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IoT awareness still low in Brazil

Local organizations including the technology in their innovation agenda are still a minority, says study

Awareness of the benefits that Internet of Things (IoT) technologies can bring to businesses is still rather low in Brazil, according to a recent study.

Research by IDC commissioned by Qualcomm with decision makers at 150 organizations in Brazil with more than 100 staff suggests that 93 percent of companies have established innovation policies, but only 7 percent have IoT-related projects in their innovation pipelines.

Only 23 percent of the executives surveyed consider themselves as "quite familiar" with the technology, while 36 percent have a "relative" IoT knowledge. On the other hand, 28 percent of those polled have a quite low level of Internet of Things awareness, while 13 percent don't know the technology at all.

According to the IDC research, many decision makers have said that the IoT offering that is currently available is not adherent to their business needs, which requires a more bespoke approach from vendors.

Other barriers include high costs of implementation of the technology and the poor quality of infrastructure and manpower required for such projects.

Further challenges

The Brazilian IoT market already generates $3bn, according to IDC. Sectors that offer opportunities for implementation of the technology include manufacturing, retail, logistics and government. But issues related to regulation, infrastructure and tax all hamper progress of the technologies in the country.

Local IT trade body Brasscom has voiced its opinions about the issues currently hampering the progress of IoT roll-outs during a recent presentation on the theme to the Brazilian Congress's Lower House, where it also called for more engagement from the government and the private sector in encouraging more projects to come about.

Brasscom president Sergio Paulo Gallindo called for a boost in the local production of simple semiconductors for IoT devices, while pointing out that adequate infrastructure is necessary to support the several million connected devices.

Gallindo added that the government must also create policies related to the growth of this segment, especially when it comes to data privacy. In terms of government policies, other industry figures maintain that the growth of IoT may face the issue of high taxes.

According to tax director at telecoms union Sindtelebrasil, Sérgio Kern, companies making the chipsets needed for machine-to-machine communication already pay less tax, but profits are low.

Privacy is also a concern when it comes to IoT in Brazil. Since the Marco Civil da Internet, also dubbed "Internet Constitution" was created, the country has started to focus more on the data privacy debate, but there is still a lot to be done.

According to a director at the Brazilian Chamber of Electronic Commerce, Caio Faria Lima, regulation needs to be introduced with rules to limit use of anonymized data in IoT devices. Earlier this year, the Brazilian government announced that it would be working on the creation of policies focused on machine to machine (M2M) and IoT technologies.

Companies such as Ericsson announced a research partnership on the development of IoT and 5G products and services with América Móvil in Brazil, while Nokia Networks and Portugal Telecom-owned mobile operator Oi will also partner in the development of IoT projects in the country.