First Tee Golf Clinic Drives Home Fun, Sportsmanship at Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic Tour Event

NECToday #blog details the great fun we had with @FirstTeeDallas at the @VOATexasLPGA last weekend Click To TweetAt NEC Corporation of America we pride ourselves not only on the technology and solutions we sell, but also on the volunteer work we do in the communities where we live and work.

From promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education to encouraging community well-being and safe, healthy environments for our kids, NEC strives to make a difference in our world. It’s all part of our brand message, “Orchestrating a brighter world.”

And often times, the work is just plain fun.

This past weekend, in conjunction with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and the Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic in The Colony, Texas, the team and I were excited and proud to host about 60 kids from The First Tee of Greater Dallas for an annual golf clinic. This fantastic international youth development organization teaches golf skills to kids from all socioeconomic backgrounds while reinforcing core values like integrity, respect and perseverance. The program reaches more than 5 million kids annually and offers programs in all 50 states.

Our group on May 5th in The Colony consisted of girls and boys alike, who were split evenly into three groups. Each group rotated to different stations teaching skills from driving to chipping and putting to target practice. Program Administrator Katie Harris and her staff made the morning fun, educational and exciting for the kids, all of whom looked like they were having a blast while on their best behavior.

LPGA player Sandra Gal of Germany speaks to a group of youth golfers at The First Tee of Greater Dallas’ golf clinic at the VOA LPGA Texas Classic in The Colony.

Even better, we were treated to some skills lessons, exhibitions and a Q&A with a couple of real, professional golfers, including Germany’s Sandra Gal, as well as Plano native and local pro instructor Natasha Lee.

Sandra started playing golf at age 6 and learned from parents who were already avid golfers. Natasha, on the other hand, discovered the game at 15 and has never looked back. Both women exhibit the discipline, patience and skill required to become great at golf. They also exhibit many other important core values, like respect, courtesy, integrity, sportsmanship and responsibility.

I spoke with two parents who approached me and told me they wanted me to know that this clinic “makes a difference” in the community and particularly in their lives and their daughters’ lives. Their two daughters had just started getting interested in golf last year at this time. They both attended the NEC clinic at the 2017 VOA LPGA Texas Shootout and are now hooked on golf. These two parents were even able to organize a middle school team at their daughters’ school and they have been actively enjoying the sport ever since. They were back again this year and said they wouldn’t miss it.

I also talked to one parent who said her child had nearly given up on the game of golf just prior to our clinic at the 2017 VOA LPGA Texas Shootout in Irving. Meeting the LPGA golfers and First Tee of Greater Dallas instructors renewed her ex

LPGA player Sandra Gal of Germany signs autographs for youth participants in the May 5 golf clinic.

citement, and she’s been back in the swing of things ever since. It’s been great to be associated with The First Tee and positively impact young people’s lives with opportunities they might not get elsewhere.

If you have questions about The First Tee as an organization, I highly encourage you to visit their main web site at www.thefirsttee.org. There you’ll be able to find a local chapter (there are roughly 1,200 of them), learn about the group’s nine core values and learn how you or your company can get involved.

Likewise, if you have questions about NEC and our status as Official Technology Partner of the LPGA, just head over to our LPGA web page at lpga.nec.com. There you can check out the upcoming event schedule and see some of the creative marketing assets we’ve created as part of our partnership.

The LPGA is growing more exciting with each event, and we are proud to provide the data infrastructure, analytics and security solutions behind the scenes that ultimately help fans have an enjoyable experience.

I hope we see you at one of the upcoming tournaments!

Announcing NEC’s New LPGA Microsite

NEC Corporation of America, Official Technology Sponsor of the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association), proudly announces the launch of our new LPGA-focused microsite. NEC is committed to supporting the LPGA organization in its mission to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for its players, guests and tournament staff. With the creation of this dedicated site, NEC brings together specific tournament participation and support information, and provides you with direct access to ongoing NEC-relevant LPGA tour and player updates, all located in one website, hosted at http://lpga.nec.com.

Especially designed for golf enthusiasts, this NEC/ LPGA microsite is a one-stop location for you to:

  • Reference the LPGA Event Calendar and its tournament information
  • Follow our NEC/ LPGA blog content, tournament by tournament, as we share results, observations and player information from the NEC-sponsored LPGA events
  • Check out NEC’s (facial recognition) technology in action at select events, and the various ways NEC’s smart enterprise solutions are helping to power the LPGA this year
  • View the expanding gallery of NEC/ LPGA photo images, tournament and technology videos, as well as NEC’s event marketing media throughout the season
  • See what’s happening, and connect with us on our Social Media outlets
  • Explore NEC’s powerful Advanced Recognition Solutions, as well as Unified Communications and Infrastructure solutions, and their applications to real-life smart enterprise situations

The new NEC/ LPGA web site is a great place to check out the expanding use of facial recognition for heightened security at professional Sporting Events.

