"We get valuable support from Orange, notably through the use of their LoRa network"
Eric Page, co-founder and CEO at e-novACT
What they do
e-novACT offers IoT- and AI-based smart industry solutions to small and medium-sized players in the fields of work safety, monitoring and maintenance.
What they do with us
The members of e-novACT met at the 2016 Orange Developer Challenge dedicated to Industry 4.0. They won the “Junior” category for their network of connected Personal Protection Equipment solution, based on LoRa and BLE connectivity with the Live Objects platform.
e-novACT develops its offers to industrial SMBs using the Orange LoRa network and the Live Objects platform. They also receive technical and business support from Orange, including exposure at events like Viva Technology 2017.
How a Developer challenge project turned into a fruitful start-up.
e-novACT co-founder and CEO Eric Page has a long background in AI, engineering and project management, augmented by his experience in both management and operational teams with a range of companies. Little did he know, when signing up for an Orange Developer Challenge, that he would meet teammates with whom he would launch a start-up! The three founding members shared the notion that emerging technologies could dramatically impact industrial processes, making them safer and more efficient. Eric recounts how this fortuitous partnership came to be.
I signed up for the Orange Developer Challenge for Industry 4.0 in November 2016 because I was interested in the opportunity to prototype a solution based on real industrial case studies—with such major players as Orange, EDF and Air Liquide. It just so happened that the three of us met and had very complementary skillsets and backgrounds: my background is AI and engineering, while my teammates were a young engineer specializing in trackers and data transmission, and an IT engineer who doubled as a backend architect.
Our idea was to take the LoRa connectivity kits made available at the Challenge and create, from scratch, a network of connected Personal Protection Equipment. We integrated a LoRa sensor into the hard hat and connected the rest via BLE, with the data collected and treated in Live Objects. Finally, we developed an app to visualize geolocation. The result, EPInet, makes it possible to continuously pinpoint personnel on construction and industrial sites, and monitor their safety levels.
Winning first prize in the Challenge “Junior” category (for teams that met on-site) was a great boost for us because the jury was composed of real industrial partners. It shows our solution is in the right direction—and it’s only one of many topics that can be addressed with similar technologies, like monitoring equipment and infrastructures, predictive maintenance, and more.
So, we transformed the EPInet project into the company e-novACT. We get valuable support from Orange, notably through the use of their LoRa network—they loaned us one of the first LoRa gateways to extend our coverage—and data processing solutions. On the business side, they’ve given us opportunities to access their customer base in the near future, notably our target market of industrial small- to mid-sized players; also, a big marketing boost by bringing us along to events, like Viva Technology Paris.
The next step for us is to start industrializing our solutions for SMBs. In our experience, these players are extremely interested but also slightly wary of connected solutions. Their needs are very real and very different from those of large corporations. With technologies like LoRa, you can create solutions that use swarms of autonomous, non-intrusive sensors, connected via radio link. By developing the right algorithms to treat the data they transmit, you can offer industrial players solutions that have a huge impact in terms of cost-reduction and efficiency.