Digital switching started out on megayachts, and then moved down to some large cruising boats. I first encountered it while cruising on Dirigo, hull number one of the flagship Sabre 66, about 18 months ago; the crew was managing the fuel flow from an iPad in the salon. The system then was so new that the crew called it Hal, after the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Now it’s being used on smaller boats.
Basically, digital switching is a network control system that replaces conventional circuit breakers and switches with a digital power system working on an NMEA 2000 network. The real point is that with the digital system everything on the network is programmable. You can set the lighting, security systems, bilge pumps, whatever, from any point in the boat using a network-connected multi-functional display, a tablet or a smartphone.
Digital switching should be more reliable, dependable and flexible than the traditional mechanical switching system since it eliminates long wire runs and switch panels that are susceptible to marine wear and tear. You can integrate it with a chartplotter to monitor systems such as battery capacity, for example, with easy-to-read graphics at the helm.
Here’s a very good story about all this from Southern Boating. https://southernboating.com/engine-upkeep/systems/digital-switching/