Orange launches Technocentre in UK

Orange has announced the launch of a Technocentre in Britain, designed to help develop new and exciting 21st century services for its customers in the UK and across the Orange footprint.

The Technocentre represents a significant investment in the UK and will open on 5 January 2009. It will expand on the work of other Technocentre facilities around the world and will see UK and Group developers working on products and services for more than 170 million France Telecom customers, including 115 under the Orange brand. The new facility will also work on projects that are specifically aligned to UK customer needs.

Didier Lombard, CEO and chairman for France Telecom Group, said: “At Orange, we believe innovation drives sustainable growth. It is at the heart of how we operate as a company and how we create new products for our customers. We established the Orange Technocentre model over two years ago, combining experts in the areas of research, engineering and marketing to breathe new life into innovation and make Orange a driving force in the market. Today, we are pleased to bring this successful approach to Britain, establishing the second major Technocentre hub which can draw on the Orange Labs network and meet the Group’s innovation needs globally and locally.”

Tom Alexander, CEO at Orange UK, commented: “Since joining Orange earlier this year, I’ve been amazed by what the Group can deliver to all corners of the globe. We’re now harnessing that potential and making sure that it works directly for the business, and ultimately our customers.”

The Orange Technocentre is a hive of innovation with teams identifying changes in industry, culture and customer behaviour. The teams are made up of marketeers, engineers and researchers who work together to select, conceive and produce new products and services to market to match the changing needs of customers in the 21st century.

Alexander added: “These are the guys who are moving quickly, in small teams to develop new and exciting services for our customers before any one else does.”

The UK arm of the Technocentre will have 80 staff based across existing Orange office locations. It will form part of the Orange Labs network, a global innovation chain that has over 5,000 researchers, engineers and marketing specialists in 19 countries.

The projects that the UK teams will be working on are currently classified as company confidential, however recent industry-leading work that has come out of the Group’s Technocentres, include Home 3D-TV, life-sized video-calling screens, IP telephony, the world’s-first electronic newspaper, and text-to-voice services for people with sensory disabilities. Orange and France Telecom currently have about 8,500 registered patents.

The Technocentre team will work closely with Orange UK’s Consumer, Business and New Business teams. In addition Orange Labs R&D, who already have a sizeable presence in the UK, will continue to work in partnership to support all Technocentre initiatives, using resources from the existing worldwide R&D labs network. It is expected that the first set of products and services from these teams will be released in the second half of 2009.