BFH Centre for the Digital Society
The BFH Centre for the Digital Society focuses on the enormous opportunities and risk-laden changes inherent in the ongoing process of digitalisation. It develops ICT solutions and concepts designed to promote the intelligent, secure and fair use of information in all sectors of business, society and politics.
The BFH Centre for the Digital Society was created because the digitalisation taking place in all areas of life generates both tremendous opportunities for social, economic and political progress as well as risks. Miscalculating the complexity or the side effects of these developments often leads to the risks as well as the opportunities being ignored in equal measure.
The BFH centre addresses both sides of the coin – an understanding of the big picture and the identification of sustainable strategies for the future along with the design and correct technical and organisational implementation of projects. To accomplish this, it prioritises networking, both internally in the form of teamwork and externally with leading experts and decision-makers, because knowledge must flow in order to be of the greatest possible use.
The partners of the BFH Centre for the Digital Society come from the areas of science, business, public administration and civil society. They contribute outstanding expertise, boast their own excellent networks and/or represent leading institutions.
The BFH Centre for the Digital Society is committed to increasing cooperation between Switzerland’s stakeholders, e.g. in the area of eID (electronic identity), and it has the privilege of working together with partners abroad on frequent international projects.
The BFH Centre for the Digital Society is involved in research in the following topic areas:
Sustainable Solution Design
How can one ensure that an IT application generates the greatest possible benefit during the course of its entire life cycle – including all of the subsequent solutions based on it? The application must be able to be adapted efficiently to constantly changing future requirements that are currently still unknown. Users and operators can use new concepts and thus avoid or limit both Legacy System syndrome and progress-limiting path dependencies.
Big and Open Data
What role does data play in the digital society and economy? This topic area focuses on maximising the opportunities and reducing the risks related to data, the use of data in a federated context and the maintenance of shared infrastructure. The vision is to promote the common good thanks to the professional use of data. The priority is on models that represent the interaction between data producers, intermediaries and data consumers supported by a sustainable foundation.
Buildings and Cities
How can the city of the future, buildings and urban living spaces be designed so as to adequately meet challenges such as the use of resources, transport capacities and co-habitation, as well as to offer residents an attractive, innovative environment? Urban innovation platforms, the establishment of participative planning processes and the transformation of a building’s function into an active information and interaction space play a key role in this. Instruments and tools as well as blueprints for innovative city planning are developed based on the findings and provide cities with direct support for their development processes.
Identity and Privacy
Digital identities represent individuals, organisations and objects in the digital world and form the basis of a digital society. Working in interdisciplinary teams and in cooperation with partners from industry, administration and science, the BFH centre is developing new types of approach to limiting access and attacks and is improving the management of digital identities. The main research focus points are on aspects of security, data protection and protecting the privacy, user-friendliness and economic and legal issues.
Cyber Security and IT Forensics
The BFH Centre for the Digital Society addresses pertinent questions regarding security, trust and protection of the privacy resulting from an extremely wide range of IT-based systems. Similar to the real world, violations of rules in the virtual world must also be proven. Cyber forensics concerns itself with the methods, procedures and legal frameworks to detect illegal activities within devices and substantiate them in a legally sound manner.
Healthcare and E-Health
ICT and E-Health are having a long-term impact on healthcare as well as on the daily management of health and disease for each and every individual. The individual person is the central focus of research activity. Together with the ICT and E-Health users, the BFH Centre for the Digital Society is designing the developments to be systematic and practically relevant. The responsible use of ICT is a top priority in this process.
The BFH Centre for the Digital Society is made up of highly qualified researchers from a wide variety of fields who are specialists in their core areas. Many also possess research experience in multidisciplinary projects. There are even multidisciplinary teams with many years of collaborative research experience in the key areas of the research. This ensures that thoroughness and efficiency can be combined in the research work.
Researchers from the following disciplines work together at the BFH Centre for the Digital Society:
- Architectural Sciences
- Business Administration and Economics
- Business Technology and Information Technology
- Nursing Sciences
- Political Sciences and Political Communication
- Social Work
Depending on the issue at hand and the objectives, a suitable approach is defined from a pool of relevant research methods while taking into consideration innovation potential, effectiveness, efficiency and quality. The most important factor is ensuring that the method fits the issue and that it delivers relevant results.
