The Importance of Data Visibility In The Store –NEC Retail Technology Makes It Possible

For a small retail business, having the ability to see up to-the-minute sales information can mean whether or not you survive in the marketplace. This is especially true in the convenience store space, where reliable sales data, inventory control, loss prevention, and security are critical to a successful operation.

Some c-stores are independently owned but have a licensing agreement with a large, established company, which affords them the benefits of the company’s mentoring, marketing assistance and perhaps a more corporate look and feel, while they actually operate autonomously.  A major challenge in this arrangement, however, occurs when the company’s affiliated c-stores are working with old retail equipment from different manufactures.

This was the situation with many of Becker’s Affiliate Program store owners in Canada.  Becker’s is a brand operating under Alimentation Couche-Tard, Inc. (Couche-Tard), one of the largest convenience store operator companies in the world.  But without standardized, integrated technology in these affiliate stores, a network was impossible, and neither the affiliate program managers nor the individual store owners could access any sales information from these locations. Without sales data, the company was limited to providing general retail advice, making it difficult to support the survival of stores facing diverse challenges and having unknown issues.

NEC Retail Software Delivers Sales Visibility

NEC worked with Becker’s Central Canada Affiliates program and Gexin Inc., NEC’s Canadian partner, to offer the affiliate store owners a customizable POS system using NEC Stanchion® software. Together with Gexin, NEC standardized ten affiliate stores’ equipment and operational capabilities. Integration and store installations were completed in 3 months and were fully integrated with Gexin’s security system and reporting system to provide stores with sales information and metrics for smart product ordering and operational efficiency.

Store personnel were quickly trained on NEC’s software, which provides a customized dashboard showing their sales data in real-time, and delivers detailed reporting for each networked location to increase sales. Having access to this information provides the company as well as store owners with detailed sales information and working metrics for smarter product ordering and overall improved store efficiency—a first for these c-store owners.

Now, with this fully integrated system, NEC POS terminal, and their Network Video Recorder (NVR) can talk to each other. The information from the POS and security systems provide real-time sales analytics to the Becker’s Affiliate Program, so the company can provide customized support to the affiliate stores to help boost profitability, strengthen their survival rate, and help them grow their businesses.

NEC worked closely with this retail customer, to develop a deep understanding of their business and understand their technology pain points and provide the best solution to address the unique needs of both the company and the individual affiliate stores.

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Calling All SpiceHeads!

NEC Engages the SpiceWorks Community in 2016

With social media now a major part of our everyday lives, it is no surprise that groups with similar interests and experiences form almost instantaneously across the internet. Everyone knows the most popular social media applications like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter as well as a number of other applications and sites that cater to specific audiences.

For IT professionals, one of the major social media networking sites of choice is Spiceworks. The site connects IT pros with an online community of their peers from around the world. It also provides them with useful tools, for free, to help them do their jobs. Applications such as network inventory, network monitor, and help desk as well as rich APIs that developers and the world’s largest tech brands use to build applications and help IT pros solve their unique challenges.

It also provides a forum for IT pros to share experiences and expertise with millions of their peers, and they can reach thousands of vendors to troubleshoot, get product advice, keep up with tech trends, and even advance their careers. And most uniquely, it is a place where they can connect 1:1 and build real relationships with tech marketers.

NEC Corporation of America has its own Spiceworks vendor page with over 2,000 followers and regularly participates in the annual SpiceWorld IT Conference, with this year’s North American Conference held November 1-3 in Austin, Texas. There is also a European conference scheduled for May of next year to be held in the United Kingdom.

NEC sponsored a booth at the North American conference, where “SpiceHeads,” as they call themselves, from around the region were in attendance, many of whom learned that NEC is more than just projectors and LCDs. The interactive booth exposed them to the wide range of IT products and services XS that NEC has to offer. Subject matter experts (SMEs) were on hand to provide more in depth information about the solutions on display.

SpiceHeads have established SpiceCorps groups throughout the country that hold monthly meetings, often held at vendor locations. NEC sponsored a meeting of the Dallas/Ft. Worth SpiceCorps Group, with 24 members in attendance. The event provided an opportunity for the DFW SpiceCorps group to tour our Executive Briefing Center, where they learned that NEC is much more than display screens, we provide products and services that empower the Smart Enterprise.

Prior to the meeting, NEC sent out a survey to the members and asked them what topics they would like covered. This was an effective way of ensuring that the presentations focused on the topics they wanted to hear about, as well as provide an opportunity to discuss how NEC solutions can help tackle their most challenging IT issues. Members noted that NEC was the first vendor to use this approach and they were appreciative and impressed.

NEC executives Larry Levenberg, Vice President – Sales & Channel Marketing, and Ram Menghani, Vice President – UC Products & Support, were on hand as well as SMEs from every NEC business unit. Topics during the highly interactive and informative presentations during the meeting ranged from Software Defined Networking (SDN), business continuity, data storage solutions, and a preview of NEC’s cloud-based solutions. NEC’s Sam Safa presented Simplifying the Network with Software Defined Networking, which was especially popular, with members engaging with him during and after the meeting ended. Some fun was mixed in, with prize giveaways of NEC branded items and other promotional gifts, as well as the big prize of a drone. Congratulations to Aaron Siegal of TXI Corporation, winner of the drone!

