NEC at NRF16 – The New Face of Retail

NEC brought the latest in point of sale, biometric, analytics, and display technology to this year’s National Retail Federation EXPO (NRF). Nicknamed “Retail’s BIG Show,” NRF presents visionary leaders and game-changing ideas to the retail industry, and the NEC display made a lasting impression with show-goers.

Face the Future

A great deal of that talk in the booth centered on NEC’s revolutionary face recognition technology and how it’s helping to make stores more secure while providing valuable analytics to retailers.

Today’s shoppers want a more personalized experience and the best possible price. That’s exactly what the NeoFace Engage™ solution can provide – in real time. Integrated with the Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub, Azure Stream Analytics, Power BI and KAIT, the solution could benefit retailers by tailoring in-store advertising based on shoppers’ age and gender using real-time data and content to make offers and educate shoppers, all while capturing valuable shopper analytics.

Another biometrics-based solution, NeoFace® Watch, presented a dramatic leap forward for store security. By integrating with video surveillance systems, NeoFace Watch immediately captures images and matches them against a watch list. Store personnel are alerted to any threats through push notifications to their Apple or Android devices.

Enterprise Video Analytics™ (EVA) is one of NEC’s newest biometrics solutions. EVA captures age and gender analytics to track in-store shopper demographics. Attendees of the NRF16 EXPO saw EVA integrated with NEC’s latest point-of-sale(POS) retail options.

A Thousand Points of Service

NEC’s Stanchion® 3.0 retail suite includes hardware, software and services to enable store managers and staff greater access to data, improved communications and increased productivity within their store environments. As store owners know, consumers have more buying options than ever – too many! It has never been more important for retailers to capture a sale at the moment a consumer is ready.

That’s what attendees at NRF16 experienced live with InPosition. This mobile solution takes POS where it’s needed most – to your shopper on the store floor. InPosition also offers instant item look up and detailed product information to deliver top-notch customer service.

Many NRF attendees commented that NEC’s Interactive Projection System was a fun, “futuristic” way to order in restaurants. This solution uses projection technology to offer interactive, direct table ordering and can even push coupons and promotions to customers’ mobile devices while in the restaurant itself.

Restaurants and grocers were also shown a new approach to fresh item management. NEC’s Fresh Food Optimization solution helps reduce waste and save money by leveraging in-store data to accurately predict fresh food purchases.

To gauge consumer traffic, In-Store Analytics utilizes heat mapping to track dwell times at specific products and store locations. If we used this solution at NRF16, the NEC booth would have glowed red-hot.

On Display

You can’t attend “Retail’s BIG Show” without bringing a really big show, and that was achieved with NEC Display Solutions of America’s breathtaking selection of commercial LCD display and projector solutions.

Show-goers were captivated by NEC Display’s video wall solution using X554UNS 55-inch displays. These impressive arrays utilize Impinj RAIN RFID technology to create a unique in-store customer experience. And for a store that wants a huge, ultra-high definition splash, NEC Display showcased the impressive X981UHD 4K 98-inch display. Or for a more interactive presentation, a new interactive kiosk utilizing a 55-inch V552 display with integrated multi-touch technology was on display.

All Digital Signage solutions were powered by NEC Display’s new Intel Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) computing solutions designed to enable easier installation, use, and maintenance of digital signage.

Based on the booth traffic and attendee response, NRF16 was a tremendous showcase for NEC’s innovative solutions.

“The show was incredible,” said Gary Price, director of sales at NEC Corporation of America. “We were delighted to see a record number of people experiencing our innovations, participating in demos and asking questions about the ways the technologies can enhance their businesses. With our recent recognition as a top 50 most innovative company by Boston Consulting Group, we will maintain our focus on technology advancements to support our retail clients.”

NEC Named One of the 50 Most Innovative Companies

It is with great pride that I can announce NEC was chosen as one of the 50 Most Innovative Companies, according to a recent Boston Consulting Group innovation survey. With thousands of senior level executives participating in this study, our commitment to improving the way people live, work, and communicate is gaining recognition from accolades such as this, which is a testament to the dedication of our organization.

A key component of this award was tied to research and development, an area NEC has always prioritized, leading to technology and solutions that have a positive impact on both business and society. With more than 65,000+ patents, pioneering IT, communications and biometrics technologies, NEC technology innovation has provided a solid foundation for this prestigious recognition.

