Biometrics are Revolutionizing Airports and the Passenger Experience

The airport travel experience has remained constant for a LONG time. For many of us, words like “unpredictable,” “slow,” and “frustrating” immediately come to mind. I spend a lot of time in airports, and can personally affirm that the international pursuit of innovation within the aviation industry could not be more obvious or focused than it is right now.


Your usual experience: arrive at the airport, wait in a line to get your ticket, wait in a line for security, then wait in a line to board your plane—and until just a few years ago, this was generally the case. However, as other fields have proven the advantages of certain technologies, applications to and acceptance by commercial aviation has become more and more apparent. Biometric solutions have especially begun revolutionizing the airport experience for all stakeholders involved – travelers, airlines, airport operations, vendors, government, and law enforcement.


About five years ago, biometrics did the same for the mobile device industry—and before that, fingerprints were only associated with law enforcement. Today, fingerprints have become ubiquitous as a quick and easy replacement for our passwords, allowing us to unlock everything from our phones to our bank accounts, with a single press. The ease of use has made life a lot simpler for users, and a lot more secure for providers.


That same convenience and security is now being brought to the airport environment, by leveraging all the technological innovations that have been produced over the last ten years.


In fact, at the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) Airport Innovation Forum this year, our session was “Know Your Customer: Leveraging Personalization and Innovation in the Passenger Experience”, and focused on how airports around the world are engaging with new and innovative solutions that bring the real benefits of self-service and automation to modernize the airport experience for everyone.


During the 2019 AAAE Airport Innovation forum in Chicago, many speakers got up on stage to show how technology is revolutionizing the airport. From self-driving vehicles to optimization of back office operations, to facial recognition and analytics that reduce wait times using dynamic content displays, a digital transformation in the aviation environment is definitely under way. And an important priority has universally taken shape: how to make travelers safer and the customer experience more convenient throughout the aviation journey—everything from check-in, bag-checks and security to airport shopping.


Security is, of course, of the utmost importance, and rightly so–even though it often has a negative impact on the traveler experience. We know the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are working daily (and nightly!) to keep our skies safe, which is why biometrics is so important to the security process. Having the ability to instantly verify that secure documents are valid and do match the identity and confirmed reservation of the traveler ensures that only vetted passengers arrive on the other side of that security line. Biometric security enhancements actually serve a dual purpose; not only are biometrics more accurate at screening individuals, they also move lines along faster. By bringing automation to necessary processes–that can then be optimized and become more predictable, this creates a better airport experience for everyone.


With the ability to predict wait times, passengers are able to spend more time doing what they choose, from relaxing in the lounge, to visiting duty-free shops (as biometrics also lets you “pay with your face”!).

The Fate of Airport Customer Service Isn’t Terminal from InteractiveNEC

Big change cannot be driven solely by the technology, though, which means leadership events like the AAAE Airport Innovation Forum are extremely important. More collaboration amongst industry stakeholders is critical to the success of the digital revolution in commercial aviation, for real change that is predicated on thoughtful policy and implementation, careful execution, and effective change management.


This paradigm shift is being driven by a recent realization by all stakeholders that, in fact, there is a common goal – digital transformation, for a better customer experience, improved commerce, cost and time savings, optimized security and smoother airport operations.


Next time you’re at the airport, think about how biometrics is, or could be, reducing the burden on airport operations, and making your life more secure.

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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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The 3 R’s In Disaster Preparedness

Few want to be ‘that person’ … the one whose phone rings first when some aspect of the organization’s critical infrastructure fails. Hoping for the best is all well and good. Even planning for the worst only goes so far. There are just too many variables in preventing unexpected outages to be totally failsafe. Yes, there are some situations that can be planned for. But the severity of even known concerns can mean the difference between a manageable and challenging scenario.

When disaster does strike, it is all about recovering to a state of normalcy quickly and minimizing any impact to the end user experience. This applies to almost every aspect in risk management, whether it be for a physical location or operational infrastructure.

Here at NEC, disaster preparedness can be broken down into 3 core competencies – otherwise known as the 3 R’s.

Resiliency

Resiliency
Fully redundant architecture that supports and runs in lockstep with mission critical infrastructure.

Information must be protected yet accessible before and after the restoration of essential services.

Our high availability infrastructure works to deliver a multi-tiered resilient environment that recovers quickly should disaster strike through the use of our Five9s Fault Tolerant servers, disaster recovery software and SAN and Scale-Out Grid Storage solutions.

Our Fault Tolerant servers and ExpressCluster® software are viable options for effective redundancy protection of physical security applications and possible hardware, software and site infrastructure failure.

