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Switzerland showcasing their digital strengths at GITEX Global 2022

The world’s largest tech showcase, GITEX Global, took place again from 10 to 14 October. This year, the world’s largest tech fair attracted over 4,500 companies and 100,000 attendees, ranging from visitors and entrepreneurs to scientists, state officials and more. A Swiss delegation of 20 C-level executives participated at GITEX Global to represent the innovative capacity and technological expertise of our country as well as to strengthen international bonds.

The Swiss Delegation of 20 C-level executives to GITEX Global in Dubai was warmly welcomed by Stefan Metzger, Managing Director digitalswitzerland and Andreas Kaelin, Senior Advisor digitalswitzerland. Together they laid out the economic relationships between Switzerland and the Arabian Gulf, which is the 10th largest Swiss export market. As IMD highlighted in the recently published World Digital Competitiveness Index, the UAE continues to knock on the door of the top 10 most digitally competitive nations, excelling at their regulatory and technological frameworks, which both rank 3rd in the 2022 report. The country therefore offers a great opportunity for Switzerland to learn from and improve our technology ranking.

Frank Eggmann, Consul General of Switzerland in Dubai, welcomed the delegation by highlighting how GITEX can catapult Swiss ventures looking to scale up their customer base, develop corporate partnerships, and win investment. GITEX Global is the world’s largest tech show in its biggest year ever, attracting over 4,500 companies and 100,000 participants from across the globe.

Safia Agueni, Chapter Founder of Women in Tech Switzerland, introduced a cohort of senior tech executives from multinational companies representing a range of industries, highlighting the importance of diversity in technology leadership and digital transformation projects. The local chapter of Women in Tech UAE joined the Swisstech SWISS Pavilion and toured the broad range of Swiss spin-off projects, startups, and scaleups.

The Swisstech SWISS Pavilion at GITEX Global 2022 was opened by Massimo Baggi, Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Groundbreaking applications in the fields of Metaverse, AI, Web 3.0, Blockchain, 6G, Cloud Computing, FinTech and Big Data are the focus of the action.

Stefan Metzger, Managing Director digitalswitzerland: “GITEX is an excellent opportunity for Swiss companies and especially for startups in the deep tech sector to generate attention, tap into new markets and establish contacts with potential investors. In this way, we support the main goal of the Swisstech initiative: to position Switzerland as an outstanding innovation and technology center and an attractive location for investors and foreign companies.”

Massimo Baggi opens the Swisstech SWISS Pavilion

eGovernment and digital health in the Gulf

One spacious hall in GITEX is a showcase of the latest tech being developed and deployed by national and regional governments. Many of these are based on the fundament of an electronic identity card (eID), where governments have put significant resources into streamlining the process of obtaining an eID and building eGovernment services that enable residents to quickly complete administrative processes online.

Ali Juma AlAjme, Director of Digital Health at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, presented some of the advancements in Electronic Health Records, including giving patients the right to share their health data, creating a unified protocol for digital health companies to use, unified supply chain interfaces, and introducing new guidance for telemedicine later this year. All of this with the aim of enabling faster and more interoperable innovation in digital health that will benefit the patient journey.

Ali Juma AlAjme with digitalswitzerland’s delegation

Innovation across Dubai and the UAE

To complement the extensive spectrum of tech on show at GITEX Global, the Swiss delegation also visited two key sites that demonstrate Dubai’s forward-looking approach to innovation and sustainability.

