Arlington Chamber of Commerce Enhances Collaboration with NEC’s Unified Communications Applications

UNIVERGE SV8100, UC for Business help improve staff efficiency and achieve ROI in six months

IRVING, TX, April 1, 2009 — NEC Unified Solutions, Inc. (NEC), a leader in enterprise business communications, today announced that Arlington (Texas) Chamber of Commerce in Texas achieved an approximate six-month return on its unified communications (UC) investment by improving staff collaboration and eliminating service costs using NEC’s UNIVERGE® SV8100 communications server and UC for Business (UCB) productivity software.

“We wanted the productivity enhancements that unified communications applications, such as presence and unified messaging, could bring to our employees,” said Randy Paine, IT manager, Arlington Chamber of Commerce. “The NEC solution, implemented by AIT Technologies, not only upgraded our fax application, but it is also enabling our staff to provide better service to both our members and the Chamber’s other stakeholders.”

In order for the Arlington Chamber to effectively work with the local business community, an outdated and expensive-to-manage voice infrastructure needed replacing. The Chamber turned to NEC’s UNIVERGE SV8100 communications server and UCB in order to streamline its business process and reduce decision latency. Desktop telephony and Microsoft® Outlook® integration simplifies call handling and gives users the ability to manage all communications from their desktop. UCB’s presence capabilities also allow Chamber staff to see coworkers’ availability.

NEC’s UNIVERGE360 vision is evident as the solution enhances many roles within Arlington Chamber, including receptionists and executives. Receptionists at the Chamber are more efficient using UCB’s presence function to look at employees’ statuses, which includes integrated calendaring. By moving the mouse over a person’s name, receptionists can see where the colleague is and their scheduled return time; this approach helps receptionists estimate when callers might receive a call back. Additionally, executives can now automatically route calls to their cell phones when out of the office or use UCB’s unified messaging to receive voice messages via their laptop’s Outlook inbox.

“Arlington Chamber of Commerce plays a key role in the city, and upgrading its technology enables the Chamber to foster a more collaborative working environment with the business community,” said Larry Levenberg, vice president and general manager, National Channel, NEC Unified Solutions. “NEC’s UNIVERGE360 role-based approach allows Arlington Chamber of Commerce to choose the best communications method and technology that fits the role of each individual employee.”

For more information on NEC’s communications solutions, visit www.UNIVERGE360.com.

About NEC Unified Solutions
NEC Unified Solutions helps companies unify their business communications through innovative software, applications, development tools, and services. NEC offers a complete portfolio for unified communications, wireless, voice, data and managed services, as well as systems integration and application development. NEC Unified Solutions serves as the North American communications integration arm of global giant NEC Corporation for Fortune 1000, as well as small to mid-sized businesses in vertical markets such as hospitality, education, government, and healthcare. For more information, visit www.necunified.com.

NEC and UNIVERGE are registered trademarks of NEC Corporation.

About Arlington Chamber of Commerce
The Arlington Chamber is one of the North Texas region’s largest business federations representing more than 1,400 business, trade association, and non-profit organization members, who collectively employ more than 60,000 individuals in Arlington. The Chamber serves as the primary catalyst for Arlington’s economic growth and development, and has become a regional and national leader in the areas of technology based economic development and education and workforce development. For more information, visit www.arlingtontx.com.

About AIT Technologies
Founded in 1998, AIT Technologies has forged over 700 client relationships in North Texas. AIT Technologies maintains on-site inventories for the support of its customer base and a technical staff that receives rigorous factory training from its select group of industry-leading partners. For more information, visit www.go4ait.com.

VoiceCon Recap from NEC

What an exciting week at VoiceCon! NEC was able to demonstrate new solutions such as our UNIVERGE Sphericall for Hospitality (meeting a need for the small- and mid-market hoteliers available April 1) as well as our Interactive Terminal Suite for the DT300 and DT700 IP phones, which will be generally available this quarter.

