The adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the mining sector has highlighted the lack of skills needed to deploy it, according to Inmarsat research program, the Rise of IoT in Mining.
This is particularly relevant to more complex IoT-based projects, such as shipment and supply chain tracking and automated vehicle operation.
In fact, skills shortages are considered to be the most significant barrier in the development of IoT-based solutions by 46 per cent of mining organisations.
The research found that shortages were reported across different levels of IoT management, with 84 per cent of organisations identifying a shortfall at the strategic level.
This goes contrary to the desire of mining companies to increase security skills in their organisations (64 per cent) and increase the number of employees with data science and analytical skills (52 per cent).
“IoT offers mining organisations the potential to drive innovation and reduce costs in previously unthinkable ways,” Inmarsat director of mining Nicholas Prevost said.
“Connected vehicles, machinery and sensors, can facilitate the collection of data at every stage of the mining process, enabling miners to acquire a higher level of intelligence on how their operations are working and provide them with the tools to work safer, smarter, and more productively.
“However, fully realising these benefits depends on mining companies’ access to appropriately skilled members of staff and it is clear from our research that practical, hands-on experience of IoT-based solutions is in short supply across the sector, which is in turn hindering its ability to take advantage of more complex IoT projects.”
Prevost said that the sector’s image had been a key barrier to closing the growing skills gap.
He suggested mining companies to embrace smarter ways of working to attract the skills they needed, and for mining leadership to commit to adopting digital practices.