New network in France supports IoT, smart cities

Written on 1 Oct 2015

Smart cities rely on sensors that provide data, helping local authorities and companies operate more efficiently and cater to the needs of citizens.

These sensors need a network to send that data, and in France a new Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) network has been launched for just that purpose.

French telecoms group Orange said in September that its narrow-band network, based on LoRa (Long Range) technology, supports the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), guaranteeing connectivity at a reduced energy consumption rate and lower cost.

The new network — part of the operator’s Essentials2020 strategy — will cover the whole of metropolitan France.

It has been designed for various applications, and is “especially useful” for connecting sensors in smart cities, Orange said. The company is also continuing work on the standardisation of future cell networks (2G/4G) for the IoT, which will be operational in 2017, and by 2022 for 5G.

Orange chief executive Stéphane Richard commented: “The development of the Internet of Things is expected to surge in the coming years. By 2020, we believe that there will be more than 25 billion objects connected in the world.

“As a part of our new strategic plan Essentials2020, Orange has an ambition to become the number one operator for the Internet of Things. To answer all the needs, we decided, as a supplement to the cellular networks, to deploy a national network dedicated to objects that need narrow-band connectivity, and also to low energy consumption. This network, based on the technology LoRa, will gradually open from the first quarter of 2016.

“Beyond connectivity, Orange is also involved in the distribution of connected objects, in the aggregation and data processing stemming from these objects as well as proposing value-added services in the field of health and well-being, the connected home and smart cities.”

Orange has already tested the LoRa technology with a large-scale trial in Grenoble that involved more than 30 partners.

Quote u002D Alexandre Glatz

“From a legal standpoint Internet of Things and connectivity raise numerous challenges for market players beyond the obvious issues like consumer and data protection. This also involves distribution and competition law issues related to the interoperability of objects and access to essential facilities. Regulators will for sure investigate these new markets”.

Alexandre Glatz, Partner