Digithurst Germany

With Schmidt Bank more understanding than Lloyds and less exposed in Asia, Digithurst GmbH survived to become a typical German Mittelstand company. With fewer employees, smaller premises and no commitment to take inventory from Buch Electronics, it was also more agile than Digithurst UK. It had already developed RIS/PACS software for use in radiography applications and produced OEM software for medical imaging companies such as 3M, Fuji and Kodak.

Digithurst GmbH went on to develop software for the secure transmission, encryption and storing of radiological images, a product distributed through its sister company, Telepaxx. Its latest product, HealthDataSpace, is a patient-centric, cloud-based medical data service run from its Telepaxx data centre, serving 300 radiological centres throughout Germany.

Fortunately, the German market for online radiology was well advanced in 1995. It would be another decade before the technology was bolted onto the end of the ill-fated NHS National Programme for IT.

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Stephen and I sold our stakes in Digithurst GmbH in 1991.

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Steinkrug Publications was formed in 1995 to experiment with various Web publishing concepts. Its ‘Flames’ magazine, or ‘e-zine’, won a Personal Computer World award, although there was little competition. Twenty-two years ago there were so few publications on the Web, that Jerry Yang emailed to ask if we wanted to be included on the Yahoo Web portal. There was also an experiment with a multi-narrative Web-based story told in a virtual space called The City. Each user authored one of the interwoven narratives as they moved around a virtual city. Access was through a clickable map, which took users to locations and buildings through which the narrative threads passed.

The company also produced two pieces of software, both experimental: RemoteControl, to collect data from industrial machinery and, in 1999 GenePage, which automatically generated a network of Internet users by searching for similarities in their browsing history and favourite websites.

Steinkrug Publications created two imprints: Wireless Healthcare and CarbonFree. Wireless Healthcare, as the name suggests, published a series of reports on wireless applications in the healthcare sector. It also promoted the use of remote diagnostics, in particular the Doctor at Home system developed by Docobo. It founded the Cambridge Wireless medical technology special interest group. In conjunction with Remi Wilkinson, CarbonFree published a series of reports on the use of low-carbon and renewable energy technologies. It revisited IPR’s research into large-scale solar farms in light of Dr Dahlberg’s predictions proving correct. CarbonFree also designed and built a recirculating air-based passive solar energy system.

However, the main thrust of Steinkrug’s research remains new online concepts and it is currently examining ways to use automatically generated transient narratives to overcome some of the shortcomings of social media.

... (An extract from The Ghost in the Labyrinth by Peter Kruger)

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