Every eighth industrial company uses artificial intelligence (AI) within the scope of Industry 4.0. The majority of companies invest at least five percent of their turnover in the Internet of Things, as a survey by the industry association Bitkom shows.
Artificial intelligence conquers factories
Achim Berg does not spare with large words: Artificial intelligence conquers the factories in the express speed and is the basis for continuous improvements in the manufacturing , commentates the president of the industry federation Bitkom a inquiry among 555 German industrial enterprises. The survey by Bitkom Research examines the degree of deployment, expectations and obstacles in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). The respondents come from companies with at least one hundred employees.
According to the survey, 53 percent of industrial companies currently use special applications for industry 4.0 (or: Internet of Things), compared with 49 percent in the previous year’s survey. A further 21 percent (2018: 22 percent) plan to use it. On average, 25 percent of the machines are connected to the Internet (2018: 24 percent). Only one in ten companies has connected more than 50 percent of its machines to the Internet.
Bitkom explicitly asked about AI usage in the context of industry 4.0. Around one in eight uses such solutions. At the same time, 49 percent consider it “rather” to “very likely” that the Internet of Things will disruptively change existing business models. The study participants expect many advantages of AI in the industry 4.0 context, above all productivity increases (47 percent), predictive maintenance (39 percent) and the optimization of production and manufacturing processes (33 percent). They also mention quality improvements (25 percent), better scalability (20 percent) and cost reductions (19 percent).
Industry 4.0 fails due to many factors
A clear majority of 94 percent wants to invest in the Internet of Things. This figure is split up as follows: 55 percent want to provide five percent and more of the total turnover, 39 percent remain below that.
But industry 4.0 initiatives also often fail. There are several reasons for this: First of all, the interviewees mention high investment costs as well as data protection and data security requirements (between 66 and 61 percent of the responses). This is immediately followed by a shortage of skilled workers (55 percent). The other obstacles remain below the 50 percent mark: complexity of the topic (49 percent) and the susceptibility of the systems to failure (39 percent) and the lack of a legal framework (38 percent). Rarely do respondents speak of a lack of acceptance among the workforce (24 percent) and a lack of standards (23 percent).
At some points, industrial companies see the need for politicians. For example, 80 percent demand a better broadband expansion and 56 percent a practicable data protection. 67 percent also expect political support in the search for skilled workers and 29 percent demand more research investment.
A total of 72 percent of respondents call for a new industrial policy for Industry 4.0 in Germany. In an international comparison, 28 percent see Germany in second place behind the USA and ahead of Japan, China and Korea.