Research Systems positions software to attract interest of imaging OEMs

July 23, 2003

Siemens integrates Watsyn as option on e.soft The medical imaging community is hosting a new type of software programmer, according to an executive at Research Systems, one who expects more flexibility than is typically found in

Siemens integrates Watsyn as option on e.soft

The medical imaging community is hosting a new type of software programmer, according to an executive at Research Systems, one who expects more flexibility than is typically found in the stand-alone workstation environment. Research Systems' Watsyn provides that flexibility, said Lori Thompson, director of marketing at Research Systems.

Watsyn is a programmer's toolkit-and more, said Thompson, who describes the software as a kind of imaging studio.

"It gives you the functionality you need to dramatically reduce your time to implement applications," she said. "It provides DICOM functionality, user interface, framework-all the tools that need to be built into applications-so you can spend more time developing the intellectual property that makes your application different."

University researchers were the first and have been the steadiest of the Boulder, CO, company's customer base, but equipment vendors constitute an increasingly important segment. OEMs' R&D groups are looking for ways to get answers faster and thereby decrease time to market for new applications, according to Thompson. And that's where Watsyn comes in.

Siemens announced at the annual meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine in June the availability of Watsyn as an option with Siemens' latest version of e.soft, the company's multimodality software backbone. Watsyn empowers e.soft users to develop advanced applications for use at their facilities. With the advanced toolkit, users can develop new research as well as clinical protocols, then integrate them into e.soft workflows, according to Siemens. The software also provides DICOM services and prebuilt image modules.

"Applications written in Watsyn in the designer area are pushed into the e.soft workflow to become an activity available to radiologists," Thompson said.

Watsyn was customized to fit e.soft, she said, but such customization is not necessary for the software to be effective. Windows-based Watsyn, in a standard configuration, can run on virtually any PC or proprietary workstation. Developed applications can be deployed across any workstation environment.

Customers license its use for fees ranging between $6000 and $8000 per user, well within the budget of most institutions, Thompson said. And, in response to customer requests, the company is developing a "floating license" concept to provided added flexibility of use.

"Because an institution may have more than one person doing development and those people may change, we are trying to accommodate (institutional customers) with a licensing model that allows them to pick who is covered by the license," she said.

Programmers using Watsyn are developing applications that go well beyond research, Thompson said. These may include applications designed to extend clinical capability or improve efficiency. The demands for which these applications are written come from people routinely using the equipment in varying imaging environments, for different modalities, and for different viewing purposes, both diagnostic and review.

One such example of varied uses to which Watsyn may be put is its implementation with Siemens' e.soft. Customization is one but not the only possibility of how Watsyn might be used by OEMs. The software is flexible enough to support different corporate strategies, Thompson said.

"We have prided ourselves on being a neutral party, a Switzerland-like tool provider, that enables others to do bigger and better things," she said.