Global skills shortage putting IoT development at risk

30 August 2017: A significant proportion of global enterprises lack Internet of Things (IoT) skills, which risks jeopardising the success of their deployments and the security of their data, according to the latest research from Inmarsat.

As part of Inmarsat’s ‘The Future of IoT in Enterprise – 2017’ report, market research company Vanson Bourne interviewed 500 senior IT decision makers from major organisations across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions.

Seventy six per cent of those surveyed reported that they needed additional staff at a senior, strategic level with the skills to set the objectives and priorities for IoT deployments. Additionally, 72 per cent of respondents identified a shortage of staff with management-level experience of IoT deployments, and 80 per cent lacked skills in the hands-on delivery of IoT solutions to ensure that the solutions work as intended.

Technical support

The shortage of staff with IoT-focused skills extends to specific technical disciplines. Sixty per cent of respondents reported that they required additional staff experienced in cybersecurity to handle the vast quantities of data that IoT solutions generate; 46 per cent identified a deficit of staff with experience in analytics and data science; and around half (48 per cent) lacked the technical support skills needed to make their IoT projects successful.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “There is a clear recognition by organisations from all industries that IoT will play a fundamental role in their digital transformation and in their ability to achieve competitive advantage. But for that to happen businesses need to have the correct skill sets in place, and, as our research demonstrates, many currently find themselves without the skilled staff required for this transformation, and unable to take advantage of the potential that IoT solutions offer.

“Unless this skills deficit is properly addressed, there’s a risk that IoT projects will fail and that businesses will open themselves up to new security threats, putting an unwelcome brake on innovation.”

Upskill staff

Identifying how enterprises can prepare themselves for the IoT revolution, Gudonis said: “As the potential value of IoT solutions becomes more apparent, deployment rates are expected to surge, placing yet further pressure on the pool of staff with the skills needed to make IoT projects successful. Enterprises must therefore move quickly to upskill their existing staff and fill the gaps in their internal skillsets with new hires. But longer term, the focus needs to be on establishing strategic partnerships with IoT specialists. With economies of scale on their side, specialist partners can help businesses overcome their skills bottlenecks and make their IoT deployments successful.”

IoT is changing the way that businesses operate, but it is dependent upon reliable connectivity. Many of the locations that would benefit most from IoT technologies are remote and are situated where terrestrial networks do not reach, or do not work well, all of the time. Inmarsat provides global satellite connectivity with up to 99.99% uptime, allowing IoT projects to thrive, even in the most remote and hostile environments.

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