Lenovo metauniverse, a familiar "Lenovo routine" for the third time?

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Wen Ruisi Technology Sun Yue
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In June this year, Lenovo group appointed Wang Xuehong, chairman of HTC, as an independent non-executive director of the company. As HTC has shifted its business to vr/ar in recent years, this personnel transfer triggered speculation in the industry that Lenovo and HTC will explore the metauniverse together.

PC giant Lenovo also began to end up as a metauniverse?

The latest development of Lenovo in metauniverse is that in the middle of this month, DTOs digital twin operating system, which is positioned to "build a digital base for Industry 4.0 and a new smart city", was unveiled at Lenovo CVC venture capital week.

The last entry with "meta universe" is Lenovo meta universe deep pupil digital asset management platform released in April 2022.

Lenovo seems to be coming true in metauniverse - vr/ar has been deployed since 2014. At present, the products are quite full:

Although Lenovo's layout is early and full, the public does not know that Lenovo has done so much in metauniverse. The public still stays in the strong PC business and the "flash in the pan" mobile phone business for Lenovo.

Lenovo has an obsession with the terminal entrance - whether it is PC, mobile phone, or the current metauniverse, Lenovo will layout early, control the terminal entrance, and spread products.

What we can know is that under this set of playing methods, PC succeeded and mobile phone failed. Will Lenovo replicate the success of PC in metauniverse?

This article will explore Lenovo's "Lenovo" in the meta universe by explaining Lenovo's layout in the meta universe and Lenovo's practice in computer and mobile phone business.

01. How far has the "association" of the meta universe gone?

Lenovo's strategic vision of "black and white" metauniverse can be traced back to 2016 - it is expected that from 2018 to 2020, Lenovo will incubate ar/vr technology based on metauniverse applications; After 2020, we will continue to explore new computing scenarios in the meta universe and accumulate core technologies.

In 2022, at the Lenovo oath conference, the idea of metauniverse was raised again: Yang Yuanqing said that the second track focuses on the next 2-3 years and vigorously develops incubation business driven by new technologies. Among them, based on ar/vr technology of metauniverse application, Lenovo will focus on B2B business and gradually build a complete metauniverse ecosystem. The third track focuses on core technologies and emerging technologies, focusing on basic and breakthrough research for three years or even longer, including new computing scenarios such as metauniverse, and will focus on the accumulation of core technologies.

These strategies are put into practice, that is, grasp all possible directions and build products first.

So far, we can search all products of Lenovo's meta universe, including but not limited to:

In 2017, Lenovo mirage, the "world's first consumer level ar game immersion device", was released at a price of 1999 yuan;

In 2018, ah cloud 2.0, the "enterprise level quasi SaaS cloud platform", was released to improve the cognition and work ability of on-site personnel;

In 2020, Lenovo Morningstar newg2 pro, the "latest generation of lightweight split hybrid reality glasses", was released at a price of 24999 yuan;

In 2021, think reality A3 ar smart glasses were released, only for enterprise users. Its PC version is suitable for office scenes, and the industrial version is connected to mobile phones for remote collaboration, starting at $1349.99;

In April 2022, Lenovo yuancosmos deep pupil digital asset management platform came out, which focuses on B2B and is determined to build a complete ecosystem;

In July 2022, the core products of Lenovo new horizons, digital twin operating system (DTOs) and Lenovo New Horizons cloud rendering center, appeared at Lenovo CVC venture capital week. This product is positioned as "building a digital base for Industry 4.0 and a new smart city".

The territory is large, and how developed is it?

In terms of C-end hardware, as early as 2017, before the concept of meta universe was born, Lenovo launched the AR game device mirage, which has built-in Three Star Wars Games: Lightsaber Battle, holographic chess and strategic battle, and has been put into many online and offline channels such as Lenovo's official website mall, jd.com, Lenovo 4S store, Disney's official flagship store and Suning.

In 2019, Lenovo and marvel launched a new mirage ar game, which was sold together with mirage ar helmet, universal handle and tracker.

