Five Themes from connect:ID 2019

Originally co-founded just six short years ago by the International Biometrics + Identity Association (IBIA) and Science Media Partners, connect:ID aimed to create the world’s preeminent identity technology conference and exposition. This year’s show proves that connect:ID still has mass appeal!

The connect:ID 2019 event, held from April 29 to May 1 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., brought together more than 1,500 attendees and 150 speakers from government, commercial and technical arenas to discuss a wide variety of topics related to identity and related technologies used for recognition, authentication, customer experience, and digital transformation.

A number of overarching themes and topics emerged this year, and I’ve decided to outline the top five or so that I observed.

  1. Collaboration at the federal level was apparent. A fireside chat hosted by IBIA Executive Director Tovah LaDier with two senior program leaders from within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – John Wagner from Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Stacey Fitzmaurice from Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – outlined how they are using facial recognition to create a secure, seamless and consistent experience for travelers moving through our country’s ports of entry and exit. CBP operates the Traveler Verification Service (TVS), a database used to match and authenticate travelers’ facial images as they enter or exit the country, to which TSA will have access for future expansion of facial recognition at security lines for expedited screening. CBP’s Wagner now reports having caught more than 100 imposters attempting to illegally enter the country at U.S. land and air borders. And why shouldn’t TSA have access to this technology that is already proving itself so valuable?
  2. Sensor fusion is the future of customer experience. In his keynote address, NEC Vice President of Technology and Solutions Kris Ranganath discussed the combination of IoT, AI and analytics technologies that will come together to enable digital transformation and create seamless, reliable, more enjoyable, yet still solidly secure customer experiences as we move between two worlds – the cyber realm and the physical realm. This concept of sensor fusion already exists in certain cutting-edge retail and entertainment use case examples, and Mr. Ranganath expects we’ll only see more of this in the future.
  3. Customer journeys are a key theme for driving innovation for international travel and border protection. The vision for this experience is to create a seamless or contactless journey from reservation to destination. Mr. Wagner from CBP referenced in more than one instance the importance of a frictionless traveler journey in solving the border security issue. In a panel on the future of seamless travel, I outlined several customer journeys related to border entry – via air, land and sea – all enabled by facial recognition and sensor fusion. These journeys are not just a dream, they’re becoming reality. Mr. Wagner at one point in the fireside chat posited that someday kiosks may become unnecessary for Global Entry.
  4. Personal data privacy was discussed in more than one session. Nobody disagrees that privacy is paramount, and more than one multi-disciplinary panel of experts at connect:ID agreed. However, how we achieve it at a policy level is still up for broad discussion and debate. In the government panel titled “Perspectives on Privacy: The Rashomon Effect,” panelists including NEC’s Director of Government Relations Brent Bombach offered varying takes on the issue. Our take and hope is that federal legislation will eventually create a consistent regulatory environment so that travelers can move safely and seamlessly through their journeys without fear of their personal data being stolen.  So, as NEC Corporation CEO Takashi Niino previously wrote, NEC will always favor legislation that both protects personal privacy and allows for innovation in the public and commercial sectors. But a variety of state laws currently on the books or in varying stages of proposal promise to ensure a complex regulatory environment where biometrics and data privacy is concerned. Furthermore, a panel of congressional staffers on the main stage seemed to conclude that a federal preemption, or federal legislation that would render state privacy laws related to biometrics moot or unnecessary, is not likely to succeed in 2019.
  5. Innovation was on full display across the connect:ID 2019 expo floor. I’d like to be able to say that it was all in NEC’s booth. Evidence of innovation was actually scattered all across the expo floor. My favorite, however, is a solution based on NEC’s own research and development in optical networks. Intelligent Perimeter Intrusion Detection (iPIDS) works to detect physical border and facility breaches through the use of highly adaptive and responsive fiber-optic sensing and self-modifying machine learning based artificial intelligence. Deployed along a border or around a secure facility, iPIDS can not only tell when something is there, it uses AI to understand the location and source of the vibrations. Deployed as part of a sensor fusion network, iPIDS is one more way that people can feel safe and secure as they go about their daily journeys.

