Piql of­fers a unique fu­ture­proof stor­age of dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion in one of the cold­est places on the planet.

Nor­we­gian tech com­pany trans­forms an ana­logue medium to store dig­i­tal in­for­ma­tion

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - HENRI VIIRALT

300me­ters be­low the sur­face of Sval­bard, an icy Nor­we­gian ar­chi­pel­ago nearly a thou­sand kilo­me­tres from the North Pole, sits a cli­mate con­trolled bunker, de­signed to safe­guard our dig­i­tal her­itage. De­vel­oped by Nor­we­gian tech com­pany Piql and mine op­er­a­tor Store Norske Spits­ber­gen Kulkom­pani or SNSK for short, the Arc­tic World Ar­chive houses data stored on pho­to­sen­si­tive film for a few early adopters, in the hopes that one day it could be home to the most im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion of mankind.

With EUR 27 mil­lion in­vested in re­search, sup­ported by the EU and the Nor­we­gian gov­ern­ment, Piql has man­aged to de­velop a unique solution for mi­gra­tion-free dig­i­tal preser­va­tion. They have used the lat­est nan­otech­nolo­gies to con­vert photo-sen­si­tive film into a dig­i­tal preser­va­tion medium for the fu­ture, where data can be writ­ten as high­den­sity QR-codes, vis­ual images or a com­bi­na­tion of the two.

Back in 2002, a group of peo­ple with a back­ground in dig­i­tal imag­ing, came to­gether to found Piql dur­ing a tran­si­tive time where more and more movies were be­ing pro­duced dig­i­tally, while cine­mas still only pro­jected 35mm ana­logue film. Piql’s vi­sion was to bridge the gap be­tween the dig­i­tal and ana­logue worlds. They did so by de­vel­op­ing a dig­i­tal film recorder, the Cineva­tor, which was able to print movies up to 100 times faster, and with bet­ter image qual­ity, than the com­pe­ti­tion. Sound and sub­ti­tles were able to be added si­mul­ta­ne­ously rather than in sub­se­quent steps, which was the in­dus­try stan­dard at the time. All of this pro­pelled Cineva­tor as the gold stan­dard in dig­i­tal film print and they are used to this day by film labs and post pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies all over the world.

In 2007, the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences – known for the Os­cars – pub­lished the ‘Dig­i­tal Dilemma’ re­port, which ad­dressed the chal­lenges re­lated to se­cur­ing long term ac­cess to the mo­tion pic­ture in­dus­try’s most valu­able as­sets; the movies.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tion into this is­sue made it clear that the threat of data loss is not unique to the mo­tion pic­ture in­dus­try – the same is faced by all in­dus­tries and sec­tors that deal in valu­able dig­i­tal data, both in the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors. A new ap­pli­ca­tion for Piql’s ex­per­tise in dig­i­tal imag­ing was found; se­cur­ing fu­ture ac­cess to valu­able data by us­ing pho­to­sen­si­tive film as a dig­i­tal stor­age medium,” says Piql’s Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Rune Bjerkestrand.

Based on the core tech­nol­ogy used in Cineva­tor, it took an­other 10 years and EUR 27 mil­lion in­vested in R&D to come up with a scal­able solution that caters for the com­plex needs of data preser­va­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to Piql’s web­site, stor­ing data to piqlFilm is just as easy as stor­ing to any other de­vice or in the cloud, the only dif­fer­ence be­ing in the se­cu­rity, in­tegrity and longevity they of­fer.

The first step is to trans­fer the dig­i­tal data. Piql ac­cepts all file for­mats, rang­ing from pure text doc­u­ments to images, as well as au­dio-vis­ual con­tents. Next, the dig­i­tal data and meta­data is writ­ten onto the se­cure, mi­gra­tionfree preser­va­tion medium with proven long-term qual­i­ties, the high-res­o­lu­tion mi­cro­graphic film.

The client is able to store the film reel with their lo­cal Piql Ser­vices provider, at an in­de­pen­dent lo­ca­tion of their choos­ing, or choose the most

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