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The IT sector is one of the largest industries in the US and perpetual digital transformation and rapid technology innovation continues to drive job growth in the sector and extend the reach IT has in all areas of our lives.

Indeed, the latest statistics highlight that job creation within the IT sector continues to rise month on month and at the heart of the growth is our expectation of endless connectivity, everything being available ‘right now’ and the desire for ambient IT where people and machines are in constant communication and devices actually begin to sense the world around them and offer boundless levels of data to drive efficiency and productivity.

One of the most significant areas that is driving the growth is the number of ‘things’ that utilise the internet today or Internet for Things (IoT) to give its full name. The IoT is essentially a system of machines or objects outfitted with web-enabled data-collecting technologies so that those objects can communicate with one another.

However, the ‘things’ aren’t where the power lies, rather it is the data that is supplied when these ‘things’ are connected and what we can do with that data.

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Currently the IoT aims to make our lives easier and our homes, workplaces and vehicles smarter. Devices such as Amazon’s Echo and Google Home allow us to get information, play music and be organised quicker. Smart meters power our homes, the number of smart homes in the US increased from 17 million in 2015 to an estimated 29 million in 2017, to be more efficient and smart fridges tell you when you’ve run out of milk or the carton you have is out of date.

The mass amount of data that the IoT provides has the potential to revolutionize every industry from healthcare, retail and manufacturing allowing them to be far more profitable and efficient than ever before. A notable example is one truck company who were able to reduce the cost of managing their fleet of 180,000 trucks from 15 cents a mile to just 3 cents by analysing driver behaviour, how trucks get refuelled and whether goods in transit had become spoiled.

Plus, the tech giants, including IBM and Microsoft, see IoT Analytics as a key tool to driving new business insights across many industries as data is king and can transform how we work and live for the better.

One thing is very clear, digital transformation and rapid technology innovation is transforming every area of our lives and the evolution is just the beginning. In all likelihood it is totally unstoppable, although many believe that the real influencer will be if there continues to be enough IT workers available to facilitate the changes and developments, especially as there are clear signs of a skills shortage.

Tackling any skills shortage early is essential if we are to achieve our technology innovation potential as ultimately the demand for IT professionals will only intensify and with it an ever-widening skills shortage.

Businesses need to take the initiative by finding new sources of talent, ways of retaining the great talent they already have and for developing in-house talent. Expecting the market to solely supply them with an endless stream of talent is no longer viable.

By investing in apprenticeships, internships, development and mentoring courses it could help to stay one step ahead of the competition and retain the best on the market, although of course this requires businesses to put their money where their mouth is, and budgets should account for this. Indeed, according to the latest research the top-performing companies in the USA are those that dedicated the highest share of their IT budgets to this area.

Ultimately, the businesses who see investing in education and the right skills as the only way to take advantage and propel themselves in a world of digital transformation and rapid technology innovation will be the most successful.

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