Survey: Enterprise IoT faces skills shortage, security challenges

IoT is coming to the vast majority of businesses within the next two years, but many aren’t ready to cope with the change

A survey of technology decision-makers at mid- to large-scale enterprises found that IoT adoption is coming to the vast majority of businesses within the next two years, but many of those businesses aren’t yet ready to cope with the change.

A major part of the problem is a perceived skills gap. Of the 500 IoT-involved technology pros surveyed, just 20% said that they “had all the skills they needed” to successfully implement their organization’s planned IoT projects.

The other four out of five respondents to the survey conducted by Vanson Bourne and backed by UK-based satellite communications company Inmarsat said that they had some degree of need for additional IoT skills.

Data scientists, security pros and support staff are all in high demand among IoT-enabled businesses, the study found.

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That’s prompting a lot of outsourcing and partnerships. Just 15% of respondents said that they planned to develop and deploy their IoT solutions completely in-house, while 74% said that they had definite plans to work with external partners to handle some part of their IoT workload.

“Developing new technology is complex and draws on many different types of skills and experiences,” said the researchers. “Reliable network infrastructure providers that can operate anywhere in the world need to work closely with end-user businesses to make sure they understand their operational needs.”

IoT use cases

Just what these companies plan to do with IoT technology varies, but some use cases are more common than others. In particular, the survey found that monitoring energy and materials usage through smart technology were almost universal goals among respondents. More than 90% said they planned to use such technology within the next two years. Security management, business process automation and wide area controls, such as vehicle and device management, were not far behind.

The report also took a deeper dive into several verticals for which IoT is of particular importance. Agriculture, for example, is beginning to use precision location tech, soil sensors and advanced analytics to maximize yields and identify ways to operate more efficiently, in the face of the increasingly stiff challenge of feeding a population that’s growing at a highly accelerated pace. The energy industry is working to overcome connectivity and other issues to operate solar farms, wind turbines and other production facilities at peak efficiency.

“Innovative companies with sector-specific knowledge need to draw in a network of specialist organizations and work with their customers to ignite innovative new ways of doing things better,” the researchers said.

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