Article published in Jornal Público, Suplemento Computadores
Tecmic a developer of solutions for fleets and equipment.
Those who are regular users of buses in Lisbon will have already noticed that a few stops, especially in the city centre, are fitted with an electronic display showing the time until the next bus. This allows them to plan ahead knowing the time they will have to wait. This is possible because two years ago Carris began installation of a fleet monitoring system for public transport systems, XtraN Passenger, developed and marketed by Tecmic, Tecnologias de Microelectrónica, a Portuguese company specializing in solutions for fleet management, remote equipment management and access control. Lisbon’s public transport operator thus became an international case study owing to the specific characteristics of the system.
According to José Maria Moniz, managing director of Tecmic, XTraN Passenger is “one of its kind worldwide”, owing to the fact that it uses a TETRA (Terrestrial Trunked Radio) communications network. The network is provided by Radiomóvel who, together with Tecmic and Efacec, form the consortium for this tender launched by Carris.
Without failing to emphasize the role of his commercial team, José Maria Moniz states that Tecmic’s engineers are “highly competent and able to respond to all of our customers’ needs”. Products are in fact customised according to market needs, emphasizes Fernando Moreira, one of Tecmic’s founders and board members. Other success factors are the investment of one fifth of revenue in R & D activities, and a network of 20 commercial, development or integration partners, which together permit integrated solutions to be supplied.
Besides Carris, a custiomer of the Passenger version, the following companies have chosen XTraN: Transportes Luís Simões, CTT — Portuguese Post Office, Portugal Telecom, the Bank of Portugal, and the councils of Guimarães, Vila Nova de Famalição, Fafe and Vieira do Minho — these last use the system for managing waste collection services.
In the case of CTT, XTraN equips the entire delivery fleet at national level, providing information in real time on vehicle positioning and deliveries complete or pending. CTT also use another Tecmic product — Simor, aimed at the remote monitoring of equipment such as vending machines.
Over the last year Tecmic’s business volume has doubled (relative to 2000) to almost 2.5 million euro; 50% of this volume is represented by XtraN and XtraN Passenger sales.
Another very important area of business — linked to the founding of Tecmic — is the development and production of ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits). Tecmic was founded in 1988 out of AITEC, a “nest” of enterprises linked to INESC, and one of the largest IT groups in Portugal. AITEC owned 45 % of the company stock and the remaining 52.5% belonged to a group of six partners, among them Fernando Moreira, and Gabriel Saragoça (employee at Tecmic and board member since its founding). They worked on ASIC design at INESC under the late Prof. Luís Vidigal, who promoted the spin-off of this activity into the new company, Tecmic, stated Fernando Moreira.
Tecmic also turned to other areas of business, It changed to a common stock company June 1993, increased its share capital to PTE 25000 (some partners having left), and several difficulties were overcome. In 2001, BPI acquired a 24.5% shareholding in the company and the stock capital increased to PTE 231 million. Today, AITEC owns 65 of Tecmic’s share capital; three individual shareholders remain.