Some of NEC’s more recent innovations:

NEC Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Smart City platforms
• Video analytics that can analyze millions of images in seconds
• Predictive analytics that calculates the landslide risk of hillsides
Automated Urban Surveillance and Smart Transportation solutions
• Smart City disaster response solutions
• Biometric health screening technology
Behavior analytics for crowd and event management

These important innovations improve the safety, security and operational efficiency required of today’s society, and when I look at our recent achievements, I know that we are making a difference.

Watch our 50th anniversary in North America video to learn more about our long history of innovation .

NEC: First in Communications Technology Infrastructure

Independent consultant David Stein of Stein Technology Consulting Group (STCG) recently conducted his third RFP assessment of 12 proposed premise and cloud-based solutions from eight leading communications vendors. The vendor evaluations, using fictional, but “real-world” RFPs, were critiqued on pricing, solutions architecture, features and five-year total cost of ownership.

If your organization is planning to upgrade its communications infrastructure, especially to a cloud-based solution, this whitepaper / eBook of David Stein’s evaluations will prove to be an insightful resource.

NEC Cloud RFP First Place

And … leading the pack among vendors was NEC, finishing first, with the highest ranking for TCO, strong marks for architecture and functionality, and excellent value for NEC’s UC and collaboration solution, UNVERGE 3C.

Named Best in TCO ~ Recognized for Architecture & Functionality ~ Acknowledged Excellence NEC and its UNIVERGE® 3C should be considered a candidate when looking for a strategic partner in communications infrastructure.

Download David Stein’s UC RFP and Review ebook for unbiased third-party opinion and a better understanding of his RFP findings. Feel free to share Stein’s ebook with your colleagues so they can see the value that NEC can bring as their strategic communications partner for premise and cloud-based solutions.

Acquire New Technology on Your Terms

Frequently organizations adopt a “make-do” attitude when it comes to technology, primarily because the acquisition of new technology is often expensive and time-consuming to implement. Add to that the potential complexity of integration to legacy systems, hardware and software upgrades, and an increase to capital expenditures, and many organizations feel it is necessary to maintain rather than upgrade. Until…

A multitude of events can create demand for new and upgraded IT resources, including:

  • You’ve landed that big fish – acquiring a new major client that requires certain amounts of integration to your systems or you simply need to improve performance.
  • An acquisition may be in the works – whether you are looking to expand via acquisition; be acquired or merge with another company, having up-to-date IT assets will help ease the transition.
  • The company is ready to grow – perhaps the organization has reached a milestone and is ready to expand, either to new markets or geographic areas. The need for a solid IT infrastructure to accommodate expansion is incredibly important.
  • An existing IT vendor folds – it’s sad, but can happen. Now, you have technology without support and are in need of a rapid change in order to ensure your organization is not adversely affected.

Get 0% Financing from NEC

 

You may find that you need to act quickly, and need to do something that does not negatively impact your budget. Where do you turn?

Your Technology Funding Source

Traditional sources are not always the most effective means to fund your IT needs. You need a source that is responsive and understands the nuances of acquiring new technology.

“At NEC Financial Services, we start with a transaction team and use underwriting and financing contracts that are customizable to the client needs,” said Herschel Salan, vice president, NEC Financial Services. “Our unique system enables us to use experienced people, coupled with 30 years of knowledge, to create a better solution that ensures our clients have what they require to grow their businesses.”

Attention #B2B CIO or CFO, you have options to Acquire New Technology with Flexibility. Click To Tweet

The NEC Financial Services team offers several options for the financing and leasing  of technology acquisitions, and yet the approach can be very different than you will find at a more traditional lender or bank. For example:

  • Programs based on customer requirements – most organizations face the same business challenges that are not easily resolved with standard finance transactions. NEC Financial Services provides different types of programs based on customer requirements. From a purchase to own arrangement to an OPEX finance option, the program is designed to fit the business need.
  • Off Balance Sheet – many organizations find it more attractive to acquire technology as an operational expense, giving them additional financial benefits.
  • Driven by cash flow – if an organization has a specific budget amount they need to meet, NEC Financial Services will work to structure financing to accommodate that number.
  • Our job would be to align the budget expense to the cost of that technology over time. For example, with a $10K budget a month – the goal would be to get that number to $10K or less.
  • Beyond the traditional – NEC Financial Services designs financing options to ensure that clients can receive funding for their technology upgrades and investments, even during the installation or implementation phases. . Many times this can be accomplished through various offerings that include direct and working capital loans or structured financing.

“Our team becomes very involved with our clients to understand the technology, how it will have a positive impact on their business and how to best fund it for success,” said Salan. “Whether it’s progress loan financing in the early stages of a longer term transaction, or even multiple vendors and multiple technology types, we structure our financing to meet the business needs.”

