RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – Lenovo is looking to improve its customer call center support services by signing a $240 million contract with IBM for solutions that incorporate IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence.

The deal is a “multi-year” agreement, according to the companies.

“Data is having an unprecedented impact on call centers with artificial intelligence taking customer service to a whole new level of personalization,” said Martin Jetter, senior vice president of Global Technology Services at IBM, in a statement. “This global collaboration with Lenovo further strengthens our long-standing relationship, empowering every single call center and field service agent at Lenovo to deliver service excellence using the power of Watson AI.”

The deal will focus on Lenovo’s North America, Latin America and Euope-Middle East-Africa operations.

The deal is not the first between the two tech giants. Lenovo bought IBM’s personal computing division in 2005 and later acquired IBM’s x86 server operations.

According to IBM, services will include

  • Virtual Assistant for Technical Support which harvests and analyzes customer history and preferences, product manuals, technical documentation, and any other available content like FAQs, forum postings and social media Q&A which can now be at the fingertips of a call center agent.
  • Weather Alerting technologies which, along with IBM schedule optimizing tools, alerts call center agents and field technicians of weather conditions in real time, up to 72 hours in advance and, based on their GPS locations, can predict their accessibility to a client’s location to set expectations on service windows. 
  • Augmented Reality that enables more than 19,000 field agents to deliver a consistent client experience around the globe by allowing customers to video share, in real time, the machines needing repair to IBM’s experts who can virtually draw on top of the video and explain the repair steps.

“Providing customers with leading edge technology solutions and offering great support services go hand-in-hand with the customers’ total experience,” said Jammi Tu, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Lenovo Intelligent Devices. “Through our work with IBM, we are increasing our service capabilities through IBM’s Virtual Assistant for Technical Support, Augmented Reality and weather technology, helping us deliver the fast, personalized and consistent care customers expect from their trusted technology brand.”

Lenovo operates global headquarters in Morrisville and Beijing, China.

IBM employs several thousand people across North Carolina and maintains one of its largest corporate campuses in RTP.