IAP platform evolving into industry standardAs the once-distinct segments of medical imaging--PACS, teleradiologyand workstations--have blurred, companies that once sought toaddress different markets individually have had to adapt. Oneof the
As the once-distinct segments of medical imaging--PACS, teleradiologyand workstations--have blurred, companies that once sought toaddress different markets individually have had to adapt. Oneof the nimblest players has been ISG Technologies of Mississauga,Ontario, which has transformed itself from a 3-D workstation developerinto a supplier of software products that are being adopted bya growing number of medical imaging vendors.
Much of ISG's growth has come through OEM and product-developmentagreements, and at last year's Radiological Society of North Americameeting the company was particularly busy in signing on new partners.ISG announced new agreements with several companies, includingSiemens, Du Pont, Analogic and Mitsui.
ISG repositioned itself as an OEM software supplier and workstationdeveloper as the 3-D workstation market began to lose its luster(SCAN 12/15/93). Many of its products are custom-built for vendors.For example, ISG's application-specific products include GE'sGenie nuclear medicine workstation, the Gyroview workstation forPhilips' NT MRI scanner, and the Harmony workstation developedfor Hitachi MRI products.
ISG has also developed its own Silhouette workstation, a next-generationsecond-console workstation intended to succeed the company's Allegroproduct. ISG prefers to sell its products through OEMs, but continuesto support its installed base through the sale of new productssuch as Silhouette.
ISG's new OEM agreements illustrate not only how the companyis evolving to meet a changing marketplace, but also the diversityof that evolution. A good example of ISG's move into PACS is therelationship with Du Pont, which was officially announced at the1994 RSNA meeting, although the two companies had been workingtogether for much of last year (SCAN 4/20/94). ISG's technologyis being integrated with Du Pont's existing and developing Linxnetwork offerings, providing solutions applicable specificallyto ICU and CCU systems.
Another example of ISG's success in the shifting marketplaceis the new deal with Siemens. The German vendor has signed a licensingagreement to use ISG's Imaging Applications Platform. IAP is aprogrammer's tool box comprising software building blocks thatengineers can use to simplify and quicken the development of softwarefor medical imaging scanners and workstations.
IAP has been licensed to various companies, including GE, Philips,Advanced NMR and Hitachi. Under these nonexclusive licensing agreements,ISG is paid a fee when each product that was developed using theplatform is shipped. What distinguishes the Siemens agreementfrom the rest is a decision by Siemens executives to use IAP asthe foundation for developing all of the company's future products.
"That goes a long way toward moving us to the de factostandard as the medical imaging operating system in the developmentenvironment," said Tom Ekers, ISG vice president of corporatedevelopment.
ISG has deliberately and steadfastly applied its strategy ofproviding IAP under a nonexclusive license to vendors, a strategythat has paid off as more multimodality competitors sign on withISG.
Elscint indirectly gained access to IAP through its acquisitionof the clinical MRI business of Otsuka Electronics, which hadentered into a licensing agreement about a year ago with ISG touse the development platform to make a more advanced version ofits Oracle MRI scanner.
Analogic is another of ISG's new business partners. ISG willbe providing two-dimensional workstation software to Analogicto assist them in developing an entirely new product line of workstationsin 1995. Analogic will be providing its DASM-Rx interconnectivityproduct to ISG to help the Canadian company improve its imagemanagement offerings.
The range of ISG's reach is demonstrated in the company's recentlyannounced equity joint venture with Japan-based Mitsui to formNippon ISG to market ISG's products in Japan. The new ventureextends a relationship that had been formed two years earlierfor Mitsui to distribute ISG products in Japan.