NEC POLLS

How many mobile devices do you use daily for business?
 

User Menu

Forum Users Online

Now 250 guests online

Font Size Changer

    
 

Straight Talk

Gartner, in their research note, Ending the Confusion about Software-Defined Networking: A Taxonomy, published in March of 2013, states that “SDN is a new approach to designing, building and operating networks that support business agility. SDN brings a similar degree of agility to networks that abstraction, virtualization and orchestration have brought to server infrastructure.” If your company or organization is seeking agility, if competitors are nipping at your heels and the management team is constantly trying to move faster, more efficiently and innovatively, you will want to explore the benefits provided by this transformational technology: Software-defined Networking.

Hear first-hand SDN thought leaders from NEC, IBM and featured analyst firm Gartner Research, talk about the business benefits of software-defined networking.

In a new interactive video, available from NEC and featuring SDN thought leaders from NEC, IBM, and Featured Analyst Firm Gartner, key questions are explored:

  • What is SDN and what are the key characteristics?
  • What business issues are propelling this technology?
  • What is the role of OpenFlow in SDN?
  • What are key SDN Use Cases?
  • How can a customer get started with SDN?

NEC has seen real benefits unfold for customers operating with ProgrammableFlow SDN in production today – some customers now with the PF6800 controller and OpenFlow-based switches have been functioning effectively for 2 years (including NEC’s own software development organization)! Examples of these key benefits have included:

  • Elimination of outsourced network engineers no longer necessary for network configuration assignments, saving one company over $70K annually
  • Reduction of resource usage, including power and square footage, by as much as 80% for another global Supply Chain leader
  • Indefinite delay of server purchases saving capital expenses at NEC itself
  • Operating expense savings at yet another customer in the area of 80% annually.
  • And at a service provider implemented in 2013, the new virtual hosting design and configuration enables the company to establish new customers on the day the order is placed, rather than 2-3 days later
  • This same customer has experienced decreases of 40% in the time spent on network maintenance, and a reduction of 90%+ in the time it takes to troubleshoot network issues, enabling the company to meet and exceed their Service Level Agreements

Learn more about the transformative benefits you can expect with this break-through technology. Watch the video today, and contact NEC to arrange your SDN pilot in 2014.


( 0 Votes )

As the polar vortex recently bore down on much of the Midwest and East Coast, bringing lots of snow and multiple headaches, the topic of remote working comes to mind. Seasonal events such as heavy snow—not to mention the ice storm that paralyzed parts of the southern U.S. in early December—can disrupt businesses as well as daily life in many ways. Lack of electricity, canceled flights, delays or shutdowns in local transportation all have an adverse affect on daily activities.

Keeping a business operating at optimal levels when employees can’t make it into the office quickly becomes a problem. The losses in productivity and resulting lost business can mount up fast.

Snow Day

Cloud Services Can Help

Luckily for today’s businesses, technology exists so that many employees can perform their jobs remotely as seamlessly as if they were in the office. For example, cloud-based Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) enables employees to work remotely, helping to keep things running at the business. Communication tools such as softphones, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing help dispersed teams collaborate and work on projects even when the weather outside is frightful.

Enabling employees to do their jobs even when they can’t get into the office keeps them safe during dangerous travel conditions, but it also means not losing employee productivity over the course of the weather event.

UCaaS keeps communications running smoothly, especially critical for organizations that heavily rely on communications for their revenue. During inclement weather, unified communications solutions can:

  • Integrate email, voice and instant messaging into a cohesive communication system so all employees can keep in touch
  • Provide access points to all data used by an organization so that users can communicate with others inside and outside their organizations quickly and more easily
  • Lower overall IT and telecommunications costs, particularly labor costs, because of the inherent economies of scale available through an integrated communications platform
  • Give access to carrier-grade communications that deliver consistency with easy-to-use functionality

Virtual Desktops—at Your Service

Other cloud services can make working remotely a reality as well. For instance, Desktop as a Service (DaaS) means moving an employee’s desktop to the cloud and making it accessible anywhere, anytime by an Internet-enabled service. Virtual desktops can be linked through a private network connection to a secure, remote data center far from the bad weather. Best of all, desktops in the cloud look and behave as if they are part of a corporate IT environment. Customers and employees won’t notice a difference in the quality of service.

