YMCA of Greater Louisville: Using UC to Transform the Guest Experience

This powerful narrative about the YMCA of Greater Louisville shows how the organization’s use of NEC unified communications (UC) transforms the guest experience. YMCA management and staff share how NEC technology is empowering employees to connect more closely with members—resulting in a better experience for the Y’s membership.

Utilizing a newly built contact center that serves 17 branch locations across three counties, the YMCA increased onsite productivity by effectively handling on average 12,000 calls a month from a single remote location. Which leaves more time for staff to personally interact with their local members. Learn more about the YMCA’s story presented in their own words.

NEC technology can help other organizations grow their businesses through unified communications solutions. Are you ready? Let us know as we are ready to help.

IT Budgets – Round 2 Means Budget Cuts…Or Does It?

When you spend all those hours trying to align your IT budget with company goals and fulfill the needs of your end-users for the upcoming year, it can be disheartening when the finance team asks you to cut more deeply. After all, the IT department’s needs are in alignment with company growth and strategies, not some made-up number. Fortunately, there is a way to get what you need to fulfill your obligations to end-users and still maintain a budget that finance will embrace.

Flexible Solutions for Flexible Needs

NEC Financial Services has provided IT finance solutions for more than 30 years, and during that time has supported many companies in getting their IT needs met through flexible financing options. The best part? You can purchase various IT hardware, software and associated items from multiple vendors and have NEC create a financing package customized to your specific needs.

“We believe in orchestrating the best solution for our customers so that it simplifies the overall IT purchasing process,” said Herschel Salan, vice president, NEC Financial Services. “IT acquisitions can be difficult. By simplifying the financing process with a single source, it removes some of the complexity and gives our customers an easy way to budget for their required technology.”

#IT budget doesn't have to be an issue for new #technology. Click To Tweet

Providing this type of service is a standard part of the NEC finance model. This team understands the nuances of purchasing technology, and the complexity that comes from needing to upgrade while maintaining legacy systems, or to utilize newer technology, such as cloud, while still keeping sensitive information on premise. In fact, the NEC Financial Services team goes beyond the dollars and cents, providing a common-sense approach to our customers’ technology acquisitions.

“We go the extra mile, essentially acting as a project manager or liaison,” said Salan. “Our team performs due diligence on the technology provider for the customer, so we can be sure that all parties are informed as the project comes together.”

Salan went on to explain:

“Sometimes our customer is not that familiar with a technology provider and is unsure on the best steps to take to learn more. Our service provides due diligence so the customers know the providers that they are doing business with, and will have good information to make a solid decision. This includes any red flags that may come up such as financial capacity being stretched too thin, as well as being manufacturer authorized to sell and support the products.”

Obviously, having this type of information helps buyers make a solid, secure decision on moving forward with a technology provider.

No Cookie Cutter Here

A common complaint regarding the financing of technology is how difficult it can be via traditional sources. Bankers are not technology people. “What sets NEC Financial Services apart from many of the traditional financing options are: (1) we understand how technology is a business enabler and (2) we have the ability to help enable the acquisition of the technology, “according to Salan.

Furthermore, underwriting is often standardized, making it difficult for loans to be issued unless you can find a less traditional resource. NEC Financial Services approves more than 90% of transactions submitted. How is that possible?

NEC #Financial Services approves more than 90% of transactions submitted. How is that possible? #IT Click To Tweet

“We have a proprietary credit scoring system that ensures we are making the best decisions for our customers,” said Salan. “We take the time to understand the customer’s needs and goals, and then to understand what the acquisition of the technology will do to improve and support the business. Doing so enables us to really invest in our customer’s success and future, and give them a way to finance technology that could be a real game-changer for their business.”

More Than One Way to Get that New Technology

NEC Financial Services has a multitude of finance options that allow for customers to acquire important technology, including:

  • Leasing Options – from Operating Leases to Finance to Own, NEC has several leasing options that support customers’ needs.
  • Maintenance Financing – how nice is it to have the option to finance one of the more expensive, yet critical components of a new technology purchase – maintenance?
  • Tech Refresh Lease – Customers can get technology  updated with a simple schedule as an addendum to the master lease or finance agreement. It’s easy and gives a customer an opportunity to keep on top of technology changes.

