Adrian Matei, Orange Romania: “In 2022 we will focus even more on digital, data and AI”
One of the key priorities for Orange Romania is digitalisation in processes and products.
“We are continuously developing and improving our digital products and offerings (YoXo, MyOrange and others), providing our customers with the best possible experience, unified omni-channel engagement, and value management. At Orange Romania, digital Transformation is underpinned by the IT ecosystem transformation towards agility and simplicity, fuelled by core catalysts like cloudification journey, Data & AI enablement, and virtualization,” Adrian Matei, Data, AI & Enterprise Digital Solutions Director, Orange Romania told The Diplomat-Bucharest.
“First and foremost, Orange must provide connectivity at the highest standards and embrace technology-based innovation, in order to build future proof networks.”
What are your most important ongoing projects?
“We are now looking back on a year that brought challenges, in a context of continuous change and unpredictability, but also the completion of great milestones for Orange Romania.
As announced on September 30, 2021, Orange Romania has acquired the majority stake (54%) of fixed operator Telekom Romania Communications. This is a strategic investment, given the complementary business dimensions of the two companies, focusing on evolving B2C Convergent Fixed-Mobile-TV services, including expanding 5G coverage, a more diversified TV content, but also on strengthening and expanding the B2B portfolio of services (including ICT) adapted to end customer needs.
In this particular context, aside from convergence, another key priority for us is digitalisation in processes and products. We are continuously developing and improving our digital products and offerings (YoXo, MyOrange and others), providing our customers with the best possible experience, unified omni-channel engagement, and value management. At Orange Romania, digital Transformation is underpinned by the IT ecosystem transformation towards agility and simplicity, fuelled by core catalysts like cloudification journey, Data & AI enablement, and virtualization.
5G technology adoption is enriching our value proposition with complex sets of use cases per verticals. Using Data and AI-ML to empower Network & IT Operations, together with Automation at Scale will enable us to transform and strengthen our operating model while fully supporting the business priorities. A great use case implemented by us was in Spring, last year, when, together with PROTV, we made the first live TV broadcast on the go via a 5G network, on a route of over 15km, in Bucharest, a city that has a 100% 5G coverage. Thanks to the solution used, the PRO TV technical team managed to achieve a high standard video image quality throughout the broadcast, by using a portable transmission equipment and Orange 5G connectivity.
A big achievement last year and an ongoing development in terms of partnerships and innovation is the launch of Orange 5G Lab. In partnership with the “CAMPUS” Research Institute within the Polytechnic University of Bucharest (UPB), this is the first 5G laboratory in Romania, which offers companies the chance to develop the technologies of the future together with start-ups and academia.”
What are the latest innovations that will become mainstream in the next years?
“We are witnessing an age of technological innovation that changes the way we work and the way we interact with each other, also modelling our daily experiences and our personal life. Most of these innovations are heading to be mainstream in the next couple of years and will become part of our daily lives.
First of all, 5G technology adoption “everywhere”, together with Edge Computing as a key enabler, will become the standard, accelerating the evolution across multiple industry verticals. 5G and edge computing are accompanied by IoT expansion, cloud-centric and SaaS transformation of businesses, with cloud native applications taking the front stage. This is the age of semiconductors driving technology explosion.
Also, digital evolution will evolve with the AR/VR new immersive experiences, as well as the metaverse expansion to redefine our 3D Internet experience, and perception of time and space. Quantum Computing will accelerate what we believed it was impossible, opening up a new range of applications.
Moreover, businesses will need to change the way they operate to become more lean and agile, making secure, fair, and ethical use of their data. Data and AI, combined with automation capabilities and decision mechanisms into intelligent process automation and orchestration applications will streamline operations across multiple business functions. AI-ML is being integrated in all digital products and cybersecurity, and data privacy focus is slowly becoming the norm.
Just as important, green energy solutions adoption is likely to accelerate as we are all becoming more and more aware of our impact in the environment, understanding how our way of living is defining the future of next generations to come.”
How should a telecom company react to the growing number of new technologies?
“First and foremost, Orange must provide connectivity at the highest standards and embrace technology-based innovation, in order to build future proof networks.
Acting responsibly towards the environment is a top priority as well, and we are constantly making efforts to limit the impact of our actions, always coming up with new solutions in this regard. Improving the energy efficiency of our infrastructure, applying principles of circular economy in the use of network equipment, or increasing the use of green energy are among the solutions we have provided.
An example of a new technology implemented by Orange has been recently announced: business customers in Bucharest & Constanta have access to 10 Gbps speeds for fixed internet, thanks to the use of XGS-PON technology capable of delivering high speeds connections. XGS-PON is an improved standard for passive optical network communications, enabling superior and symmetrical access speeds over previous generations.
But with the growing number of possibilities, it’s absolutely key that we focus on the innovations that bring the most benefits to our customers, while allowing us to stay relevant and competitive. Also, in order to properly concentrate on the right technologies, we’re constantly looking at them from multiple angles: customer-facing value creation potential, customer readiness to adopt and embrace them, internal maturity to integrate them, ability to finance them and go mainstream, return on invested capital, complexity to integrate in the existing ecosystem and many more.”
What is your company’s approach towards innovation?
“Orange Romania is deeply involved in the support of technology start-ups and the full ecosystem of innovation. Its corporate acceleration program, Orange Fab, the involvement in Innovation Labs, the Bucharest.AI (#BeAI) partnership or Orange Education Program are but a subset of ways to invest in the local and international innovation community, providing enablement for healthy product development.
Such innovative products are even co-designed for internal and external customer-facing (e.g. joint work with start-ups like Nestor or SiScale). Many use AI/Analytics (e.g. as is the case for CyberAI, Location Analytics, etc.) capabilities embedded to streamline value creation.
Orange Romania is also a lead participant in EU funded programs in areas like 5G, Future Network Architecture, Security and Business Continuity and many more. Such programs are selected to provide a pragmatic business context where the academic may embrace the practical implementation.”
What changes has brought the digitalization and AI applications in your company in 2021?
“Data and Artificial Intelligence is one of the three main pillars of Orange Group’s Engage 2025 Strategy, placed at the heart of the innovation model, a catalyst for digital transformation powering sustainable value creation for our external customers (be they B2C or B2B), internal customers (employees) and, of course, our shareholders.
2021 has been a rich year in terms of Digital, Data and AI, as we have continued to develop: improved unique personalized and adapted customer experiences, providing the right digital offers and interactions at the right time; new cloud-based capabilities, enriching the existing knowledge base and accelerating performance; new digital products and offerings.
All these one-step-ahead accomplishments, well received by the users and surrounded by a high level of positivity and confidence from their behalf, lead the way to a very promising 2022, where we will focus even more on Digital, Data and AI, always with our customers and shareholders in mind.”