During the Legion of Valkyries Final, we spoke to Eddie Ang, General Manager Lenovo Singapore, on the business of PC gaming with its new customer-centric approach.
Can you tell us about Lenovo’s commitment to smarter technology for all and what this means to the business and consumers?
Lenovo is embarking on this intelligent transformation journey, basically to assist enterprise users and consumers to embark on a digital journey and with this we’re focusing on three key areas which we call the three ‘S strategy’ – Smart IoT devices, Smart Infrastructure that leads up to support Smart Verticals, so with that what we are trying to do is using AI-powered to enable devices that we know today, whether it’s a tablet, PC and upcoming products like AR and VR devices to be smarter. For this we will have the infrastructure built by our data centre team to deliver that compute power and make things slightly easier for our users to use, maybe in the corporate world, or in consumer land.
Could you tell us a bit more of Lenovo’s continued focus on innovation and how the role of consumer experience and customer feedback plays in delivering this?
In Lenovo we believe in customer centricity so over the last three years we embarked on a journey to transform ourselves from a product-centric company to a customer-centric company. What that basically means is that we do not create a product or service or solution just so that we do so, but rather it is to meet a customer’s need, based on feedback directly from customers and consumers.
We’re here today at Lenovo’s Flagship Store in Funan for Legion of Valkyries, the Legion of Champion’s first ever all-female tournament. Could you tell us a bit more about it?
In Lenovo, on the consumer side, we deem that gaming is both a form of entertainment and it is also educational to a certain extent, plus we can see that the world of e-sports is evolving so fast, it is potentially a profession.So we would like to encourage the younger generation and also to support them in the endeavour to test out their skills in the arena of gaming.
E-sports and gaming, in the traditional sense, has predominantly been a little bit more male dominated and Lenovo believes strongly in inclusion and diversity. We do see there’s a strong interest in Singapore from the female gender on gaming, and we wanted to support that. Therefore this year, we besides our all-gender gaming tournament we specifically catered this all-female tournament to just encourage the population to embrace our gaming and come up to game with us.
Could you share your thoughts on any trends that you can see in the upcoming year?
Lenovo continues to challenge the status quo, even ourselves, in terms of a product excellence and solution that we deliver to our corporate and in customers. With that in mind, we’ve already announced a very exciting product for the year 2020, which is the foldable Thinkpad, and with that there are also a series of new exciting products that will come in the form of different technology as well, as we see the further commercialization and maturity of AR technology and the usage of it in the commercial lab.
What’s new and upcoming with Lenovo in terms of gaming, as we see brands roll out products with the latest CPU and GPUs, and with the confusing plethora of different component numbers and designations, how does Lenovo give customers the right answers to what they are looking for?
This year we launched the L series gaming machines for the casual gamers and something that a consumer can use for work and also play. We saw a huge success in that platform and in the coming year we will continue to build on that strategy to deliver more and more casual gaming devices versus also our Legion brand, which is more for hardcore gamers.
In Lenovo we will assist the consumer in choosing the right platform by providing a different categorization, for casual gaming per see, we will brand it like what we have today, the L series. For serious gamers, we have a different level of Legion Y series and all the way up to the very serious gamer we have the Y7 series today.
We will continue to do that and with that when we and with our sales folks in the shops and even online we will give recommendations on what type of specs best suited to what type of gaming and usage as well.
Do you see an increase in users who want to touchscreen platforms, especially as Lenovo is a leader in convertibles and touchscreen devices?
On the aspect about form factor, usage and touchscreens, we have seen that more and more users, even in the corporate space, are now more accustomed to touchscreens and this is a fact derived from more Gen Z and millenials entering the workforce. They are very tech-savvy since youth and are very accustomed to touch and gestures, and as they come into the workforce, the demand or the need to use devices like that to complete their work is almost seamless. So we do see that trend continues to be a growth track.
Lenovo launched this flagship boutique a few months ago, how has the response been?
Since we opened this Lenovo exclusive store in the mid of this year, the response and traffic coming into the store has been fantastic, and if we take a look at some of the online reviews about the store, I think the first two or three months it was even voted as one of the top places to visit TripAdvisor, so it’s been fantastic for us.
Do you find that gaming has now become more specialised or are there still plenty of casual gamers who prefer less expensive gaming rigs?
I think there is still a very broad spectrum of gamers, from the very casual gamer that doesn’t really require anything very specific on gaming, that just enjoys gaming for the fun of gaming, to the very particular gamer who wants the most cutting-edge technology, the most dedicated hardware and software they can use right to continue to challenge the status quo of their performance in the game. We still see a wide spectrum and we continue to acknowledge that, and we would like to continue to service that broad spectrum of customers in gaming.
In the last year or so VR gaming has become almost a non-mentioned subject, will it be coming back next year?
If you take a look at Lenovo’s VR offerings, what we have ventured into together with one of the leading tech giants in the world, we believe that VR is best suited to be a standalone device that’s connected to the cloud to offer 6DoF (six degrees of freedom in a 3D space) flexibility. Then you can really utilize this technology to its fullest. So we believe that we will continue to invest in that area and but in the most recently we’ve seen AR technology as something that can be used to augment, not just for entertainment, but augment how we do things on an everyday basis and be more efficient and be more effective in what we do. That is currently our focus into commercial AR.
Lenovo has a number of smart devices, primarily Alexa enabled, that are not available in Singapore. Do you see this changing in the next year?
We do constantly evaluate when is the best time to offer some of the products that we have in the larger Lenovo sphere into the Singapore market. The key things that we consider is the ecosystem and also the consumers’ requirement, and as and when it is the best time to introduce that product or services into Singapore.