Imagine that you’re a field technician for a public water provider. Your company is committed to supplying clean, safe drinking water to millions of people, so it has implemented a sophisticated water sampling program to ensure water is free of contaminants.
LIMS and The Mobile Lab: Data at your fingertips
Across this water company’s territory, technicians just like you are collecting and testing samples from reservoirs, water treatment facilities and even customers’ homes.
Today you’re collecting samples from various points around a lake that supplies water to one of your company’s main processing facilities. After filling each sample bottle, you transcribe its barcode into your notebook. You check your watch and jot down the time. You remember to add a preservative that ensures the sample gives accurate readings after it has been transported to the lab. Finally, you pull out a GPS unit and note your exact location coordinates. When you get back to the lab, all of this information – recorded manually – will need to be re-entered into a database and combined with the test results.
As you pack up your notebook and GPS, it hits you: All of this data could more easily be collected – not to mention transmitted back to the lab – on a single device; for example, the iPhone in your pocket. Mobile devices are an increasingly critical component of modern life, and that trend holds true for laboratories as well. Regardless of industry, the incredible (and constantly evolving) features on these devices can enable technicians to easily capture new types of data more accurately and from more remote locations, but they also pose an interesting challenge. How do laboratories ensure that all the data collected via mobile devices is accurate, secure and organized? The answer is a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS). Just as a LIMS enables an automated, paperless environment inside the lab, it can integrate with mobile devices in the field to ensure that data collection, transmission and analysis are fully optimized.
New Devices, New Opportunities