Embracing the Internet of Things (IoT) in the Workplace

An Interview with DR. SHANTANU BOSE, DeVry University Provost

As provost and vice president of Academic Excellence for DeVry University, Shantanu Bose, Ph.D., drives the academic vision and provides leadership for the development of new programs to meet the educational needs of students in areas of technology and business.

DeVryWORKS sat down with Dr. Bose and asked for his take on the present state of Internet of Things (IoT), how we can prepare for its future, close the skills gap, and more. 

Q. How would you define Internet of Things (IoT)? Why is it such a hot subject at the moment?

A. IoT is really about the internet connecting to various, different devices. In the last several years there been an explosion in the way the internet connects. You can start your car from your phone and doctors can even connect with a patient’s heart rate and provide appropriate medical care.

IoT is the way these connections are changing our lives, how this massive increase in the number of connections (your phone, laptop, home, car, etc.) is impacting various industries. IoT is also a way to see what the connections mean, as the amount of data that is generated as a result of these devices is huge.

Takeway: A lot of decision-making in the very near future will be by machines and algorithms with a little human intervention and IoT speaks to those issues as well.

Q: What do you consider some of the most exciting advances presented by IoT?

A: It’s changing the medical field, business, and manufacturing - even most cities. Now, your device can identify a parking space in advance and pay for it before you even leave home.

Many exciting opportunities lie in the level of prototyping that can happen in building an ecosystem of connected devices. Rapid prototyping allows programmers to try out new ideas in simulated environments. Imagine a food manufacturer - overnight, they could know exactly what the day’s consumption was. An order for the ingredients they needed would be placed automatically and before they walk into work the next morning, the oven would already be heated to the right temperature to cook whatever needed to be made first.

Takeaway: It’s hard to isolate a single advance because IoT is so pervasive, and the speed of change is staggering.

Q: What are some of the biggest security challenges that IoT presents?

A: Anything that connects can be attacked and hacked. The vast proliferation of data is an offshoot of having so many ways to connect to the internet. The vast amount of data being sent back and forth calls for an increased need for security to figure out ways to protect this data for the security of people and organizations.

At present, both cyber security (where individual’s data is compromised) and information security (where an organization’s data is compromised) are major issues. A machine operating system that can be hacked is a big deal that affects so many layers of a business.

Takeaway: Companies need to staff up for that and people need to learn about how clouds can be hacked as well as device and data hacking.

Q: What skills do you think the next generation of security professionals will need in their wheelhouse?

A: All machines, devices and algorithms can be tampered with. Someone can artificially create data spikes and manipulate the market or place fake orders, falsely predict needs when there are none.

Physical information and security will also increase manifold. You’ll need to think a couple of connections out – your phone is connected to the PC, the PC to a central server. You’ll need to broaden your understanding of the ecosystem, of all the ways it can be hacked, and about white hacks and black hacks, to start.

Takeaway: Business continuity will be at the forefront. You, your suppliers and your customers -- all may be responsible/liable and can be harmed by hacks and tampering. If you know there has been a breach, what are the steps and procedures you take? These should all be planned ahead of time.

Q: How do you find that DeVry University & DeVryWORKS help people develop tech skills they need today and in tomorrow’s disruptive business environment?

A: DeVry has a lot going on in this area - our TechPath really started to hone in on specific coursework in each program to provide students in tech, business, and healthcare with a strong technology background. Students can learn how to connect people, process, data and devices in new ways to solve business problems.

Takeaway: DeVry’s TechPath curriculum leverages tech-centric, experiential and project-based instruction for a deeper educational experience applicable to industry demands. Our priority is to help students build their overall skill proficiency and technical competency - and to better position them to make a difference in organizations in today’s interdependent, digitized world.

Q: What is digital fluency and how can DeVry help develop it as a skillset?

A: Digital fluency is understanding how your job is being impacted by the technology and data around you - and how your job’s technology and data impacts those around you.

Takeaway: It’s no longer just knowing MS Word and Excel, now you – and those your hire - need to know how to extract and use this data. Everyone needs to understand how to bring it all that together to solve business problems.

Q: What can someone do to work towards helping the workforce become more digitally fluent?

A: First, get a baseline on how you feel about digital fluency and IoT. Then, see where your gap lies. This gap analysis will show you what’s important and where you and your coworkers may be lacking. From there, make a path. Where do you go from here to take the workforce where it needs to go? You need to recognize changes in tech and ensure required skills are up to date. If they’re not, what do you need to do to upskill?

Takeaway: The tech skill level is going to be increasing quickly due to IoT. In other words, you will be in the technology business whether you are right now or not.

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DR. SHANTANU BOSE, DeVry University Provost: Dr. Bose led the launch of DeVry University’s rapidly growing medical billing and coding program, and is currently working on developing new programs and certificates for DeVry University in areas where skills gaps exist.He earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Indian Institute of Technology and both his Master’s in chemical engineering and a doctorate in supply chain management from Purdue University, where he received the University’s Magoon Award for Excellence in Teaching.