Panasonic Just Bought A Supply Chain Software Firm; Here’s What That Might Mean For Its Digital Signage Efforts
September 17, 2021 by Dave Haynes
Panasonic has announced the acquisition of a company that does AI-driven supply chain software, and while that may seem somewhat far removed from digital signage, there are hints that it could (and should) be part of a broader plan to service both online and physical retail needs.
The Japan-based electronics giant just announced this morning its acquisition of Blue Yonder, a Phoenix-area company that used to be known as JDA Software. Panasonic was already a minority owner and has now purchased the remaining 80% of shares. The investment values Blue Yonder at USD $8.5 billion.
The deal was first announced in April but has now cleared regulatory and anti-trust hurdles.
Says the PR on the deal:
The acquisition accelerates Panasonic’s and Blue Yonder’s shared vision for an Autonomous Supply Chain. By unifying Panasonic’s sensing technologies and edge devices with Blue Yonder’s AI/ML-powered planning, execution and commerce solutions, companies can create smarter and more connected e-commerce strategies, retail stores, warehouses, transportation, and workplaces. This unique end-to-end offering provides customers with unlimited visibility, control, and orchestration, allowing them to pivot operations in real-time, provide superior customer experiences, and deliver more profitable business outcomes.
“With the increasing frequency and impact of supply chain disruptions, companies need data and visibility to make real-time operations decisions. Panasonic’s Edge technology with Blue Yonder’s AI/ML capabilities combines IoT devices and an AI-powered platform to gather and analyze data more quickly and with greater insight,” explains industry analyst Simon Ellis, Program Vice President, IDC. “Panasonic’s resources and Blue Yonder’s innovation will accelerate the development of the tools customers need to anticipate and prevent disruptions and breathe autonomy into their supply chains. Panasonic’s acquisition of Blue Yonder is indicative of what’s to come.”
This acquisition enhances Panasonic’s own digital transformation and customer-centric focus. The Panasonic Group will shift to a holding company system on April 1, 2022, focusing on strategic businesses in key areas such as providing supply chain innovation and automation. Through this transformation, Panasonic aims to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society through more efficient use of limited global resources.
The Blue Yonder brand will be retained and the business will function within the Panasonic Connected Solutions Company. Blue Yonder CEO Girish Rishi and the entire leadership team will remain with the company.
In related PR, Panasonic suggests combining its “strength in industrial engineering gained from its long history in the manufacturing field, its IoT and edge technologies with Blue Yonder’s over 35 years of expertise as a supply chain software specialist with AI/ML-driven supply chain and commerce solutions the partnership aims to help customers to drive more automation and actionable, real-time business insights at a time when supply chain operations are becoming ever more complex.”
That’s why I think this is interesting and relevant in the context of digital signage and AV. Retail back of house, fulfillment and distribution centers have a lot going on at any given moment, sometimes 24/7. There is a lot of constantly shifting information and needs, and one of the ways companies can get better at doing things is by ensuring both decision-makers and line workers have access to real-time data points – whether that’s numbers or dynamic charting.
That can be done at the desktop and on tablets, but if you want a lot of people to see status and get direction, you use big screens everyone can see.
For the last few years it has been clear that data integration is a huge part of relevant, real-time messaging. That’s mainly being done by APIs and technology partnerships. Now one of the big display guys has bought a company that does that and has a big footprint in retail supply chain.
Panasonic is m-a-y-b-e a top five player in the digital signage display market, but way behind Samsung, LG, Sharp-NEC and probably Philips (aka PPDS). It’s an open question as to whether it is even thinking about digital signage in the context of this deal, but as the big handout graphic indicates, Visualization is a major component of what it will offer.