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Industrial Revolution in the IoT Demands New Skills in 2016

Date: 22 January 2016

Connected devices are a ubiquitous part of everyday life. Their use has permeated our personal and professional lives so much that they outnumber the world’s population by 1.5 to 1 and are responsible for increasing connectedness between businesses, governments and individuals across the globe.

"IoT devices outnumber the world’s population by 1.5 to 1" – Cisco

To clarify, the phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is an umbrella term used to incorporate all internet-enabled devices that relay information back to consumers or businesses, to cloud-based applications and to other devices.

IoT devices range from smartphones to wearable devices, kitchen appliances to medical equipment; and potentially soon cars, buildings and entire cities. These devices use the internet and internal processors to connect with each other and the web to share and store valuable information. With the rise in data usage, increased access to the cloud and more focus on analytics across a number of sectors, these devices are naturally becoming more and more prolific in our everyday lives.

A recent report from Gartner has detailed the rise in popularity that IoT devices are due to experience in the coming years. With large-scale plans for increased connectivity from governments, including schemes for smart cities, the number of connected devices in use will escalate dramatically. In smart cities alone it is predicted that nearly 1.6 billion connected things will be in use in 2016, an increase of 39% compared to 2015.

"Smart cities will experience a 39% increase in connected things to 1.6bn in 2016" – Gartner 

Aspects of city life are already becoming connected, with the London Borough of Camden investing in smart bins that remotely monitor and report on their fullness. In Kigali, Rwanda, a number of projects for connected hotels, stadiums and conference centres are already underway, placing it in the lead for becoming Africa’s first smart city.

But within cities it is believed that smart commercial buildings will be the biggest users of IoT devices in the immediate future. For businesses, the draw of improved operational efficiency and revenue generation opportunities will see the adoption of connected devices increase.

In total, Gartner estimates that 6.4 billion connected devices will be in use across the globe in 2016, due to reach 20.8 billion by 2020. A total of 5.5 million new connected things will be activated every day in 2016, the majority of which will be used to improve professional services. In fact, the IoT will support $235 billion worth of spending in professional services in 2016 - a 22% increase from last year.

"20.8 billion connected devices will be in use globally by 2020" – Gartner 

Considering the scale of growth the IoT is due to experience, predicted trends for the industry’s future and its impact on existing industries are rife. Businesses will seek to adopt new business models that allow them to leverage the benefits the IoT and connected devices can bring them – specifically the financial gains to be made.

This mass adoption will effectively spur a new industrial revolution. This will see objects become transformed into service providers, as IoT manufacturers and businesses seek new ways to connect with consumers, utilising devices to do so.

These developments are leading to a number of new jobs in the IoT market – both in the direct manufacturing industry and with other businesses looking to use these devices and services in their everyday operations.

As a result, a number of new skills will be in demand as the IoT industry expands. Businesses and hiring managers will be looking to secure potential employees with the following expertise:

1. Vertical knowledge of industrial IoT

Employers will be seeking candidates with vertical knowledge of the sector, specifically regarding industrial IoT and its impact on companies and countries of all sizes. Industrial IoT investments will help to improve operational efficiency at a base-level for a number of businesses whilst also exposing opportunities for growth in other areas.

Industry knowledge is therefore key as companies seek to target individual verticals; a contrast to the past when horizontal connectivity was given precedence. Specialists will be required who can demonstrate this knowledge to prospective clients and maximise every opportunity. As a result candidates with these skills are in high demand.

2. Project management and delivery skills

An increased demand for project management and delivery skills will also be prevalent. As the use of IoT devices uncovers areas for improvement within businesses, the need to continually innovate will require consistent dedication from staff. IoT investment and new developments will demand the very best from project management specialists.

A number of businesses are also experiencing significant sales growth due to accelerated innovation from IoT services; with this in mind understaffing and a lack of sufficiently skilled workers in the delivery sectors is hindering growth in some businesses. Those able to deliver solutions to customers effectively will be highly sought after.

3. Experience in solution sales

As connectivity becomes commoditised and prices begin to stabilise, companies will be looking to provide full or partial solutions to customers, to differentiate themselves from competitors and move up the value chain. Many companies will be seeking to position themselves as an all-inclusive provider of solutions for clients, meaning they require salespeople who are able to assist in creating a fully-rounded solution for customers. Professionals will be expected to sell the right solution to clients, as well as highlight the right partners to work with.

As disruptive as the IoT will be, finding the right talent to meet emerging business requirements needn’t be. Contact Glocomms for further insight on this emerging technology and its potential impact on your business or career goals today.