Twan Korthorst develops software for optical chips at PhoeniX Software, part of Synopsys. “We started in 1991 at the BTC with a few students from the University of Twente. Operating with the name BBV we designed and made software for optical chips. When the entire dot-com bubble burst, we had to stop, but in 2003 restarted as PhoeniX. We continued in the new BTC. Today, we are located in the Capitool 50 building, managed by BTC.
Optical chips are used, among other things, to enable fast internet at your home or business via fibre optics. A data network works much faster with optical chips compared to electrical ones. We have grown explosively in recent years as we now deliver to 32 countries. We achieve 45 per cent of sales in the US. Most large high-tech companies have become our customers, and that did not go unnoticed. In February 2018, the American company Synopsys, the largest software supplier to the semiconductor industry, took us over, creating even more opportunities for the team here in Enschede to grow.
Optical chips are used in more and more domains and settings. For example, in an operation room, you could measure tissue during an operation with a handheld device containing optical measuring technology. The advantage is that doctors don’t have to wait for an hour to get the results from the lab, stating whether cutting edges are clean from cancer. Prototypes of such a device have already been designed, using our software.
An unforeseen development, but clearly one that we are happy with
Optical chips can be used to measure whether a bridge is stable by using fiber optics, as well as to measure the strength of plane wings or turbine blades of a windmill. Also, as OptiSense applies it, to measure water quality. Optical chips can also play a role in improving human health. We already have a pedometer and a heart rate monitor on our phones, but using optical chips you could also test urine, for example.
Application areas are becoming more and more diverse and closer to people. That is an unforeseen development, but clearly one that we are happy with.
Edwin Oude Middendorp of Ecare services develops software for healthcare. “In 2006 Buurtzorg started with the first self-managing teams in Enschede. This initiative was hugely successful. There is global appeal for no bureaucracy and lower costs. We noticed that the software available for healthcare was not made to support the professional, but was primarily focused on the back office. It just had to be possible to make it faster, easier and cheaper. This way Ecare Services was born. We now deliver software to nursing homes and home care. Ecare started in the BTC building and is currently located at the Kennispark. Our new building at the Kennispark will be ready at the end of 2019.
A nurse can see all relevant information on an iPad when going to a client. He or she will have access to the full spectrum of information, from hours and the planning to the patient data. The software recognises the nurse’s location and shows the relevant data. And if the nurse is on a location with multiple clients, a list with all clients is shown, making it easy for the nurse to select the right one.
Software is becoming increasingly smart in recent years. For example, the self-learning software will soon be able to make suggestions about required care based on the text that the carer inputs. Soon, it will be possible to perform intakes of patients completely orally. Speech is immediately converted into a care plan for the patient.
The starting point of our software is ensuring that people working in healthcare have more time for the client or the patient. That is why we design it with the user in mind, making it as friendly as possible. We are dealing with an increasing shortage of nurses, so it is great if we can enable nurses to work more efficiently and with more job satisfaction as we reduce administrative hassle. We can show insurers and institutions that they have delivered the best care quality with the most efficiency.
Because our system is web-based, it is always up to date. If someone else needs to take over the care because of holidays or illness, the replacement person can access all information instantly. Patients, and family, given that permission is granted, can see the information as well. Faster, easier and more efficient. That’s our goal.