Text and Photos By Jeff O'Heir
Panasonic executives hosted technology reporters Wednesday during a tour of the Innovation Center in its new headquarters in Newark, N.J. The grand opening is scheduled for next month.
About 800 Panasonic employees have moved into the new 12-story building from their old headquarters in Seacaucus throughout the summer. Panasonic will occupy 10 floors and lease out the other two.
Joe Taylor, chairman and CEO of Panasonic of North America, said the building is one of the first high-rises to be built in the city during the last 20 years. Since its construction, he noted, two hotels, the first new ones in nearly 40 years, and at least one new office building are currently being built nearby, something he attributes in part to Panasonic's decision to move into the area.
Taylor hopes the Panasonic headquarters will eventually achieve LEED Platinum certification for green buildings. "We want to be the No. 1 green company in the world," Taylor said, referring to Panasonic's products and corporate practices.
The Innovation Center is made up primarily of commercial solutions, including products from such categories as digital signage, 3D public displays, solar power, POS, aviation and automotive. A Tesla Model S, powered by Panasonic's batteries, sits at the entrance of the building. One area of the center does feature Panasonic's small appliances and a VIERA TV. In North America, commercial/B2B solutions make up about 83 percent of Panasonic's sales, while consumer products make up about 17 percent.
Here are some snapshots from the tour.