Plus, the ability to deploy, manage and support desktops through DaaS reduces costs and eliminates the complexity of deploying and managing virtual desktops. Hardware costs can be reduced by nearly 60% and easier management means lower operating costs. Other benefits of DaaS include:

  • Improved security and compliance through centralized updates
  • Better mobility for your workforce through seamless access from any device, at any location
  • More flexibility to easily deploy and quickly scale desktops
  • A disaster recovery strategy to get desktops back up and running quickly

Routing Network Traffic Using SDN

Software-defined networking (SDN) simplifies the network management, proactively addresses network performance and quickly re-routes network traffic as needed—all critical functions during a severe weather occurrence.

SDN can help businesses keep their mission-critical processes up and running. Using OpenFlow technology, an SDN solution centralizes control of the network and automatically monitors network traffic, distributing it according to pre-defined policies and constantly updated network resources and traffic conditions.

Think of a delivery truck’s route from point A to point B. If the truck runs into bad weather conditions or an accident on the route, the driver can access a traffic monitoring app such as Google Turn by Turn to identify and then access another route quickly. The driver is able to quickly re-route the truck so that it doesn’t lose any more time in making its delivery.

So, when bad weather strikes, having the right tools and technology in place to enable mobility among your workforce can make a real difference. Consider including UCaaS, DaaS and SDN solutions in your disaster recovery plans to help create a safe and secure environment that protects your data and applications and keeps your businesses running.

To learn more about these solutions follow the links below:

UCaaS - http://goo.gl/5AGs87 Daas - http://goo.gl/gJeIqW SDN - http://goo.gl/HGiyf


( 0 Votes )

Consumers demand great experiences and desire instant gratification. Whether it’s online or in-store, consumers want information to be fast, accurate and focused on their needs. If done correctly, online retail experiences can meet all those desires. But what about in-store, where you have to access data via a computer that may be a considerable distance from the customer’s current location in your store? There is a simple answer – empower sales associates with in-store mobile devices.

In-store mobility is the most efficient and accurate way to create the type of retail experience a consumer expects. Plus, it supports associates in providing a rapid response to a shopper’s needs, ensuring that the sale goes to your retail establishment. To understand the power of in-store mobile, first let’s understand the current consumer shopping behavior.

Consumers are Mobile-Centric

Mobile Centric ConsumerConsumers have no issue grabbing their smart device to look up a competitor’s product while also shopping in your store. Online discounts, offers and coupons, and competitor pricing and products now are at a consumer’s fingertips, challenging retailers to deliver the same or better experience.

Research from comScore confirms that smartphones and tablets are an integral part of the retail shopping experience. In the third quarter of 2013, desktop-based retail e-Commerce sales reached $47.5 billion, a 13% increase over the same period in 2012. Total mobile spending added $5.8 billion to online sales results, a 26% year-over-year increase. This means consumers are very comfortable reaching for a laptop, smart phone or tablet to make a purchase.

Mobile devices also are influencing in-store buying decisions. Research from Deloitte Consulting reported that smartphones will drive 19% of brick-and-mortar transactions — or $689 billion — by 2016. Through a survey of 1,041 random consumers, Deloitte Consulting reported that 48% of smartphone users said their devices, in some way, encouraged them to purchase an item in a store. Moreover, 61% of smartphone subscribers who have used their devices to shop have done so in a store aisle.

Retailers Must Become Mobile-Centric

The linear process in many retail environments today must be better aligned to a consumer’s desired shopping experience. Today, many retail shopping experiences require the consumer to find the product, hope it’s in stock, maybe decide on a replacement (or leave if they cannot find it), or if in stock, choose the product, take it to check out and leave. If the consumer has any question about the product, they must find a sales associate, who most likely will not know the answer. Then the sales associate must traipse across the store to find the computer in order to provide an answer. This is inefficient and frustrating for a consumer who can punch a few buttons and find the answer online.

By unlocking the power of mobile technology, retailers can closely replicate an online experience for their shoppers and empower sales associates to better provide positive customer experiences. Think about the scenario outlined above. If that sales associate had a tablet, he could simply look up the information right there, provide the customer with all the answers and ensure a sale.

Retailers that embrace in-store mobility will reap many benefits, including:

1.  Increase engagement and sales: Associates can access a wealth of information on products and customers. Simply entering a customer’s name or loyalty card account number will provide instant access to past purchases and browsing behaviors. As a result, associates can offer relevant product recommendations, and in turn, increase cross-sell and up-sell results.

2.  Improve customer experiences: Mobile technology that includes barcode scanning and credit card technology will enable employees to complete transactions from anywhere within a store, leading to shorter wait times. Employees can collaborate throughout the store, requesting items from the stockroom or specialized support at the click of a button.

