Truly Open, Truly Trusted at Identity Week 2022

In the spirit of “asu,” the Japanese word for tomorrow, NEC was proud to be the title sponsor for Identity Week as we look forward to the future of digital identity and biometrics.

Formerly known as Connect ID, Identity Week connects identity professionals from across government, finance, retail, eCommerce, health care, and travel. More than 1,000 attendees from around the world were at the event in October at Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC.

Kicking off Identity Week, David Pekoske, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), shared staggering numbers. On Labor Day weekend, 8.76 million travelers were screened by TSA. That’s up 102% from pre-pandemic levels. To effectively screen the growing number of passengers, TSA will deploy more biometric technology so that travelers have safe and seamless experiences.

Administrator Pekoske also gave us insight into the TSA Innovation Task Force’s plan for an upcoming “innovation doctrine” that will help guide future technology projects to integrate new hardware and software. This forward-thinking approach to digital transformation will ensure that travelers have a safe and convenient “curb-to-gate” travel experience in airports.

Mind the Trust Gap
I was honored to present the opening keynote, “Mind the Trust Gap,” spotlighting digital ID within the federal and aviation sectors.

NEC’s vision of being truly open, and truly trusted is one of our strengths as a 123-year-old company. We continuously look to asu (tomorrow) and the possibilities of the future, prioritizing trust, security, and seamless experiences. I challenged the audience to not only build on current technologies but to also widen our aperture and think about the threats of tomorrow. Asu is NEC’s commitment to outside-the-box thinking to develop solutions at the speed of need.

Convergence of Online and Offline ID
“Decentralized ID is our vision for secure, self-sovereign, and standardized digital ID.” NEC Vice President Micah Willbrand gave the summit speech on the convergence of online and offline identities, the evolution toward decentralized digital ID, and how it’s being used in retail, aviation, and other applications. He stressed that the public sector should look toward the private sector as more consumers demand streamlined experiences.

Digital-Enabled Citizen Experiences
Austin Park, Director for NEC National Security Systems (NEC NSS), participated on a panel about digitally enabled citizen experiences. Austin predicts, “Decentralized identity will become much more prevalent in the next five years due to its privacy-by-design nature.”

Beyond Digital Identity
NEC Labs President Chris White led a seminar pointing out the importance of “applying real-time methods of sensing people and the environment to make accurate and efficient authentication systems.” NEC Labs is the U.S.-based center for NEC Corporation’s global network of research laboratories. NEC NSS and NEC Labs work in tandem on innovative biometric solutions.

Harnessing AI to Enhance Customer Experience
NEC Labs also invited attendees to try their luck with our AI-driven golf putt analyzer. Executive Vice President Keith Terreri demonstrated his golf skills and got an insight into his swing, body movements, and positioning. It was a fun, interactive way to showcase the technology and how it can be applied to enhance digital ID, security, and customer experience.

Being with our peers at Identity Week was inspiring and energizing. There were spirited discussions about Next Gen identity verification, which reinforces our mission at NEC NSS to apply scientific curiosity with the flexibility to rapidly prototype custom solutions. We look forward to next year’s event!

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Your Face. One ID. One Platform.

Known as the “CES for aviation,” Future Travel Experience Global (FTE) brought together leaders from airlines, airports and their partners to experience the latest innovations and solutions advancing tomorrow’s customer journey.

Building on the theme of Identity Reimagined, NEC sponsored the Biometric & Digital Identity Summit, featuring a panel discussion that looked at the dynamic approaches to digital identity innovations for the travel industry.

A key focus point was on the integration of SITA Smart Path at Miami International Airport (MIA), powered by NEC I: Delight, along with insights and key learnings about the adoption of biometrics and digital ID from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. CBP) and Lufthansa:

  • Nael Samha, Acting Executive Director, Targeting and Analysis Systems Program Directorate, U.S. CBP
  • Maurice Jenkins, Chief Innovation Officer, Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Sherry Stein, Head of Technology Strategy, Americas, SITA
  • Patrick Sgueglia, Product Manager, Regulatory Services & Biometrics, Lufthansa

Onsite interactive demonstrations of NEC I:Delight, encouraged attendees to create their digital ID and try to ‘Fool the System’ by using fun props to change their appearance to further show how a single digital ID can empower a seamless journey using various methods of authentication and verification.

Additionally, the global aviation partnership and integration of NEC I:Delight with SITA Smart Path was recognized. With an emphasis on personalizing the customer experience, to provide faster identification, shorter lines, and touchless services—all while allowing users to manage their digital identity to ensure privacy and security.

Our experience at FTE reinforced our commitment to continuously innovate our touchless technology, elevate the customer experience and create safe, secure journeys.

