Start-ups taking it to the next level with Orange’s 5G Challenge

Orange is organising the 5G Challenge to give start-ups the opportunity to boost their products and services by testing the new network. And the best part? Tailored support from the Orange experts to help start-ups implement their innovative solutions.

What is the Orange 5G Challenge? It is a co-innovation approach with start-ups to prepare for the arrival of the 5G mobile network.

When asked why they created their businesses, directors of start-ups usually answer: “to change the world!” However, such ambition requires both investment of money and time, a plethora of skills and expertise, and the necessary technical resources. In a nutshell: changing the world is no easy feat. That is why Orange has decided to collaborate with start-ups to demonstrate how the new 5G network will help with the development of new products and services and support new uses. How, you ask? Jean-Pierre Casara, Orange 5G Innovation Expert, and François Dufour, Director Start-up Scouting at Orange, present to you the 5G Challenge.

5G – mobile network of the future

With this challenge, Orange is targeting European start-ups that create solutions in the following areas: health, industry, transport and automotive, entertainment and connected objects. “The sixth category ‘theme of your choice’ is just as important, because we welcome many other topics. In fact, we are in a position to examine and assess entirely new concepts,” shares Jean-Pierre Casara.

Up to 10 times faster than the 4G mobile network, 5G will be absolutely key for some of these companies in terms of development. It is a real advantage to be able to test products and services now that were developed from feedback and collaboration with these start-ups. “The speed of the 5G mobile network is not the only thing that has improved,” continues Jean-Pierre. The enhanced responsiveness of 5G will allow almost real-time use and will offer new experiences with virtual reality or augmented reality, for example. More flexible than previous generations, 5G will provide the necessary level of performance required for an extensive Internet of Things, offering a perfectly connected world: robots in health and industry, driverless cars and sensors for the smart city.”

A challenge with multiple goals

The 5G Challenge is an opportunity for future winners to be assisted by Orange in developing their projects. They will benefit from the support of a team of 5G experts and will also have access to Orange resources, including the 5G Lab at Orange Gardens (located in Châtillon near Paris). With the help of customised devices, they will also be able to access the future mobile network and test their solutions in the French pilot cities. There are also plans to include monetary prizes in the rewards.

A key reward for start-ups is the chance to test their concept in advance, benefitting from support and resources from Orange in the field of 5G, thereby boosting the development of their business. “Depending on the solutions proposed, the winners may also attend Orange events and potentially develop business relations with us,” announces François Dufour. “This active collaboration with start-ups will enable us to make progress in our work, validate our concepts and determine which features should be showcased to better target our market,” adds Jean-Pierre Casara. François Dufour continues: “Beyond helping us gain a better understanding of the new uses that 5G will offer, this challenge is a part of the Orange open innovation and co-creation approach. Supporting start-ups with their 5G tests will also help us to add to our commercial offering. We actively scout for start-ups to develop new business partnerships so that we can offer our customers end-to-end solutions, sometimes incorporating third-party components.”

How can you take part?

Start-ups should demonstrate how 5G will contribute to the development of their product or service, or how it will help enhance existing services, before 15 March. A jury from Orange will select around 20 start-ups to go through to the next stage. The selected participants will then flesh out their proposals with more details about their usage contexts, economic model and vision for their partnership with Orange. During this stage, they will benefit from the support of experts in 5G. Five finalists will then be chosen, including one selected by Orange employees.

At the final stage, the five start-ups selected will be invited to pitch their projects before a special jury at the next Viva Technology conference in Paris. At the end of the day, the top three projects will be awarded prize money. These start-ups will then have the opportunity to get their hands on what 5G has to offer before anyone else.

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