Industry 4.0? IoT? Never heard of them!

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Who would have imagined? The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 are practically unknown to the general public. And that even though companies and politicians never miss an opportunity to call our attention to the immense importance of these developments.

The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 fire the imaginations of politicians, companies and dealers alike. Unfortunately, the euphoria hasn’t made its way to the user, who doesn’t know what to make of the terms. That is what a representative survey commissioned by Deutsche Telekom shows.

So far, only 18 percent of those surveyed have heard of Industry 4.0. Even fewer have heard of the Internet of Things. Only 12 percent are familiar with the term. The numbers tend to increase among those with better educations, but even among technical-college graduates, the recognition rate doesn’t get much higher than 25 percent (IoT: 23 percent, Industry 4.0: 26 percent). And those who have heard of the terms don’t necessarily know what they mean.

Nevertheless, at least some private applications from these sectors appear to have made their way to the general public. 86 percent have heard of the smart home, which can be controlled using smartphones or tablets. Yet only 42 percent know that heating systems can regulate the temperature themselves. On the other hand, a broad-based audience is familiar with self-driving automobiles (72 percent), 3D printers (67 percent) and telemedicine (62 percent).

IoT – not very well known and not very useful

However, very few consumers see any personal benefit in these developments. Smart-home applications would appear to be the most promising. However, 42 percent of those surveyed don’t want when they are home and when they are not to be recorded. 38 percent want to control the heater themselves, and approximately one-fourth is afraid that the information could end up in the wrong hands.

So far, advertising for a networked future on the part of companies and the political sector does not appear to be having much of an effect. The experts at McKinsey recently forecast that IoT may have a total potential economic impact of as much as 11.1 billion dollars by the year 2025. Companies that use IoT applications and consumers are supposed to benefit from 90 percent of total added value—in the form of lower prices or time saved, for instance. But there is still a lot of catching up to do when it comes to convincing people.

Representative survey commissioned by Deutschen Telekom (PDF, German)

McKinsey study: The Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype


The euphoria for the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 hasn't made its way to the user, who doesn't know what to make of the terms. That is what a representative survey commissioned by Deutsche Telekom shows. (Image: pixabay).