CES 2020: Panasonic Highlights Venue Equipment, UHD VR Eyeglasses, Business Initiatives

Panasonic is showcasing a wide range of technologies at CES 2020. Panasonic’s booth is highlighting the company’s integrated solutions, including venue equipment, UHD VR eyeglasses, and more.

Venues
Panasonic Corporation delivered a wide range of equipment essential to stadium operation including large-screen displays and audio systems that amplify the excitement, stadium lights that illuminate the field of play and also help create an unforgettable fan environment, as well as approximately 600 digital signage systems, the largest number of such systems ever delivered, to the National Stadium, which was completed on November 30, 2019.

The new National Stadium was built on the site of the old National Stadium, which served as the Olympic Stadium during Tokyo 1964 (demolished in 2015). During Tokyo 2020, the new National Stadium will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and competitions such as track and field. Based on the concept, “a stadium in forest,” it was designed to incorporate elements of nature such as greenery and trees, yet, it is also equipped with technologies. This juxtaposition between nature and technology makes this stadium uniquely Japanese.

Panasonic delivered AV and lighting equipment essential to enlivening the competitions as well as other facilities essential to stadium operation and for spectators to get around. Panasonic also installed two approx. 9m x 32m large screen displays on both the north and south sides of the stands, in addition to 38 line array speakers that consistently deliver clear sound ensuring sound pressure even on the field, far away from the speakers. The lighting equipment not only illuminates the field of play, but can be turned on/off instantly, enabling the use of lighting for spectator entertainment. The system also has adopted a light source that has been designed to optimize color reproducibility during TV broadcasts. For the stands, Panasonic delivered 600 digital signage systems that can be remotely controlled to provide information to spectators. Different information can be delivered in each concourse area, so information can be efficiently relayed to spectators. Furthermore, Panasonic also provided eco-friendly air conditioning systems such as large-scale air conditioning systems that utilize natural refrigerants (Natural Chiller), gas heat pump air conditioners (GHP), etc. to various operating rooms.

Panasonic’s stadium solutions are transforming the way fans watch sports by utilizing a diverse range of solutions including audio-visual and lighting solutions, surprising and delighting spectators and delivering peace of mind in public spaces. Panasonic will amplify the allure of sports and also contribute to the evolution of stadiums with its extensive range of safe and eco-friendly solutions.

A closer look at the equipment provided:

  • Large screen display systems
    • Southside: Approx. 9m high, 32m wide
    • Northside: Approx. 9m high, 36m wide (including 4m for the turret clock, 45-minute counter, and running timer)
    • Resolution: Full HD
  • Audio systems
    • Line array speakers (competition audio): 8 barrels x 24 units, 4 barrels x 14 units; a total of 38 units.
    • The RAMSA audio system line array speakers, WS-LA4WP, was delivered. The ideal linear sound source was brought to life by selecting the unit optimal for the acoustic characteristics demanded of stadiums, theaters, and event halls, and employing the waveguide horn design. Here are the key features of these speakers that satisfy the acoustic characteristics of large spaces: (1) Amplify sound clearly near or far, in a very large venue; (2) Create optimal sound thanks to the high-resolution simulation software; (3) Feature a metal mounting structure that realizes both workability and safety.
  • Lighting equipment in the stands
    • For competitions – Approx. 1,300 units
    • For spectators – Approx. 200 units among others

LED floodlights “Stadium Beam”, utilizes cutting-edge technology to realize the optimal color reproducibility and high-speed image reproduction for 4K/8K broadcasts. 4K/8K broadcasts can reproduce color more vividly than Full HD. Panasonic has developed floodlights that offer the optimal color reproducibility for 4K/8K broadcasts – an average color rendering index of Ra 90 plus a special color rendering index of R9 80* for red tones. Moreover, by adopting ignition technology, the floodlights minimize flickering during high-speed reproduction of slow-motion footage, etc. With these two technologies, Panasonic will support high-quality image expression for 4K/8K broadcasts. The floodlights create an optimal lighting environment that satisfies the lighting design standards, but is less glaringly bright when people look up. With proprietary light distribution design technology, the floodlights optimally narrow the focus of the light from the light source to significantly reduce glare. The floodlights will clearly illuminate the competitors’ field of view and the way within the stadium for spectators.

  • Digital signage
    • Digital signage: Approx. 600 units

Utilizing Panasonic’s digital signage solution, “AcroSign”, a wide range of content from core industry systems including sightseeing information for inbound travelers and information from L Alert (Public Information Commons), etc. can be delivered to systems that cater to needs of different customers. Moreover, by combining an extensive range of Panasonic devices and a rich power of expression, Panasonic will provide a new value for signage. By taking advantage of the collective power of the Panasonic group, extensive range of audio-visual technologies, and the wealth of experience in installation and operation, Panasonic will provide large-scale stadium solutions that can create an electrifying environment that integrates and flexibly operates multiple screens.

