More than 40 percent of organizations expect the Internet of Things (IoT) to transform their business or offer significant new revenue or cost-savings opportunities in the short term (over the next three years), rising to 60 percent in the long term (more than five years), according to a recent survey by Gartner. However, those surveyed said that many of their organizations have not established clear business or technical leadership for their IoT efforts. So the survey makes clear that the IoT is still in its very early stages, and many organizations have only just started experimenting with it. But one thing is certain already: Organizations will need executives and staff to understand the potential of the IoT if they’re going to invest in it.
You can’t teach an old Dog new Tricks
When I was young my grandmother always preached me to learn more since it will be harder when I’m grown up. And from my present point of view, I have to say that she was right – especially when it comes to complex technological issues. As I’m an electrical engineer with a focus on energy, I know what is covered in this field. But even though I am “addicted” to digital electronics and connectivity, I still lack all the software parts. In contrast, my son is studying computer science and I’m aware that they don’t cover all important connectivity and hardware aspects.
This is a critical development, because nowadays the complexity of modern IoT applications is nothing compared to the good old leased lines or to simply connect some gadget to the internet by a serial modem. In the beginning of the technological progress, IT engineers just replaced the analog modem by a “terminal” meaning a 2G modem using exactly the same commands like the old one. I cannot condemn this procedure since they simply use what they learned when they were young. But it is of course not quite as simple as that. In fact, the IoT needs to be considered in a holistic manner.
These are the Skills essentially needed for a successful IoT Project:
Understanding of which progress needs improvements and which tasks can be done by the IoT
Understanding of the device requirements
Ability to solve the deployment challenges for a given region
Ability to optimize the connectivity costs
Understanding of how to setup a data process (cloud?)
Understanding of how to optimize existing processes to benefit from the IoT data
What I would love to see: Break down Silos
I do not care if we modify or extend an existing education or if we find out a new one is needed. But in order to support a successful R&D and commercialization ecosystem, a healthy talent pipeline must be established for continuous supply of industry relevant graduates. This is where academia plays the pivotal role of conducting fundamental research and applied research in industry relevance technology areas. Together with “Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST)”, Cisco, Dell, IBM, Intel and the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Kontron just established the CREST Internet of Things (IoT) Cloud Data Centre and Research Laboratory (ICDC Research Lab) in Penang. Professors and research scientists can now utilize the ICDC Research Lab to test hypotheses, perform experiments, and integrate technology building blocks ranging from big data sciences, advance wireless communication, network protocols, sensors, energy efficient electronics, and wearables that form the IoT. Other system level research focus could include the interoperable standard development, interoperability testing and compliance. For me this is a first step in the right direction. Of course, many steps have to follow.
As you can see, I like to see people well prepared for the IoT challenge. Do you already have the needed skills?