Brazilian Government Announces Internet of Things Study

By Edson Perin

Federal authorities presented a report on the country's IoT Action Plan during a telecommunications event in São Paulo.

The Brazilian federal government's timetable for presentation of its Internet of Things (IoT) Action Plan has been fulfilled, according to a study introduced this week at a telecommunications event in São Paulo. The study was presented by Maximiliano Martinhão, Secretary of the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC), and Carlos Alexandre Jorge da Costa, the president of the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES).

In December 2016, BNDES presented a public call with the aim of receiving proposals to obtain non-refundable financial support for proposing public policies regarding the IoT, a topic that has entered the strategic agenda of the Brazilian government. Minister Gilberto Kassab of the MCTIC signed a transfer to the bank of 17 million real ($5.4 million) at BNDES' headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, focused on IoT initiatives.

At 2016's launch of the National IoT Plan: Minister Gilberto Kassab (in the pulpit) and (at the table) BNDES director Cláudia Prates, BNDES president Maria Sílvia Bastos Marques, and MCTIC Secretary of Information Technology Maximiliano Martinhão (Photo: Edson Perin)

The agreement was signed by Maria Sílvia Bastos Marques, then the president of BNDES, and in the presence of a consortium formed by McKinsey & Co., Fundação CPqD and Pereira Neto | Macedo Advogados (read more here—this article is in Portuguese).

According to the report, the Internet of Things offers a unique opportunity and Brazil is well positioned to capture its value (read more here—this article is also in Portuguese). "By 2025, the Internet of Things will have a greater economic impact than advanced robotics, cloud technologies and even the mobile internet," the report says. "The expected impact in Brazil is $50 billion to $200 billion per year, which represents about 10 percent of our country's GDP."

Throughout this year, the study explains, members of the consortium, BNDES and MCTIC have invested time and effort to enable Brazil to benefit from this technological wave. "The IoT Action Plan for Brazil is a key milestone in this trajectory, as it consolidates a strategic vision on the Internet of Things," the report states. "Its collaborative construction engages diverse actors from the public and private sectors, from business associations and academia."

In addition to a survey of initiatives representing the entire embryonic IoT ecosystem, the report says, this process of collaborative construction ensured the commitment of key actors to the continuation of the plan's actions. "The engagement of crucial actors is one of the most valuable contributions this study can make to the progress of the IoT agenda," the study adds, "precisely because of the importance of this engagement. The action plan is not restricted to the initiatives proposed in the study, or to the governance structure that will lead it in the next five years."

According to the federal government, the goal of this work is to stimulate, as much as possible, the exchange of knowledge, and the emergence of new businesses and partnerships between consolidated companies, startups, scale-ups and academia. "This technical study, which will serve as a basis for the National Internet of Things Plan, is in itself an innovation because it allows the country to clearly establish the main bottlenecks to be a protagonist in the development of IoT and proposes how to solve it," the study indicates. "But the effort promises to be rewarded with massive impacts on the economy and the day-to-day lives of Brazilians."

The government action proposal foresees that the country will try to create an IoT network inserted in each of the four vertical markets prioritized for the study: cities, health care, rural and industry. The expectation is that these networks will be able to attract several companies from the productive chains implemented in each of the four environments. This should occur by merging anchor companies and startups or scale-ups.

According to the study, an example of the breadth of the productive chain that could be represented in a network can be seen in the case of the rural IoT, in which multinationals that produce basic inputs to the plantation or large producers, such as cooperatives, can interact with agribusinesses and other startup hardware companies to create workable and productivity-enhancing IoT solutions.

In addition, as IoT innovation ecosystem actors come together in networks, the government program should also offer the opportunity to organize the search for solutions to several elements highlighted as priorities in interviews, as well as in the survey that formed the basis of the study. Among these challenges are skilled labor to create and adopt IoT solutions; clear interoperability rules between devices; stable, secure and affordable sources of funding; and iteration opportunities between IoT vendors and potential customers.

Click here to learn more about the Brazilian government's plan for the IoT (the linked article is in Portuguese).