Robustness

Robustness
Simplified environments based on stable, flexible foundations that elevate security and responsiveness.

To alleviate the risk of data loss and the expense of investing in backup management infrastructure, third-party hosting is a viable alternative while SDN solutions deliver greater oversight for companies interested in keeping control in-house.

NEC is uniquely positioned to deliver Backup-as-a-Service. As the first technology infrastructure provider to join Iron Mountain’s Data Center Marketplace, we can help protect and deliver accessibility of the data stores we host through Iron Mountain’s secure, compliant and energy efficient data centers in North Virginia (VA10) and West Pennsylvania (WPA1).

With so much depending on the network, our software defined networking software and switches can deliver granular, end-to-end network visibility and administrative insight from one central point to promote continuous supervision and greater operability.

Relevance

Relevance
Deliverables that best adapt to the needs of internal and external users through optimized experiences.

For optimum protection of those on-site and within related or nearby offices, emergency protocols can be a vital life line.

NEC’s highly accurate facial recognition technology provide better situational awareness through the use of identification matching software and video surveillance for greater on-site safety and more appropriate course of action.

Where large numbers of people must be reached quickly, our mass communications solutions can send voice, email and text messages or a combination of all so people stay informed and remain vigilant.

Check out NEC Retail solutions to learn more.

Our enterprise security solutions provide a comprehensive package of options that range from streamlining visitor handling, providing employees with a secure environment through physical and visual safeguards and helping to make your critical processes highly available.

Don’t wait for that next phone call or incidence. Let NEC provide a roadmap on critical IT, communications and on-site recovery that will help your organization’s preparedness in disaster recovery.

Get started today.

Showcasing a More Personalized In-store Experience

NEC to Highlight Facial Recognition, Data Analytics at Retail’s Big Show Jan. 13-15

On Jan. 13-15, the world’s largest retail conference and expo kicks off at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. NEC retail experts are putting the final touches on demonstrating how its leading-edge video analytics technologies transform the in-store experience for shoppers.

Visitors to NEC’s booth #1936 will tour a virtual store to see first-hand how these innovations bring better engagement with customers, while also delivering tangible business benefits for retailers. Video analytics solutions powered by the NEC Enterprise Video Analytics (EVA) platform enable retailers to garner extensive insights into shoppers:

  • Presence, including heatmaps and dwell times
  • Behavior, including gaze detection, traffic patterns and responses to targeted content
  • Security analytics, including automated detection and response
  • Interactive experiences, including loyalty engagement and checkout

This deeper understanding of shopper behavior can then be used to enable the ultimate, frictionless personalized shopping experience and make checkout and other in-store processes more efficient and effective—for retailers and shoppers alike.

During the event, NEC will focus on four areas of the retail experience—Customer, Operations, Analytics and Marketing, all powered by the NEC video analytics platform services. An in-booth tour starts with self-registration using NEC facial recognition software, which in turn enables multiple touchpoints and experiences throughout the booth.

Looking Customer Loyalty Right in the Face Improving Store Operations

Big Show visitors also will get a glimpse of how facial recognition and data analytics assist retailers behind the scenes as well through improved business operations. NeoFace Watch uses real-time face recognition to provide retailers with an effective, transparent loss-prevention system. NEC will show how retailers can use this same technology to manage employees’ time and attendance as well. Additionally, booth visitors will get a first-hand look at NEC’s industry-leading point-of-sale hardware devices.

Check out NEC Retail solutions to learn more. Up-to-the-minute sales data analytics helps retailers survive and thrive in this competitive marketplace. Reliable sales data and reporting enable tailored in-store offers to customers, plus aids in managing inventory and staffing. While in NEC’s booth discover ways analytics can be used to track demographic and traffic data related to in-store shoppers. Using facial recognition systems retailers are able to track repeat customers at a location without collecting any personally identifiable information. This information in turn helps drive marketing content and analyze purchase patterns.

Experience Fast, Frictionless Transactions

NRF expo attendees will also have the opportunity to interact with NEC customer Cali Group’s face-based kiosk when visiting NEC’s booth. The facial-recognition kiosk, now being rolled out at CaliBurger locations, shows how easy it is to deliver fast and truly frictionless transactions. Guests will peruse a menu, choose items and then pay for their virtual purchases without pulling out their wallets or personal devices. Face-based payments someday may replace credit cards as customers look for a more personalized experience like face-based kiosks without the long lines and wait times.

Representatives from the Cali Group will be on hand in the booth to answer questions about the innovative use of facial recognition technology in the Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) industry.

