UGM Featured Speaker Preview: Q&A with McGraw-Hill analyst on mobile apps in education

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Amy Kallmerten, Programs Manager at PerkinElmer Informatics:

In anticipation of our upcoming Informatics User Group Meeting, which will be held October 1-2 in Waltham, Mass., we will be posting features on our speakers throughout the months of August and September. They will be in a variety of formats and will allow you to get to know the speakers before attending the event. 

I am thrilled to kick this off with a feature on someone I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for a little while now, and I am excited to share with you some of his unique know-how about the world of academia and the way mobile applications are shaping our students.

Patrick Diller has a degree in Management Marketing Information systems.  His career has moved from working in retail, to to being a pawnbroker, to being involved in the music industry, before finally moving into education.  He currently is the Digital Product Analyst for Chemistry with McGraw-Hill Education, where he was instrumental in developing ChemDraw Web, the first web-based software for ChemDraw®.  McGraw-Hill currently has over 120,000 chemistry students using its online homework and learning products, with Patrick at the forefront leading the way in the company's future software development.

His talk that he will present at our User Group Meeting is titled “Creating student-friendly learning resources for students who don’t feel they are as tech savvy as we believe.” It will focus on mobile and digital creations that bring students and teachers together. To learn more about Patrick and how he came to be an expert in innovative technology in education, I held a Q&A session with him.

AK: How did you get involved with education, science, and technology at McGraw-Hill?

PD: As the parent of two young children, when I saw a job posting for Digital Product Analyst at McGraw-Hill, I gravitated toward the position knowing I could help hundreds of thousands of students by creating learning environments that would help them succeed.  I didn’t know the position was based in the sciences until my second interview, when I talked to the chemistry PhDs on staff, which was an intimidating experience. They joked that they needed someone on the team with “common sense”, which turned out to be a joke that had some truth to it. With my limited knowledge of chemistry, I am able to look at McGraw-Hill's products from a student's point of view to help identify potential areas that might cause students to struggle.  My favorite email I have ever received was one from a student who participated in a product focus group who said I had helped her to get a better grade in her class. 

AK: How do you think mobile app technology fits into education?

PD: Mobile apps within education are a great way to measure and enhance engagement within the classroom.  This can be done by using apps as a classroom response system, or by using app technology to faciliate "flipped" teaching methods, in which students do learning exercises individually and use classroom time to apply learned knowledge to problems.

AK: How are students of today different than students of the past?

PD: The student attention span of today tends to be much short due to the fact that we have become accustomed to absorbing information in increasingly faster snippets through mediums like Twitter, Facebook and Instantgram, before moving on to the next bit of information.  While students are in lectures lasting longer than an hour, or are reading text for extended periods of time, it can be difficult for them to pick out which information is the most important.  Many times, I see students take notes of absolutely everything or of nothing at all, with not much variation in between those extremes. Neither way is efficient for them to learn.  This is where adaptive software programs can be of great assistance.

AK: What are the biggest challenges facing educators today?

PD: Especially in the sciences, retention rates are a pressing concern for educators. Nationally in the United States, the Drop/Fail/Withdraw rate for college-level General Chemistry students averages around 35 percent. As a result, one of our main focuses within all of McGraw-Hill projects is to find ways to help lower that rate.

AK: Can you explain the ChemDraw® for iPad® focus groups?

PD: McGraw-Hill often uses class tests, or focus groups, on new ideas and projects.  While we have to sell our product to the instructor for the class to use, our ultimate consumer is the student.  For the ChemDraw for iPad focus group, we identified two professors who were looking for technology to encourage student involvement and engagement during class time within their Organic Chemistry summer classes.  The students were given iPads to use during the summer class and the professor was trained on using ChemDraw for iPad with the program's novel Flick-To-Share technology.  Each professor then implemented the use of the app within the classroom in a manner that complemented each individual teaching style.  Both professors used the program directly in class to gauge students' understanding of the material at the point of lecture. By collecting that information using Flick-To-Share, they could identify and address common misconceptions or problems immediately instead of waiting for a hard assessment such as a quiz or test.  Both PerkinElmer and McGraw-Hill developers observed the classroom, talked to the professor, and held discussion with the students on the program to shape the final product.

