On the first day of 2007, Larry Hall took over as president of Curbell Electronics Inc, Orchard Park, NY, after two years as the director of engineering and innovation. In that position he oversaw the development of new products as well as a shift in how the company is run, providing it with a greater ability to handle customization of equipment. Now at the helm of a company known for health care communication, Hall is hoping to expand its repertoire while staying true to its 40 years of history. 24×7 spoke with Hall about where his company is headed, and what it means to the marketplace.
24×7: As the former director of engineering and innovation, are you planning to increase the level of innovation within the company?
Hall: That’s very much true. You will see an increase in research and development at Curbell, and you would see that if you looked at the product offerings we have introduced lately. For the future, you would see a little bit broader offering of products as well as a technical development of our standard product line. I would consider it a little bit of both—making sure that our core business continues to grow and develop to meet the ever-increasing needs of our customers, as well as branching off into a few new areas, especially biomedical, that we’ve been doing fairly well in recently.
24×7: What’s an example of your new areas?
Hall: One of our major product lines is pillow speakers, and when people think of pillow speakers they think primarily of control of a television. Maintaining connectivity with a pillow speaker and other things in the room is really where we will be expanding and trying to reach out. That has to do with auxiliary functions within the room and keeping up to date with all of the systems in the room.
If you walk into a patient room, scan the terrain, and look about and see what there is—whether it’s the TV, the nurse communication system, the lights, heating, or blinds on the window—and think about how the control of each one of these things is brought to either the patient or the nurse, that’s where I think Curbell will be. In order to make all these things into one focal point of control, Curbell would be the right player.
24×7: How do you see this trend of combining components affecting the people who work on medical equipment?
Hall: I would think the biggest change for those who have to keep everything running would be a little more consolidation so that there is not quite such a high count of individual components, that they are a little more integrated. I think that’s an advantage to those maintaining the room. Of course, that device becomes a little more complex.
24×7: One of your products, the SimCube patient simulator, is designed to be portable and compact. Will more specialized niche products play a role in your company’s future?
Hall: I think so. I would describe the SimCube as a market expansion beyond what our core product was originally. So that represents a step into what we call the bio [biomedical] product line. I think you will find more manufactured and distributed products of that type trying to address a specific niche in the market coming out of Curbell.
24×7: Now that you are at the helm, what would you like to see Curbell do after 40 years in business?
Hall: Well, I certainly don’t want to lose sight of our core business. But what I hope is that we develop a broader product offering so that when people think of Curbell, they think of far more than communications devices and think of Curbell as a full-service company offering much greater value in a variety of different areas.
24×7: What do you see changing in the biomedical industry in the next few years?
Hall: Information systems and technology will make patient care far more consistent and of a higher quality.
24×7: Will Curbell be getting involved in electronic medical records and laboratory information systems?
Hall: Not at this time. In some respects you might say we are already on the fringe, since we provide some products that are used to access and control those systems. But we are really only providing the peripheral piece of equipment.
24×7: Do you have anything you would like to tell our readers about Curbell?
Hall: I would like to confirm to our customers that Curbell remains committed to meeting their needs in the future, and it is our intent to stay in touch with them to make sure we continue to develop products and provide the level of service that they have come to expect. We will also continue to broaden the company and provide greater services in a variety of new areas that deliver more value than they experience today.
Zac Dillon is associate editor of 24×7. Contact him at .