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Panasonic proposes better life, future for next century at electronics show

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Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic, North America, Mr. Tom Gebhardt

Envisioning the future is what made many of the global technology brands what they are today.

It was, therefore, not surprising that Panasonic, one of Japan’s leading electronics brands, is already laying groundwork for the innovations that will drive the business-to-business (B2B) solutions for the next 100 years.

With B2B sales accounting for over 70 per cent of its global revenue, consumer electronics now represents a minor portion of Panasonic’s balance sheet. Those who are worried about the shortage of Panasonic brands in homes will therefore have to make a rethink. The innovative aspirations of the brand are still out there and growing, and constantly striving to provide better living for its consumers.

At the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., it was a show of class, innovation, quality, colour and clarity, when the biggest names in the electronics business assembled with the hope of stealing the show with their latest technological offerings.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic, North America, Mr. Tom Gebhardt, said the company was partnering with most of the worlds leading automotive makers, noting, “Our heritage in consumer electronics tells us that if we can do things and make them faster and cheaper, consumers would beat down the path to bring them to their door. We see the automotive sector as a major opportunity for Panasonic and we are moving at the speed of consumer electronics to make this happen.”

Also speaking on the proposed automation’s B2B solutions, Mr. Alex Ikenouchi of Panasonic Corporate Communication Division, Japan, said, “As top sponsors of Olympic ceremony, every technology needs to be integrated. We are focusing on automatous industry right now because when the automatous cars come in in 2030, as we propose, people will not need to drive anymore. We envision that the car could become a living space, conference room, and we are ensuring that this living space is comfortable, having all the features that one might require in a home.”

Panasonic’s booth was divided into four zones – Immersive Entertainment, Connected World, Sustainable Energy, and Integrated Supply Chain. As visitors trooped in their numbers to the venue, their hunger for ‘smarter technologies’ was evident in their expressions. The world is moving fast and technology, it seems, has been contributing to the increased pace as seen in the innovations of tech brands at the event, Panasonic inclusive.

But it was not all a showcase of the future of technology as Panasonic also used the opportunity to celebrate its 100th anniversary. While providing a little history to visitors, a video, The Founder’s Enthusiasm and Imagination revealed the past 100 years and the management philosophy of Panasonic through the words of founder Konosuke Matsushita, and Panasonic DNA, which demonstrates how technologies developed through Panasonic’s consumer business are incorporated in today’s B2B solutions.

Since it was founded in 1918, the company has expanded globally and now operates 468 subsidiaries and 94 associated companies worldwide, providing diverse electronics technologies and solutions for customers in the consumer electronics, housing, automotive, enterprise solutions and device industries.

Today, Panasonic makes the battery technology used by nearly every major hybrid and electric car, including the Toyota Prius and all of Tesla’s vehicles. It makes huge-scale audio/video equipment for sports stadiums and arenas, and sells body cameras to police forces. These innovative, integrated video surveillance and security solutions provide better protection for people, property and assets for virtually any application. It also builds materials used in airplanes.

Another highlight at the booth was the Vision Theatre, a large screen showing Panasonic’s vision for the year 2030 in which it aims to contribute to the improvement of people’s lives and society through four key areas: Living Space, Supply Chain, Mobility, and Environment (Energy). The Living Space Autonomous Cabin is a future space proposing new value on how to spend time in the car in the age of autonomous driving.

There was also the Home X, which aims to create new value in homes through user-experience and interface designed and ideally suited for different living spaces. Proposed for 2030, it is expected not to be a smarter home but a human home, which goes beyond connected devices. Panasonic Environment Vision 2050 demonstrates a future society that further utilises clean energy and one where the amount of energy created exceeds the amount of energy used.

The company also showcased three next-generation cockpit/cabin system concepts, incorporating consumer electronics and In-vehicle technologies, made possible by the company’s partnership with Amazon Alexa.

The Smart Design Cockpit was made for Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) Level 2/partial automated driving. It is expected to coordinate four multi-displays to enable each operator (driver or passenger) to select the content to be displayed on each screen. The gesture control function enables stress-free operation by accurately recognising hand motions. The interior is made from resin-based special materials that provide the luxurious texture of wood, metal, and leather in particular.

The Smart Vision Cockpit made for ADAS Level 3/conditional automated driving gives its passengers a new, exciting mobility experience while enjoying a panoramic view. Both the driving mode and automated driving mode are selectable. An ultra-wide display, large-screen HUD, and driver monitoring system are used to ensure safety and enhance the joy of driving.

