The FINANCIAL — Amazon Web Services (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), today announced it will open an infrastructure region in Switzerland in the second half of 2022. The AWS Europe (Zurich) Region will comprise three Availability Zones and join existing regions in France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and the UK. Currently, AWS provides 77 Availability Zones across 24 geographic regions globally, with announced plans for 12 more Availability Zones and four more AWS Regions in Switzerland, Indonesia, Japan, and Spain. The new AWS Europe (Zurich) Region will enable even more developers, startups, and enterprises as well as government, education, and non-profit organizations to run their applications and serve end users from data centers located in Switzerland.
“For more than 14 years, AWS has supported organizations across almost every industry in Switzerland to speed up innovation, lower their IT costs, and transform their operations,” said Peter DeSantis, Senior Vice President of Global Infrastructure and Customer Support, Amazon Web Services, Inc. “AWS is excited to announce our upcoming region in Switzerland and help Swiss institutions, innovative startups, and world-leading pharma companies deliver cloud-powered applications to fuel economic development across the country.”
AWS Regions consist of Availability Zones, which are technology infrastructure in separate and distinct geographic locations with enough distance to significantly reduce the risk of a single event impacting customers’ business continuity, yet near enough to provide low latency for high availability applications. Each Availability Zone has independent power, cooling, and physical security and is connected via redundant, ultra-low-latency networks. AWS customers focused on high availability can design their applications to run in multiple Availability Zones to achieve even greater fault tolerance. The addition of the AWS Europe (Zurich) Region will enable local customers with data residency requirements to store their data in Switzerland, with the assurance that they retain control over the location of their data, while also providing even lower latency across the country. Organizations using this region will also be able to access advanced technologies from the world’s leading cloud with the broadest and deepest suite of cloud services including analytics, artificial intelligence, compute, database, Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning, mobile services, serverless technologies, storage, and more to drive innovation.
Customers and AWS Partners welcome the news of the AWS Europe (Zurich) Region
Millions of active customers are using AWS each month in over 190 countries around the world. Organizations moving their mission-critical workloads to AWS to drive cost savings, accelerate innovation, and speed time-to-market include Swiss enterprises such as adfocus, AFO Marketing, Appway, COFCO International, Crisalix, Crowdhouse, DFRC (Data Fusion Research Center), Datwyler IT Services, Dentsu Tracking, DroneAnalytics, EF Education First, Endress+Hauser, enersis, Finnova, Fisch Asset Management, GSR Zug, Hexagon Leica Geosystems, Helvetia, Hilti, IATA (International Air Transport Association), Idorsia, Isobar, iptiQ, Kempinski, Kudelski Group, Menu.app, Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), Novartis, Richemont, Ringier, SCOTT Sports, Swiss Re, and TX Group. Hot startups such as 1plusX, Advanon, Archilogic, Ava, Beekeeper, Billte, Bring!, ChemAlive, Coople, flovtec, Frontify, Genedata, KNIME, Medical Informatics, Medisanté, Meteomatics, Modum, Numbrs, Onedot, OTO, Pix4D, QoQa, SecuTix, Sitasys, Smallpdf, Smartfrog, and Uepaa have built their businesses on top of AWS, enabling them to scale rapidly and expand their geographic reach in minutes. In the Swiss public sector, organizations using AWS to transform the services they deliver to the citizens of the country include Computer Vision Lab (CVL) at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zürich), Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (RSI), Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Swiss Post, the Swiss Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo), and more.
Based in Zurich, Ringier is the largest multi-national media company in Switzerland operating over 100 media brands in 19 countries. Since adopting AWS, Ringier has increased user engagement by 24 percent while tailoring content distribution, digital advertising, and marketplace strategy to their customer’s needs. “A great reader experience is at the core of a successful media business model,” said Zhao Wang, Head of Data Technology for Ringier. “Using AWS services, especially managed services with analytics and machine learning, we can better understand our readers’ interests, improve content production, and optimize content distribution for Blick as well as many other renowned media brands – all tailored to our customers’ needs. The planned opening of an AWS Region in Switzerland is great news for us as it reflects AWS’s dedication to Switzerland.”
