Workforce Impacts of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)

Ashtabula County has a significant concentration of industrial companies that must meet their workforce needs in the short and longer terms. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will either strengthen or weaken these companies in the future from many standpoints, including the design of work and future workforce development.

According to researchers at Accenture, eighty-seven percent of business leaders believe that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will result in the net creation of jobs. Intelligent machines will automate mundane tasks, freeing up workers to perform more creative and collaborative work with wider networks of people and machines. For example, real-time data access will enable today’s blue collar workers to jointly analyze and adjust the performance of drill equipment in a mine or design products more iteratively with the use of rapid 3D printed prototypes.

The IIoT will augment work through innovations, such as wearable technology. Global positioning system (GPS) navigation is an early example. Accenture and Royal Philips have created a proof-of-concept demonstration that uses a Google Glass™ head-mounted display for researching ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of performing surgical procedures. This solution could provide physicians with hands-free access to critical clinical information. Theoretically transferable to other industries, the application could be used to help field engineers repair equipment with which they are unfamiliar, for instance.

As IIoT growth takes hold, the need for talent will intensify. What is more, entirely new categories of jobs will be created: in digital medicine and precision agriculture, for example. The demand for digital literacy will be at a premium, with new skills required in specialist roles from digital robot design and management to transport network engineering and data analytics. As digital technology blurs or removes organizational boundaries, it will create more flexible workplaces that will appeal to sought-after Millennials and other groups that will be required to deliver new customer-oriented services. The impact will be felt on the workforce at every level and will require greater delegation by leadership and more decentralized decision making by individual employees.

Download Accenture’s Industrial Internet of Things report: Accenture-Industrial-Internet-of-Things-Positioning-Paper-Report-2015

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