If you think of telephones and televisions when you think of Panasonic, you’re behind. With less than 10% of North American revenue from consumer electronics, the real Panasonic left behind gadgets and developed a stronghold in automotive transit, live entertainment, clean energy, and (you guessed it) smart cities. They even produced the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympics!
“Most people say, ‘Wow, I had no idea that Panasonic does all of that.’ The breadth, depth, and strength of Panasonic’s solution portfolio surprises a lot of people,” said Peter Bronski, director of marketing for Panasonic CityNOW, the company’s North American smart city initiative. “But that’s the beauty of Panasonic—there’s so much innovation under one roof.”
When it comes to smart cities, Panasonic engages selectively, seeking out long-term city partners and executive-level buy-in across critical stakeholders, where a comprehensive Panasonic engagement can unlock transformational outcomes in the live, work, play experience of a city.
In Denver, for example, Panasonic worked with stakeholders including real estate developer LC Fulenwider, Inc. and Denver International Airport, plus Xcel Energy, to build the utility’s first solar+storage microgrid in Colorado. Building on four decades of traffic management experience abroad, Panasonic has also partnered with the Colorado Department of Transportation on Road X, beginning with deployment along a 100-mile corridor on I-70 between Denver and Vail focused on smart highway and connected vehicle infrastructure and putting it all on a cloud-based platform to alleviate traffic and augment public safety.
“Our strategy is to identify cities with a clear vision and strong leadership, with broad stakeholder support where we can implement transformational, human-centric communities,” said George Karayannis, VP Panasonic CityNOW. “We can have the greatest impact with cities willing to commit to a public-private partnership, and where we have a greenfield or brownfield development into which we can continuously introduce innovative technologies and solutions in conjunction with one or more real estate developers, the city, the local utility, and other key stakeholders.”
Panasonic hopes to make these connections at Smart Cities Connect Conference & Expo where they are bronze sponsors. It is a global company deeply partnered in automotive, avionics, wireless networks, consumer technology, clean technology and more; and this enables it to evolve with smart cities.
“We’re going to be here for the long haul,” Bronski said. “We remain committed to quality and best-in-class solutions as a century-old company that has weathered global and regional challenges. That’s important in the smart cities space—and the long-term investment in infrastructure it often involves—where there are lots of startups offering a sliver of the pie. It’s important that partners chosen will be around not just for a few quarters but for several decades.”
Panasonic’s approach with cities involves three components: human-centric outcomes, process, and technology. The first conversation is not about technology, even though they are a technology company; instead, they talk about stakeholder alignment and material, human-centric outcomes. Second, is process. Smart cities do things differently; they operate beyond business-as-usual. Panasonic works with cities who have committed to evolving their traditional decision-making and overcoming the limitations of organizational silos. Through their partnership, they navigate complex change, align at the executive level with internal and external stakeholders, and establish a cadence and process for the long-term goals they’ve established. Third, Panasonic integrates and manages responsive infrastructure — from smart street networks to V2X technologies to renewably powered, resilient micro grids to smart parking. The upgrades unlock new possibilities, new capabilities, and a multitude of benefits that span safety, sustainability, convenience, and economic ROI.
“Nothing brings to life Panasonic’s global brand promise like smart cities: a better life, a better world. It doesn’t manifest in any better way than in smart cities,” said Bronski.