The term Linked Data refers to structured data that support the content-based search for information well. Here, each individual object has an “identity”, namely a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), through which it can be addressed via http protocol. And the relationships between the data objects are described by other data objects that also have a URI. Linked Data can be used to integrate heterogeneous data, i.e. data corresponding to different data models, on a large scale. Linked Data and suitable Linked Data processing technology can overcome the problem that, on the one hand, the existing data sets are too small for many useful applications, but on the other hand, the existing data sets cannot simply be merged because they correspond to different data models. Furthermore, the integration of heterogeneous data makes it possible to draw knowledge from the relationships between data. To put it succinctly: Linked Data is a methodical approach to mixing cabbage and turnips. And: Linked Data allows the use of the social capital of data. Up to now, the use of linked data has been a great challenge and often fails due to the excessive computing effort.
Blockchains, or more generally: Distributed Ledger Technology
Blockchains are databases that are distributed worldwide as identical copies, can be expanded and are secured against manipulation. You can think of them as ledgers from accounting that are distributed to everyone, but the data in them is encrypted. This makes it possible to reach agreement on business transactions without the need for a central authority or a trustworthy third party. Bitcoin uses blockchain technology to establish an internet currency that is beyond government control and interference. However, blockchain technology opens up many more forms of application. For example, it can be used to realise contracts that either execute themselves completely automatically or do so according to majority decisions. Thus, the vision of a company that functions completely without humans is taking shape. The resulting social risks are great, but also the practical use is currently still highly risky for the individual. For example, Bitcoin facilitates criminal transactions over the internet, but it is so insecure that criminals are repeatedly busted for using it. For the fintech industry, blockchains represent a key technology.
Microservices are an approach to modularising software. Modularisation is an important tool for managing the complexity of software. Unlike traditional modularisation approaches, microservices are designed to simplify communication between business and IT development teams and to enable continuous delivery of software change. They therefore lead to more agile systems. They were inspired by the ideology of the old UNIX operating system (“Do one thing and do it well!”) and can also be seen as the “Switzerland of software architecture styles”. This is because microservices are much more autonomous and carry more ownership than traditional forms of software modules. Large-scale orchestration, as is the case with so-called SOAs (service-oriented architectures), is not an issue in the microservices world, just as centralised control of the country is not an issue in Switzerland. So far, different experiences have been made with microservices. They offer advantages and disadvantages and it is up to the CTO (Chief Technology Officer) to decide whether and where to rely on microservices.
NFP 75 Big Data
The National Research Programme “Big Data” (NRP 75) aims to provide the scientific basis for the effective and appropriate use of big data. The research projects examine questions of information technology and its social impact and address concrete applications. Budget: CHF 25 million. 172 project outlines were submitted.
NFP 74 Health care
The National Health Services Research Programme (NRP 74) aims to promote innovative health services research that helps to address the specific challenges in the treatment of the chronically ill in Switzerland. In addition, it aims to contribute to more usable health data and to build a strong research community that conducts world-leading health services research. In terms of content, there are thus important overlaps with the focus areas “Health Care and E-Health” and “Big and Open Data” of the BFH Centre Digital Society. Budget of NRP 74: CHF 20 million.
NFP 73 Sustainable economy
The National Research Programme “Sustainable Economy: Resource-efficient, Sustainable, Innovative” (NRP 73) aims to develop scientific findings on a sustainable economy with careful use of natural resources, greater welfare and increased competitiveness of Switzerland as a business location. It takes into account the environment, the economy and society, and considers all natural resources and all stages of the value chain. There are thus also similarities with the priority area “Design for Future System Fitness” (i.e. sustainable solution design) of the BFH Centre Digital Society. Budget of NRP 73: CHF 20 million.
You e-government?? You’re out of luck!!! From 25 May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation will apply in the EU, harmonising the rules for the processing of personal data by private companies and public bodies across the EU. The aim is to ensure the protection of personal data on the one hand and the free movement of data in the internal market on the other. The regulation replaces Directive 95/46/EC, which dates back to 1995. New are the right to be forgotten and the right to data portability, which is discussed in Switzerland under the title “right to a copy”. Data subjects have the right to receive their data in a common, machine-readable format. The exception is data collection in the context of sovereign acts, i.e. e-government.
Situation in Switzerland: In 2015, the Swiss Federal Council instructed the Federal Department of Justice and Police (FDJP) to submit a preliminary draft for a revision of the DPA by the end of August 2016 at the latest.
Electronic proof of identity
How can I credibly prove who I am online? How can I credibly prove my qualifications online? How can I conclude contracts online? … All these questions have cum grano salis a partial answer in common: It doesn’t take much in harmless cases, usually just financial risk management such as a credit card guarantee, and it takes a mandatory state-issued electronic identity in critical cases. The Swiss Federal Council relies on systems developed by the market. The state should concentrate on defining the legal framework and providing identity data.
To put it very simply, this is the most liberal solution under the circumstances. The argument against it is that business can only be done with eIDs when there are many owners and many possible uses – and this is not currently in sight in Switzerland. The few good practices abroad went other ways, but of course someone always has to be the first.
Electronic Patient Dossiers (EPDs)
Electronic patient dossiers serve to facilitate the multiple use of data: Examinations have to be carried out less often and experiences can benefit other patients. An ambivalent side effect is that the efficiency gains, e.g. in administration, are partially offset by additional work for health professionals and that their actions can be more accurately tracked and reviewed.
The Swiss Federal Law on Electronic Patient Dossiers is scheduled to come into force in 2017. On this basis, patients will be able to open an electronic dossier on a voluntary basis, through which they will be able to access treatment information that is stored decentrally. They will then also be able to control access by health professionals to individual pieces of information. In order to comply with the legal basis, comprehensive technical and organisational work must be carried out and information and education of patients must be guaranteed. Last but not least, outpatient health professionals (doctors, pharmacies, Spitex organisations) must also be won over to the use of the electronic patient file. Only for hospitals, nursing homes and maternity homes is participation mandatory by law after a transitional period.