The widespread implementation of disruptive technologies in the laboratory environment heralds a new era for how research is planned, executed, documented and distributed. It marks a move from traditional approaches to research, to more modern ones that can increase research throughput, which, in turn will help us develop groundbreaking technology and discover more about the world around us. Throughout history, technological progression and scientific advancement have gone hand in hand and today laboratory 4.0 strategies offer researchers the tools to maximize time and effort, increasing productivity, compliance and collaboration in the laboratory. This blog delves into why researchers should start the digitalization process, what can be gained and Labforward’s approach to Laboratory 4.0.
Why is digitization needed and what are the drawbacks of delay?
All researchers will know that the laboratory can be a complex and stressful environment to work in. Because of this there is an increased need for seamless documentation, digitally accurate account and task management and standardized data storage and processing systems. For many years now, products that alleviate the struggles of scientists have been on the market. Take the Electronic lab notebook for instance. A researcher can unify their documentation and make the most of built in features that encourage standardization, compliance and collaboration. Similarly a laboratory’s materials can now be monitored and accounted for by an inventory management system. In short, digitization offers opportunities to streamline the daily tasks of the scientist and there are plenty of options available that fit specific research requirements, so why not take advantage of this software early. If Laboratory 4.0 is the inevitable future, then why delay its implementation?
Whilst some laboratories were quick to start the process, others, particularly academic labs, lag behind in terms of digital progression. This is caused by a number of factors, however it is often attributed to the differences in funding- whereas academic laboratories often rely on grants, industry in comparison typically has the capacity to implement widespread changes to improve productivity. Yet given the edge that those with digital tools have, it is becoming increasingly important to start the digitization journey. In a world dominated by fierce competition, having an organized, unified and digitized system for planning, executing and recording research has substantial benefits.