How Lenovo is creating a “Smarter” future for all
As an educator and technology strategist, I have business partnerships with a wide range of global technology companies, including Lenovo. The thoughts shared here are my own and may not reflect those of Lenovo.
“Lenovo” — the brand you should know
“‘Lenovo? I know them. They make…”
Let me help you out. According to Forbes, Lenovo is “the world’s largest PC vendor by unit sales and fourth-biggest smartphone maker.” One in four PCs sold globally is a Lenovo. They’re also the largest maker of tablets. They’ve been around for thirty-five years. And, in addition to coming in at 212 on Fortune’s list of the Global 500, they also rank as the 8th most-admired company in the computer industry on Fortune’s 2020 ranking of “The World’s Most Admired Companies”. Who knew?
At CES2020, the world’s largest “Consumer Electronics Show”, Lenovo won many accolades and awards (89 to date) with its “Smarter Technology for All” showcase. “Smarter Technology for All” is Lenovo’s new vision to use technologies like 5G, AI, VR and AR to solve problems, create opportunities and transform the way we all live, learn, work and heal — and this was on full display at CES 2020.
Lenovo on Display at CES 2020
The World’s FIRST Foldable Computer | ThinkPad X1 Fold | “Smarter Bends What’s Possible”
Do we really need a foldable-screen computer? It’s a question that came to my mind. Then I met Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold and it clicked.
When you have a hands-on experience with a computer with a foldable screen, it becomes obvious that it adds utility to a computer and is the next natural iteration of a computer. It is a functional and technological advantage. When you see its dual screen and hold it in your hands with the comfort of holding a book, it suddenly makes sense. When you see the added adaptability it provides, you realize that a foldable-screen computer is a much more versatile and useful computer.
While it comes with a Bluetooth keyboard that fits securely in the ThinkPad X1 when folded — and wirelessly recharges while it’s there — you can also simply use a digital on-screen keyboard.
Just how durable is the ThinkPad X1 Fold? Though it’s just now being released, it’s gone through a lot of testing. It’s more durable than you’d ever imagine.
The World’s FIRS 5G Computer | Yoga 5G
5G. Think of blazing-fast download speeds. Unlike anything any of us has ever experienced before. Virtually no lag time in receiving content or data (“low latency”). 10 to 100 times faster than what we’re accustomed to. It’s a technology that’s already being offered around the world in some of the biggest cities. If it’s available, you’ll want it — and you’ll need the equipment to use it.
If you want to tap into super-fast 5G, you’ll need a 5G computer. Lenovo has one. The world’s first. It was on display at CES 2020.
The blazing speed of 5G will spark new innovation and collaboration. Those who have the equipment to tap into it will have a distinct advantage over those who don’t. We’re still waiting for a release date for the Yoga 5G, but you can see its specs here.
A Laptop You Can Write On | ThinkBook Plus
I love my MacBookAir. There. I’ve said it. But Lenovo has introduced a feature on a laptop at a similar price point to the MacBook Air that is significant enough to have me ask why wouldn’t I switch to Lenovo’s if I were looking for a new laptop. “Really?” Really.
The motorola razr — A “Flip Phone”
“Surely a gimmick?” I have to admit I wondered if a flip phone wasn’t just a marketing ploy. Then I spoke to a Lenovo GenZ-er who was assigned to answer questions about the phone. Mind you, CES is a crowded event and Lenovo’s area was teeming with the curious. I simply walked up to this gentleman without any advance warning and asked if I could ask him a question and video his answer. He said sure. What follows is his explanation of what makes the razr such a popular and practical retro innovation. His explanation is compelling:
If you’re even just a bit of a designgeek, you’ll love the back story on the razr’s design:
Lenovo is Innovating Where Others are Not
It’s not just the new product announcements that caught my eye. There are some new innovative features in Lenovo’s products that stood out as well.
Protecting Your Privacy
How about security software that blurs your computer screen when someone is snooping over your shoulder?
“That’d be rad. Let me know when it’s available!” It is. Lenovo showcased it at CES.
Cybersecurity is not just a hot topic, it’s a business imperative. Lenovo understands this and has created a feature that can detect prying eyes. Literally.
“How does it work?” The computer camera is able to detect when a second set of eyes is looking at the computer screen. When this happens, the screen automatically blurs and an icon appears explaining that the cyber-security cloaking software is on the job. The screen also blurs if you look away from it. You can change the safeguard settings if you’d prefer not to have the automatic blur.
