Closing the Manufacturing Skills Gap at Cisco Live
It’s been a couple weeks since Cisco Live wrapped up. With roughly 25,000 attendees each year, it is a gold mine for new content, hands-on learning, IoT discussions and…well, fun.
While I spent a fair amount of hours perusing the show flow, ogling the astonishing 250 booth displays, I also spent a lot of time at the Industrial IP Advantage booth. In the booth, we were showing off the new eLearning courses. Throughout my four days in Las Vegas, I was able to pick up a thing or two about the event.
Here are my top moments from Cisco Live:
- Training Courses: Many delegates were attracted to to the robotic ‘Pachinko-type’ machine we were showing in the booth, which was demonstrating live use of Industrial Ethernet. They also wanted to learn more about our eLearning training courses. In fact, Course 3: Industrial Zone, just launched. The course teaches IT and OT to collaboratively architect a converged multi-service plant-wide network and to operate as domain experts in a multi-function team.
- Addressing the skills gap: As we discussed the eLearning courses with attendees, we also learned that many attendees were excited about Cisco, Panduit, and Rockwell Automation coming together to address the skills gap – something many manufacturers are currently facing. They were elated to know that Industrial IP Advantage is developing resources – like the eLearning courses – to help navigate industry challenges, such as the retiring workforce and IT and OT convergence. Many attendees echoed our perspectives and said they were getting serious about enabling change in the industry and were adding even more training courses.
- Ethernet/IP is here to stay: While some of the legacy Ethernets are still around, attendees we spoke to agreed that they are seeing a big increase in the adoption of Ethernet/IP. Industrial Ethernet is now being adopted by more companies in all parts of their industrial operations and enables real-time control and information in discrete, continuous process, batch, safety, drive, motion and high-availability applications.
- Networking opportunities: The folks staffing the Industrial IP Advantage booth at Cisco Live met with companies and organizations from both the private and public sectors. Utilities, aviation, discrete and other manufacturing organizations appreciated the need for the training we were providing. In fact, some even signed up on the spot, while others registered after the event.
While we managed to talk a few booth attendees into snapping a ‘selfie’ for our social media contest, a majority of chatter was about the convergence of operations and shifting roles for IT and OT, requiring the need for new, advanced skills. By pursuing eLearning opportunities, employers and their employees can help bridge the manufacturing skills gap one training course at a time.
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