The future is now!

Sean Byrne looks at Panasonic’s latest edtech-focused kit at the Future of Education Expo in Bracknell

Panasonic is a brand name synonymous mostly with high-quality video recording equipment and plasma TVs but the sheer scope of the company is truly recognised when visiting their solution centre in Bracknell, where they recently held the Future of Education Exhibition.

The place is a techno-geek’s paradise of facial recognition camera technology, 4K displays and ultra-HD laser projection. It’s Panasonic’s answer to showcasing their wealth of products and expertise, offering common, ignorant plebs such as myself, an opportunity to get a hands-on idea of Panasonic’s products emerging onto the scene.

Offering to show me around this techno-treasure-trove was Tom Gibson; the product marketing specialist for Panasonic’s visual system solutions. Tom greets me with a firm shake of the hand and a friendly smile before he takes me on the grand tour of Panasonic’s UK HQ.

Tom walks me first into the Panasonic display kitchen which is kitted-out with literally every electrical appliance under the sun. From toasters to dishwashers; everything gleams brightly under the halogen lights bearing the familiar “Panasonic” branded stamp. In this demo-room, it’s easy to see Panasonic’s omnipresent hand in our day-to-day lives, and the overreaching arm a company this massive has on the general population. Michael Pullan, Panasonic’s European PR Manager, tells me: “You don’t work for a company [at Panasonic], you work for a country,” to explain the sheer number of people working in various sub-divisions both domestically and internationally.

Michael goes on to reveal that only 25% of Panasonic’s business is consumer based, the rest is B2B. Showing the side of the company that most of us see, is merely the tip of the iceberg of this electronics giant.

This sunny Thursday afternoon however, as the name of the expo suggests, is about looking forward into the education vertical. This is (Panasonic’s view of) The Future of Education.

Panasonic have pledged a huge amount of their time and resources into developing solutions for the education sector. They see it as a market that their expertise in technology could truly come to benefit students, lecturers and other education professionals in the sector. While they do work in many schools, colleges and universities globally; this year their product range and solutions are especially focused on creating an education environment that is future-proof, consistently reliable and easy to use.

The most impressive piece of kit I came across and the most worthy of note, was Panasonic’s laser light source DLP projector: A lamp free projector using only laser technology, allowing 24/7 operation with no downtime needed for lamp changes or filter cleaning. The picture it projected was crisp and clear with a vivid richness to the colours that was absent in the adjacent lamp based projectors. 

As Tom took me through the rest of the centre, past security systems that allow you to pull up footage from the cloud of a person’s face anytime they’ve been on camera and Toughbook laptops, destroyable only by C4 and a bomb disposal unit, I arrived in front of a 4K screen of stunning visual clarity. With my +0.5 eyes and no glasses, looking at the beautiful nature scene depicted in front of me (shot on a Panasonic camera of course) was clearly better than looking at the world with my own eyes.

“That’s the only one we have in Europe,” Tom remarks on the huge display.

As with HD, 4K is going to become prevalent in our day to day life and hence will translate in to education as a result. Panasonic are aiming to be ahead of the game on this visual solution aspect as they are with their laser projectors, Miracast cloud sharing technology (Hello BYOD) and intelligent business video systems. 

Tom and Michael also let on that there are a number of other educational projects under the hood but for now, they are keeping quiet… 

At Panasonic’s Future of Education expo the capabilities of what universities can use in order to enhance and enrich learning are vast. Next to all this tech I feel like my own personal education experience was like living in the dark ages. Bring on the future!

→ To read more on The Future of Education Exhibition: Watch this space.

For the full product list click here:

Or visit Panasonic’s education solution website: