Integrative research, a value creation model

Orange's Salon de la Recherche, to be held on 2-4 April 2019 at the Orange Gardens site in Châtillon, provides Orange with an opportunity to bring all its teams and partner ecosystems together around its various research projects. It's poised to be a discussion-filled opportunity for Orange researchers to share the advances they have made, their thoughts on the future, and the key challenges they face through the use of some 40 demos.

Integrative research platforms that reflect the desire to bring together Research & Innovation players and ecosystems.

It was in 2018 that the integrative research model developed by Orange took off, with its initial platform trials (Home in the future, Plug in the future and Thing in the future) which meant getting partners involved.

The 2019 edition of the Salon marks the first takeaways in five key universes: the internet of things (Thing in the future), the smart home (Home in the future), connectivity (Plug in the future), in addition to enhanced personal services and augmented business.

The dynamics of integrative research

In the weeks leading up to the 2018 Salon de la Recherche, Nicolas Demassieux, Research Director at Orange, shared his vision “of open research broadly involving all the players in the value chain and throughout society. And when designing a research project end-to-end, we first work out upstream relationships and interactions between the technological bricks, and their relationships and interactions with users”. The research platforms developed in key exploration fields, such as the internet of things, smart homes, and connectivity, reflect this desire to bring designers, producers and users together to adopt a consensus approach that incorporates the technological bricks each participant has developed and, most importantly, their skills.

Demos that reveal the potential of the platforms

After months of setting them up, the research platforms are now doing what they were designed for and already allowing us to build and test, with our partners, future use and user-experience scenarii. Designed to encourage the sharing of skills and expertise on a shared playing field, they are producing outstanding service-provider-user partnerships. Their potential is illustrated in the demos at the Salon de la Recherche highlighting the new user experiences enabled by the platforms.

Orange’s Thing in the future platform is laying the cornerstone of the Web of Things by offering indexing and search engine functionality for finding Things. At the Salon we are demoing a “Share and Reuse” solution developed on this platform and a collaboration project with ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), along with a number of corporate partners, designed to encourage reuse of office furniture within a company or outside it via B2B. Or how things and equipment (connected or not) can be listed on the platform, before being linked to handlers for visualisation, inventory, sharing, lending, etc.

In terms of 5G, the Plug in the future platform is helping to build a 5G that is ambient, flexible and secure, and is developing and testing technologies and usages under real-world scenarii, end-to-end. Specifically by experimenting with “network slicing” in partnership with the National Technical University of Athens and INRIA, to exploit the dynamic power and flexibility offered by 5G for network management.

Home in the future has been developed as a platform to design a smart home that protects your privacy. It’s already giving us a glimpse of transformations as significant as Mood Catcher, a personal assistant that can identify the user’s mood and adjust its behaviours accordingly.

These three examples prefigure the revolution underway in ambient intelligence (see the article by Nicolas Demassieux), on how the convergence of AI, IoT and connectivity technologies and services is contributing to a smart environment, aware of human behaviour and able to respond to it.

Research priorities for 2019

The three integrative research platforms lie at the core of the Research roadmap in the months ahead. By focusing on all the ecosystems they hope to bring under their wing, the platforms will continue to strive to offer the best possible user experience and cooperation. With different challenges: create scenarii for experiencing and testing smart-home uses with users and partners for Home in the future, develop smart-X networks and set up an efficient virtual Access Network (Cloud-RAN) for 5G as part of Plug in the future, streamlining operations in keeping with Orange’s overall IoT strategy for Thing in the future.

Priorities also include contributing to the “enterprise of the future”, by the preview of a future meeting room enriched by ambient intelligence or experimenting with intelligent line-of-sight contracts. Artificial Intelligence will focus on the technologies required to process natural language and conversation, as an ingredient of smart solutions for network management and for mobile banking services.

Research is striving now more than ever to enlighten and inform future technological transformation, including uses and business models, to assemble the ingredients of that future and begin designing the apps that will put technology in the hands of people and society.

The 2019 Salon de la Recherche is yet one more opportunity to go for it!

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