July 15, 2024
Lenovo launches new TruScale edge service to bring AI and ML to brick-and-mortar businesses


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PC giant Lenovo isn’t content with just selling you or your company laptops — it also wants to the be provider-of-choice for enterprises looking to run machine learning (ML) and AI models right out in the field where they are already doing business, such as at grocery and retail self-checkout kiosks, or even out on fishing trawlers in the ocean.

That’s why today the company is announcing its new “TruScale for Edge and AI,” a new business offering that bundles Lenovo hardware — the ThinkEdge SE455 V3 server with AMD’s EPYC 8004 series processors — with software, specifically “150+ turnkey AI solutions” provided by Lenovo, enabling customers to get up and running with AI/ML no matter their sector.

“When you’re collecting so much data, you can’t drive everything to the cloud,” said Kirk Skaugen, President of Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions, in an exclusive video call interview with VentureBeat. “This is really about bringing AI to the compute where the data is created,” out in the field.

This new “infrastructure-as-a-service,” as Lenovo terms it, is available on a monthly subscription pricing model to businesses that varies depending on their usage — so they only pay for what they use.

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The announcement comes amid fast growing competition in the edge AI market: just last week, startup Sima.ai announced its own no-code AI deployment software and hardware for edge devices exclusively in VentureBeat as well.

Examples of the power of Lenovo’s edge AI platform

The real-world applications of Lenovo’s new TruScale for Edge and AI are already apparent.

Pesca Azteca, Latin America’s largest tuna fishing fleet, is already using the platform. By deploying ThinkEdge SE455 V3 servers on its commercial fishing boats and running specialized software atop them, the company has gained real-time insights into various operational aspects such as fuel and food consumption.

“Our crews can stock up with the exact supplies needed for every voyage, avoiding shortages and reducing unnecessary expenses while obtaining accurate, real-time information on the amount of fish caught, propelling more efficient, precise and profitable operations,” said Sergio Alcaraz Pérez, IT Infrastructure Manager at Pesca Azteca, in a statement published as part of Lenovo’s press release on the service announcement.

Another positive case study comes from grocery giant Kroeger, which is using TruScale for Edge and AI to deploy computer vision ML models on cameras at self checkout to catch thieves and erroneous scans in progress, cutting down on lost revenue.

“We’ve won close to 3,000 stores in North America across all of the Kroger brands,” Skaugen said.

A server built to be as quiet as it is powerful

A big part of Lenovo’s pitch to businesses is that the ThinkEdge SE455 V3 server was designed not only to handle demanding AI workloads on premises, but to do so quietly, making it a versatile solution for a variety of business settings, from noisy heavier industries and retail to more sensitive settings in healthcare and telecom, where noise can be literally detrimental to the success of the business offerings.

“When you talk to healthcare providers, they’re going to put AI next to their MRI machines and their CT scanners and their X-ray machines,” Skaugen related. “You don’t want a patient in that stressful environment to be hearing some screaming noise” from an overworked server.

Skaugen said that the noise mitigation features were carefully designed by Lenovo engineers in Barcelona, Spain, following a deployment of on-street server cabinets for smart city applications. The cabinets emitted very loud noises originally, annoying residents. But Lenovo’s engineers developed proprietary fans and other acoustic masking tech to keep them much quieter, to the point that they are even quieter than competing servers now.

Most importantly: server aims to unlock data intelligence by enabling businesses to process and analyze data right where it’s generated, especially important in places like the middle of the ocean — or the factory floor — where sending data to the cloud is too slow and unreliable to provide realtime analysis, intelligence, and insights.

Partnering for specialized AI deployments

Lenovo is broadening its horizons by entering into strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm. These collaborations aim to produce specialized AI solutions that can be tailored for various sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and public safety. The goal is to leverage cutting-edge technologies like computer vision, audio recognition, and predictive analytics to improve operations and drive business growth.

By focusing on ease of deployment, scalability, and real-world impact, Lenovo is not just selling technology; it’s offering a pathway for businesses to innovate and transform in a data-driven world. With these new services and hardware, Lenovo is taking a giant leap in helping businesses everywhere turn their data into actionable, AI-powered insights, positioning itself as a leader in the next chapter of the AI and edge computing revolution.

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