Ever since its establishment in 1899, NEC Corporation as a silent crusader, has been breaking limits and boundaries with its purpose to serve people and making their lives safer, securer, better. The multi-billion-dollar Japanese tech giant adorns many feathers in its cap, including the recent recognition as a Visionary in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for 5G Network Infrastructure.
In India particularly, for the past 70 years under the motto of “Better Products, Better Services,” NEC Corporation India (or NEC India) has strived to create products and services that provide value to its customers. NEC has touched the lives of a billion+ Indians with its ICT-based social infrastructure solutions, encompassing satellites to sea and everything in between. Its technological solutions have been at the core of India’s infrastructural development, cutting across telecommunications, transportation, logistics, public safety, smart city, manufacturing, and many more industries.
NEC works closely with the Indian Government on its vision for flagship Smart Cities initiative, its integrated command and control centre is the core of the smart city interconnecting the embedded sensors around city surveillance and city management. The command-and-control centres give access to the brains of the respective cities by interconnecting the embedded sensors around city surveillance and city management. Recently, NEC, with the help of this platform supported and monitored the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in the Gurgaon Municipal Development Authority and Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation in Maharashtra. An NEC biometric centre, powered with an automatic fingerprint identification system (AFIS) for criminal investigation was successfully launched in Karnataka, CDAC, and for the Kerala Police. The Aadhaar card program, the world’s first multi-modal biometric citizen identity program sits on the NEC platform putting a small bit of NEC’s technology platform in every Indian’s pocket.
Despite the challenges posed by the first wave of Covid-19 pandemic, NEC India completed on time a significant infrastructure project, the Chennai-Andaman (CANI) 2,314 km long (with 100Gb/s optical waves) undersea optical fiber cable project, which Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated in August 2020. It enables the implementation of e-Governance initiatives, e-commerce, virtual education besides boosting tourism to the island and bringing access to uninterrupted data and through that social development. It is a significant milestone in NEC’s journey of partnering with the Government of India to realize its vision of a truly connected India.
The organization aims to fast-track the country’s digital transformation journey through strategic interventions across industries while pivoting its business strategy and leveraging its strength areas. “NEC’s growth strategy is centered on three pillars: leveraging NEC’s strong delivery capabilities, bringing about digital transformation in governance and driving growth through innovation,” elobarates Aalok Kumar, President and CEO, NEC Corporation India.
NEC’s mission is to create more products and solutions in India leveraging Japan’s technical know-how to deliver “Made in Japan” quality solutions out of India. The undisputed market leader strives to merge technology with human awareness by forming ecosystems and co-create digital solutions to build safe communities where everyone has equal opportunities to thrive.
To this end, telecommunications is one of its key focus areas in driving the next phase of growth.
The Fortune 500 IT giant is globally recognized as one of the first companies to create an Open RAN 5G network. 2021 thus far has been a great year for the organization in terms of Open RAN progress. The global telecom leader has on-boarded many new customers to its Open RAN network, across the globe including Deutsche Telekom’s O-RAN Town pilot project and Telefónica’s trials in key markets like Spain, the UK, Germany and Brazil. Validating the leadership, having demonstrated expertise in the industry, NEC continued its deep collaboration with long-standing Open RAN operators such as NTT DoCoMo, Vodafone, and Rakuten over the course of 2021.
The O-RAN pioneer aims to combine its global leadership and understanding of the local market to be a front-runner in India’s 5G hardware and software development. NEC’s first Open RAN laboratory was inaugurated in December 2020 in Chennai as part of the company’s plan of “In India, for India and from India for Global” and actively contributes to the bustling 5G opportunity. The new facility complements the operations of NEC’s CoE in the UK and is building innovative O-RAN technology that is made in India and would be offered to the world. As India gears up for 5G, this lab facility can support the establishment and execution of customer-specific 5G system integration cases. The lab has the necessary infrastructure and provisions to expand the collaborative multi-vendor partnership. It will also perform interoperability tests across various Open RAN solutions and conformance testing, and 5G security consultation for the internet of things. NEC’s strategy is clear – Take an open ecosystem approach to address the requirements in deploying 5G tech instead of legacy proprietary architecture.
“World’s first O-RAN technology was created in Japan for a private operator and a big part of the work was carried out from NEC’s Chennai and Noida offices. Center of Excellence for submarine technology is another one we are working on. India provides geographic advantages for projects in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea besides unlocking an entire continent like Africa for us to explore,” explains Kumar.
“Understanding the potential of RAN technology and how every RAN will be an Open RAN in the next few years, worldwide companies have started envisioning NEC as a significant 5G supplier that can meet telco’s needs, end-to-end. NEC’s ambition is to be a large and leading telecom equipment maker globally,” he adds.
The telecom landscape in India is transforming to accommodate the immense backhaul capabilities required for rolling out the 5G technology. Since NEC has dominantly sold microwave backhaul through its PASOLINK series for the last ten years, it has gained unique experiences, capabilities, and leadership in this domain. The undisputed market leader is incorporating its global expertise and working closely with the Indian telecom operators to explore the possibility of commercially deploying Open-RAN technology for their 5G networks. Moreover, NEC is working on hybrid solutions that can cater to 4G and scale up to support 5G. Its successful project win of the prestigious Kochi-Lakshadweep submarine project is a notable business milestone that exemplifies NEC’s focused investment in guiding India to a digital future. The company’s long-standing legacy of more than 25 years in mobile packet core is a proven performing technology in tier-1 carriers’ commercial networks.
“Overall we are aiming at “India Go Big” initiative by leveraging our solution development & delivery capability from India to aid the global business growth and serve as a global delivery hub for offshore support & product development. With this backdrop, we intend to double our talent pool, from 6000 to approximately 14,000, to attract the finest brains to deliver solutions for the most complex social challenges and have a chance to shape what India will look like in the future,” elucidates Kumar.
