NEC at NRF 2020: Seamless Retail Customer Experiences with Greater Operational Efficiency

NEC was one of the early pioneers in biometrics technologies since the 1970s. Today, NEC is the world’s leading provider of biometric solutions to both governments and commercial entities, which include air travel, theme parks, stadiums, casinos and more. Next stop: retail, where we are leading new initiatives to transform the Customer Experience (CX).

Looking Customer Loyalty Right in the FaceAt NRF 2020, visitors to NEC’s booth got a glimpse of how retailers are using facial biometrics to deliver an improved CX and achieve tangible business benefits.

Several years ago, we deployed a Customer Experience initiative aimed at transforming the way consumers transact in physical spaces, from entering theme parks and stadiums, to boarding planes, accessing benefits and making payments, interactions that require security as well as streamlined convenience. Today, we see this visionary concept in several very high-profile implementations. And what we saw at NRF this year, is that the retail space is ready to embrace this trend, with facial recognition as the enabler for an item-of-interest to become an item-in-hand with minimal effort and delay. Our leading technology makes it possible to deliver on this promise.

Customer Experience Starts with Fast, Frictionless Transactions

To kick off their booth experience at NRF 2020, visitors self-registered by simply taking a picture of their face, creating a digital ID on our facial identity management platform, NEC I:Delight. This one time enrollment enabled multiple touchpoints and experiences throughout the booth, providing for faster, more secure transactions for applications such as loyalty and payment.

As customers progressed through the booth, they experienced our facial recognition enabled Self-Checkout solution. This self-checkout lane recognizes the items a customer has placed in their shopping bag via RFID, calculates payment and then activates the charge without the customer ever stopping or swiping a credit card. As they walk through the lane, the customer has the option of scanning a QR code on their device or using their face as the “method of payment." NRF attendees also had the opportunity to interact with NEC’s technology partner, POP ID, a Cali Group company. POP ID’s self-ordering kiosk makes recommendations based on past food orders for faster decision-making, reducing wait times, increasing customer loyalty and revenue opportunities. Customers simply register once on their mobile device, and then use the kiosk to choose items and pay without pulling out a wallet or device a second time. Available at numerous quick-service restaurant (QSR) locations today, POP ID’s “Face-pay” concept is enabling unique and memorable customer experiences and generating a fast return on investment.

Experience Advanced Analytics

NEC also showed how facial technology can be applied to enhance data analytics and assist retailers behind the scenes to improve business operations. By analyzing key aspects of the shopper population, either in-store or in front of a particular display, retailers are able to send offers or engage customers in real time based on their individual interests. These types of up-to-the-minute data analytics help retailers survive and thrive in this competitive marketplace. Reliable sales data enables tailored in-store offers to customers, plus aids in managing inventory and staffing.

Retail … the Next Facial Recognition Frontier!

Finally, visitors could see NEC’s next-generation, modular point of sale (POS) design. Our POS design includes a space-saving footprint that can transform from a manned-POS station into a self-service POS just by turning around the peripherals. The embedded facial recognition option enables seamless payment. Both single and double-display versions are available.

Which of these retail trends does your organization plan to embrace in the coming year? Talk to an NEC expert to hear more and engage in our Biometric CX Discovery & Strategic Planning Process as a first step in realizing your vision. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll get in touch!

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Tech Advancements in 2019 and Looking Ahead to 2020

Cloud computing, security and collaboration top the list of enterprise technology trends in 2019. Gartner estimated early in the year that cloud services would grow 17.5 percent over 2019 and infrastructure services would be the fastest growing segment. In 2019 and 2020, business leaders must consider the cost of scalability, communications adaptability and how to help increase efficiency for IT staff.

NEC led the charge with a banner year of new releases, updates and development in the cloud computing and unified communications market.

As we close out the year, let’s review technology trends firmly established in 2019 and what to expect from NEC in 2020.

Reduce the Complexity of Data Center Management

A 2019 Spiceworks survey found that 46% of enterprise organizations planned to adopt hyperconverged infrastructure solutions by 2020. With the complexity of datacenter applications, virtualization and other cloud-based services, IT staff is challenged with managing it all. Each application or service typically involves installing its own server, requiring more storage, networking and skill requirements. Inefficient resource utilization and disorganization leads to unnecessary purchases, the inability to innovate and increased downtime.

In 2019, NEC released a new HCI solution powered by Scale Computing’s HC3 software. HCI consolidates and streamlines IT processes, bringing the hardware costs down and making management easier through one virtualized system and interface. A more stable and simplified environment means that IT staff can be proactive, with far less downtime, and the ability to scale easier.

