The global pandemic in 2020 impacted scientific and analytical laboratories everywhere — in a variety of ways. For laboratories evaluating new instrumentation, the widespread shutdowns were particularly difficult, since decision-makers could no longer participate in on-site instrument demonstrations, interact with the systems or see firsthand how they worked.
Yet if there’s one silver lining from the two years marred by the pandemic, it’s this: global teams everywhere quickly learned to be agile and creative, pivot quickly, and respond by innovating new solutions during a challenging time.
At Thermo Fisher, it’s that ingenuity that led to the creation of a new tool—the Mobile Demo Studio (MDS).
It’s a virtual video broadcasting solution developed during the pandemic that enables sales teams and customers to perform immersive live product demonstrations completely remotely. It started as a way to facilitate live presentations when on-site customer demonstrations simply weren’t possible.
Prior to COVID-19, customers seeking new instrumentation were sometimes invited to an on-site demonstration lab, or in some cases, the demo would happen at the customer site. When the pandemic caused facility shut-downs and halted non-critical travel, there was no longer an option to welcome customers to on-site demo labs. However, customers still needed to purchase and learn about the latest analytical tools. Thus, we created a way to bring a live demonstration lab and live presentations to customers — with all of the same interactivity we would have if we were in-person.
The first MDS prototype was created in 2020 and used in France. In the beginning, it was just one camera, one screen and a very simple management platform. Yet by the end of the year, the idea had caught on, so our team developed the solution further so we could launch the tool globally. Over the next 12 months, we made technology improvements to make the presentations more professional. We added broadcast software, which made it easier to present to customers and improved the look and feel of the presentation delivery itself.
We also expanded the usage. Initially, MDS was only a tool for running demos, but we quickly realized it was also useful for many other applications. Teams have started using the same MDS platform for training, real-time troubleshooting, and showing customers how they could improve their workflow operations. We also started creating enhanced webinars with live views of speakers and hope to expand into workshops and other live events in the future.
There are now seven MDS systems in Europe, five in the US, three in China- and plans to build systems in Japan, Singapore, India, and possibly Dubai in the future.
The tool supports sales teams across the world, delivering technology that helps them demonstrate chromatography and mass spectrometry systems to customers remotely. The broadcasting system allows customers to interact live with account representatives and application scientists, see samples running (if required), and view the product components in detail in real-time.
Today, more than 60 Thermo Fisher colleagues are trained to use the MDS for demos and trainings. More than 200 virtual live demos have been performed for customers, covering all chromatography and mass spectrometry product lines—from sample preparation to sample analysis.
The advantage of the MDS is that customers can remotely see instruments operate live in real time. However, the tool still doesn’t give scientists and decision-makers the ability to physically interact with the instrument themselves. If customers need that level of interaction, they would need to schedule an in-person demonstration. MDS was never intended to replace all other demonstrations—but to simply add new remote demonstration capabilities to Thermo Fisher’s substantial list of available options.
If you’re interested in learning more about any of our instruments or having a demonstration (either remotely or in-person), the first step is to connect with your account representative, who will discuss your needs and the best way to provide the information you need.
Contact your account representative today to get the conversation started.