Industrial IoT: Comparing the U.S., Germany, Japan and China
New research comparing the development of industrial “internet of things” economies in Germany, Japan, China and the U.S. finds Germany has the strongest industrial base, but lacks in ICT development while the U.S. has the opposite dynamic. The Handelsblatt Research Institute conducted the comparative analysis at the request of Huawei Technologies Germany.
Germany has a national program for development of smart factor automation technology called Industrie 4.0. Like Industrie 4.0, China has its Made in China 2025 program, which emphasizes development of Chinese expertise in multiple technology-related disciplines. Japan, China, the U.S. and Germany are regarded as the global leaders in industrial automation.
According to the study:
- The U.S. is diversified and excellently positioned, possessing a very strong ICT sector. However, it is questionable whether its industry is substantial enough to benefit from the development.
- Germany’s position is reversed, with a very powerful industrial base. The questions that arise here concern whether Germany’s digital economy is strong enough to prepare the industry for the next industrial revolution, and whether in light of its own strength, the industry itself can see a need for action and demonstrate the requisite will to innovate.
- Japan has an industry renowned for innovation and the political will to support Industry 4.0. However, the nation’s economic position has been difficult for some years.
- China brings up the rear in most of the rankings, but the country has developed at breathtaking speed in recent years. This applies not only to its growth rates, but also to sectors in the context of Industry 4.0. Given the fact China’s ICT industry is prospering, unlike Germany, if it can continue its trend in Industry 4.0 it may be able to make even more headway.
Specific to the IIoT in Germany, the study authors found:
- Industry expenditure for research and development should be increased. The German ICT sector lags behind in the international comparison, but its service expertise is competitive.
- International partnerships should be pursued with more vigor. Shared standards would secure access to much larger markets for German enterprises from the outset. A cooperation with China, with its growing ICT industry and large market, presents itself as a good opportunity.
- Germany also must improve its approach to promoting entrepreneurship. In addition to the difficulties in gaining access to venture capital, a paradigm shift is required: at present there is insufficient willingness to take risks.
- Investment has to increase in order to meet the growing requirements of many Industry 4.0 applications.