A Panoramic Perspective

Like the aperture on one of its world-renown cameras fully opening up, Panasonic is expanding its approach to security. In an exclusive interview, the video surveillance innovator’s president reveals how he intends to bring a new system solutions-based strategy to fruition.

To consumers and security professionals alike there is perhaps no name better known for providing innovative and reliable electronic devices than Panasonic. This is particularly true in the realm of imaging technologies, which for more than 50 years the company has leveraged to become one of the security industry’s leading suppliers of CCTV and video surveillance products.

Panasonic’s rich history is based on the amazing story of Konosuke Matsushita. In 1917 at the age of 22, the entrepreneur parlayed his invention of an electrical attachment plug and two-way socket into the establishment of Matsushita Electric Devices Manufacturing Works, which later became Panasonic. Although he retired in 1973 (deceased 1989), Konosuke’s legacy and belief that the primary mission of a business is to benefit society lives on.

Today, Panasonic Corp. is one of the world’s largest electronic products manufacturers with more than 550 companies employing in excess of 305,000 people. The company’s North American headquarters are located in Secaucus,  N.J., where it markets a broad line of digital and other electronics products for consumer, business and industrial use – including security.

Having served the security industry for more than half-a-century, Panasonic continues to demonstrate nimbleness in meeting evolving technology and business trends (see news item on page 18). This has never been more critical than in recent years as advancements such as integration, digital video, IP-based systems, megapixel cameras and analytics have teamed with new marketplace dynamics to initiate true paradigm shifts.

Panasonic has responded by adjusting its strategic approach to focus on total enterprise-level security system solutions as opposed to purely products. To help blaze that path, Jean-Marc (J.M.) Allain has been named to succeed Frank DeFina as president of Panasonic System Solutions Co. (PSSA). Allain, a former manager of global operations for Duos Technologies, holds degrees in international trade and finance, business administration, and systems engineering.

To find out more about PSSA’s new philosophy regarding the security market and get to the heart of what it means for installing systems integrators, SSI flagged down Allain for an exclusive interview. Although he declined to comment on Panasonic’s looming acquisition of Sanyo, the energetic executive did explain why he is so enthusiastic about his new position and discussed the abundance of opportunities in the face of current economic woes.

The Right Man for the Job

Please explain what made you uniquely qualified for your present position.

J.M. Allain: I’ve been involved in technology my entire career with a special concentration in integration. This has provided me the opportunity to be involved with consultants, manufacturers, end users and suppliers across virtually every aspect of systems technology and applications.

With Panasonic being the largest manufacturer of business and consumer electronics in the world, and with the growing trend toward integration and enterprise-level technology, my background and passion melded well with Panasonic’s desire to capitalize on its global presence, comprehensive product suite and expertise in electronics, in an effort to deliver complete technology solutions.

Fundamentally, I share this vision for higher level systems integration and have always viewed Panasonic as one of the few companies with the ability, portfolio and know-how to realize this goal.

You have been in the position for more than six months now, what has the experience been like thus far?

Allain: I am extremely energized and excited with the progress we’ve been able to make in terms of redirecting our business strategies and in changing the mindset of our organization to support Panasonic’s new systems model.

I will say that the sudden, although somewhat anticipated, global economic downturn is definitely an influencer relative to our earlier projections, but I see this as a challenge to execute smarter, innovative business solutions.

How does your approach differ from that of previous PSSA management?

Allain: I am shifting Panasonic’s emphasis from product sales to systems sales as technology becomes more driven by software solutions that enable enterprise-level integration.

As a company, we still recognize and will continue to support our product lines in their respective channels, but we are now placing far more emphasis on unifying our entire product suite of business and consumer products on a single scalable platform. This allows us to offer customers more comprehensive capabilities and functionality on a highly cost-efficient basis while providing a business model that promises continued growth for our customers and Panasonic.

What are your duties/responsibilities, and whom do you report to? Describe the organizational relationships.

Allain: I report directly to the chairman of Panasonic North America. Together with the chairman and the rest of the executive team, we defined my charter even before I started this job. I continue to enjoy their full support of the systems model we have been developing and executing.

I will also say that the so-called B2B model is not unique to North America. Panasonic’s global chairman has tasked all regions and companies to concentrate more of their efforts on enterprise-level business. Given the fact that Panasonic offers approximately 8,000 products, this provides us with access to the entire portfolio that previously fell under the purview of disparate business units. This gives us a great advantage over our competitors and allows for complete, true end-to-end solutions for our customers.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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