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AT&T uses IoT to monitor laboratories

Steve Rogerson
August 3, 2017
 
AT&T is using the IoT to help Massachusetts-based Elemental Machines make critical lab equipment even smarter.
 
The Elemental Machines Sensory Network gives science-based industries data-driven insights to help customers improve lab operations, research, development and manufacturing.
 
And with AT&T IoT services, lab monitoring has been made easier. Constantly monitoring equipment and its environment means more information and consistency. And it helps prevent major research setbacks.
 
Imagine a lab freezer that malfunctions overnight. Scientists find their 22 million-year-old ice samples from the Arctic have turned into a pool of water. With the smart lab services, lab staff might receive an alert that the freezer isn't at an ideal temperature. They could then act quickly to save their samples and avoid a costly catastrophe.
 
The smart lab services use AT&T’s Control Center and Global SIM to monitor assets on site and remotely round the clock. Even with wifi interruptions or lost power, cellular connectivity will keep sending data.
 
The system includes Elements, intelligent wireless sensors that are easy to install and battery-powered. They send data wirelessly to Elemental Gateway tablets, which have AT&T Enterprise Mobility Management. The company can provision, manage and help secure specific laboratory data and apps on their own. The tablets share data with the Elemental Insights dashboard for easy access to all data.
 
Element-As track the ambient conditions in the lab environment: temperature, humidity, light and air pressure. Element-Ts track lab equipment performance and usage, including freezers, refrigerators, ovens, incubators and liquid nitrogen tanks. With these data, lab staff can verify that all equipment is performing correctly and receive immediate text or email alerts about any changes in the environment or to key equipment.
 
"Our lab operations require a monitoring system that allows our team to track both equipment performance and environmental conditions in near real time, whether on-site or remotely," said Michael Koeris, CEO and founder of Sample6, a food-safety technology company that offers a rapid pathogen-detection system for the food industry. "The Elemental Machines system gives us easy access to performance characterisations of the lab and equipment, immediate alerts if something is amiss or out of spec, and cellular backup so we can have access to critical data, even if there is a power interruption."
 
Teams have access to Elemental Insights web-based dashboards. This lets scientists and their operations counterparts understand usage patterns, identify any maintenance issues, modify research processes, improve experimental reproducibility, and create performance reports for compliance requirements.
 
"IoT has the potential to disrupt how science is done by allowing massive levels of data to be collected in near real time – from biotech/pharma to materials science to agritech," said Sridhar Iyengar, CEO and founder of Elemental Machines. “This requires premium carrier-level services to support the adoption and roll-out of connected systems to various types of users. Offering AT&T's technology and network gives our customers the confidence to place their trust in our solution."
 
Elemental Machines provides insights that help users transform laboratory operations, research and development processes, and manufacturing outcomes. The network monitors and analyses critical laboratory and production equipment, as well as invisible environmental variables, to provide levels of clarity, transparency and consistency, and improve repeatability.