BNDES Allots Large Investment to Internet of Things Projects in Brazil

By Edson Perin

Through funds for innovation, the bank intends to finance projects in areas defined by the country's IoT Action Plan in the next three years.

Despite the crisis and cost containment in Brazil, as determined by the government of President Michel Temer—which is wiping out ministries' budgets, as with the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC)—there is light at the end of the tunnel to continue the country's National Internet of Things (IoT) Action Plan. The National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) will use 500 million Brazilian real ($153 million) that is already available for investments in innovation, to fund IoT projects.

According to Ricardo Rivera de Sousa Lima, BNDES's sector manager, who is responsible for the IoT Action Plan, the funds are available through venture-capital funds and will be used throughout the next three years. "The National Plan will serve to guide these investments," Rivera says, "and one of the main focuses will be the health segment." The government's action proposal foresees that the country will try to insert an IoT network into each of the four vertical markets prioritized for the study: cities, health, rural and industry (see Brazilian Government Announces Internet of Things Study).

BNDES' Ricardo Rivera de Souza Lima

The funds in question already have cases of IoT support. Criatec III, for example, has Chip Inside, which develops solutions for monitoring comfort, rumination, animal health and estrus detection for dairy cattle to deliver productivity gains. In addition, SVA Tech transforms security cameras already installed in an intelligent and multifunctional system with analytical video technology. The system detects preconfigured instances and commands actions.

Criatec I has WTI Software, a company specializing in the development of intelligent solutions for residential automation and IT governance, through the control and monitoring of IT infrastructure assets. For Capital Tech, there is Ahgora Sistemas, a developer of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) solutions in the area of human resources, with a focus on presence management, access control and location monitoring.

Also noteworthy is Criatec II, which develops basic electronics for chips with various applications in communication and automation, as well as Compass 3D. In the aerospace field, Desh Technology offers wireless communications solutions for various industrial machine-to-machine (M2M) applications, such as power system telemetry, and Geocontrol, which specializes in the creation, development and production of technologies for the areas of urban mobility and public safety. Inseed FIMA invested in Viridis, which offers an energy and utilities-management solution aimed at reducing the energy consumption of industrial plants.

Rivera spoke about the advances that the IoT can bring to the health sector—for example, how to improve efficiency in fighting chronic diseases, control patients, prevent risk situations and epidemics, and increase the efficiency of hospitals in the Unified Health System (SUS). Solutions like these are among the priorities, depending on what the IoT Action Plan already offers as a reference.

"With the pilot projects, with public and private money, we want to evolve in issues such as security and privacy, offering a seal and recognition," says Rivera, stressing the idea of creating collaboration networks for innovation. "Anvisa [the National Agency of Sanitary Surveillance] should establish the complementary norms for the projects."

BNDES can support companies that develop solutions based on the Internet of Things concept through various forms of financing. Direct financing, for example, offers 10 million real for investments in innovation. Finem IT invests 10 million real in business plans for software companies and IT services. And BNDES Giro guarantees 20 million real for working capital.

The indirect financing modality has BNDES Automático, with financing of up to 20 million real for investment projects; BNDES MPME Innovative, with financing of up to 20 million real for innovation projects carried out by micro, small and medium enterprises; the BNDES Card, with credit for the acquisition of goods and services accredited in the BNDES Card Operations Portal; and Shareholding, Direct Investment and Investment Funds.

In December 2016, the IoT officially entered the strategic agenda of the Brazilian government, thanks to the agreement between MCTIC and BNDES, which had the transfer to the bank of 17 million real to support studies that would be based on the National IoT Action Plan. The agreement was signed in the presence of the consortium formed by McKinsey & Co., Fundação CPqD and Pereira Neto | Macedo Advogados.