Panasonic collaborates on smart-future living in Berlin

The Future Living Berlin housing project will be a window into the way the smart homes of the future can facilitate a connected community. Panasonic is integral to the exciting enterprise.

Panasonic has embarked on an unprecedented collaboration with the city of Berlin to leverage its growing smart technology expertise in the creation of a flagship housing development that is due to open in September 2019.

More than just a consumer electronics company, Panasonic’s broader mission is “smart, safe and sustainable ways of living and working”, said Laurent Abadie, chairman and CEO of Panasonic Europe, during the company’s IFA 2018 opening press conference.

Panasonic is therefore making massive R&D investments to develop smart, sustainable technologies that will help run whole cities. The Japanese tech giant has already created its pioneering smart city in Fujisawa, near Tokyo, which houses around 3,000 people; but is now looking to develop smaller smart living developments in established European cities, for example Lyon in France, and in the US, for example Denver.

In this spirit, Panasonic is collaborating with a number of other companies to create Future Living Berlin as a model for the interconnected urban spaces of the future. Within a building complex of 89 apartments, 10 shops and a convention area, Panasonic is contributing a coherent ecosystem of photovoltaic panels, air to water heat pumps – which will be produced in Panasonic’s Czech Republic factory from October – and AV products.

Based on the company’s advanced smart home technology, Panasonic is the first TV manufacturer to integrate its Smart TVs into the selected home automation platform, digitalSTROM. Panasonic OLED TVs, for example, are among many IoT-enabled devices in the smart home that can now be seamlessly connected to the bene t of a wide range of residents.

Older people in ageing European societies, for example, will be able to to turn on their lights, TV, air conditioning and so on with one voice command – or alternatively turn them off. The process will be facilitated by Panasonic through the integration of its smart speaker, the GA10, which will further enable personalised entertainment and comfort scenarios, as well as make the home more secure.

The new residential area in Berlin will also be outfitted with Panasonic solar panels that are coupled with energy storage batteries provided by the city of Berlin. Air source heat pumps are another innovation that significantly increase heating efficiency – and power bill savings – when operated via Panasonic’s newly developed software platform.

“We have made strides in developing the integration of energy and heating in the home with energy management systems (EMS) using renewable energy, something that’s being tested out in Berlin,” Laurent Abadie noted at his IFA opening address.

He described the platform as a “kind of brain that will significantly leverage the energy that is created, managed and used in apartment buildings.”

“This incentivises building owners and tenants to benefit from self-produced energy,” he added.

Additionally at the Future Living Berlin site now under construction in the southeast of the city in Aldershof, online services will be included intelligently to support residents in their individual daily routines. Time, brightness and presence can be analysed to provide light always in the right quantity and quality. Moreover, acoustic or optical signals will operate as automated security mechanisms that prevent dangerous situations for residents who have restricted sight or hearing.

The fundamental idea underlining the smart, sustainable housing project is the concept of Universal Design, meaning the apartments are created for every kind of resident, including those who rent – and not only high-income condominium owners.

“The inspiration is an ageing society, but also the fact that the environment is changing so we want to be more energy conscious, we want to be more conscious about our carbon footprint and climate change,” said Nataša Prvanov, Panasonic’s public relations manager, corporate communications. “It’s just the beginning,” she added about a Future Living Berlin project that is sure to become a model for Panasonic’s smart-home innovations globally.

Photo: Panasonic smart home with GA10 speaker in action at the IFA stand