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Experts Discuss Technology and Computerization in Automation Digital Summit

Learn about the budget and staffing implications of using automated systems in the lab

MaryBeth DiDonna

MaryBeth DiDonna is managing editor, events for Lab Manager. She organizes and moderates the webinars and virtual conferences for Lab Manager as well as other LMG brands, enabling industry...

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Laboratories are increasingly utilizing automation systems for their facilities to solve problems in the lab and free time for staff members to perform valuable tasks. There are many situations where only minimal human intervention is required or helpful. However, this advancing technology raises many questions related to safety, staffing, cost, and the future of the lab.  

Lab Manager hosted industry experts speaking on these issues during its Automation Digital Summit on April 13-14, 2021. Day one of this virtual summit opened with Nick Pattinson and Craig Johnston of Automata speaking about how the “lab of the future” promised long ago has not quite been achieved, and what labs can do now to optimize their workplaces, in their presentation, “What Happened to the Labs of the Future? How Automation Failed the Sciences.” Maricel Roberts of Inpeco followed with “Moving Beyond the Basics in Total Lab Automation,” a detailed look at viewing automation beyond the walls of your lab; positioning your lab to be forward-thinking; and how to build trust in the process. John Conway and Ralph Rivero of 20/15 Visioneers offered “Cloud Labs and HTE: A Paradigm Shift for The Lab of the Future,” explaining how a hybrid existence between Cloud Labs and on-premise laboratories works, and what may be in store for labs and lab workers in the years ahead as technology advances. 

Day two opened with “Automation in the Clinical Lab: Drivers and Influencers for Decision Making,” from Robert Roggeman of Quest Diagnostics, who illustrated the automation systems and strategies being used by Quest’s new flagship laboratory facility in Clifton, NJ. The summit continued with “Connected Automation—Accelerating the Future of Science,” delivered by Melanie Vig and Dean Mulyk of Thermo Fisher Scientific. This presentation showcased different approaches from simple benchtop applications to full end-to-end connected workflow solutions, and also talked about how to ease the transition to automated workflows leading to accelerated scientific discoveries.

Attendees were invited to join a Q&A session with the speakers at the conclusion of each presentation. These Q&A sessions provided attendees with answers to important questions. Many viewers commented on the quality of the talks and the helpful answers they received from the presenters. The full videos of each presentation are being offered for On-demand download at

Lab Manager offers its sincere thanks to our sponsors—Automata, Hamilton Storage, Inpeco, and Thermo Fisher Scientific. Their support allows us to offer these educational webinars free of charge to our readers. 

Our digital conference series will continue on May 11-13 with the Lab Design Digital Summit, featuring three days of informative webinars from experts in the laboratory design/build industry, as well as case studies from the winners of Lab Manager's annual Lab Design Excellence Awards competition for the best new and newly renovated labs around the world. Then, the Leadership Digital Summit will be held on June 15-16, and will offer insightful commentary and helpful strategies from seasoned lab management experts. These leaders will discuss topics of importance to lab managers, including strategies to be an effective motivator, being a humble leader, navigating mind traps, making sure to listen when communicating with colleagues, and more. Visit for information on all of Lab Manager’s past and upcoming digital summits.