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How Artificial Intelligence Can Take Customer Service to New Heights

A Look at the New Interaction Analytics and Evaluator AI Features in UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE

You have probably heard some of the recent buzz around Contact Center Artificial Intelligence (AI) – how it is the wave of the future for Contact Center technology and smart business. Emily Potosky, Senior Research Principal for Gartner’s Customer Service & Support practice, describes in the 2022 Gartner report entitled “3 Ways AI Benefits Customer Service Organizations” that “Customer service and support leaders are optimistic about the value AI can provide and plan to substantially increase their adoption of AI capabilities over the next two years.” At the same time, she explains how there are conflicting messages about the real benefits of AI and the right solutions in which to invest. According to the report, insights, user experience, and process improvement are three key ways that AI can benefit customer service organizations going forward.

Contact Centers as Critical Touchpoints

As you certainly know, your business thrives on creating and retaining satisfied customers. Your Contact Center is a critical customer touchpoint, where the quality of your interactions can determine whether a customer becomes a passionate, lifelong company advocate or chooses to exit your customer base forever. This is why the power of AI to offer accurate insights into your Contact Center’s daily customer interactions is an appealing way to maintain oversight and drive continuous improvement for customer service, experiences, and processes.

Consider the immense value it would have if your organization could gather meaningful, actionable insights from the voluminous inbound and outbound calls your agents handle each day. Your collection of customer conversations holds tremendous value. However, no one in your organization has the time to review each and every customer conversation manually, and random sampling will simply provide an incomplete picture. The beauty of AI is that it makes the impossible possible.

Gather Actionable Insights and Enhance Customer Experiences with UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE

UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE from NEC is a Contact Center as a service (CCaaS) solution offering not only the benefits of enhanced call center functionality and remote-office flexibility for a low monthly fee per user, but also a powerful suite of AI features that are reason enough to move your entire Contact Center to the cloud today.

The Interaction Analytics feature for ENGAGE uses Artificial Intelligence to enable Contact Center supervisors and your leadership team to easily identify and focus on those conversations that matter the most to your business. By analyzing and tagging customer conversations for sentiment and designated keywords, the guesswork eliminated. Supervisors can gather powerful insights about customer experiences, review recorded and transcribed conversations of interest, act quickly to address trends or issues they see, and move your business ahead of customer demands and expectations. Insights from ENGAGE Interaction Analytics can also be leveraged to help with coaching and training employees and improving customer satisfaction overall.

Evaluator, another AI-powered tool for ENGAGE, utilizes sentiment analysis to monitor the performance of frontline agents and helps supervisors to easily identify those agents requiring additional training or coaching, allowing them to act instantly on specific conversations as needed. The tool also allows supervisors to provide constructive feedback to agents and for agents to respond to this feedback within the application, as a way to build employee skills and improve customer service levels and retention rates.

The benefits of AI can extend to every area of your business, through an effective keyword tagging strategy. For example, a customer service manager could stay informed of any conversations containing keywords like “cancel” or “unhappy,” to see how frontline users are handling these difficult conversations. Sales and marketing could flag competitor names or review conversations that have been flagged for positive or negative sentiments to identify new product value propositions or customer pain points. Product development could tag for keywords like “broken” or “missing,” to identify opportunities for product improvements or new features.

ENGAGE: Real Benefits, The Right Solution

Salesforce quote

According to a recent research study conducted by Salesforce, 88% of customers indicate that the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services, and 94% indicate that a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to purchase again. These customer statistics are really not surprising, but definitely help to explain why the right AI solution for any Contact Center needs to offer the real benefits of insights, user experience, and process improvements – as the Gartner report mentioned earlier explains. ENGAGE Interaction Analytics and Evaluator AI are the right solution for tapping into the wealth of information that is currently hiding in your daily customer interactions – insights that will allow your Contact Center and business to continually improve, create positive customer experiences, and soar to new heights.

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NEC and SITA bring Mobile-Driven Airport Journeys using Biometrics and Digital ID

With restrictions easing across the globe, airports and airlines must meet soaring demand for travel with fewer resources. According to SITA’s 2022 Passenger IT Insights research, travelers are willing to embrace mobile, biometric and touchless technologies to make their journeys easier.

As the aviation industry begins accelerating the transition to a digital travel experience, it’s important to choose the right partner. There are many factors to consider when creating a biometric and mobile-driven passenger journey including accuracy, scalability and cost-effectiveness.

See how the SITA-NEC partnership is opening a whole new world of digital travel possibilities that are safe, secure and easy to use. SITA Smart Path, powered by NEC I:Delight, is creating the future of travel…today.

Learn how SITA-NEC technology is paving the way to expand touchless journeys at airports across the world in SITA’s blog post, “How do we prepare aviation for the next generation of travel?”

