The Leak Detective – Conserves Water and Saves You Money

If a city municipality could detect leaks within minutes, rather than the extended period of time it takes now, think of the impact! Water conservation would go up, money could be saved, and the municipality could repair smaller leaks, saving them time and money and consumers the hassle of having the water shut off for extended periods of time. If only there was a leak detective that could do this work.

Fortunately, there is, and it’s not what you might think! Rather than some Sherlock Holmes of water systems, there is now a water leak detection system available that offers municipalities a cost-effective way to manage water resources. The best part is the system is managed online with sensors and alarms, so no need for cloak and dagger antics.

Proof Positive

NEC’s Water Leak Detection Service utilizes underground sensors to monitor the water pipes. These sensors record the vibration that occurs with a water leak, sending a signal via wireless transmission. The sensors around the leak will continue to send these signals that ultimately result in a report that can be viewed regularly. This report will accurately pinpoint the leak location, at which time a municipality can dispatch an employee to begin repairs.

This system is significantly faster and easier, and allows for municipalities to detect leaks much more quickly than ever before.

Recently NEC Corporation of America completed a water leak detection trial with the City of Arlington in Texas, and the results were quite successful. During the trial, the first of its kind to be completed in the United States, the NEC team installed a series of 33 sensors at two main sites in the Arlington water system. Three water leaks were identified during the four-month trial and have been repaired. This is the first step for the city to develop a long-term leak detection strategy by evaluating current leak detection technology. Additional trials in other cities are currently under consideration.


The NEC Water Leak Detection System is just one of the many solutions developed as part of an overall strategy to aim for a society where values such as safety, security, efficiency, and equality can be realized to create a brighter, more affluent society for everyone in the world—in other words, Orchestrating a Brighter World . Think of the possibilities!

With the current water leak detection technology, municipalities can conserve water, repair leaks more quickly and save consumers—as well as the city itself–money. What about the future? The city of tomorrow will have the ability to communicate immediately, ensuring the safety of citizens through enhanced identification for police, improved 911 capabilities for mobile so first responders can get there fast, and even the ability to improve the quality of life with cleaner air, better infrastructure and sustainable solutions to improve the earth.

Water leak detection is just the beginning. Moving forward, lives can be improved through innovation and collaboration. NEC is excited to be a part of #SolutionsforSociety.

Want Consumer Loyalty? Get Smart About Hospitality Innovation!

At the recent 2015 HITEC event, the hospitality industry got a taste for industry highlights and overviews of things to come, and the event certainly did not disappoint. Among some of the more innovative solutions were concierge-style robots that provide more basic services like room service delivery, and of course NEC’s own Kylie!

Always top of mind for hospitality is customer loyalty. How do you reward those who are loyal to your brand? And how do you keep them loyal? One way is to ensure they feel welcomed and valued, as demonstrated through NEC’s VIP facial recognition avatar, Kylie.

Using NeoFace® face recognition technology and pulling from the secure database your organization collects, Kylie greets visitors, provides them with information pertinent to their stay and helps them with everything from getting checked into a room to getting to their return flight information. She is always on, always friendly, and always ready to greet customers to ensure a strong customer experience.

It’s More than Bells and Whistles

Of course, greeting VIP customers helps ensure a positive experience, but it’s only the beginning. Also important is an overall customer experience that couples the desired convenience with the required security. NEC’s Smart Hospitality Solutions are designed to provide both enhanced guest experiences with increased efficiency of hotel operations.

NEC Smart Hospitality Solutions consist of key solutions related to hotel operations, including communications platforms, Unified Communications (UC) applications, Property Management Systems (PMS), facial recognition systems, digital signage and guest room management systems. As the solutions are based on a modular approach and can be tightly integrated, customer information and other data can be easily shared throughout the portfolio of applications. As a result of this seamless integration, hotel owners and operators can provide highly value-added guest service and improve the productivity of hotel staff.