Solve Communications and Collaboration Challenges

Unified communications helps businesses of all sizes to collaborate from across the globe. As more employees work from remote locations, team communications must be adaptable and easily accessible for reliable availability and a better employee experience. Unified communications requires technology that is easily integrated into current IT environments, cost effective, flexible and scalable.

NEC continues to be a world leader in UC research and development. In 2019, NEC was proud to announce the latest evolution of UNIVERGE-SV9000 series for communications and collaboration.

Securely Prioritize UC Network Traffic

When enterprises rely on unified communications, they are challenged with delivering cost-effective bandwidth while helping critical applications coexist securely and efficiently. In 2019, NEC announced a partnership with Infovista that combines Infovista’s Software defined WAN (SDWAN) capabilities with NEC’s software defined unified communications services. This partnership helps to reduce WAN operating costs while delivering optimal voice quality and dynamic routing of voice traffic based on real-time network traffic and conditions. By leveraging multiple WAN links and centralizing management, application performance is safeguarded and operational efficiency is improved.

Move to More Cloud-Based Solutions

2019 saw the increase in use of as-a-service options including infrastructure, unified communications, collaboration and backups, and this increase will continue throughout the New Year. In 2019, NEC expanded the UNIVERGE BLUE cloud portfolio to include Team Collaboration and BaaS (backup as a service).

NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE Team Collaboration improves workforce communications and cooperation, anytime and from anywhere. By simplifying the complexity of voice, video, screen sharing and meetings, the employee experience is enhanced and employee retention improves.

BaaS solutions can reduce the likelihood of data loss and save money on the cost of backup infrastructure. Built on NEC’s powerful distributed grid platform, HYDRAstor®, and secured in Iron Mountain® data centers, this backup as a service solution securely backs up onsite data centers cost-effectively with advanced encryption and easy scalability.

NEC continues to deliver excellence in cloud computing, business continuity, infrastructure and unified communications.

Tech Trends to Look for in 2020

Research shows that IT budgets will continue to increase in 2020, much of it to be spent on new technology as well as hardware replacement. According to a survey of 1,000 North American and European companies conducted by Spiceworks, 44% of businesses plan to increase IT spending in 2020 (vs. 38% in 2019). Gartner also predicts increased worldwide IT spending in 2020 with a growth rate of 3.7% overall.

Here’s a look at some of the trends for 2020 and beyond.

Cloud Computing and Everything as a Service

Installations of cloud-based computing will continue to grow at a record pace as organizations become more familiar and comfortable with the advantages it offers to a mobile workforce. Cloud infrastructure is maturing beyond being separated into public, hosted private and on premises buckets to instead becoming more portable and mobile as well as more standardized.

Spending-wise, Spiceworks’ IT spending survey found that hosted and cloud-based services are expected to make up about 22-23% of the total IT budget in 2020 (for NA and European companies). Online backup and recovery services will represent the second largest budget allocation in cloud services, with larger companies allocating more money toward desktop-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service than smaller organizations.

Edge Computing and IoT

Another leading-edge trend that is gaining momentum is edge computing. Defined as distributed computing, edge computing moves computation and data storage closer to where these services are needed, improving latency and saving bandwidth. Spiceworks reports that 68% of large companies plan to use edge computing by the end of 2020.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are no longer part of science fiction. Spiceworks estimates that businesses using AI-powered tech is going to triple by 2021. As an example, AI/ML can be used to help reduce costs by increasing the efficiency of cloud computing. Workplace efficiency can also be improved by using AI to sort through volumes of data to find the information that is most pertinent. AI also is making its way into collaboration and communication within the enterprise. Both internal and external teams continue to become dispersed, so better and more intelligent collaboration is needed to provide information and insight for decision-making.

Facial Recognition

NEC has paved the way for the use of facial recognition in aviation, government entities and retail and in 2020, use of NEC facial recognition will continue to expand across all industries including healthcare, education and hospitality to increase security and improve the customer experience.

NEC Face Recognition Technology Ranks First in 2019 NIST Accuracy Testing

In retail, NEC facial recognition will continue to be expanded as it’s used to personalize the online and in-store experiences for shoppers. Retailers also use it to fight retail crime and shoplifting.

Several new applications for using facial recognition in healthcare are in development. For example, rather than waiting in line to be seen, a virtual assistant can scan a face and assign a patient to a doctor. In education, administrators will be able to take attendance with the help of facial recognition. Facial recognition will be used to enhance identity management and verification systems within healthcare, education and hospitality. NEC’s goal by developing cross-industry facial recognition solutions is to help businesses enhance their employee and customer experience by enabling seamless, frictionless, and more efficient environments by automating operations with this technology.

Star Alliance and NEC Sign Partnership to Enhance Passenger Experience

Technology will continue to improve in hospitality, including security and access, payment authorization and customer service. Hotels, cruises, airports and restaurants are using facial recognition to personalize the customer experience, including using their face to pay for a meal, check into a flight, get recommendations or receive special offers.

