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The economic area of Zurich offers the ideal breeding ground for innovation

In Chur, the high-tech company Oblamatik has opened one of the most modern innovation centers for water management. The signs point towards growth at this leader of innovation, which has made a clear commitment to the innovation profile of the economic area of Zurich.

At the Innovation and Technology Center, Oblamatik develops solutions for the global market. Image credit: Oblamatik
At the Innovation and Technology Center, Oblamatik develops solutions for the global market. Image credit: Oblamatik

 

Roland Obrist, CEO of Oblamatik, is currently in his dream job. He commented: “I have to look over many applications and ensure that current employees are not overworked – the motivation is huge”. Since last summer, Obrist and his team have been working in a brand-new innovation and technology center. It is one of the most modern facilities in the field of water management. The subject reflects a trend: Around the world, demand is rising for smart processes that save on private and commercial water usage in addition to those that help to provide clean water. The investment has certainly paid off for the expanding Oblamatik and its German parent company Viega. The new center, which is actually a flagship project for the Swiss Office of Energy, came at a cost of 28 million Swiss francs overall. “Graubünden is home to a fertile breeding ground for innovation, while the new center will allow the company to grow further”, comments Obrist, who has already secured a follow-up plot of land. 

Solutions used around the world

Innovation is a cornerstone of the approach taken by Oblamatik, a specialist in digital water management. Each year, up to ten patents are generated. Of the 80 employees working out of the new center, a total of 60 are engaged in research and development activities. Here, everything that corresponds with the concept of modern innovation promotion has actually been implemented. This includes an integrated room concept with a unique testing lab, which can simulate every kind of water quality seen across the world. It is here that products destined for the European, Asian or American markets, such as the Oblamatik water management system “hywise”, are tested in line with international standards. The solution creates a smart link between all devices in a building with the aim of saving water and increasing hygiene levels. 

Ecosystem as a success factor

It is in this way that Oblamatik works the global market and is deeply entrenched in the region’s high-tech network. The new center is located just ten minutes from Chur University of Applied Sciences (FHGR). This is no coincidence. After all, Oblamatik’s innovations are focused on developments in the fields of software, hardware and construction. “FHGR is therefore the perfect recruitment base and research partner”, Obrist explains. The university addresses the needs of the economy in depth – by way of courses dealing with specialist questions in the field of Artificial Intelligence, for example. In the economic area of Zurich, there are equally renowned institutions in the areas of biology and chemistry – among others, these are just around the corner from Oblamatik. In fact, Oblamatik has agreed a research cooperation in biochemistry with CSEM, a research and technology organization which has a site in Landquart GR.

According to Obrist, the ecosystem is a decisive factor for success: this covers factors including interaction of the economy, the openness of educational and research institutes and pragmatic administrative processes.  “During the construction process, we again noted the lack of red tape and bureaucracy in Graubünden – here, the focus is on people”, he explains.

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