Dentsu Tracking, a world leader in supply chain tracking and tracing technologies headquartered in Switzerland, also relies on AWS to drive its business. Dentsu helps their customers, which include some of the world’s most well respected organizations such as the European Union (EU), Breitling, and the global sports brand HEAD, to gain maximum transparency and control over their supply chains. “We are using AWS services for the operation of an EU-wide tracking and tracing system, which is used by public authorities in the EU to fight against illicit trade, thereby preventing theft, under-declaration, and fiscal evasion,” explains Philippe Castella, Managing Director at Dentsu Tracking. “The EU estimates that the system can help reduce the circulation of illicit goods by up to 20 percent. With more than 32 billion products tracked and 5 billion supply chain events linked to 750 thousand registered economic operators across 28 countries, this is by far the world’s largest tracking and tracing regime of its kind. Using AWS serverless technologies, we have been able to get fast data management and content delivery in one interface. We can also rapidly develop new features and functionalities thanks to AWS helping to reduce the development and delivery time of new features by 50 percent.”
Public sector organizations in Switzerland are also using AWS to lower the cost of their IT while speeding up innovation. One of these organizations is Swiss Post, the national postal service of Switzerland. Swiss Post has used more than 80 AWS services to modernize its IT applications and build new services for its customers. “AWS helps us stay ahead in an extremely dynamic business environment,” says Christoph Siegrist, Enterprise Architect Cloud and Product Owner, Cloud Foundation at Swiss Post. “Some years ago, we handled hundreds of small parcels per day in our international small parcels business. Today, during peak times, we manage hundreds of small parcels per minute and our customers demand continuous improvement of our services. With new digital services like parcel-tracking apps to inform consumers about the status of their shipments, we’re able to become far more efficient and provide a better overall experience to our customers. Our legacy applications made it difficult to meet these demands, and we could only do 1-2 new software releases per year, making quick changes impossible. Using AWS, we can now continuously integrate and deliver code changes and constantly add new features. We also automated our application management using AWS, leading to operational cost savings of more than 50 percent. We welcome the new AWS Region in Switzerland as we can only see it helping to further speed up innovation for Swiss Post and continue to lower our IT costs.”
Another Swiss public sector organization using AWS to innovate is the public broadcaster Radiotelevisione svizzera (RSI). RSI is responsible for all radio and television broadcasting in the Italian language in Switzerland, and since moving to AWS, has been able to deliver new content to audiences twice as fast with an improved user experience while reducing its infrastructure costs by 75 percent. Antonio Civile, Head of Digital at RSI, said, “A high speed to market is crucial for editors and journalists at RSI to get their news out first. Today, training our editors and journalists on the new platform takes only 30 minutes instead of a full day, and we were able to cut the publishing time of Video on Demand content to the web by 50 percent. Using AWS, it also took us only four months to build our cloud solution and create a web interface that allows us to run seven video and three audio channels. The news of an AWS Region in Switzerland will only further help us to get the latest information into the hands of Swiss citizens faster.”
Swiss startups are also using AWS to rapidly innovate and expand their businesses around the world. One example of this is Ava AG (Ava), a Swiss startup that enables women in 36 countries worldwide to get real-time information about their fertility, pregnancy, and general well-being by tracking their cycle via the Ava bracelet. Ava has been all-in on AWS since launching their business in 2014. Following the outbreak of COVID 19 this year, Ava used AWS to develop an infection detection algorithm to limit the risk of disease spread and improve prognosis for infected patients. Reto Zumbuehl, Chief Technology Officer at Ava, said, “We have always relied on AWS to scale our business as well as manage and analyze large amounts of data generated by our wearables. Every night our bracelets collect more than 3 million data points globally, including information about skin temperature, resting pulse rate, breathing rate, heart rate variability ratio, and perfusion, and we analyze more than 30 terabytes of data in just 18 hours every week. All of the information we collect is very personal to our customers, so only the highest levels of security are acceptable for us. This is why we work with AWS. The data security offered by AWS makes it possible for us to continually protect our customer’s data and provide them with personalized digital healthcare services predicting the exact time of their highest fertility. AWS bringing a region to Switzerland with the same high levels of data protection, user privacy, and regulatory compliance as their other regions around the world is great news for us and all startups in Switzerland.”