Which of these trends does your organization plan to embrace in the coming year? Talk to an NEC expert to learn more about our award-winning research and development and we can customize a solution for your technology needs.

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Soar To New Heights with NEC UNIVERGE Blue Cloud Services

Take Your Unified Communications to the Cloud

Today’s businesses have customers and employees that expect reliable and secure communications from anywhere at any time. Unfortunately, building and maintaining this infrastructure can be cost-prohibitive. Cloud-based communication services are available but could put businesses in a bind paying for services they don’t use or limiting them to one-type of solution.

Small businesses and large enterprises need flexibility when investing in cloud computing. Enterprise businesses expect scalability that’s available when needed. Small businesses are limited in resources and require the ability to do more with less.

No matter the path: on premise, cloud or hybrid, NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE offers a dynamic and flexible delivery model that’s tailored to your business needs and built on our award-winning IT infrastructure.

Why Move to Cloud-Based Solutions?

Your customers, whether internal or external, desire an easily accessible, secure and responsive experience. Employees must be able to perform their duties effectively and rely on dependable technology to fully support a positive customer experience.

Organizations are challenged with implementing communication systems and technology that allows their employees to work together from anywhere at any time. The solution typically involves multiple types of software, infrastructure and other platforms across many locations. Complex system integrations and management can raise IT costs and limit the IT staff from enjoying a productive and efficient employee experience. With IT employees in reaction mode, the customer experience falters due to downtime or unavailable data.

Adapt, connect, and transform your business with UNIVERGE BLUE Cloud-based solutions and unified communications streamline the employee experience while reducing costs and simplifying management. Employees have access to their data and systems via the internet or anywhere they have cell data coverage.

The challenge becomes deployment of these new solutions (legacy systems, reliability, security and cost) and choosing a technology that will continue to grow with the organization.

NEC UNIVERGE BLUE: Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)

UCaaS provides tools for organizations choosing to move voice, mobility, messaging, chat, video collaboration and more into the cloud. Employee teams can communicate anywhere, at any time, on any device. As an enterprise-grade communications solution, UNIVERGE BLUE is cost-effective, built with the latest UC tools at the cost of a standard user license. Best of all, this solution is fully customizable so any business can scale up or down as needed. UCaaS replaces outdated communication systems and reduces the need for extended disaster recovery planning and resources.

NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE delivers this solution while shouldering the burden of maintenance and upgrades, freeing your staff to focus on other business needs.

NEC UNIVERGE BLUE: Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS)

Meet your customer where they are by implementing a cloud-based contact center solution that can be accessed from anywhere. Empower agents to use social media, SMS, webchat, phone, video and more to provide an elevated customer experience. Customers speak to a real human, specifically chosen through CCaaS skills-based routing and, if needed, moves your high-priority customers to the front of the queue. Any size business can benefit from this solution that scales from 5 agents to 20,000.

Again, NEC manages and maintains the system 24/7/365 and business continuity and disaster recovery is built into the solution.

NEC UNIVERGE BLUE: Team Collaboration

Team Collaboration creates a digital workplace in the cloud by improving workforce and remote communications and cooperation. Voice, video, screen sharing, messaging, meetings and file sharing is accessed through a single dashboard on multiple devices at any location. Either used in real time, or off-line, all team members are kept connected and up to date as communications follows them to whatever device they’re using.

Simplifying collaboration and reducing the cost and complexity of multiple applications improves the employee experience and employee retention.

What Makes NEC UNIVERGE BLUE Better?

NEC UNIVERGE BLUE enables a phased approach to organizations moving to cloud as well as a flexible delivery model. Built on highly secure JITC-certified encryption technology and offering two layers of support, NEC’s innovative solutions and customizable approach to communications allows businesses to:

  • Improve the customer experience
  • Improve the employee experience
  • Reduce IT costs
  • Reduce risk
  • Simplify technology management
  • Improve productivity

NEC also has extensive expertise in the market with more than 120 years of experience across all environments. Our solutions integrate into your current environment and scale to where you want to be in the future. Our dynamic delivery model gives you the options of on premises, cloud, hybrid, public or private environments. Payment options are just as flexible, with capex, op-ex or a combination of both.

NEC’s Cloud services allows your organization to grow and deliver a unified, reliable and secure experience with minimal investment. Customize the solution that’s perfect for your organization. Contact an NEC Solutions Expert to learn more or download the UNIVERGE BLUE ebook.

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Reach Sky-High Communications

This ebook will help you understand how UNIVERGE BLUE can support your communications system while allowing your team to remain focused on what matters most—your business.
 