AK: What do you hope attendees will take away from your talk at the User Group Meeting?

PD: If I can help energize professors to think creatively about using mobile products to encourage student engagement and learning, then I would be very happy.

AK: Thanks to Patrick for agreeing to participate both in this Q&A and also in our UGM. I’m looking forward to seeing him and all of you at the Westin in Waltham in October! Space is limited, so don’t forget to register, and also, don’t forget to check back here to see more features on all of the fabulous speakers we have lined up.

QA/QC Insight: Integrating the lab with SAP®, Part 2

In Part One of this series, I talked about how a simple, direct integration between the laboratory and SAP® can be a cost effective solution for automating the transfer of test results from laboratory instruments to SAP/SAP QM (Quality Management). If that integration is also able to perform additional processing on the data it can eliminate the cost and effort required to implement laboratory specific calculations and processing in SAP.

In Part Two, I’d like to consider a fuller integration between SAP and the laboratory and see how it can open up opportunities to enhance laboratory processes by adding new levels of automation and control at the bench level.

Fuller Integration to the Lab Bench Level

This approach supplements the functionality of SAP with a Laboratory Execution System (LES) that provides the lab with bench level automation, control and documentation of their day-to-day test execution. For laboratories that haven’t already implemented a LIMS or are considering changing their LIMS, this can be the solution that delivers the best value in terms of operational efficiency and productivity.

An LES provides a structured platform that eliminates paper while automating and controlling testing procedures at the bench level. Sample information, test execution, inventory control and instrument calibration can all be integrated to ensure that procedures are always followed and to automate the flow of information. The laboratory is able to operate more efficiently as errors are reduced, less time is spent on review and rework, and information is readily accessible when needed.

SAP/SAP QM can be integrated with an LES to provide a high level of interaction with the laboratory.

·         Use triggers from SAP to initiate test execution in the LES

·         Transfer data from SAP to populate electronic worksheets in the LES, reducing workload for analysts

·         Integrate the LES with other informatics systems and applications to automate and control test execution

·         Perform calculations and data approvals in the LES prior to reporting to SAP

·         Transfer results automatically from the LES to SAP

Integration between SAP and an LES can enhance and improve laboratory processes – opening the door to faster sample turnaround and increased sample throughput. Laboratories can gain control over their day-to-day operations without the need to realize the cost and complexity generally associated with the deployment of a full-blown LIMS.

OF INTEREST:  “Connecting the Laboratory with SAP” is a short video that demonstrates an automated integration between SAP and an LES.

SAP and SAP QM are registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries

2013 User Group Meeting: "End to End Solutions, Every Step of the Process, Every Person Involved"

It is with great pleasure that we announce the opening of registration for our 2013 Informatics User Group Meeting!

The theme this year is "End to End Solutions: Every Step of the Process, Every Person Involved". There are a few important things you should know about this event:

   1. It is a user group meeting—Anyone who is a user, or could be a user, should attend. Whether you have one, all, or none of PerkinElmer’s products, we want you to come and learn about how your peers use informatics tools to accelerate their progress.

   2. This is a two-day event and each day will focus on a piece of the theme:

       A. Day One: "End to End solutions"

  • This day will focus on providing solutions to users that are end to end. What we mean by this is that we’ve moved past the era of silo-ed tools. Instead, an arsenal of integrated tools provide a total solution that will enable you to put your focus back into propelling scientific advances.
    • - Don’t take it our word for it—hear from users who are doing just this.
    • - Get a chance to spend time with product managers and understand their visions for the future.
    • - Hear from corporate officers and team leaders Robin Smith, Michael Swartz and Michael Stapleton on how a company stays strategically innovative both through R&D and also through acquisitions and partnerships.
    • - Hot topics will include things like translational medicine, multi-dimensional data analysis and the future of mobile in informatics.
    • - The informatics marketplace: Demo our solutions for the opportunity to try them out yourself.
    • - Stick around at the end of Day One to attend a party! We haven’t yet announced the reason for it yet, so stay tuned, but we have a big celebration planned.

