Preparing for the Connected World – What Skills are Necessary?
The number connected objects will rapidly explode in the years to come. The total number is said to be from less than $6 billion in 2016 to several dozen billion by 2020. From connected vehicle, wearables to smart home, many sectors have placed connected objects in the list of industrial priorities.
Extremely diverse objects
The connected object application has become an extremely large and diverse field. It can potentially cover almost all business sectors, from the applications impacting our environment and our lifestyles such as smart refrigerator, smart lock, residential water meter, shower head and medical devices, to the industrial applications such as smart fences, public lighting and security. The forthcoming applications are limited only by our imagination.
No new skill but the versatility
IoT is not a new technology and it does not require new technical skills; it is an aggregation of existing technologies. The fields of electric, electronic, construction, manufacturing, hardware and software are thus combined in some way through programming, analysis, integration, energy optimization to form very complex systems. So there is nothing new in terms of fundamental concepts in the engineering curriculum. The only “new” is the fact that interdisciplinary and versatility are now seen as real strengths in this area.
Programming becomes more demanding
For the essential of the engineer programming, a connected object is not only simple assembly of components, it is also an object with different components which can communicate with each other. Compared to the classical programming work for a computer application or video game, programming for IoT has more demanding. The program must not only fulfill its function but must also be reliable and stable, the object that cannot afford to reboot for no reason.
Still needed – the mechanics and electronics
A connected object is an object that constantly communicates with its environment through sensors. Today, to quickly develop a prototype and associating modules is increasingly common; but since IoT is related to multiple fields, designing or building a connected object usually confront the problems like whether we should look for solutions in electronic level or in mechanical level. In that context, the fundamentals of engineering sciences is therefore remains necessary to complete a project.
“The Internet of Things contains an enormous variety of sensors and connected smart objects that are making the web wiser.”(Intel) – The recipe for inventing tomorrow connected objects may seem simple. But we need to keep in mind that technology is serving people, not the reverse. Indeed, the connected objects around us are designed to simplify life for the user; but the user has to adapt to it. This can be done when a great attention is paid to the complete system, not just the function of the object that is to be created.
A young engineer must have an overall view of the system for the project; he/she must be able to observe, be curious, and be attentive to the environment. In addition, Teamwork skills and being an effective group member will make all the difference for a young passionate engineer of connected objects.