Celebrating 25 Years Championing The NEC Masters

Advancing human potential is engrained into NEC’s corporate culture. We have a rich and established legacy of contributing to society as a whole. Since the company was founded in 1899, our commitment to innovation has resulted in many socially beneficial firsts aimed at improving the way people live, work and communicate.

Creating social worth by helping people to live richer, more fulfilling lives is even clearly conveyed by our company’s principal brand – Orchestrating a brighter world.

NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters 2018NEC’s involvement with the International Tennis Federation’s Wheelchair Tennis Master also exemplifies the company’s dedication to advancing human potential.

Since this sporting event’s inception in 1994, NEC has been the title sponsor of the Wheelchair Tennis Masters and has worked enthusiastically with organizers, players and supporters to champion the event.

From November 28 through December 2 and for the first time at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Florida, the International Tennis Federation’s season-ending championship for the world’s top singles on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour will take place. The top eight men’s and women’s singles players and the top six quad singles players will compete.

Join us in celebrating 25 years championing The NEC Masters and the accomplishments of the event’s gifted athletes.

Explore this inspiring sporting event with videos, images, a brief history of NEC involvement and so much more here.

Exploring the Diverse World of Biometrics at AFIS 2018

Our 32nd Annual AFIS Internet Users Conference, held in Reston, VA, was a highly successful event. It brought together professionals from around the globe, and with its proximity to our nation’s capital, we were pleased to host a number of our Federal clients as well. Together, we explored opportunities and issues impacting the public safety and law enforcement community in the near and long term future. In this time of digital transformation, attendees learned more about new techniques in forensics, experienced the latest in identification technology solutions, and how biometrics and AI can help provide a more secure, convenient and frictionless experiences for all of us.

This year’s conference was enhanced by dynamic speakers from U.S. and international law enforcement agencies (e.g. Toronto Police Services) and U.S. Federal government agencies discussing their use of biometrics and analytics technologies in meeting their challenges and success stories.

Our keynote speaker, none other than Secretary Tom Ridge, the First Secretary of U.S. Department of Homeland Security and former Governor of Pennsylvania, kicked off the three-day event discussing the evolution of our country’s security profile, the role technology plays in securing our borders, and the trends impacting local, regional and state public safety officers and investigators.

In parallel, NEC showcased its latest identification technologies that are helping federal, state and local agencies with new ways to solve crimes, predict threats, capture data, improve public safety and security. Some of the highlights include:

  • Interactive expertly guided tenprint workshops with hands-on experience with NEC’s Integra-ID® iBW, the latest in fingerprint technology processing
  • eGate Solution for Airport and NeoFace® Express showed how frictionless identification can simplify and enhance a passengers experience while increasing security
  • NEC Enhanced Video Analytics (EVA) represents the latest biometric and video analytics technology allowing for instant detection, identification and tracking of suspicious individuals in a crowd
  • NeoFace® Reveal and SmartScan exhibits gave an up-close and personal encounter for many AFIS Internet members as they transition to facial recognition disciplines in addition to fingerprint and tenprint identification work

One of the highlights of the conference is the opportunity to network and socialize with other like-minded professionals who are facing the same issues and daily challenges. The Winery at Bull Run was a unique venue that provided a fun atmosphere of comradery for our two groups!

The conference closed with the 2018 AFIS Awards Banquet. This was a time to recognize the newly elected AFIS Internet, Inc. Executive Board and to honor recipients of the AFIS Internet 2018 “Biometric Hit of the Year Award.” Deputy Norman Kandil with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office was recognized for his use of the new Facial Recognition program on a theft case that not only resulted in the arrest of the unknown suspect; it also took the Detective down an unknown path that ultimately lead to the conviction and sentencing of two additional suspects. Hector Hernandez with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office received the award for his work as a Latent Print Examiner on a human smuggling transport case resulting in the death of 10 immigrants. Other agencies were unable to identify the tenth victim, but Hector was able to get an impressive Print (Finger) hit to positively identify the last victim. Congratulations to all, with our sincere gratitude for your service!

I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the AFIS Internet Board and our host agencies, the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Forensic Science, for their dedication and tireless efforts in organizing this conference.

This year’s AFIS Executive Board, Host Agencies and volunteers did a fantastic job of providing relevant topics, with outstanding speakers who engaged, educated and inspired us.

We now look forward to 2019 and hope you will plan to join us next August 25-28 in Scottsdale, AZ. Meanwhile, you can check out or relive the excitement by viewing our photo gallery or our AFIS 2018 recap video.

AFIS Internet Conference 2018

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Don’t Unplug That Server! Fault-Tolerant Streaming With ClearCaster

Learn why pulling the plug doesn’t stop streaming with the Wowza ClearCaster appliance.

Recently, I was supporting our CEO, Dave Stubenvoll, by providing an onsite customer demonstration of the Wowza ClearCaster™ appliance. Suddenly, right in the middle of our session, Dave intentionally pulled the 120-volt power cord from the unit.

