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NEC, Intel and Microsoft Form Strategic Relationship

Tags: Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), NEC (FRA:NEC1)

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Press release

Integrated products drive next-generation digital signage devices.

TOKYO - Nov. 10, 2010 -NEC Corporation (NEC; TSE: 6701), Intel Corporation (Intel; NASDAQ: INTC) and Microsoft Corp. (Microsoft; NASDAQ: MSFT) today announced that the companies will enter into a strategic relationship to provide an integrated digital signage offering for the global market, including Japan. The proposed collaboration will result in an optimized digital signage platform that addresses the retail and digital signage market's need for a more streamlined, high performance and highly reliable solution that supports digital content, interactivity, intelligence and life cycle management.

In January 2010, Intel and Microsoft announced a strategic relationship to develop and promote a validated platform for intelligent digital signage applications. NEC will integrate solutions and services including content management and media distribution with the digital signage platform based on Windows Embedded Standard 7 and the Intel Core i5/i7 processors. The companies have discussed collaboration in the areas of hardware, software, system integration and services.

NEC's joining this alliance will further promote the concept of intelligent digital signage and embody next-generation digital signage products. This includes a strategic cloud computing collaboration, which is intended to eventually increase alignment between NEC, Intel and Microsoft.

"Interactive and intuitive digital signage that leverages cloud-based services presents a tremendous opportunity for retailers to greatly enhance the customer experience," said Greg Buzek, president of IHL Group. "By taking advantage of innovations being developed by technology leaders, OEMs can produce more streamlined and reliable digital signage solutions that will drive in-store sales through targeted, personal and effective customer connections."

The main emphasis of this proposed collaboration is as follows:

Collaboration of new control devices and displays based on Intel Architecture

NEC will enrich its product portfolio by adding a newly developed controller module and display specialized for digital signage based on the Open Pluggable Specification (OPS), Intel's initiative to standardize the design and development of digital signs.

These products support the development of low-cost, high-quality and highly reliable digital signage solutions.

Collaboration to develop software applications based on running Windows Embedded Standard 7 with Windows 7 technologies

The collaboration utilizes Microsoft's latest Windows 7 technology innovations through Windows Embedded Standard 7. These include Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Touch and Windows Flip 3D navigation for multigesture touch interfaces and context-aware applications.

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager for streamlined connectivity; and smart power-management APIs.

Audience Measurement Solutions

NEC will enhance its audience measurement solutions by increasing accuracy of its state of the art age and gender recognition technology.

The use of business intelligence maintained in Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 database software provides more flexibility to create visual analysis of collected data.

Intel Core i5/i7 processors and Windows 7 technology within Windows Embedded Standard 7 enable NEC to develop the controller capable of managing digital signage software and audience measurement software in a single board.

Upgrades to NEC's operation management functions

New remote management functions by Intel vProTM technology such as power management and software upgrading of displays and controllers.

New efficient system to provide online controller management, operating system (OS) updating, software updating, asset management and others by operating the management software.

"This alliance is about innovating and collaborating in the growing global digital signage market to drive additional benefits to our joint customers," said Masaru Takaishi, General Manager of Carrier and Media Service Solutions Division at NEC. "NEC will empower the products and services to provide innovative digital signage solutions by leveraging our solution, expertise, experience in deployment, product technologies and power to cultivate the global market with Intel and Microsoft."

"The proposed strategic partnership between Microsoft, NEC and Intel is another step forward for the digital signage industry by helping to ease the path for OEMs to quickly bring innovative products to market," said Barb Edson, senior director of marketing for the Windows Embedded Business at Microsoft. "With cloud computing services and the optimized digital signage platform built on Windows Embedded Standard 7, the future of digital signage is here today to empower retailers."

"This alliance is a fundamental component to easing the fragmented digital signage industry as it exists now," said Jose Avalos, Director of Retail and Digital Signage at Intel. "By developing digital signage devices in accordance with Intel's Open Pluggable Specification, companies such as NEC will be able to make digital signage experiences everywhere more intelligent, interactive and connected."

The new products and solutions under this alliance will be exhibited at "iExpo 2010," NEC's private show on Nov. 11, 2010, in Tokyo. A prototype demonstration design of this integrated digital signage platform, running Windows Embedded Standard 7 and the Open Pluggable Specification, will be showcased at the National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention and Expo Jan. 9-12, 2011, in New York.