17 Oct CTO Jonathan Cartu Announced – BR INTERVIEW. Florin Popa (Orange Romania): Technology…
Florin Popa, Business to Business Director at Orange Romania, talked to Business Review about the main digital trends seen on both the international and local scenes and how the company meets the changing needs of businesses, individual customers and local communities.
By Anda Sebesi
What are the main digital trends on the international market?
First of all, probably one of the most prominent trends in the consumer and business environments is hyperconnectivity. Two-thirds of the world’s households own a smartphone and ubiquitous connectivity is giving individuals access to more information than ever before. Also, it is almost impossible to imagine a business that is not connected with its customers, suppliers or employees almost 100 percent of the time. From consumers to governments, communication and interactions are constantly evolving, shaping perceptions, priorities and attitudes.
In today’s connected society, data is a highly valuable asset. Moreover, it is said to be the new currency of the digital economy. We call it the “Internet of Enterprises” era, a third phase that follows the first internet revolution we witnessed in 1985 and the era of mobile and social media, which emerged around 2000.
The Internet of Enterprises is about the use of data to fuel faster and better educated business decisions based on customer insights and instant access to transactions, also helping to shape new business models.
More obvious lately is also the people’s quest for simplicity. Customers want one point of contact for as many of the services they use as possible. Convergence delivers this factor.
Importantly, the competition for resources and increasing awareness of environmental challenges have a transformational effect on consumer behaviour, sometimes at a rapid pace. This brings both challenges and opportunities for business.
Which of these trends can be noticed in Romania now?
I believe all of them can. Connectivity is the new normal, as the number of internet users has more than doubled over the last decade, giving way to a more connected society. It is estimated that 3/4 of the global population will have internet access by 2030. Romania is no exception, as each year we see an exponential growth of mobile data consumption. For example, in the second quarter of 2019, Orange Romania registered 40 percent more data traffic comparing to the same period of 2018.
The use of applications, websites and smart devices has considerably increased, therefore the amount of data generated has grown exponentially.
We have the know-how and resources to help companies get to know their customers better and to grow their business, while optimizing the resources they invest. Data can determine the success of a company on a competitive market.That is why we offer our clients new ways to better use their data, both by consultancy, as well as in the design and management phase of the systems they need for this purpose.
We are the travel partner of our clients in what we call “Data Journey”. On this journey, we can accompany our customers to collect, transport, secure, store & process, analyse their data and then make the right business decisions at the end of this cycle.
Integrated services that bring simplicity to end users’ lives was another global trend reflected on the Romanian market. That is why, in 2016, we decided to provide a complete fixed-mobile consumer offer, made steps into the financial services field by launching Orange Money and set convergence as one of our strategic priorities.
Just as all over the world, the rapid urban development and the migration of population to large cities has created environmental issues Romania must tackle, such as air pollution, traffic and waste management. The substantial challenges they pose demand different perspectives that also bring opportunities. Such opportunities are smart city projects, which use technology in order to address issues like deficient consumption of electricity or water.
In the last years, numerous smart city projects have been deployed in several Romanian cities, of which I would particularly mention Alba Iulia Smart City 2018, an initiative Orange adhered to in 2016 and delivered the first integrated smart city project in the country. Two years later, we finalised the implementation, with more than 600 operational sensors all around the city, connected through mobile, fixed and IoT dedicated networks. The data collected is available to local authorities and their business partners for better management of city resources or for the improvement of their citizens’ quality of life.
How do these trends change businesses and consumers?
Technology plays a crucial role in the customers’ decision-making and also in the ability of businesses to meet the needs of today’s consumers. Local companies are facing pressures to digitize their customer journeys and adopt flexible IT infrastructures, able to cope with fast changes.
The way people interact has also changed inside companies. Employees, customers, suppliers and business partners are teaming up across the city, the country or the world, whenever necessary, from any device. This is why at Orange, we provide tools to facilitate better collaboration and take advantage of digital transformation. Once accustomed with new technologies, you can more efficiently manage your resources – time, budgets – or find easier ways to source them.
Technology forces companies to adapt to the new context. In light of this, what are the main solutions that companies look for when it comes to technology?
In today’s competitive landscape, companies need partners that bring industry knowledge and data-driven customer insights to foster co-innovation.
At Orange, our products are designed to allow companies to be up to date with the latest technologies, but also to build a long-term strategy that is proactive rather than reactive.
More precisely, together with customers, startups and technology partners, we create products that address users’ specific needs. Orange Fab, a startup accelerator developed by Orange, is a programme based on the concept of co-
creation. We support young entrepreneurs with mentoring, technology and access to clients, as well as B2B clients, through innovative solutions that transform the way they work. So far, our overall investments in…