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Tandberg seeks success in telemedicine market


Tandberg seeks success in telemedicine marketNorwegian firm views telemedicine as a key market Videoconferencing firm Tandberg emerged on the North American telemedicine scene in 1997 through the acquisition of CBCI Telecom in mid-1997

Tandberg seeks success in telemedicine market

Norwegian firm views telemedicine as a key market

Videoconferencing firm Tandberg emerged on the North American telemedicine scene in 1997 through the acquisition of CBCI Telecom in mid-1997 (PNN 7/97). Through that deal, the company gained access to CBCI's telemedicine offering, then called the Canvas Health Care System.

Tandberg continues to invest heavily in its telemedicine business, both on the product and distribution sides. Earlier this year, Tandberg further broadened its distribution channels through the acquisition of NuVision Technologies, a former PictureTel distributor in January. Disputes between PictureTel and NuVision Technologies have spilled over into court, where legal action is still pending (PNN 4/98).

In product developments, Tandberg continues to sell Health Care System, a low-cost telemedicine product that can handle remote diagnostics, consultations, assisted surgery, medical education, videoconferencing, Internet access, and training. Now in its third generation, HCS includes several new features, thanks to the integration of Tandberg's 2000 SoftMux codec.

Now used on HCS and other Tandberg products to provide interactive videoconferencing, the 2000 SoftMux codec offers a number of capabilities, including downspeeding, which enables HCS to immediately restore a connection in the event of a partial network disruption, according to Tandberg. Other new features on HCS include Intelligent Call Management, which allows the system to determine the presence and type of fault on an ISDN line, said Richard Grace, director of vertical markets for Tandberg, which has U.S. offices in Herndon, VA.

In addition, the Tandberg codec supports five video inputs and five video outputs. This offers the customer increased flexibility over the previous HCS offering, which would have required the installation of a switch mechanism to provide the same capability, Grace said.

The company has also converted the HCS camera, previously fixed on the unit, into a mobile configuration. Thanks to several of the new features, the price of HCS has also dramatically decreased. While the second generation of HCS had a base price of approximately $65,000, the new version has a base price of $27,900.

The new features were introduced in late 1997 and have been well received in the market, Grace said. The company is in the process of collecting 20 HCS purchase orders from five clients, he said.

Tandberg's telemedicine offerings don't end with the HCS, however. Prospective purchasers might also choose the Vision 600 desktop videoconferencing product as a complement to HCS, Grace said. Vision 600, which costs $8995, features a 10.5-inch flat screen monitor with a fixed camera. Another offering, Vision 770, includes a pan and tilt, zoom camera, but does not come with a monitor. It also costs $8995. Customers looking for a rollabout offering could select Vision 2000, which costs around $22,000, Grace said.

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