While maintaining composure, on the inside, I was freaking out! In my mind, I screamed, “Dave, why would you do that?!”

What I didn’t yet realize was that the Wowza ClearCaster device is designed to automatically resume streaming when power is restored. This incident, while terrifying, actually showcased the resiliency of our ClearCaster hardware, and how it can consistently recover from a power outage.

The Fault-Tolerant Server Keeps Going, and Going…

In most instances, removing power—or disrupting a physical server in any capacity—is a very bad idea. Candidly, even having witnessed the ability of our branded hardware to recover from loss of power, the idea of showing that off in an on-site demo makes me a little nervous. Most of us in the industry shy away from “messing around” with a server once it’s up and running.

My friend, Richie Murray with Bridge Digital, would certainly disagree with me. Over a period of months, I had been running into Richie at various industry events, where he kept trying to get me excited me about a “fault-tolerant server” that he was convinced would be perfect for streaming. He claimed to have this device that would “keep on going” when any primary component became compromised during operation.

It sounded like a great idea, but I wasn’t sold. Prior to working with ClearCaster, I’ve worked with people all over the world, in every aspect of the industry, and have never encountered a situation where a media server could be compromised, yet “keep on going.”

Video streaming is complex and resource-intensive. The thought of a server maintaining a transcoding and packaging workflow—to a maximum scale—while losing a hard disk, power supply or motherboard component sounded very far-fetched to me. But then again, Richie is a stand-up guy, and I realized he may be onto something.

I agreed to meet with Richie and his team to help them set up a test server. We established a simple transcoding workflow, using Wowza Streaming Engine™ media server software, and commenced testing the fault-tolerance of their device.

The NEC Express 5800 fault-tolerant server is a 2RU device that is essentially two servers in one box. Every component of the device is perfectly replicated by a accompanying, redundant spare, resulting in two functioning, logical sections that operate as one. Interestingly, there’s no advanced configuration required, since it looks and feels like a single server—with the key difference that you can physically remove half of the server hardware while your video streaming workflow is running, and it doesn’t skip a beat.

Impressed, but not convinced, I decided to up up the ante. I thought perhaps we got lucky with the fault-tolerant server handing a simple single-stream workflow; what will it do under a “real” video-streaming workload?

Requesting time on the server, I scheduled another session to configure several internal source streams using the Wowza StreamPublisher. I also made sure the central processing unit (CPU), network and memory were all up to around 80 percent utilization, tasked with recording (MP4 and nDVR), heavy transcoding, and HTTP packaging into HLS and DASH. With the server under heavy load, I called Richie (snickering to myself) and asked him to compromise the device.

It didn’t skip a beat.

Redundant Streaming Workflows, Simplified

I don’t know how they did it, but NEC has built a device that will, in my opinion, function as an optimal solution to bolster an on-premise media server deployment where a single point of failure is a risk. Having helped countless Wowza users design redundant workflows, this architecture is perfect for a situation when multiple servers are not practical, but where a redundant server is required.

What I like even more about this is the simplicity. The setup is exactly the same as a single server, but again, with the fault-tolerance engineered into the hardware itself.

If you’re considering an on-premise deployment; have concern over a single-server point of failure; and don’t have the experience, time or resources to build out an elaborate failover workflow, consider the NEC solution, available from a Bridge Digital. Installing Wowza Streaming Engine was simple, and the outcome was exactly as expected.

With plenty of resources for a standard streaming deployment, this is a fantastic hardware solution. Take it from me: I tried really hard to break it, using all the Wowza tricks in the book, and I failed miserably. Can’t ask for much more than that!

Tim Dougherty is the Director of Solution Engineering at Wowza Media Systems, based in Golden, Colo. A user technology expert, with more than 20 years of experience in IT, network administration, video production, and project/program management, Tim serves Wowza by helping customers visualize and integrate effective streaming media solutions.

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RESOLVE Plus 2018 Conference

In late August, NEC’s annual RESOLVE Plus Conference took place at NEC Corporation of America’s (NEC) headquarters in Irving, TX. NEC’s RESOLVE Plus (Remote Engineering Support of Large Volume End-users) is a subscription program for end users with at least 20,000 end points which provides direct access to NEC’s National Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) for engineering support plus complete software support coverage for NEC platform software and applications through Software Assurance (SWA). The conference brings together members of the program to discuss their existing solutions and NEC’s overall technology offerings portfolio.

RESOLVE Plus members from Vanderbilt University, Tift Regional Health System, JPS Health Network, Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, and the Department of Veteran Affairs attended the two-day gathering. The conference agenda emphasized administration of various NEC applications currently running at customer sites in an effort to demonstrate how to increase efficiency. Members were provided expert technical insights on the latest software releases and enhancements leveraging NEC’s application technology to increase work productivity. Additional presentations of particular interest included: NEC Product Roadmaps, an overview of the UNIVERGE SV9500, and NEC’s IT offerings.