“Wait a second,” some on Twitter demanded to know as I live-tweeted my CES discoveries, “are they gathering personal data (i.e., capturing faces or iris signatures) under the guise of data protection?” No. The data-protection software does not store any information about the pair of prying eyes — it simply detects a second set of eyes looking at the screen and creates an automatic blur. Good, fair question though!
Lenovo’s automatic screen “cloaking” (blurring) software has many business use cases — apart from the fact that it’s a feature I would like to see on my own personal computer! The reality is that many of us work remotely and find ourselves working in ever-changing “office” spaces — a coffee house, an airport, an airplane. Having such software as a user option is a nice feature to have whoever you are.
In highly-regulated industries, such as healthcare, law, and financial services, where any breach of client information can come with harsh penalties — in addition to the loss of client trust— Lenovo’s cybersecurity innovation is important and game-changing. Allow the lawyer in me (yes, I’m also a lawyer) to note that best-available best practices become the standard upon which business and professionals are judged when a problem arises. Lenovo’s cybersecurity software sets a new standard in data protection best practices.
The Sound of Innovation
Headphone sound without headphones. I filmed this clip on my smartphone from a noisy, crowded space at CES. It is a film of a film being shown on a PC to demonstrate how Lenovo is providing headphone-quality without headphones from a PC. Despite all the background noise, I still think you can get a nice sense of how impressive this innovation is. Take a listen!
An AR headset with a wire to an external battery pack. Why?!
When I saw Lenovo’s AR headset with a wire to an external battery pack, I wondered if they had missed the memo on eliminating wires from AR and VR headsets. Then I tried on the headset and talked with a Lenovo rep — and quickly understood why this counter-intuitive design innovation by Lenovo is pure genius.
Why keep a wire with an external battery pack? I’ve tried on headsets from the leaders in the AR/VR space. No AR leader has a lighter headset than Lenovo, thanks to Lenovo’s external battery. This means a lot if you are going to use AR in the workplace (or for fun) and keep a headset on for long periods. Perhaps even more important is the advantage the battery pack gives by empowering users to quickly swap in a new four-hour battery where competitors might need to take an hour break while their headset recharges! (By the way, I found that the battery pack was small enough to tuck into a pocket and didn’t get in the way of my fun.)
Smarter Goes Beyond the Products
More and more consumers and enterprises care about the character of the companies they do business with. So what is Lenovo doing beyond products, such as sustainability, diversity, and inclusion?
Smarter Commits to Sustainability
Lenovo's latest Sustainability Report demonstrates a company committed to “sustainability” in an expansive way
How “expansive” a view of “sustainability” does Lenovo provide?
Here are the topics covered in its sustainability reporting: Business Ethics, Climate Change (emissions), Community Outreach, Corporate Governance, Digital Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity, Economic Energy Use, Environmental Management System, Health and Safety, Human Rights, Labor Standards and Practices, Packaging, Philanthropy, Privacy, Procurement Practices, Product End-of-Life Management, Product Energy Use, Product Materials, Product Responsibility, Supply Chain, Environmental Performance, Supply Chain Labor Practices, Talent Management, Transportation, and even Waste Water Use.
Lenovo’s commitment to sustainability includes a keen focus on its supply chain. The information it shares in its reporting is rich in detail.
Smarter Embraces Diversity & Inclusion
According to Yolanda Lee Conyers, Lenovo’s Chief Diversity Officer, Lenovo “has always pursued a path of inclusion and we’ve built a culture where all can belong — but our work is not done. With new research, data, and insights, we continue to evolve our approach of building inclusive leadership behaviors and fostering diverse and inclusive systems through increased accountability and training.”
Lenovo’s Diversity and Inclusion Report, like its Sustainability Report, is rich in data and detail. And it makes that data easily-accessible with graphics that provide clarity and depth to the data.
How “Glocal” is Lenovo?
Lenovo strives to attract a workforce that reflects the diverse communities in which it operates. Its Diversity and Inclusion Report shows success with this goal:
Lenovo’s vision of “Smarter Technology for All” creates a more inclusive digital world for everyone, everywhere. This begins with creating technology that helps solve problems with a diverse workforce that reflects the global customers it serves. Through its innovative new products and features, combined with its commitment to sustainable practices and a diverse and inclusive work environment, Lenovo is well on its way creating a better tech society for us all.