Artificial Intelligence (AI) has revolutionized our world. Machines that are capable of acquiring knowledge and taking part in decision-making processes, along with advances in data collection and aggregation, have produced a multitude of opportunities to complement human intelligence and enrich the way we live and work.
According to a Statistics Netherlands (CBS) report called ICT, Knowledge & Economy 2021, the Netherlands had the fourth most advanced digital economy in Europe in 2019. Only Finland, Sweden, and Denmark preceded the Netherlands (European Commission).
In that year, 45 per cent of the Netherlands-based companies with more than 500 employees used one or more AI technologies.
On average, 12 per cent of Dutch companies, for instance, used speech recognition, machine learning, and pattern- or facial recognition. These numbers have been taken into account from a survey of companies that have ten or more employees. However, sectors such as agricultural holdings were not surveyed in this report.
Here is a quick glance into various facets of the report.
AI technology used by companies in the ICT sector
With the ongoing digitisation in the Netherlands, 34 per cent of companies used one or more AI technologies in information and communication in 2019. In addition, companies also used AI relatively often in the ICT sector (32 per cent) and at research institutes (28 per cent), part of the consultancy and research sector.
As per the report, industries such as hospitality, construction, and transportation, companies made limited use of these technologies. The use of AI also increased proportionally with company size. Small businesses, with 10 to 20 employees, used the least AI technology (8 per cent).
Widely used AI technology
Machine learning was used widely by companies in 2019 (6 per cent). In this form of AI, a company uses machine learning algorithms that perform data analysis. According to the report, about a quarter of large companies with 500 or more employees used this form of AI, compared to just 4 per cent of smaller companies with 10-20 employees.
Robots used by 6 per cent of companies
The report unveiled that, in 2020, 6 per cent of companies used robots. One in four companies used an industrial or service robot. Research institutes also used robots relatively often (10 per cent).
Industries such as real estate, hospitality, and ICT-related industries made limited use of robots in the business process. Medium to large companies, with 250 to 500 employees, were most likely to see robotics (18 per cent). While only 3% of companies with 10 to 20 employees used an industrial or service robot.
Other uses of AI in the industry
Cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) are relatively new ICT applications. But, they have now found their way into the ICT landscape of companies. In 2019, 3D printing was used by 6 per cent of the companies, in particular by research institutes.
As for ‘Smart’ systems, 16 per cent of companies were using Internet of Things in 2020. 28 and 24 per cent of companies active in the energy sector and information and communication respectively used Internet of Things. 37 per cent of large companies and 13 per cent of small companies with 10 to 20 employees used IoT.
Internet of Things (IoT) was also most often used for energy savings (9 per cent), for example, involving the use of smart meters, lamps, or thermostats to optimize energy consumption. IoT was used by 5 per cent of the companies for customer service (for example, through the use of sensors and RFID) and the maintenance of vehicles and machines (for example, through the use of motion or maintenance sensors).
You can read more about the report here.
Photo credits: Ronnie Overgroor.