Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of Our Founding
The Global Management Development Training Facilities completed in November 1999
We celebrated the 80th anniversary of our founding in 1998. In his remarks at the management policy announcement in January, President Morishita offered words of heartfelt gratitude for the many years of patronage and support we have received from our customers, clients, and shareholders the world over, as well as for founder Konosuke Matsushita and the many others who came before us to lay the pathway to our current prosperity and growth.
Additionally, in commemoration of our 80th anniversary, it was announced that two commemorative events based on the concept of developing human resources that will take on our work in the 21st century:
(1) Establishment of the Panasonic Scholarship
(2) Establishment of the Global Management Development Training Facilities
A program that makes available stipends to foreign students, the Panasonic Scholarship is aimed at developing individuals who can contribute to the development of Asia in the 21st century and the promotion of mutual understanding globally. For the five-year period spanning 1998 to 2002, about 200 foreign students were given support.
A facility intended to develop managerial human resources ready to take on 21st century global and group management, the Global Management Development Training Facilities were built inside of the HR Development Center in Hirakata City. The building was equipped with an Internet multipoint video MPEG conferencing system, which made possible mutual communication between the various training rooms within the building. This was accompanied by the creation of instructional materials which made use of digital network technology and development of new educational systems at the HR Development Center.
And as 80th anniversary commemorative items, 79 products from across the company were designated as “product firsts” and brought to market through collaborations between Business Divisions and Sales Divisions.
Digital Television Sets Released in the US
As television broadcasts around the world went digital and the related market saw the emergence of large changes, Panasonic threw Groupwide resources into our approach to the digital television systems business.
In October 1997, the Group-Wide Digital TV System Committee, with President Morishita as its chair, initiated a strategic effort at getting the business off the ground by 1999. This plan had at its core the two projects of “Information Strategies” and “Intellectual Property Strategies,” as well as two development projects in “Platform” and “Broadcast Station Systems.”
Under these circumstances, in October 1998 we got the jump on the rest of the industry by releasing digital television sets and reception adapters (set-top boxes) compatible with all 18 digital terrestrial broadcast formats to coincide with the start of digital terrestrial broadcasts in the US. In Europe, we released set-top boxes compatible with the interactive digital satellite broadcasting of UK's BIB.
Furthermore, in Japan, in anticipation of the start of BS digital broadcasting in December 2000, in September 2000 we released BS digital HD television sets fully compatible with digital HD broadcasts and data broadcasts.
The set-top box and 56-inch wide-projection television set released in the US
Innovative Product: DVCPRO series video system
The DVCPRO series video systems, the
PD900W/PD950/D810, were developed in 1998 in response to high-definition production 525i/525p and wide-image production.
They were broadcasting digital VTRs capable of digital recording of high-definition images that could run up to 2 hours. Though both the main system and tape were compact, lightweight, and low-cost, the image was of high enough quality for broadcast production.
Innovative Product: Portable DVD player
Industry-first portable DVD players, two models, were produced in 1998. The DVD-L10 was a portable DVD player with a 16:9 LCD screen, the world's first, that allowed users to "enjoy DVD any time, anywhere." The DVD-P10 was the world's smallest and lightest portable DVD player.
While maintaining the high-quality image and sound performance and multiple functions of regular-size DVD players, the models were built with a dramatically small and light cabinet. They expanded the world of viewing DVD in many new and different ways.
Innovative Product: Digital TVs for the U.S.
Digital TVs, receivers and tuners (set top box), were put on the market in the U.S. in October, 1998, when dramatic changes were under way in related markets, with the trend in TV broadcasting going digital on a world scale.
Taking advantage of the start of digital terrestrial broadcasting in the U.S., a TV set was produced, before any competitors, that was adaptable to all 18 digital ground-based broadcast formats.