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

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora