At Tech World 2022, Lenovo showcased new technology solutions and a renewed focus to empower customers in their digital transformation journey. I had the opportunity to interview Lenovo’s Chairman and CEO, Yang Yuanqing, to discuss the company’s internal transformation, its focus on innovation and its commitment to making a positive difference in the world, starting with safeguarding the planet. For Yuanqing, it is straightforward “We believe technology connects people, enables productivity, and creates possibilities. Therefore, it must be inclusive and accessible to all, especially those most in need of it.”
Over the past few years, Lenovo has undergone a transformation of its own towards a services-first business. More enterprises have been looking for outcome-based IT services that offer the flexibility and agility of public cloud services where users pay only for their IT resources. The pandemic accelerated this shift, and the ongoing uncertainty is driving businesses to look for trusted partners with business models that can quickly adapt to their business needs. Lenovo has developed horizontal building blocks for a “New IT” architecture that focuses on Client, Edge, Cloud, network and Intelligence, all able to address any vertical solution such as smart education, smart cities and smart manufacturing. A recent survey Lenovo recently conducted with over 500 Chief Technology Officers (CTOs) found that the concept of “New IT” resonated with the respondents who, aside from the five areas Lenovo is already working on, mentioned, “R&D / Innovation” (9%), “Data Management” (7%) and “security” (6%) as other components that will be important to shaping the future of technology architecture. As companies continue to transform their processes and business models, they are looking at third-party vendors to help solve challenges relating to technological architecture (82%.)
CTOs and business leaders know that the way forward, in both business and life, will be about bringing together the real and the virtual worlds. The mention of the virtual world brings thoughts of virtual reality and the Metaverse, an area where Lenovo has been an early mover. Lenovo is the first company in the industry to integrate feature points, geometric structure, realistic texture and objective semantics into the same meta-space. Feature points represent the layer designed so that XR devices operating in the Meta-space can identify both their location and their orientation. The second layer of the Meta-space is the geometric structure which describes the 3D geometry of the environment and the objects. The third layer, realistic texture, makes the virtual world more realistic, and it does that by capturing the slightest possible detail of objects for high-fidelity rendering. To enable the Meta-space to fully function, it needs object semantics, which enables the XR devices to recognize and operate objects while performing a certain task. Yuanqing is quite bullish when it comes to the Metaverse, even if he recognizes there is a long journey ahead. His belief stems from the impact XR can have in both the enterprise and consumer segments, starting with how it can make our work easier and more productive.
But there is more to this idea than the Metaverse, especially in the short term. It is more simply and, more often, about workflows that bridge the real and the digital space calling for computing to be accessible anytime and anywhere. “We believe technology connects people, enables productivity, and creates possibilities. Therefore, it must be inclusive and accessible to all, especially those most in need of it,” says Yuanqing.
For quite some time, community impact has been a focus of Lenovo and the Lenovo Foundation. The most recent “Work for Humankind” initiative showed the power technology can have on communities and how it can empower individuals to work from anywhere while making a difference. Nowadays, it is impossible, and rightly so, to talk about community impact without talking about sustainability.
During Tech World, Lenovo announced its commitment to reach net zero by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement. To achieve this goal, Lenovo must work with its ecosystem partners and suppliers to find new, low-carbon ways of working to maximize the impact. For instance, Lenovo has championed the use of sustainable aviation fuels and encouraged partners to switch to electrified fleets. Lenovo is also working with its supply chain to use sustainable biofuels in its ocean shipping. Lenovo’s emission reduction targets were submitted to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for validation. SBTi created the first ever science-based Net-Zero Standard for emissions reduction. This aims to establish meaningful goals that can be measured and will keep companies accountable on their journey.
The first step for a company to establish a net-zero target is to have short-term targets. Lenovo’s 2030 targets include reducing scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% and reducing emissions intensity in critical areas of the value chain (products, suppliers and transportation) by 25%. Reaching these targets is highly dependent on the company’s own innovation. For instance, Lenovo has set 2030 goals to increase energy efficiency for notebooks and smartphones by 30% and desktops and servers by 50%. When it comes to sustainability, Lenovo is keen to share its innovation so that its impact can be maximized. For instance, in 2017, Lenovo pioneered a Low-Temperature Solder process that reduces energy consumption and has saved an estimated 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide since its invention. Since then, Lenovo has made the technology available to any other company that wants to adopt it in their manufacturing processes.
Innovation, partnerships, determination and execution are how Yuanqing plans to grow Lenovo’s success and achieve its business and sustainability goals while helping its customers do the same. He concluded our conversation with what could well be a mission statement: “Our customers trust our execution and share our vision. Being a partner and not a supplier is what it takes to help them through all their business transformation from embracing the Metaverse to being more sustainable.”
Disclosure: The Heart of Tech is a research and consultancy firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this column. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this column.