Advanced web-based medical technology migrates to the oilpatch

Image: Calgary Scientific

While not all technology development roads in Alberta lead to the energy industry, that is exactly the course that is being taken by a Calgary-based high-tech company that has developed an approach that allows medical professionals to read X-rays and other imagery on tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices.

Calgary Scientific, which has worked with such world-scale business partners as Siemens and Fujifilm to market its ResolutionMD platform to hospitals and other health-care facilities, has taken a version of that web-based and cloud-accessible technology and developed a product called PureWeb that will allow it to tap the oil and gas, computer-aided design (CAD) and other markets.

In a December 2014 article, New Technology Magazine described how PureWeb's proven technology could readily transform existing exploration and production-based software in a cloud-based, web-enabled mobile approach that allows for same-time collaboration. PureWeb can "solve the oil and gas industry's biggest [challenges] of managing huge data files, ensuring data security and creating mobile and multi-party, real-time collaborative workflows to gain operating and cost efficiencies," the article noted in describing the approach.

It would allow multiple parties to compute together on the same data using mobile devices without having to download it. Calgary Scientific has collaborated with Oslo, Norway-based HueSpace, which has developed a data compression technology that is interactive and scalable.

In addition, Bejing-based Lenovo, Santa Clara, Calif.based NVIDIA, the inventor of a graphics processing technology, and San Diego-based Magma have developed the hardware and software operations necessary to supply the kind of sophisticated 3-D visualization and computing flexibility necessary to interpret multi-terabytes of data.

PureWeb allows for unprecedented mobile access to the complex data needed by geoscientists.

Cameron Kiddle, senior product manager for Calgary Scientific, who has a PhD in computer science, says he joined the company three years ago after being impressed by its technology while working as a liaison between the University of Calgary's computer sciences department and the company. "It became our platform of choice," he says of the company's technology.

Kiddle first started working with the technology on a radio astronomy project in Chile. Radio astronomy, a subfield of astronomy that studies celestial objects at radio frequencies, requires the analysis of huge amounts of data. He began experimenting with the utilization of Calgary Scientifics mobile technology at that time.

"We achieved extensive mobile capabilities using the platform and began looking at other capabilities," he says.

The potential application of PureWeb for CAD and in other areas where large amounts of data need to be analyzed opens up many markets, he says.

Kiddle says the company uses a licensing model by which users can gain access to PureWeb. He acknowledged there is at least one major competitor. Online marketing giant Amazon brought a product to the marketplace last year. He says users are limited to use of the Amazon platform.

"PureWeb is deployable everywhere [on all cloud-ready services]," he says.

The marketing opportunity in the oil and gas and power sectors and beyond is significant, Kiddle says. "Lots of companies are looking at [having] a mobile workforce."

And given today's low commodity prices, he believes that a mobile approach can substantially reduce costs for companies, since they wont have to pay to have geoscientists and other professionals deployed to field locations and elsewhere.

"We have a software solution that will help companies increase their collaboration abilities without having to move staff from one location to another."

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