Up to now, there are no mirage product series on sale in Lenovo mall and JD mall. Yao Li, the then vice president of Lenovo worldwide and general manager of the tablet computer and intelligent business division, commented in an interview in 2017, which well explained the root cause of this product: "we started with hardware, but soon found that this didn't work. No one wanted hardware alone, and we needed content."

However, the content has not developed and expanded. Compared with current oculus, Pico and other products, it is not difficult to find that the AR device developed by Lenovo early in the morning is more like a "bundle" of some fixed games, rather than its own content ecosystem.

Morningstar Mr glasses are another key product of Lenovo at the C-end. According to the official introduction, this is an "integrated hybrid reality MR smart glasses independently developed by Lenovo", which can be used not only in AR games, large screen viewing, home shopping on the C end, but also in intelligent patrol, remote collaboration, AR training and other scenes on the B end. It is a hardware suitable for all major scenes on the b/c end.

Behind this product, a manufacturer called nedega contributed a lot. It is a supplier of AR technology, products and solutions, and has received several rounds of investment from Lenovo venture capital from pre-A round. According to the venture capitalist of Lenovo, Lenovo has built it all the way from a startup company to a Lenovo certified supplier.

In Lenovo Morningstar Mr glasses, nedega provides it with the core optical technology. Interestingly, nedega also has terminal hardware products, which are applied in many fields such as medical treatment and industry, and has a competitive relationship with Lenovo's product line to a certain extent.

In addition to the core optical technology provided by nedega, from the public information, Lenovo did not disclose whether slam technology was provided by self research. Referring to its VR products, Lenovo used Microsoft's slam technology. The highest part with "association" is the algorithm, which supports environment tracking, plane detection and other functions.

In addition, Lenovo has also released the thinkreality series of glasses, which are targeted at enterprise customers. They can not only connect with personal computers, but also apply to task scenarios such as remote collaboration.

Up to now, the sales volume of these products has not been disclosed, but the price of more than 1000 US dollars has delineated its relatively small market group.

On the software and service side, Lenovo also released ar related solutions.

According to the official website of Lenovo Research Institute, Lenovo is relying on Morningstar ar equipment and cloud service platform to provide ar based inspection, training and other application solutions for industry, engineering, education, medical and other fields.

(Morningstar ar product source: Lenovo Research Institute official website)

According to the official website, at present, the successful application cases of customers include aerospace, class III a hospital, automobile design and manufacturing, municipal engineering, exhibition and display, etc., and there is no more detailed data disclosure.

From AR game devices to AR and MR smart glasses, from consumer and industrial hardware to industrial solutions, Lenovo has a comprehensive layout around the meta universe. However, in terms of effect evaluation, it does not make people perceive the special cutting-edge applications.

From 2014 to 2022, eight years later, Lenovo is still "quietly" deploying ar/vr, which is little known.

02. The third "entrance"

If PC is the entrance of the portal era and mobile phone is the entrance of the mobile Internet era, then ar/vr is the key to the gate of the meta universe.

Since it is the same entrance, we might as well resume Lenovo's development path in PC and mobile phone businesses.

The playing method is highly similar - you should take advantage of the opportunity to enter the market and acquire enough high-end brands, so as to cover all low, medium and high-end product lines and occupy all possible entry directions.

On the PC side, Lenovo remembered it early enough - more than a decade before the Web1.0 era came in 1995, Lenovo was born in 1984.

In 1995, Lenovo embarked on the road of "computer assembly plant". In 2003, Lenovo's product line included "x, e, a, s, Y" series. Among them, at the B end, the a series focuses on the middle end, the X and E series on the low end, and at the C end, the Y and S series focus on high cost performance. At this time, Lenovo's high-end market is still blank.

Until it met the trump card of IBM.