The Dubai International Finance Center (DIFC) is a free zone, home to an independent regulator, judicial system based on the English common law framework, and benefiting from the high labour mobility into the region. DIFC houses an Innovation Hub, where Ralf Glabischnig, Founder of Crypto Oasis, explained the bridge between Switzerland’s Crypto Valley and the Crypto Oasis of over 1,450 organisations making up the fast-growing blockchain ecosystem in the UAE. The Crypto Oasis 2022 report summarises the governments, investors, corporates and startups that operate in the DIFC, Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), and others.

digitalswitzerland’s delegation in DIFC

Swiss clean tech company Hitachi Zosen Inova is working in an international consortium including Dubal Holding, ITOCHU Corporation, BESIX Group and Tech Group. Under the leadership of Roni Araiji, Managing Director Middle East, they are building the world’s largest energy-from-waste facility, capable of treating 1,825,000 tons of municipal solid waste per year – an impressive 45% of Dubai’s current waste. The 200 MW of electricity generated will be fed into the local grid as baseload energy, in line with Dubai’s Integrated Energy Strategy 2030.

Swisstech @ GITEX Global 2022 hosted the following scaleups, startups, and research institutions:

From 10 to 14 October 2022, more than 4,500 companies and over 100,000 participants from 170 countries will take part in GITEX, the biggest technology convention of the year happening in Dubai. The SWISS Pavilion, organised by digitalswitzerland and T-LINK as part of Swisstech, will attend with 18 organisations and research institutions. This is where developers and pioneers meet to exchange ideas and present new products. Pioneering applications in the fields of Metaverse, AI, Web 3.0, Blockchain, 6G, Cloud Computing, FinTech and Big Data are the focus of the action.

Read the full press release in German and French.

The Federal Council opened the consultation on the proposal for a new e-ID law. digitalswitzerland notes that the proposal for a new e-ID law resonates broadly with our members by setting the framework for a trust infrastructure whose core element is a government-issued e-ID. digitalswitzerland welcomes the strategic direction of the preliminary draft.

However, we are convinced that electronic identity can only become widely accepted in Switzerland if it is embedded in an inclusive ecosystem of electronic credentials. We consider it essential to include this aspect in the purpose article of the law. We also consider the regular audit of state-operated infrastructure, a vehicle for expert input on technological law implementation, fee structure according to international standards, and regulation of private confirmation mechanisms to be useful.

A brief summary of the key proposals:

  1. Equal status for e-ID and e-ID ecosystem.
    Ensure that the e-ID, as the main credential of the ecosystem, thrives in a broad ecosystem that includes the private sector. The law should express this intention more clearly.
  2. Expert input on the technological implementation of the law
    Create an instrument that allows for the involvement of experts from academia and industry in the implementation of the law (e.g. UX, security).
  3. Fee structure according to international standards
    Follow internationally accepted principles for connectivity of SSI networks and make them free of charge for users (e.g. Sovrin Foundation rulebook).
  4. Regulate private confirmation mechanisms
    Ensure that sector-specific trusted third parties or organisations can continue to perform their function in the digital ecosystem (e.g. swissuniversities).
  5. Cybersecurity from the very beginning
    Check the structure of the Fedpol system for issuing E-IDs technically and procedurally for security issues. This should be anchored in the law.

The full statement can be found here in German and French.

Oliver Wyman study “Switzerland’s Digital DNA”

Confidence in the Swiss population’s own digital competence is growing only slowly. More than a fifth of all people still feel unable to keep up with the pace of technological progress. The benefits of digitalisation are nevertheless considered high in all areas of life. The willingness to disclose personal data for digital services is growing – despite an increased awareness of cyber risks. At the same time, satisfaction with digital services varies. This is the result of the sixth edition of the study “Switzerland’s Digital DNA”, which is published jointly by the international strategy consultancy Oliver Wyman and digitalswitzerland as part of Swiss Digital Days 2022.

Selected highlights:

Find an infographic with further key findings here in German.

Read the full press release in German, French and Italian.

The IMD Institute for Management Development in Lausanne published its world rankings on “Digital Competitiveness” today. The results for Switzerland were explained in more detail at the Digital Competitiveness Summit 2022 being held by digitalswitzerland, IMD and EPFL on the IMD campus in Lausanne. Switzerland climbs to 5th place out of 63 countries surveyed (2021: 6th place). It already occupied this position in 2019, before the pandemic affected the economies as a whole.

