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IoT project to provide ‘connectivity’ for European car rental firm

Orange Business Services, a global integrator of communications products and services for multinational corporations has announced details of an exciting Internet of Things (IoT) collaboration with European car rental company Hertz. The innovative project which has been launched by Orange will be rolled out across Europe - and will provide 'connectivity' for all Hertz enterprise vehicles.

Orange Business Services, which is the business services arm of Orange S.A., disclosed that the project will last for a period of three years and will be implemented across seven countries - the countries include Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the UK. Orange intends to provide Internet of Things connectivity and analytics through its Data-Venue IoT platform for Hertz's fleet of 24/7 enterprise vehicles.

The fleet of enterprise vehicles will be available on a 24/7 capacity - and can be booked by Hertz's customers in any of the regions in which the service operates. Hertz has retail collaborations with Costco, B&Q and IKEA in the UK, and with Leroy Merlin and IKEA in other European countries. Vehicles are positioned and parked at those stores and can be conveniently rented for an hour by customers to take their purchases home following their shopping spree.

Julie Masson, Head of Connected Vars, Orange Business Services, described the service it is provided as a 'major trend in the industry' and said the partnership with Hertz was the second market the company was addressing in relation to the connected car sector. She said, "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.”

Hertz has updated its smartphone application and established a contact center in order to facilitate customers for its new service. In addition to this, customers can now contact the company in emergencies by using Orange's in-built SIM. Hertz selected Orange for this innovative project due to its distinguished track record in global research, and is one of the world's biggest operators. The organization disclosed that Orange suited Hertz's European footprint.

Fabrice Genty, senior director, car sharing operations at Hertz, described the partnership as a reflection on its strategy, which is to constantly evolve to meet the ever-changing demands of its customers.

"We are constantly evolving as a business to reflect the changing demands of our customers. 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 declared that connected cars have played a huge role in the growth of Iot, and has predicted OBS will manage around 12 million 'connected things' at the end of 2016, but around 40% of that, which is 5 million is actually vehicles.