Experiencing innovation in action at the Smart Industries Tour

Businesses know they need to innovate, but achieving it can be challenging. A lack of internal resources, expertise and skill can often hamper an organization’s ability to produce ideas, identify those with the most value and turn them into tangible outcomes.

As such, it’s no surprise that McKinsey found that while 84% of CEOs believe innovation is critical to growth, just six percent are satisfied with their company’s innovation performance.

Part of the problem can lie in how innovation is perceived. Often, it is seen primarily as a way of delivering value to customers. Yet, in every organization, across all sectors, there is significant potential for innovating internally through new services, ways of working and even approaches to workplace safety.

Building ecosystems

The key to unlocking success is the ecosystem: the network of partners, suppliers, peers, regulators and even competitors that every organization has. True innovators are the ones that are actively part of and help build ecosystems that encourage and nurture innovation.

Businesses might use their ecosystems for specific implementations or actively rely on strategic support for guidance, expertise and proven innovation ability. Whatever the requirement, even the most cutting-edge companies need partners to meet their needs through advice, consultancy or implementation.

Helping businesses, particularly manufacturers, to understand what their ecosystems could offer was behind our recent Smart Industries Tour at the Orange Business Services Customer Innovation Center (CIC) on 21 June 2022. It was an opportunity for 40 customers to see the latest innovations in smart industries.

Experiencing manufacturing innovation

Attendees started with an introduction to the CIC, followed by demonstrations centered around the augmented operator, worker safety and quality control. Each section was split into several use cases, covering specific customer needs and challenges and the Orange Business Services proposition.

The augmented operator looked at condition monitoring, meeting customers’ requirements for real-time data on their machinery’s health. It also showed how wearables, such as connected glasses, could aid operators when they work and perform shift handovers.

Worker safety looked at how geofencing could be deployed to keep employees safe in dangerous areas, equipment infractions and improving group communications.

Finally, quality control previewed automated visual inspection during complex assembly processes, operational precision and artificial intelligence-enabled impurity detection.

Attendees also heard from Delville Management’s Aldric Auer, a manufacturing industry expert. He delivered a keynote that covered his experiences in the sector, the role of humans in digital transformation, the reality of Industry 4.0 and the future of Industry 5.0.

Customers’ experiences of the CIC

Among the attendees were representatives from HEINEKEN, Tereos, Thales and MEREM.


Shridhar Mahesh, Global Digital Innovation Lead at HEINEKEN International, found worker safety most relevant to his concerns. “We’re on a mission to become the most connected brewer in the world,” he said. “And that also includes having a great impact on our people. We have a lot of people working in our factories, and it’s super important that they can go home safe.”


Worker safety also caught the attention of Laurie Rouy, Tereos’ IT Communication and Change Manager. “We think that humans should be at the very heart of the factory…it is important, and I would even say crucial, to be able to successfully link technology together with the physical safety of operators so that innovation can open up new possibilities in the protection of workers in the field.”


Ensuring connectivity is critical to smart manufacturing, but it has to be secure. This is an ongoing concern for Aude du Plouy, Plant Manager at Thales. Finding the right technology solutions is critical with production sites that must meet stringent national security regulations. “Being able to guarantee connectivity whilst meeting these security constraints is allowing us to develop the 4.0 solutions which are now driving industrial progress.”


Augmented reality caught the eye of Bruno Bailly, Chief Executive Officer at MEREM. He sees significant use for augmented reality in several areas, including “training, maintenance and assistance, as well as the immersive experience of remote customers.”


The Smart Industries Tour allowed customers to see real-world solutions to the many challenges they battle and hear from colleagues, peers and other experts.

As an opportunity to see innovation in action, it was only fitting that it was held at the CIC. Contact your account manager today if you would like to visit the center and see how you might benefit from some of the leading technologies we are pioneering.


Cécile Bidois
Cécile Bidois

Cécile Bidois is Head of Industry 4.0 Marketing at Orange Business Services. Cécile supports our account teams and their customers in the digital transformation of their industrial processes. Together, we aim at pinpointing the challenges of this industrial revolution to improve security, quality and productivity within factories.