A key discussion point I keep hearing again and again this week during the Internet of Things World Forum in Dubai is that the success of IoT depends greatly on developing the right workforce with the right skills.

I was honored to host a panel here called Transforming the Workforce to Unleash the Value of IoT that focused on how diversity can lead to greater innovation. It was here that we announced an initiative in expanding gender diversity throughout the industry — Cisco IoT Pathfinder.

Sponsored by Cisco and brought to you by Global Knowledge, an IoT Talent Consortium partner, IoT Pathfinder is a series of free 60-minute training webinars designed for women, men, and students interested in expanding their skills for the growing IoT economy.

Gartner estimates that IoT suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion in 2020, leading to an ever increasing need for specialized talent. The coming digital age requires a broader set of both technical and non-technical skills than the information age and we want to make it easier to develop those skills.

IoT Pathfinder

Our goal with IoT Pathfinder is to both expand IoT and achieve greater diversity in the workforce. Studies show that companies that have women in senior management positions perform more efficiently, see higher retention rates, and ultimately have an increase in invested capital.  For example, a study by Hire More Women in Tech found that, “Fortune 500 companies with at least three female directors have seen their return on invested capital increase by at least 66%, return on sales increase by 42%, and return on equity increase by at least 53%.” NCWIT analysis of women’s participation in IT patents also found that U.S. patents produced by mixed-gender teams were cited 30% to 40% more than other similar patents. Also, Gallup has found that companies with more diverse teams have a 22% lower turnover rate.

Our panel of experts and IoT leaders this week included several dynamic experienced women who shared their perspectives on developing talent and increasing opportunities for women to progress in IoT. The panelists were:

Throughout the session we discussed how IoT has the potential to add value for industries by transforming the workforce. Not only is there a need for reskilling for new roles, there is also an opportunity to build inclusion of ideas from diverse talent.

With that in mind, it’s time to take action.  Whether you are part of the next generation workforce or transitioning into IoT, I encourage you to take advantage of IoT Pathfinder.

During the first webinar, you can expand your understanding of cybersecurity and its importance in IoT. With 50 billion connected devices, we must be prepared to implement the right security protocols. Security skills are a critical component of new job roles in the coming decade. You’ll learn about cybersecurity fundamentals, applications, and implementation models within the IoT environment. Other topics in the webinar series include data analytics and cloud, which are also critical skills for success in IoT.

The next technology transformation is here. The industry is in need of a diverse, skilled workforce, today. Register now for the first Cisco IoT Pathfinder and see how far your skills can go! I’d love to hear from you about what skills you think are needed to move IoT forward and what it will take to achieve greater gender diversity.


Inbar Lasser-Raab

No Longer with Cisco