For example, NEC’s facial recognition solution makes it possible to use cameras at hotel entrances to identify VIP guests in real-time using previously registered data in a PMS. This enables the provision of personalized services and greetings to coincide with the arrival of a VIP. The guest experience can also be enhanced by enabling hotel check-ins and check-outs and room service orders and other requests to be accessed from tablets or guests’ smartphones.

NEC plans to continually strengthen the NEC Smart Hospitality Solutions portfolio while promoting its “Hotel IT in a Box” approach, which offers hotel solutions consolidated into a single server platform. Based on this approach, NEC launched its Application Platform for Hotels, a vertically integrated solution platform optimized for the hospitality industry. Moving forward, NEC plans to further integrate new solutions such as PMS into the Application Platform for Hotels.

NEC Smart Hospitality Solutions

A Glimpse into the Future

Of course, no event would be complete without a demonstration of futuristic technology. During HITEC, NEC demonstrated its  Interactive Projection System. This easy-to-use touchpad device connects with customers’ cell phones and provides information of their choosing, including property maps, coupons, and entertainment information. Giving customers the opportunity to self-serve actually improves the experience with quick access to information that can be uploaded to their mobile devices for access at the exact time they want it, a big bonus for those people on the go.

Customer loyalty is critical in the highly competitive hospitality industry, and comes down to the experience. Utilizing innovative solutions such as Kylie or the Interactive Projection System will create a positive visitor experience. Couple this with solutions that improve productivity, and both the customer and the hospitality organization win.

For more information on the NEC Smart Hospitality Solutions, please visit our website.

ONS Recap: Sharing What Happened

Open Networking Summit (ONS) brings together the best and brightest to discuss the possibilities and shape the future of the networking industry. This year the four hot topics in SDN/NFV adoption were certainly discussed and thoroughly represented – security, multi-layered transport network, high-performance data-plane and deep analytics.

NEC was proud to be a finalist in the SDN-IDOL competition with our SDN Cyber Attack Auto Protection. NECAM’s own Don Clark presented the solution by enlisting the challenges of advanced persistent threats including how costly the security breaches could prove, insufficiency of perimeter defense, and how organization processes and boundaries can slow down the responses to security threats.

Following the overview, Sam Mita provided a demonstration of how NEC’s ProgrammableFlow® SDN solution can automate the policy-response to an attack by using the ProgrammableFlow SDN controller to take control of the situation by isolating the hacked host from the network and eliminating the virus. Automatic notification is sent to the operator as well, ensuring open lines of communication.

NEC was proud to be among the top four finalists for this distinguished award.

But That’s Not All…

During ONS,

The interoperability of the two solutions creates a high-performance Ethernet fabric that provides the needed throughput to meet organizations’ ongoing demands for new applications and services. The new agreement will allow Dell to resell the ProgrammableFlow Controller software as one of the software options sold with Dell’s networking hardware.
Overall, ONS was a success and we are pleased to have participated. Fortunately, if you missed ONS you can still learn more about NEC’s ProgrammableFlow SDN networking suite by visiting

NEC Advantage Executive Conference Gives Dealers First-hand Look at Latest Solutions

More than 125 top dealer organizations gathered in May to attend NEC’s annual Advantage Executive Conference, held this year in Phoenix. A total of 502 attendees came together to learn about NEC’s latest Smart Solutions for Smart Business, see demonstrations of the latest solutions, and network with counterparts from other organizations.

The annual event provides an excellent opportunity for NEC dealers and consultants to meet directly with NEC product and solutions experts and management. The exhibit area featured demos of not only NEC’s newest solutions, but also related products and services from vendors who work directly with NEC.

A highlight of this year’s event was the keynote address by Gartner analyst Tiffani Bova, who spoke on “Reading the Tea Leaves: Responding to the Speed of Business.” Bova addressed “keeping the customer as the true north” when preparing for the new business reality of what Gartner calls the Nexus of Forces: the convergence of social, mobile, cloud and information.

