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Industry innovation watch: BP Bunge goes 4G, Neoenergia ups ante on IoT

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, November 08, 2022
Industry innovation watch: BP Bunge goes 4G, Neoenergia ups ante on IoT

Two large players in Brazil's energy sector, BP Bunge Bioenergia and Neoenergia, announced new milestones in digital transformation projects.

BP Bunge Bioenergia, one of the biggest sugarcane and biofuels producers in Brazil, hired TIM for dedicated 4G coverage with the deployment of 100 LTE towers at its 11 plants in the country. 

The project's total coverage comprises approximately 3mn hectares in the states of Goiás, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul, São Paulo and Tocantins, according to a TIM release. In the locations, BP Bunge has a total planted area of 450,000 hectares.

Contract terms were not provided.

In addition to digitizing production, the project is set to benefit over 174,000 people in the municipalities neighboring the plants, including 29 public schools and 10 basic health units, while generating 12,500 direct and indirect jobs, according to the carrier.

Agribusiness is one of TIM's main B2B bets

The telco claims to have signed contracts with 40 Brazilian agribusiness companies, representing a total of 12mn hectares in 485 municipalities in 12 states. BP Bunge is the largest project in area covered so far.

Of the nearly 100 4G towers that the operator will deploy for Bunge, most of them will rely on sustainable energy through solar panels.

BP Bunge already uses technology embedded in around 1,200 pieces of agricultural and transport equipment. These are connected to an integrated logistics management center, SmartLog, with industry 4.0 resources, such as big data, artificial intelligence, internet of things and robotics.

The center monitors 24-7, in real-time and on a remote basis the entire planting, harvesting and transport operation. 

“With this relevant rural connectivity project, we are taking another step in the digital transformation to enhance operational efficiency and profitability and, in addition to business, we contribute to digital inclusion and local development in the communities where we have operations, which will now have expanded access to the mobile network,” BP Bunge Bioenergia CEO, Geovane Consul, said in a statement.

Last week, TIM announced an expansion of a 4G project with agribusiness group Insolo

In addition to Insolo's Serra Grande, Cerro Azul and Ipê farms, which since 2019 have dedicated 4G connectivity from TIM, the Fortaleza and Santa Maria farms will now also rely on the telco’s network.

NEOENERGIA

Meanwhile, Iberdrola’s Brazilian subsidiary Neoenergia announced it is expanding its smart meter network with Cat-M1 (also known as LTE-M) IoT technology.

Cat-M1 is generally used in mobile applications and is part of LTE and LPWA (low power wide area) networks for cellular IoT. It provides a means to aggregate a large number of connected devices simultaneously, without interference, in a wide coverage area. 

LPWA networks have, among their main characteristics, low power, low data usage and low battery consumption.

By doubling down on Cat-M1, Neoenergia that it is able to collect more detailed information on power consumption and on the levels of quality delivered to each consumption unit. At the same time, it provides customers with information for self-managing use and tracking their own consumption in real time, the company said.

Neoenergia also said it deployed a new IoT management platform to improve visibility on cellular communication services for smart grid devices.

The new software provides real-time measurement of the connectivity of more than 70,000 SIM cards, evaluating consumption or identifying irregularities in the data connection of the devices. 

Previously, it was not possible to manage connectivity and data consumption of telecom operators' SIM cards in real time, according to the distributor.

The platform is in operation at four units of the group: Neoenergia Coelba, Neoenergia Pernambuco, Neoenergia Cosern, and Neoenergia Elektro (São Paulo and Mato Grosso do Sul states).

Neoenergia plans to deploy it in Neoenergia Brasília by the end of the year.

Neoenergia has around 500,000 smart meters, out of a total of 16mn meters on its grid. 

The company has also invested in a private 4G network to connect substations, collect data from distribution infrastructure and provide connectivity to field teams.

The network, part of the Energia do Futuro project launched in 2018, is owned and operated by the company under a license it obtained from telecoms regulator Anatel

The private network, which uses spectrum in the 3.5GHz band, was initially deployed in Atibaia, São Paulo state, with equipment provided by Nokia.

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