Latest Moves in UC Landscape Reinforce Need for Customer Choice

Market disruptors are commonplace in the unified communications (UC) industry, particularly over the past decade. We’ve seen the advent of BYOD, demand for more mobility, a plethora of new apps, better efficiencies through integrated technology, as well as an ever-increasing movement to the cloud. The industry is evolving due to consolidations, mergers and acquisitions and the emergence of new niche players. The latest announcement by Mitel that it’s going private and accelerating its move to the cloud adds yet another element to the competitive landscape.

With this latest move, Mitel is signaling a focus on growing its cloud business. Though the company states that it will still offer on-premises options for now, it’s easy to assume that less R&D will be focused on that line of business going forward. Fewer choices will be available, especially for customers that are not ready or interested in moving to the cloud at this time. Channel partners selling both on-premises and cloud solutions could also be negatively impacted.

UC customers benefit more by having options, be it cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premises, depending on their current business situation. A provider that can optimize the technology already in place, while helping to create an effective ongoing UC strategy, is more important than ever.

History of Understanding Customers’ Needs

NEC has demonstrated an ability for knowing what customers need when they need it and bringing value to help improve their businesses. We pride ourselves on giving customers options. Throughout our nearly 120-year history, NEC has proven to be much more than a voice communications and UC provider. Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan noted in the 2016 Enterprise Communications Transformation Strategies Company of the Year Award , “As organizations seek business transformation, they often wish to upgrade or implement their networks and IT infrastructure for integration with business systems and processes, as well as communications systems.”

Frost & Sullivan pointed specifically to NEC’s Smart Enterprise strategy when recognizing the company for this award. The Smart Enterprise approach brings together communications, networking and IT solutions to help people work and communicate better.

NEC’s approach is not to combine disparate components. Instead, we tap into our services-based offerings of cloud UC, analytics, biometrics, IaaS and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies to design communications and IT solutions that meet on-demand requirements. Our broad portfolio brings the agility, flexibility and efficiency required for business transformation. A wide range of technologies and services helps us create solutions that address customers’ current and future business needs and challenges by driving safety, security and operational efficiency. Our competitors really can’t offer that range of capabilities.

Additionally, here in the U.S., we have NEC Financial Services which delivers extraordinarily customizable leasing structures to customers nationwide. This allows customers to enjoy the benefits of an on-premises solution while taking advantage of the OPEX financial model which is the same as a cloud solution.

It’s a Matter of Choice

Each organization has its own requirements and aren’t easily configured into a “one size fits all” mold. They want options, and NEC has a track record of offering customers more choices. When moving to new UC solutions, customers benefit from being able to re-use or add value to their existing investments in communications technology. We can assist by offering on-premises, cloud or hybrid solutions. Our vast portfolio of solutions enables us to offer broader solutions to solve both IT and communications challenges.

Technology will continue to evolve. NEC has shown throughout our history that we have the capability of understanding customers’ needs and evolving our solutions to meet those needs.

Want to know more? Download this eBook for more on how NEC can help you.

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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.

Smart Enterprise

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2017 Emergency Assistance and Relief Program

Hurricane Harvey has left a path of destruction along the southern parts of Texas and Louisiana. There are currently major fires ongoing in the majority of the northwestern states and California that are devastating thousands of acres along with many towns. Hurricane Irma has already wreaked havoc on the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and the projections indicate similar destruction potential for Florida and the Southeast. NEC has many customers, as well as employees and Channel Partners in these affected areas. Our hearts and deepest sympathies are with the families and victims of these devastating natural disasters.

NEC has a sincere desire to help support businesses that have been damaged or destroyed by these devastating storms and fires. To assist affected customers and channel partners, NEC is implementing the 2017 Emergency Assistance and Relief Program.

This Program is designed to help our customers and channel partners recover as quickly and completely as possible. NEC understands that when your communications systems are down, your business shuts down. It is very important to get them up and running as quickly as possible.

The Program offers businesses with damaged communications and data center (servers & storage) systems in declared Emergency and Major Disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) special financing, payment terms, a technical support hotline, and select waived implementation fees.

For a customer or channel partner to qualify for NEC’s 2017 Emergency Assistance and Relief Program, they must be located in a county in the declared Emergency Disaster area and replacing equipment damaged on or after August 1, 2017. To confirm if you are in an area (county) that qualifies for this program, please refer to the Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Declarations web page of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security web site. To verify individual addresses, please refer to the Disaster Assistance.Gov web site.

Also, a great interim solution, as well as long term option, is NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services to get you immediately connected. A softphone can easily be loaded onto your mobile device until you can get your on-premises solution back up and running. Through this assistance program, NEC is waiving implementation/activation fees on UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services for disaster affected customers.

In addition to NEC’s 2017 Emergency Assistance and Relief Program, we remind you that your acquisition of new equipment and/or software should qualify for the Section 179 deduction. Section 179 can provide you with significant tax relief for this 2017 tax year. To learn more and calculate your potential deduction savings, refer to – Section179.org.

NEC is aware of the difficult times ahead and we hope that this Program will help with your recovery and rebuilding efforts, and make the process a little easier. Again, our hearts and deepest sympathies are with those affected and we want you to know that we are here to help in any way that we can!

Here are some links to resources that may be of help:
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
FEMA Hurricane Irma
Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Declarations
DisasterAssistance.Gov
Disaster Recovery Center Locator
FEMA Individual Disaster Assistance
FEMA Emergency Management Agencies Information
Ready.Gov – Plan Ahead for Disasters
Please reach out to us if you have any questions or if we can be of any assistance.

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Was your business affected by one of the recent storms or fires? Please let us know by filling out the form, and we’ll contact you.