       B. Day Two: "Every step of the process, Every person involved"

  • This day will drill down into the second part of the theme. The tracks will focus on specific users, roles, applications and solutions.
    • - New  this year:  Specific tracks for imaging solutions, QAQC, informatics outside the world of Pharma, translational medicine, the use of mobile in academia.
    • - Confirmed speakers from many organizations across a wide variety of disciplines including: GSK, Sanofi, Merck, Array BioPharma, TIBCO, Integromics, McGraw-Hill, Lord Corporation, Naragansett Bay Commission, and the University of Illinois at Springfield.

Come to see what solutions may work best for you! Come to network with 400 of your peers! Come to celebrate! Come to learn! Whatever your reason for attending, sign up fast, because space is limited and seats are going fast! Click here to register.

 

Leading the mobile science discussion: PKI Informatics to attend ACS Exposition in Indianapolis

This year’s annual American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition will be held in Indianapolis, IN, September 8-12, 2013, and PerkinElmer Informatics will be in attendance to promote awareness and discussion surrounding the migration of scientific software from desktop and enterprise platforms to mobile applications.

After the June 2013 release of ChemDraw® for iPad® and Chem3D® for iPad, the PKI Informatics team is excited to share our mobile development experience with the chemistry community. The two iPad apps were created using an untraditional development process that maintained scientific intelligence and practical functionalities – instead of hiring an external mobile developer, PKI Informatics scientists and software developers were trained on how to build a mobile app, which allowed ChemDraw for iPad and Chem3D for iPad to be built in-house. The process lead to the creation of a brand new sharing technology called Flick-To-Share™, which allows for instantaneous colleague-to-colleague sharing of chemical drawings using a novel, single-finger gesture.

The benefits of mobile chemistry software extend beyond the laboratory; mobile science apps stand to transform the way students of chemistry are educated. One of the key papers that PKI Informatics will present at the ACS Expo will be given by Hans Keil, PKI Informatics Senior Director, and is entitled “ChemDraw, iPads, and collaboration tools in the classroom: Results of a joint PerkinElmer and McGraw Hill pilot at the organic chemistry undergraduate level”.  The paper was authored based off a summer 2013 pilot program at University of Illinois Springfield in which an organic chemistry class became a first adopter of ChemDraw for iPad as a learning and test-taking tool. Flick-To-Share technology is a key component of the app's success in a classroom setting, allowing for student-to-student and student-to-teacher collaboration.

In addition to the focus on mobile, two additional papers will be presented by PKI Informatics:

Phillip Skinner, Field Marketing Director, will present “A new frontier in Reaction Search: Dynamic mining of ELN-based reaction methodology data in Spotfire”. Skinner will present how the use of TIBCO Spotfire® data visualization software to search ELN-based reactions allows scientists to ask complex and dynamic questions of methodology data by visualizing data on various graphical representations.

Phil McHale, Executive Director of Product Management, will present “Exchanging chemical structures and ELN data: CDX, CDXML, and other formats”. McHale will present how open CDX and CDXML formats can be used to share molecular information ranging from connection tables to orientation, layout, fonts and non-structural elements to retain complete fidelity with the original drawing, as well as describe emerging XML-based standards for secure and accurate data exchange between ELNs.

The PKI Informatics team hopes to see you in Indianapolis! Click here to register for your attendance now. Tweet us at @PKI_Informatics or @ChemDraw and let us know if you will be at the ACS conference.

Clicking the above links highlighted on the paper titles will bring you to the abstract pages on the ACS website for presentation dates and times.

QA/QC Insight: Integrating the lab with SAP®, Part 1

"QA/QC Insight" will be a blog series authored by Steve Bolton, Marketing Program Manager for the Ensemble for QA/QC informatics platform at PerkinElmer Informatics. Steve has over 20 years of experience in the field of laboratory informatics with a focus on applications for the QA/QC lab. During that time he has experienced the evolution and revolution of laboratory informatics from DOS prompt commands to web based, integrated systems and mobile apps.

Over the years I’ve seen organizations discover real value by providing close integration between their QA/QC laboratories and SAP® Quality Management (QM) software.

