PUBLICATION

SATW Technology Outlook 2015

SATW | 

Switzerland has a significant industrial sector today, which contributes almost 20 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. If we look at the next five to ten years, however, new technologies and processes are already emerging, the mastery of which will be fundamental to the success of Swiss industry.

The following challenges have been identified:

  • Companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry must assert themselves in a business environment which is undergoing substantial upheaval. This is compounded by the fact that costs will increase due to additional regulation in the innovation process. Trends in synthetic biology and biotechnology, in the precisely targeted use of active substances, in advanced chemicals for the intermediate storage of energy and in the development of innovative packaging and materials must not be missed. Innovation capability is and will remain the decisive factor for commercial success.
  • In the area of the machine industry and precision instruments, additive manufacturing methods ("3D printing") and the associated material development are of vital importance. In addition, precision optical methods for machining and measuring surfaces must be mastered. It is also expected that the production chain will become fully digitized in future and all devices will be networked. Innovations in production processes, automation and quality in particular are considered central components for maintaining competitiveness.
  • Despite worldwide export growth, the Swiss watch industry is coming under pressure, due to regulatory restrictions and prohibitions and the development of the iWatch, for example. Here too, new materials must be optimally used and innovative, high-precision material handling and manufacturing processes must be mastered.
  • An important aspect for the medtech industry is that health care is currently undergoing a fundamental transformation from the previous primarily curative approach to a preventive approach. A strong interdisciplinary orientation and increased use of modern information technologies characterise the relevant key technologies. These include robot-assisted surgery, the combination of diagnostics and therapeutic microsystems, as well as laboratory tests directly at the patient’s bed.

In general, it appears that information and communication technologies are significant pioneers for new business opportunities, products and services across all sectors. Seamless integration and interaction between people, objects, services and systems in everyday life and industrial processes is well underway. This also applies to the energy and transport sectors, which are closely interlinked. Global megatrends such as urbanisation, intelligent energy management and the promotion of sustainable energy resources have all resulted in increased demand for software and hardware in the field of critical infrastructure monitoring. In addition to providing huge benefits, systems are being infiltrated by new dangers and vulnerabilities (such as to cyber-attacks) which must be overcome.