  • Large-scale air conditioning system
    • Absorption chillers utilizing natural refrigerants (Natural Chiller) 400 RT – 2 units
    • Gas heat pump air conditioners (GHP) Excel Plus Series – 1 unit

UHD VR Eyeglasses 
With anticipation of the forthcoming full-fledged commercial services of the fifth-generation (5G) mobile communications system, a number of new services using VR glasses are expected to be offered, including for VR sports viewing and engaging virtual travel experiences. While conventional VR glasses with high-quality images and high sound quality provide users with highly immersive simulated experiences, these glasses tend to be big in size and require users to strap them to their head with a headband, which could cause wearer discomfort.

For the new VR glasses, Panasonic has developed a high-performance display device in cooperation with Kopin Corporation2, which is a leading manufacturer of display devices for VR glasses. In addition, Panasonic’s audio and visual technologies have been incorporated into this new device, including signal processing technologies cultivated through the development of video equipment such as TVs and Blu-ray Disc players, acoustic technologies of Technics audio products, and optical technologies used in LUMIX digital cameras. These technologies enabled Panasonic to achieve compact and lightweight VR glasses offering high-quality images and optimal sound that deliver realistic sensations drawing the user into the images projected before their eyes, while in the comfort of wearing eyeglasses.

Main features of the developed product

  • UHD high-quality images device capable of displaying HDR images
    • Equipped with a micro OLED panel co-developed by Kopin Corporation2 and Panasonic
    • Achieved natural and smooth images without “Screen door effect”, which is a visual artifact of displays, where the fine lines separating pixels become visible in the displayed image
  • High-quality sound capable of the reproduction over a wide range of frequencies from ultra-low to high
    • The adoption of Technics’ original dynamic driver using magnetic fluid allows the accurate stroke of the diaphragm and achieves ultra low distortion reproduction.
  • Compact and lightweight body enabling the device to be worn in comfort without the need for a headband
    • The adoption of an optical module newly developed by Kopin Corporation,2 3M Company,3 and Panasonic allows the display of natural and distortion-free images in super single focus. A compact and lightweight design achieved an eyeglass-like shape.

Gearing up for the forthcoming full-scale commercial 5G services, Panasonic will continue to further develop the new VR glasses so that they can be used in a variety of applications, thereby creating new customer value.

Team Panasonic Empowers Youth
Cooperation, team spirit and contribution to society are among seven principles that have guided Panasonic for more than 100 years. Team Panasonic is made up of the company’s 270,000 plus employees worldwide and today, Panasonic welcomed four new members. Olympian Michael Phelps joined Lauren Sallata, chief marketing officer, Panasonic Corporation of North America, to announce Team Panasonic at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

Also joining Team Panasonic are 15-time world champion and five-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky; Lex Gillette, four-time Paralympic silver medalist in the long jump and motivational speaker; and Japanese-American Olympic hopeful Sakura Kokumai, seven-time USA national karate champion.

Together with Panasonic, their shared social purpose is simple but powerful: inspire today’s youth to dream big and to work hard to make those dreams come true.

“I am honored to join Team Panasonic, a brand that reflects my philosophy and mission to promote healthy living and the pursuit of dreams,” says Phelps. “I appreciate Panasonic’s long-standing commitment to social responsibility with a priority of creating solutions that address today’s societal needs.”

Partnering to Power Student Goals and STEM Skills
As part of the partnership, Panasonic will support the expansion of new locations of the Michael Phelps Foundation signature program – IM – at local Boys & Girls Clubs, which has reached over 30,000 children with its water safety, healthy living, and goal-setting curriculum.

Additionally, Panasonic will sponsor Ledecky’s new STEM education program, where students will explore careers in science, technology, engineering, and math through a digital course. Over the next five years, 1.4 million new computer science jobs will need to be filled in the United States – but there are only about 400,000 computer science students in that employment pipeline, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Currently, there are over 500,000 vacant tech jobs.

“I am delighted and honored that Panasonic shares my values regarding education and has generously chosen to sponsor this initiative,” said Ledecky, who was recognized as the Division I Academic All-American of the Year during her sophomore year at Stanford University.

“Through Panasonic products and solutions, as well as our philanthropic work and investments, we are committed to creating a better life, a better world,” Sallata said. “Contributing to society has been part of Panasonic’s culture for a century. It’s who we are but developing the next generation of skilled workers is also essential to our success as a tech company and will enable us to continue to address some of society’s biggest issues. We’re proud to have Team Panasonic’s help in this most important effort.”