Quest and Totoku forge ahead with LCD offerings

June 12, 2002

Monitor technologies provide new focusQuest International is seeking a fresh beginning in the world of medical display monitors. Established some 20 years ago in Irvine, CA, as a medical monitor repair facility, Quest is hoping to

Monitor technologies provide new focus

Quest International is seeking a fresh beginning in the world of medical display monitors. Established some 20 years ago in Irvine, CA, as a medical monitor repair facility, Quest is hoping to ride the LCD technology wave to a new niche in the market.

Over the years, Quest expanded its repertoire to sales and service of computer peripherals, including printers, medical VCRs, and workstations, but display monitors remained its forte. Quest recently fine-tuned its focus to flat-panel displays.

"Medicine was a planned approach for us and continues to be our largest market," said Bill Greenblatt, vice president of sales and marketing. "About 70% of our business involves the medical market."

Early on, the company's knowledge base was heavily weighted toward CRT displays, but the founders have since recognized the shortcomings of this technology and leapt onboard the LCD bandwagon.

For 18 years, Quest was not affiliated with the sales or service of any specific products in the U.S. That changed in 2001, when it entered into a formal distribution and service agreement with Totoku of Japan. Quest now represents the Japanese company's U.S. line of LCD gray-scale and color flat-panel monitors for medical display.

The MD line features six models, including the flagship MD3000F with a 20.8-inch display and the 200F with 1600 x 1200 pixel resolution. The 3000F is a 3-megapixel gray-scale digital LCD unit with high brightness and high contrast. Boasting 2048 x 1536 pixel resolution, it can be rotated from portrait to landscape orientation and is ideal for PACS as well as all the modalities, according to Greenblatt.

"This product was very much designed for PACS, although it is equally accepted and used on the different modalities by many manufacturers," he said. "Its biggest advantages are high contrast, high brightness, and cost-effectiveness. On average, it costs 25% to 50% less than similar products."

The first 3000F was installed a year ago, and more than 175 have been sold since then. The company hopes to double or triple that volume over the next year.

"We can offer a complete assortment of LCDs to complement the needs of the hospital," Greenblatt said.

To that end, Quest has entered into numerous strategic partnerships, including distribution agreements with Wide and Toshiba to market their monitors in the U.S. Repair and sales also are provided for Siemens, Philips, and other leading manufacturers.

Through the years, the key to Quest's success has been its ability to adapt and meet challenges, according to Greenblatt. Its basic strategy is to promote the benefits of LCD technology as either replacement monitors or for expansion. So far, it has implemented this strategy via trade shows, its Web site, and in-house sales and customer service representatives.

"What we're doing is identifying the benefits of LCD technology with regard to the ability to offer advantages over CRTs,," he said. "The transition to LCDs is definitely apparent today and should continue to grow over time."

Quest executives hope to ride the crest of that wave by offering affordable high-quality products and service. The company views itself as primarily a high-end LCD provider, one with a proven track record of performance and a commitment to the future.

"We have only begun to see demand for LCDs in the medical industry," Greenblatt said.