Panasonic will move from a projector supplier to an official technology partner of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, with the aim of offering Disney customers a better entertainment experience, the two companies announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Panasonic's projector technology and other hardware is already in use in several attractions at US Disney theme parks, including the Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom Park and the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage at Disneyland Park.
However, in the past, it was a simple buyer-seller arrangement, Panasonic AVC Networks Company President Yasuji Enokido told TechRepublic. "This is different from our traditional sponsorship relationship," Enokido said. "This is more of a partnership model where we will be more open to our roadmaps, and they'll be more open to their roadmaps, and we will work together to create a new customer experience."
Panasonic's strategy shift to becoming a formal tech partner potentially paves the way for the tech company and others to seek out more partnerships of this nature. It also demonstrates Panasonic's move to being a connected solutions provider.
While Panasonic has traditionally been a product-oriented company, Enokido said, AVC Networks Company will run a customer-centric business model and will drive IoT solutions and OPEX management services. The cloud is fueling the concept of "everything as a service," and this is trickling down to other technologies as well.
The alliance is initially focused on Panasonic's projectors, but Enokido said he plans to expand its solution scope to the parks. One potential area for growth is in Panasonic's light ID technology, which is essentially a QR code that scans light patterns to pull up information about an object on a smartphone app.
According to Panasonic, the signal source is a flashing white LED, and it can be installed in digital signage as a backlight, or as spotlights for works of art in museums or products in stores. When a person holds up their phone, the app receives a code from the light, and pulls up information on the object in view.
For example, a user could hold up their phone to a shirt in a store, and see a page with information about the brand, cost, and coupons. They could do the same for a painting in a museum to see information on the artist, or a map in a train station to see a version translated to another language.
"It becomes more intuitive and user friendly, and that's very much why we believe it is suited for the entertainment industry, whether it's theme park or shopping malls, where people gather," Enokido said. Panasonic and Disney are currently in talks about how this technology could aid customers.
With new ways to capture and leverage mobile data, Panasonic and Disney can use that information to improve the customer experience, and set an example for others to do the same.
The ultimate goal of the partnership is to offer Disney park guests new entertainment experiences, according to a press release.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- At CES 2017 on Wednesday, Panasonic was named the official projection technology partner for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts in a new strategic alliance between the companies.
- The alliance marks Panasonic's move away from being a technology supplier to being a formal partner and connected solutions provider.
- The partnership will begin with projectors, but may expand to Panasonic's light ID technology, which could make for a better customer experience and better data gained in the parks.
- CES 2017: Chrysler joins the autonomous vehicle parade (TechRepublic)
- Tesla, Panasonic ink deal for $256 million solar plant (ZDNet)
- Amazon Alexa is stepping into home security automation with ADT (TechRepublic)
- Panasonic explores purchase of car light manufacturer ZKW (ZDNet)
- Internet of Things policy (Tech Pro Research)
- Maybe Panasonic doesn't care about consumer tech anymore (CNET)
Alison DeNisco is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO and the convergence of tech and the workplace.