Edgard Jaramillo – Microlink
While agriculture is one of the biggest industries in Latin America, Edgard Jaramillo doesn’t think there’s been enough investment in digital infrastructure for it.
“We see that as a huge opportunity,” the general manager of Microlink says. “And it’s not just about financial gain. It’s about the ability to have greater social impact.”
Microlink, based in Colombia and Peru, is a telecom infrastructure solutions company that provides radio frequency, optical fiber, copper networks and more. The company works in many industries, including energy, electrical, environmental and more, often by partnering with Amphenol Network Solutions, a manufacturer of interconnect products.
After over three decades in business, Microlink decided in 2019 that it needed to focus more on how telecom and IT work together. Knowing this would require a complete digital transformation, the company hired Jaramillo in August 2020.
He’s spent the past year overseeing its investment in IoT devices and using the resulting analytics to make the company—and its clients—more efficient. He’s also considering uses of 5G technology, especially because Microlink is planning to expand into more of Latin America over the next few years.
“When I came to Microlink, I bet on a company with strong growth potential,” Jaramillo says. “With a new digital transformation on the horizon, I grow more confident every day.”
In thinking of how it could provide services to the agricultural industry, Microlink knew IoT, or Internet of Things, would be the best option. For example, Microlink’s IoT solutions can document the exact dosage of fungicides for farmers, which can result in a higher production cycle, better quality plants for a lower cost, and higher sales value.
“These solutions can double profitability and generate new business models,” Jaramillo says.
Microlink finished its first IoT project earlier this year after working on a pilot program at the University of Piura in Peru to monitor environmental conditions of an organic banana crop. Jaramillo says the IoT solution tracked measurements to determine the best growing conditions for the bananas, resulting in higher quality fruit and more sustainable production. With the pilot being a success, he says Microlink plans to continue working with the university to expand the scope of the project.
While using IoT solutions helps Microlink grow as a company, it’s also part of a larger initiative to be more environmentally friendly. The initiative, called Microlink Green, focuses on using solutions and software that are good for the environment and reduce the company’s carbon footprint through improvements to manufacturing.
“We believe companies need to engage with environmental issues,” Jaramillo says. “We want to be environmentally responsible and make a good contribution to the planet.”
When entering new areas as part of the company’s expansion, Jaramillo says the plan will be to do so thoughtfully and sustainably. In part, this means giving local areas what they need and want instead of inserting new infrastructure unnecessarily.
For example, most countries in Central America get technology infrastructure and solutions from China, but the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a delay in shipments and services. He says Microlink hopes to expand into the area and provide more locally made products by the second half of 2022.
The company also plans to consolidate its Peruvian branches to create a more unified presence there. Jaramillo says the regional growth, which is expected to occur over the next three to five years, is exciting and that he’s most looking forward to working with small, local companies and finding ways to help them.
“This role is a chance for me to have a more local impact,” Jaramillo says. “This was an opportunity for me to join a company with a strong legacy and help take it to the next level.”
Jaramillo says his 27 years of experience working in technology have prepared him for his role at Microlink.
Much of his career has been spent at IBM, with him having worked for the multinational tech corporation three times for a total of 18 years. Most recently, he was the company’s Latin America business unit executive for its commercial segment where he focused on digital sales. He left in late 2018 to work for Abbott Diagnostics Business, a global healthcare technology company, before joining Microlink.
Having worked for larger companies with thousands of employees, Jaramillo says he enjoys working with Microlink. Part of his role in helping the company grow has been internal development and helping employees move up and accept more responsibilities.
“I love engaging with my team and supporting them because people are what’s most important to me,” he says. “Microlink is a brand, but a company is nothing without the people behind it.”
View this feature in the Winter II 2022 Edition here.
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