NEC, Star Alliance and SITA Team Up to Accelerate Seamless, Touchless Travel

NEC Corporation of America, Star Alliance and SITA are accelerating the future of touchless travel through a recent partnership agreement. Coming soon, loyalty customers of Star Alliance member airlines will be able to use their unique Digital ID across participating airlines and airports.

Star Alliance Biometrics, powered by NEC I:Delight, is an opt-in service that allows loyalty customers to create a unique Digital ID to unlock a personalized, touchless travel experience from reservation to destination. By connecting Star Alliance Biometrics to SITA’s Smart Path solution, the platform will be able to use SITA’s shared airport infrastructure already available in more than 460 airports.

NEC I:Delight platform, which is currently in use by Star Alliance member airlines at several airports in Europe, can be easily integrated with SITA Smart Path. The opt-in solution can quickly identify passengers with a high degree of accuracy, even when face masks or PPE are present.

Interested in learning more about this teaming agreement? You can read the full press release here.

You can also get a first-hand look into how Star Alliance Biometrics, powered by NEC I:Delight, is transforming the customer experience by watching this short video.

For more information about NEC’s aviation solutions, visit necam.com/aviation or complete the form below to schedule a virtual tour to see how we are refining the travel experience.

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Three Principals for Effective Hybrid Communications and Collaboration

Succeed with the New Hybrid Work Model

It’s been called everything from the “biggest shift to how we work in our generation” to “the new norm in 2021,” and many are sure it is here to stay. One thing is certain ― preparing for the new era is a business imperative.

One aspect of hybrid work is certain—the need for communication and collaboration tools that support continued productivity and business operations. Over 70% of executives expect to raise spending in this area, according to the PWC study. But along with the technology, you’ll need a vision for how your business’s hybrid work model supports communications and collaboration.

What is a Hybrid Work Model?

Let’s first define and examine the component parts of a hybrid work model—one that supports any and all combinations of worker types while ensuring no lapse in communication and collaboration either internally or with customers.

Your company’s breakdown of worker types will be different from that of companies in other industries, and the mix of worker types will constantly shift. Employees with shorter tenures may be required to start as in-office workers, while experienced veterans may find Work-From-Home (WFH) makes them more productive. As employees change roles, their work location may shift, and there is no doubt that worker types will evolve along with it.

Worker types could include:

  • In-Office Workers
  • Employees who choose to work at a remote location (such as coffee shop or library)
  • Work-From-Home Employees
  • Workers who are part time in the office and part time at home
  • Workers in Transit (working on the go)

The Keys to Hybrid Success

Designing a communications and collaboration solution for your hybrid work model shouldn’t be difficult, and won’t be if you keep three principals at the forefront: Flexibility, Business at the Center of All Communications, and Crazy Simple Communications and on-line meeting tools.

Flexibility

A hybrid work model requires your solution to stretch and expand, ebb and flow as the model takes shape and changes. Hybrid work isn’t a static concept—by nature it implies that where people work will change over time, so your communications solution has to embody elasticity.

Employees should be able to quickly and seamlessly collaborate with each other regardless of their physical location. Elastic communications technology doesn’t care about “where.” Location of either employee or customer is a nonissue. And it needs to be a central feature of your hybrid work model. Elastic communications and contact center solutions also support the unpredictability of a hybrid work model—when employees decide to move to a rural location where your business doesn’t have an office, customers and employees can still reach that employee without awareness of the move. A cloud-based contact center and unified communications allows your business to engage and support customers, no matter where agents or employees may be.

Keep Business At The Center

When your hybrid work model communications technology puts your business at the center of all communications and collaboration, customers reach you the same way they always have. Your business phone number doesn’t change, nor do your employees’ business phone numbers. Employees should never have to share personal phone numbers, because their business phone travels wherever they go. And all communications should be unified in the cloud such that you or your IT leader can measure, secure, and manage them regardless of location.

Management capabilities should let you add phone lines for unexpected growth or remove them when no longer needed. You should enjoy one console to manage permissions, set up hunt groups, set up auto attendants, and more, regardless of employee and customer locations.

Crazy Simple Communications & On-Line Meeting Tools

Let’s illustrate a bit further what we mean by “crazy simple,” at least for your communications and collaboration technology. One suite of tools should deliver all that you need—a business phone system with desktop and mobile applications, the ability to conduct virtual meetings with video, webinar, contact center solutions, security, chat capability, even secure and easy file storage and productivity applications. A central, single management platform and a service record that makes deployment easy. Uptime so good, so reliable, that the system rarely goes down. One system that delivers on whatever communications and collaboration need your employees may have, wherever they are.

