A five-year-old human has a
pretty advanced view of the world as development stages for children go. Most
are in kindergarten. Obviously there’s still a long road ahead to adulthood,
but the possibilities are endless. The iPhone recently turned 5 too, and, for a
5-year-old, it has made an indelible mark on the world. In particular, the way
people think of and consume software.
Now if you ask me, the
iPhone (in fact any iPlatform) appears to be a mobile cash register for Apple.
In fact, I registered, I put in my share for Apple (and whomever else) this
past weekend when I downloaded Neil Young’s last 2 albums, and a 99-cent new weather
app with a very cool new user interface I just had to try, I’d bet some of you
did too. The point here is that many of us are now trained to consume software
this way, as it is just plain easier all around.
Look even just a bit deeper,
and I think its clear that the transformation created by this new paradigm for
software delivery fundamentally changed the industry. Prior to this, small
startup vendors relied on shareware models to distribute software. No matter
how capable the shareware was, it never had a real chance in competing with the
giant marketing budgets of Microsoft, Adobe, and so on.
Enter the App store in 2008.
Buying and downloading software was now just about as simple as downloading
music, which the platform had already trained us to do. It completely and
fundamentally changed the paradigm from the typical CD insert (and finding said
CD), yes/yes/next/ok sequence, to “click/smiley face”. A whole new world was
formed, and you could transform and extend your computer (aka iPhone) in very
interesting and fun ways. All of a sudden making software was cool again with
new innovations; startups were all formed around developing for this platform,
and delivering using this paradigm (many high school students have even formed
Yeah sure, Apple may likely
be the big winner here, but I contend that the software industry and users also
won pretty big. The playing field was leveled. Innovation and function had a
chance over big marketing budgets. Users
had many more choices.
Now, lets just squint a bit
and look at the software platforms for our little world of medical imaging. What
would the world look like if instead of feeling trapped into buying that little
zero-footprint viewer from your PACS vendor to bolt on the side of your system,
you could choose from a range of integrated solutions that really worked
together (no slight against the heros who developed DICOM and HL-7).
Look across our industry.
There is lots of innovation, but you have to search to find it. It’s generally
eclipsed by the big marketing budgets of the “you know whos.” And, it still
isn’t a slam-dunk to make it all work together, despite all the great
standards. And, oh by the way, one could easily speculate that neither the
vendor nor user will have as much money in the past to play with (ref: Judge
So lets just tilt our head a
bit while squinting. Is it possible that such a model could work for our
Could our own little corner
of the world still be in the terrible twos?