Not a Typical Day at the Office: Application Engineers Taking Steps to Improve Customer Experience
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Customers have never had more access to information than they do today. Everything they need is at their fingertips- product reviews, testimonials, competitor information. It’s a key factor driving companies to deliver stronger incentives to their customers because if they can’t provide them with what they want, someone else can and will.
Staying at the forefront of technology in this day and age is almost impossible as it seems to change daily, but keeping your customers happy is a lot simpler. How? By just listening to them. Communication barriers no longer exist between consumers and big companies making it easier than ever to connect with each other.
As application engineers, we’re involved in the design and implementation of products, training, troubleshooting, and product enhancement. Much of our product enhancements come straight from our customers. We gather their feedback and information about their needs and work with our team to develop and enhance our products with our customers in mind.
It’s not every day that we get to be on the sidelines at an NFL game or X-ray an African Guinea Pig, but we’ve had some pretty interesting days outside of our four walls and it was all to better our customers experience with our products. Here are some of our most memorable moments:
*JT (Jenn Thwaits) & LC (Laurie Cesar)
- (JT & LC) Buffalo Bills: We announced our partnership with the Bills back in August 2013 and installed the DRX-Ascend System and DIRECTVIEW CR System at Ralph Wilson Stadium. They’re not using our equipment every day like facilities are; they’re using them every Sunday. We were present on the sidelines for the first three games of the season to ensure their radiologist tech, Gary Celotto, knew how to work the equipment in order to properly treat a player because if someone gets injured, Celottoneeds to get to them so that the trainers can immediately assess their injuries. During the pre-season game against the Lions, We ended up X-raying about five players (ribs, knees, feet, etc…) but luckily none were seriously injured.
- (JT & LC) Spurwink Farms: We partnered with Idexx to develop image processing for veterinary DR (digital radiography). We worked on equine image processing at Spurwink Farms in Maine and were able to acquire all imaging needed by X-raying three horses. When you get image data off a CR/DR plate there are so many shades of grey that the human eye cannot distinguish the details in an image. Image processing enhances the darkness, contrast, sharpness and noise to optimize the image so that the eye can differentiate the bone structure and soft tissue, etc. Image processing is an intense task that requires lots of images to do well, which is why it took us multiple horses in order to get the correct images for our software.
- (LC) Animal Kingdom: While I was working in the field as an Applications Consultant I had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We were developing an early version of our vet product. I was tasked to optimize the existing human image processing that was in the current product to make it work for animals – large, small & exotic animals. The novelty of being in an unusual environment made the trip very interesting. It also provided an opportunity to see how medical care is provided in an environment different than the one I’d worked in for all those years.
- (JT & LC) URMC Morgue: In order to receive FDA clearance for a new product you must demonstrate substantial equivalence to a legally marketed product to ensure it’s as safe and effective (or more so) as one that is already in clinical use. This is often established by taking images acquired from both the previous and new product. Since it’s not a good idea for people to have two x-rays when one is sufficient for their diagnosis, cadavers [those who agreed to donate their bodies to science] are often used. When the 2530C detector first came out, we wanted to ensure both specifications were met. We contacted one of our research partners access their morgue where we were able to acquire pairs of anatomical images using two receptor types. Once we confirmed the intended improvements of the new detector we were able to file the appropriate paperwork with the FDA and received clearance for the detector.