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555 industrial companies with 100+ employees were surveyed for the study, which found that those responsible have recognized the advantages of AI in a smart factory. For instance, 47% of those surveyed anticipate an increase in productivity, 39% see advantages from predictive maintenance and consequently less machine downtime, 33% hope for optimized production and manufacturing processes, and 25% are confident that the use of AI in their factory will enhance product quality.

The study also found that German companies are forging ahead with Industry 4.0 strategies. Some 53% of the companies surveyed are already employing special Industry 4.0 applications, while 21% are planning to do so. Currently, around one in four machines in Germany’s manufacturing industry are connected to the Internet; 10% of the participating companies have even already connected over half of their machinery. The respondents’ average volume of investment in Industry 4.0 equaled around 5% of their total turnover.