In almost all cases, integration between the lab and SAP opens up opportunities to:

·         Further leverage investment in SAP

·         Consolidate technologies and reduce IT costs by using SAP QM to replace LIMS

·         Ensure timely, accurate delivery of data into SAP QM in order to support decision making in the manufacturing process

However, there can often be a reluctance to start up a project like this as there can be real concerns around the complexity, cost and time involved. In the laboratory, there can be apprehensions about losing efficiency along with losing flexibility and control over their processes

In this two part series I’ll look at two approaches to SAP QM integration that address these concerns. I’ll start by considering a simple integration that connects instruments and data systems directly with SAP QM.

Simple, Direct Integration with SAP QM

At its most basic level, integration can simply be a matter of transferring results from instruments and data systems into SAP QM. The process should be as transparent as possible for lab technicians so that it doesn’t get in the way of their workflow and reduce their efficiency.

Ideally, the solution should also be a “universal connector” that can collect data from any type of instrument or data system. Having a single “connector” that can be configured to work with each instrument in the lab will help to reduce the time, effort and cost of implementation and maintenance.

With the right tool, even a simple, direct integration can be used to automate some routine, manual tasks in the laboratory.

·         Calculations that need to be performed before the data goes to SAP can be automated within the interface to ensure that they are done consistently and accurately every time.

·         Worklists can be collected from SAP and used to map test results from the instrument with samples as they are stored in SAP.

·         Limit checks can be performed to identify Out-of-Specification test results before reporting to SAP

A simple, direct interface with SAP can be a cost effective solution for automating the transfer of test results from laboratory instruments to SAP QM. Choosing a configurable solution with additional power for processing of data can eliminate the cost and effort required to implement laboratory specific calculations and processing in SAP®.

In Part 2 I will investigate how a fuller integration between SAP and the laboratory can open up opportunities to enhance laboratory processes by adding new levels of automation and control at the bench level.

OF INTEREST: Connector for SAP a simple direct interface between SAP and the laboratory.

SAP and SAP QM are registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries

Trend: Science industries set to accelerate their adoption of mobile technology

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Today’s rapidly evolving technology and ever-increasing sense of global commerce has stimulated a seemingly exponential rate of integration of traditional desktop software with mobile solutions.

While education, health, fitness, finance and business markets have seen a faster adoption of mobile technology, scientific industries are quickly gaining momentum in movement to mobile as scientists seek the advantages of mobile collaboration and productivity. With it estimated by Gartner Inc. that the year 2013 will see smart phones and tablets numbering 1 billion in sales, up 50% from 2012, it’s no secret that the future of business technology lies in mobile apps and solutions.

Scientists will be able to incorporate mobile apps into existing desktop and enterprise workflows to achieve real-time, on-the-go access to ideas and data. By leveraging novel sharing tools such as Flick-To-Share™ technology, which debuted in ChemDraw® for iPad® and Chem3D® for iPad, users will be able to send high-quality graphics and data back and forth between colleagues for instant collaboration – all with the swipe of a finger.

Looking to the future, the capability of mobile apps for scientists will continue to expand to allow for remote access and control of laboratory instruments and systems. The concept of the 24/7 laboratory will evolve as scientists will no longer need to be physically present to monitor on-going experiments – instead mobile access to experiment controls will give researchers the freedom and flexibility to manage lab work from down the hall, down the street, or halfway around the world.

Importantly, key decision makers in scientific corporations will see improved access to and accuracy of real-time actionable information. As United States companies adjust to this year’s change from first-to-invent to first-to-file patent laws, the ability to share information and make decisions quickly will continue to become more and more important.

Not only does mobile technology allows scientific leaders to stay clued in while on the go, it guarantees that information entered into a workflow record is highly accurate. Smart phones and tablets empowered with scientific apps will continue to help scientists move completely away from traditional pen and paper note taking and sketching, which opens the door for a host of transcription errors down the line. Saving time and accuracy, scientists will be able to instantly types notes, snap pictures and draw scientifically-intelligent structures and images and instantly send that data to record keeping through communication with enterprise networks.

Interested in learning more about science’s migration to mobile technology? Read our white paper analyzing the market’s needs and potentials for mobile growth and development.

