2020 Disruptions Propel NEC’s Digital Transformations

NEC’s 2020 Innovations Increase Safety, Business Continuity and Digital Transformations

Challenging and chaotic are choice words to describe 2020. But during the healthcare crisis and weather emergencies, everyday heroes emerged.

We applaud the frontline workers, healthcare providers and first responders. We also recognize IT and telecommunications professionals, network administrators and data managers who supported critical technology infrastructures.

The immense disruptions in 2020 propelled innovations in the way we live and work. While NEC is continuously advancing in the areas of communications, security, collaboration platforms and customer experience, we redoubled our efforts last year.

Safer, secure contactless touchpoints
As we move forward, public health and safety remain top priorities. For individuals and organizations, technologies that support both frictionless access and social distancing measures are now more important than ever.

That’s the reason we prioritized development of “touchless” touchpoints to reduce the spread of infectious diseases. Our revolutionary approach to Digital Transformation (DX), NEC I:Delight, includes an advanced, secure and scalable platform to support contactless, yet robust customer experiences.

Although we began our journey toward touchless technology long before the current crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces our commitment to continue advancing our biometric and AI solutions for aviation, immigration, retail and hospitality industries, healthcare, education and more.

Screening travelers to ensure health and security
A highlight of 2020 is the Hawaii Department of Transportation selecting an NEC-led team for deployment of a thermal screening solution at all five state-run airports.

NEC NeoFace® Thermal Express leverages thermal sensing and facial recognition technologies to detect elevated body temperature (EBT) and alert screeners to anyone with a temperature of 100.4 or greater.

In addition, we introduced a partnership with SITA, a global provider of IT and communications infrastructure for 80% of the world’s airports. NEC’s Advanced Identity Matcher – Edge Source (AIM-ES) technology uses the most accurate face matching algorithms as validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

In combination with our NeoFace algorithm, we deliver an all-in-one solution capable of creating recognition galleries and templates as well as providing identity matching and scoring. It easily integrates with the SITA Smart Path whole-journey identity management solution, which creates a specialized application for airport travelers. Because NEC’s I:Delight uses an individual’s unique ID, it is more secure than other online money transfer services.

New generation cloud communications and collaborations
The way businesses work has changed. Corporations must be flexible and ready to adapt to teleworking at a moment’s notice.

For 120 years, NEC has pioneered Information and Communications Technologies, including Smart Enterprise cloud computing and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). As the current global market share leader in on-premises business phone systems, we were pleased to announce a global partnership with Intermedia, a leading provider of cloud-based communications solutions.

Our collaborations with Intermedia launched a new generation of our UNIVERGE BLUE® cloud communications portfolio. The new UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT and UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE solutions are reliable and easy to deploy, while remaining highly scalable and extremely cost-effective.

In addition to advancing business continuity, more employees will be able to work safely from home while increasing their productivity. The new UNIVERGE BLUE is also easy for channel partners to sell, install and support.

Resellers, check out 8 Great Reasons to Become a UNVERGE BLUE Channel Partner.

Reduce telecommunications costs
With the surge in network connectivity requirements, businesses are looking for ways to control costs while maintaining reliability and security.

We launched Network Connect to help cut enterprise telecommunications costs up to 30% or more annually. The intelligent call routing solution uses AI and machine learning to establish the most optimal call path from hundreds of global carriers.

You don’t need to invest in additional infrastructure or change anything about your business operations. NEC’s Network Connect is the first call-routing solution that gives enterprise access to the wholesale telecom market.

NEC Visionary Week
Another area that we reimagined in 2020 is NEC’s iEXPO. NEC Visionary Week was a virtual event packed with powerful insights to fuel future decisions. Featuring global problem solvers and tech influencers, the agenda included ideas for conquering COVID-19 and carving out a new normal, harnessing AI, 5G and digital transformations to improve economies, business operations and our societies.

If you missed Visionary Week in December, you can still watch the enlightening content on-demand until January 30th. Click here to sign-up now.

As we look forward to 2021 and beyond, we thank you for your partnership. Our commitment to innovations, digital transformation, safety, security and business continuity remains steadfast. Working together, we can build greater agility and resilience in enterprise systems to create a healthier future. Happy New Year!