Living Space Autonomous Cabin made for ADAS Level 5/full automated driving is designed for a future vision of autonomous driving by combining solutions and expertise for a better life, that have been refined by Panasonic’s living space and automotive systems technologies. A luxurious, modern, and high quality living space is created inside the vehicle. Panasonic proposes this next-generation cabin space in four styles: ‘Living Room,’ ‘Business,’ ‘Relax,’ and ‘Entertainment.’

The Solutions Area had four categories highlighting the repositioning of the Panasonic brand in the North American region.

Immersive Entertainment – using Audio Visual (AV) solutions and sports analyses solutions anticipated for 2025-2030, to offer a completely new entertainment experience. Included in this zone are Customer Engagement Technologies, 3D Projection Mapping, LinkRay-AR, Advanced AV Solutions and Smart Venue Solutions.

Connected World – This zone introduced the activities of two mobility businesses – Automotive and Avionics. Included in this area were a display for Smart Design Cockpit/Smart Vision Cockpit, Scalable ePowertrain Platform, as well as VR demonstrations and exhibits of actual airplane seats (Companion App – Economy seats, New Business Class Cabin, and Immigration Inspection System), which explains the concept of “travel thread” that integrates all aspects of the passenger experience from pre-flight to post flight.

Sustainable Energy showcased Panasonic’s collaborations in lithium ion batteries and solar panels with partners striving to use sustainable energy sources. On display were examples from U.S. partner Tesla and Gogoro of Taiwan.

Integrated Supply Chain’s video presentation illustrates a future model for an internet-connected supply chain based on RF-ID, and transformations of business models adapted to changes in society. Included are Parallel Link Robot, RF-ID Gate, RF-ID In-Store Payment, and Automated Transport System.

Panasonic has also developed a scalable “ePowertrain” platform solution for the effective development of small electric vehicles (EVs). The platform is a systematised application of devices used in the EVs of major global carmakers, and is intended to contribute to the advancement of the coming mobility society.

“These include not only conventional passenger vehicles but also new types of EVs such as EV bikes and micro EVs, which suit various lifestyles and uses in each region,” Gebhardt said.

As the global demand for EVs is expected to expand rapidly, along with a wide variety of new mobility, Panasonic is leading the way for the future.

In the integrated supply chain, the company intends to transform commerce and retail by empowering makers and providers of goods to deliver timely and highly personalised shopping experience for their consumers.

In the consumer products area, Panasonic displayed two new consumer camcorders. The WF1 and VX1 are two video cameras that will be able to shoot in UHD/4K, and will be aimed squarely at consumers wanting the best video quality.

There was also the Panasonic GA10, a smart speaker made to have excellent audio quality plus employing the Google Assistant. The FZ950 and FZ800 series, 4K TVs with OLED panel were also displayed.

President, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company, Michael Moskowitz, said the modern home was constantly evolving, adding, “Panasonic continues to create integrated technologies in new ways, such as the Panasonic GA10 smart speaker, homehawk to HD monitor, Sp-10R and SL-1000R turntable, the LUMIX GH5S camera.”

Panasonic’s Lumix GH5S is said to offer the best low-light sensitivity in the history of Lumix cameras, courtesy of Dual-ISO tech that better suppresses noise in images. It has a 10.2-megapixel Four Thirds sensor and supports shooting video in up to 4K quality at either 30FPS or 60FPS.

The brand also launched a communication module, One Touch ID Authentication using electric-field communication technology that allows authentication and communication procedures to be carried out with a natural touching motion. It is a service platform to interface “people and things,” which enables equipment operations according to workers’ tag information.

By combining energy-harvesting technology with highly secure wireless technology, Panasonic has developed a small, high-efficiency, maintenance-free IoT switch named “eny Switch.” It is a service platform triggered by “eny switch” that enables the control of various smart devices (smart speakers, smart lights, etc.) and can be integrated with cloud services and smartphone apps.

There was also a Camera Stabilizer on display, an actuator capable of simultaneous drive of three axes combining image stabilizer and tracking functions. This device is capable of reproducing a perfect image of an object under any circumstance, and its performance can be compared to the “human eye,” as it is anticipated to be used in the fields of drones and robots, whose application will continue to expand

Panasonic Corporation and Samsung Electronics at CES 2018 also gave updates on the associated certification and logo programme for the open, royalty-free dynamic metadata platform for High Dynamic Range (HDR), called HDR10+, which they announced last year.

The HDR10+ platform will soon be made available to content companies, ultra-high definition TVs, Blu-ray disc players/recorders and set-top box manufacturers, as well as SoC vendors, royalty-free with only a nominal administrative fee. HDR10+ will offer a genuinely premium HDR experience for viewers through a device certification programme that ensures an accurate representation of the creative intent expressed in the content.


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