Industry sees the future in AI - but is hesitant to use it


  • 78% of industrial companies are convinced that AI will be a decisive competitive factor in the future
  • At the same time, half are taking a wait-and-see approach to AI deployment
  • The greatest potential is seen in energy management and analytics

Berlin, 6 May 2024 - If German industry has its way, artificial intelligence (AI) will not only shape the sector, but also play a decisive role in its future. 78% of German industrial companies are convinced that the use of AI will be decisive for the competitiveness of German industry in the future. For 70 percent, AI is even the most important technology for the future viability of German industry. Accordingly, 82% of manufacturing companies believe that German industry should play a pioneering role in the use of AI. These are the results of a survey conducted by the digital association Bitkom among 604 companies, including 160 industrial companies.

As far as the current status of the use of AI in industry is concerned, however, the sector certainly sees a need to catch up: 43% believe that German industry is in danger of missing out on the AI revolution. In fact, half (53%) of industrial companies state that they are waiting to see what experiences others have with the use of AI. In some cases, however, there is also a lack of know-how: 48% complain that they lack the expertise to integrate AI. At the same time, the industry is calling for less bureaucracy: 91% say that politicians should not stifle AI innovations through over-regulation.

"The enormous potential of AI for the industry is recognized in the sector, but is far from being fully exploited. Those who wait and see cannot take on a pioneering role. If German industry wants to remain among the global leaders, it must integrate AI quickly and comprehensively into its processes and products," says Bitkom President Dr. Ralf Wintergerst at the Hannover Messe. "The use of AI in industry is not about being part of the hype, but about making production more efficient, sustainable and resilient."

The industry sees very different areas of application for artificial intelligence. Industrial companies see very high or high potential primarily in energy management (90%), followed by analytics (75%), for example in predictive maintenance or performance optimization. 70 percent see great or very great potential for the use of AI in warehouse management, 65 percent in the configuration of machines and 61 percent in robotics. In each case, 52 percent cite programming or design tasks as a field of application for AI. In project planning or technical management, the figure is 49% and in quality management 46%.