Tuesday, November 8, 2011

France Telecom goes outside the box and over the top

I wrote last month about Telefónica and its bold moves to stay on top of the emerging internet-based voice reality.  But Telefónica is not alone in this field. 

It’s got good company in France Telecom, which in 2008 set up a R&D division called Orange Vallée to combine “the power of a major group and the flexibility of a start-up” and to directly compete not with telecom players but with internet companies.

Recently, Giles Corbett, the CEO of LifeIsBetterON, a subsidiary of Orange Vallée set up specifically to explore OTT projects, talked to Light Reading about ONVoicefeed, the company’s attempt at redefining voice mail:

He gets straight to the point at about the 2:38 mark, when he says:

I think Orange was at the forefront of this, with this vision that there is a whole new vision to be made out of this, and it may be through partnering and it may even be at times through becoming an over-the-top player itself.

Along slight different, but very relevant lines, France Telecom just announced the creation of a  venture capital fund – with an initial investment of USD 200 million – meant to “finance digital age startups” in France, as well as the rest of Europe.

But perhaps the best way to illustrate this spirit is to watch this viral YouTube video from Orange Vallée CEO, Jean-Louis Costanza, with almost 3 million views and counting.

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