AI and Machine Learning major growth areas in technology: Lenovo

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Las Vegas, Jan 12 (IANS) Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are going to be major areas of growth in the tech world to leverage these for improving productivity and efficiencies, according to one of the top executives of Lenovo.

Ken Wong, President of Asia Pacific with the Fortune 500 company, said that their own experience from AI and ML internally in several countries is being packaged and sold to large companies — starting with China — to improve productivity and business.

“We are one of the biggest companies on planet to effectively leverage AI and ML for efficient global supply operations and for planning and management of manufacturing,” Wong told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 here.

To further leverage technology for manufacturing processes, Wong said the company was setting up three specialised research labs in the United States, Germany and China on AI and ML. The company, he said, would invest around $1.2 billion in the next two to four years to be on the cutting edge of these growth areas.

He also said that the company was working with “a large university in the US” to see how AI and ML can help farmers increase productivity.

Wong said that Lenovo, the top PC seller in the world, has seen a sharp growth in the Asia-Pacific region in the second quarter of the year despite a flat growth among its nearest competitors like HP, Dell, Apple and Asus, according to IBC figures.

Talking about completion in India from other Chinese and global companies in smartphones, Wong said that Lenovo was one of the few to have set up a manufacturing base in the country and its MOTO brand was quite popular in India. That’s why it’s among the top three brands in the country, he added.

Also, as a multinational company, it can offer the widest range of products from mobile phones to tablets to PCs going right up to data centres. “This range makes it unique and provides a technological leverage that no other company can give to any country, including India,” Wong noted.

He said Lenovo was seeing a strong growth in Asia-Pacific in gaming and India had seen a double-digit increase in this area. This was both for the entry-level gamers as well as high-end gaming. He said they had launched their gaming brand “Legion” after talking to customers as to what they want and how they make their buying decisions.

The Lenovo executive said the trend in PC markets was towards thin and light notebooks — less than 21 mm thick and below 1.9 kg — with mobility and connectivity thrown in.

In this context, Wong spoke about Lenovo’s latest such product Miix 630 — launched at CES 2018 and which will be available later this year. He said the PC/tablet will become a “hero product” in the market because of its several unique features.

He said that the battery life of Miix 630 would be an unprecedented 20 hours with full video usage and will have the “always on” concept that everyone is using in mobile phones. It will also have continuous connectivity which may be offered in a tie up with telecom companies or as a standalone product where customers can use any telco they prefer.

Wong, who is part of Lenovo’s executive committee which takes decision on company strategies worldwide, said that they are in the process of discussing a partnership with various telecom operators in several countries which is expected to help push the growth of 4G technology. In India too, the company is talking to telecom companies. Lenovo already has a tie-up with Reliance Communications for smartphones.

“The product will sell more bandwidth and the drive for better connectivity. I am, therefore, not surprised about the favourable product response from telcos. The customer is very picky today and Miix 630 is clear product that adds value to his or her requirements,” Wong added.

Wong also talked about Lenovo’s smart office assistant to set up video meetings from across geographies with very low requirement of bandwidth and immediate connectivity. “Today, I spend about 10 minutes to just set up the devices for the meetings. The user experience with the Lenovo device would be totally seamless,” he said.

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