By scientists for scientists: Cultivating an internal Informatics mobile app team

Following this week’s launch of ChemDraw® for iPad® and Chem3D® for iPad, PerkinElmer Informatics’ executive leaders Mike Stapleton, General Manager and Vice President of Growth and Innovation – Environmental Health, and Robin Smith, Vice President of R&D, opened up about the process of developing a mobile scientific software app.

Since the inspiration to create a mobile version of ChemDraw first struck last summer, the development team approached the design of the app with the characteristic entrepreneurial gusto that has inspired innovation since ChemDraw was launched in 1986.

Once it was agreed that the first mobile app would be designed for iPad – mirroring the fact that the first ChemDraw desktop version was developed for the Apple Macintosh platform – one of the first and most pivotal steps in the app’s development was Mike and Robin’s decision to assemble an in-house mobile app team rather than outsourcing the task to an external app developer. To accomplish this, existing internal talent within Informatics was selected and trained on the mechanics of building app software for the iPad iOS.

This approach, Robin explained, allowed for the app team to bring its scientific competency and chemical intelligence to ChemDraw for iPad, resulting in an app built by scientists for scientists.

The ability to build internally by training existing developers on a new system is a practice that is quite new to the informatics industry, Mike added. It allows for innovation by eliminating the mindset of migrating an app from one OS to another, replacing that mindset instead with the freedom to build from the ground up.

One of the coolest and scariest parts of the process, according to Robin, was seeing whether the internal development team would take to the iOS training. When the team rapidly scaled the learning curve of iOS development, it opened the door for the Informatics team to experiment with the platform.

As a result, 12 new patents have been submitted in relation to ChemDraw for iPad and Chem3D for iPad, in which every single developer helped invent. The patents involve mechanics, algorithms and totally new ways of sharing data, Robin said.

The ripple effect of such a well-known brand as ChemDraw moving to mobile is that across the informatics industry, the dynamics of technology has changed, Mike said. Just as desktop software changed paper publishing, mobile apps will fundamentally change the manner and speed that scientists create and share information.

For the Informatics team, it’s motivational to know that the affordability of mobile apps will allow ChemDraw for iPad to impact a thousand-fold the number of current users of its desktop or enterprise software, Mike said.

Applying new technologies and getting the right tools into the hands of scientists and students to further scientific research is in keeping with PerkinElmer’s overall commitment to “Making a Difference” by improving human and environmental health.

Watch this YouTube video to learn more about ChemDraw and Chem3D for iPad.

Check out ChemDraw for iPad and Chem3D for iPad in the App Store.

ChemDraw® for iPad® allows for collaboration beyond the laboratory

It is with great fanfare that the chemical drawing software program ChemDraw, which has provided foundational informatics support for chemical laboratory and academic research for 25 years, has burst onto the mobile market with today’s introduction of ChemDraw® for iPad® and Chem3D® for iPad.

The release of these mobile apps marks a major milestone for the informatics industry. ChemDraw commands the largest number of worldwide users of all chemical drawing programs, and the move to mobile opens the door for rapidly increased discovery and collaboration as researchers easily bridge time zones and geography to work together “on the go”.

ChemDraw for iPad uses novel Flick-To-Share™ technology to allow scientists to work together on structures instantaneously from directly within the mobile app. Developed by the PerkinElmer Informatics software development team, Flick-To-Share engages revolutionary gesture technology to allow team members to “flick” drawings back and forth with other app users with the touch of a finger. Flick-To-Share eliminates the need for multi-step emailing or cloud storage services to enable rapid, dynamic collaboration between researchers, colleagues, instructors and students.

Using the new mobile app for iPad, ChemDraw users can create chemically accurate, publication-quality structures and illustrations anywhere, anytime, with a variety of color and layout choices. Whether users are designing structures or describing reaction mechanisms, colleagues can instantly review and respond to drawings through Flick-To-Share collaboration.

Complementing ChemDraw for iPad, Chem3D for iPad provides an intuitive and interactive way to view high-quality 3D images of chemical and biochemical structures. Also operating with Flick-To-Share capability, scientists can easily share high-resolution, maneuverable images and drawings of DNA, RNA, proteins, assemblies, crystals and small organics using five different viewing modes: ball and stick, wireframe, cartoon, space filling and rocking.

