Interconnectivity and hyperconnectivity

Call for tenders

digital tablet and smartphone family

Deadline extended until 2 November 2020.

The terms ‘interconnectivity’ and ‘hyperconnectivity’ stand for two interrelated phenomena that have a major impact in our lives. They play a role in our safety, our health, our relationships to other people and the environment, and they influence consumer behaviour.
When we speak of ‘interconnectivity’, we generally are referring to devices that are linked within a network in, for example, a household. Such devices include smartphones and other objects that can access the Internet. By contrast, the term ‘hyperconnectivity’ refers to an across-the-board networked system; the digitisation behind these systems is creating new economic, environmental and social relationships. Nonetheless, the complexity of these networks also harbours disadvantages – particularly with regard to transparency: users often have no real idea of how these systems function.
What advantages do interconnectivity and hyperconnectivity offer to Switzerland? How can these technologies be advanced? Where should caution be exercised? What economic and environmental consequences should we expect, and what opportunities will arise for the economy and the environment?
This interdisciplinary TA study examines the opportunities and risks of interconnectivity and hyperconnectivity from a societal, legal, economic and environmental perspective.


Focus of the study

Because the topics of ‘interconnectivity’ and ‘hyperconnectivity’ are so complex, the study first clearly defines the terms and limits the scope of the investigation. In addition, the specific devices, target audience and users to be included in the study are specified, and the various parties and sectors affected by the technology (infrastructure, media, content) are identified.
The study addresses legal issues related to data protection and active or passive data transfer, including data transfers from humans to machines as well as from machine to machine. In addition, the legal framework that would be most suited to reaping the benefits offered by these technologies must be considered. It is also essential to identify the opportunities and risks concerning transparency in systems using interconnectivity and hyperconnectivity.
The focus of the study is placed on societal influences and social phenomena related to interconnectivity and hyperconnectivity, and psychological and health-related consequences of the technologies are essential aspects – whether at home, at the workplace or during schooling and professional training. The study also aims to shed light on human-to-machine relationships and on changes in social relationships between humans.
The next-generation mobile technology 5G is considered only with regard to its speed and services and in light of the technological requirements devices must fulfil in order to use 5G technology. Regarding the pace at which inter- and hyperconnectivity develop, the study examines whether and how users are capable of adapting to the new opportunities – and the extent to which adapting to them is even believed to be a good idea. To clarify this aspect, the study analyses legal, educational, societal and commercial interests.
From an economic and political point of view, the study deals with the topic of algorithms – algorithms that have been developed to attract, keep (‘addiction by design’) or steer our attention and interests. Global competitiveness is evaluated in a Swiss context and under consideration of opportunities and risks for the environment.
Lastly, the study aims to make a general assessment and draw conclusions that ideally lay the groundwork for concrete recommendations (for action) to decision makers in the political sphere, administration, economy and society.
Not all points mentioned above must necessarily be considered in the study; a focus on individual aspects is also conceivable

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