1 year ago

Day 4 - IFA International

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  • September
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MEET THE VISIONARIES MASAAKI FUJITA SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT VISUAL PRODUCT AND DISPLAY DEVICES BUSINESS GROUP PANASONIC AVC NETWORK COMPANY EXCITING TECHNICAL BREAKTHROUGHS IN TVS AT IFA EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TOP PANASONIC EXECUTIVE By Richard Barnes What are the star products on show at IFA? The star of the Panasonic booth are our new Plasma technologies. At IFA, we will be showing our latest technologies which support the next generation of plasma televisions. We call this “NeoPDP” Technology. Based on this new technology, we are showing our 42-inch PDP display prototype with double luminous efficiency technology. Other prototypes that we show based on our “NeoPDP” technology are super-thin 50-inch, 58-inch and 65-inch PDPs and a 150-inch Advanced High Definition Plasma Display. Can you tell us a little bit more about these future technologies that Panasonic is currently working on and that are on show at IFA? With NeoPDP technology, we have created some very exciting technical breakthroughs in new material and process technologies, cell design technology and circuit and drive technologies. By applying all three of these technologies, we will be able to produce larger and thinner Plasma screens with higher image quality and lowering power consumption by one-half. what are the new environmental improvements in Plasma televisions? We have been doing our best to ensure that our VIERA flat screen televisions have minimal environmental impact. Panasonic was the first company in the world to produce lead-free plasma. Our current VIERA Plasma televisions now have a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours and include “eco mode” in which a sensor measures the ambient light conditions in the room and adjusts the panel brightness accordingly. And thanks to our NeoPDP technology, we have developed a plasma panel that halves power consumption while maintaining the same brightness of our previous panels. How are designs evolving at the moment? By using our NeoPDP technology to produce superthin and lightweight plasmas, it opens the door to some new viewing possibilities that nobody's ever even thought of. For example, it can be installed on a single pole, hung from the ceiling in a movable configuration, or installed with a "floating" effect. It's wide viewing angle gives you stunningly beautiful images from virtually any mounting location. Plasma continues to be at the heart of your offering. Why? PDP is a relatively young technology as it has only been about ten years since the Plasma TV appeared on the market. Because PDPs are self-illuminating displays, they have established their reputation as displays that excel in high-contrast, color reproduction, moving picture resolution and wide viewing angles. However, the PDP’s full potential is still yet to be realised. With regard to plasma TVs, we will further accelerate the development of larger screens with thinner dimensions, and greater energy savings. What is your roadmap for OLED? OLED is a self-illuminating technology similar to Plasma televisions so OLED makes a suitable device for televisions. We are continuing the research and development of OLED panels. However, at this point we have no specific business plans relating to OLED. 20 IFA International • Monday, 1 st September 2008

FEATURE INTERVIEW MYOUNG WOO LEE CEO - IRIVER “IFA is a great place to listen to the market.” Interview by Richard Barnes Tell us about Iriver… The company, Iriver, is just the product name, while Reigncom is our corporate name. It is sometimes confusing. We have changed our US subsidiary to Iriver Inc to make it consistent with the company and brand name. We will have our tenth anniversary next January. We were the first MP3 manufacturer in the world and we were very successful until 2005. We suffered some setbacks in the past 2- 3 years but now we are preparing a comeback in the market. What is the roadmap for Europe? It’s not very detailed, but we used to be in Europe with our subsidiary in Germany. We had a lot of exposure throughout Europe but we had to retreat from the European market a couple of years ago. Now we are ready to have a clean launch and IFA will be the launching point for us to really come back into the market. I gather you are looking for distributors then at IFA? We have some customers in several European countries but we have to strengthen those relationships and our channel handling. We have also developed customers in the market where we will have a presence. So the presence at IFA will be creating a pull effect? Yes we have been discussing with potential clients in the market, but our presence at IFA will put us in an even better position. IFA is not only for finding distributors, I also think it’s a great place to listen to the market. I think it’s great for our market sensing ability of what our competitors are doing, what the dealers or consumers are looking for, so I think we have to use this as a good market sensing opportunity. Obviously you will have some innovations at the show… Our company is a trend follower. We look at the trends in technology and we have a network and capability to sense the trends. We then put our own spin on it to meet the customer’s demands. So in that sense, getting feedback from the market is very important? Yes this is important to any company but especially in our area, our product lifecycle is short because we have new technologies coming all the time. We have to be able to find and understand new technologies. What is the differentiating factor of Iriver? We do not compete on price but on style and differentiating ourselves from someone else. So if we just compete on price and features, that’s a commodity approach. We have been developing our brand as a unique brand based on which we want to have a different approach. Our product, the mPlayer is a Mickey Mouse MP3 player with 1 GB and no LCD. It is true that Iriver tries to compete on style, and that’s the key element of our competitiveness. However, style is not only one thing that differentiates Iriver products. We try to convey “emotion” through good style. In fact, the Iriver brand is wantbased, not need-based and style is one tool that can realise this idea. Therefore, our strategy is not only competing on style, but it should be understood in much broader way. That’s how Iriver tries to approach the market. How much influence do you have on the design? I give full responsibility to the designers. My job is to provide an environment for the designers that will best help them creatively. The company, for the last 9 years, has been focusing on design and brand. And this is something that must be further capitalised upon for the future. How important is IFA ? Europe is a very important global market for us. Currently, our export is not that much. 75% of our business is in Korea. Eventually, in 3-4 years, I would like to change that and have 80% of our business coming from overseas. The two largest markets are the US and Europe, but we consider that our product would fit much better in the European market because it is much more design-oriented. Its tradition places values more on design and emotion, and people appreciate those values in their everyday lives. That’s why I believe our sensitive marketing skills and design product would do better in European market. Myoung Woo Lee is the CEO of Reigncom Ltd. As CEO, his mission is to develop and enhance the brand value of Iriver. Mr. Lee is a seasoned veteran of the Electronics industry, who has spent almost 30 years in leadership roles at a number of multinational global powerhouses. Before joining Reigncom, he served as Non Executive Chairman at Coca-Cola Bottling Company in Korea in 2006, and as Chairman, President & CEO of Sony Korea from 2001 to 2005. Prior to that, Mr. Lee was at Samsung Electronics where he spent 24 years. Mr. Lee holds a BA from Seoul National University and an MBA from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. IFA International • Monday, 1 st September 2008 21

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