For more information about the NEC I:Delight platform and our other aviation solutions, visit www.necam.com/I:Delight/Aviation or complete the form below to speak with an NEC expert to learn how our partnership with SITA is helping to refining the travel experience.

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How Self-Service is Elevating Customer Experience

For decades, customer service and support operations have held an important role in the way organizations operated their businesses. However, this labor driven operation was looked upon as an expense—just a cost of doing business. Organizations often sought ways to lower customer service / support costs by moving this function offshore or outsourcing, limiting ways customers could communicate with them and thus reducing contact center budgets or deploying technology to deflect and/or eliminate in some cases, the “human” contact.

The attitude that customer service / support is an expense began to change as companies put more focus on the actual customer experience and realized that there were opportunities being overlooked. According to research by Deloitte Digital, customer service interactions—especially those with human interaction—are the ones that were “most likely to build or break customer trust and loyalty.”1

BizReport recently reported that customer service and customer experience are now closely linked, which affects the way consumers regard a company brand. Among the findings reported, 73% of consumers want the ability to solve product and service issues on their own. For millennials, customer service expectations have increased since 2012 with 56% indicating that they’ll switch brands if they experience poor customer service.2

Benefits of Self Service

A trend toward self-service by consumers has also emerged and likely will continue to rise. More and more consumers purchase products online and experience delivery methods such as curbside pickup and at-home deliveries. These “touchless” ways of shopping often result in customers increasingly reaching out to businesses through email or phone with questions and requests for assistance. Providing additional options for self-service can improve the customer experience and cut down on frustration, long wait times and inability to reach a business after hours.

Looking a little deeper, it’s apparent that consumers increasingly want to troubleshoot problems on their own rather than waiting to interact with companies online or by phone. Often companies will become too preoccupied in handling common questions from consumers—What are your business hours? When is my next appointment? Did my direct deposit process? How do I drive to your location? — which can negatively impact customer service overall.

To jumpstart self-service options, businesses can provide access to information via intuitive website design and automation, knowledge bases, Interactive Virtual Agent (IVA) chatbots and back-office integrated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to their customers. For example, an IVR can be an option for handling common mundane inquiries. Doing so enables organizations to better manage their contact center agents’ time to more effectively manage incoming calls that directly affect the bottom line. Seamlessly resolving issues through the most-efficient channels equals a better customer experience, more customer loyalty and ultimately more revenue for the company.

During the COVID-19 lockdowns, one of NEC’s customers was inundated with frequent calls related to common questions like those mentioned above. The company leveraged IVR to support customers who called after business hours, allowing them to press “2” and the company would text a link to their business hour webpage automatically. After implementing self-service, our customer deflected more than 800,000 calls.

A Solution for Customer Self-Service

NEC UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is an automated telephony system that interacts with callers, back-end data sources, gathers information and routes calls to the appropriate representative, with insights to that specific customer. When customers have straight-forward questions (checking an account balance or paying a bill), the IVR enables self-serve for customers without using up the time of a live agent. When a customer’s problem extends beyond the dynamic menu, the IVR system quickly leads the caller to the most relevant agent available.

When implemented and configured correctly, IVRs can help boost sales and reduce churn. IVRs can increase customer satisfaction by enabling customer interactions to be handled and routed quickly and efficiently and reported upon afterwards.

IVR gives customers options on how to be assisted and leads them to the right information or agent for more personalized service. It also provides access during off-hours to information such as account balances.

UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE IVR makes configuration and deployment extremely simple, including adding prompts, such as:

  • Initial Greeting/Welcome
  • Language Preferences
  • Authentication
  • Tailored Self-Service Menu that offers informational prompts providing answers to common questions
  • Access to the customer’s own personal account data
  • Choices for accomplishing tasks such as making or canceling an appointment, placing an order, accessing their account or speaking to someone in customer service or a particular department

Easy IVR

ENGAGE has a user-friendly intuitive wizard to streamline the set-up, for common IVR needs. Referred to as Easy-IVR, companies can quickly configure and build a simple step-by-step customized IVR that drive business and improve customer experience. Now, in as little as five minutes, non-programmers can either build an IVR or enhance an existing one quickly and easily.

IVR Studio

ENGAGE offers a Development Studio for creating robust self-service / self-help and to integrate to external applications and data sources. Referred to as the IVR Studio, this component of the Admin Portal is leveraged by trained/certified users (partners and/or end user customers).

UNIVERGE BLUE ENGAGE is a cloud-based contact center solution that is fully equipped with Interactive Voice Response to improve the customer experience with seamless self-serve and customized service options.

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Sources:

  1. Elevating Customer Service: From Cost Center to Experience Hub,” Deloitte Digital
  2. Report: Poor customer service pushes consumers away,” BizReport

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