CASE STUDY: CLOUD-CONNECTED
One of the latest examples of a cloud
solution is cloud-enabled autoclaves. A
cloud-connected autoclave can help eliminate this chronic work place inefficiency by
sending real-time alerts (e.g. Cycle Over) to
an end-user’s desktop, cell phone or tablet.
The most notable benefits researchers experience when implementing a cloud-connected autoclave into their laboratory are
• Increased productivity
A cloud-connected autoclave reduces work place inefficiency (i.e. waiting
time, running to another floor to see if
the cycle is complete, etc.) by allowing
alerts (e.g. Cycle Over) to be sent to an
end-user’s desktop or mobile device. The
implications of this are many: less interruption, less wait time, less down time,
more experiments and better use of time.
Cloud-connection can also be helpful
from a scheduling perspective, allowing
lab workers to schedule equipment-use
in advance and plan experiments ahead
of time. Not only can they minimize
downtime, but they reduce waiting time
and allow researchers to work on multiple pieces of equipment remotely.
• Improved traceability
Traceability is essential for cost allocation in large facilities where autoclaves
are shared between departments. Previously, determining which lab or department used the autoclave meant pouring
through usage charts and paper records.
With a cloud-connected autoclave, tracing usage by department is easily done by
accessing a Cycle History Report (in PDF
or Excel format) that includes information such as operator ID, date, time and
any error messages from the cycle. All of
this data is stored in the cloud allowing
for easy access to records at any time and
the ability to analyze autoclave usage
across the entire facility.
• Reduced maintenance costs
Preventative maintenance on autoclaves has traditionally been planned in
terms of time intervals (e.g. quarterly,
annually, etc.). A better metric for plan-
ning maintenance schedules is usage (e.g.
every 300 cycles). Capturing the number
of cycles run on an autoclave between
maintenance visits can be easily captured
with cloud-connectivity. As a result,
usage-based preventative maintenance
scheduling can be employed to decrease
downtime and reduce costs created by
HOW LABS CAN PREPARE
Setting up your lab for the cloud is not
something that can happen overnight—
however, there are two steps you can take
to better prepare for the inevitable switch
to cloud-connected lab equipment.
1. Get connected: The first step is
perhaps the simplest. If your lab is not
already equipped with the latest technology, it’s in your best interest to install
Ethernet drops or make Wi-Fi available
throughout your lab facility. This will
make installing cloud-connected equipment much more seamless.
2. Workflow audit: The next, most
crucial step, is to audit your existing
workflow within your lab. Identify where
there is “waste”—in the form of waiting
time, processing time or motion—and
where cloud-connected equipment could
reduce this waste. This process can be
enlightening, as it often leads to the discovery of obvious workflow efficiencies
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN CLOUD SYSTEMS
AND CONNECTED LAB EQUIPMENT
The following is a list of attributes to
look for when identifying cloud-connected
equipment and systems for your laboratory:
• Cloud system:
o The system should encrypt the data
in transit and in storage by using HTTPS/
TLS and AES-256 bit encryption or better.
o The system should buffer all data to
be uploaded to the cloud in order to pre-
vent data loss in the event of an internet
o The system should require two-factor
authentication for increased security.
o The system should allow users to view
and/or control all compatible equipment
from a single dashboard.
o Ideally, the cloud system should be
compatible with multiple categories of
• Lab equipment:
o Users should be able to view the real-time status of the equipment from any
computer, smart phone or tablet using a
standard web browser.
o Users should be able to subscribe to and
receive SMS and e-mail alerts pertaining to the
status of the lab equipment.
Many of today’s researchers are working around operational inefficiencies due
to archaic methods of data collection
and storage, equipment monitoring and
maintenance scheduling. A “smarter”
network of equipment is starting to enter
the laboratory and has the potential to
greatly increase productivity and streamline
workflow. In a few short years, the Internet
of Labs and cloud-connected equipment
will be commonplace. Researchers and lab
managers should take time to understand
how their labs can best prepare for the shift
to a cloud-connected laboratory and realize
the benefits from this new technology.
Arthur Trapotsis is Chief Executive
Officer of Consolidated Sterilizer Systems.
He enjoys presenting at conferences around
the U.S. on emerging trends in the steam
sterilizer market. firstname.lastname@example.org;
LaboratoryDesign|JANUARY|FEBRUARY 2017 15
Text message alert notifying user that autoclave cycle