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Lenovo Revolutionizes IoT Strategy By Quadrupling Investment, Crafting Partner ‘Cookbook’

New preintegrated and pretested IoT Solution Bundles bring together hardware, software and services that channel partners can use to drive IoT sales.

Lenovo is setting its sights on relentlessly attacking the Internet of Things market unlike ever before, backed by serious investment dollars and an aggressive strategy focused on partner enablement.

“We’re going to quadruple our investment in IoT solutions and the corresponding enablement of the channel—that’s 4X,” said Wilfredo Sotolongo, vice president and chief customer officer for Lenovo’s Data Center Group. “It’s the single largest investment the company is going to make this year. It’s a corporate-level play. It’s not just what the Data Center Group is going to do, or the [Intelligent Devices Group] is going to do. No, it’s all Lenovo.”

Lenovo is creating preintegrated and pretested IoT Solution Bundles that combine hardware, software and services for channel partners to drive IoT sales. The company also recently assembled a new Smart Vertical Group consisting of vertical experts who will craft IoT solutions tailor-made for specific industry verticals.

[RELATED: Lenovo Partners Reaping Benefits Of New Channel Charge]

“We’re preintegrating these solutions in our factories and testing them in our development labs, and we’re giving partners a cookbook that says, ‘If you’re going to deploy a video security solution with 600 cameras, this is the kind of infrastructure you need to deploy that successfully, and this is how you’ll be costoptimized,’” said Sotolongo. “The channel will have a much easier time rolling these out compared to creating their own IoT solution every time.”

Worldwide technology spending on the Internet of Things will reach $1.2 trillion in 2022, according to research firm IDC, while Gartner predicts there will be 25 billion connected devices by 2021. Lenovo will be investing in a “channel sales force” focused on developing strong relationships with solution providers specializing in certain vertical markets, Sotolongo said.

The Smart Vertical Group has already created successfully deployed IoT use cases that it will be providing to partners, including an automated warehouse system that tracks assets, smart retail store infrastructure and video surveillance.

“You have the emergence of video and video analytics that’s a major differentiator in the market, allowing partners to implement video security and video surveillance solutions to monitor an entire city and look for trouble—like stolen cars, flaws due to bad weather, major traffic jams—and do that monitoring not by human eyes but by computer eyes that can recognize and alert [the] emergency response centers that need to react to it,” said Sotolongo. “We already implemented something like this in Colombia, in the city of Bogota. We’re driving this video use case. … Every one of these use cases has either servers, storage, networking, or PCs or tablets, packaged together with unique software—some of it’s ours and some from partners—to deliver a new store experience for a buyer, or a more automated and efficient warehouse management system, or a safer city.”

Karen Penticost, vice president of strategic partnerships and sales at Envision Technology Advisors, a Pawtucket, R.I.-based solution provider, said having prepackaged bundles and a goto-market “cookbook” will help it win new IoT deals.

“Simple and clean is always better. So doing a bundled solution is a huge value-add right there,” said Penticost. “IoT means so many different things to different people. If Lenovo can simplify it and say to a partner, ‘Here’s our IoT bundle, and this is what you’re getting in a package’—that would be perfect. That’s IoT in a box.”

With its IoT strategy, Lenovo is laser-focused on innovation at the edge. For example, the company recently launched its ThinkSystem SE350 server, purpose-built for the edge featuring Intel’s Xeon-D processor and zero-touch deployment software. Lenovo also is incorporating specialized software at the edge through technology partnerships such as one with Scale Computing.

The strategy includes its Intelligent Devices Group, which is comprised of PCs, tablets, laptops and phones, as well as its Data Center Group. The IoT Solution Bundles consist of back-end infrastructure—such as servers, storage, networking, power and cooling—as well as front-end products like PCs and tablets.

Lenovo is poised to take the IoT market by storm, Sotolongo said, led by a better-equipped army of channel partners. “The channel will receive training on these use cases and bundles consistently,” he said. “As we keep morphing and transforming ourselves and our solution set, we will launch new programs that motivate the channel to go in the IoT direction and in the vertical solutions direction.”

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