With the 5G era fast approaching, the market generally expects AIoT applications to rapidly become widespread across different industries mainly because large-scale connectivity is an essential requirement for enterprises looking to tap the power of AIoT and 5G happens to provide the missing piece of the puzzle.
Seeing that 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) developments are reaching maturity, Lenovo is exerting efforts toward its 3S strategy - Smart IoT, Smart Infrastructure and Smart Vertical, with which it aims to enable businesses across different fields to obtain information in real time, in a snap and without error and to optimize operation flow, lower costs and enhance security. With Lenovo's solutions, businesses can then leverage big data analytics and computing for high-quality decision making to thereby deliver outstanding sales performance. Lenovo is also working with partners to jointly develop wide-ranging smart edge computing solutions, which will facilitate digital transformation for enterprises.
Expanding market footprint with its 3S strategy, Lenovo accelerates the development of smart edge computing solutions
According to Anderson Hsu, General Manager, Lenovo DCG Taiwan, 75% of enterprise-generated data will be processed at the edge by 2025, wherein the high bandwidth data transmission enabled by 5G will play an instrumental role. As a multi-national corporation with a global operation spanning across 180 cities and a determination to meet ever-changing customer needs all over the world, Lenovo is devoting company-wide resources to riding the 5G wave and is committed to centering its product development on 5G advancements for all its offerings including end devices such as laptops, tablets and mobile phones, mid-tier equipment such as IoT gateways and back-end data center infrastructure, which make up a cutting-edge product roadmap for the mobile era.
"Lenovo's 3S initiative is of utmost importance for the corporation," noted Hsu. It plays a critical role in helping Lenovo's customers resolve pain points and capture rising business opportunities. Hsu further pointed out that Lenovo has been introducing multiple key offerings aimed to bring its 3S blueprints to life. For Smart Infrastructure, it has made available hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions integrated with VMware, Nutanix or Microsoft Azure Stack HCI. For Smart IoT, Lenovo has developed its Lenovo Intelligent Computing Orchestration (LiCO) with an aim to accelerate the popularity of smart IoT applications. It has also launched the ThinkSystem SE350 (Edge Server) product line, which not only supports powerful AI inference but can also serve as a 5G baseband unit (BBU). After entering the market in 2019, ThinkSystem SE350 has received enthusiastic responses and won several international awards. As ThinkSystem SE350 was developed locally at Lenovo's Taipei R&D center, Taiwan-based customers will enjoy ready access to end-to-end technical support, helping speed up their AIoT build-up.
Hsu emphasized that Lenovo will not be able to achieve smart edge computing by itself. This has to be accomplished through teamwork so not only is it working closely with Intel to preemptively develop products powered by the latest computing technology but it is also collaborating with ISV and IHV partners to create a myriad of Smart Vertical solutions to address wide-ranging application scenarios.
Ted Lin, Advisory Technical Manager, Lenovo DCG Taiwan, added that Lenovo's Smart Vertical development targets seven focus areas - smart manufacturing, smart traffic, smart industrial park, smart agriculture, smart security surveillance, smart healthcare and smart energy. Lenovo's 3S initiative has brought a slew of smart manufacturing, smart retail, smart healthcare and smart telecom solutions to reality with more to follow.
5G + AIoT ignites disruptive innovations, driving the new industrial revolution
According to Lin, 5G reaches speeds 20 times faster than 4G and achieves 1/20 the latency of 4G. Although 5G's high data rate and low latency enables endless possibilities, there are still challenges to overcome. To help industries address these challenges and capture business opportunities, Lenovo is committed to building complete edge computing solutions.
The Lenovo Edge Server can uninterruptedly collect sensor measurements, aggregate the measurements into "big data," build deep learning models and perform inference in the field. With continuous optimizations, the process can maximize AIoT value. Capable of supporting enterprises' private 5G networks, Lenovo Edge Server can generally be used for three purposes. First, with a GPU/FPGA card, it can be used for enhanced mobile broadband applications. Second, it can serve as a micro data center to speed up the processing and exchange of massive sensor data. Third, it can support HCI for critical IoT backend tasks.
Leveraging its close collaboration with Intel around the globe, Lenovo has easier access to more affordable computing resources so it can accelerate the development of machine vision and AI functionalities, which are instrumental to security surveillance, automated optical inspection (AOI), healthcare and many other application scenarios.
Roger Huang, director, DIGITIMES Research, expects 5G to unlock a world of new applications. For example, the combination of 5G and AI-based analysis will give rise to more meaningful interpretations of massive data. From an enabler perspective, 5G+X will facilitate digital transformation for enterprises. With 5G being an enabler, the true value does not come from network connectivity but actually hinges on the application. He thinks the availability of 5G will allow the industry to break free from the closed-ended telecom equipment supply chain and instead form alliances to promote open-source 5G networks, which will make the integration of software and system increasingly important.
Jeff Lin, vice president and director of innovative AI product development of TPI Software highlighted that AI applications for businesses need to be built on three pillars - the right AI product and technology, a professional introduction team and proper computing power. In line with this thinking, TPI Software has unshackled itself from the traditional KM model and built a whole-new product mix including RPA robots, AI telephone chat robots and expert assistant systems. By tapping the computing power of the underlying Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350 Edge Server, TPI Software's products target the digital workforce opportunities in the post-pandemic era.
According to Billion Wan, general manager of MegAAOI, recently established in 2019, MegAAOI may be a newcomer to the AIoT market but it is actually a pioneer in AI- and IoT- enabled automated optical inspection (AOI). Ahead of the rest of the world in introducing AI AOI applications for semiconductor devices that have been validated by leading manufacturers, MegAAOI has developed a hexahedral AI AOI machine and COF potting AI AOI machine. Going forward, it will endeavor toward a machine as a service (MaaS) model to lower the barrier for manufacturers to adopt AI AOI. MegAAOI selects Lenovo ThinkSystem SE350 as the host for its AI AOI solutions as SE350 comes with CPU and GPU to handle separate workloads, expandable GPU power, 4/5G connectivity and robust support for AI edge inference.
In the rapidly changing world of 5G, Lenovo will continue to join forces with partners to usher in the new IoT era. Through a diverse range of IoT sensors and big data platforms, Lenovo will consolidate smart edge computing power to help enterprises optimize production yield, realize high-quality decision making and deliver outstanding operation performance in a more precise and efficient manner.
Anderson Hsu, General Manager, Lenovo DCG Taiwain
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