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Behind the scenes Panasonic is a giant in the B2B world

Panasonic North America CTO Todd Rytting is proud of the work his company did on the Tesla Model S.-(PHOTO BY AARON HOUSTON)

Todd Rytting, Panasonic’s chief technology officer, was chuckling as he said it:
“Unfortunately, here in the U.S., most people are just familiar with our microwaves.”

And while most people think of Panasonic as a consumer electronics company, it’s actually thriving — and innovating — with a strong business-to-business model.

“Eighty-five percent of our business comes from B2B,” Rytting said recently from the technology giant’s North American headquarters in Newark.

“Panasonic is really good at building high-quality products and not good at doing cheap. The commodity market has been kind of difficult for us.”

RELATED: Panasonic, NJIT make B2C business to college

Just not to the bottom line.

Consumers may think Panasonic is an outdated brand, but businesses don’t: The company reported an annual revenue of just over $73 billion in March 2014.

At Panasonic’s headquarters — which opened a year ago after the company opted to keep its base in New Jersey — Rytting was quick to highlight the first of many B2B products on display at the Innovation Center: a digital kiosk with built-in cameras.

“In the next few years, you’ll see something with facial recognition: you can detect pleasure, sadness, gender, something about age,” he said. “In a stadium, you can look for logos. So, if you’re (wearing) one team, you’ll get a certain set of ads; if you’re the opposing team, you’ll get a different set of ads.”

Working with businesses — which have more money to invest in a project than a consumer would have to spend on a single television — allows the company to develop bigger and more innovative technology.

The two state-of-the-art end zone video boards that total more than 9,500 square feet at the Philadelphia Eagles’ Lincoln Financial Field?

That was Panasonic.

Andrew Sheldon
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