“If you don’t get off that computer game, you’ll never amount to anything!”

It’s a familiar lament in modern families. Yet as parents fret about the time their children spend gaming, they may be missing the bigger picture — by failing to perceive the future of job creation in the Internet of Everything (IoE) economy.

Gaming (within reason!) bestows children with some valuable skills that will be relevant to a rapidly evolving job market. And for a few kids, the gaming becomes the job. Gaming “super bowls” draw top players and increasingly large audiences that prefer the interactive nature of gaming to the performer / spectator model of “real” sports.

The point is not for parents to bank on their children becoming wealthy at the “gaming super bowl.” Those odds are probably not much better than making it to the NFL’s Super Bowl!

What I am stressing is that gaming tournaments create jobs that did not even exist a few years ago — for the players, the organizers, the programmers, and so forth. As the Internet of Everything — which Cisco defines as the networked connection of people, process, data, and things — continues its rapid acceleration, we will see other new jobs being created.  Lots of them! Many that we can’t yet imagine.

Cisco’s IoE Value Index surveyed 7,501 IT and business leaders across 12 of the world’s largest economies. Globally, 33 percent believe that IoE will create jobs in their firms, yet the percentage was overwhelmingly higher in emerging markets. Forty-seven percent believe that IoE will lead to higher wages at their companies. Again, this number was much higher in emerging markets.

As for American jobs, The Wall Street Journal reported on a recent study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workplace, which predicted that the U.S. economy will generate 55 million jobs by 2020. Sixty-five percent of those jobs will be knowledge-based, requiring at least some training beyond a high-school education. That trend parallels Cisco’s projections for the Internet of Everything: a striking upsurge in connectivity from 10 billion “connections” today to 50 billion by 2020.

IoE is fueled by the convergence of emerging technologies in such areas as microsensors, Big Data analytics, mobility, collaboration, video, and machine-to-machine communications. The resulting explosion in connectivity will alter our way of life in unprecedented ways. Your car, refrigerator, house, clothing, even the pills you swallow will generate relevant, useful information for other “things” — and, of course, you — to process.

Beyond the impact to your immediate, day-to-day life, the IoE transformation will sweep across every aspect of society and the marketplace in profound ways. That includes employment, which will be redefined drastically.

Imagine ordering an item from Amazon. Today, a delivery person slogs it to your doorstep. In the not-too-far-off future, a whirring, hovering, precision-guided drone could deliver it. That is, if the 3D printer in your home hasn’t already replicated the product to your exact specifications. Jobs that don’t exist today — such as consumer drone maintenance and programming — will come into being.

The iPhone and Android are harbingers of things to come. In only a few years, they spawned a vast galaxy of app developers. Look for IoE innovations to enable many other “shadow” industries. A report on upcoming jobs by FastFuture predicted such choice positions as “old-age wellness manager,” “vertical farmer,” “nano-medic,” “climate change reversal specialist,” and “alternate vehicle developer.”

Economist Yuwa Hedrick-Wong of MasterCard predicts that we already are on the cusp of a manufacturing revolution in the United States. But don’t expect your grandfather’s revolution of steel, coal, and heavy machinery. This one will be knowledge-based and data-driven. And it will redefine success in terms of efficiency, productivity, innovation, and business agility — precisely the attributes that the IoE economy will enable, and demand.

With every IoE-driven transformation, next-generation skills and knowledge-based jobs will evolve. Job creation is always welcome. But the workforce will need to negotiate a greatly altered, tech-driven marketplace dominated by companies that engage and disengage resources on an as-needed basis.

The good news is that IoE is more about return on investment and creating new value than cost cutting. As IoE innovations enable skilled, tech-savvy workers to be more productive, compensation will rise.

So, next time your gaming-obsessed kids start to resemble the zombies they are zapping, take a deep breath and cut them some slack before yanking the game controller out of their hands.

They’ll thank you today — and in the future.


Joseph M. Bradley

Global Vice President

Digital & IoT Advanced Services