NEC plans to host more SpiceCorps meetings around the country several times a year. Be sure to subscribe to the NEC Today blog or follow us on Spiceworks for insightful posts on IT and Communications industry topics, updates on NEC products and services, and dates, times and locations of upcoming NEC sponsored SpiceCorps meetings.

 

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Why Make SIP A Customer Priority?

How prepared are you for what’s ahead and the technologies that will be the drivers of change in 2016?

Simply put, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and SIP Trunking can smartly transform your customers’ communications infrastructure for the better.Why Make SIP A Customer Priority?It can be done rapidly and cost effectively while seamlessly providing access to highly scalable unified communications so their employees and customers can benefit from faster responses enabled by anytime, anywhere availability on any device. Also by enabling ready access to feature-rich collaborative tools, your accounts could experience an increase in workforce productivity and cooperation.

Begin learning today why SIP is a smart technology investment. Get started with a free ebook courtesy of NEC.

Download Success with SIP 2.0 a 52-page ebook by Gary Audin, President of Delphi, Inc., to share a comprehensive assessment of SIP including:

  • SIP and related protocols
  • Session border controllers
  • SIP trunk values, benefits, and economics
  • SIP phones
  • Interoperability with SIP trunks
  • SIP trunk problems (IP PBX, SBC, trunk provider)and their resolution
  • Bandwidth calculations for VoIP and SIP trunks
  • Delivering a successful SIP implementation project

 

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Learning the value and operation of SIP is now important to anyone working in the field of communications and collaboration. Understanding what SIP does and does not support helps you to grasp the implementation issues involved.

 

 



NEC’s 30th AFIS Internet User Conference

Having been at NEC for the last five years, I can honestly say – what an exhilarating ride! We just celebrated the 30th anniversary of NEC’s AFIS Internet User Group conference, held this year at the Omni Atlanta CNN Center.

I wish to express my highest gratitude to the AFIS Internet Board, the organizers of this conference and for the special efforts and leadership of Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Atlanta Police Department, our host agencies.

The AFIS Internet Conference leads the way for the professional forensic community, and highlights the latest NEC developments that are impacting the law enforcement industry.  This year’s event drew our largest international attendance to-date, with attendees from Australia, Greece, Mexico, Bangladesh, Vietnam, China and Saudi Arabia.

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As expected, the event did not disappoint. Below are a few of my favorite take-away thoughts and ideas from AFIS 2016.

  1. Body language matters!  Word choices and how our body moves as we talk can tell people a lot about us. Our keynote speaker was Janine Driver, CEO of the Body Language Institute and a former trainer for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Janine’s talk helped me understand the impact that my non-verbal communication has on others’ perceptions of me. She also showed our audience a few cutting edge body language secrets to help us develop better relationships in both our work and personal lives.
  2. Georgia is a hotbed of law enforcement leadership and talent.  With this year’s event being in Atlanta, we had access to some fantastic talent from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.  We heard from Vernon Keenan, director of the GBI, who spoke about leadership in law enforcement and how to transition your career out of “survival” mode and into a strong position of leadership.  Mr. Keenan should know, as he has been promoted to every sworn rank in the agency since joining law enforcement in 1972.  We also learned the GBI has ties to the very roots of AFIS Internet, as we heard from Debra Brown, who retired from that agency in 2014.  She gave is an excellent history of AFIS Internet and certainly taught me things I didn’t know about this very special group of people.
  3. All hail the Federal Bureau of Investigations!  Rachel Pastorial from the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Systems division has probably forgotten more about the use of facial comparison technology than I will learn in a lifetime.  She provided us with a highly useful overview of the face comparison discipline, which should come in handy for many AFIS Internet members as they transition into additional biometrics disciplines outside of fingerprint and ten print identification.
  4. The greatness of The First 48. We had the absolute pleasure of hearing from John X. Kim, senior executive producer and co-creator of “The First 48,” who is also the brain behind a laundry list of popular real-life crime shows, such as “Crime Scenes Uncovered,” “Steven Segal Lawman,” “Dallas SWAT,” “Detroit SWAT,” and much more. “The First 48” is a highly acclaimed real-life homicide investigation series now in its 16th season on A&E.  Mr. Kim gave us the inside scoop on how that TV series came to be created, plus he provided some fascinating anecdotes about some of their most popular cases.

Of course, NEC also showcased its latest identification technologies, including our newest innovation, Multi-Modal Integrated Biometric Workstation (IBW), which is NEC’s latest MBIS platform.  Watch Kris Ranganath from NEC provide the newest advancements in ID technology in this video.

Also, one of the more popular attractions was the demo of SmartScan, our next-generation livescan solution launched earlier this year.  John Dowden, senior product manager for NEC’s biometrics business, wowed audiences with the capabilities of a livescan station designed with a sleek footprint, intuitive Windows 10 user interface and high-horsepower capabilities for a variety of applications both in-house and out in the field.

