Orange launches certification programme

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Orange launches certification programme

Will Garside
The mobile telecoms provider Orange has launched a certification programme to encourage business customers to deploy mobile solutions.

Orange hope the move will give a boost to the mobile solutions market, which is suffering from the economic downturn and technological uncertainty.

"This is more than just a brand exercise, said Mike Crawshaw, head of the Orange Consulting Group. "Each product that carries our approval will have been tested both for compatibility with our network and for the quality of the solution."

Orange has so far approved 80 products from the 450 participating developers in its forum. "This is not an endorsement of the company but of each product on its individual merit," said Crawshaw.

In addition to endorsing third party developments, Orange has also pledged to support some products through its own marketing channels.

The range of Orange-endorsed products includes hardware add-ons and software applications for laptops, phones and PDAs.

Orange has pledged that users who have a major problem with an Orange-endorsed solution will be able to seek help directly from the company's official Web site.

Crawshaw admitted that widespread deployment of wireless applications had been sluggish in the UK, particularly when compared to the experiences of NTT DoCoMo in Japan, which has nearly 20 million regular wireless application users. He maintained that a range of reliable applications combined with faster data transmission offerings - such as HSCSD and GPRS - would boost adoption.

One of the latest recipients of the Orange endorsement is ImageBase Technology. The 15-strong company, which specialises in image management over wireless networks, has won a lucrative contract with several police agencies in the UK and US.

Tim Schofield, managing director of ImageBase, said: "A lot of our work comes from referrals and we expect the [Orange] endorsement to help us generate additional sales because customers can ensure that our technology has been rigidly tested by an independent third party."

Wireless solution developers and customers can get more information from www.approved.orange.co.uk.

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