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Orange launches end-to-end IoT coverage in Belgium

Steve Rogerson
May 8, 2018

Orange has become the first operator to launch end-to-end mobile IoT services in Belgium.
Last year, Orange launched a mobile IoT network. Its NB-IoT and LTE-M services now cover 100% of the Belgian territory making it possible for companies to start putting the IoT services in place.
The operator has introduced a rapid development kit and a commercial mobile IoT offer called Connected Things that provides an end-to-end service to companies who want to build and roll-out IoT services in a smart and safe way.
The kit is said to contain everything a user needs to develop and build prototypes and products using the IoT network. It includes six months free use of the IoT network, a microcontroller, radio module with a SIM card, and plug-and-play sensors that can measure temperature, air quality and geographical position. After six months, users can opt for a prepaid or post-paid Connected Things offer to maintain the connection.
Also available is the Orange Maker, which acts as an IoT application enabler, making it possible to connect hardware to the IoT network. It organises the access to the connected devices and the collected data, adds automation rules using a wizard to let those connected devices interoperate with other devices and applications through a portal, as well as SIM management and support.
"Our business customers were delighted to hear we offer mobile IoT on the entire Belgian territory,” said Ingrid Gonnissen, chief business officer of Orange Belgium. “Many of them prefer Orange as their connectivity partner, but together with our experts, we now made it possible to develop smart solutions together. With the end-to-end services we launch today, we can help them develop their own IoT solutions further and faster. Moreover, Orange customers who opt for our mobile IoT offers can be sure they use a future-proof network as it is fully consistent with the future evolution towards 5G. It will soon be possible to connect objects that require very high reliability, for example for the remote control of critical devices and automation processes. We are confident we can help small, medium and large enterprise in creating innovative IoT solutions that make them more productive and cost-efficient."
Orange added the low-power wide area (LPWA) cellular network layers in 2017. They have the capacity to connect millions of everyday objects to the IoT. In combination with the Connected Things services, users do not only get connectivity but they can also go live with their IoT services faster using an interface that immediately shows the activity of their connected objects.
The Connected Things offer makes use of the LPWA technologies installed last year. The battery life of the connected equipment can live longer and the cost of the radio modules inside the devices that need to be connected can be reduced.
The mobile IoT network enables full bidirectional communications between the object and the network allowing firmware software updates over the air. Its signal penetration inside buildings is said to be strong and in the future the connectivity abroad (roaming) on other operators' mobile IoT networks will be guaranteed.
To demonstrate the system, Orange Belgium turned its headquarters into a smart office connecting a plant, an office chair, parking spaces, a water tank and a meeting room to the mobile IoT network. Not only do they provide valuable data, they also talk to each other. The plant talks to its water reservoir to give it water and the water reservoir makes the office chair vibrate when it needs to be refilled.