Is Switzerland prepared for digitalisation?
Switzerland is one of the most competitive national economies in the world. Nevertheless, digitalisation presents the country with new challenges. It still has not succeeded in turning traditional strengths into a leading role as regards digitalisation. To this conclusion comes the study “The Digital Future of Switzerland – Facts, Challenges and Recommendations for Action” published in 2016, which was commissioned by SIX and Swisscom from the Collège du Management de la Technologie of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL).
Digitalisation is changing the world. It takes place in the field of tension between several inter-dependent factors. Network infrastructures form the basis of being able to save and transmit information. This information, in turn, is subject to a more or less strictly formulated data protection. Incubators, accelerators and innovation hubs are often the drivers of digitalisation and foster the capacity of the start-ups to innovate. On the other hand, public institutions curb the start-up environment through laws, taxes etc. to a significant manner. The preparedness to digitalise within the entire society depends not least on cultural attributes.
«In the promotion of start-ups, in the field of e-government as well as the digital capabilities of the population, Switzerland is lagging behind in international comparison.»
Change brought about by digitalisation is not as well advanced in all countries to the same degree. Whilst Switzerland is one of the most competitive national economies world-wide and considered as a leader in many fields, it is not yet fully taken account of in relation to information and communication technologies as well as the digital economy. In the area of data protection in the widest sense, that is to say, in terms of transparency and trust in the data management of public authorities or private enterprises, the country may belong to the top 3 in terms of server security but the large data centres are primarily located in the USA and Great Britain, however. Also in the promotion of start-ups, in the field of e-government as well as the digital capabilities of the population, Switzerland is lagging behind in international comparison. As a result of the observed shortcomings, the study lays out recommendations for action for Switzerland. They concern network infrastructure, data protection, the start-up environment, public authorities and the society.
Important driver - network infrastructure
Network infrastructure is the foundation of all digital solutions and services. It is the backbone and the driver of all technological development. Over and above that, through standard protocols, it guarantees global inter-connection. In general, the network infrastructure refers to information and communication technology (ICT), i.e. the hardware and software which are necessary for the connection, for communication and exchange of information. Progress in virtually all sectors driving the future, such as e-health and Fintech, is thus only possible with an outstanding well-developed and reliable infrastructure.