Digital Technology to Improve Lab Operations
This week in Munich, Germany, 1170 exhibitors from forty-five countries came together for Analytica, the 26th International Trade Fair for Laboratory Technology, Analysis, Biotechnology. While vendors, including Thermo Fisher Scientific, certainly showed off the latest advancements in instrumentation hardware, there was a decidedly more digital focus this year. Analytica launched a new Digital Transformation forum for attendees who wanted to learn how they could leverage digital technologies to improve laboratory operations. Participants in the forum learned how digital technology is driving scientific acceleration and laboratory productivity today and positioning organizations for a brighter tomorrow.
The Digital Transformation of the Laboratory
The Global Center for Digital Transformation surveyed organizations in 2015 and asked the question, “How significant will the impact of digital disruption be on your industry?” In 2015, only .4% responded that it would be “transformative.” Fast forward to 2017 and the answer to the same question jumped to 30.9% of respondents. Why the drastic shift in people’s perception of digital technology and its value? Perhaps, it is because of the way it is changing our daily lives. The cloud has moved from being a nebulous idea, to how we backup our phones and personal data. We stream shows and movies just as much as we watch live TV. Our cars can stop us from having accidents or even stop us from having to drive at all. While this progress has been happening in our personal lives, businesses have been leveraging cloud technology, big data and machine learning to better identify and serve their customers.
These technologies also play a pivotal role in science. According to Analytica organizers, “Against the backdrop of increasing digitization, various processes and structures have to be reconsidered in the laboratory of the future. Network-capable laboratory devices with intelligent and smart functions, complex holistic automation concepts and efficient interface solutions are indispensable for the start of the new era. The continuous availability of gigantic data volumes places new demands on data handling and secure data storage.”1
So how do scientific organizations make sense of all this data? The first step is to connect their scientific ecosystem through innovative cloud technology.
Data Management in the Cloud
Many companies are moving to a cloud-first approach to managing IT infrastructure. This seems like an simpler choice for some industries, but is seen by many as a more daunting when considering the complex and heterogeneous laboratory environment. But, in spite of a complex landscape of regulatory and privacy regulations, scientific organizations are benefiting from the cloud. They are already taking full advantage of the scalability and improved security that the cloud offers.
Thermo FisherTM Platform for ScienceTM software is a cloud native solution and has been since 2008. A pioneer in the world of digital transformation, the platform leverages the cloud to provide organizations with a data management infrastructure for lab workflows, allowing end-to-end sample and specimen tracking across experiments, assays, and processes. Thermo FisherTM Core LIMSTM, Core ELNTM, and Core SDMSTM as well as its communication product, Core ConnectTM run on the platform. PFS provides the scientific community with a flexible, cost effective and secure way to collect, store, analyze and share information. This innovative technology is cloud native and enables organizations to leverage the cloud to support their laboratory processes.
Connecting the Scientific Ecosystem
R&D organizations create and manage enormous quantities of data across the drug discovery and development process. Connecting instruments and systems remains a key challenge for these organizations as they attempt to streamline their laboratory data exchange so that they can share data, make informed decisions, and derive insights. By utilizing a platform approach, like the Platform for Science software, organizations can connect experimental data across instrument platforms and systems to give them a complete picture of their scientific ecosystem.
Once the data is collated, technologies like Shiny from R are enabling deeper scientific analysis in the cloud. In fact, a community has created a library of R examples that can be used by scientists to accelerate their data analysis. As we look to the future and leverage artificial intelligence, aggregating data in a meaningful way is a critical step to adopting the latest or next advanced analytics. A platform approach to laboratory informatics enables scientists to leverage today’s digital capabilities and to be ready for tomorrows.
If you are interested in learning more about the digital transformation of the laboratory, why not check and see if our Digital Transformation of the Laboratory – Global Seminar Series is coming to a city near you.