A History of Innovation at NEC

Unified Communications Devices

50 Most Innovative Companies of 2015
NEC has over a century’s worth of experience in telecommunications technology. Celebrating its 117th anniversary, NEC has structured business solutions for over a century to keep your staff, partners and customers connected. Here is a brief timeline of NEC.


A Colleague of Thomas Edison

July 17, 1899

Kunihiko Iwadare was born in Fukuoka, Japan 1857. He was one of the few men to have worked directly with Thomas Edison. Iwadare went on to become the first chief engineer at Osaka Dento, an electric power company.

Old NEC logo

At the age of 42, Kunihiko Iwadare founded the Nippon Electric Company, Limited. In 1983 the name of the company was shortened to NEC Corporation.

Evolution of Communications


Nippon Electric Company manufactures a domestic Type 1 common-battery switchboard meant for long-distance toll calls.


NEC distributes the first internal A-Type automatic PBX. The first customer for this innovative technology of the time was the Mitsukoshi Department Store.


The creation of the A-Type automatic switching system expands the central telephone office.


Nippon Electric New York becomes incorporated in the United States. It would become NEC Corporation of America in 2006.

Computer and Communications Convergence

“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.” – Kobayashi, during his keynote lecture at INTELCOM ‘77

October 10, 1977

NEC’s chairman, Koji Kobayashi, reveals NEC’s goal of integrating computer and communications technologies.


NEC forms a joint venture with Honeywell to sell supercomputers in the United States and Canada.

February 3, 2004

NEC announces it will release the world’s most compact mobile phone.

June 1, 2004

Announces the “UNIVERGE Solution” to help business efficiency. NEC’s “UNIVERGE Solution” offers six different solution packages to help any large, small or in-between business:

  • IP Telephony
  • Unified Communication Package
  • Secure Wireless LAN “Raku” (“easy” in Japanese)
  • Secure Remote Access “Raku”
  • Virus Quarantine VLAN “Raku”
  • VoIP Contact Center

NEC Cyber-Security Control Center
December, 2012

NEC and INTERPOL partner to help advance cyber security and even create a digital crime Centre in Singapore.


December, 2015

NEC makes the list of Boston Consulting Group’s 50 Most Innovative Companies in the World, published on the Inc. website. These rankings are based on an international survey of 1,500 senior business executives faced with four criteria:

  • An emphasis on Innovation speed
  • Well-run (lean) R&D processes
  • Use of technological platforms
  • Systemic exploration of adjacent markets


This will mark the 40-year milestone for NEC’s convergence of computer and communications technologies. NEC research and innovation has transformed the way business communicates in the 21st century.

With over a century of experience in communications technology, NEC offers UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services, making the latest unified communications features accessible to everyone. To view how UNIVERGE BLUE can help your business, visit the UNIVERGE BLUE website and download our free white paper: Enhancing the User Experience with Cloud UC.

NEC, Orchestrating a brighter world