COVID-19 / Coronavirus Update

Disclaimer: This blog post reflects the latest available information regarding NEC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. We will periodically update this post as new information becomes available.

Updated March 25, 2019

Like all companies, NEC Corporation of America has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 / novel coronavirus outbreak. The health of our customers, partners, employees and their families are of paramount importance, and we are actively aligning our response based on guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

While COVID-19 has not had a direct impact on NEC’s operations, we are taking the necessary precautions to help promote the health and wellbeing of our employees while maintaining the highest level of satisfaction and support for our customers and partners.

In the best interest of the health of NEC customers, partners and employees, NEC has implemented two measures regarding business travel and teleworking for our employees. These measures are designed to curtail the spread of the virus, while remaining as responsive as possible to our customers’ and partners’ needs.

  • Effective Monday, March 16, 2020, all domestic and international business travel by NEC employees must be deemed mission-critical before it will be approved.
  • Through at least April 3, NEC is instituting voluntary teleworking for all employees that are able to do so, except for those who live in areas affected by “stay at home” orders where teleworking is mandatory.
  • For employees working in critical on-site functions, such as those in our distribution warehouse, no non-essential visitors will be admitted for the safety of our employees.
  • For any NEC employees who must work on a customer’s location, we will continue to provide the level of support that they’ve come to rely upon from us. In some cases, employees who fall into the category of high-risk as defined by the CDC will be given the option to work remotely.
  • NEC office locations currently impacted by “stay at home” orders have been closed to outside visitors and are only open to mission-critical staff. All other NEC office locations will remain open and accessible unless otherwise required to close. To date we have had no employees impacted and no contamination issues. We will continue to follow CDC guidelines for regular cleaning and disinfecting of these locations.

We very much appreciate your trust and partnership with NEC and hope that you are taking similar precautions to keep your employees healthy and safe. If you have any concerns, requests or needs that NEC can address for you during this time, we are here to listen and help. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your NEC contacts.

Meanwhile, we will update this blog post as needed on the COVID-19 situation, and as any new decisions are made.

How can we help?

Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Fill out the form, and we will get back with you.

Reduce Telecommunications Costs with NEC Network Connect

The cost of enterprise telecommunications are staggering as many organizations are forced to rely on multiple vendors to achieve network redundancy, availability and cost effectiveness.

Today, NEC is introducing an artificial intelligence (AI) powered call-routing solution that automatically matches each call with the most efficient and cost-effective carrier solution available. Network Connect Intelligent Call Routing is simple to deploy, provides unmatched reliability and reduces telecommunications spending up to 30%, or more.  What’s equally exciting is that Network Connect provides users unprecedented visibility and control of their voice activity through a single dashboard across the entire enterprise. For the first time, enterprise customers are in complete control of their telecommunications voice networks.

Imagine if you assembled hundreds of telecom carriers in a single room and asked them to compete for your business on every call. With Network Connect by NEC, if one carrier is having an issue, it’s removed automatically and another carrier bids to earn your business. If a carrier raises their price, another carrier may choose to lower theirs to earn your business. All of this happens transparently while each call is transmitted through the most effective and best quality path offering a ‘pay per what you use’ pricing model.

Why limit yourself to the vulnerabilities that come with depending on one single carrier when NEC’s Network Connect gives you access to the entire wholesale telecom marketplace?

Network Connect cuts enterprise telecommunications costs up to 30%, or more annually.

What does Network Connect do?

Together NEC and 46 Labs developed a call routing solution that provides enterprise customer’s access to the wholesale telecommunications market and where calls are routed to the lowest cost carrier. In simple terms, each call goes to the lowest bidder, in real time, improving operational efficiency while reducing telephony costs. Annual cost savings are dramatic versus using a standard carrier that may charge retail fees or round up call times to unnecessarily high phone bills.

How does Network Connect work?

The Network Connect intelligent call routing solution uses AI and machine learning to establish the most optimal call path. Once you have access to Network Connect, you will receive instant access to hundreds of global carriers.  Calls are routed between carriers the same way your current carrier manages your call traffic. Businesses establish a SIP Trunk connection to the platform, through the internet and a PBX, and Network Connect will automatically handle all carrier selection, taxation, security, cost and quality optimization.

What information does Network Connect provide?

With Network Connect, IT staff will finally have the visibility and control to monitor and remediate voice network traffic issues.  Additional benefits include:

  • Full access to an up-to-the-minute assessment of telephony usage
  • The option to set daily and monthly spending limits
  • Integration of multiple sites globally in a single dashboard
  • The ability to set alerts, identify issues and automatically remediate network issues
  • Next generation reliability and redundancy
  • A single US based 1.800 number for customer service and support

Hundreds of voice carriers compete on a call-by-call basis to earn your business, so you are not locked into any single carrier and are always getting the best possible price and quality.

How is Network Connect different from using a single carrier?

Network Connect is essentially offering wholesale network prices. Your calls will still be routed via many of the same carriers you may use already but these telecom voice carriers will be working collaboratively and competitively to send and receive your phone calls. Much like the Internet, a call may take multiple paths and touch multiple carriers to go between sender and receiver. With more carrier options, the paths get shorter and call delivery is less expensive.

NEC’s Network Connect also offers a single point of management across a multi-site or multi-national voice network. Automatic intelligent failover is built-in, as well as diversity in voice networks to virtually eliminate outages. When your business seamlessly integrates this call routing solution, you will experience no business interruption, improved voice quality and flexible licensing options.

Why should you choose NEC as your communications provider?

NEC has been providing communications solutions since 1899 and satellite communications since the 1960’s. A proven leader in telecommunications and recognized as a Top 100 Global Innovator, we ship more unified communications around the world than any other provider. NEC holds over 64,000 worldwide technology patents and our submarine cabling provides global telecommunication connectivity. NEC has been an innovator and communications provider for over 120 years. Network Connect continues the tradition of delivering excellence in communications through innovation, with a single point of contact.

How can I become a customer for Network Connect?

The next step would be an assessment of your current carrier plan and existing costs. An NEC Network Connect Solution expert, will work with your implementation team to define a path forward. You do not have to invest in additional infrastructure or change anything about your business operations. Simply make the switch to Network Connect from your current provider and start saving. If you are locked into a current contract with your network provider, you have the option to cap your existing spend with your carrier and grow it with NEC’s Network Connect. Many non-bundled items, like international calling or toll-free service can be moved into the Network Connect system while still maintaining your existing obligations.

Learn more about NEC’s Network Connect, the first call-routing solution that gives enterprises access to the wholesale telecom market.

Contact us and find out how NEC’s Network Connect can work for you!

What’s the best backup solution for my environment?

In May 2019, a ransomware attack held the city of Baltimore’s computers hostage, preventing its citizens from paying water bills or parking tickets. City leaders say that fully restoring systems takes months and even then, data may be corrupted or unusable. In efforts to employ more technology in city infrastructure, cyberhackers are infiltrating city operations more than ever before.
If you’re reading this, chances are highly likely that you’re unsatisfied with your current backup solution. According to CommVault, the statistics around backups and data restores reveal:
• Only 57% of IT managers have a backup solution in place, of which 75% were not able to restore their data.
• 81% of ransomware victims felt confident in their ability to restore completely from backups, but only 42% could restore their data fully.
• Sixty percent of organizations shut down after a data loss disaster and the average cost of downtime is $250,000 per hour.
Perhaps you’re all too familiar with these statistics and are wondering how to implement a quality backup solution that works for your budget and environment.
Answer these questions and read on to determine the best backup solution for your environment.

How Much Am I Really Paying for Protection?
Consider the true cost of backups and disaster recovery for your organization. You may be paying for hardware and software licensing, network hardware infrastructure, management costs, disaster recovery location, environment management and more. How much are you paying in staff to manage everything and training on the skills required for equipment maintenance? Are you paying for full-time use of expertise or technology that you only use part of the time? Can you put a cost on unreliable backups, slow backups and restores, low service levels, downtime or noncompliance?

NEC Solution Simplifies Backup Complexity – NEC/B&A Case Study:

UNIVERGE BLUE Backup as a Service Case Study: B & A from InteractiveNEC

How Complex is My Environment?

If your IT environment keeps changing, includes multiple applications, legacy systems or other complex infrastructure, you’re already familiar with the cost of owning several different software and hardware licenses. Changes in public policy may require technology updates or backup reliability to maintain compliance with new regulations. Data loss, intrusion and cyber threats add another layer of complexity requiring continual management, monitoring and updates. You may also manage this environment on your own, in reactive mode and in silos, increasing the cost and inefficiency of your IT staff.

NEC Backup as a Service Reduces Administrative Tasks, Helping IT Departments Help Their Organizations

What’s Your Data Worth? from InteractiveNEC

The Benefits of Backup as a Service (BaaS)

While considering the cost of adding a full-service disaster recovery solution, consider how Backup as a Service creates a better IT employee experience. By implementing a fully-managed and hosted system, NEC manages all the data, licensing, network and infrastructure, mitigating the risk of data loss and increasing your IT staff’s efficiency.

BaaS also adds to a better customer experience. Complex environments may require maintenance to ensure a fully compliant data center. With NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BaaS solution, your employees have data when they need it, without fail, in fully regulated data centers with fully compliant software.

Why Choose NEC for BaaS?

Regardless of your business size or the complexity of your data and storage environment, NEC has a solution for you. NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BaaS is a full-service backup infrastructure, fully managed and at a lower cost of ownership. In fact, your organization will no longer be responsible for maintaining the infrastructure or backups unless you choose to do so. UNIVERGE BLUE BaaS also incorporates the cost of disaster recovery, creating a cost-effective, secure solution. When your business needs a data restore, NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BaaS is available at a moment’s notice:

  • Built and optimized on NEC Storage infrastructure
  • Reliable, managed backup and recovery available anytime
  • Fully staffed network operations center to manage the process
  • Daily or monthly performance and status reports
  • AEC 128-bit encryption for virtual servers, physical servers or database applications
  • Personalized retention and recovery time objectives

NEC will also offer a personal consultation with your organization to accurately assess your current backup solution and determine if a new one is needed.

NEC’s UNIVEGRE BLUE BaaS Deployment Options

With NEC, BaaS is available from self-service to fully managed backup and disaster recovery services:

  • NEC appliance in your local data center (on and off premise and fully managed): Your servers will be backed up to the appliance and then sent to the off premises NEC cloud.  Your organization pays for the appliance and it can be self-managed or fully managed by NEC.
  • Backup to the NEC cloud (fully hosted): Your existing servers are directed to backup to NEC’s cloud over a secure link. Your organization only pays for the space and services you need.

In a fully hosted system, NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE BaaS solution delivers security and performance and is powered by industry-leading CommVault® backup software. The infrastructure is placed in highly secure and compliant IronMountain® data centers offering fully automated, cost-effective and easily scalable backup solutions. Network operations and restores are available 7x24x365. The system integrates with multiple applications and legacy systems including SAP, CRM systems and more. This scenario is best for complex storage and data environments such as healthcare, hospitality and education.

The on-premises appliance is built using the optimal NEC infrastructure platform to meet the requirement.  This includes NEC’s HYDRAstor Physical and Virtual appliances, as well as NEC’s Storage Rich Servers configured with the appropriate software to easily handle the needs of SMB to enterprise businesses.

Is Your Backup Solution Slow or Outdated?

To protect your data, ensure a positive customer experience and create a more efficient employee experience, it may be time to consider a better backup solution. With enormous amounts of data that are changing at rapid speed, tape backups could be outdated as quickly as a backup is finished. Migrations, maintenance and unplanned downtime can disrupt production and reduce the efficiency of your IT staff. Inconsistent and often incomplete backups can cost your organization, including hurting the bottom line dramatically.

NEC’s HYDRAstor, recognized as 2015’s Best of Interop in Storage and with a Network Products Guide Gold Award in Storage Solutions, is widely regarded as the most scalable and fastest dedupe appliance. NEC’s powerful award-winning infrastructure and technology is available and customizable for your IT environment.

Learn more at https://www.necam.com/Cloud/BaaS/ or schedule a no obligation consultation with an NEC backup expert to determine which solution fits your needs and budget. Just fill out the form below, and we will get back to you soon.

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!

NEC Corporation of America

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Let us assist you with your current business needs!

Fill out the form today and we will get back with you.

 
 
 
 



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.

NEC Corporation of America

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Let us assist you with your current business needs!

Fill out the form today and we will get back with you.