Software Point has been a part of LABVANTAGE for about 6 months. From the very beginning of our co-operation, I have had consistent contact and open communication with the whole company, including Sales and PSO, but especially with the core development team members. So, from my point of view, what has changed after the merger? One of many improvements is that we can now access all the necessary resources and are able to contribute to the future versions of the LABVANTAGE product. We will now be jointly developing and distributing the modules that Software Point has created. Another excellent advancement is the increased communication in the form of frequent telephone and Skype conferences.
At present, the most interesting and exciting new module is LABVANTAGE Connect. We have been developing it since 2006 as a pluggable, add-on module for all of our supported LIMS products, such as LABVANTAGE (SAPPHIRE), WiLab LIMS and LabMaster LIMS. Soon after the merger, we also included support for SQL*LIMS in the first version for simple instruments like balances. In the future, complex instruments with both one-way and two-way communication will be supported. LABVANTAGE Connect has been a driver-based software, which means that for each instrument model, you will need a separate driver. However, this is only part of the big picture because our drivers have always included a lot of configurable properties and, therefore, enabling us to utilize the same driver for several similar instrument models, simply by modifying the properties. The upcoming version of 4.1 software will add an exciting and cool function referred to as Visual Parsing. This functionality means that there is just one generic driver, whose parsing rules can be completely defined with a graphical tool. This tool will allow technical support staff and even end-users to configure the parser without any prior knowledge of computer languages or scripting. Parsing rules can be defined hierarchically and can include repeatable sections.
Last week, Bengt Bredin and I visited the LABVANTAGE office in Somerset, NJ. We both work in the R&D team of Software Point. Bengt has 30 years experience of working with LIMS systems and connecting instruments to LIMS. Currently, Bengt works at our office in Stockholm and is the Product Manager of Connect. He also works very closely with the C5 LIMS development. I have 30 years experience in software development and have been working for the past 20 years as the CTO of Software Point at the Espoo office in Finland. I am mainly responsible for the R&D of our products.
Our discussions in Somerset included topics on various joint development efforts, such as the LIMS out-of-the-box products (verticals) and LABVANTAGE Connect. We also examined architecture, modules, technical solutions and development practices. The LIMS OOB discussions included a review of functions in the upcoming LABVANTAGE 6 product, as well as plans for future versions (LABVANTAGE 7 and beyond). These plans include adding more OOB LIMS functionality to the product, such capabilities as invoicing, trending, additional language support, and archiving.
As always, the week at Somerset was very productive, and I am grateful to everyone for the open and friendly atmosphere, as well as the very interesting discussions. I very much like the team-centered environment of LABVANTAGE, where everyone is passionate about improving the product and very supportive and helpful towards the customers and each other.