Reference projects from the following topic areas provide an idea of the breadth of the areas covered and the services provided by the BFH Centre for the Digital Society:
Big and Open Data
- Big Data study (2015)
- Fusepool P3 (2014-2016)
- Open Government Data – Swiss baseline study (2013)
- OpenGLAM - Open Data and Crowdsourcing for Memory Institutions (since 2013)
Identity and Privacy
- SwissPass: Security and risk analysis
- Swissdec Company Authentication (SUA)
- Secure idenTity acrOss boRders linKed 2.0 (STORK 2.0)
- B2.06 – eCH Standardisation IAM
- eID Ecosystem model
- AHV number as a uniform, inter-organisational personal identification
Healthcare and E-Health
- AIDE-MOI research programme
- ContBPmeas – Continuous Blood Pressure Measurement on Wrist
- Technology evaluation at the Domicil Dementia Competence Centre Bethlehemacker Bern
Buildings and Cities
- Municipal Cockpit
- SCCER 6: Efficient Mobility
- Efficient-Solar-Planning Tool
- City Platform as a Service – Integrated and Open (CPaaS.io)
Sustainable IT solutions
- Assessment of the consequences of regulation (RFA) by the Company ID Act
- Supporting the project Company ID Register project
- Review of the Federal Government's ICT Strategy
Cybersecurity and IT Forensics
- KAN - Automating and simplifying malware analysis
- Vortessence - Automating memory forensics
Research and development
The BFH Centre for the Digital Society concentrates solely on research questions that stem from real-life situations or are highly relevant from a practical perspective. It carries out its research according to high standards of scientific quality, while selecting research methods in such a way that they are optimally suited to the research area. The results are presented both to peers in the scientific world as well as to practitioners, and the BFH Centre is committed to ensuring that they produce a practical effect.
Various reference projects give an idea of the breadth of the areas covered and the services provided by the BFH Centre for the Digital Society.
Services and consultancy
The BFH Centre for the Digital Society advises clients in the business world and public administration and offers services in select situations that demand a high degree of expertise. These include:
- Strategy development and implementation
- Project management and project evaluation
- Design and technical implementation of IT solutions
- Development of organisational IT maturity
- Employee development
- Business model analysis and development
- System dynamics approach and simulation
- Promotion of innovation and Design Thinking
Training and further education
The research results generated by the BFH Centre for the Digital Society are integrated in the bachelor and master degree programmes and the further education courses offered by the BFH. This ensures that the range of courses is always in line with the current state of scientific knowledge.
|Bachelor courses||Master courses||Further education|
The divisions and institutes that form the BFH Centre for the Digital Society hold regular events on current topics. These events are aimed at experts and other interested parties.
At this biannual conference, renowned speakers from Switzerland, Austria and Germany showcase the latest concepts and innovative projects involving the use of new information technology in state institutions and public authorities.
The symposium for French-speaking Switzerland takes place in the spring, while the symposium for German-speaking Switzerland is held in the autumn. The aim is for all the key decision-makers to share top-level knowledge and expertise.
Swiss Society for Organisation and Management (SGO) hub (SGO-Drehscheinbe Bern)
Public events are organised in collaboration with the Swiss Institut für Unternehmensentwicklung (INU) and take place four times a year. The aim is for experts in academia, business and politics to share views with one another.
researchXchange is a series of seminars on the research carried out at BFH's Department of Engineering and Information Technology. This in-depth insight into the institutes' research topics is designed to inspire participants' own research and teaching activities and highlight opportunities for interdisciplinary cooperation.
The eGov Lunch showcases a current and innovative project involving new information technology in state institutions and public authorities. It takes place four times a year.
Brown Bag Lunch
The Swiss Institut für Unternehmensentwicklung (INU) and the Consulting Cluster organise a Brown Bag Lunch every quarter. While participants tuck into their brown bags, they listen to a keynote speech on a current topic and then discuss the topic as a group.
The BFH Research Centre opened at the PROGR cultural hub in Bern on 26 May 2016.