NEC phones enable your employees to be more efficient and productive, regardless of their location.
History of NEC
On 17 July 1899, Nippon Electric Company, Limited (renamed NEC Corporation, effective April, 1983, both expressed as NEC hereafter) Japan’s first joint venture with foreign capital, was established by Kunihiko Iwadare in association with the U.S. firm Western Electric Company (presently Alcatel-Lucent).
The basic aim of the new company, expressed in the slogan “Better Products, Better Service,” was to carry out the promise to provide its customers with world-class products and dependable follow-up service. The notion of follow-up service didn’t take root among Japanese businesses until a full half-century later, whereas NEC had from the beginning embraced a concept that developed into what we now call Customer Satisfaction (CS).
World and domestic firsts in technology and research development, made possible by managerial innovation and backed by establishment, improvement and reform of its various personnel systems, as well as the early mounting of environmental projects, make it possible to say that NEC’s history has been marked by constant innovation for more than a hundred years. NEC is empowered by the DNA of innovation.
NEC Chronological Table
- 1899Nippon Electric Company, Limited is established.
Born in 1857 in Fukuoka prefecture, Kunihiko Iwadare graduated from the department of telegraphic communications at Kobu University – a predecessor of the current faculty of engineering at Tokyo University. He entered the Ministry of Engineering, then moved to the United States to work at Edison Machine Works, a predecessor of General Electric. He is known as one of the few Japanese who worked with Thomas Edison.
Upon returning to Japan, he became the first chief engineer at Osaka Dento, a predecessor of Kansai Electric Power Company. And in 1899, when he was 42, he founded Nippon Electric Company, Limited as a joint venture with Western Electric Company, becoming the president of the first foreign-capital enterprise in Japan.
- 1919 Produces first domestic Type 1 common-battery switchboards for long-distance toll calls.
- 1920 Enters into capital ties with Sumitomo Electric Wire and Cable Works and transfers cable business to Sumitomo.
- 1924 Advances into wireless business.
- 1927 Delivers the first domestic-made A-Type automatic PBX to Mitsukoshi Department Store.
- 1928 NE-Type phototelegraphic equipment transmits scenes of Imperial Accession Ceremony of Emperor Hirohito between Kyoto to Tokyo.
Yasujiro Niwa invented unique NE-style phototelegraphic equipment that became the foundation of today’s FAX machines. In November 1928, when Emperor Hirohito’s Imperial Accession Ceremony was held, newspaper companies that had mulled over ways to deliver papers with photos of the ceremony throughout the nation as quickly as possible employed this phototelegraphic equipment with great success.
In contrast to advanced electric technologies that had mainly been adopted from Western nations in those days, the field of telephotography was established with purely home-grown technologies and it contributed greatly to the development of FAX technologies in Japan.
(Source: “10 Greatest Japanese Inventors / Numerous Great Inventions” Japan Patent Office)
- 1929 Produces domestic A-Type automatic switching system for the central telephone office.
- 1937 Succeeds in producing 50kW transmitter tubes, thereby completing the development of short-wave broadcast equipment boasting the world’s highest output.
- 1950 Begins research into transistors.
- 1952 Receives Deming Application Prize (the first time for a company in the communications industry).
- 1953 Produces microwave PTM (Pulse Time Modulation) multiplexing equipment.
- 1954 Begins research into computers.
- 1955 Produces first domestic-made XB switching system for PBX.
- 1956 Produces first domestic-made XB switching system.
With the rapid expansion of telephone networks around this period, it became necessary to introduce a crossbar switching system that would facilitate automation of switching stations. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Public Corporation designated NEC the collaborative research partner to develop such a system. In 1954, after installation of the first prototype at the experimental station of the Electrical Communication Laboratory, the first Japanese crossbar switching system was put to practical use.
It was created with systems, circuits and parts that had been developed by proprietary Japanese technologies and boasted high performance even by global standards. Exporting the product overseas met with great success thereafter.
- 1958 Develops fully transistorized NEAC-2201 computer.
NEC co-developed its first computer, NEAC-1102, through Tohoku University’s Computer Project. The computer was characterized by its highly reliable long-life parametron element developed in Japan, arbitrarily switchable operation of floating-point arithmetic and fixed-point arithmetic depending on the command, and a large-capacity memory of 1,024 words.
The later NEAC-2201 was characterized by its germanium-alloy high-speed transistor for circuit elements and the fact that it was solely built with parts made in Japan. It was exhibited at a tradeshow in Paris in 1959 and its demonstration generated international attention.
- 1960 Begins development of ICs.
Develops time division electronic switching system.
- 1960 Develops time division electronic switching system.
- 1961 Introduces the business division system.
- 1963 Establishes Nippon Electric New York (now NEC Corporation of America)
Issues American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).
- 1963 Issues American Depositary Receipts (ADRs).
- 1964 Trans-Pacific TV broadcasts of the 18th Olympiad in Tokyo are successfully implemented using NEC-supplied ground facilities for satellite communications.
After started research on microwave transmission-based TV broadcasting, Masasuke Morita successfully developed such technologies as the shared oscillation amplification system and high-sensitivity receiving system one by one. These systems flourished in over-the-horizon communication as well as satellite communication and catapulted NEC to world leadership in the installation of satellite communication earth stations.
NEC installed high-sensitivity receiving equipment in the KDD Ibaraki Space Communication Laboratory, Japan’s first satellite communication earth station (established in 1963). It is well known that the very first news delivered through the first successful trans-Atlantic TV test broadcast between Japan and the US was the shocking news of President Kennedy’s assassination.
The transmission devices, parabolic antennas, and other equipment NEC supplied to the Kashima Satellite Communications Earth Station of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications also played an integral role in the Tokyo Olympics, which were held in October 1964, by enabling live broadcasting of the games to the world.
- 1965 Delivers the PCM-24 digital transmission system to NTTPC.
Introduces ZD (Zero Defect) movement.
- 1965 Introduces ZD (Zero Defect) movement.
- 1968 Develops 144-bit high-speed N-channel MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor) IC memory
The mainstream MOS memory in the semiconductor industry of the time was p-channel. It was thought to be “technically impossible to mass-produce n-channel MOS memory.”
But NEC’s memory development team established a breakthrough in insulation technology and developed 144-bit n-channel MOS memory in 1968. The accomplishment was announced at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) of 1969. The audience filled up even the isles of the venue to listen to the lecture. Since then, the n-channel MOS memory had become the world standard.
- 1970 Produces Osumi experimental satellite.
Established “Pollution Prevention & Environmental Management Department.”
- 1970 Established “Pollution Prevention & Environmental Management Department.”
- 1972 The “Operation Quality” program is initiated.
- 1974 The ACOS Series 77 mainframe computer family is announced.
- 1977“C&C” or the integration of computer and communications technologies is first announced at INTELCOM ’77.
On October 10th, 1977, Koji Kobayashi (then-chairman of NEC) gave a keynote lecture at INTELCOM 77, the first large-scale general communications expo in the U.S. The lecture, entitled “What communications enterprises should do to accommodate changing social needs,” led to NEC’s C&C business strategy.
“Early in the 21st century, it will become possible for people to talk to each other and see each other anytime, anywhere. This will require an integration of technologies for communications, computers, and television.”
- 1977 The NEAX 61 digital switching system is announced in the United States.
- 1979 The PC-8001 personal computer is announced.
The microcomputer sales department led by Kazuya Watanabe introduced microcomputer training kit TK-80 in August 1976 and opened a support center called Bit-INN in Akihabara. Day in and day out, Bit-INN was filled with people who wanted microcomputers for personal use. NEC representatives were convinced that the time was ripe for personal computers and introduced its first personal computer, PC-8001, in response to consumer demand. Pre-orders for the product poured in from the very beginning and NEC established itself as the leading personal computer provider in Japan, a significant head start in the personal computer business.
- 1982T he PC-9801 personal computer is announced.
- 1985 The SX-2 supercomputer demonstrates the world’s fastest performance.
- 1991 The world’s first notebook-sized PC with color LCD is announced.
A unique graphite crystal is discovered and named “carbon-nanotubes”.
- 1995 The world’s first prototype 1Gbit DRAM is unveiled.
- 1997 The Semiconductor Group is honored with the first Japan Quality Award.
- 2002 The Earth Simulator, the world’s fastest supercomputer system for resolving global environmental problems, is completed.
Earth Simulator was proposed in 1997 as a way to predict climate change on a global scale. The performance level required to realize it was absurd – 1,000 times higher than that of other supercomputers at the time. But NEC employed 1,000 people cumulatively and utilized the full technological power of the NEC Group to achieve targeted performance. Earth Simulator began operation in March 2002 as initially planned. It was the clear winner in the TOP500 supercomputer performance ranking in June 2002 and stayed on top for two and a half years.
- 2003 Constructs one of the world’s largest mission-critical systems, the i-mode gateway system “CiRCUS”
- 2003 Development of kenaf-reinforced bioplastic.
- 2003 An elementary circuit is realized for practical quantum computers.
- 2004 Realizes world’s smallest, slimmest, card-shaped, camera-equipped mobile phone utilizing ultra-thin packaging technology
- 2004 Commences provision of UNIVERGE solutions aimed at realizing improvement of business efficiency, intellectual productivity and more
- 2004 The world’s longest single-photon transmission record is extended to 150 km, realized through quantum cryptography system employing an optical planar circuit.
- 2005 NEC develops a new ultra-thin, flexible, rechargeable battery boasting super-fast charging capability.
- 2007 Ultra-compact microwave communications system PASOLINK secures top global market share
- 2008 Unveils the NEC Group Vision 2017 and Core Values
- 2008 Express Server becomes first domestic IA server to surpass the one-million-unit mark for cumulative shipments
- 2008 The programmable flow switch trial between Japan and the United States is successfully completed.
- 2010 Asteroid explorer “HAYABUSA” successfully returns to Earth
- 2010 Begins mass production of electrodes for advanced lithium-ion batteries for automotive applications
- 2011 NEC, LENOVO Finalize Joint Venture and Launch Japan’s #1 PC Company
- 2011 Launches Household Energy Storage System
- 2012 Acquire Convergys’ Global Information Management (IM) Business, a Leader in Business Support Systems (BSS)
- 2012 Acquire Australian ICT company CSG Limited’s Technology Solutions business
- 2012 INTERPOL and NEC sign partnership agreement to enhance cyber security Partnership will develop digital crime centre
- 2013 Strengthen SDN business with new solutions menu
- 2013 Establish new research center in Singapore