Amid the ongoing proliferation of Internet of Things initiatives in Brazil, a delegation of governmental, private sector and academic stakeholders arrived in Brussels at the beginning of June this year with the aim of learning more about successful European IoT implementation initiatives. After their visit to the European Commission’s Directorate‑General for Communications, Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT), they joined us in our office in Brussels for an introduction to the IoF2020 project. The objective was to learn about the impact that IoT technologies can have in regions of high agricultural activity and low population density in order to create a similar programme in Brazil. Based on the lessons learned within the EU-funded IoF2020 large scale pilot, Edwin Hecker, Managing Partner at Schuttelaar & Partners and IoF2020 Ecosystem Development Leader, provided a glimpse of how the IoF2020 ecosystem developed over the first 18 months of the 48 months project. Following the session with us, the Brazilian delegation met with the Secretary General of the Alliance for the Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) in Brussels. One of the discussion points was the follow-up of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Brazilian Government (Camara IoT) and the AIOTI in February 2017 to collaborate on IoT.
Their second day visit started with a trip to Ghent, Belgium. There they met with ILVO to take a look at the dairy use case Grazing Cow Monitor and the meat use case Pig Farm Management. Monitoring grazing cows has the advantage that consumers get insights on animal welfare. Furthermore, dairy products made with milk from cows that enjoy outdoor grazing have a substantially better quality. The various IoT sensors employed at these use cases are provided by our partners from Sensolus. In a similar vein, pig farm management uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags attached to the animals to generate data and detect variations of individual animal’s behaviour during feeding and hydration. To prevent any external pathogenic agents entering the barn and despite the soaring temperatures, delegates were obliged to wear protective suits, which you can see in the second picture. Fortunately, they all accepted it with a big smile!
Afterwards, they moved to Sint-Oedenrode in the Netherlands to visit our dairy use case Happy Cow coordinated by ZLTO. This use case features sensors by Connecterra, which in combination with the expertise of Vetvice in data analysis, aim to maximise the health and welfare of animals and farmers alike, while guaranteeing the cost-effective production of top-quality food products. To reinforce the reputation of the Dutch cuisine abroad, the day ended with an enjoyable dinner in Wageningen with George Beers, IoF2020 Project Manager. Before continuing their journey to visit our use cases in Italy, they enjoyed a tour of the Wageningen University & Research (WUR) campus to get an impression of the current state of agricultural research in Europe.
After visiting the drought-affected northwestern part of Europe, a plane brought the delegation safe and sound to our vegetable use case working on an Enhanced Quality Certification System in Trento, in Northern Italy. This use case, developed by ValorItalia and the University of Almeria, supports the European protected designation of origin (PDO) that safeguards the quality of EU products, especially in foreign markets. By using augmented reality and QR-codes in wine barrels, information about the wine can easily be obtained by tablet or smartphone. The intelligent chain analyses relies on technologies and sensors from Coexphal and Cisco attached to the wine bottles to monitor the position or acceleration of the product. It goes without saying that a visit of our wine production included a wine degustation in addition to conversations spiced with sound technical expertise.
Their busy week ended with a trip to our Fresh Table Grapes Chain use case in Bari, in the Southern Italian region of Puglia. This use case leverages information on soil humidity, temperature and wind speed through sensors scattered throughout the field. Subsequently, the gathered data is analysed to alert farmers about the best time for irrigation and the exact amount of water required. This use case’s IoT system relies on Artificial Intelligence and Data Integration from SysMan, Synelixis and Pegasus, hence it becomes more efficient with each data sample gathered. Before we said goodbye to the Brazilian Delegation, the Mediterranean Institute Agronomic Institute (CIHEAM) of Bari summarized all the technologies used in our fruits use cases.
We were delighted to host our visitors from Brazil and sincerely hope that we have provided them with valuable information to support the Brazilian National IoT Plan throughout the next 5 years. Furthermore, we are looking forward to having a fruitful cooperation with Brazil as this country develops its immense agricultural resources and harnesses them with the latest technological innovations.
 Thales Marçal, Coordinator for Digital Innovation at the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications;
Guilherme Corrêa, Coordinator of IoT at the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications;
Alberto Paradisi, Vice-President of Technology at the Brazilian Center of Research and Development (CPqD);
Moacyr Martucci, Professor at the Department of Engineering and Digital Systems at University of Sao Paulo;
Fabrício Juntolli, Coordinator of Precision Agriculture at the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply;
Werter Padilha, Coordinator of IoT at ABES (Brazilian Association of Software Companies);
Francisco Medeiros, Managing Director at FM Tech Consult.
The programme of visits was sponsored and organized with the support of Sector Dialogues. Sector Dialogues are a cooperation instrument aimed at reinforcing the strategic partnership between the EU and Brazil.