experts, including all commercial, technical and customer support staff, are all located in the same dedicated business unit, which offers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Moreover, the company has invested in a dedicated IoT infrastructure, to which all existing customers migrated in 2016.
Managing mountains of data every day, Orange Belgium has proven the value of its data networks through a number of different practical applications both in the public and private sectors.
To this end, we are working with key partners in the data analysis sector. Working with Cropland for example, a start-up which specialises in data analysis, Orange has developed a crowd monitoring application for the City of Antwerp, which helps the public order authorities manage major public events more effectively.
Using anonymized data from its telecoms network, the company has also provided data on logistical flows of heavy goods vehicles for the Directorate General for Roads (Direction générale des routes) of the Walloon Public Service and a traffic flow study for the Pairi Daiza zoo. This project won the Agoria Smart Cities Award 2017.
One of its major priorities for the forthcoming months is Orange Belgium’s plan to increase the visibility of its convergent offering for business. This change should be boosted by the adoption of the Orange convergent brand.
More generally, the international support of the Orange Group, both in terms of technological expertise and implementation capacity, is to be more keenly emphasised in business value propositions, particularly to major multinationals.
In 2017, Orange Belgium intends to invest more in developing its ecosystem of innovative partners, looking to create equitable win-win situations for all parties.
An Open Partnership Strategy
Businesses have increasingly complex and specific requirements. To ensure it is as responsive as possible to new ICT demands, Orange Belgium has firmly opted for an open innovation strategy based on a number of specialist local partners, as well as expertise within the Orange Group such as Orange Applications for Business and Orange Cyberdefence.
Orange Belgium is proud to be putting its telecoms expertise to work building the most intelligent, best organised cities with efficient transport systems and services. The company is also a stakeholder in the Antwerp City of Things project, which aims to make the city of Antwerp a model city in terms of its trailblazing use of the Internet of Things for the benefit of its citizens and businesses. This ambitious project is a result of collaboration between the City of Antwerp, the Flanders Region and the IMEC Centre for Technology Research.