For example: For the upcoming Founders Cup event in Phoenix Arizona, and also for the ANA Inspiration tournament, NEC technology will be at the Front Entrance, strengthening entry security with NEC EVA (Enhanced Video Analytics) facial recognition– screening analytics that compare faces to an LPGA Watch List, to safeguard the LPGA fan experience. This technology also provides important fan metrics, such as age, gender and number of attendees at the event, invaluable information to assist the LPGA in their goal of elevating the fan experience and creating enjoyable, memorable events.

Additionally, in response to player’s requests for increased locker room access control, NEC’s NeoFace Express will be boosting security in the Player’s area by providing real-time screening for LPGA-approved personnel.

Exciting things are happening at NEC, so come join us now in the new NEC LPGA microsite, for the latest in event information and cutting edge NEC technology!

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Join NEC at Enterprise Connect 2018: Enabling the Smart Enterprise to Thrive

The annual Enterprise Connect event attracts communications and IT professionals from around the world to delve into the newest technologies, share best practices, sample new ideas, and learn firsthand from expert insight. This year, Enterprise Connect 2018 in Orlando presents a chance to discover something new that could improve your organization’s operations, and potentially increase business opportunities as well.

For the past 20+ years, NEC has brought its biggest and brightest ideas to the conference and expo. We’ve always found this event to be an excellent opportunity to meet with our customers, prospects and partners and participate in conversations and idea exchanges in a more personal way.

Driving Digital Transformation

In 2018, NEC will be featuring an impressive display of its solutions for the Smart Enterprise. Current strategic business disruptors are driving digital transformation for today’s organizations—regardless of size or region. To help organizations thrive in this environment of change, NEC offers Smart Enterprise, a comprehensive approach to safety, security, efficiency and reliability—by integrating NEC’s own unique mix of technologies and solutions. We offer something that no other competitor can bring to the table.

Visitors to NEC’s expo booth #913 will see firsthand how digital transformation and advanced approaches for delivering and managing communications and IT services can help Smart Enterprises thrive.

A sampling of this year’s featured solutions includes:
• NEC’s industry-leading integrated IT and unified communications solutions
• Software Defined Networking (SDN) for secure, automated QoS
• Unique use of facial recognition for safety and security as well as demographics capture and analytics
• Workflow optimization through a common database and services shared amongst multiple software systems
• Self-service kiosks for better efficiency and improved customer service
• A human “in-the-loop” path to efficient and reliable Internet of Things (IoT) solutions
• Vertical-focused solutions designed for the specific needs of industries, including healthcare, government, hospitality and more. Workflow optimization, facial recognition and attendant solutions for healthcare will be highlighted in the booth, but similar methodologies can be used in other verticals as well

Solving Customers’ Biggest Headaches

Attendees will also learn how our customers are discovering ways to solve their most pressing pain points through NEC’s Smart Enterprise approach, such as:
• Tackling inefficient workflows and processes—both of which can have a negative effect on the overall customer experience
Reducing business disruptions related to technology and network issues
• Managing disparate databases across the enterprise and through partners
• Coping with insecure networks in the face of expanded cyber attacks
• Ensuring the physical safety of employees and customers alike

To learn more about how NEC customers are embracing Smart Enterprise solutions in their organizations, check out these case studies:


 

NEC Speakers at Enterprise Connect 2018

In addition to the Smart Enterprise experience in our booth, NEC speakers will be featured in several conference sessions. We invite you join us during the following time slots.

GENERAL SESSION
Thursday, March 15 | 10:15 am – 11:15 am
Resiliency, Disaster Recovery & Emergency Communications: New Threats, New Ways to Prepare
Sam Safa, Sr. Solutions Development Manager, of NEC Corporation of America, will join a roundtable of industry experts.

BREAKOUT SESSIONS

Wednesday, March 14 | 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm
Cloud Tradeoffs: Customization vs. Off-the-Shelf, Cost vs. Agility
JP Najar, Sr. Solutions Architect – Cloud, NEC Corporation of America, will participate in a roundtable discussion with vendor representatives.

CUSTOMER CASE STUDY SESSION:
Wednesday, March 14 | 4:00 pm – 4:45 pm
Real-World Enterprise Speech Tech Use Cases
This session features several use cases, including one from NEC customer Brad Hazelbaker, Network & Telecommunications Manager, of St. Elizabeth’s Healthcare who will also participate in the roundtable discussion.

