Industrial companies in Europe continue to extend their lead in implementing the Internet of Things (IoT). Bain’s 2016 survey found that European companies were ahead of their US counterparts in running proofs of concept (POCs) for IoT use cases. Our follow-up survey in 2018 found Europeans pressing that advantage. Europe’s stronger engagement in POCs and higher investment in 2016 helped them move to scale faster, with three times more extensive implementations in 2018. US companies are ramping up their investments in POCs and plan to invest primarily in these through 2022. But companies that have put off investment may continue to lose ground to competitors that are already learning how to derive value from the IoT and becoming more data-driven every day—skills that will form the basis of competition in a world of extreme automation and artificial intelligence.
Ann Bosche, Michael Schallehn, Christopher Schorling and Oliver Straehle are partners with Bain & Company in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Frankfurt and Zürich, respectively. Ann, Michael and Christopher work with Bain’s Global Technology practice, and Oliver leads Bain’s Advanced Manufacturing & Services practice in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Many of Europe’s industrial companies invested early and often in the Internet of Things, giving them an edge over their US counterparts.