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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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.

Be Prepared When Ransomware Attacks Strike

While ransomware attacks are certainly nothing new, a recent report indicates that such incidents have increased more than 360% year-over-year in the first half of 2019. In addition to businesses and individuals, more and more cyberattacks are targeting local governments in several states, including  Maryland, Michigan, Florida, Indiana and the recent attacks on 23 Texas towns.

These attacks not only cause disruptions and inconvenience, but cost millions in recovery and restoration efforts, loss of revenue, decreased productivity and reduced levels of customer service. Ransomware and other cyberattacks will probably never be eliminated completely, but organizations can mitigate the negative effects of an attack and be prepared before one occurs.

Being Prepared Before an Attack

Here are a few recommended steps that businesses and other organizations should consider before and after an attack.

  • With the help of a security expert, conduct a “health check” on your systems to identify any vulnerabilities. Consider both external attacks as well as internal breaches (intentional or not).
  • Keep backup data off premise, both physically and logically away from production data.
  • Ensure that all systems used for backing up data have the latest software patches, follow protocols and can detect ransomware.
  • Reduce the complexity of having multiple systems by consolidating backup data from all systems—disaster recovery, applications and cloud systems.

Education and communication also play an important part in cyberattacks. Makes sure all end users are educated about security protocols, including not falling for spoofing attacks. If a ransomware or other attack does occur, communication with all stakeholders—employees, partners and customers—is a critical step. Mitigating anxiety and alleviating fear through ongoing communication help make things go more smoothly during the recovery process.

Once an attack occurs, acting quickly will be critical as well. Hire a professional with experience to help you make the right business decisions regarding recovery efforts based on the amount of time it will take, cost considerations and what losses are occurring.

Expertise in Data Backup and Recovery Solutions

NEC, with our experience and expertise in data backup, business continuity planning and recovery solutions, can be a powerful ally in mitigating risks prior to an attack and enabling faster recovery should an attack occur.

NEC delivers Backup as a Service (BaaS) by providing a suite of off-site data backup services. Our BaaS solutions range from ensuring that systems are up-to-date to providing secure targets, which can optionally move data to and from tape storage. Our staff is fully trained on a range of backup systems and can ensure that data is backed up locally and off-premise.

As the first technology infrastructure provider to join Iron Mountain’s Data Center Marketplace, we offer protection and accessibility through infrastructure built to our specifications and made available at Iron Mountain’s secure, compliant and energy efficient above-ground and underground data centers.

In order to optimally address a wide range of customer requirements, NEC offers a suite of BaaS deployment options:

  • Customers with data stored in public clouds, and with highly dispersed systems, often require a fully managed backup solution, with backups performed at the application and bare metal/VM level. Once notified of a ransomware attack, it’s important to scan backups to detect any malware (not just ransomware) so that the system will not be re-infected when restoring from backups prior to the incident. Examining ransomware-encrypted data upfront will help prevent overwriting old “clean” data inside the backup. NEC uses industry leading agents to isolate and not transfer ransomware-encrypted data from any client/server locations. This action is performed to ensure data integrity prior to storage and to alert customers of any intrusion.
  • NEC also provides physical and virtual backup appliances deployed on premise for customers with: a requirement for local storage; a large amount of servers or data and a need for a fully managed backup solution. Through this option, application and bare metal/VM-level backups are stored locally and analyzed for ransomware prior to deduplication, compression, encryption and secure transmission to NEC.
  • Other customers use their own backup software and have strict backup time windows that require the highest performance data backup ingestion. For them, NEC offers an upgraded BaaS Appliance using our HYDRAstor platform. This platform provides the highest ingestion and deduplication performance and delivers highly secure replication to NEC HYDRAstor systems located at Iron Mountain. NEC offers ransomware detection services based on the customer’s specific policies and landscape.
  • For customers that use their own backup software, but don’t require high performance, NEC offers the HYDRAstor Virtual Appliance (HSVA). The HSVA runs in a virtual machine and acts as a backup target for a customer’s own infrastructure. It deduplicates using localized NEC HYDRAstor technology before encrypting data for transfer to NEC HYDRAstor at Iron Mountain. NEC offers ransomware detection services based on the client’s specific policies and landscape.
  • Sometimes customers prefer to push data to tape using industry standards. NEC, in collaboration with Iron Mountain, offers tape restoration and long-term retention services for all the services listed above.

Providing Protection from Both Outside and Inside Threats

Dedicated NEC-based infrastructure is built according to best practices for redundancy and security. Ensuring that data backup systems and storage are off site reduces access to these critical systems by both hackers and insiders. For a reasonable monthly fee, NEC offers low total-cost-of-ownership BaaS that provides:

  • Industry Leading Backup Agents
  • Secure off-site data storage
  • Disaster recovery for 24/7 business continuity
  • Value Added Services
  • On-Premise Appliance Options

For a complimentary Backup Assessment, fill out the form below.

Learn more about NEC’s back up, recovery and business continuity offerings and download the white paper.

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Expanding The Effectiveness Of Enterprise Security

Time is probably the most significant factor when it comes to protecting company premises. The speed in which a potential threat is identified and reliably assessed is pivotal in lessening possible harm to property and those within an organization’s facilities.

Whether an unlawful entry or a malicious act, the ideal security strategy is one that stops an incident before it actually has the chance to occur.  Technology that delivers increased awareness is helping to make this a reality.

