Skilling up for the Internet of Things

Internet of Things

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With ‘things’ being connected faster than the speed of light, Sonya Oberstar asks if Australian businesses have the right skills to match.

With SAP recently announcing they were investing $2.2 billion dollars over the next five years building their capability around the Internet of Things (IoT) supply chain solutions; I started to wonder what exactly is the ‘Internet of Things’? I mean, isn’t the internet already full of ’things‘? And what are manufacturers in Australia implementing?

Digital Trends says “At a very basic level, ‘Internet of Things’ means devices that can sense aspects of the real world – like temperature, lighting, the presence or absence of people or objects – and report that real-world data, or act on it. Instead of most data on the internet being produced and consumed by people (text, audio, video), more and more information would be produced and consumed by machines, communicating between themselves to (hopefully) improve the quality of our lives.”

So, picture this. I have a fridge and I always have, um, champagne… I mean, butter in the fridge. I order my groceries from the embedded tablet on my fridge door and once the sensor reads that the butter needs replenishing, the item is automatically added to my next shopping list. It’s about embedding information (data) and using it effectively.

The interesting question here is, can suppliers use this data to optimise supply chains and demand planning? Well, why not? If one million fridges have the data around the average use of a tub of butter or a bottle of champagne bottle and that information/data can be tracked back to each brand, it really would give manufacturers and supply chain a great overview of demand trends and that’s what SAP is investing in. Smart move. With real-time technologies, such as S/4HANA, and the full enterprise connectivity, SAP really could and should be at the forefront of IoT.

Businesses need to start adopting and actually ’using’ this data effectively and doing this today. Yet, very few businesses in Australia seem to be developing a data strategy, let alone an IoT strategy. Many handheld devices/connectivity/GIS have the hardware yet still aren’t using the data effectively, efficiently or at all. Why?

Now is the time to start planning for future IoT solutions. We have the expertise, but do we have the forethought? A recent study conducted by IoT Australia’s Stuart Corner found, “Out of 232 companies, only about one-third of firms are leveraging captured connected device data to provide insight to internal stakeholders and partners, personalise interactions with customers, or profile and segment customers. This highlights a missed opportunity for leveraging valuable customer data, as most companies focus their time and resources on just connecting products and capturing data rather than creating actionable insights from the captured data.”

Does it seem too big a challenge? Where do you start? The talent, knowledge and skills are available. In fact given the opportunities, we can set the standard. Vodafone are about to commence the rollout of its IoT, and the lessons learned during a trial currently underway in Melbourne, has allowed Vodafone to accelerate their deployment. So what is stopping you?

Don’t forget that often what initially seems daunting, when cut into smaller pieces turns out to be far less of a stretch.

Sonya Oberstar is practice lead ERP/SAP for Davidson Technology. Sonya has been recruiting in the Melbourne market since 2006, initially developing the RDBMS sector she soon branched out to also specialising in PMs, BAs and SAP among other specialty IT requirements. Bringing this diverse exposure in several technical skill-sets, Sonya is a leading specialist for Davidson Technology in the SAP space. Sonya has strong, long-standing networks across the SAP and the non-SAP project space within both contract and permanent realms.

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