So that’s it – if you missed AFIS Internet this year in Atlanta, you missed out! Of course, you can catch a glimpse or relive the excitement by checking out our photo library.

 

2016 Annual AFIS Internet User Conference

2016 Annual AFIS Internet User Conference

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What is a High Security Data Solution for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?

By now you may know that NEC offers a highly secure, federally compliant Infrastructure as a Service offering, hosted on NEC Nblock™ technology inside Iron Mountain’s federal government compliant data center in Pennsylvania.

What you may not know is that  NEC now provides customers with an extremely secure, private, Cloud-based SAP HANA® service solution.  Simply put, NEC’s IaaS solution is based on NEC’s Nblocktm technology, combined with the high security, federally compliant environment in Iron Mountain’s data center.

What is SAP HANA?

SAP HANA is the in-memory computing platform that delivers super-fast data crunching, more intelligence, and simplified IT environments – whether deployed on premise or in the cloud. By providing a solid foundation for all the organization’s data needs, SAP HANA also allows you to run live, with speedy data access, and without having to maintain separate legacy systems. Translation? Crunching volumes of Big Data in a SAP HANA application no longer takes hours, but rather minutes or seconds.

Now, NEC customers who are migrating to SAP HANA and have a need for highly secure data can have a single-tenant and fully managed private cloud-hosted environment with a 100% dedicated rack, solidly built on NEC’s Nblock converged infrastructure technology. All of this is hosted within an SAP HANA-certified and FISMA-compliant environment, providing one of the most hack-proof data storage, extremely high availability and secure operations platforms available today.

NEC’s Single-Source Solution for Security, Reliability and Compliance

Since SAP HANA is an in-memory platform designed to make the processing of large data volumes much faster and more efficient, NEC engineers developed an infrastructure as a service (#IaaS) blueprint specifically designed to address resource-intensive SAP HANA needs, for a true turnkey service to enterprise customers, government clients and partners.

As an SAP-certified Provider of Hosting Services, as well as Operations Services for the SAP HANA platform and Application Management Services, NEC uses a professional delivery model based on best practices for mission-critical SAP applications.

Future #IaaS revenues will more than triple in 2020 to $43.6 billion. #cloud Click To Tweet

Achieving these SAP certifications is not a simple thing. There is an extensive review by SAP of NEC’s IT service management processes, its security measures, facilities setup, experience in SAP operations, and NEC staff to ensure compliance with SAP’s requirements for quality, availability and high security.  This intense review process repeats every two years.

As an SAP certified provider, NEC delivers a broad portfolio of SAP certified IT services related to SAP applications. These services, together with NEC’s large-memory enterprise servers for SAP HANA, provide data center customers an extremely high level of performance and security to run their mission-critical SAP applications in one of most secure and resilient facilities in the world, Iron Mountain.

Unparalleled Virtual and Physical Security

NEC’s hosting partner in this solution, Iron Mountain, is the global leader for storage and information management services. With a real estate network of more than 80 million square feet across more than 1,350 facilities in 45 countries, Iron Mountain is dedicated to protecting and preserving what matters most for customers.

Organizations today face increasing data center needs for privacy and security as well as compliance with environmental regulations. Located more than 200 feet below the earth’s surface, Iron Mountain’s energy efficient, underground data center in Pennsylvania is part of a 200-acre campus that offers NEC’s customers predictable, long-term scalability in a stable, highly-secure environment–the ideal hosting for NEC’s IT infrastructure and applications.
Iron Mountain’s FISMA High framework, large federal customer base, energy efficiency, and “U.S. Department of Homeland Security Level IV critical facility standards” enables NEC customers and partners to leverage its extensive compliance support to address their specific end-user requirements (whether ISO:27001, HIPAA, PCI-DSS Level 1, or SOC 2 Type II).

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The Future of IaaS

IaaS is becoming a major IT initiative, and showing no signs of slowing down in the future. In fact, the majority of participants in a recent IDC survey indicated they were either currently using or planning to employ some form of public cloud IaaS by the end of 2016, and it also forecasts that future IaaS revenues will more than triple in 2020 to $43.6 billion.

Forbes has reported that 2016 spending on public cloud IaaS hardware and software will reach $38 billion, and projected to grow to $173 billion in 2026.

These organizational responses measure more than just an IT trend.  They reflect a movement toward flexibility and high security data, and the growing need for an endlessly scalable, cost effective and completely reliable IT infrastructure solution.

#IaaS h/s will reach $38 billion & projected to grow to $173 billion in 2026 Click To Tweet

In Conclusion

With mounting concerns about data security and the instability of most public cloud services, organizations are seeing the need for a reliable single source IT and UC provider.  It is time to let you know that NEC is much more than a global leader in Biometrics innovation, UC solutions and on premises platforms. It is the expert provider of a truly remarkable IaaS solution. Together with its large-memory enterprise servers for SAP HANA, NEC provides data center customers with an unmatched level of high availability performance and SAP-certified, federal government-ready data security.

So … how safe is your organization’s most private information?

 

SmartScan Safety and Security Solutions

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