In the latest TechWatch bulletin, we’ll continue our round-up of eye-catching technologies that have the potential to positively impact the legal sector.

Non-Fungible Tokens

There has been a lot of buzz in some circles around Non-Fungible Tokens or NFTs over the last couple of months.

An NFT is a unique unit of data stored on a public ledger of transactions known as a blockchain. The unique data could represent an image, an electronic deed to a piece of property, or a digital ticket for a concert. In contrast to these “non-fungible” tokens, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether—just like the British pound and other “fiat” government-issued currencies—are fungible; one pound in your bank has the same actual value as the pound in your pocket.

While an NFT is unique, it is important to keep in mind what that unique digital item actually is. In most cases, the NFT is a digital identifier recording ownership, not the actual item itself. What amounts to your “receipt” is reflected in the blockchain where the NFT is stored, but the item that the NFT ownership relates to is stored elsewhere.

NFTs are proof that a rare representation of anything, including digital items can create value which is then captured on the blockchain. In essence, this means that just about anything that is represented digitally could also carry a tangible value.

Some practical examples help to understand the concept.

The CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey recently announced he would be selling his first ever Tweet for an estimated value of $2.5m. The NBA are now also selling limited edition virtual basketball cards which feature short video clips of star basketball players. A recent “card” sold for more than $200,000.

How does this impact the legal sector? There are several areas that could be impacted by NFTs:

Wills, Trusts & Estates – Private and public keys to digital wallets will need to be considered as these can unlock assets with real value.

Anti-Money Laundering – Digital assets could be used to hide or launder actual funds.

Intellectual Property – Given that the very nature of NFTs are meant to provide uniqueness and ownership, NFTs will become another consideration in IP related work.

Microsoft 365 Teams Webinars

The Microsoft Teams Webinar feature started rolling out this month (though some have reported not having access to the feature just yet). Webinars will support up to 1,000 interactive attendees, with an “overflow” capability that will allow an extra 10,000 people to attend in a view-only broadcast experience mode.

The webinar functionality allows meeting organisers to create a registration link, which can then be customised with the event details such as the event title, date, time and description. However, as yet there is no option to add customisation such as branding or company logos.

Both the registration form and preview screens have an option to Copy the registration link. By copying this link you can then include it in email comms, social media, or wherever you chose to advertise your events normally.

Once the attendee has joined the webinar the experience is very similar to a normal Microsoft Teams meeting. They’ll be able to access meeting controls, chat and reactions. Attendees can also use their video, mute or unmute their audio, and share content. Webinar organisers can use Meeting Options to limit what an attendee can do during the event.

postDICOM

postDICOM is not an entirely new piece of technology but can be a huge timesaver for law firms that specialise in medical negligence claims.

DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) is a standard protocol for the management and transmission of medical images and related data and is used in many hospitals.

DICOM is an international standard, used to communicate and manage medical images and data. Its mission is to ensure the interoperability of systems used to produce, store, share, display, send, query, process, retrieve and print medical images, as well as to manage related workflows.

When medical records concerning a case are requested, quite often several DICOM based files will be received that require a special application to view these. Free viewers such as MicroDicom are often used by firms, but the real challenges come about when these images have to be shared with medical experts. Traditionally, these images were copied to a DVD, along with the relevant software and sent to a medical expert. The drawback is that a lack of IT knowledge can make it difficult to effectively view the images through the supplied viewer software. That’s after significant time has been deployed copying the files to a DVD in the first place.

I was heartened therefore to come across postDICOM (www.postdicom.com). It’s an online solution that allows firms to securely share DICOM images with 3rd parties. Not only that, but the solution also has a built-in DICOM file viewer, allowing the images to be easily accessed and viewed online. Each set of images is upload to a client folder and made available only to those who have the authorisation to access.

All the DICOM metadata is uploaded with the files so that the original patient data can be viewed alongside the images. postDICOM even features an API, allowing potential integration into case management systems.

A huge time saver that gets around the challenges with managing and sharing DICOM files.

That’s all for now, stay tuned for the next TechWatch.  

Written by…

Nigel Stott

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