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Future Labs, Automation, & Technology Event: Key Insights and Reflections

Steve McCoy, Head of Sales at LabVoice, recently attended the local event in Boston, drawing automation-minded leaders from Boston-based biotechs and pharma companies alike. Read on to hear more about his experience and thoughts.

The Future Labs, Automation, & Technology event provided a deep dive into the evolving landscape of lab automation, emphasizing the critical intersection of science and technology. 

Here's a summary of key takeaways from the event.

Bridging the Gap: Communication and Collaboration

The first breakout group we participated in explored the multifaceted nature of automation. We discussed the pros and cons of the core team approach to automation, employing a hub-and-spoke model where a central team coordinates with embedded members in various departments. This model ensures tailored support and addresses the unique needs of each lab segment.

One of the critical challenges discussed was the language barrier between automation professionals and scientists. Effective communication is crucial, particularly when scaling operations and maintaining data quality. The session highlighted the importance of building cross-functional teams that can bridge these gaps, fostering a culture where asking questions and sharing knowledge is encouraged. 

Incremental Implementation: A Pragmatic Approach to Automation

Another session tackled the perennial question of why and what to automate in laboratory processes. The consensus emphasized standardization, cost savings, increased throughput, and time efficiency as primary drivers for automation. However, participants also highlighted barriers such as disjointed systems, user-unfriendly interfaces, and a lingering reliance on manual processes.

Key insights from this discussion underscored the need for starting small and building in-house expertise before scaling up automation initiatives. This incremental approach mitigates risks and builds trust among bench scientists. 

Cultivating Synergy: Science-IT Collaboration for Enhanced Efficiency

The final breakout session delved into the intricacies of fostering productive partnerships between scientists and IT teams. One of the main themes was the perception of IT as a barrier rather than an enabler due to compliance and security concerns. One of the speakers emphasized the importance of demonstrating the business value of IT initiatives to gain buy-in from all stakeholders.

The discussion also highlighted innovative solutions like using Splunk for log monitoring and predictive maintenance, showcasing how integrated data systems can improve lab efficiency. Engaging scientists early in the process and ensuring they understand and support IT initiatives is crucial for success. 


By focusing on themes such as bridging the gap in communication and collaboration, adopting a pragmatic approach to automation, and cultivating synergy between science and IT, the event underscored the importance of communication, incremental implementation, and stakeholder engagement.

It’s great to see an audience that shares LabVoice’s commitment to addressing these challenges by providing innovative solutions that enhance automation, data readiness, and data quality in laboratory environments.



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