The findings of a study on the impact of 5G and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies on sparsely populated regions in Brazil were presented on Tuesday (20 November) during a technical seminar carried out in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication (MCTIC), with the support of the European Union – Brazil Sector Dialogues.
The European specialist, Professor Francisco Medeiros, was responsible for surveying and selecting success cases financed by Horizon 2020, the biggest EU research and innovation programme. Medeiros was also responsible for preparing and implementing a schedule of visits of Brazilian specialists to European countries with successful public policies and experiences in IoT focused on the agro-industrial sector. Such technical visits to Belgium, the Netherlands and Italy took place in May.
“The objectives of this partnership are to understand the European experience and explore the possibility of implementing similar projects in Brazil, as well as to align public policies between the EU and Brazil regarding agriculture-oriented IoT platforms, and to create possible partnerships for the exchange of experience and knowledge. The possibility of Brazil working in collaboration with a Greek project on connectivity technology was also discussed,” says Medeiros.
In addition, the expert explained the whole process of the Horizon 2020 programme, from the creation of invitations to present projects, with a clear definition of objectives, to the examination and implementation of proposals.
Among the lessons learned from the research, Medeiros listed the importance of involving all stakeholders in the projects, establishing clear evaluation criteria and sharing information and knowledge, formulating a well-rounded plan for exploration and dissemination. He also mentioned the importance of creating a community of interest and of engaging the civil society.
The Brazilian expert, Professor José Marcos Brito, presented a study on 5G and the expectations for the implementation of this technology in Brazil. He highlighted the importance of universal access to the internet in the country as a means to promote social equality.
“There is no point in having advanced technology only in large urban centres. We need to take connectivity to remote areas. Nowadays, we have issues when trying to connect to the internet outside of a 15-km radius of an urban centre. There are farms that are as large as 50 km2 alone. Brazil also has municipalities larger than most European countries. Altamira, in the state of Pará, for instance, is 159.533 km2 in area while Portugal only covers 92.212 km2.”
According to Brito, 5G is the technological opportunity Brazil has to try and solve this problem, common to large countries. “In addition to Brazil, China, Russia, India and even the United States have policies in place to face the challenge of having internet in remote areas.”
Among the reasons to invest in 5G, the specialist mentioned the potential impact IoT can have on rural areas, estimated at US$ 21 billion in 2025, according to Brazil’s Bank for Social and Economic Development (BNDES). “Another reason is reducing the current social inequality between rural and urban areas. 5G technology will increase possibilities for distance education in rural areas, for instance.”
Carlos Oliveira, Counsellor of the European Union Delegation to Brazil, said that this cooperation with Brazil is fundamental. “We don’t research for the sake of research. Studies must serve as a means to accumulate knowledge, but they also need to yield gains in competition and integration in global value chains, as well as in the performance of industries in the involved countries.”
Oliveira reminds us that exportation in Brazil is highly dependent on commodities, on agricultural products. “Perfecting processes in the area of agriculture through the use of 5G and IoT would, in itself, bring positive results to the Brazilian economy. However, it is necessary to go beyond and consider that such technological advancements can also help the country grow its production of manufactured goods,” he added.
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