Research Approach – Learning by Reading and Doing
The group investigates the impact of new technologies via a vertically integrated approach. On the one hand it identifies and describes emerging applications based on the general idea of an Internet of Things, e.g. how new mini-computers in cars might change the way insurance companies calculate risks, or how new mini-computers in a shower might change consumers’ warm water consumption.
On the other hand, the researchers theorize on potential implications at the behavioral and business model levels among others. These theory-based implications are then formalized into models that can be tested by experiments. Through this process, the research team often develops new technology, e.g., a mobile phone application that captures driving behavior or a micro-turbine that fits into a shower hose and powers an embedded computer that measures the water flow rate.
Combining Computer Science with Social Science
As a consequence, the research group combines several disciplines ranging from electrical engineers, computer scientists, and management researchers to psychologists, uses various research methods, from prototyping to large-scale field experiments, and publishes in various disciplines, from computer science to marketing and psychology.
Labs and Focus Areas
The current Labs and Focus Areas include*:
Auto-ID Lab @ ETH/HSG
Whereas the global Auto-ID Labs Network with its Labs at MIT, ETH/HSG, Keio, Cambridge, Fudan, ICU (Korea), and Adelaide, is co-chaired by Prof. Sanjay Sarma, MIT, and Prof. Elgar Fleisch, ETH/HSG, the ETH/HSG Auto-ID Lab is currently run by its Assistant Director Ass. Prof. Alexander Ilic. The St. Gallen / Zürich Auto-ID Labs research interests are centered on the Internet of Things in the retail industry, with a special focus on Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) applications for the end-consumer, mobile phone applications, the extension of the Electronic Product Code (EPC) Architecture Framework for sensing capabilities, and technical approaches to combat counterfeiting. For more information please see www.autoidlabs.ch and www.autoidlabs.org.
Bits to Energy Lab
The Bits to Energy-Lab, co-chaired by Prof. Friedemann Mattern of ETH, and Prof. Elgar Fleisch of ETH/HSG has been established and run by Prof. Thorsten Staake, a former doctoral student of Elgar Fleisch. The lab is a joint initiative of several chairs and industry partners that is dedicated to investigating the role of ubiquitous computing technologies for sustainable development. Its research interests include the use of IT to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions with a special focus on consumption visualization and carbon accounting. For more information please see www.bitstoenergy.ch.
Bosch ITS Lab @ HSG
The "Bosch internet of things & services lab" (Bosch IoTS lab) is a joint initiative of Bosch Group and the University of St. Gallen (HSG). The lab’s mission is to find and test out business models for the internet of things & services (IoTS). In addition, researchers will be working to develop innovative and breakthrough internet-based products and services. The first major areas of research include networked mobility and smart home. Prof. Elgar Fleisch chairs the initiative as the scientific head of the Bosch IoTS lab. The lab is operated under the direction of Dr. Markus Weinberger (Bosch Software Innovations) and Assistant Professor Felix Wortmann (ITEM-HSG). For more information please see www.iot-lab.ch
The Health-IS Lab is a joint initiative of the University of St.Gallen and ETH Zurich that combines information technology and behavioral sciences to promote well-being and a healthy lifestyle. We build and evaluate consumer-centric health information systems that have not only the potential to improve outcomes and reduce costs of health interventions but also to support health promotion and disease prevention strategies of organisations. Prof. Dr. Elgar Fleisch chairs the Health-IS initiative as the scientific head while it is opreated under the diretction of Tobias Kowatsch. For more information please see www.health-is.ch
Mila Research is a joint initiative of Mila AG, a Spin-Off company of a Swiss-based technology company Coresystems AG, and ETH Zurich (Department of Management, Technology, and Economics). The lab’s objective is to investigate, develop and evaluate methods and practices to enable automation of the processes in a location based mobile marketplace for tasks and products that lets people find, discover and buy services. The lab is operated under the direction of Dr. Irena Pletikosa Cvijikj (ETH Zurich). For more information please see www.mila.com
Mobiliar Analytics Lab
Mobiliar Analytics Lab is a joint initiative of the oldest private insurance company in Switzerland, Mobiliar and ETH Zurich (Department of Management, Technology, and Economics). The lab’s mission is to investigate the power of Big Data Analytics for the domain of insurance industry in order to adopt the existing business model to the changing market place, to simplify the business processes within the company and to provide greater value to their customers. The lab is operated under the direction of Dr. Gundula Heinatz (Mobiliar) and Dr. Irena Pletikosa Cvijikj (ETH Zurich).
*Former Labs include the M-Lab (Mobile and Ubiquitous Computing Lab) – from 2001 to 2009 (www.m-lab.ch) and the I-Lab (Insurance Lab) – from 2004 to 2013 (www.i-lab.ch).