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Podcast: Orange Silicon Valley CEO Helou on Tech as a Social, Economic Game-Changer

Mireille Hellou recently took charge of an Orange business unit bringing together Californian innovation and the European telco. She talked with Light Reading editor Mitch Wagner about how that focus can be about more than profits.

Mitch Wagner

September 2, 2019

2 Min Read
Podcast: Orange Silicon Valley CEO Helou on Tech as a Social, Economic Game-Changer

As CEO of Orange Silicon Valley, Mireille Helou's mission is to bring Californian innovation back home, and raise awareness of Orange in the States.

Orange customers include great swathes of Africa and the Middle East, including many undeveloped and rural areas. Helou talked about how technology can be a game-changer for social and economic progress in those countries, including how mobile payments -- a big business for Orange -- can transform lives and economies.

Figure 1: Orange Silicon Valley's Helou Orange Silicon Valley's Helou

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"Orange Silicon Valley is an innovation hub present in the US and San Francisco for the last 20 years," Helou says. "We try to make innovation and technology from this part of the world visible, accessible and actionable for Orange and our customers."

As a demonstration of the value of innovation, Helou notes that in Africa, Orange has seen 10% digital penetration can increase productivity by 4.2%. Mobile technology has contributed 14% of GDP growth in Senegal, and one job in the mobile telco world leads to ten indirect jobs created elsewhere, Hellou says.

We also talked about how Orange measures results and business value (because if "tracking innovation" was my job, I'd just spend all day reading MIT Technology Review and watching YouTube videos [Editor's note: You mean that's not what you do?]).

The Light Reading podcast is available on Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Spotify and SoundCloud.

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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