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The Internet of Employment – the workforce behind a connected future

By next year, it is estimated that 25 billion devices will already be connected to the internet, with that figure set to double to 50 billion by 2020. These connected ‘devices’ won’t simply be computers, they will range from alarm clocks, cars, coffee makers, fridges, baby monitors and smart watches, to street lighting, parking meters and planes.

Having this quantity of connected devices has the potential to change and improve the way we live our lives. It is already possible to adjust your central heating remotely, but imagine being able to tell your coffee maker to turn on, on the way home from work? Or have your GP assess you remotely via the data coming from your health monitor or even smart watch?

In fact, according to the 2014 Cisco Connected World Technology Report (CCWTR), launched today, roughly 8 in 10 professionals even believe middle income workers will have robots that can assist them with various work related activities at some point in the future.  The possibilities are endless. However, for this to become a reality, we need a workforce of technicians and engineers capable of building such a connected network. Imagine the skills needed to manage and maintain an army of connected robot assistants!

Internet of Employment

First of all, the networks needed to create the Internet of Everything (IoE) on such a large scale needs to be built, creating job opportunities for those with specialist IoE networking skills. Fifty billion plus connected devices (not to mention the robots) will create an incredible amount of data – leading to a pressing demand for data scientists to make sense of this information.  Security will also be front of mind, creating jobs for IoE security specialists.  This is not to mention the applications we haven’t even dreamt of yet which will suddenly become possible in an IoE-enabled world, opening up innumerable opportunities for IoE entrepreneurs to flourish.

Technology isn’t just shaping the jobs of the future and the skills we need to fulfil them, it’s shaping the way we work too. The CCWTR also reveals that the majority of Generation X and Y professionals believe that smartphones and wearable devices will be the workforce’s most important ‘connected’ device.  This will enable new ways of working; such as creating ‘supertaskers’ – people who can successfully do more than two things at once, and do them well.

Wanted: 900,000 IT Pros

However, today’s global ICT skills shortage could seriously hamper this connected vision. Realising this potential depends on the individuals and having the skills and knowledge to harness the opportunities IoE provides. Currently the outlook is bleak, with the EU already expecting that there will be up to 900,000 ICT vacancies by 2015.

This is why I, and many of our education partners were in Barcelona last month to launch the first global IoE curriculum, introduced by the Cisco Networking Academy.  The new curriculum seeks to help close the broadening ICT skills gap and empower a new generation of innovators to embrace the IoE’s full possibilities. Cisco Networking Academy also recently launched an IoE ‘Smart Grid’ curriculum, which gives electricians the Internet Protocol (IP) skills to service the millions of potential new intelligent smart grid devices that are due to be installed in EU households by 2020.

Smarter teaching – smarter living

Initiatives like Cisco Networking Academy, and support for ICT related skill development, can make a massive difference and create employment on a large scale in both the short and long term. Barcelona’s Smart City programme provides a great example of the positive potential of IoE, creating 47,000 new jobs through innovations from smart bus shelters to a smart waste management system.

Europe has a chance to grasp the opportunities IoE can bring – by equipping people with the skills required to meet the soaring demand for the new jobs created in a world where everything is connected.  Five million students have already enrolled in Cisco Networking Academy in the last 17 years, with over 9000 academies present in 170 countries. With the new IoE courses in place, Networking Academy students now have the chance to gain the skills needed to drive the workforce of the future – and be an integral part of the IoE journey.

 

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Video Games, Video Conferencing and YouTube: The Job Search of the Future

In this guest blog, Jeanne Meister, Partner, Future Workplace and Co-author of The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today (Harper Collins) shares her insights on the future of work in an Internet of Everything (IoE) landscape. The description of the new hire process in the blog post below is adapted from Chapter 1 of her book, The 2020 Workplace.   

Job searching, hiring and our daily work life are rapidly changing thanks to technological innovations.  Knowledge workers are gaining greater control and flexibility over their employment experience.  This will start from the moment job seekers begin an employment search.

According to the 2014 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, more than 60% of workers report that their current or future job searches will not be limited to their hometown, or even country.

Organizations will need to evolve their processes to find and hire the best talent in the future.  Today’s methods won’t work with tomorrow’s workforce.  Consider the case of “Katya,” a top graduate from a well-respected university in 2020. After graduation, Katya will land her first job at D&Y, one of the country’s last two major accounting firms.

Submitting an online resume and completing several rounds of in-person interviews will not be the way Katya gets hired. Read More »

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Predictive Maintenance: The Business Impact of IoE for Mining Companies

What if an industrial vehicle or piece of equipment could tell you to change a part or warn you before it breaks?  The impact for mining and other industrial companies would be tremendous in terms of reduced downtime and maintenance costs.  As I spent time with mining executives at the recent SAP Mining Forum, many interesting discussions were around the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) in their operations. In fact, Cisco and SAP have been working on using (or ‘mining’) the wealth of data from sensors and machines in new and innovative ways.  

The most immediate impact of IoT on mining is in the improvements to maintenance of mining heavy machinery and assets.  Based on the many conversations I have had with industry experts,  it is apparent that many in the mining industry  are using a ‘break to fix’ mentality on their assets.  They ‘push’ the asset to a point that it breaks.  The issue here is that this approach is unpredictable and incredibly costly to the operations of the business. Waiting until a machine breaks leads to downtime which leads to lost revenue. Read More »

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At IoT Global Summit, Focus Was on People More than Things

I just returned from the Internet of Things (IoT) Global Summit in Washington DC, where I was privileged to speak on accelerating Smart City growth worldwide through the Internet of Everything (IoE). At Cisco, we’ve pioneered the idea that the next wave of the Internet is not just about devices and things, but about the interconnections among people, process, data, and things—what we call the Internet of Everything. So it was gratifying that even at an event built around the Internet of Things, much of the conversation centered on people and process in connection with technology.

The IoT Global Summit brought together about 200 business leaders, policy makers, and regulators to talk about the impact of IoT on the ways we conduct business, provide services, and interact with people, as well as on the fundamental issues of security and privacy.

One of the interesting things about how IoT is playing out in Smart and Connected Cities around the world is Read More »

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Go Mercedes, and Leave the Driving to IoE

As they speed through the clouds, most air travelers are comfortable knowing that their pilot is not actually bothering to fly the plane. On the open highway, however, it may be harder to accept truck drivers who take their hands off the wheel to text, watch movies, or gaze at the scenery as it rolls lazily by.

Yet self-driving trucks could become a common sight in coming years. One company at the forefront of this technology is Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz brand. Recently, the company demonstrated its “Future Truck 2025” concept, with a modified vehicle that cruised down the autobahn at a top speed of 53 MPH. The driver was able to switch at will between manual control and the automated Highway Pilot system,.

I see the Highway Pilot as an exciting example of how the Internet of Everything (IoE) connects the unconnected. Using a convergence of innovations that leverage Wi-Fi, data analytics, radar, GPS, and stereo video sensors, Highway Pilot steers the truck, senses other vehicles, and maintains the most efficient speed and route.  IN the process, it enables a whole new technology platform and business model. After all, many countries face a shortage of truck drivers; and fuel consumption issues and safety concerns persist — especially on long, grueling hauls.

I see the self-driving truck Read More »

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