How Internet of Things (IOT) is transforming the employment landscape in IT industry

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In this guest article, S. Bhavani Shankar, Executive Manager – R&D, Efftronics Systems Pvt. Ltd takes us through the story of Internet of Things (IOT) with vivid examples. He describes how IOT has disrupted many fields and it has become a force to reckon with training, skill development, employability and entrepreneurship in the age of Industry 4.0. 

Internet of Things (IOT) has already disrupted the way world works! Look at the way things are becoming autonomous and smart – many of them don’t need human intervention anymore – they can self-propel, self-drive and self-maintain. A car is becoming intelligent to avoid any casualty when there’s an accident. The camera at the traffic signal can take pictures of the car and how the accident took place. The car and the camera can talk to each other and contact the emergency team, the family members, the insurance guys or the police! All this is possible because of sensors and … This helps in generating a fool-proof post mortem of any accident and also helps in immediately contacting family or emergency teams.

Internet of things [IOT] is a network that has bridged the gap between digital and mechanical devices and us, the living beings. IOT is working towards a world where physical objects contain embedded technology that can Sense, Communicate, Act and Interact. IOT connects the internal state of the object to its external environment.

IOT and IT jobsIOT is a system of systems with all physical getting connected, sharing information with each other and new kind of services coming into being. The number of devices connected to the internet has crossed the number of our population. Predications are made that by 2020, there will be a ballistic increase in the number of devices and it will rise to 25 billion. These devices are concentrated more among the youth of the population, 4 billion people will be connected to the internet by 2020 and for this number we need approximately 2.5 two point five crore applications (50 trillion gb of data). This is where the scope of IOT comes into picture.

IOT is going to spread across all sectors that will be developing with the use of devices. The applications these devices will be using will be using the IOT technology. This revolution of IOT will also result in a lot employment generation. Skill based learning will be taught to fulfil job requirements that entails data analysis or data science, moving towards building hardware, design aspect or the write algorithms to change data into action.

IOT brings in a great demand for Algorithm building skills along with the need to be multi-disciplinary. In the emerging job roles, product development will occupy just 10% of effort; this may make programming talent least valuable. And most courses focus on programming languages that are not needed any more. Going by this, we are training 95% of our students for 10% of the activity! This creates a big mismatch in the skilling ecosystem in the IT industry. S. Bhavani ShankarBhavani Shankar Efftronics

We are moving into a world where dedicated physical objects containing embedded technology, Sense, Communicate, Act and Interact with their internal state or the external environment. This brings in the need for new skills and capabilities such as Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, UX, Data Science and so on. Since most of the lower level coding activities will be automated, most jobs will demand higher value skills in domains like Data science , algorithm  and hardware development to transform data into actions. The teaching and training methods need to get updated to suit the skills in demand.

We need to create more awareness about the changing employment landscape in IT Sector and the way technology solutions are getting transformed. Students still aspire for past jobs since their parents, peers and social circle needs better exposure to global economy and job market.

New roles and new skills

The role of a Data Scientist is well accomplished with background in Maths and Statistics. 

To build algorithms from scratch , or work with available in the market, one needs to develop use cases, visualise solutions by identifying the needs. 

The role of a  Big Data Scientist is going be critical and this person will be expected to bring insights from Finance, R&D and Marketing perspective.

 Engineers working with algorithms need problem solving skills, they have to visualise the problem, sometimes, think like an entrepreneur and this is not a part of their college curriculum.

Influence of IOT in Manufacturing Sector

Manufacturing can also be taken as an example. It is all about maintenance, periodic and scheduled checks have to be done by the owner physically going to the garage workshops. Once the car is checked and all the damage is discovered, there are either mechanics working on it or a set of machines that are put to work in parallels and fix the car’s problems. But with the revolution of IOT sensors will be present both in the car and the machines. So the owner of the car will be notified every time the needs servicing and also these sensors detect the damages precisely. This assessment is done by a few electrical parameters like voltages, noise, vibrations, frequencies, etc. A data pattern is generated, this helps us shift from a traditional form of maintenance to a predictive form of maintenance where the car notifies for service only when it is in the need. The sensors in the car connect to the sensors on the machines to customise and optimise the resources.

How IOT will positively impact other domain and disciplines

Even civil engineering will benefit heavily from the technology of IOT. This change will create smart homes. For example, If there are cracks in the walls, the owner will be notified about it. Sensors of this kind capture info external and internal. This information is sent someplace for analysis, knowledgeable decisions are made and controlled actions are taken. This entire cycle is SMART, it creates a ubiquitous internet where physical and virtual things are connected. All information is captured and communicated, analysed and acted upon.

We are entering a world where things will have its own mind and don’t need to work under human intervention. For example, applying for leave at your job can be done from a virtual network. The impact of your leave, the workload distribution at that point of time is detected and prevents any cheating or misuse that comes with human intervention.

Digital enterprises is blurring the digital and physical space. The Algorithms are enabling this. Algorithms have replacing business and human functions. For example, today, WhatsApp is the largest telecom company and Alibaba is the biggest retail company and both of these are merely algorithms that have the real value, to transform data into action. Algorithms reduce infrastructure costs, too. For example, 3D printers reduce the cost of the raw materials that people use in production. Machine learning algorithms (MLA) is a process where the algorithms are improving. They possess inbuilt machine learning abilities where they can passively learn, adapt, understand, predict and finally act autonomously. 

Technology is getting cheaper, more devices will be connected to the internet, and affordability will increase. The fourth industrial revolution resulted in cyber physical systems where real world and virtual objects connect. Human intervention will reduce gradually and the main forces behind this is social media, mobile, cloud technology and information. They have cleared way for business becoming virtual. E-Commerce has risen and now with things becoming SMART, our everyday objects will have sensors to track our individual usage. For example, our fridge could order a pack of eggs every time the stocks get over!

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