 


Honoring Those Who Serve and Have Served

NEC Commemorates the Day with Maj. Eric King and #VETSWHATSNEXT

Each year on November 11, America honors and celebrates the brave men and women who serve and have served in our nation’s armed forces.  Here at home and around the world, 1.3 million active duty military and 860K reserve service members protect our freedoms and secure our liberty.  There are 18.2 million veterans in the United States, according to the most recent statistics from the US Census.  To each and every one, we owe our sincerest gratitude.

Earlier this year, NEC’s effort to help thank one of these veterans was completed as he received the keys to his new mortgage-free home located in Irving, Texas, home to NEC Corporation of America’s headquarter office. Major King is a father of three who served three combat tours overseas. This decorated veteran medically retired from the military in 2016, and since has been focused on getting healthy and raising his three children. Maj. King and his family received their new home courtesy of Operation FINALLY HOME, built on land donated by the City of Irving, and supported by donations and volunteers from several companies, including NEC.

Watch the video the day that Maj. King and his family learned they were going to be given the home up to the day they received the keys.

This gift of thanks given to U.S. Army Major Eric King and his family has had a tremendous impact on them, prompting Maj. King to write to Operation FINALLY HOME:

“Thank you Dan Wallrath, Operation Finally Home and all supporters. We are at 6 months of being in our beautiful home and we still have the same feelings we had on the day of the key dedication ceremony…still filled and overwhelmed with joy, love and appreciation. Thank you!!”
– Eric K. King

Honoring Those Who Serve and Have Served – NEC Commemorates the Day with Maj. Eric King and #VETSWHATSNEXT

Maj. King has dedicated himself to giving back by helping other veterans reclaim their lives. He launched #VetsWhatsNext, a nonprofit charity to help change the lives of disabled Vets and their families. Through fundraising activities and #VetsWhatsNext product sales, he hopes to benefit organizations such as Operation Finally Home and Veterans scholarship foundations. For more information go to https://www.VetsWhatsNext.com/, and follow on Facebook, Twitter (@VetsWhatsNext), and Instagram (#vetswhatsnext). NEC supports #VETSWHATSNEXT.

Honoring Those Who Serve and Have Served – NEC Commemorates the Day with Maj. Eric King and #VETSWHATSNEXT

Pictured with Maj. King and modeling some of the #VetsWhatsNext gear are some of our NEC Veterans (from L to R): Charlie B. – Army, Auby T. – Army, Tammy L. – Navy, Stacey T. – Navy, Maj. Eric King – Army, John W. – Air Force, John E. – Air Force, Russell H. – Marines.

AFIS Internet Conference 2018

Please join NEC in offering our heartfelt thanks to Maj. King, our NEC veterans, and all that are serving or have served.  We honor their service and sacrifice that allows us to continue to enjoy freedom and democracy in this great country. Your show of gratitude can have a far reaching impact on so many, just as it did with Maj. King.  If you are looking for additional appreciation ideas, here are 8 Ways to Express Appreciation on Veterans Day from Military.com.

NEC Partners with NSHOF, FC Dallas and Frisco ISD to introduce the STEAM FC Experience for Middle School Students

I was pleased to attend the recent launch of STEAM FC presented by NEC, an innovative educational program developed in partnership with Frisco Independent School District (FISD), the National Soccer Hall of Fame (NSHOF) and FC Dallas at their headquarters in Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. This program’s name and its focus is all about introducing FISD sixth graders – in its first phase – to the many ways Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) can be applied using professional soccer and stadium management as its core.

In addition to my duties with NEC Corporation of America, I’m also the head of the NEC Foundation, which is focused on delivering social value in the communities where our employees live and work – one of these values being Education. Frisco ISD, developed the curriculum to creatively connect science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics to the business world in ways most kids don’t see these disciplines today.

STEAM FC is truly an innovative learning initiative. Participating students experience classroom problem-solving and brainstorming sessions, tour the National Soccer Hall of Fame (NSHOF) — with its gesture technology, virtual reality and cutting-edge facial recognition technology from NEC. They get active in the Movement Lab, learning how athletes use science to reach peak performance. Components of the Toyota Stadium Tour also will include learning how marketing works, how the electrical system works, how the grass on the soccer field grows and is maintained; essentially, STEAM FC curriculum incorporates the business and the combined STEAM skills involved in running a pro soccer team at this specialized venue.

At NEC, we believe in giving all kids, but especially girls and economically disadvantaged children, unique access to STEAM initiatives in the hope it sparks inspiration and passion and the possibility that more of these underrepresented groups will enter STEAM professions. Diversifying the talent pool for STEAM jobs can only improve our worldwide competitiveness.

For more details about STEAM FC field trips, you can visit the FC Dallas STEAMFC web page.