Connected clothing, new geomarketing services, a home hub for accessing shared content and a new secure password system are among the plethora of new innovations Orange has developed.
The French operator held its third annual hello product showcase in Paris this week, with a welter of new product announcements.
It revealed a new connected clothing product, dubbed Pops and available during the first half of next year. The modular device uses Orange’s M2M platforms to connect over a mobile network. Orange said it can be adapted to fit into bracelets, clips, collars and trousers.
One example of this is the D-Shirt, which has been made by clothing company Cityzen Sciences. The connected shirt tracks a wearer’s heart rate, GPS location, speed and temperature, which are then stored digitally and can be accessed from any screen.
Another waterproof accessory from Quiksilver allows wearers to tailor what kinds of information they receive, such as SMS, while relaxing.
Orange Beacon, its geomarketing solution, has already been adopted by French retailers included Pages Jaunes. The beacon identifies when shoppers are nearby and sends notifications depending on their vicinity. Retailers can change the settings so alerts are sent up to 30 metres away, or a few centimetres.
Orange CEO Stephane Richard said: “This small device uses Bluwtooth Low Energy technology to send radio signals to surrounding smartphones and tablets. It is like a lighthouse: it sends out light – which is another way of saying information – at regular intervals.
“The other mobile applications pick up these signals, respond instantly and may for example display a message or content on the receiving device – but, of course, will do nothing without the user’s consent.”
Meanwhile, Mobile Connect, a security solution designed to offer one password across numerous sites, uses an API that is included on the websites of partner retailers. Consumers only need to click on the Mobile Connect icon to identify themselves securely.
Each time a purchase or transfer is made, a notification is sent to a consumer’s mobile, who then has to enter a password that is encrypted on the SIM card.
Richard said: “We are sharing this interface with developers because it is secure and protects your privacy. Other leading operators, including China Mobile, Telefónica and Telstra, have also linked up with this solution that will be available for more than one billion clients.”
The operator also announced a connected home hub, called Homepoint, which will go on sale by the end of this year. It allows users to view the contents of connected hard drives via an Android or iOS app, stream video from a smartphone to a stereo, give visitors an easy Wi-Fi access point and charge devices.
Orange is also installing 500 Wi-Fi terminals in Lyon’s Grand Stade stadium as part of a wider connectivity project. The crowd will be able to view highlights from their smartphone or tablet, order food and buy souvenirs and tickets via an app.
The French operator has also updated its Mon Réseau app for its customers to find out real-time details about 3G, 4G LTE and Wi-Fi coverage around them. Customers can also update Orange about any problems with its network.
Orange’s hello event saw the French operator reveal more than 30 products, 20 of which were new. CEO Richard is keen to use these connected services in a bid to reverse tumbling sales in its main business units.
He said: “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.”