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Star Alliance Biometrics streamlines boarding process with NEC I:Delight identity management platform

Star Alliance Biometrics launched last month, giving loyalty customers of the world’s largest global airline alliance a quicker, cleaner path through airports in Frankfurt and Munich, Germany. Lufthansa and SWISS International are the first airlines to implement Star Alliance Biometrics. In time, Star Alliance plans to make the service available to all 26 of its member airlines. NEC is proud to be the technology partner powering the new service with the NEC I:Delight identity platform software.

Star Alliance has a strong reputation for innovation in the airline industry. Upholding its commitment to listen to customer expectations and elevate the customer experience with cutting-edge solutions, Star Alliance decided two years ago to leverage NEC’s biometric and identity management platform to accelerate airport processes and alleviate bottlenecks.

That forward-thinking objective positioned Star Alliance as a problem-solving leader during the current pandemic, to use contactless biometrics to create hygienic, touchless checkpoints. Travelers who opt-in to use the Star Alliance Biometrics service simply check-in at each kiosk with a selfie rather than handling physical documents face-to-face with airport personnel.

As Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh recently stated in a joint press release with Lufthansa Group, “Biometrics solutions are important as we move forward for the industry and for airports. First and foremost, it will offer a seamless customer experience. Second, it will offer the hygiene safety experience that customers are expecting coming out of the coronavirus crisis. But importantly, for many, many airports, infrastructural constraints have been a problem. And biometrics solutions will take away those infrastructural concerns.”

Register once, use often

As the Star Alliance Biometrics service expands over time, it will be interoperable among participating airlines and airports. As Alliance members adopt the technology and as air travel rebounds for the “next normal,” customers will be able to move seamlessly across the growing global network with a single secure digital ID.

Loyalty program members may opt-in using an app to scan their passports and snap a selfie. NEC technology validates the authenticity of the passport and the traveler’s biometrics to prevent spoofing or identity theft. NEC I:Delight is developed with privacy in mind, and this commitment to customer security and privacy was a key factor in Star Alliance’s decision to develop its platform with NEC.

Participants control their digital ID by selecting the partners who may access it. At the airport, authentication is intuitive in any language: Passengers face an integrated camera in a kiosk at the security zone and boarding gate.  In the blink of an eye, the identity platform checks passengers against the saved flight manifest data, quickly producing a prompt for the traveler to continue through the checkpoint or to check-in with security or an airline agent.

The NEC I:Delight platform’s capabilities can also be extended to assist with Wayfinding in airports and enable Face Pay for purchases at duty free stores. Face Pay uses the same NEC protections for secure access to a participant’s account. Beyond the airport, the entire travel ecosystem can be enhanced with I:Delight by implementing face recognition in hospitality, retail, entertainment, car rental and other transportation.

Biometrics in the face of COVID

Face coverings create a challenge for many face recognition algorithms. Some masks cover more than half of a face, and this pandemic has seen a surge of new face mask styles, textures and patterns. NEC continually invests in improving its biometric algorithm – already the industry’s fastest and most accurate – and NEC has risen to the challenge.

The NEC face matching algorithm has proven its accuracy even with a face mask. Identity verification can occur in as little as 1.5 seconds –much faster and more accurate than human analysis with the face mask lowered.

NEC’s commitment to innovation over its long history and our consistent top ratings across biometric solutions led Star Alliance to choose NEC as the technology partner for its biometrics platform. CEO Jeffrey Goh says Star Alliance wanted a reliable partner that could give airline members confidence that they will continue to have secure and forward-thinking solutions that support the alliance’s reputation as a technology leader.

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NEC Visionary Week: Insights from Global Problem Solvers and Tech Influencers

For 20 years, NEC’s iEXPO showcased solutions for society, attracting more than 30,000 attendees from around the globe.

This year, NEC is reimagining the iEXPO and introducing NEC Visionary Week as a virtual event, Tuesday, December 1 – Friday, December 4, 2020. In addition, NEC is making the highly relevant conference free to attend as a gift to clients and industry colleagues. With greater access, safety and convenience, the flagship forum is expected to draw a record number of attendees worldwide.

Agenda Highlights: December 1 and 4, 2020
Packed with powerful insights that will fuel future decisions, registration is open now for NEC Visionary Week. Be inspired by ideas for conquering COVID-19 and carving out a new normal, harnessing AI, 5G and digital transformation to improve economies, business operations and our societies.

