Research advances in the last decades have allowed the introduction of Internet of Things (IoT) concepts in several industrial application scenarios, leading to the so-called Industry 4.0 or Industrial IoT (IIoT).
The Industry 4.0 has the ambition to revolutionize industry management and business processes, enhancing the productivity of manufacturing technologies through field data collection and analysis, thus creating real-time digital twins of industrial scenarios.
Moreover, it is vital for companies to be as “smart” as possible and to adapt to the varying nature of the digital supply chains. This is possible by leveraging IoT in Industry 4.0 scenarios.
In this paper, we describe the renovation process, guided by things2i s.r.l., a cross-disciplinary engineering-economic spin-off company of the University of Parma, which a real manufacturing industry is undergoing over consecutive phases spanning a few years.
The first phase concerns the digitalization of the control quality process, specifically related to the company's production lines.
The use of paper sheets containing different quality checks has been made smarter through the introduction of a digital, smart, and Web-based application, which is currently supporting operators and quality inspectors working on the supply chain through the use of smart devices.
The second phase of the IIoT evolution—currently on-going—concerns both digitalization and optimization of the production planning activity, through an innovative Web-based planning tool.
The changes introduced have led to significant advantages and improvement for the manufacturing company, in terms of:
impressive cost reduction
better products quality control
real-time detection and reaction to supply chain issues
significant reduction of the time spent in planning activity
resources employment optimization, thanks to the minimization of unproductive setup times on production lines.
These two renovation phases represent a basis for possible future developments, such us the integration of sensor-based data on the operational status of production machines and the currently available warehouse supplies.
In conclusion, the Industry 4.0-based on-going digitization process guided by things2i allows to continuously collect heterogeneous Human-to-Things (H2T) data, which can be used to optimize the partner manufacturing company as a whole entity.
Various worldwide studies, reports and scientific papers reveal the fact that the biggest challenge of the Industrial Internet of Things supporters is not so much technology itself but the people.
While digital technologies are rapidly becoming a commodity, success largely depends on an organization‘s Digital IQ . Therefore, it is critical to improve the digital skills of the employees who need to roll out digital processes and service .
Based on the existing trends, experts predict that profound changes starting from the content to the delivery within the Internet of Things and Industrial Internet of Things are needed in regards to the main aspects of education.
In order to meet the changing requirements and respond to the increasing demand for a future highly skilled workforce, new effective educational programmes will have to be improved or developed and/or the existing academic curricula will have to be re-structured.
Furthermore, higher education institutions have to overcome the traditional way of learning, by embracing the latest technologies in order to innovate the learning process. According to , workers who are skilled at developing and deploying IIoT systems will find themselves in greater demand.
Digital competences and innovation are widely considered to be some of the key drivers to boost the competitiveness of companies within the IIoT context. In this respect, disruptive technologies, such as those listed in the previous section, which have been leveraged for the development of IIoT, should be viewed as building blocks for the basis of a curriculum adjusted to meet the IIoT‘s requirements.
Furthermore, according to the recommendations of various studies and reports, universities must equip students with attributes that will enable them to respond to an uncertain future – by ―handling ambiguity, emotional intelligence, adaptability‖ . It is a fact that the focus on the technical development of the individual is just a part of the IIoT‘s educational vision. According to , the ongoing reorganization and realignment of education systems will also be of a paramount importance.
The transition from higher education towards employment is a challenge that could be more easily addressed through the efforts of both universities and employers, as part of universities-employers partnerships. In fact, the importance of employer-university relationships is also supported by the graduate employment rate as a key performance indicator for universities.
Consequently, universities have increased their focus both on supporting the employability rate of students and graduates, and on their partnership with the business and industry sectors.
The purpose is twofold:
to prepare students for the labor market as well as to increase the graduate employment rates.
In fact, some universities have to work harder and in more innovative ways to attract potential employers.
A solution that has highly been used in the recent years is to involve the private sector in developing the academic curricula, based on specific needs.
Moreover, placements and internships in various companies give students a chance to gain work experience.
gradual evolution in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT) is cutting of human interference across many sectors.
Meantime the IoT breakthrough is also bound to create a new set of jobs for those who possess the ability to thrive with time and upskill their talent.Although the wave of the fourth industrial revolution has instilled a grave fear among professionals regarding job losses, technologies like Internet of Things will undoubtedly open unexplored avenues for them.
Let’s see what is the current landscape of IoT job market. The contemporary IoT job market is growing at a great pace with the increase in demand for skilled engineers and tech professionals who can serve the connectivity of billions of connected devices. -
However, unfortunately, Immersat Research Programme research shows that around 47% of organizations surveyed do not possess correct IoT skills and pressing on the idea to outsource everything.
In addition to this, Gartner predicts that around 75 percent of the IoT projects may take twice as long as they should because of the shortage of IoT talent.",