Panasonic's View of the Future

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Panasonic's View of the Future

By Tim Denman - 10/20/2015
While the name Panasonic is synonymous with high-quality consumer grade products, the technology company has over 30 years of experience developing B2B solutions for the enterprise market. As the need for enterprise-level devices and software has exploded in recent years, the nearly 100-year-old Japanese company has doubled down on its B2B efforts.

In 2014 Panasonic opened its Harrison Technology Center (HTC) in Harrison, NJ to develop and test technology solutions designed to address current and future business needs. The HTC employs over 80 engineers, programmers and technologists who are helping the company focus its efforts on its increasingly important enterprise business.

Panasonic's R&D team has produced over 110,000 patents for the enterprise segment, with 16,000 of them coming in 2015 alone. For 2015 the global company has earmarked $4.7 billion for R&D — a dollars and cents commitment to continuous innovation.

Among the innovations tested and developed at the HTC that are currently available for purchase include: the Power Shelf, an intelligent shelving solution that brings automation and analytics to the aisles; interactive turn-key digital signage and interactive kiosks; and Toughpad FZ-R1 Mobile POS Solution, an all-in-one mobile POS tablet running Windows 8.1 with integrated EMV reader with PIN pad; just to name a few.
While the available devices and software already on the market is certainly extensive, the truly exciting aspect of the HTC is its Next-Gen Lab. The lab is where newly-created solutions are tested and showcased to potential clients.
Among the technology currently being tested in the Next-Gen Lab that could be available for purchase in the near future are:
Face detection technology. The face detection demographics reader employs camera technology to read a person’s face, and provide an estimated age as well as gender. The solution can potentially be used for added security, or combined with a digital signage solution to ensure messaging is targeting the appropriate groups at the appropriate times.
Transparent window display/projection. The prototype display features projection technology with a special glass material that delivers a seamless and modern digital signage solution. The glass is treated with a specific coating that allows the display area to go from clear to opaque, instantaneously. The unit can produce high-contrast, high-definition images and video, even in a brightly lit environment.
Floating interactive display. The system projects a floating image in the air and senses finger movement. enabling interaction with the floating image. The solution will be most useful where security/privacy is a concern — users need to stand right in front of the device to be able to see the image.