Today’s advanced technologies are making areas previously considered un-securable safer – Take for instance fiber optic transmission and machine-artificial intelligence.  By combining self-learning with fiber optic sensing – as used in NEC’s Intelligent Perimeter Intrusion Detection System – suspicious activity can be located and classified over large areas and sites prone to challenging conditions. Being immune to electromagnetic interference, impervious to seasonal changes, capable of producing few false alarms and higher detection rates and requiring no electrical field power to function makes this cutting-edge technology a practical and effective security addition.

Automation is quickening response time – Even established security practices are being transformed by advances in technology such as the use of high-level algorithms.  One such area:  Video surveillance.  Hours of manual examination and the prospect of human error are being outdone by automated pre-set analysis.  NEC’s Enhanced Video Analytics solution – officially known as NEC EVA™ – is an example of such capability.  By being able to simultaneously process live and pre-recorded video based on set criteria, suspicious individuals, objects or questionable behavior can promptly be recognized and investigated.  Capable of also aligning cameras with multiple watchlists and custom alerts makes threat prevention that much easier and thorough.


Device-based applications are simplifying security through self-service functionality – Pen and paper registration, generic visitor card controls and physical security checks can soon become a thing of the past.  When tablet devices are loaded with facial authentication software – as it is with NEC’s Front Desk Assistant – security gets streamlined and more transparent.  Self-registration, photo badge creation and arrival notification all become automated through a single touchpoint handled by the visitor. Digitalized activity logs make for ready-to-read and sharable reports for in-depth insight into daily and repetitive facility traffic for greater awareness of what is occurring and with whom.


An increasingly connected workforce is making security alerts more targeted and immediate – Should a 911 call occur, push notification software gets the word out broadly and in varied ways.  Emergency messaging by voice, email, text or a combination of all – all achievable using NEC’s UC Emergency On-Site Notification – can advise first responders on where to go and the type and severity of a situation they might face.  This same functionality can also keep people in close proximity updated and vigilant or should an event prove to be a false alarm it can swiftly broadcast a cancellation or an all clear.

Looking for ways to strengthen your enterprise security practices?
Learn more about how NEC can help minimalize vulnerabilities to enterprise security threats – explore now

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With Stadium Facial Recognition, The Fan Experience is #1

Fans crowd into stadiums to enjoy their favorites – from music to theatre to sports. The venue is expected to provide a secure, positive experience. If not, the damage to the tour, the sports club or the venue can be undeniable. According to the 2017 J.D. Power Fan Experience survey, fans are looking for the venues and teams that will offer them the best fan experience for their dollar.

The study has identified 10 key performance indicators (KPIs) that drive fan loyalty and satisfaction. When stadiums and teams rank well and all 10 KPIs are met, spending is directly impacted, often increasing as much as 90%.

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Fans are asked to evaluate their experience based on:

  • Ticket purchase
  • Arriving and departing the stadium
  • Security and ushers
  • Game experience
  • Souvenirs and merchandise

Venues and teams want to give their fans a positive, memorable experience, exceptional customer service and security, even among thousands of other fans. Facial recognition could create a more effortless and exciting fan experience.

With facial recognition and a unified biometric key, a frictionless and personalized fan experience can increase loyalty and spending.

Unified Biometric Key Personalizes the Fan Experience

Retail is not the only market that seeks to build customer loyalty. Advanced recognition technology allows each individual to use their face as a unified biometric key to build a frictionless and personalized fan experience. A unified biometric key can help stadium staff provide better customer service through:

Cut Down on Line Times

Fans judge their stadium and team experience by the amount of time waiting in line at an arena. When an individual has to stand in line to enter the venue, purchase concessions or merchandise, they become frustrated while missing out on the event they came to see. With advanced recognition systems, a fan’s face is the unified biometric key to unlocking the door to a more positive experience.

Facial recognition creates frictionless event entry, reduces queues and allows fans to “pay with their face.” Intelligent customized displays can make suggestions in the concession or souvenir area dependent on previous fan activity. “Facial loyalty” through self-ordering kiosks can also make recommendations based on past food orders for faster decision-making. Guests can then pick up the item and pay for it, often without pulling out a wallet, in one quick encounter.

Watch: Benefits of Face-Based Loyalty Program in Restaurants

Get VIP Treatment

After loyal fans have been identified in the facial recognition system and created their own unified biometric key, stadium sales staff and ushers will be able to provide true VIP treatment. The season-ticket holder, for example, can be welcomed at the season ticket door, allowed entrance into VIP clubs, provided with birthday or anniversary greetings or otherwise treated with familiarity. Guest services will be able to quickly locate a dedicated fan who spends thousands of dollars at the venue and offer them a preferential personalized experience.

Fans can also include their family in the VIP experience. Paying by face, for example, can be extended to family members who wish to be included on the same credit card. With a unified biometric key, guest services can create differentiation in the fan experience.

See how Your Face Makes the Food Ordering Experience Easier

Build Loyalty with 5 Star Service… Even When the Team is Losing

Because the fan experience matters, the unique unified biometric key can be used to build fan loyalty— even when their favorite team is losing. Some stadiums are already experimenting with facial recognition as a unified biometric key, creating a positive, frictionless fan experience. Analytics captured by the advanced recognition technology allows the stadium to target marketing messages and raise alerts based upon previous encounters with the fan.

As an award-winning leading facial recognition provider for four consecutive years, NEC’s facial recognition technology has achieved the highest performance evaluation from the U.S. National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) by:

NEC’s NeoFace® Express is the industry standard for using facial recognition to transform any hospitality experience that involves large groups of people. Adding NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems to the existing venue security system allows fans a #1 secure, positive and personalized experience.

For more information on NEC’s Advanced Recognition Systems, such as NeoFace® Express, click here.

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