EDITORS CHOICE 01.08.19

Panasonic plans flat panel display resurgence

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Yuki Sakamoto presenting at Panasonic flat panel display launch at Equarius Hotel, Singapore

At an exclusive event held at the Equarius Hotel, Singapore, Panasonic System Solutions Asia Pacific in conjunction with Absolute AV, introduced its latest range of flat panel displays to AV professionals. We had an exclusive chat with Panasonic about how it plans to win market share in the commercial flat panel display segment.

According to data presented by Panasonic at the event, the commercial flat panel display market in ASEAN is growing and the Singapore commercial flat panel display segment grew by 123% compared to last year.

However, Panasonic acknowledged that 45% of the commercial flat panel display market share is split between Samsung and LG with Panasonic accounting for 5% of the market share. In addition, Panasonic revealed that it had lost commercial flat panel display business with efforts is 2018 coming in at just 72% of the performance from 2017.

With these figures in mind, Panasonic has embarked on a strategy of resurgence when it comes to flat panel displays and this strategy was conveyed to attendees at the event.

William Chan, director of Panasonic System Solution Asia Pacific, said: “Panasonic develops products that focus on the customer. Over the years, Panasonic has been devoted to the persistent development and delivery of the highest and best quality products and solutions for our customers and will remain devoted to this with our continuing efforts to pursue improvements.”

Yuki Sakamoto, general manager Panasonic System Solution Asia Pacific, elaborated on how the focus on the customer translates to the latest range of flat panel display products. To put it succinctly, Panasonic’s push is based on its latest product ranges being equipped with Intel OPS slots, Intel SDM and offer 4K visuals.

Providing 4K panels is a step that requires no explanation. It is Intel OPS (Open Pluggable Specification) and Intel SDM (Smart Display Module) which make the new range interesting.

Sakamoto says: “OPS has a level of popularity amongst system integrators and there are projects that specify it and we did not get to compete for these projects because we did not have OPS models. NEC has it, LG has it, we never did. Now we are on par with our competitors.”

He believes that the addition of OPS expands the range of products Panasonic can offer: “The biggest opportunity with OPS is the fact that you can start to replace the set-top box, something that is happening in the digital signage sector. That being said, OPS is still very expensive in comparison to a set-top box. But the addition of OPS to our flat panel range allows us to target a broader customer base. There are customers that have standardised OPS across their facilities and there are those that still prefer the traditional methods. Now we have display options for both.”

The addition of Intel SDM is something new. Sakamoto says: “We are the only display manufacturers out there at present that can provide SDM and we are hoping to see what happens next. We're not just working with anybody; we're working directly with Intel and that shows we are serious about it. Intel is trying to gather founders to support SDM and we believe the technology can make a difference.”

Intel SDM essentially allows for the expansion of a display’s capabilities, allowing the addition of videoconferencing, digital signage and wireless presentation functionality to be baked directly into the panel.

Sakamoto believes that displays will need to evolve and expand their functionality to remain relevant in the market. However, with SDM being new on the scene, he acknowledges that the groundwork has to be laid before the technology can take off.

He says: “When it comes to SDM, we have to work with customers and with our partners to educate the market about what it means in terms of application. For example, SDM can be used to make displays wireless presentation enabled and we know that is a feature that the market is demanding. Other than that, since it is the start of the SDM, we will be finding our way as the technology develops.”