Switzerland

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Switzerland is embracing IoT technology not just through the private sector via companies such as Deloitte, Nexiot, Swiss Post and Zühlke, but also through infrastructure and semi-public projects such as Cargo Sous Terrain and the Smart City of Carouge, Switzerland (participant of the H2020 project SynchroniCity).

In the private sector, for example, Swisscom - a leading telecommunications provider in Switzerland - is building a Low Power Network (LPN) designed to transmit small pieces of information independently of any external electrical network [10]. This will allow IoT technology to be easily deployable throughout the workplace, the home, and in the city streets themselves. The Swisscom LPN is based on the open LoRaWAN industry standard [11]. In August, Zürich holds a Street Parade and, recently, the Zürich police force used the LPN to track the “Love Mobiles” (moving music performance stages) [12]. In this way, they were able to coordinate the clean-up operation much more efficiently and reopen the streets to regular traffic sooner than was previously possible.

Another example of private-public partnership in IoT technology in Switzerland is Cargo Sous Terrain who will create a series of underground tunnels connecting major cities in Northern Switzerland [13]. The system will allow easy transport of goods and is expected to reduce road congestion in Switzerland by as much as 40% within the next 20 years. IoT technology will be incorporated in the project by using sensors within the pallets and wagons which will then allow the system to perform automated, real-time route-planning and pre-emptive maintenance [14].

Swiss Post [47], the national postal service of Switzerland, is also striving to utilize IoT for its activities by establishing a network based on LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) technology. By setting up a national LoRa network, Swiss Post intends to support its logistics and implement customer oriented application. Through this network Swiss Post was able to connect a range of objects and devices including delivery vehicles, packages and letter boxes at very low cost and limited energy consumption. Additionally, sensors in the LoRaWAN were programmed to trigger an automatic alarm in case sensitive consignments were subject to unauthorized access and theft. The networks could also adequately determine the exact location from where the package was accessed or stolen. The devices in LoRaWAN were approximately the size of a single 5 francs coin. These devices used within these networks are expected to become even smaller over time. This network and its services were first tested between Berne and Biel in March 2016.

At a municipal level, the city of Carouge in the canton of Geneva is pioneering Smart City technologies in Switzerland [15]. It is doing this as part of the H2020 project SynchroniCity who has 33 partners across 11 countries and 8 core cities of which Carouge is one [16]. These cities will work to develop the public benefit of IoT technologies in cities through, for example, 3D noise-mapping, optimisation of municipal service-management, and environmental concerns.

Not unexpectedly, Switzerland aims to improve the lives of its residents through the use of technology such as IoT. It chooses to do this through private companies that have the same goals and, with the presence of world-class technical schools like ETHZ in Zürich and EPFL in Lausanne, the start-up culture among engineers and technologists is competitive on a global scale. By setting out goals for the general improvement of Swiss society, Switzerland can allow IoT-technology companies to solve public problems their own way and then export their solutions to the world.