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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:

Fears and hopes of the population on digitalisation, Series of public focus group 2022

As part of its Digital Xchange project, the digitalswitzerland Foundation organised in collaboration with some of its partners, a series of Swiss-wide public focus groups. The aim was to offer an open forum for the population to raise questions and discuss the opportunities and challenges of a rapidly advancing digital future. As a result, key fears and hopes were captured. 

Sharing hopes and fears

In different parts of Switzerland and in collaboration with  partners such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Kanton Aargau, Ville de Martigny, and Haute Ecole Spécialisée de Suisse occidentale (HES-SO), diverse groups of participants expressed their views, shared their experiences, their hopes and fears, as well as their ideas on how to foster an inclusive digital transformation. The content of these interactions fed into the discussion between decision-makers about our digital future on 5 September in Bern at the Digital Xchange Forum.  The exciting event to place on the same day as the launch of Swiss Digital Days in Bern.

Sébastien Kulling, Executive Director of the digitalswitzerland Foundation

Change is the only constant

Overall, people’s mindset is adapting to the evolving digital environment. Generally, many people have a positive view of the new digital technologies and see them as a tool that has the potential to generate value for business and unlock benefits for society.

However, deep fears remain.

Preparing for a digital future

Many of the participants realise that mastering digital tools is becoming a prerequisite for economic, social and cultural integration, and worry that digitalisation can amplify pre-existing socio-economic inequalities. In particular, older generations fear being left behind by failing to use new digital tools.

On this point, everyone agrees that the key answer to “keep up with” and “benefit from” digital technologies is training. There’s an urgent need to develop skills and competences by setting up adequate training for various types of users (i.e., children, teenagers, adult workers, retirees…). Nevertheless, the question remained as to what are the skills needed? How can we train people who are professionally active and/or retired? Who is responsible for providing such training? Many participants raised the importance of having regular support, for example, by providing a space where people can go to get the digital support they need.

Public focus group: Audience

The importance of governance

Furthermore,  the  majority of people were  concerned about the grey areas of digital governance: fear of the consequences of a lack of limits, framework, and regulations with regard to fundamental aspects of our lives, such as use of private data, security, mass surveillance, individual freedoms or polarisation of opinions. 

A strong consensus arose that the discourse surrounding digitalisation can be too complex and technical, which can generate mistrust and even self-exclusion.  As a result, there is a clear aspiration to put the human back at the centre and to strengthen the debate on the human and social aspects of digital transformation. This will enable each of us to benefit from more information and to be better integrated in the associated decision-making processes.

Would you also like to be part of these discussions, collaborate with different stakeholders and become a partner of the digitalswitzerland Foundation ? 

Please, email Sébastien Kulling, sebastien@digitalswitzerland-foundation.org

Or Sandrine Denti, sandrine@digitalswitzerland-foundation.org

Be part of something big

During the sixth edition of the Swiss Digital Days, which will run under the theme „Together we create the digital future!“, we will explore the technologies of AI-based art creation and the associated minting of NFTs. These two technologies will be combined in a touchscreen art generator, which will tour throughout Switzerland on a large-scale roadshow with 19 locations from 5 September 2022 until 27 October. 

You have a chance to help create the largest digital artwork in Switzerland

We invite the public to participate in an attempt to create one of the world’s largest collaboratively created digital artworks. Here’s how it works: participants can choose two terms related to digitization and Switzerland. A state-of-the-art artificial intelligence then transforms them into a digital piece of art. We expect about 8,000 – 10,000 unique artworks to be created by the Swiss population during the Swiss Digital Days.

In the end, participants can download the corresponding artwork created with AI (for personal, non-commercial use) and become part of the next Swiss Crypto Stamps edition, issued by the Swiss Post.

Get involved

Simply register via e-mail address in order to be informed by the Swiss Post of what is happening with the artwork and the project itself further along the road. 

These artworks will be brought together in a large mosaic as the largest participatory NFT in Switzerland attempt, which will then be auctioned off for a good cause at the closing event of the Swiss Digital Days on 27 October.

Take a look to see when this exciting project is coming to your city.

On 24 March, 70 C-levels and DLT-experts gathered at Kraftwerk in Zurich to exchange on decentralised financial markets and standardisation. Capital Market Technology (CMTA) and digitalswitzerland 4T-DLT co-organised an insightful event where players from the industry came together, got inspired by the presentations and networked with their peers at the aperitif.

What were the goals of this event?

Event aims:

An evening packed with learnings presented by DLT-experts

Stephanie Tauber Gomez, Senior Innovation Manager at digitalswitzerland and our moderator for the event, led through this inspiring night. She welcomed many different experts on stage who all shared insightful news from the field of distributed ledger technology. Two of these experts were Jacques Iffland, Chairman of CMTA and Partner at Lenz & Staehelin, and Patrick Oltramare, 4T-DLT Shaper and CEO of SwissCaution, who outlined the necessity of collaboration between their two organisations to best push the limits of DLT. They emphasised the fact that it is only together that we can have an impact on the future.

Stephanie Tauber Gomez moderating on stage.

Marc Bürki, CEO and founder of Swissquote, presented the creation of decentralised capital markets infrastructures and the importance of DLT as a new technology for these markets. Jean-Philippe Aumasson, Chair of CMTA’S Tech Committee, CSO and founder of Taurus,  explained the new CMTA token, now available for all Swiss businesses. This token is a tool for open source solutions for decentralised market infrastructures.

Presentation of Marc Bürki, CEO and founder of Swissquote.