In 2004, Lenovo swallowed the whole PC business department of IBM with us $1.75 billion, and obtained the "SSS" level resource package - five-year use right of ThinkPad brand + core technology of PC side + worldwide distribution channels + R & D centers in the United States and Japan + more than 10000 IBM employees + R & D, procurement and sales business lines + IT consulting services of IBM

After the acquisition, Lenovo implemented a "dual brand" operation - Lenovo focused on household consumption and ThinkPad focused on commercial series. At the same time, in order to strengthen the public's brand differentiation of Lenovo, there are also provisions on the service life of the brand - Lenovo can only independently operate the ThinkPad series labeled by IBM in the first two years, and can use the Lenovo and ThinkPad dual brands jointly developed by both sides in the next two years, and IBM will only mark its contribution on the computer terminal five years later.

After nearly a decade of integration, Lenovo has taken the road to internationalization - Lenovo's international market share increased from 2.4% in 2004 to 16.7% in 2013. At present, Lenovo has become a perennial leader.

On the side of the mobile phone, the same way of playing reappears:

First, Lenovo entered the market early - in 2002, Lenovo established a joint venture with Xiahua electronics. Since then, Lenovo's mobile phone business department has been established, and Lenovo officially entered the mobile phone market, while Huawei obtained a license in 2005.

After that, Lenovo acquired high-end brands and covered product lines. In 2014, Lenovo acquired Motorola for 2.9 billion yuan, positioning its brand at the high-end market, and at the same time promoting its medium and high-end brands Zuk, vibe, and low-end brand lemong.

Later, everyone knew the ending of Lenovo Mobile. So the question is, why is the same formula not "fragrant" in mobile phones?

First of all, Lenovo's own brand is too broken, and the foundation is not well laid.

In the follow-up dual brand operation after the acquisition of Motorola, Lenovo seems to have a layout in high, medium and low-end, but these middle and low-end products have not made a reputation. Suddenly, with a high-end, consumers can't establish awareness of Lenovo's mobile phone brand.

Behind this is Lenovo's mobile phone business development route, which has repeatedly jumped sideways.

In 2007, Lenovo ranked fourth in the domestic mobile phone market. However, because the mobile phone business line has been losing money, and its revenue is less than 1% of the overall revenue, Lenovo sold its mobile communication with us $100million at the beginning of 2018, which is known as "focus on PC".

However, in 2008, smart phones developed rapidly - Apple released "epoch-making" products, and the Android camp expanded rapidly. Lenovo also believed that this was a good time to layout the mobile phone market, and withdrew its mobile phone business at double the price at the end of 2009.

Here, Lenovo's speculative mind is fully displayed, plus four senior management changes, which exacerbated the "ups and downs" of the mobile phone business.

Secondly, Motorola, the acquired high-end brand, also made major strategic mistakes.

And the previous "e; SSS" Compared with the first-class resource package, Motorola gives Lenovo almost an empty box: there are few core technologies left - more than 15000 patented core technologies have been carved up by Google, leaving only more than 2000; The supply chain can't help - global mobile phone manufacturers have also been sold by Google; The team size has been greatly reduced - more than 10000 people have been reduced to more than 3000; Subsequent Motorola executives also resigned during the restructuring in 2016.

The resource package is not enough, and the acquired high-end brands also made strategic mistakes - Motorola did shine brightly in the era of functional computers, but when smart computers rose, Motorola was still addicted to the phased achievements of 2G, missed the good opportunity of 3G development, and therefore gradually fell behind in China's smart computer market.

Comparing computers and mobile phones, in conclusion, the key to the effectiveness of Lenovo's early morning + M & A approach lies in two points: one is that its brand can stand and establish a certain market awareness in the market segment, so as to lay a good foundation for the follow-up high-end; the other is to find a strong enough target, choose the right route in the changing new market, and support Lenovo's image in the high-end market.

Back in the field of metauniverse, Lenovo also got up early in the morning, and its product line was fully launched. Up to now, everything is still in the initial stage of chaos - Lenovo has not yet established brand awareness in the ar/vr field, the market is also in the rapid development period of technology, and there is not enough strong brand targets for Lenovo to acquire.

