Although many of today's scientists are comfortable with a paper laboratory notebook, life science researchers are unlocking the potential that digital transformation brings with new laboratory technology. This may already be happening in your lab, where machines "talk" to one another, data is seamlessly uploaded, analyzed, and shared without physical notebooks, and quality control and inventory management seem to happen automatically. Welcome to the new digital laboratory of the Industry 4.0 era!
Why Choose Digital Transformation?
The benefits of digitization are immense, from quality control and consistency to ease of data visualization and sharing. For example, having laboratory equipment connected digitally can monitor lab operations. Web-based wireless monitoring systems alert lab managers before losing precious samples and reagents to malfunctioning cold storage units.
Digitized data collection, storage, and analysis can save labs countless hours. Not only can automated lab equipment run standard processes, but they can also collect data, bypassing printouts and the paper lab notebook. In addition to saving time, data upload reduces error and makes the information more widely available and more easily retrieved.
Sharing to the Cloud
With an electronic laboratory notebook (ELN), the days of corralling endless paper notes, journal pages, and other scraps may well and truly be in the past. Since modern lab equipment now seamlessly records and transfers data sets digitally, ELN technology is replacing the need for paper print-outs or handwritten notes. Although scanning paper notebooks is possible, software specifically designed for the task often delivers extra features.
These smart electronic journals capture experimental input from lab activity, keeping track of experimental details, results, and user notes digitally. When asked to re-create past experiments, the ELN is fully searchable and shareable within a laboratory team, and without the difficulty of interpreting the lead investigator's handwriting. Another benefit is safety; storing data in the cloud saves it from fire and flood in a physical location.