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.
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!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
As we start to think about life in a post-COVID world, one of the main questions is what part of our revamped lifestyles are here to stay? Financial crises, natural disasters, and societal developments always lead to innovation and transformation, and COVID-19 is no different. Among the trends that will be long-lasting is the shift away from touch-based interactions toward touchless ones. We believe that the future is touchless everything.
In the quick-serve restaurant (QSR) industry, touchless everything means the whole experience from ordering, menus, payment, drive-thru and pickup. As dining in has been limited, the demand for drive-thru and pickup has increased exponentially. Increased demand, though, has its downsides. Long lines mean poor customer experience and lost sales opportunities as drivers may be deterred from waiting.
In fact, according to one study, the use of digital menu boards, which shaves off 12.3 seconds of throughput, can result in nearly $28,000 in savings per location, equating to hundreds of millions of dollars for large QSRs. The reverse is true in an industry that saw wait times increase by nearly 30 seconds across the board. This means that digital innovation is key to removing friction from the ordering, payment, and pickup interactions so brands can serve more customers, faster and safer.
In addition to digital menus, the use of mobile technologies paired with biometrics provide other opportunities for improved customer experiences. For example, with facial recognition, a guest may simply drive-up to the digital menu and be automatically identified to gain access to personalized special offers, recall a previous order, redeem loyalty rewards and make a payment. This saves time and gives the customer the type of experience that drives incremental sales and creates strong brand loyalty.
Creating Wow Experiences with Facial Recognition
The NEC I:Delight platform is specially designed to create these wow experiences. Adding the I:Delight platform to new or existing apps is simple. Users can easily register by taking a quick selfie for their online profile to create a Digital ID. Once registered, they can simply log-in to the mobile app with their face, or in store at a kiosk, to place an order and approve payment using their secure Digital ID. If a guest is picking up their order in-person, a simple glance at a tablet can alert staff that they have arrived to ensure they receive their order quickly and safely.
Drive-Thru Ordering and Payment
The NEC I:Delight platform can also be incorporated at the drive-thru for enhanced, personalized service and operational efficiency. When a customer pulls-up to the drive-thru, the platform recognizes their Digital ID and alerts staff to the customer’s arrival. Stored preferences and targeted promotions appear on the digital menu screen, and staff can greet the customer by name. If a payment method is saved in the customer’s loyalty account, face verification or a saved PIN is all that is needed to complete the transaction.
Increases throughput of customers with a more personalized experience.
Easily monitors customer purchasing behaviors to better anticipate customer needs and offer targeted promotions.
Brings up pre-order or previous order for faster transactions times, minimizing the time for order customizations.
Offers seamless, contactless payments for a faster and safer experience.
NEC is a trusted leader in facial recognition, ranked number one in biometric innovation by NIST for five consecutive years. With over 1,000 deployments in 70 countries around the world and $2.6 billion invested annually in research and development, NEC is the preferred partner for fast-casual restaurants looking for facial recognition-enabled solutions for an enhanced customer experience.
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The company offers 5 key services — Phone/VoIP, Carrier Services, Network Solutions, Structured Cabling and 24/7 Customer Service — and handles everything from purchasing and deployment to networking and troubleshooting.
Folkerson Communications became an authorized NEC Channel partner almost 25 years ago, and for several decades that meant providing clients with NEC’s on-premises communication servers and IT technology. Around 2015, Folkerson responded to a growing demand for VoIP and non-traditional communications technology.
I recently met with Greg Folkerson to discuss the partnership with NEC and his experience being an early adopter of the New Generation UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES.
As cloud and hosted solutions grew in popularity, Folkerson knew that it needed a rock-solid cloud solution that would provide the reliable and dependable services that his clients had come to associate with Folkerson. Before UNIVERGE BLUE, Folkerson tried other cloud vendors, but finding a highly reliable solution that met Folkerson’s stringent standards, and one that allowed them to own their customer relationships, proved to be nearly impossible. NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE Customer Ownership Partner Model was unique in allowing Folkerson to maintain full ownership of billing, bundling, adding services, and supporting a customer’s environment — preserving the customer confidence upon which Folkerson has built its reputation.
Greg Folkerson explains some of the challenges he faced with other cloud providers, “The industry is changing. There are now non-interconnect companies selling voice services, and many of these vendors do not understand that for most of Folkerson Communications existence we were a traditional interconnect company – we have technicians, we roll trucks, we train customers – and we built a reputation around providing this type of hands-on customer service. While selling cloud services has immensely simplified the programming and implementation, the need for human-like customer service has not gone away, and that is what our customers expect from us. NEC’s UNIVERGE BLUE Partner Program has been great for us because it allows us to own our customer relationships, and NEC is always there to provide significant sales, marketing, and service support. NEC always answers our questions and is always there when we need them.”
Greg continues, “Our customers trust us and the relationship we have built with them over the years. It was imperative that we offer a reliable and dependable solution that meets our customers’ needs and one that reinforces our reputation of providing exceptional customer support.”
While customers certainly enjoy ENGAGE’s full-featured contact center (CCaaS) capabilities and CONNECT’s (UCaaS) features, which includes a full-featured phone system, video/web conferencing, team chat, file sharing & backup — Greg says the flexibility and simplicity that UNIVERGE BLUE provides is key. “Many of our customers found it challenging to manage the complexities associated with maintaining a phone system in multiple locations – with UNIVERGE BLUE, we were able to solve these challenges by offering our customers a centralized, fully managed, and scalable phone system hosted in the cloud.”
Greg continues, “UNIVERGE BLUE CONNECT has reduced complexity for our customers, minimized telecom costs, improved communication and collaboration, and even enabled remote work environments, which would have been difficult to do with a hardware-based solution.”
On Folkerson’s end, the UNIVERGE BLUE Administrative Portal has allowed Folkerson to easily monitor and troubleshoot customers’ voice services and contact center features. Greg was able to retrain his existing staff to handle UNIVERGE BLUE UCaaS and CCaaS implementations.
“Because of the competitive solutions UNIVERGE BLUE offers, the great sales, marketing and service support NEC provides coupled with the ability to set our own margins, we are able to focus more on selling and building relationships with our customers and less on other ancillary activities often associated with hardware that cut into our profits. The margins with BLUE are very attractive, and it didn’t take long to adjust to a monthly recurring revenue model.” Folkerson explains.
Folkerson Communications is now an exclusive NEC dealer, “Becoming an exclusive NEC dealer was a no-brainer decision based on the success we have seen with NEC’s hardware solutions and now with the business growth we are seeing with UNIVERGE BLUE CLOUD SERVICES.”
Folkerson Communications is embracing a new role – a complete cloud technology provider who offers end-to-end cloud solutions, committed to being a trusted advisor, adding value across every customers’ lifecycle. Greg notes, “The UNIVERGE BLUE Cloud partnership has allowed us to keep pace with the external marketplace and everchanging demands of our customers. We are starting to see significant growth in our cloud-business and do not see it slowing down any time soon.”
NEC and Folkerson will continue to partner together to provide solutions to customers’ unique needs. The future of Folkerson’s business includes a combination of both cloud-based and on-premises solutions, creating a hybrid IT and UC portfolio that balances the scalability and flexibility associated with cloud and the security associated with hardware. NEC will continue to be an integral part of what Folkerson does in the IT and Communications space.