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Lenovo’s AI Odyssey: A Conversation with Matt Codrington, Managing Director

Unlocking the Power of AI to Transform Lives and Workplaces

In an exclusive interview with Matt Codrington, Managing Director for Lenovo, we delve into the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its integral role in Lenovo’s development journey. Matt sheds light on how Lenovo is harnessing AI to not only enhance customer experiences but also revolutionize internal operations, shaping the future of the workplace.

Evolution of AI Capabilities at Lenovo

When asked about Lenovo’s journey in developing its Large Language Models (LLM) and AI capabilities, Matt reflects on the company’s initial focus on enhancing customer value. The journey began years ago with a goal to optimize device usage patterns, eventually evolving into a comprehensive strategy covering over 60 AI-ready products. These products span edge to core to cloud, addressing various industries, such as retail, food service, and hospitality.

Matt Codrington, Managing Director for Lenovo

Lenovo’s AI-driven solutions have been designed to help industries adapt to the changes caused by the pandemic. For instance, in the food industry, AI is used to monitor the quality of food and improve the drive-through experience at fast-food restaurants. A digital twin platform is also in the works, utilizing AI to create highly realistic graphics, helping manufacturing companies reduce downtime and make their processes more efficient.

Through the Lenovo AI Innovators program, Lenovo is fostering partnerships with software companies to provide customers with AI solutions for a wide range of industries, covering computer vision, audio recognition, predictions, security, and virtual assistants.

AI Internally and for Future Customers

Matt emphasizes the internal use of AI in supply chain management, showcasing Lenovo’s commitment to efficiency and customer value. The optimization decision-making engine, powered by AI, has drastically reduced planning time, resulting in substantial time savings. Looking to the future, Lenovo aims to bring Hybrid AI infrastructure to customers globally, delivering powerful, scalable, and energy-efficient AI solutions.

Within Lenovo, AI is not confined to specific departments but is a full-company focus, contributing to product and services development. For example, Lenovo’s AI technologies have transformed internal operations related to IT service requests. The implementation of a chatbot has not led to job reductions but has allowed the team managing the digital workplace and end-user support to grow, becoming knowledge engineers who identify the right tools to introduce.

Practical Examples of AI Implementation

The interview highlights practical examples of AI implementation across various industries. Lenovo’s collaborations with DeepBrain AI, Vistry, and Guise illustrate how AI is transforming customer service, supply chain predictions, and manufacturing efficiency.

In the hospitality industry, Lenovo partnered with DeepBrain AI to offer an end-to-end solution for AI virtual assistants. These assistants, when combined with powerful Large Language Models (LLMs), can offer 24/7 automated concierge services in hotels and stores, making customer service better.

In supply chain management, Lenovo and Vistry are working together to help quick-service restaurants around the world. They use smart technology to predict how long food should be cooked and how much should be ordered, preventing food waste and ensuring great quality while helping businesses grow.

In manufacturing, Lenovo and Guise have introduced new AI solutions for factories. These solutions detect when machines might break down, helping factories avoid unplanned downtime with up to 14 days of advanced prediction. They also help factories understand customer behavior and improve how they work with the help of smart technology.

Addressing Ethical Considerations of AI

Matt addresses the ethical considerations of AI, emphasizing Lenovo’s perspective on the ‘A’ in AI standing for ‘Augmented.’ He discusses how AI has enhanced Lenovo’s internal operations, leading to growth in the team managing digital workplace support rather than job reductions.

Lenovo’s approach to AI internally aligns with the belief that people are at the center of the technology, taking the lead. For instance, the resolution of more than half of internal IT service requests using a chatbot has not led to downsizing but has allowed the team to focus on more complex tasks, augmenting human capabilities.

Future of the Workplace with AI Technologies

Matt envisions a workplace transformed by AI technologies, emphasizing an open metaverse, technological advancement, and flexible work models. Lenovo’s predictions include a collaborative metaverse, advancements in technology architecture, and businesses transitioning toward more flexible work models.

Lenovo’s vision for the future workplace includes the concept of an open metaverse where the exchange of ideas and technology is facilitated. This collaborative metaverse goes beyond gaming and cartoon avatars, allowing for a more extensive application in work-related purposes. Technological advancement is already underway, with a recent survey of 500 CTOs reporting improvements in technology architecture, giving importance to smart devices and the Internet of Things.

Businesses are gradually transitioning toward more flexible work models, where the entire office experience, along with related solutions and services, can be outsourced to third-party providers. Lenovo now offers a managed employee experience, enabling companies to rent comprehensive workplace solutions, including IT infrastructure, support, performance analytics, as well as cloud and data infrastructure services, rather than just hardware or software.

The Affordability Impact of AI on Lenovo’s Products

While AI may not significantly affect Lenovo’s price point, Matt discusses the long-term investment in AI technology. He suggests that efficiency improvements, innovation, and streamlined operations resulting from AI may eventually contribute to more affordable products for consumers.

According to a CIO study released in June, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) adoption are top priorities for CIOs to drive innovation. This emphasizes Lenovo’s proactive investment in AI and machine learning technologies, which could potentially affect the future affordability of our products and services.

Efficiency improvements can optimize various aspects of Lenovo’s operations, from supply chain management to customer support. This increased efficiency can lead to cost savings, which can potentially be passed on to consumers in the form of more competitive prices. The focus on innovation in AI/ML indicates that Lenovo is working to create innovative solutions, potentially resulting in more affordable product lines that are technologically advanced, offering better value for the price. Streamlined operations can result in cost reductions that may be reflected in Lenovo’s pricing strategy.

In conclusion, Matt Codrington’s insights provide a comprehensive view of Lenovo’s AI journey, from its inception to its transformative effects on internal operations and the global workplace. As Lenovo continues to invest in AI, the company stands poised at the forefront of innovation, shaping a future where AI augments human capabilities and makes technology more accessible.