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4 Ways NEC is Reimagining the Store Experience

NEC Showcasing Innovations at NRF 2019: Retail’s Big Show

Facial recognition technology and data analytics continue to change the in-store experience for shoppers. These technologies enable a more-meaningful, personalized in-store shopping experience, while also making checkout and other in-store processes more cost effective and efficient for retailers and customers alike.

From Jan. 13-15, 2019, nearly 37,000 retailers and industry experts from around the world will descend on the Javits Convention Center in New York to attend NRF 2019, the world’s largest retail conference and expo. During the Big Show, NEC will showcase how facial recognition and data analytics are transforming four areas of the store experience, including Customer Experience, Operations, Analytics and Marketing. As soon as they step into booth #1936, visitors enter a virtual store to encounter first-hand a new, improved in-store experience, resulting in better engagement for customers and tangible business benefits for retailers.

Your Face is the ‘Key’ to Unlock a Personalized Experience

When entering the NEC booth, visitors self-register by providing only a photo and first and last names. No need to use personal mobile devices, cards or keys. This frictionless, near real-time pre-registration process enables multiple touchpoints and experiences throughout the NEC booth tour.

Online shoppers appreciate the convenience of automatic loyalty offers, and NEC will demonstrate a similar in-store experience through its virtual store. Once registered, visitors are easily and automatically identified as loyal customers as they progress through the booth tour. Personalized greetings will appear while moving through the demos. Instead of waiting until checkout to ID loyal customers (when it’s too late for meaningful customer engagement), automatic identification results in 100% loyalty redemption rates for in-store shoppers.

Technology Improves In-store Operational Management

Looking Customer Loyalty Right in the Face Further, booth visitors can also interact with the face-based kiosk, which is being used by NEC customers. The facial-recognition kiosk demonstrates how easy it is to deliver fast and truly frictionless transactions. Guests can peruse a menu, choose items and then pay for their virtual purchases without pulling out their wallets or personal devices. All you need is your face!

Big Show visitors will get a glimpse into how facial recognition assists retailers with business operations. NEC’s facial recognition solutions are real-time and provide retailers with an effective, transparent loss-prevention system. As someone approaches a surveilled area, for example, alerts are triggered on the analytics dashboards.

NEC will also be showing how retailers can use this same technology to manage employees’ time and attendance. In-store staff check in and check out using face recognition, thus preventing proxy check in and check out. Near real-time reporting is available with this system so that schedules can be easily coordinated.

Check out NEC Retail solutions to learn more.Additionally, visitors will have the opportunity to experience first-hand various models of NEC’s industry-leading point-of-sale hardware devices.

Booth “shoppers” can experience easy and deviceless checkout as well. Total expenditures and receipts show up on the wallboard next to the exit. No wallets or credit cards needed for this automated checkout experience.

Retailers Rely on Data Analytics to Tailor the Shopping Experience

For retail businesses, the ability to access up-to-the-minute sales data analytics helps them survive and thrive in this competitive marketplace. Reliable sales data and reporting enable retailers to make tailored in-store offers to their customers. Sales data aids in managing inventory plus helps store managers more effectively plan staffing, especially during critical times of high traffic. These benefits in turn elevate the customer shopping experience and help boost profitability in the store.

Analytics can also be used to track demographic and traffic data related to in-store shoppers. Stores have the capability to create heat maps to track and manage shoppers’ interest in various products or displays within the store. Advanced glance technology determines the amount of “dwell time” on items (such as a shelf display) by tracking interest and intent to purchase. This data can be matched to sales conversion data from the POS to judge the display’s effectiveness and use of shelf space.

The data gleaned from the in-person shopping experience helps retailers improve their outreach through targeted emails, app notifications and even in-store messaging.

Facial Recognition Software and Advanced Displays Expand In-store Marketing Capabilities

Using facial recognition systems aids retailers in recognizing repeat customers at a location without collecting any personally identifiable information. This information drives marketing content and analyzes purchase patterns.

NEC’s advanced display technology helps retailers improve their marketing efforts. Cameras capture customer data to be used for customized content distribution and for measuring message effectiveness. The technology also collects audience metrics automatically.

Want to know more about the exciting and industry-leading technology that NEC will be featuring at NRF 2019? Book a personal tour with an NEC retail expert while you’re attending the Big Show. Hope to see you there in January!

NEC Corporation of America

Personal Tour at NRF 2019
Book with an NEC retail expert!

Fill out the form today, and we will schedule you a personal tour with an NEC retail expert at the Big Show.