NEC marked 50 years of business in New Zealand with the opening of a state-of-the-art Technology Innovation Centre in Wellington last month.
The new centre was opened by Prime Minister John Key and the Japanese Ambassador Yasuaki Nogawa. The ceremony was attended by a number of members of core infrastructure companies, technology and science leaders, government departments and executives from NEC Corporation.
The new centre, located at NEC House on Taranaki Street, showcases NEC technology in telecommunications, biometric security systems, digital visual displays, and machine to machine services and robotics. All of these are the result of numerous local partnerships between NEC and New Zealand universities and businesses.
Visitors to the innovation centre are greeted at the entrance by Sumiko, a biometric avatar equipped with inbuilt cameras and facial recognition technology. Sumiko is the centre's full-time receptionist and is programmed to welcome visitors, greet them by name, open the door to them and email their host to let them know of their arrival.
“While the technology we have on display here is spectacular and exciting, the Technology Innovation Centre is not merely a showroom," says NEC's NZ director and general manager Leonard Dench. "With the latest technology brought in from Japan and regional HQ (APAC), the centre exhibits an engaging and interactive combination of office space and research and development facilities to enable NEC New Zealand to deliver on our promise of empowering people through innovation by developing total solutions in accordance to the needs and suitability of our local market. It is about the collaboration of companies and encouraging the open sharing of information to develop innovative solutions for various consumers, businesses and communities. It is also about bringing the knowledge, products, ideas and technologies of businesses together to create new possibilities, and share them with both New Zealand market and for export," he adds.
"For most of those 50 years, NEC has collaborated closely with partners to successfully deliver solutions based on the smart use of technology, most notably with Telecom New Zealand. Telecom New Zealand continues to be an integral part of our business here," says Peter Davies, corporate services manager at NEC. "However, the NEC Partnership Programme also covers a wide range of industries including agriculture, telecommunications, retail, advertising, and various academic research projects. Partners are chosen for their fit with NEC direction and commitment to establishing long term working relationships that empower people though innovation. As part of the NEC Partnership Programme, NEC has been developing a strong network of channel partnerships throughout the country. These channel partners work with NEC to deliver many leading edge technologies including our impressive visual display products, which can be seen in branches of the ASB Bank and every night on TVNZ’s news," he adds.
According to Davies, the company is currently working with partners "to develop improved resources management tools for dairy farmers, particularly in relation to dairy effluent management, innovative digital signage solutions for retailers and ground-breaking identity management solutions based on our world-leading expertise in biometric recognition".
The company which has now been in business in the country for half a century, employs 120 staff in 16 sites across the country.
"As one of the world's leading providers of communications networks and IT solutions, NEC wanted to ensure its Wellington head office reflected its role, championed its technology, nurtured its staff and inspired its clients. Consequently we actively seek and encourage our customers to visit the innovation centre and see what we have to offer," adds Davies.