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On Thursday, Orange invited ZDNet UK into its Paris laboratories.
Orange Innovation Gardens, as the company calls its labs, houses work being carried out on machinery and applications in the fields of robotics, machine-to-machine technology and cloud computing.
In a demonstration, this robot, named iRobi, was verbally instructed by an Orange representative acting as a nursery worker to keep an eye on a man who was representing a child.
It took several attempts to get the instruction recognised, but then iRobi went to the 'child' and asked if it could read him a story. The 'child' held up the cover of Alice In Wonderland, iRobi recognised the book and began to read it.
The 'nursery worker' then returned and took over from iRobi, which subsequently navigated itself back into its mains-connected charger and went to sleep.
A lot of Orange's work addresses the needs of multinational companies and the management of supply chains.
This picture shows a sticker that combines an embedded RFID tag — for tracking the passage of an item through the warehouse and retail outlet — with a data matrix code that can be read by a customer with a cameraphone.