Winning Round Two of Budget Cuts

Don’t let those rounds of budget cuts get you down. Simply find the best finance option available and get the technology you need to be successful.

“Our goal is to develop long-term relationships with customers who are growing and need a partner that really understands technology to provide financing options,” said Salan. “Technology is in our DNA, and our team is committed to providing excellent service to ensure we get our customers the technology they need to improve their businesses.

Whether it’s aligning with a major business objective, needing to replace obsolete technology, or keeping on top of rapid technology changes, NEC Financial Services has options available for you.  Contact us today to learn more!

The Leak Detective – Conserves Water and Saves You Money

If a city municipality could detect leaks within minutes, rather than the extended period of time it takes now, think of the impact! Water conservation would go up, money could be saved, and the municipality could repair smaller leaks, saving them time and money and consumers the hassle of having the water shut off for extended periods of time. If only there was a leak detective that could do this work.

Fortunately, there is, and it’s not what you might think! Rather than some Sherlock Holmes of water systems, there is now a water leak detection system available that offers municipalities a cost-effective way to manage water resources. The best part is the system is managed online with sensors and alarms, so no need for cloak and dagger antics.

Proof Positive

NEC’s Water Leak Detection Service utilizes underground sensors to monitor the water pipes. These sensors record the vibration that occurs with a water leak, sending a signal via wireless transmission. The sensors around the leak will continue to send these signals that ultimately result in a report that can be viewed regularly. This report will accurately pinpoint the leak location, at which time a municipality can dispatch an employee to begin repairs.

This system is significantly faster and easier, and allows for municipalities to detect leaks much more quickly than ever before.

Recently NEC Corporation of America completed a water leak detection trial with the City of Arlington in Texas, and the results were quite successful. During the trial, the first of its kind to be completed in the United States, the NEC team installed a series of 33 sensors at two main sites in the Arlington water system. Three water leaks were identified during the four-month trial and have been repaired. This is the first step for the city to develop a long-term leak detection strategy by evaluating current leak detection technology. Additional trials in other cities are currently under consideration.

#SolutionsforSociety

The NEC Water Leak Detection System is just one of the many solutions developed as part of an overall strategy to aim for a society where values such as safety, security, efficiency, and equality can be realized to create a brighter, more affluent society for everyone in the world—in other words, Orchestrating a Brighter World . Think of the possibilities!

With the current water leak detection technology, municipalities can conserve water, repair leaks more quickly and save consumers—as well as the city itself–money. What about the future? The city of tomorrow will have the ability to communicate immediately, ensuring the safety of citizens through enhanced identification for police, improved 911 capabilities for mobile so first responders can get there fast, and even the ability to improve the quality of life with cleaner air, better infrastructure and sustainable solutions to improve the earth.

Water leak detection is just the beginning. Moving forward, lives can be improved through innovation and collaboration. NEC is excited to be a part of #SolutionsforSociety.

Want Consumer Loyalty? Get Smart About Hospitality Innovation!

At the recent 2015 HITEC event, the hospitality industry got a taste for industry highlights and overviews of things to come, and the event certainly did not disappoint. Among some of the more innovative solutions were concierge-style robots that provide more basic services like room service delivery, and of course NEC’s own Kylie!

Always top of mind for hospitality is customer loyalty. How do you reward those who are loyal to your brand? And how do you keep them loyal? One way is to ensure they feel welcomed and valued, as demonstrated through NEC’s VIP facial recognition avatar, Kylie.

Using NeoFace® face recognition technology and pulling from the secure database your organization collects, Kylie greets visitors, provides them with information pertinent to their stay and helps them with everything from getting checked into a room to getting to their return flight information. She is always on, always friendly, and always ready to greet customers to ensure a strong customer experience.

