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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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.

Hyperconverged Infrastructure: Datacenter Management Made Easy

Datacenters host the most sophisticated and essential business processes, but are often inefficient and expensive to manage. Made up of storage, servers and networking, IT staff with highly specialized expertise spends much of its time troubleshooting to keep these systems available at all times. Meanwhile, new technology is purchased and integrated into current and legacy systems, creating more complexity and an overwhelmed staff.

Imagine a simple and unified way to merge cloud-like agility and cloud-like costs with the security and reliability of on-premises solutions. NEC’s HyperConverged Infrastructure (HCI), powered by Scale Computing, delivers a more manageable solution in a single appliance, a “datacenter in a box.”

A turnkey solution that offers storage, servers, networking and virtualization, HCI is not a new idea and more than 46% of organizations are planning to purchase by 2020. Read further to understand the complexities of traditional datacenters and how a Hyperconverged Infrastructure addresses these and minimizes the costs.

Complexities of Traditional Datacenters

Disparate Systems are Difficult to Manage

Many factors lead to the purchase of disparate systems in a datacenter, including new IT trends, business-critical applications, virtualization and cloud. With so many specialized systems, IT staff must be skilled and trained on the particulars of managing each system. These separate systems, each with its own server, storage, networking and management requirements, create IT silos and cost more to manage.

Scalability is Inefficient

When a business-critical application or the public cloud requires more storage, the organization may not have a clear picture of current datacenter assets available for use. Purchasing more servers or more storage, without regard for space or current capacity, is inefficient and adds to the complexity in the datacenter environment.

Innovation is Nearly Impossible

If the IT staff is spending most of their day trying to rectify errors, learn the specific elements of managing many different systems and install service updates, they will have little time to create new business solutions. Being proactive is nearly impossible with a staff who is in continual react and repair mode.

Downtime is Expensive

In 2014, Gartner estimated that the average cost of network downtime was $5,600/minute. Increased human involvement in managing a complex environment, especially with specialized infrastructure, also increases the risk of downtime. If a business-critical application is unavailable for an hour, the cost to the organization could be in the millions.

How HCI Solves Datacenter Complexity

Hyperconverged Infrastructure integrates hardware and software into one system. By consolidating and streamlining IT processes, HCI brings the hardware into one rack and one virtualized system that is managed on a single screen. With a single management interface, HCI makes troubleshooting simple and easy, allowing your IT staff to be more proactive and productive.

By creating a more unified and simplified environment, adding capacity to existing infrastructure is seamless, without disruption to any running workloads. Different models and capacities can be used together, in many different combinations, to scale out resources more efficiently.

HCI is more stable, offering redundancy and higher availability than traditional virtualization solutions. NEC also offers the option of Disaster Recovery as a Service, building in advanced security and reliability and virtually eliminating both planned and unplanned downtime.

About NEC’s HyperConverged Infrastructure Solution

As another addition to our Smart Enterprise portfolio, NEC’s HCI runs on NEC’s Express 5800/D120h high-density, dual socket modular server that can host 4 nodes in a single chassis. NEC has also partnered with Scale Computing, a hyperconverged infrastructure company, to power the complete virtualization solution with their HC3 software. This cost-effective single appliance is designed for rapid deployment, ease-of-use, seamless scaling and high performance.

NEC’s HCI solution comes preconfigured and preinstalled from the factory for easy integration into the current datacenter environment. Creating a unified and simplified system, the “datacenter in a box” operates as a redundant and elastic “private cloud,” reducing both complexity and cost.

The initial investment in NEC’s HCI solution is lower than other industry providers because our solution includes all the software, hardware and support at a single price. By eliminating expensive virtualization software licensing fees, organizations can quickly realize the value of NEC’s HCI solution and lower their IT costs.

Make certain you keep up with ever-evolving technology while improving your IT processes! Download our eBook, “Keep Calm and Unify Your IT,” to learn more about HCI. If you would like to speak with an NEC Solutions Expert, please contact us today.

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A New Vision for NEC’s Smart Enterprise

As the enterprise environment changes, it’s up to technology partners to provide tools and stay adaptable to help support those businesses. NEC has a wide breadth of core UC and IT products and each stands on its own to help solve common technology dilemmas. Our NEC Smart Enterprise encapsulates those multiple solutions into one powerful enterprise approach to meet the demands and complex needs of today’s end users and IT executives.

With Paul Kievit expanding his role to SVP of Enterprise and a new Frost & Sullivan report, we’re building out a new vision for NEC’s Smart Enterprise.
Paul Kievit’s New Vision for the Smart Enterprise

In an effort to respond to market forces and transform Enterprise operations across both the Americas and EMEA, I am pleased to announce that Mr. Paul Kievit, Head of EMEA Enterprise Solutions, will assume the additional role of Senior Vice President of Enterprise for NEC Corporation of America.