Key sessions featuring solutions from NEC Corporation of America, include:

How Star Alliance Biometrics Will Significantly Improve the Travel Experience
December 1, 4:50 – 5:25 p.m. CST
This fireside chat spotlights the newest technologies elevating customer experience, while focusing on safety and security to rekindle the love of travel and restore travelers’ confidence in the post-COVID 19 world. Learn how Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, and NEC are working together to speed airport transit touchpoints, including seamless, touchless airline check-ins.

Join an enlightening discussion about the latest facial recognition technology and encrypted personal identification. Find out how the biometrics solutions protect personal data and maintain compliance as the customer journey becomes more enjoyable and hassle-free.

Speakers:
Jeffrey Goh, Chief Executive Officer, Star Alliance
Raffie Beroukhim, SVP & Chief Experience Officer, NEC Corporation of America
Jason Van Sice, Vice President, NEC Corporation of America

Cloud Communications Helps U.S. Major League Soccer Club Bring Fans Back to the Stands- VIRTUALLY
December 4, 12:40 – 1:15 p.m. CST

Despite the pandemic, one Major League Soccer team has been able to stay connected with fans. How? Using advanced cloud communications solutions.

NEC and Intermedia Cloud Communications have partnered to bring cloud communications and collaboration solutions. From business phone and chat to video conferencing and file management, the solutions are flexible and scalable in bringing teams and people together.

Join the lively panel discussion about keeping fans engaged and excited! Experience the cloud services and how the tools empower communications and remote collaborations.

Speakers:
Michael Gold, Chief Executive Officer, Intermedia Cloud Communications
Ram Menghani, President, NEC Enterprise Communication Technologies Inc.

The robust speaker lineup also includes:

How Artificial Intelligence Will Conquer the Coronavirus, And Beyond
December 1, 11:35 a.m. – 12:10 p.m. CST

Keynote speaker, Dr. Michi Kaku, Professor of Theoretical Physics at City College of New York, says AI will conquer the coronavirus. Analyzing vast quantities of raw data from social media, cell phones, drones and search engines, AI will detect super-spreaders and stop the virus in its tracks. Dr. Kaku will describe the Fourth Stage in technology with artificial intelligence and biotechnology. Join us to find out why Dr. Kaku is promising a brighter and more prosperous economy and way of life!

5G Open vRAN: Delivering Innovative Digital Services & Sustainable Social Life
December 1, 3:30 – 4:20 p.m. CST

As 5G networks become more widely deployed, operators are looking at the Open & Virtualized RAN architecture to better support next-generation networks. Learn how Telefónica is creating social values based on Open RAN that will increase automation, bring services to market faster, improve security and enable business efficiencies.

Speakers:
Enrique Blanco, Chief Technology & Information Officer, Telefónica
Akihiko (Kiko) Kumagai, Senior Executive Vice President, NEC Corporation
Nozomu Watanabe, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation
Mayuko Tatewaki, Service Provider Solutions General Manager, NEC Corporation

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NEC Future Creation Forum: New Commons – New Values Towards a Sustainable Future
December 1, 5:30 – 6:25 p.m. CST

Mr. Jeremy Rifkin, American economic and social theorist and author of The Zero Marginal Cost Society, presents the “NEC Future Creation Forum.” Join an eye-opening discussion on the new value standards. Envision a future that achieves a prosperous human society, while maintaining a sustainable planet—beyond the next normal.

NEC Visionary Week will offer insights from global problem solvers, technology innovators and thought leaders. Join us to propel our world and industries forward!

For more information and to register, visit https://global-event.nec.com/nvw2020

From Vision to Fruition: Creating Biometric CX Solutions

NEC is looking at ‘reopening’ from the perspective of returning stronger!

A top priority for businesses today is to create touchless touchpoints that deliver a frictionless, personalized, secure and seamless customer experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many industries around the world to change their best practices. Now more than ever, it is imperative for businesses to have a clear reopening plan that isn’t just “reopen the doors” and “return to normal.” Instead, these plans need to address customer and employee concerns simultaneously.

The first step toward creating a unique customer experience is understanding the current business challenges and new innovative possibilities. NEC has partnered with Fresh Consulting to deliver a “Design Thinking” process that reduces risk and maximizes the opportunity to deliver an improved customer experience.

