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The Lab of the Future is Now

October 31, 2014

The Lab of the Future is Now

Imagine a research facility with more conference rooms than bench spaces, more scientific instruments fitting on a single desktop then once filled an entire room, machines that "talk" to one another and store vast amounts of shared information, or scientists running lab operations on smart devices from anywhere, anytime.

Today's modern scientific laboratories are undergoing a revolution in automation, miniaturization, mobilization, and integration that stresses better, faster, smarter operations. Analytical instruments now regularly "talk" to one another, sharing data across an ever-expanding network of colleagues, contractors, and strategic partners who are linked together globally. Thanks to the advances in integrated informatics and lab IT, the sheer volume of information now available to scientific teams is redefining the direction of lab research itself. The traditional "funnel approach" focused on the most promising avenue in the investigative process as early as possible. Today, that funnel is more like a waterfall that requires in-depth, continual data mining and interdisciplinary collaboration to sort through a flood of information accumulating in the pipeline, whether it exists in the cloud or is captured from the scribbled notes of a scientist on a smart device.

Thanks to regulatory compliance requirements and the rise of good laboratory practices, networkable and scalable scientific instruments can now be tailored to meet the needs of individual users, projects, and even an entire enterprise using a single platform. The question about the lab of the future is no longer centered on when will it happen but who is best suited to help make it happen.

The Rise of Service Solution Platforms

Simply put, forward-looking labs are concentrating on their research and retaining strategic partners to handle everything else. Those sourced tasks range from routine lab functions, consumables management, and instrument maintenance and co-sourcing agreements to developing end-to-end scientific workflows using advanced laboratory information management systems such as PerkinElmer's LABWORKS™ and visualization programs like TIBCO Spotfire®.

Think of it as efficiency by design. LABWORKS and TIBCO Spotfire® are parts of a larger scientific services solution platform offered by PerkinElmer and founded on three simple concepts to collect, analyze, and report on all lab processes and products. Its fast, dynamic, and collaborative interface bridges disciplines to provide powerful new insights and opportunities not readily discernable from stand-alone instruments or operations. For example, labs in several industries that are partnering with PerkinElmer's OneSource® Laboratory Services business are developing fully integrated methods to accelerate the discovery and sharing of Big Data results needed to monitor and enhance overall productivity and profitability – all without jeopardizing safety, regulatory compliance, or environmental performance. Adoption of this "better, faster, and easier" road map in the discovery process is helping to differentiate the new leaders from the also-rans in laboratory science.

PerkinElmer's OneSource Approach

Working with scientists and business managers, PerkinElmer's OneSource experts are helping laboratories and businesses develop strategic improvement road maps that target both short-term "quick wins" and longer-term development projects. By taking a holistic approach to lab services, the process systematically maps all activities and needs of a lab, from workflows and instrumentation to services, IT infrastructure, and staffing. The results provide a baseline snapshot of current conditions along with an individualized gap analysis of the lab environment. These allow individual labs to differentiate core versus non-core activities based on their own unique evaluation criteria. Laboratory tasks can be sorted among staff scientists or reassigned to co-sourced consultants such as OneSource who work side by side with a company's permanent lab personnel. The result is an optimized environment where scientists focus on core research and co-sourced staff handles everything else— all on an a la carte basis that is determined by the lab's own changing needs.


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