Industrial companies in Europe invested earlier than their US competitors in proofs of concept for the Internet of Things. That has put them ahead on the learning curve, and so companies in the two regions differ in their view of the greatest barriers to adopting more IoT solutions. Industrial customers in the US say they are more concerned with implementation issues, including integration with other operating technology, interoperability, technical expertise and transition risk. In fact, US executives were even more concerned with these issues in 2018 than they were in 2016—suggesting they may have just begun to experience the pain of bringing these technologies into the mainstream of their organizations. Europeans are now less concerned with implementation issues than their counterparts in the US, perhaps because their early investments in IoT technologies have allowed them to work through many of these issues.
Ann Bosche, Michael Schallehn and Christopher Schorling work with Bain’s Global Technology practice, and Oliver Straehle leads Bain’s Advanced Manufacturing & Services practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. They are based in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Frankfurt and Zurich, respectively.
Many of Europe’s industrial companies invested early and often in the Internet of Things, giving them an edge over their US counterparts.