By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Newark, N.J. – Panasonic North America opened the doors to the media at its new headquarters, here, for the first time and illustrated its transformation as a company with a preview of its Innovation Center this morning.
Panasonic, which moved from its longtime headquarters in Secaucus, N.J. earlier this summer, opened the doors to its new office tower at Two Riverside Plaza, here, and its Innovation Center which showcases its latest technologies for home and industrial applications, avionics, connected care and eco solutions.
Joe Taylor, Panasonic North America CEO, Todd Rytting and Betty Noonan, senior VP of marketing, presided over the Innovation Center tour, set for its official opening in late September, which outlined how Panasonic has transformed itself from a CE company to one that also provides plenty of business-to-business solutions.
Panasonic’s Todd Rytting holding the company’s 20-inch 4K tablet for business-to-business use
Todd Rytting showing the car electronics display at the Panasonic Innovation Center
To illustrate the changes that have gone on in North America for Panasonic in the past few years Rytting surprised some by saying, “Eighty percent of our business [in North America] is now business-to-business. The balance is consumer electronics.”
Both Taylor and Noonan echoed the point that Panasonic “is not just large screen TVs and cameras” but has a wide set of technologies and solutions for a variety of business and industrial applications.
When asked about the 80/20 split in its business here, Taylor said, “Six years ago that split was 50/50,” and he noted that globally it is still around 50/50 between business and consumer sales, with the latter including major appliances which are not sold in North America.
The CEO noted that gradually Panasonic’s sales worldwide are going more towards the business-to-business side without abandoning its consumer heritage.
Rytting said that Panasonic’s background in serving the consumer market “has paid dividends on the business side” with the company anticipating wants and needs, such as features for its avionics equipment, like full A/V systems for passenger jets, connected car solutions, systems for fast food restaurants and the 7,500 batteries Panasonic supplies for each Tesla electric car.
The Panasonic Innovation Center is said to be the company’s first showcase of its kind outside of Japan and features several industrial products such as solar cell arrays and components of all shapes and sizes, as well as demonstrations of small appliances, a 3D display for public theaters (which will soon be replaced by a 4K display for the same market), a 20-inch 4K tablet that will be on display at IFA in Berlin next week, and a Smart TV system in a home theater setting.
There is also a section devoted to Panasonic’s founder, Konosuke Matsushita, how he developed the company and the ideals that he set for the company.
This is one of two branding events to take place in the New York metro area for Panasonic, the other being a similar demo for the press tonight and for the entire 2013 U.S. Open Tennis Championships through Sept. 9 in Flushing Meadow, N.Y.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.