Panasonic's India-incubated smart solutions boost its diversification

03, Feb. 2020

Pankaj Rana (R),  business head of e-commerce at Panasonic India, and Atsushi Motoya, who also heads the company’s India Innovation Center, announce the launch of online education-based solution developed in-house by the innovation centre, in New Delhi on Jan. 28, 2020. (NNA)
Pankaj Rana (R), business head of e-commerce at Panasonic India, and Atsushi Motoya, who also heads the company’s India Innovation Center, announce the launch of online education-based solution developed in-house by the innovation centre, in New Delhi on Jan. 28, 2020. (NNA)

By Atul Ranjan

NEW DELHI, NNA – Japanese consumer electronics major Panasonic Corp. has stepped up its diversification drive after launching a slew of new-age solutions with internet of things(IoT), mobility, artificial intelligence created in India.

Set up in 2017 to transform its business model, the company’s India Innovation Center (IIC) has been on a launch spree to support its diversification strategy. Last Tuesday, it launched its newest products - two related online education solutions - to enable Panasonic tap India’s $2 billion online education market.

“This is our sixth product, and we are likely to launch another two solutions next month (February) in the country,” Atsushi Motoya, head of IIC, Panasonic India Pvt. Ltd., the local subsidiary of the Osaka-headquartered firm, told NNA in an interview last Tuesday.

Other products developed by IIC include JanAid, a mobile based platform that offers all round healthcare services at affordable prices; SeeKit, a Bluetooth-based tracker that helps users keep track of their daily items like bags and wallets ; two advertising solutions - Digital Signature and Advertisement Platform; and Panasonic HDVC, a video-conferencing solution.

The first product created by IIC is the Seekit Bluetooth tracker which has already been introduced in the global market, said Motoya.

In a strategic alliance with Samsonite International S.A., the leading travel luggage maker had used the tracker in its IoT enabled smart suitcase. It is sold in the Asia Pacific and Latin America.

“Most of these are B2B (business-to-business) solutions. We are developing some of the solutions in collaboration with our partners,” Motoya said.

Panasonic, which has designated India as a regional hub to drive its expansion into fast-emerging Asian and Middle Eastern countries, is also looking to launch these locally developed solutions in oversea markets.

“We are now exploring opportunities to tap both India and oversea markets with the kind of solutions we are developing in India,” Motoya added.

To drive its diversification strategy, Panasonic established the India Innovation Center in Bangalore in 2017. It is Panasonic’s third such facility after Japan and the United States. The Bangalore works together with Panasonic’s first Research & Development Center India (PRDCI), set up in Gurugram in 2011.

“One of the key objectives of the India Innovation Center is to create new businesses for the company, beyond the regular products,” Pankaj Rana, business head, e-commerce at Panasonic India, told NNA last Tuesday.

Its online education-based products called ‘CareerEX ‘and ‘XcelIT’ marked its entry into India’s education sector. The subscription-based solutions are designed to help Indian students bridge the skill gap between current education and employment needs to help them find jobs easily.

“We are currently firming up our marketing strategy, for example, to push the sales of our newly-launched education solution, we are going to form a three-member sales team starting February,” said Rana, who also oversees the company’s venture into the country’s education sector.

According to a report by audit firm KPMG, online education in India is expected to grow to $1.96 billion by 2021, with paid user base likely to increase from 1.6 million users in 2016 to 9.6 million in 2021.