But a visit to Panasonic Canada's Toronto-based Housing Showroom unveils a surprising reality: Panasonic is far from traditional when it comes delivering next generation hi-tech housing solutions to the Canadian market. You'll find an array of breakthrough innovations one would simply not expect from Panasonic. Panasonic offers an extensive family of products that is based on universal design principles and leverages decades of proven experience and expertise from markets around the world. With diverse options ranging from kitchen components and appliances to space and energy management solutions, Panasonic is the trusted partner in building better homes.
You'll also find a statement etched on the wall. "Human growth has no limits" - Konosuke Matsushita, Our Founder.
So one can understand why, with Panasonic's relentless drive for innovation and its leadership position in the Asian housing market, Panasonic Canada President Michael Moskowitz created a new division in Canada's Toronto headquarters to serve the Canadian market. The Homes and Building Solutions (HABS) division was formed, as Moskowitz says, "to support the building community and help builders deliver better homes that are not only energy efficient and technologically smart, but cost-effective and environmentally friendly as well."
The two-year-old HABS division is taking a unique approach to the building industry as a whole. By forging strong strategic alliances with key players in the building industry, Panasonic is empowering builders and developers to deliver inventive new housing solutions that are transforming how Canadians homes are built. What's more, these alliances are delivering the kinds of homes that could become the global standard in future residential living.
Take LIV Communities as an example. In Brampton Ontario, an entire community, dubbed Casablanca, with over 500 award winning houses, is currently under construction. By forming a direct partnership with LIV Communities, Panasonic is providing a stunning range of solutions with options for every home. One example is the radically redesigned 'walk-in' closets, where home owners can simply stand in one spot and peruse their full wardrobe on Panasonic's unique Revolving Closet System.
Everything, from Panasonic kitchen components and appliances, to space management solutions, to Ventilation and Home Security and Automation systems, to 4K Life+ screens and cost-saving Energy Storage solutions, make these homes premium in every sense.
So premium in fact, that with all the integrated Panasonic products, LIV homes don't just meet government regulatory Building Code Standards, they actually exceed them. Panasonic's Housing Solutions Business Manager, Kevin Smith, says "LIV homes are 'built beyond spec' and with our Energy Storage Solution installed, they are 55% more energy efficient than a typical Canadian home built to today's regulatory standards".
One of the most impressive features of these homes lies in their ability to generate clean solar energy. Energy that is collected and stored using a built-in Lithium-ion battery. Homeowners have the option to cut their energy costs by tapping into their own stored electricity during peak usage periods, or use the Lithium-ion battery as a backup in the event of a power-outage or blackout.
Yes, Panasonic innovations are meeting the market's needs, as demand for smart, energy efficient, spacious family homes is on the rise in Canada. But at the same time, another trend is emerging. Panasonic is also focusing on the increasing number of urban dwellers, both millennials and those nearing retirement, looking for smaller, more space-and-energy-efficient inner city living.
"More and more senior empty-nesters are choosing condominium living over the single-family home. This allows them to move into smaller spaces without feeling like they have lost any of the storage and living space, and enjoy maintenance free lifestyle in a walkable community", says Orillia based Geoffrey Campbell, Managing Partner of Oakleigh. One reason Panasonic chose to partner with this inventive Canadian property developer was to optimize the use of space in their Matchedash Lofts project. "With the cost of every square meter of real estate rising, efficient use of limited condo space is a top priority" says Campbell.
Inside Matchedash Lofts model suite, one is struck by the versatility and space efficiency infused into the loft's contemporary design. A key feature is the kitchen, built so that everything a home chef could want is tastefully combined into no more than 12 feet of cupboard, cooking and countertop space. Additional options available to Matchedash condo buyers include a full suite of state-of-the-art Panasonic kitchen appliances.
Back inside Panasonic Canada's Housing Showroom, their Kitchen Solutions Centre showcases some of Panasonic's major appliance initiatives. "In our Panasonic Kitchen Solutions Centre, we hold events to educate and inform our partners about Induction cooking." says Consumer Product Marketing GM Peter Bolte. "In North America the concept of induction cooking is relatively new. Here we conduct presentations and demonstrations showing Gas versus Panasonic induction versus competitor induction versus standard electric cooking methods"
In this fully operational Test Kitchen Panasonic conducts simple, effective tests on key aspects of induction cooking. One very important aspect is energy efficiency. "With electricity getting more and more expensive we can show the great value and savings provided by Panasonic induction cooking appliances." Bolte points out that "By collecting and comparing specific data points, we can verify and prove the energy efficiencies of our induction cooking over Gas and Electric options."
In what Panasonic refer to as their Kitchen Vignettes, the company is also providing solutions for developers of condominiums. "Based on the insight that living spaces are getting smaller and smaller in big cities, we have designed an entire kitchen suite that is no bigger than 8 feet in width" explains Bolte. These kitchens feature unique pull-down shelving that makes hard-to-reach top shelf items instantly accessible, and effortless access to cooking condiments expertly integrated with an all-in-one cooking centre.
When cooking a meal, people often want to use several methods, like microwave, stove top, and oven cooking. According to Bolte, Panasonic has met this need by creating a product unique to Panasonic. "This may look like an oven, and it is an oven. But in-fact it is a convection, steam, microwave and grill oven all-in-one; so it combines four different cooking methods in one compact appliance."
When it comes to larger kitchens, Panasonic is inspiring designers to think creatively about induction cooking from a design perspective, rather than just a cost-efficiency point of view. Bolte showcases a clean, minimalist counter-top. "Here the home owner can keep the kitchen neat and clear during the week, but at the week's end they may want to host a dinner party". The counter-top can simply be rolled back to provide an expansive entertainment and dining space for guests while the hosts can safely cook on the induction cook top and enjoy conversation while facing their visitors at the same time.
These innovations were just some that highlight the creativity and explorative drive flourishing inside Panasonic. Early this year more future-facing Panasonic home innovations were showcased at CES 2017 in Las Vegas. While in Canada, many of Panasonic's remarkable home and building solutions are already being embraced by the Canadian building industry, and even more so by Canadian home buyers.
In a hi-tech world where the needs of the international housing community are becoming more and more demanding, the Panasonic solutions being tested in Canada look likely to be rolled out in other markets globally.
Bolte sums it up well. "The key to Panasonic's success, in a word, is 'innovation'. Our drive is to continually develop new Panasonic-unique technology". Technology that appears to prove that their "Better Life. Better World" promise is, indeed, becoming a reality for home builders and home owners the world over.
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