From self-driving cars and fully-connected homes to smart cities, there’s a huge buzz around how the Internet of Things (IoT) is set to transform our future way of life.
These networks of billions of different devices connected to the internet, communicating with each other and sharing giant amounts of data, have the potential to change not just how we live but also to disrupt sectors from finance to retail, transport and logistics to healthcare, energy, utilities, automotive - and more.
And with the Industrial Internet of Things (or IIoT), manufacturers and engineers can create innovative systems that increase operational efficiency, market competitiveness and make it easier to identify growth opportunities in manufacturing.
The pace of change is accelerating faster than ever. But to exploit the benefits of connected, intelligent products and machines we need a workforce that’s sufficiently skilled to make it happen.
There are rising concerns of relevant skills shortages in this workforce - both now and in the future - with a 2017 survey of IoT professionals showing that 68% were struggling to recruit talent with the right skills.
Here in the UK, we need to ensure that we’re a global player in this emerging market. As well as technical expertise - programmers, developers and network engineers - we must attract the best in design, strategic planning, leadership and change management.
As with other emerging technologies, security is also a huge area, with cyberattacks, data privacy and data security evolving as significant risk factors in keeping IoT devices updated and secure. There are also ethical and trust considerations around the huge volumes of data generated by connected systems.
Companies are upskilling current employees to use connected technologies and providing training in their programming and maintenance. However unfortunately even with access to education and training, many SME companies may not be able to adapt fast enough and without external investment in new talent, they will fail to develop the skills and technology needed to compete against international manufacturers.
This said, I am a believer in the quality of UK manufacturers, small and large. With Brexit looming, companies need to look inward to strengthen their position in the market, invest in their personnel, manufacturing systems and look internationally to expand in new markets that value products that are made in the UK.
At RHL, we see the skills shortage in IIoT first hand. If you have experience in control systems, automation and robotics, you’re in high demand right now. Couple this with experience in IoT Engineering and Project Implementation and this puts you in an even better position.
One of our clients, a disruptive technology company who are developing varied electric vehicles, is recruiting for a specialist for their connected vehicle systems, ideally looking for someone from a smart city and big data background.
Other opportunities include product developers and systems architects with wearables product experience and augmented reality experience for IoT applications. These technologies are new and fast-moving, with exciting career opportunities up for grabs, if you have the potential.
Some of the products we see our clients develop are amazing, and there’s superb talent rising up the ranks. However, we need far more. So could you be one of them? Given that most industrial leaders view IIoT as crucial investment for their businesses going forward, it could be time to think about a career path in an industry that’s already defining the future of UK manufacturing.
I would love to hear from you if you’d like to talk about developments in this market, potential design and engineering roles within AI, AR, automation or connected devices. Please also get in touch if you want to find out more about moving across from another area.