What your staff needs to know for IoT

11/03/2016

The city of Kansas City, Mo., stepped into new territory in May when it launched its first streetcar line with public Wi-Fi that spreads across two square miles, covering more than 50 square blocks. It also marked the debut of the city’s first-generation smart city corridor for new technologies, many of which will run wirelessly over one of the largest free public Wi-Fi zones in the country.

However, as the city moves forward with its plan to collect data from thousands of sensors and use predictive analytics to measure the effectiveness of city service, the 30 people in the IT department will have to learn new skills associated with the internet of things (IoT).

Kansas City must also hire IT staffers with expertise in analytics, project management, and communications. “The IT team is a critical part of this,” said chief innovation officer Bob Bennett. “Those are the type of folks I’m looking for.”

Unfortunately, there is a mass shortage of IT professionals who are expert in analytics or data science. The IoT is a complex ecosystem, and tech workers will have to have some knowledge of every aspect of that ecosystem, says Seth Robinson, senior director of technology analysis at CompTIA.

“It’s not just about building a competent technical system that can perform a task for daily operation,” he says. “It’s about using this technology to drive forward into new areas. There has to be this knowledge of what the business is trying to do.”

Tech workers in the IoT world will expand their primary domains of infrastructure, development, security and data to include IoT-related skills, however, they will still need project management skills and business acumen, Robinson adds.

The following skills are in high demand across the IoT ecosystem:

  • Cybersecurity specialists will be in even greater demand as the influx of IP-enabled devices increases vulnerabilities. The DDos Attack launched last week against Dyn will only add fuel to the demand.
  • Hardware and networking. Just about any device can be equipped with a sensor that can gather, store and transmit data. Robust networks will be required to move all of that data. IT professionals who already specialize in infrastructure will need an understanding of the types of networks that have to be in place to connect IoT devices, Robinson says.
  • Software and connectivity. Software is required to make the data usable, and connectivity is needed to share that data with the entire system.

 

“Some people are very good at a system,” Bennett says. “In an IoT environment those who are the most successful have figured out how to link multiple systems, how to link the data from them to accomplish a second or follow-on goal, and they understand how System A communicates with System B.”

 

  • Big data. The biggest force in software is Big data. According to ComputerWorld, IT professionals will need at least a working knowledge of big data to be successful in managing IoT devices.

 

At GE Aviation, an IoT-oriented digital transformation has led to the creation of new positions – including chief data officer and “brilliant factory leader.” Likewise, the company’s software development initiatives require people with a broad knowledge of big data because the big data technology life cycle is just 19 to 24 months, says CIO Jude Schramm.

 

  • Another driver of IoT projects is a desire to make better decisions, and that requires analytics to create insights out of data.

 

According to research conducted by LNS Research, some 60% of companies don’t have enough internal expertise to launch an IoT or analytics project. Matthew Littlefield, president and principal analyst at LNS, says the remaining 40% – those who say they do have the necessary skills – “don’t really understand how big the challenge is.”

The best option is to hire IT service professionals to help with IoT integration. Telx Computers offers premier IT services for businesses across the country. With locations in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York, our IT professionals help businesses manage their technology  applications, servers, computers, software, and more.