During Lenovo Tech World 2022 on Oct. 18, the company presented its wide-ranging ambitions for digital transformation. With innovation and sustainability at the core, Lenovo revealed its new portfolio, metaverse solutions, and plans with edge, cloud and data centers for enterprises.
“It’s our evolution into the combination of virtual and the physical worlds,” Yang Yuanqing, chairman and CEO of Lenovo, said during the Tech World 2022 pre-briefing event.
The CEO spoke about digital twins, virtual and physical workspaces, and the evolution of information and communication technology companies.
“ICT companies are in a new phase of a digital and intelligent transformation, under the new IT architecture of the cloud. Not only in devices but also in horizontal solutions,” Yuanqing said. “Innovations are the building blocks we can leverage to construct the different types of industries,” when referring to the edge, artificial intelligence, cloud solutions, big data and IoT.
Lenovo’s metaverse solutions
Lenovo’s metaverse vision moves away from extreme virtualities and into augmented reality solutions for businesses and industries. The company’s digital twin-style metaverse is supported by its new edge computing devices, the Motorola edge + with 5G, and its ThinkReality A3 AR glasses.
“The metaverse is a hybrid of physical and virtual worlds, where people and objects connect and interact with each other,” said Yong Rui, SVP and CTO of Lenovo. “With the combined and reinforced information from those in the metaverse, we can provide users with more immersive and interactive experiences and solve industry challenges with higher efficiency and lower cost.”
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The company presented an industrial example of digital-twin-metaverse-robotic solutions for the electric power industry. Using this concept of the metaverse, dangerous and time-consuming inspections of electric grids and electricity-generating equipment are monitored through sensors in real time in the digital twin or virtual world. Meanwhile, robots are used to do maintenance and close-up inspections.
Key for its metaverse, Lenovo’s AR glasses are known for their industrial uses and compete in this sector with AR glasses providers like Microsoft’s Hololens. The company says its AR glasses support versatile applications and render high-definition images in real-time combined with their edge computing technology.
“These technologies (AR and edge computing) are critical to ensure the best metaverse experience,” Rui added.
Using the metaverse, companies can simulate hundreds of thousands of different scenarios, test applications and run different processes. Lenovo reckons these solutions aren’t a vision of the future but something happening now. The company has the technology and resources to build these metaverse applications today.
The company tries to set itself apart from most technology companies by working with the competition and not against it. Its metaverse, edge, cloud, data centers and hybrid smart devices are built in collaboration with partners like NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Microsoft and Google.
Devices and R&D: Smart spaces and form factor innovation
Luca Rossi, the president of the Lenovo Intelligent Devices Group, presented smart space solutions and gave a sneak peek into future devices the company is working on.
Responding to the customers’ demand for meaningful innovation, Lenovo is increasing investment in research and development for devices that go beyond the device itself and build smarter spaces. For example, the company’s offering for Smart Collaboration innovates for hybrid workspace, and the new Room Configurator allows users to build collaborative spaces for businesses in a few clicks.
“In the past, people’s experiences centered on an individual device in precise physical space. Today, we are transcending to immersive experiences that combine physical and virtual thanks to the technology ecosystem,” Rossi said.
Rossi highlighted the Freestyle app, a consumer no-cost software solution that delivers a way to connect and share across all devices. The app is designed to resolve fragmented experiences by making the Lenovo PC the center of the home.
Lenovo is also revamping its Motorola edge smartphone lineup. Rossi revealed that the company is working on AR and virtual reality solutions that require no AR or VR glasses. These would be powered by holographic hardware.
“We will continue to see big changes in the way we collaborate. One area we are exploring is cyber rooms that provide physical holographic solutions for telepresence communication,” Rossi said.
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Additionally, Rossi revealed a functional prototype of an expandable screen smartphone. While rollable screen concepts have been around for years, they have rarely moved beyond the design stage. The functional prototype rollable proof of concept Lenovo presented doesn’t sacrifice screen size and can retract to a size smaller than any other premium smartphone. Content on the smartphone dynamically adjusts to the device as it expands or collapses in the palm of the user’s hand.
According to Rossi, rollable screens are part of the natural evolution of form factor innovation which has been present throughout the company’s history. With the Yoga Lineup, Lenovo pioneered the 360-convertible laptop sector. Other brands like Microsoft and Samsung later adopted these concepts. With their foldable ThinkPad and Motorola Razr, Lenovo continued to invest in flexible OLED screens.
Rossi added that the company was working to apply the rollable expandable screen concept to other devices like personal computers and notebooks.
“The possibilities of a rollable laptop are also compelling. It will bring multitasking browsing and mobility applications to another level,” Rossi said. “I believe form-factor innovation is a very dynamic space, and we will continue to see the innovation in the field.”
Edge, data centers and cloud computing
The most significant areas of growth for Lenovo are edge computing, data centers, supercomputers and the cloud. As TechRepublic reported on Sept. 22, Lenovo presented the broadest portfolio in its history for this sector. During the Tech World Event, Kirk Skaugen, EVP and president of Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group, went over the new portfolio.
The lineup includes more than 50 new and enhanced products, solutions and services like the next generation of ThinkSystem, ThinkAgile and ThinkEdge services and storage. These are powered by the next-gen AMD and Intel Xeon Scalable processors.
Additionally, the company revealed the new XClarity One, a dashboard that unifies data management for cloud or edge operations. Finally, with energy efficiency and carbon reduction in mind, Lenovo’s latest generation of Neptune water cooling and CO2 Offset Services supports companies in their zero-carbon efforts. Moreover, the company is turning to materials such as vegan leather, recycled aluminum and bamboo, while strengthening its end-of-life program, to drive sustainability.
From transforming smart cities to personal devices and computing resources, Lenovo wants to demonstrate that it’s thinking big and looking for action in every consumer sector. With aspirations in devices, edge, cloud and intelligence, it will be interesting to see if the company can simultaneously prosper in all those areas.