Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions Gets Brand Refresh
The new i-PRO rebranding also marks the return of a go-to-market strategy focused on serving installing security contractors.
The evolution of the Panasonic brand within the security industry has taken another turn. Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions, which was established in 2019 following a spinoff from the parent company, will now be marketed globally as i-PRO. The company had previously operated in the United States as Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions Corp. of America (PIPSA).
The announcement was made Tuesday during a virtual press conference hosted by the brand’s president, Bill Brennan, and Masami Eguchi, executive vice president of PIPSA. More than a change in namesake, Brennan explained the new i-PRO branding marks a significant transformation that encompasses go-to-market strategies, product and integrated system offerings, and reseller and technology partnerships.
The company will operate three business units, which were described in the announcement:
- Professional Security Surveillance, offering comprehensive IP and analog video surveillance, access control and analytics solutions for professional applications that combine best-in-class hardware, management and control software, and deep learning AI analytics.
- Public Safety, providing advanced video solutions for law enforcement applications including next generation body worn cameras, in-vehicle video systems, evidence capture and management software, and intelligent analytics such as facial redaction to protect personal privacy.
- Medical Imaging, delivering high-performance cameras designed specifically for medical imaging devices and systems, and other industrial applications.
The company’s headquarters is registered in Rolling Meadows, Ill. A facility in Houston — formerly home to VideoInsight, which Panasonic acquired in 2015 — houses about 100 employees, representing the “lion’s share” of the company’s workforce, Brennan said.
i-PRO is also in the midst of constructing a training and demonstration center in Anaheim, Calif. Geared primarily to serve integrators and other channel partners, the facility is slated to open in August. “We have people throughout the U.S. and we continue to grow the number of team members that we have in our sales organization,” Brennan said.
Vertical Market Emphasis
The company has set its sights on serving three specific vertical markets: K-12 schools and districts, midsize municipalities (ex: transit agencies and airports), and public safety/law enforcement. Whereas in prior years Panasonic had steered away from the reseller channel — instead electing to sell direct to large, project-based end users — i-PRO is heavily focused on reestablishing relationships with installing security contractors.
The lack of expedient product availability, which had become an Achilles heel in the past when Panasonic drifted away from the reseller channel, is being remedied as well, Brennan explained.
“We have just introduced our two-week order to delivery. You have immediate availability at our distributors. Also, we have a facility in Houston that our partners can procure product from,” he said. “But if it’s not readily available, we guarantee that you’ll have it within two weeks of order. So that already has made a very profound impact on our business overall from a security standpoint.”
Following the spinoff, led by Tokyo-based Polaris Capital Group, Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions maintained a close relationship with its former parent company, which remains a key investor in i-PRO. That close relationship will continue, with the latest iteration of i-PRO described by Brennan and Eguchi as a far more linear and nimble organization.
“The significant difference between Panasonic and the new i-PRO is we are flexible and much faster than Panasonic,” Eguchi said. “Our customers are integrators, dealers, channel partners. We want to meet their flexible demand and requirements for much faster times. And we want to meet their customers’ requirements. That is our goal.”
Polaris, which holds an 80% stake in the company, is intimately involved in the company. The private equity firm has a history of carving out business units from larger organizations, such as Fujitsu and Hitachi, and providing capital investment and direction to enable them to stand on their own.
As part of the spinoff, Panasonic transferred its video surveillance equipment manufacturing and R&D operations — including its factory in Suzhou, China — to the new company. Brennan said by the end of the year i-PRO expects to announce the majority of its U.S. production will be moved out of China in order to offer Trade Agreements Act (TAA)-compliant products.
Brennan explained the company continues to build upon its portfolio with new technologies and advanced AI-driven software and analytics that complement its imaging technologies and edge products. Polaris’s investment, he said, includes a great deal of research and development to provide the market with products that can truly help integrators solve the needs of end customers.
“We are going to break down the wall between public safety and video surveillance. Our mission and what we are already planning and moving toward is city-wide surveillance, body-worn [camera] and in-car [camera] on one platform. It is a dramatic and incredible opportunity,” he said. “We also want to be proactive versus reactive. So we are looking at various ways that we could prevent things from happening as opposed to utilizing video as evidence capture after something’s occurred. We are committed to this, especially in the K-12 environment.”
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