As part of its ‘India Go Big’ initiative, NEC led the Rakuten project for 5G deployment in Japan from India. Here, it deployed BSS/OSS, 5G R.U. and 5G core solutions for its fully virtualized cloud-native network. In addition to this, NEC is partnering with Rakuten to promote O-RAN worldwide jointly and developing the containerized standalone (SA) 5G core network (5GC) to be utilized in Rakuten Mobile’s fully virtualized cloud-native 5G network.
As 5G opens possibilities with micro 5G platforms where closed-loop private networks can unlock better IoT applications on improved data corridors driving unprecedented innovation in manufacturing, transportation, and logistics, NEC has been silently working to shape India’s future with significant contributions to transform India’s telecom sector.
As one of the first few companies to venture into track and trace logistics, NEC India, through its joint venture with NICDC (National Industrial Corridor Development Programme), has proven itself as an innovation powerhouse for global geographies by handling ~100 percent of India’s container volume (approximately 30 million EXIM containers). With data analytics that provide 99.99 percent accuracy, NEC has helped build a rich logistics data bank to help containerization in India, which is internationally noticed.
Keeping in view the future of travel, the global biometrics leader customized solutions for India under its motto of “Better Products, Better Services” and deployed biometric tech at Lal Bahadur Shastri airport in Varanasi, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose airport in Kolkata, Pune airport, and Vijayawada airport.
A smart, connected, safe, secure, seamless, convenient, reliable, and integrated public transportation/mobility is a smart city’s fundamental backbones. To bring this vision to life, NEC partnered with Paytm, India’s leading financial services and online platform to roll out cashless and contactless ticketing for their Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system for Ahmedabad Janmarg Limited (AJL). Furthermore, NEC India plans to work closely with agencies like India Urban Data Exchange (IUDX) and others to promote the open data exchange platform and help create social value with more public-friendly use cases.
Powering futuristic enterprises
NEC addresses new-age business challenges and empowers IT frameworks through a diverse range of products and solutions. As we see more and more companies take a focused approach in its technology deployment strategy, NEC is continuing to drive business value through a series of transformations with solutions that address the trends of a more converged enterprise infrastructure, enabling its customers towards a smarter ecosystem. An essential part of this IT framework are communication and mobility solutions which deliver UC&C tools to users for a consistent user experience. The software services adapt to a wide variety of business roles, from sales and support to internal workgroups providing increased efficiencies and greater workforce productivity.
To exemplify, the manufacturing industry is at the cusp of a transformational revolution embarking on a change in the traditional manufacturing landscape. Industry 4.0 is increasingly focused upon the convergence of cutting-edge digital technologies, including IoT, A., Intelligent ERP, Machine Learning, and Big Data. As a global manufacturer and IT solutions provider, NEC aims to simplify manufacturing processes by building a seamless integration between the physical machines and the enterprise IT systems to enable workers to collaborate, make focused decisions, and build smarter products while achieving greater efficiency, revenues, and quality.
When it comes to the BFSI and e-commerce domains that are riddled with increasing frauds and can benefit from a data driven framework, NEC’s comprehensive suite of AI/ML solutions including health and auto-insurance fraud prediction and detection, product recommendation, NLP search and PII redaction solutions can effectively address the challenges faced by the industry today.
The company’s expertise and futuristic technology extends to the vast world of digital signages, one of the most sought after and sustainable modes of communication for brands, globally. Powered by the latest technologies and Japanese assurance of quality, NEC is a key player that offers a wide range of display solutions meeting the diverse requirements of enterprises from workstations & meeting rooms to large media walls, their presence widening across verticals and geographical boundaries.
Shifting the needle
One of NEC’s key value propositions has been to add to the sense of reliability that Japanese brands evoke with their unfailing technological solutions and quality assurance, whether in hardware or software. Every member of the NEC family endeavors, under a spirit of self-help, to offer new values for society and customers by anticipating their expectations and comprehending their issues. Therefore, the NEC vision powers the ability to create an ambiance for creating more productive solutions in India by leveraging the Japanese technical know-how.
NEC’s Global Development Center (GDC) is accelerating growth for NEC globally with a diversified workforce of 1200+ across the technology spectrum. Additionally, NEC GDC has demonstrated technology leadership in Biometrics, OSS, Transport Solutions and 5G, etc. Its teams cater to customers across geographies, specializing in AI, big data, blockchain, IoT, Biometrics, and AI/ML. They bring delivery capabilities across sectors like Public, Enterprise, NextGen Connectivity, Digital Platform, Smart Automation & Services (SAS). Many turnkey global projects of NEC Corporation are powered by NEC India GDC team, and it intends to leverage India’s skill and ability to fuel its global expansion plans. NEC has more than 49,000 patents to its credit and is exploring localization and deployment of as many in India.
NEC India is well known for its employee-first approach and it is one of the few technology organizations that has witnessed relatively low attrition rates for tech talent in India. The organization’s culture continues to play an instrumental role in keeping the best talent together and shaping NEC India’s growth and innovation journey.
“We have aligned our priorities to a well-articulated strategy. For us, it’s always People, Purpose, Partnership, Planet, and then Performance that leads us to results even in uncertain times. At NEC we deal with the first 4Ps with compassion and determination, and ‘Performance’ follows,” concludes Kumar.
NEC is building a talent pool and a workforce that takes pride in their sense of purpose. Under Kumar’s leadership, NEC in India has bolstered its leadership position and offerings across sectors such as telecommunications, submarine connectivity, logistics and transportation and smart manufacturing. The ICT behemoth, a world leader in biometrics, O-RAN, AI, and a plethora of technologies, is strategically placed to drive multiple innovations in India.