3.  Retain the sale: If a shopper is looking for a product that is out of stock, she will most likely visit a competitor, or purchase the item online. Using mobile technology, sales associates can quickly access the company e-Commerce site, order the desired item, and have it delivered to the store or directly to the shopper's home, thereby saving a sale that was headed elsewhere.

4.  Employees that are better informed:With real-time access to inventory data on the selling floor, associates can be equipped with the information they need to sell effectively. This translates to a much better customer experience.

Consumers still have a desire to shop in-store so they can see the product first-hand. Online shopping will not fulfill this need, requiring shoppers to rely on recommendations from others rather than their own judgment. By improving in-store customer experiences, retailers continue to have an edge.

Choosing to meet mobile consumer demands will make or break the in-store shopping experience moving forward. NEC’s Retail Mobility solutions provide these major benefits to the shopping experience, as well as enabling store managers and staff to have greater access to data, improve communications and increase productivity.

To get more insight into retail mobility as our team prepares for National Retail Federation’s annual convention, check out Microsoft’s blog and http://www.necretaildirection.necam.com/WellConnected. Also, visit us at Booth # 351at NRF’s Big Show Jan. 12-15, in New York. Make in-store mobility part of your 2014 success strategy!


( 0 Votes )

The need for processing data continues to grow as analysis and reporting needs expand with business requirements. Accommodating these data needs—while providing rapid retrieval and the uptime desired—has been a challenge for many data centers and IT organizations. Traditionally, the use of clustered solutions with virtualization software has been implemented with some success. Depending upon the uptime and storage requirements, the solutions will vary in price and TCO.

For IT organizations with mission-critical data, as well as large retailers needing to maintain and access data quickly, the requirements for server uptime and processing are even more important. Trying to achieve five nines (99.999%) of uptime is feasible in a clustered data center environment, but often these organizations are better served through the implementation of a fault tolerant (FT) server, such as the NEC Express 5800.

Fault Tolerant Servers Provide Real Redundancy

When it comes to reliability, there is no better solution than the NEC Fault Tolerant server family. According to the Standish Group, 72% of mission critical applications servers experience nine hours of outage per year. However, the continuous availability of FT servers ensures 99.999% uptime, for an average annual down time of 5 minutes 25 seconds (Source: IDC). But that is not the only benefit.

The NEC Fault Tolerant Server provides 99.999% uptime in an industry standard Intel Xeon server platform without the added requirement of expensive and complex clustering software. The real elegance of FT servers lies in a configuration that provides real redundancy. Using the GeminiEngine™, an NEC-engineered LSI chipset for fault tolerance control, the FT server series have two identical component groups called CPU/IO modules. Other than the special LSI in the center, each CPU/IO module consists of the exact same components in typical general purpose servers. Key to the unique fault tolerant functionality is the GeminiEngine. The combination of redundant hardware and redundancy control software enables the FT series servers to provide 99.999% uptime.

If repair or replacement is required, the FT server works as a true hot swap device. Using NEC’s Customer Replaceable Unit (CRU) strategy, the module needing the repair is simply replaced. Once replaced, the GeminiEngine product automatically synchronizes the data and places the Fault Tolerant Server back to the redundant configuration with no operation intervention. Processing has never stopped on the working module, meaning the FT server does not require any downtime for maintenance.

Finally, the FT server is compatible with existing operating systems and applications with a major plus – unlike clustered environments, the FT server requires a single license, providing immediate cost savings.

The benefits of the FT server are easily understood, but how would this apply in real- world environments? Let’s explore that a bit further.

Fault Tolerant Servers in the Data Center

The NEC Fault Tolerant Server provides improved, uptime, simplicity while lowering costs compared to traditional clustering. Total cost of ownership can be reduced by taking advantage of the single Operating System and application requirement of the FT Server. System availability is increased as the solution provides 99.999% uptime utilizing hardware based fault tolerant technology. The NEC Fault Tolerant Server also simplifies the server environment by eliminating the need for clustering software.

Fault Tolerant Servers for Building Security

Another use case example for deploying an FT server is physical security at a place of business, which requires high availability. Even one minor glitch can create an unsecure situation by having impatient employees prop open a door because entry door key pads are not working. The open access allows not only multiple employees to enter, but perhaps even an unwanted intruder. Having 99.999% uptime is a significant improvement and prevents degradation in the effectiveness of building security.

