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Written by Hiroyuki Nishiuma, CEO of Panasonic Europe Connect

B2B technology trends for 2022

It’s often said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. Someone in a unique position to see just what that future might be is Hiroyuki Nishiuma, CEO of Panasonic Europe Connect. Here he outlines his business-to-business technology trends for 2022 and how Panasonic is positioned to assist its customers.

One of the great privileges of working for a company with more than 100 years of history is the ability to continue to learn from experience. We try to apply any wisdom gathered, as best we can, to current business challenges. There will no doubt be some difficult circumstances to navigate in 2022 with the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, a stretched global supply chain, rising core material prices and labour shortages. No-one can predict quite how these issues will play out but one thing I am very confident about is the ability of technology, combined with human ingenuity, to help address them.

Looking across our B2B interest areas, there are a number of important technology trends we see for the year ahead:

The continued automation of everything

The rapid development of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, Robotics, Sensors and Cloud are super-charging the move to industry 4.0. These technological advances will continue to enable the automation of many aspects of business that to date have been unable to benefit from the cost efficiencies and productivity enhancements of automation.

In manufacturing, the automation of the production line will be extended to remaining areas still delivered by human operators. For example, in electronics production many processes have already been automated but the Final Assembly, Testing and Packaging areas (FATP) have mainly remained manual operations because of the difficulties in handling these larger and more awkward components. A combination of the latest robotics equipment and management software will enable this repetitive work to be replicated and even improved upon – allowing the workforce to be retrained and redeployed.

 

People at a concert

2022 will also see automation continue to expand further from the production line to  the factory floor with intelligent software in Manufacturing Execution Systems, such as Panasonic’s PanaCIM, helping to automate additional areas such as material management and traceability.

 

The adoption of the autonomous supply chain

Looking further, beyond the production line and factory floor, comes the creation of the autonomous supply chain. Where each element of the business-to-business supply chain - from the delivery of core materials, through manufacturing and delivery, to the receipt of goods by the customer - is interconnected and managed automatically.

The application of AI Deep Learning software is at the heart of this transformation and will be a key area of focus for Panasonic working with recent acquisition Blue Yonder, the world leader in this field, and Zetes.

 

A focus on increased productivity at frontline operations.

As automation continues through 2022 and beyond, one of its major drivers will be the focus on increasing productivity in frontline operations. In Japan we call this the Gemba. The Gemba is the physical site where value is created. For example, the factory floor, the warehouse, or points-of-sale. As a result, Panasonic will be working with its customers in 2022 using Gemba Process Innovation. Looking at each frontline area of a customer’s business, gaining a deep understanding and working with them – using the latest technologies, software and integration skills – to optimise processes and boost productivity. We believe this unique combination of expertise, drawing on our own 100 year plus history of manufacturing experience, combined with hardware and software is the best way to optimise these remaining physical workplaces on the frontline.

Man on forklift

Accelerated adoption of IP in the Broadcast industry

The Broadcast industry has been undergoing a major technology evolution and this move towards IP will accelerate in 2022. The business drivers for change are clear. There is an ever increasing demand for content, with increased quality balanced against the limited availability of a skilled workforce and budgets. The move to IP technology enables highly optimised workflows to streamline the content creation process, adds flexibility for remote content production, improves quality and ultimately reduces costs.

Panasonic is helping to drive this evolution with its complete glass-to-glass production solutions, with its next generation live IP processing platform KAIROS at the heart of the operation. Acting as a bridge between the traditional SDI and IP world, KAIROS is accelerating the transition to IP for many content producing organisations in 2022.

 

 

Boundaries between reality and imagination will continue to merge with Immersive Entertainment.

As visitors begin to return to live events, entertainment parks, galleries and exhibitions, they will see that AV technologies have continued to make incredible advances while they have been away. With people saying they value experiences over material possessions, the Location Based Entertainment industry has continued to invest in technology to make audiences feel part of the experience – rather than just an observer.

Thanks to advances in resolutions, colour and brightness, Panasonic projectors and displays are bringing to life a wide range of immersive experiences for people in 2022. These include transporting audiences to see art by the great impressionists in new ways and global environments created by Illuminarium that they may never otherwise see.   

Mission critical applications become more mobile

Technology is also helping to improve the way our mobile key workers operate in areas such as the emergency services, defence, health and utilities – improving response times and efficiencies. In 2022, the latest rugged, connected and ergonomically designed mobile computing devices will continue to put mission critical applications in the hands of key workers where they are needed the most.

Panasonic TOUGHBOOK leads the market in Europe and this year the emergency services will be using its devices to connect to next generation Emergency Services Networks (ESN). Key workers will benefit from the speed and capabilities of the roll-out of 5G across Europe as well as further enhancements to remote device management, agile application development and bespoke vehicle dock solutions and accessories.

 

Significant progress in sustainable business

Sustainability will continue to rise on the priority lists of European businesses. As a company that has had a mission to contribute to society for more than 100 years, Panasonic is committed to helping to improve the global environment. This year we will continue to work tirelessly towards our commitment to become carbon neutral by 2030 (Scope 1 & 2) and carbon negative (Scope 3) by 2050.  

 

The evolution of Panasonic Connect

With the rapid changes in the business landscape and the technological advances we have already touched on in this article, Panasonic will also continue to evolve in 2022 to help our customers meet their goals. 

In October 2021, we launched Panasonic Connect Europe. Our agile new B2B organisation is designed to contribute to our customers’ success through the deployment of Product Solutions and Integrated Systems and Services.

The strength of our individual offerings from the Product Solution Business help our customers to succeed and we will continue to develop and improve the competitiveness of all our B2B products.

On the other hand, with the Integrated System and Service Business we aim to solve the business challenges of our customers by combining hardware and software, including those from outside of Panasonic, to create powerful new solutions. To realise this objective, we will accelerate our software collaborations with Blue Yonder, utilise all of Panasonic’s hardware capabilities and draw on any necessary 3rd party integration and hardware as required.

In April 2022, Panasonic Connect will be launched globally and here in Europe we look forward to helping many of our customers deliver on their goals in 2022. Whatever your business challenges, I wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

 

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