A wide range of products and solutions for both enterprise and SMB organizations were showcased during breakouts and in the exhibit area, including:

  • NEC’s award-winning software-defined networking (SDN) solutions and its Smart Enterprise IT portfolio of SDN-ready UC solutions
  • Smart Solutions for verticals, including higher ed/K-12, hospitality, healthcare and government
  • Applications for NEC’s new UT880 terminal
  • UNIVERGE SV9000 series of communications platforms
  • UNIVERGE Cloud services and hybrid models
  • Customer care solutions
  • Innovative biometrics solutions

“This year’s conference was probably our best ever, in terms of attendance and showcasing a wide range of NEC solutions,” said Larry Levenberg, vice president of sales, NEC Corporation of America. “Our Smart Solution portfolio, featuring innovative NEC technologies such as biometrics and SDN along with our communication networks and UCC solutions, received an enthusiastic response from our dealers.”

To learn more about NEC’s technology and solutions, visit

Empower End-Users with Real-Time Analytics And Other Reasons to Upgrade to Cognos 10

Business intelligence is only powerful if it is easily accessible. By putting the end-user in the driver’s seat, businesses can maximize analytics and data without putting a burden on the IT department to run reports. Not only does this improve productivity, it puts the data in the hands of those who can do the most with it. Frankly, this level of end-user empowerment is a solid-enough reason to upgrade IBM’s Cognos software to the latest V10.2. But don’t take our word for it. Take a look at the impact first hand.

Cincinnati Zoo Saves more than $100,000 per Year

The Cincinnati Zoo was challenged with increasing attendance and revenues while also enhancing the customer experience. It also needed to boost sales on food and in the retail outlets and optimize labor costs. These are no small tasks! By implementing IBM Cognos V10, the zoo was able to utilize business analytics that allowed the zoo staff to use iPads to track the information real-time. The results were incredible.

“By being so closely aligned with the day-to-day interactions within the zoo, the team could spend more time with visitors and see even the most basic of changes that were needed, said Marti Walsh, Channel Enablement Program Manager with IBM Analytics. “For example, perhaps traffic patterns showed that moving a hot dog stand to a different location would result in heavier traffic to the stand. That could be marked immediately on the spot, rather than waiting to return and transcribe notes into a database.”

, and more than $100,000 per year by identifying less-effective promotions and discounts. Plus, the zoo increased overall attendance that prompted at least 50,000 new visits in 2011. All by putting the power of analytics in the hands of the end user.

How Does Upgrading Help Your  ‘Zoo’?

The ability to empower end users makes sense when the user interface is easy to use and allows for quick adoption. Cognos V10 has a more streamlined interface that is easier to navigate, making it more readily adoptable for end users who want to simply access and understand the data.

Another major component is collaboration between co-workers and other departments. Cognos V10 incorporates collaboration within the interface, so that threads are maintained and data is kept within the platform, rather than having to utilize a third-party system for collaboration and communication.

“End users don’t stay put, so mobility is key, particularly if the focus is to capture and analyze data real-time,” said Marti. “With Cognos V10, users can literally analyze on the go with systems that work whether they are connected or disconnected.“

Even with the mobility and dynamic analytics functions, the system has very fast response times and handles very large data volumes. Using Dynamic Cubes increases the performance of the tools and allows for end users to slice and dice data with a fast response time, keeping them happy and focused on analyzing data.

Make Better Business Decisions – in Real Time

By putting analytics in the hands of everyone, businesses will benefit from having information in the hands of those best suited to take action. Cognos Business Intelligence allows for integration with the next logical step – predictive analytics. By adopting business prototypes quickly, companies are now able to build out corporate solutions faster than before. “What If” and scenario modeling help determine next appropriate steps giving the business a more prescriptive solution.

In Your Corner for the Cognos Upgrade

Of course, the next logical question is how to tackle the upgrade. While the benefits are certainly proven, tackling an upgrade of any type requires thought and process to ensure the most seamless approach is taken. That is where NEC Analytics team can help.

NEC is largest global systems integrator, and has more than 50 years of experience in the North American market alone. We leverage our rich history coupled with partnership experience with IBM and others to ensure a positive outcome.

