LabV – Laboratory intelligently networked. Interview with Christian Baier, Managing Director of LabV Intelligent Solutions GmbH
Mr. Baier, what impulses led to the founding of LabV Intelligent Solutions?
C. Baier: In 2020, together with the INC Invention Center, we conducted a study on Industry 4.0 in the laboratory with over 60 German companies. We wanted to find out what the digital landscape looks like in the laboratory and what challenges still exist. In the course of the discussions, we found that digitization in the laboratory was already well advanced, but there were still a lot of data silos and no good networking. The tasks for the laboratory staff are defined as a process and build on each other, while the systems and digital tools do not communicate with each other. At that moment it was clear to us that we could contribute to an increase in efficiency with a new solution. And so LabV was born.
How long has your company existed?
C. Baier: LabV Intelligent Solutions was founded in December 2021 and we now have our own offices in Munich and Hof. How is LabV connected to Netzsch? C. Baier: LabV is a joint venture, i.e. a jointly founded company, of the Netzsch Group and the INC Invention Center. With LabV, we combine Netzsch’s 60 years of expertise and market leadership in the field of analyzing and testing with the INC’s knowledge and experience in implementing technological innovations.
Which strategies do you use to pursue which objectives?
C. Baier: We support labs to position themselves for a data-based future. Data in the lab has always been used, but we all know that its relevance and value will change in the coming years. Analysis devices are becoming smarter, new software solutions are being introduced in companies and young laboratory workers are being hired with new ways of working and thinking. With our solution, we want to help build the laboratory’s digital memory. LabV – Labor intelligently networked We are pursuing a cloud-based and manufacturer-independent approach with the aim of becoming the so-called “operating system” for laboratories. This approach also allows 3rd-party applications and connections, i.e. the integration of applications from other providers, which mainly distinguishes us from LIMS systems.
What range of services do you focus on?
C. Baier: At its core, LabV offers three main functionalities: automatic detection of measuring devices, test order management and data search. With our patented “smart-mapper” we are able to recognize and import measuring devices and their data formats from all manufacturers and thus provide “plug & play”, which saves the laboratory considerable effort and costs in device connection. With the test order management, the laboratory employees can manage, edit and check all test orders. We digitize result data, which is often copied by hand from the device computer to the drive and then renamed in order to be able to see the results. This is the cornerstone of our data search. With this function it is finally possible to display measurement results with just a few clicks in order to carry out evaluations. For example, companies can quickly see how the results of a particular test for a given material or active ingredient have evolved over a defined period of time.
For which users is this of particular interest?
C. Baier: Of course, all users who work in a test laboratory benefit from these solutions. But not only. We are convinced that the added value of our solutions has a positive effect on production, the supply chain or purchasing. Because data and automated processes ensure efficiency increases in all areas with the help of digitization.
Where do you see additional potential and markets?
C. Baier: In addition to test laboratories, which are often associated with production or development, we see potential in the area of contract laboratories. LabV is deliberately positioned in a sector-independent manner and is therefore very well suited as a data hub in a wide variety of markets, from chemistry and pharmaceuticals, to food and food analysis, to materials and the environment. By providing and analyzing data, we can contribute to the development of new business models and thus generate interesting competitive advantages. To what extent do you strive for joint developments with the users? C. Baier: Users were involved in the development right from the start. Whether internally with our own colleagues or through partnerships before the official launch with companies such as Villeroy&Boch tiles or the plastics center SKZ. It is important to us to develop a solution that fits the laboratory processes and the way users work.
What can LabV users expect?
C. Baier: LabV enables laboratory employees to focus on their core tasks and to use their expertise for the essentials, namely the measurements and their results. Users should not lose their laboratory time with manual tasks, we want to take care of that for them.
Which issue is particularly important to you personally?
C. Baier: Our customers are the most important thing! We are constantly trying to improve our service to meet your problems, needs and desires. This is what distinguishes us as a startup in comparison to large, mostly rather sluggish market competitors. We live an open feedback culture in which every user plays an important role. However, LabV also stands for open cooperation. In this way, we want to convince all laboratory equipment manufacturers that working with us is worthwhile because we all have a common goal, namely to make the test laboratories more efficient with the help of digitization.