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Lenovo providing core-to-edge equipment, services for offices and industry
28th March 2022

By: Schalk Burger
Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor
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Information technology (IT) equipment multinational Lenovo has launched a range of new equipment, services and solutions aimed at supporting more effective and efficient hybrid work environments, as well as facilitating seamless interconnectivity for the needs and processes of industrial businesses and value chains.
Lenovo South Africa GM Thibault Dousson on March 25 said the pandemic had accelerated digital transformation of individual workspaces, companies and economies, but that there remained a core need for enabling effective engagement between people, which is often the basis for companies' effective operations, client services and innovations.
Similarly, the use of Internet of Things systems and automation in a range of industries, including agriculture, manufacturing and mining in South Africa, necessitates effective and seamless interconnectivity from network core to edge.
Each industrial IT system has various process-driven criteria, such as greater processing at the edge to reduce latency or support the use of automation in the field, or centralised high-performance computing to support artificial intelligence applications in industries such as financial services, retail and agriculture, that must be supported, he added.
Many of Lenovo's customers are aiming for a cloud-first model, but this requires a change of application design and infrastructure to support, said Lenovo South Africa senior sales engineering Bevan Lock.
"Applications capture a company's business logic and are the primary way in which a company gets the most value from its data at a specific time and point in the process. However, applications that have not been written specifically for cloud environments will not provide the expected advantage if deployed in a cloud environment," he explained.
Companies should, therefore, look at their infrastructure differently and aim to create a data ecosystem to support their operations and their digital transformation journeys. This, in turn, requires that IT equipment, software and services companies be able to provide clients with infrastructure and systems that allow them to quickly build and deploy the systems and services they need within their hybrid cloud environments.
"All of these systems and services must also help companies to maintain digital security in addition to enabling agility. Further, there are various industry- and company-specific requirements that will dictate the design of a company's IT environment, such as latency requiring companies to keep data at the edge, or cost factors necessitating that more data is processed at the edge," Lock illustrated.
Other considerations may be that data be kept within a jurisdiction and that regulatory and data control requirements be met, which would also influence the design of the solutions.
Lenovo's edge equipment and solutions are designed to support interactions and integration at the edge between people and devices and the business' network. Industries that currently use these include smart manufacturing, mining and agriculture, he said.
Further, companies can use the information derived from these connections at the edge as a bridge that can talk to other industrial systems and to integrate their operations from end-to-end.
Lenovo provides edge processing equipment that is designed to do the "heavy lifting" of data processing at the edge, and can be used for analytics at the edge, preprocessing of data and artificial intelligence systems to enable decisions to be made at the edge, said Lock.
"We have also designed our edge solutions to be portable, and one of the edge servers can fit inside a courier package and be prepopulated before delivery and then activated using a two-factor authentication. Other considerations that we have designed our edge solutions to handle include the need to run off [direct current] instead of [alternating current] and tolerate extreme temperatures, as examples.
"New edge applications are driving new opportunities for businesses, including by enabling them to capture data at the edge and then move it to where and when it is needed for business processes. The focus of our research and development [for edge applications] is driven by the fact that businesses should be able to put applications where it makes the most sense to do so and thereby harness the power of their data," explained Lock.
Further, the company provides solutions for small to large enterprises. Small and medium-sized businesses can get input from Lenovo for specific solutions by working with their IT equipment and service providers, who will then contact the company for specialist advice and design input, he said.
WORKING AND LEARNING
The company's collaboration and hybrid workspace solutions are provided in partnership with software multinational Microsoft, and include solutions for individual workspaces, team-based collaborations and business meetings, as well as training and education, said Dousson.
"Our solutions also include smart classroom systems, where teachers are able to track and motivate progress. The aim is for educators to be able to transform the way they teach. Other learning solutions are designed to enable independent learning and continuous education and training within schools, institutes and corporations.
"These smart classroom and learning solutions aim to provide smart education for all, and support smart learning within companies, especially in technical disciplines," he said.
Collaboration solutions help companies and organisations to be "without walls" and enable effective interaction regardless of where their employees, partners and clients are, he said.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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