Skills shortages remain the top barrier to industrial IoT adoption, Inmarsat research reveals


Industrial IoT in the Time of Covid-19 – reveals nearly half of all businesses lack in-house security, data science and connectivity skills to develop, deploy and manage IoT projects

Research by Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, reveals that skills shortages are putting a brake on IoT innovation, inhibiting the adoption of the technology and the effectiveness of IoT deployments across businesses. These findings underline how little progress has been made in addressing skills shortages since the company’s 2018 report pinpointed that the skills gap was the top barrier to successful IoT deployments. This remains the case, with organisations needing to do more to upskill, bring in new talent or work with outsourcers with the requisite skills.

According to the research, based on interviews with 450 global respondents across the agriculture, electrical utilities, mining, oil and gas, and transport and logistics sectors, organisations don’t always have the skills they need to fully utilise their IoT projects. A lack of in-house skills remains the top barrier to IoT deployment for well over a third (37 per cent) of all respondents in the study. In terms of the specific skill sets businesses need, half (50 per cent) of all respondents stated that they lacked cyber-security talent, closely followed by a need for additional staff with experience and skills in data science and analytics (49 per cent), technical support (48 per cent) and connectivity technology (47 per cent).

Many businesses also lack the strategic IoT skills needed in the C-suite or senior leadership team to integrate fully IoT into their overall business strategies, with under a third (32 per cent) of respondents claiming to have all the skills needed at this level. Underlining the importance of having a strategic approach to IoT at leadership level and the right policies in place to support this, the research shows those organisations with a formal IoT strategy have far more strategic support for IoT at board level (47 per cent, compared to only 19 per cent of those without one).

Commenting on the findings, Mike Carter, President of Inmarsat Enterprise said: “Our latest research shows that, despite strong levels of IoT adoption across the board, skills shortages continue to be the top barrier to industrial IoT adoption. It is particularly concerning to note that, amongst those organisations lacking specific skills, almost half are missing security, data science and connectivity technology skills. To help plug these fundamental IoT skills gaps, it is clear that more businesses need to develop formal IoT strategies, to prioritise IoT at the boardroom level and to develop better relationships with IoT service providers.

“The IoT skills gap is a major concern for today’s enterprises. For IoT to be a sustained success, access to the relevant skill sets is needed at all levels. Without all these skill sets in place, businesses will continue to struggle to make the best use of the data they gather, to integrate IoT projects into the wider organisation and benefit from the transformative role that IoT can play in the global supply chain. If organisations do not have the resources to plug these skills gaps internally, they must look to external partners to provide the necessary skills.

“Inmarsat’s Enterprise business is focused on the provision of IoT connectivity to business-critical applications and to remote places via our industry-leading ELERA network. Our expert partners, including skilled solution providers from our Application and Solution Provider Programme, are helping to connect IoT solutions providers with commercial land customers across the globe.”

The study also reveals the skills deficit is more pronounced further down the organisational structure than it is at the top. At operational level, relatively few respondents claim to have all the skills they need to effectively support their IoT projects. When it comes to ongoing support and maintenance of IoT projects, (27 per cent) have the required skills in house. In procurement this drops to (25 per cent) and only 1 in 5 organisations (20 per cent) have the skills needed to successfully integrate IoT into their operations.

Despite acknowledging the clear gap organisations have between the skills held in house and those needed to deploy IoT projects, only a minority turn to outsourcing as a solution. Overall, only a third (33 per cent) of all respondents typically look to partner with an IoT service provider to support an end-to-end solution and work with them to plan, implement and maintain it. The largest organisations (over 5,000 employees) and businesses in North America and the Middle East are more likely to partner with IoT service providers (39 per cent, 41 per cent and 45 per cent, respectively), whereas fewer businesses in Russia and the Stans and the APAC region use such providers (26 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively). Those businesses lacking the optimal mix of skill sets to select, deploy and utilise their IoT projects need to work more closely with expert service providers to plug their IoT skills gaps to get the best results out of their IoT projects.

Further information

Notes to Editors

The Inmarsat Research Programme report ‘Industrial IoT in the Time of Covid-19’ focuses on measuring the IoT maturity of global industry during the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of digitalised production and supply chains. It analyses a number of key themes such as adoption, connectivity, data, skills, security and investment.

The report is based on interviews with 450 global respondents across the agriculture, electrical utilities, mining, oil & gas and transport & logistics sectors in early 2021, a year after the start of the pandemic. Respondents from businesses with at least 250 employees from the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific responsible for delivering IoT initiatives at their respective organisations were surveyed.

As part of the research, Inmarsat is also offering businesses the opportunity to measure their IoT readiness versus the respondents in the survey, using a free IoT maturity tool.

To use the IoT Maturity tool and download the full report – ‘‘Industrial IoT in the Time of Covid-19’ – visit:

About Inmarsat

Inmarsat is the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications. It owns and operates the world’s most diverse global portfolio of mobile telecommunications satellite networks, and holds a multi-layered, global spectrum portfolio, covering L-band, Ka-band and S-band, enabling unparalleled breadth and diversity in the solutions it provides. Inmarsat’s long-established global distribution network includes not only the world’s leading channel partners but also its own strong direct retail capabilities, enabling end to end customer service assurance.

The company has an unrivalled track record of operating the world’s most reliable global mobile satellite telecommunications networks, sustaining business and mission critical safety and operational applications for more than 40 years. It is also a major driving force behind technological innovation in mobile satellite communications, sustaining its leadership through a substantial investment and a powerful network of technology and manufacturing partners.

Inmarsat operates across a diversified portfolio of sectors with the financial resources to fund its business strategy and holds leading positions in the Maritime, Government, Aviation and Enterprise satcoms markets, operating consistently as a trusted, responsive and high-quality partner to its customers across the globe.

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