We believe that ‘Cloud is the future of R&D’. At Bio-It World 2016 in Boston, industry experts agreed with us! Labs of all sizes are increasingly realizing a raft of benefits the cloud can deliver, especially with regards to reducing costs and ensuring flexibility. It was just one of a mix of topics this year in Boston, including collaboration, semantics and the Internet of Things.
As big companies seek to become more nimble and mid-sized organizations chase innovative technology, most research and some parts of development are being outsourced. This was the theme of our presentation in the well-attended collaboration track. The fundamentals of this topic haven’t changed since the last show, but it’s a particularly relevant topic, with delegates keen to explore how best to approach the new working paradigm, whilst ensuring IP security.
Cloud was very much a feature of last year’s event, but something significant has changed in 12 months. It has moved from the cautious horizon to the here and now. Many of our customers either have active programs or are looking at how they can move their projects into the cloud. It is a welcome acceleration. As technology providers, we’ve been demonstrating the benefits of the SaaS approach for several years and now organizations are starting to embrace the opportunity to reduce cumbersome infrastructure and save money.
An increasing interest in semantics at this year’s show saw the conversation turn to data enrichment and mark-up. As more and more companies move towards enterprise knowledge bases or data lakes, finding ways to use that data in novel ways is the next step. Researchers are exploring real-world use cases for text mining technology and it will certainly be an area to watch, especially for us, as a provider of lab infrastructure that offers easy access to extremely rich data sources across the enterprise.
The Internet of Things
As labs become more connected and automated, standardization and integration are critical to ensure we’re ready for the biotech Internet of Things. A number of organizations are looking at this from different angles, including the Allotrope Foundation which is dedicated to “the creation of an intelligent, automated, and integrated analytical laboratory”. Through IDBS’ participation in initiatives such as Allotrope and dedication to APIs and integration support, we embrace the importance of harmonization within the enterprise informatics ecosystem.
In addition, the IDBS booth was a good base for us to speak with delegates about our ChemAxon partnership and the progress we’ve made with it. This is one of our strategic partnerships that sees ChemAxon’s industry-leading chemical sciences software integrated into our offering. The move, made last year, strengthens our existing chemical sciences technology to provide a single platform for R&D data management.
… A busy show overall with some stimulating discussion and insight into what’s ahead for R&D. Will these themes change dramatically in time for next year’s show? Probably not. These issues will continue to be priorities for a good while, but it will be interesting to see what next year brings.