Beyond the uptime, replication to ensure that there is no point that building security is compromised, even for a minute, ensures the integrity of the security and safety of the building occupants. FT servers provide high availability through Lockstep, another unique component developed by NEC that ensures the CPUs work synchronously on a clock-cycle basis. Lockstep ensures that replication is in the same state so that the FT server is truly redundant.

Fault Tolerant Servers for Continuous Availability

Data centers and IT departments are being asked to do more with less, while also being expected to better accommodate data needs and business-critical applications. NEC Express FT servers can be used to create a fault tolerant platform for mission-critical applications that’s simple to manage and can be deployed in the same amount of time it takes to configure a simple Windows, Linux, or virtual server. By implementing fault tolerance at the hardware level, and presenting the Express FT as a single logical server, NEC reduces hardware and software dependencies, complex configuration and administration, and the license requirements associated with multi-node software cluster configurations, creating a cost-effective infrastructure for mission-critical business applications.

NEC has worked with independent third parties to thoroughly test its FT servers, as evidenced in these white papers that provide additional benefits of using fault tolerant servers for business critical applications. Finding a solution that provides high uptime and real redundancy will remain a priority for data centers and IT organizations.

To learn more about virtualization listen to the podcast below:


( 0 Votes )

Unified communications (UC) has steadily gained acceptance over the years with enterprises of all sizes as a means of increasing productivity in competitive business environments. Most are familiar with the typical “on-premise” deployment model, with UC applications running on servers in the user’s data centers. Consistent with the trend of the migration of services (voice, infrastructure, storage, etc.) to a cloud-hosted environment, UC is no exception.

One of the more recent drivers of UC towards the cloud has been the proliferation of the different types of mobile devices that users use to stay in touch. Today’s employees may receive a call on their office phone and a copy of that voice mail via email, which they can retrieve either at their desk or via a smart device, perhaps using a mobile phone to return the call while also checking more email on a tablet or laptop. The average employee is now carrying an estimated 2.9 mobile communication devices, both company supplied as well as personal. The user expectation is to have their communications “unified” across all of their devices. The business challenge for the enterprise is to manage this element of unified communications (sometimes termed Mobility) towards corporate policies that include aspects such as security and legal/regulatory requirements. The Bring Your Own Device (or BYOD) scenario, where users are using personal devices for business communications, complicates things further.

This is the challenge that UC effectively resolves. Many companies are finding it more convenient and less complex from a management perspective, and more cost effective to align their UC needs with a cloud-hosted environment.

Does that mean that the on-premises investments are now dinosaurs and must be replaced?

Actually, no.

Organizations can choose to run UC by using both a platform in the cloud as well as an on-premises solution. There are multiple benefits associated with this hybrid approach, including:

  • Best of Both Worlds – The benefit of having a hybrid solution allows companies already invested in UC to keep and maintain that solution at their headquarters while running a cloud-based solution for mobile offices and remote workers, for example.
  • Redundancy Made Easy – With UC as a Service (UCaaS) as part of the enterprise communications and messaging strategy, you have the redundancy required to make rapid adjustments, say in case of a major weather event or other catastrophe.
  • Increased Efficiency in Dealing with a Remote Workforce – The integration of enterprise communications with complex business systems allows for a true solution based on open architecture.

Of course, the ability to add UCaaS to an existing UC solution provides business benefits as well. For example, having the benefits of cloud-based software, such as decreased operational costs, coupled with the ability to keep and maintain existing UC solutions, adds even most cost savings. Other benefits include:

  • Removal of front-loaded capital expenses
  • Dependable service experience and business continuity
  • Increased number of services, including integration of business applications

Best of Both Worlds

While not limited to one type of organization, UCaaS is ideal for organizations that have large numbers of remote or mobile employees, particularly when addressing BYOD concerns and providing a unified user experience. The offices that already utilize a UC solution on premises may be amply served and the organization does not wish to make the switch.

Even more important is the ability to make adjustments quickly. The need to adjust to a changing workforce is one environmental impact. Another is crisis scenarios such as major weather events. In these cases, there is little to no warning, causing a challenge for those offices without a flexible UC solution. This is where a hybrid approach really makes sense. Practically at the flip of a switch, you can ensure customers are still served regardless of the ability for employees to get to the office.

Simplifying communication and collaboration is the hallmark of UC and UCaaS. The good news is you don’t have to choose. A hybrid solution in which you get the best of both worlds might be the answer for your organization.

Check out this guide choosing a UC solution.


( 0 Votes )