The RESOLVE Plus Conference is also an opportunity for members to network, exchange and share new ideas around product implementation and use. Marcus Newman, Manager of Network Services at Vanderbilt University, who values the networking opportunity that the RESOLVE Plus Conference offers, commented, “It is always good to get in a face-to-face setting to hear about challenges experienced by other large customers and how they were resolved, plus discuss our own.” Discussing NEC solutions and the design implementation at other sites provides insights on how to better utilize NEC’s technology and make it more efficient.  Marcus added, “The direct interaction with the SWA team, NTAC managers and staff, and product managers helps build relationships that have been very beneficial to us in the past.”

This sentiment was echoed by Walter Niedhammer, Voice Network Team Lead at JPS Health Network, when he affirmed, “The NEC RESOLVE Plus conference provides an opportunity for us to communicate directly with NEC and other top level customers. But more importantly, NEC RESOLVE is a unique relationship that allows us to give and receive direct information and feedback on current solutions, to hear about new products and offerings, and to provide our input on what the group feels would be beneficial to all.”

While NEC strives to make the two-day conference informative and worthwhile to the RESOLVE Community, we also like to have a little fun! Watching the Texas Rangers take on the LA Dodgers Global Life Park in Arlington was the perfect way to relax and network. To learn more about the value NEC offers with RESOLVE Plus Program, fill out the form below.

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With Stadium Facial Recognition, The Fan Experience is #1

Fans crowd into stadiums to enjoy their favorites – from music to theatre to sports. The venue is expected to provide a secure, positive experience. If not, the damage to the tour, the sports club or the venue can be undeniable. According to the 2017 J.D. Power Fan Experience survey, fans are looking for the venues and teams that will offer them the best fan experience for their dollar.

The study has identified 10 key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive fan loyalty and satisfaction. When stadiums and teams rank well and all 10 KPIs are met, spending is directly impacted, often increasing as much as 90%.

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Fans are asked to evaluate their experience based on:

  • Ticket purchase
  • Arriving and departing the stadium
  • Security and ushers
  • Game experience
  • Souvenirs and merchandise

Venues and teams want to give their fans a positive, memorable experience, exceptional customer service and security, even among thousands of other fans. Facial recognition could create a more effortless and exciting fan experience.

With facial recognition and a unified biometric key, a frictionless and personalized fan experience can increase loyalty and spending.

Unified Biometric Key Personalizes the Fan Experience

Retail is not the only market that seeks to build customer loyalty. Advanced recognition technology allows each individual to use their face as a unified biometric key to build a frictionless and personalized fan experience. A unified biometric key can help stadium staff provide better customer service through:

Cut Down on Line Times

Fans judge their stadium and team experience by the amount of time waiting in line at an arena. When an individual has to stand in line to enter the venue, purchase concessions or merchandise, they become frustrated while missing out on the event they came to see. With advanced recognition systems, a fan’s face is the unified biometric key to unlocking the door to a more positive experience.

Facial recognition creates frictionless event entry, reduces queues and allows fans to “pay with their face.” Intelligent customized displays can make suggestions in the concession or souvenir area dependent on previous fan activity. “Facial loyalty” through self-ordering kiosks can also make recommendations based on past food orders for faster decision-making. Guests can then pick up the item and pay for it, often without pulling out a wallet, in one quick encounter.

Watch: Benefits of Face-Based Loyalty Program in Restaurants

Get VIP Treatment

After loyal fans have been identified in the facial recognition system and created their own unified biometric key, stadium sales staff and ushers will be able to provide true VIP treatment. The season-ticket holder, for example, can be welcomed at the season ticket door, allowed entrance into VIP clubs, provided with birthday or anniversary greetings or otherwise treated with familiarity. Guest services will be able to quickly locate a dedicated fan who spends thousands of dollars at the venue and offer them a preferential personalized experience.

Fans can also include their family in the VIP experience. Paying by face, for example, can be extended to family members who wish to be included on the same credit card. With a unified biometric key, guest services can create differentiation in the fan experience.

See how Your Face Makes the Food Ordering Experience Easier

Build Loyalty with 5 Star Service… Even When the Team is Losing

Because the fan experience matters, the unique unified biometric key can be used to build fan loyalty— even when their favorite team is losing. Some stadiums are already experimenting with facial recognition as a unified biometric key, creating a positive, frictionless fan experience. Analytics captured by the advanced recognition technology allows the stadium to target marketing messages and raise alerts based upon previous encounters with the fan.

As an award-winning leading facial recognition provider for four consecutive years, NEC’s facial recognition technology has achieved the highest performance evaluation from the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) by:

NEC’s NeoFace® Express is the industry standard for using facial recognition to transform any hospitality experience that involves large groups of people. Adding NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems to the existing venue security system allows fans a #1 secure, positive and personalized experience.

For more information on NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems, such as NeoFace® Express, click here.

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