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Tim Kannegieter

Learning on the Edge

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The internet of things (IoT) is complex. Examined at an industry or national level, there are a huge number of variables and players, that it’s hard to even visualise how all the components will ever work together to realise the potential. However, we all have a vested interest in ensuring the IoT industry blossoms to reach its full potential.

In the IoT Engineering Community, we have previously spoken about the technical skills required to develop the IoT engineering workplace. A key point identified is that it practically impossible for anyone one individual to become expert in all areas relating to IoT. A rule of thumb is that it take 10 years to become truly expert in a field. Well, IoT has dozens of discreet fields of equal complexity. To complicate matters further, the engineering of an IoT system is just one part of the picture.

In a webinar on Tuesday 20 March titled Flattening the IoT Learning Curve, Frank Zeichner sets out the broader context of IoT learning.  Learning at multiple levels, from individuals through companies to government. It’s all interconnected and none of these levels will get the full benefits without the other.

He argues that the most valuable learning is that which comes at the edges of three broad domains relating to engineering, business and industry domains. Its only when an engineer truly understands the business imperative or vice versa for the C-suite, that we begin to develop skills that will truly make a difference.

Similarly, both the business and engineering skill must be applied in a way that will work for that particular industry. The application of IoT is different in a variety of industries and while the technology may be the same, unless you understand all those complex variables in context of application your project will be on risky ground. However, the potential is there. The Food Agility CRC, which Frank discusses in his presentation, is aiming to shift the food sector from a $46 billion to a $100 billion industry by exploiting the potential of digital transformation, primarily though IoT.

The IoT Alliance Australia, of which Zeichner is the CEO, has an Education and Skills Workgroup which is creating an education Framework to “provide a methodology for scoping, developing, and tracking the type of education engagement required to expand the IoT knowledge, skills and capability development delivered by education providers and professional bodies that intersect the IoT marketplace”.

Learning needs to take place at the individual, organisational, industry and national levels. Unless we get practical progress in learning how to successfully exploit the potential of IoT at all these levels, we run the risk of a major lost opportunity as other nations aggressively push a coordinated agenda.  

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