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Leveraging the IoT to Gain a Competitive Edge in International Competition

Many large manufacturers in and outside Japan are competing for larger market share in the same space, expecting a growing demand for projectors in the areas of entertainment, which requires glamor and strong visual performance as well as digital signage that can attract people’s attention. “It is becoming more and more difficult to differentiate ourselves with stand-alone hardware products,” says Kazuyuki Kitagawa, Director of Service & Support at Panasonic AVC Networks. “In order for Panasonic to grow market share and overall business, it is essential for us to develop solutions that deliver significant added value.” Panasonic believes projection failure and quality deterioration should never happen. This is what and has driven them to make their projectors IoT-enabled. More specifically, Panasonic has developed a system that collects data from projectors, visualizes detailed operational statuses, and predicts issues and address them before failure occurs. Their projectors are embedded with a variety of sensors that measure power supply, voltage, video input/ output signals, intake/exhaust air temperatures, cooling fan operations, and light bulb operating time. These sensors have been used to make the projector more intelligent, automatically suspending operation when the temperature rises excessively, and automatically switching light bulbs. Although this was a great first step, Panasonic projectors were still not equipped with any capability to send the data over a network.

  • ThingWorx (PTC)
    The ThingWorx IoT Technology Platform. One Platform. Limitless Possibilities. ThingWorx is the only enterprise-ready technology platform that enables innovators to rapidly develop and deploy smart, connected solutions for the Internet of Things. Build Fast Connectivity and development tools made for IoT enable developers to quickly create, test and deploy solutions faster than ever thought possible. Build Smart Integrated capabilities of the platform enable developers to create more feature-rich solutions in a fraction of the time of other platforms. Build for Enterprises Developers quickly and easily create IoT solutions that are scalable, secure, and meet the needs of the largest of enterprises.
  • Equipment & Machinery
  • Maintenance
  • Panasonic has the world’s largest market share in the area of high-intensity and high end projectors. The company is also well-known as an official worldwide sponsor of the Olympics/Paralympics.

  • Project data is gathered in the cloud and displayed on large screens at Panasonic Operation Centers in Japan and Europe. They developed proprietary algorithms to monitor the data, so that if the system detects an indication of a potential failure based on sensor readings like intake/exhaust air temperatures, it looks into the lead-time of arranging necessary spare parts, gives an alert automatically, and sends an email to maintenance staff with details of the alert and expected timing of the failure. This remote monitoring system was developed based on Nippon Systemware’s “Toami” IoT platform which is powered by PTC’s ThingWorx. To get a free demo of ThingWorx 8:

  • Fault Detection, Lighting, Power Supply Voltage, Temperature, Video
  • Mature (technology has been on the market for > 5 years)
  • Impact #1
    [Efficiency Improvement - Operation]
    Panasonic’s first customer of this service, a railway
    company in the U. K., was able to prevent projectors from
    shutting down in crowded stations so that their passengers
    would have continuous visibility into the departures and
    arrivals of trains.
    Impact #2
    [Process Optimization - Remote Monitoring]
    Panasonic’s remote monitoring system constantly monitored
    almost 40 projectors installed in indoor arenas and other
    parts of the venue at the Rio Olympics/Paralympics, and the
    Panasonic projectors continued projecting images without a
    hitch throughout the duration.
    Impact #3
  • Digital Twin
    The digital twin is a digital replica of a living or non-living physical entity. Digital twin refers to a digital replica of potential and actual physical assets (physical twin), processes, people, places, systems and devices that can be used for various purposes. The digital representation provides both the elements and the dynamics of how an object operates throughout its lifecycle. Definitions of digital twin technology emphasize two important characteristics. Firstly, each definition emphasizes the connection between the physical model and the corresponding virtual model. Secondly, this connection is established by generating real-time data using sensors to provide an evolving perspective into the current status of the physical object. The concept of the digital twin can be compared to other concepts such as cross-reality environments or co-spaces and mirror models, which aim to, by and large, synchronise part of the physical world with its cyber representation.
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