The 4th and 5th April saw the 5th annual Paperless Lab Academy conference take place in sunny Barcelona.
Once again the idyllic location delivered, with wonderful weather welcoming delegates to the first day of the conference! The fact that the second day was much more akin to April in England can be quickly forgotten however…
The event saw the usual eclectic mix of life science industry delegates as well as software and services vendors all keen to see what leading members of their field had to share. For many years now the ‘Lab of the Future’ has been discussed at length and still seems to be a target for many organizations.
Whilst progress has been made, it is still clear that some of the early promise has not always materialized. Despite this, advances in technology and a shift in perception within the industry are starting to make the Lab of the Future more of a reality.
Two significant areas for discussion were the world of cloud and the connectivity the cloud can bring – the Internet of Things is a good example of this. Companies are now looking long and hard at their IT strategies and how this can deliver the most value into the lab. Often this means: easy to use, easy to deploy, performant and interoperable with other systems (integration), with a smattering of other elements such as compliance and security.
What was most interesting is that the security elements that were probably highest on most people’s radars in terms of cloud solutions, have now seemed to drop down the pecking order with ease of use and performance i.e. customer satisfaction, becoming the most important success criteria for a cloud platform.
The platform element was also discussed at length with many people agreeing that all the different solution acronyms such as ELN, LIMS, MES, SDMS are becoming distinct capabilities within a platform rather than being isolated software programs solving a single problem. Having access to a cloud platform offering a wide range of interconnected capabilities seems to be the way to go.
The Paperless Lab Academy is not the biggest conference on the calendar, but does provide the opportunity for industry colleagues and peers to network. Speaking with delegates is where much of the value of an event like this lies – as being able to exchange information and ideas with likeminded people is where a lot of progress can be made.