Life Sciences: Driving Innovation through Smart Labs

Recent advances in technology areas centered around Internet of Things (IoT), Advanced Analytics (including artificial intelligence) and Augmented Reality (AR), and their successful adoption by different industries has prompted Life Sciences organizations to take a fresh look at the benefits that these technologies can bring to their lab set up.

Few of the primary challenges faced by labs includes:

  • Instrument real-time maintenance monitoring and “downtime“ minimization
  • Optimization of instrument asset utilization
  • Simplification of lab-related experimental complexity
  • Streamlining of operational processes

Labs of the future have the potential to become much more efficient and productive by harnessing the power of connected devices. Subsequently, connecting laboratory devices/instruments to an analytics platform, and then optimizing operations over cloud will be the next critical step toward harnessing full potential of emerging technologies.

Such connected laboratories, where the instruments not only transmit operational data (using IoT protocols), but also utilize advanced insights to optimize all aspects of lab operations are popularly coming to be known as Smart Labs.

Why Smart Labs are critical?
Implementation of Smart Labs is critical for Life Sciences companies because connected instruments can help generate insights that can then be further utilized in areas such as improving efficiencies, increasing utilization of lab assets, and developing new products and features (e.g. in the case of medical device companies, these insights can be incorporated to add new features in future release of a product) that can create new sources of revenue.
The capabilities of Smart Labs are centered around a “lab optimization platform”, which brings data from all connected instruments into a powerful analytics cloud. A “Lab Optimization AI” enables an interactive, self-service user experience, which assists through all stages of Smart Lab use and management.

Features of a Smart Lab can be categorized primarily in three major areas:

  • Lab Resource Optimization
  • Lab Resource Maintenance
  • Lab Insight-as-a-Service

This Lab set up can then be powered by an AI assistant, which will have the capability of providing latest lab status information to users over the cloud.

Lab Optimization platform

This Lab set up can then be powered by an AI assistant, which will have the capability of providing latest lab status information to users over the cloud.

Lab Resource Optimization
Most of the instruments used in a Scientific Laboratory set up are expensive, and one of the key priorities of Lab administrators remains to improve efficiency and effectiveness of lab operations. This optimal utilization ensures efficient ROI, automated task scheduling across different groups, preventive maintenance and timely servicing, and optimized energy consumption.

Smart Labs allow operations’ teams to target several of the following key areas for optimization:

  • Target CapEx: Improving utilization of high-value lab instruments
  • Target OpEx: Reducing energy consumption as a function of productivity
  • Target Throughput: Improving the velocity of experiments by monitoring utilization patterns
  • Target Safety/Regulatory: Improving operational safety and regulatory compliance

By attaining Resource Optimization, a Lab can significantly reduce its operational expenses, which can thereby be utilized for R&D and other future product development.

Lab Resource Maintenance
Any planned or unplanned downtime of instruments severely impacts Lab operations. This downtime may occur due to reasons such as instrument breakdown, unavailability of a key component such as a reagent, consumable or a diagnostic kit. A Smart Lab eases such impact by connecting instruments to sensors that can continuously monitor the health and utilization of equipment, and can not only predict failures, but also can diagnose root causes and recommend corrective action. IoT “Digital Twin” capabilities, with Augmented Reality, can provide an efficient and effective means to monitor the health of lab instruments and to target critical areas for maintenance.

Following are some of the areas where Smart Lab technology is assisting in Lab Resource Management:

  • Optimizing preventive maintenance regime;
  • Predicting failures and avoiding unplanned maintenance;
  • Remotely diagnosing problems before sending a technician
  • Remotely monitoring Lab operations and getting dashboards on smart devices;
  • Sensor-based monitoring of environmental parameters (such temperature, humidity, vibration, etc.) that can impair the quality of experimental results;
  • Optimizing repair/restoration of service
  • Optimizing supply chain support to predict and pre-order essential components and consumables

By attaining Resource Optimization, a Lab can significantly reduce its operational expenses, which can thereby be utilized for R&D and other future product development.

Lab Insight-as-a-Service

lab Insight as a service

Connected instruments continuously generate data. While the immediate use of such data has been described above, the same data can be utilized to analyse and introduce new features which could further increase the efficiency of the equipment in future product releases.

Persistent’s Intelligent Lab Platform
Persistent Systems, through its innovative and proprietary technology tools and its experience around optimizing the use of connected devices, has been helping Life Sciences lab operators to optimize their services and lab device manufacturers to use the insights generated by connected instruments in next-gen product development.

Persistent’s Intelligent Lab Platform

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