NEC was proud, as always to participate in this year’s connect:ID, and we certainly look forward to the 2020 event and to see where the industry will be in less than a year’s time.

For additional information and to stay up on the latest, follow us on Twitter and check out our NEC Advanced Recognition Systems page online.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure: Datacenter Management Made Easy

Datacenters host the most sophisticated and essential business processes, but are often inefficient and expensive to manage. Made up of storage, servers and networking, IT staff with highly specialized expertise spends much of its time troubleshooting to keep these systems available at all times. Meanwhile, new technology is purchased and integrated into current and legacy systems, creating more complexity and an overwhelmed staff.

Imagine a simple and unified way to merge cloud-like agility and cloud-like costs with the security and reliability of on-premises solutions. NEC’s HyperConverged Infrastructure (HCI), powered by Scale Computing, delivers a more manageable solution in a single appliance, a “datacenter in a box.”

A turnkey solution that offers storage, servers, networking and virtualization, HCI is not a new idea and more than 46% of organizations are planning to purchase by 2020. Read further to understand the complexities of traditional datacenters and how a Hyperconverged Infrastructure addresses these and minimizes the costs.

Complexities of Traditional Datacenters

Disparate Systems are Difficult to Manage

Many factors lead to the purchase of disparate systems in a datacenter, including new IT trends, business-critical applications, virtualization and cloud. With so many specialized systems, IT staff must be skilled and trained on the particulars of managing each system. These separate systems, each with its own server, storage, networking and management requirements, create IT silos and cost more to manage.

Scalability is Inefficient

When a business-critical application or the public cloud requires more storage, the organization may not have a clear picture of current datacenter assets available for use. Purchasing more servers or more storage, without regard for space or current capacity, is inefficient and adds to the complexity in the datacenter environment.

Innovation is Nearly Impossible

If the IT staff is spending most of their day trying to rectify errors, learn the specific elements of managing many different systems and install service updates, they will have little time to create new business solutions. Being proactive is nearly impossible with a staff who is in continual react and repair mode.

Downtime is Expensive

In 2014, Gartner estimated that the average cost of network downtime was $5,600/minute. Increased human involvement in managing a complex environment, especially with specialized infrastructure, also increases the risk of downtime. If a business-critical application is unavailable for an hour, the cost to the organization could be in the millions.

How HCI Solves Datacenter Complexity

Hyperconverged Infrastructure integrates hardware and software into one system. By consolidating and streamlining IT processes, HCI brings the hardware into one rack and one virtualized system that is managed on a single screen. With a single management interface, HCI makes troubleshooting simple and easy, allowing your IT staff to be more proactive and productive.

By creating a more unified and simplified environment, adding capacity to existing infrastructure is seamless, without disruption to any running workloads. Different models and capacities can be used together, in many different combinations, to scale out resources more efficiently.

HCI is more stable, offering redundancy and higher availability than traditional virtualization solutions. NEC also offers the option of Disaster Recovery as a Service, building in advanced security and reliability and virtually eliminating both planned and unplanned downtime.

About NEC’s HyperConverged Infrastructure Solution

As another addition to our Smart Enterprise portfolio, NEC’s HCI runs on NEC’s Express 5800/D120h high-density, dual socket modular server that can host 4 nodes in a single chassis. NEC has also partnered with Scale Computing, a hyperconverged infrastructure company, to power the complete virtualization solution with their HC3 software. This cost-effective single appliance is designed for rapid deployment, ease-of-use, seamless scaling and high performance.

NEC’s HCI solution comes preconfigured and preinstalled from the factory for easy integration into the current datacenter environment. Creating a unified and simplified system, the “datacenter in a box” operates as a redundant and elastic “private cloud,” reducing both complexity and cost.

The initial investment in NEC’s HCI solution is lower than other industry providers because our solution includes all the software, hardware and support at a single price. By eliminating expensive virtualization software licensing fees, organizations can quickly realize the value of NEC’s HCI solution and lower their IT costs.

Make certain you keep up with ever-evolving technology while improving your IT processes! Download our eBook, “Keep Calm and Unify Your IT,” to learn more about HCI. If you would like to speak with an NEC Solutions Expert, please contact us today.

