Big Data Comes First in Most Companies

13 August 2018
  • 57 percent plan to invest in Big Data or are already in the implementation phase
  • Managers: Internet of Things, Big Data and Robotics are of great importance for the competitiveness of German companies
  • But: artificial intelligence and blockchain are rarely used so far

From Internet of Things to Artificial Intelligence to Blockchain: New digital technologies are of great importance for the competitiveness of the German economy, but have not yet been implemented across the board. This is the result of a representative survey of managers in 604 German companies with 20 or more employees, which the digital association Bitkom presented at the opening of Cebit (11 to 15 June 2018) in Hanover. Accordingly, three out of four companies in the Internet of Things (76 per cent) and in Big Data (74 per cent) see a key technology that is decisive for competition, two out of three (66 per cent) attach great importance to robotics. They are followed by Virtual & Augmented Reality (57 percent) and 3D printing (56 percent).

Already every second company sees Blockchain (53 percent) and Artificial Intelligence (51 percent) as being of great importance for the competitiveness of the German economy. In practice, however, many of these digital key technologies do not yet play a major role. There is the greatest interest in Big Data: six out of ten companies (57 percent) use this technology or plan or discuss its use. Almost four out of ten companies use Internet of Things (39 percent), 3D printing (38 percent) and robotics (36 percent), are in the planning stage or are at least discussing it; in Virtual & Augmented Reality this applies to every fourth company (25 percent). Artificial intelligence (11 percent) and blockchain (6 percent) have the greatest pent-up demand. "Companies have recognized the immense importance of digital key technologies. Now we have to get to the implementation stage quickly," said Bitkom President Achim Berg. "Germany has an excellent starting position in international competition for many future technologies such as 3D printing, blockchain, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. We have to expand this position. Cebit is the ideal place to experience these technologies and develop concrete application scenarios, Berg said. "Digitalisation requires vision, action and speed: the realisation is there, now it's time to invest and move up a gear".

The reasons for the current reluctance to use new technologies are manifold. Almost two out of three companies (63 percent) cite data protection requirements as an obstacle to the use of technology. "If we go too far in data protection, we will prevent the use of digital key technologies such as big data and artificial intelligence. So far, we haven't found a real working balance between protecting privacy and using data," said Berg. "The new basic data protection regulation is intended to create a uniform legal framework for Europe, but is creating uncertainty in many companies. More than half of the companies (54 percent) cite technical security requirements as a major hurdle for the use of technology. The shortage of skilled workers also inhibits the propensity to invest: Four out of ten companies (42 percent) see a lack of skilled workers as an obstacle to the use of new technologies. Bitkom will be focusing on the topic of personnel recruitment at the newly-aligned Cebit. The Digital Association is presenting a container camp on the open-air grounds, which includes a recruiting centre, a digital arts box and a lounge bar. Berg: "Digitisation creates many exciting and lucrative jobs - and also completely new perspectives. The new Cebit is not just about business. We want to show that digitisation is exciting and fun."