Here are a few observations from VoiceCon this year.
1. This is the year of video. Every year VoiceCon has a “show within a show” and the focus this year was video. Almost every booth in the show had some form of video capabilities. Polycom showing a new video phone. NEC showed off the UC Collaboration solution. Every where you looked, was the “great video experiment” (according to IDC).

2. The contact center is back!  We had several people come by the booth and ask about our contact center solutions (thanks Doug Hutchinson for your knowledge in this area).  Over the past couple of years it seems contact centers was fading in the background as “unified communications” became the buzz word.  But as people begin to understand that UC is a framework for adding components that enable business processes (an idea that Jeff Kane, NEC president, shared with several media/analysts/consultants and they all agreed), people are again looking at the contact center as one of those components.

3. SIP-trunking is extremely interesting to IT managers this year. Jeff Kane discussed this within NEC after chatting with one of our partners. I also heard this from Nemertes Research.  Nemertes is publishing a report in early summer that highlights several initiatives for the year (they get their information directly from customer surveys) including on premise conferencing solutions (audio and web); mobile device management; and SIP-trunking.

4. Services, services and more services!  This was the theme from almost every analyst and media person we spoke to at the show.  From managed services to cloud/hosted offerings, Paul Lopez did a great job (and a big thanks to Pedro Marquinez also) of sharing the NEC vision for services.

There was much more, but this is a quick summary of a few key topics that were floating around the show and highlighted in sessions. Let me know if you have specific questions or would like more information on a given topic.

Thanks,
NEC Marketing

NEC Introduces Scalable, Software-Based Communications Solution for Hospitality

IP Communications solution for hotels offers feature-rich hospitality functionality with an affordable price tag

IRVING, TX, March 31, 2009 — NEC Unified Solutions, Inc. (NEC), a leading communications solutions integrator, today launched an affordable, pure software-based IP communications solution designed to provide hotels with basic and advanced communication solutions that support hotel staff efficiency and productivity while enabling self-service voice applications to the guests they serve.

UNIVERGE® Sphericall for Hospitality, a 100-percent software-based solution built on the Sphericall enterprise softswitch platform, offers substantial ownership cost savings and productivity benefits. In addition, Sphericall for Hospitality allows for the integration of advanced features seldom made available in an economical and cost-effective communications solution for small- and medium-sized hotels. The solution integrates out-of-the-box with many existing Property Management Systems (PMS) and third-party hospitality in-room telephone handsets providers, and provides a rich, service-oriented architecture to integrate to a broad range of business applications.

“Operators and developers of small- and medium-sized hotels have been asking us for an IP communications solution which does not require new devices, scales to support their changing requirements, can be easily implemented and is easy to manage,” said Jay Krauser, General Manager, Portfolio Management at NEC Unified. “With the introduction of Sphericall for Hospitality, hotels will be able to take advantage of the latest innovations in communications previously unobtainable in an integrated bundle, even in today’s challenging economy.”

VoiceCon Orlando attendees should visit NEC booth No. 609 this week for a look atSphericall for Hospitality and its advanced features for hotel guests, managers and employees. Enhanced guest services include:

  • Self-service wake-up calls in seven languages with snooze option
  • Direct-room dialing
  • Streamlined guest check-in and check-out processes through integration with popular third-party PMS solutions
  • Safety and security features with direct E911 connection from guest rooms
  • Automated notification of hotel management and call recording when emergency calls are made

The solution’s user-friendly and simple-to-manage features for hotel management and staff include:

  • Integrated Unified Communications consisting of:
    • Unified messaging for email, voicemail and fax
    • Click-to-dial calling and conferencing
    • Presence with IM and texting capabilities
  • Customized reporting for room status (through integration with PMS solutions) and wake-up call status
  • Broad support for an array of IP voice solutions, on-property wireless networks and property management systems

Because the UNIVERGE Sphericall for Hospitality communications solution is standards-based software operating on industry-standard servers and IP terminals, hotels can easily expand and reconfigure their communications options as properties grow.

NEC begins accepting orders for Sphericall for Hospitality today. For more information on the hospitality solution, visit www.necunified.com/hospitality. Follow NEC on Twitter @NEC.