It’s More than Bells and Whistles

Of course, greeting VIP customers helps ensure a positive experience, but it’s only the beginning. Also important is an overall customer experience that couples the desired convenience with the required security. NEC’s Smart Hospitality Solutions are designed to provide both enhanced guest experiences with increased efficiency of hotel operations.

NEC Smart Hospitality Solutions consist of key solutions related to hotel operations, including communications platforms, Unified Communications (UC) applications, Property Management Systems (PMS), facial recognition systems, digital signage and guest room management systems. As the solutions are based on a modular approach and can be tightly integrated, customer information and other data can be easily shared throughout the portfolio of applications. As a result of this seamless integration, hotel owners and operators can provide highly value-added guest service and improve the productivity of hotel staff.

For example, NEC’s facial recognition solution makes it possible to use cameras at hotel entrances to identify VIP guests in real-time using previously registered data in a PMS. This enables the provision of personalized services and greetings to coincide with the arrival of a VIP. The guest experience can also be enhanced by enabling hotel check-ins and check-outs and room service orders and other requests to be accessed from tablets or guests’ smartphones.

NEC plans to continually strengthen the NEC Smart Hospitality Solutions portfolio while promoting its “Hotel IT in a Box” approach, which offers hotel solutions consolidated into a single server platform. Based on this approach, NEC launched its Application Platform for Hotels, a vertically integrated solution platform optimized for the hospitality industry. Moving forward, NEC plans to further integrate new solutions such as PMS into the Application Platform for Hotels.

NEC Smart Hospitality Solutions

A Glimpse into the Future

Of course, no event would be complete without a demonstration of futuristic technology. During HITEC, NEC demonstrated its  Interactive Projection System. This easy-to-use touchpad device connects with customers’ cell phones and provides information of their choosing, including property maps, coupons, and entertainment information. Giving customers the opportunity to self-serve actually improves the experience with quick access to information that can be uploaded to their mobile devices for access at the exact time they want it, a big bonus for those people on the go.

Customer loyalty is critical in the highly competitive hospitality industry, and comes down to the experience. Utilizing innovative solutions such as Kylie or the Interactive Projection System will create a positive visitor experience. Couple this with solutions that improve productivity, and both the customer and the hospitality organization win.

For more information on the NEC Smart Hospitality Solutions, please visit our website.

ONS Recap: Sharing What Happened

Open Networking Summit (ONS) brings together the best and brightest to discuss the possibilities and shape the future of the networking industry. This year the four hot topics in SDN/NFV adoption were certainly discussed and thoroughly represented – security, multi-layered transport network, high-performance data-plane and deep analytics.

NEC was proud to be a finalist in the SDN-IDOL competition with our SDN Cyber Attack Auto Protection. NECAM’s own Don Clark presented the solution by enlisting the challenges of advanced persistent threats including how costly the security breaches could prove, insufficiency of perimeter defense, and how organization processes and boundaries can slow down the responses to security threats.

Following the overview, Sam Mita provided a demonstration of how NEC’s ProgrammableFlow® SDN solution can automate the policy-response to an attack by using the ProgrammableFlow SDN controller to take control of the situation by isolating the hacked host from the network and eliminating the virus. Automatic notification is sent to the operator as well, ensuring open lines of communication.

NEC was proud to be among the top four finalists for this distinguished award.

But That’s Not All…

During ONS, NEC announced that the ProgrammableFlow Controller has been verified compatible with the @Dell Inc. S-Series of high performance managed switches. Click To TweetThe interoperability of the two solutions creates a high-performance Ethernet fabric that provides the needed throughput to meet organizations’ ongoing demands for new applications and services. The new agreement will allow Dell to resell the ProgrammableFlow Controller software as one of the software options sold with Dell’s networking hardware.
Overall, ONS was a success and we are pleased to have participated. Fortunately, if you missed ONS you can still learn more about NEC’s ProgrammableFlow SDN networking suite by visiting www.necam.com/sdn.