On May 8th 2019, Pioneers, experts and visionaries from the architecture space congregated at Soho House Berlin to witness the launch of ArchiTangle, an independent publishing house and digital service provider in the sector. ArchiTangle publisher, Cristina Steingräber kicked off proceedings by delivering a talk on ‘The future of publishing in the art and architecture realm’ to a packed audience. Books have been a comforting constant at some point in our lives, so the audience was curious to know if the digital revolution would bring about the end of paper books. Cristina alleviated any such fears by presenting the sales figures of traditional books and e-books in the German market. While sales of traditional books reduced slightly in each subsequent year, the increase in e-book sales per annum was marginal at best. The bottom line was that books continued to outsell e-books by a significant margin, with e-books not posing much of a threat. These results are backed by a study from Pew Research which found that only 7% of Americans consume books digitally! Cristina summarized the current situation by echoing Stephen Fry’s enigmatic quote, “Books are no more threatened by Kindle, than stairs by elevators.”
“Books are no more threatened by Kindle, than stairs by elevators.”
While being dismissive of e-books, Cristina acknowledged that the publishing industry has been slow in adopting new ideas. She recounted her experiences with change management, particularly while launching Staatliche Museen zu Berlin’s online shop back in 2006. The traditional art and museum industry was not used to such novelty, and it was interesting to hear her thoughts on dealing with industries that are resistant to change. Cristina urged the ‘sleeping beauty’ to wake up or risk being displaced by a technological shift (Blockbuster anyone?).
Cristina brought her presentation to a close by introducing ArchiTangle to the audience. Given that the publishing ecosystem was stuck in a status quo for years, the audience was curious to find out what ArchiTangle was all about. In the case of traditional book publishing, authors are limited by the content they can provide to readers due to issues related to printing costs, book size and relevant information. ArchiTangle’s unique Book+ program adopts sophisticated distributed ledger technology (DLT) to store content that is permanent and immutable. Through the Book+ program, book owners can gain online access to additional contemporary content directly from the author. That’s not all…the internet of today is criticized for the uncertainty surrounding the availability of information. This relates to information loss in the form of broken domains, hacks or server issues. Distributed ledger technology enables authors to store data permanently, implying that additional content stored as part of the Book+ program will be available for access at any given time….just like paper books!
ArchiTangle’s unique Book+ program adopts sophisticated distributed ledger technology (DLT) to store content that is permanent and immutable.
The moment was right to introduce ArchiTangle’s flagship service, ArchiSafe – the premier Blockchain-based archiving system for architects where data manipulation is impossible. Cristina justified the need for such a system by informing the audience that German civil law requires architects to preserve their work for up to 30 years for purposes of legislation. Barring centralized file management servers, there is no dedicated archiving solution for architects on the market. Highlighting the number of architects registered across the world, Cristina went on to say that centralized cloud solutions such as Dropbox and Google Drive risk data loss and manipulation, given that multiple people can access the files.
ArchiSafe – the premier Blockchain-based archiving system for architects where data manipulation is impossible
Centralized systems are looked upon with suspicion since nobody knows what happens to your data. The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal is a prime example of data being misused. Further, users have no access to files uploaded on cloud storage platforms once they stop subscribing to their services. ArchiTangle, on the other hand, is decentralized and ensures that you have full ownership of your data. Another interesting feature of the service is that one can gain access to his/her files even after their subscription is ended. In short, you only have to pay for uploading data and you gain the accessibility for a lifetime.
Cristina brought the presentation to a close by highlighting ArchiTangle’s vision of positively impacting society. She spoke at length about ArchiTangle’s vision to create an open knowledge sharing platform where academia can gain free access to scientific book content, in accordance with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Cristina was joined by ArchiTangle’s CTO, Arne Steingräber for a candid Q&A session with renowned architect, Jürgen Mayer H., where they discussed the evolution of the publishing industry and the emergence of an exciting new technology in blockchain. The dimming of the lights brought to an end what was an enriching and enjoyable evening for everyone involved!