NEC UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES – Designed for Hybrid Working

Flexible, business-centric, simple communications and collaboration technology is what NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE offers. A cloud-based unified communications and collaboration platform, UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT enables users to be more productive and share ideas and content though a single system, regardless of location. CONNECT seamlessly integrates all your communication tools—desktop and mobile phones and computers voice; video conferencing, on-line webinars, and chat; secure file sharing, and contact center— into one easily manageable solution oriented around your hybrid work model and its employee’s needs and workstyles.

Are you ready for the world of hybrid work? Don’t waste time and money on servers, app install, and security patches. With NEC’s cloud-based business productivity suite, your business is your focus, not your IT. UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES can help define your hybrid work model and ensure your employees have the tools they need to work better, from wherever they might be.

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Future Ready Travel Using a Digital ID

NEC and Star Alliance are redefining the travel experience with the use of a unique Digital ID that can provide a seamless customer experience from reservation to destination. Star Alliance Biometrics, powered by NEC I:Delight, allows frequent flyers to opt-in to the application and unlock access to a personalized, touchless travel experience.

Launched in November 2020, Lufthansa and SWISS International loyalty customers now have a quicker, more seamless path through airports in Frankfurt and Munich, Germany. In time, Star Alliance plans to make the service available to all 26 of its member airlines and their customers.

How Does Star Alliance Biometrics Work?

Frequent flyers create a secure, biometric-enabled Digital ID in just a few easy steps. First, simply download the airline’s app from the Apple Store or Google Play, then opt-in to the platform by scanning your passport or government issued ID and snapping a selfie. Once the profile is complete, travelers can select exactly which airlines and airports they allow to access their designated information. Travelers also choose how to use, or share, their Digital ID throughout their travel journey.

At the airport, passengers can check-in for a flight, drop off luggage, and board the plane using their Digital ID. The authentication process is fast and intuitive, by quickly verifying passenger information against flight manifest data and producing a prompt for the traveler to continue seamlessly through his or her journey. In the future, passengers will be able to enjoy additional services using their Digital ID, such as, passing through security checkpoints, accessing VIP lounges, and shopping at retail stores.

What is NEC I:Delight?

NEC I:Delight is a highly secure and scalable digital identity management platform that effortlessly brings touchless experiences to countless use cases. It provides a unified experience for a variety of services and transactions by using a unique, multi-factor Digital ID based on biometric authentication and AI technology. The platform streamlines both physical and digital identities into a secure, privacy-driven ecosystem for a seamless, secure, more personalized, and intuitive customer experience.

To see how Star Alliance Biometrics, powered by NEC I:Delight, is transforming the customer experience, take a minute to watch this short video.

For more information about NEC’s aviation solutions, visit necam.com/aviation or complete the form below to schedule a virtual tour to see how we are refining the travel experience. Click here to book your appointment today!

Now, touchless travel can be achieved with single, secure Digital ID.

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7 Benefits of Utilizing a Self-Service Kiosk in the Hospitality Industry

In a world where providing convenient experiences for customers matters the most, kiosks have become commonplace in restaurants, retail stores, airports, healthcare, and now, at hotels. The hospitality industry has always been about luxury, pleasure, and excellent customer service, so it is to no surprise that many hoteliers have installed self-service check-in kiosks to offer guests additional flexibility and convenience during their hotel stay. Guests want to be delighted by personalized experiences, and when that happens, they are likely to come back for more stays.

Self-service check-in and check-out kiosks are automated software or digital touch kiosks that guests use to complete tasks themselves instead of relying on hotel front desk staff. Hotel kiosks are designed to be a turn-key solution that help provide a modern extension or alternative to the traditional front desk service experience.

Better Use of Hotel Resources

To offer the best service possible to guests, hoteliers should make optimal use of their resources. When integrated with a property’s PMS (Property Management System), a self-service kiosk can transform the standard and traditional service that can be offered to your guests.

Automating the check-in and out process gives your staff freedom to have more meaningful and personal conversations with guests. This could include providing advice to a guest as they head out, tending to an urgent issue, or simply taking the time to engage and chat with your guests through friendly conversation. These small interactions allow your hotel employees to offer a differentiated experience from your competitors and build meaningful rapport with guests.

Faster Check-in and Out Experiences

Guests want convenient experiences from the time they first enter your hotel, to the time they leave. The first impression starts in the hotel lobby, and long wait times to check-in and out can have detrimental effects on a guest’s opinion of your hotel. Being on-time while traveling is important- and a long wait time can affect the guest’s agenda and timeline for the rest of the day.

A recent survey of 397 adults, uncovered that speed of delivery was the most influential factor in terms of impact on customer satisfaction with self-service kiosks.