Throughout the discovery process, we will work with your organization to determine how to align internal stakeholders, capitalize on opportunity, mitigate risk and deploy efficiently to maximize ROI.

This proven process includes the following methodologies:

  1. Research
  2. Strategy
  3. Rapid Prototyping
  4. Evaluation
  5. Deployment
  6. Future Roadmap Development

NEC has been a leader in advanced biometric recognition solutions for more than 50 years. Our touchless technology portfolio is used across multiple industries.

Solutions such as contactless payment and face authentication, thermal screening for elevated body temperature (EBT) for customers entering a store or employees entering a warehouse, along with hygienic protocols, can all make a difference when returning to work.

NEC, along with Fresh Consulting, can help drive long-term success for your organization. To learn more and download our white paper visit www.necam.com/fresh.

Below is a three-page preview of our white paper. Click here to learn more or fill out the form below to download the entire whitepaper.

Let’s Get Started

Learn how NEC & Fresh Consulting can transform your organization.

NEC’s I:Delight platform is taking flight with SITA partnership

When airport checkpoints move smoothly, travelers have more time to shop, dine and relax before their flight. NEC’s biometric facial recognition technology is the quickest and simplest way to authenticate a passenger’s identity, letting them fast-track through every process from bag check to boarding.

NEC has developed a unique partnership with SITA, a global provider of IT and communication infrastructure for 80% of the world’s airports. NEC’s Advanced Identity Matcher – Edge Source (AIM-ES) technology uses the most accurate face matching algorithms as validated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), along with our NeoFace® algorithm, to deliver an all-in-one solution capable of creating recognition galleries and templates as well as providing identity matching and scoring. It easily integrates with the SITA Smart Path whole-journey identity management solution, which creates a specialized application for airport travelers.

Using the application, travelers can choose to use their digital identity for paperless boarding passes. A simple facial scan validates their identity at check-in and continues to authenticate passengers throughout the airport experience.

Implemented fully, a traveler can enable facial recognition in NEC’s I:Delight identity management platform to approve purchases in airport shops, on airlines, for hotels and transportation. Because it uses an individual’s unique ID, it is more secure than other online money transfer services.

No explanation required—in any language

Facial recognition is intuitive and transcends language barriers: Everyone knows how to take a selfie, so it’s natural to look at a screen for a snapshot. The results are also extremely quick. The photo hits the cloud, finds a match, then flashes a red light or green light—a universal signal for a person to stop or go ahead.

By comparison, other forms of biometric identification require the individual be at an exact distance and use a precise gesture—both of which involve an explanation and require more time. In addition, face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic raise a new challenge, but NEC’s NeoFace biometric algorithms gather enough data from the visible part of the face to verify a traveler in the database.

Travelers simply opt-in to the platform to access the application. If they want touchless fast-tracking, they download an app to their phone, save an image of their face on the day of travel, and their image and secure travel documents are linked in a database for travel checkpoints. Travelers maintain self-sovereign identity, meaning each traveler selects who they will share their information with, such as an airline, hotel or retail service.

Customized for airlines, compliant with security

The partnership also streamlines adoption of the technology for airlines and airports. SITA Flex enables airports and airlines to build their own mobile applications for passengers, and NEC’s digital identity management software enables developers to overlay their interface with the NEC I:Delight platform.

Biometric verification can also be used for security and customs checkpoints. Each country has distinct requirements for security screening, and SITA has both the relationships and the extensive local workforce to customize our platform for compliance and scale at each location. All systems adhere to country and local policies, and NEC is completely transparent about how data is used. For example, data for international travelers in the U.S. is stored for six hours, then expunged.

Delta Air Lines is already using the NEC facial recognition platform in Atlanta to fast-track passengers. The hygienic, touchless system is ideal during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Delta will expand this streamlined process to other U.S. airport hubs.

Internationally, NEC and SITA have a project in Thailand, at multiple airports in India, and Star Alliance is rolling out NEC I:Delight in Europe. Star Alliance plans to enable travelers to use their travel reward points system as a purchasing method—in flight as well as at the airport, hotel and transportation.

The NEC-SITA partnership creates an opportunity to scale NEC biometrics technology to more than 460 airports running on SITA’s infrastructure around the world.

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