Another rapidly growing business leveraging AWS is Beekeeper, which helps companies connect with their employees in real time and organize their work place digitally via an app that is used by more than 500 companies in 130 countries worldwide. Beekeeper has been using AWS since 2016 to run the majority of its IT infrastructure and the Beekeeper app, which offers functionality such as team chats, the management and scheduling of rosters, file sharing, analytics, and reporting. “In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to provide free access to our platform, introduce new features, and help our customers meet rapidly evolving challenges. Only AWS was able to help us do this,” said Jason Brownbridge, Head of Operations at Beekeeper. “Using AWS allowed us to quickly develop and add features, such as a live news stream to help our customers share important information and smartFAQ chatbots to respond to employee questions faster. These new features increased usage of our platform by up to 50 percent. Using AWS’s auto scaling features, we are able to keep up with this rapidly increasing demand and deliver an uptime of 99.9 percent for our customers while decreasing our service delivery costs by 40 percent. By bringing an AWS Region to Switzerland, we’ll be able to maximize the benefits of the cloud for more customers, including those from the financial technology and financial services industries, and meet their requirements to keep their data in country.”
Swiss-based AWS Partner Network (APN) Partners also welcome the news of the AWS Europe (Zurich) Region. The APN includes tens of thousands of Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) and Systems Integrators (SIs) around the world. AWS Partners build innovative solutions and services on AWS, and the APN helps by providing business, technical, marketing, and go-to-market support. APN SIs, consulting partners, and ISVs working in Switzerland such as 56k.Cloud, Amanox Solutions, copebit, COREXPERT by TeamWork, dbi services, ELCA Informatique SA, Innovation Process Technology AG (ipt), isobar technologies Switzerland, Netcloud, One Step Beyond Group, SmartWave, Swisscom, ti&m, Trivadis, and Zühlke Technology Group help enterprise and public sector customers migrate to AWS, deploy mission-critical applications, and provide a full range of monitoring, automation, and management services for customers’ AWS environments.
One AWS Partner using AWS to move Swiss enterprise businesses to the cloud is Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecommunications company and one of its leading IT companies. Swisscom partners with AWS to provide customers such as SeedImpulse, a provider of orthopedic and medical software, with deep technical and industry expertise, helping them to adopt advanced technologies such as blockchain, IoT, machine learning, and more while reducing their IT costs by 75 percent. Urs Lehner, Head of Swisscom Business Customers, said of the new AWS Region, “AWS has a broad and deep portfolio of cloud services and a large network of experts. Learning that AWS is bringing a new region to Switzerland is good news for us and our joint customers.”
Investing in Switzerland’s Future
The new AWS Europe (Zurich) Region continues AWS’s investment in Switzerland. As the number of Swiss customers has grown, so has the size of AWS’s presence in the country. In April 2016, AWS opened its first Swiss office in Zurich, which was followed by a second office in Geneva in December 2017. In March 2017, AWS established two Points of Presence (PoPs) in Zurich, which deliver Amazon CloudFront, Amazon Route 53, AWS Shield, AWS WAF, and Lambda@Edge as well as Amazon Direct Connect to the country. AWS also continues to build teams of account managers, technical account managers, partner managers, systems engineers, solutions architects, professional services, and more roles to help customers of all sizes move to AWS.
For Swiss students and educators, the AWS Educate and AWS Academy programs are providing free resources to accelerate cloud-related learning and preparing today’s students in Switzerland for the jobs of the future. Dozens of Swiss universities and business schools already participating in the AWS Educate program include Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH), Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zürich), HES-SO Valais-Wallis (HES-SO), Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil (HSR), University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), University of Applied Sciences and Arts South Switzerland (SUPSI), University of Basel, and Università della Svizzera Italiana (USI). Major institutions taking part in AWS Academy include University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), University of Applied Sciences OST, and International University of Geneva. AWS also offers a full range of training and certification programs to help those interested in the latest cloud computing technologies, best practices, and architectures to advance their technical skills and further support Swiss organizations in their digital transformation.
To help grow the next generation of Swiss enterprises, AWS supports startups in cities across Switzerland and launched AWS Activate in 2013. This program gives startups access to guidance and one-on-one time with AWS experts as well as web-based training, self-paced labs, customer support, third-party offers, and up to $100,000 in AWS service credits – all at no charge. This is in addition to the work that AWS already does with the venture capital community, startup accelerators, and incubators to help startups grow in the cloud. In Switzerland, AWS works with accelerator organizations such as F10, A&I Kickstartaccelerator, TrustSquare, and Masschallenge as well as venture capital firms like CV VC, investiere, Venturelab, and Redalpine in order to support the rapid growth of their portfolio companies.