About NEC Unified Solutions
NEC Unified Solutions helps companies unify their business communications through innovative software, applications, development tools, and services. NEC offers a complete portfolio for unified communications, wireless, voice, data and managed services, as well as systems integration and application development. NEC Unified Solutions serves as the North American communications integration arm of global giant NEC Corporation for Fortune 1000, as well as small to mid-sized businesses in vertical markets such as hospitality, education, government, and healthcare. For more information, visit www.necunified.com.

Wichita Public Schools Personalize Parent-Teacher Communications Using NEC’s Unified Messaging

UNIVERGE UM8500 helps teachers shorten response times to parents’ queries

IRVING, TX, March 31, 2009 — NEC Unified Solutions, Inc. (NEC), a leading communications solutions integrator, today announced that Wichita Public Schools, a Kansas-based leader in urban education, is benefiting from more personalized parent-teacher communications and higher technology utilization rates thanks in part to UNIVERGE® UM8500 unified messaging.

“Over the years we’ve come to trust NEC as being innovative and more of a partner in our long-term success. In this instance, UM8500 gave us advanced, easy-to-use voicemail integrated with Microsoft ® Outlook®, which makes it a powerful tool that enables a closer relationship between parents and teachers,” said Cathy Barbieri, CIO, Wichita Public Schools. “This solution makes it effortless for our teachers to check their voicemail via email and forward, categorize, save and delete messages with a click of the mouse. As a result, over time, the communication culture here has improved greatly.”

An NEC customer for more than 10 years, Wichita Public Schools is the educational home to nearly 50,000 students and employer of approximately 4,000 teachers, 3,000 support staff members and 240 administrators. Prior to implementing NEC’s UM8500 unified messaging, voicemail usage by teachers at Wichita Public Schools was low or non-existent. Teachers and parents communicated almost exclusively through the school office and some e-mail, and in some cases the lag-time between initial contact and response was lengthy. Today, Wichita Public Schools teachers and administrators receive voicemails directly from parents and other contacts by e-mail, increasing the district’s usage of voice technologies and facilitating a more personal connection between parents and teachers.

Because the district relies heavily on email communication, and considered its previous voicemail system inefficient and difficult to use, NEC recommended UM8500’s unified messaging capabilities to integrate both functions into one solution. Telephony solutions installed at each school in the district allow teachers to have a single-line phone and voicemail in the classroom, which has increased adoption. Additionally, an auto-attendant has been added, which has enabled consistent communications for parents and staff across all of the district’s campuses.

“Unified Communications comes in many forms. The benefit of NEC’s UNIVERGE360 role-based approach is that the customer can choose what makes sense for their organization,” said Don Fiorentino, Vice President of Western Regional Sales, NEC Unified Solutions. “For Wichita Public Schools, this means unified messaging and voicemail that improves communications efficiency between staff, parents and teachers.”

For more information on NEC’s communications solutions, visit www.UNIVERGE360.com.

About NEC Unified Solutions
NEC Unified Solutions helps companies unify their business communications through innovative software, applications, development tools, and services. NEC offers a complete portfolio for unified communications, wireless, voice, data and managed services, as well as systems integration and application development. NEC Unified Solutions serves as the North American communications integration arm of global giant NEC Corporation for Fortune 1000, as well as small to mid-sized businesses in vertical markets such as hospitality, education, government, and healthcare. For more information, visit www.necunified.com.

NEC and UNIVERGE are registered trademarks of NEC Corporation. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

About Wichita Public Schools
Wichita Public Schools, USD 259, is the largest school district in Kansas. There are close to 50,000 full-time students and 8,000 full-time and part-time employees. The district has more than 100 buildings and support facilities and includes K-12 schools, special programs and special schools. Wichita Public Schools parents and staff work together to create a learning environment that is safe, caring and challenging for each student.

Great article from Garry Laxdal of WBM Office Systems

I was reading the latest issue of CrossTalk, a publication for NEC Associates, and ran across this great article from Garry Laxdal, who is the president of NECSI (a leadership council of NEC Associates).  I hope you have a great time reading.