News: Women in IoT

Who they are and what drives them

Barcelona, March 2018

The Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the way cities and industries operate, and people work and play. As a global IoT pioneer, Worldsensing is at the center of this change, actively shaping the Smart City ecosystem and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Being a key player in a booming global market translates to fast growth and high demand for staff who want to join us on the journey to reinvent the world. Because we know that diversity is one of the key drivers for innovation, we are an international group of people from over 20 countries who speak more than 14 different languages. However, we are actively looking for more women to join our team in technical and leadership roles to help us shape cities and industries of tomorrow.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

As a way of reinforcing our connections with women in technology, Worldsensing hosted a recent meetup by PyLadiesBCN, an international mentorship group with a focus on helping more women become active participants and leaders in the Python open-source community. At Worldsensing, the Python programming language is used from start to finish when developing our products and solutions. The meetup was a hands-on workshop on how to analyze data with Jupyter Notebook, Pandas and Plotly, and was organized to celebrate International Women’s Day.

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, our “women in IoT” Ruth Portas and Maria Navarro share their thoughts on their career choices, what inspires them and what could be done to attract more women into the IoT industry. Gènia Bozzo, Director of People Operations gives insights into the current situation of hiring women for Worldsensing.

From Math Lover to Telecommunications Engineer

Ruth Portas is a Presales Engineer at Worldsensing who works in close collaboration with our Sales and Technical teams.

“I ensure that both our technical and commercial approaches are aligned when creating solutions for our clients. We want to meet their needs and make sure that the solution is within the capabilities of our company”, Ruth explains her role.

Maths ans physics were Ruth’s favourite subjects during her studies, which made her choose a career in IoT.

“I wanted to become a Telecommunications Engineer to drive the technological revolution of enriching our lives with smart technology”, she shares her thoughts.

“I feel that nowadays it is more and more common to see women in various roles in the technology sector. There have been some incidents in my past workplaces when I wasn’t met with the same respect as men in similar positions. At Worldsensing, I don’t have these issues. In general, I would say that people in IoT are very supportive, and judge you rather by your work than by your gender.”, Ruth says about her experiences.

Ruth taking part in a workshop with colleagues at the company Kickoff 2018.

Driving the Technological Revolution

In her role as a Presales Engineer, Ruth is working on multiple traffic projects related to Fastprk our parking management system and Fastprk2 our innovation project, such as a proposal for detecting disabled parking based on the parking sensor information and GPS position tag, or helping end users find a parking space, and pay only for the time they used it.

Another example of a project she has participated in is a proposal for dynamic pricing, which uses real-time and historical data collected from our parking management system to propose a better price to drivers and the company or operator managing the parking spaces for the city.

“What attracted me to Worldsensing is how the company helps cities to be more efficient through IoT. Worldsensing is a young, innovative company and allows me to grow and develop in the field of technology”, Ruth offers.

Working with Meaningful Technology

Support Engineer Maria Navarro works with Loadsensing, our wireless system for monitoring operations in mines and construction sites as well as geotechnical projects. Her role at Worldsensing ranges from supporting Loadsensing incidents reported by users, to analysing project feasibility and assessing sensor compatibilities with the Loadsensing product.

“Sometimes I also do project deployments in the field, and ensure that the installation is working as it should. I also carry out Loadsensing product trainings for strategic customers, which allows me to have a close vision of their market, which in return helps us determine possible Loadsensing product improvements and new developments.”, Maria explains.

Getting More Women to Work in Tech

Maria thinks that the interest level of women to work in technology roles can be measured by the number of female students who choose to study technology disciplines. Recent surveys show, that in Spain, the amount of women going for a technology related degree is increasing, which is a great sign.

“On the other hand,”, she adds “we cannot forget that a lot needs to be done still in terms of work-life balance, especially being able to combine building a career and raising a family, equal pay for women, and more flexibility. These points really affect women. Improving them could also encourage women to work in tech which traditionally is a male-dominated field.”

Loadsensing team performing wireless communication tests in a tunnel environment. From the left, Maria Navarro, Gaizka Barrio and Cristina Lafuente.

Making a Difference

What Maria loves about working in IoT are the creative and innovative aspects of the sector.

“I come from the civil engineering sector which is not very innovative. It fascinates me how technology can be applied to improve other types of markets.”

“I have worked in both the geotechnical and civil engineering industries, where most of our Loasensing clients are from.”, Maria looks back on her long experience with infrastructure monitoring. “I find it very interesting how we develop new technologies and apply real-time data to change how operations are run to monitor geological hazards, civil infrastructures, the environment and geotechnics.”

Maria has been working in the field of geological hazards and tunnel construction for a long time. She emphasizes how in both areas it is extremely important to anticipate events in order to prevent or control disasters.

“I have experienced many critical situations during tunnel excavation works in densely populated areas. I know how challenging it is, both in terms of required human resources and time, to have a team reading geotechnical data manually and then having to wait for hours to get the results. In critical situations it is crucial to obtain information fast to apply the right emergency protocols. Working on a product that provides a solution for these kinds of situations is very meaningful to me.”, Maria explains.

On the Wishlist: More Women at Worldsensing

Worldsensing was founded by a group of physicists and engineers, and the core team consists of industrial and civil engineers as well as hardware, firmware and software engineers. As these are not careers many women choose in the first place, this presents a challenge to the company.

“One of the reasons why we are looking for female engineers and developers to join our teams is to encourage innovation driven by different perspectives which leads to creating better products.”, explains Gènia Bozzo, Director of People Operations. The main issue is a small number of potential applicants. “There are only a few women available today, especially when recruiting electronic engineers.”

Another objective is to support women who lead or want to become a leader:

“We would like to hire more women for leadership roles at Worldsensing. Our corporate culture is very inclusive and modern, and allows for a more nurturing and communicative leadership style which is more common in women. We already have some female colleagues in leadership roles who are successfully applying this management style.”

Moreover, there are several initiatives in place to support work-life balance, having a family and open communication.

“The main reason why we want to hire more women is that it creates a healthier and diverse work environment which has proven to achieve more positive results.”, Gènia finishes.

Gènia presenting at the company Mid-Year Summit.

About Worldsensing

Worldsensing is a widely recognized global IoT pioneer. Founded in 2008, the Barcelona-based technology provider delivers Operational Intelligence to traditional industries and cities. With over 80 employees in Barcelona, London and Los Angeles, Worldsensing is globally active and has customers in over 50 countries across 5 continents.

Press contact:
Jennifer Harth