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Pittcon 2013 Informatics Wrap-Up

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What a difference a city makes!  Philadelphia turned out to be an excellent venue for Pittcon 2013.  The weather cooperated with cool, clear days; the hotels were within easy walking distance; and, the shallow, linear format of the convention center made it easy to pop up to the exhibition floor between sessions.  Following are some of the informatics highlights from Pittcon.

Big Data and Laboratory Efficiency
Waters kicked off the press conferences with several interesting guest speakers, one of whom, Dr. Ryan Rodgers, Scholar Scientist with the Future Fuels Institute at Florida State University, discussed Big Data, the economy and its impact on the analytical marketplace. He gave an extremely insightful view of the potential of Big Data to transform business by showing how data can be graphed in 3D to drill down through the data visually better understand the significance of the data points. Now I'm a believer!  Dr. Rogers explained how what was economical in 1999 is very different from what is economical in 2013–and showed the audience the difference using big data analyses.  

Waters Vice President of Separations Technologies, Ian King pointed out that "customers buy their first system because of technology; they buy multiple systems because of workflow."  Waters is seeing a big emphasis on lab efficiency by their customers and is introducing solutions that address that need.  Along with several new instruments, Waters introduced the new Paradigm Scientific Search informatics tool that simplifies organizational searches for scientific structures in a Google-like search, and new mobile access and new laboratory analytics enhancements to its Empower 3 Chromatography Data Software.

Turning Data into Knowledge
Thermo's CEO and President Marc Casper introduced new systems and solutions across all their platforms and emphasized that their focus is on helping customers turn data into knowledge. Thermo introduced SampleManager 11 LIMS which features advanced new tools and user-interface enhancements that improve laboratory process mapping, management and automation.  They also introduced Chromeleon 7.2, touting it a major breakthrough in chromatography data systems due to the enterprise environment it provides for instrument control and data processing.  Chromeleon enables labs to reduce the wait time 50-65% per sequence over standalone software, which translates from 2-2.5 hours to 30 minutes.  Again, a focus on lab efficiency. 

Side by side with the new product introductions is a focus on lab instruments as assets, the management of which can affect lab efficiency.  Thermo announced Unity Lab SmartCapture Asset Utilization Monitoring for automated support, service and maintenance, regardless of the instrument manufacturer. This new offering – a combination of software enhancements and Unity Lab Services programs – allows laboratory operators to determine which instruments may be under- or over-utilized, determine optimal schedules, and plan for downtime and servicing.

ACD/Labs announced a new platform, Spectrus, which provides a vendor-agnostic, multi-instrument, platform that serves to connect analytical content with chemical context enabling collaborative science and faster decision-making.  

Operational Excellence
Abbott introduced STARLIMS v11.  Based on Abbott’s STARLIMS informatics technology, Version 11 will expand user functionality to include mobile-device applications, advanced analytics and HTML5 compatibility.  These features will allow STARLIMS users to work on the "Right Screen for the Task" with an expanded platform to access LIMS information anywhere.     For instance, a tablet would be awkward to use to scan sample barcodes so the technician would use a smartphone instead.  The tablet on the other hand would be used to take quick looks at spectra. 

Accelrys announced a new LIMS that they expect to transform laboratory operations with a process-centric architecture that improves product quality, increases operational effectiveness and drives innovation.  Accelrys' new LIMS is part of their Accelrys Process Management and Compliance Suite, and works with their other process execution applications to deliver and end-to-end solution.

New Features and Capabilities Introduced
There were numerous new features and functionality introduced by many more companies at Pittcon.  

LABVANTAGE highlighted LABVANTAGE LIMS 6.1 and their new LABVANTAGE Pharma solution, a pre-validated, preconfigured pharmaceutical LIMS that allows laboratories to get up and running fast with a fully operational and validated LIMS at a fraction of the cost and time of a traditional LIMS project.

Ethosoft highlighted the new X-LIMS smart screen technology that allows X-LIMS to optimize the display scale to the size of the user’s monitor, allowing for more columns and rows of information to be conveyed to end users with larger monitors without requiring scroll bars.

Quality Systems International (QSI) highlighted new features and functions for their WinLIMS solution, including WinLIMS on the Cloud, that were rolled out in the past months.

Dotmatics exhibited for the first time, highlighting their scientific software solutions that improve the way data is queried, managed and shared within companies.

Shimadzu introduced their new i3D Enterprise Service solution that integrates storage, processing and data mining in an enterprise-level private cloud.

These and much more were LIMS and Informatics highlights during the conference.  Other Technology Networks communities cover the latest analytical product introductions in detail.

Check out www.Labtube.tv for the latest Informatics videos from Pittcon!

Helen Gillespie