Cisco to turn electricians into Internet of Things engineers for Smart Grid future

Tangled cables

Cisco has unveiled plans to train up an army of electrical engineers with the skills required to install, fix and maintain the millions of Smart Grid meters that will come online as part of the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution.

Cisco said given the huge predicted growth in this market, training electrical engineers with internet protocol (IP) data transmissions networking skills is vital to ensure a skills shortage does not hamper its growth.

To do this, Cisco is starting to adapt its existing network curriculum training tools so they can be used by electricans, as Carsten Johnston, networking academy manger for Cisco’s Internet of Everything Smart Grid Curriculum, explained to V3.

“We realised there is a lot of IP based data transmission networking technology in Smart Grids and IoT and this is something that electrical engineers need to be trained in,’ he said.

“As such it wasn’t hard to see that we could already take around a third, perhaps 40%, of our existing training materials for networking engineers and start adapting them for Smart Grid systems.”

Johnston said the hope is that in schools and universities where its learning aides are already well known, academics will introduce colleagues in the electrical engineering department to the software and encourages its use.

The first version of the tool is due to be released in Germany in July, with other versions released throughout the year and into 2015. The UK version is likely be made available before the end of the year, possibly October, Johnston added.

While the core of the market for this new training offer is likely to be students and those on vocational courses, Johnston said experienced electrical engineers could also benefit.

“The courses will teach you to work with new equipment which will be installed much more in the future, so it will help people build on their existing skills base,” he said.

The announcement is part on Cisco’s ongoing push around IoT, after it recently splurged $175m for a Swedish firm called Tail-f in a move to boost its network-management tools for IoT systems.

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