Global skills shortage ‘puts IoT development at risk’, says Inmarsat

Natalie Bannerman
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In a report on the future of IoT, Inmarsat finds that nearly half of enterprise businesses lack the technical skills needed for successful IoT project deployments

A number of global enterprises lack the IoT skills needed, according to Inmarsat, threatening the progress of their IoT deployments and cyber security.

Market research company Vanson Bourne interviewed 500 senior management from major IT organisations across the Americas, EMEA and APAC regions for the Inmarsat report The Future of IoT in Enterprise - 2017.  In its results, Inmarsat found that 76% said that additional staff at a senior, strategic level with the skills to set the objectives and priorities for IoT deployments were needed. In addition, 72% reported a shortage of management level staff with experience of IoT deployments and 80% said that they lacked staff with hands-on experience of IoT delivery.

Commenting on the findings, Paul Gudonis, president of the Inmarsat enterprise business unit, 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.”

Further to general IoT experience, the report found that specialist technical skills were also lacking in the workforce: 60% of respondents said they required more staff with experience in cyber security who could handle the vast amounts of data that IoT solutions generate, 46% said there weren’t enough staff experienced in analytics and data science and nearly half (48%) said they lacked the technical support skills needed to make their IoT projects successful.

“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,” added Gudonis.

In a GTB exclusive Inmarsat recently confirmed its intention to target US telecoms operators to launch in-flight connectivity services in the region. The move mirrors its previous deal with Deutsche Telekom in Europe, which sees DT provide a terrestrial network supported by Inmarsat’s satellites.