Patrick Oltramare then introduced the recent highlights of  4T-DLT, the initiative which creates an open repository for technical and legal standards for an interoperable Swiss DLT infrastructure. We celebrated the two key milestones from 2021: 

The presentation was kept dynamic as three 4T-DLT Shapers, Johannes Hoehener – Board Member of TI&M – Mattia Rattaggi – Managing Partner at METI Advisory AG – and Fedor Poskriakov – Partner at Lenz & Staehelin – gave three-minute pitches each on the different trust pillars.

Audience of CMTA and 4T-DLT distributed ledger technology (DLT) event

To wrap up the presentations, Guillaume Gabus, Head of Portfolio and Regions at digitalswitzerland, shared with the audience a sneak peek into the future 4T-DLT website. This website will serve as a neutral platform for DLT-enthusiasts to exchange with one another collaboratively. Please bear with us until the website goes live soon!

Networking and Exchanging

During the aperitif, the stakeholders had a chance to exchange opinions and ideas on the different DLT topics and identify potential synergies. As the event was coming to an end, it was powerful to see that all the attendees seemed to share one thought: Collaboration across different industries is crucial if we want to push the limits of the DLT ecosystem.

Guests at networking aperitif of CMTA and 4T-DLT distributed ledger technology (DLT) event.
Diana Engetschwiler, Deputy Managing Director digitalswitzerland, at networking aperitif with guests of the event.
Guests at networking aperitif of CMTA and 4T-DLT distributed ledger technology (DLT) event.

About CMTA

An independent association formed by leading actors from Switzerland’s financial, technological and legal sectors to create common standards around issuing, distributing and trading securities in the form of tokens using the distributed ledger technology.

About 4T-DLT

An initiative that follows a federated and collaborative approach to create an open repository for the technical and legal information, definition and standards for a secure, interoperable and reliable Swiss Distributed Ledger Technology infrastructure. This initiative was launched by Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecoms & IT company, and MME, a leading Swiss consultancy firm for law, tax and compliance, under the umbrella of digitalswitzerland.

The ePower parliamentary group discussed the highly topical and virulent subject of cyber security at its traditional session event on Tuesday evening. National Councillor Franz Grüter, member of the ePower core team, welcomed top-class representatives from politics, administration, business and science. The cross-party audience agreed: cyber security is the order of the day.

Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer

The evening was opened by none other than Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer. The head of the Federal Department of Finance left no doubt about the importance of the topic: the cyber threat is one of the four main risks for Switzerland.

The complete article is available in the national language German and French.

According to tradition, National Councilor Judith Bellaiche, member of the core team of the ePower Parliamentary Group, welcomed numerous representatives from politics, administration and the digital economy to the session event in Bern. The announced topic on the regulation of the Internet promised a knowledge lead on upcoming regulatory topics with high relevance for the societal discourse….

The complete article is available in the national language German and French.

Heads were fuming at our second Digital Day partner’s workshop and it was not because of the warm weather. Or not alone. The aim of the second workshop on 8 May was to connect Digital Day partners to create the content of the  «Theme Worlds», which revolve around the topics of My Data, Mobility, Education, Work 4.0, Health, Lifestyle & Sport, Media & News. The workshop was kindly hosted by Aroma. Partners were welcomed also by Christian Wenger, President of the digitalswitzerland Executive Committee. His message to the partners and members: «Be creative, think big and make Switzerland an eye catcher!»

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First, there was a crazy idea

Founder of digitalswitzerland Marc Walder was also present at the workshop and recalled the very beginning of the Digital Day. When the idea of the Digital Day was brought up for the first time in 2017, no one really believed in it. Some thought that it was just “another crazy idea of that guy” (meaning Marc Walder). However, the success of the Digital Day proofed the opposite: The event became bigger than expected and a true dialogue with the public has been started. For the first time ever, representatives from industries, politics and associations could enter into live conversations with the public and learned about their hopes and worries with regards to digital transformation. Young and old could experience and see, what digitalisation means for every one of them. It was like a journey to the future. Except that we already are in the middle of the future and the digital transformation has only just begun.

The Digital Day wants no less than empower and equip the Swiss population for a forward thinking nation

Doing something for the second time isn’t that simple. Even though more experienced, expectations are most likely higher. And believe us, dear reader, they are. The public and we ourselves are having high expectations. Because we want to really have a lasting impact and do something big and relevant for the public. That is why this year’s partners and the Digital Day team is working hard to put into reality all ideas and visions around the next Digital Day. Initiatives and events will take place already before the actual event on 25 October, in all regions of Switzerland, in all official Swiss languages. «We are very happy to confirm that this year, besides Zurich, Lugano and Geneva and Chur, we also have Vaduz, St. Gallen and Valais on board», so Birgit Pestalozzi, overall project lead Digital Day and Head of Public Dialogue at digitalswitzerland. More cantons and cities might follow. Another focus this year will be on startups. They will pitch and present themselves and inspire us with their passion and power.

«Theme Worlds» are taking shape

During the workshop, partners sat together, brainstormed, discussed and challenged in a constructive way. And finally, ideas are becoming more concrete. Now, the Digital Day doesn’t seem so far away and we can’t wait for the big day. The next step will be the main workshop on 28 June in Lausanne. Creative phase, check. Next: bringing concepts to reality.

Do you want to stay up to date with all things Digital Day? Sign up for our newsletter or join the conversation on social media with #SwissDigitalDay

Registration to become a Digital Day Partner will close soon. If you are interested to be part of this exciting journey, go to partner.digitaltag.swiss.

The flagship collaboration between digitalswitzerland, 4T-DLT and Capital Market Technology Association, with the objective of making Switzerland a world-leading distributed ledger technology hub, brought together 70 people at a first gathering at Kraftwerk in Zurich on 24 March.

The focus was on building the DLT community across Switzerland to enable the ecosystem to connect and exchange on the associated technical and legal standards.