by Michael Hunkeler

With Swisscom KICKBOX, Swisscom employees can easily launch and develop their innovative ideas. They receive a starting budget of CHF 1 000, 20% of their working time to use to work on their idea for two months, as well as a personal KICKBOX coach. Today Michael Hunkeler, Head of Swisscom, talks to Chris Rüttimann about his idea to make antenna sites fit for the future.

InfravistaChris Rüttiman - inventor of INFRAVISTA.

Michael: Hey Chris, it’s nice to see you again. About 18 months ago you started with your idea INFRABOX/INFRAVISTA. A lot has happened during this time and today you’re about to reach another milestone. Can you tell us how your idea came about? 

Chris: It was purely out of personal interest. (Laughs). I'm responsible for mobile operations at Swisscom and finally wanted to be able to access the infrastructure devices and sensors at the mobile sites and accurately measure power consumption, remotely. For this purpose, I developed a hardware component, the INFRABOX.

During the Pilot phase, my team and I added additional user interfaces, for examples alarms, solar systems, temperature sensors, and weather stations. Then we also realized that the hardware is only part of the solution. The real magic lies in the software and analysis of the data collected. Today, everything runs via our INFRAVISTA software. There we have an overview of everything and can use the collected data to gain important insights into the situation as well as for further planning and optimization (automation and cost reductions).

Michael: That sounds incredibly exciting! What is the current status?

Chris: The Infraboxes are already fully operational and are currently being rolled out. We aim to have 1000 Swisscom Mobile locations equipped with them by the end of the year. The remaining locations will be equipped accordingly next year. Thanks to INFRAVISTA, the software, and the use of efficient ventilation and air-conditioning systems, we have been able to reduce our energy consumption per location by around 6%. INFRAVISTA also helps us with automation issues and avoids unnecessary trips by field technicians in case of malfunction. Together, this helps our sustainability efforts and saves us millions per year.

There are many ideas for further applications. For example, we are currently experimenting with the collection of weather data and are supporting EMPA in the modelling of CO2 emissions in the context of the City of Zurich's efforts to become net zero.

Michael: So you've already celebrated quite a few achievements with INFRAVISTA! What are the future plans?

Chris: A first goal is to finish the rollout of the Infraboxes and to support the topics ‘Energy Saving’, ‘Best Net’, and ‘Sustainability’ in Swisscom in a target-oriented way. At the same time, we are trying to make INFRAVISTA known beyond the borders of Swisscom. In this regard, there is already great interest from other TelCo's.

Michael: There's been tremendous achievements for you and the team throughout the last few months. With this set-up and the growth potential mentioned, it is a pleasure and honor for me to award you a GoldBox for INFRAVISTA! With this, you ascend to the Olympus of Kickboxers who manage to validate, test, and scale their idea! Congratulations!

Chris: That makes me very happy. A big thank you to everyone who believed in the idea, my team of specialists, and the colleagues who helped me turn my vision into reality.

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