The integrated image and data processing system is one of those elusive market areas in computing that promises much but appears to produce little: Wang Laboratories and IBM are amongst those making noises, and Plexus Computers failed to make its mark with the much hyped Extended Data Processing System: it ended up filing Chapter 11, […]
The integrated image and data processing system is one of those elusive market areas in computing that promises much but appears to produce little: Wang Laboratories and IBM are amongst those making noises, and Plexus Computers failed to make its mark with the much hyped Extended Data Processing System: it ended up filing Chapter 11, and is now in the throes of selling the technology to Recognition Equipment Inc, Dallas. The latest attempt to combine digital image processing with traditional data processing comes from scanning system specialists Scan-Optics of Irvine, California. Formed back in 1968, Scan-Optics has recently gone through a change of identity following its acquisition of Pertec Computer Corp in February 1987: it added Pertec’s 68000-based Pick and Unix machines into its range, and set about modernising and integrating its product lines. Spurred on by senior management changes that resulted in Basic Four Corp founder Philip Davy taking charge as president, chief operating officer and director, Scan-Optics moved away from its primary focus on data entry and page reading systems to concentrate on the new SabreView image processing system, launched at the end of June in California, and last week at the IT in Local Government Show at Blackpool in the UK. The Scan-Optics system consists of an 80386-based image control processor front-ended by a Pick micro, either from Scan-Optics (the updated Pertec hardware) or from another manufacturer. Pick applications and data can be quickly modified to access image data on the image control processor through an interface driver and Pick Basic imaging library, and Scan-Optics also includes an image file manager, network server and device driver software on the image control processor, supporting laser printers, facsimile machines, scanners, and image processing stations or MS-DOS micros connected up to the Ethernet-based network. Scanned images are compressed, assigned an identifier, and called up through standard Pick procedures to be displayed on the 19 or 15 image display stations alongside text. Systems will support up to 24 users and have from 100Mb to 600Mb of disk storage attached to the image control processor. Prices should be in the $l00,000 to $170,000 bracket, with shipments beginning next month. A Unix version is a likely prospect in the future, but initially Scan Optics sees an opportunity in the Pick market, where numerous suitable applications in the police, insurance, medical, garage cpares, shops arenas are widely available. It is currently looking for resellers and software houses to take on the product.