Orange Business Services has launched a project across Europe that will see it provide connectivity for rental vehicle company Hertz.
The project will initially last three years and cover Hertz enterprise vehicles across seven European countries – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK.
It will see Orange provide internet of things connectivity and analytics through its DataVenue IoT platform for Hertz’s fleet of 24/7 enterprise vehicles. The fleet of keyless cars is available 24/7 and can be booked by Hertz’s enterprise customers in any of the countries where it operates.
Hertz 24/7 also operates through retail partnerships with Costco, B&Q and IKEA in the UK and with other retailers, including Leroy Merlin and IKEA in other European countries. Vans are placed at the stores’ parking areas and can be rented by the hour for customers to conveniently take their purchases home after their shopping spree.
VEHICLES AS A SERVICE NOW A MAJOR TREND
Speaking exclusively to GTB, Orange Business Services head of connected cars Julien Masson explained: “Hertz particularly is part of the second market we’re addressing in the connected car, by delivering a ready solution for those vehicles that are being used as a service, and that is a major trend within the car industry. It is a big and disruptive development for that industry.
“What we did with Hertz was we enabled enterprises to connect from Hertz at the specific point of sale and request and rent a vehicle. You retrieve a key in your smartphone application which opens the door on the vehicle.” As part of the project, Hertz has also put into place a contact centre and updated its smartphone application. Customers can access the vehicle easily and contact the car rental company in case of an emergency using Orange’s in-built SIM.
Before the partnership with Orange, Hertz used a local operator to provide SIM cards, meaning higher costs (due to roaming charges) and fewer guarantees about quality of service.
Orange supported Hertz in putting the programme into place through end-to-end testing and deploying the connectivity across its range of vehicles. Hertz picked Orange due to its global reach. As one of the biggest operators globally, and with its tier one network across some the European countries listed, it suited Hertz’s European footprint. Orange also has secure roaming agreements and service level agreements that made it very appealing.
“We are constantly evolving as a business to reflect the changing demands of our customers,” explained Fabrice Genty, senior director, car sharing operations at Hertz.
“Our partnership with Orange Business Services is an ideal step for us as we embrace the future and take on new digital technologies that improve customer service.”
Orange claims connected vehicles are playing a huge role in the growth of IoT. OBS manages around 12 million connected “things” at the end of 2016, but around 40% of them – just under five million – were vehicles.
The project not only involves connectivity, but it also sees Hertz using Orange Business Solutions’ DataVenue solution. DataVenue is a modular IoT and analytics solution, meaning users can carry out advanced analysis and decision making based on data generated from the SIM card within the vehicle.
Gently said there are other advancements that could see the partners work closely together in the future.