At first blush, Intuitive Surgical
Earlier today, I happened across an article about Internet2 -- a super-high-speed nationwide Internet backbone that connects more than 46,000 educational, research, and government institutions.
The gist of the article was that beginning in December, the system, which is capable of transmitting up to 100 gigabits per second, will go live between the cities of Washington, D.C., Chicago, and New York.
One person described the system as being able to bring "High Definition YouTube" to the masses within five years -- a fact that I know has caught the attention of Google
The article went on to identify two other items of interest. First, it noted that the Federal Communications Commission was funding a $60 million initiative to connect smaller and rural hospitals to Internet2 in the hopes that diagnostics and other medical services might soon be able to be provided remotely. It further noted that 112 of 120 medical schools in the United States are members of Internet2.
This second point is important because it suggests that the next generation of doctors -- many of whom are already being trained to use Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci surgical systems -- will now also grow up understanding the vast potential of Internet2.
It doesn't take much of a leap to understand that as Internet2 scales up, it should be able to leap from doing relatively simple diagnostic work to more advanced telesurgery. And when this capability is paired with a growing demand for a variety of surgical operations from aging baby boomers in small towns, as well as with a new generation of surgeons trained and schooled in conducting such telesurgeries, it is easy to see how this confluence of factors might keep demand for Intuitive Surgical's equipment robust for a good long time.
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