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Growth game-changer drives progress and prosperity

Accenture research reveals the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) can add potential growth of US$14.2 trillion to the global economy.


The IIoT could deliver massive economic rewards, but only to countries prepared to capitalize on its growth. Accenture worked with Frontier Economics to model the IIoT’s potential impact on the GDPs of 20 developed and emerging economies that generate more than three-quarters of the world’s economic output. The model takes into account projected investment levels, national industry structures and the capacities of different countries to absorb IIoT technologies.

Our analysis shows that, based on current policy and investment trends, the IIoT could add around US$10.6 trillion to the cumulative GDP of these economies over the next 15 years. In 2030, under these conditions, the IIoT could result in GDP being 1.0 percent higher than it otherwise would be (under trend forecast).

Further, we found that the potential for growth could be even greater. By taking additional measures to improve their capacity to absorb IIoT technologies and increase IIoT investment, countries could generate up to an estimated US$3.6 trillion in additional value over and above the indication of current trends, for a total of US$14.2 trillion. For the countries we studied, this could lift real GDP by 1.5 percent in 2030 over trend projections.



Key Findings

History tells us that achieving economic diffusion comes down to how well a country can weave innovations into its economic and social fabric. We developed an index of the factors that underpin this process—which we call a country’s “national absorptive capacity” (NAC). A country with a NAC score of 100 would be the top performer on each of the 55 indicators compared to the other study countries. Overall, our results show that no one country has achieved this level. In other words, everyone has work to do.

The United States, Switzerland and three Nordic countries are the furthest ahead in terms of their NACs, but they also exhibit room for improvement. Our results suggest that if each of the 20 countries invested the same amount of capital in the IIoT, countries higher on the NAC Index will gain more economic benefit from the investment, all other things being equal.


The Internet of Things is blurring the boundaries between virtual and physical objects, enabling entirely new market segments and business models.

The Growth Game-Changer


Based on our research into previous eras of technological revolution and interviews with experts from the technology, economics and business disciplines, we have identified the four pillars that underlie a country’s national absorptive capacity:

  • Business commons: includes reliable banking and finance, education, good governance and a healthy network of suppliers.

  • Take-off factors: includes the levels of research and development, the presence of high-tech companies and the degree of technology skills.

  • Transfer factors: such as the level of social and end-user acceptance, the willingness to embrace organizational change and an ability to respond to the impacts on human capital.

  • Innovation dynamo: when the ubiquity of IIoT technology acts as a multiplier effect on existing levels of entrepreneurialism and the ability to commercialize new ideas.

Our analysis shows that combining an understanding of their national absorptive capacity with IIoT investments can set countries on a path to economic progress and prosperity.

Articles about The Growth Game Changer


Ian Goldin

Ian Goldin

 Professor of globalization and development and director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford

Rebecca Schindler

Helen Rebecca Schindler

 Research leader at RAND Europe, specializing in technology and innovation policy