spraying sugar cane 2746350 640New research finds that over 60 per cent of agritech businesses lack skilled employees to explore the opportunities offered by IoT

The potential for Internet of Things (IoT) technology to drive innovation, efficiency, and increased productivity in the agricultural sector is at risk, as agritech businesses must urgently upskill current employees and embark on recruitment drives to ensure they have the capabilities to deliver the technology. According to independent research commissioned by Inmarsat, while the vast majority of agritech companies are moving towards IoT, a significant proportion lack the staff and skills needed to take advantage of the technology.
Market research specialist Vanson Bourne interviewed respondents from 100 large agritech businesses across the globe and found that while over 46 per cent of agritech businesses reported full deployment of IoT solutions and a further 16 per cent have initiated a partial deployment, many currently lack the skills needed to do so effectively. Additionally, agritech businesses require an uplift in skills at the strategic level, where 65 per cent of respondents identified a shortfall, as well as the management and delivery of IoT deployment, where over 50 per cent of respondents said they lacked staff.
The research also revealed the specific IoT skillsets that agritech companies are lacking. 55 per cent of agritech companies reported a shortage in cyber security personnel, with analytical and data science skills coming in second in demand at 53 per cent.
Chris Harry-Thomas, director of sector development agriculture at Inmarsat, said, “IoT is the frontline of the Fourth Agricultural Revolution, providing a digital nerve system with a network of connected and automated devices and sensors. Farmers are leveraging these technologies to dramatically improve the efficiency and precision of their operations, automating irrigation systems so that water is only delivered to where it is needed, and optimising fertilisation to improve yields."
“The automation of these processes is reducing the need for manual intervention on the ground, but creating new requirements for staff skilled in areas such as data analysis and cyber security which, as we have seen from our research, the industry is currently lacking," he added.