To read full press release announcing ChemDraw for iPad and Chem3D for iPad, click here.

To purchase ChemDraw for iPad in the App Store, click here.

For free download of Chem3D for iPad in the App Store, click here.

ELN advantage: patent reporting tool gives inventors an edge over competition

 

The patent law change made effective in March of this year, switching United States patent acquisition practices from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” system, has resulted in a fundamental change in the way scientists and inventors must approach their research documentation in consideration of patent reporting.

The changed patent law brings United States patent regulations more in line with the rest of the world, resulting in a need for American companies to reassess which ways the use of an electronic laboratory notebook can be most beneficial in terms of experiment documentation.

While emphasis prior to the law change was on capturing timestamps and signatures within experimentss that resulted in novel invention, the newly enacted “first to file” rule means the pressure has switched from proving initial discovery to preparing laborious documentation as quickly as possible.

In the case of the Ensemble® E-Notebook, the functionality to facilitate expedited patent reporting has already been in place as an underlying capability for the last couple of years. While it will require some basic configuration, simple patent reporting tools can help shave a precious number of days off of patent filing preparation. The tools already present within Ensemble are not new, but the concept of using them to speed up patent reporting is. Early adoption of these semi-automated patent reporting tools within ELN will undoubtedly provide an immediate advantage over more traditional patent reporting methods.

After basic configuration, the ELN can be used to quickly and easily create compiled experiment documentation for use within a patent report. In this short tutorial video, Ensemble E-Notebook for Chemistry is used to demonstrate how existing ELN tools can be used to populate and export reports combining chemical synthesis experiments, resulting in a much faster patent reporting process.

If you would like assistance in performing the simple configurations necessary to create a patent reporting tool within your Ensemble E-Notebook, please reach out to our customer support team here.

Revolutionizing global health: Changing healthcare from reactive to preventative

 The blue line represents the lifetime cost of sick care vs. the red line cost of healthy care.

Even though the number of people living past 100 is increasing exponentially at the moment, for the first time in the last 200 years a child born in the United States has a lower life expectancy than his or her parents.

Two of the biggest health challenges facing modern society include cancer and cardiac disease. With ever-increasing knowledge and medical capability regarding disease prevention and treatment, the tools to reverse the decline of life expectancy lie within our reach.

Yet increasing life expectancy also means increasing medical expenses. The most medically expensive years of an individual’s life are the last five; by increasing the amount of time a person continues to age also increases the amount of money that person must spend to sustain life.

When it comes to health and longevity, there are many interesting relationships occurring in today’s society related to lifestyle. Countries with the highest energy consumption rates are topping the charts with lowest life expectancy. The average number of calories consumed daily has increased more than 50 percent in the last 40 years.

These figures strongly suggest that food addictions to products such as sugar and corn, which comprise a large proportion of foods found on today’s modern grocery store shelves, are playing a devastating role in the decline of health and life expectancy.

To combat these circumstances, we must revolutionize the way we approach healthcare today. Instead of practicing medicine reactively by treating symptoms and diagnoses, a cultural change needs to be made so that as a society, we embrace preventative, personalized healthcare. By spending more money and energy upfront to understand an individual’s personalized environmental health risks, the long-term effect is longer life and decreased medical expenses through effective disease prevention.

Join experts and peers on May 8 and 9, 2013, in Newton, Massachusetts in attendance of the Revolutionaries for Global Health Summit. The summit, hosted by PerkinElmer, will feature numerous presentation tracks focusing on subjects relating to global health, such as next generation sequencing, in vivo imaging, targeted small molecules, tissue and cellular imaging, proteins and biologics, informatics, epigenetics, cellular and tissue imaging, and biotherapeutics.

Click here to watch a video PerkinElmer Life Sciences and Technology President Kevin Hrusovsky give a presentation on modern health trends at a previous RGH Summit.

Complete your free registration to attend RGHS in Newton here.

Use hashtag #RGH13 to follow related discussions on Twitter.