Lenovo pursues AI to the edge strategy to secure SA market share

Christopher Tredger
By Christopher Tredger, Portals editor
Johannesburg, 23 Jun 2023

On the back of its recent announcement of reaching over US$2-billion in revenue from AI infrastructure, technology manufacturer Lenovo says it looks forward to “democratising AI in South Africa” and will work to enable intelligence directly at the edge.

The company has unveiled the next phase of its growth strategy – an additional US$1-billion investment over three years to accelerate AI deployment for businesses around the world, including South Africa.

Dean Wolson, Lenovo country manager – Africa, says the company is excited about the ways in which AI is improving the lives of citizens. “Our focus has been on ensuring the democratisation of AI and empowering the innovators and start-ups of South Africa to tackle the nation's most critical issues.”

The company’s strategy is to deliver AI to the source of data and thereby simplify the often complex implementation of new AI capabilities. It says it will use its partner network to build turnkey solutions that enable computing intelligence directly at the edge.

According to Lenovo this is critical to empowering AI for improved emergency response, public safety, accessibility, tourism and retail experiences.

The company’s AI-ready solution portfolio includes over 70 products as well as new AI-optimised edge-to-cloud server platforms.

With emerging innovations like large language models (LLMs) and the continuous expansion of computer vision deployments, more processing power is needed where the data is being generated to run real-time inferencing at the edge.

The company stated, “As the amount of worldwide data grows exponentially, next-generation infrastructure technologies that deliver datacentre-like computing to the edge are critical to empowering AI.”

It also aims to expand its AI-ready portfolio of smart devices, infrastructure solutions and services to “enable the use of generative AI and delivering cognitive decisions at scale throughout remote locations across financial, manufacturing, healthcare, retail and smart city applications.”

AI Innovators program

Lenovo says it is committing US$100-million to grow its AI Innovators programme which it claims has resulted in over 150 AI solutions created with 45 leading independent software vendor partners in its first year.

This ecosystem is rolling out AI capabilities including computer vision, voice AI and virtual assistants.

The company is partnering with AI technology solutions and services provider DeepBrain AI to offer an end-to-end solution for generative AI virtual assistants that can be paired with LLMs to deliver 24/7 automated concierge service in hospitality and retail settings.

Speaking about the potential in the South African market for these technologies, Wilson says impressive work is being done using visual and audio AI to detect failing equipment and ensure more stable infrastructure, mobile networks, and utilities and logistics.