Panasonic held its press conference at IFA 2014 consumer electronics show held in Berlin, Germany this year. The Europe’s biggest CES was held this year from September 05 to 10, 2014. Here is the full transcript of the Panasonic IFA 2014 press conference…
Good afternoon and welcome to IFA and Panasonic’s press conference here in Berlin. My name is Patrice Bouédibéla and we’ve got a great show for you today, so let’s get started.
But before we start with our first speaker, let me give you a sneak preview about the final 15 minutes because we will have an exciting announcement towards the end. In fact, I would even bet it will be one of the hottest topics of the IFA this year. So stay tuned.
Now let’s start the first presentation.
Panasonic is more diverse than perhaps you would have expected from an electronics company. As we all know, it is most famous here in Europe for its product development in the consumer electronics sector. Yet, over the past 18 to 24 months, the company has been integrating and cross-pollinating its expertise in its consumer electronics elsewhere across the company. Very shortly, we will be hearing examples of how Panasonic has achieved this, and how it’s once again leading the way in the development of innovative technologies for home and car and wider settings such as a whole town.
It really is interesting to see how a company steeped in a consumer heritage is able to use its expertise and transfer it to other sectors.
So without further ado, let’s welcome Panasonic’s Chairman and CEO for Europe, Laurent Abadie.
Laurent Abadie – Chairman and CEO, Panasonic Europe
Thank you, Patrice. Welcome everyone, and this is a very important issue for us, this IFA 2014. In fact, in the space of just one year, our business has strengthened and changed a lot. We are on the road of recovery. Our recent quarterly results were strong with solid sales supporting a substantial increase in operating profit, in fact, 28% compared to the same quarter last year.
As for growth, we continue to build our business in key areas, such as within the home and automotive sectors, as well as within technologies that support whole towns. When developing any new solution or technology for these areas, we ensure that our expertise in consumer electronics remains at the core of our business, so that the end user – the consumer – is always at the front of our minds.
Let me show you what we have achieved in the last year. Let’s take a look at the town. Today’s society faces a number of problems such as food and water shortages, aging population, and global warming. As a result, the challenges we need to overcome concern the management of energy and keeping people safe and connected.
Take Fujisawa: a technology-driven town located about 50km west of Tokyo. It is a smart city and Panasonic is working with partners to develop technologies that help to enhance residents’ lifestyles. Let’s watch now a short video.
[Video Presentation: The Fujisawa Smart Sustainable Town Project was kicked off in May 2011 to create living spaces for 1,000 households. The town is built on the site of a former Panasonic TV factory, 50km west of Tokyo.
“Hello everyone and welcome in Fujisawa, our smart, sustainable town. The first residents I’ve just moved in a couple of weeks ago. As you can see, there are still some areas that are under construction. A town that lives and evolves like Panasonic”.
The heart of Fujisawa is where the community center is located. Here residents interact with Panasonic to exchange ideas for future lifestyles.
“All the smart houses here will adopt Panasonic’s smart energy management concept. Along with all these solar panels on the roofs, you can also see the Panasonic storage batteries are in place to store the energy for use in the evening. Energy saving is a key consideration here in Fujisawa. In terms of safety, we have security cameras installed in the city. In addition, because Japan is a seismic-sensitive region, we’ve also created a smart station that will serve as a shelter in case of an emergency”.
High capacity batteries and charging systems are also part of Panasonic’s wide range of comprehensive business solutions.
Welcome, Mr. Abadie. Combining energy management and sustainability we created smart spots where residents can use electric-assisted bicycles and e-cars. Enjoy your ride.
Panasonic is evolving its business by applying extensive B2C know-how to build new solutions in different B2B markets, interlinking technologies across various business areas. You all know our company for its VIERA TVs and our LUMIX cameras, our audio and Blu-ray devices and our total range of entertainment products, an important part of our European business.
For Panasonic, this smart town is like a big case study. Like Fujisawa evolves with people’s expectations and changing lifestyle Panasonic does as well. You see many examples here in Fujisawa from all the technology in this futuristic house here with all its instillation that offer green energy production and storage, safety for everyone living here. Fujisawa is a blueprint of Panasonic’s ability building future living space for the home, for travel and mobility, and for entire towns.
This is how Panasonic is evolving into a solution company. And thanks to our consumer business expertise, knowing that the consumer ultimately expects.
This is the challenge that Panasonic has taken on: Creating comprehensive solutions fitting various lifestyles for different generations and different types of people. – Video concludes]
Wow, isn’t that very exciting? Another growing focus area for us concerns mobility. We already have a very healthy in-car connected entertainment business. At the same time, we are building up our growth potential through the energy and safety related sectors. In the same way we care for residents’ safety in their neighborhoods, we care about their safety when on the roads, too. This is becoming another growth area within our automotive business.
Let’s find out what we are doing.
[Video Presentation: Roughly one million traffic accidents happen each year in the EU, and more than half a million in Japan, of which 40% occur at junctions. Oh! That was close! Did you know that in Japan we are already working with the local government to reduce accidents at intersections using our advanced automotive sensor technology? Let me show you how this works.
Let’s look at this example. As the red car approaches the intersection, its driver is not aware of the motorcycle because its view is being blocked by the yellow truck. This is now a dangerous situation. Panasonic has developed an intersection surveillance sensor located in the driver’s vehicle as well as at road level, which can detect pedestrians, cars, and motorcycles. The information from the sensor is transmitted between the road and the vehicle through a 700MHz radar indicating the hazard to the driver.
The first real life tests in darkness or in rainy and foggy weather have been successfully concluded at Panasonic’s automotive headquarters. Panasonic is also working on enabling the system to predict danger by forecasting how drivers and pedestrians will behave.
“We hope this solution will contribute to preventing road accidents and will support the automotive industry as well as municipalities. It is a huge step forward in making our mobility life safer”.
Panasonic: A Better Life, A Better World. – Video concludes]
And finally, let’s look at the home. There is a saying: The home is where the heart is. Well, Panasonic is right at the heart of the home. We are deeply committed to developing technologies for the consumer – and the home is the place for many of these innovations.
Panasonic is expanding its products and technologies, interconnecting them in a way we would never have thought possible some years ago. Let me show you.
[Video Presentation: The Nordics machine-to-machine market is expected to grow by around 30% every year. Here Panasonic cooperates with Verisure, a daughter company of Securitas, to develop smart home solutions, controllable from any smart device.