Our analytics team focuses on Performance Management, Integration, Total Performance Outsourcing (which includes design, deployment and management) and Smart Predict Solutions designed to meet the specific needs of our clients (you can learn more about our analytics solutions in this short video).

NEC specializes in supporting Cognos and is offering a complimentary assessment to ensure that all your business needs are captured to create a seamless upgrade. Contact us to schedule your assessment or visit our Analytics Center of Excellence for more information.

Schedule assessment

Trendy Travel Equals High-Tech Hotels

We live in an on-demand world, where customers want access to information and conveniences immediately. While there are plenty of examples of technology that can provide instant gratification, few are more prevalent than those we see in the hospitality industry. After all, hospitality must accommodate business and personal travelers alike, ensuring outstanding experiences and meeting the varying needs of the executive who demands high-speed internet with the vacationer who wants convenience. Fortunately, we are in a time when all this and more are possible.

Meet the ‘Botlr’

Starwood recently rolled out two robotic “Botlrs” in its Cupertino Aloft Hotel. The three-foot-tall robots have giant empty compartments for delivering items and include seven-inch touch screens for guest interactions. These robotic butlers can do everything from delivering towels and food to guests to assisting staff with back office duties.

The idea behind the Botlrs is to perform the more routine tasks, freeing up staff members to handle more complex items. The robots have their own elevators and through the use of Wi-Fi connections can navigate the hotel without getting in the way.

The response has been so positive that Starwood is planning a larger rollout later in 2015. Soon you’ll get your extra towels delivered by a robotic butler who always says thank you!

Forgot Your Key Card? Use Your Phone!

Hilton and Starwood have developed an app that lets guests use their cell phones to unlock their rooms. This service provides great convenience and alleviates the need to carry a key card, or more likely, forget the keycard and have to get a new one from the front desk. Hilton’s app will also allow guests to access various areas of their properties, such as the fitness center, executive floors, elevators and parking facilities.

The apps will also work on other devices, such as the Apple Watch, making it even easier for guests to “remember” their keys.

The Next Generation of Communication

Recently NEC’s Global Hospitality Team was featured in the Frost & Sullivan Digital Transformation blog, where we discussed our global hospitality footprint.  Some of the highlights include:

  • Hotels are moving toward IP voice systems, particularly in new-build facilities, in order to maximize technology in areas such as voice, entertainment, security and environmental controls.
  • Unified Communications significantly enhances workflow productivity while improving the guest experience.
  • By adapting delivery models, NEC has created a solution for hotels that meets the demand for OPEX pricing, while accommodating security needs and legacy systems currently in these hotels.

You can learn more about trends in hospitality technology and NEC’s solutions by visiting us at HITEC 2015 in booth #1437, or by visiting our Hospitality Solutions page on our web site.

NEC’s Analytics Portfolio

Data is plentiful. Yet without the right support team, that information is lost potential.

Our field-tested analysts and best-in-class technologies can steer you in the right direction, keep you on the right track and help you outpace the competition with actionable insight that delivers the most value and best suits your company’s decision-making ambitions and processes. Learn more today by scheduling your complimentary assessment.

Schedule assessment

Trends in Unified Communications

Unified Communications is not dead, NEC’s Gary Gordon discusses in this video how unified communications trends are shifting and changing to the needs of today’s workforce.

Do you need help in deciding on a UC solution?

Download this comprehensive guide to learn how the various approaches to Unified Communications (UC) impact your organization.


Download free UC guide

Flipping The Educational Script

When it comes to our current educational system, there is certainly no shortage of opinions. Realistically, we need a more efficient, better way of educating young people and adults. Fortunately, there are some forward-thinking innovators who are up to tackling the task of improving how we educate and teach.

