After significant delays releasing a color-flow Doppler ultrasoundscanner, Acoustic Imaging will initiate shipments of its 5200Scolor system this month. The Dornier subsidiary hired 10-yearATL veteran William J. Doherty in June to spearhead AI's
After significant delays releasing a color-flow Doppler ultrasoundscanner, Acoustic Imaging will initiate shipments of its 5200Scolor system this month. The Dornier subsidiary hired 10-yearATL veteran William J. Doherty in June to spearhead AI's expandedsales effort as vice president of sales and marketing.
The 5200S does not utilize the vendor's more advanced color-flowtechnology, based on maximum-entropy method (MEM) algorithms (SCAN12/12/90). The color technology for the 5200S was developed throughcooperation with Vingmed Sound of Norway, Doherty said. Vingmedwas purchased by ultrasound competitor Diasonics in late 1990.
AI decided to enter the marketplace with a standard high-endcolor-flow Doppler system before making a generational jump inperformance with a super-high-end system using the MEM technology,Doherty said.
"The super-high-end product requires testing that can'tbe completed now," he said. "It (MEM) will involve alevel of clinical utility that does not exist at this point."
AI is still planning on using their MEM technology with futuresystems, Doherty said.
"We haven't compromised," he said. "Our planis to have two products: a super-high-end and a high-end productthat meets the needs people have now."
AI is also optimistic about the potential of its three-dimensionalultrasound technology, but is not ready to make claims regardingthe role of 3-D display in diagnostic imaging, Doherty said.
"We are putting this (3-D) technology into the hands ofclinicians, and will let them come back and tell us where theythink it's going to be useful," he said.
AI has filed for Food and Drug Administration 510(k) approvalfor its 3-D imaging products and expects to receive commercialgo-ahead by October, Doherty said.
"We are in a very strong position. If 3-D (ultrasound)proves to be a clinically significant modality, we will reactand come to market very quickly with that product," he said.
Adding Doherty to the AI management team is the final piecein the puzzle of restructuring that began last year followingAI's integration into Dornier (SCAN 9/11/91).
Doherty's expertise in ultrasound sales and marketing willaid him in expanding AI's sales organization.
"AI has been known for having a small group of very dedicated,customer-oriented and professional sales representatives,"he said. "I would like to build this organization, allowingfor better (market) coverage and customer interaction. AI hasan opportunity to leverage off this product and grow."
AI's operations have remained relatively unchanged since theywere more closely integrated into Dornier's business.
"We've got a company (Dornier) that allows us to reactto the ultrasound environment and gives us the financial backingto do that without bogging us down with a very top-heavy organization,"he said.
Competition is tough in high-end ultrasound, but there is nomajor price erosion in the market, Doherty said.
"As long as you've got a group of companies on a par froma technology standpoint, pricing is one area that may come understrain," he said. "There is some discounting going on,but I don't see any major problems in that area."