Home News & Insights Sharp and NIWA partner to improve their Visitor Management System

Sharp and NIWA partner to improve their Visitor Management System

Through their collaboration with Sharp, NIWA has made significant improvements to their visitor management system, resulting in a secure and efficient sign-in process that is tailored to their specific requirements. 

This case study explores the specific requirements of NIWA for an innovative Visitor Management System (VMS) to be implemented and the benefits they gained. It highlights the collaborative partnership between NIWA, Sharp, and NEC as they joined forces to enhance the technology of Sharp's Welcome Kiosk and develop an innovative VMS tailored to meet NIWA’s specific needs.

About NIWA 

NIWA, the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, is a prestigious Crown Research Institute that was established in 1992. As a highly independent company with its own Board of Directors and Executive, NIWA caters to both regular and group visitors and were seeking a more efficient method to register visitors securely and promptly. Recognising the need for improvement Deepak Chauhan, the IT Executive Account Manager, began looking for a more advanced customisable system that could be implemented across multiple locations.  


NIWA’s existing VMS product was an “Electronic Visitor Sign in System”. They experienced multiple pain points with this system including lack of facial recognition, difficulty setting up workflows, inability to do minor modifications and overall cost. This was the driving force behind NIWA’s decision to look at a new VMS solution.

NIWA’s requirements for a new solution included a quicker process for visitor registration, whilst allowing pre-registration for large groups via a web-based app and provide real-time reporting to track on-site visitors in case of an emergency. NIWA were looking for a VMS that included: 

  • Facial Recognition Technology,
  • Centralised system,
  • Ability to integrate with their existing security system,
  • Security (Cloud and Physical),
  • Workflow modifications,
  • Inhouse ability to do minor modifications to look and feel such as Christmas theme,
  • Cost effectiveness,
  • All in one system,
  • Barcode exit scanning,
  • Evacuation reporting,
  • Flexibility for individual visitor preferences,
  • NIWA branding on the Kiosk, screen, and avatar,
  • The ability to pre-register visitors and groups.

    NIWA and Sharp’s Partnership 

    NIWA had been aware of Facial Recognition Technology during its early stages of development but had not yet found a suitable platform to implement it. It was only when Sharp partnered with NEC to bring a product to the market that NIWA sat up and took notice.

    In 2022, Deepak Chauhan, the IT Executive Account Manager at NIWA, reached out to Rob Fisher, National Sales Manager - Visual Solutions at Sharp because they were the exclusive provider of this innovative technology software within a VMS in New Zealand. NIWA's interest in the NEC Facial Recognition Technology stemmed from its wide range of benefits that could greatly enhance the visitor experience.

    This technology not only customises greetings for pre-registered visitors but also streamlines interactions and even provides on-site induction training. NIWA had tested a few different systems, but most of them lacked the necessary support infrastructure. They were seeking a local company that could truly stand behind their product.

    Ultimately, what set Sharp apart was the friendliness and willingness of their team to assist, making it one of the primary reasons why NIWA chose to partner with them.  

    At NIWA, we firmly believe that products can always be improved, but it is the service behind the product that truly matters. Having Rob from Sharp was great. Rob took the full responsibility of looking after NIWA’s needs and was (and still is) always ready to help.” - Deepak Chauhan, IT Executive Account Manager.


    The Sharp Welcome Kiosk 

    Sharp's VMS - Welcome Kiosk combines innovative technology with an elegant and user-friendly interface, delivering advanced features that prioritise safety and security. By integrating NEC's world-leading facial recognition technology with customisable hardware, the Kiosk ensures a safer and more secure visitor registration process. With the application of this technology, all facial information is encrypted and secure to ensure privacy is always maintained.

    This highly adaptable solution offers additional features such as personalised greetings for pre-registered or returning visitors, label printing, sending SMS and email notifications to hosts, and facilitating on-site induction training. Organisations can also benefit from streamlined customer interactions, optimised staff efficiency, and comprehensive reporting and analytics.

    Collaboration drives Kiosk Improvement 

    The partnership with Deepak has played a crucial role in driving technological advancements within the Kiosk for both Sharp and NEC. These advancements included enhancing the reporting feature to align with governmental department policies for reporting evacuations and emergencies, as well as streamlining the visitor sign-in process making it faster for visitors on site. 

    Implementation and Outcomes for NIWA 

    The Kiosk package for NIWA encompassed all aspects of setup and implementation, including software, licenses, and hardware, and they went the extra mile to customise the Kiosk with on-screen images and avatars that perfectly reflect NIWA's branding.

    Deepak's expertise and unwavering dedication were pivotal in transforming the welcome Kiosk from its initial state to the version it is today. His passion for NEC and innovative technology shines through, and he recognises the immense value of utilising texting and emailing to seamlessly communicate with individuals on-site.

    NIWA found Sharp’s Kiosk to be more user friendly and easier than their previous system. Once a user is registered, it’s only a matter of seconds to sign-in, rather than having to type their details multiple times – which was the case with their previous system. Overall, the Kiosk is well received by all NIWA’s staff and visitors.

    “The centralisation of the system was one of the biggest advantages, providing ease of use, and enhancing overall security.” - Deepak Chauhan, IT Executive Account Manager.

    Sharp's on-site IT staff played a crucial role in facilitating the hosting of the Kiosk software in a secure cloud environment, ensuring the smooth development and optimisation of the system's performance and speed.

    “We truly appreciate the invaluable support and assurances provided by Sharp. Their expertise truly works like magic, understanding and meeting our needs.” - Deepak Chauhan, IT Executive Account Manager.

    Looking ahead, NIWA is fully committed to continuously improving the sign-in process to ensure maximum efficiency. Including plans to integrate the Kiosk with the Cardax System and Door Access, allowing for seamless swipe card integration. Additionally, NIWA have Kiosks underway for several more offices nationwide.

    Are you ready to transform your approach to visitor management? Reach out to us today and unlock a world of endless possibilities.