Despite a challenging context, Orange Belgium is moving forward with Orange Fab, its acceleration programme for start-ups. After a thorough preselection and pitch process, Iristick, OTIV and MyPitch will be joining the 4th season of the programme, allowing them to innovate on 5G applications within the global framework of the Orange Group and its 18 Orange Fabs all over the world.
Orange Belgium is strongly committed to supporting entrepreneurship and it has therefore decided to go forward with Orange Fab, its acceleration programme for start-ups, launched in 2017.
This year, despite a context made particularly complex by the Covid-19 pandemic and the current teleworking obligations, Orange Belgium received no fewer than 45 applications for the 4th season of the Orange Fab programme.
The theme of this edition: 5G and how these start-ups and Orange Belgium could co-innovate on relevant applications of this technology for consumers and businesses.
After a first selection, 11 applicants had an opportunity to discuss their project with internal experts, which then resulted in the selection of 5 projects that were pitched to a high-level jury of Orange Belgium C-Executives.
Ultimately, the following 3 projects were chosen:
Iristick creates industrial smart glasses to support enterprises in their digital transformation. 5G’s low latency capabilities will be a key enabler for the smart glasses industry.
OTIV’s objective is to increase the safety and efficiency of rail vehicles via autonomous driving technology. Thanks to 5G, autonomous mobility will reach its full potential by making critical communication instantaneous.
MyPitch is a data-driven football community; its technology allows players to track fitness data and event data on the pitch. 5G will allow MyPitch to grab & share more data from players thanks to higher bandwidth.
These teams will first participate in an online workshop to define, together with Orange Belgium experts and business units, a co-innovation project to work on for the coming 4 to 6 months, the objective being to arrive at an actual Proof Of Concept. In the process, the start-ups will benefit from many useful inputs, such as mentoring from C-level executives, networking access to OBE B2B customers, market research, internationalisation opportunities within the global framework of the Orange Fab ecosystem (18 Fabs all over the world).
The Orange Fab programme has already supported a number of significant success stories, such as the smart parking solution provider CommuniThings, now a trusted partner of Orange Belgium, which has launched its innovative service not only in many Belgian cities but also abroad. Also to be mentioned are the successes achieved with Emailtree, whose AI-based solution for automating responses to customer email has been internally implemented in Luxembourg.
Xavier Pichon, CEO of Orange Belgium, comments: “Orange Belgium firmly believes in the added value of the start-up ecosystem, and we were impressed by the quality of the projects that were presented. We very much wish to foster this type of Open innovation, working with start-ups as a way of increasing our own innovation capabilities and accelerating the digital journeys of our customers. Creating partnerships with start-ups in a win-win relationship has proven to be the right way to accomplish this, as shown by previous success stories, and we’re convinced that these new partners will follow the same path.”
Etay Oren, CEO of CommuniThings: “It was an exceptional experience! Everyone came to it with an open mind, trying to identify our complementary forces towards addressing the market together. We combined our IoT offering with Orange sales force. It was a great learning experience for us and for Orange, allowing us to pave the way to continuous cooperation, as is still the case today.”
Casius Morea, CEO of Emailtree : “Meeting a company and team like Orange, at the stage when we started to scale up, was our “1 life chance”! We are in production for 2 years and we continue to "co-build" and apply immediately the results of this common work. When working together, the only thing that matters is agent’s and customer's satisfaction. Our platform combines human and AI capabilities to reach customer service automation. When all teams are on the same side, the notion supplier/client no longer exists. We focus on how to adapt the UX/UI, scale, industrialize the solution, while winning in maturity. The strong partnership we are building in this way, serves every day as example to the other Orange entities in the different countries. ”