During a traditional check-in process, guests must stand in line to speak with a receptionist, often this includes filling out paperwork and reiterating information already supplied during the booking. With a self-service kiosk, guests can skip the check-in line by simply looking up their name, email, booking number or by scanning their government issued ID. This drastically improves front-desk lobby wait times and queues.

More Personalized Guest Experiences

Self-Service kiosks can gather useful data about guest and their stay history such as previous purchases, room preferences, and other special requests. If the kiosk is properly integrated with that hotel’s PMS (property management system), this offers you an opportunity to access this data quickly and deliver a more personalized experience.

Opportunities to Generate More Revenue

Self-service solutions can increase up-sell opportunities. With a robust and “Smart” self-service kiosk, guests can upgrade their room, redeem special offers, and purchase additional services such as continental breakfast or room service, all in an effortless way. Many people do not respond well to being sold things face-to-face, so adding additional services with a click of a button, appeals to this audience and can contribute to additional revenue for your hotel that does not require extra labor expenses.

Minimizes Human Error

Unfortunately, errors with hotel bookings can be a common occurrence. Regrettably, the names of guests are often misspelled, or the wrong room type is selected by accident. No matter how trained a staff member is, humans make mistakes, especially when they are busy juggling multiple tasks at once.

By cutting out the middleman when it comes time for a guest to register their stay and automating the check-in process, you can avoid common errors and improve the way you engage with customers. Self-service kiosks record customer data accurately because the guests themselves input the information while registering, then checking in. Therefore, opportunities for mistakes are greatly minimized.

More Freedom and Convenience for Guests – A Better Experience

Hotel customers appreciate different options to cater to their personal needs. Some people prefer to deal directly with hotel staff, and others prefer to handle check-in and out on their own. Regardless of their preference, offering a self-service kiosk enhances the guest’s freedom and offers them a level of control that will surely give off a good impression and improve satisfaction. Self-service kiosks empower your guests by providing them with a range of flexible options they can access at their fingertips.

Contactless Check-In

With the current state of the world, safety and sanitation is of paramount importance for travelers and employees in your hotel. This is another reason why contactless service are growing in value. By reducing the time it takes for guests to check-in and out, and keeping interactions to a minimum, you can reduce foot traffic, eliminate heavily populated front lobbies, and promote an environment where social distancing is possible.

Conclusion

A recent study showed that 72% of 33–44-year old’s were most likely to use a self-service kiosk. When weighing the potential benefits, 61% cited faster service, 59% shorter lines, 58% privacy, 50% greater control, and 38% no interaction with personnel.

It’s evident that self-service kiosks provide a broad range of advantages to hotels, employees, and guests. A frictionless check-in and out experience means more convenience, more control and elimination of frustrating lines.

NEC’s Smart Check-In Kiosk

NEC’s Smart Check-In for Hospitality solution provides an easy-to-use, automated, self-service interface that walks a guest through pre-registration and check-in/check-out process. This self-service application enables a guest to walk up to a kiosk, verify their identity through facial recognition or customized QR code and Government issued ID authentication, pull up their reservation information, add on additional hotel services, add a payment option, receive their room assignment, and print out their room key.

When a guest is ready to check out, this same self-service software enables them to simply enter their room number and check in date, review their bill, and request either a printed receipt or have it conveniently emailed to them.

NEC’s Smart Check-In interface is fully customizable with your property’s logo and images along with multiple language selections. The software seamlessly integrates with Property Management Systems (PMS) to immediately alert staff when a room has been assigned and when the guest has officially checked out.

With the utilization of NEC’s UNIVERGE Integration Platform (UIP), the Smart Check-Infor Hospitality solution can seamlessly interconnect with your back-office systems to function as one complete end-to-end solution. UIP can connect any application/data source and enables comprehensive Application Programming Interface (API) management.

Whether checking in for business or pleasure, you want to make the guest’s experience pleasant and frictionless, from the time they walk in the door until the time they walk out. With NEC’s Smart Check-In software solution, you can streamline the check-in and out process, improving guest satisfaction and brand loyalty.

To learn more about NEC’s Smart Check-In for Hospitality, visit www.necam.com/SmartWorkspace/SmartCheckIn/.

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Digital ID is Taking Travel to New Heights

As digital coupons and receipts are replacing typical “wallet clutter,” Digital IDs are replacing the way people validate their identity.

Many travelers are already opting-in to the use of Digital IDs to speed their way through bag check, security verification and boarding processes. When a Digital ID is created, travelers can select trip-specific choices that expire when the trip is complete – just like digital boarding passes. If the traveler consents to use the Digital ID for transactions like retail or hospitality, those authorizations will remain active in their profile until the traveler chooses to disable it. The Digital ID is entirely under the owner’s control at all times.

The NEC Aviation team has created an eBook that explains the digital transformation taking place in commercial air travel using a Digital ID.

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

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