Some expect the mobile apps market to quadruple over the next four years, from $6.8 billion to $25 billion. Others forecast revenues at $29.5 billion by 2013, increasing from $7 billion in 2010. And still others have projected that by 2014 the revenues generated by apps sales globally will hit $35 billion. No matter who’s exactly right, it’s safe to say that apps are certainly on a growth trajectory. This month’s cover story looks at the types of mobile apps that are making their way into the laboratory. While we sample just a few, “it seems inevitable that the use of versatile compact software apps will continue to grow as their value becomes more evident and entrenched, indeed more indispensible,” says author Bernard Tulsi. If you use other apps in your lab, please let us know which ones and for what. We would like to continue tracking this exciting trend to see how it changes things in your laboratory.
Many think of an automated lab as consisting of large, complex robotic systems carrying out myriad streamlined analytical processes at amazing speeds. However, sometimes that image is not only wrong, but also inappropriate for any number of analytical tasks. This month’s Lab Automation article, “Modular and Flexible,” describes a simple modular automated system that employs three microplate-based instruments linked with a plate mover to shuttle microplates as required for the ELISA process. Advantages of such a system include increased throughput, maximum instrument usage, better operations monitoring, and safety and space efficiency. Turn to page to 26 to learn more.
In this month’s Lab Management article, “Got Ethics?,” author Tambra Thomas stresses the importance of laboratory ethics and data integrity programs. She argues that such programs, which emphasize and support sound ethics, improve data integrity and data quality, which in turn improves “trust from the laboratories’ customers, regulatory agencies, and fellow coworkers and management team.” Turn to page 22 to discover some ways that your lab can build and flex its ethical muscle.
As many of you may know firsthand, selecting, implementing, and running a new LIMS is fraught with challenges and unknowns. Vendors promise the moon, but in the end will the LIMS do what you want it to do and change when you want it to change? This month’s Product Focus on LIMS (page 70), as well a case study describing such a real world LIMS-selection scenario, may provide some guidance in your decision-making process. In “Faster Turnaround Means Happier Customers,” the end-user was looking to get better insight into all aspects of his processes. “With data easy to find, we’ll be able to see where our bottlenecks are, which will make my job easier, which will make data go out faster,” he said. Turn to page 40 to find out how things turned out.
This month we feature our third INSIGHTS supplement, focused on automated liquid handling systems. If you’re in the market for an ALH, I encourage you to take a look at this very in-depth study of the trends, the business pros and cons of investing in such a system, what you need to know once you’ve installed an ALH in your lab, and candid feedback from end-users who have gone down the same path. Forewarned is forearmed.
Lastly, for a snapshot of this year’s Pittcon product highlights and award winners, turn to page 90.