The first day at Orange Code Camp began with a rather long bus ride from Paris, but otherwise has gone really quite well.
The opening speaches focused on Orange's new born commitment to developers. They admit they may have done a poor job in the past, but they believe their future depends on developer partners. The business analogy of the moment is ecosystems. The idea being that Orange, customers, developers, and device manufacturers are all interdependent, and for survival and success all of these relationships need to be nurtured.
Orange's reason for Code Camp is to foster its developer reations. To this end Orange has centralised its developer support. There is now one point of contact for developers world wide, and the back end interfaces are in the process of being standardised across the world. In theory an Orange application developed in UK will work on Orange network world wide.
As for the customer end of the spectrum Orange has identified a lot of market segments, teenagers, parents, executives etc, and are targeting specific phones and service bundles. They beleive it is important to differentiate their user expeience from that of other network providers. They have spent a lot of time creating a consistent, cross-device, user experience, and claim that this approach has created substantial revenue increases. As part of this approach they have a set of signature phones tailored to the orange experience.
As for the device end of things Orange is partnering with all sorts of device and OS providers. The big sponsor of the event is Nokia, and Mircosoft, Sybian, PalmSource, etc are also sponsors.
Apart from Orange's business plan the most interesting tidbits of the day were B2B, and Digital Signing.
Business to business services (B2B) are a growing area. One novel example is a UK insurance company which is now providing 'pay as you drive' insurance. The idea being an onboard computer tracks your location and milage, and your insurance fees are calculated based on the amount and locations where you drive.
And perhaps the most interesting tidbit came out of a session on digital signing of phone applications. It seems the next generation of phones are going to implement security features which require applications to be digitally signed. These features are already partially implemented on current handsets, but are not being used. Getting a digital signature will require submitting applications to a testing process as dictated by the network providers, at some cost to the developer. Current costs are around $500 (USD) per executable. Without signature applications will not run!!! The reason for signing is to prevent viruses and other malicious code, prevent excessive user support costs due to poorly designed applications, and to ensure a positive user experience. At the moment the testing and certification process is quite different for different OSs and network providers, with standardisation expected over the next 5 years.
And finally, the food is really good.