Orange Belgium has launched two new services, called Rapid Development Kit and Connected Things, to provide IoT capability to business customers. These services follow the operator’s launch last year of NB-IoT and LTE-M networks.
The Rapid Development Kit enables business customers to build their own IoT solutions. It comes with a radio module with an Orange SIM and “plug-and-play” sensors to measure indicators such as temperature, air quality and geographic position. Connectivity is included free of charge for the first six months; after that, customers need to purchase a prepaid or postpaid subscription under the Connected Things range.
The operator has also introduced Orange Maker, which acts as an IoT application enabler to help customers connect hardware to the Orange network. The software includes wizards to automate common tasks and a portal to manage connected Sims.
The exponential worldwide growth of the IoT sector represents a tremendous opportunity for MNOs that can be exploited in various ways. Of course, the basic connectivity necessary for operating IoT systems will be coming over MNOs’ networks, so they will derive revenue from that. As such it is very much in MNOs’ interest to promote and facilitate the spread of IoT in their markets. The present offerings from Orange Belgium should help accomplish that goal, by making it easier for companies not only to set up but to conceive IoT systems to address new problems and tasks.
Beyond that, it is a good idea for operators to try and “own” IoT solutions as much as possible, rather than being passive, over-relying on expectations for connectivity revenue, and letting third-party developers dominate IoT system design. By marketing the Rapid Development Kit and Orange Maker to potential business customers, Orange is making itself a vital part of IoT development, not just a pipeline benefiting from development done by others. Ultimately, aiding IoT stands to increase the operator’s relevance in the IoT space and to burnish its brand in a more general sense.
Offering the connectivity free for the first six months is, of course, a deal-sweetener that should pay dividends in the near future in terms of customer satisfaction and retention.