For many students, and instructors, memories of the classroom are comprised of boring lectures and staring at the clock waiting for the torture to end. Traditionally, the classroom experience has been very linear with the instructor providing lectures, students taking notes, and of course, the dreaded pop quiz or exam. However, with the continued adoption and advancement of technology, learning experiences are changing for the better. A recent article in Fast Company magazine covered the information provided from the world’s most innovative companies in education, which outlines some of the innovations we can expect over the next five years. These include:

  • Students will interact with others remotely.
  • Success of technology in the classroom will still rely on skilled instructors.
  • Degrees will be unbundled, and we’ll think about diplomas differently.
  • Students will have a voice.
  • Educators and institutions will be forced to adapt.

Many of the innovations these companies expect to see are available now, including the advent of collaborative learning and online communication for the classroom. The progression of learning is now a multi-dimensional process where teachers and students pull together to enhance the learning experience. It is critical for learning management systems (LMS) to begin working toward how individual students learn, rather than a providing a traditional classroom format online.

For these reasons, NEC has created a collaborative tool that literally flips the classroom, thereby allowing students and teachers to collaborate in a way that is powerful while really improving learning opportunities.

Knowledge is Power

NEC recognized that educators were looking for a solution that provided faculty a tool to expand upon course curriculums through the addition of content. Currently, teachers are working to flip the classroom using multiple resources and platforms such as YouTube, Google Drive, and Schoology. They need a way to provide a cohesive student user experience while minimizing the amount of time students spend visiting multiple sites. Therefore, NEC constructed the Collaborative Content Management Solution (CCMS) and has joined with PassTheNotes (PTN) to offer cloud-based learning management and leverage the best existing educational solutions.

It’s an integration of technology that empowers both students and instructors to “flip the classroom” in a way that now incorporates students in the process of creating curriculum. Using the foundation of PTN, NEC embeds the collaboration solution into our user interface, providing an efficient method for faculty and students to use the entire solution easily and seamlessly.

The effect is a “flipped” classroom, where students and teachers collaborate during classroom time (either in person or online) and students not only listen to lectures during their own time, but they can also contribute to the next class lecture by uploading content into an online folder. Think of it like this – what was normally lecture now becomes an interaction between students and faculty to really drive home learning, and what was normally homework time is spent listening to faculty lectures and allowing students to add their own input to the next classroom experience.

Today, the Internet and social media are a huge part of almost everyone’s daily life. Younger generations are constantly glued to their multiple portable devices. NEC is giving students the ability to be a part of their own educational experience by gathering existing industry knowledge to develop integrations to meet the ever-changing educational needs.

The benefit to faculty and students is tangible and already being realized for those institutions adopting a flipped classroom model.

Collaborative Learning

Teachers and faculty are not only able to follow the core curriculum in a more organized and simplified manner, but also are provided with the flexibility to add and expand upon their teaching elements. NEC helps faculty expand on course curriculums through the addition of content that better connects with students. In addition, NEC’s CCMS includes comprehensive training and professional development so that teachers can focus on education rather than the technology.

Students are developing a desire to be more engaged in their education. Through the flipped classroom, students can make this desire a reality. For instance, if a student is browsing the Internet and comes across a blog, video, or article that reminds her of something she is  learning in school, it can easily be uploaded into the class folder. If a teacher is providing a history lesson, students are given the opportunity to collaborate on the curriculum by uploading videos from current day events that tie in with the lesson. Then, not only are students more engaged, but teachers are able to help them draw conclusions in a real-life manner that was not previously available. Through this process of sharing information, students are actively participating in their education. This creates a more personal learning experience whereby students can relate events in their life with classroom material.


Content Management and Collaboration
Free Content and Collaboration Webinar

Flip the Script

Education is rapidly becoming a #collaborative interaction between teachers and students.  It is now moving toward a workgroup team dynamic that is focused on the educational experience and leveraging technology to increase student engagement. Students are now finding that the subjects they are studying are not only interesting, but are also relevant in everyday life.

Plus there are additional benefits beyond the improved learning environment. Students are learning to work in a virtual environment, something employers will desire in future employees. In addition, they learn valuable teamwork and collaboration skills that will help them with their future endeavors.

If you desire more information on NEC’s CCMS and how we are flipping the classroom, check out the information on our Collaborative Content Management Solution page.

