Orange Chairman and CEO Stephane Richard unveiled a dizzying array of new products and services at the company’s third annual hello show on Thursday in its latest attempt to demonstrate that it knows what its customers want.
The France-based operator launched a mobile banking service for Poland, a connected home app and a big data platform for the enterprise market alongside a promise to “entirely revamp” its physical retail outlets.
In total, Orange presented over 30 solutions, roughly 20 of which were brand new.
In an hour-long keynote address that featured dancers in connected clothing being filmed by a drone, Richard commented: “We have asked you what you want and what is changing your life, listened to what you have told us, and started imagining what our lives will be like tomorrow.”
The operator is desperately looking for new growth areas as revenues continue to decline across its major business units and it remains locked in a brutally competitive home market characterised by falling prices.
One of the major announcements was around what Orange has labelled its Polaris project.
This sees a standardised Orange interface made available across multiple devices to help customers enjoy “continuity of service” when moving between smartphone, TV and computer screens.
Marie-Noelle Jego-Laveissiere, Orange’s Innovation, Marketing and Technology Chief, told European Communications that she was in no doubt that Polaris would be successful and described it as “a blockbuster” offering.
But she admitted at least one of the new solutions was a re-hashed version of what had been launched before.
Jego-Laveissiere predicted Orange Finance in Poland would be the most significant launch from a revenue perspective. The mobile banking service, which Orange has developed in partnership with Commerzbank subsidiary mBank, will launch in Q4.
It enables customers to access “a complete range of banking services” – current and savings accounts, money transfers, NFC and online payments – via an app on an iOS, Android or Windows smartphone.
Orange also announced its entrance into the connected home space with the launch of Homelive later this month.
The app-based solution promises customers the ability to control connected appliances such as thermostats, light switches and smoke detectors from a smartphone or tablet. It will cost €9.99 a month.
Richard commented: “The day of connected objects is dawning.” With this in mind, newly-designed Orange retail stores featuring “interactive zones” and tablet-equipped “expert advisors” will start appearing in Warsaw, Madrid, Bucharest and Paris from March next year.
However, it is not just banks and retail customers that Orange is courting. The operator is launching a big data platform called Datavenue that can gather, store, combine and secure data from connected devices and offer it to companies that want to develop new services.
The platform will be based in France and debut in November this year, with Orange hoping to develop an ecosystem of partners. It said it has signed up 11 partners already, including French TV company TF1, Mars Petcare and Schneider Electric.
Also on the big data front, Orange said Flux Vision, an existing product that converts mobile network data into “statistical indicators” that enable businesses to analyse how often geographical areas are visited, has been enhanced with the addition of socio-demographic criteria to help define specific customer demographics.
[Read more: OBS Chief: revenue growth at least five years away]
Richard concluded: “I am absolutely persuaded that all this innovation only makes sense if it helps to make the future more inspiring, simpler and, ultimately, more human.”