Thomas Law * and Armando Luis Ruffy **
smart cities orsmart cities is a path of no return – technology will transform not only our daily lives as individuals, but the way we live and interact within urban spaces. In the case of megacities, this is essential, since the use of technology will have a direct impact on solving urban problems such as public safety, traffic management and urban mobility, among other aspects that affect the quality of life of residents.
But before we have smart cities To change our lives, we have a long way to go from the standpoint of logistical, structural, labor and professional qualification. This is because in order to get the technology to be monitored and used to solve the problems of the millions of people who take to the streets every day in a city like São Paulo, an adequate infrastructure is needed to capture, filter, classify and execute data. It effectively and positively affects people’s lives.
This brings a huge challenge from people’s point of view: We will need skilled workers to meet the demand – from most manual work, such as maintenance of antennas, networks, and cables, to specialists in artificial intelligence, neural networks, and application development, among others.
To get an idea of the scale of the problem: according to a survey conducted by the Brazilian Association of Information Technology Companies (Brascom), to supply the necessary IT workforce in 2024, it will be necessary, every year, 70 thousand new professionals field to enter the market. The annual volume is 46,000 participants. In other words, there is a shortfall of 24 thousand vacancies per year. To make matters worse, with the normalization of the home office, multinational companies are beginning to hire remote workers, and increasingly we have region professionals who live in Brazil and earn in dollars or euros, making employment prospects in the region even more rare for Brazilian startups and companies.
Looking at it this way, we can understand that the current scenario is tragic. However, we can try to look at the glass half full. If today we have a near-blackout on tech-skilled workers, there is also a band of 12 million unemployed Brazilians. Therefore, I understand that the natural way for us to implement the concept of smart cities in Brazilian capitals involves the qualification of these professionals who are currently unemployed. We must have training and improvement programs for the population that focus on training specialized workers so that we can make technology a part of the everyday life of Brazilian cities. Obviously there is also a huge challenge in terms of qualification quality, since we invest so little in STEM, STEM training, which is so essential when we think about technology. However, it is not too late to start.
This shift clearly implies the need for public authorities to join the private sector to enhance education and training programs for technology professionals. Thus, we will start a positive development cycle not only in the field of technology, but also in the generation of employment and income opportunities.
With this look, we can say that we are moving forward. Bill 976/2021, which defines the National Policy for Smart Cities, is being processed in the National Congress. The text covers a series of objectives, such as: fiscal stimulus through a specific fund for municipalities to implement smart cities and investment in rehabilitation. The goal is to provide training for teachers and students, with a vision focused on innovation and technology, as well as expanding the offer of digital tools.
This is necessary for us to resume our growth cycle as a country and a necessity to have technology to solve the daily problems of the population. Above all, we can also directly influence the level of unemployment in the country, increase Brazil’s average productivity and put the country into a positive cycle of economic growth.
* Thomas Lo is an attorney, LL.D., and president of the Brazil Social and Cultural Institute of China (Ibrachina) and the Ibrawork Innovation Center.
** Armando Luiz Ruffay is attorney, LLM and Professor of Commercial Law at PUC/SP and Commercial Law at Mackenzie
The text above expresses the viewpoint of those who signed it, not necessarily the view of Congress under the microscope. If you want to post something on the same topic, but with a different point of view, send your text suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.