The Observer - ICT Africa News
BY JEFF MBANGA, 29 OCTOBER 2013
The products, when finally rolled out into the market, could change the way people live and communicate with their gadgets. There is, for example, a television that you can speak and wave to.
There is also a barcode on a phone that one can use to buy goods such as an air ticket. Going to the airport with your ticket will soon be a thing of the past; some people in France at airports like the one in Nice simply use their phones.
Then there are the cameras that allow you to see activities kilometres away. "You can see everything from your office or living room," said one of Orange's tech staff, while demonstrating the service.
As many Ugandans struggle with the issue of housemaids mistreating their children or doing something mischievous while the boss is away at work, this service could come in handy. Orange officials said these products would be rolled out in the markets in which it operates as soon as possible. But aren't the cameras a breach of privacy especially those that view the public?
Ali Samimi, Orange's head for Africa, Middle East, and Asia, and a Director in the Uganda unit, said that the company does not break any rules. "We operate according to the rules of the country," he said.
Samimi described Uganda's telecom industry as "very competitive" when it comes to prices. Pushed on why Orange's voice service is perceived to be the most expensive, Samimi explained that the company prices its services according to the costs of operation in the country.
"Some people were playing a dangerous game," Samimi said of the time when telecom companies went on massive cuts of their airtime fees. "We need to operate with reality," he said, pointing to the disparity between prices and costs.
Orange is largely known to concentrate on data. Samimi believes Uganda "is well-geared to jump the internet age" as a bigger section of the public shift to data services. He added that "the future is on data."
Recently, Ugandans were treated to new forms of technology at the recently concluded four-day Orange Expo in Lugogo. The expo offered Ugandans a chance to purchase products at a discount, and gave Orange an opportunity to understand their customers' needs.