Lenovo, Pivot3 extend their partnership around Smart City-focused edge solutions

Lenovo and Pivot3 are formally announcing their Smart City initiative, which has already been operational in the field, with a number of significant customer wins.

Bruce Milne, Pivot3’s CMO

Today, Lenovo’s Data Center Group and hyperconverged infrastructure [HCI] vendor Pivot3 are jointly announcing a global strategic partnership that extends their existing OEM relationship. This is the formal announcement of a relationship which has already had considerable success in the field, through which the two companies are jointly developing, marketing and selling a new set of edge computing solutions that are specifically optimized for Internet of Things [IOT] tasks around mission-critical Smart City security. The integrated appliances are based on Lenovo’s ThinkSystem servers, powered by Pivot3 HCI software.

“This is basically a soft launch of solutions that are now being taken to market, and which are based on a strategy of differentiated solutions that add real value,” said Bruce Milne, Pivot3’s Chief Marketing Officer, whose job responsibilities also include managing the Lenovo relationship for Pivot3.

Lenovo and Pivot3 first partnered in July 2015, when they entered into an agreement which also combined ThinkSystem servers with Pivot3’s software, with the combined solution being sold by Lenovo as the Hyper-Converged ONE appliance.

“Through this OEM partnership, Lenovo is also our biggest reseller,” Milne said. “1200 Lenovo people worldwide are trained to sell us. That’s the largest force multiplier that we have.”

This original agreement was initially focused on markets where Pivot3 was playing extensively at that time, such as streaming media-type applications, surveillance, and health care. However in early 2016, Pivot3 acquired NexGen, another hyperconverged vendor, which brought them new capabilities for doing Quality of Service dynamic provisioning that permits designating a priority to each workload. In April 2017, they integrated the two companies’ technologies fully in Acuity, a next-generation priority-aware HCI software platform that made possible effective consolidation of multiple mixed-application workloads onto a single infrastructure, and significantly improved performance with ultra-low-latency NVMe PCIe flash. Acuity moved Pivot3 from the branch office market into applications which required data centre capabilities, even when they were located at the edge of the network. This facilitated Pivot3’s success in the Smart City market, building on their previous work in surveillance.

“We have moved with Lenovo into these hyperconverged solutions for mission-critical environments, like Smart Cities, edge computing, and the Internet of Things,” Milne said.  “35 per cent of our revenue now comes from these use cases, working with Lenovo.”

Milne highlighted a Smart Cities reference customer, the City of Bogota in Colombia. Bogota initially deployed a joint Lenovo/Pivot3 edge computing solution to refresh a complex monitoring system of over 1000 cameras of different vendors. The solution scaled the entire security network into a central control center, which now serves at least four visualization locations operated by police, and can scale up easily as needs grow. Based on this initial project, the suburbs of Bogota additionally chose the combined Pivot3-Lenovo technology for another 2,000 camera deployment.

“We have replicated this success story in a couple of Mexican states as well,” Milne said. “We have had particular success with this in Latin America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, in part because centralized planning in those places helps move things along.”

The market is a strong one, according to data from IHS Markit, which says that the global market for security equipment in the city surveillance sector exceeded $3 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at an average rate of 14.6 percent through 2021.  The growth is being driven by mission-critical security initiatives which use information collated from an array of city sensors and databases combined with video data and analytics including facial recognition, behavioral analysis, license plate recognition and other intelligence. Lenovo and Pivot3 believe their joint solution is best optimized to designed to collect, analyze, store and act on all this information in real-time at the edge.

“Together Lenovo and Pivot3 are enabling the next generation of edge computing, where governments and organizations can leverage machine learning and analytics to better protect the people they serve,” said Wilfredo Sotolongo, vice president and general manager of IoT at Lenovo Data Center Group. “Through this partnership, we provide customers a solution to centrally manage their distributed edge devices – with faster video ingest rates, higher resiliency and smaller, space conscious appliances.”

Proof-of-concept testing  of the joint solution is available at Lenovo’s Innovation Centers, where customers and partners can gain real-time insight into how the IoT solutions can perform within their unique environments, workloads and data.