By Andy Slawetsky – Panasonic held an analyst briefing on May first at their headquarters in Newark NJ. I had not visited Panasonic in several years. The last time I saw them was in their offices in Secaucus. If you’ve never been there, the old building was a big, dark cement slab. It was pretty awful. And now, they’re in Newark. I’ve been to Newark and let’s just say, my expectations were not very high. I was unaware of the massive revitalization project the city has undertaken. Panasonic now finds themselves working in an absolutely beautiful facility in a brand new building overlooking the river. The building is directly across the street from Penn Station. Large windows flood the conference rooms and offices with natural sunlight, another contrast from the old building that seemed to have very few windows, the only light coming from blinding fluorescent bulbs.
As I walked into the lobby I saw the next big change. They have a lobby! The old building was actually more of a complex with several entrances and virtually almost no waiting area. This lobby is massive with Panasonic display technology prominently positioned, lots of signage and a demo room/museum (Innovation Center) located near the reception desk.
Panasonic’s Joe Odore opened the briefing with a review of the current scanner portfolio and a discussion of Panasonic’s history. Panasonic is celebrating two milestones this year; they’re 100 years old and the scanner program launched 25 years ago.
Panasonic’s scanners range from workgroup to departmental to production. They also offer a variety of workflow and software solutions, some, like Image Capture Plus and Image Capture Plus Express are made in house; others are sourced through strategic partnerships.
Joe spent some time discussing some future product and he also gave a short demo on one of their scanners, showing us how easy it is to unbox and set up the device.
One of the partnerships I mentioned is with CVISION, a document capture company that Panasonic started working with in 2016. Tim Jeffries of CVISION was on hand to give us a short presentation.
Following Tim came Stephen Young of Square 9 Softworks. Square 9 is another document capture organization and one that’s probably familiar to many of you reading this. Steve talked about the Panasonic partnership, defining capture and extending the reach of information.
Once the presentations were done, we had lunch and began our one on one sessions. I got some time with Joe, Steve and Tim and we chatted about their partnerships, Panasonic’s donation to The Ride for Jillian and a lot of stuff that has nothing to do with this industry. I can get chatty, what can I say?
The event concluded with a walkthrough of Panasonic’s Innovation Center near the lobby. It was very cool to see all the old, nostalgic products like tube TVs, radios, VHS recorders, Technics stereos and other old school tech. It was also very interesting to see some of the things Panasonic is doing today that I don’t normally cover; lithium battery technology (there was an electric Ford Focus in that room), supply chain automation technology (see video below) and of course, incredible displays.
Panasonic has been around for 100 years. They’re a continually evolving company that plays in markets they feel are strong and offer opportunity and they’re not afraid to walk away from industries where they don’t see an ROI. It’s led to difficult decisions over the years, like leaving the copier and printer industries, but it’s allowed them to pour resources into other areas with more potential.
This was a nice day with Panasonic and I appreciate the invite. It had been a while since we had last had a briefing from them and it’s great to touch base now and then with meetings like these.