However, it must be clear that in the next 2-3 years, while the market has not yet fully exploded, Lenovo needs to pay close attention to establishing the brand awareness of ar/vr and keep up with the pace of major forces in the industry.

03. Lenovo also needs a strong grasp

In the crowded meta universe, thousands of players crowded at the entrance of AR, and all terminal manufacturers have cards that can be taken:

The third-party enterprise Liangfeng platform and Liangliang vision at the head value the b-end landing experience, and have won the favor of a large number of customers by relying on technology and customized service capabilities. According to IDC data, in the AR hardware market, in addition to the absolute leadership of the international technology giant Microsoft (the owner of hololens, with a global market share of more than 50%), it is followed by local brands shadow creator, Liangliang vision, Liangfeng platform, etc. in the domestic market.

Liangliang vision chose the technology path of self-development of the whole industry chain, covering the upstream optical waveguide display technology, the integration of ar+ai interactive algorithm, AR machine and downstream industrial scene applications, which was recognized by the market.

The customized service capability of specific industries is also the competitiveness that such manufacturers attach great importance to. Up to now, according to the official website of liangfengtai, 49 projects have been launched in more than 13 fields, such as energy, automobile, steel, machinery manufacturing, aerospace, home appliances and so on.

In the consumer market, there are also players who are constantly exploring, such as rokid. In the first quarter of 2022, the global ar head display volume was 82000 units, with a year-on-year increase of 39%. According to IDC analysis, this is mainly due to the impact of consumer grade ar glasses sold by rokid and other Chinese enterprises.

Since 2018, rokid products have been continuously updated, and six versions have been iterated.

(source of rokid product update: rokid official website)

Baidu, Alibaba and other big Internet companies also want to recreate "popular" products in metauniverse. Their layout is mostly based on existing C-end applications.

For example, Baidu has superimposed AR technology on its own Baidu map application. Through ar visual positioning technology, it can directly "draw" a road on the road, and add virtual content of shops while accurately positioning, such as brand virtual image, interactive marketing, etc;

Alibaba has also long combined AR with the "scan" function of mobile apps such as Taobao and Alipay. When the user opens the app and scans the code, the 3D effect of relevant consumer electronics, interactive games and other information will appear on the mobile phone screen.

In contrast, Lenovo has not found a suitable starting point, whether from the perspective of technology or application ecology.

It has no technology available to maintain the rapid iteration of products - according to the official introduction, at present, we can only see that the core algorithm of Lenovo's ar products is self-developed, and other related technologies have not yet emerged. In addition, in addition to Lenovo Morningstar MR and other product lines, many product lines such as AR game devices and PC VR devices have stopped iteration.

It is also not as popular as big manufacturers - packaging the original explosive products with AR, rebuilding the explosive products in the meta universe, and continuing its advantages in the real field.

Lenovo has accumulated user resources and public praise based on PC and multiple terminal hardware services.

In terms of hardware, Lenovo has always maintained its advantages. The smart terminal business, which consists of personal PC, tablet computer, smart phone and other smart hardware businesses, contributed most of its revenue - the revenue in fiscal year 2021 / 2022 was $62.3 billion, accounting for 83.2% of the total.

At the b-end, Lenovo has also accumulated certain resources and public praise - due to the continuous improvement of the profitability of cloud service IT infrastructure business and small and medium-sized enterprise IT infrastructure business for the b-end, the operating profit of the basic solution business increased by $137million year-on-year; The operating profit of the program service business reached US $1.2 billion, an increase of 40% year-on-year, and the operating profit margin reached 22%, which improved Lenovo's overall profitability.

At the same time, Lenovo is also looking for a breakthrough in intelligent terminal equipment business at the b-end - Lenovo's small and medium-sized business turnover increased by 28% year-on-year.

Making good use of the huge b-end market and ecological network should become a powerful starting point for Lenovo to develop the meta universe. The premise of all this is that Lenovo should have enough hard core ar product capabilities, which will once again test Lenovo's strategic determination to transform and its determination to develop its own technology.

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