Digitalisation and Switzerland

Digitalisation and Switzerland

In 2016, Switzerland was the partner country at the CeBIT. For years now Switzerland has been the world leader on the annual Global Innovation Index, co-authored by the American Cornell University, the Paris INSEAD Institute, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

A start-up scene that registered more than 7,000 patents with the European Patent Office in 2015 has sprung up between St.Gallen, Zurich and Lausanne. One of these companies is a spin-off of ETH Zurich dealing in learning lights. The light bulb learns the movement patterns of house occupants and pets. If unfamiliar movement profiles in the home are recorded, it sounds the alarm and informs the owner, neighbours or the security service provider.

Bosch has now got involved in the start-up and is aware of the idea’s potential. Particularly outside Germany alarms systems are fitted in homes as standard. The beams, as they are known, have to be readjusted when leaving and entering the house. Getting up in the night, half asleep, to fetch a glass of water often means setting off the alarm. Here, the light as a customised security check would be an important innovation – and with a price tag of around 100 euros it is a genuine alternative. Traditional security concepts are much more expensive and time-consuming to install.

Wrong integration culture

Like many countries, Switzerland could be much better, but its narrow-minded quota system is a big handicap for the migration of specialists and foreigners. There are even quotas for US, Indian or Japanese nationals. Germans are not popular as colleagues. Comfylight is however urgently seeking software developers and one solution would be to move jobs to Munich.

In recent years Switzerland has been plagued by a number of referendums wishing to restrict the immigration of foreigners. This has cost jobs in the country. Talk of criminal foreigners coming to Switzerland is slowing economic growth, an aspect often forgotten in nationalistic debates. The title of the 2014 referendum alone (“Opposition to Mass Migration”) was embarrassing for many of our Swiss friends. Switzerland has always been one of the most conservative immigration countries worldwide and one of the most successful economically. International capital and foreign know-how have consistently played a large part in its success, however.