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Power Meets Innovation –
Dr. Angela Merkel Visits NEC

German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, Forbes magazine’s “Most Powerful Woman in the World” eight years running and a driving force behind Europe’s alternative energy reform, visited NEC Corporation in Tokyo this month. Her purpose was to learn firsthand about NEC’s vision for the future in our newly established co-creation space called the “NEC Future Creation Hub.”

Dr. Angela Merkel introduced to advanced technologiesOn February 5, NEC Chairman Dr. Nobuhiro Endo was honored, along with several other NEC executives and employees, to welcome Dr. Merkel as she was introduced the latest advanced technologies, including AI and biometric identification solutions.

The Chancellor exchanged dialogue with members of NEC about the balance of technological innovation with legal regulations, privacy protection, human rights and ethics as digitization and the use of data continue making advancements among society and people.

Click here to learn more about Dr. Merkel’s visit.

Showcasing a More Personalized In-store Experience

NEC to Highlight Facial Recognition, Data Analytics at Retail’s Big Show Jan. 13-15

On Jan. 13-15, the world’s largest retail conference and expo kicks off at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. NEC retail experts are putting the final touches on demonstrating how its leading-edge video analytics technologies transform the in-store experience for shoppers.

Visitors to NEC’s booth #1936 will tour a virtual store to see first-hand how these innovations bring better engagement with customers, while also delivering tangible business benefits for retailers. Video analytics solutions powered by the NEC Enterprise Video Analytics (EVA) platform enable retailers to garner extensive insights into shoppers:

  • Presence, including heatmaps and dwell times
  • Behavior, including gaze detection, traffic patterns and responses to targeted content
  • Security analytics, including automated detection and response
  • Interactive experiences, including loyalty engagement and checkout

This deeper understanding of shopper behavior can then be used to enable the ultimate, frictionless personalized shopping experience and make checkout and other in-store processes more efficient and effective—for retailers and shoppers alike.

During the event, NEC will focus on four areas of the retail experience—Customer, Operations, Analytics and Marketing, all powered by the NEC video analytics platform services. An in-booth tour starts with self-registration using NEC facial recognition software, which in turn enables multiple touchpoints and experiences throughout the booth.

Looking Customer Loyalty Right in the Face Improving Store Operations

Big Show visitors also will get a glimpse of how facial recognition and data analytics assist retailers behind the scenes as well through improved business operations. NeoFace Watch uses real-time face recognition to provide retailers with an effective, transparent loss-prevention system. NEC will show how retailers can use this same technology to manage employees’ time and attendance as well. Additionally, booth visitors will get a first-hand look at NEC’s industry-leading point-of-sale hardware devices.

Check out NEC Retail solutions to learn more. Up-to-the-minute sales data analytics helps retailers survive and thrive in this competitive marketplace. Reliable sales data and reporting enable tailored in-store offers to customers, plus aids in managing inventory and staffing. While in NEC’s booth discover ways analytics can be used to track demographic and traffic data related to in-store shoppers. Using facial recognition systems retailers are able to track repeat customers at a location without collecting any personally identifiable information. This information in turn helps drive marketing content and analyze purchase patterns.

Experience Fast, Frictionless Transactions

NRF expo attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with NEC customer Cali Group’s face-based kiosk when visiting NEC’s booth. The facial-recognition kiosk, now being rolled out at CaliBurger locations, shows how easy it is to deliver fast and truly frictionless transactions. Guests will peruse a menu, choose items and then pay for their virtual purchases without pulling out their wallets or personal devices. Face-based payments someday may replace credit cards as customers look for a more personalized experience like face-based kiosks without the long lines and wait times.

Representatives from the Cali Group will be on hand in the booth to answer questions about the innovative use of facial recognition technology in the Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) industry.

Book a Tour with an NEC Expert Now

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4 Ways NEC is Reimagining the Store Experience

NEC Showcasing Innovations at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show

Facial recognition technology and data analytics continue to change the in-store experience for shoppers. These technologies enable a more-meaningful, personalized in-store shopping experience, while also making checkout and other in-store processes more cost effective and efficient for retailers and customers alike.

