Luca Rossi joined Lenovo in 2015 and is now President of the Intelligent Devices Group (IDG), where he oversees Lenovo’s global business in PCs, smartphones, tablets, workstations and other products. In an interview with Times of India-Gadgets Now, Rossi spoke about how the PC industry trends, how pandemic has changed the industry and all that Lenovo’s betting big on in the ‘New Normal’.
How has the PC business changed during the pandemic?
I believe the pandemic has accelerated humanity’s digital transition by at least 5 years, if not more. The pandemic has fueled a ‘remote revolution’ of working and learning from anywhere.
The PC now finds itself at the center of people’s digital lives. There’s an acceleration in the PC replacement cycle to address people’s needs for productivity, education, and entertainment – resulting in an increase of the installed base and demand for more premium PCs.
Looking ahead, Lenovo sees more long-term market growth opportunities as customers want more than one PC per person, instead of one per household, to continue fueling this ‘remote revolution’ of working from anywhere. And this PC growth will be durable because hybrid work and life are here to stay.
How has your portfolio changed post-pandemic? How do you see hybrid devices evolving in the next few years?
The pandemic not only increased PC demand, but also accelerated a renaissance in the reinvention of traditional PCs into smarter PCs that are primed for hybrid work and life. These smarter devices are truly always ready with 5G connectivity, biometric authentication and voice activation; always adapting with human presence detection, AI-enabled background blurring or noise control for virtual meeting and collaboration; and always worry-free with features like self-healing BIOS and Lenovo Device Intelligence (predictive, proactive software-as-a-service tool).
Lenovo’s latest portfolio delivers on better experiences across cameras, audio, video, displays, connectivity, performance, and security – while driving more software and services opportunities. Our smarter technology meeting the world’s need for better hybrid experiences span from the ThinkPad, Legion, Yoga, ThinkBook, and Motorola devices to ThinkSmart collaboration, ThinkShield cybersecurity, and ThinkReality AR/VR solutions. All these devices are coming together in a comprehensive portfolio of lifecycle IT service.
As devices like PCs become more adaptive to hybrid work/life needs, PCs will continue to transform over the next 5-10 years in a massive way. Today, the PC is our home’s communications and productivity hub. In the future, smarter PCs/devices built for a hybrid world will replace traditional PCs like how smartphones replaced feature phones. ESG and sustainability are also core values and business imperatives for Lenovo.
What are the biggest hybrid work technologies Lenovo is betting on? Also, what are the hybrid smart technologies that you think are here to stay?
Our research shows that over 80 percent of IT leaders expect at least half of work in the future to happen outside a traditional office. It’s clear that remote work is becoming hybrid, and ‘work from home’ is becoming ‘work from anywhere.’
Technology will continue to play a pivotal role in creating efficiencies and opportunities that transform our work and our lives, just as it was the lifeline to connectivity and collaboration for so many of us during lockdown and remote work. And Lenovo will continue to push the envelope of possibility through first-to-market technologies based on user needs and insights. These include harnessing the great potential of emerging technologies such as computer vision, AI, cybersecurity, smart collaboration, end-to-end as-a-service solutions…and the PC will become an integral part of the Metaverse.
We’ll see more technology products, solutions, and services designed for the employee experience – where the office will serve as a destination for team collaboration, while protecting the sense of personal space people have experienced working from home. New office designs and audio/video technology will pave the way for flexible meeting setups and new ways to build social connections.
We believe Metaverse’s AR has the immense potential to create immersive workspaces for employees, no matter where they are. That’s why we’ve launched new innovations such as the ThinkReality A3 AR Smart Glasses that create interactive employee training experiences and multi-screen environments for enhanced productivity and privacy.
Data shows that a more disperse workforce is more attractive to hackers – making endpoints the new security perimeter, and the vector of choice for infiltrating the deeper network. As devices are increasingly targeted by hackers, automation and industry collaboration are critical to combating threats faster at scale.
Any specific learnings from Lenovo’s India business?
The ‘remote revolution’ of working and learning from home has accelerated an entire group of new customers in India, who for the first time, have access to the power of technology and the potential that it brings.
According to a recent Lenovo survey, 60 percent of knowledge worker respondents in India actually prefer to work from home, with 75 percent of respondents in India willing to even take a pay cut if it means being able to work from anywhere. That’s the highest rate across all 10 major markets we surveyed around the world. So, the 45 percent increase in India’s 2021 PC demand that we’re seeing (from a Canalys India report) is in large part due to the new remote work needs.
Over the past year, we’ve seen a lot of traction from customers in India on Lenovo’s smarter PCs, including AI-based features like facial recognition, zero touch log-in, and security. With new business models like DaaS, a much broader range of customers in India than ever before can now experience and benefit from our smarter technology.
With Chromebooks getting more traction, will we see a different strategy from Lenovo for the category?
The Chromebook business is expanding and represents a significant market for Lenovo’s Intelligent Devices Group. To address this growing market, enhance our innovation, and optimize what we do, we have recently formed a centralized, dedicated Chromebook Business Unit that integrates across the Consumer, Education, and B2B segments.
This change is an integral part of IDG’s long-term strategy to bring together our Chrome capabilities, which delivers several advantages including improved R&D capabilities, optimized operational efficiencies, and enabling exploration of a new service-led business model. I’m confident that a unified team approach will ultimately strengthen our Chromebook portfolio for customers.
How do you see the impact of the growth in the tablet market on smart hybrid technologies?
Tablets have been very popular in 2021, driven by the ‘remote revolution’ of working and learning from anywhere. While the latest IDC data indicate global tablet shipments have started to decelerate, we believe the industry’s global tablet volumes will still exceed pre-pandemic levels as virtual work, collaboration, learning, and multimedia consumption will remain very important user needs. At Lenovo, we plan to continue to deliver more premium tablet experiences for productivity, education, and entertainment.