Future lab trends: Cloud-connected laboratory equipment
Consolidate Sterilizer Systems
Laboratories all across the world are mbracing new forms of technology and equipment as a way to increase
productivity and improve efficiency. One of
the biggest technological advancements is a
concept that is currently pervading the consumer market: The Internet of Things (Io T).
Whether in a university lab, a cutting-edge
research facility or a start-up biotechnology
company, no laboratory is immune to this
massive technological evolution taking place.
If you’re not familiar with Io T, think of it
as a series of interconnected devices that are
able to communicate with each other and
transfer data back and forth over a network.
For example, Io T is found in the following
real world applications: adjusting a thermostat from a smartphone, starting a car using
an app and viewing security camera footage
on a tablet from anywhere in the world.
The data collected through Io T has proven invaluable in today’s ever-evolving tech
world because it allows devices and tasks
to become more automated and integrated
with the natural pace of our lives. This digital renaissance, however, isn’t limited to the
consumer world anymore—it is beginning
to creep into today’s laboratory environments as well. Think of it as the Internet of
TODAY’S LABS ARE MORE CONNECTED
Cloud-connected (sometimes referred to
as “smart”) equipment is slowly, but drastically, changing the way we do things within
the lab. This equipment enables researchers
to be more productive by allowing them
to remotely monitor experiments, collect
data and more. As a matter of fact, both the
CDC and NIH recommend that equipment
containing research samples be continuously monitored. As such, many of today’s top
labs already utilize smart technology in the
form of cloud-connected HVAC systems,
thermostats and freezers. For example, -80
C freezers often contain valuable samples
derived from years and years of research.
These freezers can now be equipped with
cloud-connected temperature probes that
monitor the temperature and send alerts to
scientists or facilities when a fault condition
occurs (i.e., the freezer falls below its temperature set-point and endangers the stored
The need for connected devices is further
made evident in a recent survey involving
dozens of researchers, lab managers and
SURVEY RESULTS: CLOUD IN THE LAB
According to a 2016 survey conducted by
Consolidated Sterilizer Systems1, 72 percent
of respondents indicated an overall disconnect between their physical workspace and
the location of their laboratory equipment
(e.g. autoclaves) used within their facility.
Many respondents revealed that their laboratory equipment was situated in a different
room (e.g. down the hall, on a different
floor or in another building entirely) from
their work bench or computer station.
This statistic, coupled with the fact that
a third of respondents admitted to having
to check on their equipment multiple times
throughout the day, shows the obvious need
for a cloud-connected monitoring solution.
The survey also proved that autoclave users
are ready, willing and able to accept data regarding their autoclave usage and performance.
In fact, 81 percent of respondents indicated
that it would be useful to check the status of an
autoclave from their computer, phone or both.
Survey participants also indicated an
overall yearning for “easy access” to data
normally found on an equipment’s printout,
not to mention total and complete visibility
and traceability into the performance of the