Advancing the construction industry into a digitalised world is no mean feat, especially when it involves a large-scale project such as a level crossing removal project with McConnell Dowell (as the construction contractor to the Victorian Government) in Australia. Technology solutions provider Orange Business Services (Orange) gamely took up the challenge and successfully developed a framework that enabled communication between multiple construction sites, as well as the exchange of traffic and video analytics data. This not only enhanced safety for both staff and the public with reduced congestion and risk anticipation, but also increased productivity and reduced costs with better utilisation of resources.

Matthieu Smessaert, vice president and head of IoT and connectivity Asia Pacific, shares more on the importance of co-innovation, which he attributes as the key factor to the project and the company’s success thus far.

Matthieu Smessaert, VP and head of IoT at Orange Business Services.
Matthieu Smessaert, VP and head of IoT and connectivity for Asia Pacific, Orange Business Services.

What sets Orange Business Services apart from other technology solutions providers?
We believe in taking a co-innovation approach with our clients. Working closely with them to address specific challenges with customised use cases not only improves efficiency for both parties but also allows a faster go-to market for our clients and partners to stay ahead of the competition.

Digital transformation has become more important than ever for business growth. Why do you think IoT plays an important role in digital transformation today?
Going digital has become a business imperative for all companies in almost all industries and all sectors. Today, IoT is everywhere. It isn’t just a trend, but a game changer. These days, connected devices and equipment have the ability to collect and process data in real time, which presents huge opportunities for businesses. IoT connects the unconnected, enabling companies to increase operational efficiency and business agility and adapt quickly to business and market needs.

The level crossing removal program is the biggest of its kind in the history of Victoria, Australia. How has working on such a large-scale project contributed to Orange Business Services’ growth?
Working on this large construction project with McConnell Dowell gave Orange the opportunity to prove our capabilities to design and deliver the right technology for our client in the construction industry. It was a great starting point for other major projects that Orange has taken on over the past year, and contributed to the company’s growth in the region, as well as in Australia.

The large-scale project required Orange’s Connected Site solutions to adapt to various site requirements for seamless communication across Victoria in a cost-effective manner. This provided a framework in which we can now replicate it with the right level of customisation for future projects and clients.

Level Crossing Removal Project Site Office.
Level Crossing Removal Project Site Office.

What can we expect from Orange Business Services in the future?
We are advancing into human augmented solutions involving augmented reality glasses, as well as autonomous machines such as drones for clients in the construction industry. The drones, which rely on video analytics, would allow teams to react real-time when anomalies occur.

In this Covid-19 period, where temperature screening and contact tracing are becoming part of the new normal at workplaces, we are working with clients to automate this process for better efficiency. The idea is to develop a system that complies with regulations, crunches the multiple steps into just one scanning device and collects data that connects back to an IoT platform that can generate reports for necessary action or planning.