NEC 90 Lease offer

 

More Than a Banker

“Our goal is to have long-term relationships with our clients where we support their ongoing business growth,” continued Salan. “We ensure that we understand their business requirements and growth strategies so we can structure finance options to meet their needs and successfully implement  their plans.”

In addition to the financing options, NEC Financial Services also provides asset tracking.

“We find that many of our clients require a more robust asset tracking system than they have in-house, so we provide that service,” said Salan. “We can track assets by jurisdiction, county, state, and zip code, taking the burden from our clients while providing added value.”

Salan also said that many clients have a need for protection  against technology obsolescence. This is one of the drivers for determining the right finance solution and term.

“While the length of a typical technology lease is between three and five years, we create terms based on the customer’s decision,” said Salan. “For those that obsolescence is a real issue, we can structure shorter terms so they can keep up with important technology updates to grow their businesses.”

Salan and his team work through the whole corporate lifecycle, ensuring that the technology will grow to meet current and future needs.

“It’s an advantage to our clients that we are agile and have business growth at the core of our decisions,” said Salan. “We understand how technology can help a business grow and reach the next level, so we are eager to explore those options with our clients.”

To learn how NEC Financial Services can provide technology financing on your terms, contact us today!

Changing the Game for Contact Center Technology

As the manager of sales engineer and operations for NEC Corporation of America, I have seen numerous changes in contact center technology, but one thing was the same – technology drove the solutions – until now. We have moved to an environment that is significantly more consumer driven, and those needs drive the solution. What makes this most interesting from the standpoint of contact center technology is that the technology is moving beyond the contact center and into the rest of the organization.

According to Carmela Fairchild, contact center technology expert at dvsAnalytics, workforce optimization is being used in financial areas such as credit collections, for higher education and in hospitality. In all these cases, the uses are beyond a traditional call-center environment. Organizations realized that the amount of data that can be accumulated in the call center could be used to assess customer experience, responsiveness and overall effectiveness of many other departments. For example, a reseller of automotive parts with more than 1,400 locations throughout the United States and Canada realized that call center technology would empower it to record all the phone calls to its small locations, providing actionable data.

#Customer engagement is a metric that is here to stay, particularly as consumers become more sophisticated… Click To Tweet

We see a similar trend with our customers, and find that there is increasing interest in deploying contact center technology for uses outside the traditional center.

“I used to spend most of my time speaking with contact center executives, but now I spend 90% or more speaking to CIOs and CFOs who realize the power of this solution and how it can positively impact their business,” said Mary Irwin, solutions architect for NEC Corporation of America. “Organizations realize that data can be retrieved via this technology, and that they can provide better customer engagement by routing calls so they are answered, rather than going to voice mail.”

Irwin went on to say, “Tracking the entire organization has become important so they can ensure the right information is given to the right people to do their jobs more effectively. It’s more about solving a business problem rather than tracking call times or other metrics.”

Organizations are focused more on customer engagement than ever before, with an eye to self-service as well as getting answers to questions quickly and efficiently.

“Customer satisfaction has become more important, so in addition to self-service to provide convenience, organizations are now realizing they must get customers to the right person, no matter the cost. Otherwise, they run the risk of losing that customer, which costs them more in the long run,” said Irwin.

Customer engagement is a metric that is here to stay, particularly as consumers become more sophisticated in their technology use and also increase their expectations. So what else is in store for contact center technology?

The Future is About…

“Even with all the best technology and self-service capabilities, I believe that voice will become the de facto standard for escalation.  When consumers cannot get what they need by other methods, speaking with a live expert is the next logical step.  However, I do see it improving via the use of speech analytics,” said Fairchild.

One trend we all agree on is that contact center technology will start to include gamification. Reasons include:

  • Agent retention and motivation
  • Competitive differentiation
  • Improve operational efficiencies

According to Gartner research, by the end of 2015, more than 40% of the top companies will be using gamification to transform their business operations.   Therefore, workforce optimization solutions will need to provide the framework to support the trend.

Multiple media, sometimes called multi-channel or omni-channel, will expand significantly in the years ahead. Virtual queuing, or what we used to identify as “callback,” will become the rule as opposed to the exception. Companies are learning that virtual queuing can vastly improve their first call resolution while keeping customers happy.

For more information on how contact center technology can support your operational initiatives as well as future needs, visit our recorded webinar series where you can learn more about NEC’s latest contact center innovations, why they are so important and which are appropriate for your organization.