Visualisation capabilities being in demand worldwide for communication enhancement, companies of the caliber of Barco have a special role to play
Barco, a global technology company that designs and develops visualisation products, has said its business in the Gulf states is growing across all product lines.
“Most of our business is project-oriented, often connected with infrastructure investments,” said Eric Brouwers, the company’s regional director for the Middle East and Africa. “Our most important markets are the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia but we see increasing business in Egypt, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan,” he added.
Barco’s products encompass the entire visualisation spectrum and serve a variety of selected professional markets including entertainment and corporate, healthcare, industrial and government.
The company has been active in the Middle East for several decades, opening its regional office in Dubai in 2001 and setting up an office in Riyadh recently.
Barco is well known for its digital cinema projector offering and in fact enjoys global leadership in that category, with sales strongest in the US. Its second most important product line, which happens to be the one leading in the Middle East, is control-room solutions tailored for security and surveillance applications.
As well as technologies for the control room, Barco products that have done particularly well in the Gulf are solutions for simulation and virtual reality, digital signage, cinema projectors and healthcare.
Some of its customers are Aramco (OSPAS), King Fahad Medical Centre, the National Guard Health Affairs (NGHA) hospital group (all in Saudi Arabia) and Dubai Mall, Dubai Airport, Sky News Arabia and the Abu Dhabi Police Department (all in the UAE).
In Qatar it has provided solutions to Aljazeera and Virginia Commonwealth University.
A recent example of Barco’s success in the region was the order placed by NGHA, making it the sole supplier for diagnostic display solutions. NGHA chose to integrate Barco’s Coronis Fusion displays and MediCal QAWeb Premium as part of a structured Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) programme. As a result, the hospital’s radiology department is helping improve patient care by making more accurate, reliable and faster diagnoses.
Founded in 1983, the NGHA covers four cities scattered across Saudi Arabia: Jeddah, Dammam, Al Ahsa and the capital Riyadh. “With a strong presence in the latter, the group plays a pioneering role in the country’s healthcare development. As an example for smaller hospitals, NGHA wanted to uphold its reputation as a forerunner in first-class medical technology. That ambition was the paramount factor in its choice for Barco,” the company said.
Dr Ali S Alwabil, chairman of the medical imaging department, commented: “For our new diagnostic displays, we needed the best-in-class technology. Barco is not only the best known and trusted healthcare brand among Saudi hospitals, but easily surpasses other solutions in terms of image quality and reliability. That made our decision fairly easy.”
The NGHA radiologists were looking for superior image quality with reliable, worry-free calibration and quality assurance in order to make accurate primary diagnostic decisions. Barco’s 30’’ widescreen, bezel-free, Coronis Fusion product line matches and even exceeds those expectations. It allows radiologists to examine 2D and 3D images from multiple modalities on a single screen while having 33 per cent more workspace, thus facilitating improved workflow and faster reading. Besides the displays, Barco supplied MediCal QAWeb Premium. Enabling intervention-free calibration and high-grade quality assurance, the cloud-based MediCal QAWeb software suite ensures complete diagnostic confidence and accuracy.
Barco products well suited for the region include a projector product range with attractive new models designed for adaptation to professional rental and staging, venues and hospitality and corporate markets.
“Moreover, Barco’s healthcare products such as diagnostic displays are well known in the industry but other and more recent healthcare products deserve better market recognition and we are working on it as we speak,” said Brouwers.
About the business focus for 2015, the official said: “We intend maintaining our dominant position in the control room business while extra attention will be paid to the venues and hospitality markets and the healthcare markets.
“Barco wants to contribute to the ambition and the success of GCC countries. By establishing local offices, staffed with a variety of regional nationalities and delegating authorities to them, we create a bridge between the various cultures to build a greater sales and marketing network – a network that includes locally flavoured support, services and consultancy. That is what we’re pursuing.
“By opening our new office in Riyadh in 2015 we want to emphasise the fact that the Middle East has a vital role in the international market and is mainly generating the biggest demands for new technology.”
The company will be introducing several new products in the near future including the Uniti and 4K for health care, laser projection for digital cinema and several technologies in the control room sphere.
Barco’s sales turnover in 2013 was 1.158 billion euros ($1.32 billion) against 1.156 billion euros in the previous year. The company has major plants in Belgium, India and China while smaller plants have been established in Norway, Italy and the US. Top export markets are North America, Europe and China.
“Barco has always been a company with a heavy focus on R&D and innovation,” said Brouwers. “We still keep an R&D to sales ratio of 10 per cent or above, making sure we keep at the edge of technology. But technology is not the only success driver. A continuous commitment for full and total quality is what sustains the momentum.
“We strive to offer peace of mind through top-technology, high quality and a worry free maintenance.”