Orange Belgium invests directly into one of its Orange-Fab scale-ups, CommuniThings, and embarks on a commercial partnership to market state-of-the-art smart parking solutions. Together, Finance.Brussels, Essex Innovation and Orange Belgium will inject €3 million into the scale-up.
In line with Orange’s support of IoT solutions over its IoT networks, the investment will be combined with a long-term partnership to commercialise CommuniThings’ smart parking solutions across Belgium. In addition, the investment will serve CommuniThings’ global expansion efforts as it spearheads the rollout of its platform over IoT networks.
The use of low-power connectivity in the likes of NB-IoT, LTE-M and LoRaWAN, enables the rollout of wireless sensors charged solely by batteries with a lifespan of five to seven years. As a result, cities and enterprises avoid costly investments in powering and can maintain the existing infrastructure of repeaters and gateways.
The investment highlights Orange Belgium’s, CommuniThings’ and Finance.Brussels’ focus on tackling traffic congestion and parking-search through state-of-the-art IoT technology combining IoT sensors and enriched parking-management solutions. The solutions cater to cities, parking-lots and office buildings alike.
Following the launch of Orange Belgium’s Narrow-band IoT and LTE-M networks, covering 100% of the Belgian territory, CommuniThings announced its first commercial rollout in the city of Liege, in June 2018. Other cities were quick to follow, with live projects in Brussels (disabled zones), St-Ghislain (Shop and Drive), Aarschot, Asse and Deerlijk. Additional deployments are under way.
The solutions combine parking guidance over a mobile application for residents, while optimising enforcement through real-time alerts of parking violations to controllers. CommuniThings offers open-data reports to other third parties wishing to refine their mapping and navigation solutions to its users and ensures a better mapping of traffic and mobility over time.
Michaël Trabbia, CEO of Orange Belgium, said: “As a leader in Machine-to-Machine communications and Internet of Things, we are continuously looking for meaningful innovations to improve enterprises’ competitiveness and enhance services for Belgian customers. I am therefore delighted that we have invested in CommuniThings, a scale-up stemming directly from Orange Fab, Orange’s exclusive accelerator network of scale-ups, to support its growth in Belgium and worldwide. This investment goes along with a close commercial partnership that will allow Orange Belgium to complete its Internet of Things portfolio with CommuniThings’ innovative smart parking services, relying on our nationwide NB-IoT/LTE-M network, which we were the first to rollout in Belgium.”
Etay Oren, CEO of CommuniThings, said: “CommuniThings is poised for accelerated growth and we could not envisage a better partner to realise it with. The commercial force and technological know-how of Orange Belgium were a major catalyst in forging this partnership towards reaching untapped markets. We are also grateful for the long-standing support of Finance.Brussels and Essex Innovation.”
Pierre Hermant, Chairman of Finance.Brussels’ Executive Commitee, continued: “Finance.Brussels’ co-investment with Orange Belgium illustrates our strategy of collaboration with major businesses to support the growth of Brussels companies. The consortium leverages Finance.Brussels’ venture-capital and regional network, with Orange Belgium’s technological expertise and commercial resources to support CommuniThings in its global expansion. In addition, this technology contributes to the improvement of urban mobility. It is one of our priority investment themes as it will improve the quality of life of Brussels’ citizens.”