From Jan. 13-15, 2019, nearly 37,000 retailers and industry experts from around the world will descend on the Javits Convention Center in New York to attend NRF 2019, the world’s largest retail conference and expo. During the Big Show, NEC will showcase how facial recognition and data analytics are transforming four areas of the store experience, including Customer Experience, Operations, Analytics and Marketing. As soon as they step into booth #1936, visitors enter a virtual store to encounter first-hand a new, improved in-store experience, resulting in better engagement for customers and tangible business benefits for retailers.

Your Face is the ‘Key’ to Unlock a Personalized Experience

When entering the NEC booth, visitors self-register by providing only a photo and first and last names. No need to use personal mobile devices, cards or keys. This frictionless, near real-time pre-registration process enables multiple touchpoints and experiences throughout the NEC booth tour.

Online shoppers appreciate the convenience of automatic loyalty offers, and NEC will demonstrate a similar in-store experience through its virtual store. Once registered, visitors are easily and automatically identified as loyal customers as they progress through the booth tour. Personalized greetings will appear while moving through the demos. Instead of waiting until checkout to ID loyal customers (when it’s too late for meaningful customer engagement), automatic identification results in 100% loyalty redemption rates for in-store shoppers.

Technology Improves In-store Operational Management

Looking Customer Loyalty Right in the Face Further, booth visitors can also interact with the face-based kiosk, which is being used by NEC customers. The facial-recognition kiosk demonstrates how easy it is to deliver fast and truly frictionless transactions. Guests can peruse a menu, choose items and then pay for their virtual purchases without pulling out their wallets or personal devices. All you need is your face!

Big Show visitors will get a glimpse into how facial recognition assists retailers with business operations. NEC’s facial recognition solutions are real-time and provide retailers with an effective, transparent loss-prevention system. As someone approaches a surveilled area, for example, alerts are triggered on the analytics dashboards.

NEC will also be showing how retailers can use this same technology to manage employees’ time and attendance. In-store staff check in and check out using face recognition, thus preventing proxy check in and check out. Near real-time reporting is available with this system so that schedules can be easily coordinated.

Check out NEC Retail solutions to learn more.Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to experience first-hand various models of NEC’s industry-leading point-of-sale hardware devices.

Booth “shoppers” can experience easy and deviceless checkout as well. Total expenditures and receipts show up on the wallboard next to the exit. No wallets or credit cards needed for this automated checkout experience.

Retailers Rely on Data Analytics to Tailor the Shopping Experience

For retail businesses, the ability to access up-to-the-minute sales data analytics helps them survive and thrive in this competitive marketplace. Reliable sales data and reporting enable retailers to make tailored in-store offers to their customers. Sales data aids in managing inventory plus helps store managers more effectively plan staffing, especially during critical times of high traffic. These benefits in turn elevate the customer shopping experience and help boost profitability in the store.

Analytics can also be used to track demographic and traffic data related to in-store shoppers. Stores have the capability to create heat maps to track and manage shoppers’ interest in various products or displays within the store. Advanced glance technology determines the amount of “dwell time” on items (such as a shelf display) by tracking interest and intent to purchase. This data can be matched to sales conversion data from the POS to judge the display’s effectiveness and use of shelf space.

The data gleaned from the in-person shopping experience helps retailers improve their outreach through targeted emails, app notifications and even in-store messaging.

Facial Recognition Software and Advanced Displays Expand In-store Marketing Capabilities

Using facial recognition systems aids retailers in recognizing repeat customers at a location without collecting any personally identifiable information. This information drives marketing content and analyzes purchase patterns.

NEC’s advanced display technology helps retailers improve their marketing efforts. Cameras capture customer data to be used for customized content distribution and for measuring message effectiveness. The technology also collects audience metrics automatically.

Want to know more about the exciting and industry-leading technology that NEC will be featuring at NRF 2019? Book a personal tour with an NEC retail expert while you’re attending the Big Show. Hope to see you there in January!

NEC Corporation of America

Personal Tour at NRF 2019
Book with an NEC retail expert!

Fill out the form today, and we will schedule you a personal tour with an NEC retail expert at the Big Show.