By Dr Tim Kannegieter
Knowledge Manager, Learned Society Business Unit, Engineers Australia
Engineers Australia is launching an online Community of Practice on 5 July 2016, focused on the Internet of Things (IOT). It’s a completely new service to members, delivered by the Learned Society Business Unit and championed by the ITEE College. With over 20 billion "things" expected to be online by 2020 and an "at stake" economic potential of around $19 trillion according to Cisco, IOT is expected to impact the vast majority of business processes in virtually every industry. It is certainly likely to feature prominently in the careers of most engineers.
IOT refers to the integration of physical objects with a range of communication technologies, enabling them to be monitored and/or controlled remotely over the internet. It's a complex field covering everything from front end sensor networks to big data analytics in the cloud. In particular, a recognised barrier to reaching the $19 trillion potential is a general lack of understanding of how to integrate the disparate technologies that make up IOT and how to build a business case. That's why we need a community of practice to inform and support members.
2016 ITEE College chair Geoff Sizer said that the big constraint will be human talent.
“People approaching IOT face a steep learning curve across a number of different technological fields to make it all happen,” he said. “Generating enough people with the required skill sets may well be the main constraining factor driving the update of IOT technologies.
A community of practice is a national forum for sharing and creating knowledge around a particular focus subject, in this case IOT. We will be having weekly webinars aimed at educating members and stimulating online discussion. The community is supported by an online community platform (this site) with a calendar of events, discussion forum, member blogs, wiki and document library.
What differentiates this new service from other CPD offerings, is a focus on developing practical tools and guidelines, which will form the basis of a body of knowledge around Applied IOT Engineering. Over the course of the next year we will have 48 webinars on the subject of IOT. The first four complement each other to provide a comprehensive overview, so we encourage you to sign up for all of these. After that, we will systematically cover all the major aspects of IOT and we plan to introduce some other events.
Another point of difference is that the community will primarily be online allowing you to participate from your own desk. This means regional members, and those too busy to make face to face meetings, can participate fully.
Engineers Australia is excited about this new service and needs members to support it, as its success will influence the speed and extent to which we roll out further communities on different topics. In particular, we are looking for enthusiastic volunteers interested in this topic to help lead discussions and the development of useful outputs. You don’t necessarily need to be expert in IOT or even in ICT. You just need to be enthusiastic about applying IOT in your field.
If you are an expert in some aspect of IOT, we encourage you to give presentations and use the community’s blog facility to attract a following, using the platform's social media functions. This will help develop your organisational brand and personal reputation as a thought leader.
To get more involved do please contact the community facilitator on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read more about IOT in our Introduction to the subject in this resource library.