We’re counting down the days until the Enterprise Connect conference kicks off on March 12. To save $500 off a full conference pass or get a FREE Expo Plus Pass, simply register through NEC’s Enterprise Connect web page and enter discount code: NEC.
We look forward to seeing you there!

For More Information
If you are interested in learning more about NEC Smart Enterprise solutions or would like to set up a meeting with an NEC expert during Enterprise Connect, please fill out and submit the following form. More information about attending Enterprise Connect is available here.

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Keeping Your Cool When Severe Weather Hits

Extreme weather events have caused massive destruction across North America in recent months. In early 2018, the eastern part of the U.S. experienced a “bomb cyclone” consisting of severe cold temperatures, massive amounts of snow and lots of misery. Last summer and early fall, the Gulf Coast and Caribbean were hard hit by hurricanes during one of the most severe tropical storm seasons in years. Parts of Puerto Rico still are struggling to even get the power back on and other services.

Weather wreaks havoc not only on daily life, but disrupts businesses as well. Lack of power, paralyzed transportation and infrastructure damage have a definite impact on “business as usual.” Over the past several years, the Ponemon Institute (https://www.ponemon.org/), which conducts independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy, has launched three studies since 2010 on the cost of data center downtime. In its latest study (2016), the research shows that the average cost of a data center outage was $740,000, an increase of 38% since the first study in 2010.

5 Reasons You Can’t Ignore the Private Cloud Anymore - Read the Free EbookThe cost of one outage can be measured in many ways—loss of revenue and productivity, damage to an organization’s reputation in the market, customer churn and loss of future opportunities. Depending on the timing and duration of an outage, some industries may be more adversely affected than others. Think about a resort hotel that is unable to book rooms online during the height of the tourist season. Potential customers quickly lose patience and head to the competition or give up entirely. Or consider a transportation organization—outages cause inconvenience for passengers and loss of revenue for carriers, but might be a safety concern as well.

Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Two elements of business planning, business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), are especially critical during a disaster or outage. Continued business operations depend on an organization’s ability to replicate its systems and data quickly. The ability to plan ahead and adapt during a crisis to restore business operations — without long-term or permanent negative effects — are crucial to an organization’s success. Business continuity goes beyond staying up and running during a disaster. It also means keeping all parts of the business running effectively and efficiently, not just the technology systems.

It’s important to keep a BCDR plan updated as IT changes occur, such as when new applications are added, new technologies become available, or when moving applications to the cloud, for example. By keeping the BCDR plan aligned with the business plans, the IT team won’t be caught off guard when an outage occurs.

Fortunately, technology provides solutions that help mitigate the effects of a disaster, natural or otherwise, and keep businesses online.

Keeping Data Center Operations Humming

For years it’s been a common practice for companies to maintain backup copies of data at an off-site location, usually within a short driving distance of the primary data center. While this practice works for many outage situations, a natural disaster such as a snowstorm, earthquake or mud slide could have a widespread geographic impact that affects not only the location of the main data center, but the backup location as well.

Deploying a cloud solution mitigates that disaster scenario. Cloud-based services support an organization’s ability to plan for disaster recovery and benefit ongoing business continuity. Cloud solutions come in three major deployments—public, private and hybrid. All have pros and cons, depending on the organization’s needs. For instance, private cloud solutions such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provide the elasticity, flexibility and scalability of a public cloud, but can be dedicated to one account, thus providing a more personalized and secure solution.

IaaS solutions offer advantages over a public cloud, including seamless technology upgrades and more control. Advanced compute, storage and network technology can combine in a private cloud offering such as IaaS, but no solution is “one-size-fits-all.” It’s important to work with a service provider who can create a solution that fits the organization. IaaS lends itself to customization that caters to the unique needs of an organization.

The advantages of a private cloud are numerous:

  • Lower costs than maintaining a private data center
  • Maintain standards of regulatory compliance
  • Access to the latest technologies making it easier to stay current
  • More control than a public cloud, including a more secure solution
  • Standard billing so there are no “surprises”
  • Less burden on internal IT teams and staff

During a natural disaster, IaaS can be the ideal solution for BCDR. By providing an off-premises, hosted environment, the data center continues to operate from a location far removed from the disaster.  Data is secured and transactions with customers and partners continue without interruption. Fault-tolerant servers  offer five 9s of uptime and scalability.  A grid storage system  helps ensure redundancies to protect a company’s mission-critical data. Using grid storage, a company can replicate its data at an off-site location. During an outage or natural disaster, the master site can be recovered by using the data at the remote site, by means of an Optimized Copy, without having to import backup images.

