May 13th, 2019 by Brian Beeler
Lenovo ThinkIoT Ecosystem Expands Customer Validated Solutions
Lenovo is well known for their endpoint solutions as well as their infrastructure solutions like ThinkSystem servers and the ThinkAgile software-defined portfolio. Lenovo ThinkIoT encompasses all of what Lenovo has learned over the years at the edge, as well as the infrastructure required to support smart workloads in retail, fulfilment, logistics and other key use cases. From the hardware perspective, the ThinkIoT portfolio includes edge computing devices such as the ThinkCentre Tiny as well as the ThinkCentre Nano IoT that was launched today. Additioanlly though, the ThinkIoT portfolio includes a variety of sensors and dedicated IoT devices including high-
ThinkIoT at Retail
There's recently been much news around automated checkout in a retail environment. Lenovo has an automated computer vision cashier prototype, which is being tested at Lenovo’s Beijing campus.
Lenovo sees object recognition technology as the key to helping retailers modernize the concept of self-checkout. Advanced retail modules like the one pictured above, in addition to solutions with integrated camera, processor, and sensors, are fundamental to the next wave of retail automation. The Lenovo retail solution can scan or weigh all of a customer's items at once, eliminating the wasted time it takes to detect individual barcodes.
Lenovo and Microsoft IoT Collaboration
Lenovo is also showing off ThinkIoT offerings that are powered by Microsoft Azure SQL Database Edge. Primarily geared toward specific verticals like retail and manufacturing, customers deploying Microsoft Azure solutions can do so leveraging the full spectrum of Lenovo offerings. This included the ECP300 edge gateway and IOT510C Smart Camera, ThinkCentre Nano IoT and ThinkSystem SE350 edge server amongst other Lenovo offerings.
A component of bringing intelligence to the edge, Lenovo ThinkReality is a newly launched sub-brand that offers a software and hardware solution to help the enterprise deploy augmented reality (AR). While common in industrial applications, AR is capable of much more. Generally speaking Lenovo sees AR as a way to help the enterprise deliver assistance, reduce repair time, eliminate errors, streamline complex workflows, improve training quality and offer news ways to collaborate. This is accomplished by letting users interact with 3D digital information in the real world, improving contextual awareness and efficiency. ThinkReality is device and cloud agnostic, simplifying the way customers can manage AR and virtual reality (VR) applications across operating systems, cloud providers, and devices.
Lenovo does of course have hardware and services targeted toward these use cases, starting with the ThinkReality A6 that is the first device in the Lenovo ThinkReality portfolio. The ThinkReality A6 is a lightweight (380g) head-worn device that can be used to deploy AR applications. The A6 features a 40-degree diagonal field of view with 1080p resolution per eye. The headset is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile XR Platform in the Android compute box. Additionally the A6 features waveguide optics by Lumus inside an Intel Movidius Vision Processing Unit (VPU). The compute box has a replaceable battery, allowing for extended use.
Another interesting edition is the ThinkSystem SE350. This compact server is designed for use at the edge where remote data is being generated.
The SE350 is designed to take what the edge can through at it being resistant to dust and vibration as well as working in temperatures ranging form 0-55°C. The 1U server comes with an Intel Xeon-D CPU with up to 16 cores, up to 256GB of RAM, up to 16TB of flash storage, and supports the NVIDIA Tesla T4 GPU (ideal for work in AI deployments).
The SE350 can be mounted wherever need be at the edge and has networking connectivity of 10/100Mb/1GbE, 1GbE SFP, 10GBASE-T, and 10GbE SFP+, as well as secure wireless Wi-Fi and cellular LTE connections. While single nodes can be deployed, Lenovo sees a good opportunity to mount the nodes in a variety of ways be it in "bookshelf mode" where several can be mounted on their side, or in a more traditional 1U 2-node rack chassis. The variety of deployment models, coupled with security measures like anti-tampering notifications, mean the SE350 can bring virtualization to the edge in new and exciting ways.