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Innovating under the seas, in space and on the land

Emmanuel Rochas Orange (7.10.22).jpg
Emmanuel Rochas

Today’s evolving demands in the wholesale industry call for more agility from wholesale carriers to respond to changing needs. At Orange International Carriers, CEO Emmanuel Rochas details how the company is putting a focus on innovation and automation to stay ahead of the curve.

The accelerated digital transformation of the past few years has rapidly sped up trends that were already happening in the global wholesale industry. Responding to this swift transition is requiring more agile innovation than carriers have been used to in the past, with customers demanding an increasing range of value-added and automated services.

These requirements have not been lost on Orange International Carriers, which has embarked on an ambitious digital transformation programme, bringing innovation to both its internal factories and product portfolio. “We believe that to remain relevant in a fast-transforming market, wholesalers need to reinvent themselves,” says Emmanuel Rochas, the company’s CEO. “It’s about giving our customers what they’re asking for, empowering them to fulfil their own expectations.”

Meeting such needs means moving towards new and updated, cutting-edge networks alongside automated services that sit on top and provide added value and security for customers. For Orange, one part of the equation has been its involvement in the rollout of multiple submarine cables in the past couple of years, adding many thousands of kilometres through the likes of key transatlantic routes such as Dunant and AMITIE. It has also been involved in other cables in the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and around Africa.

Another facet of network development is the creation of a cloud-enabled New Generation International Network. This initiative, which is in line with Orange’s target of growing from 35 telco cloud points of presence (PoPs) now to more than 100 by 2024, combines the wide reach of the firm’s international B2B network with the high capacity of its wholesale network to enable new synergies for customers.

The network can host a full set of virtualised functions like voice, 5G, content delivery networks, SD-WAN and security services. Aimed at being a true “network-as-a-service” proposition, it is also oriented towards leading to new types of innovation and partnerships.

Automation and self-service

Alongside these key network developments, Orange International Carriers has been transitioning over time to offer greater automation and self-service on a whole range of products to bring the long-term vision of a “wholesale-as-a-service” business model closer to reality.

These include the likes of Ethernet virtual private line (EVPL), IP transit and cloud numbers, with services available via the operator’s online eCare portal as it has moved to automate its full range of internal ordering and invoicing tools and processes. On top of that, the company has cloudified 60% of its applications, while a third of all applications can also be reached via APIs.

Such moves have accelerated speed to market from weeks to minutes in some cases, bringing a much more real-time, end-to-end feel to procuring and managing services through the use of technologies including software-defined networking and Orange’s self-service portal. Services like EVPL offer flexible scaling, another function in big demand now to swiftly meet customers’ hugely varying needs at different times – with options available ranging from 2Mbps all the way up to 10Gbps.

And the online version of Orange’s IP Transit service provides features like local and monthly commitment-free billing, as well as the possibility of combining accesses via different PoPs onto a single billing line.

Furthermore, Orange International Carriers has even been bringing its traditional voice into the modern age in the past two years, helping make the most out of this legacy business to ensure it can continue to provide value into the long-term future. The company has, for example, added new voice PoPs and connections, and facilitated dynamic hubbing with the help of AI and machine-learning tools such as algorithm-based route optimisation.

Secure focus

As always, security is an essential part of the equation for providing customers with a service they can fully rely on – particularly given the enhanced threats that businesses the world over face with ever-growing digitalisation, and the huge financial and reputational damage these can potentially cause.

Here, again, Orange International Carriers has placed a focus on innovation to bring its services up to date with modern network realities and optimise protection for customers.

Via its 360° Checkup offering, the company seeks to provide a unique overview on businesses’ potential vulnerabilities and fraud issues by enabling an audit to be carried out across the three main businesses of voice, mobile and data. This then allows the creation of a comprehensive, consolidated report that helps firms make decisions on how to deal with these threats.

But Rochas is well aware that this overall focus on innovation “under the seas, in space and on the land”, as he describes it, must be maintained in the long run as expectations and market demands keep changing.

“We’ve definitely not been all the way down this road, as we keep investing to bring our services closer to the ‘wholesale-as-a-platform’ business model and our customers nearer to zero-touch provisioning,” he explains. This, he says, will allow customers to embark on their own journey “to the futures”, with the use of a plural reflecting the desire of Orange International Carriers to give them access to not just one, but a host of possibilities.