Digital Retail Signage Solutions Come of Age with Additional Technology Capabilities

When was the last time you went to a retail store and had a great experience? No, I don’t mean customer service or super cool music in the dressing rooms. When was the last time that you went into a retail store and had a memorable experience that made you smile, or gave you more information about a product or service in real time than you might have gleaned online?

Retailers in particular have become more intrigued with digital signage over the last decade. The shift to digital meant that organizations could change their pricing, menus, or other details in real time, without needing to change out physical signage. Today, three types of digital signage are typically used in customer-facing environments.

Passive Signage

Passive signage is what you would encounter at a fast food restaurant at the airport. This type of digital signage is typically displayed on one or more screens, and either remains static all the time or changes at set intervals, such as a digital menu board that switches over at noon. Passive signage can be hosted on a local machine or over the Internet, and it’s generally more cost effective than running print jobs every time your business wants to make a change. It’s very utilitarian. However, it lacks the interactive element that really draws people in.

Interactive Signage

Interactive signage takes many forms, and is generally designed to provide a level of user interaction by being “triggered” by an event. Think of an iBeacon that sends a coupon to your mobile phone when you walk into your favorite clothing store or displays information about a painting when you hold your smart phone up next to it at the museum. Another example is signage triggered by sensors – when you lift that bottle of Bordeaux at the wine store, perhaps a light sensor is triggered and you see a map and information about the wine on a screen. Or you hold a piece of clothing up to a mirror in the changing room, and its RFID tag triggers signage behind a translucent mirror suggesting other pieces that may go with the skirt. This type of signage is indeed interactive and can be engaging, but the engagement is not always intuitive and there’s typically only one level of engagement between the individual and the signage.

Intelligent Signage

This brings us to a new type of digital signage. What if there was a way to create compelling in-store experiences in which customers could interact with a truly intuitive digital system, perhaps even order products on-screen, while also feeding interaction data back to the retailer or business owner? It is for this use case that intelligent signage, perhaps today’s most cutting-edge technology in retail and digital advertising, was designed.

One of the most interesting of these new systems is Microsoft’s Inception solution, which uses the Microsoft Kinect sensor to detect an individual’s proximity from the sensor, his/her age and gender (using NEC biometric facial recognition technology), and his/her interaction with products on a shelf. Different distances and interactions can trigger different layers of contextual signage, such as static or video advertisement screens, product pricing, technical specs, user reviews from the web and more. The system also records anonymous data such as the demographics and engagement time of individuals with various products, allowing advertisers and business owners to better understand their audience and the effectiveness of their signage.

Intelligent signage systems use advanced yet inexpensive hardware including the Kinect sensor and lightweight PCs such as those embedded in NEC commercial displays, and they can be combined with sensors in the ceiling (in-store heat mapping) or at a point of sale. This solution gives the business owner a broad understanding of how people traverse a particular store or the ages and genders of customers who are buying which products, at which times of day. Intelligent signage systems introduce analytics for the real world, and it’s going to change the way that we experience in-store retail.

But analytics, particularly analytics using Big Data, require more than an intelligent signage system to provide the analytics that will make them most useful to retail companies. One option is using Azure StreamAnalytics. This new offering from Microsoft provides real-time insight into what products are attracting the attention of shoppers, how product interest varies by age and gender, and which displays are attracting the most attention. Stores will be able to tune the shopping experience to maximize sales. Microsoft Azure StreamAnalytics is a new addition to the company’s Azure IoT (Internet of Things) Suite enabling the retail industry to build and deploy IoT solutions to transform the shopping experience and their business model.

What’s Next

With the digital signage market projected to grow a staggering 65% in 2015 alone, it’s more than likely that intelligent signage and audience measurement systems will be arriving soon at a business near you. Overall intelligent signage could lead not only to greater efficiencies in the retail sector, but also far more interesting in-store experiences for shoppers.

Where Can I Test Drive One of These Systems?

The Inception system will be demonstrated at the upcoming Microsoft Build (April 28 – May 1) and Microsoft Ignite (May 4-8) conferences.