Switzerland Is Lagging Behind on Digitalization, Says New EPFL Study
by Fintechnews Switzerland
While Switzerland is a global leader in many sectors, the country is lagging behind on digitalization, according to a new study.
In a new report released today, the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) – on behalf of Swisscom and SIX –, explores Switzerland’s current digital landscape and details how it can benefit from future technological developments.
The document, entitled ‘Switzerland’s digital future – Facts, challenges and recommendation,’ suggests that although Switzerland is recognized as one of the world’s most competitive economies, the country is lesser known for its information technology sector or for its influence in the digital economy area.
“The EPFL study clearly shows that although Switzerland is well placed globally, we are not in an overly strong position either,” Urs Schaeppi, CEO of Swisscom, commented on the research findings. “We need to take action today so that we do not miss the opportunity to harness the technologies of the future.”
The report focuses on five current trends in digitalization: digital infrastructure, startup ecosystem, data governance, the digitalization of the public sector, and societal trends. It aims at identifying Switzerland’s strengths and weaknesses in the global landscape.
Findings suggest that Switzerland has a strong and highly competitive ICT infrastructure, but at the same time, is constrained by strict regulatory requirements and costs regarding mobile broadband.
The report also points out that there are still untapped opportunities in relation to data management as Switzerland has an excellent reputation globally for responsible data management and effective data protection. Therefore, it is ideally positioned to become a global “safe haven for data” and a prime location for “big data” centers.
When it comes to the entrepreneurial spirit, however, the study found that Swiss people are lagging behind the likes of the US, for instance, which has a strong startup culture. The Swiss startup ecosystem has not emerged yet, the report says. It notes that changes in funding and taxing startups would help make the country more attractive to creative, tech-oriented companies.
The report also suggests that current legal framework is holding back digital progress. It notes that the country’s relatively high level of regulation can pose a barrier to digital process. Additionally, e-government is relatively underdeveloped is Switzerland and represents an untapped opportunity for the Administration and the economy.
Some of the barriers to achieving success and becoming a major player in digitalization, are not specific to Switzerland, though. For instance, the report notes that digital literacy and readiness should be promoted through dedicated programs.
The report also lists a number of recommendations in order for Switzerland to fully benefit from technological developments.
Among these recommendations, the document suggests an increase in private and public infrastructure investments in mobile broadband. It also advises for the promotion of the attractiveness of Switzerland’s infrastructure for finance-oriented digital infrastructure.
Switzerland should further improve and promote its position as a secure trusted center of corporate and individual data.
Furthermore, new funding mechanisms must be introduced to fill the gap between seed money and large investments.
“Switzerland’s digital future will depend on citizens, policy makers, and entrepreneurs at the local and global level,” the report concludes.