Attracted attention

St. Gallen is smart and Siri puts the pressure on


StartUp Challenge

These start-ups will bring Swisscom to Silicon Valley

Lively yet characterised by extreme concentration – this is what the atmosphere was like in the Digital Lab at the EPFL in Lausanne on 16 August. No surprises there! The Top 10 participants in the Swisscom StartUp Challenge all started off with the goal of emerging as the winner. 

I am proud of the five winners, who will be making their way to Silicon Valley in September, together with Swisscom: The winners, from left to right: Hoël Guerin, Xsensio / Phil Lojacono, Advanon / Matthias Dantone, Fashwell / Lisa Pollaro, Nanolive / Patrick Barnert, Qumram / Mathias Wegmüller, Qumram / centre: Roger Wüthrich-Hasenböhler 

Advanon is making it possible for SMEs to finance their outstanding accounts straightforwardly, quickly and transparently.
Fashwell is developing an app which finds the user’s favourite fashion products from online images.
Nanolive uses microchips to make three-dimensional research into living cells possible.
Qumram uses big data to help companies to meet their legal accountability obligations, to uncover fraud and to optimise the customer experience.
Xsensio has developed a wearable that uses the biochemical information on the surface of our skin to obtain information about our state of health.


Internet of Things

Smart City St. Gallen

The pilot project “Smartnet” launched by the city of St. Gallen has been successful thus far. This is why the city parliament is now being asked to approve its full implementation. The Sankt Gallen municipal electrical utilities (SSGW) are confident that this will be viable within just a few months should the politicians make a decision in favour of it. This would make St. Gallen the first Swiss city with a city-wide wireless network specially designed for the so-called Internet of Things – in the most inexpensive and energy-efficient manner possible. Specifically, this would make traffic management much more efficient. Management of the city’s rubbish bins would also be more efficient should these be fitted with networked sensors that indicate the fill level.

Sankt Gallen municipal electrical utilities



More Siri for everyone

This year’s annual Apple developer event in San Francisco was, in fact, rather disappointing – at least for all those who were expecting that the good people of Cupertino would, once again, be presenting something “revolutionary”. The fact is, however, that the virtual language-based user interface Siri is to assume a much stronger presence in the future operating system versions made by the Apple engineers. This applies both to the range of functions for the mobile iOS 10 as well as the new OSX successor, macOS Sierra for desktop and notebook computers. Apple is therefore releasing the kernel and Siri code for third-party developers for this purpose. This is, more likely than not, a good idea, however is leaving a sour taste in the mouths of many Apple aficionados. In any case, the first results will not be visible before autumn, when the final versions officially become available. Those burning with curiosity will, for the time being, have to make do with the recently activated Beta versions, available from However, some caution should be exercised – as is always the case with Beta versions, which tend to conceal a large number of bugs.

Apple Beta Software-Programm OS 10 Beta New Features Hands on: MacOS Sierra



Microsoft is becoming “social”

OK, so Microsoft has already swallowed up Skype and has a highly diversified e-mail program in the form of Outlook. However, questions are still arising in relation to the recently announced acquisition of the job and business social network LinkedIn. Stya Nadella, in his role as CEO of the software giant from Seattle, launched the slogan “Mobile first, Cloud first” at the presentation of the $26 billion deal – the priciest takeover in the history of Microsoft. It sounds good, but even well-informed observers are puzzling over what it actually means. When its comes to mobility, the whole endeavour will make sense should Microsoft succeed in combining LinkedIn contacts with the aforementioned Outlook and Skype contacts in a straightforward, user-friendly way. That would already be a huge gain for business users who are on the move. Exactly how Microsoft intends to become the first in the cloud as well – in other words, ousting Amazon from this coveted position – is the subject of widely dissenting opinions. For the time being, scepticism seems to be prevailing in this regard.


Self-driving cars

Postal vehicles go automatic

First presented at the end of 2015, the two self-driving buses from PostAuto Switzerland in Sion are now in operation. For the first time, they are now able to drive around in public with passengers – however, not all legal provisions have been clarified exhaustively and regulated. Given the recent accidents involving Tesla, it is not unlikely that self-driving vehicles will suffer a practical, and also legal, setback. However, this will change almost nothing about the fact that the corresponding technology – based on networked AI – will continue to make advances. In Sion, at least, the journeys are being carried out with the presence of a safety driver for the time being. Furthermore, the buses can be stopped by remote control at any time, should the supervisory staff in the control centre consider this necessary.