i-PRO will be new brand of Panasonic Spin-off

Last year, Panasonic gave spin-off Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions its freedom. Now the global brand will be known as i-PRO. The official new name of the company is still under review, and it’s a name that new company leaders are having some fun with.

“Under Panasonic, we were held to very tough inventory because we were a smaller piece of a much larger organization, an organization that really didn’t have the same business model as security,” said Bill Brennan, president of Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions Corp of America (PIPSA). “So, we struggled a lot in terms of our product availability. It was a struggle and we understand the security business. The security business is a lot like the construction business, we owe it to our integrators to ensure we meet the demands of their projects.”

Brennan also said the new branding isn’t simply a marketing change. It is reflective of a shift in how the company operates, and how it will approach the market. He said flexibility will allow the company to create solutions for the mid-market after years of large, project-based video surveillance installs and deployments.

“The significant difference between Panasonic and the new i-PRO is we are flexible and much faster than Panasonic time,” said Masami Eguchi, executive vice president at PIPSA.

Three different business units will make up the new company in the United States, including the professional security unit, which provides IP and analog video surveillance, access control and analytics solutions. This unit will focus on commercial security applications. PIPSA also announces the Public Safety group that will offer video solutions for law enforcement. This will include body-worn cameras, in-vehicles video systems, evidence capture and management software, and intelligent analytics.

Outside the security vertical, PIPSA will provide medical imaging for high-performance cameras intended for imaging devices and systems as well as other industrial applications.

“Panasonic was a very siloed company, but we are going to break down the wall between Public Safety and Video Surveillance,” Brennan said. “Our mission ­– and what we are already planning and moving towards – is city-wide surveillance, body-worn and in-car on one platform. It’s a dramatic and incredible opportunity. We also want to be proactive versus reactive, so we are looking at various ways that we can prevent things from happening as opposed to utilizing video as evidence capture after something has occurred.”

Brennan also said the company will now focus on several verticals, where in the past, they had not taken the opportunity to seek the education market, as well as mid-sized municipalities.

“We are very much focused on education and what we found is not only do we offer the education market incredible benefits from a technology standpoint but we also understand the market in terms of how they acquire products and what they need to budget products long term,” he explained. “Many of the benefits to K-12 relate also to midsize municipalities. We’re not looking to go after the grandiose (city projects). We have a third-party partner that does a fantastic job in the major cities, but we focus primarily on the secondary markets, like a Grand Rapids-sized city.”

The company also will be launching new hardware and software later this year. It is anticipated these solutions will be for on-premises and close applications. Panasonic also has a manufacturing plant in China, but Brennan said plans are in the works to move U.S. production out of China this fiscal year. The move will allow the company to manufacture TAA-compliant products.

“Our goal is to establish a new brand, a brand that is extremely nimble, addresses the needs of the market and listens to our customers,” Brennan saidh. “Under the new company in the United States, not only do we have sales, but we have research and development, so our attachment to the organization in Japan is very solid and we’ve broken down a lot of the walls that existed during our time as Panasonic.”

The company has already invested in the development of such things intelligent analytics and facial recognition technology, New partnerships and/or acquisitions are not out the question.

“Polaris often asks us if we have anything in mind. As I mentioned to you, one of our strategies in terms of being proactive versus reactive, we are working with third-party companies in order to do that and they could ultimately result in acquisition down the road,” he said. “We’re really doing this very methodically, entering into kind of a white label arrangement and moving that into a potential acquisition but our organization is open to acquisitions when it makes sense.”

About the Author

Ralph C. Jensen is editor-in-chief of Security Today magazine.

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