By Gavin O’Hara
Sometimes people in trouble don’t know they need to be saved. And sometimes organizations that are headed for an iceberg don’t know they’re in need of transformation. Consider the facts/wake-up call below. Sobering stuff for CEOs, CTOs and rank-and-file employees in large organizations around the world.
A new age is dawning. For big companies, the oncoming era will require new skill sets, technologies, alignments and business models. It will force them to globally reinvent and restructure entire systems of production, management and governance. It will require what our CEO has called the 4th industrial revolution: intelligent transformation.
On the eve of the big Lenovo Transform event in New York, let’s pause and linger on how we define intelligent transformation as well as how we think large organizations can put themselves in a position to thrive in the new landscape.
To make it interesting, let’s frame things up with five bold (if defensible) statements and dig in from there.
1. Great products are enough for consumers but large organizations need something more. They need great solutions.
These are complicated times for the enterprise. The feedback that we get from large customers who deploy our technology is this: the products must naturally be compelling but the ecosystem into which they settle is everything.
It’s no longer enough for tech companies to provide smartphones, laptops, servers, storage and networking products and then step aside. Their value comes in helping their customers pull it all together, in providing a holistic vision of a world that is not only connected but smart.
Hardware offerings are best when combined with that tech provider’s data and deeper learnings. You might call it Smart IoT. Companies who show leadership on this front and subscribe to this more sophisticated and broad approach will be the ones who lead the intelligent transformation. The rest will be left behind.
2. Emerging technologies that leverage AI will, in large part, define the future.
As voice, gesture and movement come to the fore, we’ll see an era of ambient computing emerge. This vision will be defined and enriched by advances in AI, speech recognition, machine learning and cloud computing.
Will computers go away? No. Devices will surely still play a central role in the connected world but it’s safe to say some aspects of your connected life will go into the ether.
Consider what already exists and what might come next:
- A voice-driven smart speaker on a kitchen countertop
- A Smart Display (Lenovo’s pictured above with accessories) that acts as a family’s household hub
- Appliances connected in a rich IoT (Internet of Things) ecosystem
- Sensors embedded in walls, integrated into products or sewn into clothes
- Useful health trackers embedded directly into your body
Vague apprehension aside—that last bullet point got you too, huh—the sky’s the limit in terms of how we might leverage these new technologies to improve the lives of people.
One good example of a broader application is Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) technology, which helps people manage networks from a single source. Lenovo’s interest in this runs deep, from helping companies ward off hackers to helping first responders react more quickly in crisis situations.
Another application is Narrow AI (as opposed to the general AI we see in movies), which enables computers to perform highly specialized tasks extremely well. One way Lenovo is using Narrow AI is in health care. We created an AI solution that helps health professionals better detect liver tumors and increases general success rates for cancer diagnoses.
3. Bet on 5G and other emerging tech to fuel the pace of transformation.
Whether or not you know it, the pieces for intelligent transformation are falling into place on a global scale as I type this. Smart devices are ubiquitous. Infrastructure is in place. Networks are accelerating.
If cloud, infrastructure and devices are the connective tissue across which intelligent transformation will play out, a handful of technologies will provide the fuel for that transformation: bet on AI, AR, IoT and 5G to be the fuel that enables new ways of working and accelerates the pace at which this transformation occurs.
5G, which is 10 times faster than 4G, deserves special mention for the way it is expected to revolutionize networks. 5G download speeds will transform how people engage with the world overnight. This breakthrough will help mainstream things like driverless cars, smart wearables, gaming, home security and industrial intelligence.
(One selfish note: we recently announced the first-ever 5G smartphone: Moto Z3 with the new 5G Moto Mod. More info here.)
4. If you think Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are just for gamers, you’re missing the bigger story.
The impact of AR and VR on gaming has been well-documented and continues to grab the headlines in the mainstream press. But shrewd observers know that the effect these fast-developing technologies are having on business is nothing short of transformational.
It might surprise you to learn that (along with AI) AR is transforming cancer research. For example, Lenovo helped develop a tech solution for a Utah-based cancer to help identify melanoma. The solution leverages AR head-mounted displays and AI glasses to better map mole progression.
Meanwhile, AR is also transforming the aviation industry. Through the use of Lenovo AR glasses, expert airplane mechanics can conduct training sessions remotely, giving step-by-step virtual guidance to less seasoned workers. The quality of this AR-delivered training is high and its impact on both training costs and the speed of fixes can be enormous.
5. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. You first need to put the right building blocks into place.
Does Lenovo know what those building blocks are? Do we provide solutions that will help help businesses face the future with confidence? Our resounding yes comes in the form of this handy chart we just happened to have.
We’ve made significant investments in each of these eight areas. As a result, we feel uniquely positioned in the industry to help drive intelligent transformation in the enterprise.
One last note: organizations wishing to thrive in the age of intelligent transformation need a global partner if they are to devise a truly global strategy. If that sounds like a sales pitch for a certain company with employee in 60 countries, well, maybe it is. At a minimum, it’s an invitation into a conversation that’s sure to dominate headlines in both tech & business for years to come.
Thanks for reading. We’ll see you on the road to transformation.
If you’d like to learn more about Lenovo’s relentless march toward intelligent transformation, be sure to follow us on Twitter @Lenovo and @LenovoDC. Also check the #LenovoTransform hashtag for a full view of what goes on Sept 13 in New York.