30 de mar de 2022

European-wide survey on Industry 4.0: Most companies are still on the starting blocks

GOPPINGEN/GERMANY, March 30, 2022 – Despite being a major buzzword over the past decades, the implementation of “Industry 4.0” is still at the very beginning in European companies. Only less than a quarter (23%) have started with the digital transformation of their production. Furthermore, more than half of the companies have not even begun to develop an “Industry 4.0” strategy or roadmap. This is the result of a survey of 1,452 corporate decision-makers in ten European countries, which was conducted by the market research institute YouGov on behalf of the Handelsblatt Research Institute and TeamViewer.

For most decision-makers surveyed, the concept of “Industry 4.0” describes a multidimensional approach to digitalizing their businesses. For three quarters, it includes the use of technology and data to digitalize the production process with focus on machines, but also the use of augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to support the workers’ manual processes through digital technology. More than 70 percent stated that this transformation will result in better working conditions, more workplace safety, and a completely different corporate culture.

According to the survey, the most important technologies and megatrends that will drive the digitalization of their companies’ production in the future are Cybersecurity (27%), Digital Platforms (25%), the Internet of Things (25%) and Cloud Services (24%). In contrast, Chatbots (12%) and Blockchain (12%) are expected to play a minor role.

Most of the decision-makers surveyed associate the use of innovative technologies in production with an increase in efficiency (82%). Other expected advantages are the improvement of quality and service level (81%), the reduction of costs (81%), and security improvements such as employee health and safety, building security and information security (80%).

On the contrary, the time and cost involved (32%) is currently the biggest issue in digitalizing their companies’ production. Furthermore, IT security (28%) and data security (25%) concerns play an important role, as well as the incompatibility between existing machines and new technologies (26%). On the other hand, only few companies see a lack of personnel (16%), a lack of acceptance among employees (16%), or missing priority among management (15%) as the main obstacles to the digital transformation of production.

Huge potential seen for IoT, AR and AI

The survey put a particular focus on the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality (AR) solutions, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for digitalizing production. According to the research, a large proportion of the corporate decision-makers surveyed see potential applications for IoT (78%), AI (72%) and AR (70%) within the production of their own companies.

For IoT, the main applications in production are expected to be the automation of order transactions (37%), machine-to-machine-communication (33%), predictive analytics (32%), and controlling machines remotely (31%). For AR, decision makers see most potential in quality assurance (38%), assembly, maintenance and repair (36%), and the optimization of the production process (36%).

In AI, decision-makers see possible applications in production quality monitoring and yield management (35%), fault prediction and predictive maintenance (31%), monitoring safety and compliance measures (31%), and demand forecasting and production planning (31%).

Jan Junker, Executive Vice President Solution Sales & Delivery at TeamViewer: “The survey shows two things that also our clients confirm: on the one hand, the road to Industry 4.0 is tough for many companies, especially for those using heavy and expensive assets in their production. On the other hand, the majority has a huge interest in leveraging the enormous potential that the digitalization of their production has to offer. It is great to explore the possibilities of embedded devices, AR and AI together with our clients and support them in making their businesses ready for the future.”

About the survey

On behalf of TeamViewer and the Handelsblatt Research Institute, the market research institute YouGov surveyed a total of 1,452 corporate decision-makers from companies in which production processes play at least a minor business role. The topics of the online survey were the digital transformation of production (status, challenges, goals, approach), future technologies in general, and specifically possible applications of augmented reality, artificial intelligence and IoT in the field of production. The survey was conducted between October 29 and November 14 in ten European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

A publication with the complete analysis of the survey can be found here.