NEC partner Iron Mountain maintains its National Data Center, located 220 feet below ground in Western Pennsylvania and considered one of the most secure, compliant and energy-efficient data center complexes in the world. As a technology infrastructure provider and part of Iron Mountain’s Data Center Marketplace, NEC is able to provide additional value-added services such as Disaster Recovery as a Service from this secure location.

Learn how NEC teams up with its partner Iron Mountain to provide an IaaS solution housed in one of the most secure locations in the world, the Iron Mountain National Data Center.

Location of the ‘Office’ No Longer Matters

When a weather event or other natural disaster strikes, the ability to enable employees to work from anywhere becomes critical. Working remotely means staff can perform their jobs as seamlessly as if they were in the office, supporting business operations, serving customers, suppliers and partners, and getting their work done.

Cloud-based applications enable employees to keep things running from remote locations. With unified communications and collaboration tools such as softphones, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing, dispersed teams collaborate and work on projects even when the weather outside slows transportation to a crawl. Enabling employees to do their jobs even when they can’t get to the office keeps them safe during dangerous travel conditions as well.

Virtual desktops can be linked through a private network connection to a secure, remote data center far from the bad weather or natural disaster. Best of all, desktops in the cloud look and behave as if they are part of a corporate IT environment. Customers and employees won’t notice a difference in the quality of service.

Software-defined networking (SDN) simplifies network management, proactively addresses network performance and quickly re-routes network traffic as needed—all critical functions during a severe weather occurrence or natural disaster.  An SDN solution centralizes control of the network and automatically monitors and prioritizes network traffic, distributing it according to pre-defined policies and constantly updates network resources and traffic conditions.

When the blizzard, mud slide, earthquake, wildfire or hurricane strikes your location, the right solutions and technology enable business as usual. Consider private cloud solutions when developing your business continuity and disaster recovery plans to help create a safe and secure environment that protects data and applications, and keeps your business running.

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Looking Customer Loyalty Right in the Face

Quick serve restaurant pilots NEC facial recognition technology to enhance the customer experience

Cali Group worked with global technology firm NEC Corporation of America to integrate NEC’s facial recognition technology into its CaliBurger loyalty program. The restaurant chain will use AI-enabled self-ordering kiosks to provide customers the option of immediately activating their loyalty accounts as they approach kiosks using NEC’s NeoFace® facial recognition software, eliminating the need of swiping a card or typing in identifying information.

As shown in the demo video, the loyalty account shows a customer’s favorite historical meal packages, enabling the customer to complete the ordering transaction in a matter of seconds. The kiosk pilot program is now at CaliBurger’s Pasadena location, where the Quick Serve Restaurant chain showcases new technologies developed by its parent company. If customers are pleased with the new ordering experience, the kiosks will be rolled out to CaliBurger’s global locations next year with the additional ability to allow customers to pay using their faces.

"NEC’s face recognition software technology is considered among the world’s most accurate, making it an ideal tool for retailers seeking to provide the best possible customer service and convenience for their customers," said Matt Worley, Vice President, Retail Solutions, NEC Corporation of America. "We are committed to helping Cali Group reinvent the customer experience in the best ways possible, and I encourage anyone attending NRF 2018 to come see a demonstration of the technology in action."

Download our white paper Digitizing the Shopping Journey: Building a Business Model on Never Saying “No”"Face-based loyalty significantly reduces the friction associated with loyalty program registration and use; further, it enables a restaurant chain like CaliBurger to provide a customized, one-on-one interactive experience at the ordering kiosk," said John Miller, Chairman and CEO of Cali Group. "Our goal for 2018 is to replace credit card swipes with face-based payments. Facial recognition is part of our broader strategy to enable the restaurant and retail industries to provide the same kinds of benefits and conveniences in the built world that customers experience with retailers like Amazon in the digital world."

Today, 64% of shoppers want a more fluid in-store experience – personal service without lines or waits. Give customers that kind of experience and 45% are more likely to make a purchase on the spot—even if the price tag is a bit higher.

Michael Jude
Program Manager, Data Analytics
Stratecast and Frost & Sullivan

Cali Group’s new facial recognition self-ordering kiosks will be on display at NRF 2018 | Retail’s Big Show in New York City on January 14-16 in the NEC Booth, #3153.

NEC Corporation of America

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Digitizing the Shopping Journey

Learn how you can level the playing field between brick and mortar commerce and ecommerce by filling out the form to download the white paper.