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Skills shortage threatens success of IoT deployments: survey

Many enterprises are faced with a lack of Internet of Things skills putting at risk the success of their IoT deployments, according to a new global report from UK-based satellite communications provider Inmarsat.

According to the research, a significant proportion of global enterprises lack IoT skills at different levels in their organisations, as well as in key technical disciplines, which risks jeopardising the success of their IoT deployments and the security of their data.

Vanson Bourne was commissioned by Inmarsat to interview 500 senior IT decision makers from major organisations across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions and found that 76% 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.

In addition, 72% of respondents identified a shortage of staff with management-level experience of IoT deployments, while 80% lacked skills in the hands-on delivery of IoT solutions, to ensure that the solutions work as intended.

Inmarsat says the shortage of staff with IoT-focused skills extends to specific technical disciplines.

The survey reveals that 60% of respondents reported that they required additional staff experienced in cyber security to handle the vast quantities of data that IoT solutions generate, 46% identified a deficit of staff with experience in analytics and data science, and around half (48%) lacked the technical support skills needed to make their IoT projects successful.

Paul Gudonis, president of the Inmarsat Enterprise Business Unit, says 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.”

And, Gudonis identified how he says enterprises can prepare themselves for the “IoT revolution”.

“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.”

For the Asia Pacific region the research findings are siimilar to those globally, including:

  • 23% of APAC respondents have all the skills they need to make the most of IoT on a delivery level, compared to 24% globally;
  • 24% of APAC respondents have all the skills they need to make the most of IoT on a strategic level, compared to 24% globally; and
  • 28% of APAC respondents have all the skills they need to make the most of IoT on a management level – the same proportion as do globally

According to Inmarsat, IoT is changing the way that businesses operate, but it is dependent upon reliable connectivity.

The satellite company says that 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.

But, the company notes that it 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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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).


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