IoT represents a $14.4 trillion business opportunity for manufacturers. While some manufacturers are increasing plant efficiency and production by harnessing the power of IoT, others are struggling to keep their industrial operations running. Why the disparity? IoT, despite representing a sizeable opportunity, also presents challenges.

As more devices are connected, manufacturers are experiencing a deficit in skilled workers able to maintain the equipment. Manufacturers are simply not able to keep up with the IoT’s exponential growth, and are left unable to address these challenges. The skills gap will continue to widen as more and more devices get connected to the network.

Also, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled over the next decade – and the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled. Building a skilled workforce will be challenging in the face of aging demographics and the changing roles and responsibilities on the plant floor.


For decades, information technology (IT) professionals have focused on business systems and applications, while operational technology (OT) teams have managed the controls and automation of plant floor operations. The adoption of IoT in manufacturing is demanding IT/OT collaboration. But as we enter this era, most workers lack the necessary skills for this type of convergence.

On Monday, April 11 from 10:00-10:30 AM PST, we (@CiscoMFG) will be hosting a CiscoChat on how manufacturers can close the IT/OT knowledge gap. This chat will provide expertise from subject matter experts from Cisco, Panduit, and Rockwell Automation.

The discussion will include questions such as:

  • What are the biggest workforce challenges in manufacturing?
  • What challenges arise as a result of the IT/OT knowledge gap?
  • How are manufacturers working to bridge the IT/OT skills gap?

We will discuss with industry thought leaders the importance of growing a talented workforce with industry resources, such as industrial network eLearning provided by Industrial IP Advantage. These resources teach manufacturing workers the design skills and industry best practices needed to help establish a secure and future-ready IoT network. See our recent blog for more details.


Anyone is welcome to join our conversation around how manufacturers can use training to take advantage of this digital revolution. Once manufacturers create secure connectivity and information flow between the plant floor and the enterprise network, plant operators can improve productivity and the quality and flexibility of their operations.

How are you working to bridge the skills gap and inspire the next generation of engineers? We want to hear from you – be sure to join the discussion on April 11th here.


Douglas Bellin

Global Lead, Industries

Manufacturing and Energy