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    9 things you REALLY need to know about digital imaging

    Unpacking terms like open, closed and everything in-between.


    Updates and Fees

    Like your computer, scanner and CAD software is regularly updated, and it is in the best interests of labs to stay current with those updates. As such, oftentimes labs will have to pay a monthly or yearly fee or subscription. The fees associated with ongoing maintenance are used to fuel innovation in scanner and CAD software.

    3Shape charges an annual fee to every laboratory that has a 3Shape system—it’ll depend on how many licenses you have, and then what software you have,” Cohen says. “That fee enables 3Shape to employ about 200 full-time engineers to continually develop products.”

    Not every vendor requires an annual fee, and some have been able to offer a different business model because of it.

    “Because of [3Shape’s] fee, it’s given exocad inroads to the marketplace because a lot of lab owners don’t want to pay the annual fee,” Cohen notes. “With exocad, if you want an upgrade, there is a fee, but it’s not mandatory that you pay. With 3Shape, you actually get shut down if you don’t pay it. Whereas exocad, if you buy it this year, you have 2015 software. If you want to operate on 2015 software for the next 10 years, you can do that. You [just] won’t get any other new features.”

    In the exocad model, labs don’t have to stay current. However, if there comes a time they want to upgrade to the latest version of the software, whichever years were skipped between the last version that was paid for and the current version must be made up.

    Product roundup: Benchtop scanners

    “What I recommend to everybody for updates is once your one-year warranty is up, just immediately pay for another year,” Thomas advises. “It’s going to be the least expensive option to pay up front, as every month you miss, every year you miss, you have to go back and pay for those years.”

    Some vendors’ fees are part of ongoing maintenance programs.

    “The fees that are involved are related to the maintenance fees,” Cucchiaro says. “It’s helping the technician in learning how to utilize the system. If there’s anything wrong with the system itself, we’ll be able to intervene and help him out with any type of issue that he is encountering. It’s not a mandatory fee, but we recommend it for the first year.”

    Labs should take a look at the fine print regarding fees before they sign on to any system.

    “You have to be careful because, oftentimes, the ongoing fees are not well communicated to their customers until very late in the contract process,” Coonradt says. “We’ve taken a deliberate practice to be very transparent in our pricing. We give the device and data package pricing right up front.”

    Continue to page nine for more...


    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


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