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What Skills are Needed to Invent the Connected Objects of Tomorrow
July 05

What Skills are Needed to Invent the Connected Objects of Tomorrow

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Communication and versatility - key elements in the creation of connected objects

Connected objects are inevitable future players in all of our lives, contributing and leading to significant changes in our habits. Whether managing health, supporting simple tools or whole cities, aiding in the fields of education, recreation, and agriculture or vital accessories to simplify everyday life.... these objects have endless applications. In 2015 their numbers worldwide were estimated to be 13.4 billion. According to research by the American consulting firm, Gartner, this figure is expected to soar to 20.8 billion by 2020. Figures could even go higher, flirting with the number of 38.5 billion connected objects that Juniper Research expects to see in use by 2020.

What exactly is a connected object?

To facilitate this intense technological development, human beings are needed - mainly engineers - to design and make the connected objects. An overactive imagination and unusual but specific skills are also necessary for the development of these modules. To be ready for this we need to know exactly what a connected object is. It is defined as a combination of different areas: electronics, mechanics, design, and telecommunications through the wireless and the web. The intelligent device must have the ability to communicate with other elements and be able to "make decisions" based on the data it collects or receives. In addition, it should also have a certain autonomy that allows it to fit discreetly into the lives of its users.

How existing courses on connected objects operate

Several engineering colleges and polytechnics now offer courses that are dedicated to connected objects. A search through their different prospectuses appears to show that the emphasis of courses is on programming (via the web or mobile devices) or on the network itself. The technology skills required seem to be the classic ones. These curricula also place a great emphasis on the students ability to understand the concept of a network and the interdisciplinary processes that surround a smart object and its operation. User experience, usability, and programming language all coexist within these structures.

Connected objects - a world of total integration

Franck Crison is a research engineer in the digital world of engineering based at the ESIEA School. When interviewed for "The Digital Factory" he highlighted the fact that young engineers must have an overall view of the system in which the connected object will be embedded. In the not so distant past, innovative devices could be designed to operate independently of the rest of the world. In the connected universe this is not possible. An intelligent designer must be able to integrate objects into real life: their communication and collaboration with other parts of the same project are totally fundamental.

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