News / Asia

Panasonic Eyes Technology, Infrastructure Contracts at 2020 Olympics

Visitors look at an exhibition showing the history of the partnership between Panasonic Corp. and Olympics at Panasonic center in Tokyo, Aug. 6, 2014.
Visitors look at an exhibition showing the history of the partnership between Panasonic Corp. and Olympics at Panasonic center in Tokyo, Aug. 6, 2014.
Reuters

Robot porters and wearable translation devices are just some of the innovations Panasonic Corp. would like to launch for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, an event it hopes will earn it at least $1.5 billion.

As one of the top sponsors of the Games since 1988, Panasonic has mainly supplied TV screens to host venues.

But with the event coming home, Panasonic sees the Olympics-related technology and infrastructure contracts up for grabs as an opportunity to expand its other businesses as it seeks to reduce its reliance on the highly competitive consumer electronics segment.

“The Olympics will without a doubt spur the development of new businesses,” Masahiro Ido, the director of Panasonic's Olympic Enterprise Division, told Reuters in a recent interview.

“Panasonic is not just a home appliance maker, we have all kinds of technologies, including ones related to social infrastructure,” he added.

Panasonic renewed its sponsorship contract with the International Olympics Committee in February, even as most of its divisions were cutting spending amid a company-wide restructuring drive to recover from net losses of 1.5 trillion yen ($14.6 billion) over the two years to March 2013.

The company said it expects to earn at least 150 billion yen, or $1.5 billion, from contracts related to the Games. The total potential revenue, including earnings from new ventures following on from the Olympics, is seven times that amount, it added.

Ideas for Olympics

Some of the ideas Ido's division is proposing include a payment card to be used in trains, shops and restaurants across Tokyo, eliminating the need to carry cash, and systems to prevent traffic jams or control self-driving vehicles.

Panasonic would also like to invest in charging stations at convenience stores for environmentally friendly cars, Ido said. Iwatani Corp. opened Japan's first commercial hydrogen fuel cell charging station last month.

Many of the projects Panasonic is proposing, like its plan to create "cool spots" around town with solar-powered fans and mist-spraying jets, would utilize existing technology, Ido said. The government has made cooling Tokyo a priority during the Olympics, which will be held at the hottest and most humid time of the year.

Panasonic is also hoping its local connections will help it win Olympics business in Tokyo beyond the contracts for TV screens and surveillance cameras it got in the London and Beijing Games.

Ido said Panasonic could leverage ties with Japanese construction firms if it won the contract to supply appliances for the Athlete's Village in Tokyo Bay. The company is also banking on selling existing products like lighting, air-conditioning systems and TVs.

“There are 87,000 hotel rooms within 10 kilometers of the Olympics center, and several thousand just for the International Olympics Committee,” Ido said. “The TVs in their rooms can't be made by Samsung, of course.”

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid