NEC Corporation of America has had a presence in Irving for 30 years, and in that time, we have built a strong relationship with the city. The City of Irving is an early adopter of some of our ‘Smart Cities’ technology, including use of our NeoScan 45 technology, a mobile biometric fingerprint capturing solution for the Irving Police Department.
It is through this relationship that we learned of the amazing work done by the Irving Family Advocacy Center. We admire and are grateful for their partnership with the Irving Police Department to provide counseling services to families affected by domestic violence, crime, and children who have been victims of abuse. After learning of the center’s technological limitations, we decided to help.
Through the NEC Foundation of America, the employees of NEC are happy to provide monetary support to the Irving Advocacy Center. The foundation is our philanthropic organization, with the mission of contributing to the creation of social value and helping to advance human potential through technology and innovative giving programs, focusing on STEM education, health and human services, environmental stewardship, and community well being.
We hope the gift of $112,000 will help the Irving Family Advocacy Center and the Irving police Department continue and perhaps expand the great work they are doing in the community. Chief Larry Boyd of the Irving Police Department recently attended an employee meeting at the NEC Corporation of America headquarters in Irving to accept the check on behalf of the Family Advocacy Center.
Every year there are always plenty of fresh predictions and industry trends brought forward and discussed. They make for interesting reading, and beg the question – are they really predictions or are we just susceptible to the power of suggestion?
Many predictions have solid backing, such as Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends, announced at the Gartner Symposium / ITXpo. Gartner defines a strategic technology trend as one with the potential for significant impact on the organization, including a high potential for disruption to the business, end users, or IT; the need for a major investment; or the risk of being late to adopt. They look at trends that will impact an organization’s long-term plans, programs, and initiatives.
For 2016, Gartner predicted the following trends:
The Device Mesh
Ambient User Experience
3D Printing Materials
Information of Everything
Advanced Machine Learning
Autonomous Agents and Things
Adaptive Security Architecture
Mesh App and Service Architecture
Internet of Things Platforms
In another set of predictions, No Jitter showcased the top four UC predictions for 2016. These included:
When we read some of the trends and predictions, they almost seem too good to be true. It would appear that technology is moving toward almost an AI state where we can rely on it for everything. Science fiction aside, the one constant we do see is how technology improves the lives of those in business, communities, government entities, law enforcement, and individually at home and school. What we see is that all these trends have a common thread, one that we believe is critical to consider with every innovation we create at NEC – effective communication, collaboration, and orchestration of lives using Smart Solutions to improve and enhance every aspect of our lives.
For example, when adding UC to Workforce Management, contact centers are even more empowered to provide excellent customer service. If you combine Unified Communications with SDN, you have a powerful system that not only ensures your employees are communicating in a more efficient manner, but the system is now able to align itself with any traffic, making disaster recovery or even challenging inclement weather much easier to overcome.
Biometrics is another solution that has so many applications to positively impact our lives. Whether it’s the ability for law enforcement to rapidly and correctly identify a bad guy on the spot, or retail establishments to provide their customers with an amazing experience, biometrics will impact a multitude of industries, improving customer experiences and empowering the forward momentum of the Internet of Things.
Information is at an all-time premium, as businesses move toward more efficient and effective operations. When combining SDN with our server technology, our clients now can focus on their business needs and let the technology support the flow of data in an efficient manner to ensure constant access and improved uptime.
Of course, when you think about the Information of Everything, it is important to include data analytics as a foundational element. According to Gartner, by 2020, 25 billion devices will be generating data about almost every topic imaginable. There will be an abundance of data, but how do you make sense of it? Data analytics is no longer a single solution to consider, but a necessary component to capture data and provide appropriate information to create actionable results. Those companies that harness the power this data provides will have a competitive advantage.
Speaking of data, companies are not the only ones who have a significant need for big data, analytics, and positive user experiences. NEC focuses on various solutions, such as water leak detection systems; integration support for semantic interoperability into the NEC Internet of Things and Smart City Platforms; and integrated platforms for distribution of grid management, energy efficiency, distributed generation, and energy storage, just to name a few.
Just like Gartner and No Jitter, NEC invests significant effort and resources into research to ensure that solutions we develop will not only meet the needs of our clients today, but also their upcoming needs tomorrow. This serious focus on research and development has been part of the core philosophy of NEC since our inception. We believe that as recognized innovation leaders we can ensure our solutions truly meet the needs of our clients while continuing to keep pace with emerging trends and the expanding capabilities technology affords for the future.
