Last updated: 20 October 2017
The concept of smart homes is slowly evolving in Brazil and turning from something completely abstract to a promising market, with players from different segments turning their eyes to this market.
In this article, you will find out what the requirements for smart home equipment from a telecommunication regulatory perspective are and how to address them.
Smart home potential in Brazil
Only a few years ago, the smart home market was treated as a concept that was too far in the future and unfeasible in a country where people didn’t have access to internet connections. Fast forward to today, and we see that nearly 60% of Brazilian households are served by fixed broadband connections, and 92% have access to mobile internet connection. However, the changes did not only happen in basic infrastructure, but also in people’s openness and readiness to seek and adopt new technologies. Perhaps the best example of this tech-savviness is the soar in the sales of smart TVs. Research by Nielsen shows that 16 million smart TV devices were enabled in Brazil by 2016, the majority of them being bought between 2014 and 2015.
As more affordable smart home devices are being introduced to the market and ambient computing is starting to arrive to Brazil, it is natural that all sorts of connected appliances and other smart home devices will become commonplace as well. Local players are becoming aware of the opportunity and are shyly starting to pursue business in this segment. An example of this is triple-play operator NET, that has already rolled out a smart home offer with focus on home surveillance through a partnership with company Alarm.com.
Approval of smart home equipment by Brazilian authorities
Any device that performs telecommunications is required to undergo a procedure called homologation. The homologation, or certification, is a requirement by the local telecommunication agency Anatel that applies to equipment sold in Brazil, and must be requested by the manufacturer or its legal representative in the country. The Brazilian customs verifies for the proper Anatel homologation when the products arrive to the country, so importing devices without homologation will lead to punishments applied to the importer and seizing of the goods.
The homologation process is handled by a third-party institution known as an OCD, appointed by Anatel to be in charge of the process. As smart home devices are able to access the network by either using WiFi, Bluetooth or NFC for peering, the approval by Anatel must be obtained before these types of equipment are sold in the country. Amongst the equipment that needs approval of the entire equipment or of its RF module are:
- Connected TVs, set top boxes and dongles
- Ambient computers
- Video surveillance over IP
- Connected household appliances such as refrigerators, stoves, microwaves, dishwashers
- Smart lighting systems and smart bulbs
- Wireless dimmers
- Connected doorbells
- Smart plugs
- Smoke detectors
- Connected baby monitors
- Any other IoT solution or system intended for home or office use
Thermostats, which are smart home components frequently used in Europe and North America, are not commonly found in Brazilian homes, as most residential buildings do not have heating systems.
Guidelines for approval of smart home equipment by Anatel
Anatel considers Bluetooth, WiFi 2.4GHz and 5GHz and active NFC devices as restricted radiation equipment. In these cases, the homologation allows the equipment to utilise a range of frequencies without any additional licensing, given that the equipment delimits its function to the area of a building or a property. Under the guidelines for the restrict radiation regulation there are limits for maximum power for transmission, which is determined by the frequency which the device operates.
In addition to these limitations, the regulation also requires products to be subject to electromagnetic compatibility and safety tests. If you would like to know more detailed information about NFC smart home equipment homologation, we recommend you read the article “Homologation of NFC Equipment in Brazil”. We have also written a great article with comprehensive information about Bluetooth homologation called “Homologation of Bluetooth Equipment in Brazil”.
Note that some of the products will also require additional approval from Inmetro aside from Anatel’s certification, for example smart plugs, smoke detectors, some household appliances, etc.
Steps for product certification in Brazil
Before requesting the homologation, each category of equipment must be individually evaluated by an OCD. The verification is often performed via datasheets, specifications, manuals and photos of the product, and will serve to give an estimate of costs and determine what tests are necessary for the homologation of the product. Master Certificações is an OCD that is able to analyse the documents and conduct the full certification process on behalf of manufacturers or official sales representatives in Brazil.
Anatel currently requires tests performed by laboratories accredited by Inmetro, which is the National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology. The only exception is if no laboratories can perform the tests locally, in which case tests can be performed abroad.
Once the tests are performed on the samples, the OCD will match the results with the local guidelines set by Anatel. If the product fully complies with the local regulations, the OCD produces a document called Certificado de Conformidade, Portuguese for conformity certificate. Although this certificate is not the final homologation of the product, it is crucial for the process as it demonstrates that the equipment satisfies all regulations imposed by Anatel. The conformity certificate is presented to Anatel along with additional documents requested directly from the manufacturer.
Once Anatel receives and processes the paperwork, the homologation is granted for the product or product family and the manufacturer or importer can start to include the Anatel seal on all products commercialised in Brazil.
Companies performing Certification of Smart Homes equipment with Anatel in Brazil
Locating a reliable OCD to conduct the homologation is important as the company will not only be responsible for the certification process, but will also be handling re-certification for your products in the future when the homologation needs to be renewed.
When looking for an OCD, we recommend you find an OCD with a solid technical team, who will be able to access the product and provide you guidance as this will save you time and effort. Master Certificações is one of the most highest regarded OCDs working with Anatel homologations in the market, and has handled thousands of homologations processes for consumer goods. Master Certficações conducts approval processes not only for smart homes equipment but also for carrier grade telecommunication equipment with Anatel.