A skills gap could prevent many Australian IT service providers from supplying IOT solutions, says Sridhar Deenadayalan, Azure Practice Head at cloud solutions distributor rhipe.

rhipe is growing an IOT development practice, but has found a shortage of people with appropriate technical knowledge. “The primary IOT problem is finding skills – it’s an even bigger issue than security,” said Deenadayalan.

The key skills gap, Deenadayalan said, is for workers who understand both industry-specific technologies and how horizontal technologies like cloud enable IOT projects. “You’ll see people coming from the manufacturing industry who are focussed on manufacturing or automation, but they don’t understand cloud connectivity,” he explained.

“We also see a lot of data analysts who’ve been in the industry for a very long time, who don’t understand cloud data models”, he said.

Deenadayalan said the complexity and scale of IOT challenges is even harder to deal with for smaller IT suppliers that sell commoditised IT.

“If an IT partner is looking at building an IOT solution, it has to invest in someone with industrial automation skills, someone who knows cloud technology and someone that can implement an overarching security layer,” Deenadayalan said.

“It also needs someone who can deal with large data sets – in the IOT world we are talking about terabytes of data that will be ingested into the cloud. That calls for efficient data handling, data encryption and data processing.”

“And all that data must be presented in a secure and easily understood fashion to end users. That requires knowledge of the full application stack.”

Small IT suppliers that can’t afford those skills should partner with companies that have invested in people and qualifications, says Deenadayalan.

Rhipe sees plenty of opportunity for those partnerships – it has infrastructure, application, electronics and industrial automation specialists and is looking to work with managed service providers on IOT projects.