If you haven’t yet heard about the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything then prepare for these buzzwords to enter your peripheral vision very soon. By 2020 there will be an estimated 50 billion things connected to the internet. To put this into context, there are currently circa 7.2 billion people on Earth, so that is an average of 6.9 devices for each human being currently living. With this huge potential for collaboration comes big challenges for organisations, people and processes to adapt to this new world.
Technology is a key enabler of this innovation. Concepts such as Big Data and Cloud computing already fully permeated into business boardroom rhetoric. So where are we now? According to industry analysts the world is currently experiencing the Internet of Things (IoT), whereby we are all using a multitude of devices across our personal and business lives to connect the internet. In essence, the IoE is the next logical step:
‘…as more people and new types of information are connected, we will quickly enter the Internet of Everything (IoE), where things that were silent will have a voice.’
- Source: Cisco, The Internet of Everything Whitepaper
Things that are considered ‘silent’ would be generic everyday items like glasses, a fizzy drink can, traffic lights, gas meters, cars, etc. We are already seeing the evolution of these items into wearable tech, business applications, etc., all with sensors and/or chips applied that harvest and deliver data. The Internet of Everything will make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before. Providing meaningful and powerful knowledge, any time anywhere, derived from literally any device or software where and when it helps them most. To make this a reality, governments and blue-chip investors need to source the technical resources to deliver these items as appealing consumer offerings to the marketplace that actually deliver on their utopian premis.
McKinsey Global Institute reports that IoT business will deliver $6.2 trillion of revenue by 2025. The IoT is a disruptive technology, in the same way as Cloud computing, mobile internet and social networking. I.e. it is an innovation that creates, defines and controls the marketplace, displacing any predefined conditions. It offers immense capabilities to enhance the way we work and live, however the sudden market demand has wide reaching implications for technical skills that are already in short supply.
Security is the first point of resistance in redefining of what we mean by connectivity. Many businesses implementing these technologies are woefully unprepared, particularly when it comes to their data centres. The issue is one of scalability. It is often the case it will be the larger corporations which buy into new data-driven technology first. As has been seen through the rise in Cloud computing, the less-technologically minded smaller corporations are failing to keep up and thus potentially exposing themselves to unconscious risks.
As more devices are connected to data networks, the number of threats associated with data misuse grow exponentially with it. Rand Corporation recently reported that the nationwide shortage of cybersecurity professionals creates a risk for national and homeland security. The industry has reached a tipping point where governments can no longer ignore the vast cavern of demand for technical security specialists compared to the small nook of supply.
In the immortal words of Stan Lee, ‘With great power comes great responsibility’. This applies to individual’s privacy concerns as well as business-level controls. Appropriate mechanisms need to be put in place to reduce the risk of hackers, fraudsters and competitors accessing sensitive information not intended for the public domain. In terms of the threat to the individual, there is a huge fear of the unknown. Preventing your day to day consumer preferences from being shared is virtually impossible if you use mobile applications on your smartphone. Which standards define where the new public and private lines are? What ‘should’ be on an open network? New boundaries need to be set and these decisions are as much user-generated as they are top-down.
The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the IT sector as a whole will add nearly 1.4 million job opening by 2020 to meet the needs of these rapidly emerging technologies. This comes back to the crux of this post, the infrastructure and technology may be ready, but the workforce and the associated control mechanisms to support it are not. Sourcing talent during a skill shortage is a case of adapt to survive. The availability of key skills is not going to be resolved overnight, but compromising today could have huge implications for tomorrow.
This is a guest post by Sara Foxley has been prepared for the IT skills testing platform Technically Compatible. Find out more about Technically Compatible at https://www.technicallycompatible.com, or for more tech recruitment and industry insights, see our blog https://www.technicallycompatible.com/blog.
Image credit: knowledgeagent.com