The importance of high-quality broadband Internet access has increased significantly in recent years. Swisscom is therefore working on the next network generation and developing solutions to give the population even faster ultra-high-speed broadband. Mobile data traffic is also expanding, presenting an enormous challenge to the mobile network. Swisscom is seeking and developing innovative solutions that allow high volumes of data to be handled efficiently.
As an alternative solution to FTTH (Fibre to the Home) in which the fibre-optic cable is routed into the house, FTTS (Fibre to the Street) has been developed to bring the fibre-optic network to within around 200 metres away from the building. From this distance, individual properties are connected to the fibre-optic network via the copper network already in place. This approach allows Swisscom to provide Swiss households with a significantly faster service, offering a much higher broadband capacity. Swisscom is already working on the next generation of FTTS, which will significantly improve network performance even further.
Mobile services and apps
It has become hard to imagine life without the Internet, whether at home or on the move. Mobile end devices such as smartphones are the ideal basis on which to implement new services, due to their high usage in Switzerland. Swisscom’s vision is to be able to use smartphones to establish a simple bridge between the real and digital worlds. To this end, Swisscom wants to establish a tapping culture. “Tapping” or “Tapit” means that the smartphone can be held against or placed on something, causing a digital reaction on the phone. Tapping is based on technologies such as Near Field Communication (NFC), which is already incorporated in the majority of smartphones. Tapping will in future enable customers to use their smartphones to make payments, manage loyalty cards or gain access to buildings, allowing the smartphones to replace conventional credit cards, loyalty cards and company ID cards.
Swisscom has been testing applications with NFC technology for some time and is keeping a close watch on developments in this area. For this purpose, Swisscom collaborates with financial service providers, retailers and all relevant companies in order to provide their customers with a simple, secure and seamless customer experience on their smartphones. Swisscom also gives the participating companies the opportunity to offer their products securely and simply via an NFC-enabled mobile SIM card.
Security and intelligence
The ongoing migration of telecommunications services to the Internet protocol means that it is vital to ensure the right level of security and privacy, while the exponential increase in data volumes presents enormous challenges for telecoms providers and their customers. The requirements of products that can safely and anonymously handle these large volumes of data and analyse them using cutting-edge methods are increasing. Big data technologies have already gained a foothold in many areas. While these technologies raise new questions regarding security and privacy, they also open up new prospects for security products. Swisscom uses the connection between data analysis and security to offer customers increased transparency and control.
In the context of its social responsibility, Swisscom is, for example, developing models to predict traffic flows on motorways based on anonymised mobile use data in collaboration with external partners for the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO). In 2013 Swisscom also launched the first of several planned mobile applications that accompany customers in their daily lives and support them in security-related matters. Swisscom is working on the use of new technologies for business customers, such as trusted computing. These should help make the Swisscom cloud the most secure cloud for all applications.
Swisscom is collaborating with ETH Zurich on new Internet routing mechanisms that should help reduce the danger of eavesdropping on data traffic.
Tapping into new growth areas
Changed consumer behaviour and technological developments present an opportunity to tap into new growth areas. Swisscom is investing in progressive solutions in the financial sector, the public health sector, the dynamic control of energy consumption and the intelligent networking and control of appliances for in the home, for transport and logistics or for security technology.