Switzerland makes progress
Switzerland’s rise in the rankings is due to its good performance in the factor “knowledge”, which the World Competitiveness Center defines as “the necessary know-how to discover, understand and develop new technologies”. This factor is one of a total of three main categories according to which the researchers rank the results of the studies. The other two factors are future readiness and technology.

Nevertheless, the ranking makes it clear that Switzerland’s digital skills are in need of improvement: The availability of digital skills is less positively assessed by managers today than it was a year ago; this criterion has dropped to 18th place (from 11th). The scores for university graduates in the natural sciences (26th place), women with university degrees (30th place), the number of female researchers (31st place) and R&D productivity measured by the number of publications (35th place) also remain relatively low – despite improvements in most of these areas.

Overall, the findings shed light on the factors that make it easier for governments and the private sector to improve their capabilities to protect digital infrastructure from cyberattacks, the experts say. They also show how this promotes the adoption and diffusion of digital technologies.

Read the full press release in German and French.

See Switzerland’s results here.

By 2030, there will be a shortage of 38,700 ICT specialists in Switzerland, as the latest study by ICT-Berufsbildung Schweiz shows. This is despite increased efforts to promote young talent. As the largest contributor, vocational education and training (VET) is the key to meeting the demand for skilled workers. This is because 79 percent of all ICT degrees originate in VET. In order to meet the growing demand for ICT specialists, the apprenticeship quota must be increased from 5.9 to 8.1 percent.

In their study, ICT-Berufsbildung Schweiz explains why the ICT skills shortage has implications not only for the ICT sector but for the Swiss economy as a whole and what we can expect for the future. Further, the organisation proposes additional measures to solve this pressing issue.

Read the full study here in German.

The forecasts for the demand of skilled workers in previous years were always too conservative: Switzerland’s ICT sector is growing faster than expected. However, Switzerland is losing ground to other nations.

The study “Opportunity costs of the ICT skills shortage” published by digitalswitzerland shows: The weaker growth of the Swiss ICT sector compared to surrounding countries will make Switzerland less and less attractive for foreign skilled workers, which can have serious consequences over time. The study reveals what these consequences are and what actions economy, politics and education could take.

The study was created by IWSB Institute for Economic Studie Basel on behalf of digitalswitzerland.

Read the full study here in German.

5 September marked the kick-off of Swiss Digital Days 2022, which include more than 200 free offers for the population. The big highlight on opening day: the unveiling of a unique, Switzerland-wide crypto-art project in cooperation with Swiss Post. The study “Opportunity costs of the ICT skills shortage”, also published today by digitalswitzerland, once again highlights the importance of the Swiss Digitaltage, as it impressively shows the consequences of the skills shortage on Switzerland’s competitiveness in the medium to long term. To actively address this problem, a substantial part of the Digital Days programme revolves around the promotion of future skills of young talents, for example through the main format “NextGen: Future Skills Labs”.

Read the press release in German, French and Italian.

Read the press conference presentation in German.

Read the study in German.

Study on digitalisation and cybersecurity in SMEs 2022

With the propagated “end” of the pandemic, the flexibility of SMEs is also coming to an end. Primarily working from home has not become established, as the results of the latest study on digitalisation and cybersecurity in SMEs show. The situation is similar with cybersecurity: despite a strong presence in the media, the topic has a low priority among the companies surveyed. The implementation of organisational and technical measures to improve cybersecurity has also not increased. One third of the surveyed SMEs outsource their IT security to external service providers. The quality of the services offered is thus crucial for the security of small businesses in Switzerland.

The survey was carried out on behalf of the Swiss Mobiliar Insurance Company Ltd, digitalswitzerland, Allianz Digitale Sicherheit Schweiz, the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland FHNW – Digital Transformation Competence Centre and the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW.

Read the study in German. For further analysis, read the Whitepaper in German, French and Italian.

Read the press release in German, French and Italian.

Read the press conference presentation in German.