In July 2022, the newly established Orange Digital Center launched its first training project in cooperation with the ASBL La Maison, which supports autistic children and adolescents. Participants with very diverse educational and social backgrounds attended a training course on design thinking and the Internet of Things (IoT). Following the success of this first project, a new project was launched quickly: a partnership with urban farm La Ferme du Parc Maximilien. Participants in this initiative worked for this urban farm, which offers a space to share, play and experiment, for everyone who wants to reconnect with nature and preserve the environment.
Highlighting biodiversity & animal welfare for La Ferme du Parc Maximilien
Inspired by the success of the initial project, the Orange Digital Center launched a second one: a partnership with La Ferme Du Parc Maximilien. Participants worked for this urban farm, which strives to highlight biodiversity and animal welfare in a pedagogical way. The farm faced some visibility challenges within the park. In keeping with the ASBL values, the beneficiaries developed a multidimensional solution: an orientation riddle game, alongside a multimedia kiosk, to guide visitors through the various enclosures. The key point of this kiosk is its accessibility: the beneficiaries were sensitive to the diversity of visitors, who would come to the farm and therefore designed a child- and wheelchair-friendly solution. No obstacle should prevent citizen empowerment and learning about biodiversity.
Alexandre Lefebvre, Director of La Ferme du Parc Maximilien commented: "This collaboration between Orange and our farm allowed us to explore the possibilities and help us achieve our farm's missions. The group that made the prototype first allowed us to take the time to question our needs. They then creatively co-constructed a solution that we ‘just have to’ test. Each of the exchanges were very rich and the first solutions presented are likely to please our visitors (young and old)."
IoT solutions for La Maison
The first project with La Maison was followed by participants who had difficulty adapting to the standard school system or had to drop out due to personal circumstances. But their hunger for knowledge about technology was immense and translated into brilliant ideas for future projects in the world of design thinking and IoT. At the end of the course, they pitched their solution ideas to a professional jury.
The initial project can be seen as a prototype training. The goal was to help the ASBL La Maison, which supports young people between 3 and 21 years old on the autism spectrum. Autism can affect a wide range of abilities, including communication. After hearing the challenges of La Maison, the participants decided to focus on two issues: security during bedtime and communication with the young residents. As such, the digital solutions offered by the course participants were a smart bed detector (to know if a child is ill), sending a phone notification if a child left their bed, and a sensory touchpad to help the children communicate freely with their caretakers.
These projects showcase Orange Belgium’s commitment to both the environment as well as social and digital inclusion, two key pillars within Orange’s Engage 2025 strategy.
About Orange Digital Center (ODC)
As a key pillar of its commitment to digital inclusion, Orange Belgium opened the Orange Digital Center in BeCentral, the digital hub in Brussels Central Station, at the end of June 2022. There, different target groups are given the opportunity to develop essential or more complex digital skills. Digital entrepreneurship is supported through the courses of BeCode, the FabLabs and Orange Fab, the start-up acceleration programme.
The ODC serves as a support and development centre allowing everyone to acquire and improve their digital and entrepreneurial skills, with activities ranging from digital training to coaching for small businesses and start-ups, offering a genuine trajectory for personal and business growth. The ODC targets a broad public: young people, men and women, with or without qualifications, students and jobseekers. It is a complete ecosystem, as it is freely accessible to anyone who wants to learn through concrete projects, training courses, workshops and conferences.
More information about the Orange Digital Center and its initiatives on https://orangedigitalcenter.be/