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Wednesday, 14 April 2021 11:28

Medlab selects Microsoft Dynamics remote assist for pandemic lab work Featured

MedLab invested in Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist to connect staff globally and virtually MedLab invested in Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist to connect staff globally and virtually

Australian-listed biotechnology company Medlab Clinical has selected Microsoft Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on HoloLens 2 to support its critical work underway, including on the pandemic, in its specialist laboratories.

Microsoft says its mixed reality solution using Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on HoloLens 2 helps Medlab (ASX: MDC) combat geographical challenges with remote collaboration.

In Sydney, Medlab operates a state-of-the-art Physical Containment Level 2 Laboratory (PC2 Lab) certified by the Department of Health’s Office of the Gene Technology Regulator.

“Mixed reality has not only enabled Medlab to maintain international collaboration amongst doctors, research professors and lab technicians, but has also greatly helped accelerate Medlab’s progress and boosted the skills of local technical personnel who can now quickly access remote experts around the world using HoloLens 2,” said Microsoft.

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Ian Curtinsmith, Medlab’s Chief Information Officer said that following a successful proof of concept Medlab has now deployed HoloLens 2 devices equipped with Dynamics 365 Remote Assist in both its Australian and US operations - and Medlab expects to invest in more HoloLens 2 devices as the business expands.

“I believe augmented reality is here to stay.The benefits of overlapping the virtual and physical worlds are hard to ignore,” said Curtinsmith.

“Quality, efficacy, efficiency, safety, collaboration and training, as well as better access to subject experts – all increased. Costs and resource constraints decreased. What’s not to like?”

Microsoft says that having transitioned to cloud some years ago, Medlab was able to rapidly pivot to a work from home model for many of its staff. However, laboratory staff needed the extra support of mixed reality to continue with essential work in Medlab’s physical lab environments.

Medlab has manufacturing partners around the world and is undertaking time-sensitive Phase 3 clinical trials.

To ensure those trials proceed in a timely manner, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on HoloLens 2 has “allowed Medlab to put any one of our staff globally, virtually into our PC2 lab or a manufacturing partner’s lab,” said Curtinsmith.

“A Professor could talk to the technician in our lab – physically see the results as they happened, provide advice or just simply monitor to provide oversight.

“If reference material needed to be shared it could be easily done using Dynamics 365 on the HoloLens 2 so both parties can simultaneously see the same information displayed in real-time, despite potentially being thousands of kilometres away from one another.”

Curtinsmith said that the business case for mixed or augmented reality might previously have been largely economic and environmental – allowing Medlab to save the cost of domestic and international flights and as a result reducing its carbon footprint.

Pre-COVID the team had been travelling internationally six or seven times to present at conferences and join projects, plus the few dozen trips between labs in Australia each year.

Lawrence Crumpton, Mixed Reality Lead, Microsoft Australia said: “The groundbreaking work that Medlab is engaged in is too important to face any source of interruption.

“Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on HoloLens 2 and mixed reality in general have demonstrated a completely new way of working that maintains business continuity while saving on operational costs – but most importantly, it also allows more efficient access to experts anytime, from anywhere.

“Because people no longer need to travel long distances to collaborate Medlab is experiencing an improvement in speed to market as well as significant upskilling of its technicians who can now access experts more readily,” Crumpton concluded.

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