• Christopher Haggarty-Weir

The Industrial Internet of Things

There is a concern that progressive integration of communications, IT, data, and physical elements will result in job losses within the organizations that take advantage of these opportunities. This post succinctly examines this issue and where things are expected to go.

Smart, integrated systems are the latest in disruptive technologies used by many companies to automate many business processes in order to increase value-extraction. However, there is a common thought that disruptive business technology and automation leads to personnel reductions. When researchers at PwC assessed the impact of the modern industrial internet of things (IOT) in Europe, they came to the conclusion that the IOT may create this type of disruption. But as they state, ‘it depends’. Dr. Dervojeda of PwC states ‘While some jobs are at risk of extinction, many jobs will undergo a considerable evolution, and new jobs will also emerge’. However, the World Economic Forum has predicted that the 4th industrial revolution will create around 2.1 million jobs relating to financial operations, management, and computer and mathematical roles, whilst killing off approximately 7.1 million other jobs by 2020. Surprisingly, it is estimated that these jobs will not be low-skilled but rather white-collar jobs relating to regular office administration.

So as mentioned above, there will be an increase in high-tech roles involving those who are quantitatively inclined. Also as mentioned, there will be an estimated net loss of 5 million jobs in Europe by the end of next year if forecasts are correct, due directly to the utilization of the IOT. Even if there were a net increase in jobs due to emergent technologies (as is predicted by the thinktank, Centre for Cities), these would likely be being filled by younger, recently educated talent, rather than the older workers. This is because there is a trend for companies to neglect upskilling these staff; in fact, only 10% of companies are upskilling staff in the face of automation (McDonald, 2018). Therefore, I am indeed concerned (as others should be) about the lack of preparedness for this enormous change that is well underway. This is where a combinational approach is required. Governments need to be providing easy and affordable access to training programs to allows individuals to attain the requisite skills for the future. Further, companies need to start upping their game and get their employees skilled-up for use of the industrial IOT. Finally, individuals need to take a level of personal responsibility in trying to improve their knowledge base. This could be via doing a tuition-free computer science degree, or even short courses, such as those that we at Haggarty-Weir Consulting can provide. So get in touch today and see how we can help: dr.chris@haggarty-weirconsulting.com.

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