Under Paul’s leadership and passion, his team helped develop the NEC Smart Enterprise go-to-market message and approach, which has been adopted by NEC businesses globally. Paul’s vision for NEC Smart Enterprise is to continue to develop and sell solutions around the customer experience:

• Addressing unmet customer needs
• Implementing best practices
• Creating excellence in the customer purchase experience
• Building brand equity and adopting NEC solutions to customer demands

NEC Smart Enterprise Explained

Built on four key objectives, NEC Smart Enterprise helps executives face the complex needs of enterprise users head on:
• Architecture flexibility
Software-defined anything
• Business continuity
• Internet of things

These elements allow businesses to improve how their employees communicate and collaborate, as well as improve the security of the information that is shared throughout the organization.

Moving to the Cloud
As IT executives adopt cloud-based IT and communications services, they hope to solve the challenges of data storage and scalability, maintenance requirements and multi-vendor platform integration. Decision makers, concerned with quality control, security risks, reliability and installation challenges, need to work with a provider and cloud model that addresses their unique needs. A hybrid cloud architecture can combine the best of a public and private cloud, allowing the organization control where they need it and outsourcing other components. Customizing the cloud environment strategically adds architecture flexibility and prepares for future business needs while improving business continuity and compliance.

Meeting the Workforce Where They Are
Business agility helps a mobile workforce respond to customer and business challenges on the go. The legacy focus on hardware has given way to a more flexible architecture of software services. Users and applications expect to work together in an ecosystem that should be available everywhere at any time. Virtualizing networks, through software-defined-anything, relieves the burden of time, real estate, and manned resources and therefore decreases the cost to the enterprise. The benefits of software-defined environments are simplified management, security, ability to scale, and less staff requirements with business continuity built-in.

Preparing for the Worst
While IT departments can “pray for the best” during their primary activities of rolling out new technology or resolving end-user quandaries, business continuity is not just an option anymore. Traditional business continuity solutions involved red tape and budgetary challenges to pay for the expensive hardware requirements. We have finally reached an era of business continuity/ high availability (BCHA) affordability through nearly always-up service level agreements, and users are demanding nothing less. Today’s enterprise technology partners must provide reliable data access through a variety of elements such as virtualization, load-balancing server software, fault-tolerant servers, Software-Defined Networking (SDN), scalability, security and threat management.

Improving Security
The internet of things (IoT), while adding a layer of security through connected devices and biometrics, can also build business value through analysis of the captured data. Law enforcement, higher education, and enterprise organizations leverage video monitoring and multi-factor authentication to prevent theft, monitor crowds, and create more secure areas and access control. Retail, hospitality, and healthcare also rely on video and biometric recognition to increase customer loyalty, improve record accuracy and reduce operational costs. Executives want to invest in IoT technology and need a partner who can maximize the benefits while easily accessing the data through reliable servers with nearly unlimited storage capacity.

The NEC Approach
The Frost & Sullivan vision of a technology partnership that solves enterprise challenges is reflected in NEC’s capabilities and product solutions. Our fault-tolerant servers, the full line of general purpose storage products–including our high-end HYDRAStor product which scales to almost unlimited data, work together with NEC’s SDN and UC solutions to build a quality Smart Enterprise solution for the enterprise marketplace. By condensing the amount of data center space required to run critical applications, and including biometrics into the mix, the new vision for NEC Smart Enterprise reduces costs for organizations and continues to add value, even to existing infrastructure.

• NEC offers hybrid cloud solutions customized to best fit the need of the enterprise, even those with regulatory and compliance challenges.
• An industry leader in the SDN space, NEC’s open architecture enables a flexible and simpler approach to the network design and provides business agility to the workforce.
• Disruptions to business, planned or unplanned, can be damaging to any size business in today’s climate. NEC’s secure fault-tolerant servers–as well as Active-Active communications with multiple software instances balancing the load in real time for high availability, provide true business continuity, even in hybrid environments.
• NEC’s facial recognition, biometrics and behavioral analytics solutions create the ability to gain business intelligence and maximize IoT solutions, creating a forward-thinking smart enterprise.

With new focused guidance and leadership, our NEC solutions for Smart Enterprise and passion for improving the customer experience helps to meet and exceed the needs of technology leaders, preparing them for the future.

To learn more about NEC’s Smart Enterprise, download the Frost & Sullivan Report. (Companion Piece) or the full report here.

Smart Enterprise

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