Orange touts smart-cities strategy, partners with Streetline

French telecoms incumbent Orange has unveiled a five-point program for addressing the smart-cities opportunity and announced a new partnership with US-based Streetline that will aid its push into the smart-parking market.

The operator claims the smart cities program supports growth ambitions outlined in its Conquests 2015 plan and says it is working alongside local authorities in France to help transform cities through the use of digital technology.

French telecoms incumbent Orange has unveiled a five-point program for addressing the smart-cities opportunity and announced a new partnership with US-based Streetline that will aid its push into the smart-parking market.

The operator claims the smart cities program supports growth ambitions outlined in its Conquests 2015 plan and says it is working alongside local authorities in France to help transform cities through the use of digital technology.

“We believe that networks, the ability to exploit data and to propose dematerialized and mobile services are key to the transformation of cities,” said Nathalie Leboucher, the head of Orange Smart Cities. “That is why we wish to place our expertise as an operator and integrator at the service of local authorities and all cities’ stakeholders.”

“The smart city is a rich but very fragmented ecosystem and that is why cities need to be able to rely on a single player capable of developing partnerships to provide them with a global solution,” she added. “It is what we are mindful of with our smart cities program.”

The first point in Orange’s program is to improve mobility within cities and make traffic more fluid with connected cars, and the operator is touting a new tie-up with Streetline (Foster City, CA, USA) as evidence of progress in this area.

The two companies are to collaborate on the development of a new smart-parking solution in France that will inform drivers in real time of the number of spaces available in a particular area and guide them towards an open space.

“Streetline’s technology, which has already proven its worth in the US, UK and Germany, offers drivers and easier, more efficient way to find a parking space, and gives cities a profitable way to improve quality of life despite their ever-tightening budgets,” said Zia Yusuf, the president and chief executive of Streetline.

Orange (Paris, France) is also aiming to encourage the use of public transport by making communication and information services more readily available to travellers.

Through a partnership with the Departmental Council for Loire Atlantique – for instance – it is equipping a new fleet of coaches with Wi-Fi connectivity as part of its 4G network, with services due to become available on September 1.

In the area of smart grids, another focus area, the operator has teamed up with utility company Veolia (Paris, France) on the ‘m2o city’ joint venture, which is currently operating nearly 700,000 water meters in France.

It is also looking to develop applications providing information to citizens and tourists about local amenities and attractions, as well as support the development of so-called ‘smart buildings’.

On information services, authorities in Bordeaux have teamed up with Orange to develop a mobile application called ‘Bordeaux in my pocket’, which the operator says will be accessible using NFC mobile phones at the end of the first quarter of 2014.

In the area of smart buildings, meanwhile, Orange says it is offering services like multi-site management of energy consumption and geo-location for routing and flow-management applications.

It claims to be supporting real estate developers in the Gulf States and Middle East on such projects.