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Products & Solutions
Information communication technology (ICT) is quickly finding new applications in a variety of fields, and education is no exception. Schools are putting electronic whiteboards to active use, combined with campus LAN systems and a host of other information equipment. Panasonic's elite Panaboard displays desktop images from a personal computer onto its whiteboard and allows the images to be manipulated in various ways with a special Electronic Pen. The development of the elite Panaboard was inspired by the enthusiasm of a product manager at Panasonic Australia. Her goal is to help teach children all over the world.
In 2000, Panasonic launched its first interactive electronic whiteboards with the ability to link to PCs and projectors. Since then, we've been offering these products in Australia, Japan, Europe, the United States and other world markets.
The interactive Panaboard displays PC screen images onto its whiteboard and lets you manipulate the images, transfer text information written on the whiteboard to a PC in real time, and display information in the order it was written. Because of its convenience and high-performance functions, the Panaboard is widely used in meetings, presentations and other business situations together with advanced digital technology applications. However, the electronic whiteboard was slow to take off in elementary and junior high schools. Hoping to put this innovative product to work in more classrooms, a Panasonic Australia product manager proposed the development and marketing of a new Panaboard.
When I first met this product manager, she expressed her enthusiasm for "helping to teach the world's children" by tailoring the Panaboard to match the needs of schools, teachers and students. This eventually led to the launch of the elite Panaboard development project.
The first need that we addressed was to make the Panaboard easier for classrooms to use. To do this, we listened to the opinions of hundreds of people in Australia and repeatedly studied the teaching methods of schools in Japan. We discovered that the copy and printer functions that are so critical to business use are not actually needed for classroom use. "Simpler functions" turned out to be our main development concept. At the time, some of our team members were a bit concerned that a model with limited functions might not be well received. Nonetheless, our development of the new Panaboard moved forward based on the notion that the growing application of ICT in schools was leading to the active use of simple information equipment. This was all in line with the enthusiastic suggestions of our Australian product manager.
As the development project proceeded, we found areas for improvement by examining the opinions of school staff in Australia and actively receiving information from teachers in Japan, by setting up conventional interactive electronic whiteboards and asking them to use them on a regular basis. We wanted to develop the kind of whiteboards that would allow widespread use by children all over the world in all kinds of situations. By verifying our progress in both Australia and Japan, we were able to make improvements that would lead to innovative whiteboard uses. And examining their use by teachers and students in actual classrooms convinced us that the electronic whiteboard would enhance students' concentration and curiosity, while also bringing smiles to their faces. The thought of smiling faces on children around the globe helped us to overcome the difficulties we faced in our development.
By the way, the name "elite Panaboard" was created by the product manager who proposed the new product. She was extremely proud that Panaboards other than the interactive type boasted the world's highest market share, and that Australia was a prime force in their marketing. The word "elite" is derived from Latin and means "a group of persons who use superior capabilities to serve others, or leaders who have a good influence on others." The elite Panaboard name is an excellent reflection on this product manager's enthusiastic teaching goal.
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