2017 IIoT Prediction Series, Part 3: IT/OT Convergence & the Next-Gen Workforce

As 2017 kicks into full gear and a particularly interesting 2016 fades into the rearview mirror, we took a look around the IIoT landscape to see what this year might potentially have in store. We will be unveiling five IIoT-related predictions throughout this week and into next, so stay tuned and let us know what you think!

On Tuesday, we started our predictions by looking at the potential development of Fog Computing at the Edge and its impact on cybersecurity. Yesterday, we predicted that the rise of IIoT applications will outpace consumer IoT apps.

FreeWave Predictions 2017

As our prediction series continues, we’d like to examine the industrial IoT (IIoT) workforce. Most of the industries that leverage IIoT face an uncertain future as they navigate their own digital transformation, coupled with the pressures of an aging workforce. The biggest challenge affecting IoT talent recruitment is the skills gap – there are not enough qualified applicants to take on new digital-centric, IT roles. From a business perspective, IT/OT convergence further complicates the issue. Enterprises are transforming the way they operate and it impacts everyone – especially the folks on the operations side dealing with legacy systems. Each of these factors has created a talent gap for many organizations.

Our IoT Recruitment Prediction

Recruitment of IoT talent will continue to be a challenge, incentivizing private enterprises to directly fund secondary education programs to nurture the next generation of a digital-centric workforce.

The Business Problem

As organizations and enterprises reorganize under the IT umbrella to address new technology opportunities, cybersecurity threats and work towards creating a connected enterprise – there is an underlying business problem. IT teams need better visibility and control of assets in the field while learning how to integrate these people and systems into modern IT practices. Meanwhile, on the OT side, there is an entire workforce that excels at managing and troubleshooting existing legacy systems, but lacks the potential skillsets to help with new technology demands and data analysis. IT/OT convergence is challenging for many businesses and it affects all aspects of the organization.

Recruitment and Solution

Recruitment challenges are impacting many industries. The Wall Street Journal reported the highest number of open positions in 15 years for the manufacturing industry because the talent pool lacks the skills for the job. As IoT connects and automates more processes, this gap will only continue to grow if nothing is done proactively to change it. There also is the question of whether organizations should bring in new talent or nurture existing talent.

In an effort to overcome some of these challenges, we will see enterprises (not IoT vendors) to privately fund secondary education programs to help identify and create a more skilled workforce. In addition to standard HR recruitment and training practices, we expect to see more tactics such as IoT hackathons for the industrial sector, software development and digital/IoT centric accreditations, private contests, internal skill development workshops and IIoT user conferences. This wider investment in education will benefit both the existing, aging workforce and the incoming, next-generation of workers.

Stay tuned for our next prediction as we explore the future of Smart Cities across the globe.

Comments (1)

  1. […] figure out how to connect existing ones. We may see an increase in privately funded secondary education programs designed to create a more skilled workforce. If decision-makers embrace the inevitable shift […]

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