Is your IT staff ready for IoT?

Organizations are itching to start internet of things initiatives, but efforts are hampered by shortages of already-scarce security pros and workers with newer analytics skills.

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The city of Kansas City, Mo., blazed a new technology trail in May when it launched its first streetcar line with public Wi-Fi that spreads across two square miles, covering more than 50 square blocks. It also marked the debut of the city's first-generation smart city corridor for new technologies, many of which will run wirelessly over one of the largest free public Wi-Fi zones in the country.

For chief innovation officer Bob Bennett, finding the right tech talent to get the project moving was relatively easy, thanks to partnerships with networking giant Cisco, wireless carrier Sprint and a dozen other providers.

However, as the city moves forward with its plan to collect data from thousands of sensors and use predictive analytics to measure the effectiveness of city services, the 30 people in the IT department will have to learn new skills associated with the internet of things (IoT).

The challenge for some IT staffers "is the willingness to embrace what's next," Bennett says. For starters, he's lobbying for a move to cloud-based software with the city's next Oracle upgrade, and he hopes IT staffers will embrace cloud storage.

He's also looking for IT professionals with "a freakish allegiance" to data protection standards and cybersecurity, and for people who can develop connections between multiple systems and create access to data.

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