What makes a PC different? In recent years we have seen very different approaches to answering this question. From a certain point of view, the evolution we have witnessed in the PC market has been similar to what happened in the automotive sector. For a long time, the competition was about performance.
The role of the various OEMs consisted of being the fastest, most efficient and most influential in integrating the latest technologies, especially processors. Likewise, around the same time, automakers were promoting the horsepower or acceleration of their flagship models. Quite abruptly, communication for cars has shifted to what it means to choose one model or another, for each user, in showcasing one’s personality and lifestyle.
Only recently have sustainability issues become predominant in the definition of products and how they are communicated. The world of information technology has moved differently because if, on the one hand, it has partly followed the theme of what the product we use communicates about us, the proliferation of different form factors has coincided, fortunately, in significantly different ways to use the PC.
In particular, as far as notebooks are concerned, products have therefore been created designed for gamers, with very low latency screens and the integration of top-of-the-range video cards, or for those who constantly work on the move and are therefore more attentive to the autonomy of the PC.
These are just two examples, partly antithetical, of how the very concept of the personal computer has evolved, with a strong emphasis on the meaning of the term “personal”, to create products that are genuinely suited to the needs of the individual user.
The Cloud (And Computers), According To Lenovo
In recent years, the protagonist in the evolution of the very concept of PC has certainly been Lenovo, which, in arriving at being the world’s leading manufacturer, has embarked on a path that has led to offering the market a very varied offer.
This proliferation of form factors was confirmed at CES in Las Vegas, where Hardware Upgrade experienced first-hand the latest innovations from the multinational. Also, in Las Vegas, we had the opportunity to interview Igor Bergman, VP of Cloud & Software for PCs and Smart Devices at Lenovo. We discovered that today the cloud is one of the new differentiating elements of the latest generation PCs.
But how and why does the cloud, from different points of view, an antithetical concept to everything on-premise, affect how we use a personal computer, which until now has partially become a “terminal” for accessing cloud resources?
The answer to this question starts by describing what work Igor Bergman does at Lenovo, who heads a division that offers services to all organizational components of the company. Services that leverage a proprietary cloud platform, which works behind the scenes, created from scratch to develop and deliver these services.
In Lenovo’s definition, the CSW (Cloud & Software) division is focused on five distinct segments: hybrid work, smart home, SMB, AI gaming and digital learning. The proprietary cloud platform is used to develop software solutions that help secure, differentiate, and support users’ experience with Lenovo products. Solutions are developed to make the most of Lenovo hardware and stand-alone software to meet the needs of any user.
For Igor Bergman, the cloud is central to the activities and organizational model of the CSW division. This conviction comes from a privileged point of view on the evolution of the cloud itself, gained in his previous experiences at BMC Software, Fujitsu and Juniper.
Bergman is convinced that the evolution of the cloud necessarily passes through the edge: In several increasingly diverse scenarios, it doesn’t make sense to move all data centrally to the public cloud, and more and more of the processing happens and will happen more and more in the future, at the edge.
Starting from this perspective, Lenovo, with the power of edge computing, has created the approach with which the CSW division develops the software. Thanks to the cloud platform Bergman and his team developed, although the link may not seem so obvious, Lenovo is developing a modern, cloud-based IT, allowing its PCs to be the “cleanest” on the market.
Unlike years ago, when it was the industry practice to pre-install countless software on PCs, including third-party software, Lenovo follows a strict preload standard, stocking PCs with only a small subset of programs relevant to users. Then using artificial intelligence, the system can recommend specific applications based on the identified needs that the user can choose and which can be downloaded through the cloud in post-production, to better customize the device according to the specifications of the user.
All of this is enabled by the fact that behind the scenes is the cloud platform managed by the CSW division. At the actual code development level, a DevSecOps approach is used, which allows for the creation of new applications and evolutions of existing ones with “continuous improvement” cycles and can coordinate numerically significant resources scattered throughout the world. The team is also open to collaboration with external partners from an open-source perspective, but they must follow the same approach.
Another aspect of the organizational model that Bergman cares about is that, as far as possible, everything is reused, so if a specific service, which perhaps is used for the development of new software, has already been created, it mustn’t be developed again, always to maximize efficiency and allow the selected organizational model to be applied in the best possible way. The next step is to go in the direction of low-code / no-code development to allow each Lenovo division to optimize or customize the solutions developed by the CSW division.
Depending on the fact that the CSW division works in two different directions, on the one hand, meeting the specific requests of the individual Lenovo divisions that require the development of a specific application and, on the other hand, proactively creating solutions that are necessary regardless of the development from a low-code/no-code perspective will make it possible to obtain new levels of efficiency and effectiveness in both cases
We close with a concrete example. The CSW division has created the Lenovo Vantage application, the software used on all PCs to manage system settings, update updates, and, more generally, optimize the user experience. The software can also anticipate problems and warn the user about potential complications to prevent them.
Although Lenovo Vantage is present on PCs, specific features are based on the different usage scenarios. For business PCs, there are centralized management functions to allow system administrators to intervene. In contrast, on PC gaming, for example, you can adjust the colors of the RGB lights.
After meeting Igor Bergman at CES in Las Vegas, we discovered that Lenovo PCs are different thanks to the cloud and that the development of software applications and services is increasingly a key element in the development of modern PCs.
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