Internet of Things and Smart Labs of the Future

Lakshmi H Shastry • July 17, 2019
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The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere and has already made great transformations in how we live, work and play – from changing how we control our lights and appliances in our homes to providing enterprises with greater efficiency gains and business insights. And while many individuals correctly associate IoT with personal devices and smart factories, what many may not realize is that IoT also has great potential to change and improve healthcare as we know it.

For instance, let’s delve into medical labs. Did you know that one of the biggest challenges faced by researchers and lab technicians is keeping detailed accounts of all the collected information? And did you know that experiments have many mundane tasks, and record keeping, such as detailing observations & procedures, images & drawings, conclusions and scheduling, is done manually? Unfortunately, these factors can lead to non-standard collection and data inconsistencies, and when it comes to labs and experiments, data integrity – from tracking and recording to analysis and storage – is essential.  IoT can help solve these challenges by providing more consistent automated approach to lab functions and long term data preservations for compliance.

How? Let’s look at temperature. In a lab setting, keeping the right temperature is important, and by placing cloud connected temperature sensors in the lab, this information is tracked. So, if a lab is losing temperature, the sensor can transmit an alert to another device so that the temperature can be reset remotely. And in a smart lab setting, these sensors can also provide predictive maintenance to prevent a problem before one even occurs!

Without question, the labs of tomorrow will continue to get smarter, and many IoT tools and vendors are emerging in this space. IoT ecosystems are being built around cloud platforms that control, manage and integrate with many ‘things’ connected to each other and the networks, systems, and data. This system then enables the ability to create edge computing so that labs gain real-time analytics for faster and smarter decision-making, and at the same time, they are able to connect to the middle layer of the cloud and platforms to minimize latency and ensure data integrity.

Internet of Lab Things (IOLT) helps to address reproducibility crisis, monitoring, scheduling & maintenance challenges in labs with improved traceability, workflows & increased productivity. And of course, security needs too has become broader.  So, what does this all mean for smart labs?  Because IoT provides better data & device control, connectivity, interoperability with various IoT devices, monitoring and visibility, researcher can spend time on innovation rather than mundane tasks, improving lab efficiencies and compliance greatly.

At Brillio we are working with an enterprise healthcare where lab devices – in this case, internet enabled microscopes are used to identify protein crystals.   Customer is able to sieve, process and analyze large volume of observations data automatically fed by these microscopes. Reliable automated tool for analyzing detailed results of protein crystallization experiments ensures recording of exact crystal formations, appropriate label categorization, enabling scientific information about protein for development of new therapeutic treatments.  With environment sensing, new data streams, visibility and workflow efficiencies, we are also enabling researches to derive deeper insights with high quality machine learning (ML) solutions for predictive maintenance of lab assets to help with connectivity control, as well as performance.

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