Vision Ten starts turning corner

July 14, 1993

Vision Ten has expanded its film digitizer line and cut red inkfollowing a breakdown earlier this year in merger talks with laserdigitizer firm Lumisys. The Torrance, CA, company continues toseek strategic alliances with other vendors as well as

Vision Ten has expanded its film digitizer line and cut red inkfollowing a breakdown earlier this year in merger talks with laserdigitizer firm Lumisys. The Torrance, CA, company continues toseek strategic alliances with other vendors as well as investmentsupport, said Robert L. Doretti, president and CEO.

About $100,000 of Vision Ten's $294,000 in revenue for thefirst quarter of 1993 (end-March) came in the form of licensingfees for software related to the company's RITA film digitizingand distribution system, direct sales of which have been discontinued.Remaining revenue indicates a start to OEM sales of Vision Ten'scharge-coupled device (CCD) digitizing technology.

While revenue was up only slightly from $287,000 in the firstquarter of 1992, the firm cut its losses from $430,000 in thefirst quarter last year to $224,000 during the same period of1993.

Future sales should get a boost from the introduction lastmonth of V-Scan II, a 2000-pixel, 12-bit scanner that sells forabout $12,000 depending on quantity purchased. This system's resolutionexceeds that of Lumisys' 1024-pixel Lumiscan 50 laser digitizerrecently introduced for teleradiology applications, he said. VisionTen users can upgrade to the 4000-pixel CCD scanner if needed.

Vision Ten has focused all research and development effortson improving the speed and versatility of its film scanner linerather than RITA. A Macintosh capability was recently added tothe digitizer and Sun workstation functionality is planned, Dorettisaid. While RITA is no longer under development, two Europeanlicensees still sell the sub-PACS technology.

Vision Ten became, in effect, a start-up company followingits exit last year from the direct PACS business, Doretti said.One reason the firm changed tacks was that about 70 competitorswere selling image management software systems into a market saggingunder a hospital capital crunch.

"All you have to do is look at how many CT and MRI machineswere bought last year. It wasn't that significant," he toldSCAN.

Large imaging vendors have the customer connections and financialheft to persevere against the smaller PACS software vendors thatcontinually enter and exit the market, he said.

"People start price-cutting, and the David and Goliathapproach doesn't work," Doretti said. "We have bettermargins selling (digitizers) to OEMs and licensing those who desirethe RITA software."

Pricing pressures can actually build demand for CCD digitizingtechnology, which is generally less expensive than laser systems,he said. Vision Ten introduced V-Scan II to capitalize on thisdemand for high-resolution scanning at a low price.

One OEM contract established by Vision Ten is with Devicesand Services of Dallas, which makes the Images on Call teleradiologyproduct marketed by GE Medical Systems (SCAN 7/05/89).

The firm has also found interest in volume purchases of digitizersfrom large radiology groups developing their own teleradiologycapabilities, he said.

Vision Ten is exploring applications of the digitizing technologyoutside of medical imaging as well, Doretti said. The firm hassold several scanners for industrial nondestructive testing, althoughthis is not expected to be a large market.

More promising are applications in biotechnology, where VisionTen has adapted the digitizer to scan DNA gel for biotechnologyfirms.

"You can't just stay within the PACS business as a peripheralcompany," Doretti said.