Can you predict technology trends? We believe so—but only by keeping your finger on the pulse of business and societal needs. NEC’s focus on solutions perfectly aligns with the trends we see, combining powerful technology to empower our clients and enhance their lives. Whether providing platforms for significantly improved communication, ensuring improved flow of information through powerful data analytics, or inventing new solutions for society that support a better life, NEC will continue to focus on improving our lives through technology.
As a society, we’re increasingly comfortable with cameras being a part of everyday life. They’re built into our phones, hanging over every traffic light, and placed behind most cash registers. Still, for law enforcement, a perfect image of a face can be hard to come by, especially when suspects intentionally try to obscure their identity.
It was this issue that Dr. Anil Jain, distinguished professor of computer science and engineering at Michigan State University (MSU), set out to solve Using a database of unconstrained images – also known as “faces in the wild” because pictures are pulled from sources like social media – Dr. Jain and his team (Dr. Dayong Wang, a postdoctoral researcher, and Charles Otto, a doctoral student) created an algorithm that quickly generates a list of candidate matches to help identify unknown faces from surveillance camera footage or crime-scene images.
NEC recently partnered with Dr. Jain and MSU to license this large-scale face-search system and will use it to enhance its current facial recognition solutions.
“NEC has a very powerful face recognition software called NeoFace that was primarily designed for mug shot to mug shot matching,” said Dr. Jain, “and it has performed extremely well compared to its peers in that kind of scenario. So, they were looking for a solution for the problem where query images have rather large variability in terms of pose, illumination, and expression, and still need to be searched against large face databases.”
“NEC is committed to maintaining its leadership position in facial recognition solutions,” said Raffie Beroukhim, vice president, NECAM’s Biometrics Solutions Division. “In addition to our own continued research, partnerships with academia, in particular Michigan State University, is an important aspect of this commitment. We look forward to the fusion of MSU large-scale face-search algorithm with our industry-leading NeoFace facial algorithms to offer more compelling solutions to address ever-increasing security threats and enhance public and national security.”
“What we provided is a prototype,” said Dr. Jain. “NEC will modify the algorithm that we provided, integrate it with their existing systems, and improve the overall face recognition performance.”
Since joining MSU in 1974, Dr. Jain has received numerous recognitions for his contributions to the field of pattern recognition and biometrics, including his February 2016 election to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), one of the highest professional distinctions bestowed on an engineer.
Interestingly, he didn’t set out to specialize in biometrics. His career took a turn when the U.S. government engaged Dr. Jain, about 25 years back, to find civilian applications for a government-designed hardware, the Splash 2 processor, that was based on FPGA technology.
“They didn’t tell me to work on biometrics, but the hardware that they provided us made us realize that it was extremely suitable for a generic image processing operation, called point matching, where we extract landmarks from two separate images and put them in correspondence or alignment. And since fingerprint matching is done by using point (minutia) correspondence … it was like serendipity.”
For years, biometrics was primarily used for law enforcement and government applications. Over the past five years or so, we’re seeing more consumer applications of biometrics. We use fingerprints to unlock smartphones. There’s even a facial recognition application that can estimate a subject’s age and gender for targeted advertisements. According to Dr. Jain, the rise of biometrics in our everyday lives has had an element of serendipity as well – where market forces have had to align with high usability and low cost to facilitate adoption.
“Who would have imagined just four years ago that everybody would be using a fingerprint to unlock their phones? Biometrics for mobile devices had been available earlier, but it didn’t really become popular until Apple introduced the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in 2013. This shows that sometimes, even though the technology may be ready, the technology doesn’t lift off unless it’s packaged properly – like Apple putting the fingerprint sensor in the home button.”
Dr. Jain and his doctoral students continue to use their research laboratory to investigate real-world issues and address long-standing research problems. In addition to the large-scale face-search system, recent topics include a study on the persistence of fingerprint recognition accuracy over time and methods to prevent printed photo and replay attacks on a face recognition system.
“We’re really proud of the work we did on fingerprint persistence and face spoof detection because these fundamental problems needed to be answered,” said Dr. Jain. “And these are the issues that need to be addressed for every biometric modality. The impact of the problem is what we keep in mind when we choose which topic to work on. Sometimes, more than technology advancement, we take pleasure in advancing fundamental scientific work.”
NEC is proud to collaborate with visionary leaders like Dr. Jain. NEC already has one of the strongest biometrics offerings available, and as we continue our own research and forge partnerships with biometric leaders, the future of biometrics is something to look forward to.
