LAS VEGAS–Known primarily for its home appliances and consumer products, Panasonic is making its way into more and more public spaces.
For years, the tech company has maintained a strong presence in theme parks, creating immersive experiences for destinations like Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort, where its spotlights bring Mickey and Minnie to life.
But recently the brand has broadened its reach, working with venues, museums and cities to design compelling events and experiences. During this year’s CES, which ended in Las Vegas on Saturday, Panasonic announced a five-year partnership with AREA15, a 200,000 square foot entertainment, retail and dining complex in Las Vegas that specializes in in live events, immersive activations and art installations. As part of the deal, the company will provide software development, engineering, projection design, show-grade media, projectors and more to help the venue create 360-degree visual experiences.
“We’ve seen the rise in this immersive space even before the pandemic,” said Joe Conover, strategic head of thematic entertainment solutions at Panasonic, adding that the pandemic hasn’t interrupted conversations surrounding the development of immersive experiences. “I actually think everyone had a moment to take a break, to re-evaluate what they wanted to bring out to their guests and the audience. And some of those conversations in 2020, during the pandemic, were some of the most thoughtful I’ve had because people were really taking the time to think and do something different. “
Opened in September 2020, AREA15 apparently defied the odds, launching at a time when established sites were struggling to survive. Panasonic began its partnership with space in the spring of 2021. The first experience at AREA15 with the brand’s projectors was Van Gogh, the immersive experience, an exhibition that immersed visitors in the artist’s works through 360-degree digital projections, a virtual reality experience and an atmospheric sound and light show. Additionally, Panasonic projectors are able to provide bespoke backdrops for theatrical performances, music concerts, corporate events, private parties and much more within the resort.
“AREA15 realized that in order to put on a fully flexible show and do as many shows as they would choose to do within a given 24 hour time frame, they can have the Van Gogh experience and then turn to the experience. Klimt a few hours. later then in the evening have some of their own content where they show “Rated Red” which is their burlesque type show – they were looking for someone to really collaborate with who could provide them with support and services. quality, everything that needs to be done to create a real entertainment space, ”says Conover.
Photo: Courtesy of AREA15To do this, AREA15 uses Panasonic’s PT-RQ35KU 3-Chip DLP Solid Shine 4K laser projectors, which are capable of delivering lifelike and vibrant images, inside its versatile live event space, The Portal. “Now that they have the ability to present media in 4K, it gives them a lot more flexibility to partner with these companies like Van Gogh. It’s almost giving them a creative brush, if you will, that they can create a whole different canvas, ”says Conover. Illuminarium, which recently opened in Atlanta and is slated to open at AREA15 in April, also uses Panasonic projectors to transport visitors to venues.–of a safari at the bottom of the ocean.
Similar to AREA15, the Panasonic team were also engaged during the early stages of the design process for museums like the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles and the US Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs. This allows the company to help allocate funds and keep organizers up to date with emerging technologies, says Conover. “If you’re designing a museum today, it might be 36 months before it comes to fruition, so we can help you align the budget and show them other technologies they might want to explore.”
Photo: Courtesy of PanasonicLooking to the future, Conover mentions the growing investment interest in technology and immersive experiences, adding that he believes the next phase will be interactivity. “How do we interact with the community experience? Currently, this is usually a static environment or a walk-through environment. I think we will see quickly next year the shift to more interactive capabilities where the audience can help dictate or the crowd sought after for their emotions can change the narrative of the story or change the story as a whole or change the result of the story.
He also says that the concept of immersive spaces is becoming vertical. “I want an immersive conference room if I’m a business. Houses of Worship are a huge partner of Panasonic, and they seek immersion. If you can educate people, then let’s educate students in an immersive environment. It’s constantly flowing. “