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ARIA launches new facility management package from the cloud


ARIA is the web tool that you're currently looking at, and it powers not just the Instruct website and access management but also is used by other access infrastructure and facilities worldwide as a cloud service. You may already know that iNEXT is using our access management solution, however because of ARIA's integrated cloud design you may not know that you can actually seamlessly submit a single project that chooses both iNEXT and Instruct visits within a single submission. Instruct has been providing access for a long time, and our access management solution is now very well tuned and robust but we didn't want to stop at just access.

All access infrastructure using ARIA are made up of disparate centres that are located across Europe of varying sizes and maturities, and often attached to a local department who form the majority of their users. For larger facilities that are well established we have developed fully fledged and secure APIs with which a facility can integrate their local management system into ARIA to automatically access the projects that will involve their facility to streamline the access provision. Smaller or newer facilities however looking to optimise both their local and external usage look for IT tools to manage and oversee their facility. To this end we wanted to provide a solution in ARIA that, like our access management solution, could be offered as a streamlined integrated cloud service that would take very little time to setup, could be fully integrated with local websites and software, and would give all of the power and control that a facility needs to maximise their machines.

Managing remote access to these centres has been a feature in ARIA for a while, as the process is quite simple. When the new centre, Nanobodies4Instruct, was established they chose to run their entire external access management using ARIA. This would ultimately ensure smooth and transparent access to any user as they could see the entire nanobody production pipeline they were accessing and exactly which step their project was up to at any time using their ARIA dashboard. Both the facility and users have given high praise to the level of service provided using these tools.

The next step was to design and integrate a full machine booking system that could be utilised by facilities to manage both their local users but also support external users either through their own access means or through transnational access. This was done in collaboration with a number of varied facilities to ensure that the system was configurable enough to meet the specific needs of almost any facility. Now we have had the booking management in place and running in production in two major facilities: the Oxford Particle Imaging Centre and Astbury Biostructure Laboratory in the University of Leeds. Each machine available within a facility can be configured entirely independently from other machines with a variety of options:

  • Default booking lengths & maximum time application restrictions
  • User-configurable start times and durations (or not, if scheduling is done centrally)
  • Deep permissions system that is integrated to a tiered user training module
  • Custom booking request forms for users to complete
  • Many more configurable options and features

This may seem like a lot of features, but they are all configurable and optional so only the ones that you need to run your facility can be enabled. Users can be given a level of training from Novice through to Advanced, and different levels of permissions can be assigned to each of these. Permissions can enable users to book themselves onto a machine, book others, manage bookings or more critically simply just request time. Booking requests can be submitted by users with necessary permission/training and each machine can have a form which users have to complete to submit the request. The form can be designed differently for each machine, or they can share some if not all of the same options. Often facilities use this as an opportunity to collect the associated purchasing/grant codes to charge the usage against after the machine has been used. Requests then come in to the facility management to approve/reject and schedule accordingly. Finally once all of the bookings have been performed there are extensive reporting tools to report usage but also reports can be grouped based on fields defined in the requesting forms (e.g. grant code!).

With the deeply configurable facility management system being fully integrated with the transnational access methods we think ARIA makes an excellent choice to manage your facility, and it is available now to anyone. If you are interested in using ARIA to enhance your access or facility management please get in touch and we can schedule a more comprehensive system demo at