Decisions based by expert insight increase the probability of more successful outcomes. This is why we at NEC are pleased to offer you Achieving High Availability In UC, an informative ebook/white paper by communications and security consultant Gary Audin, president of Delta, Inc.
In addition to a comprehensive look at unified communications (UC) and the importance of system availability, this 22-page report also examines the key components needed to put together and sustain a UC-enabled communications environment.
Insight ranges from:
Availability verses reliability to UC data center creation
Approaches and solution comparisons
This free offer will help you to educate your stakeholders on how best to deliver a 24×7 solution capable of supporting today’s need for ongoing business continuity and connectivity.. It also serves as a reminder that when backed by NEC, your organization can more readily realize the benefits of an UC-enabled workplace.
Take advantage of this free ebook/white paper and…
Enterprise Connect always attracts technology innovators and creative disruptors in cloud solutions (UCaaS, IaaS, CCaaS, etc.), Unified Communications, the Internet of Things and more. This year’s event was again abuzz with powerful keynote presentations, lively panel discussions, and distinctive product demonstrations and exhibits. As a proud platinum sponsor, NEC helped attendees “Discover the Power of SMART Enterprise”, attracting an impressive crowd to our booth and winning a prestigious award for the second year in a row.
“Last year, we introduced our Smart Enterprise approach to helping companies work more efficiently,” said Ram Menghani, vice president of product management and development, NEC North America. “This year, we demonstrated how our Smart Enterprise solutions are making a difference in all parts of our customers’ organizations, from the reception area and data center, through other areas like customer care centers and conference rooms, along with mobility solutions that enable seamless communications from any location.”
Showcasing the SMART Enterprise
On the show floor, visitors enjoyed a tour of the SMART Enterprise. Our display represented different departments within a company, highlighting how NEC solutions, such as UNIVERGE 3C and UNIVERGE BLUE, help unite every area of a business.
Examples of what visitors experienced:
Our SMART Receptionist, a touch-screen that allows someone to work remotely while managing the lobby, greeted guests in the reception area. Security protocols then went into effect as visitors were screened by one of our biometrics solutions.
A jaunt to the SMART Conference Room allowed visitors to work at individual stations, such as laptops or tablets, while seamlessly sharing information (even across several rooms or locations).
The SMART Customer Care Center displayed how UNIVERGE BLUE’s multi-channel interaction – voice, email, chat, video and voicemail, remote agent support, and analytics in the cloud – improves customer service and productivity.
UNIVERGE BLUE Wins Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)/Hybrid RFP Award
Each year Enterprise Connect holds a mock request for proposal (RFP) session. Every vendor that submits a response is required to answer questions related to their solution’s architecture, features, and total cost of ownership over a five-year period.
NEC was awarded the highest overall score in the annual UCaaS/Hybrid mock RFP session for the second year in a row when NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services UCaaS solution was selected as Top Cloud Solution with Lowest Total Cost Ownership.
“NEC has consistently ranked at or near the top in delivering value to its customers,” said Menghani, “and the back-to-back, top-mark results from this mock RFP analysis further validates the value of an NEC solution.”
It was a lively panel featuring NEC and execs from Google, Cisco, Mitel, Microsoft, Avaya, and Unify.
“The communications market is changing aggressively,” Menghani said during the summit. “Having a combined infrastructure of UC and IT plays a very important role because they go hand and hand. It’s a wonderful benefit.”
Other featured speakers at this year’s Enterprise Connect included:
Gail Kasek, senior manager of SMB Product Management, hosting the breakout panel, “Your Next Endpoint Deployment: Getting to Specs and Costs”
Kurt Jacobs, director of Internet of Things solutions at NEC Enterprise Communication Technologies, featured in the panel, “Disruptor Panel: Internet of Things and Enterprise Communications: Is Convergence Coming?”
NEC customer Steve Molander, chief information officer of Frandsen Financial Corporation, as a panelist for the “Driving End User Adoption for UC” session
NEC customer Roger Bruszewski, vice president for finance and administration at Millersville University of Pennsylvania, featured in the “EC Summit: Is There a New Model for Enterprise Communications and Collaboration?”
“When looking for an enterprise communication solution,” Bruszewski said to his audience, “there are plenty of vendors out there. However, you don’t want just a vendor. You want to find a partner who will take time to understand your needs and thoughtfully integrate their solutions within your company.”
Thank you to everyone who visited us during Enterprise Connect 2016 – our customers, partners, consultants, analysts, and media. We look forward to connecting with you again next year as we continue to evolve the SMART Enterprise.